The underthreat Human Rights Act could be used to

first_imgThe under-threat Human Rights Act could be used to halt the scandal of disabled people who have died after being put through the government’s much-criticised “fitness for work” test regime, according to Labour’s new shadow minister for disabled people.Debbie Abrahams spoke out on the importance of the act as she pledged to fight Conservative attempts to scrap the legislation and replace it with a new bill of rights.She told activists attending a Disability Labour fringe meeting that the act, introduced by a Labour government in 1998, was “definitely something we got right”.She said: “It has managed to hold the state to account, supported peaceful protests, helped rape victims, guarded against slavery, protected people in care and much more.“We should be proud of that impact and that it was a Labour government that brought that in.”She suggested that article two of the Human Rights Act – the right to life – could be used to fight the “ineffective and dehumanising” work capability assessment (WCA).Abrahams said the apparent increased death rates caused by the WCA system in the last five years were “one of the biggest scandals that we have seen”, and that a case taken under article two could be used to stop further loss of life.Two weeks ago, Disability News Service revealed how a coroner had demanded that the government take action after concluding that a disabled man from north London killed himself as a direct result of being found “fit for work”.Labour’s new shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, mentioned the case in his main conference speech, and told delegates that a Labour government would “end this brutal treatment of disabled people”.Victoria Desmond, co-founder of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health, told the fringe meeting that she was concerned that if the Human Rights Act was scrapped, the civil liberties of people with mental health conditions who are sectioned could be even more at risk, because of the “very frightening” Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.Reema Patel, treasurer of Disability Labour, pointed to the act’s “ability to empower people, to show that this is an issue, this is an infringement”.She added: “I can hold you as a policy-maker and decision-maker to account. It is such an important tool if understood in this way.”Emily Brothers, an executive member of Disability Labour, who chaired the fringe meeting, said the group would work with those Labour shadow ministers addressing the bill of rights issue.She said: “We will not be deflected by the Tory agenda of undermining the framework of human rights and safeguarding people’s liberty and civil rights.”Kate Egerton, a discrimination and human rights solicitor with lawyers Leigh Day, told the meeting that a strategy paper published by the Conservatives last year showed that a new bill of rights would provide a “watered down version” of the rights currently offered by the Human Rights Act.Richard Howitt, Labour MEP and co-president of the European parliament’s all-party disability rights group, said the Conservatives wanted to “make it much harder to enforce any rights”.And he praised “the utterly fantastic” work of Disabled People Against Cuts, which has persuaded the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities to investigate “grave and systematic violations” of the UN disability convention in the UK, over issues such as the closure of the Independent Living Fund and deaths caused by the WCA.He said this was an example of the importance of “fighting for something in international law”.Picture: Delegates at this week’s Labour conference in Brightonlast_img read more

The Department for Work and Pensions DWP has une

first_imgThe Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has unearthed a “draft” report that ministers failed to send to a coroner six years ago, following concerns he raised about a suicide linked to flaws in the “fitness for work” test.The draft report has finally emerged more than three months after Disability News Service (DNS) started questioning why DWP appeared to have failed to respond to a Rule 43 letter about the death of 41-year-old Stephen Carré in January 2010.That letter, sent to DWP by coroner Tom Osborne on 30 March 2010, linked the suicide with serious flaws* in how the work capability assessment (WCA) was used to test the eligibility of people with mental health conditions for out-of-work disability benefits.But letters from Osborne to DWP and the family of Stephen Carré show that ministers never produced an official response to the Rule 43 letter, as they were legally obliged to do.Now DWP has finally admitted that it did exchange letters with Osborne during the summer of 2010, and even produced a “draft final response” to his letter in September 2010.But the department has also admitted that it cannot prove that it sent this final response to Osborne.Instead, a DWP spokeswoman claimed that colleagues had now found “a draft response that we meant to send back to the coroner” in 2010.She said this draft response had now been sent to the coroner “for the avoidance of doubt and for completeness”.She added: “Because we can’t confirm that it was sent [in 2010] and we can’t confirm that the coroner received it, for the avoidance of doubt we have sent the original draft.”The existence of the draft report – and the admission that DWP cannot prove it was ever sent to the coroner – should raise serious questions about the political future of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and former employment minister Chris Grayling.They made key decisions in the summer of 2010 about the WCA process that Osborne had linked to Stephen Carré’s death*.Among those decision was that they would roll out the WCA to hundreds of thousands of long-term claimants of incapacity benefit (IB) the following year.They also failed to show the Rule 43 letter to Professor Malcolm Harrington, even though they had commissioned him to review the “fairness and effectiveness” of the WCA. The following year, in December 2011, a long-term IB claimant – Ms D E – took her own life after being told she was not eligible for ESA, a death later linked by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland to similar WCA failings to those that led to Stephen Carré’s death.And in 2014, another coroner wrote an almost identical letter to Osborne’s, again warning of concerns about the safety of the WCA, after the death of a north London man, Michael O’Sullivan, who also took his own life after being found fit for work.DWP this week claimed that it was unable to confirm that Duncan Smith and Grayling were shown Osborne’s Rule 43 letter – and their department’s draft final response – in 2010.The DWP press office has also been unable to say whether the draft final response has now been shown to Duncan Smith and his current employment minister, Priti Patel, and his disabled people’s minister, Justin Tomlinson.Last November, government-funded research concluded that the programme to reassess people claiming IB using the WCA could have caused 590 suicides in just three years.DNS has been asking DWP about the Rule 43 letter since being shown a letter from Osborne to the Carré family in October 2010 in which he said that DWP had failed to provide a “substantive response” to his letter, despite its legal duty to do so within 56 days of receiving it in early April 2010.At the time the letter was received, DWP was headed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, but a general election was called within days, and Duncan Smith replaced her as work and pensions secretary in May 2010 after the formation of the coalition government.*Osborne ruled that the trigger for Stephen Carré’s suicide had been DWP’s rejection of his appeal against being found “fit for work”, and he called in his Rule 43 letter for a review of the policy not to seek medical evidence from a GP or psychiatrist if the claimant has a mental health condition.Neither the Atos assessor who assessed Stephen Carré, from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, nor the DWP decision-maker who subsequently decided that he was fit for work and therefore ineligible for the new employment and support allowance, had sought information from his GP, his community psychiatric nurse or his psychiatrist.last_img read more

Another Porn Actress Alleges Abuse by James Deen at SF Missions Kink

first_img 0% Tags: Kink.com • San Francisco Armory • sexual violence Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% A second porn actress alleges that she was sexually assaulted by co-star and porn celebrity James Deen at the Mission’s Kink Castle, and accused the BDSM porn studio of deleting her complaint about the incident from a online Kink.com forum.Yesterday, Nicki Blue joined the ranks of now eight women who have publicly accused Deen of purposely violating the boundaries of his female costars – some of these violations, the women say,  include sexual assault, physical violence and rape.In an interview with the Daily Mail, Blue claimed that Deen raped her with a bottle at a Kink party in 2009, shortly after the two concluded a shoot together at the Kink.com studio, located in the San Francisco Armory at 1800 Mission St.Although their off-set sexual interaction started with mutual consent, Blue said that things quickly escalated when Deen urinated in the young woman’s mouth without her consent. Blue was 21 at the time of the incident and a novice in the porn industry – Deen was her costar in her first porn film, shot at the Kink studio the day of the alleged rape.center_img In the interview, Blue further alleges that she complained about Deen’s misconduct on an internet forum set up by Kink, and states that her post was deleted.“I wrote about my experience with James Deen, saying ‘how can he get away with it,’ and they not only deleted by post but kicked me out so I was unable to post in the forum,” Blue told the Daily Mail. After finding herself blocked from the forum, Blue said she “gave up” on seeking help regarding the rape.Kink’s spokesperson, Michael Stabile, confirmed that Blue worked with the company for about six months after the alleged incident, but that she never filed a complaint, formally or informally.“No one ever mentioned that night or the conduct prior to the Daily Mail piece. We’ve gone through HR files, old employees, and anyone who might have been familiar with Nicki to see if there’s some way we missed it, and will continue,” said Stabile.In regards to the online forum, Stabile said that the company has attempted to pull up any records of Blue’s posts to the forum, “without any luck.” If Blue’s claims are substantiated, said Stabile, the company’s procedure would have dictated that the matter be brought to the immediate attention of HR, the company’s legal team, and production staff. “A sexual assault claim like that would never have been ignored,” he said.Since porn actress Stoya first alleged on Twitter on Saturday that she was raped by Deen, her former boyfriend and costar, the list of women speaking out against porn’s “golden boy” has grown considerably over the course of a week.Although Kink immediately cut professional ties with Deen when the news of Stoya’s rape allegations reached the company on November 30, Blue is not the first of the women to allege that they were abused by him at the Kink headquarters.Porn actress Ashley Fires said that Deen tried to have sex with her against her will in a communal bathroom at the Kink building. Tori Lux, who worked for Kink.com in the past, said that Deen hit her repeatedly after she refused his advances “at a major porn set,” but would not specify where the incident occurred.Also this week, porn actress Lily Labeau said that while filming a live-stream BDSM group sex series for Kink.com, Deen, who was not slated to participate in the scene but was present during the shoot, stepped into the scene and proceeded to torment Labeau with sexual acts that she had previously listed as strictly “off-limits.” Labeau described being “traumatized” after Deen placed his foot in her mouth, and she as a result, suffered from lock jaw.Amber Rayne and Kora Peters, two porn actresses who worked with Deen in the past, also attested to having painful experiences with him on-set. Performer Bonnie Rotten also said that she felt uncomfortable while working on scenes with Deen. It is unclear whether these three women were working for Kink while shooting scenes with Deen.Stabile did not confirm whether or not any of the incidents described by the women took place at Kink, although he did confirm that both Blue and Fires have worked for Kink in the past, and added that the company is looking into any incidents that could have possibly occurred at the studio.  The company has prided itself in valuing consent and being an ethical studio that supports performers and safety, in-house and throughout the larger porn industry.As of publication time, Stabile did not comment on whether the studio will pull any of its films that feature Deen, saying only that “right now is a real period of soul searching and reevaluation of our existing protocols.”He added that he expects to see new regulations and protocols encompassing off-set rights, on-set-limits and “confidential if not anonymous” reporting (of violations) in the coming week.“To find out that someone was exploiting the grey areas, or that people weren’t able to file, or didn’t feel comfortable filing, complaints is tremendously disheartening,” Stabile said. last_img read more

Developments in development awkward relief

first_imgDevelopments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, business, planning, zoning and construction newYou know, in a time when San Francisco reportedly saw the biggest year-over-year rent drop in the country and we keep hearing about how rents are slowing down, I really wasn’t expecting to see this monstrosity. Having a shower and toilet directly adjacent to a sad excuse for a kitchen might be bad enough. Trying to get someone to rent it for $2,000 a month? That’s legitimately frightening. Also, one might speculate, not strictly code compliant. My first thought is that San Francisco must be counterintuitively striving for its Gold Rush history of renting tents for the equivalent of more than a million dollars a year. Part of me wonders if that kind of situation is what people picture when they think of density — that we will be so densely packed into tiny spaces that there will be no room to breathe, let alone relieve oneself in peace. 0% Tags: development • Developments in Development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% And lastly, plans have been submitted for a six-story development with eight units headed to 2976 Mission Street, near 26th Street, with the residential space over a commercial ground floor and no basement. The building continues, or tries to. Even in non hyperbolic terms, San Franciscans are discussing density all the time. One storage company has offered up one way to imagine how tightly we could be crammed in with a density visualizer. It’s a fairly straightforward tool, telling you how close together we would have to be to fit into less space and vice versa, but that to me seems like it’s only really useful if you have actually been to most of the cities you can set it to compare to.But there is more to city living than simply how closely together we are packed. It’s the type of housing that gets built, the way it looks, what the streets feel like. All of these are being debated in City Hall right now, in the form of battling proposals for affordable housing, the amount of family-sized units that should be built, and the endless stream of reviews of proposals based on what they look like. One of those reviews you may remember, because it was requested for a 100 percent below-market-rate housing project on 17th and Folsom streets based on a concern over height and sewage impacts.At the time there was a fear that that it would take months before that could go to the Planning Commission to get its second hearing before that body. But somehow it got on the agenda for this week — where a decision was delayed until next week because a prior item went on for so long that several commissioners already had left. On a happier, quality-of-life related note, San Francisco has completed its survey of its trees. Yes, the tree census is complete, and you can see its results in all their leafy glory here. Be warned that at first glance it looks like this city is bursting with plant life, but a lot of those green dots are empty planting sites. But how cool is this – I now know that one of my favorite trees is a purple-leaf plum, and that it has removed 119.3 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air. Meanwhile, Brava Theater continues to move ahead with its long-anticipated renovation. You can see the shell of new dressing rooms, a cabaret, and other structures begin to take shape:last_img read more

SF Mission District homicides down slightly in 2017

first_img 0% “This time last year we had three, so hopefully we’ll continue to work hard … I think that’s a significant accomplishment,” he said. At a press conference earlier last week, Scott said that homicides were up in the summer of 2017 compared to 2016, but said the city saw a slowing homicide rate by the end of year, which he attributed largely to the doubling of citywide foot patrols in September. (The foot patrols quadrupled in the Mission.) Last year, the city saw a 24 percent rise in property crime, with car break-ins in the Mission up 182 percent in the first seven months of 2017 compared to the same period the previous year, prompting calls for beefed-up enforcement from district stations. But Scott noted that violent crime will remain the top priority.  “We can only be effective with property crime if we keep our violent crime in check,” he said, “because the violent crime sucks up a lot of resources and is a huge priority for our city.”   Mission Local is tracking each homicide that occurs in the Mission District in 2018. Scroll through the maps below to compare information from 2016, 2017 and 2018. Homicides in the Mission District were down in 2017, with eight murders reported by the end of the year, compared to 10 homicides in 2016. In 2017, 56 homicides occurred citywide, compared to a total of 58 in 2016. The first homicide of 2017 took place on New Year’s Day, but 2018 did not see its first killing until last Thursday, when a 59-year-old homeless man was stabbed to death at 25th Street and Potrero Avenue.During a Police Commission meeting a day before this year’s fatal stabbing, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said he was proud to see a marked improvement in homicides between 2016 and 2017. center_img Tags: crime • Homicide • police • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

ALEX Walmsley says Saints will head into their cla

first_imgALEX Walmsley says Saints will head into their clash at Huddersfield full of confidence following their best defensive display of the season.Keiron Cunningham’s men recorded their third win in a row on Friday to close the gap to the top four to just two points.But it was the defensive stint during the 12-10 victory over Widnes that pleased Walmsley the most.“We were happy with the win but it was a scrappy performance,” he said. “We have been guilty of leaking too many points this year so to keep a good attacking side like Widnes to 10 points is testament to our character in defence.“We have been close to putting in that kind of defensive performance before this year so it was good to see the consistency this time around.“Our attack wasn’t there though so we are still waiting for that 80 minute performance.“It’s no coincidence with the short turnaround that we weren’t quite there with our skill last week. We have a longer turnaround this time round and that will help.“Huddersfield are going well at the moment and have hit the form we expected of them. It is a big game; we need to make sure we go there with confidence and be well prepared.“We have been written off but we don’t take into account what people say. We are tight knit and work hard together. Our focus is on Huddersfield.“We want to play well, keep on building and take some form into the Super 8s. We have to treat every game like it is do or die.”Tickets for Saints final two games of the regular season are on sale.You can secure yours for Sunday’s trip to Huddersfield and the derby with Wigan by calling into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park or logging on here.last_img read more

Its a potential Grand Final rehearsal – and with

first_imgIt’s a potential Grand Final rehearsal – and with next week’s semi-final on the horizon Justin Holbrook will be looking for a good performance to continue the momentum following his side’s 34-14 win over Warrington.“I was really happy with how we played at Warrington,” he said. “It was always going to be awkward knowing we were playing them again in a couple of weeks, so we needed to do what we have done all year.“If the boys weren’t good to play then I didn’t play them – and those that did did a great job to come away with the win.“The youngsters played more minutes than what they’re used to. Jack Ashworth and Matty Lees played big minutes and Luke Douglas played the most minutes he’s ever played here.“We had the opportunity to give young James Bentley a run out as well and giving all of these youngsters another game and more minutes is great for us.“The approach this week will be similar again. A couple of the guys need the chance to freshen up, so will take that opportunity, but whoever runs out there will be ready to go.”He continued: “Roby will be back playing this week, as well as Louie and Kyle. Obviously it was good to give Dom and Morgan a game, but whoever plays will be ready.”Third-placed Castleford are right in form ahead of their semi-final at Wigan.“They looked a little disappointed with how the game against Wakefield panned out, so they’ll want a hard hit out before they play Wigan next week,” he added. “They’ve been a dangerous attacking team for a few years now and they have some real strike out there. It’s up to us to do a good job of stopping it.”Tickets for Friday’s game remain on sale from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

It was a good game it was important for us to pl

first_img“It was a good game, it was important for us to play well today and I’m happy with how we went, we moved the ball well and we were sharp in attack and defended really well aswell.“Everyone did well, probably the most important thing other than the new boys was the return of Big Al, it was great to have him back and the way he played was a reminder of what he is capable of, it was a great feeling to see him back and playing well.“The first 20 mins, the game was end to end and it was what we needed, a good hit out in the build-up to Round 1”Saints face Wigan Warriors in the season opener, Thursday January 31 (7:45pm) and tickets are selling fast. You can buy yours at the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img

NCDOT awarded 95M to extend Military Cutoff to US 17

first_imgThe project will extend Military Cutoff Road by four miles from Market Street to U.S. 17. (Photo: NCDOT) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a $95 million contract to extend Military Cutoff Road to U.S. 17 in Wilmington.The contract, awarded to Balfour Infrastructure Inc. of Wilmington, includes extending Military Cutoff Road by four miles from Market Street to U.S. 17. The project includes grading, paving, drainage improvements, sound walls, bridges and culverts north of Market Street. The contractor also will build interchanges where the road now meets Market Street and at the new intersection at U.S. 17.- Advertisement – RELATED: Hampstead BypassOnce completed in 2022, the Military Cutoff Extension will provide greater connectivity to Market Street and improve access to Ogden, Wrightsville Beach, Mayfaire and surrounding areas.To accommodate the new interchange, Market Street will be widened between Gordon Road and Middle Sound Loop Road. The improvements to Market Street include an updated drainage system; a concrete median to reduce crashes and improve traffic flow; upgraded drainage to remove water from the road and new on and off ramps.Related Article: NCDOT urging drivers not to return to Wilmington area, for nowThe relocation of utility lines on Market Street, as part of the pre-construction phase began in summer of 2017. Construction is scheduled to begin as soon as Jan. 2018, and is expected to be completed by spring 2022. Some lane closures will be needed but no detours are proposed at this time.This was one of nine road and bridge projects recently awarded by the department. They were worth about $275.3 million, about $12.7 million under engineer estimates.Click here to see a map of the project.last_img read more

YWCA hosts 33rd annual Women of Achievement Awards

first_img Since 1985, the organization has honored more than 400 women of achievement.“It’s such an important day for people to celebrate because a lot of times the work that women do is overshadowed and it’s not recognized and we want to take time to honor everyone that’s working so hard in our area,” YWCA Lower Cape Fear CEO Charisse Hart said.Adult recipients and their respective categories are: Jennifer Kraner, Arts Award; Kimberly Bankston, Business Award; Dr. Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock, Education Award; Bonnie Monteleone, Environmental Award; Dr. Heather Davis, Health and Wellness Award; Sonali Batish, Public Service Award; Ashanti Gibbs, Rachel Freeman Unsung Hero Award; Rhonda Bullard-Dutton, Social Justice & Community Empowerment Award; Lauren Henderson, Trailblazer Award and Rebecca Clark, Volunteer Award. A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented for the first time since 2012 to The Honorable Robin Wicks Robinson.Related Article: YWCA to host 34th Annual Women of Achievement AwardsHigh school seniors were recognized in the Young Leader Category. Young Leader recipients and their respective schools are: Brianna Cunliffe, Laney High School; Mary Grayson Koonce, South Columbus High School; and Wallace Robinson, New Hanover High School. Each Young Leader recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship for their outstanding efforts in academics and volunteerism.Hart added the YWCA is always looking for volunteers to share their expertise and energy to give back to the community.For more information about YWCA Lower Cape Fear, click here. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wednesday is International Women’s Day, and in the Port City the YWCA Lower Cape Fear hosted the 33rd annual Women of Achievement Awards.The event celebrates outstanding contributions and achievements of women and young leaders in Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties.- Advertisement – last_img read more