Month: July 2019

Some of the countrys most controversial and discr

first_imgSome of the country’s most controversial and discredited outsourcing companies are set to win contracts under the government’s new programme to find jobs for disabled people and other marginalised groups.The 11 organisations that have been successful in the bidding process will be allowed to tender for the back-to-work contracts that will be offered under the Work and Health Programme.They were all bidding for the right to tender for contracts across six regional areas in England and Wales, and a single national contract across the two countries.The Work and Health Programme will support disabled people, those who are long-term unemployed, and other groups such as ex-carers, ex-offenders, homeless people and those with drug or alcohol dependencies.Among those successful in the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Umbrella Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services were Maximus, People Plus (formerly known as A4E) and G4S.G4S has been successful in every area apart from Wales, while People Plus has been successful in all seven lots.Maximus, through its UK company Remploy, has been selected only for the Wales lot.Maximus has a disturbing track record of discrimination, incompetence and fraud in the US, while Remploy, formerly owned by the government, revealed plans last year to halve the pay of service-users who take part in inspections of health and care facilities.Last year, Maximus was accused in the House of Commons of falsifying the results of “fitness for work” assessments, and of “a disconcerting pattern of behaviour that indicates that the trade-off between cost-cutting and profit maximisation is being felt by very vulnerable people”.People Plus, which has secured places in all seven lots, was formerly known as A4E, but in 2015 was taken over by another company and rebranded, after 10 former A4e employees were sentenced for a back-to-work fraud. The previous year, DNS reported allegations that emerged during an employment tribunal – and were strongly refuted by the company – that A4E had introduced a new policy that forced advisers with no specialist training or experience to start working with “vulnerable” claimants with mental health conditions, learning difficulties and drug and alcohol problems on the Work Programme.Last year, the disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell, criticising the decision to hand the government contract to run the national discrimination helpline to G4S, told fellow peers that the company had “an appalling history of abuse and mismanagement”.G4S’s track record includes claims of assault and racism at immigration detention centres, the failure to provide enough security staff for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a coroner’s verdict of “unlawful killing” at the hands of G4S staff after the death of Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga in 2010, and serious allegations concerning G4S staff at secure training centres for children.The other successful organisations are Ingeus, Reed, Shaw Trust, APM, Working Links, The Work Company, Pluss and Prospects.Many of the country’s largest disability charities are likely to seek funding under the Work and Health Programme as sub-contractors for the organisations that win the main contracts, in a move which many activists believe could make it harder for them to speak out on welfare reform.The Work and Health Programme will replace the mainstream Work Programme and the specialist Work Choice scheme for disabled people, but there have been concerns that it will see a significant cut in funding.The government has promised £100 million a year by 2020-21 for disabled people found to have limited capability for work – paid for from cuts of more than £1 billion over the four years from April this year to new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) – as well as another £130 million a year for the overall programme.But industry research has suggested that this will mean a sizeable overall drop from the £750 million spent on employment support in 2013-14.DWP said yesterday (Wednesday) that it did not recognise this figure but was not able to say how much the overall budget on employment support had been and how much it would be under the new programme.She said the budget for the new programme was not yet “in the public domain”.Asked about the track records of Maximus, G4S and People Plus, the DWP spokeswoman said the umbrella agreement had been subject to public sector procurement regulations, and was conducted in an “open, transparent non-discriminatory manner”.She said: “Each competition is designed to identify the winning bids over a range of pre-determined criteria.”She said contracts would be awarded this autumn.Meanwhile, the consultation on the government’s work, health and disability green paper – which outlines its plans for the Work and Health Programme – is due to end tomorrow (17 February).The green paper revealed that the government was considering forcing all sick and disabled people on out-of-work disability benefits to take part in “mandatory” activity, including those who are terminally-ill or have the very highest support needs and have been placed in the ESA support group.It also repeatedly emphasised that the government wanted to “reinforce work as a health outcome”, increasing the number of job advisers in healthcare settings and making “the benefits of work an ingrained part of the training and professional approach of the health and social care workforce”.last_img read more

SAINTS failed to make their 12th Challenge Cup Sem

first_imgSAINTS failed to make their 12th Challenge Cup Semi Final in a row following a disappointing 18-4 defeat at Wigan.Despite dominating in terms of possession they lacked composure at crucial times to make progression all too easy for their opponents.The usual flair and pace around the ruck was missing too and even though there are players to return Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham will have to sit down with their charges and regroup for the rest of the Super League campaign.Wigan led 12-4 at the break after punishing two errors early in the half.Paul Wellens put Saints ahead when he latched on to Michael Shenton’s nice offload following Jonny Lomax’ cute chip through.But the Warriors hit right back through Sam Tomkins and Shaun O’Loughlin.Saints had a number of chances to get back in the game but couldn’t find the killer pass.In fact, on the balance of the opening 40 they would be upset not to be at least two scores to the good.More mistakes signalled the beginning of the second half but Wigan took the first chance offered to them – Brett Finch’s mazy run making Saints task more difficult.Then they simply closed out the game to make it a very frustrating afternoon for all.Both sides ripped into each other from the off but it was Saints that got the best of the early exchanges.Looking more balanced with Jon Wilkin, Gary Wheeler and Josh Perry back from injury, they forced an error from Anthony Gelling and then won a penalty when James Roby was taken high.And after gaining a drop out, Jonny Lomax’ grubber on the last saw Michael Shenton collecting over the lie and offloading to Paul Wellens.Lomax missing the conversion.Saints continued to dominate the opening 12 minutes but couldn’t further punish a number of mistakes from the hosts.And Wigan made them pay, scoring through Sam Tomkins on their first foray into their opponent’s half.The try was simple – dummy runners bamboozling the defence meaning they couldn’t pick up the full back’s run.Josh Charnley putting them ahead.Moments later it could have been worse – a Thomas Leuluai kick causing panic in the defence and Saints would have been pleased to see Wellens mop up.It was a warning sign unheeded as on the 20 minute mark Shaun O’Loughlin picked up an offload to increase the lead.Charnley tagging on his second ‘extras’ of the afternoon.Saints had a couple of chances to get back in the game but couldn’t demonstrate the execution when it was needed.And that was epitomised again when Wellens made a wonderful break from a scrum in his own 20, but no one backed him up.In the second half, both sides continued to show how not to keep hold of the ball despite having numerous chances.But Brett Finch finished off one of those opportunities with a great run from Leuluai’s pass.Tommy Makinson produced a wonderful break from inside his own 10 to get Saints right on the front foot and once his side won a repeat set the ball was fed to Gary Wheeler.The young centre seemed to have the ball stripped out right on the line but the video referee bizarrely gave a drop out.But once again Saints couldn’t find a way through – and that was the story of countless chances that came their way in the half.As the game entered the final ten minutes Saints began to give penalties away and Josh Charnley took the opportunity to tag on another two points.And that saw them through to the Semi Finals – and their second ‘rival’ scalp of the year.Saints will have to learn from this experience very quickly and show the rest of Super League they are still a force to be reckoned with.Match Summary:Wigan:Tries: Tomkins, O’Loughlin, FinchGoals: Charnley (3 from 4)Saints:Tries: WellensGoals: Lomax (0 from 1)Penalties:Wigan: 11Saints: 6HT: 4-12FT: 4-18REF: Richard SilverwoodATT: 12864Teams:Wigan:1. Sam Tomkins; 2. Josh Charnley, 26. Jack Hughes, 4. George Carmont, 24. Anthony Gelling; 6. Brett Finch, 7. Thomas Leuluai; 8. Paul Prescott, 9. Michael McIlorum, 10. Lee Mossop, 11. Harrison Hansen, 12. Gareth Hock, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.Subs: 14. Jeff Lima, 16. Liam Farrell, 17. Chris Tuson, 21. Epalahame Lauaki.Saints:1. Paul Wellens; 21. Tommy Makinson, 3. Michael Shenton, 17. Gary Wheeler, 5. Francis Meli; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Jonny Lomax; 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 9. James Roby, 8. Josh Perry, 13. Chris Flannery, 4. Sia Soliola 12. Jon Wilkin.Subs: 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Paul Clough, 18. Shaun Magennis.last_img read more

Crews put out small boat fire at Smith Creek Boatyard


MDA Toast to Life Gala


Elks Lodge Artisan Craft Show


GazaIsrael violence flares into second day with rocket attacks air strikes

first_img A boy looks at a damaged house after it was hit by a rocket, fired from Gaza over the border, to the Israeli side in Kiryat Gat, Israel May 4, 2019 REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun A ball of fire is seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Suhaib SalemA ball of fire is seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem Gaza militants fired more than 200 rockets into Israeli towns and villages through Saturday, while Israel hit back with tank shelling and air strikes that Palestinian officials said killed a baby, her mother and a gunman.Cross-border hostilities which broke out on Friday flared into a second day, with Gazans fleeing Israeli strikes and air-raid sirens sending Israelis running to shelters as interceptor missiles blew up Palestinian rockets in the sky.The escalation of the conflict, which comes just ahead of both the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Israel’s Independence Day holiday, prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convene a high-level meeting of his security chiefs.Egyptian mediators, credited with brokering ceasefires in previous rounds of violence, were working to prevent further escalation of hostilities.The latest round of violence began on Friday when a Palestinian Islamic Jihad sniper fired at Israeli troops, wounding two, according to the Israeli military.Israel retaliated with an air strike that killed two militants from the armed Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza. Two other Palestinians protesting near the frontier were killed by Israeli forces on the same day, Palestinian officials said.Hamas and Islamic Jihad began firing waves of rockets into Israel early on Saturday. The Israeli military said its tanks and aircraft responded with strikes against more than 30 militant targets belonging to both groups. An Israeli police officer speaks with beachgoers as they are asked to leave the beach following security tension in the city of Ashkelon, Israel May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen Beachgoers get ready after Israeli police asked them to leave the beach following security tension in the city of Ashkelon, Israel May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen Streaks of light are pictured as rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from the Israeli city of Ashkelon May 4, 2019 REUTERS/ Amir Cohen Smoke rises during Israeli air strikes in the southern Gaza Strip May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa A view shows buildings in Gaza City May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem A ball of fire is seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem Relatives of Palestinian Raed Abu Tair, who was killed during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, mourn during his funeral in the southern Gaza Strip May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem Chinese workers look on as an Iron Dome anti-missile projectile intercepts a rocket that was fired from Gaza, above the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israel May 4, 2019 REUTERS/Amir Cohencenter_img Israelis look on as an Iron Dome anti-missile projectile intercepts a rocket that was fired from Gaza, above the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israel May 4, 2019 REUTERS/Amir Cohen SharePrint Relatives of Palestinian Raed Abu Tair, who was killed during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, mourn during his funeral in the southern Gaza Strip May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem An Iron Dome anti-missile projectile intercepts a rocket that was fired from Gaza, above the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israel May 4, 2019 REUTERS/ Amir Cohen Explosions shook Gaza City, where busy streets were packed with shoppers carrying out their Ramadan preparations.The Gaza Health Ministry said a 14-month old baby and her mother were killed by one of the Israeli strikes and at least 12 other Palestinians were wounded. Residents identified two of them as militants.“The Israeli plane fired a missile near the house and the shrapnel entered the house and hit the poor baby,” said her aunt.Islamic Jihad said in a statement that the rocket barrages were a response to Friday’s events and that Israel has been delaying the implementation of previous Ibtessam Abu Arar. An Israeli military spokeswoman made no immediate comment.A small armed pro-Hamas group in Gaza, the Protectors of Al-Aqsa, said one of its men was killed in another air strike.The Magen David Adom ambulance service said two Israelis were wounded by shrapnel.Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said Israel was prepared to intensify its attacks. He added that Islamic Jihad was trying to destabilise the border and blamed Hamas for failing to rein it in.Islamic Jihad said in a statement that the rocket barrages were a response to Friday’s events and that Israel has been delaying the implementation of previous understandings brokered by Cairo.In a joint statement, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said: “Our response will be broader and more painful if the enemy pursues its aggression.”EGYPTIAN MEDIATIONHamas said on Thursday that its Gaza chief, Yeyha Sinwar, had travelled to Cairo for talks on efforts to maintain calm along the border and alleviate hardship in the enclave.“Egypt has stepped up its efforts with Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and Israel, but there is no conclusion yet,” said a Palestinian official familiar with Cairo’s mediation efforts.The United Nations has also been part of the Cairo talks.Although aerial exchanges are a frequent occurrence, Israel and Hamas have managed to avert all-out war for the past five years.Israel, whose Prime Minister Netanyahu won a fifth term in office on April 9, is due to host the 2019 Eurovision song contest finals in less than two weeks in Tel Aviv, towards which long-range rockets were launched in mid-March.Some 2 million Palestinians live in Gaza, whose economy has suffered years of blockades as well as recent foreign aid cuts. Unemployment stands at 52 percent, according to the World Bank, and poverty is rampant.Israel says its blockade is necessary to stop weapons reaching Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007.Over the past few weeks, Cairo’s mediation had helped persuade Israel to lift some restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza and expand the Mediterranean zone where Gazans can fish.But Israel scaled back the fishing zone this week in response to rocket fire and shut the border crossings entirely on Saturday after barrages from Gaza.(This story has been refilled to remove extraneous sentence fragment from paragraph 10)WhatsApp 1 of 13 Iron Dome anti-missile projectiles intercept rockets that were fired from Gaza, above the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israel May 4, 2019 REUTERS/Amir Cohen <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Only humane methods of pest control should be allowed – PD

first_imgPartit DemokratikuPartit Demokratiku Partit Demokratiku said that no effort should be spared to avoid unnecessary pain and distress, explaining that ‘only humane methods of pest control should be allowed’. In a statement on Sunday, the PD said that it will speak up for the betterment of animal welfare in Parliament during the upcoming debates saying that they are for the amendments which PD described as positive in favour of the protection of animals.PD deputy leader and Sliema local council candidate Timothy Alden said that the methods that inflict an inordinate amount of suffering on pests should be outlawed, citing glue traps as an example. The PD deputy leader said that cases of animal abuse need to be penalized and the relevant laws need to be strictly enforced.Head of Animal Welfare policy group and Birkirkara local council candidate Mark Zerafa observed that while Malta has some strong animal welfare laws it lacked serious enforcement. The Birkirkara candidate said that the party viewed animals as sentient beings, perceptive to pain and other emotions.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Can Ugandas robot dreams Change the Nations Technological problems


Tigo Pesa Customers Pocket 26 million in Ninth Quarterly Profit Share


Victoria University Kampala students unveil Nisaidie Android App to help fight crime