Userled organisations across the country are cont

first_imgUser-led organisations across the country are continuing to close, with the sector even facing a “real threat of extinction”, leading networks have warned this week.Those user-ledorganisations that have found a way to survive are increasingly being side-linedfrom government consultations and government-funded projects, they said.The National Survivor UserNetwork (NSUN) estimates that about 50 more user-led organisationsthat were previously NSUN members have been forced to close in the last year. This followsa net loss of more than 150 member groups in the previous year.NSUN, which represents groups and people in Englandwith experience of mental distress, has now warned its members: “This ishaving a deep impact on collectives of oppressed and marginalised peoplewho have been campaigning to have a voice, lobbying for legislative changes andself-organising to make things better.”It is soconcerned about the continuing attack on the value of user-led groups that itis to focus its campaigning this year on this issue.ShapingOur Lives, anational network of disabled people and service-users, was even more stark inits warning about the sector’s future.Its latestestimates are that it has lost about a sixth of its user-led memberorganisations in the last couple of years, and it believes that this rate ofclosure is accelerating.Professor Peter Beresford (pictured), SOL’s co-chair, said successive governments had argued for a wider range of providers of public services, but in practice this had led to a “big shift to privatisation and the dominance of big metropolitan-based charities, which are run like big businesses”. He said: “Thegreat, much-valued innovation of the age has been small, local, accountable user-ledorganisations (ULOs) and disabled people’s user-led organisations (DPULOs), runby the groups – disabled people, mental health service-users, people withlearning difficulties – they are meant to serve.”But he saidthe “rising tension in service provision in the context of austerity cuts” hadled to the marginalisation of these ULOs, which were now “facing serious crisis”and “a real threat of extinction”.He calledfor a “radical review of both government and funding policy” in order to avertthis “tragedy”.SarahYiannoullou, NSUN’s managing director, said that user-led groups and networksneeded to work more closely together, share their common concerns andexperiences and look at collective solutions to ensure their survival.She said thenetwork’s members and other user-led organisations and networks had facedsimilar problems over the last five years. She said:“We are finding there are very similar and common issues, with groups closing,whether it is due to lack of resources or burn-out of the leaders of ourgroups, there is less and less opportunity for that independent, collective anddirect voice. “So what wewere campaigning about 20 years ago and feeling like we were making someprogress on, now it feels as though – particularly over the last couple ofyears – that we are regressing.”NSUN is nowseeking funding for joint research to examine how many user-led organisationsare being lost, and how well understood user-led groups are and why they are sovaluable.This week,NSUN launched a survey* that it hopes will provide evidence from user-ledorganisations of the challenges they are facing, the work they do, the impactthey have, and the policy changes they believe are needed to support user-ledgroups.NSUN alsohopes the research will look at the growing use of language that “blurs the lines”between user-led and non-user-led organisations.Yiannoullousaid: “The space that user-led groups have worked hard to carve out forthemselves around advocacy, peer support, involvement, participation andrecovery, has become an area of income generation for other [non-user-led]organisations.”As well aslarge charities, private sector and statutory bodies like NHS trusts are nowinvolved in this work, further crowding out user-led groups and often changingthe kind of work taking place in areas like peer support “beyond recognition”,she said.Governmentdepartments, for example, will use phrases like “user groups” to describe thevoluntary sector groups and organisations they have been consulting with, and don’tnecessarily differentiate between user-led and non-user-led organisations, saidYiannoullou.Such groupsmay have access to service-users who can take part in consultations ondisability-related issues, but they are usually not run and controlled byservice-users, which means the government is repeatedly breaching the UNConvention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and “general commentnumber seven”, which was agreed last autumn by the UN’s committee onthe rights of persons with disabilities.TheUNCRPD makesit clear that, when developing laws and policies relating todisabled people, governments “must closely consult with and actively involvepersons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through theirrepresentative organizations”.It defines“representative organizations” as those that are “led, directed and governed bypersons with disabilities”.Yiannoullousaid: “We want to reassert and raise awareness of what the distinction isbetween user-led groups and user groups.“We alsowant to get a sense of whether it’s just us (user-led groups) that think thisis important.”NSUN fearsthat the importance of user-led groups is being lost in the clamour forcontracts and increasing competitive tendering. Yiannoullousaid: “It’s a real concern that user-led groups are reporting that theircontributions are not being recognised and are having less and less impact.“The smallergroups, which tend to be the user-led groups, find it really hard to compete.There’s no level playing-field.“We need tohave some high-level conversations about the value of user-led groups, whatmakes them different and what needs to happen to help them survive the currentclimate.”BeckiMeakin, SOL’s general manager, said: “The growing pressure on voluntary andcommunity sector organisations to secure funding is evolving into a fight forsurvival. “Tacticspreviously only used by the most aggressive profit-making companies are nowbecoming common place in the voluntary sector.“Funders andcommissioners need to realise that different types of voluntary and communitysector organisations have different skills and strengths. “One fundingmodel and approach does not work for everyone.”She added: “Recentgovernment policy is now looking to the community to meet the gaps inprovision.“With thedeclining number of local user-led groups, where is the knowledge and capacitygoing to come from?“It is notjust the user-led movement that is stretched to its limits, but it is also thepeople with lived experience who have committed their time and energy, oftenfor little reward, to providing peer support and advocacy. “Austeritypolicies and service cuts have also devastatingly impacted the capacity ofindividuals to fight for others.”*User-led organisations that would like to provide their own experiences and concerns can contact NSUN by email at info@nsun.org.uk or fill in the online surveyA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

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HATTONS Solicitors are delighted to announce their

first_imgHATTONS Solicitors are delighted to announce their sponsorship of new Saints RLFC player Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook for the 2011 season.With an already promising start scoring against Widnes Vikings, Hattons are happy to be sponsoring Louie for the rest of the year, who made close to 100 appearances for Harlequins before heading north.Louie commented, “I’m so happy to be Hattons sponsored player for the 2011 season. It is a new club, new life and new career for me up here and hopefully I can do the business.”“I want to settle down at Saints and hopefully Hattons can help me do that. Everyone’s been so friendly and welcoming and I look forward to getting involved with Hattons 10th anniversary celebrations later on this year.”Bruce Hatton, Senior Partner at Hattons Solicitors and avid Saints supporter, said: “We have sponsored Saints for nearly 10 years now, and are so pleased to be sponsoring Louie this season as well.“Saints are a club going through a period of transition with exciting times ahead, with a new coach, new training facilities and a new ground. We are glad we have taken the opportunity to sponsor one of their newest players.“We look forward to working with Louie and helping him to settle in at St Helens. We wish him every success playing for Saints.”Louie will also be writing a blog about his times at the club, starting in February, which will be published through Hattons Solicitors blog available to view at www.hattonslaw.com/blogIf you want a look behind the scenes at one of the most successful clubs of the modern era, make sure you visit Louie’s blog, talking about training, life in St Helens and the thrill of playing for Saints during the season.You can also view seven new Saints fans films on Hattons online Hall of Fame by visiting www.hattonslaw.com/saintshalloffamelast_img read more

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SAINTS produced one of their most accomplished per

first_imgSAINTS produced one of their most accomplished performances to totally dominate the Wildcats 42-4 on their home soil, writes Graham Henthorne.The only disappointing aspect of the evening was that in attack the Saints squandered numerous chances to post an even more impressive win.Defensively the Saints showed a hunger to get off their line and close down the home side which really impressed Coach Derek Traynor. In the first period the Saints repeatedly confined the Wildcats to their own half and only on two or three occasions found themselves carrying the ball away from their own line, usually as a result of a penalty.The Saints opened their account with their first taste of possession. The Wildcats kicked out on the full allowing the Saints to start the set deep in the opposition half. Big drives from Ross McCauley, who punished the home side all night, and his Captain Joe Ryan put the Saints on the front foot. From the play the ball Danny Richardson ran at the line dummying his way over to the right of the uprights.Five minutes later and the lead was doubled as Liam Cooper and McCauley again drove the home defence back. On the next tackle Morgan Knowles broke the Wildcats defensive line. He fed the ball out to Dave Hewitt who found Richardson on his inside to go under the sticks.Despite their almost total dominance the Saints found it hard to increase their lead. Aaron Smith got over the line only to drop the ball and Regan Grace could have had a hat-trick but for some heroic last ditch tackling for the increasingly beleaguered home side.It took until five minutes from the break for the Saints to score again and what a beauty it was. Jake Spedding, coming in off his wing, broke through. He went 30 metres, passed the ball onto Lewis Hatton who in turn took the ball to the full back before feeding the supporting Richardson for his third try of the half. Dave Hewitt’s third goal effectively took the game away from the home side before the interval.In a mirror image of the first half, the Saints couldn’t field the kick off and the Wildcats scored in the corner from the resultant scrum.But the Saints regrouped and closed shop again restricting the home side to sporadic forays into Saints territory.Then came a special moment as Matty Lees scored his first in the red vee and what a great try it was, as he came steaming onto a wonderful Josh Eaves pass to rocket over the line from 20 out.Spedding got his name on the scoresheet next reaching over to score from Calvin Wellington inside ball after a splendid pass from Ricky Bailey.From the kick off the Saints scored the tray of the game. Knowles’ half break saw him get the ball out to Olly Davies who in turn put Spedding away down the left. He outpaced the cover but in trying to pass inside to Grace the ball was picked up off the floor by Smith for the try.The final try was scored by out wide by Bailey but fittingly after another set of drives from McCauley and Ryan which terrorised the defence under the posts.Although with ball in hand the Saints have played better, all in all this was a great way for the side to warm up for the big derby battle against the Auld Enemy at Langtree next Saturday.Match Summary:Wakefield U19s:Tries: Kyle Ratchford.Saints U19s:Tries: Ricky Bailey, Jake Spedding, Danny Richardson 3, Aaron Smith, Matty Lees.Goals: Dave Hewitt 7.Half Time: 18-0Full Time: 42-4Teams:Wakefield:1. Max Jowitt; 2. Dec Brererton, 3. Judah Mezzive, 4. George Lord, 5. Kyle Ratchford; 6. Tom McGretton, 7. Christian Ackroyd; 8. Aaron Gledhill, 9. Ben Cornell, 10. Jack Teamby, 11. Harry Swan, 12. Sean Wooffitt, 13. Kieran Holt. Subs: 14. Sam Blake, 15. Fraser Morris, 16. Liam Senior, 17. Martin Reilly.Saints:18. Ricky Bailey; 2. Jake Spedding, 19. Matty Fleming, 4. Calvin Wellington, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Dave Hewitt; 8. Ross McCauley, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Joe Ryan, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Liam Cooper, 13. Morgan Knowles. Subs: 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Chris Worrall, 16. Lewis Hatton, 17. Matty Lees.last_img read more

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Ben Barba will wear the 23 shirt this season – an

first_imgBen Barba will wear the 23 shirt this season – an iconic shirt number in world sport donned by the likes of David Beckham and Michael Jordan in their heyday.New signing James Bentley has been given the 24 shirt whilst Zeb Taia has moved from 36 to 11.Morgan Knowles is now 15, Danny Richardson 18 and Regan Grace 19.Joining them in the squad is Matty Costello who is promoted from the Academy after signing a two-year deal.He is a full back / centre from Orrell St James who has been with the club since the age of 14.He went on tour with the Academy in 2015 and returned to play a significant part in the unbeaten 2016 Academy side. He was also selected to play for England U18s.Saints Justin Holbrook told the fans at Thursday night’s exclusive 2018 Members event: “I have said all along that Ben will be our full back and I asked him if he wanted to move to number one from 37.“But because of the genuine nature of the guy and the length of time Jonny Lomax has been here, he didn’t want him to move.“He was happy to take any number and I think that shows his character.“I could have moved others around but I think you have to probably have to play more than half a year in those positions to earn those numbers.“Ben was happy to take any number but 23 is probably one of the most famous sporting numbers in the world.“Look at LeBron James, Michael Jordan … he is a high profile player here and the number signifies that.”Squad1. Jonny Lomax 2. Tommy Makinson 3. Ryan Morgan 4. Mark Percival 5. Adam Swift 6. Theo Fages 7. Matty Smith 8. Alex Walmsley 9. James Roby 10. Kyle Amor 11. Zeb Taia 12. Jon Wilkin 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook 14. Luke Douglas 15. Morgan Knowles 16. Luke Thompson 17. Dominique Peyroux 18. Danny Richardson 19. Regan Grace 20. Matty Lees 21. Jack Ashworth 22. Jake Spedding 23. Ben Barba 24. James Bentley 25. Aaron Smith 26. Liam Cooper 27. Ben Morris 28. Josh Eaves 29. Rob Fairclough 30. Matthew Costellolast_img read more

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16yearold student accused of bringing handgun to West Bladen High

first_imgBLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A West Bladen High School student was arrested Wednesday after deputies say he brought a gun to school.Bladen County Schools spokeswoman Valerie Newton said it happened this morning after the school was alerted a car on campus with a possible weapon inside of it.- Advertisement – Law enforcement was contacted by school administration. After obtaining a consent search from the driver of the car, deputies searched the car and found a 9mm handgun in the trunk.Newton said students or staff were never in any danger or threatened in any way. All activities on campus operated on a normal schedule.Sheriff James A. McVicker said School Resource Officer Matthew Long with the Sheriff’s Office received information late Tuesday that a student at West Bladen High School might be bringing a weapon on campus.Related Article: Williams resigns as West Bladen head football coachAs a precaution Deputy Long set up metal detectors to screen faculty, staff and students as they entered the school Wednesday morning. Deputy Long was in the parking lot and saw 16-year-old Gabriel McDowell, of Clarkton, get out of a car and when McDowell saw the extra security and metal detectors he put a backpack he had with him back into the car.Statements from other students confirmed McDowell had possession of the weapon and that he also had it at the school on the previous Friday.McDowell was charged with two counts of Felony Possession of a Firearm on Educational  Property, two counts of Carrying a Concealed Weapon, and two counts of Possession of a Handgun by a Minor. McDowell’s bond was set at $85,000 secured.last_img read more

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Traffic Alert CFPUA issues advisory for Carolina Beach Rd and Shipyard Blvd

first_img CFPUA crews have shifted lanes on Carolina Beach Rd. and Shipyard Blvd. into single lanes. Officials urge drivers to avoid the area or plan for delays.The travel advisory is expected to last around six hours.Water should be restored to affected customers by noon.Related Article: Boil Water Advisory issued for downtown Wilmington apartment complexCape Fear Public Utility Authority appreciates customers’ patience. NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Cape Fear Public Utility Authority issued a traffic advisory for the intersection of Carolina Beach Road and Shipyard Boulevard just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.According to a release, crews are making an emergency repair to a 12″ water main. However, repairs are taking longer than expected.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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State seeking death penalty against Trooper Kevin Conners accused killer

first_img Tpr. Kevin Conner (Photo: NCDPS) Chauncy Demez Lamar Askew (Photo: J. Reuben Long Detention Center) COLUMBUS COUNTY (WWAY) — One of the two suspects charged in the shooting death of NC State Trooper Kevin Conner will face the death penalty.Columbus County District Attorney Jon David said earlier today a Columbus County grand jury issued an Indictment for first degree murder against Chauncy Askew in the shooting death of Trooper Conner. – Advertisement – Raheem Davis (Photo: Columbus Co. Sheriff’s Office)center_img 1 of 2 David said his office intends to seek the death penalty against Askew.“Earlier this week, I convened a panel of senior prosecutors to meet with me to scrupulously review the evidence and carefully consider the relative culpability of both defendants who are charged in the shooting death of Trooper Kevin Conner,” David wrote in a news release. “At this time, the State elects to seek the death penalty against Chauncy Askew.  The case against Raheem Davis remains in District Court and my office will make a charging determination about him at a later date.”Raheem Davis was arrested on October 17, just hours after Conner was shot during a trafic stop on Highway 701 in Columbus County.Related Article: Elizabethtown man sentenced up to 20 years for killing stepfatherInvestigators say Davis and Askew were together in the truck Trooper Conner pulled over.  Surveillance video from a convenience store shows Askew getting in the driver’s seat of the truck. Just 15 minutes later Conner pulled the truck over for speeding and was shot to death.After a manhunt, officers found Davis in Fair Bluff and arrested him. Several days later, law enforcement arrested Askew in South Carolina.The district attorney says Davis has a probable cause hearing in January.  The State has filed a notice with the Clerk’s Office to request a Rule 24 hearing for Askew at a future date.  The purpose of a Rule 24 hearing is for the court to determine whether the State has presented sufficient evidence of aggravating circumstances to warrant the death penalty designation.“This alleged crime is reprehensible because it was perpetrated against a law enforcement officer who was brutally gunned down in the line of duty,” said District Attorney Jon David. “Officers perform a dangerous job when they patrol our street to serve and protect our community.  The same laws that they seek to enforce should also serve to protect them.  Given the facts of this case my office will pursue nothing less than the maximum punishment.”last_img read more

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GOP candidates son had concerns about political operative

first_imgBy EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated PressRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The son of the Republican in the country’s last undecided congressional election testified Wednesday that he warned his parents that he thought the North Carolina political operative now accused of illegally collecting voter’s ballots used shady methods and should be avoided.- Advertisement – John Harris testified at a state elections board hearing into ballot fraud allegations that he warned his father well before Mark Harris launched his campaign that he didn’t trust contractor Leslie McCrae Dowless. John Harris said he thinks Dowless lied about his methods and that his parents believed him.“They believed that the process that he was undertaking was legal,” he said of his parents. “I think they were lied to and they believed the person who lied to them.”Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes out of about 280,000 cast in November’s election, but the race wasn’t certified after allegations against the contractor Dowless focused scrutiny on mail-in ballots in two rural counties.Related Article: Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen delaying testimony to CongressJohn Harris, who was working at a law firm during most of the election cycle, testified that he served as a “sounding board” and reviewed some information in an informal capacity for the campaign. More recently, Harris has worked since October 2018 as a federal prosecutor in the same office that received evidence about Dowless’ potentially illegal conduct in 2016. No charges have been filed. He said he was testifying in his capacity as a private citizen and not as a Justice Department employee.Mark Harris had been expected to testify as early as Wednesday, but his son was still on the stand by late afternoon.The elections board is expected to either declare Harris the winner in the 9th congressional district or order a new election after the multi-day hearing. McCready has asked the state elections board to order a new election, or leave the decision to the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, which the constitution makes the final judge of the elections and qualifications of its members.Mark Harris has previously said he sought out and hired Dowless because he delivered votes, including for a Republican rival in the 2016 GOP primary. Harris said he discussed with an attorney after that primary whether to challenge Dowless’ incredible results for a GOP rival with mail-in ballots in Bladen County. Dowless’ methods in the 2016 general election were referred to federal prosecutors, who took no action.Prior to that, Dowless had felony convictions for insurance fraud and perjury, but Harris has said his consultants missed those charges while looking into Dowless’ background.John Harris testified that he initially warned his parents about Dowless after reviewing data from his father’s 2016 primary loss. Mark Harris had lost a Republican primary that June in which GOP rival Todd Johnson, who used Dowless in that campaign, scored 98 percent of the mail-in ballots cast in Bladen County.In November 2016, John Harris forwarded a Republican fundraising email amid a vote-counting fight in the close North Carolina governor’s race. The email claimed that a Democratic Party voting fraud scheme in Bladen County had been uncovered.Mark Harris reacted to the email with a reply to his son: “Amen! But interestingly enough, the guy who made the claim, Dowess (sic), is the same guy that Johnson paid to run the “absentee ballot program” for him! Guess he didn’t like the Dems cutting into his business!”North Carolina’s elections director said Monday that Dowless conducted an illegal and well-funded ballot-harvesting operation while working for Harris during the 2018 election cycle.Dowless’ workers in rural Bladen County testified at the special state elections board hearing that they were directed to forge signatures, collect blank or incomplete ballots voters handed over, and even fill in votes for local candidates who hadn’t earned them.last_img read more

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Handy information for voters in EU and local elections

first_imgThe Electorial Commission has issued important advice to Maltese and Gozitan voters in the run up to the European Parliament and Local Council Elections in May.Voting documentsThe EC is advising Gozitan and Maltese voters wishing to collect their documents from either Malta or Gozo, have to provide a written request for these collections by Thursday 23rd May.EC also provides the following email maltagozo.electoral@gov.mt. An application form can also be completed and sent through the email.Voting documents can be collected from the Counting complex in Naxxar in Malta, and the ID Cards office in Victoria Gozo.These documents can be collected between the 20th and and 23rd May. Documents will only be provided on presentation of a valid ID or residence card.Early votingThe EC also reminds voters who will be abroad or in hospital at the time of the election are asked to vote a week early.The legal deadline for early voting must be made before noon Friday 17th May 2019.Those who wish to, are advised to make their sworn statement in Naxxar, Malta at the Office of the Electoral Commission, Counting Hall Complex.For those in Gozo, 28A, St Francis Square, Victoria.Monday to Friday:               8.00 a.m. till 1.30 p.m. and from 3.00 p.m. till 7.00 p.m.Saturdays and Sundays:      8.00 am. till noonVoters registered in Malta would be eligible to cast their vote at the Vote Counting Complex at Naxxar.Voters registered in Gozo would be eligible to vote at the Government Experimental Farm, Imġarr Road, Xewkija.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

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Photos Billionaire Bezos unveils moon lander mockup embraces Trumps lunar timetable

first_img Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos poses with children from ‘Club for the Future’ after his space company Blue Origin’s space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon was unveiled at an event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne 1 of 4 Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos unveils a rocket engine that his space company Blue Origin’s space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon will use during an unveiling event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos poses with children from ‘Club of the Future’ after his space company Blue Origin’s space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon was unveiled at an event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne Billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos unveiled on Thursday a mockup of a lunar lander being built by his Blue Origin rocket company and touted his moon goals in a strategy aimed at capitalizing on the Trump administration’s renewed push to establish a lunar outpost in just five years.The world’s richest man and Amazon.com Inc’s chief executive waved an arm and a black drape behind him dropped to reveal the two-story-tall mockup of the unmanned lander dubbed Blue Moon during an hour-long presentation at Washington’s convention centre, just several blocks from the White House.The lander will be able to deliver payloads to the lunar surface, deploy up to four smaller rovers and shoot out satellites to orbit the moon, Bezos told the audience, which included NASA officials and potential Blue Moon customers.His media event followed Vice President Mike Pence’s March 26 announcement that NASA plans to build a space platform in lunar orbit and put American astronauts on the moon’s south pole by 2024 “by any means necessary,” four years earlier than previously planned.“I love this,” Bezos said of Pence’s timeline. “We can help meet that timeline but only because we started three years ago. It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay.”While Bezos went out of his way to praise Pence’s timeline, the billionaire has been the target of repeated criticism from President Donald Trump, who has referred to him as Jeff “Bozo.” Bezos also owns the Washington Post, which Trump has frequently targeted in his broadsides against the news media.In their lunar ambitions, however, Trump and Bezos are very much in harmony. Trump in 2017 made a return to the moon a high priority for the U.S. space programme, saying a mission to put astronauts back on the lunar surface would establish a foundation for an eventual journey to put humans on Mars. If re-elected next year, 2024 would be Trump’s final full year in office.At his presentation, Bezos unveiled a model of one of the proposed rovers, roughly the size of a golf cart, and presented a new rocket engine called BE-7, which can blast 10,000 pounds (4,535 kg) of thrust.BLUE ORIGIN’S AMBITIONSPrivately held Blue Origin, based in Kent, Washington, is developing its New Shepard rocket for short space tourism trips and a heavy-lift launch rocket called New Glenn for satellite launch contracts. A Blue Origin executive told Reuters last month New Glenn rocket would be ready by 2021. Bezos on Thursday said launching humans on suborbital flights would take place later this year on New Shepard.Blue Origin has previously discussed a human outpost on the moon.During his presentation, which sounded at times more like a professorial lecture than a business plan, Bezos did not address a specific launch schedule for the lander or a specific mission for it.NASA has set its sights on the moon’s south pole, a region believed to hold enough recoverable ice water for use in synthesizing additional rocket fuel as well as for drinking water to sustain astronauts.Bezos, intent on moving Blue Origin closer to commercialization, underscored his broader vision of enabling a future in which millions of people live and work in space. He mentioned two important issues: reducing launch costs and using resources already in space.“One of the most important things we know about the moon today is that there’s water there,” Bezos said. “It’s in the form of ice. It’s in the permanently shadowed craters on the poles of the moon.”His announcement came about two months before the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and he began his presentation with video of that event.Bezos did not address his company’s Twitter post last month teasing the event with a picture of the ship used by explorer Ernest Shackleton on a 1914 expedition to Antarctica. Industry sources said the image was a likely reference to an impact crater on the lunar south pole sharing the man’s name, raising speculation that Blue Origin’s lander was targeting that spot.His vision is shared by competing billionaire-backed private space ventures like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and aerospace incumbents like United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin. <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>center_img Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos unveils the BE-7 rocket engine that his space company Blue Origin’s space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon will use during an unveiling event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh KilcoyneFounder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos unveils the BE-7 rocket engine that his space company Blue Origin’s space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon will use during an unveiling event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne WhatsApp SharePrint Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos unveils the BE-7 rocket engine that his space company Blue Origin’s space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon will use during an unveiling event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoynelast_img read more

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Dione Borg suggests the setting up of a commission in letter to

first_imgPN MEP candidate Dione Borg said that the solution for Partit Nazzjonalista lies not in confrontation or petitions, but “in having concrete solutions”.READ: Watch: Summer break for political Sunday sermonsREAD: Watch: Petition with 200 signatures calling for a vote on Delia’s leadership presented to PNThe party activist penned a letter to the Secretary General Clyde Puli and PN’s General Council president Kristy Debono urging that when the general council convenes proposals related to the future of the party should be discussed describing it as a “decisive moment”. The letter was sent in the context of a petition signed by 200 general council members which asked for the council to be convened and for PN Adrian Delia’s leadership to be discussed. The motion asks for a secret ballot on Delia’s leadership.Borg published his letter on Facebook and asked for his proposals to be debated during the general council meeting. He proposed the setting of a commission which would be in charge of the post-mortem report which will seek to analyse the electoral result. Delia had initially said that there was no need for such a report.The party activist said that this commission should be set up immediately and should be in charge of proposing reforms to the party. Other proposals put forward by the PN MEP candidate include a better delivery of the party’s message, setting up of issue groups which are better structured among others. Borg proposed that such a commission would also be tasked with initiating discussions at a district level, in order to be more inclusive as a party.Some two hundred general council members have petitioned Partit Nazzjonalista and requested that a general council is held within a week and that a secret vote is taken on the following question: “After the results obtained by the PN in the European and local elections of 25 May 2019, should the party leader take political responsibility and resign? Yes/No”. The petition came from the party’s grassroots after the Party leader said several times he will not be taking his leadership to the test following the May defeat at the polls.READ: Updated: Delia expected to face vote of confidenceThe petition was presented to the PN last week. PN’s general council president Kristy Debono had said that the process to kick off the general council meeting had started.Read more:Watch: Will you resign Mr Delia? NoWe need to learn why people didn’t vote PN – DeliaWhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

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Pope calls for humanitarian corridors to protect migrants

first_img SharePrint <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican, June 30, 2019. Picture taken June 30, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERSPope Francis leads the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican, June 30, 2019. Picture taken June 30, 2019. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS Pope Francis said prayers on Sunday for victims of the bombing of a migrant centre in Libya last week and called for concerted action to create extensive humanitarian corridors to prevent similar tragedies.An air strike hit a detention centre housing mainly African migrants in Tripoli last Tuesday, killing dozens and wounding many more.“The international community cannot put up with such grave acts,” the Pope said in his weekly Angelus in Rome.Pope Francis also called for prayers for those caught up in recent attacks in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.WhatsApplast_img read more

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URA lost over sh2b in computer hacking scam

first_imgAdvertisement Guster Nsubuga, Farouk Ngobi, and Patrick Owora were arrested last week and charged with different offences at the Anti- Corruption Court. Patrick Mukiibi, a commissioner at URA in charge of investigations said inquiries are still on going and that  more suspects  whose identity  he declined to reveal are being held at Uganda Revenue Authority offices  in connection with the offence of computer  hacking  and will soon be taken to court. The suspects are accused of illegally clearing over 200 vehicles worth billions of shillings without the knowledge of Uganda Revenue Authority. .  They were charged with  un- authorised  use  and interception of computer services,  Electronic fraud, un- authorised access to data , producing  , selling  designing and  being in possession  of devices, computer programme designed  to overcome security measures. – Advertisement – Prosecution led Mary Kamuli Kuteesa said the accused hacked into computers databases and servers and updated data on URA motorcycles registration and over 200 vehicles were cleared fraudulently. Magistrate Lwanga committed the three accused to High Court to face trial as investigations continue. The trial date will be set by the High Court. Under section 168 of the Magistrate Court Act, an accused person can be sent to High Court to be tried by the judge. The accused were advised to apply for bail in High Court after they were remanded to Luzira prison. Prosecutor Kamuli  said Nsubuga , Mugere and , Owora  and others still at large  between 2010-2012, in Kampala District without authority accessed URA computerised systems, databases and servers and released goods that had not paid customs taxes thereby causing financial loss of  2,164,833,894 to the Government of Uganda. Originally By Edward Anyoli, NewVisionlast_img read more

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Pioneering Tech Blog GigaOm Is Shutting Down

first_imgAdvertisement GigaOm, a tech blog founded by journalist turned VC Om Malik, is shutting down after finding itself unable to repay creditors. The site has been serving up tech news (and has served as a direct competitor to TechCrunch) since 2006.Initially Twitter chatter backed up reports of the site’s demise. “Gigaom is shutting down. The site. And the company. But Om built something amazing and it changed my life. I love him and my colleagues,” wrote senior writer Stacey Higginbotham. Soon after posts appeared on both on GigaOm and Malik’s own site.A brief note on our company GigaOm recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along.— Gigaom managementWrote Malik:There will be time for postmortems, but not today. Today, I want to thank all the people who make (and have helped make) Gigaom. Their role in this journey was what really made it all worth it. They are great people and they will all do great work wherever they go. I want to thank our investors who believed in the business long before it became fashionable. And most importantly, I want to thank you dear readers for coming along on this trip of a lifetime. – Advertisement – Malik and GigaOm management did not respond to requests for comment.GigaOm long melded tech news with a vibrant events business and created a number of popular verticals. The home page remains up and is displaying news related to today’s Apple event.Credits: Techcrunchlast_img read more

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Eugene Kaspersky Announces A Free Version of its Kaspersky Security Software

first_imgAdvertisement Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky yesterday announced the worldwide rollout of Kaspersky Free, a free limited version of Kaspersky Internet Security.“There are a lot of users who don’t have the ~$50 to spend on premium protection; therefore, they install traditional freebies (which have more holes than Swiss cheese for malware to slip through) or they even rely on Windows Defender (ye gods!),” Kaspersky Lab founder Eugene Kaspersky said in a blog post.Kaspersky Free will offer:File Anti-Virus, which protects the computer file system.Mail Anti-Virus, which checks inbound and outbound mail for viruses and other malicious programs.Web Anti-Virus, which intercepts and blocks scripts on websites should they pose a threat to your computer. With Web Anti-Virus enabled, all traffic is controlled and dangerous websites are blocked automatically.IM Anti-Virus, which maintains security while using instant messaging applications.Anti-Phishing, which checks whether web-addresses are on the list of phishing websites.On-Screen Keyboard, which prevents malefactors from intercepting information that the user enters with a standard external keyboard. – Advertisement – Since many features are removed, Kaspersky Free is lighter on system resources and quicker than paid version. Kaspersky also highlighted that this free version doesn’t come with advertising-oriented user-habit tracking and confidentiality infringements.The roll-out is going to be done over four months in waves as per different regions. The first wave will be the U.S.A., Canada, and many of the Asia Pacific countries. September: India, Hong Kong, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Latin America. October: Europe, Japan and South Korea. November: Vietnam and Thailand.last_img read more

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STARTERS ORDERS Tuesday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Tuesday 1 AprilRACING2.20 KemptonGabrial’s Wawa 15/8 > 11/82.40 Newton AbbotCridda Boy 8/1 > 9/22.50 KemptonHeisman 11/4 > 7/43.10 Newton AbbotSeven Woods 100/30 > 9/44.10 Newton AbbotTony Dinozzo10/1 > 11/24.40 Newton AbbotBrunette’sonly 15/2 > 4/14.50 KemptonStormforce Ten 13/2 > 100/305.00 SouthwelRutterkin 12/1 > 7/1What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img read more

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BENS BLOG Extreme ignorance towards a Down Syndrome sufferer

first_img[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday, when I was going out for a run, I was met by an incident that reminded me of the deep ignorance, on so many levels, of the human species.On the other side of the road, there was an adult male, who had Down Syndrome, walking along the street. This, in itself, obviously a brave act, for him to do on his own. Anyway, as he was walking, he was shouting out, possibly a reaction he has, or whatever.On my side of the round, all of a sudden, two expert comedians appeared. They were orange-jacket wearing manual labourers, supposedly being paid to paint the block opposite where I live. They found it amusing to pop their heads up and make grunting sounds, attracting the man’s attention, and when he looked around then hiding. I could see that this really was distressing him. I add; the comedians were both over 40 years of age.In a country, that is now requiring a military presence on the streets, our courts do not have time to deal with these low-lifes. But I’m sure our policemen do. Such characters should be brought straight back to the station, invited into a cell at the back, and then introduced to some metal-batons and tear-gas, in order to find out how cocky and humorous they still are. Once peeled off the floor; THEY WOULDN’T BE DOING IT AGAIN!In other news:Bravas Tapas, St Katherine Docks, E1W 1AT. WEB SITE St K Docks is one of my favourite places, to just go and have a mooch about. I particularly love looking at the luxury converted barges (I might just escape on one, one of these days!!). And Bravas Tapas is an EXCEPTIONAL addition to the surroundings. Keen service. Everything on the menu tasty. Dishes from just £4. Crispy Piquillo Prawns (NAP). Brava Potatoes (NB). STEERING JOB. 9Over and out, B xlast_img read more

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Researchers shed new light on catalyzed reactions

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Jade BoydPHONE: 713-348-6778E-MAIL: jadeboyd@rice.eduResearchers shed new light on catalyzed reactionsTechnique lets scientists view step-by-step breakdown of water pollutantRice University scientists on the hunt for a better way to clean up the stubborn pollutant TCE have created a method that lets them watch molecules break down on the surface of a catalyst as individual chemical bonds are formed and broken. “We can see the vibrations of the bonds between the atoms of our molecules,” said researcher Michael Wong. “By watching the way these vibrations change frequency and intensity with time, we can watch how molecules transform into other molecules step-by-step.” The research is available online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. This chemical sensing technique relies on nanoparticles consisting of gold and silica called nanoshells, invented 10 years ago at Rice by nanophotonics pioneer Naomi Halas. Nanoshells are about 20 times smaller than a red blood cell, and they can amplify light waves and focus them so tightly that scientists can use them to detect just a few molecules of a target chemical. Building catalysts directly on the surface of the nanoparticles themselves allows researchers to use the nanosensing capabilities of nanoshells to directly follow chemical reactions on the catalyst using light. “Nanoshells are among the world’s most effective chemical sensors, and this study reveals another area where they are uniquely valuable,” said Halas, the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, professor of chemistry and director of Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics. “We are aware of no other method that provides this level of detail about metal-catalyzed chemical reactions that run in water. Given the overwhelming interest in biofuels processing and other water-based reactions, we expect this to be a very useful tool in understanding these chemistries in more detail.” TCE, or trichloroethene, is a common solvent and one of the world’s most pervasive and troublesome groundwater pollutants. A carcinogen, TCE is found at 60 percent of the contaminated waste sites on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund National Priorities List, and the Pentagon has estimated the cost of cleaning up TCE contamination at U.S. military bases to be in the billions. Wong’s research group developed a new palladium-gold catalyst several years ago that helps break TCE into nontoxic components — unlike methods that just move TCE into the solid phase or gas phase. Early tests showed that the new catalyst worked remarkably quickly. In fact, it was more efficient than predicted, based on the best available theories. “The gold was definitely playing a role that we didn’t fully understand,” Wong said. To learn more, Wong approached Halas and Rice theoretical chemist Gustavo Scuseria. Halas had worked for years to develop spectroscopic methods that used gold nanoshells for chemical detection and analysis. Whereas Wong’s four-nanometer particles have a gold center covered by palladium atoms, he and graduate student Kimberly Heck wondered if they could cover Halas’ much larger gold nanoshells with palladium atoms and then use the nanoshells to detect the elusive TCE chemical reaction. “We also didn’t know how the TCE molecules decomposed on the catalyst surface,” Wong said. It took about a year and half to develop the technology and work out the experimental kinks, but Wong said the results were worth waiting for. The method uses surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to reveal the structure and makeup of molecules sitting on the palladium-covered gold nanoshell surface. Scuseria, Rice’s Welch Professor of Chemistry, and postdoc Ben Janesko provided sophisticated theoretical calculations that helped match the vibrations with the type of chemical bonds. “We think we parsed it out pretty well,” Wong said of the hydrodechlorination reaction. “Millions of surface-bound molecules are reacting simultaneously, but with a lot of work we’ve uncovered at least seven chemical steps.” Ironically, he said, the reaction the team set out to analyze — the breakdown of TCE into nontoxic ethane and chloride salts — happens “way too fast” to be observed by the method. So, the team slowed down the reaction by using a similar molecule called DCE or 1,1-dichloroethene. In fact, DCE is what TCE can become after the catalyst breaks off the first chlorine atom, so by studying the DCE reaction, they are getting a good look at much of what happens with the TCE breakdown. Wong said the study is helping him better understand TCE catalysis, but he and Halas each think their new method will be especially useful in providing a new level of detail for how molecules are transformed in chemical reactions that take place on catalytic surfaces. “There was a question of whether we could do Raman spectroscopy and catalysis at the same time,” Wong said. “There’s no other method that lets you ‘see’ these catalyzed reactions in water while the reaction is happening, and some of the most interesting of these — like the reactions needed to upgrade glycerol and cellulose into chemicals and fuels — occur in water.”  The research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Welch Foundation and the Gulf Coast Consortia’s Keck Center for Interdisciplinary Bioscience Training.  last_img read more

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Knotty proteins present new puzzle

first_imgAddThis ShareSUMMARY: Biophysicists examine the knots and slipknots that are highly conserved across species separated by a billion years of evolution.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduKnotty proteins present new puzzleResearchers work to untangle knots, slipknots in species separated by a billion years of evolutionHOUSTON – (June 11, 2012) – Strings of all kinds, when jostled, wind up in knots. It turns out that happens even when the strings are long strands of molecules that make up proteins.A new study by scientists at Rice University and elsewhere examines structures of proteins that not only twist and turn themselves into knots, but also form slipknots that, if anybody could actually see them, might look like shoelaces for cells.Proteins that serve the same essential functions in species separated by more than a billion years of evolution often display remarkable similarities. Joanna Sulkowska, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) at the University of California at San Diego, said these “strongly conserved” parts of proteins are especially common among those folds and hinges responsible for the knotted portions of a protein strand.Sulkowska, co-first author of a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, works in the lab of her co-author, José Onuchic, Rice’s Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Chair of Physics and a professor of physics and astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology. Sulkowska expects to spend part of her year at CTBP when it moves its base of operation to Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative this year.She said slipknotted proteins, while rare, have been found in proteins that cross membrane barriers in cells. These transmembrane proteins stick through the cell membrane like pins in a pin cushion and help the cell sense and respond to its environment. “The slipknot is surprisingly conserved across many different families, from different species: bacteria, yeast and even human,” Sulkowska said. “They have really different evolutionary pathways, yet they conserve the same kind of motif. We think the slipknot stabilizes the location of the protein inside the membrane.”Although a typical protein folds in a fraction of a second, researchers can see from simulations that knotted and slipknotted proteins would take longer to reach their folded structures than would unknotted proteins. Sulkowska said the extra effort to fold into knotted shapes must have a biological payoff or nature would have selected an easier path.Finding the payoff is no easy task, but there are genomic clues. For instance, she said researchers suspect that “active sites” that control the folding pattern for knotted proteins often wind up inside the knotted structures after folding is complete. It’s possible, she said, that knotted proteins also have chaperone proteins that help the process along. Another mystery to be solved is how the body degrades knotted proteins; breaking down misfolded proteins is a normal function for healthy cells, and breakdowns in this process have been implicated in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons.Sulkowska, whose interest in knots extends to the macro realms of sailing and climbing, is sure there’s a good reason for all that she and Onuchic are seeing. “This is a new field, but we already know from experience how useful knots are,” she said. “They’re almost everywhere: in your shoes, in moving cargo, in physics as part of string theory. Now we hope to make this knowledge useful, maybe as a way to design new types of very stable proteins for disease treatment.“Evolution didn’t redact these proteins,” she said. “They still fold, so they must have some function.”Eric J. Rawdon of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., is co-first author. Co-authors include Kenneth Millett of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Andrzej Stasiak of the University of Lausanne, France.The National Science Foundation, through CTBP, and the Swiss National Science Foundation supported the research.-30-Read the abstract at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/06/07/1205918109.abstractRelated materials:Center for Theoretical Biological Physics: https://ctbp.ucsd.edu/BioScience Research Collaborative: http://brc.rice.edu/home/Image for download:http://news-network.rice.edu/news/files/2012/06/0608_KNOTS.jpgThe molecular structures of the protein Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolases from, left to right, humans, yeast and malaria-causing plasmodium falciparum cells form the same knotting motif, according to research by scientists associated with the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics. In all three cases, the proteins form 52 knots with nearly the same sizes and positions with respect to a linear map of their polypeptide chains. (Credit: Center for Theoretical Biological Physics)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its “unconventional wisdom.” With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.last_img read more

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Overweight men just as likely as overweight women to face discrimination in

first_imgFacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareNEWS RELEASEDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduOverweight men just as likely as overweight women to face discrimination in retail settingsHOUSTON – (Nov. 16, 2015) – Men who are overweight are just as likely as overweight women to experience interpersonal discrimination when applying for a job or shopping at retail stores, according to new research from Rice University and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte (UNCC).Photo courtesy ThinkStockPhotos.com/RiceUniversity“We were interested in looking at biases toward men who are heavy in employment settings,” said Enrica Ruggs, assistant professor of psychology at UNCC. “A lot of the research that has looked at weight stigmatization or discrimination toward heavy people has tended to focus on women. It’s perceived as more of a critical issue surrounding women, so we wanted to see if men experience some of the same types of detriments that women face.”Ruggs earned her doctorate at Rice under the guidance of Mikki Hebl, professor of psychology and management, and started the research at Rice. She and Hebl conducted two studies for the paper, “Weight Isn’t Selling: The Insidious Effects of Weight Stigmatization in Retail Settings.”In the first study, non-overweight men went out into the field and applied for jobs at retail stores in the southern U.S. Then researchers had the same men apply for jobs at different stores wearing overweight prosthetics. The researchers also wanted to investigate if overweight men would be subjected to discrimination as customers, so the same men posed as customers and visited other retail stores. In both situations, the “actors” were given scripts to closely follow.“We wanted to see if there were differences in treatment they received when they were not heavy versus heavy,” Ruggs said.Researchers found that when the men applied for jobs or were shopping as customers in their overweight prosthetics, they experienced more types of subtle discrimination, or what the researchers call “interpersonal discrimination.”“They didn’t experience ‘formal’ discrimination or illegal types of discrimination,” Ruggs said. “Before we had the actors apply for jobs, we confirmed the company was hiring. None of the overweight men were kept from applying for positions.“But they did experience greater amounts of interpersonal discrimination or subtle negative behavior toward them,” Ruggs said. “Employees they interacted with would try to end the interaction early, there was less affirmative behavior like less nodding or smiling; there was more avoidance types of behavior like frowning and trying to get out of the interaction,” she said.Researchers had the actors use a scale of 0-6, with zero meaning no discrimination and six meaning extremely discriminatory.“We have these measures on a scale and the means or averages were different compared with when they were heavy and not heavy,” Ruggs said. “The overweight men rated stores at 2.3 compared with 2.0 when they were their average weight. Observers who were pretending to shop inconspicuously watched the interactions and provided independent evaluations. Their results were consistent with the actors, as they witnessed greater interpersonal discrimination when the men were heavy compared with when they were not. It may not seem like a lot, but it’s statistically significant. It suggests that men who are heavy are experiencing really negative behaviors more often than men who are not heavy.They did experience greater amounts of interpersonal discrimination or subtle negative behavior toward them,” Ruggs said.“Their chances of getting employment could be less, or if they’re shopping as customers, it has implications for their decision-making processes in terms of purchasing things,” she said.What if the male retail employee is overweight?The second study, which was conducted in a lab setting, found the same types of subtle discrimination was taking place, this time with the customer being the discriminator.Researchers created marketing videos of five products that were generally neutral in terms of having  wide appeal for a wide target market, items like luggage and coffee mugs. The actors, in this case both men and women, were again portrayed as overweight and not overweight in the different videos that test subjects were told would be used to launch a new product to be sold online.The goal was to see how customers evaluated those employees and determine whether having heavy employees influenced customer evaluations of the products and the organization. Participants of the study were given a questionnaire to fill out after watching the marketing videos.Researchers found that participants who viewed the heavy employees’ videos reported more negative stereotypical thoughts about the employee. Specifically, they thought overweight representatives were less professional, their appearance was less neat and clean and they were more careless. These stereotypical thoughts in turn led to negative evaluations of the employee as well as the organization and the products.“It’s really unfortunate,” Ruggs said. “There are these really subtle influences that can have large negative effects on heavy men in the retail settings — that’s whether they’re applying for jobs, they’re actual employees or as customers,” she said.“These findings are another reminder that there is still more work to be done in terms of creating equitable workplaces for all employees, potential employees and consumers. This is something organizations can take an active role in,” Ruggs said.“One of the problems is that people currently have very few positive images of heavy individuals excelling in work settings. Organizations can try to influence perceptions and attitudes about heavy employees by positively highlighting these employees and individuals more in overall marketing and branding efforts. It’s time to change the narrative of what is considered normal, beautiful and professional. One step is to provide better role models through the messaging that is out there, be it through media advertisements as well as through equitable hiring of employees of all sizes who interact with customers,” she said.Ruggs added that customers or applicants who experience subtle biases might be less willing to spend money at the store or patronize the store again or recommend it to their friends. She said companies can do better job training on customer relations as part of the employees’ new-hire process.The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.To schedule an interview with Ruggs or to request the full study, contact David Ruth, director of national and broadcast media at Rice, at david@rice.edu or 713-348-6327.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.last_img read more

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