PARC CEO welcomes ministers comments criticising judges over traffic cases

first_img Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal The head of road safety group PARC has welcomed the minister for transports decision to criticise judges over traffic offence cases.Minister Leo Varadkar made the comments in an interview with the Irish Times, voicing his frustration with the low conviction rates and imposition of penalty points.Speaking to Highland radio this morning, PARC CEO Susan Grey welcomed the minsters comments, stating that it was completely unacceptable that people could avoid conviction for driving offences… Twitter Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th WhatsApp Facebook News Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic PARC CEO welcomes ministers comments criticising judges over traffic cases By News Highland – December 28, 2013 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Google+ WhatsApp [podcast][/podcast] Twitter Pinterest Google+ Previous articlePolice appeal for info after Derry armed robberyNext articleInvestigations underway after jeep crashes into Buncrana dole office News Highland 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Pinterest Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

Alumna founds program for kids with hearing loss

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Michelle ChristieHelping hand · Executive Director Michelle Christie and No Limits has helped students with hearing impairment attend college.In the summer of 1996, USC alumna Michelle Christie noticed that children who suffered from hearing loss had few avenues to improve their speaking abilities. To combat this issue, Christie founded No Limits for Deaf Children, a program that would help these kids develop their skills and be successful at school. Through this after-school theater program — the only one of its kind in the United States, according to Christie — the kids were able to develop their communication skills through role-playing and character development.Building on her work helping children with hearing loss, Christie was selected as a 2017 CNN Hero earlier this month. The award aims to recognize “everyday people changing the world,” according to the CNN website. “There are so many other people out there who are just as deserving, so it just feels very humbling,” Christie said. “I don’t know how to describe it — it’s an honor definitely. There are so many wonderful people in this world, and I think sometimes being a part of a nonprofit you can meet so many great people who are really giving back to the world.”Christie, currently the executive director of No Limits, graduated from the John Tracy Clinic Program and later earned her a doctorate in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. No Limits has produced over 100 shows and reached over 200,000 people total since its recent production, Silent NO MORE, which was performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.“It’s like this little dream has become bigger than I even imagined,” Christie said. “What’s wonderful is that other people are sharing it so it’s not my dream anymore. It’s a dream for all the families and all the people who are a part of it, from volunteers to our staff to our board members to our community, we are all part of the dream now.”Silent NO MORE aims for people to understand what children with hearing loss experience by telling individual monologues about their lives. Its creators want to hear what members of the Deaf community are thinking so they can have a discussion and help No Limits make a difference in their lives.“We have people who only believe in sign language, and some of the kids who are cast members on stage speak and sign,” Christie said. “Some might disagree with that, but we can discuss it and see what we can do to bridge the different philosophies and work together to help all children with hearing loss. It doesn’t matter if they speak or use signs or do both — we want to do whatever we can to help these children succeed in school and life.” While Christie was working in a classroom at the John Tracy Clinic in 1996, she wanted to build the confidence of the children who she was working with by helping them overcome their shyness and develop their communication skills. Christie started the first theater program during that summer in Los Angeles. The kids performed on stage for the first time, and according to Christie, it was amazing to watch their growth. Christie said that as a shy kid during her own childhood, she took to theater to build her confidence, literacy and public speaking skills. She said theater helped her mature and grow as a person.“I think my background in theater was something that I always thought would be helpful as a teacher,” Christie said. “So when I was working with John, my first student, I was able to, as a speech teacher, bring in props and costumes to act things out so he could understand it, and I could see the results instantaneously.” When Christie traveled across different cities to reach out to communities with hearing loss, she noticed that parents were struggling with the cost and of speech therapy and other after-school programs for their children. Christie wanted to help the children who came from low-income families and give them an opportunity to receive the services that they needed. To meet this need, she founded the No Limits Educational Center in Culver City in 2002, where children go three times a week and receive individual attention in speech therapy, literacy, academic tutoring and other services. Center members nurture the kids throughout their school year and also have weekly education classes where they invite deaf role models to speak about their experiences.“It’s just a wonderful opportunity for these families who really don’t have access to a lot of resources to be able to have their child develop skills that they need to succeed in school and in life,” Christie said. “I am very excited about what we have been able to accomplish in the sense of allowing these kids to know that they can go to college one day.” No Limits has two other educational centers — one that opened in Las Vegas in 2013 and the other more recently in Oxnard, Calif. The organization creates a college-going culture at its educational centers and also holds graduation ceremonies for the children while involving their parents and talking to them about college. Children from No Limits have been able to enroll in colleges and graduate — and Christie said seeing their growth has been rewarding.Different kids enroll every summer for the No Limits theater programs while the educational centers run throughout the school year. Every parent is involved in their child’s progress throughout their time at No Limits, and they also attend weekly parent classes every Saturday.“They don’t drop off their child and leave — they actually stay and are a part of all the lessons,” Christie said. “During the weekly parent classes, we educate them about their rights, teach them advocacy skills, have them meet with other deaf adults and role models. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to know what they could do at home to work with their child.”Clarification: A previous version referred to the Deaf community as the “deaf community.” The Deaf community signifies those who use sign language.last_img read more

Scott Robertson keen to assist Lions in South Africa

first_img Written By First Published: 21st August, 2020 07:49 IST LIVE TV Associated Press Television News FOLLOW US WATCH US LIVEcenter_img Last Updated: 21st August, 2020 07:49 IST Scott Robertson Keen To Assist Lions In South Africa Super Rugby-winning Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says he has offered to assist Warren Gatland in coaching the British and Irish Lions on their tour to South Africa next year COMMENT Super Rugby-winning Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says he has offered to assist Warren Gatland in coaching the British and Irish Lions on their tour to South Africa next year.Robertson, who coached the Crusaders to the Super Rugby Aotearoa title this season after winning the full Super Rugby tournament in each of the previous three years, said in a radio interview Friday his offer is being considered by Lions management.“I’m waiting. We’ll see what happens,” Robertson said. “Obviously there’s a lot to work out with COVID and the British and Irish Lions tour. But we had a couple good conversations since and (Gatland) has got to go through his line of management to make a decision.”Robertson, 45, said he approached Gatland after missing out on the All Blacks head coaching role last season. New Zealand Rugby appointed Ian Foster, the former assistant to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, in part citing Robertson’s lack of international coaching experience.Once I missed the All Blacks job I actually reached out to Gats and asked him if I could go on that tour,” he said. “I thought, look if I can’t be involved with the All Blacks, what’s the biggest thing – or actually bigger in its own self the Lions tour — to get involved.”I said ‘look, I would love to help you if I can’.”Something that really drives me and motivates me is probably to learn and understand. Obviously Gats has been hugely successful at the international level as a coach so he’s a person to learn off and also allows me to not have to go offshore to actually coach and get that international experience.”Image credits: AP SUBSCRIBE TO USlast_img read more

Morabaraba for your cellphone

first_img2 March 2007A team of South African students have won an international award for developing an online, cellphone version of the traditional African board game Morabaraba.David Vannucci, Teddy Mwakabaga and Rolan Christian from the University of the Witwatersrand’s school of electrical and information engineering received a silver medal for their entry, “Mobiraba”, at the SIMagine Awards in Barcelona last month.“Mobiraba the cellphone game was tested at the 2006 National Morabaraba Trials and received excellent reviews from experts,” said Professor Barry Dwolatzky, the team’s supervisor.Cellphone users can play Mobiraba online by logging on to a game server and chosing between two gaming options. A quick game allows the user to be automatically matched up against another quick game player of a similar skill level, while an organised games allows the user to send out invitations to a chosen opponent.The online server maintains the results of all the players, as well as rankings and a record of each game.Dwolatzky said the invention could be used to develop Morabaraba further in the country, as it would be possible to organise online tournaments. According to Dwolatzky, over 16-million South Africans play the game.“Players could play for communities and clubs in online Mobiraba forums and purchase additional game play credits by simply sending an SMS to a premium rated number,” he said.SIMagine awardsThe annual SIMagine awards, sponsored by SIM card manufacturer Gemalto, aim to stimulate the development of Java-based SIM card applications.The winner of this year’s event was a team from Poland who entered an application called SIMKey, which allows the user to replace all kinds of electronic keys with a single key stored on their cellphone.A Chinese team came in third with their entry “Google SIM”, which enables most of Google’s services – including e-mail, online messaging, calendars and maps – on a user’s SIM card.The competition drew more than 315 entries from companies and universities around the world, of which only eight were selected as finalists.“This is an honour for the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, the university, South Africa and the students,” said Dwolatzky. “They managed to beat competitors from countries with advanced software development and developed information systems.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

South African rhinos need technology to curb poaching

first_img30 September 2015We Are Protect is planning field testing of high-tech devices to stop rhino poaching in Africa.The British conservation group recently completed proof-of-concept trials in South Africa of high-tech devices such as spy cameras, heart rate monitors and GPS trackers on black rhinos. It is now aiming to move to field testing of its Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Devices (Rapid).There had been 1 617 positively identified poacher activities in the Kruger National Park so far this year, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs. This implies that there are three incursions each day, anywhere along the thousand-kilometre long Kruger border.By 27 August, 749 rhinos had been killed by poachers across the entire country. Of these, 544 were poached in the Kruger. This is an increase over the 716 rhino killed by poachers countrywide by the end of August 2014. Of that number, 459 rhinos were poached in the Kruger.How Rapid worksThe Rapid unit is fitted inside the horn of a wild rhino. This operation is painless because rhino horn is made of keratin, just like human nails or hair. The data from the device are then relayed live to a control centre, which could be many miles away.If the animal’s heart rate suddenly becomes heightened or declines, it triggers immediate analysis of the in-horn camera footage while an armed anti-poaching team scrambles on a rapid response mission to intercept the poachers at the location provided.The original impetus for Rapid came from the inability of teams on the ground to detect poaching quickly and effectively enough to catch the poachers and prevent the horn from reaching the illegal markets. The reality is that the group aims to save the rhino, not just its horn.Jason Gilchrist, an ecologist, wrote that to achieve this goal, Rapid should operate as a deterrent, not just an arrest mechanism. “This has raised the question of whether Rapid-tagged rhinos should ‘advertise’ that they are carrying the device. But that could simply drive poachers to target untagged rhino.“So, in order to achieve the aim of the project, to render poaching a ‘pointless exercise’, we need all individual rhinos to be fitted with Rapid and tagged to indicate so. That sounds expensive and it is not clear who would foot the bill.”Watch the world of a rhino through his horn:The We Are Protect team is already looking beyond rhino, and aims to expand the use of Rapid to other endangered creatures under attack from poachers, including elephants and tigers.“We need to throw everything we have, from all angles, at wildlife crime,” said Gilchrist. “If we cannot save iconic species like rhinos, elephants, and tigers it does not bode well for the less celebrated animals out there that are also suffering.”South Africa’s fight against rhino poachingSpecies conservation, including the conservation of rhino, formed part of her department’s strategic intervention, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on 30 August. She was giving a progress update on the fight against rhino poaching. Her department is working in partnership with the Security Cluster departments, namely Defence and Military Veterans, Police and State Security, to put interventions in place to curb poaching of wildlife.“As I have constantly emphasized, were it not for the measures we have undertaken as part of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros the situation would be worse, given the escalation of poacher activity,” said Molewa.Their teams had made physical contact with heavily armed poachers 95 times so far this year, close to three times a week. “To illustrate the escalation of the threat, let me remind you that for the whole of 2014, there were 111 contacts with heavily armed poachers,” she said.“In response to this escalated threat, we have stepped up our efforts, which include traditional anti-poaching policing strategies. In this regard, the utilisation of K-9 units, night capability as well as air and land capability, is now bearing fruit.”At the core of this strategy, the minister added, was a wildlife sector transformation agenda to ensure provision of sustainable alternative livelihood strategies for South Africans, which would help to curb poaching. “This strategy seeks to promote inclusive economic opportunities, reflected by a sector which will be equitable and dictate fair processes and procedures in the distribution of natural resources and access to markets, and undertaking of projects that will assist to uplift the financial and economic status of our people,” she concluded.Watch the Security Cluster speak about their intervention programmes to stop rhino poaching:Meanwhile, Collet Ngobeni and Felicia Mogakane were in New York City on 27 September to accept the United Nations top environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth award, on behalf of their organisation, Black Mambas.Both women are two of the original members of the 24-strong group, South Africa’s first all-female anti-poaching team. Black Mambas was set up in 2013 to protect the private Balule wildlife reserve, a park that borders the Kruger, and its resident rhino.Over the past two years the team, which does not carry guns, has reduced snaring by 76% in the reserve, saving the lives of rhino and putting poachers out of action.UN Environment Programme deputy executive director Ibrahim Thiaw said the success of the Black Mambas in reducing poaching raised the question of how and where this programme could be replicated.Source: The Conversation and South reporterlast_img read more

Former NFL Kicker Gramatica Returns to New Orleans, Scores Green Points

first_imgBy the time kicker Martin Gramatica departed the New Orleans Saints, at the end of last year, he was hobbled by injury and had attracted the antipathy of Saints fans for missing a couple key field goals.His exit from the team also marked Gramatica’s retirement, after eight years, from the NFL. But he never lost his love for New Orleans, and he and his brothers Bill and Santiago (also former kickers) are putting considerable energy and resources into helping revitalize parts of the city that have continued to languish after being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.The brothers are principals in Gramatica Group, a Tampa, Florida-based company that specializes in exterior insulation and finish systems, or EIFS, for residential and commercial construction. A story recently published by the Times-Picayune notes that the company is in the process of acquiring another Florida-based firm, Home Front Homes, which uses SIP construction to build energy efficient homes and commercial buildings. (Home Front points out that it was chosen in 2005 to build the prototype “Katrina Cottage.”)The Times-Picayune explains that Gramatica Group’s plan is to establish a $5 million manufacturing facility in the city’s 9th Ward or in its Gert Town neighborhood. The plant would employ about 15 people and, just as important, become a convenient supplier of products used in the Home Front construction process.So far, the Gramaticas have partnered with a nonprofit community group, SMCL Foundation & Associates, to build affordable, energy efficient homes on 15 properties. The Home Front panelized system is designed to reduce construction time and costs of a home whose walls and roof will offer thermal resistance of R-20 and R-30, respectively.A 1,400-square-foot Home Front house can be put together in a matter of three or four days for about $125,000 in construction costs.While a few of the readers who commented on the Times-Picayune story still seem to be wincing a little over Gramatica’s past troubles on the playing field, many praised him for coming back to address, in generous fashion, housing problems in the city’s low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.“Kicking field goals is one thing, making an impact on peoples’ lives is another,” writes one reader. “You may have cost us a game or two on the turf, but that is compensated by your community efforts.”last_img read more

Android 4.2 Gets New Features, But Keeps Jelly Bean Name

first_imgTags:#Android Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement We thought we might be getting a new tasty treat from Google on Monday. Speculation was that the new version of the Android operating system in the Nexus devices announced yesterday would be called “Key Lime Pie” or some other tasty desert name beginning with “K.” But instead all we got was Android 4.2, an extension of the existing “Jelly Bean” operating system. The naming decision is correct, though. Android 4.2 is not a whole new addition to the Android family but more of a feature extension to Jelly Bean 4.1. The design and user experience remain the same, even as many existing features are updated and bulked out. The New FeaturesPhoto Sphere Camera: Just like Apple did in iOS 6, Google has added a “panorama” camera function to stock Android. Basically, it is the ability to take larger pictures by moving the smartphone camera and then digitally stitching together multiple images. Some of Android manufacturers, like Samsung, had already done this but it was not an existing feature of Android itself. Update: As many of you have noted, yes, the “panorama” function has been around since Ice Cream Sandwich. The Photo Sphere function is an extension of that, with the ability to stitch vertical photos together and photos from multiple angles. Gesture Typing: Ever use Swype, the “gliding” input gesture from Nuance? It is a classic Android third-party feature that many cannot live without. You move your finger around the keyboard from letter to letter without lifting it up. This is another excellent addition to stock Android, though many manufacturers, like HTC, already used the gesture swiping method. Multi-User Tablets: The ability for multiple people to use a single tablet and customize it to their own preferences, such as personalized home screens and widgets. This is one area where tablet computers are merging with traditional PC functionalities. It should be of great use to families that want to share tablets.Wireless Sharing: Like Apple’s AirPlay, this lets Android users display their device’s screen on your TV. This is another third-party Android service that is being incorporated intto the stock version.Daydream: Display useful information, kind of like a screen saver, on your Android device while it is idle.Actionable Notifications: Hinted at during Google’s introduction of Jelly Bean at the Google I/O conference in June. It is partly a function of Google Now, where notifications are “cards” that can be acted upon from the drop down menu.Expanded Google Now: Google’s “Now” project is one of the most important at the company, with a large and growing team. It is not surprising that semantic mobile search is getting more robust with Android 4.2. Apple did the same thing with Siri in its latest iOS 6 release. Expect Google to feature Google Now in most Android updates going forward. For Google, this is the future of personalization between the user and the device. Overall, increased device intelligence and identity is the future of smartphones.  Android Beam: Google put a lot of work into making Android “feel” smoother and faster. That includes Android Beam, the Near Field Communications (NFC) function that enables people to share photos, websites, music, directions or videos with a single touch. This is not a new Android feature, but an improvement of its initial introduction in 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Apple’s iOS has nothing similar. Resize-able Widgets: Another Jelly Bean 4.1 feature improved in 4.2. I have not been able to play with 4.2 yet but hopefully the widgets, which are supposed to be responsive to other widgets on a homescreen, work better than they did in version 4.1.What To Make Of 4.2As you can see, there is not a ton that is exactly “new” to Android here. Stuff like the “panoramic” camera and gesture typing come to stock Android from existing third-party add-ons. It is likely that Google is licensing technology from companies like Nuance (which owns Swype) to perform these functions.Google is also copying the best iOS functions, like wireless sharing an adapter for HDMI-enabled TVs instead of the Apple TV device the iPhone needs. Expandable notifications, resize-able widgets and the Google Now upgrade are all remnants from what Google announced at I/O as well. So Android 4.2 doesn’t really deserve a new name. We’ll have to wait a while longer for Key Lime Pie, or whatever it turns out to be.  The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Related Posts center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … dan rowinskilast_img read more