imATHLETE named New Technology Partner of LA Marathon

first_img Related In just over a month, thousands of distance runners will take to their computers or mobile devices to register for the 2013 Honda LA Marathon. When they do, they will find a quick and seamless experience, thanks to the marathon’s new partner, I Am Athlete LLC, a technology company that aims to change the way individuals, race directors, and sports organizations promote and engage in healthy lifestyles.Fresh off a successful 2012 race that featured roughly 23,000 participants along the world-class Stadium to the Sea course, LA Marathon officials have confirmed their partnership with imATHLETE, whose technology will support the 1 October 2012 registration launch for the 2013 race. The 28th annual LA Marathon will be run on 17 March 2013.With another large field expected, the LA Marathon required a new technology solution that could support the event’s scope, and selected imATHLETE because of its industry leading customer support and user-friendly technology that creates a quick, easy and socially driven registration experience.Currently, runners can also use imATHLETE’s technology to take advantage of the LA Roadrunners + LA Marathon special bundled package at, which includes six months of guided training with LA Roadrunners, along with entry to the 2013 race. This package is the only way for runners to sign up before the official launch of registration on October 1st.“We are very excited to be working with the LA Marathon team and to help them expand upon an already impressive event,” said imATHLETE CEO Jeff Matlow. “The LA Marathon is not only one of the most respected running events in the country, it’s also one of my favourite marathon courses. This new partnership aligns both of our goals of growing the event and enhancing each athlete’s overall experience.”Launched in 2008, imATHLETE remains at the forefront of event management technology. The company has ‘successfully reduced the workload of its clients through a suite of unique productivity tools, including the ability for participants to edit their own registration, automatic verification of previous finish times and dynamic reporting tools. The platform also brings a social element to the event sign-up process, enabling racers to personalize their profiles, and share race details and information with fellow competitors.’“When thousands of runners go to their computers to sign up for the 2013 LA Marathon, we want to be sure they’re in great hands,” said LA MARATHON LLC Chief Operating Officer Nick Curl. “This partnership reflects our unwavering commitment to the user experience, from sign-up to the finish line.”www.imATHLETE.comwww.lamarathon.comlast_img read more

Neuroscientists retrieve missing memories in mice with early Alzheimer’s symptoms

first_imgShare on Twitter “The important point is, this a proof of concept. That is, even if a memory seems to be gone, it is still there. It’s a matter of how to retrieve it,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.Tonegawa is the senior author of the study, which appears in the March 16 online edition ofNature. Dheeraj Roy, an MIT graduate student, is the paper’s lead author.Lost memoriesIn recent years, Tonegawa’s lab has identified cells in the brain’s hippocampus that store specific memories. The researchers have also shown that they can manipulate these memory traces, or engrams, to plant false memories, activate existing memories, or alter a memory’s emotional associations.Last year, Tonegawa, Roy, and colleagues found that mice with retrograde amnesia, which follows traumatic injury or stress, had impaired memory recall but could still form new memories. That led the team to wonder whether this might also be true for the memory loss seen in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, which occurs before characteristic amyloid plaques appear in patients’ brains.To investigate that possibility, the researchers studied two different strains of mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms, plus a group of healthy mice.All of these mice, when exposed to a chamber where they received a foot shock, showed fear when placed in the same chamber an hour later. However, when placed in the chamber again several days later, only the normal mice still showed fear. The Alzheimer’s mice did not appear to remember the foot shock.“Short-term memory seems to be normal, on the order of hours. But for long-term memory, these early Alzheimer’s mice seem to be impaired,” Roy says.“An access problem”The researchers then showed that while the mice cannot recall their experiences when prompted by natural cues, those memories are still there.To demonstrate this, they first tagged the engram cells associated with the fearful experience with a light-sensitive protein called channelrhodopsin, using a technique they developed in 2012. Whenever these tagged engram cells are activated by light, normal mice recall the memory encoded by that group of cells. Likewise, when the researchers placed the Alzheimer’s mice in a chamber they had never seen before and shined light on the engram cells encoding the fearful experience, the mice immediately showed fear.“Directly activating the cells that we believe are holding the memory gets them to retrieve it,” Roy says. “This suggests that it is indeed an access problem to the information, not that they’re unable to learn or store this memory.”The researchers also showed that the engram cells of Alzheimer’s mice had fewer dendritic spines, which are small buds that allow neurons to receive incoming signals from other neurons.Normally, when a new memory is generated, the engram cells corresponding to that memory grow new dendritic spines, but this did not happen in the Alzheimer’s mice. This suggests that the engram cells are not receiving sensory input from another part of the brain called the entorhinal cortex. The natural cue that should reactivate the memory — being in the chamber again — has no effect because the sensory information doesn’t get into the engram cells.“If we want to recall a memory, the memory-holding cells have to be reactivated by the correct cue. If the spine density does not go up during learning process, then later, if you give a natural recall cue, it may not be able to reach the nucleus of the engram cells,” Tonegawa says.Long-term connectionThe researchers were also able to induce a longer-term reactivation of the “lost” memories by stimulating new connections between the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus.To achieve this, they used light to optogenetically stimulate entorhinal cortex cells that feed into the hippocampal engram cells encoding the fearful memory. After three hours of this treatment, the researchers waited a week and tested the mice again. This time, the mice could retrieve the memory on their own when placed in the original chamber, and they had many more dendritic spines on their engram cells.However, this approach does not work if too large a section of the entorhinal cortex is stimulated, suggesting that any potential treatments for human patients would have to be very targeted. Optogenetics is very precise but too invasive to use in humans, and existing methods for deep brain stimulation — a form of electrical stimulation sometimes used to treat Parkinson’s and other diseases — affect too much of the brain.“It’s possible that in the future some technology will be developed to activate or inactivate cells deep inside the brain, like the hippocampus or entorhinal cortex, with more precision,” Tonegawa says. “Basic research as conducted in this study provides information on cell populations to be targeted, which is critical for future treatments and technologies.” Email Pinterest Share on Facebookcenter_img Share LinkedIn In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients are often unable to remember recent experiences. However, a new study from MIT suggests that those memories are still stored in the brain — they just can’t be easily accessed.The MIT neuroscientists report in Nature that mice in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can form new memories just as well as normal mice but cannot recall them a few days later.Furthermore, the researchers were able to artificially stimulate those memories using a technique known as optogenetics, suggesting that those memories can still be retrieved with a little help. Although optogenetics cannot currently be used in humans, the findings raise the possibility of developing future treatments that might reverse some of the memory loss seen in early-stage Alzheimer’s, the researchers say.last_img read more

Dispute resolution: reasonable settlement and third parties

first_imgWhere a defendant settles a claim with the claimant and then seeks to recover his losses from a third party, the third party may attempt to challenge the settlement on the basis that it was unreasonable. What approach, therefore, would the courts take in assessing whether a settlement was reasonable? This was one of the main issues upon which the Court of Appeal provided valuable guidance in the recent case of Supershield Limited v Siemens Building Technologies FE Limited [2010] EWCA Civ 7. In Supershield, X, the contractor, constructed new offices at the order of the developer. X sub-contracted various electrical and mechanical works to Y, including the supply and installation of sprinklers. Y then subcontracted the supply and installation of the sprinklers to Siemens. Siemens subcontracted the installation of the sprinklers systems to Supershield. Shortly after the offices were constructed, the water sprinkler system storage tank overflowed and caused extensive flooding which resulted in damage and loss. A mediation was held, attended by all parties to the dispute. Siemens settled the claims with the parties up the contractual chain, but was unable to reach a settlement with Supershield and, therefore, pursued its part 20 claim against Supershield to trial. At first instance, the judge found that the cause of the flooding was defective works carried out by Supershield. On the issue of damages, Supershield disputed Siemens’ contention that the sum for which Siemens had settled the claims was reasonable. Supershield argued that the settlement did not reflect the strengths of the defences which were available to Siemens against the claims which had been brought against it. The judge at first instance, however, found that the overall settlement was, in fact, reasonable and gave judgment for Siemens for the amount of the settlement (plus interest). Supershield appealed on three grounds: (1) the judge had misconstrued the subcontract; (2) the judge was wrong to find that Supershield had installed a ball valve, a mechanism which was found to have caused the sprinkler to fail; and (3) the judge was wrong to find that the settlements which Siemens concluded with the other parties to the dispute were reasonable. Lord Justice Toulson, giving the judgment of the court, had no difficulty in dismissing the first two issues. He carefully considered all of the relevant contractual documents between the parties and, construing the meanings given in those documents, found that the judge had correctly interpreted the subcontract between the parties and that Supershield had, in fact, installed the ball valve. Toulson LJ then went on to consider issue (3): was the settlement reasonable? His lordship proceeded by firstly acknowledging that parties to a dispute will, understandably, have different perceptions of what would be a fair settlement figure without either being unreasonable. The object of mediation or negotiations was to close the gap to a point which each party found to be acceptable, and this will be an important factor which a judge, who is considering whether a settlement is reasonable, will take into account. Another factor which would influence a judge’s conclusion as to whether a settlement was reasonable would be that a judge is likely to have a less complete understanding of the relative strengths of the settling parties than they had themselves, and this was particularly so in complex litigation. Toulson LJ argued that a judge would essentially have to ask himself whether the settlement was “within the range of what was reasonable”. If a judge does find that the settlement was reasonable then “…an appellate court will not interfere with his decision unless persuaded that he erred in principle or (which is intrinsically unlikely) that his decision was incapable of justification on any reasonable view”. Supershield raised arguments of remoteness of damage in contract to support its argument that the settlement was not reasonable. Supershield contended that the cause of the flooding was due to blockage in the storage tank or that the cause of the flooding was too remote a consequence for Siemens to have been liable to the main subcontractor on a proper application of the rule of Headley v Baxendale (1854) 9 Ex 341. Supershield maintained that imputing knowledge of the existence of the drains (which the judge at first instance had done) was incorrect. Rather, it was the fact that the tank room was designed and constructed with drains, and the usual and natural course of any water which overflowed from the sprinkler tank would have been to run away via the drains into a sewer. The fact that the drains were blocked meant that this prevented the water from draining away, which would have been the case if the drains had not been blocked. Turning to the issue of the degree of likelihood required for the damage not to be regarded as too remote, Toulson LJ reinforced the application of Hadley: ‘Hadley v Baxendale remains a standard rule but it has been rationalised on the basis that it reflects the expectation to be imputed to the parties in the ordinary case, ie that a contract breaker should ordinarily be liable to the other party for damage resulting from his breach if, but only if, at the time of making the contract a reasonable person in his shoes would have had damage of that kind in mind as not unlikely to result from a breach.’ Further, Toulson LJ, following the House of Lords case of Transfield Shipping Inc v Mercator Shipping Inc [2008] UKHL 48, stated: ‘If, on the proper analysis of the contract against its commercial background, the loss was within the scope of the duty, it cannot be regarded as too remote, even if it would not have occurred in ordinary circumstances.’ Finding that the cause of the flood was due to the defective works carried out by Supershield, Toulson LJ concluded that Siemens had only to show it was reasonable to settle the claims against it and this had been done. Supershield helpfully illustrates the approach the courts are likely to take when asked to consider whether a settlement is reasonable. It is clear that a court is under no obligation to carry out a detailed assessment of the merits of the case when assessing reasonableness. If the lower courts conclude that a settlement was reasonable then, as Toulson LJ made clear, the higher courts will not usually interfere. Therefore, Part 20 defendants would be wise to tread carefully when seeking to challenge a settlement on the grounds of reasonableness and this will especially be the case when settlements are reached in complex disputes. Masood Ahmed is a senior lecturer in law at Birmingham City Universitylast_img read more

Gravy train derailed

first_imgI note with interest that the Solicitors Regulation Authority is to canvass personal injury firms to ask how they will cope when the government bans referral fees. I would suggest that they cope by ceasing to chase the gravy train and actually exercise business and professional judgement. I do not recall any regulator or professional body consulting me or my partners when we were forced (along with hundreds of other firms) to bail out the banks and insurance companies over the fiasco involving The Accident Group (TAG) a few years ago. Readers will recall that that debacle centred around what were later found to be illegal referral fees, namely payments made to an associate company of TAG for services relating to personal injury claims. The whole TAG scheme depended on the support of several large banks and insurance companies which were, one might have thought, capable of exercising a bit of business sense but who instead blamed solicitors for their losses and sued accordingly. Luckily for my firm, I exercised some sense (when I realised that all was not as it seemed) by plugging the flow of TAG work into our office. Referral fees are inherently wrong; this is borne out not only by the above episode but by the general experience of mankind over the centuries. Such fees compromise the integrity and independence of the recipient and have no place in our legal system (a principle which not so long ago was taken as axiomatic by every good lawyer). Continually saying a thing is harmless does not make it so; if you do not agree, try it with the next shark you meet. Stephen Thorn, Drivers, Yorklast_img read more

2 dead, 36 hurt after bus hits fire truck, more vehicles

first_img Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. LAPLACE, La. (AP) – A bus full of construction workers hit a firetruck on an elevated highway Sunday, killing two people and injuring 36, several of them seriously, Louisiana State Police said.The ladder truck from St. John the Baptist Parish, west of New Orleans, had parked across the right lane of Interstate 10 to block traffic while police investigated an earlier wreck involving a pickup truck that had skidded on the wet road, crashing into both guardrails about 6:40 a.m., Trooper Melissa Matey said.The 2002 Eldorado National party bus hit the fire truck and then rear-ended a 2012 Toyota Camry, pushing it into a flatbed trailer being towed by a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado, Matey said. She said the bus then veered behind the fire truck and into the first pickup truck, a 2005 Nissan Titan. It also knocked three firefighters, who were standing near the guard rail, into the water 30 to 40 feet below.Matey said the wreck killed Jermaine Starr, 21, of Moss Point, Mississippi, a back-seat passenger in the Camry, and St. John the Baptist Parish district Fire Chief Spencer Chauvin. The injured included the other two firefighters, the bus driver, 24 bus passengers and a total of nine people in the car and pickups.Firefighter Nicholas Saale, 32, of Ponchatoula, and Camry passenger Vontravous Kelly of Moss Point, Mississippi, are in critical condition, she said. The Camry’s other two occupants, driver Marcus Tate, 35, and David Jones, both of Moss Point, are in serious condition.Other injuries – including the Titan’s two occupants, who suffered minor injuries in the original crash – ranged from minor to moderate, Matey said.The bus driver, identified as Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, 37, of Honduras, will be arrested on two counts of negligent homicide and one each of reckless driving and driving without a license, she said.“Additional criminal charges are forthcoming,” she said.The injured were taken to hospitals in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Hammond and LaPlace, she said.Matey said the bus was taking flood recovery workers from New Orleans to Baton Rouge.It belonged to a company with two names: AM Party Bus and Kristina’s Transportation LLC, both at the same address in Jefferson, about 30 miles from New Orleans in Jefferson Parish, Matey said.No listing in Jefferson was available. A call to Kristina’s Transportation in Destrehan, 12 miles from Jefferson in St. Charles Parish, was not answered Sunday. A woman who answered the phone at AM Party Bus of New Orleans said she was only authorized to take booking calls.Matey did not know whether Rodriguez was an employee of that company, or whether the company checked to see whether he had a driver’s license.“He is in this country illegally from Honduras. He has no driver’s license. He had minor injuries,” she said.Matey did not know where in Honduras Rodriguez is from.Department of Homeland Security investigators and state police are checking on the passengers’ immigration status, she said.Matey said speed was a factor in both the crash of the Titan, which bounced from one guard rail to the other about 6:40 a.m., and that of the bus at 7:17 a.m. SHARE Published: August 28, 2016 10:16 PM EDT 2 dead, 36 hurt after bus hits fire truck, more vehicles last_img read more

Texas Tech police officer killed, campus on lockdown

first_img Published: October 9, 2017 10:28 PM EDT Updated: October 9, 2017 10:37 PM EDT LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Texas Tech University in Lubbock was placed on lockdown after a campus police officer was shot and killed.University spokesman Chris Cook said campus police made a student welfare Monday evening and, upon entering the room, found evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Officers then brought the suspect to the police station for standard debriefing.While at the station, Cook said the suspect pulled out a gun and shot an officer in the head, killing him. The suspect then fled on foot and remains at large.In a statement, the university identified the suspected shooter as 19-year-old Hollis Daniels.Texas Tech officials issued a lockdown alert to students on social media, noting that the suspect had not been apprehended. The alert urged those on campus “to take shelter in a safe location.”Additional information was not immediately available. SHARE Author: Associated Press center_img Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Texas Tech police officer killed, campus on lockdown last_img read more

Fast-track pilot scheme causes ‘chaos’ at RCJ

first_imgA pilot scheme to test block-listing of fast-track civil cases threw the Central London County Court (CLCC) into ‘chaos’ this week, lawyers have told the Gazette.The scheme, which will run until 11 September at the Royal Courts of Justice, caused lengthy delays when it was launched on Tuesday, with many parties waiting all morning for their cases to be heard.The scheme block-lists fast-track civil cases on an unassigned list in the CLCC in order to ‘maximise’ the number of cases that can be heard in a day. The unassigned list means that no judge is assigned to a case in the hope that one will become free, for example if another case settles.The pilot covers cases from all London county courts as well as suitable cases from some county courts in the south-east.The Gazette understands that on the first day of the pilot scheme 28 cases had been placed on the unassigned list rather than the usual total of around six. One barrister said there was ‘utter chaos’ in the morning as there were ‘nowhere near enough’ judges to hear the unassigned trials. He said that some cases were sent to nearby courts with capacity, such as Clerkenwell, while his case was eventually heard at 2.30pm.Jasmine Murphy, a barrister at Hardwicke, said her one-day hearing which had been listed for 10am was not heard until 4pm when it was adjourned at the request of the opposing side.While there have been some delays in the past due to the unassigned list, there have never been delays to this extent, she said.HM Courts and Tribunal Service said that all cases were ‘dealt with’ by the end of the day. It confirmed that ‘dealt with’ cases include those adjourned. It added that the scheme was run at this time to utilise the spare courtroom capacity at the Royal Courts of Justice during the summer vacation.HMCTS plans to review the pilot at the end of the pilot and get user feedback, but said it was too early to say whether the scheme will be rolled out to other courts if it proves successful. The experiences left some lawyers concerned about how the system would work if it were to be used more regularly.‘I don’t think it’s an efficient system, nor a costs-saving system and it puts unfair pressure on judges, court staff, parties, witnesses and their legal representatives,’ Murphy said.last_img read more


first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInDumfries and Galloway’s major festivals and events are one of the outstanding success stories of the region. That is the clear message being sent out by the regional partners who are delivering the Council led Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2014-2017.The investment provided by the Strategy is producing superb economic results from a host of high profile festivals, the Council can report.The Wigtown Book Festival, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, Spring Fling, Big Burns Supper and the Eden Festival are all reporting increasing numbers of visitors and economic impacts for the wider economy. All of these events are becoming stronger financially through the revenues they are securing and the market niches they are carving out within Scotland and the UK.The funded events of the strategy created a £10m windfall for the region from visitor and events expenditure in 2014, evaluation reports show, and 2015 will create a similar return. The figures demonstrate a superb return on the Council’s annual investment of £250,000 p.a.The forthcoming International Sheep Dog Trials, September 10-12 at Meikleholm Farm, will see a new influx of 10,000 plus visitors descend upon Annandale and Eskdale this Autumn. These visitors are expected to create a £1m plus spending boost.Spring Fling, the region wide open artists’ studio weekend continues to be a superb showcase for regional artists and attracts flocks of visitors. The event was worth more than £1.4m to the area this year with enthusiasts spending £262, 940 in the 95 participating studios. More than five and a half thousand people planned a trip to Dumfries and Galloway in May of this year specifically to visit Spring Fling.Councillor Colin Smyth, the Local Authority’s Events Champion said;The Council’s targeted investment since we adopted the Major Festivals and Events Strategy in November 2013 is developing for our region a rich seam of nationally and internationally significant festivals and events, that are sustainable for the foreseeable future. These events add to our quality of life and help agencies such as VisitScotland successfully market South West Scotland.We are fully mindful of the knowledge and skills events organisations in Dumfries and Galloway possess, and which they put to fantastic creative use, and the good fortune we have to benefit from such a strong relationship with agencies such as EventScotland the Holywood Trust. The £10m plus financial windfall for Dumfries and Galloway we are announcing for 2014 demonstrates a superb return on public sector investment from our grant support. The Strategy is a cornerstone of our work to bring economic benefit to the region and to concentrate on activities that develop our economy.There are many more great events projects in the pipeline and the Council is determined to make Dumfries and Galloway the best rural location for major festivals and events in Scotland. Our signature events are an outstanding success story for the region.”VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said;“The extensive and diverse range of high-quality events and festivals hosted throughout Dumfries & Galloway plays a major part in attracting visitors to the region and showcasing its incredible scenery, inspiring heritage, wonderful attractions and the amazing range of things there are to see and experience here. The value to the region’s tourism industry of a lively, engaging events and festivals programme is huge and we recognise that continued investment in that is critical to continued economic success and growth and are committed to supporting that through EventScotland funding.We are delighted that Dumfries and Galloway Council has measured the impact of the investment made into the 2014 events programme and the superb return which this has achieved, and congratulate the Council and all of the events’ organisers involved who have worked so hard to deliver such great results for Dumfries and Galloway. We look forward to seeing many more successes as the exciting 2015 events calendar continues to roll out.”Photo attached – Cllr Colin Smyth, the Council’s Events Champion, promotes the forthcoming Lockerbie Jazz Festival, Sheepdog Trials and Pack Up Your Troubles Festival. The Council has announced that major events are worth £10m to the regional economy each year.The Council monitors the financial, visitor and economic impacts of festivals and events funded through the Major Festivals and Events Strategy, 2014-2017. The very noticeable trend is of visitor growth across a clear majority of events.Key results include;Spring Fling has increased its economic impact for the regional economy from £1,084,723 in 2013 to £1,428, 897in 2015. Total visitor numbers to studios increased from 11,948 in 2013 to 13,206 in 2015 and the spend recorded in participating artists’ and craftmakers studios rose from £198,154 to £262,940 in the same two year period.The Wigtown Book Festival (delivered by the Wigtown Festival Trust) is committed to 7% increases in ticket sales and overall economic impact in the period 2014-2016. It met these targets in 2014 – The Festival attracted 7093 unique ticket purchasing visitors who bought a total of 14, 267 tickets. Visitors are now staying longer in Dumfries and Galloway, up to an average of 3.7 days per visitor coming to the Festival from outwith Dumfries and Galloway. 57% of all ticket purchasing visitors are from outwith the region. The Festival is now responsible for creating an economic impact each year of more than £2.3m.Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival saw audience numbers rise by a whopping 47% in 2015 – up to 5186 from 3524 in 2014. Total ticket sales rose from £19,229 to £30,379.Big Burns Supper saw a big increase in ticket sales and economic impact to the regional economy in 2015 and generates £10 for the economy for every £1 of DGC funding – its economic impact in 2015 was £436,000.The Eden Festival has superb growth potential. In 2015, aided by financial support from the Council, 30% more visitors took in the Festival in comparison to 2014.The 2014 World Curling Championships in Dumfries created a total economic impact of £894,269 (recorded via an economic impact study conducted by Ekos – an economic development consultancy) and the World Championship Ice Hockey tournaments the Council hosts all create a minimum economic impact of £170,000 to the regional economy – generated by £35,000 of grant expenditure on these World Championships by the Council.The Council is currently undertaking a joint study with the Wickerman Festival into its economic impacts, growth potential and competitive positioning. Past evidence suggests that the Festival is worth a minimum of £3m per annum to the regional economy and helps attract many thousands of new visitors to our region each year.last_img read more


first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedIn Riverside Day Centre in Newton Stewart is to benefit from a £5,000 donation from Celtic Football Club to help with essential repairs after extensive flooding left the centre unusable.The centre is a community hub in Newton Stewart and provides hot food and company for the elderly and also a space for a cancer drop-in centre through the week.Normally, around 50 local pensioners receive breakfast and a three-course lunch from the centre but with damaged appliances and a destroyed hall floor, this integral community service has had to stop.Commenting on the donation, Richard Arkless MP for Dumfries and Galloway said:“I was contacted by representatives of Celtic asking where they could make a donation to help people recently affected by the floods and I was pleased to nudge them in the direction of the Day Centre in Newton Stewart.“It is a very generous amount of money and it will certainly help get the Riverside Day Centre back up and running quickly. Many people depend on the hot meals and companionship that Riverside provides and I am delighted that Celtic FC selected the centre to receive this money.“The resilience of the local people in Newton Stewart and the way in which they have supported each other through the recent flooding crisis, has been humbling to watch. The Day Centre looks after the most vulnerable members of the community and it is essential that it gets back on its feet as soon as possible.”Riverside Day Centre is a registered charity and depends entirely on charitable donations that it receives throughout the year.The donation was presented to Helen Alexander and Susan McCalum ahead of the Scottish Cup game played at Stranraer’s Stair park on Sunday.last_img read more

U.N. calls on social media giants to control platforms used to…

first_imgSocial media companies are “giving a turbo-charged communications channel to criminals, to smugglers, to traffickers, to exploiters”. Image courtesy: vTechno News Social media companies are “giving a turbo-charged communications channel to criminals, to smugglers, to traffickers, to exploiters”. Image courtesy: vTechno NewsThe U.N. migration agency called on social media giants on Friday to make it harder for people smugglers to use their platforms to lure West African migrants to Libya where they can face detention, torture, slavery or death.The smugglers often use Facebook to reach would-be migrants with false promises of jobs in Europe, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokesman Leonard Doyle said.When migrants are tortured, video is also sometimes sent back to their families over WhatsApp, as a means of extortion, he said.“We really […] ask social media companies to step up and behave in a responsible way when people are being lured to death, to their torture,” Doyle told a Geneva news briefing.There were no immediate replies from Facebook or WhatsApp to requests by Reuters for comment.Hundreds of thousands of migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe since 2014 and 3,091 have died en route this year alone, many after passing through Libya.This year, the number of migrants entering Europe is 165,000, about 100,000 fewer than all of last year, but the influx has presented a political problem for European countries.IOM has been in discussions with social media providers about its concerns, Doyle said, adding: ”And so far to very little effect. What they say is ‘please tell us the pages and we will shut them down’.“It is not our job to police Facebook’s pages. Facebook should police its own pages,” he said.Africa represents a big and expanding market for social media but many people are unemployed and vulnerable, he said.“Facebook is pushing out, seeking market share across West Africa and pushing out so-called free basics, which allows […] a ‘dumb phone’ to get access to Facebook. So you are one click from the smuggler, one click from the lies,” he said.Social media companies are “giving a turbo-charged communications channel to criminals, to smugglers, to traffickers, to exploiters”, he added.Images broadcast by CNN last month appeared to show migrants being auctioned off as slaves by Libyan traffickers. This sparked anger in Europe and Africa and highlighted the risks migrants face.Doyle called for social media companies to invest in civic-minded media outreach and noted that on Google, pop-up windows appear if a user is looking at pornography images, to warn of danger or criminality.The IOM has helped 13,000 migrants to return voluntarily to Nigeria, Guinea and other countries from Libya this year. It provides them with transport and pocket money and documents their often harrowing testimonies.Doyle said it was currently repatriating 4,000 migrants to Niger. Switzerland said on Friday it was willing to take in up to 80 refugees in Libya in need of protection, among 5,000 whom the U.N. refugee agency says are in a precarious position.last_img read more