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England’s elderly face human rights breaches in home care system

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A report published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) finds that, in many cases, England’s home care system breaches the human rights of the elderly it is supposed to serve. The Close to home: older people and human rights in home care report is the result of a twelve-month investigation into care generally provided by local authorities.

Approximately half of those receiving home care, plus friends and family, providing evidence to the inquiry were satisfied with the quality of care provided. However, the report stresses that there are “systemic problems” arising from “a failure to apply a human rights approach to home care provision”. The report asserts that it is generally not the fault of individuals providing care, but serious problems exist as local authorities seem unaware of their obligations under the Human Rights Act and fail to commission, procure, and monitor care accordingly.

The report says articles two, three and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights are frequently being breached. These, respectively, cover an individual’s right to life, protection from inhumane and degrading treatment, and respect for dignity and personal independence. Criticisms include that care is not provided in a common-sense manner, and funding of care for the elderly is at lower levels than for younger people with similar problems and needs.

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The EHRC’s investigation highlights a range of recurring complaints and attempts to identify the underlying causes; cost is repeatedly mentioned, with use of the private-sector leading to some local authorities offering a “one size fits all” service leaving many elderly feeling they are “a task to be undertaken” and have “little or no choice” as to help received, or when care workers visit. A failure to invest in care workers is noted, with significant responsibility and the wide range of skills required being rewarded with low pay and status; this, the report states, adversely impacts staff retention and, a high turnover of care workers can put the security of care recipients at-risk.

Within the wider investigation, a commissioned independent social report by The Arndale Centre conducted in-depth interviews with a cross-section of 40 elderly individuals receiving home care. As-stressed in the report, those selected were not on the basis of good, or bad, experiences with their – mainly local authority-provided – care. It highlights a widespread feeling amongst those interviewed that they are treated “like a number”, and that aspects of the care provided lead to, or fail to resolve, feelings of social isolation.

The Manchester-based Arndale Centre report concludes that, “[t]he general picture is of a wider home care system in which older people are noteffectively involved: which they do not understand, and which does not often make the extra effort required to involve them in ways tailored to their state of health and other needs”.

nobody to talk [to] face to face. Nobody will knock on that door,[…] a life of isolation.

A recurring theme in the responses of those interviewed is the social isolation that their home care is not adequately addressing. One male interviewee in his seventies who previously used a scooter to get about said in his interview, “I haven’t been out of the house now for about four weeks. I daren’t. The last time I went out on the scooter I hit the kerb and it frightened the living daylights out of me.” Another, an 85-year-old woman who lives alone, expressed sadness at her inability to do normal things, “I would love to go to town to do some shopping. I haven’t been to town for about two years… Wander round the town and have a cup of tea… I’d love that.”

The social isolation many elderly experience was summed up neatly by another woman in her eighties in her interview: “When you go now, I will maybe not talk to anybody till tomorrow; maybe the whole of tomorrow nobody to talk [to]… face to face. Nobody will knock on that door, that is it, a life of isolation.”

The EHRC, having commissioned this report in the face of funding changes and reform of the care system, intends to press for legislative changes to ensure those receiving care at home are given the same protections under the Human Rights Act as those in residential care. In the conclusions of their report they offer to work with, and support, local authorities in understanding and delivering care that respects peoples’ rights and dignity; and, recommend better guidance as to the choices available to the elderly, and their families, be made available.

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Jul
05

Fiji loses rights to host World Netball Championships next year

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Fiji loses rights to host World Netball Championships next year

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) has stripped the rights from Fiji to host the World Netball Championships in 2007 because of the military coup that took place on December 5.

The Netball Championships were to take place between 10 July and 21 July, 2007 at Fiji’s capital, Suva.

IFNA president, Molly Rhone, said: “It is deeply regretted that we have had to take this decision, recognising the hard work that has been done by the Organising Committee in preparing to host their first senior World Championships.”

“We know that many supporters around the world were looking forward to this great sporting event in Fiji,” Ms Rhone said.

Alisi Tabete, president of Fijian netball, said that today is a very sad day for sports and that they had wasted many years preparing to host the championships. “We had been working on this event from 1999 and right now I am trying to reason with myself as to why the championships has been lost and just thinking ‘what if’.”

“We have to think positive and am still thankful that we had been given a chance for the champs,” Ms Tabete said.

The IFNA is yet to announce a replacement venue for the games. Ms Rhone said: “IFNA will now be working assiduously to find a new venue to host the Championships.”

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Jul
01

Major explosions at UK oil depot">
Major explosions at UK oil depot

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A series of large explosions have occurred close to Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire, UK. The source of the explosions has been confirmed as the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal (HOSL), Hemel Hempstead, known locally as the Buncefield complex. Up to 150 fire fighters are reported to be at the scene with 10 fire appliances and 1 specialist foamer.

The first ‘blast’ was heard near Hemel Hempstead on Sunday 11 Dec at 6 am. Further smaller explosions followed at 6:24am , 6:26am, 6:30am. BBC News 24 reported an additional, fourth large explosion. Hertfordshire Police Constabulary are currently treating the explosion as an accident.

Reports say the explosion, which registered 2.4 on the Richter scale, was heard as far away as Oxford, and Whitehall, Central London which is 60km (38 miles) away. Eyewitness statements report that the explosion was heard from at least 160km (100 miles) away and as far away as France and The Netherlands. Pilots reported noticing the blast from the North Sea and the West Country area of the UK. The M1 motorway which runs close by has been closed in both directions near the blast which is causing travel chaos as other roads become congested.

Malcom Stewart, a BBC News24 eyewitness who is a tanker driver for the site has reported that the site supplies several oil companies and is a joint operation between Total UK and Texaco, it is also used by BP, Shell and the British Pipeline association. The complex is not a refinery but a storage facility for refined petroleum awaiting distribution to airports and filling stations. The eyewitness reports that the depot has approximately 20 tanks which can hold about 3 million gallons (11 million litres or 70,000 barrels) each. Another News24 eyewitness has just reported that he has seen at least 5 of these tanks on fire.

The depot operates on a 24 hour basis and is split into 2 parts – aviation fuel and domestic fuel. A number of eyewitnesses have reported on UK news that the aviation fuel side appears to be the part of the site that has been affected.

Local authorities were not immediately available for comment but there have been reports of casualties.

Some reports on live television state that, “Several other neighbours said they did see a plane go into the depot.” BBC News 24 were also discussing the idea a possible plane crash as the cause of the explosions. Hertfordshire police have now gone on the record to say that there is no plane involved (BBC News24).

The police have issued a contact number 0800 096 0095 and asked that people do not call the emergency services in Hertfordshire directly unless it is an emergency.

In addition to being an oil storage depot, it is a major hub on the UK oil pipeline network with pipelines to Killingholme Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR), Humberside (10 inch), Merseyside (10 and 12 inch), Coryton on the Thames Estuary (14 inch) and Heathrow (6 and 8 inch) and Gatwick airports radiating from it.

The disaster is believed to be the worst explosion at a petrochemical plant in the UK since the Flixborough disaster of 1974.Hertfordshire’s Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher said: “This is possibly the largest incident of its kind in peacetime Europe.”

A firefighting press officer said that they are stock piling foam from neighboring regions for a prolonged attach which they hope will stop the spread of the fire, however, the inferno itself will have to burn out which could take between 24 hours and a few days.

Despite the authorities saying that there is no need to panic buy petrol, filling stations have had above average queues since this morning and some small garages have ran out.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has visited the scene.

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Jul
01

News briefs:June 9, 2010">
News briefs:June 9, 2010

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Jun
26

Category:April 27, 2010">
Category:April 27, 2010

? April 26, 2010
April 28, 2010 ?
April 27

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Jun
26

Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners">
Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Buffalo, New York —Savarino Construction Services Corp. has proposed a $7 million hotel project at the Forest and Elmwood Avenue intersection, according to The Buffalo News. The proposal calls for a 5-story, 45,000 square-foot 80-room hotel with underground parking for at least 50 vehicles, and 4,500 square-feet of retail space on the lower level.

Hans Mobius, the owner of the five properties to be purchased in the plan (1109 to 1121 Elmwood), reportedly signed a contract with Savarino to assemble the development.

“We saw a huge opportunity to bring something to the Elmwood Village that will make sense and bring a service that’s currently not available,” said Eva Hassett, vice president of Savarino. “Elmwood is such a wonderful place to eat, shop, walk and spend time. We believe this project will add to that vibrant environment.”

Some business owners in the area see it differently. Wikinews interviewed 2 of the 4 owners whose business’s would be demolished if the development goes through.

Nancy Pollina, of Don Apparel at 1119 Elmwood, who found out about the development only yesterday, said she is “utterly” against the proposal. Her apparel shop has stood at the same location for nearly 14 years. She has volunteered in the community, and helped create several gardens around bus shelters in the city, and served on Forever Elmwood Board for six years as head of Beautification. Patty Morris co-owns Don Apparel with Pollina.

“To say this is a good looking project, I want to say the emperor has no clothes. This [project] does not take into consideration the needs of the college students. I have been told by college students, these shops here, are the reason they leave the campus,” said Mrs. Pollina.

Buffalo State College is 500-feet from the intersection.

Michael Faust, the owner of Mondo Video said, “Well, I do not really want to get kicked out of here. The landlord was very open, and the deal he made with me when I moved in here was ‘the rent is cheap and I [the landlord] will not fix anything and that will not change.'” Faust said he first learned of the development plan, “about 48 hours ago. I found out on Tuesday when the Buffalo News called and asked for my opinion on this.” Faust has not said if he will make plans to relocate. “We have to see if this [house] is going to get knocked down first,” said Faust.

An “informational” meeting, where citizens can voice opinions and learn about the proposal, will be held on Tuesday February 21, 2006 at 5:00pm (eastern), at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center Gallery at Buffalo State College, Rockwell Hall.

Executive director of Forever Elmwood Corporation, Justin P. Azzarella would not comment on whether or not the organization supports the development, saying, “you will just have to come to the meeting.”

Forever Elmwood Corp. is designed to preserve and protect the unique and historic nature of Elmwood Avenue and its surrounding neighborhoods and encourage neighborhood commercial revitalization. The organization was founded in 1994.

Nearly two years ago, the Forever Elmwood Corp. assisted in the blocking of the demolition of the Edward Atwater house at 1089 Elmwood next to Pano’s Restaurant which is at 1081 Elmwood. Owner Pano Georgiadis wanted to expand his restaurant onto the property where the house now stands, but the Common Council denied his permit to demolish saying the house is a historical landmark and needs to be protected. Georgiadis, who has a bleeding ulcer, said that all the court cases landed him in the hospital. “I got a bleeding ulcer, and since then, I don’t care about this house anymore, or this city. I just go to work every day. I think [preservationists] are parasites,” said Georgiadis.

Georgiadis will not be attending Tuesday’s meeting saying, “I will be out of town.”

In 1995 Hans Mobius proposed a plan to develop a Walgreens, that was to be placed in the same location, but residents and business owners shot down the proposal. Walgreens eventually withdrew its request for a variance after pressure from the community.

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Jun
20

HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer">
HIV-positive man receives 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer

Sunday, May 18, 2008

An HIV-positive man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday, one day after being convicted of harassment of a public servant for spitting into the eye and open mouth of a Dallas, Texas police officer in May 2006. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that no one has ever contracted HIV from saliva, and a gay-rights and AIDS advocacy group called the sentence excessive.

A Dallas County jury concluded that Willie Campbell’s act of spitting on policeman Dan Waller in 2006 constituted the use of his saliva as a deadly weapon. The incident occurred while Campbell, 42, was resisting arrest while being taken into custody for public intoxication.

“He turns and spits. He hits me in the eye and mouth. Then he told me he has AIDS. I immediately began looking for something to flush my eyes with,” said Waller to The Dallas Morning News.

Officer Waller responded after a bystander reported seeing an unconscious male lying outside a building. Dallas County prosecutors stated that Campbell attempted to fight paramedics and kicked the police officer who arrested him for public intoxication.

It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears.

Prosecutors said that Campbell yelled that he was innocent during the trial, and claimed a police officer was lying. Campbell’s lawyer Russell Heinrichs said that because he had a history of convictions including similarly attacking two other police officers, biting inmates, and other offenses, he was indicted under a habitual offender statute. The statute increased his minimum sentence to 25 years in prison. Because the jury ruled that Campbell’s saliva was used as a deadly weapon, he will not be eligible for parole until completing at least half his sentence.

If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.

The organization Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund), which advocates for individuals living with HIV, says that saliva should not be considered a deadly weapon. Bebe Anderson, the HIV projects director at Lambda Legal, spoke with The Dallas Morning News about the sentence. “It’s been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears,” said Anderson.

The Dallas County prosecutor who handled the trial, Jenni Morse, said that the deadly weapon finding was justified. “No matter how minuscule, there is some risk. That means there is the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death,” said Morse. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins stated: “If you look at the facts of this case, it was clear that the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury.”

Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.

A page at the CDC’s website, HIV and Its Transmission, states: “HIV has been found in saliva and tears in very low quantities from some AIDS patients.” The subsection “Saliva, Tears, and Sweat” concludes that: “Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.” On Friday the Dallas County Health Department released a statement explaining that HIV is most commonly spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, or transfusion from an infected blood product.

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Jun
20

Condominiums and apartments at former mental hospital burn to the ground">
Condominiums and apartments at former mental hospital burn to the ground

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The former State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers better known as Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts suffered a major fire last night that could be seen for miles and led to temporary shut down of US Route 1 and Interstate 95 in the area.

The infamous American former mental hospital has been closed since 1992 is the site of a new condominium and apartment buliding complex being developed by Avalon Bay Communities. Four apartment units and four utilities bulidings went in up in smoke in the four-alarm fire. The units were not occupied, however, two were nearing completion which is a major financial setback for Avalon Bay. The fire did not spread to the famous Kirkbride building though, which is being renovated into apartments, aside from a cupola due to radiant heat.

Calls started coming just before 2:00 am EDT Saturday morning to report a fire on the hospital’s grounds which before the development sat unused, decaying and abandoned and became a popular target for ghost-hunters, vandals and urban explorers and also served as the focus of the 2001 thriller/horror film, Session 9 which brought renewed attention to infamous hospital which led to increased security at the site over the years. Reports of explosions before the fire started were noted by neighbors and residents.

About 20 residents on the other side of the 77-acre property were evacuated to Danvers High School as a precaution, they are expected to return later today. Their homes were not harmed by the fire, nor were any injuries reported from them. However, about seven firefighters suffered some minor burns from battling the fire, which took seven hours to bring under control. Firefighters will remain on the scene to make sure no hot spots flare up as the fire is still smoldering.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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Jun
20

Bird Flu found in Africa">
Bird Flu found in Africa

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

The H5N1 Avian Flu virus, also known as Bird Flu, has been found in Nigeria by Italian scientists. Tests done on samples in a laboratory confirm that the strain is the one that can kill people, although no human cases have been reported said the Paris-based United Nations body. This is the first time is has appeared on the continent.

Reports say tests of the virus closely resemble the virus in Asia. The virus has been discovered in poultry flocks in a large Nigerian farm. “It is the first report of the disease in Africa,” the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be very difficult to mount an eradication campaign,” said Dr. Alex Thiermann, president of the OIE’s international animal health code, from Paris, France. “With what we have today, it is a highly pathogenic H5N1 – the same, or very closely related to the previous ones,” said Thiermann. He also added, “a full genetic analysis of sample viruses is expected to be completed by late Thursday.”

Maria Zampaglione of the Paris-based OIE said “An outbreak has been detected. A local poultry farm keeping 46,000 birds was affected, of which 42,000 were infected and 40,000 of those, died.” The farm is located in Jaji, which is a village in the northern state of Kaduna.

“The farm is located near the Niger Delta, one of the largest over-wintering areas for wild birds in Africa.” said Thiermann.

Quarantine measures on the control and movement of poultry have been taken, and the farm has been disinfected said Nigerian authorities.

“However, it is too early to say how serious the outbreak is and how big its spread could be,” said Ilaria Capua of the Italian bird flu centre in Padua. “We have to be cautious in evaluating the possible implications of these findings.”

In Rome, Samuel Jutzi, a director of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said, “if the situation in Nigeria gets out of control, it will have a devastating impact on the poultry population in the region. It will seriously damage the livelihoods of millions of people and it will increase the exposure of humans to the virus.”

“When you have 46,000 chickens in a house, usually you have some degree of biocontainment…So these (chickens) are not likely to be the ones to first encounter migratory waterfowl,” Thiermann said.

Wildlife circles have been debating on whether or not wild birds are spreading the virus around the globe. Experts believe they are playing a role but most believe poultry movement, poultry products and poultry manure is the main cause of the spreading of the virus.

“But probably not in this case,” said Thiermann. “While it’s too early to blame the wildlife, it’s very likely to be in an area that’s remote enough that it’s not likely to be associated with international trade.”

OIE spokeswoman Zampiglione also said, “Experts had been fearing an African outbreak for months. The conditions there are more likely to lead to contagion from birds to man.”

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Jun
20

Indigenous Australians told to “wash for fuel”">
Indigenous Australians told to “wash for fuel”

Thursday, December 9, 2004

MULAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Under a draft plan of the Australian Federal Government’s “mutual obligation” agreements, members of the Aboriginal community Mulan in Western Australia will be obliged to ensure that homes and yards are clean, students attend school, rubbish bins are emptied twice a week and that children undertake frequent facewashing.

As a “quid pro quo” the community will receive $172,000 AUD in federal funding for petrol bowsers and fuel stations, while the Western Australian Government will provide regular testing for skin infections, worm infestations and the eye condition trachoma, which is widespread in Mulan.

Community administrator Mark Sewell approached Wayne Gibbons, a former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chief executive, to initate an agreement four months, once it became clear that the face-washing program at the Mulan Catholic school was having a positive effect. The program, which has been running for eighteen months, has reduced the levels of trachoma among students from 80% to 16%.

Presently, the residents of Mulan must drive 44km to the nearby community of Balgo for fuel.

Acting race discrimination commissioner, Tom Calma, has approved the deal, despite concerns from members of the Mulan community. Aboriginal lawyer and land rights activist Michael Mansell claimed that placing conditions on funding is unlawful and unenforceable. The government proposal has been widely labelled as ‘humiliating’ to the community.

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