Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been accused of insulting disabled people by telling them to “work your way out of poverty”.His speech to the Conservative conference was short on policy detail but heavy with rhetoric, including a promise that the party would deliver on its election pledge to be “the party of working people”.It came a day after a conference speech by the chancellor, George Osborne, made repeated references to the need to deliver “lower welfare”.A large section of Duncan Smith’s speech was devoted to what he called “the sickness benefit”, employment and support allowance (ESA), which he said was “Labour’s last great legacy” and treated people as “passive victims”.Duncan Smith provided no information about any plans to reform or scrap ESA and its discredited eligibility test, the work capability assessment (WCA).He also failed to acknowledge any potential for his existing policies and reforms to cause harm to sick and disabled people, in the face of overwhelming evidence collected by campaigners, journalists and academics, particularly around the damage caused by benefit cuts, the introduction of personal independence payment and the ESA system.This week, relatives of two disabled people who died after having their out-of-work disability benefits withdrawn – and who believe that those decisions contributed to their family members’ deaths – were protesting outside the conference alongside Disabled People Against Cuts.Last month, Disability News Service uncovered a coroner’s report, addressed to Duncan Smith’s department, which said that the decision to find a London man, Michael O’Sullivan, fit for work had been the trigger for his decision to kill himself.Despite this widely-publicised case, Duncan Smith told the conference: “The evidence of our reforms is that people respond to incentives. We know that. We know that in our hearts.”He added: “We won’t lift you out of poverty by simply transferring taxpayers’ money to you.“With our help, I say to them, you will work your way out of poverty. That is the pledge we make to those who need our support.”There was anger among many disabled activists on social media who had listened to Duncan Smith’s speech.Disability Labour, @disabilitylab, tweeted: “No-one gives up good jobs or chooses sickness or disability, it can and does happen to anyone. IDS speech is an insult to us all.”One activist, @latentexistence, said: “Iain Duncan Smith telling sick and disabled people to work their way out of poverty is pretty much indistinguishable from [the Nazi concentration camp slogan] arbeit macht frei [work sets you free].”The WOWcampaign, @wowpetition, tweeted: “He thinks disabled people can work their way out of poverty as if we have a choice http://wowpetition.co.uk.”Another disabled activist, @Quinonostante, said: “Next Idiot Duncan Smith will be suggesting #disabled chose that life! He’s decided they chose poverty! Horrific ideology.”And @elphiemcdork added: “I mean, he’s really not sugar-coating the ‘disabled people are fakey scroungers’ rhetoric now is he? He’s just comin’ right out with it…”Picture: Disabled activist Chris Hughes protesting outside this week’s Conservative conference
Below is Jeremy Corbyn’s full Diwali message.Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights here in Britain, and to all the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities across the world.Diwali, or Dee Par Va Li as it’s also known, marks the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and of hope over despair.Gifts will be exchanged and sweet festive meetai will be eaten as family, friends and communities come together to celebrate humanity and togetherness; lighting deeyahs to remember how life is a cycle of renewal.We know that within our communities there are many beacons of light. People who work tirelessly and selflessly for others. Those that give us hope in some of our darkest hours, and those who instil the spirit of family in us all.We are delighted that the UK, in particular in Leicester and London, hosts some of the biggest Diwali celebrations outside India. It is a truly joyous celebration for all.As the fireworks light up across our skies for Diwali, let us remember to light up our hearts too – to love one another – and to care for each other.To renew the true spirit of community and togetherness, to show that we are a community for the many, and not the few.Shubh Diwali!Yours,Jeremy CorbynLeader of the Labour Party Tags:Labour Party /Labour /Jeremy Corbyn /Diwali /
Tags:Newport West /Ruth Jones / I am deeply honoured and humbled to be sworn in as the Member of Parliament for Newport West.I will represent you to the best of my abilities.I will seek to build trust, at a time when trust in politics is so dangerously low.Thank you for this opportunity to serve. pic.twitter.com/rkN2ltCxoE— Ruth Jones MP (@RuthNewportWest) April 8, 2019Labour’s newest MP, Ruth Jones, has been sworn in. She will represent the Welsh seat of Newport West, previously occupied by Paul Flynn.Harriet Harman, the Mother of the House, tweeted her congratulations and photos of Jones in Westminster this afternoon:Congratulations & welcome to our newest Member of @HouseofCommons @RuthNewportWest! pic.twitter.com/jm78eWLmZm— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) April 8, 2019There was a photo for only Welsh Labour MPs too:Welsh labour MPs welcoming @WelshLabour newest mp to parliament today – congratulations @RuthNewportWest pic.twitter.com/iW4JxsbEMM— David Hanson (@DavidHansonMP) April 8, 2019
THATTO Heath under 18s are proud of the all the players and coaches that have recently been selected to coach and play representative rugby league for their country, back row Colin Phillips joint BARLA Great Britain under 19s head coach, Jack Jones, David Pike, Nathan Skupski, Jimmy Waterworth Thatto Heath under 18s Head Coach, front row Adam Hesketh, Andy Lea and Jordan Houghton.David Pike was the tour captain for Great Britain under 19s community Lions tour to South Africa who was joined by Jack Jones and Nathan Skupski.Colin Phillips and Andy Lea went on tour to Serbia with BARLA Great Britain Lions under 19s, Adam Hesketh who was tour captain for BARLA Great Britain Lions under 17s and was joined by Jordan Houghton on their tour to Holland.All the players returned from their respective tours unbeaten of which is an achievement for everyone involved to be proud of.
A MAN of the match performance from Jonny Lomax sent Saints on their way to an excellent 52-18 win over Wakefield.The full back bagged a hat-trick and added eight conversions from nine as Nathan Brown’s side ran riot at Langtree Park.Wakefield twice battled back from deficits but Saints stood firm and deservedly led 22-12 at half time.Alex Walmsley and Jordan Turner sandwiched the visitor’s scores before Jonny Lomax forged the home side ahead.Turner then grabbed his second after some great work from Francis Meli.Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook opened his account in the second half and although Wakefield threatened a comeback, it was always going to be Saints and Lomax’ day.He tallied twice with another from Tommy Makinson to end a satisfactory night – in both defence and attack.At several times Saints were forced to defend their own lines with a very young side on the field.Jordan Hand made his debut whilst Brown opted to start the impressive Anthony Walker at loose forward.Tommy Makinson came in for Ade Gardner and big Alex Walmsley started from the bench – Tony Puletua missing out.Wakefield got off to the best possible start when on their opening set Dean Collis got the better of his opposite number and Richard Mathers mopped up.Paul Sykes tagging on the conversion.Jon Wilkin replied with a couple of deep kicks and was rewarded as a neat little chip over the top saw the Wildcats concede a drop out.And from that position Saints levelled; shifting the ball inside, dummies a plenty and Alex Walmsley showing great feet to get in.Jonny Lomax levelling.Lance Hohaia played a massive part in that first try and it was his sleight of hand that saw Lomax increase the lead.His brain was too quick for the defence and seeing Lomax on his shoulder he put him through.The youngster then sidestepped, ignited the afterburners for his first of a complete performance.Wakefield levelled minutes later though as Ben Cockayne continued his excellent scoring form with his eighth of the campaign.Saints were rocked as they had the ascendency – but that was re-established as Jordan Turner pounced on James Roby’s chip-through.The score – whilst fortuitous because of the bounce in-goal – came after a wonderful break from Saints. Hohaia sent a beautiful short ball to Lomax who tipped it on to Turner.Meli then took it up, brought it back inside with Hohaia on his shoulder. From there, Roby did the rest.Lomax making it 18-12 from the touchline.And with five minutes to go Saints were further ahead. Meli wriggled out of three tackles and slipped a pass to Turner for his second of the night.Jon Wilkin’s inside ball gave ‘LMS’ his first of the season nine minutes into the second half – goaled by Lomax.Wakefield had six sets on Saints line – but couldn’t find a way through – but they did on their next set.Washbrook made a mini break and fed Collis to make it a 10 point game after Sykes’ conversion.Saints didn’t hang around though and after winning a penalty the excellent Hohaia combined with Wilkin for Lomax to cut back inside and make Mathers lose his footing.Jonny goaled and then added his third try on Saints’ next set.A wonderful offload in the tackle found its way to the full back and he squirmed over.And the night was nearly complete when Tommy Makinson finished off Sia Soliola’s break with 10 to go and Lomax sent over the conversion from the touchline.Whilst the plaudits will undoubtedly head to Lomax though, it was left to the superb Hohaia to jink his way over to complete a fine evening.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Walmsley, Lomax (3), Turner (2), McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Makinson, HohaiaGoals: Lomax (8 from 9)Wildcats:Tries: Mathers, Cockayne, CollisGoals: Sykes (3 from 3)Penalties:Saints: 7Wildcats: 9HT: 22-12FT: 52-18REF: Robert HicksATT: 11211Teams:Saints:7. Jonny Lomax; 21. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 19. Josh Jones, 5. Francis Meli; 6. Lance Hohaia, 12. Jon Wilkin; 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 9. James Roby, 25. Alex Walmsley, 13. Willie Manu, 4. Sia Soliola, 27. Anthony Walker.Subs: 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Paul Clough, 28. Jordan Hand.Wildcats:1. Richard Mathers; 2. Peter Fox, 3. Dean Collis, 20. Reece Lyne, 5. Ben Cockayne; 6. Paul Sykes, 14. Kyle Wood; 16. Oliver Wilkes, 9. Paul Aiton, 15. Kyle Amor, 19. Vince Mellars, 17. Frankie Mariano, 13. Danny Washbrook.Subs: 4. Lee Smith, 18. Kyle Trout, 21. Matt Wildie, 27. Chris Annakin.
SAINTS have launched a new one off replica shirt for the Magic Weekend which has been designed to raise the awareness of Autism.This special edition kit will be worn in Newcastle when we take on Huddersfield Giants on May 22.We will be taking pre-orders for the replica version starting today to coincide with tomorrow’s National Autism Awareness Day with a donation from every shirt sold going to local support group St Helens Autism Support.The players’ matchday shirts will also be signed and auctioned off too … more details will follow close to the match.In association with O’Neills, the shirt design follows the traditional Saints White shirt with a Vee – but the Red Vee has been replaced with a Multi Coloured Jigsaw Design Vee.The coloured jigsaw pieces, along with the Ribbon design on the back, are key symbols used to raise awareness of Autism nationally.Each replica shirt also carries the logo of St.Helens Autism Support, a local group already making a massive difference in the area by helping raise awareness of the condition and aiding people, particularly children, with all levels of Autism.The Magic Weekend match details are also listed on the right front hem of the shirt.Tom Jackson from St. Helens Autism Support said: “St. Helens Autism Support is delighted to be associated with this ground-breaking shirt initiative. As a local charity we have two main objectives – to raise awareness of the condition and to raise funds for our current project; a resource centre in the town to provide community, training and employment opportunities for local people.“We would like to thank St.Helens Rugby League Club and fans for their continued and generous support.”The shirt is now available to pre-order and to guarantee delivery, the cut-off date for pre-orders is midnight on April 14 2016.Physical stock will be available for collection/delivery week ending May 15 2016, enabling you to wear your limited Edition Shirt for Magic Weekend whether you are going to Newcastle or supporting Saints from home.We will have a small amount of stock in Saints Superstore at this time (May 15) but cannot guarantee your size will be available.Be in that number and support a great cause at the same time!You can buy Adult Shirts for £48, and Kids for £35 at the Saints Superstore, via 01744 455 050 or online.Shirts are only available in Adults XS-7XL, and Kids Sizes Age 5/6 to Age 13/14yrs.
UNCW Move-in day 2017 (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The University of North Carolina Wilmington is welcoming the class of 2021 and the new Seahawks are excited.“So excited, I never knew I wanted to come to UNCW and somebody said why not go visit Wilmington. I was like I never really thought about it, so I did and I fell in love with the campus immediately. That was two years ago, so now I’m finally ready to be moved in and excited,” freshman Gabriella Scala said.- Advertisement - UNCW has a special tradition for move-in day that not many other schools have.“We are moving in the freshman! It is a super unique thing that UNCW does and it’s great to get to help out and make sure everybody gets moved in stress free,” junior Shannon Mann said.1,800 volunteers showed up this year to help move in more than 2,000 new students.Related Article: James Sprunt CC signs Guaranteed Admissions Agreement with UNCW“They unload the cars pretty quickly. They bring all of those items to their rooms and the parents actually never get out of the car. They go and park the car and by the time the parents arrive back in the students room, all of their stuff has been unloaded, ” UNCW Director of Housing and Residence Life Peter Groenendyk said.Upperclassmen think back to when they were first arriving on campus and how they enjoy coming together to help out.“Gathering as one whole UNCW community, it really makes a difference,” senior Jamie Foley said.Some parents are not looking forward to going back to an empty nest after they drop off their new Seahawk.“It’s a little nerve wracking, since he is my first student to go to college, but he is really excited to be here, so I’m really excited for him,” parent Jena Mcgann said.Now freshman Gabriella Scala is settled in her new dorm room, she is ready to check out the campus.“I’m looking forward to meeting new people. I’ve never been this far away from home and I don’t know anybody here, so I’m excited to meet anybody and everybody,” Scala said.The director of housing and residence life said he expects by the end of Sunday for majority of the students living on-campus to be all moved in.
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As former First Lady Barbara Bush reportedly enjoyed some bourbon the night before she died, Howie Franklin remembers her preferred beverage on Air Force One.“At the end of the day, there would possibly be a bourbon cocktail,” Franklin said.- Advertisement - He is the airport director at Cape Fear Regional Jetport. But years ago, he was the chief flight attendant during the Bush administration on Air Force One. He says Mrs. Bush always had an expectation of everyone to do their best. However, for the mother of six, a motherly side would always come out.“It was warm and we felt like some of her family. I mean, the presence of the people and they respected her. When you’re around her, you stood up a little taller. You were expected to. It was a wonderful thing,” Franklin said.Franklin says she was also a cheerleader for the family and the staff and would try to bring out the positive in any situation.Related Article: Soldier dies in skydiving accident at Brunswick airport“She built confidence. She was somebody who had that leadership ability that built confidence in the people around her,” Franklin said.But he also had his inside jokes with the former first lady.“I carried treats in my pocket and she knew that and the dogs knew it too. She accused me on time of stealing her dogs because they’d follow me around the airplane. Well, I have the treats in my pocket and she knew that and she’d joke with me about it,” Franklin said.Finally, he only has one thing left to say to her.“Thank you for being who she is and who she was. I thought she set a good example. She was a great role model for a lot of people,” he said.Franklin says he and the rest of the staff on Air Force One appreciated being around her, especially on the plane. Her funeral is set for Saturday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
Quaneil Hasson Allen WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man is charged in a shooting that happened one week ago.Wilmington Police and members of the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Quaneil Hasson Allen, 20, on Tuesday night. He is charged him with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and a parole violation.- Advertisement - Officers responded to the area of 6th and Meares Street on March 12 around 2:10 p.m. in reference to a shooting. That’s where they found a 28-year-old man shot.EMS transported the victim, who had serious injuries, to New Hanover County Regional Medical Center.Allen is currently being held at the New Hanover County Jail without bond.Related Article: Alleged marijuana dealer busted after undercover investigation
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Everyone needs a makeover from time to time, that includes the Daniel D. Cameron Unit at the Community Boys and Girls Club on Nixon St. in Wilmington.They got just that, and opened the doors to the public on Saturday.- Advertisement - It’s equipped with a new teen room, computer lab, game room, study room and weight room.Jamel Conyers is the sports and fitness program director. He comes from a long line of family members involved with the Boys and Girls Club. He said that it’s always been a great organization, but with the new renovations, it is now even better.“I’m jealous right now because when I was coming up we didn’t have all this,” Conyers said. “To me, for them to get all this right here, I think we might be spoiling them and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing to make them not want to leave.”Related Article: Celebration of life held for the late local drum majorConyers said these features will allow the Boys and Girls Club and its members to reach their fullest potential.
Advertisement I got a test unit of the Samsung Galaxy 91000 Tab from MTN yesterday in the Tab-for-a-day program. THE SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB P1000The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a 13.58-ounce, 7-inch tablet that slips easily into a (large) pocket or bag. A virtualQWERTY keyboard and SWYPE™ technology makes e-mail and texting on the go easy. Galaxy Tab features Froyo, Google’s Android™ 2.2 platform, bringing you great performance and speed for browsing Adobe® Flash® Player compatible websites. Fully integrated with services like Google Maps™ and YouTube™ you can search, view, and easily download any of the tens of thousands of cool apps available on Android Market™.The Tab allows you to easily access Facebook®, MySpace™ and Twitter™ so that you can stay connected to friends and family. UNBOXINGThe Galaxy Tab comes in a small white box which has a photo of the tab on the top and some key specifications on the bottom. The box is about the same width as the tablet. In the box there is:1. 2pin Travel Adaptor for charging2. Stereo Ear phones with 2 pairs of extra ear buds3. USB Data Cable (doubles up as a charging cable)4. Quick Start Guide booklet and mini disc5. The mighty Samsung Galaxy Tablet.I actually picked the tablet and looked into the rest of the box much later in the evening!HARDWARE - Advertisement - The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a very exciting device, the love-at-first-sight kind.As soon as I saw her, I knew I would fall in love with her.By the way we are still talking about the Galaxy Tab! It has a white back then the sides and front are black. The corners are rounded, and the back is also slightly rounded making it omfortable in your hand. It is made of shiny plastic, but it feels rather solid and well built, no creaks or anything like that. It feels like it would survive dropping off the table, though I did not get to test that.The screen is covered with a protective film, though it has got lots of words printed on it so you’ll have to pull it off nearly immediately. It is portable, in that you can hold it with one hand comfortably; but it will not fit in your shirt pocket. It has 2 cameras, one at the back and a front facing one. The rear one has a flash. There are four touch buttons onthe bottom or right of the screen depending on how you hold it, a headphone jack on the top edge, a power button, volume rocker, microSD and SIM card slots on the right. The speakers are at the bottom with the connector port.Performance In plain English, the specifications mean that it has sufficient hardware to run comfortably. My Android experience was good. It is fast enough to keep up with my fast clicking and multitasking habits. It froze only once when I was trying to watch a movie, copy files and run other apps in the background. It was also a bit slow when viewing some web pages, but I did not figure out exactly why since it would suddenly resume working properly. But overall, it performs pretty well. FEATURESGalaxy Tab features Froyo, Google’s Android™ 2.2 platform, bringing you great performance and speed and you can easily download any of the tens of thousands of cool apps available on Android Market™. I am by default a Symbian guy, but I have recently warmed up to the idea of Android. A couple of friends have Android phones, so I was able to recognize the Android immediately. It was a bit tricky at first, but I quickly got into the flow of things, and I am sure nearly everyone should be able to use it without reading a manual. However, I usually recommend that you should read the quick start guide and user manual before using a device as it contains information which the manufacturer felt important, and some of it may not be evident in your user experience.There are quite a number of preloaded and core applications, but I still dropped by the Android Market, and downloaded a few applications. I started with Hootsuite as I was in a tweeting mood and I had used it on theiPad, then a few other social networking applications, utilities and tools. I actually used up the whole 300MB bundle! I particularly liked Hootsuite as it gives an improved social networking experience on the move.You can also download apps from Samsung Apps. The Tablet has integrated email support in an app that looks like Outlook. I did not get to use it fully, I did not add email addresses since I was using it temporarily. It also has a Gmail app similar to the one I use on my smartphone.The Amazon Kindle e-reader is pre-loaded, so you can keep tabs on all your favourite books, magazines and newspapers with just a touch of the screen.You can access your documents as well as create new ones with the Think Free Office which is compatible with Microsoft Office applications as well as Adobe pdf. The Samsung Galaxy can actually make voice calls, only that you can’t hold it to your ear, you have to either use the inbuilt speaker, or the included headset. It also has SMS and MMS messaging capability. There is so much more you can do with the Galaxy Tab, I just did not get enough time to use most of them. I will probably write more when I buy one.CAMERAI nearly forgot about the camera. The main camera is a 3.12 MP with LED flash. I took a few photos both with day light and at night, they are decent. I liked the panorama mode for taking wide angle shots.The camera is one part of the tablet that is not that exciting. It is however kind of cool to take photos with such a large screen!BATTERYThe Tab packs a 4000mAh battery which is expected to give around 7 hours of video playback and up to 13 hours of normal usage. I however run the battery down in about 6 hours without video playback; probably because I was practically using it the whole time, connected to 3G. The battery charges with the included USB connector and wall charger. It is sad that you can’t charge it using a computer USB port. VERDICT During the 24 hours that I had the Tablet, I forgot my Nokia N8 phone in three places, each time having to be reminded to pick it up! Before that, we were inseparable – email, tweeting, chatting and all the stuff that people do with their phones. I am sure that you will lose your laptop and phone the moment you start using it as it renders them rather irrelevant in your lifestyle. I can confidently say that this is the perfect tablet which will make your laptop nervous and rightly so because it will perform many tasks that you needed your laptop for. It keeps you connected anytime anywhere, for both work and pleasure. I totally enjoyed the experience of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and it is on my shopping list.The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a must-have device.
Advertisement That’s an upgrade of sorts for iOS devices and, as part of Apple’s iCloud launch, the personal computer, whether it’s a Mac or not, has been downgraded. We used to sync all of our content to our PCs, Jobs told WWDC attendees yesterday, but in a world where numerous devices contain all kinds of content that we want to keep in sync, that’s no longer viable.So the PC becomes another device, rather than the media hub, and the cloud takes over as the place where all of our content lives.As with most of the things that Apple does, this is not a new concept. Google’s Chromebooks operate on a similar basis; login with your Google account and all of your files and personal information are delivered from the cloud. What Apple has done is what they always do: to take an existing product or service and deliver it in a way that’s simpler and better designed. - Advertisement - It’s clear that Apple had Google in mind with some of its announcements yesterday. Improvements to Mail – in Lion for the Mac and iOS 5 on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch – were notable for including improved search and, on the Mac, a better conversation view. Both of those features address weaknesses in Apple’s Mail compared with Google’s Gmail.Another target of the improvements announced yesterday was RIM, the makers of BlackBerry. One of the most popular apps on the BlackBerry is BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) – a messaging client that allows people to chat without sending an SMS. Apple’s iMessage provides an iOS version of the service, which will probably prove to be a valuable asset. However, iMessage will work only between iOS users and RIM is rumoured to be producing a multi-platform version of its own app.It was notable that many of the improvements Apple chose to focus on in the iOS 5 announcement directly challenge existing third-party apps. Reading List, the Safari feature for saving articles to read later, is a threat to apps such as Instapaper and Read It Later; Reminders undermines apps such as Remember The Milk and Things; and the new embedded photo editing features will make an app such as Photoshop Express unnecessary for a great many users.The Mac, meanwhile, is becoming more iOS-like, with easy to use app menus, a reduced dependence on file management systems and a more touch-driven interface that might soon make the mouse obsolete.One relatively small feature addition is auto-save, which ensures that what you’re working on is always being backed up. It removes one of the major annoyances of using a computer and, as analyst Michael Gartenberg wrote, is “reason alone to be a Mac”.telegraph.co.uk
Advertisement Kenyans who have never had bank accounts or even loans could soon have credit scores, thanks to a US organisation planning to launch a unique SMS application in the African country.InVenture, which currently operates in the US and India, is planning to roll out a simple accounting text messaging app dubbed ‘InSight’ for the Kenyan market in January 2013.Unbanked households and small businesses could use the app to SMS their basic income and expenses to InSight. In turn, InSight sends the user a profit and loss statement, and with 30 days worth of data, InSight says it can use this data to create credit scores that can then be used by the organisation’s loan service partners. - Advertisement - An algorithm – which studies the profit and loss statement along with environmental and social data – is used by InSight to calculate this credit score, says Patrick Furlong, director of policy and communication at InVenture. He adds that other information such as unbanked users’ public records or even referrals from micro-lenders could be used to determine their credit scores.InVentures launched this application in India in 2011, and has 10,000 users there, according to Furlong.But the firm is planning in 2013 to break into the Kenyan market and target a much bigger user base by partnering with local mobile phone micro-finance company Musoni.According to the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), the East African country’s mobile subscriber base is 29.7 million – just over 70% of the nation’s 40 million population. Furthermore, a 2009 National Financial Access Survey in the country said that 32% of Kenya’s bankable population is still out of reach of financial services.“Kenya’s a place where you’re like: this is just a phenomenal opportunity,” Furlong told ITWeb Africa.“The goal is to kind of scale up pretty quickly. End of year (2013) we want to have at least 40,000 users,” he added.And this offering appears as if it could be the first of its kind in Africa, say experts.“To my knowledge, I have not come across such a development anywhere in Africa,” senior analyst for Informa Telecoms & Media Danson in East Africa Danson Njue told ITWeb Africa.“In most countries in Africa, credit scores are normally produced by government-based bureaus who obtain credit information from financial institutions and store them in a database,” Njue added.Apart from creating credit scores for the unbanked, InVenture also uses InSight to offer basic financial literacy.Furlong says that in India, this feature has helped create a 6% increase in savings among the app’s users.The organisation, therefore, is further hoping to replicate that success in Africa, a market that has become home to its own tech innovations such as mobile money offering M-Pesa.“We have a blessing and a curse in that we don’t really have competition,” said Furlong.“It’s both our opportunity and our challenge,” he added.Credit: ITWeb Africa
Advertisement Nairobi is set to host the second annual East Africa digital Marketing Summit & Show, an annual event designed to bring together key players in the digital marketing space from the East African region.The Digital Fair to be held on 9th and 10th April 2015 congregates digital marketing companies, communication and marketing managers in both public and private sector and providers of digital products and services under one roof to showcase the latest digital trends at a time when the online audience has been on a meteoric rise occasioned by increased penetration of internet enabled phones.Mobile phone and tablets remain the internet access point for majority of Kenyans, standing at 13.9 million subscriptions as at the end of 2014, a 5 percent rise from the previous year. - Advertisement - The penetration is largely driven by availability of low cost smart phones which are expected to further rise by an average of 40 percent per year between now and 2017 according to a report by Pricewater house Coopers. This, even as the global purchases are projected to also grow at 1000 per cent in 2015 alone according to Deloitte.“Smart phones have opened up a whole new market. Consumers, after all, almost always have their mobile devices with them. The challenge therefore is to create products that will capture their attention and give returns on investment,” said Martin Muli, from Eyeballs Marketing.But the penetration has equally birthed customer and company oriented applications with applications such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter dominating. However the last two years has seen an explosion locally developed functional applications such as M-Farm, EasyTaxi, Hello food, OLX which have gained grounds among local customers. The insatiable appetite for such apps will see four times as many mobile apps developed in 2015 than current offerings according to Mobile Response, a US based mobile application development company. The growing mobile money market has also encouraged eCommerce retailers and digital marketers should focus on created a smooth mobile shopping experience for customers. Statistics show that about Sh7 billion is transacted through mobile phones in the country every day. With Safaricom’s M-Pesa being a world leader in these services and succeeding at it, an increasing number of investors are eyeing the mobile money transfer space.“Digital Fair brings together key stakeholders in the digital marketing industry to share ideas, understand the market dynamics, approach the market from a common front while showcasing products and services. We have over 50 exhibitors comprising developers and digital marketing agencies from across the region who have already booked their stands,” said Mr. Muli. The exhibitors at the Digital Fair will showcase the latest digital trends and engage marketers from different organizations. Last year’s event had 25 exhibitors from East Africa with more than 1000 visitors.For marketers, applications and online presence has a profound effect, to better understand the impact of smart phones and online information on in-store shopping, according to an online survey conducted by Google in partnership Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands. The study revealed that 71 percent of in-store shoppers who use smart phones for online research say their device has become more important to their in-store experience whereas two in three shoppers who tried to find information within a store say they didn’t find what they needed, and 43 percent of them left frustrated.However as more companies invest in their own applications, the challenge is to create a product that will remain relevant to the consumers’ daily routine and as a result be constantly used and accessed.Digital Fair is designed to bring together different providers of digital products and services under one roof to showcase their offering to marketers. The exhibitors will showcase the latest digital trends and engage marketers from different organizations. Last year’s event had more than 25 exhibitors from East Africa with more than 1000 visitors to the show. Some exhibitors included Safaricom – Business solutions, Scarlet Digital – digital PR, Ma3Route, M-Farm, Google – Beba pay, Nailab- all start ups and WASP Africa- sms solutions and gadgets.
Advertisement Bank of Uganda has awarded a license to Metropol Corporation to operate a credit reference bureau.Metropol is a Kenyan firm established in 1996 as a business information and credit management company. Metropol and Global Credit Rating (GCR) partnered in 2006 to provide credit rating services that enable corporates to raise capital and meet their financial needs. Apart from getting the recent license from the Central Bank of Uganda, Metropol is also licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya to provide Credit Reference Bureau services to all Kenya Banks in Kenya.In Kenya, Metropol was the first Kenyan firm to have received an agency license. The other two firms are all foreign firms. They include Global Credit Rating Company of South Africa and Agusto and Company Limited from Nigeria. - Advertisement - Metropol Corporation Ltd focuses on providing credit ratings to SMEs to increase their potential to access money diversified capital sources.Compuscan was given a contract by the BOU in 2008 until 2012 when the monopoly ended. Metropol has been waiting for this license for over two years. Metropol comes on board with a strong capacity having operations in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda and further south in Zimbabwe.Credit reference BureauThe parliament of Uganda passed the Microfinance Deposit taking institution Act 2003 (MDI Act) and the Financial Institutions Act 2004 (FIA). These two acts propelled the process of establishing a Credit Reference Bureau in the country.The FIA mandates the Central Bank or its appointed agent or any other person authorized by the Central Bank to establish CRB for the purpose of disseminating credit information among financial institutions.The advantages of a credit reference bureau are as follows;The credit reference bureau makes lending and borrowing easier, faster and cheap hence improving the performance of the Ugandan financial sector.If you have a positive credit history, you can use it as “collateral” to access credit facilities and even bargain for more competitive terms from different financial institutions.Through a functioning credit reference bureau, the trust between lenders and borrowers can be enhanced, which will result and increase volume of credit in the economy, bringing in more competition.Banks are able to make more informed decision because they have assess to data that they did not have in the past. For example, a lending institution will have information regarding your repayment history.As more information becomes available, banks will spend less resources evaluating borrowers, collateral requirements will be streamlines and this will ultimately bring down the price of loans.With the availability of information and supporting ICTs banks will be in position to design and offer new products on competitive interest rates.Infrastructural ICT constraints One of the reasons that led to lengthy delays in having a credible CRB infrastructure in Uganda was luck of a national ID. Although the National ID project has started, this has been long overdue. As a result, South Africa Compuscan provided not just the back office and ICT infrastructure of a credit reference bureau, but also a safe means of identifying customers. Borrowers are fingerprinted and, on the basis of their fingerprints, assigned a borrower number. This information is then included on a smart card.In retrospective, a credit reference bureau cannot entirely eliminate debt; bad lenders will shift to those institutions that mainly focus on low income clients, for example the Microfinance institutions. Therefore, as CRB becomes very functional and robust in the Ugandan market, microfinance institutions may likely to start facing bad debtors thrown out of the traditional financial institutions.The period that a CRB has been operational has not allowed Ugandan borrowers to start using their positive credit rating as collateral to assess credit. It is hoped with time, borrowers will be able to negotiate cheaper facilities and use their positive credit rating as collateral. With the licensing of Metropol in the Ugandan economy, it is hoped the Bank of Uganda is moving forward to achieving that goals for Uganda consumers.The CRB system requires precise addresses of borrowers such as Plot numbers, Street names, postal addresses etc. However, most Ugandans do not have such information. Such information needs to be updated regularly at the CRB for accurate reporting.Some of the other constraints include; Limited internet connectivity especially for the upcountry branches leading instabilities in connectivity; Absence of a reliable unique identification system for companies, Non Government Organisations, schools, Churches and dioceses.
Whatsapp blocked for 72 hours in Brazil. Image Credit: softpedia-static Advertisement A judge in Brazil has blocked access to messaging service WhatsApp for 72 hours, the latest suspension to hit the hugely popular application.Judge Marcel Montalvao, issued the order because WhatsApp owner Facebook failed to hand over information requested in a criminal investigation.Late last year in December, the instant messaging platform was temporarily shut down for similar reasons. - Advertisement - The service is widely used by over 100 million Brazilians, now face some of the highest charges in the world.BBC reports that the order was due to come into place from 1400 local time (17:00 GMT) and applies to Brazil’s five main mobile operators.WhatsApp said it was “disappointed” by the move, saying it had co-operated fully with the local court.“This decision punishes more than 100 million Brazilians who rely on our service… in order to force us to turn over information we repeatedly said we don’t have,” a statement said.In March the same judge ordered the arrest of a Facebook executive based in Brazil for failing to comply with an attempt to block WhatsApp.He was released the next day.[related-posts]
Advertisement Online reports, report that Facebook has been spotted testing a new feature in the News Feed, following it’s recent test of auto-playing videos without sound. Apparently, the feature collates all the big updates from all your friends, and shows them in a separate box within the News Feed.NDTV news reports, that the feature is called “What friends are talking about” and it relays all the missed updates from your friends and family since your last login. This feature seems to be heavily inspired by Twitter’s “While you were away” feature that pretty much does the same thing.The feature shows up in a small dialogue box the size of your image post. It shows posts from your friends, and highlights the comments it has received. - Advertisement - This feature is still in test mode, and there is no details on when it will launch commercially.
Advertisement Still early in its first season, Amazon-streamed show The Grand Tour is already setting records for most illegal downloads.According to a report in the Daily Mail, its first episode has been downloaded 7.9 million times, while episode 2 and 3 are 6.4 million and 4.6 million downloads, respectively, for a total of 18.9 million illegal downloads.This automatically takes it above Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. - Advertisement - Game of Thrones was TV’s most torrented show in 2015, with an estimated 14.4 million downloads on its season 5 finale, while The Walking Dead sits at 6.9 million illegal downloads.According to the Daily Mail, the show has lost £3.2 million on its first episode alone in Britain, which makes up 13.7 percent of the piracy crowd. Amazon Video is currently available in Austria, Germany, Japan, the US, and UK, though reports suggest the company is eyeing a more global reach.The Grand Tour streams weekly on Amazon.