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USA: FCC Makes Changes to National Deaf-Blind Distribution Program
The FCC issued an Order “In the Matter of Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Section 105, Relay Services for Deaf-Blind Individuals” [CG Docket No. 10-210] regarding the reimbursement schedules for entities participating in the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP). Under the original Order adopted on April 4, 2011, the FCC established a two-year NDBEDP Pilot Program utilizing up to $10 million from the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund for the distribution of equipment aiding in access to telecommunications services, internet, and advanced communications services for low-income deaf-blind individuals. The program allowed for qualifying government and nonprofit entities to seek reimbursement every six months from the TRS Fund for distributed equipment. After receiving comment from qualifying entities stating that reimbursement at six month intervals was too infrequent and would “severely and profoundly limit their ability to serve eligible low-income, deaf-blind individuals in a timely manner,” the FCC issued the Order allowing for more frequent reimbursement schedules of either every month or every three months. The new reimbursement schedules will last for the remainder of the two-year NDBEDP Pilot Program.
From http://wirelessrerc.org/news/fcc-makes-changes-to-national-deaf-blind-distribution-program, March 30, 2012

Blind Enjoying Better Social Media Access
How do you find friends on Facebook if you can't see their photo? That question and many others about accessibility of social media for people with disabilities have been answered in a new series of user guides launched on Monday. The guides are the result of research by blind internet expert Scott Hollier.
From http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8433851, March 29, 2012

Speech-Recognition Software now Faster, more Accurate than Ever
Two speech-recognitions applications can be used for controlling your computer as well as for dictating documents. And both can be trained to better recognize your voice.
From http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017827402_ptspeech24.html, March 29, 2012

Ghana Parliament Ratifies UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Parliament has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol laid before Parliament on July 20, 2011 by the committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises. The purpose of the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect of their inherent dignity.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/03/15/ghana-parliament-ratifies-un-convention-on-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/, March 28, 2012

UK: Roman Baths Win Award for Creating, Improving Access for People with a Variety of Disabilities
The South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2011/12 have praised Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Roman Baths for the improved accessibility it offers all visitors. The Romans Baths received a “Highly Commended” in the Access for All award section in recognition of recent development work carried out by the Council to improve access in a wide range of ways and make the experience more inclusive for people with a wide range of different needs.
From http://www.accesstourismnz.org.nz/2012/03/uk-roman-baths-win-award-for-creating-improving-access-for-people-with-a-variety-of-disabilities/, March 28, 2012

Australia: Government Spending USD 1.39 Million to Improve Bus Stops Accessibility for People with Disabilities
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is spending USD 1.39 million to upgrade 300 Canberra bus stops to improve access by people with disabilities. ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Katy Gallagher said the works would see seniors and people with disabilities benefit from upgrades to existing transport infrastructure. Already, work on 75 bus stops on major public transport corridors had been completed. Where possible, concrete waiting areas were being enlarged to three metres by five metres and connections to footpaths to help with wheelchair access were being improved. Tactile ground surface indicators would help blind people.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/03/13/government-spending-1-39m-to-improve-bus-stops-accessibility-for-people-with-disabilities/, March 27, 2012

Bahrain’s Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development Opens Training Session on UNCRPD
Minister of Human Rights and Social Development Dr. Fatima Mohammed Al-Balushi patronized the training session on the preparation of reports in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), within the program of the implementation of the national plan and strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bahrain and the Supreme Committee for Disabled affairs (SCDA) and the Gulf Disability Society (GDS).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/03/26/bahrains-ministry-of-human-rights-and-social-development-opens-training-session-on-uncrpd/, March 26, 2012

TechNews: Future Interaction - Voice Control
The computer keyboard and TV remote control may be the ways we interact with our technology today, but new ideas are appearing all the time. In the fourth of a series of reports for BBC Future and Click, Ian Hardy looks at how voice control is appearing everywhere from your car and TV to your phone and computer.
From http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120323-future-interaction-voice-control, March 23, 2012

USA: New Disability Access Rules Take Effect Today
Dual laws passed in 2010, both federally and in California, set out stricter regulations designed to help disabled people be as mobile as anyone else. Any place that is open to the public at least once a year is subject to the new laws.
From http://www.pattersonirrigator.com/view/full_story/17959716/article-New-disability-access-rules-take-effect-today?instance=lead_story_left_column, March 22, 2012

Ghana to Organize ICT Training for Persons with Disabilities
The Chief Executive of Birim North District in Ghana Mavis Ama Frimpong has revealed that the Assembly would be organizing an Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) training for persons with disabilities. She said the training was in connection with Vice President John Dramani Mahama’s initiative to support persons with disabilities to have knowledge in ICT to enhance their knowledge. She said the assembly would also organize a non-formal education program in sign language for deaf people without any formal education to be able help to communicate with others and would work with telecom operators to better assist those in need of assistance.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/03/07/ghana-to-organize-ict-training-for-persons-with-disabilities/, March 22, 2012

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