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Why the iPhone 5s is a Terrific Accessibility Tool
As a freelance tech writer, I’ve focused primarily on accessibility and recently, it’s been a good beat to have. Apple has shown unwavering commitment to implementing and updating the accessibility features found on OS X and iOS, even going so far as to tip its hat to the accessibility community in its iPhone TV ads. The accessibility features found on Apple’s platforms enable users with special needs— myself included—to interact with their devices with as much fluidity and delight as the fully-abled do.
From http://www.macworld.com/article/2084805/why-the-iphone-5s-is-a-terrific-accessibility-tool.html, March 14, 2014

By 2015, 50 Percent of Organizations Will Have Technology Projects Underway That Support Enablement of Disabled People in the Workplace
New U.S. government rules requiring employers to take more affirmative action to hire people with disabilities will mean that by 2015, 50 percent of organizations will have technology projects underway to support the enablement of disabled employees, according to Gartner, Inc. On March 24, 2014, new guidelines under Section 503 of the amended Rehabilitation Act of 1973 go into effect in the United States. Section 503 requires Federal contractors and subcontractors to take more ambitious affirmative action to hire people with disabilities. There are similar global regulations impacting companies to boost the hiring of people with special needs or disabilities and a total of 158 countries or regional integration organizations have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.
From http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2680815, March 13, 2014

Three Out of Every Four European Banks Fails in the Accessibility of Their Websites
Researchers from the University of Oviedo (Spain) have analyzed the websites of nearly 50 banks from the EU to check whether any user, even if disabled, has equal access. The results show that this right is not fulfilled in 74% of cases, and therefore they demand greater interest from financial entities in this technological and social problem.
From http://phys.org/news/2014-03-european-banks-accessibility-websites.html, March 10, 2014

AT&T and the Wireless RERC Launch Mobile Device Training For People with Disabilities
AT&T Foundation has announced a $50,000 contribution to Shepherd Center to assist researchers in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) in launching a series of seminars to help consumers with disabilities uncover the range of accessibility features found on their mobile devices. Seminars are scheduled for five cities – Atlanta, Ga., Austin and Dallas, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C. – throughout this spring and summer.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.gatech.edu/content/newsroom/consumer-wireless-education#sthash.DYaWa64Y.dpuf, March 10, 2014

Video: Could Robots Help Children with Autism?
A robotic companion is helping children with autism learn and develop communication skills. Caspar has deliberately simple features and repetitive phrases and gestures, and teachers say they have noticed improved communication skills in some of the children who play with him.
From http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26511354, March 10, 2014

EU: Three Out of Every Four European Banks Fails in the Accessibility of Websites
Researchers from the University of Oviedo, Spain have analyzed the websites of nearly 50 banks from the EU to check whether any user, even if disabled, has equal access. The results show that this right is not fulfilled in 74% of cases, and therefore they demand greater interest from financial entities in this technological and social problem. Web accessibility is the set of technological innovations that ensure equitable access to the web for all users, regardless of disability or the device used. However, these facilities are not present in most of the web pages of European banks, according to an analysis by computer scientists and economists from the University of Oviedo.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/03/07/three-out-of-every-four-european-banks-fails-in-the-accessibility-of-their-websites/, March 10, 2014

USA: FCC Speaker Series to Address Innovation in Voting Accessibility
he FCC will host Dr. Juan E. Gilbert, one of the winners of the 2012 Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA), will be the honored speaker at the third A&I Initiative Speaker Series, March 11, 2014, at FCC headquarters in Washington.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/03/08/fcc-speaker-series-to-address-innovation-in-voting-accessibility/, March 09, 2014

Scientists Explore How Technology Can Expand Human Rights for People with Disabilities. and Everyone.
Last month, I joined the annual meeting of the Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC. In all my years working on accessibility, I had never come across an event where scientists and technologists together explored how technology could expand and safeguard human rights. But, the linkage between human rights and technology is important. At the United Nations, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stresses the role of technology in enabling rights. In the treaty, Article 9 talks about the power of technology for people with disabilities to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms. It marks the first time a human rights treaty raises access to technology to such a high level, where digital inclusion is defined as a human right.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2014/02/07/scientists-explore-how-technology-can-expand-human-rights-for-people-with-disabilities-and-everyone.aspx, March 07, 2014

Post-2015 Development Framework Inclusive of Persons with Disabilities
International Disability Alliance (IDA) chair Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis addressed United Nations (UN) Member States, UN agencies and civil society at the UN Headquarters in New York today, calling for a post-2015 sustainable development agenda that is inclusive of persons with disabilities. Mr. Vardakastanis spoke to UN Member States of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the morning meeting of the Group’s eighth session, stating the importance of mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities across the sustainable development agenda. The theme of the session was “Promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment”.
From http://inclusion-international.org/post-2015-development-framework-inclusive-persons-disabilities/, March 07, 2014

European Union Legislates for Web Accessibility
The European Parliament has passed a law to improve the accessibility of information on government websites in European Union member countries. This will give millions of people enhanced access to vital information and services. The draft law — which was approved by 593 votes to 40, with 13 abstentions — requires all European Union (EU) member countries to ensure that all websites managed by public sector bodies are fully accessible to elderly people and those with a disability.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/general/european-union-legislates-for-web-accessibility#.UxcWNKvgwT4.twitter, March 05, 2014

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