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Accessible Designs Could Help Us All — But Only if Firms Bite
Computer technology offers us abilities we could once only dream about. But many companies have yet to recognize the commercial opportunity in making products for the disabled. Some argue that ignoring accessibility issues completely is a multi-billion dollar mistake.
From http://www.capradio.org/news/npr/story?storyid=225791332, December 10, 2013

EU: The 'Global Campaign for Education' Alliance Releases Report on Inclusive Education
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) issued a report calling for inclusive education for children with disabilities. A report entitled “Equal Right, Equal Opportunity” urges national governments to adopt appropriate legislative frameworks and set out national plans for inclusive education.
From http://www.e-include.eu/news/1428-the-global-campaign-for-education-alliance-released-a-report-on-inclusive-education, December 10, 2013

GSMA mHealth in Nigeria: Innovating Mobile Solutions That Push Towards the MDGs
It is worrisome that, with less than 2 years to the set date for attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the numbers are not looking good regarding the situation of women and children in Nigeria. It is reported that about 53,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy and delivery, including hemorrhage, infections, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure leading to convulsion, anemia and malaria, just to mention a few.
From http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/gsma-mhealth-in-nigeria-innovating-mobile-solutions-that-push-towards-the-mdgs, December 10, 2013

USA: FCC Revises Complaint Procedures for Resolving Accessibility Issues
The FCC released a Public Notice [DA 13-2177] highlighting new procedures for filing complaints regarding the accessibility of “advanced communications services and equipment, Internet browsers built into mobile phones, and telecommunications services and equipment.” The new procedures follow two recent CVAA mandates which require advanced communications systems and equipment and internet browsers on mobile phones to be accessible to people with disabilities. The complaint procedures allow individuals to contact the company directly with accessibility issues or to contact the FCC Disability Rights Office, which will work with the individual and the company to try and resolve the accessibility issue. Informal complaints may now only be filed after the individual has contacted the FCC Disability Rights Office to request dispute assistance.
From http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2013/db1114/DA-13-2177A1.pdf, December 09, 2013

USA: FCC Task Force to Address IP Transition
On November 19, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a blog post entitled The IP Transition: Starting Now. The post highlighted future efforts of the FCC Technology Transitions Policy Task Force concerning evolving communications networks, often called the “IP transition.” Specifically, the post noted considerations for an Order providing the FCC with recommendations regarding the implementation, data collection practices and consideration of policy issues for IP transition pilot projects. Following Chairman Wheeler’s post, the FCC released a Public Notice [DA 13-2078] describing the ways that “interested parties can provide input into the work of the Task Force.”
From http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2013/db1119/DA-13-2078A1.pdf, December 09, 2013

Call for Participants: Cognitive Accessibility Task Force
The newly developed W3C Cognitive Accessibility Task Force is seeking new members. The Task Force, which is a joint effort of the Protocols Formats Working Group (PFWG) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (WCAGWG), will work to provide guidance to ensure that web content is accessible for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.
From http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/cognitive-a11y-tf/, December 09, 2013

New Funding Opportunity for Disability and Rehabilitation Research
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) has announced award applications for Minority-Serving Institutions to conduct research and development Field Initiated Projects (FIPs). Working to “improve the capacity of minority entities [conducting] high-quality disability and rehabilitation research,” the FIPs program is offering both research and development awards with the purpose of “[developing] methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration” into all aspects of daily life for people with disabilities. The estimated available award is $200,000 for a project no longer than 36 months.
From https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/19/2013-27559/applications-for-new-awards-national-institute-on-disability-and-rehabilitation-research-disability, December 09, 2013

NIDRR Awards Funding for Cloud Computing Research
The U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) has awarded $3.7 million to Carnegie Mellon University to conduct a Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing. The project is a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon, Syracuse University and The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Project team director, Aaron Steinfeld, noted, “There has been great progress over the years on Web accessibility standards and systems, but there is still a lot of work left to do.” The five-year project will focus on enhancing web accessibility including the accessibility of web interfaces, the “presentation of information on the web,” and “ways to dynamically change pointing and clicking actions on web pages.” More information on the project can be found at http://inclusiveweb.org/.
From http://www.cmu.edu/qolt/News/2013/cmu-awarded-disability-rehabilitation-research-project-on-inclusive-cloud-and-web-computing.html, December 09, 2013

Nothing to Celebrate: North Koreans with Disabilities
December 3 marks the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. For countless North Koreans with disabilities, there is nothing to celebrate. North Korea is not party to the widely ratified UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), nor did it participate in the negotiations that led to its adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2006.
From http://fpif.org/nothing-celebrate-north-koreans-disabilities/, December 06, 2013

Smartwatches, Google Glass and Wearable Technology
At $8 billion in 2013 revenues (projected), the wearable technology market is nascent but promising. By 2017, revenue from these new devices is projected to grow to $20 billion. Numbers like that are just one of the reasons I get excited about new technologies, and I’ve been particularly excited about wearable technologies. But so far, wearable technologies have a lot in common with Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.
From http://www.forbes.com/sites/rajsabhlok/2013/12/05/smartwatches-google-glass-and-the-wearable-technology-chocolate-box/, December 06, 2013

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