Will Kindle E-Books Leave Blind Students Behind?
Digital books are moving beyond living rooms and into classrooms, as Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and other publishers promote their ebooks to K-12 schools. But advocates warn that Amazon's Kindle's e-books, in particular, lock out the ability of blind pupils to study the text in detail.
From http://www.technewsdaily.com/15860-kindle-e-books-blind-students.html, December 26, 2012
Project to Address Political Exclusion of Persons with Disabilities Launched in Ghana
A project to address the political exclusion of persons with disabilities from the decentralization system aimed at building their capacities to enable them contest for the 2014 district assembly elections was launched in Koforidua on Monday. The objective of the project is to build the capacity of 25 persons with disabilities to enable them contest the next district assembly elections. This is to enhance their participation in the local government system and is part of measures to mainstream disability into the national development agenda and to achieve a quota representation for persons with disabilities in the district assemblies.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/12/26/project-to-address-political-exclusion-of-persons-with-disabilities-launched-in-ghana/, December 26, 2012
USA: HUD Awards $26 Million to Convert Apartments into Assisted Living Facilities
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $26 million in grants to the owners of multi-family housing developments in nine states to convert some or all of their apartments into assisted living or service-enriched environments for elderly residents. The funding announced today is provided through HUD’s Assisted Living Conversion Program which supports the transformation of housing into units that can accommodate the special needs of seniors seeking to remain in their homes or ‘age in place.’
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/12/26/hud-awards-26-million-to-convert-apartments-into-assisted-living-facilities/, December 26, 2012
India: Punjabi University Develops ‘Text-to-Speech’ Software for People with Vision Disabilities
Panjabi University, Patiala, has developed a “text-to-speech” software using which people with vision disabilities will be able to hear any text written in Punjabi. The TTS software will be the first one to translate other languages into Punjabi and convert the text into speech. Funded by the department of science and technology, the TTS system has been developed by the computer science department of the Punjabi University.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/12/24/punjabi-university-develops-text-to-speech-software-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, December 25, 2012
UK: Plans to Raise Access to Bus Stops and Tube Stations
About 70% of stops will have access by spring 2013, rising from the current 65%. Another GBP50 million will be spent on training drivers and staff. A further 28 stations on the Tube and London Overground network will become step-free over the next decade.
From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20789278, December 24, 2012
WIPO to Convene a Diplomatic Conference in Morocco to Finalize TVI
In a landmark development, on December 18, 2012, the Extraordinary General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation agreed to convene a diplomatic conference, likely to be in Morocco, in June of next year to finalize the Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons/Persons with Print Disabilities. This comes about five years after a team of about ten of us sat down in the offices of Knowledge Ecology International in Washington D.C. to draft the first cut of the Treaty.
From http://cis-india.org/accessibility/blog/wipo-to-convene-conference-to-finalise-tvi-next-year, December 24, 2012
USA: AT&T Launches Corporate Accessibility Technology Office
As part of AT&T‘s ongoing commitment to ensure that customers with disabilities are able to enjoy the opportunities that modern technology affords, the company is launching a new Corporate Accessibility Technology Office that is designed to promote accessibility in AT&T’s products and services. The organization will be led by Christopher Rice, who has been named AT&T’s first Chief Accessibility Officer.
From http://www.dailymarkets.com/stock/2012/12/20/att-launches-corporate-accessibility-technology-office-and-further-expands-commitment-to-customers-with-disabilities/, December 24, 2012
Russia: Putin Pledges Mass Media Accessibility for People with Disabilities
As he spoke at his news conference in Moscow on Thursday, Vladimir Putin said that mass media that deal with disability issues was entitled to all kinds of support. The Russian president reminded the participants in the conference that Russia had joined the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and would implement it. A barrier-free environment should be introduced everywhere, Putin said.
From http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_20/Putin-pledges-support-for-people-with-disabilities/, December 24, 2012
With Resolution, UN Puts Focus On Developmental Disabilities
The United Nations is urging countries worldwide to do more to support and accept people with autism and other developmental disabilities. A resolution unanimously approved this week by the the U.N. General Assembly calls for member nations to embrace those with developmental disorders as full members of the community. Under the resolution, the U.N. is encouraging countries to enhance access to support services, offer educational as well as life and social skills opportunities and take steps to promote awareness. The action also urges member nations to collect statistical and research data to allow for a greater understanding of individuals with disabilities within their borders.
From http://bit.ly/UWYRHF, December 24, 2012
Disability Groups in India Welcome Progress on Treaty for Blind Persons
Four years of struggle for a global treaty for the benefit of blind persons is finally bearing fruit. Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organisation have agreed to conclude a treaty for visually-impaired and print disabled persons by June 2013. Print disabled persons are a group which includes those who are blind, visually-impaired, orthopaedically challenged or those living with hearing problems or learning disability. They have traditionally lacked access to an array of books , films and research material simply because they aren't available in formats which are accessible to them. For instance, blind persons have been denied access to books and films which aren't available in Braille.
From http://bit.ly/ZlKiSf, December 24, 2012