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Catalina Devandas Appointed by HRC as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The President of the Human Rights Council (HRC), Mr Baudelaire Ndong Ella, announced today that Ms Catalina Devandas, from Costa Rica, was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities. After a successful process of interviews and consultation, the Consultative Group decided to unanimously recommend Ms Devandas to the position of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (SRPD). The Consultative Group wanted to demonstrate value-added vis-à-vis the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility and other United Nations system actors working on disability related matters.
From http://www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/en/article/persons-disabilities-finally-join-special-procedures-family-under-hrc, November 19, 2014

Microsoft Research: Rapid Progress in Automatic Image Captioning
This summer, about 12 interns and researchers at Microsoft Research decided to “go for it” and create an automatic image captioning software system. Given all of the advances in deep learning for object classification and detection, we thought it was time to build a credible system. Here’s an example output from our system: which caption do you think was generated by a person and which by the system?
From http://blogs.technet.com/b/machinelearning/archive/2014/11/18/rapid-progress-in-automatic-image-captioning.aspx, November 19, 2014

ITU Wants to Encourage New Policy for ICT Inclusion and Accessibility
According to a World Health Organisation report in 2011, one billion people – or 15 per cent of the global population – are registered as disabled. The ITU, recognising that very few nations have acted to ensure that persons with disabilities have full access to our digital society, has published a new report on ICT accessibility, in partnership with the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict).
From http://www.telecomtv.com/articles/policy-and-regulation/itu-wants-to-encourage-new-policy-for-ict-inclusion-and-accessibility-11971/, November 18, 2014

Nigeria: FirstBank launches 20 Accessible Branches
FirstBank of Nigeria Limited has said it recently designated over 20 branches with access to wheelchairs across the country. Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya stated this at the recently concluded FirstBank’s International Sustainability Conference.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/11/18/firstbank-launches-20-accessible-branches/, November 18, 2014

India: Delhi University Installs Technology for Students with Vision Disabilities in Libraries
Delhi University is in the process of installing a special technology which can scan books and transcribe text to speech in all its libraries, a move which the varsity claims is a first-of-its-kind initiative for students with vision disabilities by an Indian university. The technology called ‘Inclusive Print Access Project’ is a combination of software which has been imported from abroad to suit the needs of students with vision disabilities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/11/17/delhi-university-installs-technology-for-students-with-vision-disabilities-in-libraries/, November 18, 2014

India: Delhi to Host Global Film Fest on Disability
An international festival showcasing films and documentaries made on disability issues will be held in the capital from November 24-26. The 12th edition of We Care Film Festival, which has already traveled to 113 countries, is being organized by UNESCO in collaboration with Brotherhood, an Indian NGO working for people with special needs. “Disability is still a hushed affair in India. We are trying to bring the issue to the forefront with the strong medium of cinema,” says Kiran Mehra Kerpelman, Director of United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/11/15/delhi-to-host-global-film-fest-on-disability/, November 18, 2014

This Device Translates Sign Language in Real Time
In this Good magazine article, the author writes about KinTrans, a computer system that translates sign language in real time. The article tells the story of Mohamed Elwazer, a computer engineer who invented the device. Elwazer came up with the idea after watching a group of kids play with an Xbox 360. He used the same Microsoft Kinect software integrated into the gaming system to build KinTrans. The system uses motion sensor technology to read the sign language, immediately translating it into voice and text.
From http://magazine.good.is/articles/kintrans-sign-language-technology, November 17, 2014

UK: Over 90% of Disabled People Would Revisit Venues with Good Accessibility
An overwhelming 93% of disabled people would revisit a venue that has good accessibility, according to a new survey carried out by the organizers of Disabled Access Day. Over 90% of people surveyed also said that they try to find out information about a venue’s accessibility in advance of their visit, further highlighting the importance of venues having good disabled access provision if they are to attract disabled customers.
From http://bit.ly/1o8REWg, November 17, 2014

Communications Technology Opens Doors for Everyone, Not Only People with Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 brought many changes that now seem commonplace, such as sidewalk ramps and automatic door openers. In this blog post, the authors discuss the need for the virtual world to become just as accessible. They explain that accessible information and communications technology (ICT) is still an evolving process. Access to communications technologies has enabled the world to become more connected, but we need to make sure everyone can contribute and that all voices can be heard. And, the authors argue, while this is the socially responsible thing to do, it also helps improve business by allowing more customers access.
From http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/220415-communication-technology-opens-doors-for-everyone-not-only, November 17, 2014

U.S. Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy Announces Launch of Web Portal on Accessible Workplace Technology
In October, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announced the launch of PEATworks.org, the central hub for the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). The website was spearheaded by ODEP's Partnership on Employment and Technology as a way to help employers adopt accessible technology. PEAT aims to improve the employment, retention and career advancement of people with disabilities. PEAT conducts outreach with workplaces, facilitates collaboration and provides a mix of resources to inform policy development and innovation as it relates to accessibility in the workplace.
From http://peatworks.org/news/2014/oct/us-labor-department%E2%80%99s-office-disability-employment-policy-announces-launch, November 17, 2014

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