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Opinion: Improving Accessibility Can Close Digital Divide, Says Microsoft's Chief Accessibility Officer
In an increasingly interconnected world in which more and more services are being delivered online, it is imperative that people with disabilities are not left behind, writes Microsoft's chief accessibility officer. In the European Union one in six people – around 80 million – have a disability. Many of these people are prevented from fully participating in society and the economy because of physical or other barriers. In fact, only 50 per cent of individuals with a disability of working age are employed. As more and more services are delivered online, web accessibility is a key component to overcoming the digital divide, enabling those with disabilities to enjoy the benefits outlined in the United Nations convention, the EU treaty and the Charter for Fundamental Rights.
From http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/2818/improving-accessibility-can-close-digital-divide, December 04, 2012

USA: Making Next Generation 911 Emergency Services More Accessible
The Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) will hold their next meeting on Friday, December 14, 2012 from 10:30am to 3:30pm EST. The EAAC is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advisory committee that was created under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). The primary responsibility of the EAAC is to evaluate and recommend “the most effective and efficient technologies and methods” that allow individuals with disabilities access to Next Generation 911 (NG 9-1-1) emergency services. The agenda for the upcoming EAAC meeting includes discussion on reports drafted by EAAC subcommittees that relate to ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to 911 emergency services. The meeting is open to the public.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.org/content/newsroom/upcoming-events/making-next-generation-911-emergency-services-more-accessible, December 04, 2012

Accessibility Review: Microsoft Surface tablet
Microsoft's Surface tablet has promised to deliver the best of both worlds: an easy-to-use tablet for games and entertainment but also a serious productivity device that has a detachable keyboard, trackpad and Office software. Our interest though lies in its accessibility – is it a worthy purchase for people with disabilities? Dr Scott Hollier road tested the Surface tablet to find out how it fares for accessibility.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/general/accessibility-review-microsoft-surface-tablet, December 04, 2012

United Nations Calls for Support to Persons with Disabilities
This year’s Paralympic Games were a reminder of the immense potential of persons with disabilities to soar and to inspire. One girl wrote to a Paralympic gold-medal champion, “Watching as you overcome the difficulties of life, reaching for new victories and new heights in sports, I derive strength and inspiration.” Persons with disabilities have a significant positive impact on society, and their contributions can be even greater if we remove barriers to their participation. With more than one billion persons with disabilities in our world today, this is more important than ever.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/12/03/un-calls-for-support-to-persons-with-disabilities/, December 03, 2012

New Zealand: Access to Built Environment Report Launched
MP Mojo Mathers launches a Commission report on how to improve accessibility and introduce universal design to New Zealand’s built environment in Christchurch today. Better Design and Buildings for Everyone: Disabled People’s Rights and the Built Environment is the first of a series of publications aimed at informing debate about disability issues. The publication summaries the Commission’s experience with access to the built environment, includes domestic and international law and standards and offers recommendations to improve accessibility in future.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/12/03/access-to-built-environment-report-launched-for-christchurch-recovery/, December 03, 2012

Papua New Guinea Urged to Ratify UNCRPD
Papua New Guinea’s Government is being encouraged to ratify a UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). NGOs and the UN have been pushing for legislative changes in Papua New Guinea where facilities for persons with disabilities fall short of acceptable standards. Although Papua New Guinea has signed on to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it’s yet to be ratified.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/12/02/papua-new-guinea-urged-to-ratify-uncrpd/, December 03, 2012

YouTube Expands Automatic Video Captioning in Six More Languages
Google’s YouTube rolled out an update to its captions feature on November 28 that make it easier for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing or who speak different languages to view YouTube content using automatic captioning in their native languages. The new languages supported include German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Dutch – to the automatic-captioning services that debuted in 2009, according to a post on the YouTube blog. YouTube has added support for six more languages—German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian and Dutch—to the automatic-captioning services that debuted in 2009, according to a Nov. 28 post by Hoang Nguyen, a YouTube software engineer, on the YouTube blog.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/12/01/youtube-expands-automatic-video-captioning-in-6-more-languages/, December 03, 2012

Iraqi Campaign Raises Election Awareness Among Persons with Disabilities
Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) on November 29th kicked off a large-scale campaign across the country to encourage persons with disabilities to take part in the upcoming elections scheduled for April. “The campaign was launched to encourage persons with disabilities in Iraq to take part in election after we noticed a low turnout among them during previous elections,” IHEC member Khaled al-Rajab told Al-Shorfa. The campaign includes media workshops and lectures to encourage higher interaction and participation during the elections, he said.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/11/30/iraqi-campaign-raises-election-awareness-among-persons-with-disabilities/, December 03, 2012

International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3
Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, often face barriers to participation in all aspects of society. Barriers can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination. The result is that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to society or services, including education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation or justice.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/11/30/international-day-of-persons-with-disabilities-december-3/, December 03, 2012

Proposal for a New Directive on EU Web Accessibility
Today the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (more commonly known as ‘DG Connect’) released a new proposal for a directive on “Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies’ Websites”. The proposed directive will require twelve categories of EU public sector websites which provide essential public services to EU citizens to comply with W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at the AA level. The proposal also makes clear that this level of accessibility support is desirable for all public sector websites.
From http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility/2012/12/proposal-for-a-new-directive-on-eu-accessibility.html, December 03, 2012

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