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American Theatre Takes Audio Description to a New Level
Arena Stage in Washington DC has partnered with the American Council of the Blind to expand its established audio described theatre program to every performance of upcoming productions Fiddler on the Roof and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/the-arts/american-theatre-takes-audio-description-to-a-new-level, November 03, 2014

Australia: The Deafness Forum Captioning Awards 2014
Another year of captioning achievements was celebrated at the Deafness Forum Captioning Awards, which were held at the Sheraton on the Park hotel in Sydney on Friday, 31 October. Paralympic skier Michael Milton was the inspirational guest speaker at the event, which was attended by representatives from the television industry, caption providers, DVD distributors and community organizations.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/tv-video/the-deafness-forum-captioning-awards-2014, November 03, 2014

Facebook Introduces VoiceOver Gestures for iOS Messenger App
Facebook has recently announced the addition of gesture-based accessibility features in the latest version of its Messenger app for iOS8. As outlined in a recent Facebook Accessibility post, the new VoiceOver gestures are available for the Delete, Mute and More actions in the latest version of Facebook’s Messenger app (version 13) for iOS8 only.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/digital-technology/facebook-introduces-voiceover-gestures-for-ios-messenger-app, November 03, 2014

Reviewing Access for Persons with Disabilities to UK Attractions
A recent survey, commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, found that nearly two thirds of the UK’s top attractions were not fully accessible for wheelchair users. The survey included the top 100 most visited attractions in the UK - with a 52% response rate. Of these, 63% said that they were not completely accessible to wheelchairs. Of the 27 venues that charged for entry, 44% offered no discount at all for disabled people. The ratio of disabled toilets to non-disabled toilets was marginal, where only a fifth had hoists available – indispensable for some disabled guests. More than a quarter of those who responded said they did not have accessibility information available on their website, making those websites challenging for visually impaired persons.
From http://vitalise.org.uk/, November 01, 2014

USA: Marriott Adds Induction Loops for People Who are Hard of Hearing to their Renaissance Arlington Capital View Property
The Hearing Access Program today announced that Marriott’s Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel added induction loops for people who are hard of hearing at its Arlington Virginia property. Hearing aids and cochlear implants amplify all sounds. To ensure travelers who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants can hear only the hotel associates, Marriott’s Renaissance Hotel added induction loops at its Arlington Capital View property. Switching their hearing aid or cochlear implant to the T-setting (telecoil) allows guests to hear only the hotel associate. In the U.S., 48 million people have some form of hearing loss.
From http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearingnewswatch/2014/nations-highest-court-gets-looped-joining-many-prominent-institutions/, October 31, 2014

The Digital Development Opportunity: New Technologies and Partnerships Redefine What is Possible
From GPS to Skype to e-tablets, new innovations are fundamentally changing the way we communicate, work, learn, share and interact. Almost two decades ago, we launched the Leland Initiative, an effort to expand access to information and communication technology in more than 20 African countries. To build on this legacy, we teamed up with the U.K., Google.org, and the Omidyar Network to establish the Alliance for Affordable Internet. Since then, the Alliance has grown to more than 65 members, from Facebook to the Government of Mozambique. Together, they are building global consensus around a set of policy and regulatory recommendations that will lower the cost of internet access -- unlocking new opportunities for doctors, entrepreneurs, and local leaders across the developing world.
From http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2014/10/21/digital-development-opportunity, October 28, 2014

Disaster Preparedness Must Include People with Disabilities
When the next natural disaster strikes, many people with disabilities are bound to find themselves in harm’s way due to poor disaster planning by public officials. A lawsuit settlement reached in late September may improve access to emergency services in New York City and provide a roadmap for improving access everywhere else.
From http://www.dailyrepublic.com/opinion/statenationalcolumnists/disaster-preparedness-must-include-people-with-disabilities/, October 28, 2014

UN: Rights of Persons with Disabilities Gaining Recognition
People with disabilities and their advocates have recently marked a milestone with one more country signing the Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In September, Guyana was the 150th Member State to ratify the document which supports the rights of persons with disabilities in their respective societies.
From http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2014/10/rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-gaining-recognition/#%2EVDrrnildVz5, October 28, 2014

SimplEye: Now Smartphones are Accessible to Visually Challenged Too
With the buzz that surrounds the launch of every new smartphone, like the upcoming iPhone 6, it's easy to forget that there is a fairly large demographic that cannot use these products - the visually impaired. According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide. Sankara Nethralaya, a not-for-profit institution for ophthalmic care in Chennai, pegs the number of visually impaired Indians at about 15 million.
From http://firstbiz.firstpost.com/startup/simpleye-now-smartphones-are-accessible-to-visually-challenged-too-97253.html, October 28, 2014

IBM’s Frances West Says Demand is Rising for Easy-to-Use Technology
Here’s a C-suite role you may never have heard of: chief accessibility officer. But as demographic and regulatory developments bring disability issues squarely into the workplace—and the marketplace—companies will find themselves paying closer attention, says Frances West, who was appointed CAO at International Business Machines Corp. IBM in July. The 57-year-old Ms. West, who began her career as an engineer at IBM in 1979, is responsible for making sure IBM delivers products and services that people of all ages and abilities can use. She also guides efforts to make IBM’s own workplace accessible.
From http://online.wsj.com/articles/new-c-suite-mandate-accessibility-1413751560, October 22, 2014

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