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USA: Iowa - Website Accessibility and Relay Services Required as Part of ADA Settlement
In an agreement reached with Des Moines, Iowa and its public library, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) includes use of relay services, and accessible websites and web-based services, as requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA Title II). This means that city officials must recognize the Iowa telecommunications relay service as a key means of communicating with individuals who are deaf, are hard-of-hearing, or have speech impairments and they must train staff in using the relay service for telephone communications. Similarly, the city’s official website and other web-based services must be made accessible to people with disabilities, such as people who are blind and use screen readers.
From coataccess.orr, March 03, 2011

USA: COAT Affiliates Ask FCC for Universal Captioning of Television
Several COAT affiliates -- AADB, AAPD, ALDA, HLAA, TDI -- and others filed a petition with the FCC on 27 January 2011 for universal captioning of TV. The petition asked the FCC to begin a rulemaking to eliminate several of the current rules that allow exemptions for some TV captions. Specifically, these are the rules for captioning exemptions for: late night programming, commercial and political advertising, locally produced non-news programming, interstitials, promotional announcements and public service announcements, channels producing revenues under USD3 million annually.
From coataccess.org, March 03, 2011

Canada: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Update
Business owners are being warned to get ready now for tough new accessibility rules that start taking effect next year. The new rules, under the five-year-old Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, will require most businesses to meet new standards that ensure handicapped customers get the same treatment as the able-bodied.
From thespec.com, March 03, 2011

New Zealand: Disabled People Can Access Earthquake Assistance
The Minister for Disability Issues, Tariana Turia, would like to encourage disabled people, or carers of disabled people, who need assistance due to the Christchurch earthquake to contact the government helpline. “The government helpline, 0800779997, is open to take your phone calls for any help you may need. If you are disabled, or a carer of a disabled person, and you require help please contact the number. The people who answer your call will be able to provide you with the help or further contacts for services or products you need. Don’t leave it until you run out of medication or products,” said Minister Turia.
From Scoop.co.nz, March 02, 2011

USA: FCC Seeks Input on New Technologies for Video Relay Services
the FCC is asking for information about the new and off-the-shelf technologies that can be used to access Video Relay Service (VRS), such as Skype, Apple Facetime, etc. What specific features or functions of off-the-shelf equipment, services, and software are needed to effectively use VRS? Commenters should specify whether each feature or function is necessary to use VRS and point-to-point communications or could be optional.
From coataccess.org/, March 01, 2011

India: Union Budget 2011 Brings INR9 Lakh Disability Compensation for Defence Personnel
Defence personnel, who have suffered 100 percent disability during the course of their government service, will henceforth get a one-time compensation of INR9 lakh on par with paramilitary personnel fighting Maoists. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced this benefit for defence personnel in his budget proposals presented in Lok Sabha on 28 February 2011.
From Economictimes.indiatimes.com, February 28, 2011

Australia: USD12 Billion Lifetime Support for the Severely Disabled
People with a severe disability will be guaranteed a lifetime of support and care under a proposal expected to cost governments more than USD12 billion a year. A draft report by the Productivity Commission into disability found the current support system is underfunded and unsustainable, and fails to meet the actual needs of many.
From News.smh.com, February 28, 2011

USA: Feds Find Digital Divide Persists for People with Disabilities
On 17 February 2011, via a Public Notice, the NTIA and the FCC unveiled the National Broadband Map along with an update to the Digital Nation report. The map depicts availability of higher speed Internet access, or broadband, for residential use, across the US and is searchable by zip code. The report said: "... Americans with disabilities are dramatically less likely to use broadband at home than the population without disabilities" and noted that 37.5 percent of people with disabilities did not have broadband at home compared to 68 percent of people without disabilities.
From Coataccess.com, February 28, 2011

USA: Federal Fraud as Healthy Workers Take Disability Paycheck
Federal disability -- about USD170 billion per year -- is intended for those with medical conditions so severe they can't work at any job. Today, so many people claim to fit that definition, 17.9 million people are getting checks.
From cbsnews.com, February 24, 2011

Canada: Disability Tax Credits Under Investigation
The Canada Revenue Agency suspects many Canadians may have received hefty tax refunds or credits for disabilities they or their family members don't have, CBC News and the Toronto Star have learned.
From cbc.ca, February 24, 2011

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