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India: Heritage Monuments to Become Disabled-Friendly
The Government has approved a grant of Rs 5 crore to the Archaeological Survey of India (A.S.I.) to make five of its World Heritage Sites and 25 other ticketed monuments accessible to disabled people. The monuments for which accessibility has been sanctioned are: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Sun Temple at Konark and Jama Masjid Champner-Pavgarh in Gujarat. Some of the ticketed monuments for which accessibility has been sanctioned are: Charminar, Golconda Fort, Nagarjunakonda, Sun Temple in Gujarat, Laxman Temple in Chhattisgarh and some temples in Bhubaneswar. The funds released by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (M.S.J.E.) will be used to undertake the works for making access pathways, ramps, accessible toilets, tactile maps, Braille signage, and modifications in ticket counters, etc.
From www.dnis.org, March 15, 2011

Australia: National Disability Strategy endorsed by COAG
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) recently endorsed the National Disability Strategy, helping to ensure people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians. It's the first time in Australian history that all levels of government have committed to a strategy of this nature. The Strategy addresses the barriers faced by people with disability and sets out a 10 year plan to ensure mainstream services and programs, including healthcare, housing, transport and education, address the needs of people with disability. The Strategy is the result of a large, nation-wide, public consultation process, with more than 2,500 people with disability and their carers having their say. The National Disability Strategy is available at COAG website.
From www.fahcsia.gov.au, March 14, 2011

Video: iPhone App That Reads Currency, Blind Users Cheer
LookTel Money Reader instantly recognizes US currency and speaks the denomination, enabling people with visual impairments or blindness to quickly and easily identify and count bills. Simply point your iPhone's camera at any US bill and the application will tell you the denomination in real-time. It supports USD1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 bills.
From looktel.com, March 11, 2011

Emergency Access Advisory Committee to Meet March 11 at FCC
The FCC has announced the next meeting of the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC), scheduled for Friday March 11, 2011, at the FCC. Many COAT affiliates have representatives on this critical committee, which is looking at several issues concerned with implementation of the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010.
From http://www.coataccess.org/, March 11, 2011

UK Charity RNIB Launches Campaign for Book Accessibility
To mark World Book Day on 3 March, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched an online campaign to raise awareness of the large number of books that are inaccessible to the blind and vision impaired, particularly children. The UK charity and provider of audio, braille and large-print books has named it the “I’d miss…” campaign, encouraging people to consider the children’s stories that they would have missed had they been unavailable. According to RNIB, less than 5 percent of books are available in braille, audio and large print.
From mediaaccess.org.au, March 07, 2011

UK Government Open Standards Survey
Please complete the survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/UKGovOpenStandards. The survey ends on 20 May 2011.
From cabinetoffice.gov.uk, March 07, 2011

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped To Celebrate Its 80th Anniversary
On 3 March 2011, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)—the Library of Congress’ talking-book and braille program—will celebrate 80 years of helping visually impaired and physically handicapped individuals enjoy reading their favorite books and magazines. This free library program brings reading materials in digital audio and braille formats straight to the homes of patrons from preschoolers to centenarians. Books on digital cartridge, digital talking-book players and braille books are sent to patrons via the US mail at no cost to users. People who sign up with the program also have the option of downloading books and magazines over the Internet in audio or braille format.
From www.loc.gov/, March 07, 2011

Health Services Are Failing Deaf Children With Additional Complex Needs
Susan Daniels, chief executive of the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) at the University of Manchester, which funded the Complex Needs, Complex Challenges report, said: "We are alarmed by the findings of this research, which shows services are not geared up to support or care for children who are deaf and have other disabilities."
From www.disabilitywales.org, March 07, 2011

Top Prosecutor Signals Crack Down on Disability Hate Crime
Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, warned name calling, mimicking and bullying of disabled people are all crimes but not enough victims realise. He urged more to come forward with reports of abuse and called on society to change its attitude and stop dismissing such attacks as "routine”.
From telegraph.co.uk, March 07, 2011

USA: St Paul International Airport Introduces Visual Paging Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Customers
Minneapolis: Here’s how it works. When an audio page is made from the airport’s Information and Paging Office, that same message is posted in text form for travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Each message paged from the office scrolls across the bottom of the weather screens - co-located with the airport’s flight information displays - and is simultaneously posted to a “paging history” screen located at each of the airport’s information booths. The scrolling messages continue for several minutes, while the historical messages typically stay visible for several hours following the original page.
From businesswire.com, March 03, 2011

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