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Geneva: Negotiators Set to Finalize New Treaty Improving Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons
Hundreds of negotiators representing countries around the world will gather later this month to work on finalizing a new international treaty to ease access to books for blind, visually impaired, and other print disabled people. Between June 18-28, 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will convene the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, which will be hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco at the Palais des Congres in Marrakesh.
From http://www.ag-ip-news.com/news.aspx?id=29776&lang=en, June 18, 2013

UK: Awareness of Audio Description on TV Almost Doubles in Five Years
When audio description is switched on, the viewer can hear a narrator describe on-screen action, body language and facial expressions for the benefit of people with visual impairments. Audio description, which is fitted in between dialogue, is available on 10% to 20% of programming on 70 TV channels in the UK. Most modern television receivers and set top boxes now enable audio description, but research carried out in 2008 found that only 37% of adults were aware of the service.
From http://www.abilitymagazine.org.uk/Articles/Article-279-3.aspx, June 17, 2013

USA: M-Enabling Summit 2013 Advances Accessible Technology
So many people from the COAT community either attended or participated at the recent M-Enabling Summit 2013 held at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel June 6-7, 2013 in Arlington, VA that listing everybody runs the risk of leaving someone out! According to the conference organizers, there were over 450 attendees and 147 speakers participating in over thirty sessions focused on diverse topics. The aim of the conference was to promote wireless (or mobile) accessible and assistive applications and services for seniors and for people with disabilities. Topics addressed included operating systems, handsets, and tablets amid discussion of issues such as banking, outreach, education, the status of regulations and implementation of the 21st CVAA, and all the ways how independence and empowerment can be advanced by these new technologies, if accessible (e.g., in gaming, transportation).
From http://www.coataccess.org/node/10148, June 17, 2013

WIPO Treaty: The Case of the Treaty for the Visually Impaired
To what extent can global intellectual property rules address in an effective manner the needs of the most vulnerable members of society? This is the key question facing member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as they prepare to meet next week for a diplomatic conference, in Marrakesh, that might result in the adoption of a treaty to facilitate access to copyrighted works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities.
From http://infojustice.org/archives/29925, June 17, 2013

M-Enabling Summit Drives Home Point that Digital Technology Should Be Born Accessible
The M-Enabling Summit 2013 in the D.C. area June 6-7 drove home a significant point about people with disabilities and new technology in the modern era: In the digital age, technology should be born accessible. As Betsy Beaumon, a representative of Bookshare, the digital library for people with print disabilities, said, “No more excuses!”. The two-day M-Enabling Summit was “a joint initiative of the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and E.J. Krause & Associates (EJK) to promote mobile accessible and assistive applications and services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities leveraging the latest operating systems, handsets and tablets based technologies.”
From http://media-dis-n-dat.blogspot.in/2013/06/m-enabling-summit-drives-home-point.html, June 16, 2013

Hope in India as Mandatory Access For People with Disability Takes Shape
In the developed countries, it is taken for granted that there is universal access for the disabled and physically challenged person, but not so in developing countries, so it was hailed as historic when the Medical Council of India (MCI) recently asked all medical institutions in India to be disabled-friendly and submit a compliance report as soon as possible.
From http://www.indiaamericatoday.com/article/hope-india-mandatory-access-people-disability-takes-shape#sthash.714LE1xI.dpuf, June 14, 2013

USA: People With Disabilities Face 13.4% Unemployment Rate
An improving economy is helping lower the unemployment rate for people with disabilities, though the job market remains tough for the deaf, blind and others with physical or mental conditions. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities fell to 13.4% last year from 15.0% in 2011, the Labor Department said in a report released Wednesday. By comparison, the unemployment rate for people without a disability was 7.9% in 2012, down from 8.7% a year earlier.
From http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/06/12/people-with-disabilities-face-13-4-unemployment-rate/, June 14, 2013

International Disability Alliance Becomes a Legal Entity
On June 7, 2013 the constitutive General Assembly of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) was held in Geneva. Twelve member organizations (see the full list on top of the page) joined today to establish the new legally incorporated International Disability Alliance. The legal incorporation of IDA is an important decision which will strengthen the organization, its members and will result in a better respect and protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities worldwide.
From www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/en, June 13, 2013

Bionic Eye Promises Vision for the Blind
World-leading technology that could help restore vision to a large number of Australia's 45,000 blind people is set to emerge from a Melbourne university. The Monash Vision system, developed by a team of 60 at Monash University, allows blind users to make out objects and other people with the aid of a brain implant that connects wirelessly to a camera which can be housed in a pair of glasses or even on the end of the user's finger.
From http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/07/bionic-eye-vision-for-blind, June 13, 2013

IBM Research Raises the Bar on Accessibility
I consider myself lucky to attend a number of conferences specific to blindness, visual impairment, and technology. Well, at the 2013 AFB Leadership Conference, IBM Research just raised the bar for accessibility in my eyes. The innovative work they're doing to create accessibility options for educational videos got me out of my seat. I feel like I am now an IBM Research groupie. The work that Chieko Asakawa, Hiro Takagi, and Peter Fay presented on during the preconference and general conference is making video description and captioning for video content a realistic option for large amounts of video.
From http://www.afb.org/blog.aspx?BlogID=7&BlogEntryID=714, June 12, 2013

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