A senior US executive decided to offload millions

first_imgA senior US executive decided to offload millions of dollars-worth of stock in his own company, just two weeks after it began delivering the controversial UK government contract to assess disabled people’s fitness for work.Maximus took over the £595 million contract to provide hundreds of thousands of work capability assessments every year from the much-criticised outsourcing giant Atos on 2 March, but had been already working alongside Atos on the contract for several months.And just two weeks after taking over the contract, on 17 March, Maximus president Bruce Caswell submitted plans to sell 120,000 shares in the company over the next few months.There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of Caswell or Maximus, and the process is entirely legal according to US law, while Caswell is believed to continue to hold a substantial shareholding in Maximus.Maximus has made it clear that the timing of the sale was a “coincidence” but it is still likely to be an embarrassment to government ministers in the UK who had hoped the company would improve on the performance of Atos, which became a focus for angry protests after the tests were introduced in 2008 by the last Labour government.According to the schedule prepared for the US authorities by Caswell, 100,000 of these shares were stock options, originally awarded in 2005 and due to expire in October 2015 if he did not take advantage of the chance to buy them at a fixed price far below the current stock market valuation.But there was no reason why Caswell could not have kept hold of those shares once he had bought them.Instead, he told the US Securities and Exchange Commission that he planned to sell all 120,000 shares in stages over the following seven months. The sale is likely to have made him more than $5 million.It appears that the final 20,000 shares were sold on 7, 8 and 9 October – in line with the pre-agreed trading plan – just five weeks before the company announced its results for the financial year ending September 2015.Those results revealed that Maximus had so far made a $4 million loss on the WCA contract, leading to its share price falling 26 per cent in two days.In a presentation on the day the results were announced, 12 November, Caswell and other senior executives spent much of their time explaining why their performance on the WCA contract – which has seen Maximus missing targets for carrying out assessments – had been so much poorer than expected.They explained that Maximus had been finding it difficult to recruit enough doctors and nurses from the NHS willing to carry out the assessments.A Maximus spokesman said: “Executive share transactions can only take place during specified times during the year.“There is no opportunity for those disposing of shares to do so outside of these time periods.“This particular sale order was directed under a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 17 2015 which was over seven months ahead of our recent earnings announcement. “All executive share sales take place in strict accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission rules including those governing insider trading.”He stressed that it was “absolutely” just a coincidence that Caswell had filed the plan just two weeks after Maximus took over the contract from Atos.A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “We feel it is not appropriate for us to comment on this as it is a commercial issue for Maximus.”When Maximus took over the WCA contract, it was greeted with more than 30 protests across England, Scotland and Wales, with activists pointing to its lengthy record of discrimination, incompetence and alleged fraud in the US.They said then that the replacement of one “toxic” profit-seeking company with another would make no difference to those disabled people being assessed.Pictured: The entrance to Maximus’s London officeslast_img read more

A young autistic man was arrested and held in a po

first_imgA young autistic man was arrested and held in a police cell for nine hours without medical treatment after he was the victim of a vicious disability hate crime in a local park.Daniel Smith (pictured) was only finally able to clear his name last week after a six-month ordeal which saw him dragged through the criminal justice system.His family have now launched complaints against both Northamptonshire police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).Smith was enjoying a weekend visit to his family in Rushden, Northamptonshire, from his assisted living placement in Devon when he was set upon by a stranger and punched in the face and body.The attack last October appears to have been the result of some innocent remarks he made to a couple of teenage girls, one of whom had been taking pictures of him.One of the teenagers called her father, who arrived at the park because he wanted, he admitted to police later, to “sort him out for being weird” after being told – wrongly – that Smith was taking pictures of children in the park.Smith, who is 26, was left blooded and bruised and as he was making his way to report the assault to police, he was picked up by officers and arrested just yards from the station.He twice told Northamptonshire police that he was autistic, once when he was arrested and later after he had been placed in custody, but his family say it was “completely ignored” by officers.He apparently spent nine hours in a police cell, without medical treatment for his injuries, even though he told officers he had just been defending himself against “the bullies”, while they made no attempt to contact his family to tell them where he was.They also ignored the photographs he had taken of the two local men who were responsible for the attack, and failed to notice that there were no photographs of children on his phone, say his family.The case has disturbing echoes of the case of Bijan Ebrahimi, a disabled man from Bristol, who was murdered in 2013, again following claims that he had been taking photographs of local children.When Ebrahimi asked the police for help to protect him from the man who went on to murder him, he was himself arrested.There are many notorious cases in which disabled people have been wrongly labelled as paedophiles, before being subjected to vicious beatings and sometimes even killed.Smith was charged with two counts of assault by beating, but was only cleared by Corby magistrates of the offences last week, after they accepted that he had been acting in self-defence.His family have lodged a complaint, which is now – following the end of the court case – being examined by the professional standards department of Northamptonshire police.CPS is also investigating a complaint from the family.Daniel’s father Owen described the police’s behaviour as “archaic, bullying, cruel, unintelligent and inept”.He said his son had required help from his family every day since the attack, and had experienced “meltdowns, illnesses, screaming and vomiting”.He said he now had a son who was “scared to visit me because he is petrified of his attackers; a son who will never trust a policeman again; a son who will never go to a park again; a son who is still suicidal and is receiving psychological counselling”.He said: “Our main concern is that this was either missed by multiple officers through incompetence or laziness, or it was simply ignored because they didn’t like the look of my disabled son, judging him on face value.”He added: “I despise our system for punishing my son this way. He’s suffered brutal psychological punishment from the police for doing absolutely nothing wrong.”Stephen Brookes, a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, said: “While we haven’t got the full detailed report of the case, the fact is that once again a police force has shown itself to have fallen well short of acceptable standards in dealing with disabled people.“The fact that a few police officers appear to have ignored Smith telling them he was autistic is nothing less than scandalous particularly when we have seen far too many cases in which disabled people have been unjustly accused of being the criminal before being subjected to vicious beatings.“In this case, his being inappropriately held in cells without family contact needs full investigation.“We are also equally concerned at the fact that the CPS, who are generally doing a lot of good work in setting better standards for dealing with disabled people in the criminal justice system, seem to have completely failed to ask the right questions.”He said CPS also appeared to have failed to realise that Smith had himself been the victim of a disability hate crime, and added: “We will be taking this element of the case up with our contacts at a high level within the CPS to find out exactly what went wrong.”A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire police said: “We can confirm that a complaint has been received by the professional standards department.“This is now a live investigation, and as such it would be inappropriate to discuss further details about the case at this stage.”A CPS spokeswoman confirmed the complaint had been made, and said: “The CPS carefully reviewed this case and decided there was sufficient evidence to bring the case to court, to allow a court to determine whether an assault took place and whether the defendant was culpable.“It is not for the CPS to determine the guilt or innocence of a suspect, but to bring cases to court which meet the code for crown prosecutors.“All cases are kept under constant review as they progress through the criminal justice system.”Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset police have sacked two police officers after completing the misconduct hearings that followed Bijan Ebrahimi’s murder.PC Leanne Winter and PC Helen Harris were dismissed without notice.In February, two other members of police staff, police constable Kevin Duffy and community support officer Andrew Passmore, were jailed – and sacked – after being convicted of misconduct in public office.Four more officers and police staff have been given final written warnings, although two are appealing, while two police sergeants have been given “performance advice”, two police staff have been handed verbal warnings, and two given “management advice”.Now the force’s misconduct hearings have ended, IPCC will publish two reports, one covering the events that took place in the weekend leading up to Ebrahimi’s murder in July 2013, and another examining “dozens” of contacts he had with the force over the preceding six years.IPCC said it intended to publish the reports “in the near future”.last_img read more

The Department for Work and Pensions DWP has fin

first_imgThe Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has finally agreed to pay compensation to two disabled men who saw their benefits drastically reduced when they were forced onto the new universal credit.The high court had ruled in June that DWP unlawfully discriminated against the two men, known as TP and AR for legal reasons, under the European Convention on Human Rights.But DWP forced their lawyers to another court hearing to prove the losses they experienced.An agreement announced this week meant the full hearing did not need to take place, with each of the men now set to receive thousands of pounds in compensation.But DWP is still appealing the finding of discrimination.TP had been forced to move to an area where universal credit had been rolled out so he could access specialist healthcare, following a diagnosis of end stage non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer.AR had also had to move to a universal credit “full service” area, in his case because the imposition of the bedroom tax meant his previous home was unaffordable.Before moving, both men had received the severe disability premium (SDP) and enhanced disability premium (EDP) on top of employment and support allowance.SDP and EDP are aimed at meeting the additional care needs of disabled people with high support needs who live alone with no carer, but these premiums are being scrapped under universal credit.When they moved home, both men were advised by DWP staff that their benefits would not change, but each of them saw their income drop by about £178 a month when they were moved onto universal credit. They were told government policy was that no top-up “transitional protection” payments would be paid for disabled people in their position until July 2019, when the so-called “managed migration” of those on “legacy benefits” like ESA onto universal credit begins.Transitional protection should mean that those with existing premiums who are moved over to universal credit, as long as it is part of managed migration, should not see their benefits reduced, as long as their circumstances remain the same.TP said in a witness statement: “The constant money worries have made me more isolated and more depressed; both because of my social isolation and because of the anxiety.“The stem-cell transplant and chemotherapy was very gruelling and the anxiety around my finances and universal credit has made it all a lot worse.”AR said: “Since moving from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool, with the consequent reduction in my benefits, my quality of life and my happiness has markedly reduced.“Not seeing my family regularly contributes to my depressive/manic cycle. If you are isolated it means that you spiral further into a depressive cycle.”TP will now receive £3,277 for past financial losses and £3,240 for the pain and distress he has been caused, as well as £173.50 a month to cover the shortfall in his benefits pending transitional protection coming into force.AR will receive £2,108 for past financial losses and £2,680 for the anxiety and distress he was caused, as well as a monthly payment of £176 to make up the shortfall in his benefits.DWP had initially attempted to keep the terms of the agreement secret.Ariane Sacco, from the disabled women’s organisation WinVisible, said AR and TP “should never have been put through this loss of benefit”.She said: “The compensation amount seems small for the stress, anxiety and deprivation they suffered, in Mr P’s case, while undergoing chemotherapy.“Immediately after the judge’s ruling in June, the cruel DWP asked to appeal the judgement, then they had to be pressured with another court hearing to settle compensation, then wanted it kept secret.”She said work and pensions secretary Esther McVey and DWP were “continuously battling and undermining” disabled people’s successful court victories, “but all of us who support the legal challenges are determined to fight for what people need.“More and more is coming out about how universal credit creates poverty, eviction, destitution – including from DWP staff speaking out, and from official agencies.”Sacco said that mothers and children were “particularly hit by the harsh and bureaucratic universal credit regime, computerisation, delayed payments, the two-child limit and loss of income support premiums.  “There is a growing movement for universal credit to be stopped and scrapped.”Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said: “This again demonstrates the government’s mistreatment of disabled people.“These men were assured by the government that they wouldn’t lose out on universal credit but they were left thousands of pounds out of pocket, which severely impacted on their wellbeing.“Esther McVey should now compensate all those who lost out, reverse cuts to transitional protection, and withdraw her appeal against the original finding of discrimination.“The government must also stop the roll out of universal credit and fix its fundamental flaws.“The next Labour government will transform our social security system, ensuring it is there to support disabled people to live independently and with dignity.”Tessa Gregory, from the law firm Leigh Day, who represented AR and TP, welcomed the financial settlements.But she called on McVey to compensate all other claimants in similar positions, and to reconsider her decision to appeal the finding of discrimination.She said AR and TP had called on McVey to “urgently” reconsider draft regulations which currently only compensate disabled people in their position with a flat rate payment of £80 a month.Gregory said: “This plainly does not reflect the actual loss suffered by our clients and thousands like them and compounds the unlawful treatment to which they have been subjected.”DWP refused to answer a series of questions about the case, including how many disabled people it believed had so far lost out on EDP and SDP in the move to universal credit, and whether McVey would reconsider her decision to compensate others in the same position as AR and TP by only £80 a month.But a DWP spokesman said: “The government is appealing the decision of the judicial review, but in the interim we have agreed to make payments to the lead claimants.”Figures published by DWP suggest that, in February this year, there were 4,000 SDP claimants and 14,000 EDP claimants (including 3,000 who received both EDP and SDP) who have been moved onto universal credit.DWP has previously said it will stop moving claimants of SDP onto universal credit until the introduction of transitional protection next year, while all those who have already lost out through such a move will receive some backdated payments.But it has not offered them the full compensation agreed with AR and TP and there has been no mention so far of claimants who previously received EDP but not SDP before their move onto universal credit.And DWP has still not been able to explain how it justifies not providing equivalent levels of support to new disabled claimants of universal credit, who will receive lower payments than those transferred onto universal credit from legacy benefits such as income-related ESA.DNS has been forced to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office about DWP’s refusal to offer a detailed description of how the introduction of universal credit – and the loss of the premiums – will impact disabled people financially. A note from the editor:For nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring, and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Photo Essay Dyke March 2019 — a sunny demonstration in dark times

first_imgPhoto by Samuele Marro.Photo by Samuele Marro.Photo by Samuele Marro.Photo by Samuele Marro.Photo by Samuele Marro. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Photo by Samuele Marro.Photo by Samuele Marro.Photo by Samuele Marro.Photo by Samuele Marro.center_img Email Addresslast_img

Brunswick County man charged in decade old child sex assault

first_imgSteven Curtis Pryor (Photo: Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County man is accused of sexually assaulting a child.Steven Curtis Pryor, 59, of Cottonwood Trail near Leland, is charged with first degree sex offense of a child and first degree rape.- Advertisement – According to the arrest warrant, the alleged crimes happened from June 1 to July 2, 2008.Warrants state Pryor engaged in a sex offense with a child who was under the age of 13 at the time.Pryor is in the Brunswick County Detention Center under a $750,000 bond.last_img read more

Full Court Press Team of the Week Topsail girls basketball

first_imgHAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY)– Topsail girls basketball has just one loss in their past eight games, and that was to the conference leading Laney Buccaneers. Since the loss back on January 8 the Pirates have rattled off four straights win, and it comes with having a one-game-at-a-time mentality.“We practice a lot and focus on the game ahead and don’t look forward to the upcoming games,” Pirate junior Julia Sullivan said.- Advertisement – The key to the Pirates’ success on the offensive end has come with a balanced scoring attack. Topsail has six different players who average at least 5.0 points a game, led by Sullivan at 9.5 PPG.“It’s never like, ‘OK, Lauren, you’re going to score tonight,’ or, ‘Julia you’re going to score.’ It is whoever gets hot. Our goal is let’s just do what works,” Topsail captain Lauren Caveness said.With their recent hot streak Topsail finds themselves with one of their better records in the past few seasons. The Pirates sit at 14-4 overall with a 6-2 record in Mideastern Conference play. One of the biggest reasons for their success can be credited to their nine upperclassmen.Related Article: Full Court Press : December 7, 2018“Were just so used to each other, and like no one is really new. We’ve all been playing together for years. So we have chemistry and its just all good,” Pirate senior Dashaniq Sidbury said.Topsail picked up their latest win over the New Hanover Wildcats on Tuesday night setting them up in a good position to claim the 3A side of the MEC. The team says that playing in such a tough conference has them prepared to head into the postseason.“We are going to face some really good teams like we do every week in conference. I think our conference prepares us for the playoffs. So we will be very battled tested when we go into the playoffs. We just have to compete and see what happens,” Topsail head coach Jay Kapiko said.The Pirates will put their four game winning streak on the line on Friday night when they host the Hoggard Vikings. Hoggard won the first meeting between the two teams 44-30 back on December 14.last_img read more

Minister visits restoration works on St Francis Lunette fortifications

first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici visits the Floriana Fortifications at the start of restoration works-Floriana Fortifications, Floriana-29-4-19DOI – Kevin AbelaMinister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici visits the Floriana Fortifications at the start of restoration works-Floriana Fortifications, Floriana-29-4-19DOI – Kevin Abela The Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici, today visited another key restoration project taking place on Malta’s fortifications.Today’s visit involved the St Francis Lunette, part of the fortifications which make up the Floriana Grand Harbour Fortifications.Works are being carried out to repair damage and deterioration of the masonry and stonework from sea spray and biological attacks.Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici visits the Floriana Fortifications at the start of restoration works-Floriana Fortifications, Floriana-29-4-19DOI – Kevin AbelaIt is understood that the fortifications which date back to the 17th Century, are being restored using €100,000 supplied to the Restoration Directorate.This is just one of the 71 restoration projects currently being carried out by the authority, the Minister explained.‘This is yet another much needed project which will see to the looking after of our tangible heritage,” said Minister Bonnici. “As part of our strategy, we aim to further make our heritage more accessible, especially since this forms an integral part of our identity as a country and through such interventions we are making sure that this is possible. The Restoration Directorate is currently undergoing 71 restoration projects, an impressive feat to further reinforce this well-loved sector, which in turn guarantees more appreciation from members of the community, towards our heritage,’WhatsApplast_img read more

Amazon Petitions FAA Over Prime Air Drones

first_imgAdvertisement Amazon has petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for exemption from rules barring it from testing it’s drones in the United States.The online shopping company made waves recently by showing off small unmanned aircraft that it claims will be able to deliver parcels to consumers in 30 minutes. The drone delivery service, called Prime Air, could greatly speed up Amazon’s delivery times, creating a competitive advantage for it over other digital marketplaces and lowering the time-threshold advantage that traditional stores still enjoy over their online competition.Amazon’s plans are not small. – Advertisement – “One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation,” the company adds. It asks for the exemption so that it can be ready to launch its drones when the legal framework is in place for it to do so.The drones, it claims, are on their eight and ninth generation, and can fly up to 50 miles per hour.The FAA is currently testing drones at a number of locations in the United States, but has come under criticism that its work has been too slow thus far to meet set targets. If true, the FAA could in fact retard the growth of the drone industry, something that Amazon obviously thinks will be large.Why is there foot-dragging about drones? There are rules in place that allow hobbyists to have fun, of course, but commercial use has been frowned on by the government for some time. You can understand their concerns: The FAA is tasked with keeping the skies safe. What happens when a drone accidentally flies into a commercial air pattern and takes out the cockpit window and a few hundred people. That’s a dire hypothetical, but you get the drift.I’d love to lay wagers on what major technology company is the second into drone technology on Amazon’s scale. Microsoft probably has something in the lab. Google is more focused on cars, and Apple? Well, I don’t see that happening.Also, when will the first drone-first e-commerce company launch to take on Amazon. And finally, how much venture capital money will be expended in whatever becomes the drone sector rat-race to become Big Drone.Let’s hope it’s not the next clean tech.Source TechCrunchlast_img read more

Game of Thrones Season 5 Leaked Online

first_imgAdvertisement The first four episodes of Season 5 have been leaked online a day before its official release.The copies were first spotted on IPTorrents, but then made their way to The Pirate Bay, RARBG and KickassTorrents.The US TV network has yet to comment on the pirated episodes. – Advertisement – Details to follow:last_img

The Huawei P8 now on sale in Uganda

first_imgAdvertisement Huawei’s latest masterpiece, the P8 smart phone is now on sale in Uganda.Kampala is the latest destination in a worldwide tour that has included destinations like South Africa, Bangkok, Singapore, New York and London.‘With P8, Huawei set out to create the embodiment of beauty:  the perfect balance between science and technology; creativity (fashion and artistic achievement); and the human need for a highly intuitive and user-friendly interface’, says Mr. Sam C. Ayo, the device service manager Huawei Uganda. – Advertisement – Running on the latest Android OS 5.0, Huawei has introduced a new philosophy for camera design. The LTE Compatible P8 is optimized for low light and high contrast; the best light painting camera Smartphone ever.  Other cool features in this new gadget includes Best in class optical image stabilization during HD photos/video shootings and The industry’s first professional-level video capture function, which allows the P8 user to direct and control up to three other Android phones when shooting a video scene from four angles simultaneously, and also to instant video clip editing.The Huawei P.8 is now on sale at Simba Telecom, Banana phone world shops, Nilecom and Go phones in Kampala among others.last_img read more