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I’m a DWP call handler and have no time to care about your disability claim

A woman in a telephone headset at a call centre.

I don’t know what happens when I send a claim off, so I can’t answer questions about what happens next. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

This morning I spoke to a cancer patient, a woman with kidney failure, and a young man who had just lost the mother of his children. Each of them thought I was trying to help them. I wasn’t really though, because helping them would take longer than 23 minutes.

Twenty three minutes is how long it should take me to help you make a benefit claim, according to my bosses. I work in a Department for Work and Pensions contact centre and take calls from people who are at their lowest point.

These are people who need my help to navigate the complex claims system so that they can get a meagre payout. They’re often vulnerable and desperate by the time they reach me. My job is to fill in a new claim form for employment and support allowance based on the information people give me and then send that form off to the benefit centre where the claim is processed.

The headset beeps and I launch into my scripted greeting. The caller wants to tell me about her recent cancer diagnosis, what type it is, what the treatment will be, the reasons her employer has given for not offering sick pay. But I don’t have time to listen to her story. “I’m afraid we need to stick to yes or no answers” I say, and I feel horrible because this poor woman wants to tell someone about this huge awful thing that’s happening to her, she wants a friendly listener to make her feel reassured that she will at least get financial help.

But for me, the only thing that’s really important is how long each call takes. We are measured on our average handling time (known as AHT) and if this slips beyond 23 minutes per call we face performance management, which is code for “you’ll get in trouble”. This involves anything from stern words and increased micro-management from your line manager right up to written warnings and dismissal.

full story at:The Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRISON SENTENCES FOR MAURITANIAN ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVISTS A ‘DEVASTATING BLOW’ FOR THE MOVEMENT

Mauritania

In Mauritania, despite the government reporting otherwise, slavery still exists. Haratine people – a group known to be the descendants of slaves – even if no longer in slavery, face widespread discrimination.

Anti-Slavery International said today that imprisoning anti-slavery activists is a ‘devastating blow’ for the Mauritanian human rights movement, and exposes the Government’s pledges to address slavery as a farce.

Thirteen leading anti-slavery activists from the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison yesterday. They were charged after a protest in late June in an impoverished neighbourhood against the forced relocation of the community in preparation for the Arab League Summit. However, none of the thirteen activists, nor IRA, had organised the protest or taken part in it.

Sarah Mathewson, Africa Programme Manager at Anti-Slavery International, said:

“The sentences are a devastating blow to the Mauritanian anti-slavery movement. They are clearly being targeted by the Government for their work to expose and denounce slavery, still commonplace in the country.

“The charges are highly politically motivated and expose the Government’s pledges to address slavery as a farce.

“It is outrageous that anti-slavery activists are targeted and prosecuted for their work, while slave-owners perpetrate crimes with impunity.

“The international community must join together to call for the unconditional release of the activists and dropping all the charges.”

Background:

Mauritania is one of the last countries where people are still born into slavery and literally owned by their masters, facing a lifetime of abuse and forced labour. They can be bought and sold, given as gifts and are at complete mercy of their masters. Women are commonly raped and forced to bear their masters’ children, who in turn also become their slaves. Haratine people –a group known to be the descendants of slaves – even if no longer in slavery, face widespread discrimination.

Mauritania has long been under national and international pressure to enforce the law, but most anti-slavery initiatives so far have proved to be empty promises.

Although last year’s new anti-slavery law offered some hope, the Government continues to target anti-slavery activists and even refuses to acknowledge the existence of slavery in the country.

To date Anti-Slavery International and its national partners achieved the only two prosecutions for slavery in the country’s history, but the slave-owners received very lenient sentences. At least 30 other cases have remained pending for years in courts or prosecutors’ offices.

Note to Editors:
For more information and to arrange interviews please contact Anti-Slavery International Press and Digital Media Manager Jakub Sobik on 07789 936 383 or at j.sobik@antislavery.org.

source:Anti-Slavery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hollywood Blacklist Penelope Cruz Over Her Support Of Palestine

Hollywood elite blacklist Penelope Cruz over her support for Palestine

Actress Penelope Cruz has been blacklisted by the Hollywood elite over a row surrounding her support of Palestine.

 Crus and husband Javier Bardem are being snubbed by Hollywood producers following a letter in which they pledged to expose the brutal Israeli regime and its genocide against the Palestinian people.

Ibtimes.co.uk reports:

The letter accused Israel of “advancing on Palestinian territories instead of withdrawing to the 1967 borders.

“Gaza is living through horror… while the international community does nothing.”

 The Spanish letter was signed by 100 leading figures in the film industry, including director Pedro Almodovar.

One top producer who has worked with Cruz says he privately has vowed not to hire her again, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

 Another top Hollywood executive also privately expressed his disapproval, saying he’s “furious at Javier and Penelope” and wasn’t sure about working with the Spanish couple again.

Relativity Media chief executive Ryan Kavanaugh was the only studio head willing to go public with his views: “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that anyone calling what’s going on in Israel ‘genocide’ vs. self-defense is either ignorant and shouldn’t be commenting or is truly anti-Semitic.”

However, Kavanaugh doesn’t believe the letter will harm either of the actors’ careers as long as their films are box office hits.

As one film producer explained: “I think the thing any executive or producer will try to calculate before working with Penelope Cruz or Javier Bardem in the near future is what their value is in the all-important international marketplace. And what territories they might have alienated people in by what they said. It might not be that many. But it’s really all about business.”

Other Hollywood big names have waded into the controversy, including comedian Joan Rivers. When quizzed by a TMZ reporter on her thoughts about the 2,000 Palestinians who have so far been killed, she said: “Oh my God! Tell that to the people in Hiroshima.

“Good. Good. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead, you deserve to be dead. Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that.

“They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with low IQs.”

source :YourNewsWire.com

 

 

 

 

 

Artivist Jil Love Tackles Chemtrails, Vaccines and Animal Rights

jil_love_revolution

By Brandon Turbeville

Jil Love did not invent the concept of artivism but she is re-inventing it in a number of ways. For those who may be unaware, artivism is a unique brand of art that combines activism and art (art + activism equals artivism).

Many artists have used graffiti, stencils, street art, spoken word and other more traditional forms of combining the two. However, Love is not only combining aesthetics and protest, she’s adding an element of performance that brings the art to the audience rather than requiring the audience to find the art.

Tackling such issues as the genocide of Palestinians, animal rights, bull fighting, vaccines and even chemtrails, Love’s work is thought-provoking and often controversial to say the least.

Over the last three years, Love has strived to create a social movement and out of that desire she launched her project Jil Love Revolution which has garnered attention worldwide.

Having caught the attention of the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Nation of Change and True Activist, Love has brought her perspective and her method of artistic passive resistance to thousands across the world.

Love has been outspoken against animal cruelty and for animal rights in general. A native of Spain, Love has also used her art to speak out against bullfighting; a shameful Spanish practice of enraging, torturing and subsequently killing a bull for the entertainment of spectators.

Stop Bullfighting

Jilloverevolution.com, Photo credit: Yolanda Ylalonso

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Jilloverevolution.com, Photo credit: Evel Gonzalez.

In 2014 Love stated:

I’m here to speak against this cruel and savage Spanish old tradition of the torture, sacrifice and killing of innocent bulls and their babies as an amusement event in the Spanish culture. We are in 2014 and Spain can not be considered a modern European country with this kind of tradition which are more a part of an old and dark age.

Love has protested bullfighting on a number of occasions but perhaps one of the most effective and visual was when she took her art to the streets of Madrid. Lying on the street covered in fake blood, Love, completely nude, drew the attention of onlookers to her signs that read: “Murdered by bullfighters in Spain” and “Do you think this image is outrageous? Spain is different.”

Love recalls a famous Gandhi quote when she says, “the greatness of a nation will be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

read more :Artivist Jil Love Tackles Chemtrails, Vaccines and Animal Rights

 

 

 

 

 

protest songs

Protest songs

‘Humiliated, isolated’: Over 1.25mn destitute in 21st century Britain

© Andrew Winning

In a climate of unyielding austerity, more than a million people across the UK are so impoverished they don’t have enough food, clothes, heating, shelter and toiletries, Britain’s first study into destitution has revealed.

The report, which was commissioned by UK charity the Joseph Rowntree Trust (JRT), used a new method to measure the scale of extreme poverty in Britain.

At present, there are no official government estimates of the level of destitution across the UK. But amid growing concern that extreme poverty is on the rise, the JRF commissioned a special report to investigate the matter.

The study was conducted by academics at Herriot-Watt University, a range of other experts and a number of key UK service providers. It took two years to complete, and was published on Wednesday.

It found that a startling 1.25 million people were destitute during 2015, 312,000 of whom were children. Some 80 percent of these were born in Britain.

While young, single citizens – especially men – were found to be more likely to suffer from extreme poverty, considerable numbers of families were also found to have suffered destitution.

Most severe form of poverty

Destitution is defined as the “most severe form of poverty in the UK,” which leaves people in such financial jeopardy they are unable to afford vital essentials such as food, toiletries and heating.

In order to discern whether an impoverished person can be defined as destitute, the report’s authors said they must lack two or more essentials deemed vital for basic living over a four-week period.

People who fell into this category included: those who had been forced to sleep rough; had no meal or just one per day over a period of 48 hours or longer; were unable to heat or light their home adequately for five or more days, and lacked weather-proof clothes or had to go without basic toiletries.

No central cause for destitution was uncovered. However, the majority who fell into this category had been impoverished for some time and had arrived at a tipping point that plunged them deeper into financial woe. Key drivers in this respect were spiraling financial costs of ill health, soaring rental and property prices, joblessness, and financial shocks such a delays or sanctions to benefit payments.

Areas rife with destitution

High rates of destitution were uncovered in ex-industrial areas across the northwest and northeast of England, Scotland, South Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as in inner-city London.
Unemployment was rife in these regions, while rates of long-term sickness and disability were also found to be above average.

In-depth interviews with 80 destitute citizens revealed that 30 percent had had their benefits sanctioned. Over 50 percent of this group made a direct link between being stripped of welfare payments and failing to meet the cost of basic living essentials.

Director of the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University, Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, who was a key author of the report, said destitution severely impacts peoples’ physical and mental health.

“The people we spoke to told us they felt humiliated that they couldn’t afford basic essentials without help. Many said that this affected their relationships and left them socially isolated,” she said.

“This report has shown that destitution is intrinsically linked to long-term poverty, with many people forced into destitution by high costs, unaffordable bills or a financial shock such as a benefit sanction or delay. More co-ordinated debt-collection practices, particularly from DWP, local councils and utility companies, could help to avoid small debts tipping people in to destitution.”

Chief Executive of the JRT Julia Unwin said the number of people living in destitution across the UK is shocking.

“It is simply unacceptable to see such levels of severe poverty in our country in the 21st Century,” she said.

“Governments of all stripes have failed to protect people at the bottom of the income scale from the effects of severe poverty, leaving many unable to feed, clothe or house themselves and their families.”

Unwin said that tackling many of the root causes of destitution would be difficult.

“Many people affected are living on a very low income before they are no longer able to make their incomes stretch, or a financial shock like a benefit delay or family breakdown pushes them over the edge into destitution. We have to tackle these root causes,” she said.

“Government, businesses and communities need to work together to provide better emergency support, make basic essentials more affordable and create better jobs if we are to end destitution in the UK.”

Calls for reform

The report’s authors identified those who were destitute by surveying people who relied on charitable crisis services such as foodbanks, debt advice groups, homelessness groups, and key services for migrants. Samples were taken from nine areas across the UK over a seven-day period in 2015.

This did not factor in those who only received help from councils or state programs, or those who found themselves in deep financial crisis, but did not seek assistance. As a result, the report estimates the true number of people living in destitution in Britain is likely “significantly higher” that 1.25 million.

JRF is calling on Britain’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) to start officially monitoring the number of destitute people across the nation. The group argues government policy, the UK’s business sector, and local communities must work in unison to offer better support to people in the throes of acute financial crisis.

In particular, it is calling for the government to address Britain’s housing problem and the biggest rise of precarious, low-paying work seen since 2010.

Source RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Invade Next ( 2016 )

Where to Invade Next: To learn what the USA can learn from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.

I am not a great fan of his documentaries but this one is pretty good,with a sense of humor.

“Bloody crazy”: River near fracking site bursts into flames in Australia (VIDEO)

This is for all the people that think fracking is a good idea.This is a video of a river being set on fire near a fracking site!

A Queensland river near a fracking site exploded into flames after a coal seam gas (CSP) protester sparked a kitchen lighter above the water surface.
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham uploaded dramatic footage of the river ablaze to his website and social media accounts to highlight his party’s concerns about fracking and the extraction of coal seam gas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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