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It is good that Maija is realising her dream and acknowledged the barriers before her to which she managed to overcome.

Modeling is not an easy experience for anyone, but even with all her additional barriers Maija came through.

I wish her well for the future.

Same Difference

When a mixed-race girl with Down’s syndrome sat down to watch Finland’s Next Top Model, it might have seemed a distant world. But for Maija Mattila, it started the dream that changed her life.

Maija watched in awe as the tall, dark, aspiring model walked in front of judges of the reality TV show and posed for the camera. This was Polina Hiekkala, and she was doing everything Maija wanted to do.

Maija’s hazel brown eyes light up when she talks about modelling.

The young Finnish-Nigerian woman explains how she has watched countless hours of catwalk videos on YouTube since being inspired by Hiekkala in 2012.

“I started practising my walk at home, in front of the mirror,” she says.

Maija, who was born with Down’s syndrome and is now 20, leans gently against her mother and laughs shyly when recalling her early steps towards a modelling career.

Her mother…

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The son of a Sainsbury’s worker diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago has revealed in an ‘uplifting’ post on social media how the supermarket giant fought to keep her job open and handled her condition with ‘compassion, class and dignity’.

Doron Salomon, who works for a football agency, has seen his emotional thread praising Sainbury’s go viral after he detailed the lengths staff at the store, in Harrow, North London, went to to keep his mother, who he doesn’t want to name, employed in a job she loves.

Doron says the supermarket has helped to ‘normalise’ his mother’s life over the last few years as her illness has deteriorated, giving her self-worth when ‘she was quite literally losing everything she once was’

The supermarket chain told MailOnline their former employee had been an ‘inspiration’.  

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


Source: Sainsbury’s praised for helping worker with Alzheimer’s keep job : Mail Online

Govt Newspeak

Dealing with the disability benefit system can be highly stressful. 

In a major undertaking, the government announced in late January that it will review all 1.6m claims for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) – one of the benefits that supports people with a disability.

There are serious issues with the benefits applications process, and many disabled people who claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or PIP find the process very stressful. In just over two years, the British government has spent more than £100m managing reviews and appeals against their disability benefits decisions.

My new research found that people who receive disability benefits find changes to the system powerfully dehumanising. Changes since 2010 have included cuts to the financial support that people receive and the introduction of new types of benefits – the ESA and PIP – which have tighter eligibility criteria than the previous benefits. With the move to…

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Pro-independence parties have restarted talks on the formation of an effective government in Catalonia. The negotiations broke down two weeks ago, following a wave of mutual reproaches and criticism. However, the announcement of the Spanish government that it will use its direct rule over Catalonia to eliminate Catalan as a vernacular language at schools has forced ERC and JxCat to understand each other and accelerate their negotiations.

A number of possible formulas to swear in Puigdemont as president are under discussion. The possibility of forming a dual government with some members in Brussels and others in Barcelona appears to be the most feasible one. In an interview with ACN (Catalan News Agency), Elsa Artadi (JxCat) said that her party and the ERC are preparing the necessary logistics to make it possible to govern from both places.

She also said that Puigdemont has to be sworn in even though the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Spanish government are determined to prevent it from happening. She explains that Puigdemont cannot be just a symbolic figure. For her candidacy, she has to “govern, be part of the executive power and have completelegitimacy.” Artadi added that Puigdemont should be the leader of the country, the one “setting the tone” of Catalonia’s politics.


Source: Dual Government in Catalonia? : Josep Goded


Joe Zevuloni tends a makeshift memorial to honour victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (Picture: Getty)

Joe Zevuloni tends a makeshift memorial to honour victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (Picture: Getty


US voters must ditch politicians who fail to act on gun control at mid-term elections in November, writes Timothy Egan.

Here’s a thought: The next politician to express sorrow over the slaughter of students at a school without offering any specific remedy should be run out of office, for cowardice and failure to protect American children.

 Here’s a prayer: Let us remember to hold that thought for at least seven months, to the next election.
 President Donald Trump delivered 702 words to the nation on Thursday on the murder of 17 kids in Parkland, Florida — one of more than 150 school shootings over the past decade.

Not once did he mention guns, or more specifically the semi-automatic rifle used by the mentally unstable white-supremacist teenager who entered a school with an AR-15.

The president did order the flag lowered to half-staff. He should have run up a white flag of surrender. Along with a gutless majority in Congress, Trump is hiding behind the shield of “thoughts and prayers” while showing himself derelict of duty in failing to defend the lives of schoolchildren.

READ MORE: The face of 19-year-old charged with Florida shooting

“You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you,” Trump said, in addressing the children of America.

 That is a flat-out lie, which is chewing gum to Trump. If the adults were really willing to take any measure to protect them, Trump wouldn’t have signed a bill last year making it easier for mentally ill people to get guns. If the “people who care about you” really wanted to ensure your safety, they wouldn’t have led a filibuster in the Senate, as Mitch McConnell did in 2013, to prevent an expansion of simple background checks for purchasers of firearms.

If those “who love you” wanted to show that love, they would say something more than the platitudinous mush that came out of the mouth of the do-nothing House speaker, Paul Ryan, whose response to the latest mass killing was: “I think we need to pray.” Since 1995, there have been more than 4,000 instances of someone rising in Congress to express “thoughts and prayers”.

And since that time, about seven children or teenagers have been killed, on average, every day by guns. Trump, McConnell, Ryan — they all have children of their own. But in their roles as protectors of many other children, who should be free to attend school without fear of being shot, this trio that controls the federal government is leading a bad parent caucus. The kids know it — they get that people who should be looking after them are looking the other way.

After Trump spoke, a sophomore at the Parkland school stated the obvious in an interview with CNN. “There’s no reason that a kid 19 years old that’s been investigated already, and not even a year ago, being able to purchase an AR-15,” said Isabella Gomez.

The gun used in Florida is similar to the kind of rapid-firing weapons used to mow down first-graders in Newtown, clubgoers in Orlando, civil servants in San Bernardino, and music-lovers in Las Vegas.

In our country, a nation with a gun homicide rate 49 times higher than other wealthy counties, lunatics have easy and legal access to these guns.

The cops know the politicians are failing the kids as well. “What about the rights of these students?” said the Broward County sheriff, Scott Israel, in relaying the grim news of the latest massacre.

“Don’t they have the right to be protected by the United States government, to the best of our ability?”

Of course they do. But the government will not protect them. The invertebrates in Congress and the soulless blowhard in the White House will not take even the most common-sensical measures to limit the use of militarised weapons by deeply troubled people. Remember the outrage over bump stocks, the modification used by the man who killed 58 people in Las Vegas last fall?

If you don’t, please remember it in November, at the ballot box. Congress has done nothing on this issue, but many states are moving on it, pressed by popular movements unafraid of the gun lobby. Other countries act to protect their people, which is the most elemental duty of governance.

After Australia suffered the deadliest mass shooting in its history, a massacre of 35 people in 1996 by a man with a semi-automatic rifle, the country banned such weapons. There hasn’t been a mass shooting since.

Let me try another take for you bad parents in office.

Pretend you live in a pleasant, well-protected community of like-minded people, and you’re in charge. OK, you don’t have to pretend. And let’s say there was a natural gas leak every three days in one of the homes in that community, a leak that killed entire families.

 Your response would be to pray and do nothing. Or to pray and talk about everything except the gas leak.

Or to pray and say you’re powerless to act because the gas company owns you.

The response of those suffering would be to take control and kick you out. That’s what we have to do, and will, in November.

© 2018 New York Times News Service

Source: Timothy Egan: A kid just schooled Donald Trump on mass shootings : The Scotsman


A “pervasive lack of trust” in the private firms contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to carry out disability benefit assessments risks undermining the whole system, an influential group of MPs has warned.

An investigation into face-to-face assessments for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee received an “unprecedented” amount of responses from sick and disabled benefit claimants, with many effectively accusing assessors of lying in reports sent to the DWP.

The Committee heard from claimants who said they do not believe assessors can be trusted to record what took place during their assessments accurately, with the Committee warning of “a pervasive culture of mistrust around PIP and ESA processes, with concern about the face-to-face assessment by a health professional at its core”.

Claimants spoke about the extreme anxiety and a detrimental impact on their health caused by the assessment process, that is commonly regarded as “opaque and unfriendly” throughout.

Source: Disability benefit assessments must be recorded, says Work and Pensions Committee : Welfare Weekly


“Disabled people will only be protected from online abuse when they have “equal and fair” hate crime laws, a leading disabled campaigner has told MPs.

Anne Novis, chair of Inclusion London, told the Commons petitions committee that the abuse targeted at disabled people online was “just an echo” of what they experienced on the streets.

And she said that the law fails to protect them in both cases.”


Source: Disabled people need ‘equal and fair’ hate crime laws, MPs are told : Vox Political



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The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a kind of orbiting real estate venture run not by the government, but by private industry.

The White House plans to stop funding for the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory. But it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether, and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, according to an internal NASA document obtained by The Washington Post.

“The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time – it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform,” the document states. “NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”


Source: The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows. : Washington Post


Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to presumably reflect on the chaos that has ensued in the White House over the last week. As White House officials attempt to recover from Rob Porter’s resignation, Trump continues to be more concerned about men’s lives being “shattered” by allegations—not women’s lives being destroyed by domestic abuse.

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” he wrote on Twitter. “Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?


Source: Trump’s insensitive remarks once again reveal his position on #MeToo : Salon

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