Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fake sign language interpreter crashes Nelson Mandela service

While the world remembers Nelson Mandela, one man was taking the mickey at his memorial.

Something didn’t seem quite right about the sign language interpreter who stood to the side of the various speakers, ‘interpreting’ what they were saying for the benefit of South Africa’s Deaf population.
The ‘interpreter’ signed in a strange repetitive rhythm – his signs appearing to come in threes or fours, occasionally swinging his shoulders, as if he was signing along with an intermittent beat.

 In one of the most bizarre Deaf stories of recent years, it appears that there really was something wrong – because, according to Deaf South Africans, the interpreter was a fake.

Which meant that – if true – on a day when the world saluted a man who fought oppression, a guy stood on stage and effectively oppressed another minority – Deaf people, by making a mockery of our language.

And, during the service, rather than remembering Mandela, many South Africans (and others from around the world) who were either Deaf, or work with Deaf people, were expressing their outrage.

Credit:  The Limping Chicken

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Auckland White Pages distribution falls from 494,000 to 21,000

For the last 15 years (approx) I've used the on-line White Pages whenever I wanted to find a phone number. During that time I've come to regard looking up listings in the phone books that appeared at my home every year or so as a quaint anachronism. This year no White Pages appeared and I wasn't worried at all but I was happy to hear that you could still request them. In this article the NBR reports that only 21,000 people actually requested a copy of the White Pages
[One] reading would be few inhabitants of the super city were aware of the opt-in programme. Either way, anecdotal evidence suggests few will miss the door stop directory.

One person who tried to opt-in to the White Pages told NBR it wasn't easy. She phoned Yellow Pages Group, but was told the opt-in process had to be onliine. She found the online form asked a number of what she considered intrusive questions, including asking her to supply her email.

Of course requiring people to apply for the directory on-line excludes the people who don't have the Internet, and I would guess that the majority of the people who would use the printed White Pages would be people who don't have easy access to the Internet.

Friday, May 31, 2013

"Indian" wage of $4-an-hour in Auckland Restaurants claimed

An investigation has been launched by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment into an Auckland restaurant chain following complaints that workers are being paid less than $4-an-hour.

The investigation, led by the Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate, was launched after the Ministry received a significant number of individual complaints, with some workers alleging they get paid the “Indian salary” of $265-a-week for up to 70 hours’ work.

The complaints also include allegations of:
  • Workers not being paid any entitlements, such as holiday pay, public holiday payments or sick leave
  • Workers being required to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 in order to remain in their job while they obtain residence
  • Overcrowding conditions in accommodation provided for workers and illegal wage deductions for this accommodation

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Show (and Tell) Trial of Kim Dotcom

Interesting analysis of the Court of Appeal ruling that basically said that Kim Dotcom has to rebut the US "evidence" against him without knowing what that evidence is.

"That – unfortunately – is the hook on which Dotcom is currently being hung. His rights to freedom and family life and to reside here aren’t very well protected by our current extradition law and practice. Somehow, he has to convince the Supreme Court that in this day and age, putting more meat on the skeletal evidence currently available to him will far more accurately satisfy the needs of justice."

"Do we really want the Dotcom case to end up with this same kind of travesty? One where, in line with the Court of Appeal argument, the judge at the extradition hearing feels that his role is so necessarily limited that he must send the defendant back to face trial, even on the basis of dodgy evidence?"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Justice delayed is justice denied

This news item raises an interesting question.
Daljit Singh who was a Labour Party candidate and seven other "men accused of an alleged Auckland Super City voter scam have had their trial shifted to the High Court. Police allege that the scam involved people from throughout the North Island falsely enrolled to vote in the 2010 Auckland Super City elections.[...]It has been set down for up to eight weeks and is due to begin in October - three years after the men were arrested." NZ Herald News
Why are our courts so slow? Three years after being arrested seems a ridiculous time to wait for a trial but every day there are reports of people being sentenced for minor offences they were arrested for six months to two years ago.

 Aside from the negative effects having charges pending for so long have on the accused, this means that the victims of crime don't see justice in a timely manner.

There is a legal maxim "Justice delayed is justice denied" meaning that if legal redress is available for an injured party but is not delivered in a timely way it is effectively the same as getting no redress. This is the basis for the right to a speedy trial, so what is happening in our courts to deny that right?


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