JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

Welcome to the EBU Newsletter.

The EBU Newsletter is published every two months in English, French, German and Spanish. It is produced and translated thanks to the financial support of the European Commission DG Justice. We hope you enjoy reading it, and we welcome your comments and feedback.

EU update

New EU Public Procurement rules set to improve accessibility of goods and services

In January we finally won a longstanding European campaign as the European Parliament approved the final draft of a new Directive on Public Procurement. New EU rules we had lobbied for over a few years will now require all public authorities which make large purchases of equipment (for example government departments or local authorities) to ensure that it is accessible for disabled people.

Snapshot

News from the USA - FCC adopts TV rules for blind and deaf

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA has adopted rules that should make it easier for blind and deaf people to use their televisions.
The regulations finalize a major component of the agency's effort to update the way that people with disabilities use modern technology like TV, smart phones and the Internet.

Window-Eyes screen reader for Windows available free!

GW Micro, Inc. (www.gwmicro.com) is proud to make a revolutionary announcement. GW Micro and Microsoft Corp. have partnered to make Window-Eyes available to users of Microsoft Office at no cost.

National news

France - Text to Speech DAISY audio books

In July 2013, the French organisation for the blind "Association Valentin Haüy" tested the readiness of its library subscribers to use "Text To Speech (TTS)" DAISY audio books. TTS books were introduced to the library catalogue, while cautiously presenting this innovation to subscribers as an experiment. A survey was then carried out of the first 500 readers of such books. This showed an amazingly positive reaction, contrary to expectations of rejection, or a tepid and fussy reaction.

Italy - "A bridge towards the light"

Naples: Italian educational and resource centre for blind and partially-sighted people welcomes visually impaired pupils whose families would like their children to receive a high level education in an inclusive and specialised environment.
More recently the school started to include also pupils coming from abroad, in particular from countries outside the European Union. Whenever there were problems related to visual disabilities, the school promoted an inclusive educational policy based on carefully planned programmes in order to ensure to persons with sight loss social inclusion and an independent and dignified life.

United Kingdom - Why a bus campaign?

Although UK disabled people have had the right to travel on accessible public transport since 2007 when the transport section of the then Disability Discrimination Act came in to force, blind and partially sighted people are still facing significant barriers to using buses.
The bus industry is totally deregulated in the UK. Although some local areas have transport executives apart from Transport for London, all local and regional bus services are in the main run by private companies. If a bus route is not profitable then a private company won't run it.

Belgium - A unique inclusive reading experience for all

Snizzly Snouts is an innovative inclusive children’s book and audio CD by Jan Dewitte and Freya Vlerick (Belgium). The original Dutch version Rare Snuiters was published by the Belgian sight loss organization Blindenzorg Licht en Liefde in 2011 and is very successful in Flanders and the Netherlands.That’s why a high quality English translation has now been published, in cooperation with NCBI, the Irish national sight loss organization.

Announcements

An international exhibition dedicated to those who cannot see

The exhibition ART SENSES 2013, dedicated to blind and visually impaired people, started in Tuscany, Italy, on October 26th and ended on December 3rd with the conference “Art Voices”. It was conceived/imagined and organized by Associazione culturale Art@ltro in collaboration with UIC I- Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted.

A new book - Human Rights and Disability Advocacy

Human Rights and Disability Advocacy brings
together perspectives from individual representatives of the Disabled People's
Organizations, non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples'
organizations, states, and national institutions that played leading roles in
the Convention's drafting process. The contributors provide vivid and personal
accounts of the paths to victory, including stumbling blocks (not all of which
were overcome) and offer a unique look into the politics of civil society
organizations both from within and in its interaction with governments.

Obituary - Else Momrak-Haugann

Else Momrak-Haugann passed away on 27th January 2014 in Norway.

Feature

ANIRIDIA and the association Aniridia Europe

Aniridia is a very rare disease and every family affected is often alone to face the diagnosis. Aniridia Europe, the federation of European aniridia associations and representatives, has been founded to change this situation.
Aniridia Europe was formally established on September 25th 2011 and has its seat in Norway.The European Federation of Aniridia Associations – Aniridia Europe – promotes research, exchange of knowledge on aniridia and empowers patients with aniridia throughout Europe.