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Government acts of porn access

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THE UK will become the first country in the world to bring in age-verification for online pornography when the measures come into force on July 15, 2019.

It means that commercial providers of online pornography will be required by law to carry out robust age-verification checks on users, to ensure that they are 18 or over. The move is backed by 88% of UK parents with children aged 7-17, who agree there should be robust age-verification controls in place to stop children seeing pornography online.

Websites that fail to implement age-verification technology face having payment services withdrawn or being blocked for UK users.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the new laws. They have confirmed that they will begin enforcement on 15 July, following an implementation period to allow websites time to comply with the new standards.

UK Minister for Digital Margot James said: “Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online. The introduction of mandatory age-verification is a world-first, and we’ve taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children from inappropriate content. We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this.”

Government has listened carefully to privacy concerns and is clear that age-verification arrangements should only be concerned with verifying age, not identity. In addition to the requirement for all age-verification providers to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards, the BBFC have created a voluntary certification scheme, the Age-verification Certificate (AVC), which will assess the data security standards of AV providers. The AVC has been developed in cooperation with industry, with input from the government.

Certified age-verification solutions which offer these robust data protection conditions will be certified following an independent assessment and will carry the BBFC’s new green ‘AV’ symbol. Details will also be published on the BBFC’s age-verification website, ageverificationregulator.comso consumers can make an informed choice between age-verification providers.

BBFC Chief Executive David Austin said: “The introduction of age-verification to restrict access to commercial pornographic websites to adults is a groundbreaking child protection measure. Age-verification will help prevent children from accessing pornographic content online and means the UK is leading the way in internet safety.

“On entry into force, consumers will be able to identify that an age-verification provider has met rigorous security and data checks if they carry the BBFC’s new green ‘AV’ symbol.”

The change in the law is part of the Government’s commitment to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online, especially for children. It follows last week’s publication of the Online Harms White Paper which set out clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep UK citizens safe online, how these responsibilities should be met and what would happen if they are not.

CEO of Internet Matters Carolyn Bunting said: “We are delighted to see the government tackling the issue of online pornography. Children seeing online content for which they’re not emotionally ready can be very damaging, especially if they don’t speak out about it.

“While our research shows that parents overwhelmingly support age-verification and are confident it will make a difference, we must recognise that digital solutions aren’t the only answer and parents can’t become complacent about their child’s digital world.

“There is no substitute to having regular and honest conversations with your child about what they’re getting up to online, establishing an open dialogue about their digital life from a young age.”

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet said: “We hope that the introduction of this age-verification will help in protecting children, making it harder for young people to accidentally come across online pornography, as well as bringing in the same protections that we use offline to protect children from age-restricted goods or services.

“Talking to children is vital and education has a major part to play here, and we need to ensure all young people are given a platform to discuss the pressures they face online and have the skills to spot and understand the gap between perception and reality. We are releasing a new extended PSHE toolkit later this month to address the issue of online pornography along with related topics of body image and healthy relationships.

“We know that conversations with young people, parents and carers and teachers are paramount to giving children the information, support and skills that they need.”

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SAVEOURVENUES! Support Narberth Queens Hall

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The Queens Hall Narberth has become part of a national initiative set up by the Music Venues Trust and  is asking for your help to prevent closure of its the popular venue, alongside 100s of independent music venues up and down the country.

They have explained that as the weeks pass the doors on the Queens Hall are looking more difficult to reopen. To gain more support and funding they have set their first Crowdfunder campaign with some exciting opportunities created through teaming up with local businesses and the community.

Local communities such as Sursum Tattoo owner Mat Price has created some amazing t-shirt designs in order to help raise funds to support to Queens Hall during these very hard times for many music venues. They are limited edition so get them before they go!

Lee John Phillips of The Shed Project has also kindly donated a beautiful Narberth photo-collage for the Crowdfunder. Lee had created the original for the Oriel Q project which can be viewed  on the top floor of The Queens Hall, and the print can be seen on the wall next to the Main Hall entrance. There are once again very limited numbers of these prints, so grab one while you can. These are only some of the amazing grabs up for offer, all can be found on the Narberth Queens Hall website.

The money raised through the Crowd funder will be used to help support the venue after the impact Corona virus and lockdown has had on the hall, and will help prevent the closure. If enough money is raised to reach the amount which will support the Hall from closure the left over amount will be donated to the Music Venue Trust GMV Crisis Fund to protect other venues in fear of closure across the country.

With just hours left to donate, your time is short to show your support for one of the most well known venues in west Wales. If you want to help out, here is the link to their crowdfunded page: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savethequeenshallnarberth

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Farm shop helps disabled

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A retail outlet selling a range of products handcrafted by local disabled people has been officially opened.

The farm shop at Scolton Manor near Haverfordwest also provides employment for those with a disability.

It is the result of collaborative working between a number of organisations.

A leading role is played by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Norman Industries – a supported factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest, which employs people with a disability.

The opening of the Scolton Manor farm shop has enabled Norman Industries to employ a further six people in the unit, giving them experience in a retail environment and customer service.

A further three disabled people have been taken on in its craft workshop bringing the total number of people on its supported
employment programme to over 50.    

The shop supports a wide range of Pembrokeshire producers – not just Norman Industries – and has opened up a range of work-based alternative day opportunities for people in craft industries.  

Funding has been accessed through a variety of sources including from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) through its Access to Work programme, through Workways+ from European Funds and through the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund.

The official opening was performed by the Vice Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Michael James.

He told guests: “This enterprise is an important step in improving the wellbeing of Pembrokeshire citizens. Along with the other initiatives run by Norman Industries, it shows how the County Council has improved its support and employment of people with disability over the last two years.”

Councillor James said the work had resulted in Pembrokeshire County Council being recognised as a DWP Disability Confident
Leader – the first local authority in Wales to achieve the distinction.

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Oil refinery exported to Pakistan from Pembroke Port

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THE FINAL parts of a decommissioned oil refinery have been successfully exported to Pakistan from Pembroke Port in a six-week operation.

The former Murco refinery in Pembrokeshire closed in 2014 and during the past three years over 13,000 tonnes of cargo has been transported over the quay in seven exports to southern Asia.

Over the past couple of months, 1,690 tonnes worth of components were exported on the heavy lift vessel Regine and 1,125 tonnes on the Maria. The largest lift weighed 315 tonnes and measured 21.3m x 8.8m x 8.3m.

In addition to these heavy lift vessels, the Terra Marique barge was positioned at Gelliswick Bay to load the parts that were too large to be transported by road and taken to Pembroke Port along the Milford Haven Waterway. This was a specialist operation as sand had to be dug out of the beach, a ramp built and parts were driven onto the barge when the tide allowed.

Operation underway: The Maria at Pembroke Port

Previously in June this year, 2,227 tonnes were exported on the Grietje and last year 4,865 tonnes were exported on the Annemieke, Regine and Frauke. In 2017, 3,240 tonnes of parts were loaded onto the largest vessel to visit to Pembroke Port, the Combi Dock III.

Chris Oliver, Operations Manager at Pembroke Port, commented “The export of the refinery components from Pembroke Port ran smoothly and efficiently. We deal with a wide range of cargoes on a daily basis but this was definitely one of the larger operations in recent years. Our site is flexible in accommodating numerous sectors including breakbulk, renewables, heavy lift operations and storage with a highly experienced team on hand to deliver a safe and professional service.”

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