first_imgIn January, a Minnesota court sentenced a National Guardsman to a year in jail after the pickup he was driving killed a mother of two. She had been riding her bicycle, towing her 4-year-old and 1-year-old daughters behind her. He had been processing a bank transaction on his cellphone.That same month, a Pennsylvania woman was sentenced to two weeks in county prison for hitting a pedestrian, whom she hadn’t seen because she was reading a text message. The impact fractured the pedestrian’s face and collarbone. According to a media report, the case was one of three that day in the same court that sent young mothers to jail for distracted driving.Society is slowly awakening to the problem of distracted driving, but still is not taking it seriously enough, according to Jay Winsten, associate dean for health communication and Frank Stanton Director of the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Winsten and the center spearheaded the U.S. designated-driver campaign of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which took hold amid growing public opposition to drinking and driving, and which helped to change social norms around the behavior. Winsten has identified distracted driving as a significant public health problem and a center priority. He is working to understand it, to make it less acceptable through a similar change in social norms, and to craft how to communicate public health messages more effectively in today’s fragmented media market.The Gazette spoke with Winsten, who last week briefed members of the Massachusetts House on the situation and some possible solutions.GAZETTE: Can you tell us about the event at the State House last week, and what the main message was?WINSTEN: The event was hosted by Rep. Cory Atkins, who has introduced legislation to ban the use of handheld devices when behind the wheel. The event was organized by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication to provide a briefing for members of the state Legislature and their staffs. We had about 60 people in attendance.Our point of departure was the fact that the current law, a ban on texting while driving that’s in place in Massachusetts and in most other states, is almost impossible to effectively enforce. All a driver has to do is roll down the window and say, “Officer, I was looking up a phone number, not texting.” It’s not illegal to look up a phone number. It’s not illegal to dial the number by hand on your cellphone. It’s not illegal to program your GPS on your cellphone. It’s not illegal to even watch videos on your cellphone while you’re driving. The current law in most states only bans texting.The advantage of a hands-free law is that if the police officer notes that someone is holding the device while driving, then that is per se evidence of the infraction, so they don’t need to go about proving what the driver was doing. It’ll make enforcement easier and the deterrent effect significantly stronger.GAZETTE: Do you think a hand-held ban would help with distracted driving in Massachusetts?WINSTEN: On the one hand, it doesn’t address another serious form of distraction, namely, cognitive distraction. So it’s not a panacea. But it would certainly help with enforcement of the texting ban, and would extend the range of that ban. We’re not taking an advocacy position in favor of any particular bill. We’re trying to inform the process on the basis of available research. This legislative briefing was the kickoff of what will be an ongoing series of working luncheons sponsored by the center, most of which will be held back at the School. We’re going to bring together researchers, policymakers, police, district attorneys, and corporate representatives.GAZETTE: How big a problem is this? What have we done so far to stop it?WINSTEN: The problem is of tremendous concern. New technology and digital devices have widespread availability, tremendous popularity, and some would even say addictive qualities. It’s certainly a felt need on the part of a lot of people that if they’ve got an incoming message they’ve got to read it right away.According to federal statistics, there are over 1 million crashes each year attributable to distracted driving, over 400,000 injuries, including a hefty number of life-changing injuries, and a little over 3,000 fatalities a year.What you see on suburban roads and rural roads is a lot of head-on collisions. It doesn’t take much when you’re separated from the oncoming driver by just a double yellow line. If the cars in each direction are going 50 miles an hour, you’re closing on each other at a combined speed of 100 miles an hour.It takes 4.6 seconds on average to draft and send a text message. At 50 miles an hour, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. Obviously, no one would ever knowingly do that, but in effect they’re doing it all the time when they’re texting and driving.It’s tough to regulate because of the rapidity of change in the technology. Forty states have a ban on texting while driving, and 14 also have a ban on handheld devices. But, for example, does that include the Apple watch that was just released? Is that a handheld device?And [what about] the infotainment systems that are being installed in new cars? Take Tesla, with a 17-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard. And Volvo, known for their preoccupation with safety, they’ve got a 9-inch touchscreen with a tremendous array of capabilities.Volvo has removed almost all of the buttons from the dashboard in its new XC90, and replaced them with functions that you regulate on the touchscreen. That means you have to take one hand off the wheel, you have to take both eyes off the road in order to look to the right at the touchscreen, and you have to work your way through different levels of menu to get to where you want to be.GAZETTE: Is responsibility shared with automakers and cellphone makers? Who’s at fault here?WINSTEN: I guess progress is at fault. The rapid evolution of technology created the problem, but will eventually provide the ultimate solution.General Motors reportedly plans to install tracking devices in 500,000 cars over the next three to five years that will use an array of cameras and algorithms to detect when the driver’s head is turned away from the road for more than a specified amount of time, and will sound an alarm.Other technologies will monitor and autocorrect when a car drifts out of its lane of traffic. And, in 10 to 20 years, we’ll have driverless cars and will be free to text to our hearts’ content. But the transition period between now and then may well be characterized by an awful lot of carnage on our roadways if we’re not careful.In the short term, auto manufacturers and manufacturers of these devices and the software that runs them — such as CarPlay from Apple — have shared responsibility. So do the parents of young people who are, like it or not, serving as role models. Their kids are watching.GAZETTE: What is the role of the Center for Health Communication?WINSTEN: The role of the center is to both study and directly engage in activities aimed at mobilizing mass communication to influence behavior around disease and injury prevention and to help inform public policy.In addition to the working luncheons on distracted driving in Massachusetts, we intend to extend what we’re doing to a national audience. At the same time, we’re developing a new media campaign that will be a counterpart to the center’s previous designated-driver campaign.Over the past several years, there’s been a lot of media activity sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the Ad Council, and, notably, AT&T Wireless has had its own media initiative, spending $16 million per year on its “It Can Wait” campaign. Those combined efforts have succeeded in strengthening public awareness of the problem, but they’ve not yet had any kind of significant impact on crashes, injuries, or fatalities.GAZETTE: How do you get it to the next level? Is it going to take some huge tragedy that grabs headlines?WINSTEN: I don’t even think that would make a difference. Among young people, number one, they believe they’re going to live forever. Number two, 80 percent of young adults tell pollsters that they are better drivers than average — which of course literally can’t be true — and that they are really good at multitasking.So the communication campaigns are going to have to back up and really explain, so it’s understood in a visceral way, that a driver may be looking straight ahead, but the brain may not process what the eyes are seeing if the driver’s mind is elsewhere. What’s not yet widely understood is that there are three elements to distraction: visual distraction, manual distraction, and cognitive distraction, which may be the most serious of all.One aspect of cognitive distraction is inattention blindness. A driver may be looking straight ahead when a traffic light turns red and not react to it because the brain’s processing capabilities have been usurped by a phone conversation. The driver is looking but not “seeing” and is not consciously aware of that.Another aspect of cognitive distraction is tunnel vision, in which the distracted driver’s field of vision becomes constricted so they’re not scanning left and right. If a pedestrian enters a crosswalk, a distracted driver looking straight ahead may not notice it. You have children being struck down on the way to school, in crosswalks in school zones. You’ve got police at road stops having to duck for their lives because of oncoming distracted drivers. Likewise workers in work zones, and motorcyclists are in big trouble.GAZETTE: How can you reach people with that information?WINSTEN: Well, it’s tough to break through. We’re talking with NASCAR, for example, about joining our media campaign. We’re hoping to get their top drivers involved. We want to reach young people through YouTube, which already is on board as a partner.When we started the designated-driver campaign, there were only three TV networks, and if you had relationships with all three, you were in business. Today there’s not only an extreme fragmentation of the media marketplace but a very short attention span on the part of the public.So, even if you have a breakthrough creative idea that captures a month’s worth of high-profile media attention, that only buys you 30 days. To change social norms is a multi-year process. So the challenge is how do you put together a series of peaks of synchronicity to sustain the effort over time? That’s what we’re going to try to figure out.It turns out there are some alternatives that provide efficiencies in reaching out to today’s fragmented media universe. For example, there are a small number of firms called multichannel networks, and one of the largest is Fullscreen, co-owned by AT&T Wireless and by Peter Chernin’s group. Peter, the former president and chief operating officer of News Corp., has been a good friend for many years, and he’s helped us to bring Fullscreen on board. Fullscreen represents the creators and developers of 50,000 YouTube channels. And that provides a degree of one-stop shopping for mobilizing widespread support within the new media environment.We have two goals with the distracted-driving initiative. Number one, we want to prevent injuries and save lives. Simultaneously, our media campaign provides an opportunity to experiment with the development of new sustainable communication strategies for public health and, hopefully, to help reinvent the model of public health communication for the 21st century.last_img read more

first_imgProperty management are agencies that manage accommodation units on leading accommodation booking portals, and only agencies with at least 1.000 facilities have been selected by Rentals United. Direct Booker currently has 22 franchises in 8 countries that include Montenegro, BiH, Slovenia, Serbia, Albania, Poland and Peru. “Rentals United is a well-known and recognized system for managing accommodation units, and being ranked 10th in size is a huge recognition for us as a company, as well as for Croatian tourism. Our goal is to further franchise and grow accommodation units so that Direct Booker is recognized everywhere in the world”Said Nino Dubretić, co-owner and director of Direct Booker. Rentals United ranked Direct Booker among the TOP 10 largest private accommodation agencies in the world and TOP 4 in Europe. As the main reason for this, Dubretić points out that this is a specific service that relies on local presence and physical presence with the owner of the accommodation unit. “We have developed our model in Dubrovnik, and are currently expanding it worldwide through the franchise model. We currently manage over 3.500 accommodation units, our franchisors with the same number, while with 7.000 accommodation units we are on the Rentals United list”Concludes Dubretić. Interestingly, the 20 largest agencies in the world hold less than 2% of the entire market, which is, say, in the context of the banking system just the opposite where the 20 largest hold the majority of the market. Nino Dubretić, Direct Booker / Photo: HGKlast_img read more

first_img…has one hand on titleKINGSTON, Jamaica, (CMC) – Three-time reigning champions Guyana Jaguars beat Jamaica Scorpions in a nerve-jangling contest here Saturday, to increase their lead at the top of the standings and virtually assure themselves of a fourth straight title in the Regional Four-Day Championship.Set a 136 for victory at Sabina Park on the third day, Jaguars stumbled and stuttered their way to their target, before achieving victory 45 minutes before the scheduled close, when tail-ender Veerasammy Permaul (10 not out) turned off-spinner John Campbell into the on-side for a single.The run chase was carried by opener Chandrapaul Hemraj who top-scored with 40 while Keemo Paul got 21, but Jaguars collapsed from 64 for two to 84 for six as they lost four wickets for 22 runs in quick time.Paul, who counter-attacked lashing three sixes in 11-ball cameo, put on a crucial 30 for the seventh wicket with Permaul to edge Jaguars closer to their target.Drama ensued, however, when Paul was stumped off left-arm spinner and captain Nikita Miller. And with only nine runs added, veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul was caught close-in off by Fabien Allen for 16 looking to work Miller away on the leg-side.The double success for Miller left Jagurs tottering on 123 for eight, handing Scorpions a huge chance to snatch a late win.But Brandon King dropped Gudakesh Motie (6 not out) at second slip in a critical miss for Scorpions and he remained with Permaul to see Jaguars to their sixth win of the season.Miller was the best bowler with four for 64 to end with an eight-wicket match haul.Earlier, Scorpions were dismissed for 212 in their second innings after resuming from their overnight 167 for five.Opener Assad Fudadin added nine to his overnight 61 before falling lbw to left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer, after facing 192 balls all told and striking seven boundaries.He extended his sixth wicket stand with wicketkeeper Aldaine Thomas to 39 before becoming the first casualty of the day.Thomas lasted 118 deliveries and hit four fours before going bowled by Paul, as Scorpions lost their last four wickets for 19 runs.Left-arm spinner Motie finished with four for 39 while Paul picked up two for 33.SCORPIONS 1st Innings 106Jaguars 1st Innings 183Scorpions 2nd Innings(overnight 167 for five)J Campbell c Paul b Motie 62A Fudadin lbw b Reifer 70J Blackwood run out 9B King b Motie 0P Palmer run out 10F Allen b Permaul 4+A Thomas b Paul 36D Green c Johnson b Motie 0*N Miller not out 4D Jacobs c Persaud b Motie 0R Leveridge lbw b Paul 0Extras (b5, lb4, nb8) 17TOTAL (all out, 80.5 overs) 212Fall of wickets: 1-112, 2-127, 3-133, 4-149, 5-153, 6-192, 7-193, 8-197, 9-212, 10-212.Bowling: Paul 13.5-3-33-2, Joseph 3-0-27-0, Reifer 13-4-26-1, Johnson 2-0-16-0, Permaul 23-3-62-1, Motie 26-9-39-4.JAGUARS 2nd Innings (target: 136 runs)C Hemraj c wkp Thomas b Green 40V Singh lbw b Leveridge 3*L Johnson c King b Campbell 16A Persaud b Jacobs 7S Chanderpaul c Allen b Miller 16+A Bramble c wkp Thomas b Miller 3R Reifer lbw b Miller 6K Paul st Thomas b Miller 21V Permaul not out 10G Motie not out 6Extras (b7, lb1) 8TOTAL (8 wkts, 58.3 overs) 136Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-48, 3-64, 4-72, 5-76, 6-84, 7-114, 8-123.Bowing: Leveridge 8-3-7-1, Miller 19-7-64-4, Campbell 20.3-6-37-1, Green 4-2-6-1, Jacobs 7-1-14-1.last_img read more

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonBlack-haired and brown-eyed, Ala’a spoke to the 31-year-old American in the limited English he had learned from the sisters. He recalled the bombs that struck government buildings across the Tigris River. “Bomb-Bing! Bomb-Bing!” Ala’a said, raising and lowering his fist. “I’m here now. You’re fine,” the captain said. Over the next 10 months, the unit returned to the orphanage again and again. The soldiers would race kids in their wheelchairs, sit them in Humvees and help the sisters feed them. To Southworth, Ala’a was like a little brother. But Ala’a – who had longed for a soldier to rescue him – secretly began referring to Southworth as “Baba,” Arabic for “Daddy.” MAUSTON, Wis. – Capt. Scott Southworth knew he’d face violence, political strife and blistering heat when he was deployed to one of Baghdad’s most dangerous areas. But he didn’t expect Ala’a Eddeen. Ala’a was 9 years old, strong of will but weak of body – he suffered from cerebral palsy and weighed just 55pounds. He lived among about 20 kids with physical or mental disabilities at the Mother Teresa orphanage, under the care of nuns who preserved this small oasis in a dangerous place. On Sept. 6, 2003, halfway through his 13-month deployment, Southworth and his military police unit paid a visit to the orphanage. They played and chatted with the children; Southworth was talking with one little girl when Ala’a dragged his body to the soldier’s side. Then, around Christmas, a sister told Southworth that Ala’a was getting too big. He would have to move to a government-run facility within a year. “Best-case scenario was that he would stare at a blank wall for the rest of his life,” Southworth said. To this day, he recalls the moment when he resolved that that would not happen. “I’ll adopt him,” he said. Before Southworth left for Iraq, he was chief of staff for a state representative. He was single, worked long days and squeezed in his service as a national guardsman – military service was a family tradition. His great-great-great-grandfather served in the Civil War, his grandfather in World War II, his father in Vietnam. The family had lived in the tiny central Wisconsin city of New Lisbon for 150 years. Scott was raised as an evangelical Christian; he attended law school with a goal of public service, running unsuccessfully for state Assembly at the age of 25. There were so many reasons why he couldn’t bring a handicapped Iraqi boy into his world. He had no wife or home; he knew nothing of raising a disabled child; he had little money and planned to run for district attorney in his home county. Just as important, Iraqi law prohibits foreigners from adopting Iraqi children. Southworth prayed and talked with family and friends. His mother, who had cared for many disabled children, explained the difficulty. She also told him to take one step at a time and let God work. Southworth’s decision was cemented in spring 2004, while he and his comrades watched Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of the Christ.” Jesus Christ’s sacrifice moved him. He imagined meeting Christ and Ala’a in heaven, where Ala’a asked: “Baba, why didn’t you ever come back to get me?” “Everything that I came up with as a response I felt ashamed. I wouldn’t want to stand in the presence of Jesus and Ala’a and say those things to him.” And so, in his last weeks in Iraq, Southworth got approval from Iraq’s Minister of Labor to take Ala’a to the United States for medical care. His parents had filed signatures so he wouldn’t miss the cutoff to run for district attorney. He knocked on doors, telling people he wanted to be tough on criminals who committed injustices against children. He never mentioned his intention to adopt Ala’a. He won office – securing a job and an income. Everything seemed to be in place. But when Southworth contacted an immigration attorney, he was told it would be nearly impossible to bring Ala’a to the United States. Undaunted, Southworth and the attorney started the paperwork to bring Ala’a over on humanitarian parole, used for urgent reasons or significant public benefit. A local doctor, a cerebral palsy expert, a Minneapolis hospital, all said they would provide Ala’a free care. Other letters of support came from a minister, the school district, the lieutenant governor, a congressman, chaplain, a sister at the orphanage and an Iraqi doctor. “We crossed political boundaries. We crossed religious boundaries. There was just a massive effort – all on behalf of this little boy who desperately needed people to actually take some action and not just feel sorry for him,” Southworth says. He mailed the packet on Dec.16, 2004, to the Department of Homeland Security. On New Year’s Eve, his cell phone rang. It was Ala’a. “What are you doing?” Scott asked him. “I was praying,” Ala’a responded. “Well, what were you praying for?” “I prayed that you would come to take me to America,” Ala’a said. Southworth almost dropped the phone. Ala’a knew nothing of his efforts, and he couldn’t tell him yet for fear that the boy might inadvertently tell the wrong person, upending the delicate process. By mid-January, Homeland Security called Southworth’s attorney to say it had approved humanitarian parole. Within three hours, Southworth had plane tickets. He hardly slept as he worked the phones to make arrangements, calling the U.S. embassy, hotels and the orphanage. His Iraqi translator agreed to risk his life to get Ala’a to the embassy to obtain documentation. Like a dream, all the pieces fell into place. Southworth returned to Iraq for the first time since a deployment that left him emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted. His unit had trained Iraqi police from sunup to sundown; he saw the devastation wrought by two car bombings, and counted dead bodies. Mortar and rocket attacks were routine. About 20 in his unit were wounded, and one died. He knew that nothing could be taken for granted in Baghdad. So when he saw Ala’a in the airport for the first time since leaving Iraq, he was relieved. “He was in my custody then. I could hug him. I could hold him. I could protect him. “And forever started.” They made it to Wisconsin late Jan. 20, 2005. The next morning, Ala’a awoke to his first sight of snow. He closed his eyes and grimaced. “Baba! Baba! The water is getting all over me!” “It’s not water, it’s snooooow,” Southworth told him. Police found Ala’a abandoned on a Baghdad street when he was about 3 years old. No one knows where he came from. In all his life in Iraq, Ala’a saw a doctor 10 times. He surpassed that in his first six months in the United States. Ala’a’s cerebral palsy causes low muscle tone, spastic muscles in the legs, arms and face. It hinders him when he tries to crawl, walk or grasp objects. He needs a wheelchair to get around, often rests his head on his shoulder and can’t easily sit up. Physical therapy has helped him control his head and other muscles. He can now maneuver his way out of his van seat and stabilize his legs on the ground. “I’m not the same guy I used to be,” he says. He clearly has thrived. At 13, he’s doubled his weight to 111 pounds. Ala’a’s condition doesn’t affect his mind, although he’s still childlike – he wants to be a Spider-Man when he grows up. Ala’a’s English has improved, and he loves music and school, math and reading especially. He gets mad when snow keeps him home, even though it’s his second favorite thing, after his father. At first, he didn’t want to talk about Iraq; he would grow angry when someone tried to talk to him in Arabic. But in the fall of 2006, Scott showed Ala’a’s classmates an Arabic version of “Sesame Street” and boasted how Ala’a knew two languages and could teach them. Soon he was teaching his aide and his grandmother, LaVone. LaVone is a fixture in Ala’a’s life, supporting her son as he juggles his career and fatherhood. One day, she asked Ala’a if he missed his friends in Iraq. Would he like to visit them? Big tears filled his eyes. “Well, honey, what’s the matter?” LaVone asked. “Oh, no, Grandma. No. Baba says that I can come to live with him forever,” he pleaded. “Oh, no, no,” he grandmother said, crying as well. “We would never take you back and leave you there forever. We want you to be Baba’s boy forever.” Southworth knew once he got Ala’a out of Iraq, the hardest part would be over. Iraq had bigger problems to deal with than the whereabouts of a single orphan. On June 4, Ala’a officially became Southworth’s son. Though he was born in the spring of 1994, they decided to celebrate his birthday as the day they met – Sept.6. Life has settled into a routine. Father and son have moved into a new house with an intercom system, a chair lift to the basement and toilet handles. Southworth showers him, brushes his teeth and washes his hands. He has traded in his Chrysler Concorde for a minivan – it was too hard to lift his son out of the car. In October, the Wisconsin’s deputy adjunct general gave Southworth, now a major, permission to change units because of Ala’a. His former unit was going to Guantanamo Bay for a one-year deployment, and he didn’t want to leave his son behind, at least for now. He hopes one day to marry to his longtime girlfriend and have more children. He may run for Congress or governor someday – he’s already won re-election once, and he plans to run again next fall. Not everything is perfect. Ala’a never encountered thunderstorms in Baghdad, and the flash-boom reminds him of bombs. He is starting to get over it, although he still weeps during violent storms. But Ala’a – who picked out his own name, which means to be near God – knows he’s where he belongs. Southworth always says Ala’a picked him, not the other way around. They were brought together, Southworth believes, by a “web of miracles.” Ala’a likes to sing Sarah McLachlan’s song “Ordinary Miracle” from “Charlotte’s Web,” one of his favorite movies. His head and body lean to one side as he sings off-key. “It’s just another ordinary miracle today. Life is like a gift they say. Wrapped up for you every day.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_imgMore than one in 10 (12%) new fathers at management consulting and professional services organisation Accenture are currently taking shared parental leave.More than 150 employees from all career levels and areas of the business have taken shared parental leave since the government introduced the policy in April 2015.Shared parental leave, which was introduced for babies due on or after 5 April 2015, allows eligible parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay with their partner. Statutory pay is £140.98 a week or 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. Parents can take leave in alternate blocks or both be off work at the same time.Accenture offers 32 weeks of shared parental leave at full pay.The organisation has a range of measures in place to communicate and promote its shared parental leave policy to employees, including virtual awareness workshops that enable staff to learn more about the policy in general, and scenario-planning classes with the organisation’s in-house HR team. The classes allow employees to find out about the different options available when taking shared parental leave, and talk through which options would be most beneficial for them personally.In addition, Accenture hosts in-house events around shared parental leave, where a member of staff who has taken advantage of the policy will lead a presentation about their experience, showcasing how the benefit can be utilised.Shared parental leave is further supported by the organisation’s informal support networks, in particular the networks based around family and gender.Payal Vasudeva, managing director at Accenture Strategy, said: “Accenture is continuing to champion initiatives that support gender equality in the workplace such as shared parental leave. By communicating actively about our shared parental leave programme and sharing the experiences of those who have benefitted from it, we aim to help drive the cultural shift required to ensure more men are taking parental leave.“We are encouraged to see that more than 150 pioneering employees from all areas of our business and all career levels have already taken advantage of Accenture’s enhanced package of up to 32 weeks’ fully-paid shared parental leave, to spend more time with their children.”last_img read more