Camden Council signs up to support SocialBox.Biz’s laptops to the homeless initiative

first_img About Melanie May Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Melanie May | 23 March 2020 | News  407 total views,  2 views today Advertisement Camden Council is the latest organisation to sign up to support SocialBox.Biz’s 1000 Laptop Handover to the Homeless Initiative.London-based community interest technology venture SocialBox.Biz aims to collaborate with as many organisations as possible, partnering with IT departments and suppliers to send a percentage of outdated or unneeded but still useful laptops and other items on an ongoing basis to help the homeless, elderly, and refugee population in England today.Peter Paduh, Founder of SocialBox.Biz said:“We have been working for many years towards reaching our 1000th laptop goal by working in association with accommodation services, we hope to ensure that homeless people are finally able to apply to jobs, reconnect with family, in a more independent and sustainable ways.”“Thanks to Camden Council, in partnership with The Stone Group one of the Council’s IT partners, our resources just grew, which means more people are going to be supported and delivered with the help they deserve in 2020.”Through this council partnership, SocialBox.Biz will now have a city council handover model it can replicate with all future partnering councils.It will also be hosting the official 1000th laptop handover this April.  408 total views,  3 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Tagged with: Donated goods Camden Council signs up to support SocialBox.Biz’s laptops to the homeless initiativelast_img read more

Seed Consultants Market Watch 1/24/2013 Evening Comment with Gary Wilhelmi

first_img SHARE SHARE Facebook Twitter Home Market Market Watch Seed Consultants Market Watch 1/24/2013 Evening Comment with Gary Wilhelmi FinancialS&P closes about unchanged after trading over 1500NASDAQ falls 24 points as Apple dominated index responds to Apple’s 12% lossDow held tentatively on to a 46 point gain at a 5 year high.Brent crude cycled up over $113 at the conclusionGold dropped by $19The dollar index stayed home at 79.98US PMI 56 up from 54 and European measures were also positiveThe deferment of the debt ceiling crisis had no cache.LivestockCash cattle traded $3 lower in Texas and Kansas, but futures bottomed out and bounced on short covering, the weakest form of buyingBoxed beef is acting as drag on valuesCOF tomorrow afternoon: total seen at 95.6%, placements 104.1% and marketing’s 93.2%April hogs held onto a $1.50 rally coming off the lows—again short coveringResistance is at $90Grain and soybeansMarch beans sold off despite a 510,000 tons sale to China and 113,000 tons to an unknownMarch wheat continued its retreat as export demand is absentFeed wheat usage has picked up in the southern plains and the East Corn BeltArgentine rains are good for soybeans but too late for some cornMato Grosso is 3% harvested with yields above averageEthanol production was up 1% after a weal trendExport sales will be out FridayEarly indications are that corn will be more profitable to plant this spring, but it is a long way to fruition1:51 updateStocks in a mixed wobbling patternUnder tow in beefLower 4Q pork productionPork cutout highest since DecemberFrench wheat leads in Mid East salesEthanol production up 1% has been tending downMato Grosso 3% harvested with better than average yieldsRains forecast for Argentina in next two weeks would be well timed10:48 updateDow up 69, NASDAQ down 7 and S&P at 1500 resistanceCOF: total 95.6%, placements 104.1% and marketing’s 93.2%Some Texas and Kansas cattle trade at $122 off $3Cash hogs called steadyApril hogs up $1China buys 510,000 tons of soybeans and 113,000 were sold to an unknownChinese PMI at 2 year high is good for demandExport sales FridayVolume light uninspiredMorning CommentFinancialStocks mixed Dow up 45 and NASDAQ down 22 as Apple falls 11% on weak reportJobless claims at 5 year low at 330,000PMI expected to slip slightly from last at 54Leading indicators called up .3%Natural gas and crude inventories todayIMF projects lower global growth in 2013WTI crude $95.83 up $.67Brent crude $112.58 after trading over $113 yesterdayDollar index 8-.02 up 9 and neutralDAX up .3%LivestockCash cattle falls $3 to $122 with offers remaining at $126Choice boxed $190 little changeCOF Friday with larger placements expectedRussian threat to ban US beef and pork, but they don’t buy muchSlaughters 123,000 and 426,000Pork cutout up $.27 with loins $.19 higher and hams up $.31 on light volumeGrain and soybeansLight profit taking extended overnight50% of Argentina gets rain but corn out put is seen shrinkingEthanol production in decline trendPositive crush margins boost Chinese soybean demandLight fund trade as markets consolidate in a trading rangeCorn profitability to exceed soybeans in 2013Feed wheat demand noted in S plains and East Corn BeltStock markets at highs have little effect Seed Consultants Market Watch 1/24/2013 Evening Comment with Gary Wilhelmi Facebook Twitter By Hoosier Ag Today – Jan 24, 2013 Previous articleAnnual Fish Fry like a Purdue Ag Family ReunionNext articleAFBF Has New Public Policy Leadership Hoosier Ag Todaylast_img read more

Journalist sentenced to four years in prison and 253 lashes

first_imgNews April 29, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist sentenced to four years in prison and 253 lashes RSF_en IranMiddle East – North Africa Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists Reporters Without Borders today strongly deplored new attacks on journalists by the Iranian authorities, including the sentencing of one to four years in prison and 253 lashes, as well as further prosecution of two others already in jail and suspected bogus confessions of a fourth. “These new moves by the hardliners cannot be tolerated,” said the organisation’s secretary-general, Robert Ménard. “The reformers in the regime are clearly unable to defend the journalists. The situation is disgraceful.”Alireza Jabari, a translator and freelance contributor to several independent newspapers, including Adineh, was sentenced on 19 April to four years in prison, 253 lashes and a fine of six million rials (1,000 euros) for “consuming and distributing alcoholic drinks” and for “adultery and incitement to immoral acts.” Such charges are routine against non-religious people. In fact, he was being punished for belonging to the Writers’ Association and sending material to foreign-based news websites, especially articles defending a jailed lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan.Jabari’s lawyer said he was arrested illegally and that he himself had not been allowed to attend Jabari’s trial. He was arrested at his office in Teheran last 28 December and freed on 6 February this year. He was arrested again on 17 March. An interview with him had appeared on 25 December in a Persian-language newspaper in Canada, Charvand, in which he said the country’s hardline spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Guide of the Islamic Revolution, wanted the crisis in Iran to get worse. His latest arrest came soon after he told the press about his conditions of detention and the pressure exerted on him to make confessions.Journalists Hossein Ghazian (arrested last October) and Abbas Abdi (arrested in November) are being tried in secret and without their lawyers present for “possessing secret documents belong to the intelligence ministry.” Early this month they were each sentenced on appeal to four years and six months in prison – four years for “passing information to enemy countries,” and six months for “making propaganda against the Islamic regime.” Ghazian, a director of the Ayandeh public opinion firm and a journalist on the daily paper Nowrooz, and Abdi, another Ayandeh director, ex-editor of the daily Salam who has worked on many reformist papers, were accused of “receiving money from the US polling firm Gallup or from a foreign embassy.” They were arrested after the official news agency IRNA, published last 22 September an Ayandeh poll that showed 74.4 per cent of Iranians favoured a resumption of ties with the United States.Sina Motallebi, editor of the news website www.rooznegar.com and formerly on the staff of the banned reformist daily Hayat-é-No, has been in preventive detention since 20 April. His lawyer was barred from the start of his trial on 26 April because the judge, Saberi Zafargandi, said it was “pointless at this stage of the case.” Motallebi agreed with the judge, leading his family to fear he had been subjected to psychological pressure in jail. The judge has tried several other journalists, including Siamak Pourzand, Kambiz Kaheh and Said Mostaghasi, all of whom made alleged confessions. After Hayat-é-No was shut down in January, Motallebi revived the Rooznegar.com website on which he had defended one of the paper’s journalists, Alireza Eshragi, who was arrested on 11 January, and other imprisoned journalists. This angered the country’s hardline judiciary but also some reformers, who he criticised for remaining silent about the arrests. He was accused of undermining national security through “cultural activity” and had been summoned several times in the past four months by legal officials and the Adareh Amaken branch of the Teheran police. Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 Receive email alerts February 25, 2021 Find out more to go further News After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists March 18, 2021 Find out more June 9, 2021 Find out more IranMiddle East – North Africa News Help by sharing this information News Follow the news on Iran Organisation last_img read more

Ask the Economist with Skylar Olsen

first_img The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago  Print This Post Previous: HUD Approves $8.2B Puerto Rico Recovery Plan Next: The Week Ahead: CFPB Director Headed for Capitol Hill Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago About Author: Donna Joseph Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Ask the Economist with Skylar Olsen in Daily Dose, Featured, Print Features Affordability Ask the Economist Homeownership Skylar Olsen Student Debt Zillow 2019-03-01 Donna Joseph Related Articles The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Donna Joseph is a Dallas-based writer who covers technology, HR best practices, and a mix of lifestyle topics. She is a seasoned PR professional with an extensive background in content creation and corporate communications. Joseph holds a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Mass Communication, both from the University of Bangalore, India. She is currently working on two books, both dealing with women-centric issues prevalent in oppressive as well as progressive societies. She can be reached at [email protected] Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Ask the Economist with Skylar Olsencenter_img Subscribe Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Tagged with: Affordability Ask the Economist Homeownership Skylar Olsen Student Debt Zillow Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in the March issue of DS News, out now.Skylar Olsen is the Director of Economic Research and Outreach at Zillow. She investigates housing markets all across the country and the importance of place in economic outcomes. Olsen is also dedicated to sharing housing data with policymakers as well as academic and nonprofit researchers to further understanding on a whole host of issues. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington, specializing in econometrics and environmental economics and was honored for teaching excellence by the University of Washington. Olsen spoke to DS News about the trends in the housing markets, the homelessness crisis, and what she loves most about being an economist.What does your day-to-day role look like as Director of Economic Research and Outreach? As a housing economist at Zillow, I and my team have access to the richest housing and consumer dataset in the world. With that dataset at our fingertips, we keep an eye on economic and policy developments in the news, and through the grapevine, and perform analyses to comment on those rising issues. But we also are constantly brainstorming deeper and more complicated questions we can explore, such as, how do rising rents impact homelessness or what impact do land use regulations have on home prices and our ability to build. We have a sense of humor too though looking at the best places to move for love or hot markets for dogs. Personally, I spend some of my time playing in the data, some of it managing and guiding others, a small chunk of it vision setting, and a fair share simply talking about all the insights we’ve explored, whether on a stage or on the phone with a reporter.What are some of the markets poised for homeownership growth this year?I expect to see homeownership rates rise in places where housing is still affordable, but have good job prospects. Southern markets like Dallas and Atlanta still have fairly affordable homes, but really strong job markets–so people are earning enough to buy a home, and the homes themselves are within their reach.With properties getting more expensive, it’s taking longer for consumers to save for a down payment. How will this trend play out for millennials who are struggling to become homeowners? Millennials are facing the one-two punch of rising housing costs and record levels of student debt. We just saw a Fed report that about 400,000 young Americans didn’t buy a home because of student debt. The homeownership rate for young people, despite a recent turnaround, is far from reaching the level it was at in the early 2000s, before the housing bubble. Home values are still growing faster than incomes, and our research shows that the median household income often isn’t enough to break into the housing market. So, already you need to be at a higher income bracket than the average household. Another challenge is that lower-priced inventory is in higher demand, so while the more expensive price range is less competitive, there’s still plenty of competition for affordable homes. This could mean multiple bids, escalation clauses, and a lot of stress for first-time buyers, though with the market cooling down this means buyers should be able to make a calmer more considered decision. The best thing first-time buyers can do is to be super educated about the market and their own finances and work with great professionals who can help guide them through the process.What are the major barriers to homeownership in the current housing market?Affordability is the number one challenge, and it comes from a few different angles. Home prices are outpacing income gains, and that puts homeownership further out of reach for hopeful buyers. Rents have essentially leveled off or even dipped slightly, but they’re at or close to record highs, which makes it harder to set aside money to save a down payment. There is a bit of a positive though, in that mortgage rates have come down from the heights they reached late last year, so once you get a home, your monthly costs won’t be as high. Low inventory, especially at lower price points, is keeping upward pressure on the housing market, too. Some of the most inventory deprived markets–like Seattle–have seen a recent resurgence in the number of homes for sale, which has slowed the frenetic pace of sales. If this trend spreads across the country, buyers will have more breathing room.What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? The most rewarding aspect of my job changes from day to day. I love working with my team supporting their career development and imagining what we together can be or do. I like it when research we’ve done starts spreading through the media and the community or when someone I meet outside of work tells me about something interesting that they’ve heard or read, and it’s the work we did. If we can take a complicated topic, such as housing vouchers and affordable housing supply, and break it down into clear parts, policymakers can work with that to inform changes. Sometimes they do, and I can see it happen. The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Share Save Sign up for DS News Daily Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago March 1, 2019 1,816 Views Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agolast_img read more

Creative block

first_imgCreative blockOn 16 May 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Caught up in the 21st century’s creative revolution, companiesare faced with a balancing act in attempting to marry innovative culture withbusiness ethicsCreativity is the modern corporate equivalent of the philosopher’s stone – amythical substance so powerfully imbued with magic that it was believed itcould transform base metals into gold and silver. Just as medieval alchemistsspent lifetimes in hopeful pursuit of this elusive commodity, so it is becomingthe norm for 21st century management to devote huge chunks of timeand resource to fostering a creative environment at work, in the hope that itwill lead to that most critical of competitive success factors – innovation.If you want to make your fortune in the current business climate, forgetthat great dotcom idea you’ve been nurturing and concentrate instead ondistilling Essence of Creativity. It will sell by the gallon.The problem facing companies is that the formula for this most elusive ofelixirs remains as intangible and remote as the original philosopher’s stone –indeed, many people question whether it exists at all. Key influenceYet “creativity” has already assumed such a pivotal position inthe new economy that its presence – or absence – in organisations is becoming akey determinant of such make-or-break metrics as stock price. As the partners of ?What If!, an “invention” consultancy set up tospur on the creative revolution at work, point out, the so-called creativesectors – chiefly communications, information, entertainment, science andtechnology – are already worth $360bn a year in the US, making them morevaluable than automobiles, aerospace and agriculture.Even relatively staid UK management experts are jumping on the creativebandwagon. According to a recent report by management consultancyPricewaterhouseCoopers, there is now such an inextricable link betweeninnovation and value creation that a failure to invest in the former”could be the death knell of many organisations”. But how do you go about forming such an environment, without falling prey tosome of the wilder excesses of creativity?Can you create an environment dedicated to innovation within the establishedcorporate framework, or does the process lead inevitably to disorder andanarchy? Even the movement’s greatest proponents concede that a certain amount ofdisruption and disorientation is inevitable. “The whole point ofcreativity is that you are stepping into the unknown,” says ?WhatIf!partner Dave Allan. “It is an incredibly wasteful discipline – nine out of10 things will fail.”This might be one reason why, despite its current ascendancy in fashionablethinking, creativity at work has established such a bad name for itself in theUK. For some people the very idea of attempting to channel such an elusivecommodity into formal business constructs is risible. The problem is that oneperson’s idea of a stimulating creative environment, is another’s idea ofoffice hell. “I’ve been on training programmes where people come in dressed in funnyclothes, in the spirit of bursting through the creative block. But for manypeople it is not inspiring, it’s embarrassing,” says Brian Baxter, apartner with organisational development and business psychology expert Kiddy& Partners.”A lot of this stuff is based on an extroverted model of the world –the extrovert needs contact and a lively atmosphere in which to bounce ideas. “But there’s another type of person, the introvert, for whom time,space, silence and privacy are key to ideas. They cannot handle a glamorous,colourful and jazzy environment. If you create that kind of wacky atmosphere,you raise levels of anxiety. I don’t think it’s just British reticence – peoplehave simply realised that on this level the creativity is contrived, and theyknow contrivances don’t work.”Divisive dangerFormer Radio 1 marketing manager, Sophie McLaughlin, agrees. Indeed, shemaintains the attempt to impose a creative environment often leads to moredivisiveness than cohesion in organisations.One major problem is how quickly creative ideas and images can go out ofdate. “At Radio 1 we were trying to steer the station into the futurewhile still surrounded with the “wacky” paraphernalia of the past. Itwas quite difficult to feel creative when you had pictures of Dave Lee Travisand Floella Benjamin staring down at you.”Moreover, the station’s new wave of modernisers, as epitomised by McLaughlinand her boss Matthew Bannister, endured flak for trying to stamp their ownbrand of creativity on the organisation.”I had a call from Andy Kershaw, who I had never met, accusing me ofbeing ‘a typical pony-tail-wearing, red-bespectacled marketing type’. Peoplewho try to enforce creativity, especially in a place like the BBC which doesn’thave the heritage, invariably get it wrong.”Now a partner with Blinc Media Intelligence, McLaughlin – also a stalwart ofthe London advertising scene – has seen her fair share of redundant creativeconstructs at work over the years. At advertising agency Chiat Day (now St Luke’s) she recalls “a sunkenbit in the floor, with fish at the bottom made of red carpet, designed to be athink-tank. After two weeks it was completely defunct. In many ways, she concludes, “creativity” is still perceived asthe antithesis of “cool”, and that is what turns people off. The moreexperts tell us to forget our adult assumptions and re-enter the inventiveworld of childhood, with its bean bags, bouncy balls and wide-eyedencouragement of ostensibly lunatic ideas, the more we revert to sulkingadolescence.Some commentators like Baxter, who has been round the block in terms ofliving through repetitive business cycles, believe such cynicism is justified. He claims the last time creativity was in vogue, at the height of the 1980sboom, the atmosphere of Friday night beer busts and morning doughnuts with theboss created “a trivialisation of business”. People were so busycongratulating themselves on the positive vibe they had created, they forgotwhat they were supposed to be using it for.Widespread cynicismNo wonder creative work gurus, such as David Firth of Leigh FirthAssociates, and author of How to Make Work Fun! and The Corporate Fool, claimit is virtually impossible to push creativity too far in the corporate world.Far from leading to disruption and anarchy in companies, he says the realproblem is getting people to think creatively at work in the first place. “Ten years ago business struck me as a pretty stuffy place,” hesays. “It has loosened up since then, but we are still dealing withbusiness people with an eye on the bottom line. They could never be so creativeas to damage the company.” He claims effective corporate creativity is about finding the right balancebetween structure and creativity. “Too much of the first and you getrigidity. But too much creativity leads to chaos. “I don’t think thebusiness world has got the ability to move all the way over to chaos. People inbusiness are conditioned by rationalism.”But some companies have taken significant steps in that direction. Allanadmits when he and his co-partners quit the stuffy corporate world to form?WhatIf!, they took the creative impulse a little too far when dealing with theaccounts. “We thought it would be fun to have a random invoicing system:we would go straight from invoice 272 to invoice 1,000,000.” The group was only dissuaded from this apparently cockeyed idea when itsaccountant reminded them the Inland Revenue might not look too favourably uponsuch a zany arrangement.Structure need”The story illustrates how creativity needs structure,” concludesAllan. “When you have complete creativity everything’s possible – but theworld is too big. There might be blue sky, but you get lost if you have noreference point.”Jazz musicians complain people think improvisation is flighty, freestuff. In fact it cannot exist without structure. The same is true ofcreativity,” says Firth. And Allan agrees, “Creativity has been dressed up as a sunken room withbean bags – it is easy to be cynical about that because there are no results.People think being creative is about having really good fun. But actually it’shard work.” He claims his research demonstrates that real creativity in companies stemsfrom the ability of team leaders to create “benign structures”.”The teams which do well on our MBA courses have got a level of leadershipdistinct from the others. The leaders do not typically come out with the ideasthemselves, but they are the facilitators. In our jargon, they build a‘platform of understanding’, create a shared vision and a positive andsupportive environment. They are also characterised by their resilience.”The real question, of course, is how to structure this framework forfreethinking. ?WhatIf!, which has coached such blue chips as Heinz, ColgatePalmolive, ICI, Pepsi Co and Cadbury Schweppes in the art of formulating aproductive creative environment, suggests making a clear distinction betweenthe rules which apply in the “emergency room” atmosphere of the dailybusiness environment, and those in the creative “greenhouse”.”Greenhousing was born out of a realisation that creativity needs adifferent environment from that offered by normal business behaviour. But the greenhouse need not be a physical place, nor do participants necessarilyhave to book a formal time in which to storm ideas. In fact, it is a state ofmind that can be switched on and off. “The knack to informal greenhousing lies in recognising a creativesituation and putting up a pocket greenhouse on the spot. It may last just afew minutes, but it is a safe haven for creativity.” The most important thing, however, is that in the greenhouse environmentanything goes – “normal” business judgement is suspended. Allan points out that the modus operandi of the greenhouse also needs toreflect the common culture of the company if it is to find real acceptance.”Define what you think creative means in your culture,” he advises.”Identify where you are in current creativity and where you want to go.Ask how people will act and behave differently than before. Ask what structuresyou need to put in place.” For example, one client, Bass Brewers, while generally accepting much of the?WhatIf! theory, found the notion of expressing these ideas in “Londonagency speak” unappealing. It consequently adopted its own greenhouse ruleterminology to discourage people from treading on the ideas of others. Anyonemaking a negative remark was shown a yellow card, while persistent offendersgot a red one, and were asked to leave the meeting. “This was done veryplayfully, but there was a very serious intent behind it.”Allan notes that encouraging creativity comes much easier to smallercompanies “where everyone knows each other. But in larger companiesefficiency becomes the dominant paradigm. The key challenge is how to encourageentrepreneurialism in a large environment. Companies that are successful arethose learning to create acorns from old oaks. Big firms should experiment morewith doing smaller things.”Creative spin-off operations that have been used to good effect includeBritish Airways’ Go operation, and the Saturn branch of General Motors.Separating these more dynamic environments from the main body also has theeffect of reducing corporate tension, claims Andrew Parker, a senior partner atForrester Research. “A separate structure creates a level of insulationfrom the rest of the company and makes it less problematic if things gowrong.”Sharing ideas When it comes to implementing a creative strategy, Allan advises a”land and expand” approach. “One thing we have noticed withclients is that when we have started on one section of the company, others havesaid, ‘this clearly works, we would like to do it too’.”Other creative thinkers have taken a different approach to the problem. InThe Corporate Fool, for example, the authors explore the idea of using anindividual to question existing assumptions in an organisation, thus encouragecreativity. It was an idea famously taken up by British Airways head ofstrategy Paul Birch, who restyled himself “Corporate Jester”. “My only objective was to swan around, sticking my nose into otherpeople’s business and being a pain in the rear,” he said in 1997.”Humour in business is necessary. It will become the big issue as peoplerealise much more gets done when people have fun.”Birch left the operation in 1998, but many of his ideas influenced the ethosbehind the £200m new BA building with its free-flowing cafe structure, dubbed”the biggest friendly building in the world”.Corporate Fool author Firth concedes that much of the “foolish”nomenclature in the book was a mistake “because it made peopletitter”, but it masked a serious purpose, namely the importance ofbringing independent judgement to bear.”A fool has three principles – first, to see things as they really are,second, to say them as they really are, third, to communicate.” It is the sort of role which might usefully be taken up by a non-executivedirector, he adds. “They have that objectivity. They are sort of in thecourt, yet out of it. This is one of the roles with the potential to change thestatus quo. As soon as you put the ‘foolish’ concept to one side and look atthe characteristics, you will see these people are common in companies.” What’s in a name?The most obvious way to demonstrate your creative corporate credentials isto come up with a zany job title or two.This might sound frivolous, but there is growing evidence that companies arebeginning to take the issue of job nomenclature very seriously indeed. In a recent survey quoted in The Guardian, an astonishing 70 per cent ofoffice workers claimed they would be prepared to forgo a pay rise for the sakeof a more “motivational” title.Unsurprisingly companies at the forefront of this movement are oftenmarketing companies looking to use their own organisations as a showroom forwhat they might do for clients. At the Fourth Room consultancy, for example,titles are informal, colloquial and ad hoc – designed to indicate a person’sbasic job function. They include “managing directors” (someone whoorganises senior management) a “members only” (the person responsiblefor customer lists and marketing), a “man of ideas” and “apath-finder”.A similar situation also exists within ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry – thoughit will be interesting to see whether such quaint titles as”flavourmeister” and “serving supremo” survives thecompany’s recent takeover.Proponents of ad hoc job titling claim the system helps boost self-esteemwithin individuals, as well as breaking down corporate hierarchies. And thereis evidence that the practice is gaining ground in established blue-chipoperations as well as new wave companies. At Polaroid, for example, thereexists a “senior creatologist”. Meanwhile, at US software house Netscape, the dreary connotations ofHR/personnel have been replaced by the unforgettable “director of bringingin cool people”. The Virginian-based marketing company Play boasts a “whatif”, a”checkplease” and (more traditionally) a “growth officer”.The one caveat to this informal approach to nomenclature is what happens ifa person’s performance or behaviour fails to live up to their title. Should itthen be changed to a more realistic one? How long before someone gets saddledwith “office lech” or “official team loser”? As a final word of warning, whatever happened to the Major administration’sMinister of Fun? Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Oxford marches for an end to NHS crisis

first_imgBeyond Oxfordshire, NHS services across the country havebeen battling a staffing crisis for a number of years. Hundreds took to the streets last Saturday to protest the state of the NHS. Growing opposition to the privatisation of cancer-scanningservices at the Churchill Hospital was exacerbated last month when it wasannounced the twelve-bed ward in Headington would temporarily close due to ashortage of NHS nurses. Acknowledging the significance of the crisis, Drew went onto say: “We have a clear workforce plan in place for the year ahead whichincludes ongoing recruitment of international nurses, a significant growth inapprentices, and continued efforts to ensure that OUH is a great place to workso that our existing staff want to stay with us. In April, Oxfordshire’s Health Overview and ScrutinyCommittee was presented with a petition, which had amassed 10,000 signatures, opposingthe plans. The belief of the petitioners is that privatisation of such serviceswould mean that the NHS would become an inferior service. Latest NHS figures show that the trust employs 5,343 staffwith just over 13% of posts being vacant. Following the meeting, the OUH Chief Executive, Dr Bruno Holthof, said: “I would like to thank the Oxfordshire HOSC for agreeing to our request to examine this issue. “Moreover, we have seen a reduction in staff turnoverrecently and we want to see that trend continue by retaining our staff andhelping them to develop and build their careers here in Oxfordshire.” Protestors also marched against the privatisation of cancer(PET-CT) scanning at the Churchill Hospital. The OUH told Cherwell that due to the decision “no changes will be made to the current PET-CT service at the Churchill Hospital while this process is ongoing.” Yet as well as the high cost of living, the OxfordUniversity Hospitals Trust, which runs the John Radcliffe and Churchillhospitals, recently revealed that amidst the growing uncertainties of Brexit, agrowing number of Spanish nurses were leaving the organisation to go home. Responding to the worsening staffing crisis, a majorexpansion and redevelopment of housing for NHS staff in Oxford is beingplanned. Health campaigners had raised concerns that more than twothirds of nursing posts were vacant by the end of May. Extremely high costs of living in Oxford have been cited asthe main barrier to attracting new staff. Under banners calling for action to Oxfordshire’s NHSstaffing crisis, protesters marched through the city centre. With the closureof Oxford’s community hospital fresh in people’s minds, the town’s access tomedical care was at the top of the list of concerns. Scanning services for cancer (PECT-CT) have been provided atthe Churchill Hospital since 2005. In a meeting between the UOH and theOxfordshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), it was decidedthat the matter would be referred to the Secretary of State for Health. Last week, John Drew, Director of Improvement and Culture at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) told Cherwell: “Recruiting and retaining staff is a challenge both for the NHS nationally and for us here in Oxfordshire.” “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many patients who have contacted us to say how much they value the current PET-CT service at the Churchill. We are grateful for their support and also that of our local MPs and our governors who have spoken out on this issue.” A plan, submitted to the Oxford City Council in April,involves the demolition of the original hospital accommodation and the creationof an additional 51 homes. last_img read more

Maple Leaf UK rides out cost pressures

first_imgCanadian-owned Maple Leaf Foods has announced fourth-quarter results for 2007, which revealed an 11% increase in Bakery Product Group sales to $393m (£200m) up from $355m (£180m) in the last quarter of 2006.The group does not separate out the earnings of its UK divisions. In the past two years Maple Leaf has acquired five UK businesses: the Harvestime bakery in Walsall in 2006, Avance (UK) and the French Croissant Company in December 2006, La Fornaia in August 2007 and the Bernard Matthews bakery in Dunstable in November 2007.Adjusted operating earnings for the year rose 16% to $116.7m. Maple Leaf’s report said: “In the UK, the benefits of price increases were not sufficient to offset the impact of higher input costs and investments in promotion and advertising. However, these headwinds were offset by the positive contribution of acquisitions and organic growth in bagel and other speciality bakery categories.”The company expects to see continued growth in the speciality and bagel markets.Marketing and innovation director Guy Hall said the firm will launch new products in its New York Bagel range this year.Hall added: “The general sentiment would be that we’ve had stable economic conditions for 10 years but in the last 12-18 months it has been turned on its head. What the future holds we cannot say. We’re into choppy and uncertain waters. If we’ve got one overriding concern it’s the cost of price increases coming into the business.”Maple Leaf has negotiated price rises with its customers, including the major retailers, he added.last_img read more

Four years in review

first_imgLauren Weldon | The Observer Fr. Theodore Hesburgh dies at 97On Feb. 26, 2015, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, 15th president of Notre Dame and one of the most influential figures in higher education, died at the age of 97. Friends, family and the Notre Dame community came together to celebrate his life at his funeral held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on March 4, 2015.Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, M.A. class of 1975, topped a long list of dignitaries who offered reflections at the memorial service for Hesburgh in Purcell Pavilion on March 4.University President Fr. John Jenkins described Fr. Hesburgh as a moral force in a statement sent to the student body.“Next to Notre Dame’s founder, Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C., no one has had a greater impact on the University than Fr. Ted,” Jenkins said. “With his appointments to the faculty, his creation of great centers and institutes for scholarship and research, his commitment to our Catholic character and, most of all, his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned what was a school well-known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.” Major Headlines in the last four yearsCampus Crossroads, Jan. 24, 2014On Jan. 29, 2014, the University announced the $400 million “Campus Crossroads Project.” The undertaking is a renovation to the stadium, which will include classrooms, recreational facilities, meeting rooms and a student center. The purpose of the endeavor is to centralize every element of campus life in one location.Notre Dame announced new school for global affairs, Oct. 1, 2014On Oct. 1, 2014, the University announced plans to open the Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs, the first new college at the University in nearly a century. It will be based in Jenkins Hall, and R. Scott Appleby will serve as the Marilyn Keough Dean at the school.ESPN sues Notre Dame for record access, Jan. 15, 2015On Jan. 15, 2015, ESPN filed a lawsuit against Notre Dame claiming NDSP violated Indiana’s public records law by refusing to release campus police records. Although the trial court judge ruled in Notre Dame’s favor in April 2015, ESPN won the appeal March 15, 2016 when the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that NDSP is a public agency.Donald Trump elected President of the United States, Nov. 9, 2016In the early hours of Nov. 9, 2016, Donald Trump officially defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th U.S. President. The reactions of students ranged from excitement to shock to fear. In the aftermath of the election, students formed a new student group at the University, We Stand For.Jan Cervelli inaugurated as 12th Saint Mary’s President, Nov. 12, 2016After officially taking office on June 1, 2016, College President Jan Cervelli was officially inaugurated as the 12th head of the school. Cervelli succeeded College President Emeritus Carol Ann Mooney, who served for 12 years before retiring in 2016. Vice President Mike Pence announced as 2017 Commencement speaker, March 2, 2017The University announced Vice President and former Governor of Indiana Mike Pence as the 2017 Commencement speaker on March 2. The selection of Pence as Commencement speaker was met with mixed reactions, with some students citing Pence’s record on LGBT issues as a particular point of contention.Tags: Campus Crossroads, Commencement 2017, Donald Trump, ESPN lawsuit, Four Years in Review, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, keough school for global affairs, Mike Pence, President Jan Cervelli Twelve ND, SMC students lost in four years2013 witnessed the death of one Notre Dame student. Connor Sorensen died Dec. 20, 2013 after a lifelong battle with lung disease, along with other health-related issues. Sorensen was able to graduate early, despite his deteriorating health. His friends described him as relentless in his motivation to find cures for diseases, due to his personal experiences.Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s lost two students in 2014. Third-year Ph.D. student Akash Sharma died Jan. 1. Sharma was studying chemical and biomolecular engineering and worked as a teaching assistant. He was from India.Saint Mary’s former first year Madelyn Stephenson died when her car was hit on the driver’s side by a semi-tractor Jan. 3. She had a passion for learning Arabic, and her loved ones described her as a shy, smart girl.Five Notre Dame students died in 2015. Sophomore Daniel Kim was found dead Feb. 6 in his off-campus residence. A former fencer, Kim was a business student from New Jersey.Senior finance major Lisa Yang died March 3; her death was ruled a suicide by the St. Joseph County Coroner’s Office. She was a resident of McGlinn Hall, and friends said she was naturally good at everything she tried.Senior Billy Meckling died in the early hours of May 16 after falling from the roof of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center; he was set to graduate the following day. Meckling was a four-year member of the Irish varsity fencing team, winning two monograms.Rebecca Townsend, a member of the incoming class of 2019, died July 2 after she and a friend were struck by a car during a Fourth of July celebration. Her friend recalls Rebecca saving his life by pushing him out of the way of the car.Junior Jake Scanlan, a mechanical engineering major from North Potomac, Maryland, died in his bed in Siegfried Hall on Nov. 11. His friends said he treated everyone like an old friend and loved to make people smile.In 2016, Notre Dame lost two students. Third-year law student Karabo Moleah, 26, died March 31 in Philadelphia while studying in the Law School’s Washington D.C. program. His friends remember his questioning nature and intelligence.On March 9, junior Theresa Sagartz was found dead in her off-campus residence from natural causes related to a chronic medical condition. A third generation member of the Notre Dame community, her friends and family remember her as adventurous, self-assured and generous with her time.In 2017, Notre Dame lost two students. First-year law student Travis McElmurry, who was dual-enrolled at the business school, died in his off-campus residence on March 12. His friends said he had an easygoing nature and loved his dog.On March 31, former undergraduate student Edward Lim died at his home in Cincinnati. His friends said Lim had made a significant impact on the community during his time at the University, and remembered his love for music, philosophy and the Notre Dame Chorale.last_img read more

Partner Nations Complete PKO-Americas 2012 with US Army South

first_img Peacekeeping Operations-Americas (PKO-A) 2012 came to a successful conclusion as U.S. Army South, the Chilean Army and 14 other partner nations marked the occasion during a closing ceremony in Santiago in mid May. “As partners in this hemisphere, we all share common interests and our concerns regarding security are closely aligned,” said Ambassador Alejandro Daniel Wolff, the U.S. Ambassador to Chile. “Natural disasters and humanitarian crises are a real threat, and challenges like these require that we have a committed and common focus. Joint work is key since it provides security and stability that is long lasting.” U.S. Army South, as the Army service component command of U.S. Southern Command, conducts the annual PKO-A exercise in support of U.N. peacekeeping initiatives in Central and South America and the Caribbean. PKO-A 2012 was conducted in four phases which took place this year in Chile and the Dominican Republic March 19 – May 11. The first phase of PKO-A 2012 was a battalion-level training event conducted March 19 – 23 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The second phase was a junior leaders’ training event April 2 – 6 in Fort Aguayo, Chile, and the third phase was a senior leader staff seminar in Santiago, Chile, April 30 – May 2. The final phase was a command post exercise also conducted in Santiago from May 7 – 11. Participants had an exceptional opportunity to train together with partner nations which included more than 300 representatives from Chile and the United States as well as Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. “Having representatives from throughout the region shows how well organized this exercise has been and how useful it is to conduct exercises of this kind,” said Chilean Minister of Defense Andrés Allamand. “When we talk about peacekeeping operations, we’re talking about preserving human lives, a common desire for all of us.” PKO-A also included observers and representatives from the U.N., the Conference of American Armies, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), the Conference of Central American Armed Forces and individual representatives from the countries of Indonesia, Mongolia and Spain. “The participation of advisors and experts from throughout the world have added a significant meaning to our efforts and together we have improved the preparation of our forces in a way that they can support peacekeeping operations in the future,” said Wolff. Partnering with military counterparts from around the world was a highlight for many participants. “Just the fact that we’re bringing together people from (various) nations like this is money in the bank as far as strengthening our partnerships and cooperating,” said Maj. Cris Simon, a U.S. Army officer assigned to WHINSEC. “It’s a phenomenal exercise and you can tell by the participants’ professionalism that each country sends its best and brightest.” Guatemalan Maj. William Barrios, deputy director of the Central American Peace Operations Training Center in Coban, Guatemala, said the exchange of information and knowledge, especially on a personal level, was important. “Working on a personal level really helps,” said Barrios who has deployed to peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Haiti. “While the U.N. doctrine might be common to us all, we each have our own doctrines that may differ. Even small things can create a challenge so we try to find a solution while we’re here. I have noticed a big improvement in our ability to work together since the start of the exercise.” Barrios’ teammate, Brazilian army Col. Henrique Nolasco, agreed about the effectiveness of working side-by-side with partner nation counterparts. “It’s very beneficial when we’re able to get together with our partners to do joint work while trying to react to common challenges,” said Nolasco. “Training together gives you more knowledge in order to be more effective at your job.” The multinational exercise supports the U.S. Department of State’s Global Peace Operations Initiative, which encourages peacekeeping efforts in Central and South America and the Caribbean. This initiative develops and enhances national training capabilities and equips potential peacekeeping units for deployment. By Dialogo June 04, 2012last_img read more

Briefly: How not to write one

first_imgBriefly: How not to write one Briefly: How not to write one Editor’s Note: Sometimes an opinion or other sample of legal writing crosses our desk that is just too good not to pass along. Even, as in this case, if it’s a couple years old and from a federal district court in Texas. This one is timely in the sense that the last edition of the News featured the Tips for the Young Lawyer column by Francisco Ramos, Jr., on how to write an effective motion. Below is a counterpoint of one judge’s vivid advice on how not to write a motion or argument. Imagine getting an order on a motion you made and the judge refers to your supporting argument as “bumbling” and a “descent into Alice’s Wonderland.”Now imagine what the judge had to say about the other side’s legal efforts, because you, the tour guide for Wonderland, actually had your motion granted.(And guess the nightmare of returning to the office, clutching the judge’s opinion in hand and a more senior firm member asks how you did.“Well, we won.”“Great. Can I see the opinion?”“No!”)The setting for the 2001 ruling was a Texas federal district court in a suit filed on behalf of an injured seaman, who claimed he had been hurt climbing off a tugboat while it was tied up in a port. The suit was later expanded to include the company that owned the dock. The suit was filed under federal maritime law known as the Jones Act.In due time, the lawyer for the dock owner filed a motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff’s attorney replied — first with a one-page response and then a lengthier supplemental filing. But neither, the judge pointed out in a footnote, gave a factual foundation for a claim against the dock owner, or gave any information about how the accident supposedly happened.With the background set, and with a sharpened wit and pencil, Judge Samuel B. Kent waded in.“Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable [Houston] lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation,” the judge wrote. “Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact — complete with hats, handshakes, and cryptic words — to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed.“Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions. With Big Chief tablet ready, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor’s edge sense of exhilaration, the Court begins.”The key question was determining which law applied: a state two-year statute of limitations or a three-year federal standard.The judge noted the defense began the “descent into Alice’s Wonderland” with a summary motion that cited only a single case as legal authority. And that was to a successor case on the Erie doctrine on the court’s authority to apply the Texas statute of limitations to a federal case. The defense failed to analyze why the court should “approach the shores of Erie ” and failed to cite to the Texas limitations statute, or the Erie case itself.(The judge in a footnote acknowledged the defense also filed a reply brief, which also failed to cite the Texas law or provide a U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on the maritime liability issue.)“A more bumbling approach is difficult to conceive — but wait folks, there’s more,” the judge wrote, turning to the plaintiff’s arguments. “Plaintiff responds to this deft, yet minimalist analytical wizardry with an equally gossamer wisp of an argument, although Plaintiff does at least cite the federal limitations provision applicable to maritime tort claims.”But the plaintiff made up for that by failing to provide any argument why the claim against the dock owner fell under federal maritime law. The brief also cited only a single case, which unfortunately was attributed to a nonexistent volume of the Federal Register and also failed to provide a pinpoint cite in the 40-page opinion.After slogging through that citation, which had to do with an alleged defamation on a cruise ship by G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate fame, the judge concluded it had nothing to do with whether maritime law applied to an injury stemming from ingress or egress to a ship.“The Court cannot even begin to comprehend why this case was selected for reference,” Judge Kent observed. “It is almost as if plaintiff’s counsel chose the opinion by throwing long-range darts at the Federal Reporter (remarkably enough hitting a nonexistent volume!).”The plaintiff did file a supplemental argument citing more cases, but none were on point, and the new filing still failed to show why the action should be a maritime case.Wryly, Judge Kent praised the plaintiff’s lawyer for using a more readable shade of crayon on the second filing, “But at the end of the day, even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, a pig is still a pig.”After reviewing those briefs, the judge — noting it took him only one paragraph — summed up the case, and cited the controlling Fifth Circuit ruling that the dock owner did not owe any duty to the injured seaman under maritime law, hence state law applied. He dismissed that part of the suit, characterizing the process as “this remarkably long walk on a short legal pier.”Judge Kent concluded with a cautionary note to the plaintiff counsel, remarking that he still retained the claim against the company that owned the tugboat.“However, it’s well known around these parts that [the company’s] lawyer is equally likable and has been writing crisply in ink since the second grade,” the ruling said. “Some old-timers even spin yarns of ability to type. The Court cannot speak to the veracity of such loose talk, but out of caution, the Court suggests that plaintiff’s lovable counsel had best upgrade to a nice shiny No. 2 pencil or at least sharpen what’s left of the stubs of his crayons for what remains of this heart-stopping, spine-tingling action.”In a footnote to that advice, the judge added, “In either case, the Court cautions plaintiff’s counsel not to run with a sharpened writing utensil in hand — he could put his eye out.”For the full text, see Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp, Inc., 147 F.Supp.2d 6678, 2001 A.M.C. 2358 (S.D.Tex., 2001). (According to the court clerk’s office, the remaining case was dismissed at the joint request of the parties later that year.) If you have come across an amusing opinion or legal document, we invite you to send it to The Florida Bar News , 651 E. Jefferson St., Tallahassee 32309-2300. November 15, 2003 Regular Newslast_img read more