Tackling discrimination in construction

first_imgIt has been a bad month, following a catastrophic year, for the UK on the issue of discrimination of all kinds. Last week, the BBC filed a report which commented on research by the TUC regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. Shocking statistics, such as 79% of the women who were victims of sexual harassment did not tell their employer and 63% of women between 18 and 24 said they had been sexually harassed at work, were highlighted.Last week the equally damning UK race report Healing a divided Britain from the Equality and Human Rights Commission was released which says: “There has been a rise of 49% unemployment since 2010 for ethnic minority group members between 16-24 who are long-term unemployed, compared with a fall of 1% in overall long-term youth unemployment.”These reports, coupled with the appalling, unpleasant under-current of racism that tarnished the Brexit out campaign, has made many people of all generations hang their heads in shame, and I count myself in this group.And where does the construction industry sit in this melee? Not terribly well. As stated by the CITB, “You only have to look at the figures to see what a mountain the industry has to climb: less than 2% of the manual workforce is represented by women; a mere 5% is made up of black and Asian manual workers and; just 8.1% have a disability as defined by the Disabled Discrimination Act.” 12% of our wider construction industry is female, and within that only 4% are trained professionals, all others are in supporting administrative roles. What is worse is that these statistics have barely shifted for a decade.We need to champion the success stories of the minority role models that are in our industry. Encouraging them to take speaking opportunities, to accept every promotion and not to look backSo how do we move beyond our liberal navel gazing sclerosis and actually make the change the industry requires? Firstly, a high-quality imaginative media profile campaign is needed using top advertising agencies. One that communicates where we are succeeding to engage with all ethnic groups and girls and young women in particular.Secondly, we need to champion the success stories of the minority role models that are in our industry. Encouraging them to take speaking opportunities, to accept every promotion and not to look back. I set up Chicks with Bricks, a networking group promoting female talent in the industry, in partnership with the Prince’s Trust, because I wanted to hear women’s success stories, and I wanted others to hear them too. It started as just two of us and now we have over 3,000 members and three international events a year promoting talent, diversity and success. Everyone can create positive change. Angelica Donati, one of our speakers in her twenties running her own development company, had a great opinion on breaking glass ceilings. “My dad always told me when I was a little girl, you can do whatever you want, ‘consider yourself a five tonne bear, because a five tonne bear does whatever they want’.”Greater diversity in our industry needs to be a concrete target: because it is an economic generator, not a nice thing to have. Senior level individuals in all construction organisations should be accountable for hitting (or not hitting) diversity targets, as they are for other aspects of profitability or performance. A report in the FT last month said, 72 employers with half a million staff have backed the Women in Finance Charter, a government initiative based on a report on the sector by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money. The charter obliges signatories to set targets for the proportion of women in senior roles and to make executive pay partially dependent on hitting those diversity goals.Dame Tessa Jowell at Ayo Allu’s CIOB dinner last month, talking about the extraordinary feat of the London Olympics, said: “Everything we did was against everything that was being done.” I believe we are in this position now with the challenge of diversity, and it is time for us, as an industry, to aggressively step up to the challenge.Holly Porter is a director for Surface to Air Architects and founder of Chicks with Brickslast_img read more


US government won’t reclassify marijuana, allows research

first_img WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration will keep marijuana on the list of the most dangerous drugs, despite growing popular support for legalization, but will allow more research into its possible medical benefits, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Thursday.The DEA said the agency opted not to reclassify marijuana after a lengthy review and consultation with the Health and Human Services Department, which said marijuana “has a high potential for abuse” and “no accepted medical use.”“We are tethered to science and bound by statute,” DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said Thursday.The decision to keep marijuana in the same class of drugs as heroin and peyote comes amid growing national support for the legalization of marijuana. More than half the states have legalized the drug for either medicinal or recreational use.The DEA said it plans to make it easier for researchers to study marijuana’s possible medical benefits by expanding the number of entities that can legally grow marijuana for research purposes.Currently only researchers at the University of Mississippi are allowed to grow marijuana, as part of a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.Allowing for further research is the latest step forward in the federal government’s evolving position on marijuana, although legalization advocates claim it doesn’t go far enough.The DEA’s latest review of marijuana’s classification was prompted by requests from the former governors of Rhode Island and Washington. They requested that marijuana be considered a Schedule II drug, along with cocaine, morphine and opium.The decision was announced in a lengthy notice in the Federal Register. US government won’t reclassify marijuana, allows research Published: August 11, 2016 11:51 AM EDT Updated: August 11, 2016 12:18 PM EDT Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. SHARElast_img read more


Lawyer, CEO want charge dropped against journalist

first_img CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) A West Virginia journalist arrested after repeatedly asking U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question said he did nothing wrong, and his attorney and the media outlet’s founder want the charge dropped.Reporter Daniel Ralph Heyman, who works for the independent Public News Service, was arrested by police at the state Capitol in Charleston during Price’s visit Tuesday.He had wanted to ask Price about whether domestic violence is a pre-existing condition under the Republican health care proposal. Heyman got no response. So he tried again. And again.Capitol police said in a criminal complaint that Heyman, 54, caused a disturbance with his persistent questions and “was aggressively breaching” Secret Service agents who accompanied Price.Heyman said Wednesday that he used his cellphone to record audio and he had to reach over the shoulders of some of Price’s staffers to get the device closer to him.Charleston-based Heyman was charged with willful disruption of governmental processes, a misdemeanor, and later was released on $5,000 bond. No court hearing was immediately set. The charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $100 fine.“I’ve never had a case in which a guy got in trouble for speaking, for talking loud,” said Heyman’s lawyer, Tim DiPiero of Charleston.DiPiero called the statute “very vague.” During a conference call Wednesday, he and Public News Service CEO Lark Corbeil asked that the charge not be pursued by the state.“There is no reason for this,” Corbeil said. “It’s an overreach.”At an appearance Wednesday in Concord, New Hampshire, Price said police in West Virginia “did what they felt was appropriate” and that arresting Heyman was “not my decision to make.”Heyman, a journalist for three decades and a Public News Service employee since 2009, said he was wearing a press badge and his questions were directed only at Price, not at White House aide Kellyanne Conway, who had accompanied Price to learn about efforts to fight opioid addiction in a state that has the nation’s highest overdose death rate.Price and Conway later took reporters’ questions at a scheduled news conference. But Heyman decided to find Price beforehand in a hallway.Kristen O’Sullivan, a breast cancer survivor from Athens, West Virginia, was among a small group in the hallway hoping to talk to Price about the health care overhaul. As Heyman asked questions, police officers “grabbed him by the scruff of the neck” and led him away, she said.“It could have been handled completely differently,” O’Sullivan said. “I saw him as doing his job and asking tough questions and Secretary Price trying not to pay attention to anyone that was there.”Robert W. Jensen, a media law and ethics professor at the University of Texas School of Journalism and a former newspaper reporter and editor, said reporters have limits on their actions in public places with politicians and public officials, especially those protected by the Secret Service.However, Jensen also said he’s concerned that President Donald Trump’s administration “has engaged in something like open warfare with journalists. Every time there is a further infringement on the rights of journalists who both collect and disseminate information in this type of atmosphere, it’s troubling.”The American Civil Liberties Union’s West Virginia chapter said in a statement that Heyman’s arrest “is a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press.”According to its website, Boulder, Colorado-based Public News Service manages independent news services in 36 states, reporting on social, community and environmental issues for print and radio customers. SHARE Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Published: May 11, 2017 5:22 AM EDT center_img Lawyer, CEO want charge dropped against journalist Author: AP last_img read more


Experts: ‘Operation Warp Speed’ is fueling vaccine fears

first_img Will COVID-19 kill the holiday shopping season? Author: Maggie Fox / CNN Published: June 5, 2020 8:20 PM EDT Updated: June 5, 2020 7:48 PM EDT SWFL businesses eager to fully reopen as Gov. DeSantis paves the way for Phase 3 The federal government’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine program, with its emphasis on quick production and testing of experimental coronavirus vaccines, is fueling fears already stirred up by vaccine skeptics, two experts said Friday.The approach itself is not unreasonable, said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. But the way it’s being communicated is scaring people, he told CNN.“The way the message is coming out of Operation Warp Speed creates a lot of chaos and confusion. And it is enabling the anti-vaccine movement,” Hotez said.A White House coronavirus task force source told CNN earlier this week that the Trump Administration’s Warp Speed program had chosen five companies most likely to produce a Covid-19 vaccine — whittled down from 14 last month when “Operation Warp Speed” was launched.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects up to 100,000 doses of one vaccine, made by biotech company Moderna, to be available by the end of the year, ready to be rolled out if it is shown to work safely to protect people against coronavirus infection in clinical trials that are now underway.He has said one of the candidates could be ready as early as January. That is a highly accelerated schedule, as vaccines typically take years to produce.“We think we are going to have a vaccine in the pretty near future, and if we do, we are going to really be a big step ahead,” Trump said last month.“The way they are messaging it is a little frightening because they make a point of saying how quickly it is being done,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “It makes people think there are steps being skipped.”Hotez and Offit should know. They have both spent years fighting an organized anti-vaccination effort and trying to educate people who have doubts and fears about vaccines. Both have written books about vaccine safety. Hotez wrote “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism,” about his daughter, and Offit has written several books, including “Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All.”“What does the anti-vaccine lobby allege?” Hotez asked. “They say we rush vaccines, that we don’t adequately test them for safety, and that there is this conspiratorial relationship between Big Pharma and the government.”And then vaccine makers send out news releases trumpeting incremental successes. Last month, Moderna, the US biotech company heavily promoted by the White House and the National Institutes of Health, announced promising early results, sending its share price up 30%. At the same time, two top executives sold $30 million worth of shares.Lorence Kim, Moderna’s chief financial officer, exercised 241,000 options for $3 million, filings show. He then immediately sold them for $19.8 million, creating a profit of $16.8 million.The next day, Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, spent $1.5 million to exercise options. He immediately sold the shares for $9.77 million, triggering a profit of $8.2 million.It was all legal, but looked bad, Hotez said.“They are shooting themselves in the foot,” he said.On Thursday, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins said he feared vaccine skepticism would make people unwilling to get the coronavirus vaccine. He also said the messaging would be important.Offit worries that companies and the federal government may actually be tempted to skip safety steps in the rush to protect people from coronavirus. That wouldn’t make the vaccine skeptics right, but it could be dangerous and further erode credibility.“You have a president who said hydroxychloroquine was going to work. He said, ‘I heard really good things about it and how could it hurt,’ ” Offit said. “None of that was right. First, it didn’t work, and second, it did hurt. It has cardiac toxicity.”Offit worries something even more damaging could happen with a vaccine. Currently, the federal government is helping develop both vaccines and drugs to fight coronavirus.“Do I think this administration has the capacity to perturb the process?” asked Offit. “Yes, I do.”So far, Offit sees nothing that has gone wrong with any of the vaccines in development. He doesn’t see any indication that safety is being sacrificed.But it’s clear to him why the administration would choose five vaccines to focus on.“It’s because they are the fastest to make,” Offit said. All use biotechnology approaches to make vaccines using genetic sequences, as opposed to the tried-and-true but slow approach of using a whole virus that has been either weakened or killed.“As long as the phase 3 trials are done and respected, I think the speed we are witnessing will be fine,” Offit said. But the phase 3 trials, one of which is penciled in to be done in 30,000 volunteers later this year, must be taken to the end to ensure that any rare side effects from vaccination will become visible.“That is the part that cannot be skipped,” Offit said. Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. SHARE WASHINGTON (CNN) Experts: ‘Operation Warp Speed’ is fueling vaccine fears Recommendedlast_img read more


Expanding law group buys Yorkshire ABS from LegalZoom

first_imgThe expanding Metamorph Group has announced the acquisition of an alternative business structure formerly owned by a once-ambitious US entrant.The group confirmed the acquisition of Yorkshire-based firm Beaumont Legal, which was previously part of LegalZoom, an online document service which had arrived from America.In 2015, former LegalZoom chief executive Craig Holt said the deal to buy Beaumont would be a step towards building a ‘next generation’ law firm.Now the firm has changed owner once again, this time transferring to the national Metamorph Group, which has bought seven firms across England since it was founded in 2015. These purchases include conveyancing specialist BPL Solicitors, debt collection firm SLC Solicitors and multi-practice north west firm Linder Myers. Beaumont is mostly conveyancing but also provides wills and probate services.The Metamorph Group now has underlying annual revenue of £30m and more than 550 staff (bolstered by the 129 staff transferring from Beaumont).Metamorph executive chairman Tony Stockdale said: ‘The acquisition of Beaumont Legal adds further depth and quality to our client service offering. Tony Stockdale‘Such a long established firm with over 200 years of history complements our current portfolio of brands and geographical coverage perfectly. The deal is another exciting step forward in our objective to become one of the leading law firms in England focused on private client and SME work.’The most recent Metamorph accounts, covering the year ending 31 December 2018, show the firm boosted turnover from £12.2m to £17.7m. Gross profit jumped from almost £5m to £6.3m, but a massive hike in administrative expenses meant that profit before taxation actually fell from almost £600,000 to £76,000.LegalZoom continues to have an online presence in the UK, offering to help business clients and consumers wanting to buy or sell their home or make a will, but it is unclear what effect the sale of its legal practice will have on this. According to Companies House, Holt’s appointment as a director was ended in 2017. Rich Preece, the US company’s chief operating officer, is the only remaining director. In the whole of 2018, the UK arm reported £605,000 turnover and £306,000 profit before tax.last_img read more


Testing Alaskan rail integrity

first_imgALASKA Railroad is testing a method of detecting broken rails on routes that are not equipped with track circuiting, in a 14-month Federal Railroad Administration technology demonstration project.The FRA is contributing 93% of the $409740 cost of the project, and selected Alaska Railroad for the tests because of the extreme climate and mixed passenger and freight operations. Around 85% of AR’s track is not signalled, and currently the only way to detect rail breaks is through frequent inspections. The detection and monitoring equipment is being installed on three sections of track and one locomotive. Union Switch & Signal is providing MicroTrax Coded Track Circuits, adapted to function over 8route-km compared with the 3·2 km in signalled territory. To conserve energy the MicroLok II logic controller enters a sleep mode until it is activated by an approaching train. Wayside radio devices provide confirmation of track integrity on a screen in the loco, using an interface from Quantum Electronics. The crew are warned of any disruption, and if the driver does not respond the train is brought to a halt before being permitted to proceed at restricted speed. Maintenance crews are automatically notified of the rail defect using a wireless network from Meteor Communications Corp.Reader Enquiry NumbersUnion Switch & Signal, USA 201Quantum Engineering Inc, USA 202Meteor Communications Corp, USA 203last_img read more


Home security firm names Hills among safest cities to retire

first_img Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) A national home security firm has ranked Farmington Hills among the top five safest U.S. cities in which to retire.Security Choice, which offers ADT home security consultation services, analyzed data from 495 cities to create its top 100 list. Farmington Hills ranks fifth, based on “a low violent crime rate at 0.09% and healthy growth in its 65-plus population in the past five years (+17% from 2010).”The website also notes that Michigan has a young average retirement age of 62. Other criteria include the city’s cost of living, healthcare costs, and the state’s elder abuse laws.Read the full report: Safest Cities to Retire Reported bylast_img read more


Mississippi State struggling to find answers to end slump

first_imgOle Miss? Errol Robinson scores against Arkansas on Saturday in Oxford. Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle Mississippi's Errol Robinson (6) scores against Arkansas in an NCAA college baseball game at Oxford-University Stadium in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday, May 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman) MAGS OUT, NO SALES, MANDATORY CREDITOle Miss? Errol Robinson scores against Arkansas on Saturday in Oxford. Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle Mississippi’s Errol Robinson (6) scores against Arkansas in an NCAA college baseball game at Oxford-University Stadium in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday, May 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman) MAGS OUT, NO SALES, MANDATORY CREDITOXFORD – John Cohen sat in the first base dugout at Swayze Field resting his head on his hand. His Mississippi State team dropped below .500 for the second time this season after a 4-3 loss Thursday night to Ole Miss.With seven games remaining in the regular season, the seventh-year coach is struggling to find answers that can right MSU’s sinking ship.“We’ve gotta go back to the drawing board,” Cohen said.Cohen logged 16 hard-hit balls against Ole Miss starter Christian Trent. The Bulldogs converted them into seven hits. Reid Humphreys rifled a ball to left with the go-ahead run on base in the sixth. John Holland sent a rocket back to the mound in the ninth that knocked Wyatt Short’s glove off. The closer regained his composure to toss the ball to first in time.“When that’s stuff’s happening, your kids start thinking, ‘What do we have to do?’” Cohen said. “They just keep on competing, hoping good things will happen.”The defeat is Mississippi State’s eighth in a Southeastern Conference series opener this season. The Bulldogs have lost 13 of the last 16 and entered Thursday’s as the 12th seed in the SEC Tournament.“We’ve gotta control what we can control. That hurts really bad in the heart,” MSU sophomore Gavin Collins said. “But no one’s giving up on this team. We’re not going to quit.”Mississippi State entered the series opener 7-22 when opponents score at least three runs. The Rebels scored three in the fourth.The Bulldogs responded with three runs in the sixth, ignited when the first two runners of the inning reached. Collins plated both runners with a double of his own.Mississippi State brought in Zac Houston to keep the game tied. The right-hander hadn’t allowed a run since April 12. Jake Vickerson threw out Sikes Orvis at the plate to preserve that streak.It ended in the bottom of the eighth when Errol Robinson doubled to left. It was the second RBI double that the shortstop sent over an MSU outfielder.Cohen stood by his defensive alignment after the game.“He had seven extra base hits in (175) at-bats,” Cohen said. “You tell me.”Robinson’s game-winning RBI scored as an unearned run. Will Golson reached on a Seth Heck error at third base.Heck committed an error last Saturday in the ninth inning against LSU that allowed three runs to score and sent the game into extra innings.MSU won that game in walkoff fashion. Thursday, MSU didn’t have an answer for the misplay. Injuries to Matthew Britton and Luke Reynolds also limit Cohen’s flexibility at third.“We’re really hamstrung a little bit,” Cohen said. “Luke can’t move side to side. I think Britton’s one of the best defenders I’ve ever coached, his knee came out of his socket. We’re really limited in what we can do defensively right now.”Reynolds injured his ankle against LSU. Cohen wouldn’t reveal if he would return for Friday’s game.MSU needs to take the final two games to avoid its eighth SEC series loss of the season.“We’re going to come back these next two games,” Collins said. “It’s going to be a different look.”Contact Michael Bonner at mbonner@gannett.com. Follow @MikeBBonner on Twitter.last_img read more


World League for rugby a challenge

first_imgRugby Union While a mooted World League has Rugby Australia’s backing, chief executive Raelene Castle warns the commercial reality of making it happen will be a major challenge. The concept, which would add value to Tests outside the World Cup, will be discussed at two major meetings next month by leading southern hemisphere body SANZAAR in London and by World Rugby in Dublin. The proposal is understood to include points allocated to Test matches with the top placed team from the two hemispheres meeting in a final in each non World Cup year. All the Six Nations and Rugby Championship teams would initially be involved. Castle compared the current situation to the years leading up to the establishment of the inaugural World Cup in 1987. “We’re at that next moment where we think there’s an opportunity to review and understand what the most beneficial opportunity for World Rugby is to take the profile of the sport to the next level,” Castle said last Thursday “It’s not simple. You’ve got 12 stakeholders that have incredibly different commercial arrangements, high performance requirements, governance structures to get something like that approved , so it’s a very complex piece of work. “At an idea level it’s got significant support from those 12 nations, now it’s the realities of whether you can deliver it from a commercial and operation perspective. “I think it’s the culmination of evolution and not revolution, so we have a great international Test match product now that allows us to pinnacle that every four years into a World Cup. “There’s been a discussion about formats, we have an outline of what we think the structure could look like as a concept but the commercial realities of pinning it all together is what gets challenging.”last_img read more


Rox Top Bucks 7-2 Friday Night in Waterloo

first_img 360p 1/1 720p HD Auto (360p) About Connatix V56892 About Connatix V56892center_img 1080p HD Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE Skip The St. Cloud Rox (17-22) got back into the win column Friday night, beating the Bucks 7-2 in Waterloo, Iowa.Scoring for the Rox began in the top of the third inning as Gus Steiger hit a single to center field that scored Connor Aube from second base. Ryan Davis followed in the next at-bat with an RBI of his own, hitting a single to left field that scored Ben Carew. In the fourth inning, Jack Barrie belted a leadoff home run to left field and extended the Rox lead to 3-0. Scoring would continue next inning when Ryan Weisenberg singled to left field and scored Steiger, who got on base with a double to left field.St. Cloud wasn’t done scoring, and Davis was back at it in the seventh inning as he recorded a single to center field that scored Aube. A few insurance runs would be tacked on in the eighth inning, as Aube singled to right field and scored Ryland Kerr and Barrie.Kyle Richardson started the game for St. Cloud on the mound and struck out five batters in five-and-one thirds innings pitched. Erik Martinez, Carlo Graffeo, and Finn Del Bonta-Smith all saw work out of the bullpen in the victory.The Rox will face the Bucks again tonight at 6:35 pm in Waterloo, Iowa (Radio: 1390 KXSS).last_img read more