miércoles, 29 de marzo de 2017

United Airlines's reply to the previous article


Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for United, confirmed that two teenage girls were told they could not board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis because their leggings violated the company’s dress code policy for “pass travelers,” a company benefit that allows United employees and their dependents to travel for free on a standby basis.
Mr. Guerin said pass travelers are “representing” the company and as such are not allowed to wear Lycra and spandex leggings, tattered or ripped jeans, midriff shirts, flip-flops or any article of clothing that shows their undergarments.
“It’s not that we want our standby travelers to come in wearing a suit and tie or that sort of thing,” he said. “We want people to be comfortable when they travel as long as it’s neat and in good taste for that environment.”
He said both teenage girls stayed behind in Denver, “made an adjustment” to their outfits and waited for the next flight to Minneapolis. Mr. Guerin did not know if they had successfully boarded or not, and also had no information about the girl Ms. Watts said she saw change into a dress at the gate.
The company largely confirmed Ms. Watts’s account earlier in the day in a response to her on Twitter that did little to mollify the concerns of its critics.
In a series of dozens of tweets, the company said the incident was not simply the result of an overzealous gate agent. Instead, it said United Airlines reserved the right to deny service to anyone its employees deemed to be inappropriately dressed. It also referred to the dress code applied to pass travelers.
“In our Contract of Carriage, Rule 21, we do have the right to refuse transport for passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed,” the company tweeted. It added, “There is a dress code for pass travelers as they are representing UA when they fly.”

As we can read here, they were not normal passengers, but pass travellers, who were supposed to accept the company's dress code when flying. The previous information was just partial. We should be given the whole information before we shape an opinion.

lunes, 27 de marzo de 2017

What do you think about this?

Read the article and leave your opinion or comment, please.

United Airlines defends gate decision to bar girls wearing leggings from flight

United Airlines on Sunday defended a gate agent’s decision to bar two young girls from a flight because they were wearing leggings, a decision that drew a wave of high-profile criticism and customer threats to end business with the airline.
The incident took place at Denver International Airport and was reported by Shannon Watts, the founder of the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, on Twitter. Watts said she saw two girls stopped from boarding a flight Minneapolis by a gate agent.
“She’s forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can’t board,” Watts wrote. “Since when does United police women’s clothing?”
According to Watts, the gate agent then said “she doesn’t make the rules, just follows them”. Watts said “a 10-year-old girl in gray leggings” who “looked normal and appropriate” was forced to change her clothing before boarding.
United did not immediately respond to a phone call or email with questions. The airline’s Twitter account, however, responded directly to Watts, saying: “The passengers this morning were United pass riders who were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel.
“In our contract of carriage, rule 21, we do have the right to refuse transport for passengers. This is left to the discretion of the gate agents.”
The passengers were “pass riders”, the company said, defining such fliers as “United employees or eligible dependents” who fly when possible as a “company benefit”.
“There is a dress code for pass travelers as they are representing UA when they fly,” United wrote. “Casual attire is allowed as long as it looks neat and is in good taste for the local environment.”
The company’s passenger contract says that it can bar people who are “barefoot or not properly clothed”. It does not elaborate on that description.
Watts said that the company’s behavior was “sexist and sexualizes young girls. Not to mention that the families were mortified and inconveni[en]nced”. She added: “Their father, who was allowed to board with no issue, was wearing shorts.”
Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for the airline, told the Washington Post the girls “were not in compliance with our dress code policy for company benefit travel”.
“Our regular passengers are not going to be denied boarding because they are wearing leggings or yoga pants,” Guerin said. “But when flying as a pass traveler, we require pass travelers to follow rules, and that is one of those rules.”
Several celebrities poured scorn on United, some threatening to stop flying with the company.
“I have flown United before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress.” the model Chrissy Teigen wrote. “Next time I will wear only jeans and a scarf.”
Told of United’s policy for pass riders, Teigen said: “Honestly I don’t really care. If I have an issue with a company, I stop giving them money.”
The Oscar-winning actor Patricia Arquette called United’s actions “terrible” and rejected the company’s attempt to explain its policy. “Leggings are business attire for 10 year olds,” Arquette wrote in response to the explanation about “casual attire”. “Their business is being children.”
The actor LeVar Burton had a similar exchange with the company, writing: “The punitive measures taken are not a good look!”
After telling the company she might change all her upcoming United flights to other airlines, the comedian Sarah Silverman received an explanation of the company’s policy.
“I understand,” Silverman replied. “I suggest u consider updating ur rules 4 friends & fam as they seem to apply mostly 2 females & are outdated.”
The Guardian

viernes, 24 de marzo de 2017

Step aside Denmark. Norway takes world’s happiest nation crown



Knocking their Scandi neighbours off the top of the happiness index, Norwegians put their joyful outlook down to shared experiences, the great outdoors – and lots of country cabins



This week five million Norwegians woke to happy news. Our country now comes top in the World Happiness Report, having leapfrogged several countries. We celebrated our official happiness with an extra piece of brown cheese on our breakfast bread. Best of all, we’re above Sweden, the neighbour we love to beat in skiing, football – and euphoria. And we’ve knocked Denmark, three-time world champion, into second place. How did we do it?
I have visited every country in the world so ought to be in a position to look at my countrymen and women from the inside and out. Norway and Denmark share the word and concept of hygge – making a cosy, convivial atmosphere. Both nations cherish sharing activities with friends and family. For us, it’s skiing in the mountains of Hemsedal, hiking by the fjords and picking berries in the forests. But the Danes lack both peaks and fjords.
Norwegians also have hytta, the mandatory log cabin – ideally handy for the sea or ski slopes. Top cabin spots are the white-painted coastal towns of Sørlandet (the South Country) and the mountains near Lillehammer.
My cabin, by Skjomen fjord in the north, doesn’t have electricity, water or a road to it, and only an outdoor loo. For us the lack of luxury means an escape from modern life, with added fresh air and majestic wilderness. Light some candles, play a card game and you’re in hygge and hytta heaven. Throw in the four very distinct seasons, the midnight sun and the northern lights, and you have a natural wonderland. And universal public access to the wilderness means everyone can enjoy it.
We believe experiences beat physical things by miles. Few of us see the point in sports cars or designer clothes; lasting friendships and shared memories are so much more valuable. Equality brings happiness, and this is a priority in Norway. Oil and fish have made us wealthy, and there are relatively small differences in income across society, so envy gets less of a shot. Tax is high, but healthcare and education are free, and most feel we get value for money.
Hell, we even like to help each other without being paid, and have a word for it: dugnad, where everyone contributes their time and skills. Tidying, repairing or building together is a Norwegian phenomenon that brings us closer to neighbours or other parents at our kids’ school. Afterwards we share coffee, a meal or a beer. And many smiles.
In Oslo I particularly like the bars along the Akerselva river and near Bislett stadium. Tromsø, Bergen and Ålesund are charming smaller towns, virtually surrounded by fjords, with outstanding food and nightlife. Be aware that in the summer, it will really do your head in when the sun is up as you leave the bar at 3am. Make sure your hotel room has thick curtains.
Ironically, we’re probably happiest abroad. Everywhere seems a bargain when you come from one of the world’s priciest countries. On holiday we can upgrade from prosecco to real bubbly.
Of course the Danes won’t be happy they’ve been outhappied. We’ll have to prove our smiles are real to withstand any threat to our new happiness crown.
The Guardian

jueves, 23 de marzo de 2017

Terrorist attack in London

Westminster attack: police hunt for clues after five dead in 'sick and depraved' incident 

 Police and security services are investigating the background of the man who killed four people and injured dozens in a terrorist rampage at Westminster as security was visibly stepped up in the capital on Thursday.

While the Houses of Parliament prepared to sit as normal, officers were attempting to establish the motivation and any terrorist links of the attacker – who was known to counter-terrorism officials – and look into his connections and associates.

A raid was carried out by armed police overnight at a flat above a shop in Birmingham just west of the city centre, with surrounding roads closed for several hours. BBC Newsnight reported late on Wednesday that the vehicle used in the attack – a Hyundai i40 – could have been rented in Birmingham.
A direct link between the two events is yet to be established, however, West Midlands police referred enquiries to the Metropolitan police in London, which said it would not be commenting for “operational reasons”.
In London, extra officers – armed and unarmed – have been ordered onto the streets and Parliament Square remains closed as the capital wakes up. Westminster Bridge remains closed and the tube station is open but for interchange only.
Up to 40 people were injured when a lone terrorist attacked Westminster, stabbing a police officer to death as he tried to storm parliament, and killing three members of the public as he careered through the heart of the capital in a 4x4 vehicle.
The attacker was among those killed in the first mass-casualty terrorist attack on Britain in over a decade. The Commons and Lords were locked down for several hours because of fears of further attacks.
The policeman who died was named as Keith Palmer, 48, a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Service. He was married with children and had been a police officer for 15 years.
The Met’s head of counter-terrorism, Mark Rowley, said the motivation of the attacker was assumed to be “Islamist related” and he had tried to enter parliament but had been stopped. Rowley said Palmer “was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift, and he had every right to expect that would happen”.
People fled for their lives as a Hyundai 4x4 driven by the terrorist at about 2.40pm indiscriminately ran into people on Westminster Bridge. The use of the vehicle to attack civilians was a direct copy of an Islamic State tactic used previously with murderous effect in Nice and Berlin. The vehicle then careered off the road on to pavement a few metres away from Big Ben and the attacker tried to storm parliament armed with a knife.
Moments later, a police officer who was guarding parliament was fatally stabbed. The attacker, dressed in black, was shot by another armed officer and died of his injuries.
The Guardian understands the initial working theories of the police investigation are the attacker was inspired by Isis and was most likely a “lone actor”. The attacker was already known to counter-terrorism officials. Rowley said investigators were trying to establish the attacker’s associates and his preparations for the attack.
Theresa May was rushed out of parliament as the attack unfolded and later chaired an emergency meeting of the government’s crisis committee, Cobra.
Shortly before 9pm on Wednesday, her voice cracking with emotion, the prime minister confirmed that what she called the “sick and depraved” attack had been carried out by a single assailant. She also praised the bravery of the police and other emergency services, who “ran towards the danger, even as they encouraged others to move the other way”.
The prime minister added that Britain’s threat level would remain at severe, where it has been for some time; but she struck a defiant tone, insisting it would be business as usual for MPs and Londoners on Thursday.
“The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our capital city where all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech,” she said.
The Guardian

Read the whole article and watch the Prime Minister's statements on the attack here:
London's terrorit attack

Resultado de imagen de westminster attack


 

miércoles, 22 de marzo de 2017

Sesame Street and autism

It is commonly held that kids can be cruel, but it’s not a phrase I have ever used, largely because I regard it as a spectacular understatement. Children can be, and frequently are, awful, vile, contemptible and vicious, along with many other things that I cannot put in a family newspaper.
I learned this from growing up with a brother who has autism. There were a few exceptions, but in the large part the children in our village were not equipped to understand or accept abnormal behaviour, and so resorted to mockery and imitation – behaviour that, thankfully, my brother’s severe disability precluded him from being hurt by, though that didn’t preclude me being affected by it.
They would imitate the hooting noises he made and flap their hands, and there were frequent slurs of “mong”, “spaz” and “retard”. Even now, over a decade later, the use of the latter in casual conversation – often by otherwise kindly and affable people – feels like a punch in the gut.
My mother, who works as a supply teacher, tells me that things are much better these days, though there is no doubt that bullying continues. Children with autism and other special needs are treated with more kindness, she says, and accepted as part of the school community. No doubt this can partly be put down to an increase in diagnosis and awareness (one in 68 children in the US now has an autism spectrum disorder – ASD – diagnosis), but also, I think, the steady cultural acceptance that, in many aspects not limited to our brains, not everyone is born the same.
Which is why I am overjoyed that Sesame Street has introduced an autistic muppet, called Julia (who will be operated by a woman, Stacey Gordon, who has a son with autism). This has a personal resonance, because my brother adores the Muppets and Sesame Street, and I would have loved him when he was little to have been able to watch one of his favourite programmes and see aspects of himself reflected back.
I cannot profess to read his mind, but I know him well enough to be aware that this was something he was actively seeking. We always suspected that his fondness for cartoon The Raggy Dollslay in the fact that all the dolls are “defective” in some way, and live in a reject bin, which they sneak out of in order to have adventures. There’s Sad Sack, with his depression, Hi-Fi with his stammer, and Dotty with her spoiled clothes (not to mention Claude who is, er, French). “Don’t be scared if you don’t fit in,” the song went, “look who’s in the reject bin! It’s the Raggy Dolls, Raggy Dolls, dolls like you and me.”
The Raggy Dolls was a programme specifically designed to promote tolerance, kindness, and understanding of disabilities. In much the same way, Julia will not just help children with autism who watch it, but all children. It will help to enlighten them about specific behaviours. For instance, when Julia is introduced to Big Bird, she ignores him. He is upset, until the other Muppets explain that she just does things a little differently. Similarly, she jumps up and down when she is excited, but instead of excluding her the other children incorporate it into their games.

The Guardian, Rihannon Lucy Cosslett

Read the whole article here: Sesame Street - autism

jueves, 16 de marzo de 2017

Into the woods

 Does this article remind you of anything?

Into the woods: how one man survived alone in the wilderness for 27 years
At the age of 20, Christopher Knight parked his car on a remote trail in Maine and walked away with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to avoid contact with people. This is his story by Michael Finkel (The Guardian)


 Christopher Knight was only 20 years old when he walked away from society, not to be seen again for more than a quarter of a century. He had been working for less than a year installing home and vehicle alarm systems near Boston, Massachusetts, when abruptly, without giving notice to his boss, he quit his job. He never even returned his tools. He cashed his final pay cheque and left town.

Continue reading clicking here:    Into the woods


martes, 14 de marzo de 2017

ADJECTIVES TO DESCRIBE DIFFICULTY




PUNISHING

So hard you have to push yourself almost to the point of hurting yourself

I decided to run a marathon when I was younger, but the training was so punishing I had to give it up after a few months, wrecked and with a knee injury.

STRICT

Difficult because there are rules that must be obeyed
Bill trains every other day in aikido and kendo and encourages me to go with him, but martial arts are so strict that I don’t feel like joining him. I don’t like having to follow so many rules.

RIGOROUS
Thorough and detailed
Becoming a Swiss Guard is really difficult because it requires a rigorous training.


TOUGH




Very difficult
My teachers at university were really tough. They made me work very hard every year.


ARDUOUS
Paul had an arduous time when he was in his teens as his parents made him do a lot of sport and play music after class every single day.


GRUELLING
We used to study a lot of subjects, then play at least 2 instruments; afterwards we’d spend 2 hours training and we also had to so some charitable work 3 times a week. And this went on like this for 3 days. It was a completely gruelling experience.

TRICKY
Delicate, embarrassing
She had to handle a really tricky problem when she found out her nephew had been cheating her manager’s husband.

Resultado de imagen de difficulty