A second American journalist killed by ISIS

Steven Sotloff Georgianewsday.com photo

 

A second American journalist’s death was confirmed when a video of his beheading was authenticated by U.S. officials.  The freelance journalist, Steven Stoloff, was killed by the hands of ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Only last month, his mother, Shirley Sotloff’s mother, pleaded directly on a video to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to release her son.

Steven Stoloff was an independent freelance journalist whose work was seen in publications such as Time, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor and World Affairs. He covered areas of the Middle East including Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Stoloff attended the University of Central Florida majoring in journalism.

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

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Three whistle blowers receive nearly $1M in compensation

 

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

Pontiac, Michigan - One foreman and two truck drivers working for a Michigan asphalt company received nearly $1M in compensation after losing their jobs for whistle blowing about safety violations at the company. The three men raised safety concerns related to rest periods for drivers, exceeding legal overtime and lack of vehicle maintenance.

Asphalt Specialists Inc, headquartered out of Pontiac, Michigan, was found in violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHEA for wrongfully terminating employees who had raised safety concerns.  The STAA covers private-sector drivers and other employees of commercial motor carriers who resist working in unsafe working conditions and report safety issues to OSHEA.

“It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who report work-related safety concerns or violations of federal transportation regulations, which require drivers to have a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

In a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor, Asphalt Specialists Inc was ordered to reinstate the three employees to their former positions with all pay, benefits and rights.  The company will pay close to $944,000 in damages, $250,000 in back wages and $110,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages.

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Is technology replacing the human workforce?

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

If you look forward to the next 50 years you might not like what you see when it comes to the American workforce. The workforce could be robots and not humans. I am not trying to bring up a Dooms Day scenario, but if you look back 50 years ago, computer technology has grown so rapidly that humans don’t seem to be catching up — but the robots are and so are the corporations that might see the future human workforce as a liability or poor investment in labor.

After watching the video below I became concerned more about the low-wage worker as they might be replaced by a “bot” at a favored fast-food joint or industrial manufacturing job for more efficiency. The initial investment of a bot may be substantial, yet in the long run, it could pay for itself. Through bot technology, corporations don’t have to worry about wages, medical insurance or staff vacations. So where do the low-wage workers go for jobs in the future?

Not only low-wage workers should be concerned about the bots. As computers get smarter and continue to retain more information, computer problem-solving white collar workers could be replaced by hardware and software workers, namely advanced super-computers. So where do the higher salaried white collar workers find jobs in the future?

As Americans we have become more and more dependent on computer technology. We love our smart phones, tablets and laptops. These instruments have made our lives easier and computer technology has infiltrated into every aspect of our lives: cars, refrigerators, maps, education, publishing, supermarkets, advertising, social groups, farming, advanced manufacturing.  Americans are capable of producing more crops, goods and information than in anytime in human history. And we are enjoying the comforts of this technology.

But at what point will computer technology replace the jobs Americans hold today? What will a child born in 2014 need for education and job training to provide for their families – shelter, medical needs and food on the table?  It is something to seriously contemplate, or maybe you should just Google it.

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New film to help students take action on global water crisis

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

We take it for granted when we turn on the faucet and clean drinking water  appears and is plentiful.  Yet, throughout the world more than 1 billion people do not have clean drinking water.  The Thirst Project, an proactive student organization hitting the clean water problem head on, says  80 percent of global diseases are water-borne and result from drinking contaminated water.  These diseases kill more than 2.2 million people per year.

In a new movie, “Earth to Echo,” the stars of the film receive “distress signals” on their phones from someone who needs their help.

Students can join The Thirst Project and “Earth to Echo” to take action against the global water crisis without having to give, donate, or raise any of their own money. All you have to do is TEXT the keyword ECHO (in all caps) followed by your message for hope and encouragement to someone in a developing community without safe, clean drinking water to 51555. For every message we receive, the movie “Earth to Echo” will donate to The Thirst Project to build wells to give clean water to those who need it most. Not only that, but we will capture the actual messages we receive and install them on murals on the wells funded by this campaign. Then, go see the movie “Earth to Echo” in theaters everywhere July 2014. Visit www.ThirstProject.org/EarthToEcho to learn how you can get involved today!

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The day in the life of a homeless person

Through the use of a 35 mm camera carried by a homeless person, viewers of HomelessGoPro can experience first hand what it is like to be Homeless.

Most Americans have never experienced what it is like to be homeless.  Through a San Francisco project called Homeless GoPro, photos and reports are developed to build awareness around homeless individuals’ daily interactions, as a way to experience them together and also address another aspect of homelessness – the empathy divide.

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Pop-up store might provide dignity for America’s homeless

Capetown, South Africa, has found a way to clothe their homeless with dignity. Can we do the same here in America? The Street Store concept is to provide a series of multifunctional cardboard posters that would turn city sidewalks or fences into a shop for the homeless. The posters are designed with holes in them for citizens to donate clothes and shoes they don’t wear and to provide an inventory of clothing for the homeless living on the streets. Instead of rummaging through dumpsters and trash cans, the homeless can with dignity select clothing of their taste and need.

For more information on this movement, link to The Street Store and read the article from the Huffington Post entitled, “Charity ‘Store’ For Homeless Gives Customers So Much More Than Just Clothes.”

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Take the “diet” words out of the family dinner time

Editor’s Note:  Feb. 23 to March 1 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Sitting down to a family dinner is not a Norman Rockwell moment for many people who suffer from eating disorders.  According to the National Eating Disorder Association, constant discussions by parents on dieting, food fetishes or the desire to lose weight might leave a negative influence on your teen or child’s body image.

“Eating disorders are complicated and vexing problems and we don’t exactly understand the pathophysiology of them,” Dr. Aaron Krasner, a practicing psychiatrist and director of the Adolescent Transitional Living Program at Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut told Forbes magazine.

In the article, author Dr. Robert Glatter, M.D., says Krasner early hypotheses of the pathogenesis of eating disorders are related to difficulties between parents as it pertains to “mothers milk”:  giving love, receiving love, sharing in food, sharing in food-related celebrations.”  He says there is environmental component with eating disorders. Krasner offers five constructive support and suggestions describing how parents might promote a positive body image in teens and children:

1.     Try to avoid criticizing yourself or others about weight or shape in front of your children.

2.     Avoid talking negatively about food – “I can’t eat potatoes because they’re carbs” or “That cake will go straight to my thighs.” It’s more important to teach the importance of healthy eating and exercise without references to weight.

3.    Compliment children on their talents and accomplishments – a little praise goes a long way, especially when it’s well deserved

4.    Let your teens and children know that weight gain and changes to body shape are a natural part of the growing process.

5.    Have a discussion with your children about their use of social media and what they view in movies and on TV.  Only about 5% of American women have the body type that is portrayed in advertising as the ideal size and shape for women.

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