ROTC battalion undergoes tactical exercises

first_imgMost members of the Notre Dame community woke up Friday morning looking forward to one last day of work before the weekend, but the Notre Dame International Security Program (NDISP) Fellows and the Marine options in the Navy ROTC battalion instead geared up for tactical exercises conducted at the Sherwood Forest paintball arena. Friday’s event marked the second time NDISP and the Navy ROTC Marine options have collaborated on this USMC Small Unit Tactics Seminar, Michael Desch, co-director of NDISP, said. “The purpose was twofold: familiarize NDISP fellows with what goes on on the ground with a Marine squad, and to give the fellows and the Marine option cadets the opportunity to get to know each other in a non-academic environment,” Desch said. “I hope we were able to combine national security education and a bit of fun.” Marine option platoon commander Mike McCormick said the ROTC program asks its cadets to participate in both physical and mental real-world simulations. “We train to be leaders both with physical training to develop the requisite self-discipline, toughness and endurance, and we train for the moral and mental aspects of leadership through leadership positions within the unit and through exercises like tactical and ethical based decision games,” he said. McCormick said the first game called for the Marine options to assault a guarded fortress to retrieve two officers who were acting as high-value targets (HVTs). “The Marine options arrived at Sherwood around 10:30 a.m., checked out equipment, walked over the course and did a couple of our own tactical exercises,” McCormick said. “When NDISP arrived and got the equipment, we listened to a quick safety brief, and then the [Marine options] demonstrated the orders process and a HVT capture exercise.” McCormick said this was the most memorable part of the seminar. “It demonstrated the difficulties caused by casualties and the importance of a succession of command and aggressiveness in overcoming casualties,” McCormick said. NDISP Fellow Peter Campbell said he was most impressed by the Marines’ obvious training and communication. “The thing that stands out in my mind was their amazing ability to work as a team, and their extensive training in this kind of operation and advance,” Campbell said. “It was impressive to watch them work together, and to watch their communication and improvisation as the exercise unfolded.” Next, the NDISP fellows were organized into three squads and asked to complete the same HVT exercise, Campbell said. “The first fire team [squad] took heavy casualties and got pinned down very soon in our operation, so we had to improvise,” Campbell said. “Myself and the other amazing members of fire team two had to decide enter the building on our own and had to compete the mission with a hasty plan that we developed on the fly.” Campbell said his fire team took the two HTV officers by surprise when the squad reached them. “I think in some ways we surprised them, they didn’t know we were coming in the front door, and we went in the front door, up the stairs and onto the balcony without them even knowing,” he said. “There’s such a strong element of chance in the execution of these things.” Tyler Thomas, a Navy option working out with the Marine battalion to gain a better sense of military collaboration, said flexibility is essential to any mission. “If you are not constantly changing the original plan and adapting to new situations, you will undoubtedly fail,” Thomas said. “No plan is ever perfect, no matter how much time is spent planning, so being able to adapt and make split second decisions will be the difference between life and death.” The biggest struggle for the NDISP participants completing the mission was maintaining communication and coordinating improvisation between the squads, Campbell said. “That really drove home the friction, the complexity, the uncertainty and the need to just act,” Campbell said. “There is such a temptation to stay where you are to stay safe, but what’s really needed is to do the opposite of that: keep moving, that’s the safest thing to do even though it’s contrary to your human instinct.” After both groups executed the objective, they combined forces to play multiple two-sided paintball games, Thomas said. “Playing a few rounds of paintball with NDISP after assaulting the fortress was definitely the most fun,” Thomas said. “It was nice to continue training in a more relaxed and fun atmosphere.” Campbell said he was awed by the way that the Marines accomplished each objective. “There was that one superhero moment where the gunnery sergeant picked up the flag and ran by two people, shooting with one hand and carrying the flag in the other – he shot them both in the head and won the game,” Campbell said. “I’m just so impressed with the communication and execution of the Marines and especially their officers, their ability to move without being detected and to arrive in places where you didn’t expect them and then you get shot in the face.” Thomas said he walked away with an increased understanding of the importance of communication. “The biggest lesson that I think everyone learned was the importance of communication; without communication you have three fire teams trying to implement their own plan of attack,” Thomas said. “Communication allows for the integration of the fire teams so that the objective can be completed using teamwork, which minimizes the amount of casualties experienced.” For Campbell, the seminar put a human face to military operations and tactical decisions. “For me it really brought home the inherent difficulty of even the most simple military operation,” Campbell said. “The take-away, whenever you ask the military to carry out an operation, is that it always carries that sense of uncertainty and difficulty… It is not something to be taken lightly … hopefully this will give [the NDISP Fellows] a better understanding of the difficulty inherent in those tasks.” Contact Nicole Michels atlast_img read more

The Ministry of Tourism is considering restricting the opening of new apartments?

first_img“One of my suggestions, perhaps in some future law, will be to try to decentralize that city councils, at the suggestion of the mayor, pass that in certain parts of the city or the whole city in a certain period, either six months or a year or two days, certain facilities due to infrastructure that cannot simply absorb everything it should ” said Cappelli, reports Dubrovački vjesnik. Source: Dubrovnik Herald, Dnevnik.hr Photo: Pixabay.com – Illustration: HrTurizam.hr Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli was in Dubrovnik yesterday and held a meeting with the Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik. More soon…center_img Dubrovnik supports this initiative, and as Dnevnik.hr reports, the deputy mayor of Dubrovnik Jelka Tepšić points out that the City Administration will be ready to take everything necessary to limit the number of accommodation capacities, which, she says, is a very important step in the direction of sustainability, which they are successfully following. But the news that caused a big storm is the statement of the Minister of Tourism that the Ministry of Tourism is considering a temporary ban or restriction on opening new apartments in a way that will allow cities and counties to restrict the opening of new apartments.last_img read more

Retired UCT academic unravels mystery of Wilde’s wife

first_img11 February 2015For over a century the sudden death of Constance Wilde, wife of the famous author and playwright, Oscar Wilde, has remained a mystery. Now, thanks to medical sleuthing by retired UCT academic and psychiatrist, Dr Ashley Robins, and the Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland, the cause of Constance’s death may finally have been discovered.Constance Wilde died suddenly in Genoa, Italy on 7 April 1898, from complications following surgery for the removal of a uterine fibroid. She was 40 years old. These facts, however, describe only a small part of the circumstances that surrounded her death.Constance had fled to Genoa to escape the scandal and spectacular fall from grace of her husband, who had been found guilty in 1895 of the crime of being homosexual. She found herself in a foreign city, with two young sons, having abandoned her career as a children’s author and her role as a women’s rights advocate.Pelvic madnessIn addition, she was plagued by mysterious physical symptoms such as an inability to walk, exhaustion, pain and facial paralysis: symptoms that many doctors had tried – unsuccessfully – to treat.Enter the urbane and seemingly knowledgeable Italian gynaecologist, Luigi Maria Bossi, who claimed that he might provide a cure.Reviewing old documentation, Dr Ashley Robins, a retired UCT academic and psychiatrist, posits that Constance gave her consent to undergo surgery, believing a cure was possible.“Bossi believed that some patients with neurological illness stemmed from women’s reproductive organs (pelvic madness), even though at the time such ideas were already discredited. It is likely that Constance died of paralytic ileus (bowel paralysis) brought about by the operation.”Although at the time Bossi did not suffer any consequences over the botched surgery, he was suspended many years later from his professorship at Genoa University due to professional misconduct, before being fatally shot by the jealous husband of one of his patients.Nine-year illnessAccording to Robins and Holland’s re-examination of the correspondence between Constance and her brother, she first started displaying symptoms almost a decade before her death. Their recently published Lancet study states: “Her nine-year illness was characterised by widespread pains, right leg weakness, tremor of the right arm, profound fatigue, and a left facial paralysis.“For the first seven years the clinical picture was dominated by intermittent acute episodes followed by extended periods of recovery; in the last two years her disability became permanent with gradual deterioration. A likely diagnosis is multiple sclerosis of the relapsing-remitting type that subsequently developed into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.”This debilitating neurological disorder is thought to be an auto-immune condition leading to a degeneration of myelin, the substance that protects nerve fibers from damage. Although the illness was first described by Jean-Martin Charcot in 1868, physicians of those times may not have associated Constance’s symptoms with this fairly recently discovered disease.What prompted Robins and Holland to re-examine these century-old letters? In Robins’ case this latest discovery has been preceded by a lifelong fascination with Oscar Wilde. “My mother would read me Wilde’s fairytales as a child, but she would never explain the circumstances of his downfall. I became fascinated by him, his wit and larger-than-life personality.”In 2000, the centenary of Wilde’s death, Robins played a part in the discovery that he died from meningitis brought on by chronic middle ear disease, rather than syphilis as had been speculated previously. In 2011 Robins also published a book analysing Wilde’s personality and retrospectively diagnosing him with hysterical personality disorder.Premature deathsMerlin Holland, Oscar and Constance’s grandson, has mentioned in a previous interview that while his mother was alive she had worried that revealing the contents of the letters would encourage people to sensationalise Constance’s life and death. With this new discovery, however, previous ideas that her death had been caused by a fall or syphilis (contracted from Oscar) have all been proven untrue. In Holland’s words: “I rather feel this will put Constance to rest, poor thing.”Almost 120 years after they died, it has now been shown that Oscar and Constance died from completely unrelated medical conditions. Nonetheless their deaths share common, and tragic, elements. Not only did they both die young, and from medical conditions that today might be successfully treated, but in both cases the more indirect causes of their premature demise can be related to the prevailing social attitudes of the day.Prejudice against homosexuality led to Oscar’s incarceration and subsequent physical decline. Constance suffered the consequences of being a woman at a time when the medical fraternity tended to blame neurological conditions on female physiology.“Tragically, if Constance had been alive today, there would be every chance that her condition, while not curable, could have been diagnosed and appropriately managed,” says Robins. “I would like to believe that medicine, the very discipline which failed her then, has also played a part in uncovering the truth behind both their deaths.”This story first appeared in the January 2015 edition of the Research at UCT newsletter. Sign up here.last_img read more

Monymusk Factory to Remain Open to Protect Interest of Farmers

first_img Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, has instructed that the Monymusk Sugar Factory remains open until cane farmers crops have been reaped.Addressing the official opening of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon, on August 5, Mr. Samuda noted that the move was necessary to protect the interest of the farmers.“My job, as I understand it, is to do everything in my power to make our people better off…not to shut them off from their livelihood and let them suffer out there…that is not my philosophy,” he said.Additionally, Mr. Samuda informed that he is pursuing negotiations “at the highest level” with Pan Caribbean Sugar Company and its Chinese parent company, COMPLANT, which operates Monymusk.This, he said, is being done with a view to ensuring that the corporations uphold certain investment commitments to the Clarendon-based sugar factory.The Government has been involved in the operations of Monymusk after the Chinese indicated that they were unable to keep the factory open for the 2017-2018 crop year.The Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister said that sugar cane factories possess enormous opportunities for the training of young engineers and he “will stand in defence of those (and other) people”.Meanwhile, turning to other industries like marijuana, Mr. Samuda urged stakeholders not to get impatient with Government in its pace for take-off of the industry.“We have so far taken our time to do what we can properly. It is a sensitive industry and it is one that requires a level of maturity and understanding. We cannot make a mistake,” he said.Mr. Samuda informed that the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has so far received 230 applications of varying types, related to transporting, retailing and cultivation.He noted that of that figure, 47 have been processed for conditional licences. Conditional approval means that the CLA would have conducted a satisfactory background check and the applicant is now required to implement the necessary measures to get the actual licence to enter the industry.Chairman of the Denbigh Show Committee, Norman Grant, for his part informed that the three-day show is expected to net one billion dollars for the economy.Mr. Grant, who is also the President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), also informed that a programme will be started, which will ensure that the showgrounds are used daily for the entire year.The JAS President noted that plans to open up the property for Jamaicans to exercise and to keep fit have received endorsement from the Ministry of Health.The Denbigh Development Company is also to be listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in a bid to raise capital. The JAS President noted that plans to open up the property for Jamaicans to exercise and to keep fit have received endorsement from the Ministry of Health. Story Highlights Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda has instructed that the Monymusk Sugar Factory remains open until cane farmers crops have been reaped. The Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister said that sugar cane factories possess enormous opportunities for the training of young engineers and he “will stand in defence of those (and other) people”. last_img read more

GLASS TIGER SURPRISES ALBERTA SENIOR WITH PRIVATE SERENADE

first_imgGlass Tiger (Handout) Advertisement MAYERTHORPE, Alta. — Alan Frew and his ’80s band Glass Tiger surprised one of their biggest fans with an impromptu serenade at an Alberta seniors’ home.Staff at the Pleasant View Lodge, in Mayerthorpe, Alta., say the Canadian hitmakers stopped by after learning that 95-year-old Jean Savage regularly listened to a CD of their music.Frew posted a video of Friday’s encounter on his Facebook page, in which he can be seen singing “Someday” mere feet from Savage, who claps intermittently in appreciation. Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisementcenter_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Accompanied by a piano and backing vocalist, Frew steps forward at one point to hold both of Savage’s hands while she beams.Chief administrative officer Dena Krysik says it was an “amazing” performance and that Savage is still talking about it days later.Krysik says a staff member contacted the band when she learned they were set to perform in the nearby town of Whitecourt, and told them about a very special fan at the seniors’ home.Frew says on his Facebook page that he couldn’t resist the opportunity to meet “this dear, sweet, lady.”“Her face when I approached her was beyond priceless and we shared the biggest hug,” says Frew says in a Facebook post.“Thank you Jean, you probably think we gave a gift to you…. believe me, nothing could be farther from the truth…..You are the gift.”Krysik says the brief visit came just as Savage was about to head to a bingo game. While staff knew the band was considering the favour, they weren’t sure if they’d actually come by, or when. Krysik says they ended up spending about 20 minutes at the facility that afternoon.“It was so great of them to actually do that for her,” Krysik said Monday when reached by phone.“It was just a great experience (and) watching the joy that she got from it was unexplainable, really.”The Canadian Press Twitterlast_img read more

Businessman Kevin OLeary ordered to pay legal fees to philanthropic group

first_imgHALIFAX – Celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary has been ordered to pay legal fees to a philanthropic organization that is suing him over allegations he backed out of a speaking engagement and cost the group more than $25,000.The decision, handed down Wednesday by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge Mona Lynch, rejects O’Leary’s attempt to dismiss the suit or move it to another jurisdiction, and awarded $3,500 in costs to the Canadian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.The chamber had been seeking $12,000 in costs, while O’Leary suggested legal costs of $1,000 after failing to have the suit dismissed after a half-day hearing last Dec. 7.In her analysis, Lynch said she was made to consider facts around the wealth of O’Leary, the brash star of the ABC show “Shark Tank” and former panellist on CBC’s “Dragon’s Den.”“The plaintiff asks me to consider that the defendant is a wealthy man who touts himself as a leading high-tech entrepreneur and investment guru; who prefers to be called ‘Mr. Wonderful’; who professes his knowledge and love of money; and who derides the death of money,” her decision reads, noting that she had never watched the show “Shark Tank.”“The award of costs that is just and appropriate in the circumstances and would do justice between the parties is $3,500.”The decision is part of a broader suit against O’Leary by the chamber’s Nova Scotia branch, which alleges that O’Leary reneged on a promise to be keynote speaker at the group’s gala event in Halifax on May 18, 2017.The group’s statement of claim, filed last Dec. 8, contends that O’Leary committed in February 2017 to speak at the Cedar and Maple Gala fundraising dinner in Halifax.It says the group set about booking a space and printing promotional materials for the event with O’Leary, who was in the midst of a leadership bid for the federal Conservative Party.But, the 10-page claim states that O’Leary abruptly pulled out of the speech without warning.Gavin Giles, who is representing the chamber in the proceedings, said O’Leary had another change of heart and agreed to speak only if a minimum of 50 members pledged to donate $1,550 to the Conservative party, “with 90 per cent of each donation being funnelled back” to O’Leary’s leadership campaign.That statement says he again withdrew when the chamber refused to agree to the conditions.The group says it had to seek out another speaker — author David Chilton — at a cost of more than $25,000, which it is seeking to recover from O’Leary along with other damages and costs.In his statement of defence, O’Leary’s lawyer Christopher Madill denies all of the allegations against his client and says the suit should be dismissed.It states that O’Leary agreed to give the address on Feb. 4, 2017, on the understanding that it would raise a minimum of $40,000 at $1,550 per person for his political run.“The defendant says that he agreed to give a keynote speech in consideration for the plaintiff organizing a major fundraising event for the defendant’s political campaign,” the defence states.“The plaintiff completely and unequivocally failed to honour its contractual obligations under the agreement.”Madill was not immediately available for comment.last_img read more

IED blast kills three security personnel in Pakistan

first_imgPeshawar: Three security personnel were killed in an IED blast at a check post in Pakistan’s restive northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, police said. The explosives, which were planted close to the check post in Sheva tehsil of North Waziristan District, went off when the levies personnel reported for duty, eye witnesses said. One person was injured in the incident that happened on Saturday. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister K P K Mehmud Khan strongly condemned the blast, saying that the resolve of the government against terrorism can not be suppressed through such acts of cowardice.last_img read more

Being bullied at workplace can change behaviour for worse

first_imgIf you are bullied at the workplace, it may lead to counterproductive behaviour besides harming your health, warn researchers. The study showed that in some cases this is characterised by a lack of problem-solving and high avoidance coping strategies like drinking alcohol when having a problem and experiencing very frequent negative emotions. “Overall, our results show the need to consider not only exposure to and types of bullying but also their associated consequences,” said Roberta Fida, Professor at the University of East Anglia in England. “In particular, the findings highlight that victimisation is associated not only with health problems but also with a greater likelihood of not behaving in line with the expected social and organisational norms,” Fida added. Bullying is one of the major occupational stresses for employees and the effects can compromise their development and health, as well as interfere with the achievement of both personal and professional goals. In the recently published study, the researchers identified different configurations of victims by considering not only exposure to and types of bullying, but also health problems and bad behaviour. The researchers asked more than 1000 Italian employees about their experiences of workplace bullying, counterproductive behaviour and health symptoms. They were also asked about their coping strategies, negative emotions experienced at work and moral disengagement. “The greater the intensity of bullying and the more the exposure to different types of bullying, the higher the likelihood of engaging in counterproductive workplace behaviour,” said study lead author Fida. “In addition, it is essential to also promote behavioural regulation strategies to reduce moral disengagement, as well as negative behaviour, such as drinking more alcohol.”last_img read more

Vinod Kannan to take over as Vistaras chief strategy officer

first_imgMumbai: Vistara Tuesday said Vinod Kannan will take over as its chief strategy officer from June as the full service carrier prepares to fly overseas. Currently, Sanjiv Kapoor is both chief commercial officer as well as chief strategy officer at Vistara, a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines. “As Vistara accelerates its growth and prepares to take the next leap in its journey of becoming a global brand, certain changes have been introduced in the leadership structure. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “Strategy and Commercial are cornerstones of any airline’s business, and these two areas will be bolstered to ensure focus on key priorities,” an airline spokesperson told PTI. Kannan from within the Singapore Airlines group will be joining Vistara next month as chief strategy officer, while Kapoor will remain chief commercial officer, the spokesperson said. The domestic carrier is preparing to start overseas flights and has also placed orders for a significant number of planes. Vistara, which has 22 aircraft on its fleet, operates around 140 flights every day. The airline commenced commercial operations on January 9, 2015.last_img read more

The Oxfam sex scandal was not a onetime news stor

first_imgThe Oxfam sex scandal was not a one-time news story.The report on sexual misconduct by Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011 made headlines last month. Since then, a number of other aid groups have come clean about similar problems — and revealed cases that victimized staffers as well.This past week, U2 frontman Bono said he was “furious” over allegations against his ONE advocacy group — including an accusation that a female employee was demoted after refusing to have sex with a Tanzanian member of parliament.Meanwhile, the aid world is scrambling to put solutions in place.Here are some of the latest developments.The cost for Oxfam Great BritainOxfam continues to deal with the fallout of the Oxfam Great Britain sex scandal.A spokesperson said on March 9 that Oxfam, which has more than 9,000 staff in more than 90 countries, investigated 42 allegations of sexual misconduct in 2017.Late last month, the Haitian government suspended Oxfam Great Britain for two months while it investigates how the charity handled the local case. Oxfam Great Britain’s future government funding is also at risk. “Oxfam has agreed to withdraw from bidding for any new UK Government funding until DFID is satisfied that they can meet the high standards we expect of our partners,” Britain’s international development secretary Penny Mordaunt said in a statement.In the last financial year, Oxfam GB received $44 million in funding from the UK’s Department for International Development.Revelations and resignationsBut the Oxfam scandal is now just one in an ever-growing list.The allegations of sexual abuse by humanitarian workers and U.N. peacekeepers include inappropriate conduct among staffers as well as toward local populations. But it’s the latter scandals that are raising the deepest sense of outrage.”When we go to work in these countries where there is no infrastructure and we’re supposed to be there to help facilitate, the rule of law and order and instead we’re taking advantage of that vacuum — that to me is the absolute worst offense,” Dina Francesca Haynes, who has worked for the U.N. refugee agency in Croatia and for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, told NPR.Last month, 46 U.N. peacekeepers were recalled from their post in Wau, South Sudan, after allegations that some of them had engaged in transactional sex. “This is a clear breach of the U.N. and UNMISS Code of Conduct which prohibits sexual relationships with vulnerable individuals, including all beneficiaries of assistance,” the U.N. Mission in South Sudan said in a statement.A U.N. Population Fund report published in November 2017 is getting renewed attention. It’s titled “Voices from Syria 2018” and includes descriptions of the sexual exploitation that some women and girls in Syria said they faced during aid distributions. During focus group discussions, some participants said aid workers would “make sexual advances on women and girls in exchange for goods or services necessary for survival.” As a result, some women and girls said they would only go to distribution sites with a chaperone, the report states.The aid organization Plan International said on Feb. 21 that it had six confirmed cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children by staff or associates from July 2016 to June 2017, as well as nine incidents of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct by staff involving adults.In a statement, the group said it reports details of criminal instances to law enforcement agencies but would not reveal details to the public “due to the sensitive nature of the information.”In the cases involving children, the organization says it “linked victims and families with local support networks including but not limited to medical and psychosocial support.”The Red Cross director said in a statement Feb. 23 that since 2015, a total of 21 Red Cross employees have either been dismissed for paying for “sexual services” or resigned while an internal inquiry was in progress.High-profile resignations are also in the news. Last month, Justin Forsyth resigned from his role as UNICEF’s deputy executive director after allegations arose of inappropriate behavior while he was working for Save the Children, which said in a statement: “In 2011 and 2015, concerns were raised about inappropriate behavior and comments” by Forsyth. Three female employees made complaints, the organization noted.Also in February, Brendan Cox resigned from two charities he helped to start. One of them, the Jo Cox Foundation, announced on Feb. 17 that it had accepted his resignation. On Feb. 18, Save the Children said in a statement that Cox was accused of inappropriate behavior while working for that group in 2015. At the time, Cox was suspended and a disciplinary process began, but he resigned before it was completed, the organization said. Cox has also been accused of assaulting a woman at Harvard University in 2015. He tweeted an apology.Fixing the problemHow do you stop such behavior?That’s the question now facing aid organizations and development experts.The operative word is “safeguarding” – the term used by the aid community. It means that groups should have systems in place to prevent abuse and misconduct.At the safeguarding summit held on March 5 in London, Britain’s secretary for international development Penny Mordaunt said the government will put safeguarding standards in place that organizations must meet in order to be funded.”These standards will include an assessment of codes of conduct, how organizations identify and respond to incidents and how their risk management places safeguarding and beneficiaries at the very core,” Mordaunt said. “Organizations should not bid for new funding unless they are prepared to meet these tough new standards.”Lindsay Coates, president of InterAction, an alliance of nearly 200 U.S.-based nonprofits that do international work, is calling for three key areas of focus: taking complaints seriously and responding to the complainants, making sure these individuals have access to services, and pushing anyone who is “predatory” out of the system.”We’re not fixing anything if someone who works for the U.N. goes to [a nongovernmental organization/aid group] and there’s no communication between the U.N. and the NGO,” Coates says.Oxfam has developed a list of steps the organization plans to take in response to the “crisis.” On Thursday, it announced the leaders of its new Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change. Among other measures, Oxfam said it has “committed to work with others in the sector on a humanitarian passporting system that would stop offenders from moving from one organization to another.”That idea of a “passport” issued to all aid workers is still very much a work in progress. Basically, all employees would have a permanent record of infractions.Save the Children also included the passport on a list of proposed steps to address concerns about the aid sector, published on Feb. 12.”Any staff members reprimanded or dismissed for sexual harassment, bullying and a failure of protection are identified and cannot disappear back into the system,” the organization writes. “Establishing a common registry and passport system would identify if all necessary background checks have been carried out and retain details of all previous conduct.”The passport is just one of many proposals. Dorothea Hilhorst, a professor of humanitarian aid and reconstruction at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, published a commentary suggesting the revival of the idea of a humanitarian ombudsperson.”An ombudsperson investigates, makes recommendations, and then it is up to the organization to act on those recommendations,” she says. “An ombudsperson works best if (s)he is independent, yet is installed by and funded by member organizations from the sector under scrutiny.”Not everyone agrees. Dina Francesca Haynes, director of the Human Rights and Immigration Law Project at the New England School of Law, says there are too many variables.”Who would fund this? Who would appoint? Would donors balk that money was directed here, rather than to supplies in the field?” she wrote in an email to NPR.Meanwhile, the organization that brought this story into the headlines, Oxfam, is not just being criticized.A group of 14 Honduran nonprofits teamed up for an expression of solidarity published on Feb. 22. “We recognize the great contributions Oxfam has provided in Honduras since 1998, with its humanitarian response to Hurricane Mitch,” the organizations wrote in Spanish.And Oxfam is pledging to do better: “Oxfam is rightly under close scrutiny by many people today around the world. We hope that our apologies — but far more importantly our deeds and the steps we are taking — will begin to restore people’s trust in us,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International’s executive director, said in a statement.Courtney Columbus is a multimedia journalist who covers science, global health and consumer health. She has contributed to the Arizona Republic and Arizona PBS. Contact her @cmcolumbus11 Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more