Why the travel industry’s ethics matter

Maybe you missed the announcement that the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is introducing a “ground-breaking” new course focused on ethics in the travel industry. If you’re like most travelers, you may not know the American Society of Travel Agents from the American String Teachers Association. But ethics? Well, in the final throes of an election season, when values are front and center, I probably had you at ethics, didn’t I? Maybe not. After weeks of research, in which I asked both travelers and travel industry organizations if they could share their stories of how an ethics statement benefited customers, I drew a frustrating blank. Experts say that’s because most ethics statements are little more than marketing gimmicks. But that doesn’t necessarily mean these corporate…

Lessons in parental competence: Flying solo with a baby and norovirus “Please take the baby!” I pleaded as I frantically unbuckled the baby carrier securing my 6-month-old to my chest, and shoved him into the arms of an unsuspecting flight attendant. We’d just landed in San Francisco, the first leg of a 20-hour journey. Seconds later, I was on my knees in the well-used airplane lavatory vomiting into a blue-tinged, stainless-steel toilet bowl. I was traveling alone with my baby from Portland, Oregon, to Sydney with what should have been a brief layover in San Francisco. I’d felt the first waves of nausea rising up from my stomach about an hour into the flight. I spent the next 45 minutes trying mostly in vain to keep my son’s hands off of the laptop keys...

Gift Guide: Cool tech toys for the kid NEW YORK: Looking for a cool tech gift for a kid in your life? There’s no shortage of fun and fairly educational items these days. New toys for the holidays include little robot friends full of personality and magnetic blocks that snap together to teach the basics of computer programing. Here are some toys designed to keep kids entertained without sacrificing on education: HANDS-ON TECH Tablet screens and apps haven’t gone away, but they’re just not enough on their own. With these toys, kids can create and build with their hands, not just a tablet. • Osmo. As kids arrange magnetic blocks or puzzle pieces, their creations show up on the iPad thanks to a mirror attached to the tablet’s camera. By arranging blocks, for instance, ...

Oman parenting: How to wield the sword of discipline wisely “Discipline has to do with civilising your child so they can live in society,” says psychiatrist Michael Brody, MD. However, the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word ‘discipline’ is punishment. The word ‘discipline’ comes from the Latin term ‘disciplina’ that actually means ‘teaching’. And there is nothing negative about it. Teaching after all is considered one of the noblest professions on earth. So why the frowns when we think about discipline?As parents the first thing we need to get right is to know what to do. When we say that we need to discipline a child it should mean we intend to teach and guide him and not punish him. So let’s keep that in mind the next time our...

Jay Z’s wanted to buy Prince’s music, but failed Court documents show that Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by rap mogul Jay Z, tried but failed to get chosen to manage Prince’s musical assets in the weeks after the rock superstar’s death. The documents stem from a dispute between Prince’s record company and Jay Z’s music streaming service, Tidal, which is playing out in both state and federal court in Minnesota. The trust company overseeing Prince’s estate says the dispute belongs only in federal court, where PRN Records is suing Roc Nation for copyright infringement for making a large part of Prince’s catalogue available to its subscribers, allegedly without permission. A closed hearing is set for Thursday in Carver County probate court. Roc Nation has not formally responded to the copyright lawsuit, which NPG Records...

Bruno Mars brings the party back with ‘24K Magic’ ‹› When Bruno Mars was in the studio crafting his upbeat, funky new album, he had a dress code: Wear your finest clothes, and leave your sloppy sweatpants at the door. He said dressing up set to the mood so that he and his collaborators could write and produce groovy, smooth and soulful songs that make up 24K Magic, his first album in four years. “I made it a point: I’m showing up to the studio, we working, but I’m not showing up in sweats ’cause you’re going to get what sweats sounds like ... so I’m going to wear every jewellery piece I collected, and my finest shoes, and write some songs,” Mars said. “It just helped keep the motion (going).” His swag and style...

Taking aspirin daily may extend life, prevent heart attacks “Although the health benefits of aspirin are well established, few people take it,” said lead author David B Agus from University of Southern California in the US. (Youtube video grab) Taking low-dose aspirin every day may reduce the risk of a heart attack, prevent some cancers and extend lives over the course of 20 years in adults at high risk of heart disease, a new study has claimed. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, researchers said. Aspirin can help patients at risk of heart disease because it thins the blood and prevents clotting. “Although the health benefits of aspirin are well established, few people take it,” said lead author David B Agus from University of Southern California in...

Scientists warn that speck-size insects are on track to damage most U.S. forests An expanding army of insects is draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Scientists say bugs such as the hemlock woolly adelgid and emerald ash borer, both native to Asia, are driving some tree species toward extinction and are causing billions of dollars a year in damage. The situation is expected to worsen. According to a study in the scientific journal Ecological Applications, a projected 63 percent of the country’s forest is at risk through 2027. Insect pests can undermine forest ecosystems. For example, scientists say, several species of hemlock and almost 20 species of ash could go nearly extinct in the coming decades. Such destruction would do away with a critical sponge to capture greenhouse-gas emissions, shelter for birds and beneficial insects...