Spider News Digest: 11/23/2017


Confession time: I’m addicted to news. I have a problem, I search high and low almost everyday for every piece of information I could find about anything. By time, I have acclimatized myself to this habit.

My wife would always be mad because I’m either on my laptop surfing the net or on my phone digging around for useless information. Thus, I’m here to transform this habit into something which could be beneficial to you -my dear reader whose time is limited- to catch up on with what’s happening.

I won’t promise that every item I post here will be of interest to you, we all have different tastes after all.

Sometimes, I will have the time to read 50+ articles during the day, and other times, I would be lucky if I made it to 3 articles, however, I will try my best to give you a balanced news digest that suits everyone.

I’m interested in almost everything, so keep coming everyday and I’m sure you’ll find it entertaining in the most profound way.

My plan is to convert everything I find exciting, pertaining to news, to text-only, you don’t want to keep scrolling down forever, do you? Plus, removing the images will be data-friendly for those who are on a strict plan, I will add some images when it’s extremely necessary.

For those who prefer the article directly from the source’s website, worry not, with every article, I will provide you with the original link embedded into the publisher’s name.

I hope that you will stick with me here, my goal is to keep you entertained and up-do-date as much as possible. Let’s begin!

  • Myanmar Rohingya crisis: Deal to allow return of Rohingya Muslims (BBC):

Bangladesh has signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a recent army crackdown.
No details have been released of the deal, which was signed by officials in the Myanmar capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
Bangladesh said it was a “first step”. Myanmar said it was ready to receive the Rohingya “as soon as possible”.
Aid agencies have raised concerns about the forcible return of the Rohingya unless their safety can be guaranteed.
The Rohingya are a stateless minority who have long experienced persecution in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
More than 600,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine state late in August.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Myanmar’s military action against the minority Rohingya population constituted ethnic cleansing.

Last week the Burmese army exonerated itself of blame regarding the Rohingya crisis.
It denied killing any Rohingya people, burning their villages, raping women and girls, and stealing possessions.
The assertions contradict evidence seen by BBC correspondents of a crisis the United Nations has also called ethnic cleansing.
Amnesty International dismissed the Burmese military’s denials as an attempted “whitewash”.

How soon any repatriation process from Bangladesh might begin, or Myanmar’s conditions of return, remain unclear.
Both countries are under pressure on the issue, for different reasons.
Bangladesh wants to show its population that the Rohingya will not be permanent residents – it was already hosting about 400,000 before the latest influx.
The Burmese authorities – and particularly de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi – are responding to international calls to do more to resolve the crisis.

Pope Francis is due to arrive in Myanmar on 26 November. His visit will include meetings with army chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Vatican has said.
The pontiff will later travel to the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, where he will meet Rohingya refugees.

this year’s Black Friday deals are giving you déjà vu, you’re not alone.

Retailers, it turns out, tend to repeat the same promotions every year: Macy’s has been selling $39.99 cashmere sweaters for five years running, while Best Buy has marked down the same 6-foot HDMI cable to $9.99 each Black Friday since 2013. At Kohl’s, go-tos include $9.99 sweaters (every year since 2012) and $199 KitchenAid mixers (since 2013).

“It’s simple: Retailers are under a lot of pressure and don’t want to upend a formula they know is working,” said Rebecca Lehmann, who tracks repeat discounts for the site Brad’s Deals. “It doesn’t hurt that many of these are giftable items.”

Take, for instance, Target’s $18 Razor scooters, or Macy’s $7.99 toasters and panini makers. They’ve been offered at the same price for years — “inflation has yet to catch up,” Lehmann says — because customers have grown accustomed to expecting them.

So what else are you likely to see — other than $5 board games at Toys R Us and $169 recliners at Walmart — when you start shopping this holiday weekend? Here’s a checklist to guide you.

1. Online deals hours, if not days, before you find them in stores.

It used to be the Black Friday promotions actually started on Black Friday. Not anymore.

Retailers have been trotting out discounts for weeks. Best Buy kicked off its “Black Friday” discounts on hundreds of items, including big-screen TVs, Apple Watches and tablets on Nov. 1. Walmart followed a day later, with $6 pajamas and $998 Samsung TVs.

Kohl’s unveiled its discounts Monday, while Old Navy is offering 50 percent off everything beginning Wednesday. Toys R Us will roll out many of its Black Friday deals online beginning at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The real action, though, begins just after midnight on Thursday, when Walmart, Kohl’s, JC Penney and many others begin offering their steepest discounts online.

But how do you know you’re getting a good deal? “Consumers should keep the number 37 in mind this year — that’s the average discount offered across retailers,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for personal finance website WalletHub. “Anything less, and they might not be getting a true Black Friday deal.”

2. Toys — everywhere.

The hottest toys are already flying off shelves — and selling out, in many cases — so analysts say scoring discounts on the most coveted toys can be tricky. (Many retailers also say they’ve scaled back on inventory this year, which may make it even more challenging to track down what you’re looking for.

“There’s really no pattern when it comes to toy discounts,” said Trae Bodge, a shopping analyst. “My advice is, if you see a discount on something that’s on your list: Get it, because it might sell out.”

Toys R Us, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, is keeping its stores open for 30 hours straight beginning at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Its “door buster” deals include half-price Baby Alive dolls and a 40 percent discount on Lego construction sets.

But you may also see toys cropping up in some unexpected places, as retailers compete for shoppers’ dollars. Bass Pro Shops will be selling Build-A-Bears, while Bergdorf Goodman, Bon Ton and Bloombingdales store now carry items by FAW Schwarz.

3. Discounts on electronics — including iPhones.

If there’s one thing you can count on year after year, it’s discounted electronics.

“TVs, reliably, are always very deeply discounted on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” says Bodge. Best Buy, for example, is offering 50-inch Sharp TVs for $179.99, while Walmart has marked down 65-inch curved TVs by Samsung to $997.99.

But this year, she says, shoppers are in for a treat: Rare discounts on newly-released iPhones.

“Apple is known for not offering promotions, but retailers are finding their way around that with gift cards,” Bodge said.

Walmart is offering a $300 gift card with the purchase of a $999 iPhone X, as long as shoppers sign a two-year contract with AT&T or Verizon. (The discount also applies to the purchase of an iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus.)

Target, meanwhile, will give shoppers a $250 gift card if they buy an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, while Best Buy is offering $200 for the same models.

4. Widespread markdowns on clothing and accessories.

Deeply discounted clothing is nothing new. In fact, analysts say customers have grown to expect markdowns of 30 percent or 40 percent on apparel all year long.

But prices are likely to drop even lower this holiday season as desperate retailers look to shore up sales. Roughly one-in-three discounts being touted over Black Friday are in apparel or accessories, making it the most-frequently marked down category of goods, according to an analysis by the personal finance site WalletHub.

On average, clothing and accessories will be marked down 48 percent, while jewelry will be discounted 59 percent, the analysis found.

“Black Friday is a great time to stock up on fall clothing,” Bodge said. But don’t worry if you forget a thing or two: Cold-weather apparel and accessories, she said, tend to be discounted throughout December.

5. Low prices on small kitchen appliances.

“Anything that sits on the counter, you’ll see good deals on,” Bodge said. “Toasters, slow cookers and food processors have become a popular category, especially at department stores.”

“Limited quantity” doorbusters at Kohl’s, for example, include mini-choppers, can openers and hand mixers for $4.99. JC Penney and Macy’s are selling rice cookers, griddles and waffle makers for $7.99, while Walmart has marked down blenders and deep fryers to $9.88.

And while these might not be the flashiest items on your shopping list, Bodge says they can make for reliable holiday presents — particularly for someone you may not know very well.

“They are fun, yet practical gifts,” she said. “And the prices have gotten so low.”

  • Samsung’s next flagship smartphone may make an early appearance in January (Business Insider):

Samsung’s new flagship smartphones for the first half of 2018 are already on their way, and may make a super-early appearance at next January’s CES.

The original report, from VentureBeat, mentions that the tentatively named “Galaxy S9” and “Galaxy S9+” will only be “iterative” devices, largely building on the noteworthy, trend-launching, almost bezel-less designs of this year’s S8 duo.

The S9 and S9+ are named “Star 1” and “Star 2” internally, and will reportedly feature the same 5.8- and 6.2-inch Quad HD, AMOLED displays of their respective predecessors.

Processors will apparently get a notable speed boost, however, moving the more energy-efficient 10-nanometer manufacturing process — strongly hinting at Qualcomm’s forthcoming Snapdragon 845, likely in conjunction with a new, in-house made Exynos counterpart for non-US markets.

The added power will also reportedly be coupled with 6GB of RAM, like on the more recent Note 8, as opposed to the 4GB its predecessors had, to better compete with Apple’s increasingly powerful A-line series and stay ahead of the competition in the Android space.

VentureBeat’s sources also say that 64GB of onboard storage will come in the base model, and the microSD card slot will remain, alongside the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The camera will change, instead, moving to a dual lens, vertically aligned setup (like on the iPhone X) that moves the fingerprint reader closer to the middle of the device’s back, in response to the numerous complaints Samsung received with the S8, S8+, and even the Note 8.

Last but not least is DeX, Samsung’s system that allows the S8 to function as a desktop workstation by plugging it into a monitor and keyboard with the support of a custom accessory. The new docking station will keep the phone in a flat position, VentureBeat says, and “utilize the screen as either a touchpad or a virtual keyboard.”

  • Facebook Is Testing Yet Another Copycat Snapchat Feature (Fortune):

Facebook has copied so many features from Snapchat now that it’s gone beyond a joke. But hey, here’s another one to add to the list.

As flagged by Twitter user Case Sandberg on Wednesday, Facebook Messenger now includes a Snapchat-style “streak” feature. However, as The Verge noted, this seems to be a test that’s limited to only certain users.

The streak feature is a form of what the tech industry likes to call “gamification”—turning otherwise tedious tasks into games to give users a thrill every time they get a certain score or cross a certain threshold.

The streak game essentially rewards people for talking to one another. “Snapstreaks” use fire emojis to tell users that they’ve talked with certain people over consecutive days. Facebook’s version, meanwhile, uses a lightning bolt.

“Keep chatting to keep it going,” a popup urges users.

Facebook did not immediately return Fortune’s request for comment on the new feature.

With around 173 million users, Snapchat is a far smaller deal than Facebook Messenger, which has around 1.2 billion users. Nevertheless, Snapchat is popular among younger people whom Facebook doesn’t want to lose as users, so the larger company seems to be doing everything in its power to insert copies of Snapchat innovations into its various products: Facebook Messenger, Instagram and the mothership itself.

Just this year, it’s copied Snapchat’s stories and customized face filter features. That said, its copies don’t always pan out well. Hardly anyone uses Facebook’s Stories feature, for example.

  • Three cups of coffee a day ‘may have health benefits’ (BBC):

Moderate coffee drinking is safe, and three to four cups a day may have some health benefits, according to a large review of studies, in the BMJ.
It found a lower risk of liver disease and some cancers in coffee drinkers, and a lower risk of dying from stroke – but researchers could not prove coffee was the cause.
Too much coffee during pregnancy could be harmful, the review confirmed.
Experts said people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons.
The University of Southampton researchers collected data on the impact of coffee on all aspects of the human body, taking into account more than 200 studies – most of which were observational.

Compared with non-coffee drinkers, those who drank about three cups of coffee a day appeared to reduce their risk of getting heart problems or dying from them.
The strongest benefits of coffee consumption were seen in reduced risks of liver disease, including cancer.
But Prof Paul Roderick, co-author of the study, from the faculty of medicine at University of Southampton, said the review could not say if coffee intake had made the difference.
“Factors such as age, whether people smoked or not and how much exercise they took could all have had an effect,” he said.

The findings back up other recent reviews and studies of coffee drinking so, overall, his message on coffee was reassuring.
“There is a balance of risks in life, and the benefits of moderate consumption of coffee seem to outweigh the risks,” he said.
The NHS recommends pregnant women have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day – two mugs of instant coffee – because too much can increase the risk of miscarriage.
This review suggests women at risk of fractures should also cut back on coffee.
For other adults, moderate caffeine intake equates to 400mg or less per day – or three to four cups of coffee – but that isn’t the only drink (or food) to bear in mind.
How much caffeine in my drink?
one mug of filter coffee: 140mg
one mug of instant coffee: 100mg
one mug of tea: 75mg
one can of cola: 40mg
one 250ml can of energy drink: up to 80mg
bar of plain chocolate: less than 25mg
bar of milk chocolate: less than 10mg
The researchers say coffee drinkers should stick to “healthy coffees” – which avoid extra sugar, milk or cream, or a fatty snack on the side.
And they are calling for rigorous clinical trials on coffee intake to find out more about the potential benefits to health.

At present, the researchers said pinning down exactly how coffee might have a positive impact on health was “difficult” but it could be down to the effects of anti-oxidants and anti-fibrotics, which prevent or slow damage to cells in the body.
Commenting on the BMJ review, Eliseo Guallar, from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said there was still uncertainty about the effects of higher levels of coffee intake.
But he added: “Moderate coffee consumption seems remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population.”

Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said coffee drinkers may be healthier people to start with – and that could skew the findings.
“Coffee is known to cause headaches in some people and it also increases the urge to go to the toilet – some people chose not to drink coffee for these reasons.
“Patients with abnormal heart rhythms are often advised to drink de-caffeinated coffee. Caffeine also acutely increases blood pressure, albeit transiently. “

  • Nearly half of U.S. cancer deaths blamed on unhealthy behavior (CBS News): 

A new look at cancer in the U.S. finds that nearly half of cancer deaths are caused by smoking, poor diet and other unhealthy behaviors.

That’s less than commonly-cited estimates from more than 35 years ago, a result of new research methods and changes in American society. Smoking rates have plummeted, for example, while obesity rates have risen dramatically.

The study found that 45 percent of cancer deaths and 42 percent of diagnosed cancer cases could be attributed to what the authors call “modifiable” risk factors. These are risks that are not inherited, and mostly the result of behavior that can be changed, like exposure to sun, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, drinking alcohol and, most importantly, smoking.

A British study conducted in 1981 attributed more than two-thirds of cancer deaths to these factors.

The study used 2014 data and was conducted by the American Cancer Society. It was published online Tuesday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

“We thought it was time to redo those estimates,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, the cancer society’s chief medical officer and one of the study’s authors.

Smoking was the leading risk by far, accounting for 29 percent of deaths. Excess body weight was next at 6.5 percent, and alcohol consumption was third at 4 percent.

The authors ran separate calculations for different types of cancer by age group and gender to try to account for how risk factors affect different groups of people, then added them together to understand the national picture.

Among the findings:

Smoking accounted for 82 percent of lung cancers.
Excess body weight was associated with 60 percent of uterine cancers and about one-third of liver cancers.
Alcohol intake was associated with 25 percent of liver cancers in men and 12 percent in women; 17 percent of colorectal cancers in men and 8 percent in women; and 16 percent of breast cancers in women.
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds was associated with 96 percent of skin cancers in men and 94 percent in women.
Richard Clapp, a professor emeritus of environmental health at Boston University expects the new numbers to be will widely cited and used to make decisions about how to spend money on cancer prevention, just as the influential British study from 1981 by researchers Richard Doll and Richard Peto has been.

Clapp said there is still room for improvement, however. He said the study doesn’t address how two or more risk factors, like smoking and drinking, might work together in some cancer cases and deaths.

Also, aside from secondhand cigarette smoke, the researchers did not to include outdoor or indoor air pollution because the data on the cancer risk from pollution is not detailed enough to understand the national impact, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Farhad Islami.

  • 5 Marketing Books That Actually Made A Difference In My Career (Forbes):

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!” The popular Dr. Seuss quote isn’t a language arts classroom staple just because it rhymes and encourages kids to read — it’s actually completely true. Leaders are readers, and that’s not just something your English teacher wants you to believe. Successful entrepreneurs and marketers consume more information than their competitors, learning from the successes and missteps of others and applying new knowledge to their situation to help themselves and others. In the digital information era, it’s easy to fall into the habit of only ever reading social posts and sound bites, but there are dozens of potentially life-changing books being produced every year to give your business an edge.

1. Blue Ocean Shift. New York Times Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Bestseller, USA Today Bestseller. This follow up to the global bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy draws on more than a decade of work and experience from professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. This book is packed with brand new research and examples to guide you through taking your organization “from a red ocean crowded with competition to a blue ocean of uncontested market space.”

Although the first book was groundbreaking in its perspective on marketing strategy, readers were left wondering how to apply those strategies in their real-life businesses. Those questions are answered with this book, a step-by-step guide outlining a process that can more readily be implemented in your business. Blue Ocean Shift will show you how to move beyond competing and start inspiring confidence to generate unprecedented growth.

2. Hug Your Haters: How To Embrace Complaints And Keep Your Customers. Written by Jay Baer, New York Times bestselling author of five books, Hug Your Haters is the first book to address how the customer service landscape has changed due to social media. Although 80% of businesses say they deliver excellent customer service, only 8% of their customers agree — not surprising, when you consider that nearly one-third of customer complaints go unanswered, most of them online.

Hug Your Haters will help you reconfigure your customer service strategy to confront the realities and challenges of customer service expectations today, when haters can speak their mind more easily and publicly than ever before, resulting in an overall increase in complaints in general. Baer offers an examination of how, where, and why folks complain, teaching readers how to embrace their critics and even get them to make your business more successful.

3. Contagious: Why Things Catch On. New York Times Bestseller. Advertising dollars certainly have an impact on popular culture, but people don’t so much listen to advertisements as they do to their peers. So why do people talk about certain products, services, and ideas more than others — how does web content go viral? Why do some rumors spread like wildfire? What makes things popular? Marketing professor Jonah Berger not only helps readers understand the science behind social proof, he also offers a set of actionable techniques you can use to become more popular yourself.

Contagious will help marketers and entrepreneurs design content people will engage with and share, boosting your business’s visibility and appeal, showing you how to make your product or service catch on.

4. The Content Formula. Content marketing can be a completely overwhelming task for any business, since consistently producing engaging, informative posts is a tremendous challenge. Even more challenging can be tracking the return on investment of content marketing, so co-authors Michael Brenner and Liz Bedor have simplified the process of establishing an effective content marketing strategy and breaking down the numbers to measure success and fine-tune your approach.

The Content Formula breaks down the content marketing approach into a step-by-step guide for marketers, divided into three parts: building a case for content marketing in your business, finding the budget to establish a successful content marketing program, and navigating the numbers to calculate your content marketing strategy’s return on investment in concrete terms. This book is a definitive guide to take your business from mindlessly contributing to internet noise because you vaguely understand the importance of content production to generating content that generates conversion.

5. Discipline Equals Freedom. New York Times Bestseller. Although not specifically a marketing book, this personal development guide will help motivate you to become more self-disciplined to improve all aspects of your life. Written by Jocko Willink, a decorated Navy SEAL of 20 years, Discipline Equals Freedom outlines the mental and physical disciplines he imposes on himself and how he believes those steps have helped him to achieve freedom in all aspects of life.

Discipline Equals Freedom includes a variety of strategies for conquering weakness, procrastination, and fear, helping readers become more aware and controlled in their habits not just at work, but with sleeping, eating, and exercising, too. All these lifestyle elements combine for optimized performance and productivity, helping you become stronger, smarter, faster, healthier, and an all-around better version of yourself in general.

The appeal of sitting down to read a real book over an abbreviated sound bite is not just nostalgia; books provide the opportunity to pick the brains of leaders in the industry in greater detail than the short features and quotables they provide for web articles. Their anecdotes and teachable moments can offer powerful insights and inspiration to be applied to your marketing endeavors.

  • Paramedics grant patient’s last wish: one final beach day (Fox News):


A palliative care patient in Queensland, Australia, had a final wish: to see the ocean one more time before she died.

The two paramedics transporting her to a local hospital obliged, and made a detour to a Hervey Bay beach, looking out toward Fraser Island.

One paramedic even filled a vomit bag with water so that the patient, who is in her 70s, could dip her hand into it and feel the ocean one last time, the Courier Mail reported.

The woman told paramedics she had moved to Hervey Bay long ago with her husband on a whim, and had lived there ever since. She told the paramedics that she was “at peace, everything is right,” according to the Courier Mail.

A photo of the scene was shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook.

“Above and beyond, the crew took a small diversion to the awesome beach at Hervey Bay to give the patient this opportunity – tears were shed and the patient felt very happy,” the post continued.

“Sometimes it is not the drugs/training/skills – sometimes all you need is empathy to make a difference!” the Queensland Ambulance Service wrote on Facebook Wednesday

  • For Flight Attendants, Sexual Assault Isn’t Just Common, It’s Almost A Given (HuffPost):

Flight attendant Caroline Bright was kicking off her last shift of the day when she realized one of the pilots on board reminded her of someone.

“I was trying to figure it out, was it a celebrity?” she told HuffPost. “Who does he remind me of?” He looked like her dad, she realized.

“When we landed and were waiting for the van to the hotel, I told him I’d figured it out,” she said. ”I told him, ‘You look like just my dad.’ I had a picture of him on my phone, which I showed to the first officer. ‘Doesn’t he look just like my dad?’” she recalled asking him. ”‘I think they look so similar.’”

The pilot’s response? ”‘It’s been a long time since a girl like you called me daddy,’” she said.

“I felt so grossed out. I turned and looked at the officer and gave him an expression like, ‘What just happened?’ And he just looked at me and shrugged. I remember thinking at the time that I must have said something inappropriate.”

Based on accounts shared with HuffPost from both current and former flight attendants, Bright’s story is among many instances of sexual harassment and assault in the skies. As more and more stories of sexual assault across industries come to the forefront, it’s impossible to ignore the dynamics of the airline industry, which are inherently gendered with origins in the sexualization of women.

From unwanted advances to groping and forced physical contact, assault and harassment are realities seemingly accepted as commonplace by the flight attendants we spoke with, all of whom attested to various levels of unwanted physical contact during their time on the job.

It’s what drives some people, like former flight attendant Lanelle Henderson, out.

Henderson worked for now-defunct Kiwi Airlines in the ’90s and again for a little under a year for now-defunct Airtran in 2004. She told HuffPost that it was her experience in the 2000s that turned her off from remaining in the industry.

Once, a male passenger who’d been drinking began making advances toward her throughout a flight to Dallas–Fort Worth, she told HuffPost.

“He would first grab my hand and compliment me, which in the beginning was flattering,” she said. “But then he grabbed and rubbed my leg. It was mostly embarrassing because the man behind him was looking at me as if to say, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I was just startled and a newbie and trying to be polite.”

Henderson said that the customer blocked her in the galley from moving between cabins. He eventually grabbed her butt. “The man behind him said, ‘Sir, enough already. This girl is not here for your pleasure.’” she said.

Flight attendants told HuffPost that the “customer is always right” attitude mandated by much of the service industry often prevents many flight attendants from confronting in-flight harassment themselves, Henderson said.

Dawn Arthur also became disillusioned during eight years working as a flight attendant in both the commercial and private sector.

“I was really excited [before I became a flight attendant],” she said. “I thought it was so cool. But then you find out that there is no support in the industry. The pilots aren’t trained to handle assault and they don’t want to hear it. It’s not their job.”

Arthur, who told HuffPost she’s been “pushed into a corner and felt up” by passengers, said flight attendants may feel discouraged from taking action in order to avoid an in-flight delay or disturbance.

“If someone grabs you or threatens you, nothing is going to happen. They’re on a tight timetable. They’re not going to stop the plane. And then everyone’s going to be mad at you; you’re not a team player, you’re difficult.”

If there is a trend of keeping assault to oneself in the airline industry, former flight attendant Mandalena Lewis has broken it in a big way. She has not only spoken about her own alleged assault but is in the midst of a lawsuit against her former employer, Canadian airline WestJet, in part, she said, for firing her as a result.

According to Lewis, the company neglected to adequately handle not only her experience with sexual assault in 2010, but with a group of women she is now representing in her case.

Lewis recounted her assault to HuffPost, which happened during a layover in Maui in 2010. She said the incident ultimately led her to firing and discovery of other women who made claims against the same pilot who she said attacked her.

“We were on a layover in Maui, and the whole crew went out for dinner and drinks, totally standard,” she said. “The captain invited people up to his room. It was my second year of being a flight attendant and I was down to go up to the room and have a drink. I ended up going by myself. The first officer’s room was right next door and their door was open a bit.”

Lewis said the pilot had been acting “very father-like” up until that point, when the two of them went on the balcony. “There was nothing inappropriate and I didn’t send him any signals,” she said. “On the balcony, he started asking me really inappropriate questions: do I touch myself privately, do I masturbate, things like that.”

When she turned to leave, that’s when she said the pilot started to attack her. “It started almost like horseplay, gradually becoming more aggressive,” she said. Lewis said he attacked her three times. The first and second involved grabbing her from behind, squeezing her arms and commenting on how strong she was.

“The third time, he grabbed me and put me on the bed and got between my legs,” she said. “He touched my face and told me I wanted it and how strong I was.”

Lewis said she got her heels underneath him and kicked him off of her. “He fell backward into the TV stand. I was shaking, tears were coming down my face.” Lewis said that the airline took her off of flights with the pilot but did not take action to fire him.

It was in 2015 when she says she spoke up about the lack of training surrounding sexual assault during a crew resource management class. She said her concerns were brushed off by the person leading the training, but there were a few people who came over afterward and thanked her for speaking out.

“A few months later, I was on a layover in Toronto and I got a Facebook message from a woman who told me she was in the room during the training,” she said. “She asked if she could call me to tell me her story.”

“Sure enough, she told me that she was raped in 2008 by the same pilot. We didn’t know each others’ stories and we didn’t know each other,” she said.

Lewis told HuffPost both hired lawyers pretty quickly after that, but the other woman later settled with the company. “We dropped the class-action suit and I went forward as an individual case for wrongful dismissal and negligence” in early 2016.

The airline has disputed the claims — as recently as Nov. 9, saying employees should be bringing their cases “to human rights tribunals and workers’ compensation boards instead” of filing a lawsuit, according to Global News. Robert Palmer, manager of public relations for WestJet, declined to comment on “ongoing legal proceedings,” but said the company is “committed to fostering a harassment-free workplace where all employees are treated with respect and dignity.”

While the demographics for flight attendants vary slightly by airline and have shifted over the years, the industry is still majority female ― about 80 percent. But men in the field say they’ve also dealt with unwanted advances.

A male JetBlue flight attendant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told HuffPost he has been grabbed inappropriately multiple times by both men and women. Passengers commonly make comments referring to the mile-high club and “getting him in the back of the plane.”

In the event that a situation escalates, flight crew can notify the pilot, who will decide whether it is necessary to take action, either by speaking to the passenger themselves or, in extreme cases, removing the person from the flight. “Ten out of 10 times they have our side, but diverting and removing a person from the flight is obviously our last option,” he said.

For the people we spoke to, shrugging inappropriate behavior off had become commonplace. Many said even if they wanted to do something about it, the training isn’t there.

Sara Nelson is the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA as well as a 21-year flight attendant with United Airlines. She told HuffPost that in her experience ― along with the experience of some of the 50,000 flight attendants across the 20 airlines the association represents ― there is no exact protocol on how to handle it.

“There is very little training. It’s nonexistent, actually,” she said. “There is training on how to handle assault and aggressive behavior on a plane, but there is no recognition of sexual assault as a unique crime.”

She added that for a flight attendant tasked with getting a job done, it’s easier to just keep things moving than to confront a passenger or bring it to the pilot’s attention.

“One, it’s a confined space, where flight attendants are charged with de-escalating conflict every single day,” she said. “I had a conversation with a group of flight attendants ranging from six months seniority to 10 years on Friday and the conversation basically was, ‘We have to de-escalate everything and sometimes I just choose not to say anything.’ ‘If someone grabs my butt or pulls me onto their lap, I tell them to knock it off and keep going.’”

If allegations in other industries have pushed the conversation forward to put an end to assault, it has also emboldened people who Nelson say feel like they’re “out of the public eye” in the air.

“A flight attendant relayed a situation this week where a guy in the last few rows spoke up and said, ‘When can we get some drinks around here, honey?’” she said. While the flight attendant was still in earshot, Nelson said he loudly added, “‘You can probably get sued for calling someone honey nowadays,’” laughing with the men sitting around him.

Nelson told HuffPost she thinks things have perhaps gotten worse since she started in 1996, due to planes these days being more crowded than ever and equipped with less staff. “In a casual request from our membership about what’s happening today on the plane, we were barraged with examples,” she said.

Flight attendants who worked in the ’60s and ’70s might argue the notion that it is worse, now, though. A Facebook group titled Stewardesses of the 1960s and 1970s, which boasts more than 9,000 members, has a recently posted thread asking members about sexual assault that currently has more than 400 comments.

In spite of the frequency of sexual assault in the air, Nelson told HuffPost that she thinks the CEOs of airlines (most of whom are men) would be “shocked” to find out what’s going on on their planes.

“Men don’t think about this stuff,” she said. “It’s not their experience. They have no idea what it’s like. And even if they are someone who doesn’t participate, I bet if these men are really going to be honest, even the ones who would never do it themselves, have absolutely been sitting there and have done nothing while it’s happening.”

Still, Nelson has hope. “Any time an issue is raised, there is opportunity for change, but I think we are just at the very beginning of the conversation here,” she said, adding, “It doesn’t have to be this way. The more we talk about it and say it’s not OK, the better it will get.”

It’s that time of year again when we start to finish up 2017 and turn our attention to the coming year. The rate of change in digital marketing in 2018 will increase yet again, so to help get you ahead of the curve, here are five digital marketing trends to start thinking about.

Personalized experiences:

The journey towards personalization has been the stuff of dreams for most marketers: who wants to pay to talk to 100 people when there is only 1 person who you want to engage? But the trend has not been growing in just dreams. People’s exposure to advertising has been massive and this has had two impacts: people will only engage with different / sophisticated advertising and people are sick of advertising!
Personalisation could be a simple customized landing page (e.g. sending traffic from a Twitter campaign to a different page to traffic from a Facebook campaign) or it could be a fully personalized website experience, but if this is all new to you, 2018 should be the year you start to investigate.


This might not feel like a very insightful trend to identify as video has been an important part of digital marketing for a number of years, but video will evolve in 2018. It will develop not just a medium for content marketing, but also an advertising medium: YouTube attracts incredible amounts of traffic and engagement, but it does feel like advertising is still an opportunity for many industries. There will also be more emphasis on live streaming as Facebook seems to be prioritising live video content over video content, and video content over other types of content.

Rise of the Chatbots:

Chatbots have become part of the mainstream for at least some of the population. Ordering basic products from chatbots is relatively simple because there are only so many variables, or what-ifs, in the process. But 2018 will see chatbots move into more industries with more complex transactions. This type of instant response is fast becoming a consumer expectation, so it is well worth thinking how your organisation can utilise this software.

Unlocking ‘dark’ social:

It has long been a conspiracy that social networks are listening to your conversations and selling that information to advertisers. Let’s assume that this isn’t happening…..yet. The amount of information held on messaging apps and social networks protected by privacy is colossal. But it is protected by privacy settings and the rights and concerns of users. Social networks will need to address the balance between users and investors: how long can they resist the temptation to delve into this data?

Search evolves (yes, again):

Search is a very important traffic source for most websites. So, keeping an eye on how search is changing is probably in your interests. Voice search has been around for a couple of years now, but there are two interesting developments. Voice search through devices such as the Google app or assistants like Amazon Echo is tending to deliver longer-tail queries than text search and the number of voice searches is likely to increase in 2018. Secondly, Google revealed Google Lens in October where you can show your camera a, say, poster and Google will search for the text and images within that poster. If this gains traction, this will truly be a game-changer for search.


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