Hannah's Headlines: 12/6/2017

Russia Banned from Winter Olympics; Clean Athletes can Compete

The International Olympic Committee is banning the Russian Olympic Team from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The IOC handed down the decision after prolonged investigations into "systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia". The severe penalty is without precedent in Olympics history.

The U.S. Olympic Committee calls their decision "strong and principled." In a statement, the Committee's CEO, Scott Blackmun says, "There were no perfect options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again."

Here's the thing. Clean Russian athletes with zero doping violations can participate in individual or team competitions - but they won't compete for their country. Instead, they'll be under the banner "Olympic Athlete from Russia" and under the general Olympic flag, not the Russian one. If they medal, the Olympic anthem will be played in place of the Russian anthem at the ceremony. 

  • The Russian Olympic Committee has also been fined $15-million. According to global officials, that money will be put toward drug-testing international athletes.

Source: The New York Times

How Offices Are Treating Employees This Holiday Season

While most people love the holiday season, it isn’t always so pleasant when you have to work during it, although according to a new survey, lots of companies are doing their best to make the holiday season a good one. 

According to a new poll, 76% of organizations will host one or more holiday parties this seasopn, with 96% of those companies paying for the party in ful. Of course, most of those parties will involve some booze, with 77% of company-sponsored bashes serving alcohol and of those companies serving booze, 86% will have some safeguards in place to watch out for those who imbibe too much, like say having bartenders monitor drinks or offering cabs or ridesharing home.

Most offices will also be giving their employees off for the major holidays, with 48% of employers providing paid time off for three or more days, with 97% giving people Christmas Day off, and 36% giving employees the Tuesday following the holiday off as well. When it comes to New Years, 97% of employees will have New Years Day off, while 32% will also get Friday, December 28th off.

  • As for actual tangible holiday benefits, about 39% of companies will give gifts or bonuses to employees, with 30% giving bonuses, and about 10% giving merchandise, gift cards or gift certificates. On average, employers will spend about $35 on gifts and $450 when it comes to cash, which is a decrease from last year.

Source: Bloomberg BNA


Pa-Rum-Pa-Pum-Pum prohibition: Scrooges tuning out for the Little Drummer Boy Challenge

While everybody has their favorite, and least favorite, Christmas songs, a new viral challenge is looking to drum out a specific one: The Little Drummer Boy.

Participants in The Little Drummer Boy Challenge are duty-bound to avoid the holiday staple song at all costs.

"As soon as you hear it on the radio, on TV, in a store, wherever, you’re out," the rules dictate, specifying that when you're eliminated, "you record your loss on the official reporting form, then tell us all about it on the Facebook wall, along with the time and place of your demise."

Obviously, the contest relies on the honor system.  And the fun itself lies not so much in avoiding the song, but in reading the accounts of the people who couldn't, and where and when they lost.

If you care to play along, be warned your odds of "survival" are infinitesimal: there are as many as 153 covers of the song out there -- sung by everyone from Johnny Mathis to The Wiggles to the metalcore band August Burns Red -- according to Wikipedia.

Airlines To Ban ‘Smart’ Suitcases

Smart suitcases — the kind that can charge your cell phone on the move, provide GPS tracking, or even drive you around the airport — are the newest threat to airlines.

Smart suitcases, which have been growing in popularity, are able to perform a slew of technological feats because of lithium-ion batteries, which have been known to catch fire or explode on flights. A faulty lithium-ion battery was the reason Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phone was banned from planes after it kept spontaneously erupting.

Now, several airliners, which have already banned packing lithium-ion batteries in checked luggage, have said they will be restricting bringing certain kinds of smart suitcases onboard starting January 15.

American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said to the Chicago Tribune, “We wanted to get out ahead of the holiday season given that it’s one of the trendy gifts for travelers.”

Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines have reportedly introduced similar rules, while United Airlines and Southwest Airlines are still considering the issue.

However, if you are a high-tech enthusiast, there is some good news – you can still pack your smart luggage as long as it has a removable battery.

American, Delta and Alaska have all said they will allow the bags on the plane as both checked and carry-on bags, as long as the batteries can be removed and placed in a carry-on.

Carry-on smart bags can keep their batteries installed, but are required to be removed if the bag is checked at the gate.

Link: https://nypost.com/2017/12/05/airlines-to-ban-smart-suitcases

Do You Go Home For The Holidays So You Can Hook Up With Someone?

According to a new survey by the condom giant Trojan, a full 60-percent of single people ages 18-24 said they're likely to have casual sex in their hometowns this holiday season. And it really doesn’t matter who they're having it with as two in five respondents said they'd be likely have sex with someone new, while one in three said they’d probably have sex with an ex.

You May Want To Rethink Buying Your Kids Too Many Toys

Lots of parents will probably be headed to their local toy store to get a bunch of toys for their kids this holiday season, but according to a new study they shouldn’t waste their money. New research, set to be published in the journal "Infant Behavior and Development," claims that kids actually benefit from having fewer toys rather than more.

The study out of the University of Toledo claims that kids are more creative and focused during playtime when they have fewer toys to choose from, which means they are getting more quality out of their playtime. Researchers came to the conclusion by watching kids’ playing habits when they were given either three or four toys and when they were given as many as 16.

“When provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively,” the researchers say, noting that having fewer toys, “promotes development and healthy play.”

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop buying kids all the toys you want. Researchers suggest keeping toys in storage and only giving kids a limited amount to play with at one time. They note by doing this it offers kids, “opportunities for novelty without creating the distraction posed by having too many toys available.”

Source: New York Post



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