What’s on the agenda for Tuesday in Washington

Washington (CNN)The first Tuesday of the new administration is set to be full of confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.

Here’s what’s going on in Washington on Tuesday:

Energy committee vote on interior and energy secretaries postponed

    Previously, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources was scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. to vote on the nominations of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke for interior secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for energy secretary.
    But the committee issued a statement late Monday postponing the votes “until further notice.”
    At his hearing last week, Zinke said climate change is not a “hoax” and that “man has had an influence,” a statement that may help appease Democrats who are concerned about Trump’s statement from December when he said “nobody really knows” if climate change is real.
    During his hearing last week, Perry said he regrets previously saying he would abolish the Energy Department, which he is nominated to lead. Democratic aides on the committee have said that they are not concerned with Perry’s lack of scientific experience, noting that the role of energy secretary has not always gone to a scientist.

    Finance committee hearing for health and human services secretary

    Georgia Rep. Tom Price has already had his confirmation hearing with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Now, he testifies before the Senate Finance Committee at 10 a.m. The congressman and orthopedic surgeon has been a significant critic of the Affordable Care Act, and has worked to dismantle the law in the past. Price is now also under scrutiny after CNN reported on a questionable stock purchase.

    Judiciary committee vote on attorney general

    Also at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to vote on whether to confirm Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. Sessions sat before the committee last Tuesday where he drew a number of Democratic opponents due to his record. However, Republicans hold a majority in the Senate and the nomination is expected to pass.

    Commerce Committee vote on commerce and transportation secretaries

    Another 10 a.m. meeting will be for the Senate Commerce Committee to vote on the nominations of Elaine Chao for transportation secretary and Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary.
    Both had their hearings before the committee last week and while both are expected to pass, some are concerned about Ross’s business interests.

    Budget Committee hearing for OMB head

    South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney is set to testify before the Senate Budget Committee at 10:30 a.m. after being nominated by President Donald Trump to head the Office of Management and Budget. Last week, it was revealed that Mulvaney did not pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee.
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said this was “disqualifying” for Mulvaney to serve as the White House budget director.
    A source from Trump’s transition team told CNN that Mulvaney, who at the time was the father of newborn triplets, hired a “sitter” and didn’t realize he needed to pay taxes on her income. The aide declined to say where the employee was from.

    Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee hearing

    Also at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee will meet for their hearing on Linda McMahon, who Trump nominated to lead the Small Business Administration.
    McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, gave millions to Trump to support his presidential campaign, including a $1 million donation just before the election.

    Foreign Relations committee vote on UN Ambassador

    At noon, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on the nomination of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s choice for UN ambassador.
    During her confirmation hearing last week, Committee Chair Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said that Haley is expected to be confirmed “overwhelmingly.” The committee questioned Haley about her lack of dealing with foreign affairs, but commented her time as governor of South Carolina has made her ready for this position.

    Closed Senate Intelligence committee hearing

    A closed-door Senate Intelligence Committee hearing will take place at 2:30 p.m.

    House vote on taxpayer-funded abortions

    On Tuesday, the House will vote on H.R. bill “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.”
    The bill would ban federal funding of abortions, as well federal funding for health benefits plans that cover abortions. It would also ban federal facilities and federal employees from providing abortions.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/23/politics/tuesday-in-washington-schedule/index.html

    Sanders: I’d be ‘delighted’ to work with Trump on trade policy

    (CNN)Calling President Donald Trump’s executive action to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership “a positive step,” Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday said he would be “delighted,” in theory, to work with the White House to build a trade policy that benefits working Americans rather than just the wealthy.

    “It’s one thing to kill the TPP … it’s another thing to develop a trade policy that finally works for American workers and not the CEOs of large multinational corporations,” said Sanders, an independent who represents Vermont, speaking on “AC360.” “If Mr. Trump is serious about moving in that direction I’d be delighted to work with him.”
    Sanders, however, was critical of Trump for outsourcing work in his sprawling business empire to countries with cheap labor.
      “He could set a great example by bringing jobs back to the United States of America and hiring American workers here,” said Sanders.
      On Monday, Trump released a 19-page letter that indicated he had resigned from his role in hundreds of business entities across the globe, which he still owns.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/23/politics/sanders-says-he-would-work-with-trump-for-new-trade-policy-cnntv/index.html

      Building Trump’s wall: For Texans, it’s complicated

      Along the Texas-Mexico border (CNN)Robert Cameron pushes through a thick wall of Carrizo cane and in a few seconds the Rio Grande and Mexico suddenly appear.

      If you’ve never experienced standing at the country’s edge, it can be a surreal moment to so easily walk to the riverbank and stare across to the other side.
      This is one of those places where there are no Border Patrol agents in sight and no customs checkpoints for miles. You feel alone. But then you notice a well-worn path coming out of the river where the tall bamboo-like cane has been flattened, and reality strikes: You’re not the first person to come through here.
        In fact, that’s why Cameron has brought us here. Cameron, 39, operates Texas Border Tours and runs a small fleet of all-terrain vehicles that take tourists on a rugged, off-road chance to see the Texas-Mexico border up close.

        Lilia

        “It’s a very good life here,” Lilia Falcon told CNN. “Everybody takes care of the tourists over here because we live from the tourists. That’s all there is.”
        On the Mexican side of the border, the closest town to Boquillas is 160 miles away. The town has about 200 residents.
        Boquillas captures the deep connection of the borderlands. Until September 11, 2001, you could basically cross the river freely here. Neither the US government nor the Mexican government seemed to pay much attention. That all changed after 9/11.

        What the border really looks like

        Photos: Perspectives at the Border

        Coming Wednesday: The view from Arizona

        Coming Friday: The view from California

        The border crossing was shut down and Falcon’s restaurant went out of business. “It was really hard,” Lilia Falcon said. Many townspeople moved away. But in 2013, the United States re-established the Boquillas Port of Entry.
        Now the restaurant is back in business and the town is growing again. Electricity was non-existent until a few years ago, when a solar farm was built on the edge of town.
        “The word is spreading out more that it’s very safe to come here,” Lilia Falcon said.
        The times have changed, and traveling to and from Boquillas now requires a passport. The US customs checkpoint is inside a ranger station in Big Bend National Park.
        But Lilia Falcon worries about the future and what Trump’s immigration and border security plans might mean for the future of this little village. She can’t help but wonder if, in the name of national security, this official border crossing could be closed again.
        “Then the town will be dead again,” said Lilia Falcon. “It would be hard.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/23/politics/border-series-texas/index.html

        We broke the Panama Papers story. Our next mission: Donald Trump

        We were successful because we collaborated with other journalists. Now it is time for the media to join forces once again especially given the threat Trump poses

        Donald Trump is now president. This challenges many of us, not least members of the press. Countless reporters are still shaken and stunned by how he singled out a CNN reporter, one of the most respected news outlets in the world, to attack and humiliate him during his first press conference since winning the elections. Worryingly, none of his fellow journalists in the room stood up for him at the time.

        This wasnt Trumps first attack on the press, and it certainly wont be his last. The first White House press briefing, held on Saturday, featured bullying, threats and unproven claims. That is why a new level of solidarity and cooperation is needed among the fourth estate.

        American journalists should stop him from dividing their ranks however hard their professional competition may be. They should do the opposite: unite, share and collaborate. Even if doing so would mean embracing something quite unfamiliar and new to American journalism.

        The Panama Papers has showed that a formerly unthinkable project of collaboration can work. When we shared the data of the papers with a team of 400 reporters worldwide, we brought together a vast number of investigative reporters who typically compete which each other. The main reason why our newspaper, the German newspaper Sddeutsche Zeitung, shared the story with competitors was simply that it was too big and too important to do alone.

        Now, once again, we are faced with a story that is too big and too important to handle on our own: Donald Trumps impact on the democracy of the United States of America.

        Of course, American media cant approach this the way we did for the Panama Papers, when the Washington DC-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) coordinated the work of 107 news outlets around the world. But theres a wide range of possibilities for how news outlets could work together.

        This first step could be showing concrete solidarity. The next time Donald Trump tries to single out a reporter, or doesnt answer a question, the next reporter whos allowed to speak should repeat the question of the journalist Trump has snubbed.

        And if Trump stops this reporter, too, then the next one should repeat the original question, and so on. This would be a new, unusual approach. But if the media doesnt want to see more press conferences like the disastrous one we saw recently, they will need to be bold.

        The next level of solidarity and cooperation is even more challenging. Let us assume a source approaches a reporter of the Washington Post with important information which is hard for them to corroborate. Why not reach out to a colleague who already did work on this topic, even if at a rival publication the New York Times, CNN, ProPublica, Fox News or where ever for help? They might have the missing piece of the puzzle, they might have the vital second source and they might have what it takes to publish the story. So why not collaborate?

        The highest level of collaboration which is what these times require would be special joint projects. A possible first project could be to look into his international business ties, and those of his billionaire cabinet, to find all of their conflicts of interest.

        Donald Trump alone has his hands in hundreds of companies, so it is impossible for one news outlet alone to investigate this properly. But it is not impossible if theres a collaborative investigation.

        Another project could be to investigate his ties to Russia and his past with Russia, which also is very promising, even if you dont believe a single word of the Trump dossier Buzzfeed made public. Unknown conflicts of interests in both fields can turn out to be a huge danger to the national security of the US.

        Collaboration could even mean working with foreign news outlets in different countries, whose reporters certainly might have more knowledge of Trumps respective business partners than a US-based journalist. This is an experience we had over and over while our international Panama Papers team worked on stories about Iceland, Russia, Pakistan, the UK or Argentina.

        Trump is now the president of the United States. He is the government. It has always been the noblest job of a journalist to control the government, the center of power. This seems even more important as the president acts like one of the oligarchs that journalists like the two of us, who work on international corruption, investigate again and again.

        He threatened his Democratic opponent with jail, he is making promises no one can fulfill, he is mixing family and government, he is mixing business and government, he is obstructing control and he is fighting the freedom of press.

        This government has decided to go down a new and hostile path. Now, it is time for us to change path, too. Thats not only just fair it is absolutely necessary.

        Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/24/panama-papers-media-investigation-next-donald-trump-hold-accountable

        Aussies felt ‘positive’ about the election of Donald Trump, per tweets study

        Trump’s election has been met with division, to say the least – but less so in Australia
        Image: Slate

        Australians reacted more “positive” than “negative” to the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, according to a sentiment analysis study of tweets that were posted at the time.

        Only tweets sent on November 10, 2016, (just after the result of the US election) that included the word “Trump” and were sent from an Australian capital city were analysed.

        SEE ALSO: 6 ways to push your online activism into the real world in the Trump era

        This resulted in 32,908 tweets including retweets being retrieved. For the purpose of this analysis we classified the tweet sentiment as either positive, negative or neutral.

        Image: The Conversation

        The figures (above) display the sentiment for each capital city and show that in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart there were more positive tweets about Trump. In Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth there were more negative tweets.

        But counted overall, 48.63 percent of the tweets were considered positive compared to 44.65 percent negative and 6.72 percent neutral.

        More detail in the tweets

        To try to get a better understanding of the divided sentiment, individual tweets were investigated and it soon became apparent that the sentiment analysis had difficulty identifying sarcasm and humour.

        For example, tweets that included “LOL” (Laughing Out Loud) were interpreted as a strong positive sentiment where in many cases it was not.

        In analysis of another tweet “Dear Harvard Business School: dont normalize Trumps rise to power. Fascism is not a “marketing strategy” from Melbourne’s @creatrixtiara (above), it was determined that this was a request rather than a sentiment.

        The system used could not determine the sentiment of a tweet by Brisbane’s @JamesPinnell: “The only thing that gives me a tiny inkling of hope is that Trumps kids seem to actually be fairly bright and also in his ear a lot.

        It’s the popular words that count

        We performed an analysis of the most popular words and terms used in the positive and negative sentiment tweets, in order to get a better insight into the intended sentiments.

        The analysis shows the disparity of views and sentiments which have characterised this election.

        Positive sentiment: the most frequent words tweeted

        Image: The Conversation

        Negative sentiment: the most frequent words tweeted

        Image: The Conversation

        The tools of the study

        This study was made possible due to recent advances in business analytic tools, with Victoria University’s Business Analytics and Big Data Lab working in partnership with SAP.

        Traditionally business analytic tools focus on structured data to gain insight and facilitate decision making. This type of data is contained in databases and spreadsheets and is characterised by a combination of fields in a record. Structured data has the advantage of being easily entered, stored, queried and analysed.

        But much of the data that is contained in social media, including tweets, is referred to as unstructured data. It doesnt reside in fields and record structures and so its difficult to analyse using traditional methods.

        A technique referred to as Text Analysis is the process of analysing unstructured text to extract relevant information and then transform that information into a structured format for analysis.

        Text Analysis uses Natural Language Processing to linguistically understand the text and apply statistical techniques to facilitate the analyses.

        SAP’s HANA database platform can search, analyse and mine text. It allowed us to perform a traditional exact string search such as “Trump is wonderful” or a fuzzy search (Google like) where text can be found irrespective of the sequence of words.

        It also allowed us to provide meaning to the text through tokenisation and stemming.

        For example in the text “Trump wins Florida in 2016,” SAP HANA would identify the entities of Trump as a Person, Florida as a State and 2016 as a Year.

        This form of analysis can be further enhanced through the use of fact extraction. This is where rules are used as a basis to determine relationships between the identified entities.

        Finding the positives and negatives

        The most common form of fact extraction is sentiment analysis. A statement like “I love Trump” would be identified as a strong positive sentiment in relation to Trump.

        The polarity of a statement can be identified (either strong or weak) in addition to the sentiment (either positive, negative or neutral).

        A number of pre-defined rules exist in SAP HANA to facilitate sentiment analysis but these can be further extended through customisation of keyword dictionaries depending on the scenario.

        For example the word Trump can be restricted to refer to only a person rather than an action (for instance playing a trump card). The sentiment analysis can be applied in ten different languages and can also identify requests, emoticons and profanity.

        Future studies

        It is obvious that any analysis needs to be treated with caution in regards to sarcasm, humour and other possible variations. As the tools improve, these issues will hopefully be addressed.

        But the research provided an example of how natural language processing can be applied to social media to gain insight to the sentiment of a specific population in regards to an event, as well as to potential limitations.

        We were also mindful that we were looking at tweets in Australia of an event that was happening elsewhere, in the US. We look forward to analysing the next election, possibly in Australia.

        It would also interesting to see how people react once Trump is installed as the 45th US president. He has promised to continue using his personal Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump instead of @POTUS, used by outgoing 44th president, Barack Obama.

        This article originally published at The Conversation here

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/22/trump-australia-twitter-sentiment/

        United Airlines flights grounded by computer outage

        United Airlines planes aren’t doing much flying Sunday night thanks to a computer outage
        Image: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

        UPDATE (9:15 p.m. ET): United reports the ground stop has been lifted.


        Computer problems briefly grounded all domestic United Airlines flights in the United States on Sunday night.

        A posting on the FAA’s Air Traffic Control command center website confirmed the issue, with the ground stop listed as applying to all domestic airports in the lower 48 states.

        Image: FAA

        Meanwhile, travelers noticed the stoppage and United acknowledged that they were working to remedy the situation.

        As for this writing, flights were already backed up at major United hubs like Denver, Chicago O’Hare, and Houston.

        Mashable has reached out to United Airlines for comment on the issue.

        This is a developing story…

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/22/united-computer-outage/

        Another bump for Yahoo as SEC looks into data breaches

        More grim news for the tech company as it sweats out the Verizon deal
        Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

        The Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating a pair of Yahoo data breaches reported in 2016 to see if the company should have reported the breaches to investors sooner.

        While the SEC investigation is in the early stages, according to the Wall Street Journal , a case brought against Yahoo could help clarify the timeline for companies to reveal such hacks.

        The disclosures also prompted Verizon, which had reached a deal to acquire Yahoo before the hacks were announced, to look into how the hacks may have affected Yahoo’s user numbers. At one point, after the second hack was announced, Verizon was reportedly considering exiting the deal but, according to Sunday night’s WSJ report, Verizon says the deal is still in place.

        The first data breach occurred in 2014, affecting up to 500 million users, and was reported in September 2016. Yahoo confirmed that user account information was stolen from the companys network “in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor.”

        The company suggested at the time that the stolen information could include personal credentials such names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority protected by bcrypt) and even security questions and answers.

        The ongoing investigation also revealed that unprotected passwords, payment card data and bank account information were not included in the stolen information, since that info isn’t stored in the affected system.

        The second incident occurred in August 2013, impacting nearly one billion users, and was reported in December 2016. That hack involved names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, MD5-hashed passwords (a form of encryption now widely considered insecure) and security question answers, according to the company.

        Additional reporting by Nicole Galucci and Gianluca Mezzofiore

        BONUS: Hackers Play Space Invaders on Billboard, Get Rewarded

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/22/sec-investigates-yahoo/

        Silicon Valley women march in DC and plan for their future under Trump

        Protesters flood 14th Street during the Women’s March on Washington January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
        Image: drew angerer/Getty Images

        Hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, and the night before 1 million women marched on Washington, Lauren Schulte knew she had to figure out how her tech company would navigate America’s new future.

        “We’re going to do some stuff and we’re not going to be quiet,” Schulte, the co-founder of Flex, a Y Combinator startup that produces a tampon alternative, told a group of her peers from Silicon Valley during dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant in Capitol Hill.

        It would be hard to find Silicon Valley founders and staffers more attuned to the risks of the Trump administration than the ones who gathered with Schulte in D.C. on Friday night. In town for the Women’s March on Washington, the 18 women and one man all worked in some way on womens health a growing segment of the tech industry and an area under continued threat by attacks on reproductive rights and the impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

        “That’s why it’s so painful,” Jennifer Tye, head of U.S. operations for the fertility and period tracking app Glow, said of this year’s election. “It feels like we’re on the precipice.”

        Organized by Flex and Glow, Fridays dinner brought together women from Silicon Valley and D.C., from college freshmen to seasoned activists.

        With “the future is female” T-shirts, Planned Parenthood buttons, protest posters and one gold vagina necklace at the table, they were ready to march on Washington the next day to protest Trump’s alleged history of sexual assault and his comments about women, immigrants, and people of color during the campaign.

        Leaders in women’s health tech the night before the Women’s March on Washington.

        Image: emma hinchliffe

        But first, some of the players in one of the tech world’s fastest-growing spaces wanted to acclimate to the reality of working on women’s health under an administration that’s trying to gut healthcare and threatens to limit women’s reproductive healthcare access.

        “This weekend has been emotional,” said Angie Lee, chief product officer for the genetic fertility test company Celmatix. “But it’s been a validation of why I do the work that I do.”

        Women from Glow, Flex, Celmatix, the period tracker Clue, tampon wholesaler Cora and the accelerator Y Combinator, which has invested in Flex, were joined by advocates against the tampon tax and nonprofits like Bedsider, a birth control access project and app by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy.

        The room was uniformly opposed to the new president, but some founders had parents who were Trump supporters and one confessed to voting for George W. Bush.

        The women present wanted to mobilize their coalition for political use, but at the same time to discuss health tech apart from politics including getting the business of the 42 percent of women who voted for Trump.

        “Our product is for all women,” Lee said of Celmatix.

        Amid talk of Trump’s cabinet and the needs of “half the population,” the women in tech who met up in D.C. complimented each other’s work one product was “the iPhone 12 of women’s health” and debated how to push for faster health tech development from the medical side as well as how to get more men involved in the field.

        Besides talking shop, the tech staffers who made the cross-country trek to D.C. for the weekend’s march tried to figure out how to harness the potential of their companies to influence policy.

        Women’s health tech has grown exponentially in just the past few years, exploding from a handful of startups five years ago to $20 million funding rounds today. Apps like Glow collect data from thousands of users every day that could be used to lobby lawmakers on issues like contraceptive access.

        “We can influence policy,” said Rachel Fey, director of public policy at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy. “How do we mobilize this, in this room, to support Planned Parenthood?”

        “What can we change? What policies can we change?” Tye, from Glow, added. “It’s critical we do it because no one else is going to do it.”

        The next day, these women all marched on Washington one with NARAL, one with her 16-year-old daughter and one with her parents.

        A protester in Washington, D.C.

        Image: martha tesema/mashable

        Clogging the D.C. metro system, stretching all the way to the White House in a sea of pink hats, the marchers heard from Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, abortion rights leaders, immigration rights activists and even Madonna. Across the country and around the world, hundreds of thousands of women marched in solidarity.

        “There is a moment right now that doesn’t come around very often there’s a chance to not lose some of these battles,” Fey said. “Women that were not socially active before, they are now because they feel this threat. We don’t want to lose this moment.”

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/22/health-tech-womens-march-washington/

        Young consumers ‘expect better service’ – BBC News

        Image copyright Thinkstock

        Customer satisfaction is rising but experts say shoppers are having to work too hard to get complaints resolved.

        A study by the Institute of Customer Service found that while businesses were improving, a half of consumers with problems had to complain more than twice to get them sorted out.

        The Institute also warned that empathy might be lacking when people raised problems through web chat services.

        Campaigners said staff training should be improved to solve customer gripes.

        ‘Young not carefree’

        The Institute conducts a study twice a year charting customer service by drawing, in part, on the experiences of 10,000 people.

        It said that businesses had improved in the last 12 months, and the gap between the best and worst performers had narrowed.

        It also challenged the perception that “grumpy old men” are the most likely to complain.

        Consumers aged 65 and over were the most “satisfied” with businesses, with those aged 25 to 34 the least happy.

        For the second year running, Amazon topped the satisfaction poll, but the Institute said that excellent customer service was now demanded by consumers across all sectors.

        “The evidence suggests that customers still feel that they are spending too much time and effort dealing with businesses. To turn this around a greater focus should be given to making things easier and less cumbersome for customers,” said Jo Causon, the Institute’s chief executive.

        “Engagement through digital methods such as email, text, apps and web chat functions have all increased in the last year, and these are the channels through which it is most difficult for customer service staff to show empathy.

        “Organisations therefore need to make sure that their staff are highly engaged and highly skilled, as every customer interaction – regardless of the channel it is on – counts towards business performance.”

        Getting answers

        Consumer campaigners said they were not surprised by the findings and challenged businesses to give more responsibility to staff to deal with problems.

        Marcus Williamson, editor of the website CEOemail.com, said: “We are seeing customers not getting the answers they want from customer service because those staff are not well trained or because they are not empowered to make a difference to the customer’s experience.”

        Helen Dewdney, author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! called on consumers to be aware of their rights.

        “People need to know and quote appropriate legislation, as under the Consumer Rights Act customers are entitled to services carried out with reasonable skill and care, goods that are as described, are fit for purpose, are of satisfactory quality and [that are] durable.”


        Tips for getting a complaint dealt with

        • Act quickly. You have 30 days from purchase to claim a refund, after this time you may be offered a repair or replacement
        • In the first instance write to the customer services department politely and objectively, so that you have a written record as evidence. Then escalate to the chief executive if you are not happy with the response
        • Quote the relevant laws
        • Say what you want to happen – refund, explanation, or apology
        • Say what you will do if not satisfied with the response, such as going to the relevant ombudsman or small claims court

        Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38713939

        New seat alert app for pregnant commuters – BBC News

        Image copyright 10x

        A new app launches in the UK on Monday aimed at helping pregnant women get seats on public transport.

        Babee on Board consists of two companion apps that communicate via Bluetooth.

        Once an alert is triggered, people nearby with the app receive a message saying there is someone who needs to sit down.

        The app containing the alert button costs 3.99, which will be donated to a children’s charity.

        The developers said they were charging a fee to prevent it being used by pranksters.

        “We would rather give it away for free but we need to ensure there’s a barrier so people don’t download it for free and troll those around them,” said Hew Leith, chief executive of 10X, the British innovation consultancy behind the app.

        “We are donating 100% of the profits to charity.”

        The partner app which notifies passengers that somebody requires a seat can be downloaded for free and will activate automatically if a seat request is sent.

        Image copyright 10x

        Image caption The message received by commuters with the app.

        The two apps work “like walkie-talkies” said Mr Leith.

        They require the handset’s bluetooth location services and notifications to be switched on and the app is currently only available for Apple devices.

        “We should be using our eyes [instead] but if you look around you, everyone whips out their phone as soon as they sit down,” said Mr Leith.

        “When we did user testing quite a few women said that early on in pregnancy, when they are not showing, is when they feel most ill and need a seat the most.

        “But visibly you can’t see the bump and you can’t always see the badge because the trains get so busy.”

        Image copyright 10x

        Image caption An earlier badge prototype was abandoned because of production costs.

        The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) expressed support.

        “Anything that helps women with a ‘baby on board’ to have a more comfortable journey can only be a good thing,” said senior policy adviser Elizabeth Duff.

        Analyst Marina Koytcheva from CCS Insight said the firm had recognised a business opportunity.

        “Travelling on public transport at rush hour is an arduous task at the best of times. When you are pregnant it is even more challenging,” she said.

        “It is amazing what technology can do today, but it is also hard to tell how many pregnant women will be willing to pay for the convenience of finding a seat.”

        In 2016 the South Korean city of Busan successfully trialled a scheme of pink buttons, attached to train carriages and activated via Bluetooth badges, to alert commuters to pregnant women requiring seats.

        In London pregnant commuters can get a free “Baby On Board” pin badge from the Tube network.

        Related Topics

        Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38690811