Best Universities In The USA To Study Online Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our day-to-day routines. We have had to adapt. Amidst all the uncertainty, you may still want to get your Diploma, Bachelor’s, Masters or Ph.D., and you are as uncertain about most things as the world is. The Education sector has also had to adapt.

Online programs are the best option in our current situation to get the ball rolling as far as your education is concerned. 

You are probably wondering:

  • Will I still be marketable in the workforce with a degree or certificate attained online?
  • Is studying online more costly or cheaper than attending classes physically?
  • And most importantly, which are the best Universities to earn your certificate via an online program?

In previous years, studying through online programs has been considered an option for long-distance students and working people whose work and class schedules conflict. In our current situation, online programs are a necessity. 

  • Will I still be marketable in the workforce with a degree or certificate attained online?

A certificate earned online is as good as one obtained in class. You should, nevertheless, look out for whether or not the institution you attend online is accredited. However, with the many colleges across the country, it is wise to choose the best ones. 

Being in the best online colleges will give you an added advantage over people who studied online in just a college offering online programs. Online programs or online courses are the same as those done in classes. The difference is, online programs are more convenient and flexible. It could suit your particular lifestyle.

  • Is studying online more costly or cheaper than attending classes physically?

Variations in tuition fees depend on the particular online programs and the university. We have highlighted some of them respectively in the universities below. 

  • And most importantly, which are the best Universities in the USA to study online programs?

Strayer University

Strayer University is a private, learning institution established in 1892. Over the years, the university has enrolled over 50,000 students globally through its online programs. It has its headquarters in Washington DC, with 76 campuses located in 15 states. 

Strayer specializes in degree programs for working adults. Currently, they have an offer for spring classes starting April 5th in which students enrolling for a Bachelor’s program are getting a laptop pre-loaded with Microsoft software.

Strayer’s online programs are many. You have to head on to their website strayer.edu/online-degrees to go through the entire list. Popular fields include online programs featuring Bachelors in Business related programs, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, DevMountain courses, Digital Entrepreneurship, Health Sciences, Jack Welch programs, Joe Gibbs certificates, MBAs, Masters in Education, Masters in Health Service Administration, among others. 

All the online programs offered at Strayer University are accredited. Again, note that they have 50,000 students enrolled globally through the online programs. That is a testament to the excellent quality of their online programs. 

The tuition fee for the fall of 2019 was $1,480 per course for the Full and Part-Time degree programs and $1,480 for the Full and Part-Time Associates degrees. They may opt to update the fee structure, so stay updated on their official website strayer.edu/online-degrees.

Grand Canyon University 

GCU is a for-profit private, Christian University established in 1949. In 2018 they ranked, the largest Christian University based on enrollment. The university offers a variety of accredited online degree programs. 

They include Bachelors’ and Master’s online programs such as; Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Graphic Design, Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Arts in Communication, Master of Arts in Curriculum Instruction.

Grand Canyon University also offers online doctoral programs such as Doctor of Business Administration: Data Analytics, Doctor of Business Administration: Management, and Doctor of Business Administration: Marketing among many other Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral programs. 

All GCU online programs are fully accredited which helps in giving an edge when employers assess your papers. The university has also dedicated itself to providing online education with as good quality as traditional education. 

The requirements are a critical factor to GCU as they are to potential employers. Their online programs require the same credits as traditional programs. 

The tuition fees vary depending on the program of study. The range for all the online undergraduate programs is $395 to $470 per credit hour. Graduate classes range from $365 to $695. The rates apply to students interested in pursuing online degree programs or evening classes. 

University of Phoenix 

The University of Phoenix is a for-profit online college founded in 1976. The university has an open-enrollment admission policy meaning they accept all applicants with a high-school diploma, GED, or its equivalent as sufficient admission. UoPX is the largest recipient of federal GI Bill tuition benefits for military veterans. 

UoPX offers Bachelor’s, Doctoral, Competency-based programs, Associate’s Degree, Certificates, and Master’s online programs covering diverse fields like Business, Behavioral Sciences, Education, Healthcare, Technology, Criminal Justice, and Psychology.

All the online programs offered at the University of Phoenix are accredited. As stated above the requirements to apply for courses are a GED, High-school Diploma, or an equivalent. 

For Undergraduates and Associate’s Degrees, you pay $398 per credit as the tuition fees. For Master’s programs, you pay $698 per credit and for the Doctoral programs, you pay $810 tuition fees. The university has a platform on its website to apply for federal financial aid, military or veteran benefits, employer assistance, and other scholarships. For more information about the University of Phoenix online programs click on this link phoenix.edu.

American Public University System

American Public University System (APUS) is a private, also for-profit, online learning institution consisting of American Military University (AMU), American Public University (APU), and Hondros College of Nursing. The university was established in 1991 and is owned by American Public Education, Inc. a publicly traded private-sector corporation. 

The application process requires you to review APUS policies and declare your academic goal during your online application for admission. Remember they majorly focus on a particular niche of individuals. 

APUS’s most popular online programs include undergraduate programs in Intelligence Studies, Sports and Health Sciences, Homeland Security Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Emergency and Disaster Management, Nursing, Business Administration, and Management. The catalog explains their military branch. They also offer graduate programs in similar fields. Their curriculum has an emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities.

Their tuition fees vary but the average rates are $285 or $250 with a military grant per credit for undergraduate courses and $370 without the military grant, $250 with a military grant per credit for Master’s programs. For more information on the tuition fees structure and doctoral tuition fees visit https://www.apus.edu/tuition/index

The University of St. Thomas 

The University of St. Thomas is a private, Catholic university located in ST. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The institution was founded in 1885. They offer high-quality education in various fields. Annually, the University of St. Thomas enrolls 6,100 undergraduate students who are referred to as “Tommies”. 

Their online program focuses on participation. Thus students in online programs are included in live discussions, watching thought-provoking videos, listening to speakers, and collaborating with classmates. Online programs offered include undergraduate programs in Business, Catholic Studies, Education, Engineering, Law, and Social Work. 

Qualification varies for different programs and you can click on this link to get more information on the respective online program you may be interested in, https://www.stthomas.edu/academics/online-learning/.

Their tuition fees are averaged as $ 1,433 per credit for Undergraduate programs, $23,637 per term for Undergraduate banded rates for 12-18 credits. For more info on tuition fees hit this link https://www.stthomas.edu/businessoffice/resources/tuition2122/

Honorable Mention: Penn Foster College.

Penn Foster College is a private, for-profit college whose headquarters are in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1890 as International Correspondence schools and is now a 100% online college. 

Penn Foster’s online programs are all asynchronous meaning you can start them any time. Penn Foster is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).  Undergrad, Associates Degrees, and Undergraduate certificates offered are from the following fields; Automotive, Creative Design, Education, Engineering, Technology, Legal Studies, Trade, Health Services, and they also have high-school programs to get your GED. 

They accept international students.

Their tuition fees vary with the respective courses. They do have offers such as the $2 a day offer. For more info on their tuition fee structure, you can check out their website https://www.pennfoster.edu/college

Studying online gives you the flexibility to still work or do other things while earning your certificate. Online programs are the future of learning. You can earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or and even your Doctorate from the institution of your choice and suit your schedules without having to break bank traveling. 

The Dynamics of Arab Muslims Kinships and Marriage Practices

Kinship is an integral part of most societies across the world. Kinships form the basis of the family units and relatedness among people in a particular society. In the Arab Muslim communities, kinship is a vital domain that is perceived viscerally (Guindi, 2012, p.545). The Arab Muslim society value kin relations and have perfect knowledge of their genealogical connection from past to present generations. Although kinship may be conceptualised on simple bases such as blood and genetic links like it is the case for most modern western societies, kinship is a complex concept in the Arab Muslim world (Guindi, 2012, p.546).

Besides differences in culture and traditions with other communities worldwide, the Arab Muslim kinship systems have some unique characteristics. For instance, the Arab Muslims consider ‘milk kinships’ where children who have suckled the same mother belong to the same kin (Guindi, 2018, p. 178). People not related by birth have typical family relationship titles such as mother, sister, or brother because of feeding on the same breast. Although sharing breast milk was a common practice in the classical era among other communities, this did not lead to kinship relations like the ones evident among the Arab Muslims.

Read also Being Muslim in America – The story of Imane Boudlal

Since kinship is at the core of the Arab Muslim society, it affects the marriage system and makes it utterly diverse from other mainstream societies. For example, “marriage between patrilateral parallel cousins is a desired and preferred union among the Arab Muslims” (Guindi,  2018, p. 191). Such marriage practices are considered taboo in other societies, such as the Christian communities in the West. The Arab Muslim kinship systems and marriage practices continue to be alienated from other societies’ practices. As a result, the Arab Muslim cultural practices remain stable and immune from external influences compared to other societies.

Nevertheless, the religion and teachings of the Quran remain an integral influence of the Arab Muslim kinships and marriage practices. This essay aims to uncover more reasons why Arab Muslim practices remain unchanged and unique from other societies. The paper will focus on the Muslim Arabs in the Middle East region using Qatar and the Turkish state.

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Ethnographic, historical studies on the kin systems point to differences in the Pre-Islam Arabs and the Post-Islam Arabs, such as the shift from matrilineal clans to the patrilineal clans (Varisco, 1995, p. 142). The lineage in the pre-Islam period was based on the maternal lineage, but the lineage is based on the father line after introducing Islam. The patrilineal descendants from five generations that control important day-to-day social behaviours. After the fifth generation, descendants lose significance because of the practical challenges of tracking their names. Muslim Arabs value nuclear families because terms such as ahl, a’ila, ‘iyyal, from the Quran insist on the togetherness of a kin (Varisco, 1995, p. 144). The Muslim Arabs to valued their extended families to the extent of living together in the same city. For example, in the Old City of Mardin, Turkey, members of a similar Arab lineage lived in the same neighbourhood (Costa, 2016, p. 83). Although the New City does not accommodate such possibilities as nuclear families live independent houses and streets from other extended families, the Arab communities in this city still share a strong bond with extended family members. Members of the same kin refer to each other as ‘akraba,’ and non-kin are called ‘yabanci.’ Arabs have values kinship relations even in modernisation where extended family members often alienate from their kin members. Social media has played a central role in maintaining connections with relatives for modernised Arab Muslims across the globe (Costa, 2016, p.84).

Read also Why Muslims In Europe Seem To Become Radicalized More Than Muslims In The U.S.A

Maintenance of the kin relationships helps to sustain consanguineous marriages among the Arab Muslims. As members of the same kin maintain relationships, it is possible to trace marriage partners within the kin.  As a result, endogamy thrives among the Arab Muslims and this set apart this society from other world societies where exogamy is the norm. Most communities have favoured exogamy because of the genetic benefits related to crossbreeding hence the popularisation of intermarriages. Consanguinity among Arab Muslims is correlated with two factors. Firstly, the Quran is not forbidden in the Al-Maharim laws that set sexual prohibitions that controlled and still control marriage institutions (Scheunchen, 2019, p.113).

Al-maharim constitutes a set of kin (birth, marital, and suckling) subject to marital prohibitions. By contrast, marriage between patrilateral parallel cousins, prohibited in some societies, is considered a desirable and preferred union and thus not subject to taboo (Guindi, 2018, p.191).   

Secondly, the exceptional marriage practices among Arab Muslims can be attributed to Arabian Bedouins’ historical, socio-economic practices. Reilly (2013, p. 375) argues that the Muslim Arabs consanguineous marriage strategy was an adaption tactic with particular attention to the Father’s brother’s daughter (FBD) and close cousins marriages to increase auto inheritance of the Lactase Persistence (LP) allele.  The LP allele is key to help in lactose tolerance, a genetic quality that was key to the nomadic Arabian Bedouins’ survival. Milk was the primary source of food. People with lactose intolerance would hardly survive in the deserts since the Arabian Bedouins were respected cultural groups in the Middle East region. Their practices were emulated by other Arab Muslims across the region, thus making consanguineous marriages more prevalent among the Arab Muslims.

Nevertheless, exogamy and other marriage types are also evident among the Arab Muslim communities. Tapper & Tapper (1992, p. 8) counter the correlation of FBD marriages with the Arab Muslims. They argue that “FBD marriage, then, is neither an ‘Islam’ nor an ‘Arab’ institution” (Tapper & Tapper, (1992, p. 8). Nonetheless, my argument is that Arab Muslims have a higher preference for FBD marriages and exogamy than other communities, particularly outside the Middle East region. The next section will discuss the honour and responsibilities within the Arab Muslim marriage institution.

Marriage union forms the backbone of kinship in most societies. Marriage engenders a family, resulting in roles and responsibilities for the two main parties (Husband and Wife). The Arab Muslim marriages have some typical characteristics with other universal beliefs, such as the father is the head of the family. Nevertheless, some differences set aside Arab Muslim marriages with other marriages in other dominant societies, especially regarding honour and divorce matters. Unlike in the Western world communities where divorce is so prevalent, Arab Muslims are reluctant to divorce. In Arab Muslims, which are close-kin marriages, divorce is highly correlated with shame, particularly for the husband (Tapper & Tapper,1992, p. 13). Husbands will be reluctant to divorce their women because of the shame associated with not managing a wife. In a typical Arab Muslim marriage, the wife is the husbands’ property, and losing her is shameful and a loss of honour among the agnates.  To avoid shame, men prefer to marry women from close kin because they can judge their intended wives’ behavior based on family history and past performance. As a result, men can avoid divorce, and thus divorce cases are minimal among Arab Muslims.

Nevertheless, in some cases, divorce occurs; for instance, a woman cannot bear children or commits adultery in cases. In the latter case, some men would prefer to murder their women instead of divorce to maintain honour and respect in society (Jafri, 2008, p. 12). Although the same social classes’ marriage is prevalent in marriage practice among Arab Muslims, hypogamy (marrying someone of a lower class) is common for men. Men typically practice this to exert their authority over their wives.  This marriage practice is common among other societies across the world and is embedded with the male patriarchal (Collier, 1993, p. 23).

In regard to responsibilities, the husband is responsible for the behaviour of his wife. However, in some cases, the wife remains the responsibility of her male agnates at least until her sons are mature enough (Tapper & Tapper, 1992, p. 11). The wife is responsible for general home chores such as cooking, laundry, entertaining guests and etcetera. On the other hand, the husband is responsible for fending for the family. The manly roles have changed with globalisation due to the shift from nomadic life among the Arab Muslims.

The essay has demonstrated the outstanding characteristics of Arab Muslim Kinships and marriage practices. Kinship is an integral part of the Arab Muslim society that has a significant impact on the marriage institution. The Arab Muslims value extended family bonds and often reach out to each other. The Arab Muslims have a unique kinship that results from suckling, making kinship based on milk sharing, birth, and marriage.  Milk kinship results from sharing of the same breast milk. Consanguinity is a common marriage practice that distinguishes the Arab Muslim society from other societies. Religion and historical, social-cultural practices have contributed to the prevalence of consanguineous marriages. Surprisingly, divorce cases among the Arab Muslim communities are less compared with other societies. Divorce is perceived as a loss of honour, and men are ready to go the extra mile to avoid divorce. Men are responsible for women’s behaviour, and a badly behaved wife brings shame to the husband. In conclusion, the Arab Muslim kinship system is highly dynamic and impacts the Arab Muslim community’s social organization.

Measurement and Accounting

The Essential Role of Measurement in Accounting

Accounting measurement is defined as the computation of financial activities using standardised units such as money time and etcetera (Chambers, 2015). The process involves the quantification of company information using monetary terms (IASB, 2015).  Measurement plays a fundamental role in accounting. Firstly, accounting measurement provides a basis for comparing and evaluating accounting data both internally and externally. A company is able to compare its operation at different times. Evaluating accounting information in different time frames helps the investor to understand how their company operates. Also, the information evaluated in accounting measurements is used to compare one company’s performance with another company. This helps investors to make informed investment decisions.

Secondly, accounting measurement provides the basis for consistency in accounting. Despite having various measurement methods, a company sticks to one measurement method, enhancing the consistency of information.  As a result, accounting measurement data is useful for creditors, investors, and economic analysts.

Read also Levels of Measurement and Concept of Validity

Thirdly, following the principle of objectivity, accounting measurement ensures that financial accounting provides verifiable and reliable information.  This eliminates cases of errors or fraud in accounting. Lastly, accounting measurement provides the basis for generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) (Flood, 2012). Choice of GAAP assists the accountants in their prospects to determine report and determine a company’s performance without ambiguity. GAAP provides the accounting standards to be followed, thus making the work of accountants easier. GAAP standards provide consistency in accounting and help to account for consolidated and unconsolidated companies.  Overall, the essential role of accounting is to provide accounting data for comparison and evaluation.

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Measurement Model Currently Adopted by Accounting Standards Setters, Reasons for Choosing the Model, and Issues Related to the Model

Accounting standard setters are responsible for creating accounting rules and guidelines to be followed in financial reporting. Accounting standard setters aim to increase accuracy and consistency in financial reporting, thus enabling easy trading between companies even in a global business market (Rankin et al., 2012). Currently, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has adopted the fair value measurement model. IASB has adopted the fair value model due to the reasons discussed below.

Reasons Why IASB has Adopted Fair Value Measurement Model

  1. The fair value measurement model is highly adaptable and can be used in the valuation of different assets. IASB wanted to provide a measurement model that can be alternated in the valuation of varying company assets. A company has a wide variety of assets and the fair value model is highly applicable for companies’ accounting.
  2. Fair value measurements promote accurate valuation due to the consideration of highly versatile prices.
  3. Fair value provides a realistic measure of income without conservative bias, thus avoiding overestimations.
  4. The fair value measurement model requires companies to disclose their assets’ real value, thus providing investors with reliable information. Fair value concentrates on equity analysis, which provides investors with information that is valuable in making investment decisions, thus avoiding major market crises.

Nevertheless, the fair value method has some issues, as outlined below.

Issues related with fair value measurement

  1. Susceptible to the manipulation of financial statements.
  2. Income is highly volatile, which causes changes in the fair value of assets within a short time. Financial reports prepared using the fair value measurement method may lose relevance within a short period.

Reasons that Prompted the Adoption of a Single Measurement Base Model

Although various measurement base models can be adopted in financial reporting, standard setters may adopt only one base, measurement model.  Below are some of the reasons that may lead to adopting a single measurement base model instead of integrating various models.

  1. The use of a single measurement base model supports consistency (Power, 2010). The rationale is that companies operating in the same region will have similar financial reporting, thus eliminating inconsistencies that may arise from using mixed measurement approaches.
  2. Using a single method approach also promotes comparability. An entity can compare performance in two different periods. Also, an entity can compare performance with other entities. Using different measurement methods may lead to comparison disparities that may be challenging to identify. Comparability enables fair competition in international trade.
  3. Using a single measurement based method assist in the aggregation of accounting data. This enables an economic and financial analyst to evaluate and predict future market conditions.  As a result, investors gain insight into market performance, which helps them make informed investment decisions. The use of mixed methods can limit accounting data aggregation and compromise analysis of the market conditions.  This can lead to confusion for investors and possibly lead to a financial crisis.

Between historical cost and fair value, which measurement base model provides more relevant and reliable accounting information in practice?

The fair value measurement base model provides the most relevant and reliable accounting information better than the historical cost base model.  Below are some of the reasons why the fair value base model is better than historical costs in providing accounting information.

  1. Unlike historic cost, the fair value provides the transaction costs involved in incurring a liability.  Information about the transaction costs involved in acquiring the liability offers a reliable basis for justifying the assets’ current price (IASB, 2018). The transaction cost can be used as proof of volatile prices. Such justification is impossible when using the historical cost base model.
  2. Fair value also provides information about changes in interests’ rates, risks, and estimated cash flows (IASB, 2015). Consequently, it is possible to remeasure the value of assets and liabilities, thus assisting in the valuation process. This information is relevant for accountants and can be applied while preparing financial statements.  For instance, data concerning changes in interest rates provides a rationale for understanding an asset’s changing prices or a liability.  Such information is not available when using the historic cost base model.
  3. Also, the fair value method provides price information about the cost of transferring liabilities. This provides a realistic valuation of liabilities. The historic cost method only includes information about the net costs of incurring the liability during the period of acquiring the liability without considering changes in the future.

Issues MERCOSUR Should Consider when Developing a Common Currency

MERCOSUR can learn great lessons from the implications of using the Euro by the European Union. According to Destais et al. (2019), the Euro’s use has come with its benefits and disadvantages. The pros and cons of using the Euro provide a comprehensive framework that highlights issues that MERCUSOR can consider while deciding whether or not to develop a common currency. The use of the Euro has enhanced economic integration in the European Union in several ways.

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 Firstly, there has been an upsurge in foreign investment due to reduced foreign exchange risks. In a scenario where countries use different currencies, there are higher investment risks due to the foreign exchange market’s volatility and high-interest rates. The use of common currency eliminates the risks affiliated with the help of different currencies. Consequently, private investors in countries with relatively weaker currencies can make investments with countries with stronger currencies without the risk of paying high-interest rates. Besides, investment is encouraged through increased lending as countries with stronger currencies can lend to countries with previously weaker currencies with minimal currency risks.

Read also Change In Foreign Currency That Impacts A U.S. Company

Secondly, lowered transaction costs due to the elimination of foreign exchange also promote trading activities within the member countries region. Trading involves traveling, which is often discouraged by the expenses related to exchanging money from one currency to another. Since the Euro’s establishment, traders can travel within the European Union member countries at a relatively lower cost. Also, the use of common currency significantly promotes foreign trade as suppliers from various countries within the Trade Union can supply to each other without foreign exchange costs. Consequently, the Trade Union member countries gain a competitive advantage against non-member countries.

Thirdly, a common currency fosters mutual support among member countries to a regional trade union.  For instance, during the current coronavirus pandemic, the European Central Bank has successfully used monetary policies in profoundly affected countries such as Italy to stabilize its economy. Besides, France and Germany initiated a recovery fund for European Union member countries worth 500 billion euros. The initiation of such a supportive mechanism would be difficult, if not impossible, for countries using different currencies (Heinemann, 2020).

Read also Codification And Foreign Currency Matters

Albeit there are benefits of using a common currency, the use of common currency comes with shortcomings like in the Euro’s case. The EU established a rigid monetary policy that somehow fails to align with the economic conditions of each member state (Höpner & Spielau, 2018). For instance, the monetary policy in high growth countries like Germany may not be applicable in countries like Greece. For example, when Germany needs to increase its interest rates to conquer inflation, Greece should be lowering the interest rates to encourage borrowing and vice versa.

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Furthermore, the use of a common currency may favor some individual member countries. For example, in developing the Euro exchange rate mechanism, the exchange rate was fixed in Germany. Germany’s economic capability is way much more robust compared to other countries like Portugal and Greece—setting Germany as the standard has caused adverse economic effects such as increased debts and high unemployment rates in other countries.

Should Associate Countries be Included in Development of MERCOSUR Common Currency?

The associate member countries should not be included in the development of a common currency. Associate MERCOSUR members enjoy the benefits of free agreements such as the current member countries, but they do not have voting rights (De Almeida, 2018). Also, involving the associate members would increase the number of countries and present problems in the development of the exchange rate mechanism. It is much easier to develop an exchange rate mechanism for four countries than for eleven countries.

Impacts of China’s Hydropower Development along Mekong River

Hydropower plants in China          

            One of the biggest inventions of human in the history is electricity. Coal, natural gas, uranium, tides, wind, and solar are resources for the generation of electricity. Hydropower first became the source of electricity back in the late nineteenth century. Water is the source of hydroelectric power which explains hydropower plants locations. Water volume and change in elevation from one to another point generate energy from the moving of water. More water flow and great elevation, more electricity (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2020). Hydropower is a valuable energy sources thanks to its low cost, almost no pollution emission, and consistent availability (Chau, Cheng, Shen, and Wu, 2012). In addition, another focal objective hydropower systems operations and management is to optimize hydro generation that fulfill various demand and constraints including power security, renewable energy utilization, economical development, and many more (Chau, Cheng, Shen, and Wu, 2012).

            The world’s first hydropower station was established in 1882 in Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.A (Nunez, 2019). However, another research claimed that the first hydropower station was established in France (Chen, Cheng, Fan, and Li, 2018) or England (International Hydropower Association) in 1878. Today, world’s largest hydropower plants locate in China, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and Russia. Among these countries, China’s largest hydroelectric plant – Three Gorges on Yangtze River, holds the largest capacity (Nunez, 2019). Most hydropower plants, especially mega-size ones, are located in the western and northern regions (Chang, Liu, and Zhou, 2009) where there is adequate supply of water sources. On the other hand, there are significantly less hydropower plants in central, eastern, and southern regions. However, these regions instead consume largest volume of energy (Chang, Liu, and Zhou, 2009) for industrial activities.

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            Around forty years after the first hydropower plant went into operation in U.S., in the other side of the planet, China finished construction and started running its first hydropower plant in Yunnan Province (Xiaofeng) which employed advanced foreign technology, equipment, and first Chinese hydropower team and management (Chen, Cheng, Fan, and Li, 2018). After the establishment of Shilong Dam Hydropower plant in Yunnan, only in the latter half of the twentieth century (Youmei, 2004) that China observed the bloom of hydropower power plant development and construction across country due to national political reform and postponement of industrialization process. The Shilong Dam Hydropower Station still operates to date (Chen, Cheng, Fan, and Li, 2018). In order to accommodate its dense population and country area as well as economic growth, China is considerably world’s largest hydropower exploitation. Therefore, hydropower development is national backbone and controlled by the government (Li, 2002).

            The development history of China’s hydropower effort progressed in three main phases. During the first phase of 1910-1949, the country was occupied with multiple political conflicts including civil between Chinese Communists and Kuomintang, and Sino-Japanese War. The country was drained with war damage, incapable of doing much construction and any hydropower plant at the time was primarily produced electricity for military and industrial usage. This period also saw the establishment of Shilong Dam Hydropower plant. The second phase of 1949-1980 is when the country recovered from wars. With the technological help from Soviet Union, Chinese government stressed industrialization and collectivization. As the results, thousands of hydropower plants of different sizes were built. The third phase of 1980-2000 is the period of pro-hydropower institution as hydropower plants construction not only generated more electricity but provided many advantages in flood control, irrigation, water supply, and shipping. This Three Gorges on Yangtze River was also born during this phase (Xiaofeng). Nowadays, China is the largest producer of hydropower, accounting for more than one-third of global capacity (Ibrahim, Lailaba, Sahabi, and Sani, 2019).

            Starting from the early 21st century, China has been accelerating in economic growth. For instance, the gross domestic product would be expected to quadruple, which lays the foundation for the country’s long-term development (Chang, Liu, and Zhou, 2009) and consequently it contributes to secure China’s stance in global economy. The exponential growth of economy could only take place with sufficient resources, namely energy. As the result, hydropower plants have been expanding in response to country’s development. 

            China’s hydropower system has a mega capacity and provides huge unit compared to other countries. For example, in 2012, the capacity of hydropower in China is 2.74 times that of the one in second ranked of USA. Therefore, it is hardly ambitious to claim that hydropower capacity scale of China is expected to be comparable to the sum of one of the other top seven countries in the world by the end of 2020 (Chau, Cheng, Shen, and Wu, 2012). As mentioned above, Three Gorges is the largest hydroelectric station in the world. This fact explains the size of China’s unit generation capacity of hydropower plants. The Three Gorges station’s hydro turbine had the unit capacity of 700 WM at establishment, and it is not the only plant to achieve such figures. Besides Three Gorges, Longtan and Xiaowan also possess turbines with same capacity. For the future plan, it is to anticipate that 1000 WM hydro turbines will be employed initially at Xiloudu and Xiangjiaba, then at any new mega hydropower stations (Chau, Cheng, Shen, and Wu, 2012). In term of large-scale cascaded hydropower plants, Three Gorges unsurprisingly lands a top spot. China’s hydropower system is also known for its high-head. Many hydropower plants whose installed capacity of 1000 WM retain high head of 100 meters to 200 meters (Chau, Cheng, Shen, and Wu, 2012). This remarkable measure of high head has direct contribution to the capacity of hydropower plants. Lastly, China’s hydropower system has the ability to transmit election power over long distance. Given the fact that hydropower plants are more active in western and northern regions while central, eastern and southern regions demand more energy resources (Chen, Cheng, Fan, and Li, 2018), it is the core objective of national power strategy to make long-distance transmission possible. For example, Three Gorges and Xiluodu transmit electric power to central and eastern China using both AC and DC lines, whereas the ones in Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces transmit to Guangdong (Chau, Cheng, Shen, and Wu, 2012). As economic growth is proportional with energy demand, long-distance transmission is a requirement in medium to large scale hydropower plants, and all future ones. This observation of characteristics of China’s hydropower systems shows how fast and efficient the Chinese government was in commitment to the development of energy generation in the last fifty years of the twentieth century via multiple Five-Year Plans. Given the current scale of China’s hydropower system and its continuous development plan and speed, it is to conclude that it would be hardly possible for any country to catch up with China in the near future, at least in the next twenty years.

Read also Pros And Cons Of Various Energy Types

            Despite having achieved economic and social benefits while putting effort in preserving the environment, China’s hydropower system does encounter some challenges. Although hydropower system enables the long-distance transmission, it also poses as challenge in term so cost. Imbalanced development of hydropower plants in different region (Jieyu, Lu, Pingkuo, Xiaomeng, and Xingang, 2012) influences the equivalence of economic, social, and environmental conditions and development across the country. Consequently, in terms of social stability and equality, in the long run, it would lead to the decrease of influence in areas with slower growth of hydropower plants given the influence of power monopoly of China (Jieyu, Lu, Pingkuo, Xiaomeng, and Xingang, 2012).

            The goal of utilizing the hydropower electricity is to produce no carbon emission to the environment and mitigate air pollution. However, the construction and operation of hydropower plants in fact disturb the ecological environment of reservoir, erode soils, and may contribute to trigger earthquakes. Moreover, it also influences food control, irrigation, shipping, tourism, humanity, and society (Jieyu, Lu, Pingkuo, Xiaomeng, and Xingang, 2012). The construction of hydropower plant is only possible after completion of emptying the area. Yet this raises another problem of immigration (Jieyu, Lu, Pingkuo, Xiaomeng, and Xingang, 2012). First of all, it requires funds for compensation and supporting immigration and settlement activities, which respectively increases investment cost. Secondly, it could change current living customs, culture, religions, social norms, which stimulates a stir to community. Lastly, having large volume of immigration at once may affect stability of the overall society.

            Because hydropower system is fully controlled by Chinese government and such practice has become the norm of society, there will be the lack of platform for fair competition. The effect of this problem is “feed-in difficulty, low price, and higher loan threshold, [and even tax free]” (Jieyu, Lu, Pingkuo, Xiaomeng, and Xingang, 2012). At that point, hydropower could create no returns while companies still have to pay taxes to maintain the operation of plants. As the result, it would discourage the investment and development of hydropower plants. Furthermore, hydropower system itself also faces the problem of financial difficulty. The cost of construction and required equipment for generation and transmission of hydropower plants is higher than coal power or thermal power, specifically 40 percent higher (Jieyu, Lu, Pingkuo, Xiaomeng, and Xingang, 2012) than thermal’s. High cost of investment together with no returns, government’s power monopoly, unfair competition, and compensation for immigration would dissuade any plan to step into this industry. It is too risky to invest, and even take out loans for investment, on a business that generates little revenue.

            Large number of hydropower plants construction and operation could lead to many risks including but not limited to violations of policies and procedures, scarcity of resources, public security, contamination and disruption of ecological system, excessive exploitation (Jieyu, Lu, Pingkuo, Xiaomeng, and Xingang, 2012). These risks could also be prompted by high cost low income problem discussed above.

The Mekong River

            Mekong River is the longest river in Southeast Asia and the twelfth longest river in the world. With the length of 4,350 kilometers, Mekong river flow begins in southeastern Qinghai province (China), through Tibetan autonomous region eastern part, Yunnan province (China), Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam before draining into South China Sea. Approximately three-fourths of the drainage area Mekong rivers belong to four countries where the river travel across in its lower course—Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam (White, Owen, and Jacobs, 2019). In short, the Mekong river passes by five countries on its way from the Plateau of Tibet to South China Sea which are China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The Mekong River is hot spot for biodiversity (Fan, He, and Wang, 2015) and considered as lifeline and link of these five countries by providing physical and economical connections. The Mekong river has extremely high ecological, economic and sociological values (Fan, He, and Wang, 2015). The ecological system of Mekong river is abundant and diverse which produces natural resources, fishery resources, and food to feed millions of people (Olson and Morton, 2018). Population residing along Mekong river are mainly involved in agricultural productions. Mekong river’s waters are vital supply to agricultural production, especially cultivation of rice in South East Asia during dry period.      

            Over the years, Mekong river has been enduring many environmental issues. The water has been contaminated and polluted by pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers (Nguyen, 2010), sewage treatment and dumping from human and industrial activities.

            Recently, lower Mekong Basin was claimed to be entering a critical period owning to hydropower development, industrial expansion, aftermath of excessive fishing and economic growth (World Wide Fund for Nature). Among them hydropower dams are an increasingly heated concern of Mekong river conditions. Dam constructions on the Mekong River to support a booming hydropower industry and demand are increasing. Dam to generate hydropower has the advantage of mitigating global energy crisis and ease the risk of climate change (Fan, He, and Wang, 2015). However, it can negatively change ecological, agricultural, and cultural systems of the river and the people living along its banks. Dams along Mekong river affect seasonal pulse of river, trap sediment that acts as nutrient source for fish, change fish diversity, migration, and abundance, impact downstream water flows and availability, cut down the amount of sediment deposited in Mekong Delta, impact rice cultivation, and ground water degradation (Olson and Morton, 2018). These changes are potentially becoming permanent if no action is taken in the effort of preserving the river.

            The first dam having been constructed is Xayaburi Dam which was quietly underway (University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, 2018) and completed in 2018. This construction has raised worldwide opposition, even outrages, protests and violence in the region. In China region, there are eleven dams (Eyler, 2020) with six highly-active ones along Lancang River: the Manwan, Dachaoshan, Jinhong, Xiaowan, Gongguoqiao, and Nuozhadu dams (Fan, He, and Wang, 2015). Scientists argued that Chinese dams are wrecking the Mekong river (Eyler, 2020).

            A record revealed that for six months of 2019, China’s upstream dam received high rainfall and snowmelt, but China decided to restrict its flow to the downstream, while countries in the downstream were suffering devastating droughts (Eyler and Weatherby, 2020). Only until April 2020, such data came to light with much surprise as it showed the flow of water that China’s upstream dams blocked, especially during monsoon seasons (Eyler, 2020). Given that the country is where Mekong River initiates, China is taking the “driver’s seat” (Citowicki, 2020) and “donates” Mekong river water to downstream countries as it pleases. It is also reported that China’s scheme of holding water from the Mekong was to fill local reservoirs for backups and long-term storage (Citowicki, 2020). On foreign policy platform, China has been acting mysteriously and maliciously by refusing to disclose water management data and independently blocking water. However, as there is yet any water treaties and agreements in being transparent with water data (Citowicki, 2020), it is impossible to hold China liable.

            In terms of environmental conservation, China’s massive dams in upstream Mekong river poses many problems, including but not limited to land inundation, sediment trapping, reservoir-triggered seismicity, geological instability, habitat fragmentation, and resettlement (Fan, He, and Wang, 2015). With China’s holding water and activities in the upstream, the outcomes would be affecting the hydrological system of the reason. More specifically, it will alter flood or low-flow hydrology. The low flow might lead to lower rainfall and speeding the expedite the rate of deforestation (Fan, He, and Wang, 2015). The aftereffect of sediment trapping is the influence on land-ocean sediment fluxes ((Fan, He, and Wang, 2015). Consequently, it will reduce the sediment need for cultivation. Trapping sediment along with the increase buildup of sea water in the downstream, it will change the water quality, specifically salting the water. Thus, it negatively reduces the amount of food produce for people in Mekong downstream.

            Mekong river plays a crucial role in Vietnam because it equips 42 percent of land irrigation and acts as providers for many farmers and fishermen. Among the five countries along Mekong river, Vietnam is the most impacted from the activity of China’s dam in the upstream because it is the last countries, especially the province of Ca Mau, that the river passes before flowing into South China Sea. In the article by Citowicki (2020), it is reported that China intention of blocking water is to export generation to Vietnam. This statement is backed up by China’s hydropower plant challenge which is high investment cost but low income. By exporting generation, it can bring in the return for the expensive investment of hydropower plant construction. Being world’s second largest coffee producer and third largest rice exporter (Citowicki, 2020), blocking water and trapping sediment could badly hurt the agricultural production. Furthermore, the article also revealed that China’s hydropower dams prospectively cause major disruption to migratory fish flows and droughts to the country. Ca Mau is the receiver of all damages caused by China’s hydropower plants and without any solution, the consequence would be unimaginable.            

Scientific data disclosure has little to no impact on regional and global policymakers and therefore, there is lack of effort and progress in dealing with the problematic Chinese’s hydropower plants. This discussion points out that China is behaving for its self-interest in the upstream of Mekong river and ignore the damage it may cause to environment, economic and society of other countries. To summarize, China’s hydropower plants is causing many permanent environmental disasters to Southeast Asia. Thus, these warning signs should be taken seriously and instant actions should be taken to stop these harmful activities. States should be more vocal in complaining about China’s mismanagement and destructive behaviors towards the use of water from Mekong river.

MGMT 8009M – Formulate the Management Problem or Opportunity

Organizational leaders are challenged daily to make decisions steeped in risk and uncertainty. Some of these decisions affect the organization and stakeholders in fundamental ways, such as the decision to go public, acquire large assets, or merge with another company. Such decisions require a number of associated critical decisions to be made. The effectiveness of these decisions is predicated upon framing an optimal decision environment to fully integrate all stakeholders.
For this project you will identify an industry-related problem or opportunity facing an organization leader and identify how to structure an optimal decision environment.
This project consists of the following parts:
Formulate the Management Problem or Opportunity

  • Explain how management problems and opportunities are defined in the academic and practitioner literature. Focus on classifications that distinguish different levels of complexity and impact.
  • Identify a management problem or opportunity in one of the following areas:
  • Analyze the impact of the problem or opportunity you selected in terms of one or more of the following areas:
  • Construct specific measurable outcomes aligned with an effective decision framework.

Formulate the Management Problem or Opportunity

Definition of Management Problems and Opportunities in the Academic and Practice Literature

In academic and practice literature, the problem definition concept must be based on a problem-solving extensive account. Among the management theorist, stage, or phase models are the most famous depiction of the process of problem-solving (Smith, 1987). According to Vizioli and Kaminski (2017), the initial problem definition stages include a clear description of all accessible facts, identification of objective and relevant facts, and goals definition. It also describes why the situation is regarded as problematic is highly significant on the stages of efficacy in verifying, decision-making, and generating alternative proposed solutions (Vizioli & Kaminski, 2017). In most cases, problem definition in academic and practice literature gives an excellent opportunity for researchers to identify a more viable and innovative solution to the defined problem.

Identification of a Management Problem or Opportunity in Merger and Acquisition

An acquisition refers to how the company assets are transferred to a new owner or a buyer. At the same time, a merger describes the disposal or combining of two or more firms’ resources after an acquisition. Merger and acquisition have unique benefits to organizations that include cost reduction by eliminating duplication, economies of scale, a higher market power, inter-partner learning, and an extensive range of services and products (Allahar, 2015). Merger and acquisition also present the human resource issue, characterized by a combination of different organizational cultures, integration strategy of an ill-conceived human resources integration strategy, and massive workers turnovers after a successful merger or acquisition (Schuler & Jackson, 2001).

Impact of the Selected Problem or Opportunity in Terms of Maintaining Competitive Advantage

Human resources are the primary source of competitive advantage in an organization. Employees have the knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to enhance the adequate provision of services or develop quality products in an organization. This is true, especially among key employees that hold vital positions that determine production efficiency, product quality and innovativeness, and effective integration of new technology in production and service provision. During mergers and acquisitions, companies always face employees’ issues to eliminate or keep to preserve knowledge and expertise in the company from both ends. Human resource managers experience a challenge in determining who to leave and who to stay after a merger. Moreover, there is always a high level of tension among workers that is characterized by anxiety and fear of job loss and lack of job security (Cartwright & Cooper, 1990). This state pushes most of the two companies’ workers to start looking for another employer just if they are affected or when they cannot stand the ultimate results of workers laid off after the merger and acquisition. This means the company is likely to lose even the most talented and knowledgeable workers it could have been happy to keep by leaving voluntarily. Such moves would highly impact the company’s competitive advantage, acquired through workers’ skills, competence, expertise, and innovativeness or creativity. The company is likely to lose talents that are hard to replace among the workers who leave voluntarily following their co-workers’ massive layoff. Moreover, mergers and acquisitions are likely to impact the left workers’ work morale. Mergers result in the integration of different organizational cultures or the adoption of the parent company’s culture. Whatever the case, there is always a group of new employees to the newly adopted culture and who are least likely to like and embrace the new culture. There is also internal conflict among employees, as one group tends to act superior to the other, making it considerably hard to work in harmony in the early stages of merger and acquisition. This generally, the new human resource management environment is likely to impact workers’ morale, motivation, and commitment negatively. This will directly impact the company’s ability to maintain competitive advantage immediately after merger and acquisition and a few years after (Cartwright & Cooper, 1990).

Specific Measurable Outcomes Aligned with an Effective Decision Framework

According to Rodriguez-Sanchez et al. (2018), an effective merger and acquisition process involves three fundamental stages: the planning stage, the integration stage, and the acquisition stage. In a useful decision-making framework, the HR function is introduced in the implementation stage. After the organizational integration, the period is often typified by absenteeism, redundancies, voluntary staff resignations, conflicts of interest, and power struggles. This tendency seems to occur in all integrations, though it mostly relies on the strategic purpose of operation, the level of hostility or amicability, and sought integration. The implementation stage’s HR management success determinants are grouped into classes, which include control merger and acquisition process, consolidate leadership, culture evaluation, strategy, and structure, and HR evaluation and provision (Rodriguez-Sanchez et al., 2018). The efficient management of the novel process in the implementation stage will evade tension among HR, people’s apathy, and performance impairment. HR management will try to attain staff provision and their turnover. Tacit knowledge entrenched in HR is a precious resource to be transferred. HR retention and permanence favors significant knowledge transfer and is essential in Merger and acquisition success.

Predictive Informatics, Healthcare and Genomics

What are some of the ethical and social implications of predictive informatics in health care?

Over the past decade, predictive informatics has emerged as the potential future of healthcare globally. Yet, it still remains imperative to consider key ethical and social implications of this new reliance upon predictive informatics. A major ethical concern associated with this new development is the privacy and confidentiality of patient data. This typically includes issues surrounding the granular control over data provided to a specific healthcare provider, evaluation of the data, and social networking reliance (Meek, 2016). Similarly, decision support is also a key social implication of predictive informatics in healthcare. This is primary due to the fact patients have previously been known to access such data devoid of any qualified clinical intermediaries within a healthcare setting.

Is predictive informatics that uses genomics racist, sexist, or homophobic?

            Although predictive informatics using genomics has recently been criticized for being racist, sexist, or homophobic, I firmly contend that this assertion is erroneous and unfounded. Predictive informatics essentially seeks to address medical actualities of the day with the primary aim of introducing viable solutions through new developments in personalized medicine. This now involves identifying the susceptibility of a particular race, ethnic group, sex, or gender with the primary objective of bolstering disease prevention and reducing specific risks associated with a particular. For instance, susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and obesity varies starkly from one individual to the next based solely on biological and sociocultural factors (Srivastava et al., 2020). Thus, predictive informatics through genome-based knowledge is responsible for a deeper comprehension of distinctions within a given population and bound to ultimate result in positive outcomes for vulnerable individuals.      

How can genomics and data analytics change how healthcare and coverage could be approached?

Genomics and data analytics represent a revolution undoubtedly bound to have far-reaching impacts on healthcare and an alternative approach to coverage. This is mainly because their application increases the accuracy rate of diagnoses. The subsequent application of predictive algorithms will play a central role in informing a physician’s decision concerning whether a patient should be discharged as opposed to relying solely on their clinical judgment (Yoshihashi & Hoyt, 2017, p. 56). Furthermore, it will also bolster preventive medicine within the healthcare sector through early intervention and health promotion through well-living. Predictive analytics is also bound to transform coverage by according healthcare providers with accurate predictions of individual costs associated with insurance products. This may also go a long way in allowing employers to make accurate future predictions of healthcare costs likely to be incurred by employees covered by the organization.

Human Trafficking in the USA

The United States prides itself as the “land of the free.” However, with human trafficking now being a multi-dollar billion industry and cases increasingly increasing in the US, slavery is still alive. Human slavery qualifies as a modern form of slavery. Traffickers subject victims to various conditions of modern-day slavery, including sex trade, forced labor, or debt peonage. Therefore, human trafficking is an extreme form of labor exploitation whereby men, women, and children are obtained or recruited to be forced to labor against their will through coercion, force, or fraud. While some victims of trafficking are forced to work in the prostitution trade, many others are forced to perform other forms of labor such as factory work, domestic servitude, or agriculture work. Notably, trafficking victims often experience physical and psychological abuse, which renders human trafficking a significant public health concern. Therefore, human trafficking survivors need therapeutic interventions to treat their complex layers of multiple traumas resulting from the experienced ordeal.

Description of the Crisis – Human Trafficking in the USA

            In the US, victims of human trafficking are almost exclusively immigrants, whereby most of them are women and children. According to Salami, Gordon, Coverdale, and Nguyen (2018), immigrant women and children are the most vulnerable to the coercive and deceptive tactics of traffickers due to their considerably lower levels of education, their immigrant status, language barrier, and lack of unfamiliarity with the US employment protections. Recruiters or employers usually compel their victims to perform a job using various forms of deception, coercion, or physical abuse. As such, they deprive the victims of their right to consent (Marburger & Pickover, 2020). Notably, the use of physical force or psychological, economic, or legal coercion by the traffickers or employers force the victims into labor situations that they cannot freely escape.

            In some extreme situations, the victims are not lured or forced into an employment relationship but are sold by their family members or abducted or kidnapped by human traffickers. However, the common tactic used by the traffickers is luring victims into exploitive employment relationships by making false promises regarding the nature and condition of the promised jobs (Fukushima, 2019). For instance, a trafficker may promise a young woman a job in the US as a nanny earning minimum wage, but when she arrives, she is instead coerced to work as a sex worker where her wages are withheld, and is not allowed to leave the premises.

            Studies focusing on the survivors of human trafficking have unearthed that victims undergo physical and psychological abuses under their employers or the traffickers. The ordeals include psychological abuse, whereby traffickers often subject the victims to psychological abuse through isolation, threats, and deprivation. Traffickers commonly threaten to harm or kill victims or their family members if they defy them or try to escape (Fukushima, 2019). Fukushima further explains that the victims are also deprived of their freedom of movement. They are isolated in their place of work and cut their contact with the outside world. The traffickers also subject their victims to patterns of abuse to cause fear and disorientation. Winterdyk (2020) elucidate that traffickers often use severe verbal abuse and insult to exacerbate feelings of isolation, betrayal, and shame that the victims experience. Moreover, the traffickers and employers subject the victims to physical abuse by often beating and brutalizing them. The victims are also raped and sexually abused, and frequently deprived of adequate sleep, food, and shelter. Consequently, trafficking inflicts complex layers of trauma on the victims.

            The physical and psychological abuses suffered by victims of trafficking can cause many short and long-term adverse psychological effects. The impacts may lead to mental health concerns, maladaptive behaviors, and substance abuse. According to Marburger and Pickover (2020), possible psychological effects of human trafficking include anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), shame and guilt, substance use and disorders, identity disturbance/confusion, and suicidal ideation. The traumatic events that human trafficking victims experience renders the crisis a public health concern and points out the urgent need to prioritize treatment strategies aimed to improve the psychological well-being of trafficking victims.

Historical Context of Human Trafficking in the US

            In the past five years, the ‘informal economy’ – that is, remunerative work that is not recognized, protected, or regulated by the government – has significantly grown, and so has the occurrence of trafficking or forced labor. According to Winterdyk (2020), in the recent past, trafficking in the US has been most pervasive in agriculture, domestic service, sex industry, sweatshop and factory work, and restaurant and hotel work. Majority of the trafficking cases in the US have been reported in California, New York, and Florida. Notably, these are states with a high concentration of immigrants. Winterdyk explains that human trafficking is driven by the increasing demand for cheap, unskilled, and exploitable labor. In the past five years, trafficking in person has stood out as the second-largest criminal industry in the US, and drug trafficking (“Human Trafficking: Modern Enslavement of Immigrant Women in the United States”, 2019). Another alarming trend is that human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the US. According to the US Department of State, various factors contribute to the increased supply of trafficking victims. Among the factors include poverty, organized crime, the attraction of the perceived higher standards of living in the US, lack of employment opportunities in the home country of the victims, violence against women and children, government corruption, political instability, and armed conflict in victims home country, and discrimination against women (Fukushima, 2019). These factors make it relatively easier for traffickers to lure or force their victims into forced labor.

Trafficking in Person Prevalence

            In the recent five years, the prevalence of trafficking in person has steadily increased. It is difficult to precisely determine the scope of human trafficking since it is a covert practice. However, the US Department of State estimates that about 14,400 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the US each year (“Human Trafficking: Modern Enslavement of Immigrant Women in the United States”, 2019). Notably, these numbers do not encompass the many individuals trafficked within the United States borders. According to recent statistics by the US National Human Trafficking Hotline, trafficking in person continues to rise despite the government’s efforts to combat the crisis (“2019 Data Report: The US National Human Trafficking Hotline”, 2020). The table below shows human trafficking situations identified in the years 2015 through 2019.

Figure 1: Human Trafficking Situations Identified

20152016201720182019
5,7137,7448,77410,91511,500

Retrieved from “2019 Data Report: The US National Human Trafficking Hotline” (2020)

The report by the US National Human Trafficking Hotline also ranks human trafficking by type of trafficking. The top three identified sex trafficking types include escort services, pornography, illicit massage, and health and beauty. On the other hand, the top three identified labor trafficking types include domestic work, traveling sales crew, and agriculture and husbandry (“2019 Data Report: The US National Human Trafficking Hotline”, 2020). As per Winterdyk (2020), apart from the above-mentioned factors, the internet has also contributed to the prevalence through increasing convenience and reducing the risk associated with the trade.

Read also Human Trafficking International Treaty / Traffic in Persons Protocol

Therapeutic Interventions

             A major concern related to human trafficking is the impact the above-described experiences have on the victims’ and survivors’ mental health. Trafficking poses a significant risk to the victims’ long-term mental health due to the complex layers of the multiple traumas suffered. Therefore, trauma-informed care is fundamental and should include a commitment by public health to empowerment and recognition of the impact of the many traumatic events on the trafficking survivors across their life course (Salami, Gordon, Coverdale, & Nguyen, 2018). For victims suffering from multiple traumas, the therapist and patient should work together to determine the most traumatic experience. Since victims may not identify trafficking as their most traumatic event, Marburger and Pickover (2020) proposes a flexible therapeutical intervention. Focusing on the most traumatic event allows human trafficking survivors to learn coping skills to decrease trauma symptoms. It also helps the victims practice and learn to manage trauma symptoms related to other traumas’ memories (Altun et al., 2017). Since inpatient settings emphasize screening, psycho-education, and stabilization, it is also essential to employ supportive interventions in the said settings to help the patients feel safe. This should include follow up appointments in outpatient services to ensure patients receive effective trauma treatment.

Read also Holistic Approach To Human Trafficking Problem In Florida

Two therapeutic interventions that can help treat human trafficking survivors’ trauma symptoms include cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure therapy (PE). According to Altun et al. (2017), CPT and PE are the primary interventions that can be used to treat trafficking victims in outpatient settings. The International Society supports the two interventions for Traumatic Stress Studies as evidence-based therapies for PTSD. Although the two interventions have been proved to meliorate trauma symptoms, they differ in terms of primary mechanisms of action. For CPT, the recommended mechanism is the cognitive reconstructing technique to change maladaptive hopelessness cognitions about oneself and the world that develop due to the traumatizing experiences. On the other hand, PE mitigates distress through a habituation process. A therapist repeatedly exposes victims of human trafficking trauma to both internal and external stimuli that remind them of the traumatizing events they experienced (Salami, Gordon, Coverdale, & Nguyen, 2018). According to Marburger and Pickover (2020), learned avoidance only serves to aggravate post-traumatic stress symptoms since victims never fully process their trauma experiences.

Read also Human Trafficking and Anti-Human Trafficking Research and Advocacy Educative Session

Although the pathways to effect change differ in CPT and PE, the desired outcome occurs at both the cognitive and habituation level with both interventions. Regarding CPT, changing a victim’s maladaptive perception about him/herself and the world allows changes in general activity level and decreases apathy and anhedonia for various activities (Salami, Gordon, Coverdale, & Nguyen, 2018). Hence, habituation serves as a natural consequence for restructuring negative cognition owing to reduced fear as the victims approach various activities. Studies evaluating the two interventions have shown comparable levels of treatment effectiveness for treatment completers.

It is also worth noting that survivors of human trafficking are likely to develop substance-related conditions to cope with their trauma. For those with symptoms of substance use symptoms, cognitive interventions such as cognitive processing therapy – cognitive therapy only (CPT-C) coupled with other treatment such as CPT or PE to reduce both trauma and substance use symptoms (Salami, Gordon, Coverdale, & Nguyen, 2018). In some cases, CPT-C may not succeed in achieving full remission. In such instances, a professional can use additional evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions that specifically focus on substance use, such as the 12-step program or motivational enhancement therapy (Marburger & Pickover, 2020).

Other therapeutic interventions include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). These are effective for treating anxiety and depression as they decrease psychological distress by strengthening and creating new interpersonal relationships (Marburger & Pickover, 2020). Whereas all the alternatives discussed in this paper have been proven effective, therapists should carefully assess a patient’s trauma and characteristics to establish the most appropriate treatment progression. Caregivers have a wide range of therapeutic interventions, some of which have not been discussed in this paper, such as exposure-based interventions and relaxation training, sleep hygiene techniques, nightmare exposure, and rescripting therapy to improve long-term patient outcomes. However, a therapist must decide based on the patient’s unique needs (Altun et al., 2017). Altun et al. advise that the best intervention is one that is tailor-made to suit the specific needs of an individual patient as opposed to a one-for-all approach.  

Read also Human Trafficking Presentation

Critical Analysis of Human Trafficking in the USA (Pros and Cons)

            There is no single advantage associated with human trafficking to the United States society. Human trafficking is lucrative for the perpetrators, but they prey on victims’ weaknesses, unfamiliarity, unfortunate circumstances, and inexperience to subject them to an ordeal that inflicts complex layers of multiple traumas on both the victims and the survivors. Thus, human trafficking is a crime – one that is only associated with negative impacts on society. The cons related to human trafficking include sexual exploitation, forced labor, child labor, and many other inhumane treatments that strip the victims of their dignity.  Trafficking in person has also separated many individuals from their families and isolated them from the world by confining them to their workplaces like slaves. Also, as above-discussed human trafficking causes both the victims and survivors physical and mental harm by subjecting them to physical and psychological abuse. Moreover, it abuses the legal process as traffickers sometimes use legal mechanisms to enforce their control over the victims (Winterdyk, 2020). For instance, traffickers often deprive their victims of their identification documents and passports or threaten the victims with deportation or arrest if they do not cooperate. Therefore, human trafficking is a vile crisis with adverse impacts on the victims and their families as well as the entire United States.

Read also Human Trafficking And Its Impacts In The World

Conclusion            

To sum up, human trafficking is an economically lucrative trade that continues to enslave millions of victims for coerced service and labor. Traffickers subject the victims to traumatizing events that have adverse psychological consequences. Whereas it is up to the government through its various intelligence and security bodies to eradicate human trafficking, public health providers have an obligation to help the survivors heal from the complex layers of multiple traumas that they experience. There exist several therapeutic interventions that therapists can use to treat human trafficking survivors. Some of these interventions include cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy –cognitive only, cognitive behavior therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Other interventions include relaxation training, sleep hygiene techniques, nightmare exposure, and rescripting therapy. Notably, a therapist should thoroughly assess a human trafficking survivor to determine a therapeutic intervention or a combination of various treatments that is most suitable to a specific case.

Read also Ethical Issues in the selling of Human Organs

References

2019 Data Report: The US National Human Trafficking Hotline. (2020). Retrieved 1 December 2020, from https://polarisproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Polaris-2019-US-National-Human-Trafficking-Hotline-Data-Report.pdf

Altun, S., Abas, M., Zimmerman, C., Howard, L. M., & Oram, S. (2017). Mental health and human trafficking: responding to survivors’ needs. BJPsych International14(1), 21-23.

Fukushima, A. I. (2019). Migrant Crossings: Witnessing human trafficking in the US. Stanford University Press.

Human Trafficking: Modern Enslavement of Immigrant Women in the United States. (2019). Retrieved 1 December 2020, from https://www.aclu.org/other/human-trafficking-modern-enslavement-immigrant-women-united-states https://www.aclu.org/other/human-trafficking-modern-enslavement-immigrant-women-united-states

Marburger, K., & Pickover, S. (2020). A Comprehensive Perspective on Treating Victims of Human Trafficking. Professional Counselor10(1), 13-24.

Salami, T., Gordon, M., Coverdale, J., & Nguyen, P. T. (2018). What therapies are favored in the treatment of the psychological sequelae of trauma in human trafficking victims?. Journal of Psychiatric Practice®24(2), 87-96.

Winterdyk, J. (2020). Explaining Human Trafficking: Modern Day-Slavery. The Palgrave international handbook of human trafficking, 1257-1274.

Paula Legal Claims against Capstone Corporation

Paula and Capstone Corporation Scenario

Paula’s bad luck continues. Five days after the events detailed in your last assignment, Paula returns to work at Capstone Corporation. Unfortunately, she used her company e-mail to send her mom a personal note about her injuries, despite being aware that Capstone’s company policy prohibits use of company e-mail for personal communication. Paula’s supervisor, Mikey Manager, discovers Paula’s violation and Paula is reprimanded. When Paula goes home, she uses her personal computer to post disparaging comments about her boss and Capstone Corporation on social media. The next day, Paula is fired from her job.

Read also Paula Legal Claims Against Cash Mart and Geoffrey

After several days of bad luck, Paula believes her luck is about to change. She finds a new job in a nearby town. Paula had been using the bus to go to work at Capstone Corporation, but she will need to purchase a car to commute to her new job. Fortunately, her neighbor Freddy Ford has just purchased a new vehicle and is selling his old Mustang. Paula meets with Freddy and agrees to purchase the Mustang for $1000. The parties also agree that Paula will bring Freddy the money the next day when she picks up the car. The next day, Paula calls Freddy and says, “I have the money. I’d like to come pick up my car.” Freddy replies that Paula is too late. He sold the car earlier in the day.

In a 6–10 paragraph paper, answer the following questions:

Does Paula have any legal claims against Capstone Corporation? What about Paula’s actions? Does Paula have a contract with Freddy to purchase the car? Consider the following:

  • Does Paula have a right to privacy when using Capstone Corporation’s e-mail system? Discuss one’s right to privacy and relate it to the facts in the scenario.
  • Can Paula be legally fired from her job for making negative comments about her boss and her company on social media? What about free speech? Discuss these issues and relate them to the facts of the scenario.
  • Do Paula and Freddy have a contract for the sale of the Mustang? Discuss the elements of a contract and relate those elements to the facts of the scenario.

Read also Types of Legal Claims Patty Make Against Cash Mart, Gerry, and Acme Corporation

Paula Legal Claims against Capstone Corporation – Paula Plaintiff’s Really Bad Week, Part 2

Regarding being reprimanded by her boss, Paula does not have any legal claim against Capstone Corporation. This is because the corporation’s policy prohibits the use of company email by employees for personal communication. The manager was within his rights when he reprimanded Paula for using the company email to send her mother a personal note since it is against Capstone Corporation policy.

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            Another legal claim question that arises from the scenario whether Capstone Corporation infringed Paula’s privacy. It is worth noting that the right to privacy asserts that the privacy of communication and correspondence must be inviolable except where otherwise prescribed by law. Notably, an employee’s right to privacy while using an employer’s email system is largely unprotected by personal privacy laws (Otto, 2016). According to Otto, the email system is considered an employer’s property; thus, employers have the right to monitor and view employee email. Therefore, Paula does not have a basis for a legal claim on personal privacy infringement since Capstone Corporation acted lawfully in monitoring and reviewing emails sent through the company’s email system.

            As for whether Paula can be fired from her job for making negative comments about her boss and company on social media, this is a question of whether Capstone Corporation infringed her right to free speech. Under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees are free to complain about their terms and conditions of employment even if the statements are embarrassing or disparaging as long as the conversation is related to their terms and conditions of employment (Gross, 2017). Gross explains that terms and conditions of employment include but are not limited to performance review, safety issues, working conditions, wages, benefits, leaves of absence, respect, integrity, and culture issues, seniority, hours of work, and a grievance and arbitration process. Given that Paula posted disparaging comments about her boss and Capstone Corporation related to the terms and conditions of her employment (specifically grievance), she has a basis for a legal claim against Capstone Corporation. However, the company can defend itself by arguing that it did not fire Paula because of the disparaging posts but rather due to her violation of the company’s policy regarding using the company’s email system for personal communication.

            Concerning whether Paula and Freddy have a contract of sale for the Mustang, one must identify the elements of a legally binding agreement to determine enforceability. According to Marsh (2017), a legally enforceable contract’s essential components include an offer, acceptance, consideration, and mutuality. From the facts presented in the scenario, it is clear that Paula and Freddy have an oral contract since Paula made an offer, Freddy accepted, the consideration aspect of consideration is fulfilled by the agreed purchasing price ($1,000) and, lastly, both parties exhibited the intention to create a legal relationship hence there was mutuality.

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            However, it is worth noting that besides meeting the four key elements of a contract, other requirements determine enforceability. To start with, the contract’s terms must be valid and legally binding (Marsh, 2017). Considering the agreement between Paula and Freddy, the contract entails valid and legally binding terms. Freddy is the owner of the Mustang and has agreed to sell it to Paula, who is a willing seller. The other requirement is that for a contract to be enforceable, it must not violate existing laws or regulations ((Marsh, 2017). On this requirement, the agreement between Paula and Freddy is not enforceable as it infringes the Statutes of Frauds. The Statute of Frauds requires that any contracts involving goods worth more than $500 must be in writing (Hillman, 2018). Since the two parties only had a verbal agreement, Paula does not have a basis for a legal claim against Freddy as their oral agreement violates the Statutes of Frauds.

Read also Oral Contracts in the United States, Are they Enforceable?

            To sum up, Paula has a basis for a legal claim against Capstone Corporation for firing her due to the disparaging comments she posted on social media. However, given her violation of the company’s policy on the previous day, the company seems to have the upper hand in the claim since it can argue that it fired her due to her unprofessional conduct. As for the claim related to the right to personal privacy, she does not have a legal basis since the company owns the email system and, as such, has the right to monitor and read emails sent via the system. Besides, an employee’s right to privacy while using an employer’s email system is largely unprotected by personal privacy laws. As for the agreement between Paula and Freddy, whereas they had an oral contract, it is not enforceable as it violates the Statutes of Frauds. Thus, Paula does not have a basis for a legal claim against Freddy.

How the Construction Industry can Contribute to the Sustainability of Life on Earth

Introduction

Sustainability has become a popular and crucial public agenda over the last few decades. Efforts made by international pressure groups, governmental and Non-Governmental organisations such as the U.N. have compelled business organisations to make sustainability one of the core agenda of doing business. Different industries across the world have varying views on sustainability. In the construction industry, the sustainability agenda gained some attention after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. The construction industry has developed sustainability strategies to promote economic, social, and ecological sustainability (Myers, 2005, p.237).

Although some large companies in the construction industry have acknowledged sustainability and put effort towards achieving sustainability, there is still a large gap in sustainability in the construction sector. Most construction companies are still inherently concerned with economic outcomes and assume other sustainability paradigms (Nill & Kemp, 2009, P.670). This is depicted by the industry annual reporting style that overly concentrates on financial outcomes.  As a result, the construction industry continues to have adverse social and environmental effects that impede the achievement of the U.N. sustainability goals. The global construction industry contributes to 40% Green House Gases emission and more than 36% of the available energy on earth. Little minimal effort has been put in place to adopt renewable energy sources in the industry, thus increasing the negative ecological impacts. The manufacture of concrete, one of the primary raw materials in the construction industry, contributes heavily to CO2 emission. Also, the transport of construction materials contributes heavily to environmental pollution. Moreover, cases of accidents and injuries in construction sites are also apparent. Overall, this indicates that the construction industry has a long way towards achieving sustainability in the three dimensions.

The construction industry plays a significant role in society because it determines the appearance and functions of communities. The construction sector is responsible for infrastructure development that is necessary for the economic development of nations.  The industry also determines how communities relate with each other, both in urban and rural areas (Mapes & Wolch, 2011, p.105).  As a result, the construction sector is imperative in achieving some of the U.N. sustainability goals. However, financial challenges impede the full realisation of sustainability. This paper will discuss strategies that can be put in place for the construction industry to contribute positively towards economic, social, and ecological sustainability.  The author argues that key stakeholders (companies, government, and environmental agencies) have a significant role in developing sustainability strategies. The paper will argue that Life Cycle Assessment procedures, efficient resource utilisation and communication, and collaboration among stakeholders are ways through which the construction industry can contribute to sustainable development (Sev, 2009, p.23).

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Application of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Procedures

As aforementioned, the building and construction sector is responsible for more than 40% of harmful CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 is emitted during different building and construction stages, from raw materials to the final product. Cement and steel are the primary raw materials in the sector, and their manufacture involves process relies on natural resources such as water, energy, and other minerals.  These processes contribute to environmental degradation and threaten economic sustainability due to over utilisation of natural resources. These adverse effects are still prevalent during transportation and construction, and the negative contribution continues many years after the final product (Road, building, and etcetera) is completed. Since the pollution does not occur in one isolated process, the construction industry can enhance sustainability by applying life cycle assessment (LCA). Life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates the environmental impacts of process and product life cycles. In other words, LCA involves evaluation of the ecological effects of particular products from their manufacturing stage to the finished products.  Using the LCA strategy in the construction industry can significantly improve construction companies’ commitment to environmental sustainability. Following the International standards, ISO 14040 can help improve building life cycle assessment and subsequent reporting, which consequently contributes to the formation of ecological sustainability solutions (Ortiz et al., 2009, p.31). LCA involves four stages that aim to improve its effectiveness. In the first stage, the company defines its goals. The second stage consists of collecting necessary data regarding inputs and outputs. The third stage evaluates the possible environmental impacts of a building system. The fourth stage interprets the entire process and offers recommendations to improve environmental outcomes. Although there are different LCA levels, the best LCA is the ‘whole building assessment framework or system’ that deals with the entire construction process.

Using the above strategy will improve openness concerning environmental sustainability issues. Construction companies will have a direct mandate to ensure the entire building lifecycle adheres to processes that promote environmental sustainability. For instance, LCA can help develop environmental safety strategies during the building materials and components (BMCC) phase. For example, recycling raw materials such as water or sludge during cement manufacturing and using renewable energy sources can help reduce environmental pollution, thus promoting sustainable development goals 12, 13, and 15. The government should make it mandatory for construction companies to adopt various LCA tools to encourage environmental sustainability. Also, pressure groups and environmental agencies (Governmental and non-governmental) should make a remarkable effort to support LCA’s voluntary adoption.

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Efficient resources utilisation

After adopting necessary LCA tools and strategies, the construction industry can further contribute to sustainability through efficient resource utilisation and management (Misopoulos et al., 2019, p.111). The agenda of efficient resource utilisation is to maintain a natural balance between developing and maintaining a healthy ecosystem (Uher & Lawson 2000, p.5). Primarily this is achieved by ensuring that the rate of resource formation is higher than the rate of resources utilisation for the case of natural resources such as water and energy.  For the human-made resources, innovative strategies can be improvised to promote proper utilisation of such resources to safeguard the natural resources. Lazonick and O’Sullivan (1998, p.34) argue that innovative resource allocation utilisation leads to economic sustainability in the short and long run. The construction industry and more cement manufacturing companies should implement integrated innovation in the production process, leading to cost savings, thus spreading production costs throughout the construction industry. Low-cost cement will contribute to increased economies of scale, thus making construction business more affordable for the consumers of construction products. Companies in the construction industry will also accrue more benefits from the industry, such as increased profits to decreased production costs.  

Some of the essential raw materials used in the construction industry, such as steel and cement, are manufactured using natural resources. Therefore, the efficient utilisation of such resources should be an issue of concern for the construction industry.

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Most of the resources utilised in the construction industry are material resources that are scarce and have economic value. For this paper, the author employs the definition put forward by UNEP (2011).

Material resources are natural assets deliberately extracted and modified by human activity for their utility to create economic value. They can be measured both in physical units (such as tons, joules, or area) and in monetary terms expressing their economic value. (UNEP, 2011, P.2). 

Some material resources include fossil fuels, construction minerals (materials), land, water, and other energy resources applicable in the construction industry. Careful utilisation and management of these material resources directly contribute to the sustainability of life on earth. Each resource can be managed and utilised using varied strategies depending on its economic value and the ecological impacts correlated with the resource. In the case of fossil fuels, the construction industry should consider replacing fossil fuels with other viable energy sources.  Most heavy machinery used in the construction industry, either in the manufacture of raw materials or at construction sites, heavily depend on diesel and other fossil fuels. This increases CO2 emission and thus increasing the greenhouse effect and exacerbate global warming. The construction industry can replace or integrate the use of Hydroelectric power similar to other industries. Hydroelectric power may be comparable with fossil energy in economic terms, but HEP is much environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. Although it might be impossible to effect this change over-night, the construction sector can start replacing carbon fuels in some of the processes.  For example, the machinery used at construction sites can be improved to use electric engines powered by either wind or water energy. This will help reduce Green emissions, thus safeguarding present and future generations’ health and wellbeing. Greenhouse gases are responsible for catastrophes globally, such as bush fires, climate change, diseases such as skin cancer, etcetera.

Also, the cement manufacturers should consider alternative fuels in an effort to support sustainability. According to Zieri & Ismail (2018, pp.4-7), coal can be substituted with other fuel alternatives such as residue oil solvents, tire and rubber wastes, plastic wastes, sewage sludge, or municipal solid waste. Waste management is one of the most problematic issues when it comes to the achievement of environmental sustainability. With the growing global population, consumption is on the rise, which causes an increase in domestic and industrial waste. Putting the waste in constructive use contributes to sustainability in all three dimensions.  Firstly, the construction industry will have a low-cost source of energy and thus reducing production cost. Secondly, the waste landfill will be diminished, thus contributing directly to environmental sustainability. Thirdly, waste as alternative fuels leads to better waste management, reducing waste’s hazardous effects (Mustapa et al., 2020, p.4). Moreover, this will help to safeguard the scarce fossil fuel and retain it for other processes that heavily rely on this resource.

In the case of water resources, the concrete and cement industries can adopt several measures to uphold proper water management (Sealey et al., 2001, p.322). The construction industry depends heavily on water resources throughout the building life cycle and in the manufacture of raw materials. Several water management strategies can be implemented at different stages of the construction life cycle.  For example, in the cement manufacturing plants, the companies should consider phasing out the wet-process kilns to reduce water usage. The companies should also consider water recycling and avoid the release of untreated water effluents into the environment. Companies should ensure water treatment and to prevent contaminating surrounding water bodies and soils.  This aligns with sustainable development goal (SDG) 5.

In the case of land, the construction sector must implement robust measures for efficient land management. Responsible land management is one of the key contributors towards sustainability resource utilisation (Allacker et al., 2014, p.1800). The construction sector affects land use in various ways. Firstly, the land is occupied for the extraction of building materials and other raw materials. Secondly, land use during transportation of the raw materials and other building materials and lastly the land occupied by the end product. Consequently, the industry must have robust measures to ensure the guaranteed management of this finite resource. In the past few decades, urbanisation has become a key trend across the world. More people are moving to urban areas in search of employment opportunities.

 As a result, demand for residential buildings as well as commercial buildings has increased, thus leaving less land for other important activities such as farming as the urban areas expand more and more. This presents a sustainability challenge concerning sustainable land use. Since land use involves many stakeholders, such as the landowners and the government, construction companies should make an effort and involve the stakeholders in the effort to promote rural construction (Wang et al., 2019, p.2). This will help to offset the pressure in the urban areas and promote sustainable development. Rural construction can promote equality and reduce poverty, which is usually common in rural areas, thus contributing to SGD 1 and SDG 11. Offsetting excess population in urban areas will reduce the socio-economic challenges in the cities. For instance, overpopulation in the cities often leads to housing problems. It contributes to informal settlements that lead to other social problems such as diseases due to poor hygiene and increased crime rates (Zhang, 2016, P.245). Responsible land use will help counter these challenges, particularly in developing countries and prevent such problems in the developed economies.

Lastly, the construction sector can implement robust strategies to ensure responsible utilisation of construction minerals. Typical construction minerals include sand, natural stones, clay bricks, among others. The construction minerals are used together with other building materials such as steel, timber, mortar, and etcetera. Efficient use of construction materials and minerals leads to social, economic, and ecological sustainability. The industry can achieve responsible building materials utilisation (minerals and human-made materials) by first implementing proper material management systems (Paulo et al., 2014, p.339). Use of material management systems on construction sites will help to optimise production efficiencies (Sacks et al., 2010, p.18). Use of the management systems ensures zero wastage of building materials and helps to reduce construction costs. The management systems also help maintain the quality of building materials, thus guaranteeing high-quality end products. Also, the industry can optimise material usage through innovation. Innovations can improve material use efficiencies and reduce overhead costs significantly (Pitt et al., 2009, p.17). For example use of admixture in making concrete can significantly reduce the amount of cement needed without compromising the end product’s quality (Nehdi et al., 2003, p.1204). New building materials were also manufactured using eco-friendly processes such as bio-plastics to increase economic and environmental efficiencies.

Moreover, proper management of the human resource in the construction sites can contribute to social and economic sustainability.  The construction firms should ensure that workers are provided with a safe working environment and have risk reduction measures. The construction industry should also have proper reward systems for the employees to support the employees’ wellbeing. Also, the industry should help equal employment opportunities for both genders.  More importantly, the industry should have incentives to encourage women, people living with disabilities, and people from minority communities to have a career in the construction industry. Consequently,  the sector can contribute to SDG 5 and SDG 10.

Communication and collaboration among stakeholders

 Despite increasing pressure from various stakeholders to shift towards sustainable building and construction, most firms in the sector are reluctant to shift because of green construction’s perceived high financial costs (Robichaud & Anantatmula, 2011, p.50). According to Strand &Toman (2010, p.4), green construction/ building may be costly in the short run and cost-effective in the long run. Revell & Blackburn (2007, p.410) affirm this claim and argue that sustainable constructions require less maintenance and operational costs. Maintenance cost often lowers the financial sustainability of constructions.  Unfortunately, most developers concentrate only on the short term economic viability, and high initial cost discourages green construction implementation. Fortunately, there are viable measures that can be implemented to lower initial construction costs of sustainable construction. According to Robichaud & Anantatmula (2011, p.50), effective communication can help contain green buildings’ initial costs. Poor communication and lack of consensus among internal stakeholders such as architects, engineers, designers, and builders often result in communication breakdown that causes cost volatility.  Sub-contractors often concern themselves with their line of duty, thus creating minimal collaboration opportunities because of the high temporal nature of contracts in the construction industry (Eccles, 1981, p.345). Improving collaboration and communication among the experts will help identify financial loopholes that may be causing an increase the initial cost of construction. Communication among these experts can be enhanced through accredited training programmes that unite different construction domains. In the United States, such a programme has been initiated and improves communication and collaboration among the construction experts. Programmes such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the USA have helped unites construction professionals (Dall’O et al., 2013, p.5998). Such collaboration enhances cost reductions because the project is developed with an objective approach. The stakeholders arrive at a consensus on efficient water management, energy efficiency, materials optimisation/selection, and green site development (Robichaud & Anantatmula, 2011, p.51). As a result, the construction is developed in a well outlined plan that involves the stakeholders’ communication. Stakeholders exchange ideas that lead to the development of a SMART project plan.  This helps to optimise initial, operational, and maintenance costs, thus supporting economic sustainability in modern sustainable constructions. Sustainability will be achieved by achieving short-term goals that will cumulatively lead to long-term sustainability, as shown in the table below.

Short Term GoalContribution to long term sustainability
Lower cost of productionMake construction products more affordable, thus promoting SDG 11 sustainable cities and communities.
Increase awareness about sustainable construction among stakeholders.Promote green development, thus contributing to social, economic, and ecological sustainability.
Create collaboration between the construction industry and other external stakeholders such as the government and environmental agencies.Aligns the industry needs with the community needs, thus contributing to overall sustainability.
Embrace innovation to adopt the use of sources of energy.Reduce the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, thus contributing positively to environmental sustainability.

Table 1. The link between short term goals and the interlink to long-term sustainability

Also, the project owner must set sustainability goals before the commencement of design and construction. This helps to avoid costly design modifications in later construction phases, thus help to maintain cost efficiencies.  This helps lower the overall cost of construction and promote the shareholder interests and promotion of economic sustainability (Lazonick, & O’sullivan, 2000, p.14). Since most construction companies and developers are reluctant to develop sustainable construction due to the high initial costs, countering, these costs will encourage the entire construction industry’s full shift towards sustainability.  In return, society as the whole will accrue social as well as environmental benefits.

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Conclusion

Activities of the construction industry cut across many other sectors of the economy.  As a result, the industry is essential in economic, social as well as ecological sustainability. The author has argued three ways through which the construction industry can contribute to environmental sustainability.

Firstly, the industry should implement robust life cycle assessment procedures to promote environmental reporting at all the building cycle level. In particular, the government, environmental agencies, and pressure groups should advocate for mandatory or voluntary whole building assessment framework or system. As a result, the industry will be more concerned about how their process affects the environment. Hence contribution to sustainability.

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Secondly, the construction industry should ensure efficient resource utilisation. The industry should consider other energy sources to reduce overreliance on fossil fuels. Specifically, the cement industry should consider substituting coal with other alternative fuels. The author has suggested using waste-based fuels such as municipal solid waste, domestic waste, plastic waste, rubber, and tyre waste. This will help to achieve sustainability in all three dimensions. Substituting coal with waste fuels will lead to economic sustainability for both the company and the economy at large. The cost of waste management will reduce, and the cost of acquiring waste is lower than coal (Yeheyis et al., 2013, p.83). Reducing waste will help reduce waste in landfills, thus contributing to environmental sustainability. The health hazards associated with the accumulation of waste in the environment will decrease, contributing to social sustainability. Lastly, the construction industry should implement strategies to enhance communication and collaboration among stakeholders. More importantly, the industry should develop a framework to promote communication among the professionals.  The author has argued that exchanging ideas will help counter the high cost of green construction practices. The professionals will develop strategies to reduce initial expenses related to sustainable construction. Consequently, more companies in the sector will be willing to adopt sustainable construction, which will help achieve the sustainability of life on earth.

Genealogy of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Efforts within the United Kingdom

Today, modern-day terrorism is principally looked at as a serious global threat that warrants immediate attention. Its extensive scope, dynamic nature, and the number of nation-states impacted negatively by associated aftermaths has now forced many to resort to formulating elaborate counter-terrorism strategies to remain one step ahead of their adversaries. The United Kingdom is among a growing list of countries that have grappled with terrorism as a contemporary reality. Under UK law, terrorism is defined as using threats and intimidation with the main aim of influencing government. This is primarily done to advance a particular religious or political ideology (Great Britain. Home Office 2009).. Although the UK had previously been subjected to a number of terrorist attacks linked to the political unrest in Northern Ireland, it was only during the turn of the 21st century that the inaugural Terrorism Act of 2000 was formally implemented.

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Major Events that shaped the Creation of the Terrorism Act 2000

            The Terrorism Act of 2000 is officially recognized as the chief legislation dealing with terrorism-related matters in the UK. Its implementation was an attempt to implement legislation that focused generally on terrorism, as opposed to focusing exclusively on the situation in Northern Ireland.  The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a major factor that prompted the implementation of this particular Act. The 7/7 bombings, as they are commonly referred to, were a series of synchronized attacks targeting London’s underground railway commuter system. This marked a turning point in the UK’S approach to terrorism, especially since the attack resulted in the deaths of close to 60 individuals and hundreds more were injured (Tembo 2015). Additional coordinated attacks were also slated for the days following the bombings, but were largely ineffective due poor organization. The four suicide bombers were later identified as British nationals Mohammed Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay, Shehzad Tanweer, and Hasib Hussain linked to jihadist terrorist cells (Staniforth & Fraser Sampson 2014).

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Proscribed Terrorist Groups under Terrorism Act 2000

            One of the most significant aims of the Terrorism Act of 2000 was a succinct classification of terrorist groups under the new legislation. The Act currently identifies Islamic extremism, far-right ultra-nationalist movements, and radical anarchist groups in Northern Ireland as major areas of focus when seeking to address immediate concerns related to terrorism. Individuals who identify as members of such organizations, those who don associated regalia, and those suspected to support them may be charged with a terrorist offence. This act also extend prosecution to persons who knowing or unknowingly join groups with links to local and international terrorist groups.

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Definition of Terrorism Prior to the adoption of the Terrorism Act 2000

            Before the 7/7 bombings and the subsequent enactment of the Terrorism Act of 2000, terrorism was synonymous with the activities of the Irish Revolutionary Army (IRA).  This had previously resulted in the implementation of the Northern Ireland Emergency Act of 1996 to aid in stemming the threat posed by the IRA (Richards 2012).  It offered a clear definition of terrorism while emboldening the police with new investigatory powers to effectively confronted suspected cases.

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Counter-terrorism Efforts in the United Kingdom

            The primary objective of implementing counter-terrorism strategies in the UK is to develop the most suitable response to imminent terrorist threats. These efforts have mainly focused on the implementation of specified measures to prevent individuals from joining or supporting terrorist organizations (Great Britain. Home Office 2009). Additionally, they also aim to thwart terrorist attacks by gathering sufficient and some of the most reliable intelligence. Counter-terrorism strategies in the UK also intend to utilize appropriate infrastructure to protect citizens against potential terrorist attacks. It also guarantees a high level of preparedness to mitigate negative consequences often associated with terrorist attacks. Target groups include Islamic extremism, far-right ultra-nationalist movements, and radical anarchist groups in Northern Ireland.

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Counter-terrorism strategies in the UK now include provisions that allow members of law enforcement agencies to arrest suspects even without a warrant. This provision affords them a great deal of latitude in arresting and detaining individuals with suspected links to proscribed terrorist organizations. It has been hailed by security experts as a positive development and a shift from ordinary criminal law that hindered extensive investigation of suspects. Stop and search provisions have also become a part of counter-terrorism efforts in the UK in the wake of threats posed by terrorist attacks. Under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2002, stop and search devoid of any reasonable suspicion to aid in seizing material intended for terrorist-related activities (Chatterjee 2012). Police officers were also allowed to make specific authorizations in the event they suspected of participating in acts of terrorism. Furthermore, the UK currently implements stringent measures which criminalize the collection of information to be used to plot terrorist attacks. Under section 58, suspects will be liable for to serve nearly a decade in prison for this particular offence. Bilal Zaher Ahmad was among the first individuals to be charged as a direct consequence of this counter-terrorism strategy for collecting extremist material distributed by al-Qaeda (Elshimi 2018).           

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Perhaps the most controversial counter-terrorism strategy employed in the UK is the stop and search provision under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000. This is mainly due to the fact that it can be applied by the police even without any reasonable suspicion. Law enforcement officers can now choose to arbitrarily implement this particular provision; searching individuals and cars, even though the suspects might be innocent. One of the main criticisms of this approach surrounds the low numbers of individuals incarcerated for terrorist offences after routine stop and search events. The European Court of Human Rights has even gone as far as publicly criticizing the stop-and-search provisions granted and also asserted that it was in direct contravention of Article 8 of its Convention on Human Rights (Elshimi 2018). This has resulted in repeated calls to have this section repealed to protect the individual dignity of UK nationals. The most immediate impact of these efforts has been a sudden drive towards the prevention of terrorist attacks and an unintended consequence in the rise in islamophobia. Nevertheless, counter-terrorism strategies have largely remained static, which is worrying given the changing face of terrorism.