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Buckingham Palace Publishes Employee Diversity Statistics, Declare “We Can Do Better”

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Statistics from Buckingham Palace’s annual financial report revealed that 8.5% of its employees come from ethnic minorities. Royal household officials also declared they want to increase that percentage to 10% by the end of 2022.

What We Know:

  • The public expressed scrutiny of Buckingham Palace’s racial relations after former Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, said certain Royal Family members made racist comments to her. Since then, Buckingham Palace has been working on making Buckingham Palace a more diverse workplace.
  • People’s desire to see Buckingham Palace become more accepting became extremely relevant when “a significant number of questions” about this year’s Sovereign Grant report were about how the household would increase diversity among staff.
  • A senior palace source told Town and Country that Buckingham Palace knows it could do more to elevate the number of minority workers. However, officials will continue to engage with external advisers, grassroots organizations, and others who can give different perspectives.

“It is not that we have not been progressing diversity and inclusion initiatives during this period. It is that simply the results have not been what we would like,” the source said.

  • The source announced that Buckingham Palace voluntarily published these stats so that the public could hold them accountable for their progress. Palace leaders also promised they would also explain the case that they do not meet their constituents’ expectations.

“Her Majesty and members of the royal family have promoted and embraced the diversity of our nation and that of the Commonwealth and we therefore recognise that our own workforce needs to reflect the communities that we serve.”

  • The Sovereign Grant report details that the Lord Chamberlain’s committee “endorsed a shift in the Diversity Strategy agreed in 2017-18 to one that actively emphasizes the importance of inclusion” in early 2020. However, it also communicated that the palace considers its failure to provide an “inclusive and effective environment” as a “medium” level risk for the royal household.
  • To ensure this does not occur again next year, administrators will place continuous emphasis on this issue. They will do a “listening exercise” to examine employees’ experiences. In addition, they will improve the household’s recruitment and selection processes. Buckingham Palace will also propose revised diversity targets and enhance its Diversity and Inclusion plan. The Sovereign Grant report informs its readers that the Royal Family believes that leadership in “building an inclusive culture” is necessary. They also feel that the leaders must focus on “setting the tone, providing visible advocacy for inclusion and ensuring representation of diverse talent.”

Despite this affirmation, officials have not determined how they will enact these goals. Contrary to past reports, Buckingham Palace no longer plans on hiring a diversity tsar. However, the senior source explained to Town and Country that officials would continue considering it as part of their strategy.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Business

T-Mobile Data Breach Included Personal Information of Almost 50 Million Customers

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Fortunately, no phone numbers, account numbers, PINs, passwords, or financial information of the approximately 50 million customers’ records were compromised.

What We Know:

  • T-Mobile reported on Wednesday that the names, Social Security numbers, driver’s license information, and other identification data of over 40 million potential and current customers were exposed in a data breach. In addition, 7.8 million postpaid users were also affected. The company also confirmed that hackers obtained approximately 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customer names, phone numbers, and account PINs.
  • Despite T-Mobile users being affected by the breach, Metro by T-Mobile, Sprint prepaid, and Boost Mobile customers stayed protected. The phone tycoons declared no users from those departments had their names or PINs exposed.
  • Those who caused the breach accessed additional information from inactive prepaid accounts via prepaid billing files. Despite this, T-Mobile declared no customer financial information, credit card information, payment information, or Social Security numbers were in the inactive file.
  • In response, T-Mobile proactively reset the PINs on active prepaid accounts. Additionally, the company said it would immediately offer two years of free identity protection services. T-Mobile further recommended users change their PIN while they investigate the situation.

The announcement came two days after the corporation said they were reviewing a leak of data; officials stated someone went on an online forum and offered to sell users’ personal information.

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Judge Rules in Favor of Norwegian Cruise Line, Allows for Proof of Vaccination in Florida

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Judge Kathleen Williams ruled it unconstitutional for businesses to ban a customer requirement of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

What We Know:

  • The U.S. District judge also granted Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the “vaccine passport ban.” In May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 2006 into action, which limited the government’s ability to impose mask requirements and other social distancing measures. Senate Bill 2006 also restricts businesses from asking customers for proof of vaccination.
  • Last month, NCL filed a case against the State of Florida. The company initially asserted that the ban jeopardized the health and safety of passengers and crew members. Norwegian Cruise Line company additionally mentioned one could consider the ban and infringement on the First Amendment free speech guarantee. Officials took it a step further on Aug. 6 by asking Williams to block the state law.
  • Williams said the “First Amendment, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment,” does not allow states to create laws that abridge freedom of speech. In addition, she declared a state could not restrict expression because of its message, ideas, content, or subject matter.
  • Judge Williams even stated that Florida did not provide “a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate” for prohibiting citizens from showing vaccination proof. Furthermore, she affirmed that NCL demonstrated that public health might be affected if it suspends a vaccination requirement.
  • In response to the Aug. 8 ruling, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Frank Del Rio, wrote in a statement that the company’s lengths to keep the vaccine requirement in place proves its dedication to safe sailings. He also reported that NCL believes that “the safest and most prudent way” to resume operations is with 100% fully vaccinates guests and workers, as the ruling declared.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Gem will depart from the Port of Miami on Aug. 15. It will be  NCL’s first ship to set sail from Florida since the cruise industry shut down in March 2020.

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Mercedes-Benz Says it will Go All-Electric in 2030, but with a Major Caveat

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Mercedes-Benz plans on selling all-electric cars by 2030, joining rival companies General Motors, Stellantis, and Renault.

What We Know:

  • Daimler, the makers of Mercedes-Benz, stated they would invest over $47 billion between 2022-2030 to create battery-electric cars…having only all-electric cars by 2030. They will build about eight battery plants and have the electric model of every car they make. There will be three battery plants in Europe, four in Asia, and one in the US.
  • The luxury car makers will produce eight electric vehicle models by 2022. They will be producing them on three continents in various locations. Chief Executive Ola Källenius said that the company’s “spending on traditional combustion-engine technology would be close to zero by 2025.” He truly sees the company being all-electric by the end of the decade and competitive with Tesla. Källenius believes that Mercedes-Benz’s initiative will allow them to get 600 miles to a charge, beating Tesla’s longest-running car by 50%.
  • As a part of the Paris Agreement, countries have made a pact to make changes to their carbon emission levels. The US and European Union both decided to target their international import ties. The EU declared that they would “effectively ban new cars with internal combustion engines in 2035,” while Britain and Norway both set expiration dates for any car that runs on fossil fuels.
  • The only caveat to Mercedes-Benz’s plan is that they will produce and sell their electric cars “where market conditions allow.” The automobile company understands that some countries may not have car charging capabilities by 2030, and thus they wouldn’t need an electric car. Because of this possibility, Mercedes-Benz will still make “combustion-engine vehicles” as long as demand is high and needed.

Daimler executives have yet to release the location for the US battery plant, but many suspect it will be near the company’s manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa, AL. The company has yet to release any information regarding ending sales and production of their fossil fuel cars.

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