TIME animals

Chinese Man Gets Attacked by a Wild Panda, Sues Government for $80,000

Panda resting in a tree
Jay Schipper—Flickr RF/Getty Images

It must have been sheer pandamonium

A man in China has been awarded more than $80,000 in compensation from the government after a wild panda bit him on the leg, his lawyer said Monday.

Local officials had tried to capture the panda after it wandered into Liziba village in China’s northwest Gansu province, but ended up chasing it onto Guan Quanzi’s land, reports Agence France-Presse.

“I saw a panda jump out in front of me, its body completely covered in mud,” he told local paper the Lanzhou Evening News.

Guan endured seven hours of surgery after the incident, which happened in March last year. The panda managed to escape.

Guan’s son sued local forestry officials who now have agreed to pay $83,000, which will cover the man’s ongoing medical bills.

Though pandas are known for being pretty easygoing bamboo eaters, they are part of the bear family and can deliver a fierce bite. They’ve also been known to attack humans.

[AFP]

TIME Aviation

MH 370: Lawyers Say Faulty Beacon Battery May Prove Key to Compensation

The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion maritime search aircraft can be seen on low-level clouds as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean looking for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Rob Griffith—Reuters The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force's P3 Orion maritime search aircraft can be seen on low-level clouds as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 on March 31, 2014

Report suggests engineering failure responsible for expired beacon battery on plane

The revelation that a beacon battery, which could have served as an underwater locator for tracking missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, had long expired may heavily influence any potential compensation claim, according to lawyers representing passengers’ families.

A report Sunday on the fate of the Boeing 777-200, which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing March 8 last year, revealed the beacon battery, designed to emit pulses in the event of a crash at sea, had expired in December 2012 and was not replaced, Reuters reports.

Kreindler & Kreindler LP, a U.S. law firm representing nearly 20 families against the beleaguered carrier, believes that the expired battery could prove “potentially very significant” in compensation negotiations with relatives of the 227 passengers and 12 crew.

The report, published by Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation to mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, suggests that the engineering department of Malaysia Airlines could be held responsible for failing to correctly update a computer system.

In an email to Reuters, Kreindler & Kreindler LP’s aviation attorney Justin Green said, “This airline … even more clearly now may be responsible for the unsuccessful search for this plane.”

[Reuters]

TIME Virginia

Virginia to Compensate Victims of Forced Sterilizations

Lewis Reynolds, 85, was involuntarily sterilized at age 13.
Bill Sizemore—AP Lewis Reynolds, 85, was involuntarily sterilized at age 13

Virginia is the second state to approve compensation for victims of the eugenics program

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Lewis Reynolds didn’t understand what had been done to him when he was 13.

Years later, after getting married, the Lynchburg man discovered he couldn’t father children. The reason: He had been sterilized by the state.

Reynolds was among more than 7,000 Virginians involuntarily sterilized between 1924 and 1979 under the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act.

Advocates for the surviving victims won a three-year fight Thursday when the Virginia General Assembly budgeted $400,000 to compensate them at the rate of $25,000 each.

It’s welcome news, Reynolds said.

“I think they done me wrong,” he said. “I couldn’t have a family like everybody else does. They took my rights away.”

Eugenics is the now-discredited movement that sought to improve the genetic composition of humankind by preventing those considered “defective” from reproducing. Virginia’s Sterilization Act became a model for similar legislation passed around the country and the world, including Nazi Germany. Nationwide, 65,000 Americans were sterilized in 33 states, including more than 20,000 in California alone, said Mark Bold, executive director of the Christian Law Institute, which has been advocating the cause of the Virginia victims since 2013.

Virginia is the second state to approve compensation for victims of the eugenics program. North Carolina approved payments of $50,000 for each victim in 2013.

But the money from the state comes too late for most of those who were sterilized in Virginia, Bold said. There are only 11 known surviving victims, he said. Two have died in the past year, he said. Those who are left greeted the news with tears and hugs, Bold said.

The Virginia sterilizations were performed at six state institutions, including what is now known as Central Virginia Training Center in Lynchburg. When Reynolds was sterilized there, it was called the Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feeble Minded.

Reynolds was presumed to have epilepsy. As it turned out, he was exhibiting temporary symptoms from having been hit in the head with a rock.

Reynolds’ first wife left him after the couple learned they couldn’t have children. He married again, and this time the union lasted. His second wife, Delores, died seven years ago after 47 years of marriage.

There were times, he has said, when he and Delores would cry about their inability to have a family.

Nevertheless, he made the best of the life he had been handed.

He joined the Marine Corps and served in two wars. He was a military policeman and a firearms instructor, at one time teaching FBI agents how to shoot. He manned a 50-caliber machine gun in Korea. He retired from the corps after 30 years and found work as an electrician. At 87, he still takes occasional jobs wiring houses.

The Virginia eugenics law was upheld in the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, in which Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., writing for the majority, famously declared: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Revulsion over the state’s actions brought together lawmakers from across the political spectrum, united in the belief that it was time to write the final page in a shameful chapter of the state’s history.

The compensation measure was sponsored by Del. Ben Cline, a conservative Republican from Rockbridge County, and Del. Patrick Hope, a liberal Democrat from Arlington County.

“There was a growing consensus that we needed to act while we still had the opportunity to look these people in the eye and acknowledge the wrong that was committed against them so many years ago,” Cline said.

The original legislation called for payments of $50,000 each. Even that amount was inadequate to address the wrong that was done, in Bold’s view.

“But it’s symbolic,” he said. “Now the healing and forgiveness can begin.”

MONEY salary

500,000 Walmart Workers Are Getting a Raise. Here’s How You Can Get One, Too

Walmart raise minimum wage $1.75
Gunnar Rathbun—Invision for Walmart

These 5 moves can help you make sure you get what you deserve.

Two corporate giants have made headlines recently for perking up their workers’ paychecks.

Last month, health insurance provider Aetna announced it would be raising the lowest wage it pays to $16 an hour, effectively giving raises to 5,700 of the company’s workers. On Thursday, Walmart followed Aetna’s lead, revealing it would be giving 500,000 associates a salary bump of at least $1.75 above the federal minimum wage.

While across-the-board wage increases such as these are unusual, other corporations are also expected to be more generous with pay this year. Among mid- and large-sized employers, the average increase in base pay is expected to be 3.0% in 2015, up from 2.9% in 2014 and 2.8% in 2013, according to HR consulting firm Mercer.

You can help your chances of boosting your pay with these five tips:

1. Ask at the Right Time

Choosing the optimal time to approach your boss about a raise will significantly increase your chances of success. Stay on top of your own industry’s salary trends and consider whether your company and division are doing well enough to afford what you’re asking for. It’s also a good idea to ask for a raise a few months before performance reviews so that salaries aren’t already set.

Read more: How to Tell if Now Is a Good Time to Ask for a Raise

2. Know What Others are Getting

Before you ask for a raise, you’re going to need to know what kind of raise is reasonable. Check sites like PayScale.com and GlassDoor.com to get an idea of the industry standard for your position, then consult your colleagues to see what the story is internally. For women, that means making sure to check with your male mentors as well. As MONEY’s Margaret Magnarelli writes, female employees tend to be underpaid relative to their male counterparts, and often remain unfairly compensated because they compare salaries with female colleagues who are also underpaid. Gathering a broad cross section of salary data can help break through the ceiling.

Read more: The Foolproof Way to Make Sure You Land a Big Raise This Year

3. Be Able to Prove You’re Better than Average

The 3% average bump that Mercer projects isn’t bad, but being better than the norm can be very lucrative. In 2014, Mercer said the highest-performing employees received a 4.8% raise—more than 2 percentage points higher than the average for that year. How do you show you’re the best of the best? Gather a portfolio of past endorsements and ask satisfied clients to write testimonials. Then do your best to quantify your accomplishments so that your boss has the hard numbers as well.

Read more: 5 Ways to Get a Big Raise Now

4. Identify Your Added Value

Think about what you do that no one else at the office can do—either where you’ve particularly excelled or what highly marketable skill you bring to the table—and then frame your ask around this added value. Jim Hopkinson of SalaryTutor.com suggests framing your requests as follows: “Not only do I have [all the standard requirements that everyone else has] + but I also possess [the following unique traits that make me worth more money].”

Read more: The Secret Formula that Will Set You Apart in a Salary Negotiation

5. Just Ask!

As Wayne Gretzky said, you miss you 100% of the shots you don’t take. According to CareerBuilder, 56% of workers have never asked for a raise, which is a shame because 44% of those who did ask got the amount they asked for, and 31% still got some kind of salary boost. It might seem daunting to ask for more money with the economy still in recovery mode, but job openings are the highest they’ve been in a decade, almost three-quarters of employers say they’re worried about losing talented workers, and raises are gradually getting larger. Being assertive can be scary, but don’t let fear stand in the way of a bigger salary.

Read more: New Study Reveals the Odds You’ll Actually Get the Raise You Ask For

More from Money.com:

How to Balance Spending and Safety in Retirement

When to File an Auto Insurance Claim—and When Not To

4 Ways to Hit Your Money Goals

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 26

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. We spent more than $170 billion on the wars they fought for us. Can we spend $5 billion to give veterans a guaranteed income?

By Gar Alperovitz in Al Jazeera America

2. A ‘teaching hospital’ model could work for journalism education by making students work collectively to produce professional results.

By Adam Ragusea at Neiman Lab

3. Humans are born with an intimate understanding of pitch, rhythm, and tone. We’re all musical geniuses.

By Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis in Aeon

4. WarkaWater Towers — which produce up to 25 gallons of water out of fog and dew every day — could change lives in drought-stricken countries.

By Liz Stinson in Wired

5. Private sector investment savvy and funds can help us tackle poverty’s toughest challenges. It’s time for impact investing.

By Anne Mosle in The Hill

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY salary negotiation

The 10 Commandments of Salary Negotiation

The Ten Commandments of Salary Negotiation graphic treatment
MONEY

Thou shalt be paid more! Tech recruiter Elizabeth Morgan takes to the mount to offer some wisdom on squeezing money from a stone.

This is the first in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.

1. Never accept the first salary offer.

2. Remember that you can negotiate more than just salary. A sign-on bonus and stock options are also major components of your offer that can be negotiated.

3. Work with your recruiter. Recruiters are your friends. But they are friends who have a budget. Ideally, they want you to accept the offer they are extending to you. Provide concrete data (see #10) to support why you are asking for a different compensation package.

4. Role-play the salary-negotiation conversation. Practice, practice, practice.

5. Utilize time as your golden trump card. Let’s say you found your dream job, but still aren’t happy with the salary that is being offered to you. It’s okay to put a timer on the offer after negotiations. Suggest a short turnaround time (i.e. “I will accept this offer by 5pm today if you can deliver the offer I am asking for”) to your recruiter to provide you with the salary criteria you requested.

6. Don’t be the first to disclose a number. Always let the recruiter or hiring manager be the first to share salary ranges or an offer post interviews.

7. Keep emotion out of the process. Remember: Business is business, and you can’t count on karma or other magical thinking. Sorry.

8. Always prepare a counter offer.

9. Remember that the negotiation process revolves around two factors: what you are worth and what they are willing to pay for you.

10. Always research your value and the company prior to interviewing for a job. Data is key to effective salary negotiating. Payscale.com is a great resource to leverage when doing research to determine your professional worth and how much you should be getting paid.

Elizabeth Morgan has over 15 years of technical recruiting experience, with companies that include Microsoft, Google, Amazon and LinkedIn. Currently, she is building LinkedIn’s Engineering Leadership team and helping launch LinkedIn’s Women in Tech program.

More on salary negotiation from PayScale.com:

 

MONEY

If Women Want to Get Paid Fairly, Here’s What They Should Do

Woman CEO reviewing paper by female employee
Cultura Creative—Alamy

New research shows that high-achieving women who want to get paid fairly should work for high-achieving women.

“The higher a woman rises in Corporate America the more likely she is to be paid as much as her male peers,” said absolutely no one ever who knows anything about men, corporations, or America.

Now comes new research to suggest that no one with even the slimmest connection to reality will be tempted to say such a thing in the near future, either. Two Canadian researchers, whose findings were just published in the journal Management Science, reveal fairly conclusively “that CEOs pay officers of the opposing gender less than officers of their own gender, even when controlling for job characteristics.”

And while such a revelation might give slight pause to gender warriors—perhaps it’s familiarity bias, not sexism, behind the male-female pay disparity in American workplaces at all levels—researchers David Newton and Mikhail Simutin found only “limited evidence that male officers of female-lead firms are paid less, or that they receive smaller in increases in compensation relative to female officers.”

In other words, male-led organizations discriminate against executive-level women via paychecks to a much greater extent than female-led companies discriminate against male officers. (It’s old news that female CEOS themselves are underpaid relative to male CEOs, although progress has been made in recent years.)

What’s worse, this pay disparity often means that high-level women are paid less than men beneath them in the org chart. Looking at data from 1996-2011, the researchers found that “male CEOs pay female officers on average $46,500, or over 12% of median compensation, less than they do their male subordinates who work at the same firm. Moreover, female officers receive significantly lower increases in compensation than do male officers when the firm is headed by a male CEO.”

Not surprisingly, this gender bias is more pronounced the older the top dog in the corner office, especially if said canine is a human person of masculine gender. “Older and male CEOs exhibit the greatest propensity to differentiate on the basis of sex.”

Put another way, given that roughly 95% of the largest American companies are run by men, there is slim to no chance (and slim is on vacation) that a female officer in Corporate America is being paid fairly relative to her male peers, either at her company or in her industry or pretty much anywhere.

The study—clunkily titled Of Age, Sex, and Money: Insights from Corporate Officer Compensation on the Wage Inequality Between Genders—is interesting for other reasons. There is a growing notion that corporations in general might be better off if led by a female CEO, not least because their share prices seem to outperform those of companies helmed by men. Many reasons have been put forward to explain this, including the idea that women are more cooperative decision-makers and possess a more rational approach to risk. There’s also a theory that women are better corporate shoppers than men, e.g., they tend to pay less when acquiring companies.

That last hypothesis is supported indirectly by the Canadian study, which suggests that when shopping for talent, male CEOs—particularly older ones—pay far too much across the board. “We find evidence that male CEOs compensate their officers more richly than female CEOs do,” the authors write. “The difference in compensation by male and female chief executives amounts to $15,210 per year on average, or 4% of the median officer total compensation.”

So, to sum up: Male CEOs likely pay more to executives who manage their companies less well than suits hired at lower salaries by female CEOs (who are also paid less). Not exactly what investors think of as enhancing shareholder value.

It’s a wonder there isn’t a raft of class action suits against American corporate boards for gross negligence—for letting men run their companies at all.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Why ‘You’re Getting a Bonus’ Is Actually Horrible News

78700274
Joel Sartore—Getty Images/National Geographic RF

Sounds good. Often isn't

So your boss just said, instead of a raise this year, you’ll be eligible for a bonus. Great, right?

Not so fast. Companies today are increasingly turning to bonuses instead of raises, and while it might seem like pretty much the same thing, there are some big potential drawbacks for workers.

According to HR consulting firm Aon Hewitt’s annual Salary Increase Survey, more than 90% of companies now have what’s called, in HR jargon, “variable pay,” a category that can include signing bonuses, awards for individual or team performance, profit-sharing and the like. Nearly 13% of companies’ payroll budget, on average, is going to variable pay this year. This is a significant increase from Aon Hewitt’s pre-recession data and the trend is expected not only to continue, but to grow larger.

In the meantime, companies are still doling out raises with a relative eyedropper; last year, the average was below three percent for white-collar professional workers — a little better than the puny 1.8% it hit in 2009, but not by much.

“Based on historical trends and based on the indicators that we see — both economic and HR indicators — we think the level of spending on salaries will continue to be flat for the foreseeable future, and the level of spending on variable pay will continue to rise,” says Ken Abosch, compensation, strategy and market development leader at Aon Hewitt.

While bonuses have always been a part of the pay structure for certain jobs, like those in sales, Abosch says this trend is across the board. “We’re seeing it in pretty much every sector, including higher education and not-for-profits,” he says. So if you haven’t had your raise replaced with a bonus yet, that could be coming.

For businesses, there are a few advantages to giving bonuses instead of raises in today’s lackluster recovery. The biggest is that it’s not a permanent commitment. They dole out the money once, and they only have to repeat it if certain performance benchmarks — benchmarks which can and do change regularly — are met. Since bonuses and similar performance incentives are often viewed by workers as a sort of add-on perk, they can also be used as a “carrot” to motivate workers, and they can give workers a perception that they’re more in control of how much they earn.

That perception isn’t really based in reality, though: Performance metrics often include company-wide targets. You might be the best help-desk associate or accountant in the building, but if somebody in the corner office makes a bad decision, the company’s bottom line could tank and you can kiss that bonus goodbye.

That’s only one of the problems that switching raises with bonuses has for workers. “It impacts pensions and retirements,” Abosch says. Certain benefits calculations are based on your salary, so even if you’re getting the money in the form of a bonus, it’s not counting towards these important ancillary calculations. And if you lose that job, your unemployment benefits are calculated based on — you guessed it — your salary.

That’s not all. If you’re looking to take out a mortgage, buy a car or obtain any other kind of financing, the lender is going to look at how much you make. Depending on their underwriting practices, bonuses may or may not get the same weight as a fixed salary. The result? You could wind up paying higher interest on your loan, or even be denied outright.

TIME Automobiles

GM Lawyer Increases Death Toll From Recalled Cars

General Motors CEO Mary Barra Testifies Before Senate Committee About GM's Recalls
Alex Wong—Getty Images Attorney Kenneth Feinberg testifies during a hearing before the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee July 17, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held hearing on "Examining Accountability and Corporate Culture in Wake of the GM Recalls."

The figure has now been raised to 19 and is expected to go even higher

A lawyer for General Motors has raised the number of eligible compensation claims for deaths related to defective ignition switches in millions of recalled cars.

The death toll from the recalled cars is 19, not 13, as GM had originally indicated. That’s according to an assessment released Monday by GM lawyer Kenneth R. Feinberg, who manages a compensation program for accident victims and surviving families.

The Detroit-based automaker in February recalled more than 2 million of its cars after it acknowledged that switches in the vehicles were prone to shifting, cutting the engine’s power and deactivating airbags and other safety systems. The company had previously said it believed that the faulty switches had led to 13 deaths.

GM has given Feinberg “complete and sole discretion over all compensation awards,” and has waived its right to disagree with his numbers, the company has said. GM said on Monday that it accepts the new, higher assessment of the death toll, Bloomberg reports.

“Ken Feinberg and his team will independently determine the final number of eligible individuals,” a spokesman for GM told Bloomberg. “What is most important is that we are doing the right thing for those who lost loved ones and for those who suffered physical injury.”

GM has so far received 125 death claims, and it is not known how many of those claims might be found eligible in the coming weeks or months. The auto giant is expected to receive even more claims before its Dec. 31 deadline.

GM has also received 58 claims for serious injuries, including brain damage, pervasive burns, double amputation, paraplegia and quadriplegia. Four of those claims have been deemed eligible. Another 262 claims have been received for lesser injuries that required hospitalization or outpatient treatment, eight of which have been accepted.

GM has said its compensation program has no cap and that it will pay any sum that Feinberg “deems appropriate in each and every individual case.” In July, it said it had allocated between $400 million and $600 million for the fund, though it has not yet said how much each individual claim so far approved is worth.

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