Family sues Amazon for $30m claiming hoverboard burned down their house
Tennessee family blames an exploding battery a common occurrence that has led to a mass recall for setting their million-dollar home on fire
It has been nearly a year since the self-balancing scooters known as hoverboards were setting sales charts on fire, but the resulting litigation (from the resulting real-world fires) is just getting started.
A family in Nashville, Tennessee, has filed a $30m lawsuit against Amazon, arguing that the online retailer should be held liable for the ill-fated Christmas present that burned their house down.
Megan Fox purchased what she thought was a FITBURO F1 with an original Samsung advanced battery from a company called W-Deals through Amazons website on 3 November 2015, according to the complaint.
The hoverboard remained in a closet until Christmas, when it was given to her 14-year-old son.
Two of the familys children were at home at the time of the fire and had to escape by breaking windows and jumping from the second floor. The million-dollar house and most of the familys belongings went up in flames.
Study offers potential breakthrough in care of children with autism
Symptoms improve after parents are trained to better understand and interact with preschool children, researchers say
A new form of therapy has for the first time been shown to improve the symptoms and behaviour of autistic children, offering a potential breakthrough in care for millions of families.
Six years after parents were trained to better understand and interact with their preschool children, researchers found that the therapy had moderated the behaviour of those who had been severely autistic, unresponsive or unable to speak.
A child who might have run around a supermarket squealing, heedless of their parent, putting objects in their mouth and pushing past shoppers to try to press the buttons at checkout, might instead wait in the queue and even help load the trolley, the research found.
The success of the preschool autism communication trial (Pact) has surprised even the researchers who designed it. There are no drugs to treat the condition, which typically sets in around the age of two, and many families have tried intensive training of their children by therapists, with mixed results. Pact instead trained the parents to help their children.
Prof Jonathan Green at the University of Manchester, who led the study published in the Lancet medical journal, said they had not found the cure for autism, but he and his team believed it had great potential and hoped it would be widely adopted.
The advantage of this approach over a direct therapist-child intervention is that it has potential to affect the everyday life of the child, he said. Our findings are encouraging, as they represent an improvement in the core symptoms of autism previously thought very resistant to change.
This is not a cure, in the sense that the children who demonstrated improvements will still show remaining symptoms to a variable extent, but it does suggest that working with parents to interact with their children in this way can lead to improvements in symptoms over the long term.
The trial involved 152 children aged two to four. The families visited a clinic twice a week for six months, where parents were videoed with their children and a box of toys. Autistic children might not interact with their parents at all, but when eventually a child did offer a toy or made a noise that could be interpreted as a request, the incident was rerun on video and the parent encouraged to respond. If the child offered a toy, the parent reciprocated. If the child said a word, the parent repeated it and added something. The practice was repeated at home every day.
The therapy continued with the parents for the next six months with less intensity. At the end of the first year, the researchers could see the children had improved, but the most dramatic development was seen at the follow-up six years later. At the start of the trial, 50% of those in the control group who did not get the therapy and 55% of those who did were assessed as severely autistic. The children in the intervention group, though, got better. The proportion assessed as severe in the control group was 63% by the end of six years, compared with 46% in the intervention group.
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“In Afghanistan, girls suffer the most,” explains Massood Sanjer, director general of entertainment at Moby G roup, the parent company of the two privately-owned Afghan TV channels that broadcast “Bahgch-e-Simsim.”
“Creating a girl character to be a hero can get the parents to think that girls and boys can be equal, and that actually girls could be better sometimes in terms of their talents.”
Education through TV
On “Bahgch-e-Simsim,” Zari teaches numbers and letters from the alphabet. She also sings songs and introduces subjects such as art and cooking.
Her segments air alongside appearances by other internationally recognized “Sesame Street” characters.
For the past five years, 26-year old Zubair Ahmad Kakarr has provided the Afghan voices for many of these Muppets, including Cookie Monster, Grover and Bert [of the apartment-sharing duo Bert and Ernie].
In a darkened sound studio, Kakarr growls and yelps in Dari along with a televised recording of Grover, who is on screen introducing viewers to a globe of the world.
As Kakarr puts it, “Bahgch-e-Simsim” has two main goals: education and fun.
Education is important in a country like Afghanistan, which has among the world’s lowest rates of literacy.
One subject the program does not address is the war.
Producers say they are trying to provide a safe haven from the conflict that continues to tear Afghanistan apart.
“We want to give this idea for the children that it’s not just about war in our country,” explains Shirzad. “We want to make them happy and make them laugh.”
But the entire production team struggles with the difficult balance between creating the Sesame Garden fantasy in the television studio, and facing the reality of the dangerous world outside.
Those threats became all too real last January when a Taliban suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying employees home from work at the TV station.
At least seven broadcasters and journalists were killed, including 31-year old program editor Sayed Jawad Hussaini.
“It was like losing a family member,” says Jawed Taiman, executive producer of the program.
“It’s not easy to forget everything… your problems, your country’s problems,” explains Shirzad.
“You just have to focus on Zari, on laughing… on making her alive,” she says.