Inmates cook up a storm in Changi catering kitchen as part of training, rehab programme, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – When father-of-two Faruk was sentenced to seven years and 10 months’ jail in 2017 for drug-related offences, he did not expect to find a passion for decorating cakes or learning how to fold pastries while behind bars.

The 38-year-old, who declined to give his full name, spends six days a week in a kitchen as part of his work programme during his incarceration in the Changi Prison Complex.

While his family has yet to try his creations, the former mechanic hopes to make his sons, aged 12 and 13, their favourite strawberry cheesecake, when he is released.

“My family was surprised that I could bake cakes. I could see from their faces that they are happy I’m learning because I have never done this kind of thing before,” said Faruk in a phone interview on Wednesday (Oct 7). “(In the kitchen,) I learnt how to be patient, relax, and come up with more ideas to decorate (the cakes).”

He hopes to work in a pastry shop after his release.

About 30 or so inmates are chosen every year to work in The Changi Tearoom, after they have attended correctional programmes that support their rehabilitation.

They are chosen based on interest or prior experience working in the food and beverage sector. Other programmes include tailoring workshops and working in call centres.

Located in the prison complex, the catering kitchen serves as an industry-standard training ground for offenders.

It is managed by YR Industries, a subsidiary of the Yellow Ribbon Singapore. While the public can usually order catering services from the kitchen, it currently serves only prison staff in the light of Covid-19 safety measures.

Another offender, who wanted to be known only as Michael, said he refined his skills in The Changi Tearoom kitchen.

He is serving a 5½

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A Contractor’s Guide To Trump’s Diversity Training Order

Law360 (October 2, 2020, 5:42 PM EDT) — Federal contractors have long provided various types of anti-harassment, nondiscrimination and diversity and inclusion, or D&I, training to their employees. After the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed, D&I training has proliferated in workplaces across the country, including within federal agencies and in the contractor community.

In response to the widespread public protests for racial equality, many companies and executives issued public statements denouncing racism. Many also pledged millions of dollars to social justice organizations. In numerous workplaces, employees have taken the initiative to organize book clubs and discussion circles focused specifically on promoting open workplace discussions…

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AHRQ creates COVID-19 training network for nursing homes

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality along with the University of New Mexico’s Project ECHO and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement have partnered to establish a network that will provide training on COVID-19-related safety practices for nursing home employees.

The network, dubbed the National Nursing Home COVID Action Network, was established as part of $2 billion in congressional funding HHS received from Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to improve infection control in nursing homes. The network is part of an AHRQ contract valued up to $237 million.

Nursing homes are vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID-19 because of the age, frailty and sickliness of residents as well as the communal living practices. In response, the federal government has offered support to nursing homes through additional funding and training opportunities.

“Protecting vulnerable older Americans in nursing homes is a central part of our fight against COVID-19, and we’ve learned that improving infection control in many nursing homes is not a matter of will but of skill,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a statement. “AHRQ is deploying its unique expertise in partnership with Project ECHO and IHI to help nursing homes protect both their residents and staff from the virus, slowing the spread and saving lives.”

The more than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement can participate in the network. The training is 16 weeks long and uses a curriculum established by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Some of the topic areas of the training program are best practices for using personal protective equipment, infection control practices during COVID-19 and how to manage asymptomatic or mild cases of the virus. The curriculum will be modified as more is learned about the virus, AHRQ said in a news release.

Project ECHO is

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Trump ban on ‘divisive’ and ‘anti-American’ training for federal contractors has workplace diversity experts worried

Diversity and inclusion training providers are concerned recent strides in corporate America to address racial and gender disparities will take a back seat after President Donald Trump ordered restrictions on racial sensitivity training for federal contractors.

a man standing in front of a computer: Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory test X-ray equipment for the scientific investigation of an 1,800 year-old Egyptian mummy at the Advanced Photon Source on Nov. 27, 2017.

© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory test X-ray equipment for the scientific investigation of an 1,800 year-old Egyptian mummy at the Advanced Photon Source on Nov. 27, 2017.

Many Chicago-area companies expanded their workplace diversity training programs earlier this year following the civil unrest resulting from George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.

The topics of white privilege, systemic racism and unconscious bias have become focal points in those programs, consultants say. Now, they’re the target of an order from Trump cutting off funding to contractors who teach “divisive” and “anti-American” concepts.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order that bars federal contractors from promoting race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in their diversity training programs. Companies could risk losing contracts if they don’t comply.

The Chicago area is home to some of the biggest federal contractors, including aerospace manufacturer Boeing and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories, which recently inked a deal with the federal government to provide 150 million rapid COVID-19 antigen tests. Neither responded to requests for comment.

a large building: Argonne National Lab's Advance Photon Source building on March 15, 2019.

© Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Argonne National Lab’s Advance Photon Source building on March 15, 2019.

Under the order, contractors are prohibited from teaching concepts that “promote divisiveness in the workplace and distract from the pursuit of excellence and collaborative achievements in public administration.”

Contractors can’t teach that the U.S. is fundamentally racist or sexist, claim members of a certain race are oppressors or put blame on a certain race or sex for past actions committed by other members of the

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Hotline is Open to Report Contractors’ Defiance of New EO on Diversity Training

The Labor Department launched a hotline on Tuesday to report any non-compliance by federal contractors with the Trump administration’s recent ban on certain employee diversity and inclusion training. 

President Trump’s executive order last week, along with the supplemental guidance issued on Monday, cracked down on employee diversity and inclusion training for federal agencies, contractors, grant recipients and the military that is “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country.” The order required Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to launch a hotline for complaints on contractors not following the order. It can now be reached at 202-343-2008 or

The hotline can be used for the recent executive order as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity executive order, signed in 1965, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis on sex, race, skin color, religion, gender identity, national origin or sexual orientation. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will investigate complaints and “take appropriate enforcement action and provide remedial relief, as appropriate,” said Trump’s directive last week. 

“OFCCP’s Division of Policy and Program Development will monitor the hotline. Complaints requiring an investigation will be sent to the appropriate Regional and District Offices for review and handling,” a Labor Department spokesperson told Government Executive. The hotline “accepts complaints 24/7” and complainants “will receive a response confirming receipt soon after.” The spokesperson did not say how many employees will staff it. 

Overall, the executive order requires that federal contractors not use employee training material that has any type of race or sex “stereotyping” or “scapegoating,” send each labor union or collective bargaining representative a notice (provided by their contracting officer) that outlines their commitment under the executive order and include provisions from the executive order in all subcontracts or purchase orders,

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