The Trump travel ban on Muslim-majority countries may be associated with preterm births among women, study says

The 2017 travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on seven Muslim-majority countries may be associated with an increase in preterm births among women from those countries residing in the United States, according to a new study.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.


© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.

The study, published last week in the journal Social Science and Medicine, analyzed preterm birth rates among women from countries impacted by the travel ban: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Researchers found an increase after the ban, with a preterm birth rate of 8.6% between February and September 2017. That percentage rose from 8.5% before the ban, between January 2009 and December 2016.

By comparison, US-born, non-Hispanic White women held a steady 8.6% preterm birth rate throughout the time frames.

The 0.1 percentage point increase may not seem dramatic, but it means that the odds of women from these countries having preterm births increased by 6.8%, according to lead author Goleen Samari, an assistant professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“It’s a massive change when you think about a 6.8% increase,” Samurai told CNN. And because these women typically have better birth outcomes than non-Hispanic White women, Samari says, going from better to worse is significant.

Stress could be reason behind preterm births

To calculate the change, the team used a time series model to estimate the expected preterm birth numbers had the ban not been issued. They used data beginning in 2009 to see what the expected number of preterm births among women from the banned countries would be in 2017 and 2018, after the ban went into place. The team then compared the expected amount of preterm births to the actual amount, showing the elevated trend.

The researchers could not say why the policy led to a rise in preterm births. However, Samurai says that the researchers hypothesized that it was due to stress — either the initial acute stressful shock of the first order or chronic stress exposure as the ban continued to change and make headlines for its court filings or protests.

Another reason could be a decline of quality care, as some women may have avoided prenatal care because they may have felt like they were in a discriminatory environment, Samari says.

Researchers also noted some limitations in their analysis, notably that they did not use individual-level information in their analysis, like maternal facts, political ideology or gestational risk factors that may have contributed to preterm births.

The study stands out for its focus on women from the Middle East and North Africa, who tend to be overlooked as they are classified as non-Hispanic White in data, the researchers say. They add that no study had focused on the impact of a policy that is considered xenophobic and Islamophobic.

Preterm births and poor birth outcomes are “sensitive markers of temporally acute stressors from social and economic threats to

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The 2017 travel ban may be associated with preterm births among women from the targeted countries, study says

The 2017 travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on seven Muslim-majority countries may be associated with an increase in preterm births among women from those countries residing in the United States, according to a new study.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.


© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.

The study, published last week in the journal Social Science and Medicine, analyzed preterm birth rates among women from countries impacted by the travel ban: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

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Researchers found an increase after the ban, with a preterm birth rate of 8.6% between February and September 2017. That percentage rose from 8.5% before the ban, between January 2009 and December 2016.

By comparison, US-born, non-Hispanic White women held a steady 8.6% preterm birth rate throughout the time frames.

The 0.1 percentage point increase may not seem dramatic, but it means that the odds of women from these countries having preterm births increased by 6.8%, according to lead author Goleen Samari, an assistant professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“It’s a massive change when you think about a 6.8% increase,” Samurai told CNN. And because these women typically have better birth outcomes than non-Hispanic White women, Samari says, going from better to worse is significant.

Stress could be reason behind preterm births

To calculate the change, the team used a time series model to estimate the expected preterm birth numbers had the ban not been issued. They used data beginning in 2009 to see what the expected number of preterm births among women from the banned countries would be in 2017 and 2018, after the ban went into place. The team then compared the expected amount of preterm births to the actual amount, showing the elevated trend.

The researchers could not say why the policy led to a rise in preterm births. However, Samurai says that the researchers hypothesized that it was due to stress — either the initial acute stressful shock of the first order or chronic stress exposure as the ban continued to change and make headlines for its court filings or protests.

Another reason could be a decline of quality care, as some women may have avoided prenatal care because they may have felt like they were in a discriminatory environment, Samari says.

Researchers also noted some limitations in their analysis, notably that they did not use individual-level information in their analysis, like maternal facts, political ideology or gestational risk factors that may have contributed to preterm births.

The study stands out for its focus on women from the Middle East and North Africa, who tend to be overlooked as they are classified as non-Hispanic White in data, the researchers say. They add that no study had focused on the impact of a policy that is considered xenophobic and Islamophobic.

Preterm births and poor birth outcomes are “sensitive markers of temporally acute stressors from social and economic threats

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The Top Women’s-Only Travel Tours That Offer Flexibility For Booking

In the past few years, women’s-only tours have grown in popularity. Right now, travel is at a standstill and no one knows for certain when it will resume—but that isn’t stopping female-identifying people from booking future travels to remain optimistic and someday soon experience one of these tours for themselves.

Of course, you might be a little hesitant to book a tour right now. What you want is a company that prioritizes safety and allows you to book with confidence. What women’s only tours can consumers consider that offer flexibility with booking and a generous change policy? Here are TK tour companies to consider.

Purposeful Nomad

Purposeful Nomad specializes in small group tours that focus on culture and use local guides. They practice and preach sustainable travel by working with responsible organizations for authentic community connection and a meaningful impact. Some of their destinations include Mongolia (new for 2021), Georgia, and Tanzania. Trips are confirmed at least 60 days prior to departure, but if the company must cancel then clients are refunded completely.

Intrepid Travel Women’s Expeditions

Intrepid Travel launched their Women’s Expeditions because they found that some experiences in certain countries weren’t possible in co-ed groups. Some unique experiences include getting to know Bedouin women in Wadi Rum, Jordan, or relaxing in a women’s only salon in Iran. Intrepid offers a new Flexible Bookings Policy, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip, with no change fees.

Origin Travels

If you’re looking for a women’s-only tour that doesn’t feel like a typical travel tour, check out Oirgin Travels. Their Kenya trip is a perfect example: whereas many Kenya tours focus solely on the safari experience, Origin Travels connects travelers with local women who are changemakers, and the tour heads to the coast. They offer payment If your trip is cancelled to COVID-19 related reasons, a rescheduled date will be offered, or the full trip amount can be credited towards a future departure. 

Wild Terrains

Wild Terrains tours don’t just cater to women—they’re also powered by women. They partner with incredible women locally for all of their tours, including their most recent destination, Argentina. This tour company’s booking policy has always embraced flexibility. They ask for a 50% non-refundable

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Travel Gifts That Give Back

There’s nothing more rewarding than giving a gift, especially one that doubles its impact by donating to a good cause. Not only do you make your recipient happy but you actually make a difference in the world.

All of these travel gifts give back so you can shop with a conscience and easily rationalize buying for yourself as well as your loved ones.

Hawthorne Slip On Words Matter from SeaVees

SeaVees’ Hawthorne slip on is a wardrobe essential in itself so it’s the perfect canvas for an essential message. “Words Matter” is etched all along the foxing, and the classic sneaker has been printed with original redacted government document-inspired artwork by DJ Javier. Available in both men and women’s sizes, each shoe is unique, and the print on the left is slightly different from the print on the right, making it even more of a conversation piece. Because comfort matters, too, the Hawthorne features a contoured, cushy foam footbed with extra heel-strike cushion. Price: $95, with 5% of all proceeds going to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes freedom of the press worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

Essential Cases from Someone Somewhere

These multi-tasking bags would be highly desirable for their looks alone but the fact that they’re helping to lift artisans out of poverty in Latin American countries should raise them to the top of your gift list. The Essentials Bag comes with a detachable strap so it can be worn in six different ways, and it’s made with a traditional weaving technique passed down through generations. What makes it really special, though, is the interior label signed by the Someone who crafted it and indicating the Somewhere they call home. Price: $35, with sales increasing the monthly income of artisans in poor Latin American communities by more than 300%.

Jabots for Justice

These beautiful replicas of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconic collars are ethically handcrafted by female artisans in Guatemala, through La Casa Cotzal, a partner of Nest, a nonprofit that works with artisans and makers to build a world of greater gender equity and economic inclusion. The stunning beadwork makes for a fitting tribute to the Notorious RBG, and the jabot comes in its own little pouch so you can travel with it and find yourself in fascinating conversations with people around the world. Price: $40, which is a tax-deductible donation to Nest.

Portococo Spray and Refill Bundle

Since you have to carry hand sanitizer everywhere you go these days, you want

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The Best Travel Jigsaw Puzzles To Quench Your Wanderlust

Just as travel has always been a great way to escape, travel jigsaw puzzles have become the escape of choice during the pandemic.

Jigsaw puzzles, in general, have become the activity for the pandemic, with sales doubling and tripling as people have found it a relaxing and satisfying way to escape the news, de-stress and create beautiful pieces of art in the process.

New puzzle companies are thriving, thanks to vibrant, unexpected images that transport you somewhere else, literally leave those boring old landscapes in the dust. They’re creating puzzles that will let you experience some of your favorite destinations in a whole new way.

“I asked myself what people were fantasizing about and realized it was travel: being far away in space and time from where we all were,” said Mia Galison, founder of Piece & Love by eeBoo. “The smell of food not cooked by you, the sounds of crowds, airplane solitude, sleepy taxi rides to unexplored destinations. It was all about traveling somewhere while staying put, disconnecting from the now for a little while, absorbed in the calm, pleasing act of putting together a beautiful jigsaw puzzle.”

Eric Dowdle, who’s been creating travel puzzles for more than two decades, agrees. “Unlike a picture that hangs on your wall, puzzles keep you engaged. For hours, you examine and study each piece and every detail. I’ve found that people love art that exposes them to new beauty, new feelings and even great memories. What better way to relive that fabulous vacation or time spent in a different part of the world? If it’s a place you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet, spending hours assembling a puzzle of that location can transport your imagination into the image and allow you to connect in memorable ways.”

Here are some of the best travel puzzles and puzzle companies out there. All of these puzzles will become treasured gifts, and you may want to pick up a couple for yourself to get you through this time of staying home without going stir crazy.

Botany from Cloudberries

This gorgeous 1000-piece puzzle will send visions of flowers and mountains and piazzas dancing through your head. Featuring art by Japanese painter, Naomi Okubo, its strong linen-coated pieces have a premium matte finish that looks great and feels good as you snap them together. The UK-based Cloudberries puts an emphasis on design, and plants a tree for every puzzle sold. Price: $24.95

Roadtrip from Wander Puzzle Co.

This woman-owned business supports international female artists, like Ana Hard from Bilbao, Spain, who created this girl-powered puzzle that will bring a smile to the face of any woman who has ever gone on a music- and snack-filled road trip with her BFF. In fact, it’s such a fun puzzle, it just may inspire another trip.

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Travel Products Made By Women

As small business owners have been hit hard by the pandemic-related economic brunt, consider their products and services as holiday gift options. In buying what they make to give to others, it’s a way of giving back by financially supporting them in return. Here are our gift suggestions for travel-related or inspired products by women business owners and entrepreneurs.

“The Dining Traveler Guide to Puerto Rico,” $39.95 

Food and travel writer Jessica van Dop DeJesus — also known by her brand’s name, “The Dining Traveler”  — enlisted documentary photographer Italo Morales to go on a month-long journey across Puerto Rico. The result of their collaboration is this pictorial guide to this island, which transports readers through photography, accounts from locals, and a more in-depth look at Puerto Rico’s lesser-known regions.

Customized Road Trip Guides, CrushGlobal, varied pricing

Through her travel company, Kristin Braswell has developed a series of U.S. road trip guides focusing on not only places to go to but also emphasizing inclusivity across the travel and hospitality spectrum. Each guide lists businesses that are black, women and/or LGBTQ-owned, recommendations for culinary, outdoor and other personal interests, and notes regarding any safety precautions and COVID-19 mandates. Custom itineraries begin at $299 and can vary based on how many days and experiences. Ready-to-use guides range from $29 to $59 and cover Northern and Southern California, the Northeast, and the South.

Food Tour In A Box Series, Global Tours Connect, starting at $35

Co-run by Midgi Moore and Lauren McCabe Herpich, to support fellow women food tour operators, Global Tours Connect offers themed and boxed epicurean experiences with food products from various U.S. destinations. Get wild Alaska salmon or goodies sold at Cincinnati’s historic Findlay Market or key lime delectables from Key West.

Shampoo and conditioner bar travel sets, Unwrapped Life, $32

A plastic-free beauty brand by sisters Allison and Arden Teasdale, Unwrapped Life’s line of shampoo and conditioner bars suit various hair types and needs. The bars are described as being vegan and cruelty-free and can last at least up to 50 washes. They all come with a pair of rust-resistant matte gold travel tins.

Quick Dry Microfiber Travel Towel With Pocket, DryFoxCo, $39.95

Samantha Peck came up with a solution for making towels able to store your valuables — as in your phone — and be less susceptible to getting and staying soaked. Her lightweight and quick-drying design does incorporate a water-resistant pocket for securing valuables and can fold up to fit in a daypack.

Various Gift Sets, Naples Soap Company, starting at $30

Nurse-turned-entrepreneur Deanna Wallin started experimenting with making soaps to find a solution for treating her child’s

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10 Of The Best ‘Buy Now, Travel Later’ Deals

Planning future travel, whether that’s in a few weeks or a few months, is part of the enjoyment for many people. The excitement and anticipation of an upcoming trip can be motivating at work or for kids in school. Travel companies have been working especially hard to encourage travel planning, which also helps to support industry jobs in the process.

Robots, road trips, and hygiene and wellness managers will continue to be part of travel in 2021 as hotels and airlines work hard to reassure travelers that the experience is safe.

To encourage future travel, these companies are providing flexible travel policies and extra incentive to pay for travel now regardless of when you actually take the trip. The anticipation and excitement of a future trip may be the ideal gift for the holidays this year.

The Leading Hotels of the World Stay It Forward certificates

Stay It Forward certificates pack in extra value at a time when hotels, and their employees, may need it most. Hotels are donating 100 percent of the funds from these prepaid certificates to employees facing financial hardships or charities in their communities.

Valid through 2022, the $1,500 certificates include a two-night stay at double occupancy, special onsite experience (like wine blending in Argentina or behind-the-scenes tours of the kitchen at The Ritz London), a year-long membership in the Leaders Club program (normally $175 per year), and 1,500 Leaders Club points (a free night starts at 3,000 points). Participating hotels include Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, Croatia; Paradisus Los Cabos, Mexico; and The Vines Resort & Spa in Mendoza, Argentina.

Six Senses Plan Now, Play Later certificates

Available for purchase between now and Dec. 20, these prepaid certificates come with an additional 20 percent credit that can be used on-property for activities, food and beverage, or spa. Six Senses’ Plan Now, Play Later certificates are valid for three years from the date of purchase at participating resorts around the world. Travelers can choose the amount they want to purchase, starting at $1,000, and the specific property where they plan to use it. Six Senses guests are eligible to earn points in the IHG Rewards Club program, too, adding even more value to these certificates.

Montage Hotels & Resorts Spirit of Now offer

The Montage Hotels & Resorts group is offering a Spirit of Now package that includes a $100 resort credit for each night reserved (as much as $300 for certain suite and residence reservations) in advance and a complimentary upgrade, based upon availability, at check-in. For those that

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The Best Gifts For Families That Travel

Everyone had to stay home a lot more this year, but families faced some extra challenges balancing work and school in the house. This was particularly hard for those households who love to hit the road. So, to bring a little cheer to those families in your life who love to travel, why not get a gift that gets them excited (and prepared) for that next trip? Here are some great options. 

Medjet Membership

There’s nothing better than giving someone peace of mind no matter where in the world they are. That’s what a Medjet membership provides. The global air-medical transport and travel security membership program is ideal for loved ones who are always on the move. With a MedjetAssist membership (around $399 for a one-year family membership), if a member is 150 miles from home and needs to be hospitalized, Medjet will provide access to its medical consultants’ team language translators and arrange air medical transfer to the member’s hospital of choice. There are no health questions, claim forms, or deductibles. 

JUDY Emergency Kit

Accidents will happen with little ones on the road. Help your loved ones be prepared with JUDY. The safety brand creates smartly designed emergency kits ($45) geared towards families. It comes with N95 masks, gloves, a First Aid kit, sanitizer, wet wipes, and tissues. Plus, it’s the size of a pencil kit so that you can throw it in any bag. No wonder Oprah just named them one of her Favorite Things for 2020.

LARQ Bottle

There are always those families who like trips off the beaten path, which means it’s harder to come by necessities like clean water. The LARQ Bottle ($76 for a 17oz bottle) is great for families who travel thanks to its self-cleaning technology and water purification system. The built-in UV-C LED light eliminates up to 99.9999% of bio-contaminants from the water and bottle. And the company just came out with the Terra collection this year, with colorways inspired by nature and travel.

Little Passports

Keep kids engaged with the world even when they’re not on the move with the Little Passports subscription service. The monthly themed kit arrives in a miniature suitcase and is filled with activities (food, geography, archeology), hands-on building projects, as well as STEM projects, and unexpected treats. Children learn about languages, landmarks, and more to get them excited about destinations. Prices start at $17.95 a month.

Bombol Pop Up Booster

Perfect for families with youngsters, the Bombol origami booster for $149 instantly becomes a sturdy, comfortable seat to suit any location and folds to be as flat as a small

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Air Canada Launches Unique Holiday Campaign Celebrating The Gift Of Travel

Air Canada just launched the Gift of Travel, an integrated initiative that pays homage to the actions of community heroes who are making a memorable impact when helping their fellow Canadians during Covid-19. The program focuses on hope and optimism to raise funds and Aeroplan points for Canadian charitable organizations and it also offers people dreaming of travel a new flexible travel pass product.

 “Canadians from across the country have shown remarkable resilience, solidarity and generosity in the face of COVID-19 and we were inspired hearing stories of people who dedicated their time and energy to caring for others, making a memorable impact on other people’s lives. We are proud to launch this campaign with our Gift of Travel video featuring heartwarming stories of community heroes and share the gift of travel through a message of hope and optimism from our employees as we all look forward to brighter days ahead,” said Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer at Air Canada. “We are also proud to continue our long-standing effort through the Air Canada Foundation in supporting communities through its inaugural Gift of Travel auction and the annual Aeroplan Matching Campaign.” 

The Gift of Travel campaign also features stories on Air Canada’s social media platforms that center on the inspirational work Air Canada employees are doing to make a difference in their own communities. 

Gift of Travel Auction

On December 1, 2020 the Air Canada Foundation will launch its first ever online Gift of Travel Auction. The auction will feature an array of more than a hundred unique aviation items, such as special travel-related experiences, including the opportunity to own pieces of aviation history and the chance to fly on an aircraft simulator. Other auction items include an incredible kids’ ride-on airplane and a private dinner with one of Air Canada’s celebrated Canadian Chefs.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Gift of Travel Auction will be distributed by the Air Canada Foundation to Canadian charitable organizations that are focused on the health and wellness of children and youth.

Matching Campaign Week

In addition to the Gift of Travel Auction, the annual Aeroplan Matching Campaign week supporting the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program also returns. The campaign allows Aeroplan members to give the gift of health by connecting sick children to the medical care they need away from home.

From December 7 to December 13, 2020, members who donate Aeroplan points to the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program will double the impact of their contribution with all donated points matched up to 500,000 points. You can read more about the Gift of Travel initiative on the Air Canada website.

The Air Canada Foundation is a

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Chase Bank opens in Greenville; GSP travel update; Main Street news; online shopping tips | Greenville Business

The largest bank in America opened its first branch in Greenville last week.

Chase Bank is undergoing a five-year, local-market expansion that last year brought the banking behemoth to Clemson. After that first branch opened, Chase followed with a second branch this summer in Mount Pleasant.

The Greenville branch, at 652 Haywood Road, is the bank’s third location in South Carolina, and it has plans to open another four by year’s end, according to a company spokeswoman who contacted The Post and Courier last week.



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Going into 2021, three of Chase’s seven South Carolina branches will be in Greenville. The other two branches will be at 1221 Woodruff Road, site of a former Applebee’s restaurant, and 2 State Park Road, site of a former Wendy’s restaurant in the Cherrydale shopping center.

The bank already has 600,000 customers in South Carolina through credit-card accounts, mortgages and other loans, investments and existing checking/savings accounts that newcomers to the state have carried in with them.

“What we found is we had so many people moving, it’s such a desirable place to live, we have Chase customers moving to Greenville every day from California, New York, Chicago and other places,” said Mark Lucas, the Carolinas market director for wealth management.

Lucas is based in Charlotte, N.C., and Alfonso Hernandez is moving here from New Jersey to be Chase’s South Carolina market director.

“I stumbled upon the waterfall in the center of town,” Hernandez said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful city. And equally beautiful people.”



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Chase already has a business banking branch in downtown Greenville, open since 2015, and previously made a $4.1 million New Market Tax Credit investment in the Highland Baking Co. project in Spartanburg.

Nationwide, Chase serves 61 million households.

“The theory here for us is when we open these locations, with that comes a litany of resources for clients and employees,” Hernandez said.

The Columbus, Ohio-based Chase had consolidated assets of $2.9 billion as of Sept. 30, according to the Federal Reserve. Bank of America has $2 billion, and Wells Fargo has $1.7 billion. Chase also has the largest number of domestic branches, at nearly 5,000.

The bank is hiring, Hernandez said. Entry-level jobs will pay $15 an hour plus benefits.

Holiday air travel update

Get all the latest updates on the Upstate real estate market, more openings and closings, exclusive development news and more in your inbox each week.

Passenger air travel seems to have reached a plateau the past few months as erstwhile travelers wait for widespread vaccines and reduced restrictions. Even during a pandemic, though, the holiday season gets people moving.

“The week looks good when you compare it to last week,” said Greenville-Spartanburg International President and CEO Dave Edwards on Monday. “It’s all relative. We’re still probably running about 50 percent of normal traffic when we look at the loads that are projected for this Thanksgiving week.”



GSP President and CEO Dave Edwards

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport President and CEO Dave Edwards, center, and Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Commission Chairperson Minor Shaw, left,

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