'They've built a garden in the middle of a cyclone': House Rules couples marvel at their renovated yards after devastating Queensland storms halted production

The devastation caused by Queensland’s Cyclone Debbie forced House Rules to halt production last episode.

But with everything back on schedule on Sunday, the contestants were able to continue with their next challenge- executing two stunning garden makeovers.

In a sneak peak released this Friday, the couples were overjoyed to witness their brand new yards for the first time.

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Overcoming the odds! In a House Rules sneak peak released Friday, the couples were overjoyed upon witnessing their brand new yards for the first time

The Queensland contestants had faced a daunting task upon returning to the building site after wild weather hit.

In the sneak preview footage, the contestants were sent scurrying the second the countdown timer resumed with seven hours and two minutes to go.

‘We’re going to need those extra two minutes,’ Kate joked.

Devastation: Couples faced a daunting task upon return, after Cyclone Debbie hit Aaron and Daniella's house so badly, the clock had to be stopped for the first time in the show's history

Devastation: Couples faced a daunting task upon return, after Cyclone Debbie hit Aaron and Daniella’s house so badly, the clock had to be stopped for the first time in the show’s history

Relief! But in a relieving surprise, footage from the clip showed couple's on the verge of tears upon witnessing the transformations

Relief! But in a relieving surprise, footage from the clip showed couple’s on the verge of tears upon witnessing the transformations

The contestants appeared to have pulled things together at the last minute, however, as implied by footage showing the couples lost for words upon witnessing the transformations.

Queensland local Daniella was shown walking down the street, squealing with elated shock at the first glimpse of her garden.

Images from their front yard showed renovated entry steps, a new lawn and a brand new driveway.

Elation! Queensland local Daniella squealed with elation after seeing her renovated entry steps, a lawn refresh and a brand new driveway

Elation! Queensland local Daniella squealed with elation after seeing her renovated entry steps, a lawn refresh and a brand new driveway

Impressive! Meanwhile, Tasmania's Sean and Ella were equally impressed as they lay eyes on their once run-down garden

Impressive! Meanwhile, Tasmania’s Sean and Ella were equally impressed as they lay eyes on their once run-down garden

Meanwhile, Tasmania’s Sean and Ella were equally impressed as they lay eyes on their once run-down garden.

Gone was dug-up soil and dead grass that once dominated the backyard, replaced with fresh green grass and a luxurious outdoor timber table setting.

Even hard-to-please judge Laurence Llewelyn Bowen was impressed, applauding: They have (managed to) build a garden in the middle of a Cyclone!’

Two gardens are revealed on Channel Seven’s House Rules, 7:00 on Sunday night.

Lush! Gone was dug-up soil and dead grass that once dominated the backyard, replaced with fresh green grass and a luxurious outdoor timber table setting

Lush! Gone was dug-up soil and dead grass that once dominated the backyard, replaced with fresh green grass and a luxurious outdoor timber table setting

Full reveal: The Two gardens are revealed in full on Channel Seven’s House Rules, 7:00 on Sunday night

 

Uber Director Bonderman Resigns After Making Joke About Women at Company Meeting on Sexual Harassment

HIGHLIGHTS

  • David Bonderman has quit Uber after he made inappropriate comments
  • The comments were targeted towards women working at Uber
  • He later sent an apology along with his resignation

Billionaire businessman David Bonderman, a member of Uber’s board, resigned Tuesday after making what he called an “inappropriate” comment about women at a company-wide meeting that was aimed at addressing the harassment of women and other unprofessional conduct within the company.

The comment came as an interruption of fellow board member Arianna Huffington, who was explaining the benefits of having more female representation on Uber’s board.

Uber Director Bonderman Resigns After Making Joke About Women at Company Meeting on Sexual Harassment

“There’s a lot of data that shows when there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board,” said Huffington, according to several people who heard the remarks.

“Actually,” Bonderman interjected, “what it shows is, it’s much likely there’ll be more talking.”

“Oh, come on, David,” Huffington said, in between awkward laughs. Addressing the crowd, she added, “Don’t worry, David will have a lot of talking to do, as well.”

In an email that was sent later to company employees, Bonderman said, “I want to apologize to my fellow board member for a disrespectful comment,” calling it “inappropriate.”

Bonderman, the 74-year-old co-founder of a private equity firm, also apologised personally to Huffington.

“David has apologized to all Uber employees for a remark that was totally inappropriate and against the new culture we are building at Uber,” Huffington said in a statement.

A few hours later, Bonderman resigned and released this statement: “Uber is examining the issues with its culture, and making significant changes and working to right what has been done wrong, which is extremely important for the future of the company. I do not want my comments to create distraction as Uber works to build a culture of which we can be proud. I need to hold myself to the same standards that we’re asking Uber to adopt.”

Huffington also issued a statement praising Bonderman for his decision, “I appreciate David doing the right thing for Uber at this time of critical cultural changes at the company.”

The incident came as Uber sought to move past a leadership crisis that has led to the departure this week of chief executive Travis Kalanick for a leave of absence and the exit of his close ally and confidant Emil Michael, a senior vice president at Uber.

Kalanick’s return date was not specified, and his responsibilities will undergo “review” to possibly shift some duties to other executives. He also faces the likelihood of reduced clout on the board, which is adding new “independent” members and creating an oversight committee to monitor efforts to improve corporate ethics and diversity.

 

“The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders,” Kalanick wrote in an email to employees. “There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve. For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.”

In describing reasons for the leave, Kalanick also cited the death of his mother and serious injury of his father in a boating accident last month, saying, “I need to take some time off of the day-to-day to grieve my mother, whom I buried on Friday, to reflect, to work on myself, and to focus on building out a world-class leadership team.”

Tuesday marked the release of recommendations from a report by former US attorney general Eric Holder Jr. on Uber’s workplace culture. Holder had been hired by Uber to address mounting criticism of the company. The full report is being withheld from the public and the bulk of the company’s 14,000 employees worldwide.

The 47 recommendations, which are sweeping and touch virtually every aspect of company management, were released at an employee meeting at the company’s San Francisco headquarters Tuesday after being accepted by the board at a marathon meeting Sunday.

Under the proposals, senior managers will undergo mandatory leadership training and Uber’s current position of head of diversity will be renamed as the “chief diversity and inclusion officer” and report directly to the chief executive or chief operating officer. Uber also will adopt the equivalent of the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule” requiring that when the company is filling a key job, at least one woman and one minority candidate be interviewed before the hire can go forward.

The report called for employee complaints to be handled using a comprehensive process and for upgrades to employee benefits, including equal family leave time for male and female workers. There also is a newly imposed ban on sexual relationships between employees at different levels of the staff hierarchy, and there are new limits on the consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs during the workday and at company events.

Uber also announced Monday that it was adding a new member, Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello, to one of several empty seats on the board. She is expected to bring financial expertise while representing another high-profile female addition to a company criticized as exemplifying Silicon Valley’s male-dominated “bro” culture.

“This is a hugely significant event,” said Michael Useem, a management professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said of the corporate overhaul.

The list of recommendations reads like a textbook from “Leadership and Management 101” and, if implemented effectively, could serve as a model for other Silicon Valley companies grappling with diversity and harassment issues, Useem said.

The public mood toward Uber began to turn when Kalanick joined an advisory board for President Trump and appeared to undermine a New York taxi strike related to the president’s controversial effort to impose a travel ban, sparking the #DeleteUber movement.

A scathing blog post in February by former engineer Susan Fowler, who reported that an unwanted sexual advance by her boss was ignored by company management, triggered a wave of denunciations of the corporate culture at Uber.

After London Attack, Facebook to 'Aggressively Remove Terrorist Content'

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Several people were killed in London attacks
  • Facebook has condemned the attacks
  • Twitter also said it was working to tackle the spread of terror

Facebook said it wanted to make its social media platform a “hostile environment” for terrorists in a statement issued after attackers killed seven people in London and prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to demand action from Internet firms.

After London Attack, Facebook to 'Aggressively Remove Terrorist Content'

Three attackers rammed a hired van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby on Saturday night in Britain’s third major militant attack in recent months.

May responded to the attack by calling for an overhaul of the strategy used to combat extremism, including a demand for greater international regulation of the Internet, saying big Internet companies were partly responsible for providing extreme ideology the space to develop.

Facebook on Sunday said it condemned the London attacks.

“We want Facebook to be a hostile environment for terrorists,” said Simon Milner, Director of Policy at Facebook in an emailed statement.

“Using a combination of technology and human review, we work aggressively to remove terrorist content from our platform as soon as we become aware of it – and if we become aware of an emergency involving imminent harm to someone’s safety, we notify law enforcement.”

 

May has previously put pressure on internet firms to take more responsibility for content posted on their services. Last month she pledged, if she wins an upcoming election, to create the power to make firms pay towards the cost of policing the Internet with an industry-wide levy.

Twitter also said it was working to tackle the spread of militant propaganda on its website.

“Terrorist content has no place on Twitter,” Nick Pickles, UK head of public policy at Twitter, said in a statement, adding that in the second half of 2016 it had suspended nearly 400,000 accounts.

“We continue to expand the use of technology as part of a systematic approach to removing this type of content.”