Companies including Wal-Mart, Gap and Target opted out; retailers cited fear of lawsuits over pact’s terms.
The death toll from the recent collapse of a factory mill in Bangladesh is now over 1,000. It’s been reported that many workers were aware of the risks but went in because they would otherwise be fired.
Regulations and unions are discouraged by international companies, which makes Bangladeshi labor cheap, turning the country into the world’s largest producer of garments. Thus, many of the same companies that demand to be unregulated have just demonstrated the sort of standards they will follow if left to their own devices.
Contrary to popular belief, this race to the bottom for cheap labor isn’t part of some thoughtful attempt to reduce prices for consumers; if anyone analyzes the pay structure and profit distribution of most public companies, they’ll find that there’s plenty of money available to pay workers well, keep prices low, and still enrich shareholders. Corporations keep raising the bar of what they consider profitable, and are concentrating more and more of profits to the top, at the obvious expense of an expendable army of low-wage workers.
After decades abroad Saeed Malik (left) returned to his native Pakistan to rectify the poor education system. He remembered talking to a group of boys, 9 to 16 years old, and finding that the majority wanted to be freedom fighters and die as martyrs, because they had nothing else to live for. “And I felt, in what way can we bring these kids back to the beauty of life, to the beauty of future, to be of value to fellow mankind and to themselves and to the country,” he says. “And I started thinking in what way can we help the children.” Malik felt books were the way to broaden children’s minds, to introduce them to a whole world of subjects, and to help build tolerance for others. But he discovered that virtually none of the public schools in and around Islamabad had libraries. Through donations from the UN and private individuals, he founded the Bright Star Mobile Library, which now serves about 2,500 children, providing a range of books in Urdu and English.
Read more here.
Will the Kingdom push to protect women braving abuse?
The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.
The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a “targeted, focused effort” that “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”… .
A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.
Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.
There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days.
As I indicated, there have been scattered, mostly buried indications in the American media that drones have been targeting and killing rescuers. As the Bureau put it: “Between May 2009 and June 2011, at least fifteen attacks on rescuers were reported by credible news media, including the New York Times, CNN, Associated Press, ABC News and Al Jazeera.” Killing civilians attending the funerals of drone victims is also well-documented by the Bureau’s new report:
He ruined the lives of millions of Indochinese innocents and overthrew democratically elected governments, yet he keeps being rewarded and lauded…And his conduct raises even more fundamental questions: to what extent can leaders who act secretly ,illegally and unconstitutionally, lying to their citizenry and legislature as a matter of course, legitimately claim to represent their people? How much allegiance do citizens owe such leaders? And what does it say about America’s elites that they have honored a man with so much innocent blood on his hands for the past 40 years?
A demonstrator offers a flower to security forces during an anti-government protest in Bahrain, March 2011. Photo by Anmar Abdulrasoo.
Amid greater public acceptance of LGBT people, Vietnam ends same-sex marriage fines | Bangkok Post: breakingnews
Vietnam has repealed regulations to fine same-sex couples who marry.
A distinguished theatre director, he devoted himself to the development of Chilean theatre, directing a broad array of works from locally produced Chilean plays, to the classics of the world stage, to the experimental work of Ann Jellicoe.
Simultaneously he developed in the field of music and played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric artists who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement which led to a revolution in the popular music of his country under the Salvador Allende government.
Shortly after the Chilean coup of September 11, 1973, he was arrested. In the hours and days that followed, Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured; the bones in his hands were broken, as were his ribs. Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground with broken hands. Defiantly, he sang part of “Venceremos” (We Will Win), a song supporting the Popular Unity coalition. After further beatings, he was machine-gunned on September 16, his body dumped on a road on the outskirts of Santiago and then taken to a city morgue where 44 bullets were found in his body.
The contrast between the themes of his songs, on love, peace and social justice and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a symbol of struggle for human rights and justice worldwide.
On December 3, 2009, a massive funeral took place in the “Galpón Víctor Jara” across from “Plaza Brazil”. Jara’s remains were honoured by thousands. His remains were re-buried in the same place he was buried in 1973. On December 28, 2012 a judge in Chile ordered the arrest of eight former army officers for alleged involvement in the murder of Victor Jara.
Homosexuality laws around the world.
- Dark Blue — Same-sex marriage legal
- Blue — Other type of partnership legal (e.g. civil unions)
- Green — Foreign same-sex marriage recognized.
- Gray — No recognition of same-sex couples.
- Yellow — Minimal penalty for homosexuality, typically not enforced.
- Orange — Heavy penalty for homosexual acts (e.g. fine, prison, or public beating).
- Dark Orange — Life in prison for being gay.
- Red — Homosexuals executed (rings denote nations in which left up to local judges or varies case by case).
Noam Chomsky on the responsibility of privilege (and other topics).
An Oregon woman opened a package of Halloween decorations to find this desperate letter allegedly written by Chinese laborer. The letter, which, so far, has been neither verified nor debunked, describes the horrific labor conditions of the worker’s factor. Read more about it here.
This is a Dingzihu, which is Chinese for “nail house” - because, as you can see, it sticks out. The term is used for households that refuse to move out during demolition. The Chinese government, especially at the local and provincial level, is obsessed with growth, as lucrative development deals become a main source of revenue. This elderly couple in Wenling, Zhejiang province, are the latest people in China to refuse to allow their home to be demolished…so the authorities just built the road around it.
- African-Americans are 62 percent of drug offenders sent to state prisons, yet they represent only 12 percent of the U. S. population.
- Black men are sent to state prisons on drug charges at 13 times the rate of White men.
- Drug transactions among Blacks are easier for police to target because they more often happen in public than do drug transactions between Whites.
- The disparities are particularly tragic in individual states where Black men are sent to federal prison on drug charges at a rate 57 times greater than White men, according to Human Rights Watch.
- More than 25.4 million Americans have been arrested on drug charges since 1980; about one-third of them were Black.
- The Black populations in state prisons are majorly disproportionate: In Georgia, the Black population is 29 percent, the Black prison population is 54 percent; Arkansas 16 percent -52 percent; Louisiana 33 percent-76 percent; Mississippi 36 percent-75 percent; Alabama 26 percent -65 percent; Tennessee 16 percent -63 percent; Kentucky 7 percent-36 percent; South Carolina 30 percent-69 percent; North Carolina 22 percent-64 percent; and Virginia 20 percent-68 percent.
- According to the Global Commission on Drug Policy arresting and incarcerating people fills prisons and destroys lives but does not reduce the availability of illicit drugs or the power of criminal organizations.
- The average daily cost per state prison inmate per day in the U.S. is $67.55. State prisons held 253,300 inmates for drug offenses in 2007. That means states spent approximately $17 million per day to imprison drug offenders, or more than $6.2 billion per year.