U.S. pledges millions to end child labor in cocoa harvests
By Renee Schoof | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government and the chocolate industry pledged $17 million on Monday to help end child labor – some of it forced and dangerous – in two African countries where much of the world’s cocoa is grown.
“If there’s one thing people around the world share in common it’s our love of chocolate. But it is a bitter reality that the main ingredient in chocolate, cocoa, is produced largely by child labor,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, at a signing ceremony for a new agreement between industry, the Department of Labor, the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Shark survivors team up to save species
Some lost limbs, but they now lobby U.N. for protections
By JOHN HEILPRIN
UNITED NATIONS – They have the scars and missing limbs that make it hard to forgive, but these victims are tougher than most. And now they want to save their attackers.
They are shark attack survivors, a band of nine thrown together in an unlikely and ironic mission to conserve the very creatures that ripped their flesh, tore off their limbs and nearly took their lives.
They want nations to adopt a resolution that would require them to greatly improve how fish are managed, including shark species of which nearly a third are threatened with extinction or on the verge of being threatened.
After Volatile Primary Season, G.O.P. Faces New Test
By JEFF ZELENY
Published: September 13, 2010
As the long and turbulent primary season of the midterm election campaign drew to a close on Monday, the Republican establishment was placing its confidence on hold and bracing for the prospect that voters in yet another state would send a message of defiance to party leaders in Washington.
The Senate primary in Delaware on Tuesday was prompting anxiety among party officials, who feared that a victory by Christine O’Donnell, a candidate backed by the Tea Party, could complicate Republican efforts to win control of the Senate. Republican leaders rushed to the aid of Representative Michael N. Castle, a moderate lawmaker and former governor, as internal party warfare – including accusations of a death threat – intensified on the eve of the primary.
Jobless are straining Social Security’s disability benefits program
By Michael A. Fletcher Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 14, 2010; 3:24 AM
The number of former workers seeking Social Security disability benefits has spiked with the nation’s economic problems, heightening concern that the jobless are expanding the program beyond its intended purpose of aiding the disabled.
Applications to the program soared by 21 percent, to 2.8 million, from 2008 to 2009, as the economy was seriously faltering.
Traditionalists outraged at Versailles’ modern makeover
By Nicola Hebden in Paris Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Outraged traditionalists are due to demonstrate outside the Palace of Versailles tonight against an invasion of the gilded former home of French royalty by a radical contemporary art exhibition.
For the second time in two years, the management of the palace has caused uproar by displaying garish modern art – this time by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami – in the ornate halls and gardens of the palace.A petition appealing to Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the director of the palace, and France’s minister of culture Frédéric Mitterrand not to “shatter the harmony” of Versailles, has almost 5,000 signatures.
EU agency demands more coherent asylum procedures
Asylum seekers are getting unfair and inconsistent treatment across the EU, says a new report by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. Language bariers mean asylum applicants often don’t understand what’s going on.
HUMAN RIGHTS | 13.09.2010
Asylum seekers across Europe are on an uneven playing field, according to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. On Monday, the FRA released two reports looking at the access asylum seekers have to legal remedies and how well informed they are about their rights and the asylum process.
“A fair asylum procedure is one where applicants know their rights and their duties. As our research has shown, this is often not the case in the EU,” Morten Kjaerum, the director of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, told a press conference on Monday.
New building permits cast shadow over Middle East peace talks
By Catrina Stewart in Jerusalem Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Jewish settlers have permits to start building thousands of new homes within hours of the end of a 10-month construction freeze in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli watchdog revealed.
The Peace Now organisation said in a report that settlers have the necessary approvals for some 13,000 new homes, and could theoretically start building many of these as soon as the freeze ends in the last week of September.
The disclosure comes as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, prepare to resume US-mediated peace talks in Egypt today.
The two leaders meet in an atmosphere of mutual distrust, not least over settlements, which are illegal under international law and are built on the territory that the Palestinians want as the basis for their future state.
Briton ‘among thousands held without trial in Iraq’
A British man is among tens of thousands of people imprisoned without charge in Iraq, according to an Amnesty International report.
Indian children still underweight – after 20 years of interventions
Inefficiency, the global financial meltdown and rising food prices have conspired to reverse progress made on poverty and hunger
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 September 2010 07.50 BST
Head out of Delhi, across the fetid Yamuna river, with the tourist sites behind you and the northern Indian plains in front of you. Go past the new, luxury flats built for the Commonwealth Games, turn right and follow the lines of the new metro and then plunge left, avoiding the chaotic traffic and the occasional bullock cart and into the seething slums.In a small, two-roomed flat off one of the packed streets of Kalyan Puri, one of the biggest slum neighbourhoods, you will find Anju Rao, a 50-year-old grandmother who spends her days looking after her two small grandchildren.
Japan PM Naoto Kan survives leadership challenge
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has survived a party leadership challenge from veteran lawmaker Ichiro Ozawa.
The BBC 14 September 2010
Lawmakers and members of the governing Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) elected to retain Mr Kan by a margin of 721 points to 491.
His victory means that Japan will be spared a sixth leadership change in four years.
Mr Kan, who took office in June, has said he wants to rein in spending and curb Japan’s massive public debt.
As his victory was confirmed, the yen hit a new 15-year high against the dollar.
Analysts had expected a tight contest, with Ichiro Ozawa backed by a large DPJ faction.
A suburban idyll fades away in Johannesburg
Dog walkers, joggers and homeless people share a deteriorating park in South Africa, sometimes violently.
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa – Each morning, an old Toyota arrives at the park, its engine protesting but its light blue paint work spotless. A sprightly woman with neatly coiffed snow-white hair alights. She and her arthritic dog, part border collie, part mutt, walk once around the park. Passing, she nods and smiles.
A man, wearing only his briefs, sits in the sun on a rock in the middle of the park’s river, his clothes laid out to dry. On the riverbank, faded yellow signs with skulls and crossbones warn against drinking, swimming or washing there.
Cuba to cut more than 1m state jobs
Move part of economic reforms to kickstart private sector and follows Castro’s comment that the Cuban model no longer works
Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 September 2010 08.44 BST
Cuba has announced it will lay off more than a million state employees in a sweeping privatisation drive which will transform the island’s socialist economy.
Authorities said layoffs would begin immediately amid loosened controls on private enterprise which, it is hoped, will kickstart the private sector and create new jobs for former public workers.
The official Cuban labour federation, which made the announcement on Monday, said 500,000 jobs would go by March and eventually 1m would be cut in the biggest economic shakeup since the 1960s.