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  • Apple's Chinese workers treated 'inhumanely, like machines'
    owned by Foxconn which produces millions of Apple products each year The report accuses Foxconn of treating workers inhumanely like machines Among the allegations made by workers interviewed by the NGOs the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and Students Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour Sacom are claims that Excessive overtime is routine despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month One payslip seen by the Observer indicated that the worker had performed 98 hours of overtime in a month Workers attempting to meet the huge demand for the first iPad were sometimes pressured to take only one day off in 13 In some factories badly performing workers are required to be publicly humiliated in front of colleagues Crowded workers dormitories can sleep up to 24 and are subject to strict rules One worker told the NGO investigators that he was forced to sign a confession letter after illicitly using a hairdryer In the letter he wrote It is my fault I will never blow my hair inside my room I have done something wrong I will never do it again In the wake of a spate of suicides at Foxconn factories last summer workers were asked to sign a statement promising not to kill themselves and pledging to treasure their lives Foxconn produced its first iPad at Chengdu last November and expects to produce 100m a year by 2013 Last year Apple sold more than 15m iPads worldwide and has already sold close to five million this year When the allegations were put to Foxconn by the Observer manager Louis Woo confirmed that workers sometimes worked more than the statutory overtime limit to meet demand from western consumers but claimed that all the extra hours were voluntary Workers claim that if they turn down excessive demands for overtime they

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/chinese_apple.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Disney world in which Chinese children 'toil for 76 hours a week'
    Last year CLW found breaches of working hours wage and contract laws at a factory in Guangdong that was producing Disney gifts after a 17 year old worker Liu Pan was crushed to death in machinery CLW claimed the factory was hiring workers as young as 13 To uncover current conditions CLW randomly selected two plants making Disney branded merchandise sent in undercover investigators and interviewed staff According to the report working hours were excessively long two four hour stints daily between Monday and Saturday were typically followed by another four hours of compulsory overtime in the evenings adding up to 76 hours a week The children also worked these hours up to 330 a month including 150 of forced overtime it said adding they sometimes worked seven days in a row Workers were supplied with gloves for handling hazardous chemicals but allegedly did not wear them because it made their work rate too slow As a result some of them had developed skin rashes while for some layers of skin were falling off Staff complained they found it difficult to resign and could do so only at set times leaving with less pay than they were owed There were harsh and unreasonable discipline practices and dormitories housing typically 12 workers each were said to be dirty and smelly Daily food at one of the factories consisted of two vegetable dishes and one meat meal The report said In all of the meat dishes one can only see two small pieces of meat or fish Regardless of what kind of food or oil it is cooked in workers often detect food additives hair or cockroaches Although members of staff were allowed to join a trade union they were not aware it existed and were not members There was no safety

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/chinese_76hrs_wk.html (2016-02-14)
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  • China rises and rises, yet still gets foreign aid
    relief The reason Washington gives so little is because it still maintains the sanctions imposed following the 1989 military crackdown on pro democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen Square said Drew Thompson a China expert at the Nixon Center in Washington D C China is also one of the biggest borrowers from the World Bank taking out about 1 5 billion a year Asked why China still needed foreign aid after making so much economic progress the Commerce Ministry ed back that China remains a developing country with 200 million poor and big environmental and energy challenges The current debate spotlights the challenges of addressing poverty in middle income countries such as China India and Brazil where economic growth is strong but wealth is unequally spread After the U S China has the world s most billionaires yet incomes averaged just 3 600 last year Roughly three quarters of the world s 1 3 billion poor people now live in middle income countries according to Andy Sumner a fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the U K That s a major shift since 1990 when 93 percent of the poor lived in low income countries Sumner said It raises the question of who should help the poor in such places their own governments or foreign donors Experts say it s hard to justify giving aid to China when it spent an estimated 100 billion last year equipping and training the world s largest army and also holds 2 5 trillion in foreign reserves China s made a strategic choice to invest in building its military and acquiring these massive reserves but at the same time it s underfunding social services so I think it s going to be harder and harder for donor nations to continue to fund projects in China said Thompson Japan s generosity has historically been driven at least in part by a desire to make amends for its invasion of China in the 1930s But in recent years Japanese lawmakers and officials have repeatedly questioned whether the money flow should continue pointing to China s emergence as a donor to African countries China provided around 1 4 billion in aid to Africa last year according to Professor Deborah Brautigam an expert on China Africa relations at the American University in Washington D C Japan has cut its aid down to grants and technical help for environmental and medical projects Germany s current projects are due to be completed by 2014 China is cautious about its new status It is proud of having lifted half a billion people out of poverty and is beginning to flex the muscle that comes with being an economic power Yet when for instance it is called on to agree to binding reductions in carbon emissions it replies that it can t because it s still a developing country At this week s U N global summit on fighting poverty Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to expand Chinese

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/china_foreign_aid.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Bad economy forcing immigrants to reconsider U.S.
    result of the economy and tougher immigration enforcement For some immigrants the experts say the reasons for toughing out the U S economic depression outweigh the reasons for leaving including One or two days of work per month at 8 an hour is often better than what they can make back home Tougher border enforcement along the U S Mexico border has made it harder for them to return once they leave Smuggling costs to get into the United States from Mexico have skyrocketed from about 1 500 three years ago to about 6 000 today I m not convinced it s a tidal wave of exodus Valenzuela said There really is a fear mentality of leaving and as a result many immigrants are buckling down that is they re hiding or living in the shadows of our law So they think more than twice about whether or not they want to go back to their country of origin because they know very well that it s going to be extremely difficult and very expensive to come back if they want to pursue their dream Steven Camarota with the Center for Immigration Studies a Washington based think tank that seeks a pro immigrant low immigration vision said Census data indicate that more than 1 million illegal immigrants left last year a departure that began even before the nation s economy took a turn for the worse toward the end of the year He said better border enforcement and workplace raids on illegal immigrants let people know that the immigration law was back in business With illegal immigrants returning home he said It s certainly good for two groups taxpayers and less educated natives The lack of work in the United States has had a trickle down effect in the immigrants countries of origin The money sent back home by Mexican immigrants in 2008 fell for the first time since record keeping began 13 years ago The remittances dipped 3 6 percent from 26 billion in 2007 to 25 billion according to Mexico s central bank Remittances are Mexico s second largest source of foreign income behind only oil Other Latin American countries also have seen money sent from immigrants in the United States slow Erik Camayd Freixas a professor at Florida International University who has served as an immigration court interpreter for two decades recently traveled to Guatemala where he saw the effects of less money being sent home by immigrants Everybody was talking about it he said The local economies are severely impacted and the unemployment is rampant He said scores of people deported from the United States are trying to find any type of job in Guatemala They ve been there six months and they have no work Camayd Freixas said That s why he said he believes most immigrants already in the United States are willing to stick it out despite the hard scrabble times in America The truth of the matter is despite our 7 6

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/immigrants_reconsider_us.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Towns Rethink Self-Reliance as Finances Worsen
    long term commitments such as pension liabilities and day to day services such as sewage and water can be folded into services run by the county public policy experts say Disincorporations are rare usually resulting from population declines that leave too few residents to support the government The most recent in California occurred in 1972 when stalled growth and political instability led Cabazon to dissolve itself according to the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions In Washington state the last one occurred in 1965 when Elberton gave up its autonomy after 70 years according to the nonprofit Municipal Research and Services Center in Seattle Today some small municipalities are exploring the step to escape some financial burdens that have been exacerbated by the recession Rio Vista says disincorporating would eliminate 38 jobs and shift its sewer services to the county Vallejo says disincorporating would end public safety employee contracts which city leaders blame for pushing the city into bankruptcy Most talk of disincorporation appears to be exploratory and some public finance experts say towns may not have that option if it is being used to unload financial obligations This is somewhat of a legal gray area because disincorporation was not designed to allow cities to escape financial hardship said John Knox a public finance consultant with the San Francisco office of law firm Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe Mr Knox a bankruptcy consultant to Vallejo said shifting oversight of a city s services to a county or state during the current economic environment would be a tall order In California and many other states the county or state must approve such a move he said Most counties are ailing as badly as cities and are unlikely to readily approve a disincorporation he said That isn t stopping some towns from checking

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/self-reliance.html (2016-02-14)
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  • If the state can't save us, we need a licence to print our own money
    rabbit tails seashells and wooden discs as currency as well as all manner of papers and metal tokens In 1971 Jaime Lerner the mayor of Curitiba in Brazil kick started the economy of the city and solved two major social problems by issuing currency in the form of bus tokens People earned them by picking and sorting litter thus cleaning the streets and acquiring the means to commute to work Schemes like this helped Curitiba become one of the most prosperous cities in Brazil But the projects that have proved most effective were those inspired by the German economist Silvio Gessell who became finance minister in Gustav Landauer s doomed Bavarian republic He proposed that communities seeking to rescue themselves from economic collapse should issue their own currency To discourage people from hoarding it they should impose a fee called demurrage which has the same effect as negative interest The back of each banknote would contain 12 boxes For the note to remain valid the owner had to buy a stamp every month and stick it in one of the boxes It would be withdrawn from circulation after a year Money of this kind is called stamp scrip a privately issued currency that becomes less valuable the longer you hold on to it One of the first places to experiment with this scheme was the small German town of Schwanenkirchen In 1923 hyperinflation had caused a credit crunch of a different kind A Dr Hebecker owner of a coalmine in Schwanenkirchen told his workers that if they wouldn t accept the coal backed stamp scrip he had invented the Wara he would have to close the mine He promised to exchange it in the first instance for food The scheme immediately took off It saved both the mine and the town It was soon adopted by 2 000 corporations across Germany But in 1931 under pressure from the central bank the ministry of finance closed the project down with catastrophic consequences for the communities that had come to depend on it Lietaer points out that the only remaining option for the German economy was ruthless centralised economic planning Would Hitler have come to power if the Wara and similar schemes had been allowed to survive The Austrian town of Wörgl also tried out Gessell s idea in 1932 Like most communities in Europe at the time it suffered from mass unemployment and a shortage of money for public works Instead of spending the town s meagre funds on new works the mayor put them on deposit as a guarantee for the stamp scrip he issued By paying workers in the new currency he paved the streets restored the water system and built a bridge new houses and a ski jump Because they would soon lose their value Wörgl s own schillings circulated much faster than the official money with the result that each unit of currency generated 12 to 14 times more employment Scores of other towns sought to copy

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/print_own_money.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing
    as consumers spend the local cash We wanted to make new options available says Jackie Smith of South Bend Ind who is working to launch a local currency It reinforces the message that having more control of the economy in local hands can help you cushion yourself from the blows of the marketplace About a dozen communities have local currencies says Susan Witt founder of BerkShares in the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts She expects more to do it Under the BerkShares system a buyer goes to one of 12 banks and pays 95 for 100 worth of BerkShares which can be spent in 370 local businesses Since its start in 2006 the system the largest of its kind in the country has circulated 2 3 million worth of BerkShares In Detroit three business owners are printing 4 500 worth of Detroit Cheers which they are handing out to customers to spend in one of 12 shops During the Depression local governments businesses and individuals issued currency known as scrip to keep commerce flowing when bank closings led to a cash shortage By law local money may not resemble federal bills or be promoted as legal tender of the United

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/community_currency.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Money is dead - long live barter
    Arabia and Iran agreed with Pakistan and Thailand respectively to swap oil for food Not for nothing has The Wall Street Journal described barter as a powerful cash saving tool The journal of the reciprocal trade industry Barter News goes further We re moving into the golden age of barter it reported recently adding that 600 000 companies in the US alone actively traded both locally and across borders In the UK a village pub the Pigs at Edgefield in Norfolk offered pints in exchange for locally sourced food to be cooked in its kitchens Thousands of others trade more formally through exchanges such as Bartercard last year the Fashion TV network used Bartercard to save 110 000 in cash on alcohol and other goods for its launch party which FTV is repaying by providing advertising Happily barter works for individuals too A Canadian Kyle MacDon ald made headlines by bartering via trade after trade on the internet a paper clip for a house Only slightly less impressive my friend the photographer Guy Hills persuaded every tailor in Savile Row to make him an outfit in return for photographing them at work A couple named Dan and Gemma Scott cut 9 000 from the cost of their wedding by bartering for the church the reception the cars and the photos To do this they worked as housekeeper and labourer dug ditches delivered leaflets and repaired cars When Gemma started planning the wedding Dan said I knew we didn t have the money for it We ended up with a 12 000 wedding for just 3 000 It wasn t the Scotts alone who benefited the people for whom they carried out those services probably wouldn t have hired them in the present economic turmoil if they d asked for cash The wedding might not have happened and a whole lot of economic activity would never have taken place if the Scotts hadn t thought of using barter Despite these examples it would be misleading to suggest that barter always takes place between two parties who each have something the other wants Indeed straight swaps of that kind are rare because they re flawed if you want one of my cakes and can t offer anything I need the barter is over before it starts To get around this barter is these days increasingly transacted through a group exchange you pay me a credit for my delicious cake and I spend that credit on another member of the exchange getting my loo unblocked or having a foot massage In effect the credits are a form of money issued and guaranteed by the group The challenge lies in finding the right exchange network ReadIt SwapIt co uk has had a huge increase in book swaps there are currently 221 000 books available WhatsMineIsYours com facilitates clothing and accessory exchange SeedyPeople co uk lets gardeners and allotmenteers exchange seeds UKhomeswap co uk has thousands of users who pay a monthly fee in the

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/money_is_dead.html (2016-02-14)
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