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Sherman A1

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Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
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Unions plan nationwide protests against Postal Service’s Staples deal

Postal unions have planned nationwide demonstrations for Thursday to protest a recent U.S. Postal Service deal that allows office-supply retailer Staples to sell USPS products such as stamps, mail services and package delivery.

The financially struggling Postal Service has touted its agreement as part of a plan to boost business through partnerships with retail giants and provide customers with greater convenience. But labor groups contend that the deal amounts to a move toward privatization and that the agency is replacing its workers with low-paid employees while putting the quality of its services at risk.

“Staples employees receive minimal training, and the company’s low pay results in high employee turnover,” American Postal Workers Union Local 140 president Dena Briscoe said in a statement. “Mail should be handled by highly-trained, experienced postal employees, who swear an oath to protect your letters and packages and who are accountable to the American people.”

MORE: Staples’ selling postal products without USPS workers stirs fears of privatization


This Tower Pulls Drinking Water Out of Thin Air

In some parts of Ethiopia, finding potable water is a six-hour journey.

People in the region spend 40 billion hours a year trying to find and collect water, says a group called the Water Project. And even when they find it, the water is often not safe, collected from ponds or lakes teeming with infectious bacteria, contaminated with animal waste or other harmful substances.

The water scarcity issue—which affects nearly 1 billion people in Africa alone—has drawn the attention of big-name philanthropists like actor and Water.org co-founder Matt Damon and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who, through their respective nonprofits, have poured millions of dollars into research and solutions, coming up with things like a system that converts toilet water to drinking water and a "Re-invent the Toilet Challenge," among others.

Critics, however, have their doubts about integrating such complex technologies in remote villages that don't even have access to a local repairman. Costs and maintenance could render many of these ideas impractical.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/this-tower-pulls-drinking-water-out-of-thin-air-180950399/#mYsipYIBPe7WSO12.99

IBEW members invent bracket that saves time and trouble

Southern Illinois – It’s tough. You’re high up on a ladder, and reaching to make connections and assemblies to install a low-voltage device such as a camera or smoke detector. And there are another three-dozen rooms that need them after that.

Two southern Illinois union electricians, Dennis Glisson and Rusty Pritchett, have invented a solution to make the job quicker and easier.

They showed their new product, the Universal Ceiling Mount Bracket, at the Electrical Expo of the Electric Board of Missouri and Illinois at the St. Charles Convention Center.

Glisson, of rural Pocahontas, Ill. is a member of IBEW Local 309 out of Collinsville.


The Pascua Yaqui: the 1st to use new authority to prosecute non–tribal members for domestic violence

TUCSON, Ariz. — For many of the women on the Pascua Yaqui reservation, life before the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act brings up one very common memory.

“The offenders knew nothing would be done,” said Gloria Zazueta. “So when they were arrested, they would just be like, ‘OK, give me a ride to the Circle K.’”

The Circle K is a small four-pump gas station located just feet beyond the northern border of the reservation. For many years, it was a common destination for tribal law enforcement officers to take non–Native Americans accused of domestic abuse because the officers often lacked the jurisdiction to do anything more.

“That was our remedy back then for law enforcement,” said Alfred Urbina, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s chief prosecutor. He explained that until recently, their tribal courts did not have criminal jurisdiction over non–Native Americans, so that trip to Circle K was the most an officer could do in that situation unless the case was severe enough to be prosecuted by a federal court.


Florida executes man convicted of murdering 2

STARKE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has executed a man convicted of murdering two relatives to prevent one of them from testifying against him in a burglary trial.

Robert Hendrix was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke, shortly after the lethal injection procedure began.

Prosecutors say that in August 1990, Hendrix shot, hit and stabbed his cousin, Elmer Scott, in his Lake County trailer home. They say he then cut the throat of Scott's wife, Michelle, and shot her.

Elmer Scott had planned to testify the next day at Hendrix's burglary trial. Scott had been his partner in the crime but had reached a plea deal.


Impeaching Nixon? Republican-led Missouri House holds hearings

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • A Republican-led Missouri House committee is holding a hearing on multiple measures seeking to impeach Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The hearing on three separate impeachment resolutions includes one citing Nixon's decision to allow same-sex couples who married legally in other states to file joint tax returns in Missouri. Another measure is critical of the amount of time the governor took to call special elections to fill legislative vacancies.

The final measure under consideration by the Judiciary Committee would impeach Nixon for his refusal to fire officials involved with the Revenue Department's decision last year to scan driver's license applicants' personal documents into a computer system.


Secretary of State issues grants to local libraries

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded more than $670,000 in “Another Back to Books” grants to 159 libraries, according to a press release. The libraries can use the funds to buy books, learning CDs and DVDs and other educational materials.

Three area libraries were on the list: The Mississippi Valley Library District and Collinsville School District each received $5,000 grants, while Southern Illinois University Edwardsville received a $4,989 grant.

“It is important that our libraries have access to a diverse collection of books for patrons to read for knowledge or enjoyment,” White said. “These grants are a great way for libraries to encourage reading and get more people to use their local library.”

Libraries submitted applications specifying the types of books and other materials they would purchase if they received funding.


A doctor in Egypt is set to stand trial on Thursday in relation to the female genital mutilation

(FGM) of a child who died of complications. It is the first attempt to prosecute over a procedure banned in Egypt since 2008.

Thirteen-year-old Soheir al-Batea, from the small northern village of Diyarb Buqtaris, succumbed to an allergic reaction to penicillin on June 6, 2013, allegedly after being cut by Dr. Raslan Fadl, according to forensic reports seen by Equality Now, an international rights NGO that has pushed for the prosecution.

The teenager’s death has formed what is being seen as a test case on the issue in a country where four in five young women reportedly undergo the procedure, despite the ban.

Some Egyptian women and feminists say they hope the prosecution of Raslan Fadl will start a precedent to enforce laws against the practice. But others say the share of girls who undergo the procedure behind closed doors at home — often in less sanitary conditions — may grow. At present, UNICEF estimates that around 70 percent of procedures are carried out surreptitiously at a medical clinic.


New Laws & Oversight needed after Texas Blast

The Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people a year ago could have been prevented — and agencies at all levels haven't done enough to change the circumstances that led to the catastrophe, federal officials said Tuesday.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board presented its preliminary findings about the blast in West, Texas, in front of a packed room of residents and town officials still rebuilding after the April 17, 2013, explosion leveled part of the tiny town and injured 200 people.

Even though several investigations have not determined the exact cause of the fire, the board says it's clear the owners of West Fertilizer Co. failed to safely store hazardous chemicals or prepare for a potential disaster. The board also said several levels of federal, state and local government missed opportunities to prevent the tragedy.

Investigators said the firefighters who rushed to an initial fire at the plant didn't know enough about the dangers they faced inside: 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used in fertilizer that detonated due to the blaze.


Labor Case Filed by Injured Player in ’70s Has Echoes Today

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — In a drill at a college football practice, Fred W. Rensing charged downfield, lowered his white helmet and drilled the punt returner in the chest for a thunderous hit. Rensing did not get up, and he never walked again.

He spent the next 28 years in relative anonymity, the initial years engaged in a long-shot legal dispute with his university, Indiana State, fighting for benefits for injured workers.

Today, as a landmark case at Northwestern challenges the foundation of collegiate athletics, Rensing and the 1976 punt drill that felled him still resonate. Though he has been largely forgotten by the public, those who have been pushing for changes in the N.C.A.A. see him as a pioneer in the struggle to win employment rights for campus athletes, a victory that could qualify them for protections like workers’ compensation benefits and unemployment insurance.

Rensing did not win his fight. When the courts ultimately ruled against him, the decision gave the N.C.A.A. an important legal victory, bolstering its stance that its athletes are not professionals and delivering a precedent that stood opposite to what Rensing had pushed for.

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