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Sherman A1

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Gender: Male
Current location: U.S.
Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 34,075

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Poverty Wages Pose Risk To Fast Food Industry Profits

Fast-food workers’ fight for better pay has taken on new urgency as a report published Tuesday found the wage discrepancy between workers and their CEOs is the highest of any sector — likely hurting employees' morale and posing a risk to the industry’s profits, experts say. In 2013, executive pay was more than a thousand times the average worker’s wage.

The report by liberal think tank Demos calculated that average income inequality within the fast-food industry is more than double that of other industries in the Accommodation and Food Services sector, which already has the highest annual average CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of any sector since 2000.

“We found that fast-food [industry] is acutely out of line with the rest of the economy,” said Catherine Ruetschlin, a policy analyst at Demos and author of the report. CEOs at fast-food companies now earn four times more than they did in 2000, while workers’ wages increased 0.3 percent, according to the report.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/22/fast-food-workersmcdonaldspovertywageminimum.html

Qatar criticised for domestic workers' abuse

Amnesty International, the UK-based human-rights group, has accused Qatar for failing to protect migrant domestic workers, saying they are exposed to a greater extent of abuse than construction workers and are trapped by employers.

A report published on Wednesday called My sleep is my break: Exploitation of migrant domestic workers in the Gulf Arab state features instances of physical and sexual assault.

It said some of the women interviewed reported being "slapped, pulled by the hair, poked in the eyes, and kicked down the stairs by their employers" and that three said they were raped.

A separate report focusing on domestic workers in the 2022 World Cup host country was published to ensure they were not a "footnote to the issues construction workers face", Amnesty researcher James Lynch said, according to the news agency Associated Press.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/04/qatar-failing-protect-household-workers-201442302859927674.html

Robotic invasion coming to downtown St. Louis

ST. LOUIS • They’ve trounced hundreds of robotics teams at regional and state competitions. And Thursday, about 12,000 students in safety goggles will convene at the Edward Jones Dome and America’s Center for the chance at world champion status.

It’s the fourth year in a row that U.S. FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — has held its top competition here, drawing competitors from 38 countries.

The matches will be timed and intense. The crowds thick. The stands loud.

Through it, thousands of students will demonstrate their knowledge of programming, and electrical and mechanical engineering.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/7cc64cad-26ea-5271-85e7-b6cd6b1e0bd1.html

G.M. Seeks to Fend Off Lawsuits Over Switch

General Motors moved on Tuesday to prevent future safety lapses by expanding its oversight of problematic vehicles even as the automaker continued to take an aggressive legal posture in dealing with its past missteps.

General Motors has asked a federal bankruptcy judge to dismiss dozens of potentially costly lawsuits filed against the company over its handling of a defective ignition switch in millions of cars, and to bar similar cases in the future.

The legal filing, which was made late Monday in the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, asked the judge who approved the company’s 2009 restructuring agreement to explicitly enforce a provision that shielded the “new” company from liability for incidents that took place before July 10, 2009, the day the agreement went into effect. Most of the cars in the recall were manufactured before 2009.

Though the motion was merely asking Judge Robert E. Gerber to reaffirm a protection that already existed in the agreement, it was seen as a shrewd tactic to get the cases dismissed in one move, saving the company enormous amounts of time, personnel and money that would come from fighting to dismiss each case one by one.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/business/gm-seeks-to-fend-off-lawsuits-over-switch.html?emc=edit_th_20140423&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=42530878

Korea Confronts Tendency to Overlook Safety as Toll in Ferry Sinking Grows

JINDO, South Korea — As Navy divers recovered the bodies of dozens of teenagers drowned waiting for a rescue of their doomed ferry, South Korea has begun a national bout of hand-wringing over the country’s tendency to overlook safety precautions in its quest for economic success.

With a mounting list of errors that appeared to have contributed to the disaster, maritime experts, the news media and regular citizens venting their anger on social media have begun to question what they describe as inadequate safety precautions and often lax regulation of businesses.

On Tuesday, an opposition lawmaker released data showing that the ship was carrying three times its recommended maximum cargo, though it remained unclear if that could have helped destabilize it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/world/asia/as-ferry-toll-rises-hand-wringing-over-tendency-to-overlook-safety-in-south-korea.html?emc=edit_th_20140423&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=42530878

Sherpas Move to Shut Everest in Labor Fight

KATMANDU, Nepal — Over the years, as Mount Everest attracted larger crowds of amateur climbers from the West, the Sherpas adjusted: to a slower ascent, to traffic jams, to bulging loads of gear. Every spring some new frustration would get them talking, then recede with the end of the season.

This was the year that frustration boiled over. The avalanche that killed at least 13 Sherpas last Friday has prompted an extraordinary labor dispute, as Mount Everest’s quiet workhorses took steps on Tuesday to shut down the mountain for the season, demanding that the government share proceeds from what has become a multimillion-dollar business.

Tensions were coursing through Mount Everest’s base camp on Tuesday after a rowdy meeting where, according to people who were present, two-thirds of the Sherpas opted to cancel planned ascents. As a few teams of climbers packed their bags and began the long journey out of the Himalayas, two veteran expedition leaders left the camp by helicopter for an emergency meeting with Nepalese officials in an effort to avert a shutdown.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/world/asia/sherpas-delay-everest-climbs-in-labor-fight.html?emc=edit_th_20140423&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=42530878&_r=0

General Mills has reversed a controversial policy just a few days after posting

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/19/general-mills-lawsuit.html

new restrictions on consumers' ability to sue the food company, a move that stirred a media frenzy after The New York Times first uncovered the legalese.

The reversal, announced in a statement to Al Jazeera, came shortly after the network aired a segment about the issue Saturday. In the General Mills policy posted on its website, the company had said customers who downloaded coupons, joined its online communities or subscribed to email alerts would give up their right to file class-action lawsuits.

"We've reverted back to our prior terms. There's no mention of arbitration, and the provisions we had posted were never enforced. Nor will they be," General Mills told Al Jazeera on Saturday. "We're sorry we even started down this path ... And we do hope you'll accept our apology."

A growing number of companies have adopted similar policies since the 2011 Supreme Court decision, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, that paved the way for businesses to forbid class-action lawsuits with the use of a standard-form contract.

Saudi health minister sacked as Mers death toll rises

The Saudi health minister has been sacked without explanation, as the Mers coronavirus death toll there climbed to 81.

Abdullah al-Rabiah was dismissed just days after visiting hospitals in Jeddah to calm a public hit by panic over the spread of the respiratory virus.

Saudi has registered the largest number of infections of Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

The ministry said it had registered 261 cases of infection across the kingdom.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27108568

Boeing gets $4.6bn order from China's Shandong Airlines

China's Shandong Airlines has said that it has placed an order for 50 Boeing 737 aircraft, worth $4.6bn (£2.7bn) at list prices.

Chinese carriers have been looking to increase their fleets to cater for a growing domestic demand for air travel.

When contacted by the BBC, Boeing said it had received an order from the airline, but refused to confirm the number of planes.

The order still needs to be approved by the Chinese government.

"Boeing is delighted with Shandong Airlines' strong interest in the efficient 737 airplane and we continue to work with them and the Chinese government to determine the best way to meet their requirement," the plane maker said in a statement.


http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27107339

America's Less Religious: Study Puts Some Blame On The Internet

America is less religious than ever before. The number of Americans who reported no religious affiliation has been growing rapidly, doubling since 1990. That kind of rapid change matches another societal trend — growth in Internet use. The percentage of Americans who say they used the Internet went from nearly zero in 1990 to 87 percent this year. Now, a detailed data analysis finds the two trends aren't just related, but that wider Internet use may actually be leading us to lose our religion.

Knowing that correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, computer scientist Allen Downey, who teaches at Massachusetts' Olin College of Engineering, set out to further analyze religious disaffiliation.

His statistical analysis asked which variables were factors in our religious disaffiliation, and to what degree. The model found a causal relationship among three factors — a drop in religious upbringing, an increase in college-level education and the increase in Internet use — that together explain about 50 percent of the drop in religious affiliation. Of those, increased Internet use alone can account for about 20 percent of the decline.

The technique Downey used to establish causality is a form of statistical modeling called logistic regression, which lets you look at multiple variables and find which ones are predictive. Downey ran a regression controlling for all the other possible explanations of the religious affiliation drop (like income, home region) and wound up with notably strong associations among the three factors of upbringing, education and Internet use.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/04/21/303375159/americas-less-religious-study-puts-some-blame-on-the-internet
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