Society's ChildS


French Unions announce new wave of protests against labor reform

France labor reform protest
© REUTERS/ Jean-Paul Pelissier
French unions have agreed to hold another round of strikes on May 26 and June 14 against the unpopular labour reforms adopted by the government, seven unions said in a statement.

The CGT, FO, FSU, Solidaires, UNEF, UNL, FIDL said in a statement that a "national day of strikes, protests and actions" will be held on May 26," as quoted by La Voix du Nord newspaper on Thursday.

On June 14, the unions will "reinforce the move by a day of inter-profession strike with a national demonstration in Paris" as the Senate will be debating the issue.

Red Flag

Policing of speech: NYC to fine businesses for not using the correct gender pronoun

gender pronouns
© blazing cat fur
As if the U.S. needed still more laws legislating political correctness, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's Commission on Human Rights now claims city businesses and entities which 'fail to address customers by their preferred gender pronouns,' such as Mr. or Mrs., could face fines up to $250,000.

Yes, seriously.

In a "legal enforcement guidance" issued under New York City Human Rights Law, "employers and converted entities" are now required "to use an individual's preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual's sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual's identification," reported the Washington Times.

Comment: Ze? Hir? Newspeak, anyone?


San Francisco police chief forced to resign after officer shoots woman in wake of high-profile police killings

Greg Suhr
San Francisco's embattled police chief, Greg Suhr, resigned under pressure from the city's mayor on Thursday, just hours after an officer fatally shot a black woman, as the mayor indicated he had lost confidence in the chief

The police department and Suhr have faced mounting criticism and protests for months in the wake of several high-profile police killings and a racist text scandal.

"I have previously expressed confidence in Chief Suhr because I know he agrees with and understands the need for reform," Lee told reporters at a press conference in City Hall. "But following this morning's officer-involved shooting and my meeting with Chief Suhr this afternoon, today I have arrived at a different conclusion to the question of how best to move forward."

San Francisco Police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan said she could not comment on the resignation. "The statement was given by the mayor. That's all we have," she said.

Red Flag

FBI investigating widespread female genital mutilation, over 500,000 women at risk

human rights logo
The FBI is following up on leads and tips concerning the practice of female genital mutilation in the US, where it says more than 500,000 women and girls are at risk of being subject to the controversial procedure.

Female genital mutilation, also known as "cutting" or FGM, involves the partial or total removal of a female's external genitalia. The procedure has been traditionally performed in the Middle East and Africa as a cultural custom, though it does not offer any medical or health benefit.

Despite being made illegal by Congress back in 1996, roughly 513,000 women and girls in the US were at risk of undergoing FGM as of 2012, according to a recent study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than three times higher than previous estimates based on data from 1990.

Notably, the CDC report said that the number of women and girls at risk below the age of 18 had increased by more than four times, making up about one-third of potential victims.

"We believe some of it is being conducted by medical practitioners - physicians, nurses, midwives - and some by female elders within the communities who have the distinction of being what is called a cutter," said Special Agent Kerry Sparks, who focuses on FGM cases as part of the FBI's International Human Rights Unit (IHRU), in a statement.


Some choice: Majority of Americans would like to see an independent candidate to challenge Trump and Hillary

hillary clinton and trump evil face off
A "shocking" 91 percent of young American voters would like to see an independent candidate on the November ballot to challenge presumptive candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a new poll shows.

According to a Data Targeting survey, 55 percent of Americans polled between May 12 and 15 favor having an independent presidential candidate to consider this year, in addition to the two traditional party choices.

Even more "shocking," however, is that 91 percent of those 29 years of age and younger are up for a three-way race.

While there are still two months left before the party conventions in July, Data Targeting believes that "as it stands today, the most likely scenario is that Hillary Clinton will win the general election," despite her main rival, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, enjoying popular support.

Comment: U.S. presidential election may turn out to be one of the world's biggest un-popularity contests


The vocabulary of oppression: Israeli 'chutzpah' versus Palestinian 'sumud'

Israeli soldier chokeholds young boy at gunpoint
© AFP/GettyIsraeli soldier chokeholds young boy at gunpoint after clashes between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian protesters following Nabi Saleh march against illegal Jewish only settlement expansion on their village land. West Bank, Palestine August 28, 2015
In his book "The Joys of Yiddish" (1968), Leo Rosten writes that "the classic definition of chutzpa is, of course, this: Chutzpa is that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. A chuzpanik may be defined as the man who shouts "Help! Help!" while beating you up."

Chutzpah is a term in both Yiddish and Hebrew. Whilst in pre-Israel times it may have been a term mostly regarded with negativity, the Zionist settlement in Palestine and the establishment of a Jewish State with borders that became undefined and continuously expanding, came to give this term an aura of actual virtue in the eyes of many Israelis. Chutzpah, in Israeli national terms, would come to be known as a necessary ingredient to get by and grow. Israel's second Prime Minister Moshe Sharett noted this aspect clearly: "I have learned that the state of Israel cannot be ruled in our generation without deceit and adventurism. These are historical facts that cannot be altered. . . In the end, history will justify both the stratagems and deceit and the acts of adventurism". (In Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities and partially at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. )

Israel's Chutzpah at the national level, shouting "help! Help!" whilst beating Palestinians up, could be seen in vivid colors last year, when a video from the weekly Friday protest at Nabi Saleh on 28th August 2015 went viral. In the video, a fully armed and masked Israeli soldier is seen picking out a boy of 12 (minute 2:00) who has a broken arm in a cast, grappling him and pressing him down on a rock, on his broken arm. The boy's sister and mother come to his rescue and, unarmed of course, attempt to rescue the boy from the soldier's hold. This situation was an iconic portrayal of the egregious balance of power, where the boy is inarguably a victim. But no - Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev was "shocked to see the video this morning of Palestinians hitting an IDF soldier," adding that, "It cannot be that our soldiers will be sent on missions with their hands tied behind their backs. It's simply a disgrace!.... We must immediately order that a soldier under attack be able to return fire. Period."

Gold Seal

Best of the Web: UN Director-General lays out 17 facts that dispel Western media and government narratives about the refugee crisis

Journalists and politicians are wilfully ignoring the facts about Muslims and migrants, a senior figure in the UN has claimed, leading to a complete misrepresentation of the refugee crisis engulfing Europe.

Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, argues that contrary to popular belief, the number of refugees relative to Europe's population is tiny, and violence is not the main reason people leave Syria.

And the claim that this is the 'biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War' is completely incorrect, he tells The Huffington Post UK.

Møller, who spent more than 35 years at the UN, including working as Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's representative, laid out 17 things he believes we have got drastically wrong in our understanding of the crisis.

He said he is "baffled" and angry that the narrative around refugees does not reflect the facts, leading to counterproductive actions like cutting financial aid to countries around Syria, which "obviously" forces people to move on from underfunded camps.

He accused the media of reducing refugee stories to the "lowest common denominator" and politicians of "pandering" to xenophobic views to win elections.


Elderly man kills his wife as he couldn't afford her medications

© Bogdan Cristel / Reuters
An elderly man fatally shot his sick wife while she slept because he couldn't afford her medication, according to police officials in Florida. His wife had been ill for 15 years.

William Hager was arrested after he called the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. He was charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday.

Deputies said that Hager, 86, called 911 to report a verbal dispute on Monday. When an investigator arrived, he led them to a bedroom where the body of his 78-year-old wife, Carolyn Hager, was laying on the bed covered by a blanket with a bullet wound to the head.

Shopping Bag

Venezuela fractured: There is a shortage of everything in the country

venezuela queue
There are large queues to shop in cites and towns across Venezuela. But it is more in hope than expectancy. From toilet paper to beer there is a shortage in the country of everything. That includes food which is sold at subsidised prices. It is an economic meltdown. The people are ready to, "explode" opposition leaders have warned.

"We still have not found a place where we can get rice, pasta, butter, anything so we can give our kids something to eat. I am tired of it. How is it possible that they have us in this situation and they don't give any kind of information regarding the fact there isn't any food for us to take home," explained Caracas resident Maria Hernandez.

"The queues are tremendous, we have never seen this before. I have never seen them the way they are now and the worst thing is that we can't even get our hands on milk for the babies who are having a worse time of it," added another resident Placida Delgado.

The fractured economy and shortage of essentials is linked to oil which accounts for over 90 percent of Venezuela's export revenues. As the prices of crude took a nosedive the country with the world's largest reserves was hit hard.

Comment: The economic collapse and food crisis occurring in Venezuela is a preview of what Americans may be experiencing in the not too distant future.


Revenue from marijuana taxes to be used to fund scholarships in Colorado

© Fredy Builes / Reuters
Students in Colorado will soon see the benefits of smoking weed, as a new program will fund scholarships with revenue from marijuana taxes for the first time.

The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation in Colorado's Pueblo County is offering 25 students $1,000 scholarships, thanks to funds raised from the legal sale of cannabis.

"It's incredible," Beverly Duran, the executive director of the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, told USA Today."Every year we get a nice pool of students... but we can always only award to a small percentage. This for us expands that to extraordinary lengths."

At the end of 2014, voters in Pueblo County approved a tax on local cannabis growing operations to fund scholarships for higher education.

The tax will be phased in over five years, with at least 50 percent of the revenue designated for scholarships. The remainder will go towards public improvement projects and medical marijuana research, according to Reuters.