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You are NOT allowed to commit suicide: Workers in Chinese iPad factories forced to sign pledges

Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.

At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.

Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier's plants in Chengdu or Shenzen.

Chinese Workers Ipad Suicide
© Bloomberg via Getty ImagesAppalling conditions: An investigation by two NGOs has found new workers at Foxconn factories in China are made to sign a 'no suicide' pledge
After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers.

And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.

An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories.


Fukushima sees only incremental improvement: NRC

© Tokyo Electric Power Co. The crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant is seen in Fukushima Prefecture in this undated handout photo.
- Japanese authorities continue to struggle to control the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the chairman of the U.S. nuclear regulator told lawmakers on Wednesday.

"The NRC continues to characterize the status of the Fukushima site as static -- meaning that while we have not seen or predicted any new significant challenges to safety at the site, we have only seen incremental improvements toward stabilizing the reactors and spent fuel pools," said Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in prepared testimony.

Cowboy Hat

America has turned into a moral swamp

upside down US flag
America: "The beautiful" or "The mother-in-law with the booming voice"?

What does the assassination of Osama Bin Laden have in common with Guantanamo Bay?

They're both intended to send a message that the United States has sunk deeper into savagery and abandoned any commitment to conventional norms of behavior. That's the message, and we hear it "loud and clear".


Trump to China: "Listen You Motherf***ers...."

Donald Trump delivers an F-bomb laden speech in Las Vegas where he covers everything from Obama's misgivings to the middle east and China. The most shocking moment was undoubtedly his views on how to deal with China's global manufacturing monopoly.


US: Texas executes man with animal drug

© unknownKerr was convicted of sexually assaulting and strangling a woman in 2001.
US officials in the state of Texas have carried out the state's first execution with a new drug used to kill animals, putting to death a man convicted of killing a woman.

The state officials said pento-barbital replaced sodium thiopental, which is no longer manufactured in the US, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Sodium thiopental is the standard drug for carrying out death sentences and has been used in the nation's most active capital punishment state since 1982.

Cary Kerr, 46, was sentenced to death for the 2001 sexual assault and strangling of a 34-year-old woman.


Syria arrests more than 1,000: activist

© Bilal Hussein/Associated PressA Syrian Kurdish protester shows his palms as he shouts anti-Syrian President Bashar Assad slogans during a sit-in in front of the UN house in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Monday.

Syrian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people and many more have been reported missing in the latest sweep aimed at crushing the uprising against President Bashar Assad, a human rights group said Tuesday.

Ammar Qurabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said the 1,000 detentions were made since Saturday in house-to-house raids across the country.

"They are picking up people in an arbitrary manner," Qurabi told The Associated Press. In the southern city of Daraa, the epicenter of the protest movement, agents have been arresting men under 40, he said.

Assad is determined to crush the six-week-old revolt, which is the gravest challenge to his family's 40-year-old ruling dynasty.

Assad inherited power from his father in 2000, and has maintained close ties with Iran and Islamic militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

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US: California dog killed by swarm of bees in home's backyard when family at Sunday church

A Southern California family returning home after church found their 6-year-old dog covered with bee stings and convulsing in the backyard.

The 40-pound (18-kilogram) Jindo named Inu died minutes later near the hive under an eave of the family's Torrance home.

Joe Park tells the Torrance Daily Breeze that he and his family left for church on Sunday and the dog was happily playing in the backyard. When they returned hours later, she was lying in the yard, covered with hundreds of bee stingers.

A family friend frantically tried to remove the stingers, but the dog died minutes later.

Hive removal expert Don Sorensen says there may have been 25,000 bees in the hive. It's not known if they were aggressive Africanized killer bees.

Source: The Canadian Press

Bizarro Earth

Canada: Alberta Oil Pipeline Leaked 28,000 Barrels

© Google MapsThe leak occurred about 100 kilometers northeast of Peace River, Alberta.
Emergency crews working to clean up massive leak northeast of Peace River

A pipeline break northeast of Peace River, Alta., has leaked 28,000 barrels of crude oil, during what is now considered to be one of the largest spills in the province's history.

The leak from the Plains Midstream Canada pipeline, discovered Friday, was originally thought to have involved several hundred barrels of oil.

It now appears to be the biggest crude oil pipeline leak in Alberta since 1975, when a Bow River Ltd. pipeline leaked 40,000 barrels, according to Davis Sheremata, a spokesman for the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board.

"It's been the biggest spill from a pipeline involving crude oil that we've had in Alberta certainly in about the last 18 years or so," Sheremata said.

The last major incident was in 1993 when 18,000 barrels of crude oil leaked from a BP Canada pipeline.


Obama advisor: Waterboarding didn't lead to bin Laden kill

White House deputy national security advisor John Brennan Tuesday knocked down the myth that waterboarding provided crucial intelligence that led to the location of Osama bin Laden.

"So we've been talking about the different details and methods that lead up to this moment, and obviously there is word out today that waterboarding played a very big role or role in actually getting the information," MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski told Brennan. "Is that the case?"

"Not to my knowledge," Brennan explained.

"The information that was acquired over the course of nine years or so came from many different sources, human sources, technical sources, as well as information that detainees provided, and it was something that as a result of the painstaking work that the analysts did, they pieced it all together that led us to the Abbottabad compound and led us to the successful operation on sunday," he added.

Fox News' Fox Nation website claimed Tuesday that waterboarding led to the death of bin Laden.

Watch this video from MSNBC's Morning Joe, broadcast May 3, 2011.


Bin Laden tweeter becomes Internet sensation

© Unknown
Abbotabad, Pakistan - An IT consultant who hoped for a quiet life in a summer resort town in Pakistan has become an Internet sensation as the first to report the attack on the world's most wanted man.

Sohaib Athar was just another witty voice on micro-blogging site Twitter until he heard the sound of helicopters near his home in a Abbottabad, 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Islamabad early Monday.

But Athar is now world famous with almost 90,000 Twitter "followers" -- users who keep track of his messages -- as the first person to record the attack on Osama bin Laden's secret hideaway.

He was swamped with emails and interview requests from media around the globe and his blog was even attacked by Internet hackers.

"Bin Laden is dead. I didn't kill him. Please let me sleep now," he wrote on Twitter after the story went around the world.

It began with a tweet in the early hours of Monday morning.

"Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," followed by another; "Go away helicopter before I take out my giant swatter."