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Phuket Gazette: Discouraging words in UN Forced labor report and US/EU employment trends

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Phuket Gazette: Discouraging words in UN Forced labor report and US/EU employment trends | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket”s international community

UN: More than 20 million forced laborers worldwide
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: More than 20 million people around the world are currently victims of forced labor, the United Nations (UN) said on Saturday, but progress has been made in a number of countries to establish or improve needed legislation to criminalize such practices.

According to new estimates released by the UN International Labor Organization (ILO), 20.9 million people are now trapped in jobs into which they were coerced or deceived and which they cannot leave.

In its 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labor, the organization found that 11.7 million victims, or 56 percent of the global total, are in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by 3.7 million in Africa and 1.8 million in Latin America. It also found that 5.5 million forced laborers, that is 26 percent of the global total, are below the age of 18.

The ILO said forced labor takes many different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. Women and young girls are often forced into prostitution, migrants are trapped in debt bondage, and sweatshop or farm workers are kept at their job through illegal tactics while being paid little or nothing at all.

In the new estimates, 18.7 million people – 90 percent of the total – are exploited in the private economy, by individuals or enterprises. Of these, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation and 14.2 million are victims of forced labor exploitation in economic activities, such as agriculture, construction, domestic [household] work or manufacturing.

In addition, the report said another 2.2 million people are in state-imposed forms of forced labor, such as that in prisons under conditions which violate ILO standards, or in work imposed by the state military or rebel armed forces.

The head of the ILO’s Special Action Program to Combat Forced Labor, Beate Andrees, said good progress has been made in ensuring that most countries now have legislation which criminalizes forced labor, human trafficking and slavery-like practices. However, she noted that it is now necessary to focus on better identification and prosecution of forced labor and related offenses such as human trafficking.

“The successful prosecution of those few individuals who bring such misery to so many [people] remains inadequate – this needs to change,” Andrees said. “We must also ensure that the number of victims does not rise during the current economic crisis when people are increasingly vulnerable to these heinous practices.”

Weak jobs report pushes U.S. unemployment rate to 8.2 percent
Phuket Gazette / News Wires


PHUKET: The private sector in the United States added only 82,000 jobs last month, signaling that the economy’s recovering trend is halting, according to a report released by the U.S. Labor Department on Friday.

In its May 2012 Employment Situation report, the Labor Department showed that the country’s labor market added only 82,000 private sector jobs in the month of May, not even close to what economists had earlier predicted. The unemployment rate rose from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent, the first increase since June 2011.

It is troubling news for U.S. President Barack Obama who is seeking re-election this year but, more importantly, it shows the economy’s recovery seems to be stalling. This is especially noticeable when comparing the May figures to the monthly job growth average of 252,000 between December 2011 and February.

Nonetheless, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis insisted that the labor market continues to recover. “We continue to add jobs to an economy that was once bleeding 800,000 a month under the previous administration,” she said, noting that the job market has added more than 4 million private sector jobs in the last 27 months, and for each of the past five months, the country has created an average of 169,000 jobs.

“This is a critical moment, and more must be done to put Americans back to work,” Solis stated. “This administration has put forward a number of efforts to support the unemployed and spur more economic growth. Specifically, President Obama has sent Congress a ‘to do’ list that includes rewarding companies that bring jobs back home from overseas, invest in tax credits for small businesses, create good jobs for veterans, invest in clean energy manufacturing and expand refinancing for responsible homeowners.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney heavily criticized Obama for Friday’s bad news. “[The] weak jobs report is devastating news for American workers and American families,” he said in a statement. “This week has seen a cascade of one bad piece of economic news after another. Slowing GDP growth, plunging consumer confidence, an increase in unemployment claims, and now another dismal jobs report, all stand as a harsh indictment of the President’s handling of the economy.”

But speaking in Minnesota, Obama said Americans are “still fighting our way back” from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. “The economy is growing again, but it’s not growing as fast as we want it to grow,” he said. “Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but as we learned in today’s jobs report, we’re still not creating them as fast as we want.”
EU unemployment rate increases only slightly
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: Unemployment numbers in the 17-nation euro area (EA17) were unchanged in April, but a slight increase was seen in the wider 27-country region, the European Union (EU) said on Friday.

The EA17 seasonally-adjusted jobless rate stood at 11 percent in April, unchanged compared with March, although it is up from the 9.9 percent in April 2011. Meanwhile, the EU27 unemployment rate was 10.3 percent in April, showing a slight 0.1 percent increase compared to the previous month. It was 9.5 percent in April 2011.

The report was released by the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, which estimated that approximately 102,000 people became unemployed in the EU27 last month, while those unemployed in the euro area increased by 110,000.

Overall, Eurostat estimated that 24.7 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 17.4 million were in the euro area, were unemployed last April. On a year-to-year basis, unemployment rose by 1.9 million in the EU27 and by 1.8 million in the euro area.

Among the EU Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (3.9 percent), Luxembourg and the Netherlands (both 5.2 percent) and Germany (5.4 percent). The highest rates were seen in Spain (24.3 percent), Greece (21.7 percent in February 2012), Latvia (15.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012) and Portugal (15.2 percent).

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Politics

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup

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Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup | The Thaiger

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to the military coup, which has received major international backlash. As a major donor to Myanmar, Japan joins other advanced nations in condemning the coup which has seen security forces using violence against peaceful protesters.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was quoted as saying in a phone call that “Japan will strongly urge the Myanmar military to release Suu Kyi and other detained individuals, and to swiftly restore democratic government.”

But it may not impose sanctions like the rest of the other developed countries as its longtime ties with the armed forces, ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy and investment promoting policy in the country may serve as a barrier in doing so. Britan and the United States have imposed sanctions in recent days which include the US freezing military funds.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official says stopping its support of building projects would give China a chance to move in, increasing its clout in Myanmar. Around 450 Japanese companies operate in Myanmar with Japan being the 5th largest investor in the Southeast nation. Singapore has the most companies, followed by China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The Foreign Ministry says Japan spent about US $1.8 billion in official development assistance in the fiscal year of 2019, making it the largest among the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But it is unknown what China has poured into it as it has refused to disclose its expenditures.

The Japanese government plans to continue coronavirus emergency assistance to Myanmar through international organisations and non-governmental organisations. The World Bank, however, has stopped payments to projects in the nation indefinitely, after the coup on February 1, which disrupted the democratic elections last November and saw the arrest of top leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party, the National League for Democracy, won the elections in a landslide victory.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Law

Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants

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Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants | The Thaiger

In a landmark decision, Australia is now requiring global digital giants, such as Facebook and Google, to pay for using local news content on their websites. The move sets a precedent that many global companies have been anticipating.

The law passed yesterday after Facebook and Google reached an agreement to pay local Australian news organisations for using their stories on their websites. 1 week ago, Australians woke up to a blackout after Facebook temporarily banned local news, which included emergency notifications. The blackout was in response to the legislation being put forth for approval, with Facebook spokespeople saying it seemed to be their only choice at the time.

The new law sets the stage for other countries worldwide to gain more revenue for local media companies by making such social media giants pay to use content. Google’s “Showcase” product will now feature paid local news with Facebook showing such paid news under its “News” category.

Companies like Google and Facebook pushed back against the legislation, saying such a law could threaten their companies’ business models, with Google saying it could make their search engine website “unworkable.”

But local news organisations have rebuked the reasoning, citing that social media giants claim a large percentage of online advertisin, leaving local news companies out of the revenue game. Citing that news is gathered by reporting and fieldwork, the companies say it is unfair for social media companies to profit largely off of the work of local, smaller companies.

The law, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, aims to protect such local companies and to sustain public interest journalism. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs over the past decade as local media outlets have seen the bulk of their advertising revenues flow to digital companies’ sites after using their content.

Australia’s competition watchdog says that for every $100 invested by Australian advertisers, $49 is sent to Google and $24 to Facebook. Now, both online businesses say they will each invest around US $1 billion in local news content globally in the next 3 years. Facebook and Google now have 2 more months to reach solid agreements before being subjected to binding arbritations.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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World

Lady Gaga offers US $500,000 reward for stolen bulldogs

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Lady Gaga offers US $500,000 reward for stolen bulldogs | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/Lady Gaga

Who knew that finding 2 french bulldogs would earn US $500,000? That is the case for the lucky person that finds Lady Gaga’s equally lucky stolen dogs. The dogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen in Los Angeles, California while out on a walk with their dog walker.

But that’s not all. The employee in charge of keeping the dogs healthy was shot and wounded by a gunman who left the scene in a car, but not before allegedly shooting another man in this 30s. That man was hospitalised according to LA police.

Asia, Gaga’s 3rd dog was luckily found by police at the scene and was taken home by the singer’s staff. It isn’t clear if the frenchies were targeted due to their owner’s famous status or if they were taken simply because they were an expensive pedigree breed that can be sold for thousands of dollars.

Gaga, however, has offered the hefty reward for their return with “no questions asked.”

SOURCE: CNN

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