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News :: Environment

Massey, president sue for $300 million, allege defamation

Don Blankenship, the head of Massey Energy Co., is suing a labor union, a ... The lawsuit alleges the Gazette "has a long history of close relations with the UMWA ...

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News :: Miscellaneous

Forest Hill historic house in danger

Patteson-Schutte House in Forest Hill area, built in 1700s,
is in danger of being demolished to make way for new subdivision.

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Commentary :: Labor & Class : Media

All classed up and nowhere to go

AT FIRST GLANCE, "Class Matters" — the New York Times’ epic inquiry into the widening economic divisions of the new millennium — appears to be what its editors solemnly claim: a well-intentioned effort to reckon with a serious social condition, one that notoriously eludes clear understanding in America, so long hymned as the planet’s pre-eminent land of opportunity. Alas, however, the New York Times is in no position to deliver. In contrast to, say, the paper’s conscientious reporting on the ’60s-era civil-rights movement in the South, its foray into class consciousness suffers from a fatal flaw. Social class is at the core of the Times’ institutional identity, which prevents the paper from offering the sort of dispassionate, critically searching discussion the subject demands.

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News :: Crime & Police

3 fatal shootings in South Richmond

One man was shot to death yesterday in a South Richmond public housing complex, and minutes later two other men were shot to death in a Broad Rock Boulevard strip mall.

Richmond police early today were looking for a single suspect in the three slayings.

Police Chief Rodney Monroe said last night the slayings were being investigated as possible hate crimes based on what the suspect "said and how he said it." The gunman made "racist" remarks before killing the two men at the strip mall, according to Capt. Mark K. Segal.

One of the strip mall victims was a native of Yemen and the other was a Korean-American. The suspect was described as a black man.

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Commentary :: Peace & War

Empire: American as Apple Pie

The Bush administration’s denial of imperial ambitions clashes not only with what most of the world sees as this nation’s unprovoked aggression in Iraq and drive for global domination. It also departs from U.S. tradition established in the early years of the republic and the colonial era that preceded it.

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News :: Labor & Class

Charity wristbands made by Chinese 'slave labour'

May 29, 2005

Wristbands sold to raise money for a campaign against world poverty are made in Chinese sweatshops in "slave labour" conditions.

The "shocking'' conditions are disclosed in confidential "ethical audits" of factories that make the ultra-fashionable white wristbands for the Make Poverty History campaign, started by a coalition of more than 400 charities.

Bob Geldof, who organized the 1985 Live Aid concert and performed in Rome yesterday at a rally for Africa, called for action when the Telegraph broke the news to him.

"The charities should pull out of deals with those companies immediately or set a firm deadline for improvements and pull out if the improvements are not met," he said.

He accused Oxfam, Christian Aid, Cafod and others of "rank hypocrisy" for buying from sweatshops while campaigning for "fair and ethical trade."

"This is appalling," he said.

"It goes against everything we stand for. If we are criticizing big companies for trading unethically, then we have to be whiter than white."

Hundreds of thousands of wristbands, made in fabric or silicon, have been sold in Britain, with pop stars, footballers and politicians, including Tony Blair, seen wearing them.

They cost $2.30, of which $1.60 goes to the charities. The audit reports obtained by the Telegraph show, however, that Chinese factories making the silicon versions fall woefully short of any "ethical standards."

A report on the Tat Shing Rubber Manufacturing Company in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, dated April 12, 2005, accuses it of using "forced labour" by taking "financial deposits" from new employees in violation of Chinese law.

The audit uncovered a list of "weaknesses" including poor health and safety provisions, long hours, a seven-day week, workers cheated out of pay, inadequate insurance, no annual leave and no right to freedom of association.

An audit at the Fuzhou Xing Chun Trade Company found workers paid at below the local minimum hourly wage of 2.39 yuan (just under 36 cents) and some as little as 1.39 yuan (21 cents). Overtime was worked beyond the legal limit and not paid for properly, there was no paid annual leave, and no guarantee of a day off each week.

Oxfam said it now sees that purchasing the bracelets before they had seen a full audit was "a mistake."

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2005

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News :: Miscellaneous

Phone Isn’t Ringing for Owner of The Diamond

May 25, 2005

Development proposals for the Diamond-anchored Boulevard area are rolling in, say City Councilman William J. Pantele and Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, but no one has contacted the entity that actually owns the home of the Richmond Braves.

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

U.S. detains Iraqi Islamic party leader

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. troops detained the head of Iraq's largest Sunni Muslim political party during a house raid early Monday in western Baghdad, a top party official and police said. Mohsen Abdul Hamid, head of the Iraqi Islamic Party, was detained by American soldiers along with his three sons and four guards, said party-secretary-general Ayad al-Samarei. U.S. military officials could not immediately confirm the detentions.

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