May 14 2014

Daily News Flash with Maya Rockeymoore on Child Labor in US Tobacco Fields, Biden Jr.’s Ukraine Energy Connections, and Ras Baraka Elected Newark Mayor

Uprising’s guest expert Maya Rockeymoore, sitting in for Rahul Mahajan. Maya is President of the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a social change non-profit dedicated to making policy work for people and their environment, analyzes today’s news headlines:

A Human Rights Watch report has found that hundreds of child laborers in US tobacco fields are suffering from nicotine poisoning. Researchers interviewed 141 children aged 7 to 17, from four states where 90% of US tobacco is harvested: North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. HRW found that many of these children are absorbing nicotine through skin contact with plants, leading to doses that are equivalent to smoking dozens of cigarettes a day and causing dizziness, nausea, and skin rashes. Most of the children are Latino Americans. Tobacco companies like Altria which owns Philip Morris, has a code of conduct prohibiting child labor in hazardous conditions. Click here for a Guardian newspaper article about the story.

As the crisis in the Ukraine continues with pro-Russian activists in various cities demanding autonomy, a new controversy has emerged around Hunter Biden, the Vice President’s son, who was just promoted to a high position at a private Ukrainian gas company. Biden Jr. now sits on the Board of Directors of a company called Burisma Holdings, which is apparently “Ukraine’s largest private gas producer.” Vice President Joe Biden has frequently brought up Ukraine’s need for energy independence from Russia. But White House spokesman Jay Carney flatly denied any conflict of interest, saying “Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice-president or president.” Click here for an RT.com article about the story.

Ras Baraka, the son of the late poet Amiri Baraka, has just been elected to mayor of Newark in New Jersey. The New York Times cast the results from Tuesday’s elections, as “signaling a likely shift in the direction that New Jersey’s largest city had embarked upon for most of the last decade.” Baraka defeated his opponent and fellow Democrat, Shavar Jeffries to win the seat vacated by former mayor Cory A. Booker who moved on to a seat in the US Senate. As incoming mayor Ras Baraka faces some major challenges including a high homicide rate, high unemployment rate, a huge budget deficit, and failing schools. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

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