Reporters uncover child labor in Alabama Hyundai facility – National & International News – MON 25Jul2022



Reporters uncover child labor in Alabama Hyundai facility. Possible cause of mysterious child hepatitis cases found. Myanmar executes pro-democracy activists.




Reporters uncover child labor in Alabama Hyundai facility

Earlier this year, Reuters journalists published an article investigating the case of a teenage immigrant boy who  was working in an Enterprise, AL, chicken plant, despite being too young to work legally. Following up on this story, the reporters discovered that a factory in nearby Luverne, AL, which makes parts for a Hyundai plant in Montgomery, had employed as many 50 underage workers, some as young as 12 or 13. Most of the children were immigrants from Latin America who had falsified papers claiming they were of legal age to work.

The SMART factory in Luverne had previously come under police scrutiny after a 13-year-old runaway was found to be working there. Police found that the Guatemalan girl had left home with an adult male, and both were working at SMART when police caught up to them. However, despite the girl being obviously too young to legally work, no official action was taken to further investigate labor conditions or hiring practices at the factory.

Many of these child workers came to work at SMART through a staffing agency, a common practice in manufacturing nationwide. Staffing agencies often have very lax hiring practices, conducting few or no background checks on applicants. This gives the factories some level of plausible deniability, even when it’s obvious individuals are too young to work.

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Possible cause of mysterious child hepatitis cases found

Two teams of UK researchers believe they have identified the probable cause of a recent spike in serious, unexplained childhood hepatitis cases worldwide. The disease has afflicted at least 1,000 children in 35 countries, including the US. In most cases, children recovered quickly on their own while others required emergency liver transplants. While cases were detected in children 1-17, the bulk of them were in children under 5.

The research teams believe that some children had a more serious than usual reaction to certain types of adenoviruses. This, they believe, is because of a lack of early exposure to the adenovirus (which usually causes cold symptoms and stomach upsets) adeno-associated virus two (which normally causes no illness on its own). The researchers have ruled out any connection to the COVID-19 virus or COVID-19 vaccines.

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Myanmar executes pro-democracy activists

Myanmar’s military dictatorship (the Tatmadaw) has carried out the first state executions the country has seen in 50 years. Since February of last year, when a military coup removed democratically-elected president Aung San Suu Kyi from power, the Tatmadaw has been fighting against armed, pro-democratic rebels. Some of these rebels have joined up with the separatist militias of minority groups who live along the country’s various border regions.

The pro-military courts have also tried Suu Kyi on various charges and passed sentences. New corruption charges against Suu Kyi will be coming to trial in the near future.

Today, the Tatmadaw put to death four major pro-democracy leaders in the country. One was a former lawmaker of Suu Kyi’s party, another was a journalist and the other two were organizers and activists. These four people were put to death under the country’s terrorism laws.

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