log in to manage your profile and account
- Create your account
- Receive up-to-date newsletters
- Set up text alerts
Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 7:36 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 7:35 PM
as well as any other goods — produced by North Korean laborers who work in China.
An Associated Press investigation tracked salmon, squid and cod processed by North Korean laborers working abroad to American stores, including Walmart and ALDI. The North Korean workers found in Chinese factories aren't allowed to leave, and receive only a fraction of their pay — most goes straight to the North Korean state. This means that American consumers buying seafood labeled "Caught in the USA, Processed in China" may inadvertently be subsidizing the government of Kim Jong Un as it builds nuclear weapons, and also supporting forced labor.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Thursday it is reviewing the allegations and if warranted, would "pursue all enforcement actions and prohibit goods from importation as appropriate." The companies that responded also vowed to investigate ties with suppliers.
GOP Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey, who has repeatedly called for tougher enforcement, said the Labor Department has already identified trafficking in 12 sectors of goods exported by China.
"CBP should be stopping every shipment from those sectors_and now trafficking-tainted salmon too," he said.
A White House National Security Council spokesman said Thursday the North Korean government's scheme to outsource its labor underscores why the United States has pushed for restrictions on North Korean foreign workers. The spokesman said all countries should, at a minimum, ban companies from bringing in North Korean crews, as pledged in recent United Nations sanctions.
China is among the countries that have promised to comply, already banning imports of North Korean seafood, and saying no more North Korean workers will be allowed starting next year.
"But all nations must go further and reject what is clearly a despicable practice that only serves the regime's nuclear ambitions," said the NSC spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to comment.
Walmart said its supplier has addressed the problem, although it did not specify how. Walmart and ALDI said they are committed to human rights and fair labor practices, and expect the same from their business partners.
At a time when North Korea faces sanctions on many exports, the government is sending tens of thousands of workers worldwide, bringing in revenue estimated at anywhere from $200 million to $500 million a year. That could account for a sizable portion of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs, which South Korea says have cost more than $1 billion.
North Koreans overseas work in construction in the Gulf states, shipbuilding in Poland, logging in Russia. In Uruguay, authorities told AP, about 90 North Koreans crewed fishing boats last year.
"I am not surprised at all," said Anthony Talbott, who directs the University of Dayton's Human Rights Center. "North Korea has probably the single highest level of state-sanctioned slavery in the world, it's a major source of income for them."
Among those North Korean laborers in China, roughly 3,000 are believed to work in the northeast industrial hub of Hunchun, just a few miles from the borders of both North Korea and Russia. AP documented North Koreans in several Hunchun seafood processing plants, and tracked their supply chains to importers, including Sea-Trek Enterprises in Rhode Island, where managers said they are being inundated with phone calls from customers and suppliers since the AP story.
Sea-Trek's owners said that they hadn't visited China and were unaware of the makeup of the workers, but would immediately cease dealings with the plant until the situation is resolved.
"Sea-Trek will not purchase product from any company using forced labor," said vice president Mitch Sarnoff.
Mark Liszt, owner of Lawrence Wholesale, a national food distributor in Southern California, said it would investigate its suppliers as well.
"We're middlemen," said Liszt. "We do make a practice of trying to go and visit the plants that we buy from in person, but it's not a perfect world that we can see into every single one."
Some U.S. brands and companies had indirect ties to the North Korean laborers in Hunchun, including Chicken of the Sea, owned by Thai Union. Trade records show shipments came from a sister company of the Hunchun factory in another part of China, where Thai Union spokeswoman Whitney Small says labor standards are being met and the employees are all Chinese. Small said the sister company should not be penalized.
AP observed North Korean workers in Chinese factories building hardwood flooring, sewing garments and manufacturing electronics. Fordham University economics professor Giacomo Santangelo said he doubts it's just fish processed by North Korean workers that reaches the U.S. markets.
"Now we need to ask, how many other products imported from China are made with North Korean labor?" he said.
Top senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York said U.S. officials must keep products made by North Koreans out of the United States.
"The Administration needs to ramp up the pressure on China to crack down on trade with North Korea across the board," he said.
Ohio's Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, who helped pass North Korea, Iran and Russia sanctions this summer, said corporations also have a responsibility to make sure they are abiding by UN Sanctions and U.S. laws.
However, Bucknell University political science professor Zhiqun Zhu said a sanction-based approach that cracks down on imports isn't going to solve the problem.
"It has so many loopholes," he said. "All sticks and no carrots will not make the North Korea problem disappear."
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 7:46 AM
— Apple is looking for additions to its workforce and you don’t even have to leave home.
The tech company is looking to fill about 50 AppleCare at-home positions to offer tech support of devices like iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, the Houston Chronicle reported.
While working from home is a big enough perk for some, the job also comes with Apple discounts, paid time off and potential career growth, even for those who work part time, according to Apple’s job announcement.
Apple At Home employees work directly for Apple for the company’s normal support hours. There could be extra shifts for holidays, what’s considered “peak business hours,” and training.
Workers are required to have a distraction-free room that is quiet and that can be closed off to keep noise down, high-speed internet with at least 5 mps download/1 mps upload, a desk and an ergonomic chair.
Apple provides the iMac and headset that is only for work.
Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 12:43 PM
METHUEN, Mass. — As the temperatures dip, Tom Pricone’s phone rings more and more.
Broken heating systems and frozen pipes; the complaints are always the same.
On Thursday, his company had received more than 30 calls before noon.
“Non-stop! this is what happens all day long,” he laughed as his phone rang during our interview.
Pricone, with Kannan and Pricone Heating and Plumbing, recommends keeping the thermostat at 72 degrees, even if you're not there. He says keeping the temperature constant can prevent your system from burning out. It also prevents the water inside your pipes from freezing and causing a messy, expensive problem.
“The main thing is not being thrifty with the heat, keep it up,” he said. “I got a customer that just called, she had frozen pipes last winter, same scenario happened again. Last winter it was $8,000 worth of water damage for her.”
Pricone took us to a house he's working on right now. Because it's empty, they're having to take extra precautions. Because this house doesn't have any heat, they're running a shower to keep the pipes from freezing.
They're also running a space heater to keep temperatures up and Pricone also recommends opening as many cabinets as possible.
“When you leave the cabinet doors open, we're getting the heat underneath there because it's on an outside wall and it will stop it from freezing,” he explained.
With temperatures dropping even lower over the weekend, Pricone expects even more phone calls.
Experts say the wind chill is what could make or break your pipes.
“The wind chill factor can find a pinhole and go right through that and freeze pipes,” he said.
And if you're worried about frozen pipes bursting while you're away, Pricone recommends turning your water off when you leave the house so the flooding isn't as bad.
“The main thing is not being thrifty with the heat, keep it up,” he said.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 9:08 AM
DUNCAN, Okla. — An Oklahoma family is mourning the loss of their 3-year-old daughter who was the victim of a dog attack.
Rylee Marie Dodge was mauled by her family’s dog, an animal they said they had owned for only five days, KSWO reported.
Rylee’s father Jason was visiting his brother, when he got a call about the attack from his mother who was watching Rylee.
When he got home, he said his mother was trying to rescue the little girl from the pit bull named Remington, KSWO reported. His mother was also injured by the dog. Eventually he was successful in getting his daughter away from the animal, and was putting Rylee in his truck when paramedics arrived, KSWO reported.
Doctors tried to save Rylee, but she died at an area hospital.
Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 8:44 AM
— Are Americans feeding their babies solid foods too early?
One group of child-feeding advocates say yes and that the move to feed babies solids early can follow them for the rest of their lives.
The group, called thousanddays.org, examined nutrition for babies in America.
Thousand days refers to pregnancy through the first two years after birth.
Its research found that nearly 40 percent of parents are introducing solids too early and that only 22 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed for six months.
Thousanddays.org said that more than half of moms say they are getting mixed messages on what to feed their babies.
So what are parents feeding their children and when?
Chloe Barrera with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevents said that she oversaw a study that took a look at what 1,482 babies from the age of 6 to 36 months ate. Parents told researchers when they first ate food that wasn’t formula or breast milk. Other foods included juice, cow’s milk, baby food or other solids. About two-thirds of families were not following official recommendations. Some parents introduced foods too early, or before 4 months (16.3 percent) , many (38.3 percent) gave food to their babies between 4 and 5 months, while some held off solid foods until 7 or more months (12.9 percent), Huffington Post reported.
Barrera’s study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
But study authors say the numbers may be worse than reported since research depended upon self-reporting and that parents who know the recommendations may have under-reported the ages of their children and when they fed them solid foods, Huffington Post reported.
Experts say babies should be either breast fed or fed for their first 6 months because those foods have the nutrients babies need for development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services are both working on federal guidelines for children under 2 years old. The guidelines are expected to be released in 2020, Huffington Post reported.