World View: May Day Protests Highlight Financial Crisis, Worker Exploitation

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • May Day protests highlight financial crisis, worker exploitation
  • U.S. declares H7N9 bird flu a 'significant' public health danger
  • Buddhist on Muslim violence continues to spread in Burma (Myanmar)

May Day protests highlight financial crisis, worker exploitation

Indonesian workers dress as ants to protest worker exploitation (AFP)
Indonesian workers dress as ants to protest worker exploitation (AFP)

In Jakarta, Indonesia, some of the tens of thousands of demonstrators marching through the city came dressed as ants -- complete with bright red outfits and antennae -- to depict the exploitation of workers.

Across Europe, May Day demonstrators protested against austerity that has dramatically increased unemployment and dramatically reduced benefits.

In Greece, public sector workers walked off the job in a one-day strike. In France, marchers carried banners protesting Socialist party president Francois Hollande saying, "Where are the real socialists in our government?"

Probably the greatest labor anger on this May 1 took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the site of a multi-story clothing factory that pancaked and collapsed last week, killing thousands of workers. Across Asia, workers are protesting poor building standards enforcement, and the fact that similar disasters could happen at any time. Activists in the UK have been wearing tee shirts saying, "A woman died in Bangladesh so that I could wear this shirt." CS Monitor

U.S. declares H7N9 bird flu a 'significant' public health danger

With the continued spread and high death rate of the H7N9 bird flu in China, America's department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is authorizing the use of previously unauthorized diagnostic procedures. According to HHS:

"The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing this notice pursuant to section 564(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD) Act.... On April 19, 2013, the Secretary determined that there is a significant potential for a public health emergency that has a significant potential to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad and that involves the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus.

On the basis of this determination, she also declared that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection of the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus pursuant.... The Secretary also specified that this declaration is a declaration of an emergency with respect to in vitro diagnostics as defined under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act Declaration for Pandemic Influenza Diagnostics, Personal Respiratory Protection Devices, and Respiratory Support Devices."

The H7N9 bird flu virus has already had a mutation that allows it to spread more easily among birds, and another mutation that allows it to spread from birds to humans. It's believed that it's three mutations away from turning into a serious pandemic that may kill tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

This has nothing to do with how clever or competent government agencies are in China or the U.S. or in the United Nations. This has to do with complete luck -- whether the right combinations of genes come together and recombine or mutate into a form that will spread rapidly from human to human. Federal Register and BBC

Buddhist on Muslim violence continues to spread in Burma (Myanmar)

Muslims pour water on burning mosque in Okkan, Burma (VOA)
Muslims pour water on burning mosque in Okkan, Burma (VOA)

On Tuesday, a mob of hundreds of Buddhists descended on a Muslim community in Okkan, Burma, hurled bricks and set hundreds of homes and mosques on fire. Terrified Muslims fled to fields to escape the attack, and came back to find that they'd lost all they had, with their homes in piles of rubble. Violent attacks of this sort began last year in Rakhine state in southwestern Burma, and have been spreading to other villages, with the worst happening about a month ago in central Burma. (See "5-Apr-13 World View -- Meiktila, Burma, violence has echoes of Kristallnacht") Tuesday's attack brings the violence very close to Rangoon (Yangon), Burma's largest commercial city. It's hard to see how this spreading violence can continue much longer without spiraling into a major war between Buddhists and Muslims that will spread beyond Burma. BBC and AP


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