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Protest succeeds: Apple seeks audit of Chinese labor conditions

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Technology giant Apple, Inc. said Monday it was asking the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to investigate working conditions at Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, essentially caving to the demands of protesters who delivered over 250,000 petition signatures to the company last week.

Foxconn, which hires over 1 million Chinese workers, has been plagued over the years by reports of suicides, and in one instance last year, a group of about 300 people threatened to jump to their deaths if they weren’t given better pay and working conditions.

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Foxconn, which makes devices for companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Intel and others, has said it plans to replace most of its workers with robots in the coming years. Meanwhile, the company keeps its human workers in small bunks on site, works them in 12-24 hour shifts, provides little food or medical assistance, and oversees their daily duties with military-like precision using advance surveillance techniques.

Apple, for its part, joined the FLA in January as criticism against Foxconn was mounting. They became the first tech company to partner with the Washington, D.C. group, which is dedicated to stamping out sweat shops throughout the world. Other FLA partners include Nike, Barnes & Noble, Liz Blaiborne, Inc., Puma AG and American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

After last week’s petitions, the company decided it was time to pull the trigger on their FLA membership rights, so Apple asked that the group to begin fair labor inspections of Foxconn’s facilities.

“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, explained in a media advisory. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”

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This is not the first time Apple has listened to its critics, either: after years of campaigning by environmental groups, Apple announced last year that it was initiating an e-waste recycling program that would accept any old Macs, PC, computer displays or mobile devices. They even offer to pick up the shipping tab, and if the company can turn a profit on any of the hardware turned in, customers receive gift cards for various amounts.


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Bernie Sanders just lost an important progressive endorsement to Elizabeth Warren

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The Working Families Party, a progressive political party that endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president in 2016, has now endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for president.

The New York Times reports that the labor-aligned organization's members overwhelmingly backed Warren's candidacy.

A spokesperson for the party tells the Times that "tens of thousands" of party members backed Warren's candidacy and that she received 60 percent of votes on the first ballot.

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WATCH: Boris Johnson booed off the stage in Luxembourg while trying to talk about Brexit

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was scheduled to hold a press conference in Luxembourg after talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

But according to Business Insider, Johnson was forced to scrap the press conference when he was greeted with a giant mass of booing protestors. Some of the demonstrators played Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," — a symbol of the European Union — and others shouted "We are the smiling piccaninnies of Luxembourg," referencing Johnson's racist remarks about black Africans.

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Justin Amash rips Trump for taking ‘orders’ from Saudi Arabia

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Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) blasted President Donald Trump for taking "orders" from Saudi Arabia as he threatened a military strike against Iran.

The Republican-turned-independent lawmaker called on Congress to determine what response was necessary to an alleged attack on oil production facilities in the Saudi Arabia, after the president warned the U.S. military was "locked and loaded" and awaiting further instruction from the kingdom.

"Under our Constitution, the power to commence war lies with Congress, not the president and certainly not Saudi Arabia," Amash tweeted. "We don’t take orders from foreign powers."

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