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Olympics mascots made in ‘China sweatshops’: watchdog

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A labour watchdog on Wednesday slammed the London Olympics organisers over alleged human rights abuses at Chinese “sweatshops” producing Games merchandise.

The group said labourers at two Chinese factories producing merchandise including Olympics mascots Wenlock and Mandeville worked up to 120 hours of overtime a month, or nearly three times the legal limit.

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The workers were exposed to hazardous chemicals without sufficient protective gear, leading to illnesses, and some had to buy their own face masks to guard against paint mist.

“We are disappointed as these practices are unacceptable,” Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) spokeswoman Debby Chan told AFP.

Sacom said it based its findings on interviews with 90 workers at two factories in southern Guangdong province between May and June.

The factories were run by Hong Kong companies Key Pine and Zindart Manufacturing.

Some of the workers reported inhaling paint, being docked half a day’s wages if they were five minutes late, and being required to start shifts at 8:00 am after finishing at midnight the previous day.

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Sacom said the conditions breached the London Organising Committee’s (Locog) ethical and sustainable procurement codes.

“The rampant rights violations reveal that the Locog codes are really no more than lip service with no commitment to the enforcement of labour rights standards,” the group said in a report.

Sacom, which has previously highlighted conditions of workers producing Apple products in China, urged Logoc to investigate the Chinese factories.

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It also demanded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prevent such labour abuses in the future.

Zindart told AFP it was investigating the claims, while a representative at Key Pine said the company was not aware of the report. Both declined further comment.

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Foreign firms have increasingly turned to China for its cheap labour, but rights workers say labour abuses are widespread despite the government’s pledges to improve conditions.

New York-based China Labor Watch last month said an investigation of 10 suppliers to Apple in southern and eastern China uncovered violations of workers’ rights, including excessive overtime and dangerous conditions.

In March the Fair Labor Association also reported forced overtime and other problems at three of Apple’s Chinese suppliers.

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Colbert names Trump’s siege on DC the ‘Tinyman Square’ incident

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It wasn't quite Tiananmen Square, where a still-unknown number of Chinese protesters were murdered by the government in 1989, but it was the closest thing President Donald Trump managed to score this week.

After watching the footage of the military tear gas, beat and shoot at protesters so Trump could march from the presidential bunker to St. John's Church for the cameras.

"It was like Tiananmen Square," Colbert deemed. "Except, in Trump's case, Tinyman Square."

Trump claimed on "The Fox & Friends" that no one was tear-gassed, so it's unclear what was stinging people's eyes and making them cough, choke and tear up. The Park Police released a statement saying it wasn't tear gas. While the moment was captured on video from dozens of different camera angles, one protester actually grabbed a canister of Oleoresins Capiscum, or "OC," the gas that was used.

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Vladimir Putin must love watching the US fall apart: columnist

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New Yorker columnist Susan Glasser made the astute observation that if Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to destabilize the United States with the election of President Donald Trump, he's clearly achieved his objective.

It was reported in March that Russian intelligence services are working to incite violence using white supremacist groups to try and sow racial chaos in the United States ahead of the November election.

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Conservative columnist links all Republicans to the attack on Lafayette Square

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Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump decided to walk across Lafayette Square for a photo-op. To get there, however, it took an outright battle with mounted park police, police covered in body armor and rattled Secret Service members who had just rushed the president to the bunker several nights before. Armed with semi-automatic weapons and military gear, they staged a siege on Lafayette Square against unarmed hippies, woke whites and people of color, again, forced to fight for justice.

Writing for the Washington Post Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot attacked Attorney General Bill Barr, who accepted responsibility for demanding that demonstrators be tear-gassed, beaten and shot with rubber bullets. Like Bull Conor ordering fire hoses on students marching in Birmingham, Alabama, Barr's attack on Lafayette Square for a photo-op proved he is willing to do what it takes to stroke the fractured ego of a president forced to cower in a bunker.

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