China computer factory staff to get pay hikes
Foxconn Technology, one of the biggest manufacturers of products for Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other electronics companies, said Saturday that it would sharply raise worker salaries at its Chinese factories. Foxconn said that salaries for many workers would immediately jump by 16 to 25 percent, to about $400 a month, before overtime. The company also said it would reduce overtime hours at its factories. Labor rights groups say that over the years, many Foxconn plants have violated Chinese labor laws by pushing workers to endure excessive amounts of overtime. Apple announced Monday that the Fair Labor Association, a nonprofit group, would provide independent audits of its supplier factories in China and elsewhere, and that the group's findings would be made public. The association began inspecting Foxconn operations in China this week.
$1.6M paid over detention of kids
The British government has paid out just over $1.6 million in compensation to dozens of child asylum seekers wrongly held in detention centers before 2005, lawyers said Saturday. London law firm Bhatt Murphy said in a statement that the government made the payments to 40 former teenage detainees between 2009 and 2010 after the government acknowledged it had been wrong to keep them in custody. Bhatt Murphy said that nonspecialist immigration officials had incorrectly classified the teens as adults "purely on the basis of their appearance," forcing them to prove that they were underage. The government's age-verification procedures have since been reformed.
Official status for Russian rejected
Latvian voters resoundingly rejected a proposal to give official status to Russian, the mother tongue of their former Soviet occupiers. About one third of the Baltic country's 2.1 million people consider Russian as their first language. Many of them say that according official status to the Russian language in the nation's constitution would reverse what they claim has been 20 years of discrimination. With over 93 percent of ballots counted, 75 percent of voters said they were against Russian as a national language, according to the Central Election Commission results. The issue sparked high voter participation, with more than 70 percent of registered voters casting ballots — considerably higher more than in previous elections and referendums.
Roston-on-Don, Russia: Russian police said the number of police officers killed in a four-day operation to wipe out several militant bands in the volatile Caucasus republics of Chechnya and Dagestan increased to 17 on Saturday.
Rochester, N.Y.: A fast-moving fire swept through a multifamily home early Saturday, killing four people, all of whom appeared to be children or teenagers, fire officials said.