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China — Labor Rights Violations Continue in the Toy Industry

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Labor Rights Violations Continue in the Toy Industry
Source: China Labor Watch

China Labor Watch (CLW) today published a 66-page investigative report on continued labor rights violations in the toy industry. The four-factory investigation includes plants that manufacture for Mattel and Fisher-Price, Disney, Hasbro, Crayola, and other major international toy brand companies. During the investigation, the factories were making toys like Barbie, Mickey Mouse, Transformers’ Optimus Prime, and Thomas the Tank Engine.

The investigation, carried out from June to November 2014, targeted labor conditions in four facilities in Guangdong, China: Mattel Electronics Dongguan (MED), Zhongshan Coronet Toys (Coronet), Dongguan Chang’an Mattel Toys 2nd Factory (MCA), and Dongguan Lung Cheong Toys (Lung Cheong).

Collecting data through undercover probes and off-site worker interviews, the investigation exposes a set of 20 legal and ethical labor violations that include hiring discrimination, detaining workers’ personal IDs, lack of physical exams despite hazardous working conditions, workers required to sign training forms despite little or no safety training, a lack of protective equipment, ill-maintained production machinery, fire safety concerns, incomplete or nonexistent labor contracts, overtime hours of up to 120 hours per month, unpaid wages, underpaid social insurance, frequent rotation between day and night shifts, poor living conditions, environmental pollution, illegal resignation procedures, abusive management, audit fraud, and a lack of effective grievance channels and union representation.

See also: Working Conditions and Factory Auditing in the Chinese Toy Industry (Congressional-Executive Commission on China)
Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

Prevalence of Reduced Muscle Strength in Older U.S. Adults: United States, 2011–2012

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Prevalence of Reduced Muscle Strength in Older U.S. Adults: United States, 2011–2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011–2012

  • Five percent of adults aged 60 and over had weak muscle strength. Thirteen percent had intermediate muscle strength, while 82% had normal muscle strength.
  • The prevalence of reduced (weak and intermediate) muscle strength increased with age, while the prevalence of normal strength decreased with age.
  • Muscle strength status did not differ by sex, except among persons aged 80 and over, where women had a higher prevalence of weak muscle strength than men.
  • Non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic persons had a higher prevalence of reduced muscle strength than non-Hispanic white persons.
  • Difficulty with rising from a chair increased as strength status decreased.

The WIC Program: Background, Trends, and Economic Issues, 2015 Edition

January 30, 2015 Comments off

The WIC Program: Background, Trends, and Economic Issues, 2015 Edition
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

WIC provides supplemental food, nutrition education, and referrals to health care and other social services to low-income, nutritionally at-risk women, infants, and children up to 5 years of age.This report explains how WIC works, examines program trends, describes some of the lesser known effects of WIC, and discusses some of the major economic issues facing the program.

Why do intimate partners live apart? Evidence on LAT relationships across Europe

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Why do intimate partners live apart? Evidence on LAT relationships across Europe
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Most research asks whether or not cohabitation has come to rival marriage. Little is known about the meaning of living apart together (LAT) relationships, and whether LAT is an alternative to marriage and cohabitation or a dating relationship.

Objective:
We examine across Europe: (1) the prevalence of LAT, (2) the reasons for LAT, and (3) the correlates of (a) LAT relationships vis-à-vis being single, married, or cohabiting, and (b) different types of LAT union.

Methods:
Using Generations and Gender Survey data from ten Western and Eastern European countries, we present descriptive statistics about LATs and estimate multinominal logistic regression models to assess the correlates of being in different types of LAT unions.

Results:
LAT relationships are uncommon, but they are more common in Western than Eastern Europe. Most people in LAT unions intend to live together but are apart for practical reasons. LAT is more common among young people, those enrolled in higher education, people with liberal attitudes, highly educated people, and those who have previously cohabited or been married. Older people and divorced or widowed persons are more likely to choose LAT to maintain independence. Surprisingly, attitudinal and educational differences are more pronounced in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe.

Conclusions:
A tentative conclusion is that LAT is more often a stage in the union formation process than an alternative to marriage and cohabitation. Yet some groups do view LAT as substituting for marriage and cohabitation, and these groups differ between East and West. In Eastern Europe a cultural, highly educated elite seems to be the first to resist traditional marriage norms and embrace LAT (and cohabitation) as alternative living arrangements, whereas this is less the case in Western Europe. In Western Europe, LAT unions are mainly an alternative for persons who have been married before or had children in a prior relationship.

A Critical Examination of Child Protection Initiatives in Sport Contexts

January 29, 2015 Comments off

A Critical Examination of Child Protection Initiatives in Sport Contexts
Source: Social Sciences

With the broadening of focus on child maltreatment beyond intra-familial settings, there is growing awareness of occurrences of maltreatment within the sport context. Millions of children participate in organized sport annually, and despite a tendency to view sport as a context by which to enhance the overall health and development of children, it is also a context in which children are vulnerable to experiences of maltreatment. The well-documented power ascribed to coaches, the unregulated nature of sport and a “win-at-all-costs” approach contribute to a setting that many propose is conducive to maltreatment. A number of high profile cases of sexual abuse of athletes across several countries in the 1990s prompted sport organizations to respond with the development of child protection measures. This study examined seven child protection in sport initiatives in terms of the extent to which they originated from research, had content that was consistent with scholarly work and were evaluated empirically. The findings indicated that these initiatives were not empirically derived nor evaluated. Recommendations are made to more closely align research with these initiatives in order to protect children and to promote a safe and growth-enhancing experience for young participants in sport.

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society
Source: Pew Research Center

Scientific innovations are deeply embedded in national life — in the economy, in core policy choices about how people care for themselves and use the resources around them, and in the topmost reaches of Americans’ imaginations. New Pew Research Center surveys of citizens and a representative sample of scientists connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) show powerful crosscurrents that both recognize the achievements of scientists and expose stark fissures between scientists and citizens on a range of science, engineering and technology issues.

Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

During the past half century, the supply of inpatient psychiatric beds in the United States has largely vanished. In 1955, 560 000 patients were cared for in state psychiatric facilities; today there are fewer than one-tenth that number: 45 000. Given the doubling of the US population, this represents a 95% decline, bringing the per capita public psychiatric bed count to about the same as it was in 1850—14 per 100 000 people.1 A much smaller number of private psychiatric beds has fluctuated since the 1970s in response to policy and regulatory shifts that create varying financial incentives.

As a result, few high-quality, accessible long-term care options are available for a significant segment of the approximately 10 million US residents with serious mental illness. This population includes adults who are assessed as lacking insight and chronically psychotic, unable to care for themselves, and potentially dangerous to themselves and the public. These persons frequently have refractory schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The void is both ethically unacceptable and financially costly.

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