Sunday, April 30, 2006

Send in your email protest to support Honduran workers

Burger King Allows Labor Rights Violations

Thanks to Eduardo Kaffati, the Burgler King. Let him know personally:

Abe Huyser Honing

Go Away, Right Away

That's the essence of what employees of several Burger Kings in the Central American country of Honduras were told in wee hours of the night shift by managers cautious to make sure no customers were witness to their illegal firings.

And it's essentially the message Miami-based Burger King Corporation has given to U.S. advocates who've approached the company on the workers' behalf.

In Honduras, the owners of Burger King and other fast-food restaurants are all too accustomed to getting their way, right away.

A "Tourism Incentive" law allows them to set up shop tax-free. ("Let's fly to Tegucigalpa, Honduras-I hear they have great Whoppers there!" Right.)

The fact that the Minister of Labor works side by side at the same law firm as the lawyer for BK's Honduras franchise owner probably doesn't hurt, either.

So last year when execs at INTUR, the company that runs all of Honduras' Burger Kings, got wind that some workers in these restaurants were organizing to ask for a few things their way (complaints included having to pay for uniforms out of their meagre salaries and being forced to work overtime without pay), the execs apparently were not happy.

They demonstrated this unhappiness by firing 27 employees of Burger King and other INTUR-owned fast-food restaurants whose names appeared on a list of "organized" workers-never mind that most had never attended a meeting or even knew where they were held-and denying them the two-months' severance pay required by Honduran law for firings without warning.

Mandatory severance pay might sound to the U.S. ear like a cushy deal. But in Honduras, where companies like BK can pay their employees as low as $120 a month and the unemployment rate shoots upwards of 36%, it can mean the difference between satisfying your children's hunger or feeding them stone soup.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

For a Harvard Student and Aggrieved Novelist, Plagiarism Generates Interest


CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 28 — On Thursday night Little, Brown announced that it was pulling the Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan's chick-lit novel, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life," from bookstores because numerous passages in it had been plagiarized.

On Friday morning Maggie Hsu, a sophomore biology major at Harvard, went to the Harvard Coop bookstore, where she bought the last copy of "Opal" before clerks removed it from shelves. Ms. Hsu said that she had planned to purchase the book before the controversy erupted, but that the recall sent her to the bookstore. "I've been talking to a lot of people about this, and what everyone seems to be asking is, 'Why would anyone do this?' "...

...Earlier this week Steve Ross, Crown's publisher, described Ms. Viswanathan's actions as "nothing less than an act of literary identity theft." When Little, Brown said on Monday that it would "eliminate any inappropriate similarities" in future printings of "Opal," Mr. Ross questioned how quickly that could happen and said that leaving the original edition on the shelves during the time it took to make the revisions was "of great concern."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Computer Document

Mr. Schult needs some new ideas.
You can help him find out more about what is on these websites.

With a partner, that is you and one other person, create a word document and write both your names on it. You are going to email this document as an attachment to Mr. Schult's email address. His address is:

On this document, write down something new that you learned. Each website is different. Try to visit them all but if you find one you like, stay there.

Copy down the URL address of each website you learn something new on and put that in your document as well.

Write down 3 new things you learned and their website for 5 points.
Write down 5 new things you learned and their website for 7 points.
Write down 7 new things you learned and their website for 9 points.

Write down 7 new things you learned and something else that Mr. Schult does not already know, and their website for 10 points.

Your document should have the name of you and your partner, a sentence of two about what you learned, the website where you found the information.

Here are the websites you can use.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Honduras Culture Plunder on Rise

Tegucigalpa, Apr 25 (Prensa Latina) The plundering of objects of great cultural, historical and religious value continues escalating in Honduras, said Yani del Cid, the special Attorney General of ethnic groups and cultural heritage.

Yani´s remarks came after several thieves broke into San Juan Bautista Catholic Church in Ojojona community, south of Tegucigalpa, and plundered valuable objects.

The church robbers made off with a bust of St. Jose, from the second half of the 18th century, a silver crown, an oil painting of St. Miguel Arcángel, a silver and wood cross from the colonial period and an imperial crown of gold, among other objects.

The attorney said that agents from the Criminal Investigation General Department will inspect the zone.

Fort Lauderdale Woman Shot Dead While Vacationing In Honduras

POSTED: 6:58 am EDT April 26, 2006

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., woman is dead following an armed robbery on Honduras' Caribbean coast.

Authorities said a pair of gunmen shot and killed Adaline Lopez on Monday in Villanueva, about 125 miles north of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa.

Police said Lopez, 40, was on vacation and was preparing to fly back to the United States when she stopped at an ATM and withdrew $2,000.

A pair of assailants apparently watched her withdraw the money and approached her vehicle. They demanded Lopez get out of the car, but she tried to drive away.

The men opened fire, shooting Lopez in the neck.

The gunmen escaped with some money and remained at large Tuesday night.

Lopez was born in Honduras but immigrated to the U.S. 25 years ago and became an American citizen. She lived in Fort Lauderdale with her Honduran husband and two children.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


* Flimsy moral standards.

* Every friday is a relgious holiday. If your work/school objects to that, demand your religious beliefs are respected and threaten to call the ACLU.

* Our heaven is WAY better. We've got a Stripper Factory AND a Beer Volcano.

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Finally a religion we can all digest.


'Spaghetti Monster' is noodling around with faith

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Is the world ready for The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe, Earth and its creatures after drinking heavily from heaven's beer volcano. The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe, Earth and its creatures after drinking heavily from heaven's beer volcano.

Will its revelations — that pirates control global warming, that there's a beer volcano in heaven, and that superstition trumps science every time — overwhelm religious belief for all mankind?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

AIDS and $$ in SPS

The exchange rate is 20Lps to 1$. 700Lps is around 35$. Just over one dollar per day.

On the Honduran North Coast, a man with a good paying job like packing bananas for Dole earns Lps. 700 a month. Food for a family of five costs Lps. 63 a day, according to official government reports.

For the entire Honduran prison system, the total budget for medicines is Lps. 100,000 a year, even though dozens of prisoners are HIV positive. Obviously, with budgets like these, there is no room to buy drugs to fight AIDS. The new "triple cocktail", which reduces HIV blood levels to almost zero, currently costs $1 million a year. This is out of reach for 96 percent of the world’s AIDS sufferers...

...Garifuna communities in Honduras have been particularly hard hit by AIDS. In Santa Fe, there are 25 known cases of AIDS, most in their terminal stage. It is believed, says Tifre, that the rate of reported to unreported cases in Honduras is 1 to 30. There are only 5,000 people in the Santa Fe area, giving an HIV infection rate of almost 20 percent. This is not unrealistic. In San Pedro Sula in some industries, like seamstresses, watchmen, and food processors/sellers, the AIDS infection rate is 30 percent.

Living in San Pedro Sula

Maybe this is what is meant by the trickle-down effect.

World Vision fights poverty and sub-standard housing


San Pedro Sula has been experiencing an industrial boom thanks to the thriving maquila industry. This industrial growth has created thousands of new jobs and has been the reason for a large influx of rural people to this industrial center.

But while this boom may be good for the economy, it has also led to a shortage of low cost homes. Utilities such as water, electricity and telephone have also been over burdened by the rapid growth of the metropolitan area. There are many marginal communities without running water or electricity.

Typical construction of the houses in these marginal communities is cardboard boxes and large sheets of plastic held in place by mud. The dirt floors become muddy every time it rains. Standing water in walkways is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Cooking is done outside on crude wood burning stoves.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Venezuelans demand justice after schoolboy murders - Yahoo! News

Venezuelans demand justice after schoolboy murders - Yahoo! News: "'We're protesting against the insecurity we are living with and to demand justice. Everyone is suffering because of this, it has nothing to do with ideology, we living in a crisis,' student leader Isabel Plaza told local television.

Police on Tuesday found John Bryan, Kevin and Jason Faddoul, aged 17, 13 and 12, dead from shotgun wounds to their heads alongside the body of the family's driver.

Investigators say a group of men dressed in police uniforms had stopped the victims at a false roadblock as they left for school on February 23. Kidnappers later demanded ransom of more than $4 million.

The Faddoul brothers were born and grew up in Venezuela and also held Canadian passports through their father, a businessman and naturalized citizen." - Schools that canceled prom offer compromise - Apr 5, 2006 - Schools that canceled prom offer compromise - Apr 5, 2006: "NEW YORK (AP) -- Two Long Island high schools that canceled their senior proms after years of burgeoning excess that included limos and weekend house rentals in the Hamptons announced a cut-rate compromise Tuesday that will involve bus rides and other more modest arrangements.

Instead of hiring chauffeurs, students will take buses to a Manhattan pier for a dinner cruise. Instead of tuxedos and fancy ball gowns, the dress code will be jackets and ties for boys and dresses for girls.

The cost is expected to be about $100 per student -- a fraction of the cost of the wild parties of the past."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tired of male domination, 5 Saudi women change sex - Yahoo! News

Tired of male domination, 5 Saudi women change sex - Yahoo! News: "Al Watan newspaper said the five women underwent sex change surgery abroad over the past 12 months after they developed a 'psychological complex' due to male domination.

Women in Saudi Arabia, which adopts an austere interpretation of Islam, are not allowed to drive or even go to public places unaccompanied by a male relative."

"Loyal" donkeys better than wives, says textbook - Yahoo! News

"Loyal" donkeys better than wives, says textbook - Yahoo! News: "'A donkey is like a housewife ... In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master,' the newspaper reported, quoting a Hindi-language primer meant for 14-year-olds.

The book was approved by the state's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government but has sparked protests from the party's women's wing.

State education officials in Rajasthan, a western state known for its conservative attitude toward women, said people should not be upset by the comparison, the paper said.

'The comparison was made in good humor,' state education official A.R. Khan was quoted as saying. 'However, protests have been taken note of and the board is in the process of removing it (the reference).'"

Jesus may have walked on ice? - Yahoo! News

Jesus may have walked on ice? - Yahoo! News: "A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice thick enough to support a human to form on the surface of the freshwater lake near the western shore, Nof said. It might have been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of floating ice surrounded by water.

Nof said he offered his study -- published in the April edition of the Journal of Paleolimnology -- as a 'possible explanation' for Jesus' walk on water.

'If you ask me if I believe someone walked on water, no, I don't,' Nof said. 'Maybe somebody walked on the ice, I don't know. I believe that something natural was there that explains it.'

'We leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account.'

When he offered his theory 14 years ago that wind and sea conditions could explain the parting of the Red Sea, Nof said he received some hate mail, even though he noted that the idea could support the biblical description of the event."

Lack of women turns tables on suitable boys - Yahoo! News

Lack of women turns tables on suitable boys - Yahoo! News: "The sex ratio in many of Rajasthan's districts has dropped to 922 girls for every 1,000 boys, according to the last census. In one or two villages, it has plummeted to less than 500, the paper reported.

The joint engagement pact, called 'aata-saata,' or the 'double-couple plan,' has emerged as young women find themselves much in demand in a state where the traditional preference, as in much of India, has been for sons.

Heavily skewed sex ratios have emerged in several parts of India as couples use ultra-sound technology to achieve their desire for a baby son despite such tests being illegal.

A joint study carried out by researchers in India and Canada recently suggested that half-a-million unborn girls may be aborted in India every year.

But now the absence of girls is changing village dynamics, the newspaper said.

'There are no girls. If there is one in a house, the father is like a king. He can demand anything,'"