Sally Kohn: Don’t like clickbait? Don’t click -Filmed July 2014 at TED@NYC


Doesn’t it seem like a lot of online news sites have moved beyond reporting the news to openly inciting your outrage (and your page views)? News analyst Sally Kohn suggests — don’t engage with news that looks like it just wants to make you mad. Instead, give your precious clicks to the news sites you truly trust.

 

 

Amazon’s German Workers Push For Higher Wages, Union Contract – by ROSS REYNOLDS September 01, 2014 3:18 AM ET


Only about 11 percent of U.S. workers are in unions — down from 20 percent just three decades ago. It’s different in Germany, where most workers are covered by collective bargaining.

An employee walks in an Amazon distribution center in Leipzig, Germany, in March.

An employee walks in an Amazon distribution center in Leipzig, Germany, in March.

Jens Meyer/AP

That cultural difference is causing a clash between Amazon, the Seattle-based online retail giant, and its German workers.

Bad Hersfeld is best known as a picturesque festival and spa town in central Germany. But it’s also home to two Amazon fulfillment centers that employ more than 3,000 people.

One of those workers is Nancy Becker. She came to Germany as an exchange student from the United States, married a German man and stayed. Becker is now 61 and she has worked at the Amazon fulfillment center for 13 years.

Nancy Becker, an Amazon employee in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, speaks at a protest rally outside the company's headquarters in Seattle in December.i

Nancy Becker, an Amazon employee in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, speaks at a protest rally outside the company’s headquarters in Seattle in December.

Ted S. Warren/AP

“It wasn’t that hard work,” Becker says. “I was a picker at the time. And we didn’t have that much stress. As Amazon grew in Germany, then the pressure on the people here … yeah, do this do more, more, more kept growing year for year for year.”

Along with more demands, Amazon did offer more. Workers in Bad Hersfeld get 28 days of paid vacation a year; that’s four more paid vacation days than required by law.

But Becker is unhappy because she and the other workers are classified as logistic workers. They want to be classified as retail workers. That pays more. In Germany, virtually all salaries are determined by these job classifications.

According to Verdi, the service workers union, Amazon fulfillment center wages start at 1,631 euros per month [about $2,150] and go up to 2,348 euros [$3,100]. The union said the change would provide 7,000 more euros [$9,200] for the average worker each year.

Amazon officials declined to speak on the record. But in a written statement, the company said its German employees at fulfillment centers primarily load and unload trucks and stock shelves. The company says those tasks are vastly different from the jobs done within a retail store.

But there’s a bigger issue here, according to Simon Habermaas from Verdi, the union. He says it can’t even get a contract from Amazon.

“That’s for us not acceptable,” he says. “And because of that, the fight with Amazon is a big fight for the successful German way of industrial relations.”

Since 2013, hundreds of the Amazon workers in Bad Hersfeld have conducted a series of short strikes, each lasting one to three days.

Lawmakers profit from boom – By Megan R. Wilson – 08/31/14 02:30 PM EDT


Members of Congress have made a tidy profit from the stock market boom, a review of financial disclosure forms shows.

Lawmakers vary wildly in their investment strategies, with some buying individual stocks and others preferring investments in mutual funds, bonds and real estate trusts.

But many lawmakers have investments of some kind, placing them among the millions of people who are getting a financial lift from the recovery in financial markets.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 — the two most popular barometers of the stock market — posted bullish growth in 2013, closing the year at all-time highs.

The gains that lawmakers are accruing highlight how lawmakers are generally wealthier than the public at large.

Calculations by The Hill found that about 47 percent of lawmakers — or 253 of 535 — had a minimum net worth of $500,000 or more in 2012. The actual number could be much greater, however, because lawmakers report their assets in sizable ranges.

The median household net worth in the United States was about $56,300 in 2013, according to a study from the University of Michigan.

One member with a sizable stock portfolio is Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), who owns more than $50 million in CapitalSource, according to his disclosure forms, a financial services company he founded in 2000.

Though Delaney relinquished his role as chairman of CapitolSource when he ran for office in 2012, he still holds millions of shares. Its stock value shot up last year when PacWest Bancorp announced it would be purchasing the company for $2.3 billion.

Within a family trust, Delaney also saw a boost in stock holdings in Williams Sonoma, Sherwin Williams and Harley Davidson.

Most lawmakers tend to be risk adverse with their investing, putting their money in blue chip companies such as JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil and Proctor & Gamble.

Article continues:

Read more: http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/216288-lawmakers-profit-from-stock-boom#ixzz3C3Fptf87

Iraq breaks Islamic State siege of Amerli – August 31, 2014 10:13AM ET Updated 6:30PM ET


Thousands of residents threatened mass suicide if extremists entered the town, which had been under siege for two monthsScreen Shot 2014-09-01 at Sep 1, 2014 1.32

Iraqi government forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters on Sunday broke a siege by extremist group Islamic State (IS) on Amerli, a town located between Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk, sources told Al Jazeera.

At least 12,000 people were trapped in Amerli for over two months with little food or water, and had threatened mass suicide if the city fell to Islamic State fighters — who captured large swaths of northern Iraq in June.

Adel al-Bayati, mayor of Amerli, confirmed the report to Reuters, adding that government forces were inside the town.

“Security forces and militia fighters are inside Amerli now after breaking the siege and that will definitely relieve the suffering of residents,” said Bayati.

The forces that broke the siege were reportedly mainly peshmerga fighters, Iraqi forces, and other armed volunteers — though there were reports that Iranian jets provided air support for the coalition against IS.

On Saturday, the U.S. military airdropped humanitarian aid to the trapped civilians of mostly Shia Turkmen descent. British, French and Australian planes also reportedly dropped aid.

“I can see the tanks of the Iraqi army patrolling Amerli’s streets now. I’m very happy we got rid of the Islamic State terrorists who were threatening to slaughter us,” Amir Ismael, a resident, told Reuters by phone.

Iraqi military spokesman Qassim al-Atta said the battle was a “golden victory registered by the Iraqi security forces who are still fighting the terrorist groups in north and south areas of Amerli,” adding that the town would serve as a launching pad to retake the northern province of Salahuddin, captured by IS fighters in June.

Article continues:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/8/31/iraq-amerli-isis.html

The BCS Is Dead | Here’s everything you need to know about the new college football playoff. By Andrew Bouvé and Josh Levin AUG. 2014`


A mere 145 years after the first intercollegiate game, this college football season will be the first to end with a playoff. The BCS, which has matched up the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the land since 1998, is dead, and nobody’s all that sad about it. In its place will be a four-team tournament, broadcast on ESPN and enshrined as the sport’s postseason system through at least 2025. Watch the video to learn how it will all work.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at Sep 1, 2014 1.18

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2014/08/college_football_playoff_the_bcs_is_dead_here_s_how_the_new_playoff_system.html

Greenhouse gas fear over increased levels of meat eating – By Roger Harrabin` 31 August 2014 Last updated at 23:56 ET


Global consumption of meat needs to fall – to ensure future demand for food can be met and to help protect the environment – a study says.

Minced beef

Research from Cambridge and Aberdeen universities estimates greenhouse gases from food production will go up 80% if meat and dairy consumption continues to rise at its current rate.

That will make it harder to meet global targets on limiting emissions.

The study urges eating two portions of red meat and seven of poultry per week.

However that call comes as the world’s cities are seeing a boom in burger restaurants.

The research highlights that more and more people from around the world are adopting American-style diets, leading to a sizeable increase in meat and dairy consumption.

It says if this continues, more and more forest land or fields currently used for arable crops will be converted for use by livestock as the world’s farmers battle to keep up with demand.

“Start Quote

Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here – but our choice of food is”

Lead researcher, Bojana Bajzelj

Deforestation will increase carbon emissions, and increased livestock production will raise methane levels and wider fertiliser use will further accelerate climate change.

The lead researcher, Bojana Bajzelj from the University of Cambridge, said: “There are basic laws of biophysics that we cannot evade.”

“The average efficiency of livestock converting plant feed to meat is less than 3%, and as we eat more meat, more arable cultivation is turned over to producing feedstock for animals that provide meat for humans.

“The losses at each stage are large, and as humans globally eat more and more meat, conversion from plants to food becomes less and less efficient, driving agricultural expansion and releasing more greenhouse gases. Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here – but our choice of food is.”

Yield gaps

The report says the situation can be radically improved if farmers in developing countries are helped to achieve the best possible yields from their land.

Another big improvement will come if the world’s population learns to stop wasting food.

The researchers say if people could also be persuaded to eat healthier diets, those three measures alone could halve agricultural greenhouse gas levels from their 2009 level.

The study is the latest to warn of the planetary risks of eating intensively-produced meat and dairy produce. Scientists worried about climate change are increasingly making common cause with health experts concerned about the obesity pandemic.

But many people are voting with their wallets and their bellies – as burger bars expand, mushroom burgers are not yet top-selling items.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29007758