06-19-2018  3:12 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

Colorado to adopt California's stricter car pollution rules

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Protesters on round-the-clock vigil at Oregon ICE facility

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A small group of protesters has set up camp outside the Portland, Oregon headquarters of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating families after illegal border crossings.About two dozen protesters gathered...

Woman shot to death in Snohomish-area home, man arrested

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say 45-year-old woman was shot to death northeast of Seattle in her Snohomish-area home and a man believed to be her husband has been arrested.The Seattle Times reports a man called 911 around 9 p.m. Monday and reported that someone had been hurt in his...

Colorado to adopt California's stricter car pollution rules

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's governor on Tuesday ordered his state to adopt California's vehicle pollution rules, joining other states in resisting the Trump administration's plans to ease up on emission standards.Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper told state regulators begin writing rules that...

OPINION

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Bucks' Sterling Brown sues Milwaukee over stun-gun arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown sued the city of Milwaukee and its police department Tuesday, saying officers' use of a stun gun during his arrest for a parking violation constitutes excessive force and that they targeted him because he is black.Brown's attorney Mark...

Lawsuit claims Kansas official exposed private voter data

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach challenging a multi-state voter registration database it claims exposed sensitive information including partial Social Security numbers from nearly a thousand state...

California lawmakers push diversity through film tax credit

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers passed legislation Monday that puts more conditions on state film tax credits to encourage better sexual harassment reporting and diverse hiring amid revelations of misconduct and discrimination in the movie industry.The legislation would...

ENTERTAINMENT

CBS' '60 Minutes' gathers audience week by week

NEW YORK (AP) — The newsmagazine "60 Minutes" was not television's most popular program this year, but for the 11th consecutive season it had more people who watched at least once during the year than any other non-sports show on TV.The Nielsen company's cumulative measurement of programs...

Film Review: 'The King' is guilty of an Elvis crime- excess

It's usually a bad sign when critics start questioning your film before it's even finished. But director Eugene Jarecki had to endure worse. While making the documentary "The King," he actually got gruff from a member of his own film crew.After a car breaks down, Jarecki takes the opportunity to...

Birthplace of singer, activist Nina Simone to be preserved

TRYON, N.C. (AP) — The dilapidated wooden cottage in North Carolina that was the birthplace of singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone now has the protection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.The trust said in a news release Tuesday that it will develop and find a new use...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Lawyer: Police think slaying of XXXTentacion was random

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The lawyer for slain rapper XXXTentacion said Tuesday that detectives believe...

Trump raises risk of economically harmful US-China trade war

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China edged closer Tuesday to triggering the riskiest trade war in...

Meat 2.0? Clean meat? Spat shows the power of food wording

NEW YORK (AP) — If meat is grown in a lab without slaughtering animals, what should it be called?That...

Merkel says climate change is 'a fact,' laments US stance

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel took aim Tuesday at U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to...

Blurring the border, Turkey deepens roots in northern Syria

AL-BAB, Syria (AP) — A newly paved road links the Turkish town of Elbeyli to the Syrian town of al-Bab,...

London police say short circuit caused minor subway blast

LONDON (AP) — A battery short circuit caused a small explosion at a London Underground station that injured...

John Heilprin the Associated Press


Photo credit: International Labour Organization/IPEC
 

GENEVA (AP) -- Gold mined by children living in poverty in Mali is making its way into the international supply chain where it has been purchased mainly by trading houses in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday.

The supply chain from artisanal mines in Mali to gold-buying companies was first traced by The Associated Press in an investigation in 2007 and 2008 that included visits to six bush mines in three West African countries.

The AP found the money trail led from these mines to numerous middle men before nearly all of it was bought by two small Geneva companies, Monetary Institute and Decafin SA.

Following up on the AP report, the New York-based Human Rights Watch obtained export records from Mali's government showing that between January and June 2011 companies from Belgium, Hong Kong, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates bought more than $83 million of Mali's artisanally mined gold, with Decafin being the sole Swiss importer.

Marc Arazi of Decafin, however, said his family business in an elegant downtown building along the waterfront does not buy gold from mines that use child labor. "Absolutely not," he told AP, without elaborating. "Not at all."

A lawyer for Decafin replied to the human rights organization in September that the company has just six staff and lacks the means to investigate the problem, but is concerned about child exploitation and wants to be kept informed. He said Decafin has had no direct contact with either gold producers or Mali's government.

In 2008, Decafin unsuccessfully sued AP to stop the publication of an article showing that Decafin was buying gold from middlemen that in turn bought from mines using child labor in Mali. At the time, another lawyer for Decafin said the company was concerned about child labor but has no legal responsibility to investigate how the gold it imports is mined. He added that Decafin trusts the intermediary it uses in Mali and is certain his gold is not the product of child labor.

Tarek ElMdaka, managing director of one of the other gold buyers, Kaloti Jewellery International of Dubai, Hong Kong and Istanbul, wrote Human Rights Watch in July that based on the group's research it had suspended all imports from two Malian gold sellers.

HRW estimates between 20,000 and 40,000 children, some thought to be as young as 6 years old, work in Mali's artisanal gold mines. Many of the children are exposed to toxic mercury used in the processing of gold, and some have suffered long-term spinal injuries. They also face risks such as accidents in unstable pits as well as physical and sexual abuse.

"It is really difficult. It can make you sick," Lansana K., a 13-year-old in Baroya, Mali told the rights group. Lansana, whom the group identified only by first name and last initial, complained of headaches and back, shoulder and muscle pain. "I prefer to have free time than to work (at the mine). But my parents say I have to work to buy the study material for school."

The human rights group said 21 of the 33 child laborers who were interviewed for the report complained of respiratory ailments or recurring pain in their head, back, arms or joints. In developing countries, a child laborer is defined under U.N. standards as anyone under 14. For hazardous work, the minimum age is 18.

Child labor is common not only in West Africa's gold belt but also in artisanal gold mines around the world.

"I work at the mining site. I look after the other children and I carry minerals. It is hard," Mamadou S., a child in Baroya estimated to be 6 years old, told HRW. "I work with mercury. You mix it in a cup and put it on the fire."

The use of mercury to separate gold from ore is a particular threat to the children, because mercury attacks the brain, causing mental retardation, tremors, speech impediments, kidney damage and blindness.

"The most serious risk is inhaling the vapor from the mercury," said Juliane Kippenberg, a senior children's rights researcher at HRW and the author of the report. "Children do regularly touch the mercury and the health system is not addressing the problem at all."

Meanwhile, Malian gold traders expressed "very little interest or awareness" of the risks to children, she said. "What we want is for businesses to find out where that gold is coming from. They don't have proper due diligence procedures in place," said Kippenberg.

Mali's government adopted a plan in June to eliminate child labor, but Human Rights Watch said the country has not done enough and the mines are not regularly inspected. Attempts to reach Mali government officials for comment were unsuccessful.

The U.N. labor agency estimates potentially hundreds of thousands of children in West Africa mine for gold, many of them young boys expected to earn money for their families.

"My stepmother takes all the money they pay me," Mariam D., a child in Worognan estimated to be 11 years old, is quoted in the report as saying. "I don't want to work in the mines. I want to stay in school. I got malaria, and I am very tired when I work."

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