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Catholic Church forced to pay Christmas bonuses

Catholic Church forced to pay Christmas bonuses against its will

Local Source:
Last year, Bolivian President Evo Morales signed an order stating that public and private sector organizations must give a double bonus to employees in December, provided that the country's growth has exceeded 4.5 percent, which it did both in 2013 and 2014. The Bolivian Catholic Church now says that despite the national economic growth, the Church does not have the means to pay for such bonuses. The government rejected their complaint and plea for funds to assist in fulfilling the requirement. The double bonus is an expenditure of 43 million bolivianos ($6.2 million). The Church has b
Salaries in Donbas to be paid in food

Salaries in break-away part of Ukraine to be paid in food

Local Source:
According to officials from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), classified as terrorist organization by some states, the DPR is going to pay salaries in the form of food products. "To support and pay employees, due to the lack of cash, salaries will be partially paid in in food products,” the government's press center said in a statement. This means militants are actually admitting that the self-proclaimed republic doesn't have its own money to support its citizens. Olexandr Zakharchenko, the so-called leader of DPR, is said to be outraged by the decision of Ukrainian
Court absolves tycoon of causing more than 3,000 deaths

Court absolves tycoon of causing more than 3,000 deaths

Local Source:
After five years, the biggest trial on environmental issues in Italy has come to an end. Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss billionaire, was charged with causing 3,000 asbestos-related deaths. He was first sentenced 18 years in jail in 2012, and now he is free. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction and the compensation of $90 million he was supposed to pay to the victims' relatives, leaving them in despair. People in the courtroom repeatedly yelled “Shame on you” and held a banner saying “Injustice has been done.” “Sometimes we have to choose between law and justice, and we

Parents of 43 missing students look for them, no gov't support

Parents of 43 missing students look for them; no gov’t support

Local Source:
The families of the 43 Mexican students who disappeared on September 26 have not given up on finding answers. At the beginning of November, the Mexican government took four members of an organized crime group into custody who later gave statements saying they transported the students out of the city, murdered them, burned the remains and threw them into the river in trash bags. The families didn't believe the account. Only one bag was found, and the results were inconclusive, according to various forensic investigations, including by a top lab in Austria. Relatives of the missing pers
300 judges may lose their jobs over computers, iPads

300 judges may lose their jobs, used court funds for home entertainment

Local Source:
The Delhi High Court has ordered an inquiry into nearly 300 lower-court judges for alleged financial irregularities. The case relates to the use of funds provided to the judges to improve their IT infrastructure. Under the scheme 110,000 rupees ($1,778) were given to each judge, with which they should have bought computers, laptops or iPads to help them increase their productivity. But a routine vigilance inquiry conducted by court officials revealed that some of the judges had bought TVs or home theater systems instead of computers. A high-level panel comprising three High Court ju
Survey: Mosquito virus is 'invention' of Venezuelan gov't

Survey: Mosquito virus is ‘invention’ of Venezuelan gov’t

Local Source:
Venezuela recorded 26,451 cases of the chikungunya virus, a flu-like virus contracted from mosquitoes, so far this year. Despite the World Health Organization’s concern and other countries being affected by the illness, Venezuelan citizens are fed up with the government talking about the virus and are starting to doubt officials. The results of a survey conducted by Survey CA in several states revealed that 70 percent of Venezuelans believe the government uses the chikungunya virus as a smokescreen to distract citizens from other pressing social issues. Cruz Rigual, president of Survey
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Mexican band sings of the immigrant’s trials and sadness

The 4-man Mexican band 'Calibre 50' has been on the top ten list with their single “El Inmigrante” (The Immigrant.) Since their start in 2010, Calibre 50 has crossed borders with their music and affected audiences all over Latin American. In “El Inmigrante” the artists stand in solidarity with neighbors, friends, and loved ones who have crossed borders for a better life, only to be faced with disrespect, prejudice, and hardship. “I’m one of countless Mexicans // who works hard day in and day out // to give my kids a better life … the work here is hard // but I haven’t
10 Things You Didn't Know About Food

Food Around the World: 10 Facts You Didn’t Know

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Food is the most basic human need, but increasingly poor health outcomes are leading people to think more closely about what they put into the bodies, and what the health dangers and effects of that food may be. Start the slideshow to learn ten facts you may not already know about food all over the world.
Brazilian Indians to hide phones in trees to catch loggers

Brazilian natives hide phones in trees to catch loggers

Local Source:
Natives from the Alto Rio Guamá in the state of Pará, northern Brazil, are creating a system with mobile phones hidden in the trees to detect illegal loggers. The system will be charged by solar panels and will transmit the noise of chainsaws tens of miles away to the Indian chiefs of Tembé people, indigenous people of Brazil, who occupy the reserve. Puyr Tembé, coordinator in the region, says that once he receives the alert by mobile phone, he will notify the National Indian Foundation, who in turn will alert the police. The mobile system was tested in the Indonesian island of Sum
Gambia's new curb on LGBT: People randomly arrested, tortured

Gambia targets list of 200 homosexuals for arrest and torture

Local Source:
In a new crackdown on homosexuality, Gambian security authorities have reportedly arrested at least 14 people suspected to be gays or lesbians since early November. They are part of a list of 200 homosexuals that the government intends to imprison under new anti-gay laws passed in October. Many of those included in the list have since fled to neighboring Senegal in search of asylum and protection from Gambia’s dreaded National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The new law puts the already persecuted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community in the country at even gre
Animal abuse: Dog fights entertain people during winter

Animal abuse: Dog fights entertain people during winter

Local Source:
Although officially banned by the government and condemned as cruel by animal rights groups, dog fighting is a popular form of entertainment in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where prized dogs are worth as much as cars. Every winter, tournaments of dog fighting are held in Chaman, Balochistan, near the Afghan border where two-fifth of the population comprises of Afghan refugees. Chaman is known for its important link to Afghanistan and has been used by NATO forces to send supplies. Dog fighting in this area is a hobby of the powerful. In rural Pakistan, wealthy farmers, landlords and traders
Olive oil crisis in Italy: Harvest reduced by 90 percent

Olive oil crisis in Italy: Drastic weather reduces harvest by 90 percent

Local Source:
This year presents a drastic decline in the production of olive oil in the greater Tuscan area, which is considered the classic olive oil region of Italy. 2013 saw a total of 600,000 kilograms (1.3 million pounds) of olives pressed in comparison with a paltry 60,000 kilograms (132,000 pounds) in 2014. “Olive farmers keep our land beautiful and, more than that, safe,” Massimo Ghimenti, mayor of Calci, said during a meeting among the mayors of five communities which make up part of the “Monti Pisani Street of Olive Oil.” The concern is not only the loss of a critical source of inc
Pandas get VIP treatment, orangutan forgotten

Pandas get VIP treatment, orangutan forgotten

Local Source:
Katarina, an orangutan, is alleged to have been living in squalid and deplorable conditions at the Kuala Lipis Zoo where she has been taught how to smoke cigarettes and eat junk food. The primate did not know how to behave like an orangutan because it was never in the company of its own kind, according to reports. Upreshpal Singh, director of Friends of the Orangutans, says that Katarina sits by herself atop a tree with no leaves and at night she is caged with nothing but a cold concrete floor. Papers caller her the “forgotten Wild Woman of Borneo.” In comparison, a mind-blowing 6
Political campaings win Sexist Piggy Awards

Social Democrats’ political ad wins Sexist Piggy Awards

Local Source:
Political advertising won the top honors in the sixth edition of the Sexist Piggy Awards — thanks to scantily-clad women draped over cars or propping up chainsaws and other power tools. A student-produced ad for a university, featuring sex in a public restroom, came in second. The absolute winner is a local Social Democratic Party ad during this year's municipal elections. It was aiming at first-time voters, and it showed naked women covering themselves with a hand. The slogan was: “It will be the first time for many of us.” A billboard showed a woman’s behind in thong underwear
French chariry accused of financing jihad, IS

French charity accused of financing jihad, IS

Local Source:
A French non-government organization, the aim of which is to help the people in Palestine and Syria, has been accused of financing jihad. “Perles d’espoir” (Pearl Hope) was using its humanitarian convoys to help Syrian fighters, according to France’s intelligence services. This illustrates the dangerous shift from humanitarian commitment to active participation in conflicts, according to domestic security officials. And because of this confusion, an increasing number of young French citizens throw themselves in the fight for jihad. It is difficult for the investigators to prove t
Costa Rica: The happiest place on Earth

Costa Rica: The happiest place on Earth

Local Source:
You would be much happier if you lived in Costa Rica. In fact, you won’t feel better anywhere else in the world, according the Happy Planet Index (HPI), a guide that determines which countries offer their citizens a happier life. The study is based on data of life expectancy of the population, the welfare of citizens, and the nation's carbon footprint. With these as reference, the results put Costa Rica in first place, followed by Colombia and Vietnam. Germany, a country considered to have a good quality of life, the highest in the European Union, is ranked 47th of a total of 151 coun
Backlash as news of imposing tax on single people goes viral

Backlash as news of imposing tax on single people goes viral

Local Source:
South Korea’s health department is considering an unconventional program in order to encourage marriages and people having children: a tax on being single. In 2005, a proposal was submitted to add an additional tax for single people and families of two, but it was dismissed due to strong opposition. The same debate appears to be happening again. “We don’t have enough budget to tackle the low childbirth rate, so we may have to adopt singles tax in the end,” an official in the Health  Department said. Last year the South Korean child birth rate was expected to be 1.187 childr
Turkish forces to train Kurdish soldiers to fight IS in Iraq

Turkish forces to train Kurdish soldiers to fight IS in Iraq

Local Source:
The Turkish Special Forces, known as “Maroon Berets,” will provide military support in the form of training the Peshmerga forces— armed Kurdish fighters—against ISIS in northern Iraq. The soldiers of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been struggling against the jihadists. Commanders say they are not getting enough support and even accused the U.S. of having a certain "tolerance" towards IS' advance. Turkey has made arrangements to train the Peshmerga fighters for a month in northern Iraq. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited their military training camp in the Diya
Public officials grab 1.2 million acres of land in 11 years

Public officials grab 1.2 million acres of land in 10 years

Local Source:
Politicians and top government officials have illegally seized over a million acres of land in Afghanistan during the last decade and continue to do so unabated, according to the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC). Corruption and weak regulation are the main reasons for this “snatching.” Less than 34 percent of Afghanistan's land has been surveyed and legally registered, leaving the rest vulnerable to land-grabs, the report says. The watchdog says in its latest report that 1.2 million acres of land have been appropriated by roughly 1,500 gover
Outrage: Housemaids banned from using 'normal' elevators

Outrage: Housemaids banned from using ‘normal’ elevators

Local Source:
Infuriated Filipinos are reacting to a “discriminatory” policy of a condominium restricting housemaids and drivers from using the passenger elevators in the building, as it is only intended for unit owners, tenants and guests. "When Filipino maids in Hong Kong get banned from using the “regular” elevators (you know, the ones that “regular” people use), the country throws a hissy fit. Guess what? It's happening in our own backyard," reads the caption of a photo from one of the unit owners that went viral on Facebook. Lawmakers are now urging the Philippines' Commission on Hum

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