International Intonation: Oct. 3, 2012

Mark Hendricks, Contributor Ω

Foxconn Riot in China

Chinese-based electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn, which sprang into infamy after a series of suicides among workers in 2010, is again facing labour problems after a riot broke out Sept. 23.

The riots began when workers from Henan province began fighting with workers from Shandong province. Guards then moved in to stop the fighting and severely injured one of the workers from Shandong, causing other workers to fight back.

As China moves further along the path of human rights, riots like these seem bound to happen. “It’s a mess,” Wang Zhiqian, a recruiter for Foxconn told the Washington Post, “The guards often abuse their power over the workers.”

Foxconn is one of the largest electronics manufacturing companies in the world. It’s responsible in part for the production of many popular electronics devices from well-known manufacturers including Apple, Acer, Sony and Microsoft.

Where you can find out more: www.nytimes.com

Google Executive Detained in Brazil

Google was forced to remove a defamatory political video after officials arrested their Brazilian head of operations.

Brazilian laws prohibit public criticism of political candidates, so when Google refused to remove YouTube clips accusing mayoral candidate Alcides Bernal of illegal activities, the Brazilian courts struck back. A 24-hour ban of Google and YouTube was issued and Google executive Fabio Jose Silva Coelho was arrested. He was questioned and then later released.

Google representatives have disavowed responsibility for the video.

“Being a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted on its site,” an email statement to CBS said.

After seeking all possible avenues for appeal, Google ceded to the demands of the Brazilian courts and removed the video.

Google’s policies with their videos have always put a primary focus on freedom of speech. For instance, it refuses to remove the inflammatory “Innocence of Muslims” video in countries outside of the Middle East.

Requests to remove videos for political purposes are not new. Between the U.S. and Brazil, Google claims to have received 381 requests to remove content in the final half of last year.

Where you can find more: www.cbsnews.com

Controlling Brains With Lasers

Researchers hope by manipulating the nervous systems of simple creatures they will gain a better understanding of our own.

A group of researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute discovered that by using lasers to trigger individual neurons in the brain of a microscopic worm, they were able to manipulate its behaviour and senses.

Researchers were able to make the worm turn in any direction of their choosing and trick the worm’s senses into thinking there was food nearby.

Researchers hope their work will lead to a better understanding of the ways neural pathways work. This knowledge could then be applied to animals with a more complex nervous system, such as humans.

Where you can find out more: www.sciencedaily.com

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