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Are Chinese companies underpaying local workers in Africa?



As Chinese companies have become active in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the construction of infrastructure projects, they have developed a reputation for not paying their local workers well compared to their Chinese counterparts. But the authors new research found the reputation to be undeserved, at least in Ethiopia and Angola, where the study was conducted.

Carlos Oya of the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Florian Schaefer of King’s College London conducted interviews with more than 1,400 workers in the two countries to find out if it was true that Chinese firms consistently underpaid local workers, and that it even mattered. mind. “The most cited – and most widely discussed – literature on working conditions in Chinese firms in Africa tends to emphasize poor and often “worst” working conditions, even when it is not clear what is being used to compare whether “average” conditions in the host country or comparable foreign firms,” write Oya and Schaefer.

They wrote that many past studies were based on too few examples (for example, the 2011 study Human Rights Watch report two Chinese mining companies operating in Zambia) or focused on working conditions rather than wages. While working conditions are important and bad practices in individual firms need to be identified, the authors of the study decided to try to specifically address the pay issue.

How well do Chinese companies pay local workers in Africa?

Oya and Schaefer interviewed manufacturing and construction workers at Chinese and other foreign companies in Angola and Ethiopia, as well as local factories in both countries. They asked not only about what employees were paid for, but also about their skills, education, role and other personal details that could affect wages.

The authors found that wages differ significantly between the two countries. They did find “slightly lower wages in Chinese companies in some segments,” they wrote: among semi-skilled construction workers in Angola and semi-skilled manufacturing workers in Ethiopia, for example. But the study concluded that much of this difference could be explained by specific differences in factors such as workers’ education or skills. “There is no clear evidence that Chinese firms consistently pay less than similar firms in the same sector and countries,” they write in a study published in the journal World Development.

The study, of course, does not point to any wrongdoing by Chinese firms in sub-Saharan Africa, and only concerns wages in two countries. But it does indicate that the narrative of Chinese firms exploiting locals may be more confusing than many realize.


UNICEF says people around the world have lost faith in childhood vaccines during the pandemic



People around the world have lost confidence in the importance of routine childhood vaccines against deadly diseases such as measles and polio during the Covid-19 pandemic. new UNICEF report.

In 52 of the 55 countries surveyed, public opinion about childhood vaccines declined between 2019 and 2021, according to the UN agency.

The data was a “worrisome warning signal” of rising vaccine hesitancy amid misinformation, declining trust in governments and political polarization, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, said.

“We cannot let confidence in routine immunization be another casualty of the pandemic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Katherine Russell. “Otherwise, the next wave of deaths could be due to more children with measles, diphtheria or other preventable diseases.”

The agency said the change in perception was of particular concern as it occurred after largest sustained pullback in immunizing children in a generation during Covid disruptions.

A total of 67 million children did not receive one or more potentially life-saving vaccines during the pandemic, and efforts to catch up have so far stalled despite rising outbreaks.

According to a UNICEF report, its flagship annual State of the World’s Children report, the picture of trust in vaccines varies globally.

In countries including Papua New Guinea and South Korea, agreement with the statement “vaccines are important for children” has fallen by 44%, and in Ghana, Senegal and Japan by more than a third. In the US, it fell by 13.6 percentage points. The report added that in India, China and Mexico, the level of confidence has generally remained the same or increased.

The report highlights that confidence in vaccines can easily change and the results may not indicate a long-term trend.

Despite a drop in confidence, more than 80% of respondents in almost half of the countries surveyed still believe childhood vaccines are important.

The data was collected as part of the Vaccine Trust project of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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What is your basic law and which states have it?



The states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma. , Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming West Virginia.

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My family and the Monterey Park shooter



My mother had two problems with ballroom dancing in the San Gabriel Valley. She complained that some of the men attending dance studios had poor hygiene, were out of shape, and deliberately hugged her too tightly, even those with wives at home. Another reason she didn’t like ballroom dancing was because of the married couple. As a single woman, she would have to wait for someone to come up to her for a dance. Despite poor hygiene, there were not enough men in the ballroom studios; there were three times as many women.

My uncle meanwhile was in demand on the dance floor. He became a ballroom dance instructor. Ballroom dance studios in the San Gabriel Valley have two different types of instructors: professional dancers, often from Eastern Europe, who lead group dance classes; and male instructors who dance one-on-one with the women who hire them. My uncle falls into this second category. There is instruction in these operations, but the main function of his part-time job is to be a dance partner for women in need.

He charges fifty dollars an hour, the current rate, but occasionally offers discounts to students who have worked for him for years. The minimum rental time is two hours; anything less wouldn’t be worth it. He has to put on the appropriate outfit (slacks and dress shirt), drive to the dance studio, and by the end of the first hour, he’s just getting started. It doesn’t matter to him if several women want to share time.

“What’s the difference, one woman or two?” my uncle said. “I dance for two hours anyway.”

On the penultimate Sunday morning in January, I discovered what these dance halls looked like inside. A few hours before sunrise, I was still awake in my living room in New York and tapping on my laptop keyboard while working on a novel. After finishing the scene, I stopped writing. The reward for the post-letter was the news. Originally mentioned in the headlines of another mass shooting, I pulled myself to attention as the words “Lunar New Year” jumped at me. Then Monterey Park. My aunt lives in Monterey Park, where we attended my grandmother’s Chinese watercolor exhibition, where I took piano and math lessons. Monterey Park is where Chinese-language signs adorn shops and restaurants, and where it’s easier to find a bowl of knife-cut noodle soup than a hot dog.

The recent past swept over the present: shooting in Atlanta; attacks on elderly Asian women in Times Square, Yonkers, Chinatown; running down Fourteenth Street on New Year’s Eve and a screaming man with loose brown hair chasing me, his arms outstretched to strike. Marching towards Foley Square through the snow-covered streets, stomping my feet as hard as I could to get blood into my numb feet, shouting “Stop hating Asians!” as if the volume of my voice could be projected into all the ears of America. It’s been over two years since I took the subway. I have no plans to descend to the platform anytime soon, or maybe ever again.

I went to bed, my heart was pounding.

When I woke up later on Sunday, I was looking for news of the mass shooting. The shooter was Asian. I felt relieved, which is rather strange at this news, but it meant that I wouldn’t have to panic that my body might be hunted in the streets. I continued to read. Celebration of the New Year according to the lunar calendar in the ballroom dance studio Star. The second location, where someone disarmed the militant, perhaps the same one? It was also a dance studio. Lai Lai Ballroom and studio.

At that moment, my chest tightened. I know Lai Lai. This is the place where my mother went to dance when I was little. Here my uncle still dances and teaches ballroom dancing to older Chinese immigrants.

I texted my mom, “Did you hear about the Monterey Park shooting?” Yes, she told me. My uncle was supposed to go to the Star Ballroom that evening, but since he had already celebrated the Lunar New Year the week before in Lai Lai, he decided to stay at home. News reports at the time indicated that ten people had been killed (for a total of eleven) and that the shooter was still at large. It turned out that one person fought off the shooter in Lai Lai: Brandon Tsai, the twenty-six-year-old grandson of the founders of the ballroom, snatched the gun from the hands of the shooter and forced him to leave. Tsai saved many lives that night.

During the day I contacted my mother about my uncle. It was revealed that he knew Ming Wei Ma, who previously co-owned and later operated Star Ballroom. Looks like he was the first person to be shot in the dance hall. My mother also knew Ma, although it had been ten or more years since she had seen him. When the media published his photo, she immediately recognized him. She met him at the karaoke parlor in the back room of the Star. Ma loved to sing karaoke, and he also hosted karaoke parties at his home in Monterey Park, where people sang and chatted for a few dollars. She, too, had visited some of them and remembered him as a smart businessman who turned what he loved – karaoke and ballroom dancing – into ways to feed himself and his family.

When I called my uncle a few days after the shooting, he told me that he also knew the shooter. Andy, my uncle called him. Andy took dance lessons in ballroom studios for many years. He was a good dancer. He was not a professional instructor and was not hired on an hourly basis like my uncle was, but he gave informal lessons from time to time.

Andy was quiet and withdrawn, my uncle said. But these are people who can be very dangerous, he added, people who keep everything to themselves. “They keep their problems locked up in their hearts and don’t reveal them to anyone. Then they lose it.” Andy was not the aggressive type. He was respectful, my uncle remembered.

Respectful turned out to be the opposite of what Andy was.

The news reported that the shooter met his ex-wife at a ballroom studio where they both danced. The motive for his actions is still unknown.

“I haven’t seen this guy for years,” my uncle said. “For a while, it seemed like he was gone.”

My uncle identified a couple of victims, although he couldn’t name them. Like many other Asian seniors, they frequented the studio over the years and became familiar faces on stage. Later, the names of the dead appeared on the news. They were Valentino Marcos Alvero, sixty-eight; Hongying Jian, sixty-two years old; Yu Lun Cao, seventy-two years old; LiLan Li, sixty-three years old; Ming Wei Ma, seventy-two; Mimi Nhan, sixty-five; Muoi Dai Ung, sixty-seven years old; Chia Ling Yau, seventy-six years old; Wen Tau Yu, sixty-four years old; Xiujuan Yu, fifty-seven years old; and Diana Man Ling Tom, seventy.

I spoke to Evy Quinones, who was giving Kao dance lessons at her studio in Pomona. “At first he was very shy,” Quinones said. “He wouldn’t talk much. He took dance lessons, paid for the classes, and left. He became permanent. He began to come to class more often. I saw him talking to other guys and laughing a little more and I knew he was having a good time. He was very smart, very gentle when he danced. He learns almost everything. He was a gentleman, such a great soul.”

Quinones now tells her students that if they feel intimidated by their partners or anyone else, or if they suspect their lives are in danger in any way, they should tell her immediately. Star Ballroom is still closed, but Lai Lai has resumed private and group dance classes; Afternoon tea dances and evening dances have also returned to the schedule.

My uncle is taking a break from dancing. “I need to rest,” he said, but plans to return to Lai Lai. He will continue to dance after a period of reflection, cha-cha-cha and samba, as he has done for more than two decades.

My mother took up ballroom dancing for a short time. Her dissatisfaction with the ballroom dance scene led her to join the Spellbinders, a square dance troupe in South Pasadena, where I grew up. They danced at the opening of the Golden Line metro station, in front of the coffee shop where I hung out with friends after school. On the Fourth of July, the Enchantresses danced down Mission Street, from one end of town to the other, in the Independence Day Parade. My mother twirled around in homemade American flag-patterned pleated skirts and matching petticoats that peeked out like underwear. Blushing, she rushed towards me, her jaunty neckerchief bouncing on her collarbone, and kissed me, her face was sweaty. I grimaced, wiping my cheek with a distinct “woo-hoo.” The death blow came when a schoolboy found me during the parade and said, “I saw your mother dancing.”

As embarrassed as I was about my mom dancing, it was the only time she didn’t have knee pain from osteoporosis or worsening asthma, and she felt happy and free. She was completely absorbed in the dance, her legs moving and turning, her hands tied with other seniors who were twisting and jumping according to the caller’s instructions. Viewed from above, the square dance looks like a kaleidoscope, these daring petticoats expand and contract in swirling synchrony.

The Spellbinders featured something about South Pasadena, a small town lined with Artisan houses and a soda machine where I bought violet flower candies. They put my mother in the healthy American tradition she may have imagined when she was little in Taiwan. Not only did the square dance give her a respite from the physical pain, but it also gave her a sense of joy and community, and friends to share a meal with – an arrival of sorts.

Now, realizing how important dancing was to my mother, I am ashamed that I ever regretted that she did not dance a square dance. I would like her to dance the way she used to – with friends, at city holidays and commemorative events, surrounded by an audience admiring her hand-sewn holiday dresses, applauding her. I don’t remember exactly when this shift took place in my perspective, but it probably coincided with that hazy period after the transition from adolescence to adulthood, when you no longer feel so embarrassed about all that once your parents did. First comes acceptance, then pride, then longing for the past, and finally regret.

On wet summer nights, I love spending time at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Track in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Dance music blares from multiple stereos as groups of mostly middle-aged and elderly Chinese women cross-step to the right, turn and skip a few feet to the left, raising and lowering their arms, tracking each other’s movements to the beat. Sometimes there is one group of dancers. On the best nights there are three or more. I joined these groups from time to time, being able to intuitively pick up side steps and hand waves after years of working in a high school cheerleading group.

The feeling of dance is always transportable for me. This is the same state of flow that my mother once occupied when she danced a square dance. When I dance, I am again a fourteen-year-old football cheerleader. I’m an 18 year old ravers at the old Prince’s Glam Slam in downtown Los Angeles. I’m on the dance floor at my friend’s desert wedding at sunset with everyone I’ve ever loved. It is this ability to be fully present in one’s body, to be part of a social collective – intuitive and comical, performative and personal, euphoric and tireless – that makes dance such an exceptional experience. The liminal space of the dance makes me forget where I am and, in a sense, who I am (a person with many deadlines, and now my own physical injuries). I am one body and I am a collective body. I am my own body in time. Perhaps I, too, am my mother’s body in a state of flow, free from pain.

Party goers at the Star Ballroom were doing a synchronized dance just before the shooter entered. video In the last moments of synergy and excitement on the dance floor, my body recognizes the rhythm of the song, the way the collective body sways and turns on the rhythm as people dance in front of the mirror and lights swirl around the room. Colorful jewelry, women in dresses and curled hair, men in trousers and dancing shoes, people who looked like my uncle and my mother. Many party-goers wear red shirts and dresses. The auspicious color symbolizes prosperity and is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits when worn during the Lunar New Year. ♦

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