Pieces Together:

“Women who wear immodest clothing and are promiscuous are to blame for earthquakes, an Iranian cleric said. The explanation for tremors in one of the most earthquake-prone countries came after President Ahmadinejad predicted a quake and suggested that many of Tehran’s 12 million residents should move. Hojatoleslam Kasem Sedighi was quoted by Iranian media as saying that adultery increased quakes and the only solution was to take refuge in religion” (Times, 20 April).

“The demonstration was marked by the same rhetoric that has galvanised the Tea Party movement and which crowds hear from Sarah Palin on an almost daily basis: disgust with Mr Obama’s agenda, rage at his health reform legislation, Government bailouts, accusations of a socialist White House and an unconstitutional takeover of American life by Washington. ‘We are in a war,’ said Larry Pratt, president of Gunowners of America. ‘The other side knows they are at war because they started it. They’re coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They’re coming for everything because they are socialists’” (Times, 20 April).

“The image Microsoft doesn’t want you to see: Too tired to stay awake, the Chinese workers earning just 34p an hour. Showing Chinese sweatshop workers slumped over their desks with exhaustion, it is an image that Microsoft won’t want the world to see. Employed for gruelling 15-hour shifts, in appalling conditions and 86F heat, many fall asleep on their stations during their meagre ten-minute breaks. For as little as 34p an hour, the men and women work six or seven days a week, making computer mice and web cams for the American multinational computer company” (Daily Mail, 18 April).

“A study of 6,000 British civil servants found that those who regularly worked 10 or 11-hour days were up to 60 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease or die younger than those who worked shorter hours. The research, published online in the European Heart Journal, found that people who worked three or more hours longer than a seven-hour day put their health at risk, possibly as a result of being more stressed and having less time to unwind” (Times, 12 May).

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