Stop Child Marriage / Slavery

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You may remember the story of Rawan – the eight-year-old Child Bride who was reportedly raped to death on her “wedding night.”1

Rawan’s story has served as inspiration for a renewed international campaign to end Forced Child Marriage in Yemen and around the world. Today, while the fight is not over, we wanted to share a few positive signs that momentum is building in Yemen to protect children from Forced Marriage:

Recently, the National Dialogue Conference of Yemen approved a proposal to make 18 the minimum age for marriage in Yemen’s new Constitution.2
Concerned Yemeni citizens are leading the fight to end this form of modern slavery, intervening to stop Forced Child Marriages as they take place.3
Building on the first step announced by the NDC, the Yemeni Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashour spoke out on the global stage, saying that ending Forced Child Marriage in Yemen is a priority of her ministry.4
These are major steps but there is still local resistance to ending Forced Child Marriage in Yemen.

We’ve heard from our partners on the ground that anti-slavery activists face death threats and attempted bombings on a regular basis. This makes Minister Mashour’s action as a public advocate for ending Forced Child Marriage so incredibly brave and sets an example for others. We want her to know the world stands with her, will you help?

Thank Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashour for risking her safety by pushing to ban Forced Child Marriage in Yemen.

The story of Rawan sent shockwaves throughout the world, and exposed just how prevalent Forced Child Marriage is in Yemen. You, along with 331,095 members of the Walk Free Community, took action asking the Government of Yemen to introduce legislation banning marriage for anyone under the age of 18.

While progress has undeniably been made towards ending Forced Child Marriage in Yemen, we can’t let the momentum falter. The political situation in Yemen is by no means stable, and constant cultural and political fighting could derail further progress towards ending this form of modern slavery. We need to keep Forced Child Marriage on the agenda in Yemen, which is why we need to show support for those on the ground so bravely pushing for an end to this form of slavery.

Send a message of support expressing solidarity in the continuing fight to end Forced Child Marriage in Yemen.

They face a constant battle to have their voices heard – we want them to know that we hear them, and they’re not fighting this battle alone.

When you’re done, please forward on to three of your friends to triple your impact.

Together, we can be part of history as Yemen ushers in a new era. Hopefully, one where every young girl and boy is protected from a life of domestic and sexual slavery.
In solidarity,

Debra, Kate, Mich, Jess, Kamini, Andrew and the Walk Free Team

Death of creative genius Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Philip-Seymour-Hoffman

(NaturalNews) Street heroin is devastating America today. The heroin overdose death of creative genius Philip Seymour Hoffman — found dead yesterday with a needle in his arm and “Ace of Spaces” heroin in his hotel room — underscores the urgent need for radical reforms that would decriminalize, regulate and assert strict quality control requirements over recreational street drugs.

It wasn’t the heroin itself that killed Philip Seymour Hoffman, you see: it was the unpredictability of the potency of heroin that’s manufactured, distributed and retailed in an unregulated underground economy which has no quality standards and no accountability to its customers and users.

The War on Drugs is an absolute failure

At first glance to the simple minded, the heroin-induced death of a beloved actor might seem justification for an urgent call to escalate the War on Drugs with an even greater degree of police intervention, state surveillance and expansion of the world’s largest prison system. Yet such decades-long efforts did nothing to prevent to death of Hoffman, and in many ways they undoubtedly contributed to it. When an in-demand chemical product cannot be legally regulated, controlled and distributed alongside medical treatment protocols for addiction, it inevitably falls into the hands of underground operators who, almost by definition, exhibit zero quality control standards and are steeped in a culture of violence and criminality.

And that means the heroin which people like Hoffman are able to acquire is unpredictable: it may be contaminated with toxic substances, combined with physiological multipliers that enhance toxicity, cut with deadly fillers, or dosed with dangerously wide variability to the point where users have no idea how much of the drug they’re really getting with each injection. Every dose is a roll of the dice, and far too frequently that gamble ends in tragedy.

How the war on drugs makes drugs even more deadly

The drug war has failed to keep recreational drugs out of the hands of substance abusers all across America, and in its failure it has vastly increased the toxicity of those drugs to the point where the drugs are increasingly deadly. Remember: Hoffman’s overdose was not a suicide. This was an addict who believed he was simply getting another day’s fix. He had no intention of killing himself.

If street drugs like heroin could be decriminalized, regulated, controlled and distributed in a medical context along with serious addiction treatment protocols, those who choose to abuse the drug would, at the very least, be able to count on consistent dosing and drug composition. Shifting the massive demand for recreational drugs out of the hands of shady criminal operations and into the hands of pharmacies, clinics and addiction treatment centers is not only medically justified but morally and ethically demanded. It also has the revolutionary side effect of causing the economic collapse of drug gangs (and all their violence).

Substance addiction is not a criminal mindset; it is a medical addiction. But by forcing substance addicts to deal with the criminal underground, we condemn them to precisely the kind of toxicity and unpredictability that killed Hoffman.

Hoffman’s death is an urgent call for a sane drug policy in America

Hoffman’s untimely and tragic death is yet another urgent reminder that our current drug policies in America — all based on an utterly failed, cruel and outmoded paradigm of criminality — must urgently change.

Nobody wishes to see anyone use heroin, meth, crank or other “hard” street drugs, yet people are going to use them one way or another regardless of what the rest of us wish. If we hope to see fewer of these people die from drug poisoning and overdose, we must find a way to heavily regulate, control and prescribe these synthetic molecules to addicts in conjunction with compassionate addiction treatment programs that treat these addicts as human beings who need help rather than felony criminals who need prison time.

Let Hoffman’s death serve to remind us all, yet again, that federal drug policy in the USA can never work as it is currently configured. Drug addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal issue, and until it is treated as such, the War on Drugs will continue to waste billions of dollars while unnecessarily destroying millions of lives.

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Go Ladies Go !!!

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New GM chief executive could receive more than $4.4M in compensation in her first year
by Bloomberg News
Mary Barra, who became the first female chief executive officer of General Motors Co. this week, may receive compensation in 2014 worth more than $4.4 million.

Barra, 52, will earn $1.6 million in salary and is eligible to receive an additional $2.8 million as part of the company’s short-term incentive plan, Detroit-based GM said today in a filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Barra also is likely to receive additional compensation as part of a new long-term incentive plan that will be up for approval at the company’s annual meeting this year, GM said. She was previously chief product officer.

President Dan Ammann, who was promoted to the role from his position as chief financial officer, may receive a package worth about $2 million, including $900,000 in salary. He, too, may receive more compensation as part of the new long-term incentive package.

Dan Akerson, who retired as CEO, will remain at GM as a senior adviser on an interim basis with a cash salary of $1.7 million and will be eligible to receive $2.98 million under the short-term plan, GM said. He’s expected to stay less than a year and his compensation will be prorated, the automaker said.

Akerson in 2012 received compensation worth $11.1 million, including $1.7 million in salary and $9.4 million in stock awards and other compensation, the company said in April.

Trust/ posted by Trish Regan

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It’s a toss up as to which is worse: news that millions of Americans had their credit card numbers, email and postal addresses stolen over the holidays at Target and Neiman Marcus – or, the revelation that Target and Neiman Marcus did not voluntarily, nor immediately, report the breach. By delaying confirmation of the hacking attacks, and only choosing to report them after word leaked, these stores put their shoppers at risk and violated the most important asset they had: customer trust.

Target failed to acknowledge its breech until a security blogger reported the news and the investors and reporters started asking questions. Meanwhile, Neiman Marcus knew by January 1 that it had been hacked yet, sat on the news for nine days. It wasn’t until the same security blogger, who was tracking reports about a surge in fraudulent charges linked to Neiman, contacted the company, that Neiman Marcus revealed its data breach.

Granted, Target and Neiman are themselves victims of the hackers. And, sadly, it seems that any business is vulnerable to these attacks. But, by failing to notify customers of the data breech, Target and Neiman put their corporate interests ahead of the interests of their customers. And, their customers are the true victims — the ones who are at risk for seeing their ATM accounts drained and credit cards maxed out.

The question that gets asked in any cover-up seems appropriate here, “what did [the retailers] know and when did they know it?” While it’s clear the retailers had a moral obligation to immediately inform their customers about the problem, it seems they may also now have legal headaches too. Class action lawyers filed lawsuits on the heels of the news and, with all the concern about consumer protection, retailers might also incur the wrath of the recently created Consumer Protection Bureau. Whatever the legal problems turn into, they were surely made worse by sitting on the news.

And, in fact, sitting on news like this may be industry practice. Target, along with struggling J.C. Penny, has a history of not reporting security breeches. Both companies actually waited two years before admitting they’d been hacked in 2007.

While the ultimate financial losses incurred by the retailers and their customers are still unknown, it’s clear that they have damaged their reputations. Not only do customers no longer trust the retailers to keep their data secure – they can’t trust them to do the right thing if there is a problem. Perhaps we should just all start paying with cash.

What do you think? Should retailers be required to immediately disclose a hack? Comment below or send me a tweet at @Trish_Regan.