PHONE-HACKING SCANDAL INTENSIFIES
One year after the discovery of a massive phone-hacking scandal, a key investigator revealed early last week that the hacking may have been much more extensive than originally thought.
Last summer, authorities alleged that journalists working for UK tabloid News of the World illegally accessed the voicemail accounts of hundreds of British citizens. On Tuesday, September 4, CNN reported that the number of likely victims has grown from 600 to more than 1,000, and the number of potential victims — including celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Paul McCartney — has grown by 3,700.
News of the World was shut down last summer as a result of the allegations. Its former editors, now jobless, have also been charged with illegal activity in the UK; they are set to appear in court later this month.
Authorities are also investigating the involvement of Rupert Murdoch, former CEO and Chairman of News Corporation and owner of now-defunct tabloid. In July, he resigned as director of News International, relinquishing control of one of the world’s largest media conglomerates.
GENEVA PROSTITUTES BAND TOGETHER TO FORM UNION
Genevan sex workers are gathering together to unionize in an attempt to protect their rights. One hundred and fifty workers have decided to form a trade union and announced a general assembly this week to formalize the creation of the Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs du sexe (STTS).
“We have wanted for a long time to become an official body in the eyes of politicians and justice authorities,” a sex worker named Angelina stated in Swiss newspaper The Local. Angelina is a Colombian prostitute working in Switzerland who set out to create a better world for other sex workers. The union would fight for more prostitution-friendly laws, and work to change harmful ones. They want to cut down on competition from abroad, and to fight rent increases that the workers say border on abusive.
While prostitution is legal and regulated in Switzerland, sex workers face many challenges in their business, including health issues and financial burden. Between an extremely high-risk job and costs of more than $3,000 a month for a room, sex workers want the Swiss government to recognize their business and help support their endeavors for safe and affordable work. Proponents argue the union would help the 800 plus sex workers in Geneva.
REFUGEES FLEE WAR-TORN SYRIA
Over 100,000 citizens quit war-torn Syria this past August, fleeing one of the most violent months for the country since the rebellion began in March 2011. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have retreated to neighboring countries over the past year and a half, bringing the total number of refugees well over 230,000. The death toll for August was over 5,000, the highest for any month since the uprising began.
Protesters have relentlessly attacked Syrian President Bashar Assad and his lack of progress reinstating civil rights amid military crackdowns. Once an unopposed candidate for the presidency, Assad is now being called upon to step down from his position.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has been allowed to step in and assist victims, but other countries have been warned by President Assad to remain neutral. A reconstruction plan has already been prepared, but Syria will be without financial stability or resources following the terror; and if a regime change is effected, then the reconstruction of the country will be entirely left in uncertainty.