Apple supplier denies charges of unsafe, unclean conditions

In this photo taken in Oct. 2017 and provided to the Associated Press by China Labor Watch, workers attend a safety training session at a Catcher Technologies factory in Suqian in eastern China's Jiangsu province. (AP)
Updated 17 January 2018
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Apple supplier denies charges of unsafe, unclean conditions

SHANGHAI: An Apple Inc. supplier in eastern China has denied allegations by a New York rights group that its workers toil for ten-hour shifts in loud, polluted conditions, without proper overtime pay or adequate safety protections to make MacBook and iPhone parts, before returning to filthy dormitories with cold showers.
The charges highlight the difficulty of managing complex global supply chains — even for companies, like Apple, that have publicly embraced ethical sourcing as a business priority. Apple
Catcher Technology Co. Ltd., which runs the factory in Suqian, about 500 kilometers (311 miles) northwest of Shanghai, said Wednesday in a statement that it had investigated and "verified that none of the claims are accurate." Catcher also said it was about to acquire land near the factory to build new dormitories because it was "driven to enhance the living standard for our employees."
China Labor Watch said its findings, published late Tuesday, were from an undercover investigation that ran from October 2017 to January 2018.
It said workers without proper gloves had irritated, peeling skin on their hands. Others had machine oil splashed in their eyes. The main door of the workshop opened only 30 centimeters (12 inches) and dormitories lacked emergency exits — clear fire hazards, China Labor Watch said.
The report included photographs of cramped, slovenly dormitories and photos of foamy wastewater that China Labor Watch said was overflowing onto sidewalks.
"Apple needs to uphold their claim of honoring Chinese law," China Labor Watch executive director Li Qiang said in a statement. Back in 2013 and 2014, China Labor Watch investigated the same factory and flagged similar safety and labor rights violations.
Apple Inc. said it maintains a monitoring team onsite at the Catcher factory, which has made "significant progress" in raising standards since 2012. In response to China Labor Watch's allegations, Apple said it sent an investigative team to Suqian to interview over 150 workers but "found no evidence that Catcher was violating our standards."
"We know our work is never done and we investigate each and every allegation that's made," an Apple spokesperson said Wednesday. "We remain dedicated to doing all we can to protect the workers in our supply chain and make a positive impact on the environment."


Two Australian WWI soldiers laid to rest in France

Updated 12 November 2018
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Two Australian WWI soldiers laid to rest in France

  • Private Hedley Roy MacBeth, aged 31, and acting corporal James Leonard Rolls, aged 23, were killed in May 1917 during the second battle of Bullecourt
  • The bodies of the two soldiers from the Australian Imperial Force’s 24th infantry battalion were discovered by a disused railway track on May 23 May, 2015

BUISSY: Two Australian soldiers, killed over 100 years ago during World War I, were finally laid to rest in northern France on Monday as relatives stood by.
“He’s not an unknown soldier anymore, we know where he is,” said Robert MacBeth, 36, from Ballan, in Australia’s Victoria state, speaking of his great grandfather.
Private Hedley Roy MacBeth, aged 31, and acting corporal James Leonard Rolls, aged 23, were killed in May 1917 during the second battle of Bullecourt.
British and Australian troops managed to push back German lines during a week-long offensive which left 7,000 dead in the allied ranks.
“We are very happy, it’s very emotional that we’re finally burying him with full military honors and that he has been put safely to rest here in France,” Irene Darby, Rolls’ great niece, told AFP at the ceremony led by Australia’s Governor-General Peter Cosgrove at the Quéant Road Cemetery, near Buissy.
The bodies of the two soldiers from the Australian Imperial Force’s 24th infantry battalion were discovered by a disused railway track on May 23 May, 2015.
They were formally identified in August this year thanks to DNA testing of their relatives.
The two men were in a trench near the railway line when an artillery shell exploded nearby, according to army archives.
They will now rest alongside some 2,400 Commonwealth and German soldiers in the cemetery run by the Commonwealth war graves commission.
“The family always knew about James, he was spoken about at every Anzac Day,” Darby said.
“We can now say we found him and we can come and visit him now, we know where he is,” she added.
Almost 62,000 Australian soldiers were killed during WWI.
Historians believe the bodies of 700,000 of the 3.5 million soldiers killed on the Western Front are still missing.