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Author: Reporter

Legalized child abuse: Wisconsin joins other state lawmakers in push for kids to fill labor shortages

As the federal government cracks down on child labor violations, some state lawmakers are embracing legislation to let children work longer hours and in more hazardous occupations. The legislators, mostly Republicans, argue that relaxing child labor laws could ease nationwide labor shortages. But child welfare advocates worry the measures represent a coordinated push to scale back hard-won protections for minors. “The consequences are potentially disastrous,” said Reid Maki, director of the Child Labor Coalition, which advocates against exploitative labor policies. “You can’t balance a perceived labor shortage on the backs of teen workers.” Lawmakers proposed loosening child labor laws...

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American cities stimulate downtown revivals by converting unused office buildings into housing

On the 31st floor of what was once a towering office building in downtown Manhattan, construction workers lay down steel bracing for what will soon anchor a host of residential amenities: a catering station, lounge, fire pit, and gas grills. The building, empty since 2021, is being converted to 588 market-rate rental apartments that will house about 1,000 people. “We’re taking a vacant building and pouring life not only into this building, but this entire neighborhood,” said Joey Chilelli, managing director of real estate firm Vanbarton Group, which is doing the conversion. Across the country, office-to-housing conversions are being...

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President Biden says “it’s time to act” on gun control during first anniversary of Uvalde school shooting

As families and loved ones mourned the unimaginable loss of 19 children and two teachers shot dead last year in Uvalde, Texas, President Joe Biden said from a solemn White House memorial on May 24 that too many schools, too many everyday places have become “killing fields.” The town released butterflies during a ceremony and held a candlelight vigil. The Texas legislature paused for a few moments of silence at 11:30 a.m. CDT, the moment the shooter entered Robb Elementary School last year, touching off the nation’s deadliest school shooting in a decade. Biden delivered remarks in front of...

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A national reckoning over police violence remains in limbo three years after George Floyd’s death

The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and the fervent protests that erupted around the world in response, looked to many observers like the catalyst needed for a nationwide reckoning on racism in policing. For more than nine minutes, a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of Floyd, a Black man, who gasped, “I can’t breathe,” echoing Eric Garner’s last words in 2014. Video footage of Floyd’s May 25, 2020, murder was so agonizing to watch that demands for change came from across the country. But in the midst of the deadly coronavirus...

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The Hill We Climb: Florida school bans poem by Amanda Gorman written for Biden’s 2020 inauguration

A poem written for President Joe Biden’s inauguration has been placed on a restricted list at a South Florida elementary school after one parent’s complaint. In a Facebook post on May 23, poet Amanda Gorman vowed to fight back. Her poem, “The Hill We Climb” was challenged by the parent of two students at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, along with several books. “I’m gutted,” she wrote. “Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.” Gorman, who at 17 became the country’s...

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Not planting means death: Ukraine farmers continue to risk losing their lives or livelihoods during war

A grassy lane rutted with tire tracks leads to Volodymyr Zaiets’ farm in southern Ukraine. He is careful, driving only within those shallow grooves, and veering away might cost him his life in the field dotted with explosive mines. Weeds grow tall where rows of sunflowers once bloomed. Zaiets’ land hasn’t been touched since the fall of 2021, when it was last seeded with wheat. Now, it’s a minefield left by retreating Russian forces. Zaiets eschewed official warnings and demined this patch of land himself, determined not to lose the year’s harvest. He expects that 15% of his 1,600...

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