Report: Western Union, MoneyGram Charge Africans Twice as Much to Send Money Home

western union moneygram 350x188 Report: Western Union, MoneyGram Charge Africans Twice as Much to Send Money Home

Report: Western Union, MoneyGram Charge Africans Twice as Much to Send Money Home

A new report found that Western Union and Moneygram reportedly charge Africans working in the U.S. and Europe twice as much to wire money home than their Latin American and Southeast Asian counterparts.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) found that transactions fees cost the region an estimated $1.8 billion annually. Western Union and MoneyGram account for two-thirds of remittances, or $586 million of the loss associated with fees, the report found.

Remittance fees have gone down for people sending money to Southeast Asia and Latin America, which is in keeping with G8 and G20 targets to reduce transactions costs, but the cost of sending money home to Africa has remained the same.

The remittances to Africa account for five percent of the continent’s GDP. Maria Quattri, one of the authors of the ODI report, told Al Jazeera that the “message of the report is the poorest people in the world, Africans, are paying the highest charges for remittance fees.”

Quattri calls for better regulation of money transfer service providers and banks. She blamed a lack of competition in the industry for the exorbitant fees.

She said, “We want to see greater transparency on charges, in particular charges on currency conversion fees.” She added that ODI has called on U.S. and British financial regulators to better assess transaction costs. She also called for international governments to promote the creation of more viable money transfer providers.

Read more at america.aljazeera.com

 Report: Western Union, MoneyGram Charge Africans Twice as Much to Send Money Home

Sky Ferreira’s Latest Music Video Promotes Racist Stereotypes of Black Men

sky ferreira video 350x205 Sky Ferreiras Latest Music Video Promotes Racist Stereotypes of Black Men

Sky Ferreira’s Latest Music Video Promotes Racist Stereotypes of Black Men (Screengrab from video)

Sky Ferreira, who is currently on tour with Miley Cyrus, is under fire for newly released music video for her song “I Blame Myself,” in which she plays the leader of a black gang in Compton, Calif.

Ferreira says the video isn’t racist and that it’s demeaning to the “well spoken & aware” black actors involved to claim it as such. But wait, isn’t that comment racially insensitive?

The furor erupted surrounding the video earlier this week  and Sky Ferreira was slammed on Facebook and Twitter.

I am guessing Ms. Ferreira isn’t a racist person, but the video is racially insensitive. Period. It plays on a number of stereotypes about young black men. For example, in the opening shot, two black guys in a car drive up, to another black guy leaning on a tree. He looks around suspiciously…”Sup fellas, whatchy’all want?” They give him a glare. One of them makes some gestures with his hands, some type of code. The other understands and exclaims, “F*ck you, get the f*ck off my block.” Sky Ferreira shows up to save her gang of black men from these glaring villains. Are you kidding me?

Sky Ferreira’s defense of the video is equally shameful. In a poorly punctuated and long-winded Facebook post she argued that she chose her all-black dance crew because they were the “best ones” that came to auditions. Um, I guess these guys were the best people to audition for the roles of black thugs and black guys driving a car with jacked-up hydraulics. Then she throws in the fact that she has a “half-black brother.” Um, so that gives her the right to make a racially insensitive music video. Whatever.

 Sky Ferreiras Latest Music Video Promotes Racist Stereotypes of Black Men

Dominican Republic Reports 17 Confirmed Cases of Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Illness

chikungunya illness 350x196 Dominican Republic Reports 17 Confirmed Cases of Mosquito Borne Chikungunya Illness

Dominican Republic Reports 17 Confirmed Cases of Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Illness

The Dominican Republic released figures on a new mosquito-borne illness, chikungunya, that seems to be spreading in the Caribbean. The DR reported there are 17 confirmed cases and 767 suspected cases of chikungunya, with the suspected number of cases in the Caribbean rising about 20 percent in the week to 29,760.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) released a report on the 16 communicable disease threats, including the first case counts for chikungunya. The disease was first discovered in 2013 in Saint Martin and has since spread across the Caribbean.

Chikungunya is carried by the Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever mosquito. The University of Florida reports that the Aedes aegypti is found in 23 states.

 Dominican Republic Reports 17 Confirmed Cases of Mosquito Borne Chikungunya Illness

OH Teacher Gil Voigt Fired After Telling Student “We Don’t Need Another Black President”

Gil Voigt 350x244 OH Teacher Gil Voigt Fired After Telling Student We Dont Need Another Black President

Ohio Teacher Gil Voigt fired for comment about ‘black president’ to black student (Photo: The Enquirer/Michael D. Clark)

Ohio teacher Gil Voigt was fired on Thursday after his comment to black student that “we don’t need another black president,” led to his suspension.

Voigt, who had been on unpaid leave since December, was fired after a labor hearing ended with a recommendation for termination.

Cincinnati.com reports the Fairfield Board of Education received a state referee’s decision that “there is good and just cause to terminate the teaching contract” of Gil Voigt. The board voted unamimously 4-0 to end his employment with the Butler County school system.

There are also reports that the referee cited other incidents in which Voigt made other racial or insulting remarks over the years.

Gil Voigt allegedly told a black student at Fairfield Freshmen School, who expressed his desire to follow President Barack Obama as a president, “we don’t need another black president.” Voigt previously claimed he had been misquoted by the student, who he described as troublesome.

He later told Fairfield officials that he told the student, “I think we can’t afford another president like Obama, whether he’s black or white.”

 OH Teacher Gil Voigt Fired After Telling Student We Dont Need Another Black President

4 St. Anthony’s High School Students Expelled After Blackface, Confederate Flag Incidents

confederate flag 350x220 4 St. Anthonys High School Students Expelled After Blackface, Confederate Flag Incidents

4 St. Anthony’s High School Students Expelled After Blackface, Confederate Flag Incidents

Four students at St. Anthony’s High School were expelled for two racist incidents involving the Confederate flag and blackface. You may think this Catholic school is in the Deep South, but no, it’s on Long Island. Shameful.

Four Catholic high school students on Long Island have been expelled after two senior boys brought a Confederate flag to a school event and two sophomore girls posted a blackface photo on social media, the school said.

The two events were separate, according to Gary Cregan, principal of St. Anthony’s High School.

The boys allegedly brought the flag to a school gathering on April 9. Teachers immediately took it away, and the students were suspended.

Two days later on Friday, the girls posted a photo of one of them in blackface, along with racist language, the school confirmed.

 4 St. Anthonys High School Students Expelled After Blackface, Confederate Flag Incidents

Study: People of Color Exposed to Air Pollution 38 Percent More Than Whites

pollution 350x287 Study: People of Color Exposed to Air Pollution 38 Percent More Than Whites

Study: People of Color & Poor Breathe Air 38 Percent More Polluted Than White People (Attribution Unknown)

A new study released by the University of Minnesota found that people of color are exposed to air that is 38 percent more polluted than the air white people breathes in.

In an interview with The Minnesota Post, the study’s lead researcher, Julian Marshall, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, said that “the main [factors in how polluted the air breathed in was] are race and income, and they both matter. In our findings, however, race matters more than income.”

When Marshall compared the exposure gap between high-income Hispanics and low-income whites, for example, the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations were still higher among high-income Hispanics.

“We were quite surprised to find such a large disparity between whites and nonwhites related to air pollution,” Marshall told The Minnesota Post. “Especially the fact that this difference is throughout the U.S., even in cities and states in the Midwest.”

According to Marshall in the article, “the researchers studied NO2 levels in urban areas across the country and compared specific areas within the cities based on populations defined in the U.S. Census as ‘nonwhite’ or ‘white.’”

“The health impacts from the difference in levels between whites and nonwhites found in the study are substantial,” Marshall continued. “For example, researchers estimate that if nonwhites breathed the lower NO2 levels experienced by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease alone among nonwhites each year.” Source: Raw Story

Do we really need a study to tell us what is staring us in the face?

 Study: People of Color Exposed to Air Pollution 38 Percent More Than Whites

‘RHOA’ Star Porsha Williams Charged with Battery in Fight with Kenya Moore

porsha williams 350x277 RHOA Star Porsha Williams Charged with Battery in Fight with Kenya Moore

‘RHOA’ Star Porsha Williams Charged with Battery in Fight with Kenya Moore

“Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Porsha Williams turned herself into Atlanta police after being charged with simple battery for a fight with costar Kenya Moore.

Kenya Moore accused Porsha Williams of assaulting her while filming an episode of the show on March 27 at the Biltmore Hotel.

Porsha Williams turned herself into police on Thursday. She was released on $2,000 bond.

 

 RHOA Star Porsha Williams Charged with Battery in Fight with Kenya Moore

287 Missing and 9 Dead, in South Korea Ferry Disaster

 

south korean ship 350x196 287 Missing and 9 Dead, in South Korea Ferry Disaster

287 Missing, 9 Dead, After Ferry Carrying South Korean Students Sink

Nine people were killed, 287 remain missing, after a ferry carrying mostly high school students sunk off the southern coast of South Korea on Wednesday. Officials say the death toll is expected to rise drastically, as dozens of rescue ships and aircraft continue searching for survivors.

The ferry was set to sail from Incheon Tuesday evening heading for Jeju, a popular tourist destination about located 12 hours away. The ferry sent a distress signal at about 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning,  after it began leaning to one side. The cause of the accident has not been determined.

Hank Aaron Gets Racist Hate Mail After Comments on Racism in America

hank aaron1 350x245 Hank Aaron Gets Racist Hate Mail After Comments on Racism in America

Hank Aaron Gets Racist Hate Mail After Comments on Racism in America

The Atlanta Braves office has been inundated with vile and racist hate mail after legendary slugger Hank Aaron said racism was alive and well in America, despite Barack Obama being elected as the nation’s first black president.

USA Today that hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls have been made since Aaron compared President Obama’s critics to Ku Klux Klan members “in neckties and starched shirts.” One comment, written by a man who is identified only as Edward, reads, “Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur).”

There’s more vileness: “Marion calls Aaron a “racist scumbag,” Ronald won’t attend another Braves’ game until Aaron is fired. Mark calls Aaron a “classless,racist.” David says that he will burn Aaron’s I Had A Hammer autobiography.”

Doesn’t all this racist venom being spewed proves Hank Aaron’s point that racism is still occurring in America? During the initial interview, Aaron was asked why he keeps the mail that was sent to him so long ago. He said, “To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record. If you think that, you’re fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed.”

Aaron added, “We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated.”

What really ruffled feathers was his next comment:  “We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

By the way, on this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier.

UPDATE #1 (04/16/14): Baseball writer Bob Nightengale, who interviewed Hank Aaron has issued a clarification of his article that spawned vile and racist hate mail:

“Never in our 50-minute conversation did Aaron suggest anyone critical of President Obama is racist. Never did he compare the Republican Party to the Ku Klux Klan.

“Simply, Aaron stated that we are fooling ourselves if we don’t believe racism exists in our country. It’s simply camouflaged now. And, yes, he feels sorry for his good friend, President Obama, and the frustrations he endures.”

 Hank Aaron Gets Racist Hate Mail After Comments on Racism in America

NYPD Disbands Controversial Muslim Surveillance Unit After Widespread Outrage

nypd 350x262 NYPD Disbands Controversial Muslim Surveillance Unit After Widespread Outrage

NYPD Disbands Controversial Muslim Surveillance unit After Widespread Outrage (Credit: Wikipedia)

The New York Police Department has disbanded its controversial Muslim surveillance unit, the NY Times reports. Community activists accused the department of violating the civil rights of Muslims.

In a series of articles that began in August 2011, the AP documented that police had systematically spied on Muslim neighborhoods, listened in on sermons, infiltrated colleges and photographed law-abiding residents as part of a broad effort to watch communities where terror cells might operate. Individuals and groups were monitored even when there was no evidence they were linked to terrorism or crime.

The investigation revealed that then-police Commissioner Ray Kelly had brought in a CIA official to help develop an intelligence division unlike that of any other U.S. police department. It assigned people called rakers to ethnic neighborhoods, infiltrating enterprises ranging from booksellers to cafes, and people called mosque crawlers to Muslim houses of worship.

The tactics disclosed by the series stirred debate over whether the NYPD was infringing on the civil rights of Muslims and illegally engaging in religious and ethnic profiling. Hundreds of Muslims staged rallies to protest the spying, and the disclosures prompted more than a dozen religious leaders to boycott then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s annual interfaith breakfast. Source: NJ.com

 NYPD Disbands Controversial Muslim Surveillance Unit After Widespread Outrage