Test Yourself

EsPCEx 2012

Apple manufacturing plant workers complain of long hours and militant culture

Chengdu, China (CNN) — Miss Chen (we changed her name for this story), an 18-year-old student from a village outside of the southern megacity of Chongqing, is one of more than one million factory workers at a Chinese company that helps manufacture products for Apple Inc.’s lucrative global empire, which ranked in a record $46.3 billion in sales last quarter. They work day or night shifts, eating and sleeping at company facilities, as they help build electronics products for Apple and many other global brand names, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Microsoft’s Xbox.

As a poor college student with no work experience, looking for a job in China’s competitive market is an uphill battle. So when Chen was offered a one-month position at Foxconn with promises of great benefits and little overtime, she jumped at the chance. But when she started working, she found out that only senior employees got such benefits.

“During my first day of work, an older worker said to me, ‘Why did you come to Foxconn? Think about it again and leave right now’,” said Chen, who plans to return to her studies at a Chongqing university soon.

Foxconn recently released a statement defending its corporate practices, stating its employees are entitled to numerous benefits including access to health care and opportunities for promotions and training. In response to questions from CNN, Apple also released a statement: “We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made. Our suppliers must live up to these requirements if they want to keep doing business with Apple.”

After three weeks of applying more than 4,000 stickers a day onto iPad screens by hand and working 60 hours a week in an assembly line, Chen says she’s ready to go back to school and study hard so she’ll never have to return to Foxconn. “It’s so boring, I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday is like: I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It is my daily routine and I almost feel like an animal,” said Miss Chen. When asked why humans do machine-like work at Foxconn, she responds, “Well, humans are cheaper.”

Adaptado de http://edition.cnn.com, consulta em 06/02/2012

EsPCEx 2016

Would it be wrong to eradicate mosquitoes?

The mosquito is the most dangerous animal in the world, carrying diseases that kill one million people a year. Now the Zika virus, which is carried by mosquitoes, has been linked with thousands of babies born with brain defects in South America. There are 3,500 known species of mosquitoes, but only the females from just 6% of species draw blood from humans – to help them develop their eggs. Of these, just half carry parasites that cause human diseases.

More than a million people, mostly from poorer nations, die each year from mosquito-borne diseases, including Malaria, Dengue Fever and Yellow Fever. Some mosquitoes also carry the Zika virus, which was first thought to cause only mild fever and rashes. However, scientists are now worried that it can damage babies in the womb. There’s a constant effort to educate people to use nets and other tactics to avoid being bitten. But would it just be simpler to make an entire species of disease-carrying mosquito extinct?

In Britain, scientists at Oxford University and the biotech firm Oxitec have genetically modified (GM) the males of Aedes aegypti – a mosquito species that carries both the Zika and Dengue viruses. These GM males carry a gene that stops their offspring from developing properly. This second generation of mosquitoes then die before they can reproduce and become carriers of disease themselves.

So are there any downsides to removing mosquitoes? Mosquitoes, which mostly feed on plant nectar, are important pollinators. They are also a food source for birds and bats while their young – as larvae – are consumed by fish and frogs. This could have an effect further ahead in the food chain. Mosquitoes also have limited the destructive impact of humanity on nature. Mosquitoes make tropical rainforests, for humans, virtually uninhabitable. Rainforests are home to a large share of our total plant and animal species, and nothing has done more to delay man-made destruction over the past 10,000 years than the mosquito.

Adapted from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35408835

EsPCEx 2019

Prison without guards or weapons in Brazil

Tatiane Correia de Lima is a 26-year-old mother of two who is serving a 12-year sentence in Brazil. The South American country has the world’s fourth largest prison population and its jails regularly come under the spotlight for their poor conditions, with chronic overcrowding and gang violence provoking deadly riots.

Lima had just been moved from a prison in the mainstream penitential system to a facility run ______(1) the Association for the Protection and Assistance to Convicts (APAC) in the town of Itaúna, in Minas Gerais state. Unlike in the mainstream system, “which steals your femininity”, as Lima puts it, at the APAC jail she is allowed to wear her own clothes and have a mirror, make-up and hair dye. But the difference between the regimes is far more than skin-deep.

The APAC system has been gaining growing recognition as a safer, cheaper and more humane answer to the country’s prison crisis. All APAC prisoners must have passed through the mainstream system and must show remorse and be willing to follow the strict regime of work and study which is part of the system’s philosophy. There are no guards or weapons and visitors are greeted by an inmate who unlocks the main door to the small women’s jail.

Inmates are known as recuperandos (recovering people), reflecting the APAC focus ______(2) restorative justice and rehabilitation. They must study and work, sometimes in collaboration with the local community. If they do not – or if they try to abscond – they risk being returned to the mainstream system. There have been physical fights but never a murder at an APAC jail.

Adapted from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-44056946