Judges steer defendants into work camps for private industry

Across the country, judges increasingly are sending defendants to rehab instead of prison or jail. These diversion courts have become the bedrock of criminal justice reform, aiming to transform lives and ease overcrowded prisons.  But in the rush to spare people with addiction from prison, judges are steering defendants into rehabs that often are little…

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How poor countries are used to feed rich countries

Eldiario.es uncovered how the world’s poor are used to feed rich nations. Reporters focused on the most popular crops in Europe, sugar, cacao, bananas, coffee and African palm in Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and the Ivory Coast. The story covers tax evasion from Guatemalan sugar barons, Colombian farmers relying on the whims of speculation, the destruction of the Honduran environment from growing only African…

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St. Louis restaurants get ‘Easy A’s’ risking public health

KSDK-TV revealed that the St. Louis Health Department has been handing out thousands of “A” inspection grades to restaurants that, according to the city’s own policies, should have gotten a “B” or “C” or even been shut down. Restaurants with roach infestations and multiple serious health violations were still given the top mark.   KSDK…

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Lax Illinois laws allow for factory-like hog confinements to grow

As large hog confinements grow in number and size across rural Illinois, pork producers have been found to exploit weak state laws to start operations. A special report by the Chicago Tribune has found that these growing operations can harm neighboring families and communities that have to endure the sickening air emissions and pollutions produced by…

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Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants make false claims about local ingredients

For months, Laura Riley, the Tampa Bay Times’ food critic, investigated the menus of every restaurant she reviewed since the beginning of the farm-to-table food trend. Of these restaurants, 54 claimed that the ingredients were local. However, after contacting vendors, calling farms and sending food off for scientific tests, Riley concluded that almost all of…

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Tracing the origins of a mysterious disease that cost the pork industry $1 billion

More than two years ago a rare and fast-spreading virus arrived in the U.S., killing hundreds of baby pigs and costing the pork industry roughly $1 billion. Harvest Public Media spent months examining the outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, a virus never before seen in the U.S., studying documents and talking to scientists and other…

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Global supermarkets selling shrimp peeled by slaves

Shrimp peeled by slaves is ending up in U.S. supermarkets, restaurants and the supply chains of major seafood brands and pet food companies, according to an ongoing investigation by the Associated Press. Reporters found nearly 100 Burmese migrants working in the Gig Peeling Factory in in Samut Sakhon, Thailand. The factories, which are actually sheds,…

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Small farms – exempt from workplace safety rules – see more and more deaths

As workplace accidents across the country have declined over the last decade, the number of Midwestern farm deaths has climbed 30 percent. And even though farms have eclipsed mines and construction sites as deadly workplaces, government safety regulators rarely investigate farm workers’ deaths, according to a four-part investigation by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Farmers are…

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Contaminated soil lingers where apples once grew

At homes and day care centers throughout Central Washington, children play in yards contaminated with lead and arsenic, left over from pesticide spraying decades ago. The state’s Department of Ecology knows about this, and has for decades, according to EarthFix. But many parents and caregivers still do not, despite the risks these chemicals pose specifically to children. The apple industry…

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