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Apple says it is working to resolve employee complaints at the world's biggest iPhone factory in China, after police were filmed beating protesting employees at the plant this week and employees began an exodus Thursday. A team from the US company is at Foxconn Technology Group’s plant in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province, and is in talks with its largest contract manufacturer to address the worker complaints that led to the violent protests. “We have Apple team members on the ground at our supplier Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility,” the Cupertino, California-based technology giant said. “We are reviewing the situation and working closely with Foxconn to ensure their employees’ concerns are addressed.” Labor groups have criticized Apple for failing to adequately protect the rights of workers at the vast Zhengzhou site. Workers have clashed with police following delayed bonus payments and conditions at the facility, which has been contending with an outbreak of Covid-19 for more than a month. Foxconn has blamed “an input error in the computer system” that occurred during the onboarding process that resulted in new hires receiving contracts intended for existing workers. The company said it guaranteed new hires will be paid what was agreed and in line with official recruitment posters. Foxconn has also offered a 10,000 yuan payment, equivalent to $1,400, to newly-recruited workers who wanted to leave their jobs and return home, according to text messages seen by the Wall Street Journal.Full Issue
New figures reveal that female graduates in nearly every academic subject earn less than men five years after finishing their studies, even though they are more likely to be employed. The Longitudinal Education Outcomes data reveal that 87.7% of women were employed or in further study five years after graduating, compared with 85.6% of men from the same cohort. However, figures also revealed the large majority of men earned more than their female classmates. Female graduates had average salaries that were 13.1% - or £4,000 - lower than male average earnings in 2020. Postgraduate female earnings were lower by 16.3%, or £6,200. Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said: "Men are more confident in their own abilities and more gung-ho about their existing skills. Women are sometimes smarter in their job searches, however, as they make more effort to look at the ethics of potential employers and think more about factors like having a sensible work/life balance."Full Issue
Charter school enrollment has held firm since soaring in the early days of the pandemic, according to a report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Debbie Veney, one the report’s authors, who believes the pandemic has “spurred parents to become more involved in the way that their kids were being educated,” says the steadying trend shows the initial enrollment jump was not just a fluke. Between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, charter schools saw their enrollment jump more than 7%, an increase of nearly 240,000 students nationwide, at the same time that public school districts lost more than 1.4m students. A year later, enrollment numbers at charter schools fell by just a fraction, according to the report, a decrease of about 1,400 students. In Oklahoma, for example, nearly 22,000 students left charter schools in the most recent school year — more than a quarter of the state’s overall charter school population and over half of the prior year’s enrollment spike. That drop was offset by other states like Florida, where just over 20,000 new students entered the charter system, increasing the state’s charter population by about 6%.Full Issue
According to the 2022 annual report from the IRS Advisory Council, increased funding will bring long-denied and long-needed "modernized, resilient and secure" operations to the IRS. "The bar for IRS performance is continually being raised as taxpayers experience new technologies in their personal lives that deliver on-demand, seamless customer experiences," the report reads. Still, "besides fluctuations in the timing or amount of funding, the implementation of the IRS modernization plan and projects can be affected by other factors … The Inflation Reduction Act was largely partisan legislation, which may foreshadow a lack of broader long-term bipartisan support necessary to sustain the IRS's objectives. Congressional understanding of and confidence in IRS modernization plans seems spotty." The 2022 report includes recommendations on 21 issues, including: IRS business and information technology modernization; reduction in the electronic filing threshold for information return filers; alignment of electronic signature requirements on withholding certificates; accelerated issuance of IRS Form 6166; and the redesign and updating of Form Series 8038, including consolidation of the 8038 and the 8038-G into one information return and increasing the threshold amount for the 8038-GC.Full Issue
The UK government is to restrict the use of Chinese-made surveillance cameras in sensitive locations amid national security concerns. Cameras made by Hikvision or Dahua - which are both owned by the Chinese state – should be removed immediately, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said. Alicia Kearns, Tory MP and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said the government should go further and ban Chinese-made surveillance equipment from all central and local government buildings. She added: “Any ban should also be backed up by a new national procurement framework that provides alternatives to Chinese state-backed tech that could be compelled to transfer vast amounts of UK citizen data into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party].” Hikvision denied being a threat to national security, arguing that it “cannot transmit data from end-users to third parties, does not manage end-user databases, or sell cloud storage in the UK.Full Issue
Legal Matters Scotland
The UK Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for a second independence referendum, rejecting the Lord Advocate's argument that such legislation would not relate to reserved matters as it would not automatically bring about the end of the union. Supreme Court President Lord Reed said a "lawfully held referendum would have important political consequences relating to the union and the United Kingdom Parliament", and would have "practical" effects on reserved matters. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she respected the ruling, noting that the Supreme Court "doesn't make law, only interprets it", and said the ruling "exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership". She said the SNP will seek to establish "majority support" for independence, using the next general election as a "de facto" referendum. Constitution secretary Angus Robertson said the party would consider all votes for pro-independence parties, including the Alba Party and the Scottish Greens, as having been cast for independence in such a scenario.Full Issue