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Pulitzer Center Update March 30, 2012

This Week in Review: 40,000 Fingers

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Media file: bloodyfactories.jpg
Image by Jocelyn Baun. China, 2011.

On Thursday the computer giant Foxconn announced that it will improve working standards at the Chinese factories where it makes iPads and other consumer products. Pulitzer Center grantees Adam Matthews and Jocelyn Baun report for <em>Latitude News</em> that this is an issue much bigger than one company, touching millions of people. They interview workers whose hands were mangled—<a href="/reporting/china-electronics-factories-injuries-labor-rights-foxconn-wintek-mike-daisey">victims of industrial accidents</a> that according to workers' rights groups cost some 40,000 fingers per year just in the <a href="/reporting/china-industry-electronics-illegal-factories-injury-labor-rights">Pearl River District</a>.<br>
What happens in Chinese factories is in part the result of consumer demand in the United States and elsewhere for low-cost technology gadgets. Pulitzer Center grantee Sonia Shah addresses another issue that spills across borders—the emergence of a "super-bug" bacteria in India (NDM-1) that is resistant to most antibiotics. In an <a href="/reporting/india-new-delhi-antibiotic-resistant-ndm-1-infections-medical-tourism-sector-government">article for <em>Foreign Affairs</em></a> and <a href="/reporting/india-global-health-crisis-super-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-ndm-1-medical-tourism">slideshow</a> she shows how poor sanitation, unregulated use of antibiotics, and medical tourism make this an issue with dangerous implications for public health across the world.<br>
Last week we noted the controversy surrounding Mae Azango's reporting for <em>Front Page Africa</em> on female genital cutting in Liberia. The reporting was done in collaboration with New Narratives; Mae is now working with the Pulitzer Center on reproductive health issues more broadly. Mae's report on the widespread practice of cutting led to threats on her life—and to a rare public discussion on a topic that has long been taboo. This week <em>Front Page Africa</em> disclosed that the government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has decided to step up efforts to ban the practice. In an accompanying article Mae discusses what <a href="/reporting/india-global-health-crisis-super-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-ndm-1-medical-tourism">reporting this issue</a> has meant to her.<br>
Until next week,<br>
Jon Sawyer
Executive Director


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Labor Rights

Labor Rights