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Homeless recruited to decontaminate Fukishima; paid less than minimum wage


The publicly funded, $35B cleanup of radioactive soil around Fukishima is staffed by homeless men recruited from Tokyo Sendai subway stations. They are preferentially sent to the most radioactive zones, and work for less than minimum wage. Mobbed-up subcontractors confiscate as much as two thirds of their pay in "fees." Everyone involved in sourcing the labor for the cleanup denies responsibility for the illegal practices, blaming sub-subcontractors or cowboy recruiters. The president of one contractor, Aisogo Service, defended the practice of not scrutinizing the labor force or the conditions under which it worked, saying "If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn't move forward. You wouldn't get a tenth of the people you need."

Workers are also recruited from publicly funded homeless shelters. One man worked for a month for a total payout of $10. After this fact was verified and made public, the man disappeared. Workers are charged exorbitant rates for lodgings and food, and are docked pay for being too ill to work. As a result, some workers are in debt to their employers, a debt that deepens the longer they stay employed.

The decontamination project is two to three years behind schedule.

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"Naked caveman" may be evicted from cave-like home in El Paso, TX

A naked "caveman" whose life and political beliefs have intrigued residents of El Paso, TX may soon be evicted from his cave home. There's a video interview with him here.

The local ABC TV affiliate learned that his dwelling "is actually an intricate structure comprised of three main living quarters." This includes the cave he spoke through when he told a reporter he'd been living there for three years. "It appears he was also living underneath some of the portions of the broken concrete slabs in a kind of underground labyrinth connecting the three main structures."

(via NYDN)