National / International News
Airing on Friday, May 8, 2015: There's fresh-out-the-oven jobs number today. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 223,000 new jobs in April. And the employment rate hit a seven year low at 5.4 percent. Next, we check in with our partner at the BBC on the re-election of British Prime Minister David Cameron. Lastly, we look at the increasing impact smartphones have on the police force.
Prime Minister David Cameron will keep his seat and will likely score a majority once all the votes are counted. After his loss, Ed Miliband is expected to resign as the leader of the Labour Party.
A new app from the ACLU of California promises to allow anyone to record video of officers and have it automatically uploaded to the agency's server.
The app also offers a function to alert other app users nearby if there's an incident with police that someone believes requires more witnesses.
The ACLU of California launched the mobile app for Apple and Android phones last week. The group says it has so far been downloaded 40,000 times, more than a similar app from New York's ACLU, which has been available for several years.
Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of California, says the app's relative popularity has to do with high profile police use-of-force incidents in recent months that have been caught on phone cameras.
"We've seen...incidents where officers took a cellphone and deleted video, and so this provides some measure of protection against that," he says.
Bibring says this ACLU app isn't the first of its kind, but it's been tweaked to be more specifically geared towards documenting incidents of misconduct. The app allows for longer video recordings than previous versions. It also has a library of information about citizens' rights in documenting police officers in public places. Bibring says the ACLU gets questions regularly about what those rights are.
"It's not a brand new trend, but it's absolutely a growing trend," says Jocelyn Simonson, who teaches law at NYU, and has research that will be published in the California Law Review in early 2016 that looks at the growing trend of citizens' oversight over police in public places.
"Part of what we're seeing is a change in the recognition that filming police officers is an important thing," Simonson says.
But the ACLU's app may be going in the wrong direction, says Christine Cole, executive director of the Crime & Justice Institute at the Boston-based group Community Resources for Justice, a non-partisan think-tank that focuses on social justice issues.
"This tool actually exacerbates the divide and makes it feel like us versus them," Cole says. Nevertheless, she says, police and communities must both learn to deal with increased scrutiny on camera.
The seemingly endless Greek debt crisis lurches towards another crunch moment on Monday. Eurozone finance ministers will decide whether to release around $8 billion in bailout money to the government in Athens .
The ministers and Greece’s other creditors insist that before Athens gets any more cash, it must toe the line on austerity. But the Greek government is digging in and refusing to impose the spending cuts and reforms that have been demanded.
The Greek finance minister claims he can meet a big debt repayment next week with or without the bailout cash. But a payment five times bigger falls due on the 20th July. If Greece hasn’t reached agreement with its creditors by then, that really could bring this interminable crisis to a climax.
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The plight of the bankrupt city of Flint, Michigan has long stood as the poster child for post-industrial job loss and blight in the U.S.
On top of all Flint’s struggles, providing clean drinking water has become one the biggest problem facing the struggling city.
U.L. Brown has seen a lot of changes since he moved to Flint from Arkansas back in 1965. One thing he’d never seen however was his drinking water change color.
On the kitchen table in front of him set several gallon jugs. One is spring water bought in a store, the other two come from his tap and have slight shades of brown and green.
"This is the water that I buy,” Brown said, pointing to a jug of clear water.
“This is the water that comes from our faucet. You wouldn't want a drink of that water, you wouldn't want your kids to drink that water."
Like many residents in Flint Brown’s been told by the city that the water is safe for drinking. Still, he claims it just doesn't taste like fresh water.
For decades Flint bought its water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DPSW), which draws from Lake Huron. Last year Flint’s 30-year contract with Detroit ended, and the rates went way up according to Flint’s Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose.
“Using round numbers, the cost of purchasing water from Detroit, was somewhere around a $1 million per month,” Ambrose said.
For a city facing a crippling budget deficit, a million-dollar water bill was too much to swallow. So, the city switched to its backup source, the Flint River.
Shortly after the switch last summer, the city was forced to send out two boil advisories for high levels of E. coli and other bacteria. Ambrose says measures have since been take to insure the water is safe.
"Is the water so unsafe that it is a total disservice to our citizens? Our answer is, 'no.'"
But, with the average house paying $150 per month for water, many residents feel they deserve better.
Pastor Alfred Harris represents the Concerned Pastors for Social Action, a citizens group urging the city to go back on Detroit water, until the new 80-mile Karegnondi pipeline to Lake Huron is complete next year.
"We're paying exorbitant fees for water, that's really not safe,” Harris said.
“I believe the health of the people should be everyone's main concern. The health of the people no matter what it costs.”
Flint emerged from 41 months of state receivership last week. And with the new pipeline, the city will have an opportunity for both fresh water and a fresh start.