Economy & Business
“The increases will lift the hourly wages of 2.4 million workers by up to $1 to an average of $8 and a high of $9.15, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The federal hourly minimum is $7.25.
Another 1.9 million workers are expected to benefit from a higher pay scale. The post-Christmas gifts will pump about $1.5 billion into the U.S. economy because low-wage workers tend to spend most of their paychecks, the liberal think tank estimates.
The minimum wage will rise in 21 states in 2015, putting it above the federal pay floor in more than half the USA and highlighting the impact of a national movement to boost the earnings of low-paid workers.
Four of the states — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — approved ballot initiatives in November to increase the minimum wage.
Eight states — Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia — passed legislation the last two years.
Minimum pay will rise more modestly in nine other states as a result of automatic cost-of-living increases. All of the increases will take effect Jan. 1, except in New York, where it will kick in a day earlier.
By early next year, 29 states with 60% of the U.S. work force will have minimum wages higher than the federal government’s, according to EPI and the National Employment Law Project.
A bill, backed by President Obama, to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour”
Protests against Police Treatment
Protestors chant during a demonstration outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., against a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.
“Activists who spurred demonstrations across the country after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man in Ferguson, Mo., now demand a prominent voice in a national conversation about race.
The tactics employed by Ferguson protesters demonstrate a shift toward more daring actions for civil rights, said William Chafe, a history professor at Duke University who wrote a book on North Carolina’s sit-in movement. Similarly, he said, in the early 20th century, activists moved from polite letter-writing campaigns pleading for an end to segregation to boycotts and civil disobedience.
Young people who longed for bolder action and quicker government response formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which received some support and mentorship from older activists in the 1960s
“If you see something that’s not right, that is not fair, that is not just, you have an obligation to speak up, act up and make some noise, and young people must be free to do that,” Lewis said.
“We need genuine leadership,” Burns said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 7 or 70 years old. To me, age doesn’t matter. It’s about comprehending and fixing the problem.”
Foreign Policy – International Relations
General John Francis Campbell, center, current commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, speaks to soldiers during a Christmas day visit on forward operating base Gamberi in the Laghman province.
Law Enforcement Agencies