Beyond the Bricks


<img src="https://reporter.rit.edu/sites/pubDir/imce_images/03-14/cop.jpg" alt="">

Illustration by Jordyn Carias

Obama Raises the Minimum Wage for Federal Workers

 In his State of the Union Address, President Obama mentioned using controversial executive order to sign into law a new minimum wage for federal contract workers, the Washington Post reported. The law was recently signed into place on February 12 and will take effect in 2015. Obama has now urged Congress to increase the minimum wage for all hourly workers by 2015; a move that will be debated in both the House and Senate.

The White House recently released a statement saying: “Hardworking Americans — Including janitors and construction workers — working on new federal contracts will benefit from the Executive Order (EO)…. Some examples of the hardworking people would benefit from an EO include military base workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry.” A study completed by The National Employment Law Project found that “75 [percent] of workers earned less than $10 per hour. One in five was dependent on Medicaid for health care, and 14 [percent] used food stamps.” The Senate will begin drafting plans for an increase of the national minimum wage over the next month, but the Republican house stated that they will not pass it.

Killing of Muslims in the Central African Republic

In March of 2013, rebels ousted President Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic, causing massive waves of violence to hit the country as Christians and Muslims fight for power over the fragile nation, according to CNN. In December of 2013, French troops entered the once French colony to restore peace and protect French and other nationals from rebel attacks. According to the United Nations, since the beginning of the coup “more than 400,000 people have been displaced in the … area between the towns of Pweto, Mitwaba and Manono” in the nearby Democratic Republic of the Congo. The mass exodus represents a huge challenge for French and African Union (AU) troops trying to hold the peace mainly in the Central African Republic capital city of Bangui.

After the oust of the former president by Seleka, a Muslim rebel group, mass killings of African Christians ensued, as reported by Reuters. The Christians then fought back with revenge attacks. In December and January, over 1,000 people have been killed. Because of these killings, the country stands on the brink of genocide, as French and AU troops are unable to halt the violence that is escalating in the region. John Ging, Director of Operations for the U.N. Office for Coordination of Human Affairs stated in a news conference in Geneva that “The elements are there, the seeds are there, for genocide…Central African Republic has to move up the priority list. However desperate and alarming the situation might be, it can be turned around very quickly.”

Former New Orleans Mayor Convicted of Bribery

Ray Nagin, the former New Orleans mayor who led the city through the worst environmental disaster of its time, was found guilty of multiple bribery charges in which he took money from businesses that wished to gain the best from his administration. Prosecutors stated that Nagin received perks like free travel. He is also accused of funneling money to the business that his sons own, according to CNN.

21 charges were brought upon Nagin, 20 of which he was found guilty on. Many of the businessmen who bribed Nagin have already pled guilty, according to NPR. During the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the Bush Administration poured billions of dollars into the Gulf Coast to recover from the storm with exaggerated pleas from Nagin, but Nagin’s recovery efforts were dismal. According to Pat Fanning, a New Orleans lawyer, his performance was “…a meltdown.” Nagin delayed evacuation orders and exaggerated casualty reports in order to get more aid.  Nagin could face up to 20 years in prison and up to a million dollars in fines. Sentencing for Nagin will take place on June 11, his 58th birthday.