International News Wrap BY JASON MILLER


German data protection authorities announced last Thursday, Oct. 1, that they had fined clothing chain H&M €35.3 million euros ($41.4 million) over illegal surveillance of its employees. The surveillance targeted several hundred workers at a service center in Nuremberg, Germany according to a statement from Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information. They went on to say since 2014 H&M conducted “extensive recordings of the private-life circumstances” of employees. H&M responded saying that it “takes full responsibility and wishes to make an unreserved apology to the employees at the service center in Nuremberg.” The retailer also announced workers who have been at the service center for at least one month since May 2018 are to receive financial compensation, the retailer, however, did not say how much workers would receive.


Hundreds of protesters gathered Sunday, Oct. 4, in the southern German city of Konstanz, marking the city’s second day of protests against government-imposed coronavirus measures. A police spokesperson said that a total of 12 rallies with up to 11,000 participants were planned for Sunday, adding that 3,500 people had registered for protests in advance. Over the course of day, police said about 2,000 people took part in the rallies. Police, were also deployed earlier in the day to ensure participants adhered to coronavirus rules while attending a church service. Police however clashed with protesters at the church after most failed to wear a face mask, said Germany’s DPA news agency. The protesters have been organizing meetings against the measures for months and had hoped to send a pan-European message against COVID-19 measures according to German state news agency DW.


Some school districts in California and Hawaii have dropped online learning from education provider Acellus after parents complained that its content had racist and sexual content. Mother Zan Timtim told the Associated Press that she doesn’t think it’s safe for her eighth-grade daughter to return to school in person during the coronavirus pandemic but also doesn’t want her exposed to a remote learning program that misspelled and mispronounced the name of Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last monarch to rule the Hawaiian Kingdom. She said, her daughter is a Native Hawaiian and speaks Hawaiian fluently, “so to see that inaccuracy with the Hawaiian history side was really upsetting.” Other parents have called out “towelban” as a multiple-choice answer for a question about a terrorist group and Grumpy from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” described as a “woman hater.” The Hawaii Department of Education, the nation’s only statewide school district, is considering what to do about Acellus, but some schools decided on their own to stop using it. In California, Alameda Unified quickly dropped the program after parents started complaining. The California Department of Education said in a memo to superintendents and school administrators that it “has learned through examples shared that Acellus lessons may contain highly inappropriate content and may not meet state legal requirements surrounding instructional materials.” Meanwhile Hawaii’s superintendent sent to a memo to its school board saying that education officials were working with Acellus to address inappropriate content. Cassie Favreau-Chung said of her son’s recent experience “It’s the first time that I have not been proud to have my kid in public school.” Mariko Honda-Oliver a military parent who has experienced a variety of schools around the world said “This experience of having to see how other districts and other states are doing distance learning compared to Hawaii has kind of reinforced that Hawaii really is not the place to come if you want to give your children a good education.”

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