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The invisible world of domestic work: Report documents abuses
Domestic workers in the United States often work in tough conditions and for little pay, according to a new report.
November 27th, 2012
07:07 PM ET

The invisible world of domestic work: Report documents abuses

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – Anna worked seven days a week as a nanny for the family of a Fortune 500 company executive. She lived with them in their 5th Avenue apartment in Midtown Manhattan. Her day began at 6 when the children woke up and didn't end until 10 at night when she put them to bed and cleaned the kitchen.

She cooked meals, did laundry and tended to the children's needs. She slept on the floor in between their beds. She did not have a single day off in 15 months.

She was hired because of the child development skills she learned as a teacher in her native Philippines. Yet she earned just $1.27 an hour.

Anna's story, documented in a groundbreaking statistical report on U.S. domestic workers released Tuesday, is not uncommon. It said Anna was part of a system of invisible workers - mostly women, mostly minorities and increasingly immigrant - who enable many Americans to function in their own lives.

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Filed under: Discrimination • Economy • How we live • Immigration • Poverty • Women
Gay men sue counselors who promised to make them straight
A lawsuit contends conversion therapists made false promises to turn gay teens straight.
November 27th, 2012
10:24 AM ET

Gay men sue counselors who promised to make them straight

By Alan Duke, CNN

(CNN) – Before Sheldon Bruck told his orthodox Jewish parents he was gay, the teenager looked for a way out of homosexuality.

His search led him to JONAH - Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing - which claimed on its website to help people "struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions."

JONAH co-director Arthur Goldberg promised Bruck, then 17, that "JONAH could help him change his orientation from gay to straight," according to a consumer fraud lawsuit filed Tuesday against JONAH, Goldberg and a JONAH counselor.

"This is the first time that plaintiffs have sought to hold conversion therapists liable in a court of law," said Samuel Wolfe, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The defendants did not respond to CNN calls and e-mails for comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Hudson County, New Jersey, Superior Court. A page on the organization's website touts success stories from the program with letters from past participants and their family members.

Bruck and three male plaintiffs contend they were defrauded by JONAH's claim that "being gay is a mental disorder" that could be reversed by conversion therapy - "a position rejected by the American Psychiatric Association four decades ago," the lawsuit said.

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Filed under: History • How we live • Sexual orientation
U.S. finalizes $3.4 billion settlement with American Indians
The late Elouise Cobell, right, watches as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar testifies during a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in 2009.
November 27th, 2012
08:37 AM ET

U.S. finalizes $3.4 billion settlement with American Indians

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – Thousands of American Indians are now in line to receive part of a $3.4 billion settlement with the federal government, ending a long-running dispute over government mismanagement of tribal lands and accounts.

After an initial agreement was outlined in 2009, Congress approved it in November 2010 and it spent the last two years going through an appeals process. It was finalized Saturday, with government officials announcing and touting it on Monday.

"I welcome the final approval of the Cobell settlement agreement, clearing the way for reconciliation between the trust beneficiaries and the federal government," President Barack Obama said in a statement. The settlement is named after the late Elouise Cobell, a member of Montana's Blackfeet Indian tribe.

The deal follows a class-action lawsuit, filed in 1996, which accused the U.S. Department of the Interior of failing to account for and provide revenue from a trust fund representing the value of Indian assets managed by the government.

The missing funds at the center of the class-action case involve what are called Individual Indian Money accounts, which are supposed to represent the property of individual Indians. The accounts are held by the United States as trustee.

The lawsuit had accused the government of failing to account for the money, failing to make proper payments, and converting tribal money for the government's own use.

FULL STORY