September 6, 2012 in Business

Samsung accused of abuses in China

From Wire Reports

SEOUL, South Korea– Fresh off a billion-dollar loss in a patent fight with rival smartphone maker Apple, embattled Samsung Electronics Co. now finds itself accused by a labor rights group of mistreating workers in China and illegally using child labor.

The New York based-China Labor Watch said its investigation into workplace conditions at eight factories in China showed some employees were working more than 100 hours per month of overtime and that children were knowingly employed.

The South Korean electronics giant responded swiftly to the allegations, acknowledging that poor working conditions may have arisen due to production demands and that a review was to immediately take place.

“We frequently review our manufacturing facilities regarding overtime work. We will re-evaluate working hour practices,” said spokesman James Chung. “When new production lines are completed or new products are launched, high demand has led to overtime work.”

But the company denied allegations that it used child labor, saying it has “zero tolerance” for the hiring of underage workers.

Nokia, Motorola tout new smartphones

LOS ANGELES – Nokia and Motorola Mobility, both struggling to make headway against Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S III, unveiled several new versions of their smartphones that they hope can chip away at the industry leaders.

Nokia said its new Lumia 920 touts a 4.5-inch LCD touch screen. The display’s pixel-per-inch count is better than that of the 3.5-inch-screen iPhone 4S, which uses Apple’s Retina technology.

On Wednesday, Motorola Mobility announced three new Razr smartphones, saying they were designed with speed and battery life in mind.

Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, said the flagship of the bunch, Droid Razr HD, has a large, 4.7-inch display even though the phone’s size is the same as that of last year’s Droid Razr.

Lawyer: Lap dances exempt from taxes

ALBANY, N.Y. – No one would confuse the Nite Moves strip club with the Bolshoi Ballet, but what the lap dancers do there is art and entitled to the same tax exemption other performances enjoy, a lawyer argued Wednesday in what was surely one of the racier tax cases ever to go before New York’s highest court.

W. Andrew McCullough, an attorney for the suburban Albany strip joint, told the Court of Appeals that admission fees and lap dances at the club should be freed of state sales taxes under an exemption that applies to “dramatic or musical arts performances.”

He said that lap dancing is an art form and that, in any case, the state is not qualified to make such determinations, and that making such distinctions would be a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

A lawyer for the state rejected that analysis, and authorities are demanding about $400,000 in back taxes from the club.

A ruling is expected next month, with possible consequences for the estimated 150 to 200 adult nightclubs in the state.

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