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The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

Amazon faced at least seven lawsuits filed by pregnant warehouse workers who were fired over the last eight years, tech portal CNET reported.

The women who had worked at the retail giants warehouses claimed they were discriminated against because of their pregnancy.


Beverly Rosales, one of the women who filed the lawsuits, said she was fired from her job barely two months after she had informed her manager at Amazon that she was expecting.

Rosales, who filed her suit in January, said her bosses hassled her about how much time she was taking to use the bathroom and how her work pace slowed during her pregnancy, the report claimed.

“Amazon wants to push out as much product as possible,” Rosales was quoted as saying.

“They need as many people that don’t need accommodations to work there. They care more about the numbers than their employees.”

Amazon denied that it monitors the length of bathroom breaks.


Security guards stand at the reception desk of the Amazon India office in Bengaluru, India, Aug. 14, 2015. VOA

“It is absolutely not true that Amazon would fire any employee for being pregnant; we are an equal opportunity employer,” an Amazon spokeswoman was quoted as saying in a statement.

“We work with our employees to accommodate their medical needs including pregnancy-related needs. We also support new parents by offering various maternity and parental leave benefits.”

Six of the cases were settled out of court.

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The Seattle-based retail giant which employs over 600,000 people faced criticism for poor treatment of employees earlier too.

The company, however, made efforts in the past one year to highlight the benefits it offers warehouse employees.

In November last year, it raised its starting pay to $15 an hour and said it would start advocating for a higher federal minimum wage in the US, which is $7.25, the report said. (IANS)


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Japan launched its new satellite, QZS-1R.

Japan has successfully launched a new navigation satellite into orbit that will replace its decade-old navigation satellite.

The satellite, QZS-1R, was launched onboard an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 10.19 p.m. on Monday night, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said in a statement.

The company builds and operates H-2A rockets the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

QZS-1R is a replacement for Quasi-Zenith Satellite System 1 satellite first launched in 2010. “It was a really beautiful launch," the company said in a tweet after a successful lift-off.

"H-IIA F44 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 28 minutes 6 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle," the statement said.

The official QZSS website lists four satellites in the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4, Space.com reported.

The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that fly in an orbit passing through a near-zenith (or directly overhead) above Japan, and QZS-R1 is meant to share nearly the same transmission signals as recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA.

It is specially optimised for mountainous and urban regions in Japan, JAXA said.

Mitsubishi's H-2A 202 rocket launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to locations such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission).

The latest H2-A rocket launch is the first since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communications tech into orbit, the report said. (IANS/JB)


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Fireworks light up the night sky

Everyone loves firecrackers, even the most environment-friendly advocates cannot hide their joy when they see these delightful lights colour the skies. India celebrates Diwali in the true spirit of her culture and heritage by spraying the navy-blue skies with sparkling hues of gold, silver, red, and green. Firecrackers are not just a tradition in this country, they are a legacy.

The original connotation one makes with fireworks in China. The elaborate Chinese celebrations with dragons and zapping firecrackers have left their mark in human memory, but the use of fireworks is not limited to heralding the Chinese New Year. All over the world, fireworks have come to symbolise the ultimate celebration. During Diwali in India, this spirit is re-ignited every year.

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VOA

A visitor looks at statues of the 'Royal treasures of Abomey kingdom' on display at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris on Sept. 10, 2021, part of 26 artworks set to be restituted to Benin later in the year.

PARIS — In a decision with potential ramifications across European museums, France is displaying 26 looted colonial-era artifacts for one last time before returning them home to Benin.

The wooden anthropomorphic statues, royal thrones and sacred altars were pilfered by the French army in the 19th century from Western Africa.

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