May 1, 2009
Posted: 1803 GMT

Hello everyone,

It's with some degree of relief that I can report we will not be leading with swine flu today.

We will still have the latest on the epidemic and its real and deadly consequences in Mexico, but on this Friday, we are turning our attention to May Day.

What was once a pagan ode to the gods, and later became an American celebration of labor rights, then turned in to a a Soviet workers' day (which lead to the U.S. establishing labor day in September), is today an opportunity for demonstrators around the world to vent their frustrations and demands on a much wider set of issues.

In Washington, D.C., it's about immigration reform, in Cuba, about workers and the new regime, in France, extreme right wingers hijack the day to venerate Joan of Arc while labor unions stage their own rallies on a host of issues. And so every country has its own May Day. From anarchists to neo-fascists and everything in between, May 1st is a day to take your message to the streets.

Except in countries where public rallies are prohibited of course, unless authorized by the autocrats.

Also today, we're going to be discussing U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter's reported decision to retire at the end of June. He is a reliable liberal leaning justice, even though he was appointed by George Bush senior. This will be the first opportunity for a Democratic president to appoint a Supreme Court justice in fifteen years.

And remember the Barack Obama comic book hero a few months ago? Well, now it's Michelle Obama's turn to become a comic book superhero.

That and the rest of the day's top stories, of course.

See you TV!


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Filed under: Today At The I-Desk

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Carlos Infante   May 1st, 2009 7:14 pm ET

I am writing from the ghost Mexico City.

Workers´ rights are more or less respected in Mexico.

Please tell your peers that Mexico´s Independence Day takes place on September 15.
We celebrate on May 5 that our army defeated the French one, that´s all.

I enjou Idesk very much.

Dumisani Mlambo   May 1st, 2009 9:11 pm ET

I am speaking from a health care worker's persective, worker's rights in South Africa are trampled upon every minute of the day. In my country, health care workers aren't expected to be unhappy with their wages. If they do complain about their pay or working conditions, society spits out the most annoying phrase of all time: "You took an oath remember?" Yes, I agree, I did take an oath but that oath in question doesn't say that I will stay stoic even when I am hungry. I am unhappy with such a setup where we are patronised by society because of some oath we took when we decided to join the health sector.

tarek   May 1st, 2009 9:21 pm ET

Hi sweet hala and the rest of Idesk team, how are you, best wishes to you all.

Labor day was made for happy time for all workers with their families in all the world for their hard work in any sector what ever. But Economy in crises made labor day a violence day for those who lost their jobs.

For my opinion violence will never solve any problem what ever the problem is; instead of the hard time that many labors has attended and made it hard for all , they should have demonstrated in calm way and present its issue in a manner way that may get some benefit out of it.

bye all and take care.

Fawad Ali   May 2nd, 2009 12:22 pm ET

Hala: "Except in countries where public rallies are prohibited of course, unless authorized by the autocrats. ...."

how about one hour IDESK Special on that.....

arthur marcellino   May 2nd, 2009 4:44 pm ET

Just b4 this swine flu outbreak ther was a theft of some viruses.I believe it was in maryland.Was this one of the viruses that was stolen from an american facility.and if so what are the other two viruses that was stolen

rosario   May 3rd, 2009 1:46 am ET

Hi there,

In terms of working hours and important benefits, swiss labour laws do indeed protect the employees. basically we have a mandatory AHV pension, which is deducted from the standard tax deducation. this pension applied to both permanent as well as temporary workers. upon leaving switzerland, a worker will still have access to the pension fund. furthermore,the employer also provides health benefits concerning accidents at work.

Having stated the positives, an employer does have the right to dismiss an employee without actually giving a clear reason. usually this can be done within or outside the probationary period for example. from experience, working longer hours can also depend on the employee. sometimes you are almost pressured to work longer, but you are entitled to turn it down.

hossein   May 4th, 2009 10:05 am ET

hi hala
this day is not more than angry shouts and mottos. it doesn't work infact.
I think workers all around the world should issue something like human right statement in which they should have a kind of court . this court has a penalizing power and its identity is verified by UN.

hossein ,Iran

Precious Inyama   May 7th, 2009 2:38 pm ET

All over Africa and Nigeria my country, worker in the public service ( civil service, military and NGOs) are seen as second class citizens by the political class. Here in Nigeria, politiciancs share and squanda the nations money with out remorse

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