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Showdown in the Middle East, Goodbye Twinkies and Ikea's Forced Labor

Join the national conversation in this week's Hot Topics column.

 

This column is designed to offer a platform to discuss national stories on a local level. Share your opinion in the comment section!

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As Israel and Gaza traded rockets, the world watched as it unfolded over Twitter. With tweets like "We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead" and "The #Hamas' Fajr-5 missile can reach 3.5 million Israelis. Imagine the entire population of #LA under threat" from the Israeli Defense Force, it seemed likely earlier this week that the fight would escalate.

It did. On Friday, Hamas fired a rocket near Jerusalem, the first time they have ever aimed for the city. It's possible that this could become full on war, as Israel readies 75,000 ground troops.

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You may have heard by now that Twinkies could potentially be no more.

"We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets," they posted on their website. "Thank you for all of your loyalty and support over the years."

The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to "preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the Company’s largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the Company’s ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities," according to a news release.

So stock up now! These iconic snacks have been around for over 80 years. (This may be major news because everyone's sick of hearing about Petraeus. Because really, it's Twinkies.)

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IKEA has admitted to using forced labor during the 1980s to manufacture their inexpensive, modern products. 

Some of their suppliers reportedly used political prisoners as forced labor in East Germany, something that a number of IKEA employees were aware of. The former prisoners may now be compensated. 

They allegedly had a contract with the East German government, and did not ask who was producing the products, according to the BBC. 

IKEA initiated the investigation themselves as a result of accusations by former prisoners. Although IKEA paid for the work, the money never reached the prisoners. 

The Swedish company issued a public apology and "pledged to donate money to research on forced labor in the former East Germany," according to the New York Times. 

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