Inside Story America

Arming Syria’s opposition

What are the issues behind the US decision to provide ‘direct military aid’ to the Syrian opposition now?

The Syrian government has reacted angrily after the US accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of using chemical weapons, calling the charges ‘a caravan of lies’.

The US is much more serious about ensuring continued quagmire in Syria to keep both the Assad government and the rebels essentially fighting each other so that they are not looking at the US and Israel and the region.

by Hillary Mann Leverett, a Middle East expert

The US says it will now provide ‘direct military aid’ to rebel groups, though exactly what form this will take is unclear.

Inside Story Americas discusses with Hillary Mann Leverett, a Middle East expert and professor at American University who has served in both the White House and State Department.

‘Black Swan

The Oscar-winning film Black Swan depicted the mental and emotional breakdown of a ballerina.

Two interns who worked on the movie were not provoked into a psychotic rage by their experience, in the manner of the film’s protagonist, but they were motivated to file a lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures. They argue they should have been paid for their work.

On Tuesday, a federal district court judge ruled that the production company had indeed violated federal and New York minimum wage laws by not paying them.

It is a ruling that could have profound implications not just for the film industry but for labour practices across the US.

“…This is causing harm to the rest of the labor market and for a lot of people it doesn’t work out. I mean how many times are you supposed to pull the lever on the slot machine before your bank account is depleted?  And the thing is this is taking away paid jobs from other people who are out there freelancing looking for work, who have bills to pay,” said Glatt, one of the former interns who won the case to Inside Story Americas.

For more on labour issues and internships Shihab Rattansi is joined by guests: Ross Perlin, the author of Intern Nation; and Ross Eisenberry, the vice president of the Economic Policy Institute.

“We see all across labour law a lawlessness, a sort of Wild West mentality. Employers are able to get away alot, and the more they get away with, the more they think they are entitled to get away with.”

–  Ross Eisenberry, the vice president of the Economic Policy Institute