Browsing articles from "September, 2015"

Senate Passes Bill To Fund Government Through December

Sep 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Senate Passes Bill To Fund Government Through December

The Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill that funds the government through December. The bill does not strip funding from Planned Parenthood.

Remember, some House Republicans had insisted on defunding planned parenthood before they voted to extend funding for the whole government.

NPR’s Ailsa Chang reports that the action now moves to the House. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

“On this last day before the government runs out of funding, the Senate has teed things up to avert a shutdown.

“A short-term funding measure sailed through the Senate this morning, and is expected to pass in the House later today. After weeks of both chambers holding votes to defund Planned Parenthood and to place new rules on abortions, it appears the battle to strip the women’s health group of federal dollars has been put on hold — for now.

“Investigations into the organization are ramping up, and Republicans may re-visit the defund-Planned-Parenthood fight in mid-December, when government funding will run out again.”

We’ll update this post once the House takes action.

At What Point Does A Fundraising Ad Go Too Far?

Sep 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on At What Point Does A Fundraising Ad Go Too Far?

Is “poverty porn” making a comeback?

That’s the term that some people used back in the 1980s to describe attention-grabbing fundraising ads like the one below:

This ad from the UK charity Disasters Emergency Committee for their East African Emergency campaign brought in $23 million between 1980 to 1984 for famine relief in Ethiopia.

This ad from the UK charity Disasters Emergency Committee for their East African Emergency campaign brought in $23 million between 1980 to 1984 for famine relief in Ethiopia.

Mail and Guardian


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Mail and Guardian

Back then, the media was filled with images of starving African children in desperate need of food, seemingly all alone in the world. And folks in the West were invited to save them from their misery.

This kind of appeal worked. The ad above, from the UK charity Disasters Emergency Committee for their East African Emergency campaign, brought in $23 million between 1980 to 1984 for famine relief in Ethiopia.

But not everyone thought these kinds of images were appropriate.

“People in developing countries are not incapable or passively awaiting rescue,” says Jennifer Lentfer, director of communications at IDEX, a San Francisco-based international grant maker, and a former lecturer on global development communications at Georgetown University. “Poverty, conflict, disasters, injustice is heart-breaking, but it doesn’t mean people are victims.”

By the end of the decade, the arguments against such images won the day. Nonprofits began using more positive images of the poor to tell stories.

But some observers in the global development community believe exploitative photos of the poor are creeping back as a way to boost fundraising efforts.

John Hilary, executive director of the anti-poverty organization War on Want, described the return of “poverty porn” in a 2014 article for The New International.

“Recent years have witnessed the return of the starving black child as a stock image in the fundraising communications of far too many aid agencies,” he wrote. “A battle which we thought had been won many years ago clearly needs to be fought afresh.”

The phrase even popped up last night on the new cable TV show Adam Ruins Everything. In a discussion of what motivates people to give to global causes, Teddy Ruge, a Ugandan-born writer who works to develop new businesses in Africa, defined poverty porn as “[finding] the most extreme situations and make it look like the most common situation on the continent.”

One widely cited example of an inappropriate image is the 2013 television ad from Save the Children in the United Kingdom, depicting children in various stages of emaciation.

A video still from a Save the Children television fundraising advertisement.i

A video still from a Save the Children television fundraising advertisement.

Save the Children


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Save the Children

A video still from a Save the Children television fundraising advertisement.

A video still from a Save the Children television fundraising advertisement.

Save the Children

Hilary condemned the aid for what he called its “degrading imagery of children.” Other charities and bloggers agreed with him. Dutch activist Frank van der Linde said it violated the European code of conduct on NGO images and messages, which encourages a respect for human dignity.

Linde filed a complaint to Partos, the Dutch association of international development NGOs. But Partos took no action, noting there is no binding agreement for organizations to follow the European code.

After the accusation, the director of Save the Children in the Netherlands at the time, Holke Wierema, defended the ad in an op-ed for Vice Versa, a Dutch-language magazine on global development.

He wrote, “It is unfortunate that the current debate about framing and reframing the totality and diversity of the work of Save the Children is snowed under and narrowed down to the picture that is displayed in a 60-second spot.”

Save the Children UK spokeswoman Caroline Anning defends the ad, noting that no complaints were made to relevant UK authorities. “Although we realize that these images may make people uncomfortable, we are committed to showing the reality of the situation and do not shy away from the issues vulnerable children around the world face,” she e-mailed NPR in response to our questions about the ad. “This particular advert was one of Save the Children’s most successful of all time in the UK in terms of motivating the public to support our work on food crises and chronic malnutrition around the world.”

Indeed, it’s not always easy to tell when an ad goes too far. At what point does an image become exploitative? What are the dos and don’ts of charity photos in the digital age?

Those questions were discussed this summer at #DevPix, an online chat run by the Overseas Development Institute. ODI is a think tank that works on international and humanitarian issues.

“The general feeling is that development photography has moved on since those classic bad examples,” says Pia Dawson, digital editor for ODI. “But despite that, we see every day tons of examples and wonder whether we’ve really moved on that much. We wanted to take stock and look how far we’ve come and give a bit more prominence to organizations who are really doing development photography well.”

Journalists, academics, photographers, photo researchers and Instagram celebrities tweeted advice about poverty, disaster and humanitarian photography.

They shared recent examples of stereotypical negative photos — what many refer to as “flies in the eyes” imagery:

They also shared what they considered fair and constructive photography, portraying the subjects as self-sufficient and dignified.

But there’s a danger of putting too much positive spin on life in poor countries. Brendan Rigby, cofounder of the Australia-based development blog WhyDev, believes some organizations have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum, showing only uplifting images of people in poverty. Like “poverty porn,” these upbeat images don’t present a full picture, Rigby says.

One example of this optimistic approach is Oxfam’s Food For All campaign in 2014. The fundraising ads sought to inspire donors with beautiful African landscapes and abundant marketplaces.

An image from Oxfam's 2014 Food for All Campaign.

An image from Oxfam’s 2014 Food for All Campaign.

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Oxfam

“It’s no less misleading or unrepresentative of a complicated continent than the previous standard template of war and suffering,” says Tolu Ogunlesi, the editor of The Africa Report. “Then again maybe this is me dancing closer and closer to the unanswerable question: What sort of imagery would have been perfectly representative?”

There are some points of agreement: Photographers should get the subject’s consent, tell the subject what the image will be used for and provide detailed captions to the organization that will feature the picture. Only then can charities begin to create a more accurate image of countries that many Americans only know through the work of charities and NGOs.

And every day brings new challenges.

“The #DevPix discussion remains relevant because fundraisers always know they can pull on heart-strings as a fundraising tool,” says Lentfer. “Look at people’s increased engagement in the Syrian refugee crisis after seeing three-year-old drowned Aylan Kurdi.”

Lentfer, who authored a set of guidelines for global development communicators in 2014, shared a general rule of thumb: “If that person in a photo was your nephew, your child, your grandmother, would you want them to appear in that ad? If the answer is no, you’re over the line.”

We want to hear from you. How can members of the public help NGOs and humanitarian organizations fight “poverty porn”? Tell us in a comment below, or tweet your answer using @NPRGlobalHealth and #DevPix.

A Menu From The Titantic Expected To Fetch $50,000

Sep 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on A Menu From The Titantic Expected To Fetch $50,000

Not all was lost in the sinking of the Titanic. And several of its artifacts will be auctioned online Wednesday.

They include a lunch menu offering grilled mutton chops … and a ticket for the ship’s Turkish baths.

Both survived in the pocket of a passenger who jumped into the “Money Boat,” a notorious lifeboat taken over by a handful of millionaires who left everybody else behind.

The crumpled menu is expected to sell for $50,000.

Dog Drives His Owner’s Truck Into A Lake

Sep 30, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Dog Drives His Owner’s Truck Into A Lake

This could happen to any dog owner. A man in Ellsworth, Maine, walked his Yorkshire terrier.

Which wanted to fight another dog. So the man put his terrier in his truck.

And the dog put the truck in gear.

It started rolling, downhill, 75 feet, into a lake.

And sank in 10 feet of water.

A family friend dove in to rescue the dog, and it’s easy to imagine that dog’s face – freshly bathed, completely oblivious, wondering where’s the food.

Songs We Love: Dan Friel, ‘Rattler’

Sep 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Songs We Love: Dan Friel, ‘Rattler’

Dan Friel's new album, Life, comes out Oct. 16.i

Dan Friel’s new album, Life, comes out Oct. 16.

Walter Wlodarczyk/Courtesy of the artist


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Dan Friel's new album, Life, comes out Oct. 16.

Dan Friel’s new album, Life, comes out Oct. 16.

Walter Wlodarczyk/Courtesy of the artist

Dan Friel, Life (Thrill Jockey)

Earlier in his music career, Dan Friel was best known as a founder of Parts Labor, an experimental Brooklyn rock band that expertly made its way around post-hardcore psych jams, with layers of noise and smarty-pants song structures for guides. Yet many years before Parts Labor went on indefinite hiatus in 2012, Friel had already begun creating his own instrumental pieces out of distortion pedals and toy synths. Fantastic miniature slabs of electronic noise, rhythm and melody, Friel’s solo releases played to the lo-fi avant-garde set, but also manifested as melancholy pop.

Like most of his songs, “Rattler” — a track from Life, which Friel calls “solo album #3” yet is actually part of a steady stream of regularly released music — is short, loud and moving. “Rattler” was probably more composed to be heard as part of the overall album, but on its own, the song wonderfully encapsulates the sonic whimsy and hairy wonder of Friel’s music. It’s a three-and-a-half-minute feedback groove­ that might have passed for a rock tune deep inside a late-’80s Sonic Youth album, except that the guitars are missing, the twin kick and hi-hat drums are products of machinery, and the metronomic pulse is what you get when you leave the idea of a “rock band” in the rear view. This music is accidentally heavy, in much the way that all of Friel’s music is accidentally tuneful: It’s designed that way.

Life is out on Oct. 16 on Thrill Jockey.

Hospitals Struggle To Help Farmworkers Who Speak Triqui Or Mixteco

Sep 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Hospitals Struggle To Help Farmworkers Who Speak Triqui Or Mixteco

When Angelina Diaz-Ramirez, an immigrant farmworker from Mexico, suffered a heart attack, no one at the hospital could explain what was happening to her. She speaks Triqui, an indigenous language in southern Mexico.i

When Angelina Diaz-Ramirez, an immigrant farmworker from Mexico, suffered a heart attack, no one at the hospital could explain what was happening to her. She speaks Triqui, an indigenous language in southern Mexico.

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When Angelina Diaz-Ramirez, an immigrant farmworker from Mexico, suffered a heart attack, no one at the hospital could explain what was happening to her. She speaks Triqui, an indigenous language in southern Mexico.

When Angelina Diaz-Ramirez, an immigrant farmworker from Mexico, suffered a heart attack, no one at the hospital could explain what was happening to her. She speaks Triqui, an indigenous language in southern Mexico.

Jeremy Raff/KQED

Angelina Diaz-Ramirez had no idea a surgeon was about to cut open her chest. The 50-year-old had been rushed to the hospital from the California field where the worked picking green beans. Doctors said she had a heart attack and that they would do surgery to install a pacemaker.

But Diaz-Ramirez, an immigrant from Mexico, doesn’t speak Spanish or English. She speaks Triqui, an indigenous language. And the hospital had no one who could translate the doctors’ words for her.

“None explained anything to me,” said Diaz-Ramirez. “I was scared, but I didn’t have a choice.”

And she’s not alone in that. One-third of farmworkers in California speak indigenous languages from southern Mexico, including Triqui and Mixteco. Many don’t speak Spanish or English.

Interpreters are “absolutely necessary,” said Alicia Fernandez, a medical interpretation expert at the University of California, San Francisco. Quality health care and basic informed consent can be nearly impossible without them.

That’s why using improvised sign language, or asking a child to interpret — just getting by — is simply not good enough, said Fernandez. “Getting by leads to mistakes,” she said. “And mistakes can be tragic, for both the patient and the physician.”

Erica Gastelum, a pediatrician in Fresno, Calif., regrets that she rarely has access to an interpreter for her Mixteco-speaking patients. She says without one, “You’re not able to provide equal care to all comers.”

She remembers a 1-year-old boy with fatal congenital heart disease. Doctors had exhausted every option, and the family was gathered in the intensive care unit.

“This is it, this is the moment where we’re going to disconnect the tubes,” said Gastelum. “It seemed like they understood. But in such a crucial moment like that, it would have been so much better to have a culturally sensitive, in-person interpreter.”

Most hospitals, including Gastelum’s, have telephone services designed to let doctors call an interpreter for any language. But the system doesn’t always work for more unusual languages.

This map shows where Mexican indigenous languages originate. Triqui and Mixteco belong to the Oto-Mangue family, in the southwest of the country.i

This map shows where Mexican indigenous languages originate. Triqui and Mixteco belong to the Oto-Mangue family, in the southwest of the country.

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Jeremy Raff/KQED

This map shows where Mexican indigenous languages originate. Triqui and Mixteco belong to the Oto-Mangue family, in the southwest of the country.

This map shows where Mexican indigenous languages originate. Triqui and Mixteco belong to the Oto-Mangue family, in the southwest of the country.

Jeremy Raff/KQED

“When you try to use the phone interpreter line to get the indigenous speaker, you’ll be on hold for like two hours,” said Jasmine Walker, also a pediatrician in Fresno. “Then when you get them, they don’t actually speak the language that you need.”

Seth Holmes is a physician who lived and worked alongside Triqui migrant farmworkers for 10 years and wrote about his experiences in the book Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies. As the migrants followed crops up and down the West Coast, they often asked Holmes to accompany them to health clinics.

In dozens of clinics throughout California, Washington and Oregon, he said, “I have never seen any Triqui person get a medical interpreter.”

Hospitals may underestimate how many indigenous patients they have and how many interpreters they need because many providers assume all Mexicans speak Spanish. Some indigenous people may be afraid to call attention to themselves by asking for an interpreter because they are undocumented.

“They don’t know that they’re entitled to someone who speaks their language,” said Leoncio Vasquez, director of the Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities in Fresno. He has been training interpreters for 15 years.

Any health care facility receiving public money has a legal obligation under both state and federal law to provide an interpreter to every patient who needs one. But only a few health care providers have made California’s 120,000 indigenous farmworkers an explicit priority.

Before becoming an interpreter at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif., Brigida Gonzalez, right, worked in the strawberry fields.i

Before becoming an interpreter at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif., Brigida Gonzalez, right, worked in the strawberry fields.

Jeremy Raff/KQED


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Before becoming an interpreter at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif., Brigida Gonzalez, right, worked in the strawberry fields.

Before becoming an interpreter at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif., Brigida Gonzalez, right, worked in the strawberry fields.

Jeremy Raff/KQED

Brigida Gonzalez, wearing a big “Qualified Interpreter” badge, hustles around Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif. It’s a big building and she’s needed all over.

Today she’s a professional employee at a big hospital. A year ago, she was picking strawberries nearby.

In the fields one day, another picker noticed that Gonzalez spoke English, a rarity in agriculture. She suggested she look into Natividad’s training program.

People at Natividad were thrilled to hear from Gonzalez, “because it was so hard to find someone who spoke English, Spanish and an indigenous language like Mixteco and Triqui,” she said.

Gonzalez completed Natividad’s six-month training program for indigenous interpreters, the first of its kind in the United States, and now works there part time.

The need for trilingual interpreters like Gonzalez is growing, and it’s not just hospitals.

Four hours down the coast in Oxnard, all three school districts have hired Mixteco interpreters, and the police have one on contract.

Altogether, there are about 20 Mixteco speakers making a good living with their language skills in Ventura County.

These opportunities are one reason why Argelia Zarate, the Oxnard school district’s first full-time Mixteco interpreter, encourages students to practice their Mixteco so they don’t lose it.

“I didn’t go to college, yet I have this job,” said Zarate, “because the community is growing so big that they don’t need bilinguals– they need trilinguals.”

Argelia Zarate, a Mixteco interpreter at the Oxnard School District, encourages students to practice their native languages.i

Argelia Zarate, a Mixteco interpreter at the Oxnard School District, encourages students to practice their native languages.

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Argelia Zarate, a Mixteco interpreter at the Oxnard School District, encourages students to practice their native languages.

Argelia Zarate, a Mixteco interpreter at the Oxnard School District, encourages students to practice their native languages.

Jeremy Raff/KQED

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of interpreters and translators to grow by 46 percent between 2012 and 2022. Driving that demand is the 158 percent increase since 1980 in the number of people who speak a language other than English at home.

Nationally, the median hourly wage for interpreters is $25, compared with $9.09 for farm work.

Zarate says the better pay, stable hours and a chance to serve her community all make interpreting a big step up from field work.

“Here everybody is nice to you: they talk to you, appreciate what you do,” Zarate said at the elementary school where she works. “In the fields, they treat you like you’re nothing, a slave working for a little bit of money.”

The Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project has trained dozens of interpreters in Ventura County and has pressured public agencies to make use of them.

“Ventura County has invested in having better language access than most parts of California, and honestly most parts of Oaxaca,” said Margaret Sawyer, the group’s development director, referring to the Mexican state that many Mixteco migrants are from.

But most hospitals rely on freelance part-time interpreters, who have a hard time making a living.

“They will have you for two or three hours, then you’re done for the whole day,” said Israel Vasquez, a trilingual interpreter in Ventura County, Calif. He worked in hospitals, clinics, social service agencies, school and courts in Ventura County, Calif., but eventually quit because he couldn’t get enough hours. He says, “You can’t really live off that.”

“Making a living specifically in health care interpreting right now is not really going to happen,” said Don Schinske, executive director of the California Healthcare Interpreting Association.

Part of the problem, Schinske said, is that even though federal law requires hospitals to provide interpreters, there is not a direct federal funding stream to pay for those services.

“You get a lot of this sentiment from hospitals: ‘Look, we’re trying to get people services in their language, but it is a nicety, not a necessity,’ ” said Schinske.

The indigenous interpretation programs at Natividad Medical Center are funded by private donations from agricultural businesses in the area, who have contributed $1.7 million since 2010.

Meanwhile, a bill that would make it easier for hospitals to get federal money for medical interpreters has stalled in the California Legislature.

Farmworker Angelina Diaz-Ramirez returned home after her surgery with a new pacemaker ticking in her chest — and a stack of printed instructions that she couldn’t read.

“I didn’t know what to do,” she said through an interpreter. “I had strong pain. Should I call them back?”

Diaz-Ramirez didn’t know who her cardiologist was, how to get an appointment or which medications to take. “I just felt very sad,” she said.

Every week, indigenous people with these same questions visit Leoncio Vasquez at his storefront office in Fresno.

He looks through their paperwork, pieces together a backstory and helps them figure out what to do next — something that should have happened at the hospital or clinic, with one of the dozens of interpreters Vasquez has already trained.

But those interpreters “can’t find jobs related to interpreting,” said Vasquez. “Some go back to the fields to do farm work.”

This piece was produced with support from the Institute for Justice and Journalism. It was first published in KQED’s State of Health blog.

Obama, Castro Strike Different Notes In U.N. Remarks

Sep 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Obama, Castro Strike Different Notes In U.N. Remarks

In his U.N. speech, President Obama cited improved ties with Cuba as an example of his commitment to diplomacy. But in his remarks, Cuban leader Raul Castro laid out a series of demands.

New York Jets Lose, But Get A Promise From Gladys Knight

Sep 29, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on New York Jets Lose, But Get A Promise From Gladys Knight

The New York Jets lost their game over the weekend. But they got some encouragement.

The singer Gladys Knight showed up late for the game. As soon as she did, the Jets scored.

And she later called into the weekly radio show of coach Todd Bowles. She says if the Jets make the Super Bowl, she will sing for him in person.

Scientists Confirm There’s Water In The Dark Streaks On Mars

Sep 28, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Scientists Confirm There’s Water In The Dark Streaks On Mars

For several years, a satellite orbiting Mars has seen streaks flowing from Martian mountains during warm periods on the surface. Scientists have now confirmed that water is involved.i

For several years, a satellite orbiting Mars has seen streaks flowing from Martian mountains during warm periods on the surface. Scientists have now confirmed that water is involved.

For several years, a satellite orbiting Mars has seen streaks flowing from Martian mountains during warm periods on the surface. Scientists have now confirmed that water is involved.



NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Scientists have caught Mars crying salty tears.

Photos from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show dark streaks flowing down Martian slopes. The streaks appear in sunny spots or when the weather is warm, and they fade when the temperature drops.

Water was suspected to be involved, but now scientists have confirmed its presence. The new analysis, published in Nature Geoscience, shows salts mixed with water when the streaks are darkest. The water disappears when the streaks lighten.

Streaks a few hundred feet in length appear on the walls of Garni crater on Mars. Scientists suspect they are formed by the flow of briny, liquid water on Mars.i

Streaks a few hundred feet in length appear on the walls of Garni crater on Mars. Scientists suspect they are formed by the flow of briny, liquid water on Mars.

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Streaks a few hundred feet in length appear on the walls of Garni crater on Mars. Scientists suspect they are formed by the flow of briny, liquid water on Mars.

Streaks a few hundred feet in length appear on the walls of Garni crater on Mars. Scientists suspect they are formed by the flow of briny, liquid water on Mars.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

“It’s only when these streaks are biggest and widest that we see evidence for molecular water,” says Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Ojha cautions this isn’t the same as streams trickling downhill on Earth. Standing on the streaks would be like standing on a hot beach on Earth and dribbling a little water out of a drinking bottle. “You would just see a hint of wetness,” he says.

The lines appear on slopes with exposure to sunlight. Researchers now believe that the warm sun may cause water to begin flowing.i

The lines appear on slopes with exposure to sunlight. Researchers now believe that the warm sun may cause water to begin flowing.

The lines appear on slopes with exposure to sunlight. Researchers now believe that the warm sun may cause water to begin flowing.



NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Ojha says the water could be important for future exploration of Mars. It might be that astronauts could one day use it for everything from drinking water to rocket fuel, but that depends on how much there is.

The water could be coming from a subsurface reservoir, but that’s not the only option, Ojha says. Ice, or even moisture in the atmosphere, could also be causing the streaks.

“We’re not entirely sure what the source of the water may be,” he says.

German Prosecutors Investigating Former Volkswagen CEO

Sep 28, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on German Prosecutors Investigating Former Volkswagen CEO

Martin Winterkorn resigned as CEO of Volkswagen last week. He said he had no knowledge of the emissions-duping technology installed on 11 million vehicles worldwide.i

Martin Winterkorn resigned as CEO of Volkswagen last week. He said he had no knowledge of the emissions-duping technology installed on 11 million vehicles worldwide.

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Martin Winterkorn resigned as CEO of Volkswagen last week. He said he had no knowledge of the emissions-duping technology installed on 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Martin Winterkorn resigned as CEO of Volkswagen last week. He said he had no knowledge of the emissions-duping technology installed on 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

German prosecutors announced Monday that they have begun a criminal investigation of Martin Winterkorn, the former Volkswagen CEO who stepped down last week amid a widening scandal involving the automaker’s use of technology that cheats emissions tests.

The investigation will focus on whether fraud was committed through the sale of diesel-powered vehicles that claimed to be eco-friendly by highlighting manipulated emissions data. It also aims to find out who had knowledge of and was responsible for the emissions-rigging.

According to The Associated Press:

“In the German system, anyone can file a criminal complaint with prosecutors, who are then obliged to examine it and decide whether there is enough evidence to open a formal investigation.

“In this case, following the revelations about the rigged tests, prosecutors in Braunschweig, near VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, received about a dozen complaints, including one from Volkswagen itself, said spokeswoman Julia Meyer.

“She said it was too early to say if and when prosecutors may try and interview Winterkorn himself, and that she did not know whether he already had an attorney to represent him.”

When he resigned last week, Winterkorn apologized for the company’s misconduct but maintained he had no knowledge of the emissions-duping technology. He said at the time that he was “stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.”

As we reported last week, Volkswagen has named Matthias Mueller, head of VW’s Porsche sports-car division, as the company’s new chief executive.

The so-called defeat device was built into some 11 million Volkswagen vehicles worldwide, nearly 500,000 of which are in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Germany’s transport minister has said some 2.8 million vehicles are affected in that country.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“In the days since the revelation, VW has become the subject of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and is being investigated by several environmental regulators in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Sales of VW models affected by the software have been halted in some countries.”

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