Tag Archive: Calif


Published time: June 04, 2013 01:33

AFP Photo / George Rose

AFP Photo / George Rose

An internal watchdog claims the IRS spent $50 million on ‘inappropriate’ conference funds during a three-year period – news that serves to further embarrass the agency in wake of its targeting of conservative groups.

The Internal Revenue Service allegedly spent nearly $50 million on about 200 employee conferences between 2010 and 2012, during which it frequently provided its workers with presidential hotel suites and allowed them to take dance classes and attend baseball games, according to excerpts from an inspector general’s report slated to be released Tuesday.

An August 2010 conference in Anaheim, Calif., cost the IRS $4 million. About 2,600 managers attended the event and stayed in presidential hotel suites that usually cost $1,500 to $3,500 per night. About 15 outside speakers were paid $135,000 each, one of which was hired to discuss “leadership through art”, according to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which released the excerpts.

The IRS also failed to negotiate lower room rates, which is a standard practice for federal government agencies. Employees who attended the conference also received a number of costly benefits, including baseball tickets at taxpayers’ expense.

“They ended up with free drinks, they ended up with tickets to games – basically kickbacks,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House oversight panel that released the excerpts, told NBC News.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Report: Treasury finds IRS spent $50M on conferences in 3 years

 

By Meghashyam Mali 06/02/13 08:25 PM ET

 

A review by the Treasury Department’s inspector general found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spent $50 million dollars on conferences for employees between 2010 to 2012, according to reports.

The audit, set to be released on Tuesday, says the agency spent the funds on more than 200 employee conferences, including an August 2010 meeting in Anaheim, Calif., which cost taxpayers $4 million.

 

According to a statement from the House Oversight Committee, 15 outside speakers at the event were paid a total of $135,000 and many attendees were given perks including baseball tickets and suites at the hotel, the AP reported.The new report comes as the tax agency already faces congressional anger over its targeting of conservative political groups and will likely bring further scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is set to hold a hearing on IRS conference spending on Thursday.

 

Read Full Article Here

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IRS Gift Rule Turned on Politics as Crisis Prompts Reform

Danny Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner  Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

IRS Gift Rule Turned on Politics as Crisis Prompts Reform

By Richard Rubin – Jun 2, 2013 11:00 PM CT

The last time the Internal Revenue Service waded into a fight on politically active nonprofit groups, the agency capitulated quickly and let people make undisclosed, untaxed payments to groups financing campaign ads.

In 2011, under pressure from Republicans, the IRS shut down an attempt to impose gift taxes on donations to so-called social welfare organizations. The move led to a “free-for-all” by donors while clearing up decades of ambiguity on how it would enforce the law, said Ofer Lion, an attorney at Hunton & Williams LLP (1130L) in Los Angeles.

The new controversy surrounding IRS scrutiny of small-government groups focuses attention again on how the agency handles politically sensitive issues. Lessons from the 2011 episode were obvious and yet recurred in 2013, as a lack of clear rules and management left the agency vulnerable to employee misconduct, open to charges of bias against Republicans and their allies and flat-footed when confronted with an outcry from lawmakers.

“It took a crisis to get reform, and I think that’s where we are now,” Greg Colvin, a partner at Adler & Colvin in San Francisco, said of the gift tax case. “It’s going to take a crisis like this to cause the IRS and Congress to realize that you can’t keep tolerating this kind of inadequate supervision and have the IRS refereeing what is and is not political.”

The IRS’s enforcement of tax laws on nonprofit groups re-enters the spotlight this week as Congress returns from a one-week recess, intent on searching for evidence of partisan motivations or senior executives’ involvement in targeting anti-tax Tea Party groups. The IRS revealed May 10 that some small-government groups got extra attention because of their names. Since then, six congressional committees have started inquiries, the Justice Department began a criminal probe, and three employees left their jobs early or were placed on leave.

First Appearance

Danny Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner, will make his first public appearance at a House hearing today since taking over May 22. Tomorrow, the House Ways and Means Committee is asking groups singled out for tougher scrutiny to testify about their experiences. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will meet June 6 to review an audit of spending on IRS conferences, including parody videos.

Congressional investigators are interviewing IRS employees and seeking past-due answers to lists of questions they sent the agency. The IRS says it is trying to be “exceedingly thorough” as it prepares responses.

The 2011 gift-tax flap and the new controversy over applications for tax-exempt status both stem from the same corner of the tax code.

Social Welfare

Groups organized under section 501(c)(4) are required to operate “exclusively” for the benefit of social welfare and don’t have to disclose their donors. Contributions aren’t tax-deductible and the groups don’t have to pay taxes on their investment income.

The IRS interprets that law to let 501(c)(4) groups engage in political activity, as long as that’s not their primary purpose. Many of those groups, including the Republican-allied Crossroads GPS and the Democratic-allied Priorities USA, spent heavily on campaign ads last year.

Such groups spent $256 million during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance issues.

The controversy for the past month has revolved around the scrutiny applied to groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Five Donors

The gift-tax issue is different because it involves donors to the groups. In 2011, the IRS sent letters to five donors, opening audits on whether their contributions to the groups should count as taxable gifts.

The Wall Street Journal reported May 31 that all five donors had given to Freedom’s Watch, which was formed to support President George W. Bush’s policies in Iraq. One of the group’s main backers was Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The IRS was on solid legal ground, according to a 2012 analysis by the Congressional Research Service. The tax code specifically exempts contributions to charities under section 501(c)(3) and political groups under section 527 from the gift tax. The IRS hadn’t been enforcing the gift tax for contributions to 501(c)(4) groups although it had, in effect, said in a 1982 revenue ruling that the tax could be applied.

 

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One by one, homes in Calif. subdivision sinking

Updated 6:36 pm, Saturday, May 11, 2013
This photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013 shows the wreckage of the Tudor-style dream home of Robin and Scott Spivey who were forced to abandon after the ground gave way causing it to drop 10 feet below the street in Lakeport, Calif.  Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP

This photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013 shows the wreckage of the Tudor-style dream home of Robin and Scott Spivey who were forced to abandon after the ground gave way causing it to drop 10 feet below the street in Lakeport, Calif. Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP
In this photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013, the bedroom carpets hang from the home of Jagtar Singh, left, after the ground gave way in Lakeport, Calif.  Shortly after Singh moved his wife, 4-year-old daughter and his parents the hill behind his home collapsed taking the underside of his home. Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP

In this photo taken Monday, May 6, 2013, the bedroom carpets hang from the home of Jagtar Singh, left, after the ground gave way in Lakeport, Calif. Shortly after Singh moved his wife, 4-year-old daughter and his parents the hill behind his home collapsed taking the underside of his home. Officials believe that water that has bubbled to the surface is playing a role, in the collapse of the hillside subdivision that has forced the evacuation of 10 homes and the notice of imminent evacuation of another 10 in this upscale subdivision. Photo: AP

 

LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Scott and Robin Spivey had a sinking feeling that something was wrong with their home when cracks began snaking across their walls in March.

The cracks soon turned into gaping fractures, and within two weeks their 600-square-foot garage broke from the house and the entire property — manicured lawn and all — dropped 10 feet below the street.

It wasn’t long before the houses on both sides collapsed as the ground gave way in the Spivey’s neighborhood in Lake County, about 100 miles north of San Francisco.

“We want to know what is going on here,” said Scott Spivey, a former city building inspector who lived in his four-bedroom, Tudor-style dream home for 11 years.

Eight homes are now abandoned and 10 more are under notice of imminent evacuation as a hilltop with sweeping vistas of Clear Lake and the Mount Konocti volcano swallows the subdivision built 30 years ago.

The situation has become so bad that mail delivery was ended to keep carriers out of danger.

“It’s a slow-motion disaster,” said Randall Fitzgerald, a writer who bought his home in the Lakeside Heights project a year ago.

Unlike sinkholes of Florida that can gobble homes in an instant, this collapse in hilly volcanic country can move many feet on one day and just a fraction of an inch the next.

burqa

Afghan women cover themselves as required by Islamic law. (AP Photo)

April 30, 2013

Afghan women cover themselves as required by Islamic law. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – A U.S. lawmaker, expressing concern about the lives of Afghan women when most U.S. troops leave the country in 2014, said those who want to do so should be allowed to come to the United States:

“I’m really concerned about these women,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told a House Armed Services subcommittee on April 25. “I think everyone on this panel is very concerned about these women…But I think there is something we can do. And that is to create a refugee status for any Afghan woman who wants to leave the country and is seeking asylum in our country.

Health

One-third of US workers don’t get enough sleep

A recent study from the Centers for Disease control found about a third of working adults get only six or fewer hours of sleep every day, which increases the risk of health problems. NBC’s Robert Bazell reports.

By Karen Rowan, MyHealthNewsDaily

Nearly a third of workers in the U.S. aren’t getting enough sleep, according to a new government report.

Overall, 30 percent of employed U.S. adults reported getting less than six hours of sleep a night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its report. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults get seven to nine hours of sleep.

People who usually work the night shift — especially those in transportation, warehousing, health care and social assistance industries — were more likely than day-shift workers to report not getting enough sleep. Forty-four percent of the night shift workers participating in the survey said they got less than six hours of sleep, compared with 29 percent of workers with day shifts.

“Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for fatigued workers and others around them,” the CDC wrote. An estimated 20 percent of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving.

Besides poor job performance, too little sleep has been linked with obesity and cardiovascular disease, the report noted.

Those with night jobs face a particular challenge in getting enough sleep. “Attempts to sleep during daylight hours, when melatonin levels decline and body temperature rises, usually result in shorter sleep episodes and more wakefulness,” the report said.

Read Full Article Here
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Poll: Doctors fall short in helping many seniors

By Judith Graham
Kaiser Health News

Large numbers of seniors aren’t receiving recommended interventions that could help forestall medical problems and improve their health, according to a new survey from the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Notably, one-third of older adults said doctors didn’t review all their medications, even though problems with prescription and over-the-counter drugs are common among the elderly, leading to over 177,000 emergency room visits every year.

Falls cause over 2 million injuries in people age 65 and older annually, but more than two-thirds of the time doctors and nurses didn’t ask older patients whether they’d taken a tumble or provide advice about how to avoid tripping on carpets or slipping on the stairs, the Hartford poll found.

Similarly, depression can cause people to become socially isolated, suicidal, or stop taking care of themselves, but 62 percent of seniors said doctors and nurses hadn’t inquired about whether they were sad, depressed or anxious.

Read Full Article Here

Cops take DNA samples from Calif. middle school students without parental consent

By Jonathan Benson,
(NaturalNews) A group of students at Albert Einstein Middle School in Sacramento, Calif. was recently considered to be guilty until proven innocent in a murder case involving a 13-year-old girl. The Sacramento Bee and other sources are reporting that officers from the Sacramento Police Department (SPD) showed up at the school in early April and began removing students from class in order to question them and take DNA samples — and they did so without parental consent. It all began when the deceased…

Fiberglass fibers cause lung diseases and cancer

By Paul Fassa, 
(NaturalNews) The case against asbestos in building materials was finalized after decades of research traced several severe lung cancer incidents to asbestos poisoning. Now fiberglass, the replacement for asbestos, is under similar scrutiny for the same reasons. Independent researchers at Cornell University discovered that sick building syndrome (SBS), which causes many occupants to suffer similar health issues, occurred mostly in recently built airtight structures without adequate internal air…

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Holistic Health

Medical science and herbalists agree: hawthorn berries are a “great heart food”

By Donna Earnest Pravel, 
(NaturalNews) Hawthorn berries (Crataegus laevigata or Crataegus mongyna) have been treasured for centuries as a botanical treatment for heart disorders. The brownish, wrinkled false fruit of the hawthorn tree are full of antioxidants. Both modern scientific and traditional literature indicate that hawthorn berries are safe and effective in the treatment of blood pressure and circulatory issues, cardiac arrhythmia, and even chronic heart failure. Hawthorn berries also reduce inflammation, protect…

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Pet Health

Fungal Infections in Fish

Saprolegnia and Ichthyophonus Hoferi

Fungal infections in fish can cause damage to multiple body systems, such as the liver, kidney, and brain, and usually occur when the fish is in a weakened state, either due to injury or trauma. It can also develop if a fish is placed in poor living conditions (i.e., substandard water quality or an overstocked fish tank).

Saprolegnia and Ichthyophonus hoferi are two such fungi that can be found in fish, whether they are kept in tanks, aquariums or ponds.

Symptoms and Types

The Saprolegnia fungus infects fish (or its eggs), affecting its internal organs and deeper tissues. Symptoms include light gray, cottony growths on the skin, fins, gills, and eyes.

The Ichthyophonus hoferi fungus mainly infects older fish which are kept in aquariums. However, it is an uncommon fungal infection that typically occurs due to infected raw fish food. If left untreated, it may prove fatal for the fish. Symptoms are species-specific, but unlike Saprolegnia, it will present small black growth in the skin. This fungus also causes bulging eyes, loss of color, ulcers and cysts in internal organs, and sometimes causes fish to swim in abnormal circular movements.

Read Full Article Here

Beyond the Flakes: What’s Best for Your Fish

If you’ve got a pet fish, you might think feeding him the fish flakes from the local pet store is enough. While it will get your fish through the day, think about this: How would you like to be fed porridge for all your meals, every day, for your entire life? Kinda boring, right?

Variety is definitely the spice of life, but how do you round out your fish’s diet the right way? Of course, you need to do your research for your particular type of fish. But we have a few pointers to start you off with.

Meat Eaters vs. Vegetarians

Like people, some fish eat meat, others don’t. But this isn’t a lifestyle choice. Fish are either omnivores, carnivores, or herbivores. So make sure you know what your fish is, and feed it accordingly.

Never, ever feed your carnivorous fish a diet only consisting of beef. Some people do, but it’s not recommended because fish have a hard time digesting beef. Give the steak to the cat instead, in the hopes she won’t try and eat the fish when you’re not looking. And your fish? Give it little treats such as flies and worms, all of which can be bought at your local pet store.

Low Fat

Nobody wants to see an obese fish lazing about on a plastic castle in the fish tank. It’s just not right! To avoid this, be careful not to over-feed or give your fish treats with high fat content. Excessive fat can damage the liver and even eventually kill them, not to mention give them a complex. Instead, buy only the flakes of the highest quality that list their fat content on the side, along with the rest of the ingredients.

Staple Diet

Which brings us to the backbone of a fish’s diet: high quality flaked fish food. This provides your fish with all the vitamins and minerals he needs but can’t get in captivity.

Read Full Article Here

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Wildlife

Nearly Seven million birds die each year at communication towers

by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 27, 2012


File image.

More than 6 million birds die every year as they migrate from the United States and Canada to Central and South America, according to a new study published in the open access journal PLoS ONE. The birds are killed by the 84,000 communication towers that dot North America and can rise nearly 2,000 feet into the sky.

“This is a tragedy that does not have to be,” said lead author Travis Longcore of the University of Southern California. The taller the tower the greater the threat, the researchers found; the tallest 1.9 percent of towers account for 71 percent of the mortalities.

The birds are generally killed not by running into the tower itself, but by getting caught in the dozens of cables that prop up the thin freestanding structures. During bad weather, the birds are pushed down by cloud cover and fly at lower altitudes. The clouds also remove navigation cues such as stars, leaving only the red lights of the towers.

“In the presence of the solid red lights, the birds are unable to get out of their spell,” Longcore said. “They circle the tower and run into the big cables holding it up.”

Towers with blinking red lights, on the other hand, cause fewer deaths. The authors estimate that replacing the steady-burning lights with blinking lights on the roughly 4,500 towers greater than 150 meters tall could reduce mortality by about 45 percent, or about 2.5 million birds.

The study also recommends that businesses share towers to reduce their number and build more freestanding towers to reduce the need for guy wires.

“One of the things this country has been great about is saying we care about not losing species on our watch,” Longcore said. “With these towers, we are killing birds in an unnatural way. This is senseless.”

Longcore T, Rich C, Mineau P, MacDonald B, Bert DG, et al. (2012) An Estimate of Avian Mortality at Communication Towers in the United States and Canada. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34025. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034025.

Related Links
American Bird Conservancy
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

Dolphins are Mysteriously Dying Around the World

By Eddie Sage on 27 April 2012

Since January, dead dolphins have washed ashore in Peru, the death toll reaching a staggering 877. Scientists are still trying to explain the bizarre deaths, and their best prediction at the moment is that its due to a virus outbreak or acoustic trauma.

Environmental authorities are investigating the deaths of more than 800 dolphins that have washed up on the northern coast of Peru this year.

The dolphins may have died from an outbreak of Morbillivirus or Brucella bacteria, said Peruvian Deputy Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria, according to Peru’s state-run Andina news agency. Speaking to CNN, he said he expects test results to be ready within the week.

“Right now, the most probable hypothesis is that it’s a virus outbreak,” he said.

Quijandria said Thursday that 877 dolphins have washed up in a 220-kilometer (137-mile) area from Punta Aguja to Lambayeque, in the north of the country.

More than 80% of those dolphins were found in an advanced state of decomposition, making it difficult to study their deaths, according to Andina.

Earlier last week, the Peruvian government put together a panel from different ministries to analyze a report by the Peruvian Sea Institute (IMARPE). Officials have been able to conclude that the dolphins’ deaths were not due to lack of food, interaction with fisheries, poisoning with pesticides, biotoxin poisoning or contamination by heavy metals.

“When you have something this large, my gut would tell me that there’s something traumatic that happened,” Sue Rocca, a marine biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, told CNN. She floated a number of number of possibilities as to what could have killed the animals, including acoustic trauma, but concluded that investigators just don’t know yet. “More investigation needs to be done,” she said.

More then 200 Dolphins have beached themselves on Manila Bay, Philippians

Read Full Article Here

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Positivity Mind and Body

Breakthrough with Tony Robbins – Episode 1 – Love Conquers All

Uploaded by on Jan 15, 2012

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Disclaimer: This channel is not in any way associated with Anthony Robbins or Robbins Research International, Inc. These episodes have been put up only to promote change and breakthrough in people’s lives.

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Articles of Interest

Health blogger threatened with jail time for advocating Paleo diet that cured his diabetes

By Mike Adams, 
(NaturalNews) Internet free speech is under assault in America, and a dangerous new trend has surfaced that threatens to throw nutritional bloggers in jail for advocating healthy diets on their blogs or websites. As you read this, a blogger who wrote about using the Paleo diet to overcome diabetes is being threatened with jail time in North Carolina, where the state Board of Dietetics / Nutrition claims his nutritional advocacy is equivalent to the crime of “practicing nutrition without a license.

His name is Steve Cooksey, and his website is http://www.diabetes-warrior.net

He’s being targeted by state “dieticians” (which is another word for “nutritional moron” as you’ll see below) who say that Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition.” His website’s advocating of the Paleo diet for individuals who have health challenges is, they claim, a violation of law.

So they’ve threatened him with arrest if he does not take down his website… or at the very least stop advocating the Paleo diet to readers.


Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse

By Jonathan Benson, 
(NaturalNews) Amid all the controversy over genetically-modified (GM) crops and their pesticides and herbicides decimating bee populations all around the world, biotechnology behemoth Monsanto has decided to buy out one of the major international firms devoted to studying and protecting bees. According to a company announcement, Beeologics handed over the reins to Monsanto back on September 28, 2011, which means the gene-manipulating giant will now be able to control the flow of information and products…

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Food Safety

ABC Slams USDA’s Poultry Inspection Plan

USDA tells ABC it will delay HIMP plan to respond to critics

by Helena Bottemiller | Apr 19, 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will delay a proposed rule to expand a controversial poultry inspection system, ABC World News reported in a scathing segment Wednesday.

poultry-processor-250.jpg

The decision was made “to give the agency more time to respond to critics,” according to the report by ABC’s Jim Avila, who was a key figure in the recent “pink slime” firestorm.

The rule in question would broadly expand the HACCP Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) beyond the 20 poultry plants already participating. The HIMP model reduces the number of Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors on duty and largely turns over physical inspections to company employees, while allowing plants to speed up their lines to 175 birds per minute, over the current 140 bpm limit. FSIS says the proposal will modernize an outdated inspection system, save taxpayers around $90 million over three years, and prevent 5,200 foodborne illnesses, mostly from Salmonella, annually.

The National Chicken Council has been strongly in favor of the proposal, which would save the industry $250 million each year, according to USDA estimates.

Read Full Article Here

Missouri House Moves Ag-Gag Bill to Senate

by Dan Flynn | Apr 19, 2012
Missouri could become the third state this year to impose criminal sanctions, including jail time, against the practices animal welfare groups have used to expose both animal agriculture cruelty and food safety violations.

chickenHSUS-350.jpg

In a 124-29 vote, Missouri’s lower house adopted a House Bill 1860 amended to include a section on “Agricultural Production Facility Fraud” with the same sort of ag-gag provisions that were signed into law in Iowa and Utah earlier this year.
If the state Senate agrees before it adjourns May 12, Missouri’s new agricultural crimes will be production “facility fraud” and “interference.”

Anyone recording the image or sound at an ag production facility without the consent of the owner could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  Conviction of a Class A misdemeanor carries a jail term of up to one year and a $1,000 fine or

Read Full Article Here

Food Poisoning Strikes 250 Inmates at Michigan Jail

by News Desk | Apr 19, 2012
About 250 inmates being held at the Kent County Jail in Grand Rapids, MI suffering with food poisoning symptoms since Sunday still do not know for certain what ails them.
None required hospitalization and all are said to be recovering.

E. Coli Case Count in Missouri Rises to 14; Raw Milk Implicated

by News Desk | Apr 19, 2012
Fourteen people have been sickened by E. coli O157:H7 in central Missouri, and seven now report consuming unpasteurized milk from the same farm before becoming ill, according to Gena Terlizzi, office of public information, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

raw-milk3-thumb.jpg

Investigators at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service (DHSS) have not yet identified a definite source of the outbreak, but a farm in Howard County is under investigation.

‘Food Wars’ in Post-Soviet Space: New Episodes

by Volha Samasiuk | Apr 19, 2012
Opinion
Food safety and technical standards and regulations are traditionally viewed as effective tools for public health protection. However, they can also be used as protectionist measures aiming to shield domestic producers from competition. The weak legal framework for implementing these measures may lead to trade disputes between countries. Here are the several examples of such conflicts among post-Soviet countries that are not uncommon at the present time.
A Bit of History
In the Soviet era, the economy of former Soviet republics developed as an integral part of USSR’s single national-economic complex. Russia, a country with huge natural, financial and human resources, dominated and tended to be the center for political and economic decisions. Other republics were mostly considered as raw suppliers for Russia.
The Soviet Union’s breakup resulted in sharp economic contraction as traditional trade ties collapsed. The agricultural and food production sectors of newly independent states come under significant pressure. Each former republic faced the necessity of protecting its own food producers and at the same time providing its population with food.

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Recalls

Listeria Concern Prompts Expanded Deli Sandwich Recall

by Julia Thomas | Apr 19, 2012
M.E. Thompson of Jacksonville, FL is expanding the recall of its Anytime Deli Turkey & Ham Footlong to include the Italian Footlong and Classic Cuban, sold under the brand names Anytime Deli, Sandwich Central and Dandee, because the sandwiches may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

two-sub-sandwich-350.jpg

The recall was the result of routine sampling by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which revealed that the finished products contained Listeria monocytogenes.  According to the recall news release, since the original sampling no other finished products have been shown to contain Listeria, but the latest recall is a precautionary measure.
No confirmed illnesses have been reported to date.

Hong Lee Trading Recalling Preserved Apricots for Undeclared Sulfites

April 19, 2012 By

Hong Lee Trading of Brooklyn New York is recalling Peacock Brand Preserved Apricots because the product may contain undeclared sulfites.

Product details:

  • Peacock Brand Preserved Apricots
  • Un-coded, 300 gram (10.6 ounce) clear plastic container
  • Sold nationwide
  • Product of Vietnam
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Allergy Alert

Canada Rescinds Allergy Alert for BioX Xtreme Power Products

April 19, 2012 By Leave a Comment

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has rescinded a March 2012 allergy alert for BioX brand Xtreme Power Whey Isolate Powder and Protein Shot Recovery Blue Raspberry Drink. The products do not contain egg.

 

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

First lawsuit filed in salmonella outbreak tied to sushi

Courtesy of Amy Karfonta

Amy Karfonta, a 22-year-old from Wisconsin, came down with salmonella symptoms days after eating a tuna roll at a sushi restaurant.

By Bill Briggs

The first lawsuit spawned by a salmonella outbreak that appears to be linked to sushi — which has now sickened 141 people in 20 states plus the District of Columbia — was filed late Wednesday against Moon Marine U.S.A. Corp, a Cupertino, Calif., seafood importer.

The suit alleges that two Wisconsin women, ages 22 and 33, were hospitalized and still are recovering from salmonella poisoning contracted six to nine weeks ago when they dined, separately, at the same local restaurant, both consuming tuna rolls originally sold by Moon Marine.

Read Full Article Here

USDA Makes Grants Available for Farm to School Programs

by Gretchen Goetz | Apr 19, 2012

Farm to school food programs are set to receive a boost this October in the form of $3.5 million in federal grant money.

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan announced Tuesday that the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is now accepting applications for a series of grants – each one to be no more than  $100,000 – to fund programs that bring locally produced foods to school cafeterias.

kids-vegetables-350.jpg

The money was earmarked by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. The act aims to improve child nutrition nationwide in order to combat the dual problems of overweight and obesity and food insecurity. In the United States, approximately 17 percent of children ages 2-19 are obese and, according to Merrigan, 18 million are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where their next meal will come from.

“We know for some many children school meals are the only real meal they get in the day so it’s very important that these meals be top notch and farm to school can play a very important role there,” said Merrigan at Tuesday’s press conference.

Read Full Article Here

 

Lawsuit Claims KFC Store Directed Workers to Serve Rotten Chicken

April 19, 2012 By

A former KFC store manager in Oregon has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in state Circuit Court in Multnomah County saying he was fired for refusing to cook and serve rotten chicken. The suit by James Macneal was filed this week and is partly based on an Oregon health and safety whistleblowing law.

Macneal alleges in a complaint against the local owners of a KFC outlet in Seaside, Oregon, that he and another employee were repeatedly told to use raw chicken that was past expiration. His refusal, resistance and threat to call the Oregon Health Department resulted in his firing last May, the lawsuit alleges.

 

Read Full Article Here

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Politics and Legislation

Top Obama Fundraiser Accused Of Fraud

A major fundraiser for the re-election campaign of US President Barack Obama has been accused of fraud and dodging creditors, a report says.

As Bloomberg runs reports revealing New York City is the top source of donations for both the Obama and Romney campaigns news surfaces that one of Obama’s top donors and fundraisers, the New York based Abaka Assongba, has been accused of fraud.

According to reports, Abaka is accused of defrauding a Swiss businessman of $650,000 after engaging him in an email scam and then using that money to buy a multi-million dollar home in Florida.

Accompanying the fraud charges against Abaka are other embarrassments for the Obama campaign, including revalatoins of a 2004 eviction for owing $5,000 in back rent and another court case where she was ordered to pay $10,000 for back rent and damage.

Read Full Article Here

Man whose WMD lies led to 100,000 deaths confesses all

Defector tells how US officials ‘sexed up’ his fictions to make the case for 2003 invasion

A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq – starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds – will come clean in his first British television interview tomorrow.

“Curveball”, the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up. It was a confidence trick that changed the course of history, with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi’s lies used to justify the Iraq war.

He tries to defend his actions: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”

The chemical engineer claimed to have overseen the building of a mobile biological laboratory when he sought political asylum in Germany in 1999. His lies were presented as “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence” by Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, when making the case for war at the UN Security Council in February 2003.

But Mr Janabi, speaking in a two-part series, Modern Spies, starting tomorrow on BBC2, says none of it was true. When it is put to him “we went to war in Iraq on a lie. And that lie was your lie”, he simply replies: “Yes.”

US officials “sexed up” Mr Janabi’s drawings of mobile biological weapons labs to make them more presentable, admits Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, General Powell’s former chief of staff. “I brought the White House team in to do the graphics,” he says, adding how “intelligence was being worked to fit around the policy”.

As for his former boss: “I don’t see any way on this earth that Secretary Powell doesn’t feel almost a rage about Curveball and the way he was used in regards to that intelligence.”

Read Full Article Here

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Economy

Stockton, Calif., Could Become Nation’s Biggest Municipal Bankruptcy

Stockton, Calif. is quite at home on lists of dubious distinctions.

This Northern California city has been variously listed as the city with the second-highest home-foreclosure rate of a major U.S. metropolis, the second-highest violent crime rate in California, and two times the frontrunner of Forbes magazine’s “America’s Most Miserable Cities.”

Now Stockton is hoping to avoid its next bleak title, that of biggest municipality in U.S. history to enter bankruptcy.

After Heyday, Payday

Eighty miles east of San Francisco and home to nearly 300,000 people, Stockton has cycled through decades of city-planning booms and crime-ridden busts.

These days many residents are just doing what they can to stay safe and survive. Unemployment in the city tops 16 percent. Foreclosures are at an all-time high. Homeless shelters are out of beds. The police force has shrunk 25 percent and this year’s homicide total may surpass last year’s record high of 58.

In the early 2000s, after years of decline, Stockton began pouring money into revitalization projects. Developers built residential subdivisions, a theater complex, sports arena, waterfront walkway and marina.

City coffers bulged on the resulting property tax increases, and city employee contracts ballooned. One month of city employment meant eligibility for full retiree health care. Today, the city’s long-term health care liability totals more than $400 million. There are 94 pensions each worth at least $100,000 annually.

“Stockton overcommitted to long-term obligations that even under the best of times the city could not afford. So if there was not a recession, the city would have been having the conversation we’re having in four or five years,” said City Manager Bob Deis in a recent Time magazine interview.

Read Full Article Here

Eurozone unemployment hits 15-year high

By Michael Millar

LONDON (SHARECAST) – Unemployment across the countries that use the euro hit a 15-year high of 10.8 per cent in February.

Figures from the European Commission’s official statistics agency, eurostat, showed unemployment was up from 10.7% in January and compared to 10.0% in February 2011.

The figures laid bare the vast economic differences between 17 countries using the euro.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.2%), the Netherlands (4.9%), Luxembourg (5.2%) and Germany (5.7%).

Read Full Article Here

Will the US dollar fall to the Chinese Yuan?

Uploaded by RTAmerica on Apr 3, 2012

Over the years the US dollar has become weaker and weaker, and it seems the Chinese Yuan is getting stronger and stronger. In a few years China’s GDP is believed to surpass the US GDP making it the strongest in the world. Recently at the BRICS annual meeting, the five fastest growing countries decided to ditch the dollar and use their own currencies in mutual trade putting the buck almighty in jeopardy. Michael T. Snyder, founder of TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com, joins us to discuss what the future holds for the US dollar.

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Wars and Rumors of War

Pentagon activates missile defenses for North Korean launch

The Pentagon recently activated its global missile shield in anticipation of North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile, according to defense officials.

The measures include stepped-up electronic monitoring, deployment of missile interceptor ships, and activation of radar networks to areas near the Korean peninsula and western Pacific.

Three interceptor ships near Japan and the Philippines, as well as U.S.-based interceptors, are ready to shoot down the North Korean missile if space-, land-, and sea-based sensors determine its flight path is targeted at the United States or U.S. allies, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Obama administration will regard any launch by North Korea as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions regardless of whether the North Koreans claim the rocket test is for space launch purposes, the officials said. The technology and rocketry used for a space launch is nearly identical to that used with ballistic missiles that carry a warhead, they said.

Also, because the payload or warhead of the test launch cannot be determined prior to launch, the Obama administration decided to activate the missile defense system.

According to U.S. officials, current intelligence assessments indicate the North Korean missile will be launched from a base called Tongchang-ri, located on a west coast peninsula north of Pyongyang between April 12 and April 15…..

Read Full Article Here

US draws up plans for nuclear drones

Technology is designed to increase flying time ‘from days to months’, along with power available for weapons systems

Nick Fielding

American scientists have drawn up plans for a new generation of nuclear-powered drones capable of flying over remote regions of the world for months on end without refuelling.

The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency – and defence contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time “from days to months” while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia.

“It’s pretty terrifying prospect,” said Chris Coles of Drone Wars UK, which campaigns against the increasing use of drones for both military and civilian purposes. “Drones are much less safe than other aircraft and tend to crash a lot. There is a major push by this industry to increase the use of drones and both the public and government are struggling to keep up with the implications.”

The highly sensitive research into what is termed “ultra-persistence technologies” set out to solve three problems associated with drones: insufficient “hang time” over a potential target; lack of power for running sophisticated surveillance and weapons systems; and lack of communications capacity.

The Sandia-Northrop Grumman team looked at numerous different power systems for large- and medium-sized drones before settling on a nuclear solution. Northrop Grumman is known to have patented a drone equipped with a helium-cooled nuclear reactor as long ago as 1986, and has previously worked on nuclear projects with the US air force research laboratory. Designs for nuclear-powered aircraft are known to go back as far as the 1950s.

The research team found that the nuclear drones were able to provide far more surveillance time and intelligence information per mission compared to other technologies, and also to reduce the considerable costs of support systems – eliminating the need, for example, for forward bases and fuel supplies in remote and possibly hostile areas.

Read Full Article Here

U.S. Joins Effort to Equip and Pay Rebels in Syria

By STEVEN LEE MYERS

ISTANBUL — The United States and dozens of other countries moved closer on Sunday to direct intervention in the fighting in Syria, with Arab nations pledging $100 million to pay opposition fighters and the Obama administration agreeing to send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s military, according to participants gathered here.

The moves reflected a growing consensus, at least among the officials who met here this weekend under the rubric “Friends of Syria,” that mediation efforts by the United Nations peace envoy, Kofi Annan, were failing to halt the violence that is heading into its second year in Syria and that more forceful action was needed.

With Russia and China blocking United Nations measures that could open the way for military action, the countries lined up against the government of President Bashar al-Assad sought to bolster Syria’s beleaguered opposition through means that seemed to stretch the definition of humanitarian assistance and blur the line between so-called lethal and nonlethal support.

There remains no agreement on arming the rebels, as countries like Saudi Arabia and some members of Congress have called for, largely because of the uncertainty regarding who exactly would receive the arms.

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

Lawyer for soldier accused of Afghan slaughter: ‘almost complete information blackout’

Madison Ruppert

John Henry Browne, the attorney for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the man accused of single-handedly massacring 17 Afghan villagers, is now accusing the United States government of “an almost complete information blackout” which is blocking him from preparing a proper defense for Bales.

Browne alleges that he and his legal team has been prevented from being able to interview the witnesses to the tragic incident as well as the injured civilians in southern Afghanistan.

“We were expecting a lot more cooperation. The prosecutors in this case promised us a lot of cooperation which we’re just not getting,” Browne said to reporters in Seattle, Washington.

“We are facing an almost complete information blackout from the government, which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client,” he added.

38-year-old Bales allegedly strolled out of his base in Kandahar, a southern Afghan province, without being stopped or questioned, early on March 11, after which he conducted a merciless, calculated assault on two villages killing 17 civilians, including women and children.

However, this case has been rife with inconsistencies and unanswered questions, especially surrounding the possibility of multiple soldiers being involved in the tragic killings.

Indeed, an Afghan parliamentary probe concluded that there were 15-20 U.S. soldiers involved in the murders. This finding was seemingly contradicted by a report from AP which cited alleged statements from two officials who did not participate in the probe and the U.S. government has claimed that only Bales was involved from day one.

Furthermore, child witnesses provided accounts to a journalist for Australia’s SBS Dateline which completely contradict the U.S.’s official account.

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Colombia: 8 Israelis suspected of drug trafficking

Local media reports claim Israeli ‘former military men’ also suspected of money laundering, exploitation of minors. Suspects deny allegations: ‘We’re legit businessmen’

Eight Israelis were arrested in Colombia on suspicion of drug trafficking, money laundering and exploitation of minors, the country’s chief prosecutor told local media outlets on Tuesday.

The suspects, who were described in the reports as “former military men,” reside in the city of Taganga. According to one of the reports, they are suspected of sexually exploiting teenage girls.

As part of a separate investigation, the suspects are also being questioned about their ties to a local drug trafficking ring.

The chief prosecutor noted that the Israeli men were under surveillance during the past year, after arousing the suspicion of local police officers and community leaders.

One of the reports claimed that police obtained tape recordings, some in Hebrew, which might incriminate the suspects.

The suspects denied the allegations, claiming that they were legitimate businessmen.

Read Full Article Here

Who is Kofi Annan? The United Nations “Peacekeeper” Handpicked by the CIA

by Thierry Meyssan

Although Kofi Annan’s track record at the UN is an indisputable success in terms of management and efficiency, he has been sharply criticized for his political shortcomings. As Secretary General, he aspired to bring the Organization into line with the unipolar world and the globalization of U.S. hegemony. He called into question the ideological foundations of the UN and undermined its ability to prevent conflicts. Notwithstanding, he is today in charge of resolving the Syrian crisis.

Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize, Kofi Annan, has been designated by Ban Ki-moon and Nabil El Arabi as joint special envoy to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis. With Annan’s extraordinary experience and shiny brand image, his appointment was welcomed by all.

What does this top international official really represent? Who propelled him to the highest-ranking positions? What were his political choices, and what are his current commitments? These questions are met with a discreet silence, as if his previous functions were in themselves a guarantee of neutrality.
Handpicked and trained by the Ford Foundation and the CIA

His former colleagues praise him for his thoughtfulness, his intelligence and subtlety. A very charismatic personality, Kofi Annan left a strong imprint behind him because he did not behave simply as the “secretary” of the UN, but more like its “general,” by taking initiatives that revivified an organization that was mired in bureaucracy. All that is known and has been repeated ad nauseam. His exceptional professional qualities earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, although this honor in theory should have been bestowed for personal political commitment, not a management career.

Kofi and his twin sister Efua Atta were born on 8 April 1938, into an aristocratic family of the British colony of the Gold Coast. His father was the tribal chief of the Fante people and the elected governor of Asante province. Although he opposed British rule, he was a faithful servant of the Crown. With other notables, he took part in the first decolonization movement, but looked upon the revolutionary fervor of Kwame Nkrumah with suspicion and anxiety.

In any event, Nkrumah’s efforts led to the independence of the country in 1957 under the name of Ghana. Kofi was then 19 years old. Though not involved in the revolution, he became vice-president of the new National Student Association. It was then that he was spotted by a headhunter from the Ford Foundation who incorporated him into a program for “young leaders.” From there, he was invited to follow a summer course at Harvard University. Having noticed his enthusiasm for the United States, the Ford Foundation offered to sponsor his complete studies, first in economics at Macalester College in Minnesota, followed by international relations at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

After the Second World War, the Ford Foundation, created by famous industrialist Henry Ford, became an unofficial instrument of U.S. foreign policy, providing a respectable facade for the activities of the CIA [1].

Kofi Annan’s overseas study period (1959-1961) coincided with the most difficult years of the African-American civil rights movement (the start of Martin Luther King’s Birmingham campaign). He saw it as an extension of the decolonization he had witnessed in Ghana, but once again did not get involved.

Impressed with Annan’s academic achievements and political discretion, his U.S. mentors opened for him the doors of the World Health Organization, where he landed his first job. After three years at WHO headquarters in Geneva, he was appointed to the Economic Commission for Africa based in Addis Ababa. However, not sufficiently qualified to pursue a career at the UN, he returned to the United States to take up management studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1971-1972). He then attempted a comeback in his home country as director of tourism development, but found himself perpetually at odds with the military government of General Acheampong; he gave up and returned to the United Nations in 1976.

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James Murdoch quits BSkyB to save hacking scandal damage

Published on Apr 3, 2012 by Euronews

http://www.euronews.com/ James Murdoch has quit as chairman of British pay-TV group BSkyB.

Rupert Murdoch’s son has been under fire for his handling of the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World newspaper that has convulsed the Murdoch’s media empire.

James Murdoch is stepping down just weeks before a government report is published into reporting practices at the News of the World.

In a statement he said his resignation was to help distance BSkyB from the scandal: “I am aware that my role as Chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation.”

Murdoch added he was “determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company.”

The 39-year-old is a previous chairman of News International, News Corp’s British newspaper arm that was the publisher of the News of the World tabloid at the heart of the scandal before it was shut down last year.

The British TV regulator is investigating whether BSkyB is a “fit and proper” owner of a broadcast licence given its close relationship with Murdoch and the wider problems at Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns 39-percent of the TV company.

Murdoch, who was previously chief executive of BSkyB, was dealt a heavy blow last November when more than 40 percent of the company’s independent shareholders failed to back his re-election as chairman.

Food Safety

Proposed Poultry Inspection Rule Could Privatize Food Safety, Lead To Higher Rates Of Contamination

Food safety advocacy groups are fighting a proposed rule that would allow private companies to assume some of the food inspection duties currently handled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service currently oversees all poultry for blemishes and defects before the carcasses are fully processed, but under the new rule, poultry plants would assume those responsibilities.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/16/445889/privatized-poultry-inspection-usda/?mobile=nc

Could high-power ultrasound protect produce from pathogens?

A litany of food scares–and rules for organic produce–have pushed the industry to seek new solutions for food safety. Perfectly sanitized dimpled spinach leaves or tender greens like baby lettuce has been high on the wish

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57399739-76/could-high-power-ultrasound-protect-produce-from-pathogens/

Health

The Real Cause of the Global Obesity Epidemic

CONTRIBUTOR: Washington’s Blog.

World Wide Obesity Epidemic Some 68% of all Americans are overweight, and obesity has almost doubled in the last couple of decades worldwide. As International Business Tribune reports: Studies conducted jointly by researchers at Imperial College London and Harvard University, published in the medical journal The Lancet, show that obesity worldwide almost…

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1906/575/The_Real_Cause_of_the_Global_Obesity_Epidemic.html

Pfizer ends Celebrex post-approval safety study

It was originally approved in 1998, and Pfizer was required to do the safety study in 2006 after Celebrex was approved as a treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The company said the Food and Drug Administration released it from its requirement.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pfizer-ends-celebrex-post-approval-215530986.html

How health care law affects lives of 7 Americans

(AP) CHICAGO – A father lost his job at a medical device company that is facing a new tax. A young woman got back on her parents’ insurance and was able to get surgery for an injury that could have hobbled her. A part-time sales woman stopped …

http://wnyt.com/article/stories/s2544236.shtml?cat=300

 

Resistance to antibiotics could bring “the END OF MODERN MEDICINE AS WE KNOW IT”


The world is entering an antibiotic crisis which could make routine operations impossible and a scratched knee potentially fatal, the head of the World Health Organisation has claimed.
Bacteria are starting to become so resistant to common antibiotics that every antibiotic ever developed is at risk of becoming useless, making once-routine operations impossible. This would include many of the breakthrough drugs developed to treat tuberculosis, malaria, bacterial infections and HIV/AIDS, as well as simple treatments for cuts. We could be entering into a “post-antibiotic era”.
Replacement medicines could become more expensive, with longer periods of treatment required to bring about the same effect. “Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.
Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise in Europe and elsewhere in the world. We are losing our first-line antimicrobials. Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units. For patients infected with some drug-resistant pathogens, mortality has been shown to increase by around 50 per cent.”
The stark warning comes shortly after the World Health Organisation published a new book warning of the “global crisis”, entitled “The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance. The current situation was blamed largely on the misuse of antibiotics, which are not prescribed properly and used too frequently and for too long. The WHO has now appealed to governments across the world to support research into the antimicrobial resistance.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9147414/Resistance-to-antibiotics-could-bring-the-end-of-modern-medicine-as-we-know-it-WHO-claim.html

 

Holistic Health

 

Denying chemtrails is dangerous for your health

By Paul Fassa,

(NaturalNews) Statistical evidence shows that lung issues such as asthma and COPD have risen considerably over the past two decades. While there may be a few factors behind this, hardly anyone includes chemtrails as one of them. Scientists and governments have allowed some “limited hangouts” (partial disclosures) on chemtrails or stratospheric geo-engineering, framing it as “experimental.” They openly discuss geo-engineering as “potential” solutions for weather control and protection against global…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035269_chemtrails_asthma_health_effects.html

Improve your sleep quality by waking up naturally

By Sherry L. Ackerman, Ph.D.,

(NaturalNews) Man, it seems, was never meant to be woken abruptly, in darkness, by loud, sudden buzzing, beeping and/or siren-type noises. Rather, our ancestors woke naturally, and gently, each day with the rising of the sun. There are different levels of sleep, with the deeper levels (Deep Sleep and REM sleep) being utilized for repairing and rejuvenating your body. The human body is designed to wake up during light sleep, either before entering this repair stage such as during a quick nap, or…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035271_sleep_quality_waking_up_ambient_light.html

Recover from ADD, ADHD, and depression without drugs

By Allison Biggar,

(NaturalNews) Chances are you’ve been prescribed antidepressants or know someone who has. According to the Centers for Disease Control, eleven percent of Americans over the age of 12 take antidepressants. Between 1996 and 2005 alone, the number of people taking antidepressants doubled to 27 million. Concurrent with this pharmaceutical boom, we have also seen the rise of the ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) diagnosis. According to the National Institute of Mental health, 3 to…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035272_ADHD_depression_natural_remedies.html

Pet Health

9 Dental Issues You Share With Your Cats and Dogs

Dental “treats” and specially-formulated diets are available to improve cat and dog dental health. Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance, which endorses such products. Keep both your relationship and your pets’ breath …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-d-shojai-cabc/pet-dental-health_b_1303061.html

Pet owners flock to get shots

As animal health professionals are seeing an increase in distemper this year, some pet owners are taking extra precautions. “I like to see the animals vaccinated and well taken care of,” said Dr. Annette Jensen, who administered shots at the …

http://www.mywesttexas.com/top_stories/article_d850af5e-2627-527c-9182-ea01861363f8.html?photo=1

Recalls

Troyer Cheese, Inc. Recalls Backroad Country Caramel Puffcorn Sold in 8oz and 16oz Plastic Bags Because of Undeclared Milk

Troyer Cheese, Inc. is recalling specific expiration dates of their Backroad Country Caramel Puffcorn sold in 8 and 16 ounce plastic bags because they may contain undeclared milk. People who have allergies to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm296392.htm

California Firm Recalls Chicken Caesar Wraps Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens

LSG Sky Chefs, a San Jose, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,784 pounds of grilled chicken Caesar wraps because the Caesar dressing used in the wrap products contains egg, a known allergen not declared on the wrap product label.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_014_2012_Release/index.asp

Misc

Capitol Briefing: Removal of food sales tax debated

Bill Graves, a Republican who signed into law several tax cuts in the 1990s, Graves told him that if he could do it over again, he would have pushed for removing the sales tax on food. Quote of the week “I think it’s safe to say that other …

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/mar/19/capitol-briefing-removal-food-sales-tax-debated/

No Kugel for you!
Mike’s homeless-gift ban

So much for serving the homeless.

The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term “food police” to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.

In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/no_kugel_for_you_N4VuTrqavfOiApSHngxuMJ