News briefs:June 22, 2007


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California meat packing firm recalls 143M pounds of beef


Sunday, February 17, 2008

I am dismayed at the in-humane handling of cattle that has resulted in the violation of food safety regulations at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company.

In a press release today, California-based Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. indicated that it has voluntarily recalled just over 143 million pounds (65 million kilograms) of raw and frozen beef products, which is considered to be the largest single recall of beef products in U.S. history. The move follows an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) into allegations of animal cruelty and mishandling of cattle destined for the human food chain.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) had determined that beef products produced by the Chino, California company were unfit for human consumption as the cattle had not received “complete and proper inspection.”

The recall has been designated as Class II, which the USDA describes as “a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.”

On Friday, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer indicated that charges had been laid against employees of the plant alleged to have taken part in the mistreatment of cattle. “Today [Friday], the San Bernardino District Attorney filed felony animal cruelty charges against two employees who were terminated by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company,” said Schafer. “It is regrettable that these animals were mistreated and I am encouraged and supportive of these actions by the San Bernardino District Attorney in response to this mistreatment.”

The USDA learned of the possible inhumane handling of non-ambulatory (disabled) cattle at the packing plant on January 30 and has since suspended activities at the plant. “We continue to conduct a thorough investigation into whether any violations of food safety or additional humane handling regulations have occurred,” said Secretary Schafer in a press release. “On February 8, our Office of the Inspector General took the lead on the investigation. At that time, USDA extended the administrative hold on Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company products for the National School Lunch Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations while the investigation continues,” said Schafer.

The FSIS reported that Hallmark/Westland had not contacted the FSIS public health veterinarian, as required, when cattle became ill or disabled after undergoing ante-mortem (slaughter) inspection, putting the company out of compliance with FSIS regulations. “Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection FSIS has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall,” explained Secretary Schafer.

The cruelty charges stem from an undercover video that reportedly showed sick cattle being moved by crews using forklifts.

“Words cannot accurately express how shocked and horrified I was at the depictions contained on the video that was taken by an individual who worked at our facility from October 3 thru November 14, 2007,” said Steve Mendell, President, Westland Meat Co. and Hallmark Meat Packing. “We have taken swift action regarding the two employees identified on the video and have already implemented aggressive measures to ensure all employees follow our humane handling policies and procedures. We are also cooperating with the USDA investigators on the allegations of inhumane handling treatment which is a serious breech of our company’s policies and training.”

The USDA stressed that it is “extremely unlikely” that the cattle involved were at risk for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad-cow disease due to the employment of multiple safeguards. The USDA felt the recall was required, however, as the plant had allegedly violated USDA regulations.

The recall involves raw and frozen beef products produced on various dates from February 1, 2006 to February 2, 2008. For further information about the recall, consumers, media, and distributors are encouraged to contact Hallmark/Westland’s Plant Manager Stan Mendell or Food Safety Consultant Steve Sayer at (909) 590-3340 or the FSIS website, www.fsis.usda.gov.

Android App Builder A Job Of A Professional


Android App Builder – A job of a professional

by

Eddy Batom

A lot of analysts have been looking at appsbar, the free online app creator and trying to ascertain the value of this growing company in the competitive android app builder world. The company launched its android app builder in 2011, well ahead of the current glut of copycat formats that are attempting to gain a foothold as an app creator website.

Appsbar has recently scored a huge victory with its own app creator in this particular battle as no less an authority than the U.S. government has awarded a patent to the company for its android app builder as a unique and proprietary platform that cannot be infringed upon without penalty.

For its part, the company has promised to vigorously pursue other entities against those infringements after establishing itself as the premiere app creator in the field with its stylish and easy-to-navigate android app builder.

YouTube Preview Image

With its launch just under two years ago, the company became the first free app creator that allowed anyone regardless of their technical ability or resources to build fully functional, custom mobile apps for their smartphones. This dynamic android app builder was an instant success as the company hit over 100,000 users in its first year.

Being featured in such prominent publications as Time and PC Magazine certainly helped its cause as more and more novice app creator fans signed on and developed apps with the template-drive android app builder. Certainly the huge gains that Android devices were making in the marketplace, eventually surpassing iPhones in market share, had a major impact on the use of android apps and signaled the need for a viable android app builder.

This particular android app builder won over its audience thanks to the simple point and click nature of the platform and for appsbar s commitment to keeping the service absolutely free. For an avid app creator there are no charges for services, no subscription fees, and no hidden costs for upgrades or special features.

The company was again heralded in 2012 when its app creator was feted with a coveted Stevie Award at the prestigious American Business Awards. The company and its android app builder were recognized as the Best New Tech Company and were also give a People s Choice Award.

Appsbar didn t stop with its android app builder, moving quickly into the app marketplace realm with the development of appcatch, an app distribution model that allows an app creator to instantly publish and share its apps with clients, customers, family, and friends. The android app builder marketplace is also free for publishing and for downloads.

With all the hype surrounding this app creator platform, analysts are looking closely at the social aspects of the site. A community of novice app builders has grown up around the service and approaching a quarter of a million users, no small number in the web 2.0 world. Analysts will continue to monitor the progress of appsbar and present valuations at some point, most likely when appsbar develops methods to monetize its recent successes.

For more information on

App Creator

and

Android App Builder

. Visit Today – www.appsbar.com

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

Times Square bomb suspects arrested in Pakistan


Saturday, May 22, 2010

At least six suspects, wanted in connection with a failed car bomb attempt in Times Square, New York City on May 1, have been arrested by authorities in Pakistan. The arrests follow a visit to Pakistan by two high-ranking American security officials—US National Security Adviser Gen James Jones and Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, both of whom praised Pakistan for its efforts in tracking down suspects in the bomb attack.

Amongst those arrested are the co-owner of a large company which provides catering to several embassies in Pakistan and a major in the Pakistani Army, though the Army released a statement denying any involvment. Some are believed to have been educated in the United States. A notice on the website of the US embassy in Islamabad reported that the catering company co-owned by one of the suspects had links to terrorism and has since advised US citizens against using the firm.

Those arrested are believed to have had links with Faisal Shahzad, the primary suspect in the bombing, who was arrested on May 3 on board an aircraft at New York’s JFK Airport.

One source told Reuters: “We are investigating whether Ashraf has provided any financial support to Faisal because Ashraf and his father are rich people and they run a very big catering business” though another stated that “[t]hey may be innocent because being friends does not mean you are involved in the activities of your friends”.

The suspects are currently being detained by the Pakistani security services, who are known to have close links with the CIA, to the extent of allowing CIA officials access to prisoners.

Wikinews interviews Rocky De La Fuente, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Businessman Rocky De La Fuente took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old De La Fuente resides in San Diego, California, grew up in Tijuana, and owns multiple businesses and properties throughout the world. Since getting his start in the automobile industry, De La Fuente has branched out into the banking and real estate markets. Despite not having held or sought political office previously, he has been involved in politics, serving as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

De La Fuente entered the 2016 presidential race last October largely due to his dissatisfaction with Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He argues he is a more accomplished businessman than Trump, and attacks Trump as “a clown,” “a joke,” “dangerous,” and “in the same category as Hitler.” Nevertheless, De La Fuente’s business background begets comparisons with Trump. The Alaskan Midnight Sun blog described him as the Democrats’ “own Donald Trump.”

While receiving only minimal media coverage, he has campaigned actively, and according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing, loaned almost US$ 4 million of his own money to the campaign. He has qualified for 48 primary and caucus ballots, but has not yet obtained any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Thus far, according to the count at The Green Papers, De La Fuente has received 35,406 votes, or 0.23% of the total votes cast. He leads among the many lesser-known candidates but trails both Senator Bernie Sanders who has received nearly 6.5 million votes and front-runner Hillary Clinton who has just shy of 9 million votes.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, De La Fuente discusses his personal background, his positions on political issues, his current campaign for president, and his political future.

Contents

  • 1 Interview
    • 1.1 Background
    • 1.2 Campaign
    • 1.3 Issues
    • 1.4 Future
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External link

US Congress drafting bill that may affect Internet freedoms


Sunday, April 23, 2006

The United States Congress is currently drafting a bill known as the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Efficiency Act of 2006 that would revise and update the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Currently phone and cable lobbyists who own the broadband networks, such as those from AT&T and BellSouth, are calling on the federal government to permit them to operate Internet and other digital communications services as private networks. The bill as it now stands states that certain classes of Internet providers “may not unreasonably” impair, interfere, restrict or limit applications or services, such as Web sites or voice-over-IP phone connections.

Consumer advocates such as Common Cause and some large Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo are concerned that this change will result in a loss of what is being called network neutrality, and are demanding specific language in the bill to address it. Three weeks ago, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications rejected an amendment to the bill that would have strengthened provisions for network neutrality. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 28 to 8.

Network neutrality is a principle of computer networking that describes networks designed so that no communication, application, or service is either given preferential treatment or restricted.

Advocates of network neutrality fear that allowing broadband networks to operate unregulated could lead to preferential treatment toward certain companies at the expense of others. Phone companies who oppose network neutrality legislation contend that some mechanism needs to be in place in order to pay for expansion of the public Internet.

Edward Whitacre, AT&T’s chief executive officer, had made remarks on the issue that consumer groups found inflammatory. In remarks made on November 7, 2005, presumably referring to Internet sites using their network connections, he called for “some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they’re using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?”

Whitacre has since reversed his public statements, saying on March 21, 2006, “Any provider that blocks access to content is inviting customers to find another provider. And that’s just bad business.”

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin believes that the FCC already has the authority to enforce network neutrality provisions, citing a North Carolina case in which the FCC acted against Madison River Communications for blocking Vonage VoIP phone service.

Representative Fred Upton from Michigan, chairman of the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, describes the bill as a way to “ignite the marketplace — unleashing great advances in technology and delivering to consumers a variety of new services at a lower cost that were once never even imagined. Every consumer in the nation with a telephone, television and access to the Internet will be better for it — the wave of the future is now.”

Michael Copps, a FCC Commissioner, said recently, “This Internet may not be the one we know in the future there are threats to it out there… Entrenched interests are already jockeying to constrain the openness that has been the Internet’s defining hallmark.”

A recent poll done by The Consumer Federation of America (See source 5) shows that the Internet has taken on an important role in the daily life of Americans. With two-thirds reporting it is important for personal communications and researching products, over half said it is important for getting news and, about 40 percent cited online banking, e-commerce, and retrieving government information as significant ways in which they used the internet. They expressed a great deal of concern about discriminatory practices of communications network operators.

The revision of the 1996 Telecommunications Act was proposed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., in late March and went on to the full committee on April 5.

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi


Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”

Utah legalizes homebrewing


Sunday, March 29, 2009

The United States state of Utah has legalized homebrewing of beer and wine.

H.B. 51, “Exemption for Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing License”, was signed into law by Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. on March 24 after being passed by large majorities in both houses of the State Legislature. The bill was introduced by Salt Lake City representative Christine A. Johnson (D-25th district) and will take effect on May 12.

The act modifies existing Utah law to give an exemption to the state’s requirement of a brewing license for amateur brewers, as long as the beer or wine they produce is not for sale and the amount produced is less than 100 US gallons (379 liters) per year for an individual or 200 US gallons (757 liters) for a couple. The unlicensed distillation of spirits remains illegal in the United States under federal law.

Although prohibition of alcohol in the United States ended in 1933 and the homebrewing of beer has been legal at a federal level since 1978, many US states, counties and cities restrict the production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages more tightly than is done at the federal level. With the passage of Utah’s legislation, four US states still forbid homebrewing: Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The legislation was introduced largely through the work of University of Utah law student Douglas Wawrzynski. AHA director Gary Glass was also closely involved with Rep Johnson in drafting the bill’s language. Wawrzynski told Wikinews about what led him to initiate a campaign to change the law:

I moved to Utah from Connecticut in 2005 and started into the hobby [of homebrewing] shortly thereafter. There are multiple homebrew shops that have been operating legally in Utah for several years, so it wasn’t until after I started law school in the fall of 2007 that someone suggested to me that the hobby might not be legal in Utah. After having done some research and contacting the American Homebrewers Association, I began to understand the current ambiguity of the law and how it could certainly be interpreted to adversely affect homebrewers. In fact in 2005 the city of South Salt Lake had taken steps to affirmatively enact penalties for engaging in homebrewing. While that effort was ultimately abandoned it illustrated just how the current state of the law could have a negative impact on homebrewers.

Home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah

Despite the restrictions, according to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), some seven thousand people in Utah were illegally taking part in the hobby, which has 750,000 adherents nationwide. Rep Johnson said “home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah” and thanked the AHA for “thorough education, great committee testimony and association members who flooded elected officials with emails of support.”

The bill passes on Rep Johnson’s second attempt to introduce it. As H.B. 425, the act was introduced late in the Utah legislature’s 2008 session, where it did not reach a Utah Senate vote. Ms Johnson’s legislative work has primarily concerned equality and human rights in Utah, including a successful attempt to add a voluntary amount to the marriage license fee in order to fund shelters for victims of domestic violence and a failed attempt to introduce language banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity into Utah state law.

I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me

Opposition to the bill, meanwhile, was sporadic and reflected, in Wawrzynski’s view, bad understanding of homebrewing rather than hostility toward the hobby:

In each of the several committee meetings this bill went through, the bill was met with challenging and sometimes bizarre questions regarding its impact and what this would enable people to do. One Senator, Senator Lilenquist [State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-23rd district] even inquired if this bill would make it legal for someone to put beer in a baby bottle and give it to a one year old.

Ronda Rudd Menlove, a Republican representing the 1st district, says her primary concern in voting against the bill was the potential for alcohol to affect children:

When the vote was taken on HB 51, I had a constituent sitting by me, a young high school student. I briefly explained the bill to him during the debate and then asked him how he would vote on the bill and why. This is what he told me. He said that he was concerned that young people would have greater access to alcohol because alcohol would be brewed in homes resulting in great accessibility for youth living in those homes. This concerned him greatly as a member of a local youth city council as well. He is concerned about the amount of under-age drinking in his community and believed that greater access to alcohol could cause an increase in under-age drinking in Utah….

My secondary reason for voting against the bill is that I am adamantly opposed to the excess use and abuse of alcohol. I am opposed to any use of alcohol by pregnant mothers. As a secondary level teacher and high school administrator, I worked with troubled youth and special education populations. I have struggled with young people who live with the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If you want to be very depressed, read about the lifelong effects of FAS. This syndrome affects learning and behavior that is often erratic and unpredictable. Most of the students with FAS fail miserably in school and find little success in school, jobs, or life. This is a very serious problem related to alcohol use and one that affects the innocent fetus and not the perpetrator of this action.

Utah has quirky alcohol laws. The overarching goal of preventing under-age drinking and the abuse of alcohol has created these laws. The intention is admirable and one that I support. How to achieve these goals is challenging and has resulted in laws that may seem strange to others living outside of Utah. Utah’s Governor and Legislature has struggled with this and recently passed legislation revamping these laws. I voted against those changes due to the fact that little information was provided about the impact of the changes.

Kraig Powell (54th district), a Duchesne County Republican, the other representative to vote against the bill in its final form, said he did so because a constituent was “concerned about increased access to alcohol and drunk driving dangers”. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Assistant Whip Gregory Bell (R-22nd district), said to the Deseret News: “I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me.”

Relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew

Wawrzynski believes that education and understanding from the community were critical in the passage of the bill.

[T]hrough the efforts, emails and testimony of people like Representative Johnson and Gary Glass, and most importantly, from Utah homebrewers themselves, we changed minds through education. In fact, the Chairman of the Senate Business and Labor Committee, Senator Valentine (R-14th district) openly admitted on the record that he had been compelled to change his vote to a favorable one after hearing compelling testimony from member of the Utah community.

I think that as the state of Utah continues to grow in diversity, the community will become enriched with a wide array of backgrounds and opinions. As this happens we will have an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of our own neighbors and how differences in lifestyle can ultimately be respected and embraced.

Paralleling a common motto of the homebrewing community, Wawrzynski proclaimed on passage of the bill: “Utah homebrewers are finally free to relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew”.

Cambridge Planning Board approves new science building at Harvard


Monday, February 28, 2005

Cambridge, Massachusetts —The planning board of Cambridge, Massachusetts voted in unanimous approval of Harvard University‘s plan to build a 410,000 ft² (38 090 m²) science center at 24 Oxford Street, according to the local newspapers, the Harvard Crimson and the Cambridge Chronicle. More than half of the space in the building will be constructed underground.

The Northwest Science Building, as it will be called, will house the laboratories of roughly 30 Harvard science faculty members, as well as a chilled water plant and an electrical substation. The building was designed by Craig Hartman, an architect in the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who also completed Harvard University Master Plan in 2002, according to the firm’s website. Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill also designed such notable buildings as Chicago‘s Sears Tower and the recently completed international terminal at the San Francisco airport.

The vote to approve the plan occurred at the February 15, 2005, meeting of the Cambridge Planning Board at the City Hall Annex, 344 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. In what the Harvard Crimson called a “departure from the norm,” there were no comments from residents at the hearing. The Crimson reported that the Harvard officials at the meeting took this as “a signal that the community was well-informed about the project prior to the presentation.” The sign advertising the hearing can be seen at right.

In related news, the Director of Urban Design for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill’s New York office, Vishaan Chakrabarti, will be speaking at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on March 1, 2005.

Interview: Drupal founder Dries Buytaert balances community and company interests


Sunday, February 24, 2008

In the year 2000, Dries Buytaert created Drupal, a freely licensed and open source tool to manage websites, as a bulletin board for his college dorm. Since Dries released the software and a community of thousands of volunteer developers have added and improved modules, Drupal has grown immensely popular. Drupal won the overall Open CMS Award in 2007, and some speakers in Drupal’s spacious developer’s room at FOSDEM 2008 were dreaming aloud of its world domination.

Buytaert (now 29) just finished his doctoral thesis and has founded the start-up Acquia. The new company wants to become Drupal’s best friend, with the help of an all-star team and US$7 million collected from venture capitalists. Wikinews reporter Michaël Laurent sat down with Dries in Brussels to discuss these recent exciting developments.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 On FOSDEM
    • 1.2 On Drupal
    • 1.3 Acquia: company-community interaction
    • 1.4 The future, near and far
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links