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2017 Nov. 21 inthesetimes.com Wendy's last large restaurant chain to refuse to sign Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Fair Food Plan
The CIW is an organization of Florida tomato pickers that formed in the 1990s in the face of barriers to unionization. It prevents farms that participate in its Fair Food Plan from abusing farmworkers rights. The Plan has been remarkably effective in improving the wages and working conditions of 35,000 workers.
Wendy's refuses to pay dues to the CIW and claims "its own corporate code of conduct" makes the Fair Food Plan unnecessary.
2017 Nov. 21 bloomberg.com Bloomberg reports massive data breach from Uber
"Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies Inc., a massive breach that the company concealed for more than a year. This week, the ride-hailing firm ousted its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their roles in keeping the hack under wraps, which included a $100,000 payment to the attackers."
"Reporting from COP23 in Bonn, Germany, Democracy Now! travels to the nearby blockade of the Hambach coal mine, the largest open-pit coal mine in Europe. Activists say the mine extracts an extremely dirty form of coal called lignite, also known as brown coal, which causes the highest CO2 emissions of any type of coal when burned. For more than five years, they have been fighting to shut down the mine and to save the remaining forest from being cut down to make way for the expanding project. Only 10 percent of the ancient forest remains."
2017 Nov. 17 socialistworker.org Corporations profit while most of Puerto Rico still without electricity
"In the weeks following the hurricane, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) signed two highly dubious contracts with private U.S. firms to help with the rebuilding of the island's utilities infrastructure."
"The more notorious of the two deals was a $300 million contract with a little-known Montana company called Whitefish Energy...."
2017 Nov.16 commondreams.org Big Keystone Oil pipeline spill in South Dakota
Four and a half hours after the problem was discovered, "TransCanada announced that more than 200,000 gallons of oil had spilled from the existing portion of the Keystone system in Marshall County, South Dakota."
Environmentalists argue that all pipelines leak at some point, that they threaten clean water and soil, and that the only safe way to deal with fossil fuels is to keep them in the ground.
"ETP, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, intends to build a 162-mile pipeline across southern Louisiana. If built, the Bayou Bridge will be the last leg, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana."
2017 Nov. 13 goodelectronics.org "Greenpeace ranks 17 leading consumer electronics companies based on sustainability"
"The guide scores 17 of the world's leading electronics companies based on their sustainability in 3 critical areas; reduction of emissions through renewable energy, use of recycled materials, and elimination of hazardous chemicals. Within each impact area, companies are graded on transparency, commitment, performance and advocacy efforts."
2017 Nov. 12 theguardian.com "American Apparel" brand bought by problematic Gildan Activewear.
"American Apparel" is now mostly made in Honduras, and the "ethical jobs" the American Apparel website touts do not seem ethical to the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) in Washington, DC. Employees complain about firings due to job-related health problems and "mandatory work shifts longer than the legal maximum limit, illegal dismissals of employees involved in unions - including the dismissal of a pregnant woman, as well as consistent harassment and verbal abuse targeted at employees."
2017 Nov. 2 capecodtoday.com 40 million Kidde fire extinguisheers recalled
These are "plastic-handled and push button fire extinguishers".
"The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says the units can become clogged and fail to spray. The nozzle may also fall off."
2017 Oct. 24 naacp.org NAACP says black travelers could be at risk from American Airlines discriminatory actions
"The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines. In light of these confrontations, we have today taken the action of issuing national advisory alerting travelers--especially African Americans--to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions. This travel advisory is in effect beginning today, October 24, 2017, until further notice."
2017 October 23 npr.org "China Shuts Down Tens Of Thousands Of Factories In Unprecedented Pollution Crackdown"
"In the past year, China's Ministry of Environment has sent inspectors to 30 provinces, where they've reprimanded, fined, or charged officials in more than 80,000 factories with criminal offenses. Entire swaths of Eastern China have halted production, prompting some companies to move entire supply chains to countries like India and Bangladesh to meet their orders."
2017 Oct. 21 yesmagazine.org Native American women and European banks' divestment from big oilNative American woman activist: "I think that Europe is ready--because at this point the United States is not going to do this with the current administration. Europe is ready to lead the world, if they want to, in a green path and one that upholds Indigenous peoples' rights and human rights."
"Divestment is a way to obtain accountability and do it in a way that also invests in our future. When we take our money out of Wall Street, we put it into community banks, into green banks, into credit unions that fund growth in the community."
2017 Oct. 14 motherjones.com San Francisco sues big oil companies
"On September 19, San Francisco filed suit against five of the nation's largest oil companies demanding they pay for the updates the city needs to protect its residents against climate change. The suit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, argues that the corporations--Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP--promoted fossil fuels as 'environmentally responsible and essential to human well-being' amid multiple warnings that the planet was in danger."
2017 October 4 truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary Food choices vs. income
Commenter compares supermarket offerings in a New York City neighborhood with $26,410 medium income and 2.4% white population with offerings in a supermarket of the same chain in a New York City neighborhood with $46,210 medium income and 21.6% white population. Choices in the latter were much more abundant and healthy. Choices in the former "institutionalized a general narrative about the inferiority of certain members of our population that persists in our society."
2017 Oct. 3 truth-out.org U.S. decision not to remove weapons containing toxic chemicals from ocean dump sites
Experts differ on whether it is better to leave the weapons in place or remove them. Information from a greater variety of sites is needed.
"...Harry Craig, a senior remedial project manager for the US Environmental Protection Agency, with 15 years expertise in underwater munitions under his belt,... explains that chemicals break down and react differently in different environments. Plus, steel corrodes at different rates depending on water depth, salinity and temperature, as well as shell thickness. Some sea-dumped munitions could continue leaking potentially deadly chemicals into the environment for over 100 years, according to some estimates."
"Beyond ocean dumping, experts point to a lack of action concerning munitions dumped in bodies of water -- ponds, lakes, rivers and estuaries -- within the continental US, from activities like shore-based gunnery practice, research activities and ship and aerial bombardment. A combination of high cleanup costs and lack of adequate oversight explain why the DoD has failed to remediate these sites, said Steve Pollack, an Illinois licensed attorney who co-authored the CDC report published earlier this year." TheGreat Lakes are one large example.
Leaking munitions have been known to harm fishermen and have the potential to harm surrounding environments. Some have been found in seafood. Mustard gas "remains in the deep-marine environment for decades after munitions disposal."
2017 Sept. 27 truth-out.org U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) vs. flame retardants
The CPSC responded to "a petition filed by two public interest groups, Earthjustice and the Consumer Federation of America," regarding the organohalogen class of flame retardants. Organophalogens are "found in the bodies of 97% of Americans says the Center for Disease Control."
"The CPSC directed the commission's staff to begin the rulemaking process to prohibit the sale of four categories of consumer products if they contain any organohalogen flame retardant."
"One of the [many] groups petitioning for the ban was the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). Firefighter organizations argue that not only do organohalogen flame retardants not provide a fire safety benefit in products doused in them, but, in fact, such products emit more toxic gases when they do burn, threatening the health and safety of fire fighters and other first responders."
Dr. Arlene Blum of the Green Science Policy Institute said, "This historic ruling can prevent the common practice of banning a harmful chemical only to replace it with a similar chemical that causes similar health problems. It will set a precedent of regulating chemicals by class and can prevent harm from exposure to the entire chemical class."
2017 Sept. 15 rewire.news Housing Authority of Anderson, Indiana ordered to pay $70k to 7 residents
"The seven-page suit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice claimed that the housing authority did not make accommodations for disabled tenants, and that employees made unwelcome comments about female tenants' bodies and appearance."
2015 Sept. 15 truth-out.org Weak regulations of Florida nursing homes lead to patient deaths
Eight residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died after an electrical failure following Hurricane Irma. A criminal investigation is ongoing. The nursing home says it contacted Florida Power and Light, which "refused to speed up its response to senior living facilities". Florida Power and Light says "the county never listed nursing homes as critical facilities in power outages." The county "said that they did that because Florida Power & Light guidelines don't have nursing homes as critical infrastructure facilities." Hmmm....
Stephen Hobbs, Sun Sentinel reporter, says "nursing homes aren't required to have a backup generator...."
Dale Ewart, vice president of a Service International union, suggests caregivers check Medicare.gov website Nursing Home Compare when trying to decide where to place loved ones.
For-profit nursing homes may be more interested in their bottom lines than the welfare of their patients.
2017 Sept. 15 districtsentinel.com Investigations of Equifax executive stock sales
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are looking into possible violations of insider trading laws after exposure of Equifax's credit information on millions of consumers.
Equifax has blamed the exposure on a website problem, but others blame it on Equifax's failure to install security updates on time. Whatever the reason, "Equifax's Chief Financial Officer and two other top executives dumped $1.8 million in company stock shortly before the company claims it discovered the breach. The public wasn't notified until six weeks later."
Also under investigation is Equifax's requirement after the breach was made public that customers "agree to a forced-arbitration clause, preventing them from joining a class action suit against the company." After intense criticism, Equifax said the requirement did "not apply to 'the cyber security incident'".
2017 September 14 reuters.com Massive Equifax data breach
Equifax, one of the largest U.S. credit reporting bureaus, has said "that thieves may have stolen the personal information of 143 million Americans in one of the largest hacks ever."
The Consumer section of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website says "Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people's names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too."
The FTC site tells you how to find out whether your information was exposed and if so what to do about it. However, a reading of the comments from consumers suggests the process may be confusing, broken or flawed.
A lot of consumers were confused by a fake phishing site (since taken down), described by npr.org. The site "was set up by software engineer Nick Sweeting to educate people rather than steal their information" by showing how easy it was to impersonate the real site. People were even sent to the fake site by tweets on Equifax's own Twitter account. Sweeting said Equifax should have prevented this by being consistent about using their original domain name (equifax.com) instead of setting up a separate domain for people to check whether they had been hacked. The legitimate site is equifaxsecurity2017.com; the fake site was securityequifax2017.com.
2017 September 13 truth-out.org/opinion Former Exxon researcher Katherine Hayhoe says Exxon's own scientists found solid evidence for human-caused climate change at same time Exxon sowed doubt about it
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) website says "ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science." Hayhoe says Exxon is not by any means alone in this practice. She raises the question for scientists: "Which is most important -- the benefit of the research and education, or the rejection of tainted funds?"
2017 September 8 CNBC "Wells Fargo fined $190M to settle fraud case
"Wells Fargo will pay $185 million in penalties and $5 million to customers that regulators say were pushed into fee-generating accounts that they never requested, officials said on Thursday."
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will receive $100 million of the total penalties â€” the largest fine ever levied by the agency...."
See Wikipedia for background on Wells Fargo financial practices and their effects on consumers and employees.
In a win for environmentalists, the NEB has added consideration of "the impact of pollution caused by the production and consumption of the oil to be shipped by an operator" to "pollution caused during pipeline construction and operations".
The proposed pipeline would transport tar sands oil. TransCanada is also behind the Keystone XL pipeline.
2017 September 3 environmentalhealthnews.org Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin fights wetlands permit for for gold, zinc and copper mine
The tribe wants federal, rather than weaker state rules to apply to the permitting process.
The location of the proposed mine borders the massive Menominee river system, which forms the border between Wisconsin and Michigan and supports large populations of fish. "Extracting metals from sulfide ores can produce highly toxic sulfuric acid." The acid can then drain into the water.
A wetland permit would still have to be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but the EPA has traditionally rejected tribal concerns in favor of state authority.
2017 September 1 truthout-org Energy Transfer Partners sues Greenpeace and others
The lawsuit alleges eco-terrorism by Greenpeace and other environmental groups protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) (see DAPL background). Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, says the suit is an attempt to stifle free speech for nonviolent protesters.
Tara Hrouska, an Ojibwe who is national campaigns director for Honor the Earth, says the focus on Greenpeace is a way to avoid naming the principal protesters, who are Native American. She says the suit is paternalistic and misleading in that it alleges indigenous protesters are being led by environmentalist organizations which had a relatively minor role in the protests, rather than leading the protests themselves.
2017 August 30, 17 therealnews.com Amazon-Whole Foods merger
Consumers benefit in short term from lower Whole Foods prices, but consumer rights groups worry the move could enable Amazon to gain a monopoly on groceries. By aggressive price cutting Amazon could drive smaller stores that offer fresh and organic foods out of business, allowing it to raise prices in the long term. Amazon also brings a huge boost in advertising to Whole Foods because the owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post.
Rights groups also worry consumers may have fewer choices about where and how their food is produced as Amazon shifts from local organic farmers to big industrial operations. Amazon has "a really opaque supply chain"...."We're concerned that when Amazon buys the reputation of Whole Foods, it will be able to sell what look like organic groceries, but might be counterfeits, basically, on their website, because they'll have the patina of the Whole Foods freshness on the website" says Patrick Woodal, Research Director and Senior Policy Advocate for Food & Water Watch.
A further concern is the rapidity with which the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the merger. Complications of the merger do not appear to have been considered. For example, price cuts with resulting cuts in compensation to small farmers may make it harder for small farmers to sell to Amazon Fresh Delivery.
2017 August 28 therealnews.com Harvard study shows Exxon Mobil has known for decades burning of fossil fuels causes climate change
Co-author of the Harvard study Naomi Oreskes says Exxon Mobil and others worked to sow doubt about climate change and against control of greenhouse gas emissions even while their own scientists were saying there was convincing evidence for human-caused climate change.
2017 August 23 capecodtimes.com Poland Spring sources of water: genuine spring water or fraudulent?
Poland Spring brand bottled water is manufactured in Maine, USA by a subsidiary of Nestle Waters. The source of the water is the subject of a lawsuit that claims "Not one drop of Poland Spring Water emanates from a water source that complies with the Food and Drug Administration definition of spring water...."
"According to the Food and Drug Administration, spring water must come from an underground source and flow naturally to the earth's surface. But spring water doesn't have to be literally collected at the spring - it can also be pumped out from a hole in the ground. A spokeswoman for Nestle Waters North America said its water meets all federal and state guidelines for spring water."
2017 August 22 ecowatch for buzzflash at truth-out.org Energy Transfer Partners 713-mile pipeline Rover Pipeline project
"Energy Transfer Partners' controversial $4.3 billion Rover pipeline has more negative inspection reports than any other major interstate natural gas pipeline built in the last two years, according to a new Bloomberg analysis."
Energy Transfer Partners is also the parent of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline being resisted by the Sioux Native American tribe of North Dakota as potentially interfering with its access to clean water and violating its rights as a sovereign nation.
2017 August 13 theintercept.com Environmental degradation in communities of color and low income
An Exxon Mobil refinery in the mostly African-American Charlton-Pollard section of Beaumont, Texas regularly releases toxic chemicals into the air that smell of rotten eggs and cause headaches and respiratory symptoms. Furthermore, "the refinery emits carcinogens, and several studies have shown an increased incidence of cancer in people living near these facilities." Residents complained to the EPA that because the neighborhood was mostly black, the excessive toxicity constituted a civil rights violation. They received a promise to investigate, but as happened with many other complainants, no investigation took place for years and no effective remedy was put in place.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights reported that the EPA does as little as possible to quiet suers and "never seems to reach any substantive decisions on whether a federal recipient has violated" the Civil Rights Act. Such neglect has persisted under several presidents. President Donald Trump has weakened environmental regulations, making pollution for communities like Charlton-Pollard likely to get even worse. At the same time, "Exxon Mobil is planning to expand its Beaumont operations yet again." Trump even boasts that his policies have enabled the growth of Exxon Mobil, which has gained 122% in earnings since his inauguration. Owners of property close to the Exxon Mobil refinery in Charlton-Pollard, however, have seen the their own property values decline severely due to pollution.
"Both African-Americans and Latinos are more likely than whites to live near the country's 149 refineries. One 2012 study from Yale looked at 14 toxins in air pollution and found that African-Americans had higher exposure levels than whites for 13 of those compounds, while Latinos had the highest levels of pollution overall."
Property owners in areas affected by Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia sue Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in eminent domain case.
"The property owners question how being forced to hand over their property to a private, for-profit company building an oil pipeline benefits the public interest."
They also say "the pipeline doesn't just impact property owners but also those living in affected watersheds and the blast zone of potential explosions." If they are successful, there could be new discussions affecting a broad range of eminent domain cases about what constitutes "public good" as a condition of eminent domain.
2017 July 23 Truthout/News Analysis Misleading blogs on Internet often are concealed advertising rather than reliable information sources
Ads that achieve top places in search engine results can be misleading, as can articles people stumble upon in social media when the article is designed to sell rather than inform. When such an article contains medical advice, it can be very dangerous. "Content marketing -- corporate advertising disguised as articles, videos and information -- is being systematically manufactured on an industrial scale."
Marketing content can be mingled with genuine information, making it hard to tell which is which. "Many freelance journalists, writers and other creatives are also being forced to turn to content writing to supplement their income."
2017 June 27 buzzflash at truth-out.org Coal India, world's largest coal company, closes 37 mines
Solar energy is quickly replacing coal in India as it becomes cheaper than coal.
The listing is the latest legal setback for the seeds and chemicals company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is "probably carcinogenic" in a controversial ruling in 2015.
2017 June 20 environmentalhealthnews.org: Scientists warn on use of antimicrobials triclosan and triclocarban
Animal studies have linked the chemicals to reproductive and development and allergy problems and "there is nascent evidence that the impacts may extend to humans as well". Widespread use in personal care and building products may have led to resistance of bactera to these and other antibiotic chemicals.<
2017 June 16: Dakota Access Pipeline and Standing Rock Sioux
Ecowatch, June 16: Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, has a history of hazardous liquid spills.
apnews.com, 2017 June 15: Federal judge orders Army Corp of Engineers to redo parts of Dakota Access Pipeline study
"U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said in a 91-page decision that the corps failed to take into account how a spill might affect 'fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline's effects are likely to be highly controversial.'"
democracynow.org, 2017 June 16: Standing Rock Sioux Native American Indian tribe receives Henry Wallace Award to invest in wind and solar energy projects
The award brings a million dollars to invest in renewable energy projects
2017 June 15 environmentalhealthnews.org Cleaning compounds and birth defects
Mouse embryos in rooms where certain kinds of disinfectants "called quaternary ammonium compounds, or 'quats'," had been used had 15 times the number of neural tube defects as before the disintectants were used. Neural tube defects are defects of the brain and spinal cord, such as spina bifida and anencephaly (absence of parts of the brain and skull). The effects were observed even when only father mice, not mothers, were exposed, and lasted for months after use of the disinfectants had stopped.
2017 June 2 capecodtoday Starting wage at Hyannis Ma Chick-fil-A now $16 /hour.
Team leaders can earn up to $26/hour. In aaddition, "Chick-fil-A offers leadership training and management advancement opportunities as well as an aggressive scholarship program." Nice for the humans, but what about the chickens? Not so nice.
2017 May 10 truth-out.org/buzzflash U.S. Steel Chemical Spill
584 times the legal limit of hexavalent chromium, "made infamous by the environmental activist and 2000 movie of the same name, "Erin Brockovich", spilled into Burns Waterway and "forced the closure of several Lake Michigan beaches and Indiana American Water's intake in Ogden Dunes".
2017 May 10 democracynow.org headline Energy Transfer Partners fined for 18 oil spills
2017 May 7 truth-out.org Exxon Mobil accused of safety violations
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said this week that a California Exxon refinery explosion in 2015 could have been catastrophic. Chair Vanessa Allen Sutherland recommended steps to prevent a recurrence of the explosion but the CSB has "no authority to compel their adoption". Exxon says it has implemented all but two of the recommendations and has plans in place to address the other two, but the CSB says Exxon has ignored many of their requests for more information.
"Ms Golloher is being represented by the same New York-based lawyer working on behalf of 19 other claimants alleging gender and race discrimination at the right-wing news network over a period stretching back more than eight years."
The Corps of Engineers lawyer Damon Roberts refused a Freedom of Information request because "The referenced document contains information related to sensitive infrastructure that if misused could endanger people's lives and property".
2017 April 25 The Washington Post Report finds many concerns at Chinese factory that makes Ivanka Trump clothes
A report by the Fair Labor Association cited illegally long hours, pay at or below minimum wage, lack of legally mandated insurance coverage, no legally mandated contribution to a housing fund, and safety concerns.
Conditions for workers on Trump's multi-million-dollar fashion line seem out of synch with her upcoming book Women Who Work and endorsement of her father U.S. President Donald Trump's call to buy and hire American.
Other brands made by the contractor, G-III Apparel Group, include Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
Three manufacturers of the group of pesticides, including Dow, wrote to U.S. cabinet heads asking that regulations on use of the chemicals be removed. Studies from the past four years have been "expected to result in new limits on how and where the highly toxic pesticides can be used".
Dow has spent many millions of dollars on enhancing its considerable political power. The new Trump administration head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has shown more willingness than the previous administration to relax regulations. He "announced last month he was reversing an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains."
2017 April 20 nytimes.com Bill O'Reilly of Fox News is gone. Will advertisers who pulled out due to his sex scandal return?
"Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research, said that Fox News probably recognized that a replacement would cost less than Mr. O'Reilly and still retain most viewers."
2017 April 5 Indian Country Today Billions of investment dollars withdrawn from Dakota Access Pipeline project
Cities, corporations, and individuals respond to protests by Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, plus many environmentally and socially conscious supporters.
2017 April 4 capecodtoday.com "FDA: Limited Recall of Hunt's Chili Kits"
The recall by Conagra Brands is voluntary, in response to "a supplier who informed the company of the potential presence of Salmonella in a raw material used in the chili seasoning." No salmonella has actually been found in the product, however.
2017 April 3 EcoWatch "340 Beluga Whales Threatened by Another Pipeline Leak in Alaska's Cook Inlet"
The leak follows on the heels of an oil spill. "Reports this morning confirm that the leak has stopped, but the risk to wildlife is unknown. These platforms were installed in 1966 and aging infrastructure and severe tides in the Cook Inlet make them vulnerable to incidents. The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has also repeatedly cited Hilcorp for violating safety regulations for its oil and gas operations in the state."
2017 March 29 dailykos.com Exxon Mobil to Trump: stick with Paris climate agreement
"In a letter sent to the White House on March 22 – days before President Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back Barack Obama's climate legacy – Exxon told the administration that the Paris agreement is an 'effective framework for addressing the risks of climate change' and that the U.S. is 'well positioned to compete' under the deal, according to CNN Money."
2017 March 24 aljazeera.com: Keystone XL pipeline approved
"Pipeline contractor TransCanada receives presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, state department says."
"White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that President Donald Trump would discuss the pipeline later on Friday morning."
2017 March 21 CapeCodToday: Another pet food recall
EuroCan Manufacturing is voluntarily recalling Lot Number 84 consisting of it's individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags of Barnsdale Farms, HoundsTooth and Mac's Choice Pig Ears because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella."
2017 March 17 Orlando Sentinel: Walt Disney Co. will pay back wages
A U.S. Labor Department investigation found "violations of minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping rules."
2017 March 14 EcoWatch: Sierra Club members and other Environmentalists protest plan for new pipeline in Michigan
"Officials from Enbridge Energy Partners insisted on the structural safety of its 64-year-old pipelines that pass under the Straits of Mackinac even though a company-commissioned study found that the lines' protective coating has deteriorated in some areas."
2017 March 13: EcoWatch California requires cancer warning on Monsanto's Roundup
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reports that a California court ruling wil enable the state to list glyphosate, "the active ingredient in Roundup", as a carcinogen.
Kennedy is representing clients suing Monsanto for non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to Roundup...."
"The tribe has argued in court that the pipeline crosses sacred land, was approved by the government without adequate consultation, and would contaminate its water supply." U.S. Native American tribes are legally sovereign nations. "Last November, the US Army Corps of Engineers halted the construction of the $3.8bn pipeline."But in January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the agency to 'review and approve' the project 'in an expedited manner'. He also cleared the way for the controversial Keystone XL project."
2017 March 9 MarketWatch: Samsung leaders charged with corruption
Samsung's "de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, and four top lieutenants formally denied all charges against them as a South Korean court opened a trial into a corruption scandal that has led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye."
2017 March 4 capecodtoday.com Evanger's dog and cat food recalls expanded
Several products voluntarily recalled due to potential contamination. Click on link above to get details.
2017 Feb. 27 capecodtoday: "FDA: Three types of Trader Joe's brand apple sauce recalled"
"The recall was initiated after the company received customer reports of glass found in some of these products. All products have been removed from store shelves and destroyed." Click on the link above for details.
2017 Feb. 22 bbc.com "Plastic from tyres 'major source' of ocean pollution"
TheInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says "tiny plastic particles washed off products such as synthetic clothes and car tyres could contribute up to 30% of the" plastic pollution in the oceans in the world.
2017 Feb. 17 bbc.com: Talking doll Cayla raises hacking fears
"Researchers say hackers can use an unsecure bluetooth device embedded in the toy to listen and talk to the child playing with it."
2017 Feb.15 bbc.com Bank of England to keep £5 note
"Vegans and some religious groups had voiced concerns, as the note contains a small amount of tallow, which is derived from meat products."
2017 Feb. 15 npr/wbur Potential changes in food labels may help reduce waste
Current "expiration" and "sell by" dates do not always mean food is unsafe after those dates. They are more likely to indicate when the food tastes best.
"Expiration dates on food are not required by any federal law, although some states require such dates on meat or milk. As a food product passes its "expiration" date, it may get stale, and some products, like milk, may go sour. But according to food safety experts, most spoiled foods, though unpalatable, aren't particularly hazardous."
2017 Feb. 14 CapeCodToday: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight dog food recall
See link above for details.
2017 Feb. 13 MarketWatch: Dupont and Chemours fined over Teflon ingredient in drinking water
The ingredient, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or C8, has been linked to several types of cancer (see cancer.org. It may be found in high levels in drinking water from chemical plants. More research is needed to prove cause and effect, but Dupont has been accused of covering up evidence, including its own research.
Nonstick coatings made from Teflon are not considered a significant source of C8.
2017 Feb. 4 capecodtoday,com: "Evanger's Dog and Cat Food Recall"
Voluntary recall instituted "because of a potential contaminant Pentobarbital, which was detected in one lot of Hunk of Beef Au Jus."
"This is the first recall for Evanger's in its 82 years of manufacturing."
2017 Feb. 1 Truthout: Pakistan medical waste threats
International standards for disposing of medical waste are not generally enforced in Pakistan, resulting in exposure of persons and the environment to toxins and disease.
Monsanto "plans to challenge the ruling and insists on the safety of glyphosate, which is the most widely applied agricultural chemical in the world." Environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is advocating for California's position.
2017 Jan. 30 Starbucks response to Trump travel ban
Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 refugees after Trump executive order that "suspends the arrival of all refugees for at least 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days."
2017 Jan. 27 usatoday.com: Don't let robocalls record your voice
People behind the robots can use the recording to sign you up for things you don't want and could be dangerous. A one-word answer to an innocent-sounding question can get you into trouble. The article tells what to do if this happens to you, but to prevent it from happening in the first place, just hang up. Don't say anything.
"The company said that errors both in design and manufacturing affected batteries by two different manufacturers."
"The smartphone giant did not name the battery suppliers during their Monday presentation, though last year had identified them as their affiliate Samsung SDI and Chinese company Amperex Technology".
2017 Jan. 18 bbc news: Mold inside rubber toys
When some rubber toys get water inside, they can grow mold. Water may enter through a small hole that makes the toy squeezable. This is apparently what happened in the case of French company Vuilli's popular Sophie the Giraffe, often used for teething babies. The story went viral and caused a lot of worry for parents, but doctors say exposure to mold is virtually inevitable because it is ubiquitous in the environment. It is not likely to cause harm unless the amount of mold in the environment is excessive or the person is allergic to it.
2017 Jan. 16 npr.org:: Samsung head arrested for bribery and embezzlement
"Investigators say Jay Y. Lee, the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the scion of the one of the largest companies in the world, helped improperly direct company money to the confidant of President Park Geun-hye in order to curry favor with the government.
"That confidant is now at the center of a criminal investigation and ongoing political scandal, and the president is awaiting a trial by a constitutional court on whether a resounding impeachment vote in parliament will result in her official removal."
"Prosecutors allege that Lee directed funds to Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, and in return won support from the administration for a controversial merger between two company affiliates."
2017 Jan. 14 Yahoo!News: Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus to close in May
"Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise."
2017 Jan. 14 CapeCodToday: Oymel pork ribs recalled"...The products were repacked and distributed without the benefit of federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ€™s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today."
2017 Jan. 13 Yahoo! News: Takata pleads guilty to fraud in exploding airbag case
Three Takata executives have been indicted for falsifying data for the sake of profits, knowing about the risks. "16 deaths and 100 injuries worldwide" have resulted. "Most major auto manufacturers have been forced to recall vehicles because of the defect, including General Motors, Honda, BMW and Tesla, in what has been described as the largest-ever auto safety recall."
2017 Jan. 13 IDG News Service: Apple monopolizer of iPhone applications
"The company collects 30 percent of the revenue of third-party apps on its store, with the balance going to the developer, in a closed system in which Apple controls which apps can run on an iPhone, according to court records."
"The courts have yet to address the complaints of the app purchasers, who allege that Apple prohibits app developers from selling iPhone apps through channels other than the App Store...."
2017 Jan. 13 PCWorld: Straight Path Spectrum fined $100 million by Federal Communications Commission (FDC)
Licenses to build next-generation 5G licenses to serve the public had not been built as Straight Path Spectrum claimed. $85 million of the fine "is suspended pending Straight Path's transfer or assignment of the licenses in the next 12 months."
2017 Jan. 12 CapeCodToday: "Dutch Valley Cappuccino Snack Mix recalled"
"As a result of an ingredient supplier recall, Dutch Valley is issuing a recall on Cappuccino Snack Mix due to the potential for it to be contaminated with Salmonella."
2016 Dec. 28 democracynow.org: Dakota Access Pipeline construction hindered by delayed investment
"A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Enbridge Energy Partners and Marathon Petroleum Corporation won't meet a previous deadline of December 31 to complete a sale. The companies will now have until March 31 to consider whether to walk away from an investment in the pipeline."
The pipeline is owned by Energy Transfer Partners. Protesters of the pipeline, who call themselves Water Protectors, have fought powerful forces against construction of the pipeline with notable and increasing success. They maintain it violates human and environmental and sovereign government rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe, located in North and South Dakota.
2016 Dec. 23 therealnews.com: Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht fined for bribery
"Latin America's largest construction company, Odebrecht, agreed with the U.S. Justice Department to pay a fine of up to $4.5 billion on Wednesday for having engaged in widespread bribery of government officials around the world. The agreement is the largest penalty in U.S. history under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977."
2016 Dec. 20 The Intercept: Exxon Mobil and phthalates (plastics softeners) in toysExxon Mobil is a giant among both energy and chemical chemical companies. So far the company has successfully fought implementation of a 2014 ban on eight phthalates by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
"The inaction "speaks to the power of Exxon to frighten federal agencies away from doing their jobs," as Earthjustice's Gartner put it. And that was before the company's CEO [Rex Tillerson] had a top government job[Trump nominee for Secretary of State]."
2016 Dec. 17 Yahoo News: Seven banks resolve class action suit re interest rate rigging
The banks include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Credit Suisse Group, and Deutsche Bank.
"The remaining defendants are BNP Paribas SA
"The case is Alaska Electrical Pension Fund et al v. Bank of America Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-07126."
Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the pipeline, vows to complete the project, saying the Obama administration's refusal to approve the final leg of the pipeline under the Missouri River and close to the Standing Rock Sioux's lands is political. The tribe says it would endanger their sole water source and sacred sites.
"While the Friday decision does not put a final nail in the coffin, it still is of advantage to the demonstrators. Since there is a clause in the company's contract that allows investors to pull out starting Jan. 2, further delays - which the company estimates cause a loss of $20 million per day - could see many investors turning their back on the money-losing project."
2016 Dec.10 truth-out.org: Little-known Sabal Trail fracked gas pipeline from Alabama to Florida
Critics say users do not need more natural gas, that Sabal Trail can take their properties by eminent domain, and that it has violated multiple construction regulations designed to protect homeowners and the environment.
"Sabal Trail is a joint project of Spectra Energy Corp., NextEra Energy, Inc., and Duke Energy." There is a connection between the Sabal pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline because "Enbridge, which is a stakeholder in the Dakota Access pipeline, has announced plans to buy Spectra...."
2016 Dec.10 truth-out.org: Sioux tribes developing wind energy in Dakotas
"Seven Sioux tribes in the Dakotas are developing what would be an enormous collection of wind farms on six reservations scattered across what is generally rated as one of the windiest areas in the country." The tribes have done prliminary assessments but need more detailed studies before they can solicit investors. Previous efforts by the tribes for clean energy development have been hampered by investors not wanting to let the tribes "control their own energy resources."
2016 Dec. 5 bbc.com: Whirlpool criticized for slowness repairing fire-prone dryers
"Some five million affected machines were sold in the UK, under the Creda, Indesit and Hotpoint brands, between April 2004 and September 2015."
2016 Dec. 4: theguardian.com Army Corps of Engineers denies permit for Dakota Access pipeline
One day before the previously announced deadline for protesters to leave the camp of Native Americans and environmental activists set up to block drilling for oil under a major source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which has authority over the project, announced it will not permit the drilling. The Corps will look for alternative routes for the pipeline.
The tribe and its many supporters joyously celebrated the decision as a major victory after months of effort in the face of great difficulties, but the tribe's attorney warned it could still be overturned by the incoming Trump administration.
2016 Dec. 3: theguardian.com Chinese workers producing Christmas toys not so merry
ChinaLabor Watch says wages are very low and living conditions in dormitories that house workers are very harsh. Families are separated by conditions of work and living accommodations. "Overtime can run to nearly three times the legal limit." Some of the most popular brand name toys, such as Barbie dolls, Thomas the Tank Engine Minis, and Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra Walker, are made in Chinese factories.
2016 Nov. 25: npr.org Dakota Access Protesters ordered to leave by Dec. 5
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has today written to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that the camp being used by protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be closed on December 5 and all occupants evicted. Tribe chairman Dave ArchambaultII has stated the tribe's resistance to the pipeline will continue.
2016 Nov. 23: huffingtonpost.com 85% of food samples in 2015 had pesticide residues
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the levels found are not risky for consumers, but some scientists say this is misleading because the data does not show effects of "regular, repeated consumption".
"Spinach, strawberries, grapes, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon were among the foods found with illegal pesticide residue levels. Even residues of chemicals long banned in the United States were found, including residues of DDT or its metabolites found in spinach and potatoes."
There was no data on glyphosate, a suspected carcinogen, "the most widely used herbicide in the world", and the most important ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup.
Tests by the Federal Department of Agriculture and private concerns also produced disturbing results and lack sufficient data to support safety claims. They raise the question whether regulations are designed more to protect producers of the pesticides than consumers of the foods.
2016 Nov. 16: wikipedia.org Dakota Access Pipeline
The $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners, runs through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. This oil pipeline has highlighted controversy between protesting Native Americans and environmental activists vs. corporations that stand to profit from fossil fuels, with accusations of violence against both sides.
The election of Donald Trump as incoming U.S. President has made Dakota Access owner Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren "100 percent sure that the pipeline will be approved". Trump has sizable investments in the project, and has spoken in favor of using America's large fossil fuel reserves, but has not commented on this particular pipeline.
Thousands of protesters planned nationwide protests starting yesterday, Nov. 15. They claim sacred sites and safety of water in the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation are threatened by a potential leak in the pipeline. The pipeline is scheduled to go under Lake Oahe, the reservoir on which the Sioux depend for their water.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has final authority over construction of the pipeline. Sioux tribe Chair David Archambault wants the Corps to deny a permit to cross Lake Oahe and require the pipeline to be rerouted farther from Sioux lands.
For a a concise summary of the issues and legal actions, see nbc news Nov. 4.
For more detailed but fascinating information well worth your time, including history of relations between American Indian tribes--legally sovereign nations--and the U.S. government, see The Atlantic, Sept. 9. Of particular interest is the section on the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie and the land beneath the pipeline.
The Atlantic notes that "Of course, this history does not answer whose land it really is: American law still respects the underlying logic of the 'doctrine of discovery,' the idea that European Christians could lay claim to land if they were the first to document it. But it is in partial recognition of the painful history of colonial land grabs that modern federal law accords certain rights to Native groups. Since 1992, one of these rights could be described as the right to be consulted: Whenever a federal agency undertakes or approves a construction project, it must consult with local Native nations or tribes about whether sacred sites or places are nearby."
2016 Nov. 16 Yahoo News: "Business calls for Trump, world leaders to support Paris climate pact"
The statement by more than 360 businesses and investors including "DuPont, Gap , General Mills , Hewlett Packard , Hilton , Kellogg , Levi Strauss & Co., L'Oreal USA, Nike , Mars Incorporated, Schneider Electric, Starbucks and Unilever" asked for prompt implementation of the Nov. 4 Paris agreement on climate change. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to scrap the agreement.
2016 Nov. 6 Yahoo News: Volkswagen Board Chairman investigated
Special Report: Chocolate
2013: How to make sure your chocolate purchases do not support child slavery.
Special Report: Torture
There is hope!Please see the post on a January 2012 anti-torture resolution by the city of Chicago, and how other municipalities can do the same. If you do not see it at first, refresh the page by clicking the refresh button on your browser bar or pressing the f5 key.
Special Report: Fair Trade
2013 update summarizes changes in standards and controversy over increasing availability of products with the certification by making it easier to get certified vs. maintaining more rigorous standards. Fair World Project offers suggestions for resolving the conflict by making product labels more transparent about percentage of ingredients that are certified.