The EU’s food safety agency challenged its doubters on Monday, making available all the scientific information used to clear a genetically modified corn which a French researcher had linked to cancer.
The European Food Safety Authority said that “given the level of public interest … (it would) make all data on genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 publicly available on its website.”
While EFSA had previously provided such information on request, “any member of the public or scientific community will now be able to examine and utilise the full data sets used in this risk assessment,” it said in a statement.
EFSA, which reviews the use and authorisation of such crops and foodstuffs, in November rejected outright a report by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen which had linked NK603 to cancer found in laboratory rats.
It said at the time that Seralini’s work failed to meet “acceptable scientific standards” and accordingly it had no reason to review its assessment of NK603, made by US agri-food giant Monsanto.
The EU also demanded that Seralini release more details of his work but he responded in kind, calling on EFSA to open up its data first.
The EFSA said on Monday that the NK603 data was being made available as part of an initiative to make its overall workings more transparent.
Hong Kong action hero Jackie Chan has once again provoked criticism, this time from an American blogger, after suggesting on Chinese television that the US is the “most corrupt” country in the world.
“When you talk about corruption — the whole world, is there corruption in the United States? The most corrupt in the world!” the Rush Hour star, who has made headlines recently for his controversial views, told Phoenix TV last month.
Chan reaffirmed his view after the show’s host questioned him — “Of course! Where did the great breakdown come from? The world, the United States started it,” Chan said, referring to the financial crisis and gesticulating as he spoke.
His comments were rebuked Thursday by Max Fisher, a foreign affairs blogger for the Washington Post, who called them “anti-American” rhetoric that was rooted in China’s insecurity.
“To the degree that Chan’s comments were anti-American, they likewise reflect a common Chinese view of the United States, one that is rooted not just in attitudes toward America but in China’s proud but sometimes insecure view of itself,” Fisher said.
Jackie Chan also said China is a relatively young country, where in the first half of its history it was “bullied by so many people”, and that it only achieved “real success” in the past decade.
“Our country’s leaders admit they are corrupted, etcetera. We are improving — I can see our country is constantly improving and learning,” he said, adding that everyone is making an issue out of China because it is “powerful” now.
Chan, who is known for his martial arts skills and daring stunt work, sparked criticism in Hong Kong, which was returned to China in 1997, after he reportedly told a Chinese magazine last December that protest in the city should be restricted.
In the same interview, he said that he was bullied by Hong Kong triads and had to hide in the United States. He also said he needed to carry a gun everyday to protect himself, leading to a police investigation.
The head of the German doctors’ lobby and politicians called Thursday for swift action to root out corruption following a scandal over preferential treatment for organ transplants.
The president of the German Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, said physicians taking bribes in life-or-death cases would shatter the hard-earned faith that Germans have in them.
“Transplant doctors who still don’t understand that they are destroying their own field with cheating and manipulation should get out of the profession,” he told the daily Passauer Neue Presse.
Montgomery added that “all means available under criminal and professional law should be used” to bring corrupt doctors to justice.
His comments came after irregularities emerged at a transplant centre in the eastern city of Leipzig.
The clinic said that between 2010 and 2012, 38 people were wrongly registered as dialysis patients so that they would be given a higher priority on waiting lists for a liver transplant.
It could not rule out that “money had changed hands” in exchange.
The head of the clinic as well as two senior doctors have been given a leave of absence while the institution conducts an internal probe. Public prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation.
The affair follows revelations in 2012 that other German hospitals engaged in dubious practices with organ transplants, prompting an independent commission to launch a sweeping review.
The Leipzig cases emerged in the course of that inquiry.
The chief health policy spokesman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Jens Spahn, urged root-and-branch reform of the organ transplant system, echoing calls by other parties.
“Manipulation to get certain patients higher on waiting lists could mean a death sentence for other patients who have a more urgent need for an organ,” he told the daily Rheinische Post.
Such practices must be “decisively outlawed, punished and stopped for all time”.
OTTAWA — A court ordered the mayor of Toronto, Canada’s largest city, to be removed from office for violating conflict of interest rules when soliciting donations for his football charity.
Mayor Rob Ford got into legal trouble when he spoke out at a city council vote in February against a $3,150 fine he was ordered to pay over the ethics breach.
A Toronto resident took him to court for violating the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, which at trial Ford said he had not read.
Ford said he will appeal the ruling, and if he fails to have the decision overturned will run again for mayor in a by-election.
“I will fight tooth and nail to hold onto my job,” he told reporters, blaming “leftwing politics” for the court action that led to the ruling.
The court has delayed the decision for 14 days to give city officials time to put their house in order.
Salacious details of Gen. David Petraus’s adulterous relationship with biographer Paula Broadwell—and all of the attendant sexist framing—have eclipsed a much more important military story.
Yesterday, the Air Force imposed what it calls a “wingman policy” requiring its trainees at the Lackland base in San Antonio, Texas, to be with at least one classmate at all times. The move comes in response to an Air Training and Command investigation that identified 23 instructors on the base who had allegedly raped, sexually harassed or had “unprofessional relationships” with 48 trainees.
Lackland trains all Air Force recruits, [Bloomberg reports.] So far, five officials have been convicted in court martials on charges ranging from adultery to rape and others could face criminal charges.
Of course the epidemic of unpunished rape within the U.S. military—and the routine silencing of and retaliation against enlisted survivors who dare to report it—isn’t new. Due in large part to the release of the Academy Award-nominated “Invisible War” documentary, the sustained activism of Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), and several high-profile class action civil suits filed against former and current Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Leon Panetta, the issue has captured headlines. In April, the Pentagon made several changes to its dysfunctional sexual assault protocol, such as extending evidence retention for 50 years and granting service-people who have been assaulted immediate transfers so that they don’t have to report to or interact with their attackers while the crime is being investigated.
These shifts are the bare minimum.
In 2010 alone, there were at least 19,000 intra-military sexual assaults, according to the Defense Department. Further enhancing the trauma, there remains a ban on military insurance coverage of abortions even in the case of rape and incest.
I haven’t seen sexual assault reports broken down by race. What I can say is that a disproportionate number of servicewomen on active duty are black. They make up a whopping 31 percent of the active-duty population compared to the 15 percent they comprise in the general population. (Fifty three percent of women on active duty are white, compared to 78 percent of female civilians.)
In the coming days or weeks, Congress will take up the National Defense Authorization Act and it has the opportunity to lift the ban on military insurance coverage of abortion in the case of sexual assault. It’s way past time to get rid of class-based restrictions on abortion access, including those for military women and Medicaid recipients via the Hyde Amendment. Now that “women’s issues” are all the electoral rage, we should make that demand, straight no chaser.
Consider using the Center for Reproductive Rights’s handy letter to your Congressperson urging him or her to lift the cruel, backwards ban on military insurance coverage of abortion in the case of rape or incest.
Michelle Chen’s still-relevant, excellent 2008 Colorlines feature “Home from the Military” explores some of the contours of military service and sexual assault for women of color living on low incomes.
For more context, read the (potentially triggering) September 2011 class action suit filed by 28 very brave female and male sexual assault survivors against former defense secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates.
The Boston-based Military Rape Crisis Center provides survivors with information, support and opportunities for activism.
Cedrico Green can’t exactly remember how many times he went back and forth to juvenile. When asked to venture a guess he says, “Maybe 30.” He was put on probation by a youth court judge for getting into a fight when he was in eighth grade. Thereafter, any of Green’s school-based infractions, from being a few minutes late for class to breaking the school dress code by wearing the wrong color socks, counted as violations of his probation and led to his immediate suspension and incarceration in the local juvenile detention center.
But Green wasn’t alone. A bracing Department of Justice lawsuit filed last month against Meridian, Miss., where Green lives and is set to graduate from high school this coming year, argues that the city’s juvenile justice system has operated a school to prison pipeline that shoves students out of school and into the criminal justice system, and violates young people’s due process rights along the way.
In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency.
Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations.
“[D]efendants engage in a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct through which they routinely and systematically arrest and incarcerate children, including for minor school rule infractions, without even the most basic procedural safeguards, and in violation of these children’s constitutional rights,” the DOJ’s 37-page complaint reads. Meridian’s years of systemic abuse punish youth “so arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience,” the complaint reads.
The federal lawsuit casts a wide net in indicting the systems that worked to deny Meridian children their constitutional rights. It names as defendants the state of Mississippi; the city of Meridian; Lauderdale County, which runs the Lauderdale County Youth Court; and the local Defendant Youth Court Judges Frank Coleman and Veldore Young for violating Meridian students’ rights up and down the chain.
The DOJ’s complaint also charges that in the course of its eight-month investigation the city blocked the inquiry by refusing to hand over youth court records. Attorneys for city officials deny that claim, and say they are bound by law to protect the confidentiality of youth who’ve been through the system and so cannot share their records with the federal government.
The parallels between the mortgage market and the student loan industry have been frequently noted. Both involve big borrowing and have a history of lax underwriting by lenders. But the two are also strikingly similar in another way: When it comes to both mortgages and student debt, the servicers, or companies that handle loan payments, sometimes add roadblocks and give struggling borrowers the runaround.
That’s the main takeaway from two recent reports by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent agency created by the financial reform law passed in 2010.
Servicers have misapplied payments, given borrowers bad advice, and reported incorrect information to credit bureaus, according to one of the reports. The findings were based on the agency’s recent tracking of student loan complaints, focusing on the companies who handle private student loans.
Borrowers facing hardship and looking for flexibility through refinancing or a more manageable repayment plan “struggled to get an answer from their lender or servicer,” wrote the agency’s Student Loan Ombudsman, Rohit Chopra. When they tried to postpone payments, they were sometimes charged a recurring fee to do so.
And even when servicers encouraged borrowers to make “good faith” partial payments in amounts they could afford, the payments sometimes still resulted in delinquency or default, according to the report.
As we’ve noted in our reporting, private loans often don’t have the same protections as federal loans: Death and disability discharges typically are not guaranteed or are decided on a case-by-case basis.
And when the loans are packaged and sold to investors, it’s even harder to know who has the authority to make decisions about repayment options, discharges, or other issues that arise: “Borrowers report that sometimes servicers cannot even answer who owns a loan,” noted an agency factsheet. Homeowners have faced similar trouble.
Sometimes, the parallels are exact. By law, members of the military are entitled to special protections, including lower interest rates on both mortgages and student loans. But thousands have been overcharged on their mortgages. And according to the government’s second report, service members have also had the same problem with student loans. The report, which focused exclusively on the loan debt of military borrowers, blamed the overcharging on servicing errors and demands for unnecessary documentation.
The report also noted that loan servicers at times “guided” members of the military into putting loans into deferment or forbearance — even though interest accrues during those periods, and there may be better options available.
Of the more than 2,000 consumer complaints received by the CFPB from March and September of this year, the two most complained-about servicers were Sallie Mae, representing 46 percent of complaints, and American Education Services, or PHEAA, with 12 percent.
Though the focus was on the servicing of private student loans, it’s worth noting that many of the companies servicing loans in the private market are the same contractors handling federal loans.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, borrowers of federal student loans have also faced some of the same challenges as those with private loans. For instance: Since last fall, the Department of Education has been transferring some borrowers to new servicers it’s contracted with to handle federal student loans — often resulting in confusion for borrowers, some of whom have even seen their repayment plans changed.
CC: everyone who says “wahhhhh i don’t want to pay for your birth control”
The state of Missouri has been in the national spotlight recently because of comments made by Republican Congressman Todd Akin who claimed that raped women rarely get pregnant. After his statements hit the Internet, immediate outrage burned across the country. Akin later apologized, but his statements have rekindled a nationwide debate. One that republicans desperately do not want to have, lest they alienate a wide majority of female voters.
Sharon Barnes, a high ranking state Republican, came to the defense of her conservative colleague who she believes only “phrased it (his statement) badly.”
Barnes was quoted by The New York Times saying, “abortion is never an option.” Barnes went on to biblically claim that, “If God has chosen to bless this person [the rape victim] with a life, you don’t kill it.”
Barnes did not elaborate on her views for post-pregnancy care, or costs.
Barnes has been a figure in conservative St. Louis politics for years, and currently holds all of the following titles according to her Linkedin profile:
- President of The 2nd Congressional District Republican Women
- President of The Republican Women’s Club of St. Louis
- Vice President, Membership Committee at National Federation Of Republican Women
- Vice President of The Missouri Federation of Republican Women
- Chairman of The St. Louis City Republican Central Committee
- State Committeewoman, 4th Senate District at Missouri Republican Party
- Committeewoman, 24th Ward at Missouri Republican Party
- Volunteer at GOP Missouri Republican Party
As her comments become more known the GOP will attempt to spin Barnes’ clout in the party as little, when in reality she is a big player behind the scenes.
Sikh temple gunman Wade Michael Page killed himself with a bullet to the head, the FBI said at a news conference Wednesday.
An officer who rushed to the temple shot Page in the stomach, but that was not the shot that killed him, FBI Milwaukee special agent Teresa Carlson said. She said she could not say whether the officer’s shot would have been fatal.
“I’ve seen the video,” Carlson said. “It’s an amazing shot.”
Page shot himself after the police officer fired his gun, she said.
Page, 40, an Army veteran, killed six people in a rampage at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek on Sunday. He fired on them with a 9mm pistol shortly before Sunday services. Among the dead was temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was shot as he tried to fend off the shooter with a knife.
Authorities are no closer to a motive for the shooting, Carlson said. The FBI did not have an open investigation of Page before Sunday’s incident, she said.
Page had been active in white supremacist groups and performed in white-power bands in their underground music scene.
I think the “motive” they’re looking for is in the last sentence of this article.
CARACAS — Venezuela’s leading opposition candidate — whose grandmother is a Holocaust survivor — on Tuesday slammed President Hugo Chavez’s accusations that he is tied to Nazi groups.
It was the latest in a series of intensely personal exchanges in the brutally negative campaign, in which the youthful Henrique Capriles hopes to deny Latin America’s most prominent leftist a third six-year term.
“I heard a statement from the candidate, Chavez, trying to link me to Nazi groups,” Capriles said at a press conference.
“So I would like to ask (Chavez) not to respect me but my great-grandparents, buried somewhere in the world after being killed by the Nazis.”
“My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor,” said the former governor of the country’s northern state of Miranda.
Capriles, a Catholic, comes from a family of Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors who emigrated to Venezuela.
On a tour of a petrochemical plant Monday, Chavez said his administration has evidence that Capriles belonged to a “fascist” organization of wealthy families implicated in “neo-Nazism.”
Capriles hopes to defeat Chavez in the October 7 presidential election.
Interviewed by and investigator after the incident, Trooper Cole can be heard trying to explain his decision and his actions.
“Prior to deploying your Taser, did you give a verbal warning that you were going to use it?” he was asked.
“No, I did not,” says Trooper Cole.
The FDLE found Cole’s actions justified, because troopers said Maudsley was running toward traffic along Highway 19, and might have caused an accident.
Link for full story
If you click the link and watch the video you will notice there was no traffic and he was only a step behind her he could have grabbed her himself
For those who think they are “self made” and got to where they are without government assistance.
A 15-year-old Harlem student claims she was roughed up, handcuffed, and detained by aggressive cops who mistakenly thought she was too old to be using a student MetroCard. “They called me liar,” Alexis Sumpter told the News of the July 26 incident. “Then they grabbed me by my arms and flung me up the stairs. I kept saying, ‘I’m only 15—why are you guys doing this?’ They said they didn’t owe me an explanation.”
Sumpter, who attends Harlem Village Academies, was on her way to her first day at a marketing internship on Canal Street when two plainclothes cops spotted her using her student MetroCard at the 125th Street Station. “They didn’t approach me in a calm manner and they were very rude the whole time,” she said. “They were talking to me like they were trying to show they were superior to me.” The DOE confirmed the card is valid until Aug. 17.
The cops demanded to know how old she was, but didn’t believe her when she said she was 15—she told them she didn’t have ID because she had recently been mugged for her iPhone and wallet. She says a third cop joined them, and pressed her face to a wall while the other two cuffed her. Cops called her father, who vouched that she was 15; still not believing her, they called her mother, who rushed over with her daughter’s birth certificate. Alexis was held in custody for 90 minutes altogether, and wasn’t arrested or given a summons; but she did go to the hospital because the handcuffs caused swelling on her wrists.
Alexis says she avoids that train now: “I don’t want to see them again,” she said. “I don’t want to have to go through that again.” The whole situation sounds eerily similar to the frivolous arrest of a 21-year-old female student who was held by NYPD for 36 hours for not carrying ID in Riverside Park—Sumpter’s situation also calls to mind the Charleston-dancing couple who claims they spent 23 hours in custody for dancing while waiting for the subway.
Welcome to Platform 9¾
1 / 2