Archive for September, 2019

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued proposed calorie labeling rules requiring most retail food vendors to display the calorie counts in items on their menus and menu boards. The proposed rules, issued Friday and expected to be finalized in 2012, would apply to most restaurants, snack bars, vending machines, coffee shops, drive-through restaurants, and convenience and grocery stores.

The US Congress required the rules in the health-care reform law passed in 2010. The rules proposed by the FDA must undergo a public comment period before they are finalized and take effect, said Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Director for Foods at the FDA.

The proposed regulations pertain to businesses devoting more than 50 percent of their floor space to the sale of food or that consider themselves restaurants, specifically food-selling chains with at least 20 stores nationally. Included are candy stores, bakeries, and ice-cream parlors.

The FDA’s proposed guidelines specify that chains post the calorie counts of foods and drinks on menus and menu boards or next to the food item, such as at a salad bar. The menu is to prominently exhibit the calorie content of each item in a way customers can see easily, giving them the same information packaged foods prepared at home currently provide. The information must be displayed in “clear and conspicuous” print and colors.

Giving consumers clear nutritional information makes it easier for them to choose healthier options that can help fight obesity and make us all healthier.

Many cities and states have passed laws requiring calorie labeling on menus, beginning with New York City in 2008. California implemented a similar law in January, although many counties are waiting for the release of the federal guidelines before they begin enforcement. Some fast-food chains there, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, are displaying calorie counts on menus in some of their stores.

The rules are intended to curb the national obesity epidemic since, according to FDA estimates, one third of the calories people consume yearly come from food eaten out. In a statement issued yesterday, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services said, “Giving consumers clear nutritional information makes it easier for them to choose healthier options that can help fight obesity and make us all healthier.”

Excluded from the rules are businesses whose primary product is not food sales but that sell it, such as bowling alleys, airports and airplanes, amusement parks, hotels and movie theaters. Alcohol is also excluded.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Conservative Party of Canada leader Stephen Harper today made bold claims about the Canadian Arctic region at a campaign stop in Winnipeg, “The single most important duty of the federal government is to protect and defend our national sovereignty.” . The prime minister-hopeful stated, “There are new and disturbing reports of American nuclear submarines passing though Canadian waters without obtaining the permission of —or even notifying — the Canadian government.”

Harper promised a significant increase in military presence in the Canadian region, which has had notable soveriegnty disputes with the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway.”You don’t defend national sovereignty with flags,” Harper said. “You need forces on the ground, ships in the sea, and proper surveillance.”

Among other promises, Harper stated he would station three armed naval heavy ice breakers in the area of Iqaluit with 500 regular force personnel, recruit 500 more Canadian rangers, and build a new army training center in the area of Cambridge Bay on the Northwest Passage.File:Stephen Harper voa.jpg

“As prime minister, I will make it clear to foreign governments — including the United States — that naval vessels traveling in Canadian territorial waters will require the consent of the government of Canada,” Harper stated.

The Conservative Party Website states this ““Canada First” Northern Strategy will increase surveillance, navy, army and air force presence”.

The Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservatives’ most powerful rival in the election, quickly posted a rebuttal on their website. They claim Stephen Harpers stated defense budget of $5.3(CAD) billion over 5 years is not enough to afford the two polar icebreakers, which the Liberal party claims will cost $3(CAD) billion with the party estimating an upkeep of $150(CAD) million per year. “Where does Mr. Harper plan to find another $1 billion?” the party asked in their rebuttal.

The Arctic may be an important issue in the future for Canadians, as scientists expect the fabled Northwest Passage of the Arctic to open up for year round shipping by 2050 as a result of global warming. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, trade routes from Europe to the Far East could save 4000 km through the passage, as compared to the current routes through the Panama Canal.

Canada last flexed its muscle in the Arctic in 2004 in its most massive Arctic exercise ever, with six hundred personnel from the three services (army, air force, navy) involved in a large exercise in the Baffin Islands.

Canadians are scheduled to go to the polls on January 23, 2006 in an early election as a result of a non-confidence motion in parliament against the former ruling Liberal party.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has posted a 2.4% return for the first quarter (9.6% annualized). On March 31, the funds value stood at €12.3bn, a rise of €290m (excluding state contributions) since December 31.

Donal Geaney, the fund’s chairman, told the press that growth in the past quarter had been driven by the Fund’s European equity investments.

Mr Geaney, former Élan CEO, has pursued a policy of diversification since February of this year, with the stated aim of placing a larger amount of the funds assets in companies with small market capitalizations and in property funds.

The fund was set up by the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act, 2000 to partially meet the expected rise in Irish pension costs from 2025 onwards.

Category:Books

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Calgary city council voted 10 to 3 on Wednesday to stop fluoridating their water supply. This overturns a previous plebiscite from 1989 to add the fluoride in an attempt to reduce tooth decay.

Opponents of water fluoridation claim that there could be unknown health effects of fluoride, and question its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay. They also claim that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use fluoride. However, Alberta Health Services maintains that current evidence shows that fluoride is both safe, and beneficial to dental health.

It is estimated that no longer fluoridating the water supply could save Calgary’s city council C$750 thousand (€550 thousand) annually, as well as cutting a C$6 million (€4.3 million) upgrade to the fluoridation system.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This year, four breeds of dogs are competing for the first time in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, United States.

The new breeds making their Westminister debuts this year, are the Plott, a hunting hound originally bred by two German immigrant brothers in North Carolina; the Tibetan Mastiff, once described by Marco Polo as “tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion.”; the Beauceron, a herding dog originally bred to herd flocks of sheep in France, later used to sniff out landmines and send messages during the World Wars; and the Swedish Vallhund, a breed dating back to the time of the Vikings, used on farms to catch vermin, herd cattle, and as a guard dog, noted for its double coat and harness markings.

This brings the number of unique breeds competing in the famous dog show to 169.

The Plott, the Beauceron, and the Vallhund were shown on Monday. The Tibetan Mastiff will be shown tonight as part of the Working Group.