Animal rights activists demand British coffee chain withdraw advertising campaign

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Animal rights activists have demanded that the largest coffee chain in the United Kingdom pull a new advertising campaign because they fear that it will encourage viewers to buy monkeys as pets. The demands are likely to irritate Costa Coffee, who are determined to turn over a larger profit that their arch-rival, Starbucks. Five animal welfare groups have demanded that the advert, which features a futuristic room full of monkeys attempting to use coffee machines, be withdrawn.

In a letter to the Rainforest Alliance, the charities say that “the use of wild animals in this way is contrary to your stance on conservation and, in particular, on rainforest species”. They urged the Alliance to revoke their endorsement of Costa products unless the adverts were withdrawn. The groups also wrote to the coffee chain, saying that they hoped that Costa — which has over 1,000 outlets in the UK — would “think it appropriate to cease using primates in future productions, and make the decision to withdraw the current advert”.

The pressure on the coffee giant has led to fears that the company’s relationship with the Rainforest Alliance—which “works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior”—may be under threat, since animal welfare groups have complained the new advert is in breach of the Alliance’s code of conduct. The television advertisement depicts a number of monkeys being unable to use coffee machines, before a Costa barista hand-makes a cup of coffee. The advert, which features a voiceover by actor Bill Nighy, aired for the first time on Friday. Within hours, animal rights campaigners had demanded it be withdrawn. Manufacturers of products endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance must prove they “are demonstrating [their demand for] goods grown and harvested with respect for people, wildlife and the environment”.

A spokeswoman for Wild Futures, which runs a sanctuary for victims of the primate pet trade, said that she felt that, because they had been forced to appear in the advert, the welfare of the monkeys had been “severely compromised.” She said: “With the release of this new advert, we feel the need to reiterate our long-held concerns on the use of wild animals in entertainment. While they are used in this way their welfare is severely compromised, and it has a knock-on effect in the trade in primates as pets.”

According to The Observer, “the relationship between the appearance of exotic animals in the media and a corresponding increase in demand for them as pets is well documented.” The demand to own clownfish as pets reportedly rocketed following the release of Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo, which featured one of the orange and white vertebrates as its main character.

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The Alliance refused to comment specifically on the Costa advertising campaign, but said in a statement that it “objects to the use of captive wild animals in commercial advertising where a company is seeking to highlight or promote its relationship with the Rainforest Alliance or its use of Rainforest Alliance certified commodities”. Wild Futures and other charities have, in the past, forced companies to withdraw campaigns they believe compromise animal’s rights. The European Union was forced to pull a stop smoking advert last year after objections for animal welfare groups, and car manufaturer Dodge also withdrew an advert which featured a chimpanzee after animal rights groups lodged complaints.

The Code of Practice on the Welfare of Privately Kept Non-Human Primates states that “primates used for entertainment and in the media are often removed from their social group and hand-reared, causing distress to the infant, mother and other members of the group.” The five charities have said they feel that, because the animals have been removed from their social group for the purposes of filming, Costa could be in contravention of three of the five needs as stated in the Animal Welfare Act.

Jim Slater, the marketing director of Costa Coffee vigourusly defended the adverts, insiting that “no compromise is made regarding animal welfare standards” in the adverts. “The monkeys were provided by a specialist organisation and have appeared in movies and on TV many times before.” Speaking to Bakeryinfo.co.uk before the advert was launched, he added: “Costa is enjoying double-digit like-for-like sales growth, and we aim to continue this great momentum. Independent surveys consistently prove that coffee lovers prefer Costa, and this TV commercial will help us to explain the reasons why.”

 

Ethics debate surrounds surgery to stunt disabled girl’s growth

Friday, January 5, 2007

An ethical controversy has surged in the United States and elsewhere around nine-year-old Ashley X (her family name has not been released). The disabled girl was operated upon at the request of her parents, to prevent her from growing, menstruating and developing breasts. The parents, who wish to remain anonymous, explain their situation on a blog entitled The “Ashley Treatment”. There have been over 1000 reactions on the blog so far.

Ashley suffers a condition termed static encephalopathy with marked global developmental deficits of unknown etiology, which means brain damage of unknown cause leading to a kind of static condition. She can make sounds, move her arms and kick her legs, but she cannot change her position, eat, walk, talk etc. Many of these children are in poor health and die young, but Ashley is in good health. For all of these functions she depends on her caregivers. Most of the day she passes watching her surrounding, lying on a pillow. Her parents call her their “Pillow Angel”, “since she is so sweet and stays right where we place her—usually on a pillow.”

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Ashley can continue to delight in being held in our arms and will be moved and taken on trips more frequently and will have more exposure to activities and social gatherings.

-Ashley’s Mom and Dad

Ashley’s parents want to keep her at home and care for her themselves, and they want to guarantee their daughter’s quality of life. To this end, they say, Ashley underwent several surgical procedures and medical treatments during a period of three years. To attenuate her growth, Ashley was given high doses of the hormone estrogen. Ashley now measures 4ft 5 (1m 35cm) and weighs around 75 lbs (34 kg), which is below her expected length and weight. Her low body weight and size would improve her comfort, and at the same time facilitate the work of her caregivers.

Surgery to remove her uterus (a procedure called a hysterectomy) and breast buds were performed, so Ashley does not menstruate and will not develop breasts, both of which parents think only would cause her discomfort. Since high estrogen levels can cause menstrual bleeding and breast development, the surgery was also meant to limit these effects. She also underwent surgery to remove her appendix, because it would be difficult to diagnose appendicitis given Ashley’s low communication possibilities.

 

Home-invaders pose as NYC police

Monday, July 16, 2007

In two separate incidents, men posing as members of the New York Police Department (NYPD), have invaded homes in the New York City area. In both cases, they robbed the residents, but in the most recent, they sexually assaulted a woman.

On Saturday, July 14, at 1:09 a.m. EDT (UTC-4), four men knocked on the door of a Yonkers, New York, apartment. The 33-year-old male that lives there opened the door, as the men outside wore NYPD hats and t-shirts, and had badges hanging around their necks.

The men promptly ordered the male victim to the floor. “When this guy pushed me, he had a gun in my face,” the victim said. “I could see the other guy. He motioned to the others, come on, let’s go, let’s go.” The intruders shouted “Where are the drugs?” as they ransacked the apartment.

Two of the men entered the bedroom and sexually assaulted the 30-year-old female. The couple has a five-year-old child, who was sleeping in another bedroom. “The more I resisted, the more he began to hit me,” the woman said. She said she was sexually assaulted by two of the men while her boyfriend was bound and guarded.

Frightened. Make you think twice before you want to open the door, you know

Police said the men then left with a cell phone, a laptop computer, a diamond ring and a gold chain. Police do not believe that they were real officers. As of this afternoon, no arrests have been made.

On Thursday, July 5, shortly after six p.m. in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn five men knocked on the door claiming to be “the police.” When the victims opened the door, they pushed their way in demanding the family give them drugs and money.

When police responded to a call reporting a robbery, they found the family, husband, wife and their daughter, tied up. The man suffered a head injury when he was pistol-whipped. Police say the robbers got away with a camera, jewelry, and US$5,000 in currency.

Neighbors told NY1 that they were stunned. “Frightened. Make you think twice before you want to open the door, you know,” said one of the neighbors. “Now you be asking for all this ID and stuff and even still you’re going to wonder, are they for real? So it’s kind of scary.”

There is no word about whether the two cases are connected. Yonkers is on the border of New York City, but is outside the jurisdiction of the NYPD.

 

Finding The Right Online Real Estate Program

byAlma Abell

Real estate is a great option for those seeking a change of career. A job in realty can often give you flexibility in your work day and workload. If you have a family or are currently working in another field, however, finding the time to obtain your license and complete your education can be difficult.

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Online real estate programs are a great way for you to take the necessary coursework conveniently in the comfort of your own home. Whether you are new to the field and need a sales agent pre-license course or you’re looking to get your broker license, online education can provide you with the flexibility you need. Those who are continuing their education can also take advantage of convenient online courses, making it easier than ever before to keep up with all of your necessary coursework.

Online courses are not only more flexible than traditional classroom settings, they generally provide added features that a regular real estate program does not. Most classes include audio and video presentations as well as content reviews throughout the duration of the course. Online real estate programs are great if you are a working parent or have other responsibilities that can be difficult to juggle.

These online programs not only provide flexibility for your busy life, they also provide you with 120 hours of state-required education. You will use a PDF textbook covering real estate law, preparing you for your future career. Instructors are available in person and by phone during the week and by email during the evenings and weekends. Chapter quizzes and review exercises will help you know what you should study, and there are several comprehensive practice exams to help you prepare for the final test.

The path to your new career in real estate begins with your education. You must take the required classes before you can obtain your license, so finding a program that works for your schedule and budget is key. Online real estate programs even provide payment options similar to those in a traditional setting, making it easier than ever before for you to start the career of your dreams. No matter what your education level, or what your current job is, you can benefit from one of these online programs.

Take the first step to starting your new career in real estate. Click here and select one of the many online real estate programs that fit your needs. Online real estate programs can help get you on the path to a more exciting and fulfilling career.

 

Images show new dimension to Saturn’s rings

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NASA’s Cassini orbiter has sent back remarkable images from Saturn, revealing that the planet’s famous rings are far more bumpy than expected.

Astronomers previously thought that the rings were almost completely flat, with changes in height of only a few metres. However analysis of the new images show ridges up to 4 kilometres tall, similar in height to the Rocky Mountains or the Alps.

The images were taken around the planet’s equinox on August 11, when the Sun was directly over Saturn’s equator and caught the rings edge on. A similar equinox occurs today (September 22) on Earth. But whilst equinoxes occur twice a year on Earth, Saturn takes around 29.7 Earth years to orbit the Sun so the events are much rarer.

It’s like putting on 3-D glasses and seeing the third dimension for the first time.

With the light from the Sun reaching Saturn’s rings at such a low angle, scientists were able to measure the shadows cast by bumps on the rings and discover their surprising height. As Cassini project scientist Bob Pappalardo put it: “It’s like putting on 3-D glasses and seeing the third dimension for the first time. This is among the most important events Cassini has shown us.”

Some of the ring features are known to be caused by Saturn’s moons, but others are harder to explain. “To understand what we are seeing will take more time, but the images and data will help develop a more complete understanding of how old the rings might be and how they are evolving,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini deputy project scientist.

Cassini was launched in 1997, and entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. It is part of the Cassini-Huygens joint mission between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

 

Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students/AL-KY

See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list and for an alphabetically arranged listing of schools.

Due to the damage by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding, a number of colleges and universities in the New Orleans metropolitan area will not be able to hold classes for the fall 2005 semester. It is estimated that 75,000 to 100,000 students have been displaced. [1]. In response, institutions across the United States and Canada are offering late registration for displaced students so that their academic progress is not unduly delayed. Some are offering free or reduced admission to displaced students. At some universities, especially state universities, this offer is limited to residents of the area.

Contents

  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Alabama
  • 3 Alaska
  • 4 Arizona
  • 5 Arkansas
  • 6 California
  • 7 Colorado
  • 8 Connecticut
  • 9 Delaware
  • 10 District of Columbia
  • 11 Florida
  • 12 Georgia
  • 13 Hawaii
  • 14 Idaho
  • 15 Illinois
  • 16 Indiana
  • 17 Iowa
  • 18 Kansas
  • 19 Kentucky
 

Colbert officially withdraws Presidential bid; Obama supporters pressured South Carolina

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Two prominent South Carolina supporters of Barack Obama pressured the state Democratic council to keep Stephen Colbert off the primary ballot. The Council voted 13-3 last week against Colbert’s placement on the ballot.

According to an anonymous member of the council who felt pressured, one of those people was State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum, who admitted she had made the calls. “I think lobbying was too strong a word,” she said in an interview with CNN. “I called them to see what they were thinking, and if they had made up their mind. I am a volunteer in that campaign, and so I am not a staffer. And I thought it could have taken votes away from a lot of people.”

Another Obama supporter, state Representative Bakari Sellers, also admitted to making the calls. “I placed the calls as a concerned Democrat, realizing that we are a country in despair,” Sellers told CNN. “It is not a time for games or to make a mockery of the process.”

Yesterday Colbert officially withdrew from the race. “I am shocked and saddened by the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council’s 13-to-3 vote to keep me off their presidential primary ballot,” he said in the statement. “Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history — only 10 votes — I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle. It is time for this nation to heal.”

According to Tenenbaum, the reason she did not want Colbert on the ballot was financial and not political. For every name the Democrats put on the ballot in South Carolina, they have to pay US$20,000 to the state election commission.

The Obama campaign denied any connection to the phone calls.

In related news, at a book signing at Borders Book Store in New York City last night, a protester posing as a member of the press disrupted the event, demanding Colbert make statements about 7 World Trade Center. Despite preliminary findings by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology that fire caused them, some conspiracy theorists believe the dramatic building collapses on September 11, including that of building seven, were the result of controlled demolition. NIST has “found no evidence of a blast or controlled demolition event”, though in its final report on building 7, they would “like to determine the magnitude of hypothetical blast scenarios that could have led to the structural failure of one or more critical elements.”

“What about World Trade Center Number 7, Stephen?” shouted the protester. “What are you going to say about that? Why don’t you give us a witty remark and make a joke about it? Keep smirking, Stephen!” The protester was removed by the book store’s security.

 

Bush administration drastically cuts penalties sought for in tobacco trial from $130 billion to $10 billion

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bush appointee Robert McCallum overrode Justice Department lawyers who had been handling the government’s tobacco racketeering trial for the past 5 years. McCallum ordered the lawyers to reduce the penalties sought at the close of the nine-month trial from $130 billion to $10 billion, angering some of the trial lawyers to the point where it is reported they threatened to quit their jobs.

“Everyone is asking, ‘Why now?’ ” said an anonymous Justice Department employee afraid of retaliation. “Why would you throw the case down the toilet at the very last hour, after five years?”

Congressional Democrats oppose the slashing of the penalties for the tobacco industry, and have asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales not to enter into a settlement based on “the unreasonably weak demands made by the government.”

The New York Times pointed out that McCallum was a Skull and Bones ‘brother’ of President Bush. Bush has appointed a number of Skull and Bones club members to government positions since he became President, including SEC head and former Philip Morris executive William Donaldson. Bush strategist Karl Rove was a Phillip Morris lobbyist before Bush asked him to work on his 2000 campaign for the presidency.

 

Twitter to allow censorship of posts on a country by country basis

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The microblogging service Twitter has changed its software support for censoring posts. With the new updates, Twitter can now withdraw individual posts and accounts in specific countries, as opposed to a global deletion. Twitter announced these changes in a blog post on Thursday, and released a clarification update on Friday.

Twitter says it needed to make the changes to expand on an international level. It said in a blog post entitled Tweets still must flow, “we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.” Twitter says it will use the new feature only “when required to do so in response to what we believe to be a valid and applicable legal request.”

We will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.

The new tools will give Twitter the ability to withdraw posts and entire accounts in selected countries. Once the posts have been withdrawn, they are replaced with a message saying: “This Tweet/account has been withheld in: Country.” and then links to a support page.

The social network has been used in the past as an outlet for political expression. During the Arab Spring, protesters in various countries used Twitter to mobilize support and report information to the outside world.

Some users have proposed boycotting Twitter. The organization Reporters without Borders sent an open letter to Twitter’s chairman, Jack Dorsey, saying “We urge you to reverse this decision, which restricts freedom of expression and runs counter to the movements opposed to censorship that have been linked to the Arab Spring, in which Twitter served as a sounding board… Twitter is depriving cyberdissidents in repressive countries of a crucial tool for information and organization.”

 

Ford announces deep production cuts in response to growing losses

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ford has announced sweeping cuts of 21% (168,000 units) in its US and Canadian production, resulting in the partial closure of ten of its plants during the fourth quarter. The measure comes on top of existing turnaround plans announced in January, in which 25,000 to 30,000 positions should be cut and 14 plants closed by 2012.

Ford is the world’s third-largest automaker and the U.S.’s second-largest. However it has in recent years been struggling with poor profitability and shrinking market shares. In 2005 it lost $1.6 billion and recently the company reported a second quarter loss of $254 million and a 34% year-year decline in sales for the month of July.

George Pipas, director of sales analysis at Ford, points to rising gas prices having negative impact on the sale of the companies SUV lines as well as its sales leader, the F-series pickup truck as being the direct cause of the latest initiative.

So far the following plants are thought to be affected:

Ford’s stock fell 17 cents (2.1%) to $8 on the New York Stock Exchange.