Tips for SSI Disability Application

by

Matt Berry

The application process for SSI Disability benefits can be slightly overwhelming at first. Applicants often worry about what might happen if their application is denied, since receiving SSI or SSDI benefits is the only option they see for their future. While applying for benefits is a big deal and the results of the application will have a serious effect on the future, there’s still only one way to get through the process: step by step.

If you haven’t begun the application yet, here are two tips that can make a big difference.

Work Closely With a Social Security Attorney:

For those on a tight budget who are struggling to make ends meet because their disability doesn’t allow them to work, this might seem counter-intuitive. The first question most people will ask is “How much does it cost?” The answer: There are no out of pocket costs!

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Reputable disability lawyers (also known as SSDI lawyer, SSI disability lawyers, or SSD lawyers) will work with applicants through the SSI Disability application process and any appeals there may be. Once the case has been approved, the Social Security attorney will accept a prearranged percentage of the back benefits awarded.

– Note: If, for any reason, the case is never approved, the disability attorney does not seek payment.

This payment arrangement makes it easy for anyone seeking SSI or SSDI payments to work with an attorney without worrying about the burden of additional payments. SSI Disability lawyers can be a huge asset to any disability benefits case. Their wealth of previous case experience allows them the opportunity to notice the best practices that help certain cases win approval.

Once hired, a SSD lawyer will be able to show applicants how those practices might relate to their own case, making it stronger and more complete. Because the application process is so lengthy, getting things right the first time is always best. Having a disability attorney on hand to help organize and present the application can only strengthen it, and might prevent a long, drawn-out appeals process. If you dont have an attorney and need to appeal Social Security Disability, contacting reputable SSD lawyers and attorneys is recommended.

Take Notes of Any and All Disability-Related Symptoms:

While it would be nice if everyone who requested them automatically received Social Security Disability benefits, a system that didn’t require evidence of a disability would quickly be overwhelmed with unethical requests. In order to provide benefits to those who truly deserve them, the Social Security Administration requires quite a bit of proof that the applicants for SSI or SSDI payments are actually disabled. Most of this proof comes in the form of medical records, test results and x-rays. The notes that doctors take on the patient also come into play, which is why it’s so important to regularly see doctors and describe all pain and symptoms to them.

What applicants often don’t realize, however, is that they can also take notes and make records of their symptoms. The more detailed the notes are, the more helpful they can possibly be. If shortness of breath is a symptom, the best notes would detail how many times a day shortness of breath is experienced, what activities were happening during when the shortness of breath became apparent, and how long the feeling lasted.

With the help of a skilled Social Security Disability benefits lawyer and extensive notes and records of the disability and symptoms, the applicant will be as well prepared as possible for the SSI or SSDI application process and any subsequent appeals.

Matt Berry is a

SSI disability lawyer

that helps consumers with

Social Security Disability Impairments

fight to

win Social Security Disability

benefits.

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Tips for SSI Disability Application}

Category:May 27, 2010

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On the campaign trail, July 2012

Posted by: Adminin Uncategorized
22
May

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The following is the ninth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the rules of third party candidate polling are examined, a third party activist causes four other parties to lose their place on the Illinois presidential ballot, and the new vice presidential nominee of the Justice Party speaks with Wikinews.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The president of Egypt has suffered a “devastating blow” after the country’s army announced they would not use force against their own people, who continue to protest against the government tonight. The news came hours after six journalists who reported on the protests were released from custody.

Hosni Mubarak yesterday announced a new cabinet, which does not include several figures who protesters largely do not approve of. Analysts have, however, suggested little had changed within the government; many positions, they say, are filled with military figures.

To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people.

In a statement broadcast on state media in Egypt, the army said: “To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people.” A BBC correspondent in Cairo said the announcement meant it “now seems increasingly likely that the 30-year rule of Mr Mubarak is drawing to a close.”

“The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people,” the statement added. “Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody.”

Earlier today, six journalists from the independent news network Al-Jazeera were released from custody after being detained by police. The U.S. State Department criticized the arrests; equipment was reportedly confiscated from the journalists.

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Egyptian officials yesterday ordered the satellite channel to stop broadcasting in the country. Al-Jazeera said they were “appalled” by the government’s decision to close its Egyptian offices, which they described as the “latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt.”

In a statement, the news agency added: “Al-Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.”

On Friday, Wikinews reported the government had shut off practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A spokesperson for the social networking website Facebook said “limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

A reported 50,000 campaigners, who are demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression, filled Tahrir Square in Cairo today, chanting “We will stay until the coward leaves.” It is thought 100 people have so far died in the demonstrations. Today there have been protests in Suez, Mansoura, Damanhour, and Alexandria.

Speaking to news media in the area, many protesters said the new cabinet did little to quell their anger. “We want a complete change of government, with a civilian authority,” one said. Another added: “This is not a new government. This is the same regime—this is the same bluff. [Mubarak] has been bluffing us for 30 years.”

In Tahrir Square today, protesters played music as strings of barbed wire and army tanks stood nearby. Demonstrators scaled light poles, hanging Egyptian flags and calling for an end to Mubarak’s rule. “One poster featured Mubarak’s face plastered with a Hitler mustache, a sign of the deep resentment toward the 82-year-old leader they blame for widespread poverty, inflation and official indifference and brutality during his 30 years in power,” one journalist in the square reported this evening.

Top Movers and Packers in India for Home Shifting Services

by

Discounts Gyan

At first look shifting home to a brand new location seems to be easy. P.C. goods, shipping them and unpack them. Thats it. However in real it is not a fun chore. It is nevertheless something that ought to be completed cautiously after planning and the help of professional packers and movers corporations.

It is very essential that once making a decision to make your residential relocation, you rent a very dependable and responsible moving company. Hiring a moving agency on your relocation wishes might cost you however in my point of view your things, your electricity, your fitness and it slow are more important than the amount you pay in your move to shifting groups. So select a fine possible dependable and accountable shifting corporation to your metropolis on your flow and kill you stress that comes with the situation of family transferring.

At the same time as deciding on a proper mover for your house relocation desires, you need to maintain for your thoughts some.

First of all, transferring corporations for which services you are going to lease have to be legitimate, dependable, responsible, skilled, registered and additionally low cost. To discover such sorts of packers organizations you could get assist with your friends, household, colleagues, co-people or pals who’ve made their circulate with the assist of professional elimination businesses.

The shifting enterprise you’ll rent for your property relocation must provide you coverage insurance offerings, professional packing offerings. They ought to recognize their paintings thoroughly and able to deal with any tough situations worried for your relocation such packing at fifth ground of your condominium and bring them to the transportation car under.

The Movers and Packers you’ll rent for domestic transferring have to have a fully prepared transportation automobile for the transportation of your family objects, vehicles or fixtures. Make sure they’ll p.c. your items the usage of packing materials of corrects satisfactory.

Ensure that the crews of Packers you are going to rent have to professional and completely certified.

Make sure that movers for which services you’re going to hire must provide you with written estimates and must accept payments thru unique modes.

Discover the moving corporations in your place with correct reputation and track document. Bear in mind to write down every firm’s contact details so that you can test them out in my opinion.

– When you have colleagues, pals, or relatives that have used moving services inside the beyond, you could ask for references. Assessment and studies keep the important thing to finding the correct movers.

– Once your listing is ready, you need to make sure that your cross takes a look at the credibility and historical past of your chosen mover and packers. Be careful fore cast files and scammers within the market.

– Try to read purchaser testimonials or comments. The movers should be inclined to offer you names of previous clients so that you can test them out for my part.

Get Best Packers and Movers at Discounts Gyan. Get the best cheap, safe & secure Packers & Movers, Transportation, Relocation, Car Carrier &

movers and packers

.

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News briefs:June 9, 2010

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Business Turnaround Financing For Your Company? Canadian Solutions For Distressed Corporate Situations

by

sprokop

Business turnaround financing for Canadian firms is clearly one of the most challenging forms of corporate finance for those firms experiencing distress from either internal or external factors, more often than not a combination of both .

You can call it crisis management, turnaround management… whatever, bottom line, your company might need it. How then does a firm recognize that need, and what tools and financial solutions are available in Canada to implement a financial reorganization that makes sense.

Without a doubt it\’s about understanding both the causes and implications of company financial problems, and then implementing a solution.

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When Canadian business owners and financial managers of companies in need of financing changes face their \’ to do \’ list a number of key focuses must be forged. They include restructuring your current debt, potentially downsizing your business, and addressing various legal issues with your current lenders, which might be both operating lenders and term lenders such as lessors, senior bank facilities, etc.

A common sense way of looking at things is to address some very basic questions, in effect:

What is going wrong and how must management take responsibility?

Do we have resources (i.e. assets) and financial assistance and expertise to begin and complete the turnaround?

Naturally depending on the size of your firm the challenge has different levels of complexity. Distressed situations can be addressed in either a \’ strategic \’ manner, or via an operating turnaround. Our comments are more focused on the operating turnaround… it\’s the basics such as increasing sales, lowering costs, and refinancing assets.

In many cases new creditors must replace your current creditors. Again we emphasize that your current firm might be a start up, or one that has experienced tremendous growth and then stalled, , or in some cases your firm has been around a long time and financial issues simply have come to ahead and need to be addressed. All these firms require external turnaround management assistance, quite frankly, someone who has been here before.

At the end of the day it\’s about looking at your refinancing options which might include secured debt, bank debt, and other debt with commercial finance companies.

What then are potential solutions for corporate distressed situations? In Canada those solutions are debtor in possession financing; asset based lending, monetizing current assets via working capital facilities that include A/R and inventory and equipment components. Other less widely used options include securitization of contracts, tax credit financing, and supply chain financing.

Business turnaround financing is one of the most challenging aspects of Canadian business financing. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor for solutions that make sense for your firm.

Stan Prokop – founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial – http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com

Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 7 years – has completed in excess of 80 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations . Core competancies include receivables financing, asset based lending, working capital, equipment finance, franchise finance and tax credit financing .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details : http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com/business_turnaround_financing_distressed_corporate.html

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ArticleRich.com

New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Posted by: Adminin Uncategorized
26
Mar

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

Death sentences in 2008 Chinese tainted milk scandal

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24
Feb

Monday, January 26, 2009

On Thursday, the municipal intermediate people’s court in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, China pronounced sentences for 21 defendants implicated in the 2008 Chinese milk scandal which killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 others.

In the local court’s decision, 17 accused were indicted for the crimes of “producing, adding melamine-laced ‘protein powder’ to infant milk or selling tainted, fake and substandard milk to Sanlu Group or 21 other dairy companies, including six who were charged with the crime of endangering public security by dangerous means.” Four other courts in Wuji County, in Hebei, China had also tried cases on the milk scandal.

Zhang Yujun, age 40, of Quzhou County (Hebei), who produced and sold melamine-laced “protein powder” in the milk scandal, was convicted of endangering public security and sentenced to death by the Shijiazhuang intermediate people’s court.

The court also imposed the penalty of death upon Geng Jinping, who added 434 kg of melamine-laced powder to about 900 tons of fresh milk to artificially increase the protein content. He sold the tainted milk to Sanlu and some other dairy companies. His brother Geng Jinzhu was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for assisting in adding the melamine.

A suspended capital punishment sentence, pending a review, with two years probation, was handed down to Gao Junjie. Under the law, a suspended death sentence is equivalent to life imprisonment with good behavior. The court ruled that Gao designed more than 70 tons of melamine-tainted “protein powder” in a Zhengding County underground factory near Shijiazhuang. His wife Xiao Yu who assisted him, was also sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Sanlu Group General Manager Tian Wenhua, 66, a native of Nangang Village in Zhengding County, who was charged under Articles 144 and 150 of the criminal code, was sentenced to life imprisonment for producing and selling fake or substandard products. She was also fined 20 million yuan (US$2.92 million) while Sanlu, which has been declared bankrupt, was fined 49.37 million yuan ($7.3 million).

Tian Wenhua plans to appeal the guilty verdict on grounds of lack of evidence, said her lawyer Liang Zikai on Saturday. Tian testified last month during her trial that she decided not to stop production of the tainted milk products because a Fonterra designated board member handed her a document which states that a maximum of 20 mg of melamine was allowed in every kg of milk in the European Union. Liang opined that Tian should instead be charged with “liability in a major accident,” which is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment, instead of manufacturing and selling fake or substandard products.

According to Zhang Deli, chief procurator of the Hebei Provincial People’s Procuratorate, Chinese police have arrested another 39 people in connection with the scandal. Authorities last year also arrested 12 milk dealers and suppliers who allegedly sold contaminated milk to Sanlu, and six people were charged with selling melamine.

In late December, 17 people involved in producing, selling, buying and adding melamine to raw milk went on trial. Tian Wenhua and three other Sanlu executives appeared in court in Shijiazhuang, charged with producing and selling fake or substandard milk contaminated with melamine. Tian pleaded guilty, and told the court during her 14-hour December 31 trial that she learned about the tainted milk complaints and problems with her company’s BeiBei milk powder from consumer complaints in mid-May.

She then apparently led a working team to handle the case, but her company did not stop producing and selling formula until about September 11. She also did not report to the Shijiazhuang city government until August 2.

The court also sentenced Zhang Yanzhang, 20, to the lesser penalty of life imprisonment. Yanzhang worked with Zhang Yujun, buying and reselling the protein powder. The convicts were deprived of their political rights for life.

Xue Jianzhong, owner of an industrial chemical shop, and Zhang Yanjun were punished with life imprisonment and 15 years jail sentence respectively. The court found them responsible for employment of workers to produce about 200 tons of the tainted infant milk formula, and selling supplies to Sanlu, earning more than one million yuan.

“From October 2007 to August 2008, Zhang Yujun produced 775.6 tons of ‘protein powder’ that contained the toxic chemical of melamine, and sold more than 600 tons of it with a total value of 6.83 million yuan [$998,000]. He sold 230 tons of the “protein powder” to Zhang Yanzhang, who will stay behind bars for the rest of his life under the same charge. Both Zhangs were ‘fully aware of the harm of melamine’ while they produced and sold the chemical, and should be charged for endangering the public security,” the Court ruled.

Geng Jinping, a suspect charged with producing and selling poisonous food in the tainted milk scandal, knelt before the court, begging for victims’ forgiveness

The local court also imposed jail sentences of between five years and 15 years upon three top Sanlu executives. Wang Yuliang and Hang Zhiqi, both former deputy general managers, and Wu Jusheng, a former raw milk department manager, were respectively sentenced to 15 years, eight years and five years imprisonment. In addition, the court directed Wang to pay multi-million dollar fines. In December, Wang Yuliang had appeared at the Shijiazhuang local court in a wheelchair, after what the Chinese state-controlled media said was a failed suicide attempt.

The judgment also states “the infant milk powder was then resold to private milk collectors in Shijiazhuang, Tangsan, Xingtai and Zhangjiakou in Hebei.” Some collectors added it to raw milk to elevate apparent protein levels, and the milk was then resold to Sanlu Group.

“The Chinese government authorities have been paying great attention to food safety and product quality,” Yu Jiang Yu, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said. “After the case broke out, the Chinese government strengthened rules and regulations and took a lot of other measures to strengthen regulations and monitor food safety,” she added.

In the People’s Republic of China, the intermediate people’s court is the second lowest local people’s court. Under the Organic Law of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China, it has jurisdiction over important local cases in the first instance and hear appeal cases from the basic people’s court.

The 2008 Chinese milk scandal was a food safety incident in China involving milk and infant formula, and other food materials and components, which had been adulterated with melamine. In November 2008, the Chinese government reported an estimated 300,000 victims have suffered; six infants have died from kidney stones and other acute renal infections, while 860 babies were hospitalized.

Melamine is normally used to make plastics, fertilizer, coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. It was added by the accused to infant milk powder, making it appear to have a higher protein content. In 2004, a watered-down milk resulted in 13 Chinese infant deaths from malnutrition.

The tainted milk scandal hit the headlines on 16 July, after sixteen babies in Gansu Province who had been fed on milk powder produced by Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group were diagnosed with kidney stones. Sanlu is 43% owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra. After the initial probe on Sanlu, government authorities confirmed the health problem existed to a lesser degree in products from 21 other companies, including Mengniu, Yili, and Yashili.

From August 2 to September 12 last year Sanlu produced 904 tonnes of melamine-tainted infant milk powder. It sold 813 tonnes of the fake or substandard products, making 47.5 million yuan ($13.25 million). In December, Xinhua reported that the Ministry of Health confirmed 290,000 victims, including 51,900 hospitalized. It further acknowledged reports of “11 suspected deaths from melamine contaminated milk powder from provinces, but officially confirmed 3 deaths.”

Sanlu Group which filed a bankruptcy petition, that was accepted by the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court last month, and the other 21 dairy companies, have proposed a 1.1 billion yuan ($160 million) compensation plan for court settlement. The court appointed receiver was granted six months to conclude the sale of Sanlu’s assets for distribution to creditors. The 22 dairy companies offered “families whose children died would receive 200,000 yuan ($29,000), while others would receive 30,000 yuan ($4,380) for serious cases of kidney stones and 2,000 yuan ($290) for less severe cases.”

Sanlu stopped production on September 12 amid huge debts estimated at 1.1 billion yuan. On December 19, the company borrowed 902 million yuan for medical and compensation payment to victims of the scandal. On January 16, Sanlu paid compensation of 200,000 yuan (29,247 U.S. dollars) to Yi Yongsheng and Jiao Hongfang, Gangu County villagers, the parents of the first baby who died.

“Children under three years old, who had drunk tainted milk and had disease symptoms could still come to local hospitals for check-ups, and would receive free treatment if diagnosed with stones in the urinary system,” said Mao Qun’an, spokesman of the Ministry of Health on Thursday, adding that “the nationwide screening for sickened children has basically come to an end.”

“As of Thursday, about 90% of families of 262,662 children who were sickened after drinking the melamine-contaminated milk products had signed compensation agreements with involved enterprises and accepted compensation,” the China Dairy Industry Association said Friday, without revealing, however, the amount of damages paid. The Association (CDIA) also created a fund for payment of the medical bills for the sickened babies until they reach the age of 18.

Chinese data shows that those parents who signed the state-backed compensation deal include the families of six children officially confirmed dead, and all but two of 891 made seriously ill, the report said. Families of 23,651 children made ill by melamine tainted milk, however, have not received the compensation offer, because of “wrong or untrue” registration details, said Xinhua.

Several Chinese parents, however, demanded higher levels of damages from the government. Zhao Lianhai announced Friday that he and three other parents were filing a petition to the Ministry of Health. The letter calls for “free medical care and follow-up services for all victims, reimbursement for treatment already paid for, and further research into the long-term health effects of melamine among other demands,” the petition duly signed by some 550 aggrieved parents and Zhao states.

“Children are the future of every family, and moreover, they are the future of this country. As consumers, we have been greatly damaged,” the petition alleged. Chinese investigators also confirmed the presence of melamine in nearly 70 milk products from more than 20 companies, quality control official Li Changjiang admitted.

In addition, a group of Chinese lawyers, led by administrator Lin Zheng, filed Tuesday a $5.2 million lawsuit with the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (under Chief Grand Justice Wang Shengjunin), in Beijing, on behalf of the families of 213 children’s families. The class-action product liability case against 22 dairy companies, include the largest case seeking $73,000 compensation for a dead child.

According to a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Market Friday, China’s Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Company, which has a domestic market share of milk powder at 8 percent, reported a net loss in 2008 because of the milk scandal. A Morgan Stanley report states the expected company’s 2008 loss at 2.3 billion yuan. The scandal also affected Yili’s domestic rivals China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited and the Bright Group. Mengniu suffered an expected net loss of 900 million yuan despite earnings in the first half of 2008, while the Bright Group posted a third quarter loss at 271 million yuan last year.

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra, said Saturday it accepted the Chinese court’s guilty verdicts but alleged it had no knowledge of the criminal actions taken by those involved. “We accept the court’s findings but Fonterra supports the New Zealand Government’s position on the death penalty. We have been shocked and disturbed by the information that has come to hand as a result of the judicial process,” said Fonterra Chief Executive Andrew Ferrier.

“Fonterra deeply regrets the harm and pain this tragedy has caused so many Chinese families,” he added. “We certainly would never have approved of these actions. I am appalled that the four individuals deliberately released product containing melamine. These actions were never reported to the Sanlu Board and fundamentally go against the ethics and values of Fonterra,” Ferrier noted.

Fonterra, which controls more than 95 percent of New Zealand’s milk supply, is the nation’ biggest multinational business, its second-biggest foreign currency earner and accounts for more than 24 percent of the nation’s exports. Fonterra was legally responsible for informing Chinese health authorities of the tainted milk scandal in August, and by December it had written off its $200 million investment in Sanlu Group.

Amnesty International also strongly voiced its opposition to the imposition of capital punishment by the Chinese local court and raised concerns about New Zealand’s implication in the milk scandal. “The death penalty will not put right the immense suffering caused by these men. The death penalty is the ultimate, cruel and inhumane punishment and New Zealand must take a stand to prevent further abuses of human rights.” AI New Zealand chief executive Patrick Holmes said on Saturday.

“The New Zealand government does not condone the death sentence but we respect their right to take a very serious attitude to what was extremely serious offending,” said John Phillip Key, the 38th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the National Party. He criticized Fonterra’s response Monday, saying, “Fonterra did not have control of the vertical production chain, in other words they were making the milk powder not the supply of the milk, so it was a difficult position and they did not know until quite late in the piece. Nevertheless they probably could front more for this sort of thing.”

Keith Locke, current New Zealand MP, and the opposition Green Party foreign affairs spokesman, who was first elected to parliament in 1999 called on the government and Fonterra to respond strongly against the Chinese verdict. “They show the harshness of the regime towards anyone who embarrasses it, whether they are real criminals, whistleblowers or dissenters,” he said. “Many Chinese knew the milk was being contaminated but said nothing for fear of repercussions from those in authority. Fonterra could not get any action from local officials when it first discovered the contamination. There was only movement, some time later, when the matter became public,” he noted.

Green Party explained “it is time Fonterra drops its overly cautious act.” The party, however, stressed the death penalty is not a answer to the problems which created the Chinese milk scandal. “The Green Party is totally opposed to the death penalty. We would like to see the government and, indeed, Fonterra, speaking out and urging the Chinese government to stop the death penalty,” said Green Party MP Sue Kedgley.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A 39-nation coalition in Africa passed a declaration on Tuesday to ban cluster bombs in a nearly unanimous vote. The gathering in Lukasa, Zambia was the first meeting of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) in Africa.

“Africa is ready for Dublin,” summarised Zambian delegate Robert Mtonga, referring to the upcoming May 19-30 meeting in Ireland to discuss a global ban on the weapons. “Too often Africa’s voice is pushed to the margins in international decision-making. But in banning cluster bombs worldwide, a common African voice will speak volumes and win the day”.

Too often Africa’s voice is pushed to the margins in international decision-making. But in banning cluster bombs worldwide, a common African voice will speak volumes and win the day.

Mtonga was critical of South Africa, the lone voice against Monday’s decision and the continent’s largest producer and stockpiler of cluster bombs, and called on the country to destroy its munitions and join the coalition to outlaw their use. Egypt, the only other African nation to produce the controversial weapons, voiced support for the ban.

“Strong political will” was credited with the resolution, by CMC co-ordinator Thomas Nash in recognising the drive “to stop the proliferation of this outdated weapon”.

In a released statement the CMC said that 19 African countries, including South Africa, have endorsed the Wellington Declaration. The Wellington Declaration is the basis for the upcoming negotiations at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference in Ireland in May.

While countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom have tabled the idea of a “transition period” during which time cluster bombs would remain a legitimate weapon of war, the African delegation was resolutely against the idea, calling for an immediate ban.

Cluster munitions are dropped from aircraft, opening in mid-air and releasing a large number of smaller explosives over a wide area. Writer Theodora Williams stated that their use usually results in “…the death and maiming of thousands of innocent civilians”.

There are currently 13 African nations that possess cluster bombs although Uganda has recently announced they are destroying their stockpiles. The weapons have been used in eight African conflicts in the past 35 years. In addition to Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria and the Sudan, other nations known to have used the weapons are the former Yugoslavia, Eritrea, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the United States, China, Russia, and Israel have resisted any ban on cluster bombs, arguing that they can be used in self-defense. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the United States has lobbied allies to create loopholes in the upcoming Oslo treaty, to allow for the use of cluster bombs. Reuters reported that a U.S. official had stated that cluster bombs should not be banned if they are used responsibly in state conflicts.

In October 2007, Uganda became the first African country to state it would destroy its cluster bomb stockpiles. Uganda has announced a pan-African meeting to take place after the Dublin meeting, which would seek to garner support for the signing of a treaty in Oslo set to take place in December 2008. The weapons have been used in eight African conflicts in the past 35 years.

The CMC is an international network composed of over 250 civil society organizations in 60 countries, with the stated aim of protecting civilians from cluster munitions. Members of the CMC have been working to complete an international treaty to ban cluster munitions by 2008.

At the February CMC committee meeting in New Zealand, only 82 of the 122 nations present endorsed a draft ban on the production, usage or storage of cluster bombs.