TOP STORIES PAST 7 DAYS

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

INDIA 2013 MANGO SEASON: Unseasonal rain causes widespread havoc in Karimnagar ...







STAFF REPORTER




The rainfall on Tuesday resulted in a large number of mangoes falling off trees at Sangareddy in Medak district. Photo: Mohd. Arif








The remains of the roof of a house after the rain at Sangareddy in Medak. Photo: Mohd. Arif







Several houses destroyed, roofs swept away







The sudden rains followed by strong gales caused extensive damage to the mango groves in various parts of Karimnagar district on Monday night.



The ripe mangoes, which were ready for plucking, were damaged following the storm and rains. Similarly, the maize crop was also flattened in several acres of land.




Crop damage was also reported in Yellareddypet, Sircilla, Gambhiraopeta, Mustabad, Vemulawada, Metpally, Konaraopeta, Chandurthi and other mandals.








Several trees were uprooted following the rains in the mandals. The officials said that the teams would visit the rain-affected mango groves to assess the crop damage and submit a report to the government for providing necessary compensation.







Hailstorms coupled with strong gales hit Medak district on Tuesday causing intense damage to crops. There was no power supply in Sangareddy and Medak towns for several hours from afternoon onwards and it was not till late evening that the electricity returned.






However, no loss of life has been reported so far.






At many places, the roofs of houses were flung off and injured passersby on the road. Hailstones fell on vehicles and people, forcing them to take cover. An RTC bus coming to Sangareddy from Medak town was forced to stop for more than half an hour at Mambojipally as controlling the bus became a Herculean task due to the strong winds.







It was reported that the roofs of three poultry farms – two at Haveli Ghanapur and one at Patur- were swept away resulting in the death of a large number of chicks. The loss was estimated to be worth a few lakhs.







At many places, trees and electric poles fell on vehicles. Paddy, maize and mango crops were heavily damaged.






The traffic on Hyderabad road came to a standstill for quite some time. The district headquarters also witnessed heavy rain with hailstorm for more than an hour. Low- lying areas were inundated forcing people to clear out water from their residences at places like Nalsabgadda. At some places, wall collapses were also reported.






The district has received 7.4 cm rainfall in the past 24 hours while Jagadevpur recorded 62.2 mm rainfall.






According to the preliminary assessment of the agriculture and revenue authorities, paddy in over 10,000 hectares and maize in 7,500 hectares were damaged and about 300 houses were destroyed in the hailstorm in Banswada town and the surrounding villages in the district yesterday.






Cereals such as jowar, bajra and oilseed crops like sunflower and saffola were also damaged, but to a minimal extent. Minister for Major Irrigation P. Sudarshan Reddy, Collector Christina Z. Chongthu and Member of Parliament Suresh Shetkar and MLC D. Rajeswar made separate visits to the rain ravaged areas and bereaved families of Pranay and Venkatramulu who were killed due to wall collapses.






After visiting Ibrahimpet, Borgam and Pocharam villages, the Minister said that his government would come to the rescue of farmers who had lost crops due to untimely rains and ensure the sanction of new houses to those who had lost them. He announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh each to the bereaved families.






He assured the farmers of all possible help from the government. He was accompanied by Revenue Divisional Officer Mohan Reddy, Project Director, IKP, Venkatesam and the DCC president G. Gangadhar.






Meanwhile, 710 mm rainfall was recorded across the district yesterday. Kamareddy division recorded 245.0 mm followed by Nizamabad-240.60 mm, Kotagiri-80.80 mm, Sadasivanagar-47, Dichpally-46, Gandhari and Varni-42, Domakonda-40, Bodhan-25.20 mm and Banswada-17.06 mm.


Keywords: sudden rains, mango groves, Karimnagar district, Sircilla






http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/unseasonal-rain-causes-widespread-havoc-in-karimnagar/article4577027.ece


info@techo.org

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: TECHO (Housing Latin America's poor) ...






TECHO
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





This article is about the non-profit organization. 





TECHO, also known as Un Techo para mi País (UTPMP) (Spanish for A Roof For My Country), is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes youth volunteers to fight extreme poverty in Latin America, by constructing transitional housing and implementing social inclusion programs. Working with more than 500,000 volunteers, it has constructed houses for more than 86,000 families in 19 countries.[1]




Un Techo para Chile was formerly a separate organization. As of 2012, Un Techo para mi Pais and Un Techo para Chile became one single institution called TECHO.[2]





TECHO (Un Techo para mi País)Founder(s) Felipe Berríos
Founded 1997

Headquarters Departamental 440, San Joaquín, Santiago, Chile
Area served Latin America

Method construction of transitional houses; social inclusion programs

Volunteers 500,000+




Motto:  "Youth building a Latin America without poverty"



Website www.techo.org/en/








History


Un Techo para Chile was founded in 1997 by Jesuit priest Felipe Berríos, along with a group of university students. In 2001 it began expanding to other countries under the name Un Techo para mi País. In 2012 the name was changed to TECHO.[3]




The organization has a long history of responding to disaster situations, such as earthquakes in Peru (2007), Haiti (2010) and Chile (2010). TECHO was one of the first organizations to start building houses after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and it was awarded a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank to build 10,000 houses there.[4][5]Building began in Canaan, Haiti in 2010.



Notably, TECHO coined the term Precaria (country) as a framework for visualizing Latin American poverty as a country. This has been adopted by numerous leading figures including the former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, writer Isabel Allende, and Argentine corporate social responsibility expert Bernardo Kliksberg.[6]












Method

TECHO is most known for its large-scale construction projects, building transitional homes called mediaguas for people living in slums (campamentos) in Latin America.


 The homes are made of wood and built by volunteers who work alongside the beneficiary families. Transitional homes allow Latin America’s poorest populations to have a private, safe and decent shelter; these basic results have long-term impacts which are being evaluated in the impact study “Building a Brighter Future: A Randomized Experiment of Slum-Housing Upgrading,” led by academics from the World Bank and the University of California, Berkeley.[7]



In its second phase, TECHO coordinates social inclusion programs such as education, healthcare, economic development, micro-finance, and vocational training. These programs are organized around weekly community meetings led by residents of the area. The third phase involves helping residents develop their own sustainable communities, including construction of permanent housing.

Funding comes from grants, corporate support and individual donations.






Countries

TECHO was founded in Chile and has its headquarters there. As of 2012, it works in 19 countries in Latin America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic,Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
[edit]Awards and Grants



TECHO has received many awards and grants,[8] including:

2013- Dubai International Award for Best Practices (presented by Dubai Municipality and UN Habitat. [9][10]



2012- Honorable Mention in the Inter-American Development Bank’s Juscelino Kubitschek Award, for social programs in Chile.[11]



2010- Housing and Urban Development South-South Transfer Award, presented jointly by UN Habitat, the Building and Social Housing and Foundation (BSHF) and the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation.[12]



2010- $2.6 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank Multilateral Investment Fund to build houses in Haiti.[13][14]



2010- Clinton Global Initiative recognition for its commitment to build 10,000 houses in Haiti.[15][16]



2010- King of Spain’s Award for Human Rights.[17]



2010- Vidanta Foundation Prize, second place (presented in conjunction with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB)).[18]





2008- one of "100 Best Practices," UN Habitat Dubai International Award for Best Practices, for TECHO Uruguay.[20]




2007- Bicentennial Seal from Chilean President Michelle Bachelet for TECHO’s contributions to building a more equal society.[21]



2005- $3.5 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank Multilateral Investment Fund to expand its methodology and experiences to other countries in Latin America.[22]



2005- Social Entrepreneur Award, Schwab Foundation.








FOOD SAFETY: Q&A: Preventing Recalls In A Fast-Paced Industry ...








Wed, 03/20/2013 - 2:20pm 


Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing





This article originally ran in the March 2013 issue of Food Manufacturing.                                                                          





Interview with Barbara Levin, SVP and Co-Founder, SafetyChain Software



The FDA recently proposed new rules as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 


As the food regulatory landscape continues to change quickly, it is more important than ever for food facilities to employ the latest technology to prevent product recalls before they occur. 



Barbara Levin of SafetyChain Software spoke with Food Manufacturing about how food safety software can help food manufacturers be proactive when it comes to food safety.









Q: What regulations are included in the new food safety rules recently proposed by the FDA?


A: The recently announced FSMA rules are still under review, so we’re not sure what the final rules will look like. One of the new rules is the Preventative Controls for Human Food rule. 


The regulations around this rule would basically require all producers and manufacturers of food sold in the United States to have formalized, documented programs to prevent their products from causing foodborne illnesses and other contamination, as well as corrective action plans for issues that do arise. 


This is for food that is produced domestically or at a foreign plant. The second long-anticipated rule is for Produce Safety Standards, and calls for standards that are both science- and risk-based for the safe harvesting and production of produce on farms1.






Q: How should food companies prepare for these new rules?




A: A good place to start is to look at all food safety programs to determine:


Are your food safety and prerequisite programs, such as sanitation, well documented?



What are your verification practices? Are you saying what you will do and doing what you say?



Do your programs go beyond documentation and tests? Are you using technology such as mobile devices, for example, to record direct observation?



Are your employees well trained on your good manufacturing practices (GMPs)?


And perhaps most important, are you focusing merely on reaction to a food safety event or are you also practicing prevention? In other words, do you have appropriate interventions in place to help reduce or eliminate food contamination before it happens?





Q: What services and products does SafetyChain offer for food manufacturers?

A: SafetyChain Software specializes in Food Safety Chain Management — cloud-based, food safety and quality assurance (FSQA) solutions designed to help ensure safety and quality at all points along a food supply chain in real-time.

Our SafetyChain for Food™ suite helps food manufacturers keep non-compliant ingredients and raw materials from coming into production and non-compliant finished products from going out. It’s designed to create operational efficiencies that can save time and money — optimizing inbound material performance and lowering cost of goods made while also automating many FSQA tasks during the manufacturing process.

A few examples of capabilities include automation of supplier compliance; certificate of analysis (COA) and specification management; regulatory and internal compliance management; HACCP and GFSI program automation; safety and quality data management and real-time non-compliance stakeholder alerts; auto-scheduling of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) reviews; audit management; and finished product compliance. All safety and quality data — along with corrective actions records — create a central repository of data for reporting and analytics for continuous improvement on key performance indicators (KPIs); the ability to respond to on-demand audits; root cause analysis; supply chain optimization and more.







Q: Dole Fresh Vegetables recently implemented SafetyChain for Food. How does the system help Dole with its food safety initiatives?


A: According to Nye Joell Hardy, Dole Fresh Vegetables’ Senior Food Safety Manager, Dole is focused on a pro-active, prevention-based approach to food safety versus waiting for suppliers’ safety assessments. This includes ensuring all food safety programs are followed at the start of every point of production, from planting to harvest to post-harvest. Dole’s current and continued phases of its SafetyChain for Food deployment include using the solution to:
Proactively ensure supplier compliance in the field — pre-harvest, during harvest and post-harvest — for all food safety requirements.
Conduct immediate food safety assessments from data sent via mobile devices with real-time alerts when corrective actions are required.


Respond to regulatory, non-regulatory and customer audits “on demand.”


Have real-time food safety traceability access to the electronic “paper chain” for mock and potential withdrawals and recalls.

Prepare for compliance with announced and anticipated FSMA rules.






Q: What are the benefits of realtime food safety and quality software?

A: There are several key benefits, including the ability to:
Help prevent food safety events — such as withdrawals, rejections and recalls — versus react to them. All safety and quality attribute tests results — from suppliers, internal/third-party labs and even equipment such as weighing machinery, for example — are analyzed in real-time to specifications. When non-compliant results are detected, immediate alerts are sent via text and email, allowing corrective actions or interventions to be taken before ingredients or raw materials go into production — or before non-conforming finished products are shipped to customers.



Keep cost of goods made within KPIs. Auto-notification for process variations can, for example, help reduce re-works. Another scenario might be auto-alerts when Critical Control Points (CCPs) are close to being reached. For example, if your cooling equipment on a particular line is not supposed to go above 44°(CL), alerts can go out at 40°, allowing corrective actions before yield and materials are at risk.


Eliminate the vast majority of manual processes and errors, saving both time and money and speeding sales throughput.

Have “predictive quality” based on continuous improvements from real-time data and analysis. For example, if salt content from a particular ingredient supplier is always on the high side of set limits, the specifications can be lowered and narrowed to a range that is acceptable.


Protect market value and brand by keeping non-conforming ingredients from going into production and non-compliant finished products from reaching customers.







Q: What should food manufacturers consider when looking to incorporate food safety software into their processes?



A: There are many types of food safety software on the market. When looking to integrate software solutions into overall FSQA processes and practices, important points for consideration include:
Does the software allow you to go paperless and automate communications both upstream and downstream? For example, can supplier documents be sent electronically? Can COAs to customers be automated to shorten release times while speeding product distribution?



Does the solution allow you to manage inbound, internal and outbound FSQA information to avoid data and document silos internally and across your organization (i.e. multiple plants in different locations)?



Does the solution handle quality in addition to safety? We all know of the potentially devastating effects of food safety events, but consistency in quality attributes is what keeps consumers coming back for more, lowers your manufacturing costs and strengthens the brand.



Does the software facilitate performance and trend analysis? In other words, does it create actionable data?



And very important, does the system integrate with other existing solutions in your enterprise such as ERP, supply chain, inventory management, procurement and distribution systems?







1Summarized from source material on Leavitt Partners blog dated January 10, 2013.



For more information on Food Safety Chain Management, or SafetyChain for FoodTM, please visit www.safetychain.com. Barbara Levin can be contacted at blevin@safetychain.com.




http://www.manufacturing.net/articles/2013/03/q%26a-preventing-recalls-in-a-fast-paced-industry


PORTS: MSC SELLS OFF 35% OF IT'S TERMINAL OPERATIONS ...











4/3/2013  
                             




MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. to Sell 35% of its Terminal Division to Global InfrastructurMSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. to sell 35% of its terminal division to Global Infrastructure Partners






MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (“MSC”) has reached agreement with Global Infrastructure Partners and a group of its LP Co-Investors (“GIP”) to sell 35% of Terminal Investment Limited SA (“TIL”). Consideration is US$1.929 billion, including certain payments contingent on TIL’s future performance. Closing is expected to take place in the middle of the year and is subject to obtaining the relevant approvals.







TIL has, or is in the process of acquiring, controlling or joint-controlling interests in 30 container terminals globally serving most of the world’s major trade routes and located in North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. TIL has grown rapidly over the last decade and is now the world’s sixth largest container terminal operator. 





TIL’s growth will continue to benefit from its relationship with MSC which is the world’s second largest container shipping company. 







MSC BEATRICE ANTWERP







The new strategic partnership between MSC and GIP will provide a strong foundation to support the next phase of TIL’s growth, including further acquisitions and investments. GIP will play an active role with Alistair Baillie joining TIL as President.






Diego Aponte, Vice President of MSC, said: “We’re extremely pleased to have joined forces with GIP, one of the largest and most experienced infrastructure funds. Through this partnership we are reinforcing our terminal division, which will enable us to capitalize on future opportunities and growth. This will complement MSC’s strategy to maintain a leading position in the industry.”







Diego Aponte, Vice President of MSC








Adebayo Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner of GIP commented: “We are delighted to enter into this exciting new partnership with MSC. This is in line with our strategy of developing best-in-class joint ventures with industry leaders. We expect to work closely with MSC in growing and improving this high quality portfolio of container terminal assets.”











2013 MANGO SEASON IN THE CARIBBEAN ...




















































Map Of The Caribbean









































GUATEMALA PEAK VOLUME IS TWO WEEKS AWAY ...




































By Will Cavan
Executive Director
International Mango Organization (IMO)
Publisher
Mango World Magazine (MWM)



www.mangoworldmagazine.blogspot.com





April 3, 2013



Winter Park, Florida -




With a lull in harvesting in Mexico for Easter week, mango prices remain near $6.00 per carton for Redskin Fruit.






Currently Central America is nearing peak production and Guatemala, the largest shipper, expects to peak within the next two weeks. IMO Sources are projecting that the increased volume will bring the market down to the $4.50 per 4 kg carton range by that time.


In the meantime early season districts in Mexico are winding down and the Michoacan volume is expected to coincide with the peak from Guatemala which will announce the beginning Mexican volume deal as Nayarit and Sinaloa come on line.


Ataulfo mangoes have dominated the crossings out of Mexico as is an increasing trend out of Mexico for the early season deal.


So far, markets have been relatively strong and shippers can be happy with current returns.






Source:


www.mangoworldmagazine.blogspot.com



STRIKE OUT! FSMA WHISTLEBLOWERS BAT ZERO IN FY11/12 ...







5 hours ago




By Will Woodlee, Contributing Editor





As vendors begin hawking peanuts in baseball stadiums across America this week, implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has stretched into its third spring. 



Due to FDA’s well-publicized delays in issuing required regulations, many of the law’s most demanding requirements have yet to take effect or be enforced. 



These delays make it difficult to assess the larger impacts of FSMA, which was widely viewed as the first major overhaul of the U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years.






However, some self-executing FSMA provisions have been in effect long enough that there are initial data to review. These include the "employee protection" provisions added by section 402. Based on the early data, so-called "whistleblowers" have not fared well under the new law. 




Specifically, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) statistics indicate that workers who have complained of retaliation for exposing potential food safety issues have struggled mightily to vindicate themselves via a formal determination from the agency. Precisely what these data mean is less clear.






As amended by FSMA, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) now prohibits a food industry employer from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee in retaliation for engaging in certain protected activities. These include reporting information about an act or omission that raises an FDCA compliance issue to the employer, the federal government or a state attorney general. 





Notably, such a report need not correctly identify conduct as a violation in order to qualify the communication as “protected." 


Rather, an employee must have only an objectively reasonable belief that an act or omission violated a provision of the FDCA or any order, rule, regulation, standard or ban issued by FDA. (As a technical matter, the law does not require that the communication relate to a food safety issue. The law would protect, for example, a report about a misleading statement on a food label.)






FSMA’s whistleblower protection provisions set forth extensive procedures for the investigation of discrimination complaints by, and litigation of controversies before, DOL. 





A case begins when a worker files her complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is tasked with investigating and making an initial determination on the merits of the complaint. 




An aggrieved employer or complainant may contest an OSHA determination and seek a de novo hearing before DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges with opportunities for further administrative appeal and judicial review.




After the close of the government’s fiscal year, DOL releases statistics on the various whistleblower protection programs that OSHA administers. 



During fiscal years 2011 and 2012 (the two fiscal years for which DOL has released data), OSHA received a total of 38 complaints filed under the FSMA provisions. 




Not one of these cases resulted in a finding that the worker’s whistleblower complaint had merit, though a number resulted in a settlement or withdrawn complaint. 




While some complainants have appealed OSHA’s no-merit findings, DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges thus far has not reversed any of these rulings on appeal. It also does not appear that any complainant has successfully appealed an unfavorable ruling from an administrative law judge.






For context, it bears mentioning that, according to recent OSHA statistics, success rates across the various whistleblower protection programs are generally quite low. 


Nevertheless, no program could have a lower rate than the FSMA program’s zero-percent yield. But what should we make of it?






Some might argue the zero-percent rate reflects how FSMA has underscored the importance of addressing food safety issues and that the whistleblower protection provisions have had their intended deterrent effect on employers. 



They might also assert that workers with even arguably meritorious complaints have settled with employers, which serves the purposes of the program and leaves only frivolous cases to be dismissed or withdrawn. 



Others could argue that the rate demonstrates how the FSMA whistleblower protection program provides a solution to a problem that never existed. Still others may view the data as indicting the system and highlighting the obstacles faced by brave whistleblowers.






Given the small data set and paucity of dismissals that have received appellate review to date, it is too early to make definitive conclusions about the FSMA whistleblower provisions’ impact. 



Like so many well meaning FSMA provisions, especially those FDA has yet to implement, section 402 likely has not thus far had the impact Congress intended. 




As the agency has no role in the FSMA whistleblower program, however, FDA should not be assessed an error in this particular case.






Will Woodlee is an associate at the law firm of Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker LLP


His practice focuses primarily on counseling and advocating on behalf of food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, medical device, dietary supplement, and tobacco companies on matters involving FDA law, USDA law, and related federal and state laws. 


Prior to joining the firm, he clerked for two administrative law judges at the United Stated Department of Labor.