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Showing posts from October 1, 2013


2: I am not poor, but I consume food on a daily basis. Will my food be inspected? 

Yes. Sort of. Maybe.

2a: Can you be more specific? 

Certain inspection services are considered so essential that they’re legally exempt from a federal government shutdown. 

Meat, egg, and poultry inspection will continue on a daily basis.

Grain inspections will continue too, but only if the user fees paid by farmers can fund the inspection program. 

In short, your oatmeal might kill you with salmonella before your meat does…if the cows don’t starve before that. (Welcome to Backwards Land.)

Oh, and the Food and Drug Administration is curtailing its activities to inspections, recalls, investigations, and preventing people from buying products that could kill them.

Read entire article here:

Venezuela expels three US diplomats, alleging sabotage plot

Venezuela President Maduro, in a move from the playbook of former President Hugo Chávez, charges that US diplomats engaged in an 'imperialist' plot to sabotage the electric grid.

By Howard LaFranchi

Staff writer / October 1, 2013

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, here speaking during an event in Coro in the state of Falcon on Sept. 30, said on Monday he was expelling the top US diplomat in the South American nation and two others, accusing them of meeting with opposition leaders and encouraging 'acts of sabotage' against his country. He has given the diplomats 48 hours to leave.

Courtesy of Miraflores Palace/Reuters


For anyone who worried that the death of Hugo Chávez last year might mean less colorful fireworks between Venezuela and the United States, never fear: Nicolás Maduro has taken charge of the anti-American mantle with gusto.

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APHIS Stakeholders -

Due to a lapse in appropriations for APHIS as of October 1, APHIS has initiated the process of orderly shutdown of nonessential operations. 

You can view USDA’s plans for a lapse in appropriations at

We understand the uncertainty that the current circumstances present for Americans that USDA serves every day, as well as our many partners around the country. Effective today, many APHIS staff will be furloughed pending reinstatement of funding by Congress. These staff will not be available by phone or email, and cannot carry out work for the Agency, until funding is restored.

In APHIS, certain activities would continue because they are financed through available funding (e.g., user fees, trust funds) or are considered “excepted,” such as cattle fever tick surveillance and foreign animal disease diagnostics because these protect our borders against the entry of foreign diseases and care of animals in our custody because thi…

US Wakes Up to Government Shutdown

October 1, 2013 - The US Congress has failed to agree a budget by 1 October and a federal government shutdown has begun, sending more than 700,000 federal workers home and closing down national parks, museums, federal buildings and services.

Department of Transportation - Transport roles run by the department,ranging from air traffic control to airport and hazardous materials inspections, will continue and 36,987 out of 55,468 personnel will remain at work.

Staff involved in overseeing commercial space launches will also continue operations - as at least one of a succession of launches will occur between the end of September and the first week in October in support of the International Space Station, according to the department.

Suspended activities will include facility security inspections, routine personnel security background investigations and the employee drug testing program.

Department of Homeland Security - About 86% of the Department of Homeland Security's 240,000 employees …

TECHNOLOGY & LOGISTICS : How the mango reaches supermarket shelves safe and sound

By Jürgen Hase, Vice President M2M Competence Center, Deutsche Telekom AG

 [October 2013]

Real-Time Cargo Monitoring helps reduce food wastage.

Four thousand tonnes is the weight of around 1,400 Range Rovers or 3,000 VW Golfs. 

It is also the amount of food that goes to waste year after year in the UK long before it ever reaches the large supermarket chains’ warehouses, let alone consumers’ refrigerators. 

There is no need for all that food to go to waste though, as real-time cargo monitoring is a solution that could help food producers, logistics firms and freight forwarders keep an eye on their supply chain from beginning to end.

In the transportation business, machine-to-machine (M2M) technology not only improves routes and reduces fuel costs by up to 20 percent, it also helps to optimise distribution logistics and reduce food wastage.

With real-time cargo monitoring solutions, a dispatcher with an international tropical fruit producer can switch his computer on at 8 am on a Monday mornin…

STRATFOR ANALYSIS : U.S. and Iranian Realities

Geopolitical Weekly

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2013 - 04:00


By George Friedman

U.S. President Barack Obama called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week in the first such conversation in the 34 years since the establishment of the Islamic Republic. 

The phone call followed tweets and public statements on both sides indicating a willingness to talk. 

Though far from an accommodation between the two countries, there are reasons to take this opening seriously -- not only because it is occurring at such a high level, but also because there is now a geopolitical logic to these moves. 

Many things could go wrong, and given that this is the Middle East, the odds of failure are high. 

But Iran is weak and the United States is avoiding conflict, and there are worse bases for a deal.

Iran's Surge Though the Iranians are now in a weak strategic position, they had been on the offensive since 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq. They welcomed the invasion; Saddam Hussein had been a mortal …

EEUU rechaza por completo las acusaciones del Gobierno de Venezuela

septiembre 30, 2013 5:20 pm

(Foto archivo)

El Gobierno estadounidense indicó este lunes que no ha recibido ninguna “notificación oficial” sobre la anunciada expulsión de tres diplomáticos de su embajada en Caracas, y rechazó de nuevo las acusaciones de su supuesta implicación “en conspiraciones para desestabilizar” al Gobierno de Venezuela.

“Hemos visto el anuncio televisado por el presidente venezolano, Nicolás Maduro, pero no hemos recibido ninguna notificación oficial sobre las expulsiones”,
dijo en un correo enviado a Efe un funcionario del Departamento de Estado que solicitó el anonimato.

EE.UU. respondía al anuncio realizado esta tarde por Maduro en el que informó sobre la expulsión de la encargada de negocios estadounidense, Kelly Keiderling, y dos diplomáticos de ese país en Caracas, a los que dio 48 horas para abandonar Venezuela por haber alentado supuestamente acciones de sabotaje.

“Rechazamos por completo las acusaciones del Gobierno de Venezuela de la implicación de EE.UU. en …

Shutdown begins: Stalemate forces first U.S. government closure in 17 years

View Photo Gallery — Government formally begins to shut down: The Senate rejected House amendments to a short-term spending bill Monday, pushing the government toward its first shutdown in nearly two decades.

By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane

The U.S. government began to shut down for the first time in 17 years early Tuesday, after a Congress bitterly divided over President Obama’s signature health-care initiative failed to reach agreement to fund federal agencies.

Hours before a midnight deadline, the Republican House passed its third proposal in two weeks to fund the government for a matter of weeks. Like the previous plans, the new one sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act, this time by delaying enforcement of the “individual mandate,” a cornerstone of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.

Government shutdown

What's open and what's closed


Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane

After a stalemate in Congress over the health-care law, the federal …

U.S. mango importer anticipates increased Ecuadorian volume

October 1st, 2013

California’s Freska Produce International expects its first shipments of Ecuadorian mangoes to the U.S. West Coast next week.

Freska’s Gary Clevenger told the company anticipated a 20-30% volume increase from the country over last year, in part due to good weather.

“Last year was an off volume year so that allowed the trees to get a little bit stronger. Going into this year, they’ve had good weather,”
Clevenger said.

“Along with having more volume on the tree this year, we’re going to be seeing sizing a little smaller due to the trees taking on so much fruit. As a lot of the fruit gets harvested earlier in the season, that will allow fruit that’s left on the trees to get a little bit bigger.”

Initial fruit sizing was estimated at between 10 and 14 ounces.

Volume will get started with Tommy Atkins, Ataulfos and Hadens, which will last until the end of the year. In December, the Ecuadorian season will begin to wrap up with arrivals of Kents.

In early …