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Whole Foods will label GMO foods

By CANDICE CHOI | AP | MARCH 8, 2013

Whole Foods says all products in its North American stores will have labels disclosing if they contain genetically modified ingredients by 2018.

The company says it’s the first national grocery chain to set such a deadline for labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. A spokeswoman for Whole Foods said organic foods will not have to carry the labels since they do not contain GMOs by definition. Although Whole Foods is known as an organic grocer, it also sells a wide array of non-organic products.

Whole Foods Market Inc. notes that it has been working with suppliers for years to source products that don’t have GMO ingredients. It says it currently sells more than 3,000 products have gone through the non-GMO verification process, more than any other retailer in North America.

The use of GMOs has been a growing issue in recent years, with health advocates pushing for mandatory labeling. Last year, California voters shot down an initiative that would have required such labels. As various efforts continue for GMO labeling, Whole Foods said it would move ahead with its own plans.

A spokeswoman for Whole Foods noted that its stores in the United Kingdom already have GMO labeling, in compliance with national regulations.

Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, said the issue was about “the consumer’s right to know.”

Patty Lovera of Food and Water Watch, a consumer and environmental advocacy group, called the Whole Foods announcement a “smart move.” Her group and others have been pushing for a federal law requiring labeling on all genetically modified foods.

“We’re continuing to work to make this label mandatory because everyone deserves to have that label, not just Whole Food shoppers,” Lovera said. “But I think it’s smart on their part to start giving consumers what they want, which is more information.”

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Diane Feinstein proposes Obsolete measures in gun control Legislation

Her plan includes banning the possession of handguns, shotguns and rifles.

FBI deemed Feinstein’s proposals as ineffective in reducing crime.

By EMILY MILLER | WASHINGTON TIMES | JANUARY 24, 2013

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office confirmed that she will be introducing in the Senate Thursday a new version of the so-called assault weapon ban. A spokesman said the full text will be released at a press conference on Thursday.

The California Democrat intends to expand on the ban that expired in 2004, by including handguns and shotguns, in addition to rifles. She would decrease from two to one the number of cosmetic features on a gun to have it be considered an “assault weapon.” This means that if a gun has just one item like a pistol grip or bayonet lug, then it is illegal. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the same ban in New York last week.

Furthermore, instead of grandfathering in current firearms, she would create a national gun registry for the government to track lawful gun owners. Magazines would again be limited to 10 rounds.

The Clinton-era bill was not renewed by Congress after the Federal Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement agencies reported that it was ineffective in reducing crime.

President Obama said that a top priority is to get “an assault weapons ban that is meaningful” passed this year.

 

A summary of Mrs. Feinstein’s legislation is below. 

Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of: 120 specifically named firearms; certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.

Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by: Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test; eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.

Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by: Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment; exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.

Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include: Background check of owner and any transferee; type and serial number of the firearm; positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint; certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.

Emily Miller is senior editor of the opinion pages for The Washington Times. Her “Emily Gets Her Gun” series on the District’s gun laws won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism. Click here to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Illegal Immigrants’ Free Ride to Legalization Closer than Ever

California probes the idea of state-wide amnesty.

Arizone Daily Star
December 3, 2011

Nearly 1 million undocumented immigrants could live and work openly in California with little or no fear of deportation under an initiative unveiled Friday by a state legislator and others.

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, a Democrat, is helping spearhead the measure, called the California Opportunity and Prosperity Act.

The proposal was filed Friday with the state Attorney General’s Office, marking a first step toward a drive to collect the 504,760 voter signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

Fuentes called the measure a “moderate, common-sense approach” necessitated by the federal government’s inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“I hope this shows Washington, D.C., that if they fail to act, California will take the lead on this critical issue,” Fuentes said in a written statement.

Supporters say the initiative could generate up to $325 million in new tax revenue from undocumented workers that could assist education, public safety and other state programs.

Regardless whether Californians would support such a measure, implementation would depend upon the federal government agreeing not to prosecute participants.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican, blasted the proposal as an attempt to sidestep immigration law. He predicted that it wouldn’t have a “snowball’s chance in hell” of winning voter approval.

“There’s a proper process for coming to this country,” Donnelly said. “Why don’t you respect that?”

The proposed initiative would apply to illegal immigrants who have lived in California for four years, have no felony convictions, are not suspected terrorists, pay a fee to administer the program, and can speak English or are learning it.

Internet Dictatorship Begins in Singapore

A “new” system that records every move, stores all passwords and homogenizes software and that will control the net from 3 major hubs.

by John Markoff
NYTimes
June 25, 2011

A small group of Internet security specialists gathered in Singapore this week to start up a global system to make e-mail and e-commerce more secure, end the proliferation of passwords and raise the bar significantly for Internet scam artists, spies and troublemakers.

“It won’t matter where you are in the world or who you are in the world, you’re going to be able to authenticate everyone and everything,” said Dan Kaminsky, an independent network security researcher who is one of the engineers involved in the project.

The Singapore event included an elaborate technical ceremony to create and then securely store numerical keys that will be kept in three hardened data centers there, in Zurich and in San Jose, Calif. The keys and data centers are working parts of a technology known as Secure DNS, or DNSSEC. DNS refers to the Domain Name System, which is a directory that connects names to numerical Internet addresses. Preliminary work on the security system had been going on for more than a year, but this was the first time the system went into operation, even though it is not quite complete.

The three centers are fortresses made up of five layers of physical, electronic and cryptographic security, making it virtually impossible to tamper with the system. Four layers are active now. The fifth, a physical barrier, is being built inside the data center.

The technology is viewed by many computer security specialists as a ray of hope amid the recent cascade of data thefts, attacks, disruptions and scandals, including break-ins at Citibank, Sony, Lockheed Martin, RSA Security and elsewhere. It allows users to communicate via the Internet with high confidence that the identity of the person or organization they are communicating with is not being spoofed or forged.

Internet engineers like Mr. Kaminsky want to counteract three major deficiencies in today’s Internet. There is no mechanism for ensuring trust, the quality of software is uneven, and it is difficult to track down bad actors.

One reason for these flaws is that from the 1960s through the 1980s the engineers who designed the network’s underlying technology were concerned about reliable, rather than secure, communications. That is starting to change with the introduction of Secure DNS by governments and other organizations.

The event in Singapore capped a process that began more than a year ago and is expected to be complete after 300 so-called top-level domains have been digitally signed, around the end of the year. Before the Singapore event, 70 countries had adopted the technology, and 14 more were added as part of the event. While large countries are generally doing the technical work to include their own domains in the system, the consortium of Internet security specialists is helping smaller countries and organizations with the process.

The United States government was initially divided over the technology. The Department of Homeland Security included the .gov domain early in 2009, while the Department of Commerce initially resisted including the .us domain because some large Internet corporations opposed the deployment of the technology, which is incompatible with some older security protocols.

Internet security specialists said the new security protocol would initially affect Web traffic and e-mail. Most users should be mostly protected by the end of the year, but the effectiveness for a user depends on the participation of the government, Internet providers and organizations and businesses visited online. Eventually the system is expected to have a broad effect on all kinds of communications, including voice calls that travel over the Internet, known as voice-over-Internet protocol.

“In the very long term it will be voice-over-I.P. that will benefit the most,” said Bill Woodcock, research director at the Packet Clearing House, a group based in Berkeley, Calif., that is assisting Icann, the Internet governance organization, in deploying Secure DNS.

Secure DNS makes it possible to make phone calls over the Internet secure from eavesdropping and other kinds of snooping, he said.

Security specialists are hopeful that the new Secure DNS system will enable a global authentication scheme that will be more impenetrable and less expensive than an earlier system of commercial digital certificates that proved vulnerable in a series of prominent compromises.

The first notable case of a compromise of the digital certificates — electronic documents that establish a user’s credentials in business or other transactions on the Web — occurred a decade ago when VeriSign, a prominent vendor of the certificates, mistakenly issued two of them to a person who falsely claimed to represent Microsoft.

Last year, the authors of the Stuxnet computer worm that was used to attack the Iranian uranium processing facility at Natanz were able to steal authentic digital certificates from Taiwanese technology companies. The certificates were used to help the worm evade digital defenses intended to block malware.

In March, Comodo, a firm that markets digital certificates, said it had been attacked by a hacker based in Iran who was trying to use the stolen documents to masquerade as companies like Google, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo.

“At some point the trust gets diluted, and it’s just not as good as it used to be,” said Rick Lamb, the manager of Icann’s Secure DNS program.

The deployment of Secure DNS will significantly lower the cost of adding a layer of security, making it more likely that services built on the technology will be widely available, according to computer network security specialists. It will also potentially serve as a foundation technology for an ambitious United States government effort begun this spring to create a system to ensure “trusted identities” in cyberspace.

U.S. Customs Officer May Have Prevented a ‘WMD’ attack

Mail Online

A port official has admitted that a ‘weapon of mass effect’  has been found by ‘partner agencies’ in the U.S., raising major questions over a possible government cover-up.

The disturbing revelation came in an interview with San Diego’s assistant port director screened by a television channel in the city.

The Customs and Border Protection Department tried to dampen speculation over his remarks, but doubts remained over whether he had inadvertently revealed a dirty bomb plot to attack the U.S. mainland.

Concern over a secret WMD bust came after U.S. cables made public by the Wikileaks whistleblower website revealed terror groups were plotting a ‘nuclear 911.’

In the interview screened by San Diego’s 10News, Al Hallor, assistant San Diego port director, said ‘weapons of mass effect’ had been found, although he did not specify exactly where or what they were.

Reporter Mitch Blacher asked Mr Hallor: ‘Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponised device?’

‘At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things,’ the customs official replied.

‘So, specifically, you’re looking for the dirty bomb? You’re looking for the nuclear device?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Correct. Weapons of mass effect,’ said Mr Hallor.

‘You ever found one?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Not at this location,’ Mr Hallor said.

‘But they have found them?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Yes,’ said Mr Hallor.

‘You never found one in San Diego though?’ Mr Blacher asked.

‘I would say at the port of San Diego we have not,’ Mr Hallor said.

‘Have you found one in San Diego?’ Mr Blacher asked.

The interview was then interrupted and cut short by a public relations official before Mr Hallor was able to answer the question.

San Diego’s Customs and Border Protection agency was unavailable for comment today.

Earlier, Mr Hallor told Mr Blacher: ‘Potentially every city in America is a target. Given the waterways and the access to the Navy fleet here, I’d say, absolutely, San Diego is a target.

‘Our overall arching mission is to protect the American homeland against terrorists and from weapons of mass effect from entering the country. We are the guardians of America’s borders.’

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