Chinese workers dying, losing limbs to make cheap products for U.S.

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“Do people in your country handle cadmium while they make batteries?” Xiang asks. “Do they also die from this?” `This is a big problem for Americans’ With each new report of lead detected on a made-in-China toy, Americans express outrage: These toys could poison children. But Chinese workers making the toys – and countless other products for America – touch and inhale carcinogenic materials every day, all day long: benzene, lead, cadmium, toluene, nickel, mercury. Many are dying. They have fatal occupational diseases. Mostly they are young, in their 20s, 30s and 40s. But they are enduring slow, difficult deaths. Some say these workers are paying the real price for America’s cheap goods from China. “In terms of responsibility to Chinese society, this is a big problem for Americans,” said Zhou Litai, a lawyer from the city of Chongqing who has represented tens of thousands of dying workers in Chinese courts. The toxins and hazards exist in virtually every industry, including furniture, shoes, car parts, electronic items, jewelry, clothes, toys and batteries, interviews with workers confirm. The interviews were corroborated by legal documents, medical journal articles, medical records, import documents and official Chinese reports. And although these products are being made for the United States, most Chinese workers lack the health protections that for nearly half a century have protected U.S. workers, such as correct protective masks, booths that limit the spread of sprayed chemicals, proper ventilation systems and enforcement to ensure that their exposure to toxins will be limited to permissible doses. Chinese workers also routinely lose fingers or arms while making U.S. furniture, appliances and other metal goods. Their machines are too old to function properly, or they lack safety guards required in the United States. In most cases, U.S. companies do not own these factories. U.S. and multinational companies pay the factories to make products for America. From tiny A to Z Mining Tools in St. George to multinational corporations such as Reebok and IKEA, companies compete in the global marketplace by reducing costs – and that usually means outsourcing manufacturing to China. Last year, the United States imported $287.8 billion in goods from China, up from $51.5billion a decade ago, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Those imports are expected only to increase. Worker health and safety are considered basic human rights. But in the global economy, responsibility to workers often gets lost amid vast distances and international boundaries. “This is a big-picture problem,” said Garrett Brown, an industrial hygienist from California who has inspected Chinese factories that export to America. “Big-picture problems don’t have quick or easy solutions.” The International Labor Organization publishes international standards for workplaces. China agreed to many of those standards and also enacted a 2002 law setting its own rigorous standards. Under Chinese law, workers have the legal right to remain safe from fatal diseases and amputations at work. But the law hasn’t been enforced, Chinese and international experts agree. Economic growth has been a more important goal to China than worker safety. Even the World Trade Organization, which maintains some barriers to trade to protect consumers’ health, does not concern itself with issues of workers’ health. As a result, enforcement of health-and-safety standards has been left to the governments of developing countries and the companies that outsource to those countries. Often, smaller companies never even visit the factories where their products are made. Larger companies try with only limited success to audit operations, often complaining that their efforts are failing. Records are falsified, and unsafe machines are used after audits. Safety guards are removed so workers can produce faster. “Through auditing tours, we can make good improvements and changes, but those changes are not sustainable,” complained Wang Lin, a manager for IKEA based in Shanghai. “Chinese government law enforcement is greatly needed. Without that, companies cannot sustain a good compliance program.” The Chinese Ministry of Health in 2005 noted at least 200 million of China’s labor force of 700 million workers were routinely exposed to toxic chemicals and life-threatening diseases in factories. “More than 16 million enterprises in China have been subjecting workers to high, poisonous levels of toxic chemicals,” the ministry said at a conference on occupational diseases in Beijing, which was reported by the state-controlled media. The ministry particularly blamed “foreign-funded” enterprises that exported goods. China has more deaths per capita from work-related illnesses each year than any other country, according to the ILO. In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, 386,645 Chinese workers died of occupational illnesses, according to Chinese government data compiled by the ILO and cited in the July 14, 2006, Journal of Epidemiology. Millions more live with fatal diseases caused by factory work, other epidemiologists estimated in the article. The number of workers living with fatal diseases does not include those who suffer amputations. Primitive, unsafe machines with blades that lack safety guards have caused millions of limb amputations since 1995, according to lawyers for Chinese workers. The scale of the fatal diseases, deaths and amputations challenges the common wisdom – recited in both the Chinese and American press – that U.S. trade with China has helped Chinese factory workers improve their lives and living standards. “If I had known about the serious effects of the chemicals, I would not possibly have taken that job,” said Chen Honghuan, 40, who was poisoned while handling cadmium to make batteries for export to Rayovac, EverReady, Energizer and Panasonic in the United States. China’s 2002 Occupational Disease and Prevention Control Act established limits on workplace poisons, which in most cases are as strict or nearly as strict as U.S. regulations. But Chinese and foreign experts agree enforcement has been lax. After the law was enacted, for example, the average benzene level in Chinese factories reported in 24 scientific journals from 2002 through 2004 was more than 11 times the allowable level, according to scientists from Fudan University of Public Health in Shanghai, writing in the November 2006 Journal of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. Scientists reached the same conclusion about workers’ exposure to lead in the manufacture of paint, batteries, iron, steel, glass, cables and certain plastics. “The data demonstrated that many facilities in the lead industries reported in the literature were not in compliance with the OELs (occupational exposure limits),” Xibiao Ye and Otto Wong wrote in a 2006 medical journal article. “Similarly, there appeared to be only a minor impact of the 2002 act on the reduction of occupational lead poisoning in China. The current overall occupational health-monitoring system appears inadequate, lacking the necessary enforcement.” Most American businesses that import from China are small and medium-size, U.S. shipping records show. Unlike large companies, they ordinarily do not visit the factories or check on factory conditions. “I found the factory on the Internet two years ago,” Michael Been, owner of A to Z Mining Tools in St. George, said of a factory he uses in Guizhou Province. “They have someone who writes English.” Been has never been to the factory and has no plans to visit. Some larger companies, however, pay auditors to monitor conditions in the factories they use. But auditors’ visits provide merely a “snapshot in time,” business owners say. Chinese workers suggest those snapshots often are staged, with the number of toxins reduced before the visits and workers reassigned to new and safer tasks. The glimpse that visitors get of Chinese factories often is incomplete for other reasons: Many large factories have small satellite “workshops,” which are much smaller factories nearby that visitors never see, said Chinese workers interviewed for this story. “These Americans visited the large factory but never visited the workshop where I worked,” Chen Faju, 31, said as she pointed to numerous photos in her factory’s magazines of visiting Americans. “If they had visited, they would have smelled the poisons.” Chen and colleagues from the workshop were hospitalized for chronic anemia and myelodysplastic anemia, beginning in 2002, a result of brushing toxic glues for years onto the soles of New Balance and other sport shoes sold in the United States. The shoes were made by 30,000 workers in the Yue Yuen industrial park in the city of Dongguan. Chen’s medical record, dated Feb. 14, 2007, advises that she be removed from a job of “working with organic chemicals.” A manager from Chen’s workshop, Du Masheng, said toxins are not used anymore. In addition, auditors typically have been more concerned with fair wages than worker safety. Derek Wang, a former auditor for Reebok, recalls that he and his former boss lurked outside factories at night to see if workers were working overtime so they could make sure they were paid for the additional work. But asked for the ingredients of glues the factories used to make the shoes, Huang said he didn’t know. He never had glues tested for carcinogenic benzene or n-hexane. Chinese provincial governments are responsible for checking compliance with Chinese law. But too often, officials have a financial stake in businesses, leading to corruption and 24-hour warnings before rare inspections occur, said Liu Kaiming, executive director of the Institute of Contemporary Observation, a Chinese think tank. There are too few inspectors in China to monitor safety, experts say. There is one inspector for every 35,000 Chinese workers, Brown, the American industrial hygienist, calculated in a journal article. Local governments in China also do not fully understand the “adverse effects on workers’ health” of occupational hazards, according to an article this year in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. “Chinese labor law is not that bad,” said Dominique Muller, the Hong Kong director of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. “The problem is the implementation.” Guo Jianmei, a law professor at Beijing University who represents workers injured in factories, added: “The problem is that the Chinese government does not have an incentive to reform the enterprises.” In most countries, trade unions help ensure that employers abide by occupational health and safety regulations. The unions also help train workers in proper use of machines and protective equipment. China has only one trade union, controlled by the central government. Its function is to enhance production and maintain labor discipline. Workers who try to organize or establish their own free trade unions are arrested and face lengthy prison sentences. Lawyers who have tried to help them also have been imprisoned. “In China, there is absolutely nothing you can do,” said Au Loong-yu, a researcher for the nonprofit organization Globalization Monitor in Hong Kong. “Workers have been robbed of the basic tool of self-defense, forming independent unions. And the government is biased in favor of the business sector, so it cracks down on workers who try to speak up for themselves.” Indeed, the Chinese government treats issues related to workers’ rights as sensitive matters of state security. Even those workers with diseases or amputations who try to help other workers with similar conditions – by forming independent nongovernment organizations (NGOs) – have had their organizations shut down by state security police, they said in interviews. “Now, we pose as a business, as a consulting firm,” said Zhu Qiang, an underground NGO leader in Shenzhen who lost his arm in a crude machine while making plastic bags for America. China’s failure to permit free trade unions translates into additional cost savings for American consumers and profits for American companies, reducing the cost of manufactured imports from China from 11percent to 44percent, Columbia University law professor Mark Barenberg said. The lack of unions also makes it even more lucrative to use Chinese workers to make goods. “In the U.S., if you are a manufacturer, you have to contribute to unemployment insurance and worker compensation insurance, you have to buy workplace environmental insurance and liability insurance, and you have to comply with the occupational health and safety law,” said David Welker, research coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Washington, D.C. U.S. businesses, while adamant they don’t want Chinese workers to get sick or hurt, know their costs are lower because the regulatory environment is more lax. Meanwhile, the shipping containers from China arrive every day.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! GUANGZHOU, China – The patients arrive every day in Chinese hospitals with disabling and fatal diseases, acquired while making products for the United States. On the sixth floor of the Guangzhou Occupational Disease and Prevention Hospital, Wei Chaihua, 44, sits on his iron-rail bed, tethered to an oxygen tank. He is dying of the lung disease silicosis, a result of making Char-Broil gas stoves sold in California and throughout the United States. Down the hall, He Yuyun, 36, who for years brushed America’s furniture with paint containing benzene and other solvents, receives treatment for myelodysplastic anemia, a precursor to leukemia. In another room rests Xiang Zhiqing, 39, her hair falling out and her kidneys beginning to fail from prolonged exposure to cadmium, which she placed in batteries sent to the United States. last_img

Romania v Switzerland: Euro 2016 live stream commentary on talkSPORT

first_img Listen to live commentary of the Group A meeting on talkSPORT 2 Romania v Switzerland, in the second round of Group A fixtures, meet 5pm (BST) at the Parc des Princes – and it’s live on talkSPORT.Romania lost their opening game 2-1 to host nation France, while the Swiss sealed a narrow 1-0 victory over Albania on Saturday afternoon.With three points on the board, a win for the latter at the home of Paris Saint-Germain would seal their place in the last 16.Group A, as it stands: The pair are famililar with one another, having met 12 times previously, with five victories apiece and two draws.It’ll be a difficult one to call, but one manager is certainly feeling the less confident.After Romania’s agnosing defeat to France – with Dimitri Payet’s winning strike arriving in the 89th minute – Anghel Iordanescu spoke of the difficulty of lifting his shattered players.“It will be very difficult to re-establish the players’ physical form and their fitness because they’re absolutely exhausted,” Iordanescu told reporters.“They also need to consider the psychological aspect, which is very important in this sort of tournament.”Confirmed line-ups: Romania XI: Tatarusanu, Sapunaru, Chiriches, Grigore, Rat, Prepelita, Pintilii, Torje, Stancu, Chipciu, KeseruSubstitutes: Pantilimon, Matel, Moti, Hoban, Alibec, Stanciu, Andone, Gaman, Filip, Sanmartean, Popa, LungSwitzerland XI:Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Schar, Djourou, Rodriguez, Behrami, Xhaka, Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Mehmedi, SeferovicSubstitutes: Hitz, Moubandje, Elvedi, von Bergen, Lang, Embolo, Frei, Zakaria, Fernandes, Tarashaj, Derdiyok, BurkiListen live, via talkSPORT.com, on radio (1053 or 1089AM, and DAB), on your television or through our app. 2last_img read more

BUNCRANA HURLERS MAKE HISTORY WITH FAMOUS WIN

first_imgBuncrana’s under-14 hurlers made history at the weekend after winning an Ulster championship.And they did in style – by beating a side steeped in a century of hurling history.The Buncrana boys won the Division 3 Ulster Feile title at Ballinascreen with a stunning 3-9 to no score victory over Portaferry, from the Ards peninsula of Co Down. The Donegal side has only been competing in hurling for just over a decade.You can read more by clicking on sport or clicking here: https://www.donegaldaily.com/2011/05/16/gaa-notes-buncrana/BUNCRANA HURLERS MAKE HISTORY WITH FAMOUS WIN was last modified: May 16th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

FUNDING MUST BE RESTORED TO FINN VALLEY ASD UNIT – SENATOR

first_imgDonegal South West Senator has called on the Department of Education to re-instate the funding of €150,000 previously approved in 2008 for an ASD Unit in the new School Building of Finn Valley College.The Senator raised the matter with the Minister for Education and Skills in the Seanad this week following a request from the New Chairperson of the School Board of Management Cllr Patrick McGowan.“It is vital to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Unit provided in the New Finn Valley College given the need that exists in the School for such a facility. Such a Unit would improve the quality of life and Educational advancement of students who would use the Unit by providing intensive and sustained special education programmes to pupils. “Previously approved funding has recently been withdrawn and therefore I am requesting the Government to re-allocate the funding for the ASD Unit.“The Minister in his reply in the Seanad has advised me that the Department have now agreed to accept a new application from the School via County Donegal VEC. I now understand that Donegal VEC are preparing a new application and I will be requesting the Minister to give approval to this application when submitted. “On a separate issue which effects pupils at Finn Valley College the Minister for Education has this week ruled out approving funding for the operation of a shuttle Bus Service to the New School – This is a very sensitive decision – given that it was the mistake made by the Department that is causing pupils to walk 1.2km (Round Trip) in the morning and evening from where the drop-off/pick up point is. I have again asked for this poor decision by the Government to be reviewed.” “Finally, I would like to congratulate Cllr Patrick McGowan who is the New Chairman of the Finn Valley College Board of Management on his election to the position. I know that Patrick will play a very constructive and meaningful role in the future of the School.”FUNDING MUST BE RESTORED TO FINN VALLEY ASD UNIT – SENATOR was last modified: October 15th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rhine and Timmer named MVC Scholar-Athletes of the Week

first_imgST. LOUIS, Mo. – For the second consecutive week Drake University’s Reed Timmer (New Berlin, Wis.) and Sara Rhine (Eldon, Mo.) have been named the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Week presented by Eagle Bank and Trust Company, the conference announced Wednesday, Dec. 6. Timmer averaged 20.0 points per game on the week in road games at Omaha and Wyoming while shooting 45.0% from the field and 60.0% from three-point range, adding 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Timmer led Drake with 28 points and 10 rebounds in the double-overtime loss at Wyoming with his scoring coming on just 11 shots, as he was 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range. It was just his second career double-double. His 28-point game was his fourth 28 point game of the season. His 28 points moved him past the 1,500 career point plateau and into the top 20 among active Division I players. Timmer holds a 3.51 GPA in Drake’s Doctorate of Pharmacy program. Rhine averaged 24.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 assist per game while shooting 42.8 percent (3-for-7) from the three-point line, 54.2 percent (19-of-35) from the floor and 1.000 percent (8-for-8) from the free throw line during the week. In the win over Iowa State, Rhine scored 24 points behind a 10-for-14 shooting day, including a career-best two three-pointers, while pulling down six rebounds against the Cyclones. She followed that effort with 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks while making all six free throws against Creighton. The sophomore has scored 20 or more points in three-straight games and currently sits second in the MVC in scoring at 18.1 points per game.  Academically, Rhine has a 4.00 GPA as an elementary education major. 2017-18 Drake Missouri Valley Scholar-Athletes of the WeekSept. 6 – Josh Yeager – Men’s Cross CountrySept. 13 – Kyle Brandt – Men’s Cross CountryOct. 4 – Kyla Inderski – VolleyballNov. 28 – Reed Timmer, Men’s BasketballNov. 28 – Sara Rhine, Women’s BasketballDec. 6 – Reed Timmer, Men’s BasketballDec. 6 – Sara Rhine, Women’s Basketball Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

UPDATED: US bans electronic devices from cabins on some airlines.

first_imgThe US government has confirmed it has banned electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and cameras from cabin baggage on flights to the US  from some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.The ban affects flights from eight Middle Eastern and North African countries and nine airlines operating out of 10 airports. People will still be allowed to take mobile phones  with them and medical devices are also exempt.The ban was revealed in tweets from airlines and the Associated Press reported it covered  all direct flights to the US from Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul, Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates..Dubai-based Emirates confirmed that the ban will take effect from March 25 to October this year while Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which also said it was affected, warned that travellers would have to put the devices in their checked luggage at their point of origin. “Mobile phones and medical devices are permitted but larger items such as laptops, tablets, cameras and e-readers will need to be placed into checked-in baggage,” Etihad said. ” For those guests bound for the U.S., this must be done at the point of origin which may not necessarily be at Abu Dhabi International Airport.”It is understood that other impacted airlines are Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways and Royal Air Maroc,US media reports said that authorities had relied on “evaluated intelligence” about unspecified terror threats to make the call.  The BBC’s security correspondent, Frank Gardner, said this meant that US intelligence had  either intercepted discussion of a possible extremist plot or had been passed word of one by a human informant.”The Middle Eastern and North African airports affected are nearly all ones with close, friendly relations with Washington, so this will be seen by some as a drastic and unpopular measure,” he said.A tweet from Royal Jordanian which alerted media to the move said instructions from “concerned US departments’’ cited laptops, tablets, cameras DVD players and electronic games as examples of items which needed to be carried in checked baggage.While US authorities declined to comment on a specific reason for the move,  there is speculation it could be related to laptop bomb detonated on Dubai-based carrier Daallo as it departed the Somali capital of Mogadishu in February, 2016.The laptop was thought to have been rigged with a timer set to explode when the plane was at cruising altitude but a delay meant it was still at 14,000ft when it detonated and blew a hole in the fuselage.The only casualty was the alleged bomber, who was apparently blown out of the plane, and the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility.Still unclear is how the US authorities assessed the safety implications of placing a big number of electronic items generally powered by lithium ion batteries in the hold. There have been a number of instances of batteries overheating and these have been easier to detect because they have been in the cabin.last_img read more

Bushmans Kloof puts community first

first_imgThe role the community has played in the success of the award-winning Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve has been highlighted at the reopening of the family village at the reserve recently.The family village of 126 people is made up of staff members and their familiesBushmans Kloof is a five-star luxury lodge about 200km from Cape Town. Committed to conservation, culture, and advancement of the community, its approach to tourism is being recognised worldwide as “an exemplary model for truly sustainable growth and development”, said Anita Mendiratta, a spokesperson for the resort.The family village of 126 people is made up of staff members and their families. With housing for 26 families, a library with high-speed internet access, and a crèche, it is “a clear expression of, and investment in, the future of tourism through the well being of those who work in the industry”, says Mendiratta.Stanley and Beatrice Tollman, chair of the Travel Corporation and president and founder of Red Carnation hotels, are behind the family village. Its reopening marked the 10th anniversary of the Tollman’s ownership.“At the heart of the initiative was their desire to provide a home for employees and their immediate family, creating a sense of community among the people of Bushmans Kloof, in addition to providing employees with a happy fulfilled work life with genuine career progression,” says Mendiratta.Helen Zille, the premier of the Western Cape who made the keynote address at the opening ceremony, said Bushmans Kloof Family Village was “a glimpse of what the new South Africa can be”.Joining the families and friends of Bushmans Kloof were other dignitaries, including Miller Matola, the chief executive of Brand South Africa; Lorna Scheepers, Clanwilliam’s executive mayor; Alan Winde, the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape; as well as special guests from Clanwilliam, the nearest town.The facilities at the family village are based on leading practices for community planning and development, Mendiratta says. The newly built community hall adds to the social space and “beautification of the village”.EXAMPLE OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYThe family village has housing for 26 families, a library with high-speed internet access, and a crècheTaleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, has paid tribute to the Tollman family as ordinary South Africans doing extraordinary things for all South Africans.“I am one of those who have the privilege of knowing the Tollmans and have come to admire their integrity and their commitment to tourism and its social responsibility,” Rifai said. He congratulated the Tollman’s for the successful “business and human story” in which they transformed Bushmans Kloof.“The tourism community is privileged to count on entrepreneurs like you, who daily transform tourism into new opportunities and new dreams for their clients, their employees and the communities that host them,” he said. “Bushmans Kloof Family Village, as an example of social responsibility in tourism. It is through initiatives such as this that we can make tourism a true force for the good of all.” Located in one of South Africa’s richest and most beautiful natural and historical environments, Bushmans Kloof has over 7 500 hectares of land nestled in a unique part of the magnificent Cape, which is home to three botanical biomes.Bushmans Kloof made it on to respected international magazine Condé Nast Traveler’s “gold list” for South Africa as one of the world’s best places to stay in 2014. It was rated by readers as the No 1 resort/safari camp in Africa and came third on the “top 100 hotels” in in 2013. in 2009, it won Condé Nast Traveler’s Wildlife Conservation award for integrating sustainable practices into every facet of its operation, with projects including a worm farm to generate compost, installation of solar panels, and the collaring and monitoring of the rare Caracal lynx.last_img read more

Local Christmas shopping options abound at Athens Farmers Market

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporterFarmers markets are a staple in a growing number of cities throughout the state, but each fall the inevitable, harsh Ohio weather brings the growing season (and the farmers market season) to an end in most towns. As a result, there are few Christmas gift shopping opportunities at Ohio’s farmers markets.An exception, though, can be found in the southeastern Ohio city of Athens where the farmers market runs year-round on Saturdays. At the Athens Farmers Market, vendors offer stocking stuffers aplenty this time of year.Known as one of Ohio’s most successful locations for local farmers to connect with buyers, the Athens Farmers Market began in 1972 when a few locals with the Soil and Water Conservation District saw the need for a place to buy fresh produce. In the first summer, the market peaked with 12 producers, selling mostly vegetables. In 1995, the market’s manager and board made the decision to extend the Saturday market to year-round, instead of April through Thanksgiving, with just a handful of producers that first winter. For several years, the vendors at the winter markets were outside in the University Mall parking lot. Now, some of them are allowed inside the mall during the winter months.Today the market is managed by Kip Parker, who has been working at the market for around 10 years.At the Athens Farmers Market, vendors offer stocking stuffers aplenty this time of year.“So, about eight years ago [the board members] talked to the people at the mall and they said ‘Yes, you can come inside here.’ So, starting Dec. 1, the first Saturday in December, about half the vendors go inside and the other half stay out here. It’s a little more pleasant in there on a day like today,” Parker said on a chilly Saturday morning in November.Parker said there are usually 20 vendors inside during the winter and around 10 to 15 vendors outside.“In the summer we get up to 60 when the weather’s good and it’s growing season,” Parker said. “I haven’t counted up today, but I think [there are] 42 maybe 45 here. We’ve had up to 105 in the past. We’re kind of constrained by size now.”The size constraint Parker referred to started in 2013 when the Texas Roadhouse was built in the mall parking lot. The farmers market used to operate at the end of the parking lot, parallel to the road, but the restaurant’s operating hours conflicted with the market’s hours and resulted in some lost space in front of the restaurant.Despite the size and the cold temperatures, the winter farmers market is still a success for Athens.“We’ve done winter counts and on a good Saturday in the winter we get 1,000 customers,” Parker said. “In the summer, it’s up to 2,500. It depends on the time of the season. So, there’s not as much stuff and there’s not as many vendors, therefore, not as many people. But it’s still a pretty big deal.”Customers can still get an assortment of fresh produce at the Athens Farmers Market during the months of December through March.Some tea could be perfect for the chilly winter evenings ahead.“We have a veggie vendor who has like 16 high tunnels and they have lettuce and turnips and spinach and kale and stuff all winter,” Parker said. “You see them arrive and they have all the coolers full … and when they leave everything is empty. It’s amazing that they go through that much volume in January and February. You can get carrots, fresh greens, kale, turnips, spinach, year-round basically. A lot of winter squash, some of them bring meats, herbs.”Rick Vest is a local produce vendor who has been selling at the market for over 15 years. He says although business is still good in the winter, the market cannot be compared to the summer farmers market because the customers are a different crowd.“It’s almost all local people. And when I say ‘local,’ I’m talking Athens. It’s a real close, tight-knit group,” Vest said. “Regular customers is what it amounts too, which I have all year long, but it’s really more prevalent during the winter.”Vest, who is the owner of Vest Berries and Produce, sells berries and vegetables during the growing season. They also have several vegetables available during the winter, which Vest sells inside the mall for the market.“We have vegetables all summer and we harvest a lot of root vegetables to store during the winter and sell here at the market,” Vest said.“[We have] Yukon Gold potatoes. There’s four kinds of winter squash: buttercup, butternut, spaghetti and delicata that we sell all winter long,” Vest said. “Then sweet potatoes, we had an exceptional year on those. We harvested almost 10,000 pounds. And they were very big this year, so, yeah, we have plenty of those. And we try to have carrots and greens all winter long too. If I don’t have it, somebody else will. There’s always someone who has greens all winter long. They’re very, very good, healthy, greens.”Another vendor, Pork & Pickles, offers customers a different type of food items. Pork & Pickles does not grow their own produce or raise livestock for their meat products. They purchase from local farms, most of which are vendors at the Athens Farmers Market.“We pickle vegetables. We go local and organic whenever we can,” said Meredith Thompson, an employee of Pork & Pickles. “We also butcher pigs from Dexter Run Farms, which is a local pasture raised farm. We do five different types of sausages and sometimes we do some seasonal sausages. We also do butcher cuts like roasts and chops, ribs, smoked bacon and ham, bone broth.”Pork & Pickles has a permanent food truck at Devil’s Kettle Brewing in Athens. The business has a catering side too. This holiday season, they have a pickle platter available.“[It has] all of our handmade pickles, crostini and our house made mustard,” Thompson said. “Then we also have a cheese platter with the house made mustard. That has honey and crostini and charcuterie, which we make all the charcuterie ourselves with the pigs that we butcher.”The charcuterie includes pork and chicken rillette, heart pastrami, fromage de tete (or head cheese), and country terrine. Among these foods available at the market, shoppers can also get wines, salsa, bread, fudge, honey, tea, baked goods and much more.In 1995, the Athens Farmers Market started participating in the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Since then, they have begun participation in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the SNAP token system, as well. These programs are funded by the USDA for clients to receive coupons for the purchase of fresh produce.“[SNAP use] has gone down over the years. We were one of the first markets in the state to accept SNAP benefits,” Parker said. “We now have a match program where if a recipient gets $20 worth of SNAP coupons, they get an additional $20 of fruits and veggie coupons.”For anyone who has visited the city of Athens or Ohio University, it is not difficult to see the locavore passion amongst the tight-knit group of local people. Eating fresh and local is conscious decision that many residents and businesses make.“Every locally owned restaurant [in town] sources lots of stuff from these people. It’s hard to go in a restaurant and order a full meal where you don’t get something that’s from one of the vendors,” Parker said. “We just spawn a huge business with all the local eateries buying things. The university buys things from some of the vendors. It’s just become a big kind of a food hub with the market here, which in my opinion, is what [the market] started.”For more information, visit athensfarmersmarket.org.last_img read more

Has the expansion of Antarctic sea ice accelerated?

first_imgDespite global warming, the fringe of sea ice around Antarctica is expanding slightly, in contrast to the marked decline of sea ice in the Arctic. Scientists have blamed this curious fact on various forces, from shifting winds to smaller waves, but a new study suggests a more mundane culprit: an error in the way the satellite data have been processed. The miscalculation, the authors say, might be making the sea ice increase appear larger than it is.Sea ice cover—ice that’s floating free on the ocean surface, rather than on land—has been observed by satellites since the late 1970s. Satellite sensors use different frequencies and polarizations to distinguish ice from water, and scientists have developed several algorithms to then process the data, remove weather effects, account for ponds of melted water on the ice, and the like. Data based on one of the most commonly used algorithms, dubbed Bootstrap, were used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth (2007) and Fifth (2013) assessment reports.The two reports both commented on the enigma of overall sea ice expansion around Antarctica, despite warming atmospheres and ocean waters. Complicating the story is the observation that the expansion varies regionally and seasonally—it’s not actually expanding everywhere, and in some places it’s clearly retreating. Scientists have attributed this pattern to other effects of climate change—changes in the prevailing wind patterns that generally push the ice northward or in the size of ocean waves, which may shrink and allow the ice to expand or grow and herd it back toward the coast.Even more puzzling was that the expansion seemed to be picking up speed. The 2013 report noted a significant increase in the expansion rate compared with the 2007 report, which “really jumped out at me,” says Ian Eisenman, a climate dynamicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. Within the climate science community, he says, that apparent change in the trend of how fast the ice was expanding was instead attributed to, basically, having more years of data between 2007 and 2013.When Eisenman and his colleagues dug a little deeper, they realized that the two reports relied on two different versions of the Bootstrap data processing algorithm. Satellites come and go, and sensors improve all the time. So, to ensure continuity within a data set whenever a satellite changeover occurs, the data from an outgoing satellite and a new satellite are calibrated. Such a changeover happened in 1992, when a new satellite sensor was launched. Then, around 2007, Bootstrap got an update, in part to help account for ongoing sensor improvements. “There were a lot of changes from version one to version two,” Eisenman says. Several decades of data were recalculated with the new Bootstrap version.And that’s the rub: The same data from 1979 through 2004, plotted by the two versions of Bootstrap, reveal two distinct trends. Version one (as reported in IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report) suggests the ice is expanding by about 5.6 x 103 km2 per year. Version two shows the ice expanding more than twice as fast over that time period, at about 14.1 x 103 km2 per year. (IPCC’s Fifth Assessment reports an increase of 16.5 x 103 km2 per year for 1979 through 2012.)“That implies inaccuracy in one of those versions—although which one isn’t clear,” Eisenman says. If the correct version of the Bootstrap algorithm is version one, then it follows that the sea ice isn’t increasing nearly as much as we thought, his team reports today in The Cryosphere.Well, maybe. Climate scientist Josefino Comiso of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the scientist who worked on the Bootstrap calibration. He says that the revised Bootstrap two is the accurate one, and that the trend depicted in IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report is correct. “Why not believe the one that has been corrected?” Comiso asks.Among climate scientists, there seems to be little dispute that Eisenman and his co-authors have identified a very real discrepancy in the satellite algorithms. “It’s an excellent piece of scientific vigilance,” says Paul Holland, a climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, U.K. But what’s less clear, Holland says, is how much the discrepancy matters in terms of what’s really going on in Antarctica. Regardless of which trend is used, the data end up telling the same story: Antarctic sea ice is expanding, despite the warming climate.And that overall increase isn’t even the most interesting thing, Holland adds. Yes, the sea ice is increasing on a continent-wide scale—but that overall slight increase is actually just the sum of stronger increases and decreases at different places ringing the continent—which the new study also reproduces, he points out. “To me, the interesting thing is what’s causing that spatial pattern.”As for which version of Bootstrap is more accurate, Eisenman and his colleagues are continuing to investigate. Whichever it turns out to be, he says, the study highlights the need for “a more thorough documentation” of satellite data calibration methods, particularly with the growing interest in the sea ice cover at both poles. “There’s a real need for it now that these data sets are getting so much attention.”last_img read more

Namajunas snatches 115-pound title at UFC 217

first_imgThe referee stops the fight, after which Rose Namajunas celebrates a win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk, of Poland, at UFC 217. APNEW YORK — Rose Namajunas took the 115-pound championship away from undefeated Joanna Jedrejczyk with a dominant performance at UFC 217.Namajunas connected with a left in the first round and pounced once Jedrejczyk (14-1) hit the canvas on Saturday night. Namajunas pounded away at the fallen champ as the Madison Square Garden crowd went absolutely wild for a fighter that had been soundly booed during her entrance.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Wilder knocks out Stiverne in 1st round Stars face off at ONE: Dawn of Heroes PLAY LIST 01:42Stars face off at ONE: Dawn of Heroes02:18Alvarez ready to take risk vs Folayang, looks to end clash by ‘knockout or submission’01:52UFC: McGregor set for Nurmagomedov showdown01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Namajunas (17-3) ended Jedrejczyk’s bid at matching Ronda Rousey’s women’s record with six straight title defenses.Namajunas choked back tears as UFC President Dana White slapped the strawweight championship belt over her shoulder. She was drowned out by the roars as she spoke about what the championship meant to her inside the octagon.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Just confidence, conditioning, composure, content that I’m the champion,” she said. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101last_img read more