Category Archives: Community News

How Nestlé Makes its Billions

By: Caroline Winter of Bloomberg 

Inside, workers wear hairnets, hard hats, goggles, gloves, and earplugs. Ten production lines snake through the space, funneling local spring water into 8-ounce to 2.5-gallon containers; most of the lines run 24/7, each pumping out 500 to 1,200 bottles per minute. About 60 percent of the supply comes from Mecosta’s springs and arrives at the factory via a 12-mile pipeline. The rest is trucked in from neighboring Osceola County, about 40 miles north. “Daily, we’re looking at 3.5 million bottles potentially,” says Dave Sommer, the plant’s 41-year-old manager, shouting above the din.

Silos holding 125 tons of plastic resin pellets provide the raw material for the bottles. They’re molded into shape at temperatures reaching 400F before being filled, capped, inspected, labeled, and laser-printed with the location, day, and minute they were produced—a process that takes less than 25 seconds. Next, the bottles are bundled, shrink-wrapped onto pallets, and picked up by a fleet of 25 forklifts that ferry them to the plant’s warehouse or loading docks. As many as 175 trucks arrive every day to transport the water to retail locations in the Midwest. “We want more people to drink water, keep hydrated,” Sommer says. “It would be nice if it were my water, but we just want them to drink water.”

Nestlé SA started bottling in 1843 when company founder Henri Nestlé purchased a business on Switzerland’s Monneresse Canal. “Ever the curious scientist, [he] analyzed and experimented with the enrichment of water with a variety of minerals, always with a singular goal: to provide healthy, accessible, and delicious refreshment,” reads Nestlé’s website. Today there are thousands of bottled water companies worldwide—there’s even Trump Ice—but Nestlé is the biggest globally in terms of sales, followed by Coca-Cola, Danone, and PepsiCo, according to Euromonitor International. Nestlé Waters, the Paris-based subsidiary, owns almost 50 brands, including Perrier, S.Pellegrino, and Poland Spring.

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In this Turkish Town No One Goes Hungry

By: Zeyneb Varol of The Middle East Eye 

Under the glaring sun of a Saturday afternoon in August, a restaurant in a small eastern Turkish town welcomes its “most valuable customers”.

It is only one of the many establishments across the town where those in need are invited to eat free of charge. This well-preserved tradition has been carried down from generation to generation for decades.

Karakocan, a 70-minute drive north of the centre of Elazıg province, has attracted attention in recent years for its tradition of offering free food to those in need. For locals, the custom is a way of fulfilling their responsibility to assist the less fortunate.

Mehmet Ozturk, 55, the owner and manager of one of Karakocan’s busiest restaurants, Merkez, for nearly 35 years, says he always keeps at least three tables reserved for those in need, even during rush hour when his eatery is cramped. According to Ozturk, “the poor never fail to come”. 

On any given day, Ozturk says at least 15 people come to his restaurant to receive a free meal. According to residents, around 100 people eat for free each day across the whole town, which is home to around 28,000 people, according to official statistics.

Galip is one of the familiar faces at the restaurant who has eaten there every day for the last 10 years. “He was here for breakfast and he will probably come for dinner as well,” a young waiter says.

Suffering from mental illness, Galip doesn’t share much.

“The Merkez is my favourite place in town, because the food is great,” he says.

The restaurants offer Galip and others their pick from a variety of choices listed on their menus including kebabs, chicken, soup, rice and salads.

Ozturk says: “The tradition has always been here, even 70 years ago. For us it was a natural thing to do, something we learned from our elders.”

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German Teenager Who Ran Away To Join Isis Faces The Death Penalty 

By: Julian Robinson 

A German teenager who ran away to join ISIS may yet face the death penalty, Iraq’s Prime Minister has warned.

Linda Wenzel was dragged from the rubble in Mosul as Iraqi forces liberated the city in July and is now being held in Baghdad where her fate rests in the hands of the country’s court system.

The 16-year-old, who left her home in Pulsnitz, eastern Germany, last year to join the terror group, is desperate to return to Europe amid fears she could spend years in jail.

But Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has now said Iraq’s judiciary will decide if the teenager will face the death penalty.

‘You know teenagers under certain laws, they are accountable for their actions especially if the act is a criminal activity when it amounts to killing innocent people,’ al-Abadi said.

Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press that the teenager allegedly worked with ISIS’s feared police force.

The German is being held in a prison at Baghdad’s airport together with other foreign women found in Mosul, including citizens from Belgium, France, Syria and Iran. 
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8.1 EarthQuake in Mexico 

Compliments of CBS 

 One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to hit Mexico was followed by a Gulf coast hurricane, dealing a one-two punch to the country, killing at least 61 people as workers scrambled to respond to the twin national emergencies. 

The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where 36 people died and a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable, President Enrique Pena Nieto said late Friday in an interview with the Televisa news network.

In downtown Juchitan, the remains of brick walls and clay tile roofs cluttered streets as families dragged mattresses onto sidewalks to spend a second anxious night sleeping outdoors. Some were newly homeless, while others feared further aftershocks could topple their cracked adobe dwellings.

“We are all collapsed, our homes and our people,” said Rosa Elba Ortiz Santiago, 43, who sat with her teenage son and more than a dozen neighbors on an assortment of chairs. “We are used to earthquakes, but not of this magnitude.”

Even as she spoke, across the country, Hurricane Katia was roaring onshore north of Tecolutla in Veracruz state, pelting the region with intense rains and winds.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported Katia’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 75 mph when it made landfall. And it rapidly weakened even further over land into a tropical depression before dawn. The government of Mexico has since discontinued all tropical storm warnings. 

The center said Katia was stalling over Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains, where it could bring 10 to 15 inches of rain to a region with a history of deadly mudslides and flooding. 

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Philippine President’s Son Linked to $125 Million Drug Ring 

By: Karen Lema of Reuters

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s son on Thursday told a Senate inquiry he had no links to a seized shipment of $125 million worth of narcotics from China, dismissing as “baseless” the allegations of his involvement in the drugs trade.

Opponents of the president, who has instigated a fierce crackdown on a trade he says is destroying the country, say they believe his son Paolo may have helped ease the entry of the drug shipment at the port in Manila, the capital.

On Tuesday, Duterte said he had told Paolo to attend the senate investigation if he had nothing to hide, besides advising him not to answer questions and invoke his right to keep silent.

“I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay,” Paolo Duterte, the vice mayor of the southern city of Davao, told the Senate.
“My presence here is for the Filipino people and for my fellow Davaoeños whom I serve,” he added, referring to the people of Davao, where his father served as mayor for more than two decades before being elected president in 2016.
The Philippine leader has repeatedly said he would resign if critics could prove any members of his family were involved in corruption.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes, a staunch critic of the president, displayed to the Senate panel photographs of Paolo Duterte beside a businessman who was behind the shipment in which the drugs were found.
The president’s son-in-law, Manases Carpio, who has also been accused of links to the May drug shipment from China, told the hearing he had no involvement.

Duterte unleashed his bloody campaign the day he took office on June 30 last year, after promising Filipinos he would use deadly force to wipe out crime and drugs.

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Facebook Offering Hefty Sums Of Cash To License Music On Their Platform

By: Lucas Shaw and Sarah Frier

Facebook Inc. is offering major record labels and music publishers hundreds of millions of dollars so the users of its social network can legally include songs in videos they upload, according to people familiar with the matter.

The posting and viewing of video on Facebook has exploded in recent years, and many of the videos feature music to which Facebook doesn’t have the rights. Under current law, rights holders must ask Facebook to take down videos with infringing material.
Music owners have been negotiating with Facebook for months in search of a solution, and Facebook has promised to build a system to identify and tag music that infringes copyrights. Yet such a setup will take as long as two years to complete, which is too long for both sides to wait, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing details that aren’t public.
Facebook is eager to make a deal now so that it no longer frustrates users, by taking down their videos; partners, by hosting infringing material; or advertisers, with the prospect of legal headaches.

New Home

The latest discussions will ensure Facebook members can upload video with songs just as it’s rolling out Watch, a new hub for video, and funding the production of original series. Facebook is attempting to attract billions of dollars in additional advertising revenue and challenge YouTube as the largest site for advertising-supported video on the web.
Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that for the next few years video will drive Facebook’s business and determine how well the company performs. He told investors to expect the company to continue to increase its investment in the format, as it sees video sharing overtaking text and photo sharing in the future.
While Facebook can still pursue professional music videos, the company chose to prioritize clearing user-generated material. Most of the videos being uploaded to Facebook are by individuals (as opposed to media companies). Tamara Hrivnak, a former YouTube executive, has been leading negotiations for Facebook since joining the company earlier this year. Also a former executive at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, Hrivnak is well-liked by her former peers.

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Category 5 Hurricane Irma Heading Towards The Carribean

From: Nicole Chavez 

Category 5 Hurricane Irma has become one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic, and is threatening to slam into Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with “potentially catastrophic” force on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

It’s too early to tell whether the storm will affect the US mainland, but current forecast tracks show it could turn toward Florida over the weekend.

Irma was churning west Tuesday evening in the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph — well above the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5 — about 130 miles east of Antigua and Barbuda, the hurricane center said.

The last storm with sustained winds that strong in the Atlantic was 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, which weakened before it brushed Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, turned right and crossed Florida. Irma’s Atlantic wind speeds are behind only 1980’s Hurricane Allen, which peaked at 190 mph at sea.

Irma’s forecast track currently has it near or over Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla by early Wednesday, and the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon.

Preparations to protect life and property in those areas “should be rushed to completion,” the hurricane center said in a 5 p.m. ET advisory.

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China Reaches Solar Power Goal 3 Years Ahead Of Schedule 

By: Sam Morgan of Euractiv 

New figures published by solar industry firm Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) last week revealed that China has exceeded its 2020 target of 105GW of installed solar capacity, after new builds in June and July pushed it up beyond 112GW.

Solar power is enjoying a sunny 2017 in China, after the first half of this year saw capacity increased by 24.4GW, dwarfing similar efforts in Europe, and cementing China’s status as the world’s leading solar nation.

China is not planning to rest on its laurels either. Officials have recently tweaked its 2017 forecast for new solar installations and figures now suggest that total new capacity for this year could reach 45GW. In contrast, in 2016 Germany’s total capacity was 41.1GW.

Renewable energy groups have called on Europe to be more like China and strive to be number one in the sector. SolarPower Europe association urged the EU to increase the current 27% renewable energy target for 2030 to 35%.

The association’s recent Global Market Outlook concluded that only a 35% target will maintain the impetus for the renewable industry. It also estimated that the bloc will struggle to hit the current 27% goal unless ambitions are raised.

China’s ambitions are admittedly impressive. It already boasts the largest solar farm in the world, which measures in at over 30 square kilometres. It also recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, which is positioned over an old coal mine.

But once capacity and landmark projects are excluded from the equation, the Chinese solar sector does have significant problems. Although China hit its 2020 target, only 1% of its energy demand is satisfied by solar power. Coal still reigns supreme in its energy mix.

There is also the issue of subsidies. Feed-in-tariffs, paid to solar companies to generate power and make the market more attractive, have often arrived late, hurting the bottom lines of many of those energy firms.
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Hurricane Harvey Hits Texas, August 2017

From FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Friday, President Donald J. Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Texas, making federal funding available for emergency work and to affected individuals and businesses owners who sustain damage as a result of the storm.

Shelters are open across the affected and surrounding areas. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides directions to open shelters, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

The federal coordination is fully-activated, geared up, and providing support to states, local communities, and tribes as needed.  FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas, are operating 24-hours a day.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog,www.twitter.com/femawww.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema 

From BEMA (Black Emergency Managers Association)

In December 2016 NAACP HQ renewed disaster assistance memorandum of agreement (MOA) with FEMA.  Additional assistance during time of response & recovery is available from your local NAACP chapter. For an updated MOA contact your local NAACP office.

Hurricane Harvey Shelter Activations

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Swedish Government May Potentially Resign 

By: Oliver Pechter of Business Insider 

The Swedish government could potentially resign today. 

The Swedish opposition movement Alliansen is putting forward a motion of no confidence against interior minister Anders Ygeman, defence minister Peter Hultqvist and infrastructure minister Anna Johansson following an IT-scandal at the Swedish Transport Agency earlier this month, which involved the leaking of private citizen data to foreign contractors.

“We at Alliansen want to raise a motion of no confidence against the three responsible ministers for their failures to take responsibility during the crisis,” said the Moderates party leader Anna Kinberg Batra.

“It is obvious that the three ministers have neglected their duties… it may have threatened the security of Sweden,” says Annie Lööf.

“But we are not demanding that the government should resign,” says Jan Björklund.

The Alliance elaborated their decision further in a debate article in Svenska Dagbladet.

“The security crisis puts individual citizens as well as the entire nation’s security at risk. It’s very serious. We have found major shortcomings in the government’s work and responsibility during the handling of the crisis.”

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