Friday, June 29, 2007

Copper Theives

Someone did steel a whole bunch of copper cable here at ASF. So I thought I'd post this as a warning.
Playing electrical Russian roulette

2 hours, 7 minutes ago

YANGON (Reuters) - Not everybody in military-ruled Myanmar is cursing the blackouts.

Thieves in the former Burma's main city, Yangon, are taking advantage of outages often lasting for more than 20 hours a day to steal the copper power cables, police said on Friday.

Sometimes, of course, they get unlucky.

"The thieves are risking their lives as it is impossible to know exactly when the power is going to be restored. It's just like playing Russian roulette," said one Yangon police officer who did not want to be named.

"I've seen a few cases in which thieves were electrocuted. In April, a 16-year-old boy was found dead, holding a broken cable from a lamppost. Only God knows for sure whether he was a thief or not."

Innocent passers-by are also falling victim.

"In one case, the broken cable end left by the thief dangled into a puddle and a woman jogger was killed when she stepped into it," he said.

Four decades of military rule and economic mismanagement have turned Myanmar -- the world's number one rice exporter when it won independence from Britain in 1948 -- into one of Asia's biggest basket cases.

Despite huge off-shore natural gas reserves, the southeast Asian nation's 53 million people have access to less than 10 percent of the electricity per capita of neighboring Thailand.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stupid People

Police: Suspect Tries To Sell Owner Stolen Car

POSTED: 7:28 pm EDT June 27, 2007
UPDATED: 12:10 am EDT June 28, 2007
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Clay County investigators recently arrested an auto theft suspect who they said made their job easy by trying to sell the stolen vehicle back to its owner.

Jim Black said he left church on Mother's Day to find his 1979 El Camino had been stolen during services. He had just about given up on recovering the vehicle, and had even bought another car, when he received a call from Michael DeMoss.

The sheriff's office said DeMoss called the car's owner more than a month after the theft and offered to sell the stolen vehicle back to him for $500.
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"At about a quarter to five in the morning, a guy called and said, 'You got a black El Camino?' I said I had one. He said, 'I have one and found your phone number and name in it and want to know what you know about it,'" Black said.

He said he informed the caller that his car had been stolen and that he should call the police. Black said the man agreed and then gave Black his name and phone number before hanging up.

A few hours later, DeMoss called Black back asking if he wanted his car back.

"He said, 'I tell you what, If you got $500 … meet me over in Middleburg and I'll get your truck back.' I said, 'I said it sounds like a deal to me -- how about the cops?' He said, "Oh well, we won't deal with them,'" Black said.

However, Black had already dealt with the police, who were aware of meeting.

"He said he's either going to be in a white car or the stolen El Camino," said Clay County Sheriff's Office Deputy Sean Marx.

Marx said he found DeMoss waiting in a white car. Police said DeMoss claimed that he was simply trying to be a Good Samaritan.

"His first thing was, 'I found the car stolen. I'm just trying to be a Good Samaritan and bring the car back to him,'" Marx said.

The officer said the suspect failed to mention that he wanted Black to pay him $500.

DeMoss was arrested, and Black got his car back.

"It makes my job easy," Marx said.

"We would have never found that car if this guy would have never picked up the phone and called me talking about he wanted to sell me my car," Black said.


McDonald’s goes McOrganic

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 9:26am BST 28/06/2007

McDonald’s is going McOrganic.

McDonalds is campaigning to change its image

The fast food chain announced yesterday that all the milk used in the teas and coffees it sells in 1,200 outlets in the UK will come from organic British cows from the end of next month.

The move is the latest attempt by the US giant to transform its image. It already sells 500,000 litres of organic milk in its children’s Happy Meals, but yesterday’s announcement is far more significant - equating to 8.6 million litres a year - and will make McDonald’s one of the biggest buyers of organic milk in the country.

There have been mounting worries about the long-term future of the organic milk market.

Many farmers stopped producing organic milk after they failed to make enough money and last year some of the leading supermarket chains admitted they had to ship in supplies from overseas to meet demand.

Despite its popularity with many middle-class shoppers, it equates for just 6 per cent of all the milk sold in the UK.

McDonald’s chief executive in the UK, Steve Easterbrook said yesterday that he could give a “cast-iron guarantee” that there was enough organic milk in Britain for the 145,000 cups of coffee McDonald’s serve each day, as a number of farms had just recently received full organic certification.

Earlier this year, the fast-food chain converted all its coffee to a Rainforest Alliance brew. “I now think we can claim to be the most ethically-sourced cup of coffee on the high street. And certainly the best value one,” Mr Easterbrook said, taking a swipe at Starbucks, which charges £2.29 for a medium sized cappuccino.

McDonald’s price is a full £1 cheaper.

He insisted that the move was not a publicity stunt to win over consumers, who he admitted were showing “increasing scepticism and declining trust”.

“If anything it is a commercial decision,” he said, pointing out that coffee sales had increased by 10 per cent after being certified by the Rainforest Alliance, an independent watchdog, which promotes sustainable agriculture.

The company has yet to decide whether to switch its McFlurries and milkshakes to organic - a move that would see it buy a further 38 million litres of organic milk a year.

Most farmers and organic campaigners gave a cautious welcome to one of the world’s largest food buyers embracing the organic trend.

Patrick Holden, director at the Soil Association, said: “It is a small but significant step in the right direction for McDonald’s. I hope the company’s food sourcing continues to improve, creating better opportunities for farmers in the UK and providing increasingly healthier options for their customers.”

Roland Bonney, who runs Oxford University’s farm, has helped McDonald’s improve much of its farming practices. He said that by going organic, farmers should feel more confident with taking the expensive step of converting.

“We’ve seen boom and bust in the organic sector before. What makes this different is that there is now a guaranteed customer in the market.”

McDonald’s will, by the end of next month, be buying 5 per cent of all the organic milk in the UK.