Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ringling Circus Pays Record Fine

Ringling Circus Pays Record Fine - Feld Entertainment Inc., of Vienna, Virginia, did not admit wrongdoing or violating U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations in settling the dispute over handling of performing animals, it said in a Monday statement. "We look forward to working with the USDA in a cooperative and transparent manner that meets our shared goal of ensuring that our animals are healthy and receive the highest quality care," Kenneth Feld, chief executive of Feld Entertainment, said in the statement. The USDA said the $270,000 fine was the biggest assessed under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Feld also agreed to set up a compliance officer's position on its staff by the end of February 2012. Employees who work with animals also must undergo AWA compliance training, the USDA said in a statement. In one episode logged by USDA inspectors, Banko, a 35-year-old female Asian elephant, was required to perform in July in Los Angeles despite pain from probable sand colic. A circus veterinarian said Banko had seemed comfortable enough to perform and that to separate her from the group would have been more distressing to her, the report said. USDA inspectors reported in 2008 that wheelbarrows used to carry meat to tigers were also used to transport waste. Inspections also turned up allegations of worn pens and feeding areas, poor medical record-keeping, improper fencing and failure to control elephants. The allegations followed complaints from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about abuse of elephants and tigers at the circus, including physical punishment. Ringling Circus Pays Record Fine

Third Woman Speaks Out Against Herman Cain

Third Woman Speaks Out Against Herman Cain - She alleges she received unwanted comments from Mr Cain during his tenure as head of a restaurant lobby group. She told the Associated Press Mr Cain had commented on her attractiveness and invited her to his corporate apartment. The unnamed woman is the third former employee to make such allegations in recent days. The Cain campaign blamed the leak on an aide to Republican rival Rick Perry, who worked alongside Mr Cain on a failed Senate bid in 2004 and was said to have learned about the allegation. Rick Perry's campaign denounced that allegation as "reckless and false". Mr Cain's aides have been fighting sexual harassment claims since Politico reported on Sunday that at least two other women had complained of inappropriate behaviour from Mr Cain while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. A Cain spokesman, JD Gordon, told reporters on Wednesday: "Mr Cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues." The third woman to come forward told the Associated Press that she had considered filing a complaint against Mr Cain. She said her former boss had made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures around the same time the two other women filed their complaints. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the reason she did not eventually file a complaint was because she started to have fewer interactions with Mr Cain. Speaking to the Associated Press, the woman said Mr Cain's actions "were inappropriate, and it made me feel uncomfortable". Republican pollster Chris Wilson, who supports Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential campaign, said he witnessed Mr Cain sexually harass a woman in a restaurant near Washington DC. Third Woman Speaks Out Against Herman Cain

$2 Million Christmas Tree in Tokyo

$2 Million Christmas Tree in Tokyo - A jewelry store in Tokyo's posh Ginza district teamed up with flower arrangement artist Shogo Kariyazaki to create the lavish Golden Christmas Tree. Twelve kg (26 lb) of gold were used to make the 2.4 metre (8 foot) tree, which is adorned with ribbons, hearts and orchids, also made of gold. The value of the gold is about $700,000 but the total value of the tree is much higher because of labour costs, said Naoto Mizuki, marketing general manager at the store. "Considering the time it took to make, the designer and hard work put into it, we can assume that the cost of this tree would be approximately 150 million yen ($2 million)," he said. The gleaming display caught the eyes of passersby. "When you're looking at the tree, it really jumps out at you," said window-shopping housewife Kisoko Sakabe. The tree is not for sale. It will be on display at the store through to Christmas Day. $2 Million Christmas Tree in Tokyo