Too Grimm? Mother Goose cartoonist sued by Colombian coffee growers

Sunday, January 11, 2009

While it was just a joke, the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia doesn’t find a recent “Mother Goose and Grimm” comic terribly funny.

In what the coffee growers association calls “an attack on national dignity and the reputation of Colombian coffee,” the characters in a comic strip by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters call into question the relationship of Colombian coffee growers and the crime syndicates of Columbia.

The cartoonist is being sued not only for “damages [to] the intellectual heritage” of the coffee, but also “moral compensation. A public manifestation,” to the tune of $20 million.

At the start of a week-long series of strips, a dog character named “Ralph” finds out that part of chemist and food storage technician Fred Baur‘s remains was buried in a Pringles can, upon his last wishes. Baur’s best known innovation, among multiple, was the patented can and packing method for the Pringles potato chip. The character theorizes what other remains might be interred in their food packaging. Eventually, the dog states that “when they say there’s a little bit of Juan Valdez in every can, maybe they’re not kidding.”This play on an old advertising slogan refers to fictional character Juan Valdez, created by the Federación Nacional.

In a statement Peters says:

I had no more thought to insult Colombia and Juan Valdez than I did Pringles, Betty Crocker, Col. Sanders, Dr. Pepper and Bartles & Jaymes. The cartoon is meant to be read along with the rest of the week as a series of which the theme is based on the fact that the inventor of the Pringles can had his ashes buried in one.

I thought this was a humorous subject and all of my Mother Goose & Grimm cartoons are meant to make people laugh. I truly intended no insult.

Julio Cesar Gonzalez, El Tiempo newspaper’s famous cartoonist, told the BBC that the lawsuit is “a real waste of time.”

In 2006, the Federación Nacional sued Café Britt over their advertising campaign titled “Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee. In a counter-suit, Britt presented an affidavit from a Costa Rican man named “Juan Valdez”, acknowledging that he drinks Costa Rican coffee, and that the name is too generic to be exclusive. A variety of legal challenges and charges from both sides were eventually dropped. The phrase was actually first used in a 1999 speech by Jaime Daremblum, then-Costa Rican ambassador to the United States.

Mother Goose and Grimm appears in over 800 newspapers worldwide; Peters has won the Pulitzer for his editorial cartoons for the Dayton Daily News. Thirty years ago, his editorial cartoon about electricity prices featured Reddy Kilowatt, an electricity generation spokescharacter. The Daily News defended that comic image in the United States Supreme Court, winning on the basis that “the symbol was not selling a product”, and thus the satire was legally permissible.

Peters drinks Colombian coffee.

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Do You Need A Slip And Fall Injury Attorney In Gonzales La?

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byAlma Abell

A slip and fall can occur for many reasons and will often leave behind serious injuries. If a victim falls on an owner’s property, the victim has the right to hold the property owner accountable. Victims have the right to pursue compensation from the property owner if it can be proven the owner is liable. Injured victims can benefit from hiring a Slip And Fall Injury Attorney in Gonzales LA.

What Must Be Proven in Slip and Falls?

When individuals become a victim of a slip and fall accident, it is wise for them to seek help from a Slip And Fall Injury Attorney in Gonzales LA. An attorney will review their client’s needs and how the accident occurred so they can determine the best form of legal recourse to seek.

Injured victims only have one year to file their lawsuit, from the date of their accident. This is why it behooves them to seek legal help as soon as possible. Many accident attorneys offer free consultation appointments for new clients who are seeking help for their injuries and damages. This means there is no risk for injured victims who want to seek legal help.

There are a few different areas that must be proven in a slip and fall claim, including:

  • The injured victim must be able to prove the defendant owed a duty of care. This means they were responsible for keeping the property safe for invited guests.
  • It must be proven the defendant knew about the danger or should have known and did not rectify the situation.
  • The condition that caused the injuries must be truly dangerous and not some minor defect.
  • The plaintiff must be able to prove they suffered measurable damages as a direct result of the dangerous condition.

Attorneys Can Make a Big Difference in the Settlement

Although it cannot be guaranteed, those who work with an attorney are often able to receive a greater settlement than those who do not. This is because attorneys are aggressive in their approach and work to protect their client’s rights and best interests.

If you would like help with your case, know you are not alone. If you would like to get legal representation, call right away to get started.

Idaho companies claim of new record for transmitting data across a wireless link

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Microserv Computer Technologies (Internet Service Provider) and Trango Broadband Wireless (fixed-wireless equipment maker) announced on Tuesday August 11 2005 that they wirelessly transmitted data 137.2 miles over an unlicensed spectrum.

They used external PacWireless 2-foot dishes from Trango to connect two mountaintops in Idaho. They were operating on the 2.4GHz and 5.8 GHz wireless spectrum, not the standard 802.11 wireless frequency. They claim they transmitted a file at the rate of 2.3 megabits per second.

This claim of transmission record has been contested by current record holders (Defcon WiFi Shootout Contest). They question the validation of testing methods and subjectivity. “I suppose it’s certainly possible for Microserv to have done what they claim to have done,” Dave Moore, founder of the Defcon contest, said in an e-mail. “What sets apart the 125-mile record set at the Defcon WiFi Shootout Contest is that it was subject to a strict verification and certification process administered by four independent judges.”

A technical presentation was presented at the WiNOG conference in Park City, Utah August 15-17, 2005. Technical information and pictures can be found at

Scientology branch in Germany drops legal fight against government surveillance

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The German branch of the Church of Scientology dropped its legal battle against government surveillance of its operations, according to a statement released by the organization on Tuesday. In an April ruling, the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court in Münster refused to consider an appeal made by the Church of Scientology to a February court decision sanctioning the monitoring of Scientology by Germany’s intelligence agencies.

The agency which monitors Scientology in Germany is called the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Germany’s domestic intelligence agency), and has had the Church of Scientology under surveillance in Germany since 1997. The February ruling by the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court stated: “There are concrete indications that Scientology’s activities are to implement Scientology’s program in Germany and to expand more and more Scientology’s principles in government, economy and society”.

In the statement released Tuesday by the Church of Scientology’s branch in Germany, the organization said it “felt it was time to reflect on the whole purpose of this battle of legal material and reach a sensible solution.”

The Church of Scientology took German authorities to court in March 2003, seeking to stop further surveillance of their organization. In a November 2004 ruling, a court in Cologne upheld the legality of the German government’s surveillance of the Church of Scientology. The 2004 ruling was upheld on February 12, 2008, in an appeal to the Higher Administrative Court in Münster.

In December 2007 top security officials in Germany asserted that the aims of Scientology are in conflict with the country’s constitution, and requested that authorities investigate whether to ban Scientology in Germany. In January the interior affairs chief of the State of Saxony told the Associated Press (AP) that he thought a ban on Scientology in Germany was unlikely to occur.

Scared that too much public awareness would be brought on its internal documents?

In a post Wednesday to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, Scientology critic Raymond Hill commented on Scientology’s recent actions, asking: “Scared that too much public awareness would be brought on its internal documents?” Hill runs the website “Scientology Critical Directory” at

While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.

In a blog post at a website for The Washington Post, Claire Hoffman was critical of Scientology’s treatment in Germany, writing: “While I’m well aware of their checkered past, decrying it unconstitutional seems like a threatened position to take by a nation.”

German Church of Scientology spokeswoman Sabine Weber told the AP that the organization has added a “declaration on human rights and democracy” to its bylaws, and has designated an individual to run its human rights program in the country.

The United States Department of State has criticized Germany for its surveillance of Scientology in its annual Human Rights Report.

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Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

Football: PFA release award nominations

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Professional Footballers’ Association announced nominees for the Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year on Friday. PFA awards are voted on by the players, for the players, based on their performances over the past season. Last years winner of both awards, Cristiano Ronaldo, is again in contention for the double, as is Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres. Both Arsenal and Liverpool have two players up for the main award, while Aston Villa has two nominees for the Young Player Award through Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young.

News briefs:June 9, 2010

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Canterbury farmers to get aid because of snow

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The New Zealand government officials have announced that it will give NZ$160,000 in aid to help farmers who were affected by the huge amounts of snow in Canterbury, New Zealand two weeks ago.

The aid package will provide four regional offices for co-ordination, food supplies and ongoing support.

The Federated Farmers for mid Canterbury say that the aid will be a start to what looks like a tough winter. President of the mid Canterbury Federated Farmers Rupert Curd says, “It is too early to say exactly how much help the relief package will provide.”

The snow has not yet reached a crisis point.

The Insurance Council has estimated the cost of the snow storm has reached $35 million so far. Chief Executive of the Insurance Council says, “There has been damage to homes, commercial premises both on farms and in town and vehicles. Businesspeople who have been without power are also claiming for loss of income.”

The Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton has said that they are not ruling out giving further aid.