In a letter to United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week, ASA and fellow farm groups pushed to ensure that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) effectively addresses all forms of barriers U.S. food and agricultural products face in exporting to the European Union (EU). ASA and other groups in the letter stated their overall support for the effort to finalize TTIP, but noted that it could not support an agreement that “comes at the expense of resolving the toughest EU market access issues for U.S. food and agriculture.”“We are concerned that in other trade agreements the EU has been successful in exempting sensitive agricultural sectors and regulatory barriers from meaningful liberalization,” wrote the groups in the letter. “We believe the EU intends the same for TTIP. We could not support such an outcome and we would not accept as consolation any form of consultative mechanism to deal with the controversial agriculture issues later.”
Repub. Rossi announces challenge to Sen. MurrayState Sen. Don Benton sought to portray himself Wednesday as the anti-establishment candidate for the U.S. Senate and as “an independent voice that will take on both parties and stand up for common sense and fiscal responsibility.” “We can no longer look to the establishment to turn our economy and our country around,” Benton said in a statement released after fellow Republican Dino Rossi declared by video that he would enter the race to unseat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.Benton, R-Vancouver, has served in the Legislature since 1995 and is a consistent Republican vote in Olympia, though he has been known to cross party lines. His message in the current Senate race is consistent with the GOP national agenda, which calls for reduced federal spending and a return to core functions of government. Benton welcomed Rossi into the race and said he has no plan to withdraw.“My family and I have made many sacrifices in order to run this campaign and to make a difference in our state and nation,” he said. “We are in this to win it in November and to get to work to put our country back on the right track.”Eastern Washington farmer and former NFL player Clint Didier, a self-described Tea Party member who has won the endorsement of Sarah Palin, also claimed the mantle of independent.
A relatively dry couple of weeks in Vancouver and surrounding areas comes to an end Saturday.The National Weather Service issued a statement that says “the first in a series of potent weather systems will push into the region on Saturday.” One to three inches of rain is expected to fall on Saturday. Snow levels will drop to 4,000 feet and could accumulate at pass levels.Sunday will bring a lull in the system. Enjoy it: A more powerful storm is due Monday. Check out Columbian weather blogger Steve Pierce’s take on the return of “Old Man Winter.”Patchy fog will figure into your commute this morning. It’s expected to slip away around 10 a.m. This afternoon will be cloudy with a high of 51 degrees.
An autopsy has concluded that a Vancouver woman found dead in her apartment Monday night died from blunt head trauma, the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office reported Friday.Deneace L. McSpadden, 57, was the victim of a homicide, a deputy medical examiner said.Vancouver police detectives are still investigating and have yet to make an arrest. Vancouver police have declined to release further details, citing the active investigation.The death was reported at about 7 p.m. Monday night at a duplex at 1006 S.E. Morgan Road, off Middle Way and just north of state Highway 14.
DENVER — First came marijuana as medicine. Now comes legal pot for the people.Those who have argued for decades that legalizing and taxing weed would be better than a costly, failed U.S. drug war have their chance to prove it, as Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow pot for recreational use.While the measures earned support from broad swaths of the electorate in both states Tuesday, they are likely to face resistance from federal drug warriors. As of Wednesday, authorities did not say whether they would challenge the new laws.Pot advocates say a fight is exactly what they want.“I think we are at a tipping point on marijuana policy,” said Brian Vicente, co-author of Colorado’s marijuana measure. “We are going to see whether marijuana prohibition survives, or whether we should try a new and more sensible approach.”Soon after the measures passed, cheering people poured out of bars in Denver, the tangy scent of pot filling the air, and others in Seattle lit up in celebration.Authorities in Colorado, however, urged caution. “Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly,” said Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed the measure.
Vancouver police, working with several other agencies, have identified two people believed to be associated with an empty kayak found in the Columbia River. One of the two is a woman whose body was found near the Interstate 205 bridge on Friday. The other remains missing.A bulletin issued Saturday by the Vancouver Police Department said a vehicle owned by one of the people was found in Oregon at a spot where people frequently launch kayaks.A yellow kayak owned by one of the two is missing from their home.Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife crews spotted a woman in the river near the bridge around 9:30 a.m. Friday. Crews recovered the body of a woman in her 50s. She had no ID on her and had probably been dead less than 48 hours. She was wearing outdoor clothing and a flotation device.Crews found the unoccupied kayak on the eastern tip of Government Island, and said it possibly had two passengers. The Vancouver Fire Department, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office searched but could not find a second victim.Police did not release the names of the two people and asked anyone with information on the case to call 360-487-7424.
WASHINGTON — Covering 10 presidents over five decades, Helen Thomas aged into a legend. She was the only reporter with her name inscribed on a chair in the White House briefing room — her own front row seat to history.Starting as a copy girl in 1943, when women were considered unfit for serious reporting, Thomas rose to bureau chief.Working at a news service, where writers expect obscurity, she became one of journalism’s most recognized faces. Thomas embraced her role as a Washington institution, doing cameos in movies, giving lectures, writing books about her life until the spotlight landed on inflammatory remarks she made about Israel.The uproar pushed her out of the White House press room at age 89.Thomas, 92, died surrounded by family and friends at her Washington apartment on Saturday, the family said in a statement. A friend, Muriel Dobbin, told The Associated Press that Thomas had been ill for a long time, and in and out of the hospital before coming home Thursday.Thomas made her name as a bulldog for United Press International in the great wire-service rivalries of old, and as a pioneer for women in journalism.She was persistent to the point of badgering. One White House press secretary described her questioning as “torture” — and he was one of her fans.
A Ridgefield man who was injured in a Wednesday afternoon crash in Castle Rock remains hospitalized, but his condition was upgraded Thursday.Robert Huling, 72, was driving a Mazda MZ3 south on Interstate 5 about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when his vehicle was struck by a northbound Nissan Sentra.The driver of the Sentra, Angelina Puris of Centralia, had lost control of the vehicle and crossed the median, according to Washington State Patrol.Both Huling and Puris were injured. Huling remains in satisfactory condition at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.Puris was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where she is listed in fair condition.Puris was cited for driving off the roadway.
The government has agreed to delay the closure of the workplace childcare voucher system for six months.Damian Hinds (pictured), the Secretary of State for Education and member of Parliament (MP) for East Hampshire, confirmed at the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday 13 March 2018) that the April deadline for the abolition of employer-supported childcare vouchers would be extended for a further six months.The removal of workplace childcare vouchers is to make way for the government’s tax-free childcare scheme, which was introduced from April 2017. The tax-free childcare policy will provide parents with children under the age of 12 up to £2,000 a year per child to help cover childcare costs.In response to concerns raised by Labour representatives regarding whether families would potentially have to pay some childcare costs upfront, Hinds stated that the government’s flexible support fund would be equipped to help in certain situations. The flexible support fund aids individuals who receive a qualifying benefit, such as universal credit, and can be put towards childcare costs.Hinds, a member of the Conservative party, said: “I have heard the concerns that have been raised about this and the timing, and I can confirm that we will be able to keep the voucher scheme open for a further six months to new entrants.“Tax-free childcare will mean that more people become eligible, regardless of who their employer is and including for the first time the self-employed.”Jacquie Mills, chair at the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA), said: “We were delighted to see the breadth of support for the childcare voucher scheme across political parties yesterday. Support that reflects the 119,000 members of the public that signed a petition to keep the childcare voucher scheme open.“The childcare vouchers scheme is an essential lifeline to many parents and is hundreds of pounds more generous than tax-free childcare for those on middle and lower incomes. We have been strong advocates for keeping childcare vouchers open alongside tax-free childcare so that parents can make an informed choice about the childcare support that best suits their needs.“We are pleased that the government has delayed the closure of the scheme for six months and we hope that this will allow them to realise the benefits of giving parents a choice and lead to a permanent running of both schemes.”Angela Rayner, Labour party MP and Shadow Education Secretary, added: “Due to Labour’s pressure, the Conservatives have now been forced to delay closing the childcare vouchers scheme for at least another six months. Theresa May clearly now has neither a majority nor a mandate for abolishing childcare vouchers and must bring any final decision back to Parliament for a meaningful vote.“Tory and [Democratic Unionist Party] MPs may have forced through changes that will hit the poorest families the hardest, but Labour will continue fighting for decent childcare and opposing the Tories’ decision to deny free school meals to up to a million of England’s most deprived children.“The next Labour government will extend childcare provision and provide free school meals for all primary school children.”
Global law firm Clifford Chance has reported a 52% mean ethnicity pay gap, 35.6% mean sexuality pay gap, and a 61.9% mean disability pay gap; it is the first law firm to report on sexuality and disability discrepancies.In advance of the second deadline for pay gap reporting on 4 April 2019, Clifford Chance has published data revealing a 21.8% mean gender difference for fixed hourly pay, and 48.5% for bonuses; hourly pay has seen a small gap increase from 20.3% in the 2017 report, while the bonus gap has reduced from 53.2%.Alongside this data, the business chose to include various items that are not legally required, including disability and sexuality pay gaps, as well as outlining its partner pay gap, which it also reported last year.The reporting regulations do not allow firms to include their partner data, as these individuals are not considered employees; Clifford Chance stated that it chose to include the information to provide a more complete understanding of the issue at hand. The organisation’s mean and median partner pay gaps are 25.9% and 30.5%, respectively. This has reduced from 27.3% and 46.3% since the 2017 report.The firm’s mean overall pay gap, including partners, is 68.9%, and its median is 45.7%; this is an increase on 2017, when these numbers stood at 66.3% and 43.6%. The firm states that the reasons for this difference include the level of remuneration provided to partners, and the fact that women make up only 21.3% of the UK partnership, as well as the high proportion of women in secretarial roles.The proportion of women receiving a bonus at Clifford Chance in 59%, while among men it is 57%. The firm reports that it has a 49.5% to 50.5% split between women and men in its upper pay quartile, while its lowest quartile is 81.2% female.Clifford Chance has stated that gender pay is now considered when reward packages are reviewed; it has also introduced an ‘inclusion advocate’ programme, piloted reverse mentoring for senior leaders, increased its enhanced shared parental leave policy to match enhanced maternity leave pay, and re-branded its women’s network to form a new gender parity group, which launched in November 2018.Lynette Williams, inclusion advocate and global head of client and market development, said: “One of the most important drivers of an inclusive culture is ensuring everyone has a voice. We need to listen to our people, support them, and to do what we can to steer them in the right direction.”When it comes to addressing other pay discrepancies, the firm cites its network for black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) employees, as well as its group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) employees, called Arcus, and its Disability Action Group. It also runs reverse mentoring, has a partnership with diversity recruitment group Rare, which supports Bame candidates looking to secure graduate positions, hosts events around transgender awareness, and is a signatory of the Time to Change pledge, committing to improving mental health at work.Williams added: “In a large organisation, it can be difficult for people to know where to go if they need help. It’s important that our people see that the members of the senior team care about [employees] as complex human beings, not just as staff members.“We must also be cognisant of the fact that this is a broader issue than gender. We know that our differences enrich us as a firm, but if we don’t listen to each other, and engage in a constructive dialogue, we’ll never make the changes that matter to our people. We’re having that dialogue more and more, and that’s progress.”Clifford Chance collects diversity information on a voluntary basis through a self-identification portal; among its employees, 81.2% chose to report their ethnicity, 65.2% listed their sexuality, and 70.2% reported disability data.
Image credit: @alphalsgAround 55 drivers based at Gatwick Airport and employed by inflight food supplier Alpha Flight have voted to accept a two-year pay deal.The deal, which was negotiated with trade union Unite on behalf of its members, is applicable for Alpha Flight drivers delivering inflight food for airline British Airways at Gatwick Airport.Unite members employed by Alpha Flight will receive an 18% pay increase and a 30-minute reduction in the working week as part of the two-year deal. Employees will also be awarded with an additional £420 lump sum, with final payments being delivered in November 2019.Alpha Flight initially offered a 6% pay increase, but this was rejected in a consultative ballot. Unite members were then due to undertake strike action between Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 March 2019; however, further pay talks resulted in the improved two-year pay deal, which was voted on and accepted by Alpha Flight drivers.The agreement will see drivers’ wages increase to £12.70 an hour, compared to £10.64 an hour currently, according to Unite.Jamie Major, regional officer at Unite, said: “By displaying complete unity, our members have secured an excellent pay deal, which ensures their earnings are in line with local HGV drivers’ earnings.“Alpha Flight is the first [organisation] at Gatwick Airport to take the argument for paying a market rate for HGV drivers seriously. By introducing a market rate for drivers, Alpha Flight has now established itself as the market leader for HGV driver pay on the Gatwick campus.“Unite will now be working to ensure that other employers at Gatwick also boost drivers’ pay and introduce a market rate.”Alpha Flight was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Medical couriers employed by pathology services provider The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) and who are members of the trade union the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), have voted in favour of a new pay deal, applicable for couriers who are classified either as workers or as employees.TDL employs couriers that are defined as either employees or as limb (b) workers, a category of self-employment that entitles workers to employment rights, such as the minimum wage and holiday pay.The deal enables those on worker status to choose whether they want to be paid per hour rather than per delivery, to increase pay security, and provides an additional payment of 20p to 40p per mile, depending on the vehicle, to help cover travel expenses.Couriers classified as employees will receive an employer-provided push bike, motorbike or van, with a fuel card to cover petrol costs, while night shifts performed between 10.00pm and 7.00am will be paid at an enhanced rate of pay, set 12.5% higher than employees’ normal day rate.The agreed deal further guarantees that couriers’ working hours will not be cut as a result of the new contracts being implemented, that TDL will review the deal in six months’ time and that the organisation will introduce annual pay reviews.The pay offer is a result of strike action undertaken by IWGB members employed by TDL in May 2019; industrial action was also scheduled for 25 and 26 June 2019, but this has now been cancelled.In June 2017, TDL was found to have wrongly classified its couriers as independent, self-employed contractors; affected staff were not able to access the rights employees’ are entitled to, such as the minimum wage and holiday pay.Correctly identifying couriers as employees enabled IWGB to create a collective bargaining unit in order to negotiate on pay; this covers all couriers, including walkers, push bike couriers, motorbike riders and van drivers. This was secured in spring 2018 after a ruling by the Central Arbitration Committee.Couriers at TDL deliver emergency blood and pathology samples to more than 30 NHS hospitals situated in London and the South East, as well as some private hospitals and clinics.IWGB is also representing 45 couriers at TDL in a holiday pay claim, which is being heard by the Central London Employment Tribunal next week.Alex Marshall, couriers and logistics branch chair at IWGB and courier at TDL, said: “After a grueling campaign, we have managed to drag TDL to the negotiating table and agree on a deal that gives us some security when it comes to our earnings.“Through our organising effort of the last two years, we have also managed to transform the workplace and stop the chronic bullying that was previously so common. This victory shows that by staying united and campaigning together, it is possible to reverse the race to the bottom inherent in the business models of so many so-called ‘gig economy’ employers.”A spokesperson from TDL said: “We were pleased the IWGB agreed to return to the table earlier this month. Discussions were productive and we were able to renegotiate TDL’s original pay offer and reach an agreement that works for both parties.“Our couriers are valued members of our workforce and we look forward to open communication and positive working relationships in the future.”
Officials added this is the fifth crocodile captured in Florida this year.Follow these links for more information on crocodiles in Florida:Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. PINECREST, Fla. (WSVN) — A crocodile roundup surprised residents, Friday, after the scaly visitor made a rare appearance in a Pinecrest neighborhood.Residents who called local officials assumed they were near an alligator, not a crocodile. Crocodiles are a rarity in Florida, with only about 1,200 left in the Sunshine State.The 8-foot-reptile was spotted roaming down Red Road, at around 5:30 a.m., by a resident. Neighbors said the crocodile is one of the two that are often seen in a canal in Gables by the Sea. “The good thing is that it didn’t come through our backyard because that would have been a lot worse,” said Ferdinand Kurt. “I don’t know how he got out there, but there he was.”Trapper Tood Hardwick worked to exhaust the crocodile, which successfully led to its capture. “Thank God, I didn’t see it,” said Rizwan Ali. “I would have freaked out. At least someone did, and I’m glad it’s captured.”This isn’t the first time a crocodile has been spotted in this neighborhood. In 2014, two people decided to go for a late night swim until a crocodile bit them. Both survived, and the animal was eventually captured.Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Lorenzo Veloz offered more advice for those in this situation. “Keep your distance and observe,” said Veloz. “Don’t mess with them. They don’t like to be bothered, and, of course, safety is key. The further you are away from them, the safer you’re going to be.”On hot and sticky days, crocodiles venture out of the water and onto land, wildlife officials said, especially during mating season.
MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – In honor of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Miami Beach Police and Fire Rescue held a flag retirement ceremony.The departments retired battered and tattered flags, Wednesday.The flags were given to 25 veterans, with one going to 94-year-old Gordon Read. Read was there the day that the Japanese attacked the naval base in Pearl Harbor.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) – An auto body shop went up in flames on Monday.The incident occurred near Monroe Street and South Dixie Highway in Hollywood.A 7News viewer sent a video of the fire from far away. You can see the large flames coming from the shop with police on the scene.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. The Video Cloud video was not found. Error Code: VIDEO_CLOUD_ERR_VIDEO_NOT_FOUND Session ID: 2019-09-12:e1bfa54454f5609ee5644aea Player Element ID: vjs_video_821 OK Close Modal DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
(WSVN) — The popular Moscow mule cocktail is known around the world for the iconic copper mug that it is served in. Due to health concerns, the drink may soon be served in a different cup.A recent study conducted by the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division found that the mug may be poisoning drinkers.“When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food,” according to the Alcoholic Beverages Division’s statement.Using the mug for alcoholic beverages with a pH balance of below 6 could result in food poisoning or copper poisoning, health officials said.“The pH of a traditional Moscow Mule is well below 6.0. This means that copper mugs that have a copper interior may not be used with this beverage,” the report said. “However, copper mugs lined on the interior with another metal, such as nickel or stainless steel, are allowed to be used and are widely available.”Diarrhea, vomiting, and jaundice are all symptoms of possible copper poisoning.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) – Officials met at a roundtable in South Florida to discuss security at U.S. airports.Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz met with local, state and federal officials, Wednesday.The goal of the roundtable is to avoid future tragedies in airports.This is the third meeting since Esteban Santiago opened fire near the terminal 2 baggage claim at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing five people, back in January.“We can learn from what we lived through with this incident,” said Wasserman-Schultz, “and also make sure that we can extrapolate what we learned and make sure that the policy changes that we make going forward have portability.”The group will reconvene to review its recommendations and ensure the safety of all travelers.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – The New England Patriots lent a helping hand to Stoneman Douglas students ahead this weekend’s massive “March For Our Lives” protest.Robert Kraft donated one of the team’s planes to transport students and families from Fort Lauderdale to Washington, D.C., for the “March For Our Lives” rally on Saturday.The plane transported the families of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and some of the survivors, the team confirmed to 7News.The rally against gun violence is slated to take place across the globe with over 800 “sister” marches. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and their families boarding the @Patriots plane from #FLL to attend the #MarchForOurLives rally in Washington, DC this weekend. #MSDStrong pic.twitter.com/Ja0HwMEwfS— Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport (FLL) (@FLLFlyer) March 23, 2018Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Authorities have arrested two more people in connection to the murder of a Virginia businessman who was found dead in Lauderhill.U.S. marshals took Christian Carmona Quinonez and Laura Perez-Lozano into custody in Fresno, California, back in June.The suspects were extradited to Broward County and appeared in court Friday afternoon. They were denied bond.Investigators said the suspects took part in the the death of 44-year-old Emerald Senior, Feb. 11. He was found dead in his vacation home.The victim and three other women were captured on surveillance video right before the incident.A third suspect, Juan Uribe, was arrested in June in Eureka, California, but he has yet to be extradited.Officials said two other suspects remain at large in connection to the crime. They identified one of them as Homestead resident Alejandra Porras. If you have any information on their whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
MIAMI (WSVN) – A City of Miami Police officer accused of kicking a handcuffed suspect in the head has been acquitted.A Miami-Dade County judge dismissed the misdemeanor assault charge against Miami Police Officer Mario Figueroa, Wednesday.Figueroa could be seen running up to and kicking at the suspect’s head but never connecting in video footage of the arrest back in May of 2018.A body camera captured the officer saying, “If I wanted to kick you, you know I would have kicked you.”Figueroa’s defense lawyer said he acted properly against a dangerous carjacking suspect, who had led officers on a high-speed chase.Figueroa was fired after the incident and is now hoping to get his job back.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.