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05

U.S.-Panama Trade Deal To Go Into Effect Soon

The Miami Herald / www.miamiherald.com

Read more here: MIAMI HERALD

 


 

Reminder: Import Food Products Seminar

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

Western New York Filers, Importers, and Distributors are welcome to attend the “Imported Food Products Seminar.”

Note: The Imported Foods Seminar will also be offered on the 14th and 15th of November, in Brooklyn, NY, and Queens, NY, respectively. Information and registration instructions are listed below.

The purpose of this free seminar is to provide basic information to food importers and distributors concerning the import process, issues concerning food safety and proactive solutions which can be taken to address these issues. Participants will receive a comprehensive Imported Food Product Safety Guide.

Date : Tuesday October 16, 2012

Time : 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM (registration to begin at 8:30 AM)

Location:

The Conference Center at Niagara Falls

101 Old Falls St. Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Registration Information:

Please provide company name, address, and contact information to Mr. John M. Luker (john.luker@agriculture.ny.gov): (518) 457-5382) of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Food Safety and Inspection by October 9, 2012. Seminar is open to the first 75 registrants only.

Sponsored by:

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Food Safety and Inspection.

The Department of Food Science, Cornell University.

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

 


 

Informed Compliance Publication Updated

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

Fasteners of Heading 7318 (pdf - 397 KB.)



The U.S. and Canada Announce Pilot to Enhance Border Security at Land Ports of Entry

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www. cbp.gov

Washington — The Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency announced today that, effective September 30, 2012, both agencies will begin the Phase I pilot of the Entry/Exit program as outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

Routine biographic information will be collected between September 30, 2012 and January 31, 2013. Beginning October 15, 2012, both agencies will begin exchanging this information to record entry into one country so that it becomes a record of exit from the other country. The pilot will not affect regular port operations in any way.

“The sharing of entry and exit information will facilitate the legitimate flow of traffic between the U.S. and Canada while strengthening border security,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner, David V. Aguilar. “This pilot is an important step forward in the shared perimeter vision.”

“As outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan, our governments are committed to maintaining the integrity of our shared border,” said Minister Toews. “This sharing of entry and exit information will play a key part in bolstering border security.”

Under the pilot, the Department of Homeland Security and Canada Border Services Agency will exchange routinely collected data of third-country nationals (those who are neither citizens of Canada nor the United States), permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the United States at the following four ports of entry:

  • Pacific Highway, Blaine, Washington / Pacific Highway, British Columbia;
  • Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington / Douglas (Peace Arch), British Columbia;
  • Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, Lewiston, New York / Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Ontario;and
  • Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, New York / Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

A coordinated entry/exit system will help the U.S. and Canada identify persons who potentially overstay their lawful period of admission; better monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders; and verify that residency requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs.

The process of sharing personal information will be done in accordance with each country’s privacy laws and policies. It will also be consistent with the Beyond the Border Action Plan Joint Statement of Privacy Principles and a Letter of Intent agreed to by the Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency. The DHS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is available online. ( DHS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) )

On February 4, 2011, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama released the Beyond the Border Declaration, articulating a shared vision in which our countries work together to address threats at the earliest point possible while facilitating the legitimate movement of people, goods and services across our shared border. The Action Plan, released in December 2011, outlines the specific steps our countries intend to take to achieve the security and economic competitiveness goals outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration.

 


 

Philly CBP Intercepts World’s Most Destructive Insect Pest

U.S. Customs & Border Protection / www.cbp.gov

Philadelphia– The Khapra beetle is considered one of the world’s most destructive insect pests of grains, cereals and stored foods. U.S. agriculture authorities are so concerned about any introduction of Khapra beetle that it remains the only insect in which Customs and Border Protection takes regulatory action against while in a dead state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year implemented commercial and non-commercial import restrictions to keep the Khapra beet le at bay.

CBP agriculture specialists came face-to-face with Khapra beetle Sept. 8. A Saudi Arabian traveler arrived to Philadelphia International Airport with a burlap bag containing 11 pounds of rice. Also in the burlap bag were six dead larvae and four dead adults, which a national USDA entomologist confirmed Sept. 26 as the destructive Trogoderma granarium Everts (Derestidae).

The rice was destroyed by incineration.

“Khapra Beetle is one of the most destructive and invasive insect pests that Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists encounter,” said Allan Martocci, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “Our agriculture protection mission is vital to our nation’s longstanding economic health and self-reliance. We take our agriculture protection mission very seriously. ”

The Khapra beetle is labeled a ‘dirty feeder’ because it damages more grain than it consumes, and because it contaminates grain with body parts and hairs. These contaminants may cause gastrointestinal irritation in adults and especially sickens infants. Khapra beetles can also tolerate insecticides and fumigants, and can survive for long periods of time without food.

According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, previous detections of Khapra beetle have resulted in massive, long-term control and eradication efforts at great cost to the American taxpayer.

California implemented extensive eradication measures following a Khapra beetle infestation discovered there in 1953. The effort was deemed successful, but at a cost of approximately $11 million. Calculated in today’s dollars, that would be about $90 million.

On July 30, 2011, CBP started enforcing USDA restrictions on the importation of rice from countries known to have Khapra beetle. These restrictions were due to the increasing number of detections at U.S. ports of entry of infested shipments of rice from those countries.

These restrictions apply to all commercial and non-commercial imports from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

Non-commercial quantities – considered personal use amounts and that are not for resale – of rice from these countries will be prohibited from entering the United States, including those transported in international passenger baggage, by mail or by courier.

Commercial shipments of rice originating from these countries must be inspected and must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the shipment was inspected and found free of Khapra beetle.

For more information on these restrictions, please visit their website. (www.aphis.gov)

CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign insect pests and plant and animal diseases.

For more on the USDA APHIS program, please visit their website. ( APHIS.gov )

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,291 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 470 insect pests.

To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the website. ( Agriculture Specialist )

 


 

DOT Fines Xtra Airways for Charter Violations Related to Direct Air’s Shutdown

U.S. Department of Transportation / www.dot.gov

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Xtra Airways $300,000 for violating rules protecting passengers when their public charter flights are suddenly c anceled, and ordered the carrier to cease and desist from further violations.

Xtra Airways was one of several carriers operating flights for Direct Air, a charter operator also known as Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours, which ceased operating in March. Direct Air arranged charters from a number of cities in the Midwest and Northeast to Myrtle Beach, S.C. and cities in Florida.

Public charters differ from scheduled flights in that they operate only for a specific time period and are usually sold by a charter operator rather than an airline.

“Airline passengers should not have to worry about last-minute charter flight cancellations or being stranded in the middle of their trips,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Our rules were put into place to protect passengers’ rights, and we will continue to take enforcement action against airlines and charter operators when they violate those rules.”

Xtra Airways stopped flying charters for Direct Air on March 13, 2012, after Direct Air failed to pay the carrier all the money it was owed for operating flights that departed on or a fter March 3. Payments for several flights prior to March 3 were also late. Numerous passengers did not receive the service they paid Direct Air for when Xtra Airways cancelled the remaining flights it was scheduled to operate for Direct Air.

In issuing its fine against Xtra Airways, the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office said the carrier violated rules requiring that it be paid prior to operating a public charter flight and prohibiting the cancellation of such flights less than 10 days before their scheduled departure. In addition, the carrier providing the transportation is required to ensure return flights for all round-trip passengers who have flown the outbound leg of their trip. Carriers also are required to make a reasonable effort to ensure that the charter operator for which they are providing flights is complying with the public charter rules. The Enforcement Office noted that the late payments should have prompted Xtra Airways to look into whether Direct Air was following the rules.

This is the second penalty issued by the Department related to Direct Air. On July 27, the Department assessed a $180,000 penalty against World Atlantic Airlines, another carrier operating flights for Direct Air. The Department is continuing to investigate Direct Air’s shutdown.

The consent order is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2012-0002. Information for consumers seeking refunds for Direct Air flights is available at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/cessations.htm

 


 

FTC Halts Massive Tech Support Scams

Federal Trade Commission / www.ftc.gov

The Federal Trade Commission has launched a major international crackdown on tech support scams in which telemarketers masquerade as major computer companies, con consumers into believing that their computers are riddled with viruses, spyware and other malware, and then charge hundreds of dollars to remotely access and “fix” the consumers’ computers.

At the request of the FTC, a U.S. District Court Judge has ordered a halt to six alleged tech support scams pending further hearings, and has frozen their assets.

“The FTC has been aggressive – and successful – in its pursuit of tech support scams,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “And the tech support scam artists we are talking about today have taken scareware to a whole other level of virtual mayhem.”

The FTC charged that the operations – mostly based in India – target English-speaking consumers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the U.K. According to the FTC, five of the six used telemarketing boiler rooms to call consumers. The sixth lured consumers by placing ads with Google which appeared when consumers searched for their computer company’s tech suppor t telephone number.

According to the FTC, after getting the consumers on the phone, the telemarketers allegedly claimed they were affiliated with legitimate companies, including Dell, Microsoft, McAfee, and Norton, and told consumers they had detected malware that posed an imminent threat to their computers. To demonstrate the need for immediate help, the scammers directed consumers to a utility area of their computer and falsely claimed that it demonstrated that the computer was infected. The scammers then offered to rid the computer of malware for fees ranging from $49 to $450. When consumers agreed to pay the fee for fixing the “problems,” the telemarketers directed them to a website to enter a code or download a software program that allowed the scammers remote access to the consumers’ computers. Once the telemarketers took control of the consumers’ computers, they “removed” the non-existent malware and downloaded otherwise free programs.

 

Sample Event Viewer log used as part of the scheme

FTC papers filed with the court alleged that the scammers hoped to avoid detection by consumers and law enforcers by using virtual offices that were actually just mail-forwarding facilities, and by using 80 different domain names and 130 different phone numbers.

The FTC charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act, which bars unfair and deceptive commercial practices, as well as the Telemarketing Sales Rule and with illegally calling numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. It asked the court to permanently halt the scams and order restitution for consumers.

The FTC acknowledges and appreciates the support it received from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and the United Kingdom’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, each of which provided invaluable assistance to the FTC. The CRTC and ACMA also brought administrative actions for violations of their Do Not Call laws. The FTC also acknowledges investigative assistance it received from Microsoft, as well as from other computer companies.

The FTC cases targeted 14 corporate defendants and 17 individual defendants in 6 legal filings, Pecon Software Ltd., Finmaestros LLC, Zeal IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Virtual PC Solutions, Lakshmi Infosoul Services Pvt. Ltd., and PCCare247, Inc., and individual defendants in each of the cases.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaints was 5-0. The complaints were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law. The cases will be decided by the court.

 


 

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
THE NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

National Do Not Call Registry / www.donotcall.gov

The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this Website. You can register your home or mobile phone for free. Click on the 'Do Not Call' Registry Icon to register your phone(s).

 
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