Daily archives: January 12th, 2010

Chicago’s Center On Halsted to Host Men’s and Women’s ‘Speed Dating’

Chicago, IL– Center on Halsted will host an evening of SPEED DATING for lesbians on Thursday, February 11 and gay men on Thursday, February 25, 2010. Not finding that special spark across the Internet? Long, wasted evenings with those just-not-happening blind dates? It’s time for some real-time, fun-time SPEED DATING at Center on Halsted located at 3656 N. Halsted Street in Chicago.

SPEED DATERS should arrive between 6:45pm -7pm. The first round of SPEED DATING will begin at 7:15pm. Rounds will continue until everyone has had a chance to meet, or until 8:45pm, whichever comes first. Be sure to bring your agenda book! “Like to get together for coffee” cards will be matched after the last round ends.

Tickets for SPEED DATING at Center on Halsted are $12 at the door, and $10 if you purchase in advance. A cash bar will open at 6:45pm. To purchase tickets in advance, please email culture@centeronhalsted.org or call 773/661-0763.

For more information about Center on Halsted, please visit our website, www.centeronhalsted.org.

Center on Halsted is the most comprehensive Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and Allies community center in the Midwest. View an art exhibit, see a theatrical performance, use the free WI-FI or take part in one of our social services programs. Perhaps just relax with a cup of coffee in the glass lobby of the Center’s “green” certified building. Find YOUR Center at Center on Halsted. www.centeronhalsted.org, 773.472.6469, open 8am – 10pm daily.

State Department 800 Number for Americans with Family in Haiti

This information is current as of today, Tuesday, January 12 2010, 22:14:37 GMT-0600 (Central Standard Time).

Washington, D.C.– The State Department Operations Center has set up the following number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747 (due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording).

The State Department says the United States embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American Citizens through our Warden Network. Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time.

American Red Cross Releases $200,000 Aid to Areas Affected by Haiti Earthquake

Washington, D.C.–January 12, 2010. The American Red Cross has pledged an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by today’s earthquake in Haiti, and is prepared to take further action as local responders assess the situation.

“Initial reports indicate widespread damage in Port au Prince, with continuing aftershocks,” says Tracy Reines, director of international disaster response for the American Red Cross. “As with most earthquakes, we expect to see immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.”

The American Red Cross has made available all of the relief supplies from its warehouse in Panama which would provide for basic needs for approximately 5,000 families. In addition, it is deploying a disaster management specialist to Haiti, and has additional disaster specialists on standby if needed.

The American Red Cross has an extensive partnership with the Haitian Red Cross, which is expected to lead the Red Cross response to the earthquake.

The American Red Cross has staff on the ground in Haiti who provide ongoing HIV/AIDS prevention and disaster preparedness programs. At this time, all the three American Red Cross staff in Haiti have all been reported safe.

The Haitian Red Cross was founded in 1932 and is one of the primary organizations in the country responding to disasters. Although earthquakes are less common, Haiti is frequently impacted by hurricanes including those in 2008, and the Haiti Red Cross has developed experience in disaster response due those disasters.

You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Donations to the International Response Fund can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.

Source: redcross.org

Mercy Corps Sends Emergency Response Team to Haiti

Portland, OR–January 12, 2010. Mercy Corps is sending a team of emergency responders to Haiti in the wake of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the island nation earlier today. The team will assess damage, and seek to fulfill immediate needs of quake survivors.

“Initial reports indicate that the quake has caused extensive damage, and we fear that casualties could be widespread,” explained Randy Martin, Mercy Corps director of Global Emergency Operation. “Our team will quickly assess what the most pressing needs are in earthquake-affected areas.”

The earthquake exacerbates an already dire humanitarian situation in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Plagued by hunger and political instability, the quake is likely to dramatically increase the needs of many impoverished Haitian families.

Mercy Corps has a long history of helping earthquake survivors. The agency aided families after earthquakes in Peru in 2007, China and Pakistan in 2008, and Indonesia last year.

Mercy Corps
Haiti Earthquake Fund
Dept NR
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208

Source: mercycorps.org

Why Was Walmart Selling Kids’ Jewelry That Contains Cadmium?

In this Dec. 17, 2009 photo, a computer screen shows a "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" charm in Ashland, Ohio. Barred from using lead in children’s jewelry because of its toxicity, some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium in sparkling charm bracelets and shiny pendants being sold throughout the United States, an Associated Press investigation shows. 

I am not a fan of Walmart, as I mentioned the other day. Today we learn of yet another reason not to trust the retailer.

From the Chicago Tribune (emphasis added) :

China’s product safety agency will look into findings that dangerous levels of cadmium are being used in exports of children’s jewelry, a Chinese official said Tuesday following growing concern in the United States about the products.

Attending a toy safety conference in Hong Kong, the official said that his agency only just learned of findings in an Associated Press investigation published Sunday and would examine the findings on cadmium contamination.

"We just heard about this, and we will investigate," said Wang Xin, a director general for the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Though Wang does not have the authority to order a full-bore inquiry, his comments were the government’s first on the matter and show China’s nervousness about potential troubles in the U.S., the biggest Chinese export market.

On Monday, retail giant Walmart pulled products cited in the AP report from its stores in the U.S. The attorney general ofConnecticut promised to investigate suspect costume jewelry. A New York state legislator called for a ban on the sale of children’s jewelry with cadmium in the state. The top U.S. consumer safety regulator warned Asian manufacturers that cadmium and other toxins must be kept out of children’s charm bracelets, pendants and other baubles.

Lab tests conducted for the AP on 103 pieces of low-priced children’s jewelry on sale in the U.S. found 12 items with raised levels of cadmium, which can hinder brain development in young children, according to recent research, and is known to cause cancer.

Where is the quality control on Walmart’s end? Does Walmart have any standards for products it sells in its stores? Does Walmart do any independent product testing? Did Walmart pull the products because they got caught? Does Walmart have quality standards for what it sells, or do they just sell whatever comes cheap from overseas?

Read more at the Tribune.