From the daily archives: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Good Afternoon,

The reports and images from Haiti of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching. As we learn more about the extent of the devastation, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti and Haitian Americans around our country who do not yet know the fate of their families and loved ones back home.

I have directed my Administration to respond with a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives. The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States Government in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief — the food, water and medicine — that Haitians will need in the coming days.

This is also a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share, and Americans have always responded to these situations with generosity of spirit. If you would like to support the urgent humanitarian effort in Haiti, I encourage you to visit our website where you can learn more about how to contribute:

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/HaitiEarthquake

Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti are encouraged to contact the State Department at (888) 407-4747.

We will continue to stand with the people of Haiti and keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

 

Oakland-Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today sued Florida-based electronic-cigarette retailer Smoking Everywhere to prevent the company from targeting minors and making “misleading and irresponsible” claims that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking.

“Smoking Everywhere launched a misleading and irresponsible advertising campaign targeting minors and claiming that electronic cigarettes do not contain harmful chemicals,” Brown said. “We are asking the Court to take these cigarettes off the market until the company has proven the products are safe.”

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices with nicotine cartridges designed to look and feel like conventional cigarettes. Instead of actual smoke, e-cigarettes produce a vapor from the nicotine cartridge that is inhaled by the user. Smoking Everywhere, one of the largest e-cigarette retailers in the United States, claims in its advertisements that the e-cigarettes have no carcinogens, no tar, no second-hand smoke, and are therefore safe and healthy.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that electronic cigarettes contain a variety of dangerous chemicals, including nicotine, carcinogens such as nitrosamines and, in at least one case, diethylene glycol, commonly known as antifreeze.

Today’s lawsuit seeks to prevent the company from selling its products until there is evidence to substantiate its claims that they are safe. The lawsuit will also require the products to display the state-mandated Proposition 65 warnings of ingredients known to cause cancer or reproductive harm and seeks to prevent the company from making false and misleading claims and promoting the products to minors.

In one advertisement targeted to minors, Smoking Everywhere featured a video with radio show host Howard Stern claiming, “kids love ‘em.” The products feature flavors that appeal to youth, including strawberry, chocolate, mint, banana and cookies-and-cream.

Other ads claim that electronic cigarettes can help people quit smoking. To be advertised as a smoking-cessation device, a product must be approved by the FDA for that purpose. In fact, none of Smoking Everywhere’s products have been approved by the FDA.

The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and other groups have expressed serious concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes and urged that they be removed from the market until proof of their safety has been established.

 

Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2010

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert

The FBI today reminds Internet users who receive appeals to donate money in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to include the following:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
  • Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site.
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

Anyone who has received an e-mail referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of this or a similar incident should notify the IC3 via www.ic3.gov.

 

UPS Donates $1 Million to Haitian Earthquake Relief

Planning Underway with Partners to Deliver Aid

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–UPS (NYSE:UPS) today contributed more than US$1 million in cash and in-kind support to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti through its charitable arm, The UPS Foundation.

“Through our financial commitment and logistics expertise, UPS is positioned to respond quickly to the urgent needs and tremendous suffering that have been created by the earthquake. We felt it was critical that we act fast to support the relief efforts.”

The $1 million donation will include $500,000 in cash and up to $500,000 of in-kind services for the shipment of needed supplies. The funds will be divided between The American Red Cross, CARE, UNICEF and other organizations that assist with long-term relief activities.

“With hundreds of thousands of people affected, our hearts go out to Haiti,” said Dan Brutto, president of UPS International. Brutto serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Through our financial commitment and logistics expertise, UPS is positioned to respond quickly to the urgent needs and tremendous suffering that have been created by the earthquake. We felt it was critical that we act fast to support the relief efforts.”

With a network that extends around the globe, UPS has been a leader in disaster relief and response. In recent years, UPS relief efforts in the Philippines, Samoa, China, Myanmar and across the United States have included warehouse management, transportation network design and supply chain distribution.

In addition to providing financial and in-kind commitments to Haiti relief, UPS is a member of the World Food Programme’s Logistics Emergency Teams (LETs) and anticipates the activation of those teams. The LETs initiative involves providing “loaned” logistics experts to oversee on-site disaster response, normally for a deployment of three-to-six months.

UPS provided logistics support in Haiti just two years ago when the island nation was slammed by hurricanes and flooding. One of the UPS experts dispatched in 2008, UPS Americas Region Health and Safety Manager John Vera, describes crisis response in Haiti as extraordinarily difficult because the country has little modern infrastructure.

“Our job is to respond quickly and get supplies to those who need it most, but it’s not an easy task in Haiti,” said Vera.

UPS will continue to work closely with relief organizations that are active in the Haiti recovery effort over the coming weeks.

Founded in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Ga., The UPS Foundation’s major initiatives include programs that support community safety, nonprofit effectiveness, economic and global literacy, environmental sustainability and diversity. The UPS Foundation pursues these initiatives by identifying specific projects where its support can help produce a measurable social impact. In 2008, The UPS Foundation donated $46.9 million to charitable organizations worldwide. Visit community.ups.com for more information about UPS’s community involvement.

For additional information on UPS disaster preparedness, please visit www.pressroom.ups.com/disasterprep.

Contacts

The UPS Foundation
Lynnette McIntire, 404-828-7895
or
Ronna Branch, 404-828-4393

 

Wells Fargo Pledges $100,000 to Aid Disaster Relief Efforts in Haiti

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To help victims of the earthquake in Haiti, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) said today it is contributing $100,000 to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund to assist with recovery efforts.

“On behalf of all our 280,000 team members I want to express our sympathy for the victims and their families of this major earthquake”

“On behalf of all our 280,000 team members I want to express our sympathy for the victims and their families of this major earthquake,” said Wells Fargo’s Chairman and CEO John Stumpf. “We have a substantial number of team members and customers in Florida and throughout the East Coast with families in Haiti. As Haiti continues to assess the damage from this horrifying disaster, we want to do what we can to support relief efforts.”

Customers can make donations to the American Red Cross by visiting http://www.redcross.org.

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally.

 
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