Chinese govt pressures poisoned milk victims to drop law suits

March 18, 2009

Families of children who were poisoned by melamine tainted milk in China are being pressured by government officials to drop law suits seeking compensation.

Local officials were calling and visiting at least a half-dozen families, urging them to drop their cases against the dairies and accept a government-sanctioned compensation plan giving 2,000 yuan ($290) to most victims, said Zhao Lianhai, the father of a child who was sickened by the milk.

At least one family has decided to back out of their lawsuit, Zhao said Tuesday.

. . .  The accusations that local officials are trying to intimidate victim’s families come despite this month’s announcement by the executive vice president of China’s highest court, Shen Deyong, that parents who rejected the government’s compensation plan were welcome to file lawsuits against the dairies.

It was not clear why local officials would try to stop the families after Shen’s announcement. But different levels of government in China often disagree on how to handle matters, and local officials may see lawsuits as a threat to their authority with the potential to upset stability in their community.

Politics within politics was blamed for the delay in withdrawing contaminated milk from sale in the first place. The damage that did is being compounded by this attempt to stop families from seeking compensation.

Money won’t bring back a dead baby but it will help pay for care for children who have on-going health problems as a result of drinking the infant formula which was poisoned with melamine.


Nothing blue about berry good invention

March 18, 2009

A machine to sort blueberries for colour and ripeness is proving to be bvery good for a family business.

TV3 shows how it works here.


It doesn’t matter who owns what

March 18, 2009

Bill English has announced a review of overseas investment rules.

The aim is to simplify them to make investment more attractive to foreign owners while protecting sensitive land, assets and resources.

That sounds sensible to me. It creates a bigger market with safeguards.

No doubt there will be howls of protest from people opposed to foreign ownership.

Funny how they don’t seem concerned about New Zealanders owning land and businesses in other countries.

But who owns what isn’t important, it’s what they’re permitted to do with it that matters.


Just a coincidence?

March 18, 2009

The previous government stopped funding Plunketline, which dealt specifically w ith children’s health issues saying they were covered by Healthline.

The new government recently reinstated funding so Plunketline can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Is it just coincidence that the Healthline ads now running on TV focus on babies?


Are you there 99?

March 18, 2009

An Australian inventor has developed a shoe phone.

It might have made sense way back in the 60s long before mobile phones were invented when Maxwell Smart and his sidekick Agent 99 were defeating the forces of evil on our TV screens in Get Smart. But I’m not sure that it would have any more than novelty value now.

Though you can watch and listen to the inventor  explain its benefits here.

I agree it would make it much easier to find the phone on your foot than in a pocket or bag but I don’t think I’ll be in the market for one.

The sort of things you’re likely to stand on in a paddock mean it’s not a good idea to put your footwear to your ear. Sorry about that, Chief.


Why do taxpayers own TVNZ?

March 18, 2009

The loss of 90 jobs at TVNZ  is sad for the people involved, but it leads to a wider question:

Why do taxpayers own two television stations?

I can’t remember the last time I watched TV2 but unless it has changed there is nothing on it to justify public ownership.

TV1 has a few programmes which might not appear on privately owned stations, but like Agenda, for instance, they mostly screen at times few people find convenient to watch them.

There may be a case for public service television but TVNZ doesn’t provide much evidence for it.


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