Lithium batteries cause international trade dispute
Safety concerns over the air transport of lithium batteries – and proposed federal regulations governing their shipment – has caused some sparks among U.S. trading partners, according to an article in the Washington Post.
A series of meetings have been held between U.S. trade officials and representatives of the European Union, China, Japan, South Korea and Israel, who are lobbying against requiring air shipments of lithium batteries and products containing them to meet hazardous cargo regulations, diplomatic and industry officials told The Associated Press. Foreign trade officials claim that the proposed regulations could cost hundreds of millions of dollars and disrupt the flow of goods into the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Transportation disputes this number, estimating that its proposal would only cost an addition $9 million a year. Airline pilot unions are pressuring the agency to add the safety precaution because lithium batteries can short circuit and catch fire. They are also difficult to extinguish.
Lithium batteries have come under suspicion in the United Parcel Service plane crash in Dubai in September 2010. The two pilots, who were killed, reported a cargo compartment fire and smoke so thick they couldn’t see their cockpit instruments. The plane was carrying a cargo of electronics. Investigators suspected that lithium batteries either started or contributed to the fire.
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Store employees thwart identity thief
A man suspected of using stolen credit cards and personal checks to make purchases from a Northern California Home Depot was arrested after sales associates noticed a variety of credit card orders were being shipped to the same residence, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Richard Griffin, age 42, allegedly bought equipment from a Home Depot in San Rafael using credit card account info stolen from victims in Tiburon, San Rafael and Pleasanton, as well as checks from a person in Novato.
The suspect made the orders by phone, sometimes saying that a different person besides the cardholder would pick up the merchandise, according to authorities. Griffin also requested the items be delivered to a home in Richmond, investigators said. He allegedly racked up more than $25,000 in purchases.
Sales associates at Home Depot notified police after they noticed that all the calls came from the same phone number and the purchases were being delivered to the same address.
A seven-month investigation ensued. The Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force arrested Griffin just before Christmas and found him in possession of a fake California driver’s license and 10 stolen credit cards, according to authorities.
Griffin is being held at the Marin County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.
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Lowe’s and Uncle Sam enter a GSA contract
Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s announced it has received a General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule contract, giving discounts to federal buyers and other eligible agencies.
“Through our new GSA contract, Lowe’s can better meet the needs of our federal agency customers,” said Mike Horn, Lowe’s VP commercial sales. “Lowe’s is now able to provide more competitive prices to government customers, while also providing an easy and fast way for those customers to get the products they need.”
The contract took effect Jan. 1.
In all Lowe’s stores, the Commercial Sales Desk will serve as the primary point of contact for all GSA customers, the retailer said. The GSA schedule discount is good in all U.S. stores for the purchase of all Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant in-stock or special order merchandise. It is not valid on sales via Lowes.com, purchase of services or gift cards.
I have learned that the GSA
I have learned that the GSA Contract with Lowes has a clause that Lowes cannot give discounts lower that GSA which is 5%. Veterans were given 10% but now has been lowed to 5%. The contract has degraded again another benefits for Veterans. I cannot believe that this was the intent of GSA or Lowes. I believe the legal department with GSA should take a closer look at this contract and restore the 10% benefit originally offered. The Best Medal is a Live Man's Smile, Copyright H.Lee Bell