Circus Animal Checks Aided by Itineraries

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service plans to require complete itineraries of animals in traveling exhibits, including those in circuses, petting zoos and animal acts.
     With scarce resources, the itineraries will allow the agency to make unannounced visits without first having to locate the exhibitors.
     According to a proposed rule, the Animal Care Regional Director would have to have the itineraries two days before any travel. The itineraries would include all travel dates and addresses, including stops and layovers. The exhibitors also would have to give identifying information on each traveling animal, including its description and species information, plus the names of the animal's owner, transporter and exhibitor.
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Obama Bans Federal
Texting While Driving

     WASHINGTON (CN) - President Obama has issued an Executive Order forbidding federal employees from texting while driving in government owned vehicles, including trucks, trains, and heavy equipment, or when driving their own vehicles while on government business.

FTA Funded Buses Require More Testing

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Transit Administration has incorporated brake performance and emissions tests into its bus testing program. It also has republished the rule to update it with statutory language and changes in the bus manufacturing industry.
     Applicants for financial assistance from the FTA must certify that the new bus model being acquired has gone through the testing.
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Bloggers Must Disclose Freebies, FTC Says

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Trade Commission has revised its guidelines on the use of testimonial advertising, celebrity endorsements and bloggers who have a "material connection" to the subject of their posts.
           The changes focus on disclosure of interest between parties involved in advertising and marketing and for the first time include so called "word of mouth marketers" -people who are paid to make endorsements of a product on the multitude of social networking media available to private individuals, including just using or endorsing the product in a public place.
           Celebrity endorsers now will be personally liable for statements they make in an endorsement and now have a duty to disclose their relationship to an advertiser when making an endorsement outside of traditional advertising media, like when appearing on a talk show or when paid to use a product in a public place. Under the old guidelines only the advertiser was held liable for the truth and accuracy of the claims made in an ad.
           If an advertiser refers to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the advertiser, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the organization. Advertisers that use consumers to convey their experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can expect, and are not protected by disclaimers such as "individual results may vary" or "results not typical."

Insured Banks Are Asked to Pay Into the Fund

     WASHINGTON (CN) - To gather cash to pay for projected bank failures, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation plans to require federally insured banks to prepay their estimated quarterly risk-based assessments for the fourth quarter of 2009, and for all of 2010, 2011, and 2012. The payment would be due Dec. 30.
     The assessments are based on the bank's balance of insured deposits and the degree of risk the institution poses to the insurance fund.

Ecosystem Plan for
Pacific Fisheries Is Ready

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced that proposed fishery ecosystem plans are available for western Pacific fisheries.      The plans are for American Samoa, Hawaii, Mariana Archipelago, Pacific remote island areas and western Pacific pelagic fisheries.
     The fishery ecosystem plans are meant to incorporate and reorganize elements of five existing western Pacific fishery management plans from a species- or fishery-basis, to one that is founded on geography. It is not intended that the fishery ecosystem plans would change current management measures.
     By using ecosystem-based plans, instead of plans that concern a mass of a species of fish, the NMFS intends to help maintain the health and sustainability of the ecosystem in which the fish live.
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