Outside the Circle News

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courtesy examiner.com

The Walt Disney Company announced on Oct. 30 that it would be purchasing LucasFilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion in cash and stock.

Sarah Groft, National News Reporter

Treats Endanger Cleveland Dogs

Dog owners all over Cleveland are heading to change.org to sign a petition. The petition asks retailers such as Sam’s Club, Target, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kroger, and Costco to remove certain jerky-style dog treats off the shelves.

The Waggin’ Train brand chicken jerky treats have been under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, which sent out a cautionary warning about them weeks ago. They are still, however, being sold in stores. Rita Desollar initiated the petition, which has now been signed by over 60,000 people. Desollar started the petition after her German shepherd died within a few days of eating the jerky treats.

Over 2200 cases of illness have been reported to the FDA, along with 361 deaths. Desollar was not only concerned about the safety of the affected animals, but also about the trustworthiness of the stores. “We’re all asking the same question at this point,” she said, “Can we still trust the stores that continue to sell these dangerous dog treats?”

Terry Safranek is another dog owner. Safranek lost her pet, Sampson, because of the jerky treats. “When Sampson died, I was blindsided to find out that this danger was known by the FDA, the manufacturers, and the sellers,” commented Safranek, “but there’s no way to tell when you see the product on the shelves.”

Many other pet owners are frustrated that the treats are still being sold in stores despite their known dangers. In a press release, Stephanie Feldstein, senior campaigner at change.org, said, “This is yet another example of how consumers are using change.org to demand accountability from retailers.”

 

Megaupload Re-launched

Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, announced this past Sunday that his team has been working on a new file-sharing website. The new website promises to be almost identical to his last site, but with a few new services. The new project, called Mega, is scheduled to launch on Jan. 19, 2013, exactly one year after its predecessor, Megaupload, was removed from the Internet.

Dotcom’s team has not yet found a domain name to use for the new website, but they do currently have a few options. Last month, a statement was released to the media saying that Dotcom’s team was almost finished coding, that it had already ordered servers, and that it had a line of investors waiting to put their money into Mega.

Dotcom has promised that Mega will be much more secure than before. All users who upload a file will be given a unique decryption key, giving them control over their own files and who can access them. The files themselves will be encrypted with AES algorithms.

 

Another Massachusetts Pharmacy Closes

An inspection of a Massachusetts pharmacy this past weekend revealed unsettling conditions. A surprise infection raised questions about the sterility of its products. The pharmacy in question, Infusion Resource in Waltham, Mass., voluntarily gave up its license after the inspection.

Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality at the Massachusetts Public Health Department, said during a news conference that the inspectors that went through Infusion Resource found “significant issues with the environment in which medications were being compounded.”

Although the conditions were not ideal, there has not yet been any evidence of contaminated drugs. It was also found that patients had been given intravenous medications at the pharmacy, which is against state regulations.

Infusion Resource’s shutdown comes at an inopportune time. New England Compounding Pharmacy is also under investigation for causing a national meningitis outbreak, killing 25 people and exposing over 14,000 to the deadly bacteria. The pharmacy was found to have mold and bacteria on many surfaces, as well as residue on their sterilization equipment.

After this startling realization, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick told the Board of Registration in Pharmacy to start surprise inspections of the 25 compounding pharmacies that produce sterile, injectable medications. All of these organizations are expected to be inspected by Jan. 1.

Bernard F. Lambrese, chief executive of Infusion Resources, told the New York Times that “no issues were cited relating to the integrity of our products, nor to the quality of our compounding practices.” In light of that, Lambrese also commented that his company would be working on the issues that the inspectors addressed and would ask to be relicensed.

Dr. Lauren Smith, the interim commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Health, said that the state would begin implementing emergency rules that require compounding pharmacies to surrender regular reports on production and distribution of their injectable drugs.

 

Disney Takes LucasFilm

The Walt Disney Company announced on Oct. 30, that it would be purchasing LucasFilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion in cash and stock. LucasFilm Ltd. first had its first big break with the production of the “Star Wars” series, and has since become a popular creator of science fiction media. Its founder, George Lucas, recently announced that he had planned on stepping down from the company at the age of 68.

This purchase, along with the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion in 2006 and Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009, ensures that the Walt Disney Company will be at the top of the fantasy film ladder.