Subway sued by consumer who can’t find tuna in her tuna sandwich

A federal judge says a woman’s lawsuit against Subway can move forward, refusing the restaurant chain’s request to dismiss the suit that alleges its tuna sandwiches “partially or wholly” lack tuna…

(Nilima) Amin’s lawsuit cites a marine biologist who analyzed 20 samples of tuna offerings from 20 different Subway restaurants and found “no detectable tuna DNA sequences whatsoever” in 19 samples. But, Amin says, the samples did contain other types of animal DNA, such as from chicken and pork…

…The case centers on what consumers expect when they order a tuna sandwich: The word “tuna” appears 244 times in the plaintiff’s 28-page amended complaint…

Amin is seeking a jury trial and class-action status for her lawsuit, which accuses Subway of fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition. The suit seeks restitution, punitive damages and “disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains” from Subway, one of the top-grossing restaurant chains in the U.S.

I think “disgorgement” adds a nice touch to the lawsuit, eh?

Ecuador’s response to threats from Congress: offers training to U.S. in human rights, tells Congressional bullies to shove it!

Tell Senator Menendez to get an honest job!

Ecuador’s leftist government thumbed its nose at Washington on Thursday by renouncing U.S. trade benefits and offering to pay for human rights training in America in response to pressure over asylum for former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The angry response threatens a showdown between the two nations over Snowden, and may burnish President Rafael Correa’s credentials to be the continent’s principal challenger of U.S. power after the death of Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

“Ecuador will not accept pressures or threats from anyone, and it does not traffic in its values or allow them to be subjugated to mercantile interests,” government spokesman Fernando Alvarado said at a news conference.

In a cheeky jab at the U.S. spying program that Snowden unveiled through leaks to the media, the South American nation offered $23 million per year to finance human rights training.

The funding would be destined to help “avoid violations of privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity,” Alvarado said. He said the amount was the equivalent of what Ecuador gained each year from the trade benefits…

An influential U.S. senator on Wednesday said he would seek to end those benefits if Ecuador gave Snowden asylum.

Snowden, 30, is believed to be at Moscow’s international airport and seeking safe passage to Ecuador…

That “influential senator” is Robert Menendez, Democrat from New Jersey. He deserves less respect than a Cold War gangster for his threat.

Never shy of taking on the West, the pugnacious Correa last year granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to help him avoid extradition from Great Britain to Sweden…

The 50-year-old U.S.-trained economist won a landslide re-election in February on generous state spending to improve infrastructure and health services, and his Alianza Pais party holds a majority in the legislature…

An OPEC nation of 15 million people, Ecuador exported $5.4 billion worth of oil, $166 million of cut flowers, $122 million of fruits and vegetables and $80 million of tuna to the United States under the Andean trade program in 2012.

I will make it a point when we go grocery shopping this weekend to buy tuna, produce and flowers from Ecuador. I never tolerated bullies when I was a schoolkid. I still don’t.

Archaeologists decide deep sea fishing began 42,000 years ago

A complete shell fish hook from the Pleistocene

Tuna has been on the menu for a lot longer than we thought. Even 42,000 years ago, the deep-sea dweller wasn’t safe from fishing tackle according to new finds in southeast Asia.

We know that open water was no barrier to travel in the Pleistocene – humans must have crossed hundreds of kilometres of ocean to reach Australia by 50,000 years ago. But while humans had already been pulling shellfish out of the shallows for 100,000 years by that point, the first good evidence of fishing with hooks or spears comes much later – around 12,000 years ago.

The new finds blow that record out of the water. Sue O’Connor at the Australian National University in Canberra and colleagues dug through deposits at the Jerimalai shelter in East Timor. They discovered 38,000 fish bones from 23 different taxa, including tuna and parrotfish that are found only in deep water. Radiocarbon dating revealed the earliest bones were 42,000 years old.

Amidst the fishy debris was a broken fish hook fashioned from shell, which the team dated to between 16,000 and 23,000 years. “This is the earliest known example of a fish hook,” says O’Connor. Another hook, made around 11,000 years ago, was also found…

“There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world,” says Ian McNiven of Monash University in Melbourne, who was not a member of O’Connor’s team. “Maybe this is the crucible for fishing.”

East Timor hosts few large land animals, so early occupants would have needed highly developed fishing skills to survive. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” says O’Connor. “Apart from bats and rats, there’s nothing to eat here…”

Broader patterns of human migration suggest that more evidence of fishing would be found through examining those submerged sites. After leaving Africa around 70,000 years ago, it took modern humans only 20,000 years to skirt around Asia and reach Australia. The journey over land into Europe, although much shorter, took 30,000 years. “Humans appeared to move quite quickly along the coasts,” says McNiven. “Developed fishing skills could have kept them moving.”

Fishing has always seemed the most reliable of protein sources to me. Which is why I would expect humankind to have stuck to shorelines as we advanced into new territory. Expanding inland would have been guided by herd animals – and their migrations. Sustained over seasons in temperate climates by techniques of smoking and drying learned originally from preserving fish.

Japan minister says they’ll ignore any ban on Bluefin Tuna

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Japan will not join in any agreement to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna under the United Nations treaty on endangered species, the country’s top fisheries negotiator said.

The negotiator, Masanori Miyahara, said in a telephone interview this week that Japan “would have no choice but to take a reservation” — in effect, to ignore the ban and leave its market open to continued imports — if the bluefin tuna were granted most-endangered species status…

A formal proposal for a ban — which requires the approval of two-thirds of its 175 member countries — is scheduled to be presented at a CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species] meeting next month in Doha, Qatar.

The position of Japan, which consumes about 80 percent of the bluefin tuna caught in the Mediterranean, “is very simple,” Mr. Miyahara said. He said Japan believed that a different organization, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, known as Iccat, should manage bluefin tuna catches and protection.

Mr. Miyahara said Japan acknowledged that the bluefin tuna needed protection, but the endangered-species convention was “quite inflexible,” he said.

Historically, he said, almost no species added to the CITES endangered species list had ever been removed. “We don’t believe the bluefin tuna is endangered to that extent,” he said…

France, home of the largest Mediterranean bluefin fleet, said on Feb. 3 that it was prepared to back an international trade ban at the CITES meeting, to take effect after 18 months. But a person with knowledge of the European Commission’s thinking who asked not to be identified because the commission had not formally adopted the position, said on Friday that officials were planning to propose that Iccat be given a last chance to give depleted stocks of the tuna a chance to recover by temporarily banning all commercial trade in the fish.

Fishing bans do, of course, work. One of several means of limiting catch and trade in endangered species. It’s worked with trout. It’s worked with Atlantic cod.

A case where Japanese intransigence is likely to lead to something akin to the boycott of tuna that wasn’t dolphin-safe. Aimed directly at Japanese products. Not too sharp, Mr. Miyahara.