Thursday, January 27, 2005

27 jan 2005

Quit Smoking or Quit Your Job, U. S. Company Says

Wed Jan 26, 3:05 PM ET Health - Reuters

By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The owner of a Michigan company who forced his employees
to either quit smoking or quit their jobs said on Wednesday he also wants to
tell fat workers to lose weight or else.

A ban on tobacco use -- whether at home or at the workplace -- led four
employees to quit their jobs last week at Okemos, Michigan-based Weyco Inc.,
which handles insurance claims.

The workers refused to take a mandatory urine test demanded of Weyco's 200
employees by founder and sole owner Howard Weyers, a demand that he said was
perfectly legal.

"If you don't want to take the test, you can leave," Weyers told Reuters.
"I'm not controlling their lives; they have a choice whether they want to
work here."

Next on the firing line: overweight workers.

"We have to work on eating habits and getting people to exercise. But if
you're obese, you're (legally) protected," Weyers said.

He has brought in an eating disorder therapist to speak to workers, provided
eating coaches, created a point system for employees to earn health-related
$100 bonuses and plans to offer $45 vouchers for health club memberships.

The 71-year-old Weyers, who said he has never smoked and pronounced himself
in good shape thanks to daily runs, said employees' health as well as saving
money on the company's own insurance claims led him to first bar smokers
from being hired in 2003.


1945: Auschwitz death camp liberated The Red Army has liberated the Nazis'
biggest concentration camp at Auschwitz in south-western Poland.

According to reports, hundreds of thousands of Polish people, as well as
Jews from a number of other European countries, have been held prisoner
there in appalling conditions and many have been killed in the gas chambers.

Few details have emerged of the capture of Auschwitz, which has gained a
reputation as the most notorious of the Nazi death camps.

Some reports say the German guards were given orders several days ago to
destroy the crematoria and gas chambers. Tens of thousands of prisoners -
those who were able to walk - have been moved out of the prison and forced
to march to other camps in Germany.

Little did we know that we had arrived at a place, the name of which would
become as well known and remembered as any battle in the war

People's War memories »

Details of what went on at the camp have been released previously by the
Polish Government in exile in London and from prisoners who have escaped.

In July 1944 details were revealed of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews who
were sent to Poland many of whom ended up in Auschwitz. They were loaded
onto trains and taken to the camp where many were put to death in the gas

Before they went they were told they were being exchanged in Poland for
prisoners of war and made to write cheerful letters to relatives at home
telling them what was happening.

According to the Polish Ministry of Information, the gas chambers are
capable of killing 6,000 people a day.

Another report from Poland told of mass arrests in the village of Garbatka
near Radom in the early hours of one morning in August 1942. Workmen were
accused of plotting to blow up a local factory. Twenty were executed on the
spot, the rest were sent to Auschwitz.

Since its establishment in 1940, only a handful of prisoners have escaped to
tell of the full horror of the camp.

In October last year, a group of Polish prisoners mounted an attack on their
German guards. The Germans reportedly machine-gunned the barracks killing
200 Polish prisoners. The Poles succeeded in killing six of their

When the Red Army arrived at the camp they found only a few thousand
prisoners remaining. They had been too sick to leave.

The capture of Auschwitz comes as the Red Army has made important advances
on three fronts: in East Prussia to the north, in western Poland as well as
Silesia in eastern Germany. Fighting is continuing around the historic
Polish western city of Poznan.

The Polish capital, Warsaw, was liberated a week ago after five-and-a-half
years of German occupation.

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