MONTHLY REVIEW No. 27
from Claire Robinson, editor
+ SWISS BACK GM MORATORIUM
Switzerland has voted in favour of a 5-year moratorium for commercial cultivation of GM plants and animals on 27 November. Campaigners hailed the vote as "a spectacular victory".
+ POLAND'S PRIME MINISTER PLEDGES TO KEEP COUNTRY GM-FREE
The new Polish Prime Minister has pledged to the Polish Parliament that he will keep Poland GM-free.
+ BOVE, FRENCH MEP & OTHERS JAILED FOR DESTROYING GM CROPS
French farmer Jose Bove has been sentenced to four months in prison for destroying a field of GM corn. A Green Party lawmaker and a French member of the European Parliament, both received three-month sentences.
+ MONSANTO SEIZES TRADE UNION BANK ACCOUNT
Monsanto has seized the bank accounts of France's second largest agriculture trade union. Confederation Paysanne is calling for increased resistance to the multinational and financial support.
+ GM CROPS A FLOP IN THE USA
On a tour of Australia, US agronomist Dr Charles Benbrook is advising Australian farmers and policy makers not to follow North America down the biotech cul-de-sac.
"Across the southeastern US, where soybean and cotton farmers have relied almost exclusively on GM technology for several years, the system is on the brink of collapse, the volume of herbicides used is setting new records and farmers' profit margins are shrinking," Benbrook warns.
+ GM CROP SCRAPPED AS MICE MADE ILL
In Australia, CSIRO scientists have abandoned a decade-long GM crop project in its last stages of research after learning that peas modified to resist insects had caused inflammation in the lung tissues of mice. Their findings have sparked calls for better regulation and testiung of GM crops.
Abstract of the study:
+ U.S. "BRIBED SCIENTISTS" AT KENYA AG RESEARCH INSTITUTE CLAIM
The chairman of the NGO Africa Nature Stream, Masoa Muindi, has claimed that the US bribed scientists at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) to protect multinational biotechnology companies and help deliver GMO seeds to Kenyan farmers.
+ U.S. ENVOY URGES VATICAN ON GM CROPS
The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Rooney, has urged the Vatican to promote the potential of biotech crops, saying there was a "moral imperative" to investigate the possible benefits of agricultural technology to feed the world's hungry.
+ DENMARK TO TAX FARMERS OF GM CROPS
The European Commission has authorised Denmark to tax farmers who grow GM crops. The money collected will be used to compensate organic or conventional farmers who can't sell produce at its usual price because of contamination from a GM farm nearby.
+ A DISASTER CALLED BT COTTON - TIMES OF INDIA
The Times of India has published a useful summary by Suman Sahai of the Bt cotton debacle. Here's an excerpt: "Two days ago the government admitted for the first time that Bt cotton had indeed failed in parts of India. The Agriculture Minister conceded in the Rajya Sabha that Bt cotton had failed in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. He asked state governments in all cotton growing regions to institute an enquiry into the quality of seeds available to farmers and the spread of spurious seeds. At the same time, in Madhya Pradesh, the Governor has asked the state government to find out the causes of the failure of Bt cotton and called for compensation to farmers. The Mahyco-Monsanto and Rasi varieties of Bt cotton have reportedly failed in large parts of Madhya Pradesh causing serious losses to farmers. A report from Nimad district in Madhya Pradesh states that Bt cotton is causing allergic reactions in those coming into contact with it and cattle have perished near Bt cotton fields in another district."
+ POLISH FARMER AVOIDS PRISON OVER GM PROTEST
Marian Zagorny, the Polish farmer who faced prison for attempting to block illegal shipments of GM grain and the introduction of GMOs will not be prosecuted. The court agreed that his and his organization's actions were done to protect Polish agriculture and the health of society and were not a criminal action. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5925
+ GERMAN ELECTION PUTS BIOTECH LAW UNDER PRESSURE
Following the general election in Germany, the new German government is apparently planning to repeal strict liability for GMO contamination. But i
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