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WEEKLY WATCH number 178 (9/6/2006)

from Claire Robinson, WEEKLY WATCH editor
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Dear all:

This week's issue exposes the strange logic of biotech proponents. The pretended champion of poor farmers, GM lobbyist, CS Prakash, has been circulating an article about why the decision of some Indian states to force a price cut in Monsanto's Bt cotton - thereby helping farmers who want to grow the crop - is a disaster! (ASIA)

Another biotech lobbyist, the Roman Catholic biotechnologist, Piero Morandini, claims GM will help poor farmers and alleviate hunger because "the technology is built 'in the seed'". Morandini conveniently omits to mention all the expensive and environmentally destructive inputs, not to mention complex management practices, that these seeds require. (LOBBYWATCH)

Claire [email protected]
www.gmwatch.org / www.lobbywatch.org

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CONTENTS
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GM WATCH PODCASTS NOW AVAILABLE
FOOD SAFETY
RESEARCH
LOBBYWATCH
BIOTECH, FREE TRADE, AND INVESTMENT
ASIA
THE AMERICAS
EUROPE
AUSTRALASIA
GM MEDICINES

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GM WATCH PODCASTS NOW AVAILABLE
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GM Watch has just produced its first two podcasts. You can hear GM Watch director Jonathan Matthews and Weekly Watch editor Claire Robinson being interviewed about recent news on the GM front by our podcast producer, Peter Brown.

We hope to produce podcasts on a regular basis. How to subscribe for free:
http://www.lobbywatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=80&page=1

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FOOD SAFETY
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+ CONSUMER GROUP SUES FDA OVER GM FOODS
A lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety against the Food and Drug Administration seeks to force the US government to conduct mandatory reviews of GM foods and require labeling of such foods once approved.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6612

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RESEARCH
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+ BOOSTING CASSAVA ROOTS THE NON-GM WAY
There was recently a huge amount of hype around a story that researchers at Ohio State University had genetically modified cassava to boost the size of its starch-rich roots.

The researchers produced roots that were double the normal size by inserting a bacterial gene into the cassava DNA and this was said to be a beacon of hope for Africa where about 250 million Africans 40 per cent of the continent's population - use cassava as their primary source of food.

Ohio State University molecular biologist Richard Sayre claimed his GM cassava could help solve food shortages not just in Africa but in other nations too.

And biotech proponents called for every effort to be made to ensure that the "genetically modified cassava reaches every corner of the African continent. Farmers need it and it should be made available to them as soon as possible."
http://www.gmoafrica.org/

But a professor of genetics at the University of Brasilia has pointed out that he and his team of researchers have produced a hybrid cassava with roots that are *ten times* the normal size without resorting to GM. What's more, he says, "The cost of our research was extremely low."

So the non-GM approach produced cassava roots 5 times bigger than the much hyped GM approach and for a small cost. An image of these non-GM cassava roots is at:
http://www.geneconserve.pro.br/fig90.htm
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6606

+ SOME CORN ROOTWORMS CAN DETECT BT CORN AND LIVE
Research published in the Journal of Economic Entomology suggests that some western corn rootworm larvae may be able to detect small concentrations of Bt proteins in root tissue, stop feeding, and survive to the next stage of life. Ultimately, under this scenario, there is adult emergence into producers' fields. The research was conducted by University of Illinois entomologist Mike Gray.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6622

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LOBBYWATCH
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+ FOR I WAS HUNGRY AND YOU DECEIVED ME: AGBIOTECH'S BAG OF TRICKS
Piero Morandini is a biotechnologist and Roman Catholic who has repeatedly used his religion to lobby for GM crops.

Typical of his antics is his involvement in CS Prakash's AgBioWorld attacks on the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection and the Jesuit-run Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre in Zambia. Morandini co-authored a report - with Greg Conko of the Monsanto-backed lobby group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute - that accused the Jesuits of "Tricks not Truths" and "Junk Science".

But as his latest article, "For I Was Hungry and You Fed Me: Ag-biotech and Hunger", shows, it is actually Morandini who engages in tricks not truths, implying GM can magic away the problems facing poor farmers.

Morandini writes: "A striking bonus about ag-biotech is that the technology is built 'in the seed.' To reap th

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