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WEEKLY WATCH number 208 (12/3/2007)

from Claire Robinson, WEEKLY WATCH editor
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Dear all:

UC Berkeley's Faustian pact with BP is causing a firestorm of dissent on campus. Look out in particular for a brilliant speech from Dr Ignacio Chapela (BP-BERKELEY DEAL).

The US's rice industry is now verging on meltdown. On top of the existing GM contamination problems arising from field trials with two types of GM rice, a popular BASF non-GM rice has now been recalled from the market on the orders of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) after it was found to be contaminated by an unauthorized GM event of unknown origin. Yet the US is still forging ahead with plans to plant pharma rice genetically engineered with human genes in Kansas (THE AMERICAS).

Finally, if you're in Europe watch out for CAMPAIGNS.

Claire claire@gmwatch.org
www.gmwatch.org / www.lobbywatch.org

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CONTENTS
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URGENT APPEAL
LETTER OF THE WEEK: WHAT BENEFITS?
PHARMA RICE IN USA / ACTION ALERT
BP-BERKELEY DEAL
MORE ON BIOFUELS
THE AMERICAS
ASIA
EUROPE
LOBBYWATCH, GMOs AND CLIMATE CHANGE
NEW BOOK

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URGENT APPEAL
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If you like what we do at GM Watch, then please help us to continue doing it. PLEASE support us either by making a donation online here:
http://www.gmwatch.org/donate.asp

or you can send a check or money order made out to 'NGIN' to GM Watch, 26 Pottergate, Norwich, UK, NR2 1DX.

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LETTER OF THE WEEK: WHAT BENEFITS?
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+ WHAT BENEFITS?
The following letter appeared this week in the Australian newspaper The Age:

WHAT are the supposed benefits of GM crops? Vaccines in bananas? These do not exist. Vitamin A in rice? This does not exist. Grains with omega 3 fish oil? These do not exist. Drought-resistant crops? These have been developed, but with trait-selective, non-GM methods. GM varieties are at least 10 years away. Productivity gains? In 2005, the Canadian Government's rural assistance was $1.6 billion. Its canola markets were lost to Europe due to its GM status. In more than 10 years of production, with billions of dollars spent on research, there are only two commercial GM traits. The second generation of GM crops has failed to materialise. As shoppers, farmers and the food industry around the world reject GM seeds, crops and foods, it would be a folly to remove GM bans and allow commercial GM crops in northern Australia - especially cotton.
Peter Robertson
Environment Centre of the Northern Territory, Darwin
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7623

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PHARMA RICE IN USA / ACTION ALERT
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+ USDA BACKS PRODUCTION OF RICE WITH HUMAN GENES
The US Agriculture Department has given a preliminary green light for the first commercial production of a food crop engineered to contain human genes, reigniting fears that biomedically potent substances in plants could contaminate other foods. The plan calls for large-scale cultivation in Kansas of rice that produces human immune system proteins in its seeds.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7592

+ 3200 ACRES OF PHARMA RICE IN KANSAS - OBJECT!
USDA is announcing the availability of an environmental assessment of Ventria Bioscience's proposal to plant up to 3200 acres of pharma rice in Kansas - the largest acreage ever proposed for a pharma crop in the US. The URL for the notice is:
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-3484.pdf

Please comment to USDA, urging an immediate ban on this and all other outdoor production of drugs and industrial compounds in food crops.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7589

+ FOE CALLS FOR OPEN GROWING OF PHARMA CROPS TO BE BANNED
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7599

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BP-BERKELEY DEAL
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+ PROTESTS AT UC BERKELEY
The firestorm of controversy over the $500 million biofuel pact tying UC Berkeley to one of the world biggest and most criticized oil giants intensified last week, with a teach-in, a faculty forum (see below), a demonstration and even 1 or 2 arrests. According to UC Berkeley historian, Iain Boal, BP's half-billion-dollar deal is nothing less than massive greenwashing by a corrupt corporation - supported by a governor eager "to keep his eight Hummers running on alcohol." For good pictures and links to videos of speeches etc.
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/03/04/18372601.php

+ GM RESEARCH DOMINATES BP-BERKELEY PARTNERSHIP
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7602

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