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WEEKLY WATCH number 210 (24/3/2007)

from Claire Robinson, WEEKLY WATCH editor
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Dear all:

GM mozzies were everywhere this week, being touted as the killer-blow against malaria. Yet they're no such thing. Who says so? The guy leading the research (GM MOZZIES).

We have more interesting MEDIA-WATCH stories this week, involving in part Martin Durkin, whose misleading TV documentaries on the UK's Channel 4 just might be the Last Hurrah of the GM-loving, global warming-denying LM cult.

Reports continue to flood in regarding the alarming die-off of honey-bees, and serious commentators are starting to ask whether GM crops could be to blame (COLLAPSING COLONIES).

Watch out for 2 important CAMPAIGNS OF THE WEEK.

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

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CONTENTS
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THE AMERICAS
COLLAPSING COLONIES
GM MOZZIES
COMPANY NEWS
AFRICA
EUROPE
AUSTRALASIA
ASIA
FOOD SAFETY
ROUNDUP TOXICITY
MEDIA-WATCH
CAMPAIGNS OF THE WEEK

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THE AMERICAS
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+ RICE FUTURES NOSE-DIVE AS MEXICO HALTS U.S. RICE
Rice futures took a nose-dive, falling nearly the 50-cent trading limit in just one day, as three exporters of US milled rice had their shipments to Mexico stopped. US export sales were already lagging about 20% from a year ago since GM rice was found in the US rice supply last summer. Mexico is requiring certification from an approved laboratory that the grain is GM-free.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7662

+ CANADA: COST TO LABEL GM FOOD OVERBLOWN
Mandatory labelling of GM foods would cost far less than the food industry has claimed, a new study commissioned by Quebec's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food reveals. Experience also shows that labelling imposes no costs on the consumer.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7656

+ BRAZIL: VOTE DELAYED AMID GM PROTEST
The government's biotechnology council postponed a vote on whether to approve Bayer's GM corn seeds after protesters stormed the meeting and demanded the right to participate.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7673

+ BRAZIL: GM SOY BARON BRAZIL'S NEW AG MINISTER?
The president of Brazil's largest soybean seed company, Odilio Balbinotti, will likely become Brazil's new agriculture minister. Balbinotti owns Sementes Adriana, the largest individual seed company in Brazil and a licensed producer of Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans. Balbinotti is being investigated for fraud in Mato Grosso.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7667

+ BP-BERKELEY PLAYERS CONFLICTED OUT
University of California Berkeley scientist Jay Keasling is one of the key researchers involved in crafting the Energy Biosciences Institute proposal arising out of Berkeley's $500 million biotech-biofuel deal with oil giant BP. Keasling is also due to be one of the principal researchers in the EBI. He's also the cofounder of Amyris Biotechnologies, a company that late last year ,while the BP-Berkeley deal was in the offing, hired as its CEO one John Melo - the former president of US fuels operations for BP.
Another key UC Berkeley player with conflicts of interest is Chris Somerville - chairman of the board of Mendel Biotechnology, which is developing GM crops for Monsanto and which has Monsanto vice president, Steve Padgette, on its board of directors.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7674
http://www.berkeleydaily.org/text/article.cfm?issue=03-23-07&storyID=26618

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COLLAPSING COLONIES
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+ BEE DEMISE - ARE GMOs THE MISSING LINK?
In the US, the Sierra Club has been among those asking whether GM crops are responsible for the massive instantaneous die-offs of millions of honey-bees, which some say are slowly assuming catastrophic proportions.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7670

+ ARE GM CROPS KILLING BEES - DER SPIEGEL
An article in Der Spiegel, Germany's most influential news magazine, also asks if the decimation of bee populations in the US and Germany is a result of GM crops. Walter Haefeker, vice president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association, points to research conducted at the University of Jena from 2001 to 2004, which examined the effects of pollen from Bt maize (corn) on bees.
When during the research, by sheer chance, the bees in the experiments were infested with a parasite, a "significantly stronger decline in the number of bees" occurred among the insects that had been fed on a concentrated Bt feed.
According to the director of the study, Professor Hans-Heinrich Kaatz, the Bt toxin may have "altered the surface of the bee's intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry -- or perhaps it was the other way around. We don't know."
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7676

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