GMO protest outside Nestle plant/Cloned meat OK/EU takes 12 member states to court over GMO law /To the conqueror goes the “spoils” (20/5/2003)

20 May 2003

GMO protest outside Nestle plant/Cloned meat OK/EU takes 12 member states to court over GMO law /To the conqueror goes the “spoils”

* Greenpeace activists stage GMO protest outside Nestle plant
* EU takes 12 member states to court over GMO law
* Meat, milk of cloned cows safe, ministry says
Greenpeace activists stage GMO protest outside Nestle plant
Source - Bangkok Post (Eng)
Friday, April 11, 2003  08:29

Twenty Greenpeace activists yesterday rallied in front of the Nestle factory in Pathum Thani province, delivering over 10,000 postcards signed by Thai consumers protesting against the use of genetically modified ingredients in its products.

"Nestle does not have a policy to stop using GMO (genetically modified organisms) in its food products because it claims that Thai consumers are not concerned about eating GMOs. So here are 10,318 postcards signed by local consumers who do not want Nestle to experiment with GMOs in their food. Nestle should not ignore their voice,'' said Varoonvarn Svangsopakul, activist of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace says laboratory tests showed most Nestle products contained genetically modified ingredients.  ``Many food companies, particularly local businesses, have a policy to stop using GMOs. But transnational companies like Nestle still have to wait for a policy from its head office,'' said Ms Varoonvarn.

Nestle was committed to selling non-GMO products in European countries and particularly Switzerland where its head office was located.  "But for Thailand, the company uses GMO in food, particularly baby food. We demand Nestle to stop using babies here as guinea pigs because there is no scientific study saying GMO food is safe,'' said Ms Varoonvarn.

A statement released by Nestle Group Thailand said the company respected consumers' views.  ``Nestle complies with all laws related to its business including GM labelling laws. Nestle will label all products that contain GM corn and soy bean according to Thai regulations.''

The company supported the use of GMO technology for its potential to improve the quality, availability and nutritional value of food. A local labelling law comes into effect next month.
EU takes 12 member states to court over GMO law
Source - Reuters Securities News (Eng)
Thursday, April 10, 2003  21:55

BRUSSELS, April 10 (Reuters) - Twelve of the European Union's 15 countries face court action for failing to implement new regulations on testing and monitoring genetically modified (GM) foods, the European Commission said on Thursday. The Commission, the EU's executive arm, said the 12 countries had missed an October 2002 deadline to put the new EU rules, which they agreed in 2001, into their own laws.

It said it would take France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Finland to the European Court of Justice -- standard procedure if an EU country is late in implementing EU laws.

The 2001 law sets the rules which companies need to follow if they want to get authorisation to introduce GM organisms (GMOs) such as crops or food ingredients onto the EU market, with strict rules on testing for environmental and health risks.  The new rules were meant to ease consumer fears over what some have dubbed "Frankenstein food".

But no new GM products have been placed on the market since 1998 when a large minority of GMO-sceptical EU states said they would block new authorisations pending the tougher procedures.  Those countries, led by France, have said they will wait for another layer of rules on the "traceability and labelling" of GMOs to be passed before they unblock the authorisation process. That may happen later this year.
Meat, milk of cloned cows safe, ministry says
Source - Kyodo News (Eng)
Friday, April 11, 2003  10:38
TOKYO, April 11 Kyodo

A health ministry report shows the meat and milk of cows cloned from the somatic cells of adult animals are safe for humans to consume, ministry sources said Friday.  The report by a study group at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare strengthens the likelihood that retailing of beef and milk from cloned cows could begin sometime in this fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2004, according to the sources.

The report, based on three years of research, said, ''No abnormalities were seen in the components of the meat and milk, and it is difficult to conceive of any factor that would undermine the safety of the products.''  It also said, however, that ''careful consideration is necessary'' and called for a system to speedily respond to any new discoveries that might point to negative aspects of such cloning.

Shipments of beef cloned from somatic cells are currently withheld by producers because of the agricultural ministry's request for ''voluntary'' restraint.  Under this cloning technique, which was used in Britain to produce Dolly the sheep in 1996, the cows are cloned by transferring the nuclei of cells from adult animals into ova from which the nuclei have been removed.

Despite the report, there are views within the health ministry that in light of problems such as the high death rate of clones, a final decision on lifting the request for voluntary restraint on shipments should be made by a food safety commission planned to be set up in the Cabinet Office.

No other country allows the consumption of meat or milk from cows cloned from the cells of adult animals due to the high rate of defects in the clones.

In June 2000, the health ministry issued a midterm report on cows cloned from the cells of adults animals, saying that more data was needed to confirm the safety of consumption of their meat or milk.  The ministry had conducted further research since, studying the growth of the cloned cows, their body functions and the components of their meat and milk.  A survey by Kyodo News last December showed that 33 of the 40 facilities in Japan producing or raising cloned cows are positive about shipping them for consumption.
To the conqueror goes the “spoils”
[via the agribiz examiner http://www.ea1.com/CARP/]

 Former Secretary of State George Shultz is on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group, the largest contractor in the U.S. and one of the finalists in the competition to land a fat contract to help in the rebuilding of Iraq.

He is also the chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a fiercely pro-war group with close ties to the White House. The committee, formed last year, made it clear from the beginning that it sought more than the ouster of Saddam's regime. It was committed, among other things, "to work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its  economy."

War is a tragedy for some and a boon for others. I asked Mr. Shultz if the fact that he was an advocate of the war while sitting on the board of a company that would benefit from it left him concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest.  "I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it," he said. "But if there's work that's needed to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from."  

Jack Sheehan, a retired Marine Corps general, is a senior vice president at Bechtel. He's also a member of the Defense Policy Board, a government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon on major defense issues. Its members are selected by the under secretary of defense for policy, currently Douglas Feith, and approved by the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Most Americans have never heard of the Defense Policy Group. Its meetings are classified. The members disclose their business interests to the Pentagon, but that information is not available to the public.

The Center for Public Integrity, a private watchdog group in Washington, recently disclosed that of the 30 members of the board, at least nine are linked to companies that have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002.

Richard Perle was the chairman of the board until just a few weeks ago, when he resigned the chairmanship amid allegations of a conflict of interest. He is still on the board.

Another member is the former C.I.A. director, James Woolsey. He's also a principal in the Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm that, as the Center for Public Integrity noted, is soliciting investments for companies that specialize in domestic security. Mr. Woolsey is also a member of the Committee to Liberate Iraq and is reported to be in line to play a role in the postwar occupation.

The war against Iraq has become one of the clearest examples ever of the influence of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned against so eloquently in his farewell address in 1961. This iron web of relationships among powerful individuals inside and outside the government operates with very little public scrutiny and is saturated with conflicts of interest.

Their goals may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American people. Think of the divergence of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually fighting this war, who have been eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and the power brokers who fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiting from it every step of the way.

There aren't a lot of rich kids in that desert. The U.S. military is largely working-class. The power brokers homing in on $100 billion worth of postwar reconstruction contracts are not.

The Pentagon and its allies are close to achieving what they wanted all along, control of the nation of Iraq and its bounty, which is the wealth and myriad forms of power that flow from control of the world's second-largest oil reserves.

The transitional government of Iraq is to be headed by a retired Army lieutenant general, Jay Garner. His career path was typical. He moved effortlessly from his military career to the presidency of SYColeman, a defense contractor that helped Israel develop its Arrow missile-defense system. The iron web.  

Those who dreamt of a flowering of democracy in Iraq are advised to consider the skepticism of Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to the first President Bush. He asked: "What's going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do? We're surely not going to let them take over."
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

"Tam Dalyell, 41 years a member of the Commons, has said the Prime Minister is a war criminal who should be sent to The Hague. This is not gratuitous; on the prima facie evidence, Blair is a war criminal, and all those who have been, in one form or another, accessories should be reported to the International Criminal Court. Not only did they promote a charade of pretexts few now take seriously, they brought terrorism and death to Iraq. A growing body of legal opinion around the world agrees that the new court has a duty, as Eric Herring of Bristol University wrote, to investigate "not only the regime, but also the UN bombing and sanctions which violated the human rights of Iraqis on a vast scale". Add the present piratical war, whose spectre is the uniting of Arab nationalism with militant Islam. The whirlwind sown by Blair and Bush is just beginning. Such is the magnitude of their crime." - John Pilger http://pilger.carlton.com/print

"...if the Bush regime were to fall, there would be dancing on the streets the world over." - Arundhati Roy http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,927712,00.html

from Schnews:  The Labour Party have a Freepost address, which means they have to pay the postage on anything you send them. Please don't send bricks or heavy phone directories to: The Labour Party, FREEPOST LON 10417, London, SW1P 4UT. All the local party offices also have freepost addresses that can be found on election leaflets

'Mark Seddon, a member of Labour's National Executive Committee, claimed such donations [as those of Lord Sainsbury] were causing Labour to lose members amid criticism from the grassroots that the party was now "in the pockets of the powerful and the rich".  He told the Today programme: "In any other country I think a government minister donating such vast amounts of money and effectively buying a political party would be seen for what it is, a form of corruption of the political process." ' http://ngin.tripod.com/030403c.htm

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