Just months after a study was published showing that two Monsanto products, a genetically modified (GM) maize and Roundup herbicide, damaged the health of rats, the journal that published the study appointed a former Monsanto scientist to decide which papers on GM foods and crops should be published, a new article reveals. - Monsanto and GM foods suffered a storm of bad publicity after a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) in September 2012 reported that a GM corn and Roundup caused organ damage and increased rates of tumors and premature death in rats. But in early 2013 Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto researcher with close ties to the biotech industry, joined the senior editorial staff of FCT. Goodman was given the specially created position of associate editor for biotechnology.
After US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks showed that the State Department was lobbying worldwide for Monsanto and other similar corporations, a new report based on the cables shows Washington's shilling for the biotech industry in distinct detail. - The August 2011 WikiLeaks revelations showed that American diplomats had requested funding to send lobbyists for the biotech industry to hold talks with politicians and agricultural officials in "target countries" in areas like Africa and Latin America, where genetically-modified crops were not yet a mainstay, as well as some European countries that have resisted the controversial agricultural practice. After a concerted effort to "closely examine five years of State Department diplomatic cables from 2005 to 2009 to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the strategy, tactics and U.S. foreign policy objectives to foist pro-agricultural biotechnology policies worldwide," nonprofit consumer protection group Food & Water Watch published on Tuesday a report showing in plain detail the depth of the partnership between the federal government and a number of controversial biotech companies that have slowly but surely pushed their GMO products on a number of new countries in recent years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been taken over by an outside organization. RootsAction has launched a campaign demanding a Congressional investigation. The organization is called Monsanto. - Monsanto is, of course, the world's largest biotech corporation. These are the people who brought us Roundup weed killer and the resulting superweeds and superbugs, along with growth hormones for cows, genetically engineered and patented seeds, PCBs, and Agent Orange -- which Monsanto now wants us to use as herbicide on genetically engineered corn and soybeans. This chemical company -- responsible for environmental disasters that have destroyed entire towns, and a driving force behind the international waves of suicides among farmers whose lives it has helped ruin -- has monopolized our food system largely by taking over regulatory agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A new study, yet to receive any media attention, reveals the "leukemogenic" properties of the Bt toxin biopesticides engineered into the vast majority of GMO food crops already within the US food supply. - Last September, the causal link between cancer and genetically modified food was confirmed in a French study, the first independent long-term animal feeding study of its kind. The disturbing details can be found here: New Study Finds GM Corn and Roundup Causes Cancer In Rats. Now, a new study published in the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases indicates that the biopesticides engineered into GM crops known as Bacillus Thuringensis (Bt) or Cry-toxins, may also contribute to blood abnormalities from anemia to hematological malignancies (blood cancers) such as leukemia.
An international protest planned for later this month against biotechnology company Monsanto is slated to span six continents and include demonstrations in dozens of countries around the globe.
Amid growing concerns over St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto and the impact the company is having on agriculture, activists have planned rallies for later this month in 36 countries. Monsanto, a titan of the emerging biotech industry, has come under attack from environmentalists, agriculturalists and average consumers over the company’s conduct in the realm of genetically-modified organisms and genetically-engineered foods. Despite research on the effects of GMO crops being largely considered inconclusive, Monsanto has lobbied hard in Washington and around the globe to be able to continue manufacturing lab-made foods without the oversight that many have demanded. In March, Congress passed a biotech rider dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” by its critics that essentially allows that company and others that use GMOs to plant and sell genetically-altered products without gaining federal permission.
Indigenous groups claim they have not consented to oil projects, as politicians visit Beijing to publicise bidding process.
Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China's insatiable thirst for energy. On Monday morning a group of Ecuadorean politicians pitched bidding contracts to representatives of Chinese oil companies at a Hilton hotel in central Beijing, on the fourth leg of a roadshow to publicise the bidding process. Previous meetings in Ecuador's capital, Quito, and in Houston and Paris were each confronted with protests by indigenous groups. Attending the roadshow were black-suited representatives from oil companies including China Petrochemical and China National Offshore Oil. "Ecuador is willing to establish a relationship of mutual benefit – a win-win relationship," said Ecuador's ambassador to China in opening remarks. According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area's environment and threaten their traditional way of life.
The world's most widely used insecticide is devastating dragonflies, snails and other water-based species, a groundbreaking Dutch study has revealed. - On Monday, the insecticide and two others were banned for two years from use on some crops across the European Union, due to the risk posed to bees and other pollinators, on which many food crops rely. However, much tougher action in the form of a total worldwide ban is needed, according to the scientist who led the new study. "We are risking far too much to combat a few insect pests that might threaten agriculture," said Dr Jeroen van der Sluijs at Utrecht University. "This substance should be phased out internationally as soon as possible." The pollution was so bad in some places that the ditch water in fields could have been used as an effective pesticide, he said. Van der Sluijs added that half the 20,000 tonnes of the imidacloprid produced each year is not affected by the EU ban. It is used not to treat crops, but to combat fleas and other pests in cattle, dogs and cats. "All this imidacloprid ends up in surface water."
A strong 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern China's Sichuan province on Saturday, killing at least 56 people and injuring about 600 close to where a big quake killed almost 70,000 people in 2008.
The earthquake occurred at 8.02 a.m. (0002 GMT) in Lushan county near Ya'an city and the epicenter had a depth of 12 km (7.5 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake was felt by residents in neighboring provinces and in the provincial capital of Chengdu, causing many people to rush out of buildings, according to accounts on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service. The official Xinhua news agency said 56 people had been confirmed dead. Other state media said about 600 were injured, dozens of them seriously.
Russia Today: Earthquake in China has claimed 157 lives, with more than 5,700 injured - VIDEO, PHOTOS
Scientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions. - Often focused on century-long trends, most climate models failed to predict that the temperature rise would slow, starting around 2000. Scientists are now intent on figuring out the causes and determining whether the respite will be brief or a more lasting phenomenon. Getting this right is essential for the short and long-term planning of governments and businesses ranging from energy to construction, from agriculture to insurance. Many scientists say they expect a revival of warming in coming years.
Bob Carter, Willie Soon & William Briggs: Changing sun, changing climate
Force of 7.8 magnitude quake could be felt from Kabul to Delhi and Dubai
A large earthquake, said to have been the most powerful to hit Iran in the past 50 years and which sent tremors across the region, has killed dozens of people and flattened homes. Yet Iranian officials have insisted the damage is much less than originally feared. The 7.8 magnitude quake struck at 15:14 local time (10:44 GMT) close to the Iranian border with Pakistan. The force of the tremor could be felt from Kabul to Delhi and Dubai. In the Pakistani city of Karachi many buildings were evacuated. Iran’s Press TV initially said at least 40 people had been killed but it later withdrew the claim, suggesting casualties were much lower. Meanwhile in Baluchistan province in south-west Pakistan it was reported that up to 34 people had lost their lives. The Pakistani authorities said emergency teams were flying to remote villages in the quake zone with assistance.
A major earthquake struck Iran near the border with Pakistan on Tuesday and an Iranian official said hundreds of people were feared to have been killed. - Tremors from the 7.8 magnitude quake were also felt in India and Gulf states. "It was the biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 5:44 a.m. ET at a depth of 15.2 km (9.4 miles). People in the city of Zahedan poured into the streets when the earthquake struck, Iran's Fars news agency reported. All communications in the area have been cut, the Iranian Red Crescent's Mahmoud Mozaffar told state television. Rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected area, he said. "In the aftermath of this earthquake five evaluation teams from the Khash and Saravan branches were sent to the area to assess damage," Mozaffar said. The epicenter was in southeast Iran in an area of mountains and desert, 201 km (125 miles) southeast of Zahedan and 250 km northwest of Turbat in Pakistan, USGS said. On April 9, a powerful 6.3 magnitude quake struck close to Iran's only nuclear power station, killing 37 people, injuring 850 and devastating two villages.
Government Reacts to Fukushima Radiation Crisis By Raising Acceptable Radiation Standards … Instead of Fixing Anything
Just Like the Financial Crisis, the Gulf Oil Spill, and All Other Crises, Government Covers Up Instead of Addressing the Real Problems. - 2 weeks after the Fukushima accident, we reported that the government responded to the nuclear accident by trying to raise acceptable radiation levels and pretending that radiation is good for us. Since then, massive radiation has been released on a daily basis from Fukushima… for years. And there are so many new leaks that even the mainstream press is starting to admit that Fukushima was never fixed. Radiation from Fukushima is slamming Tokyo, as well as the West Coast of North America.
Who would have thought a major oil corporation would have such thin skin? - In the wake of a major pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, Exxon has launched a dirty tricks campaign to prevent Little Rock television stations from running a political ad titled, “Exxon Hates Your Children.” The ad, which can be viewed at exxonhatesyourchildren.com, makes an obviously over-the-top assertion about the company’s views about children, in order to call attention to the creators' serious concerns about the company’s policies. To try to keep it off the air, Exxon is circulating a memo to television stations claiming that the commercial is “defamatory toward each of ExxonMobil’s 80,000 employees and their families.” Exxon goes on to describe good things the company does for children and the environment. The ads, which were paid for through crowdfunding, were scheduled to run on local ABC, NBC, and Fox stations this week, but were taken off the schedule when the stations got the memo. In February, Exxon pulled the same stunt when Comcast was set to air the ad during the president's State of the Union address. With help from EFF, the activists behind the ad, Oil Change International, are fighting back.
An Iranian relief worker attends to an injured woman in
the quake-stricken Bushehr Province, April 9, 2013.
The governor of Iran’s Bushehr Province says reconstruction operations have begun in the areas of the province that were hardest hit by the recent earthquake, as immediate relief efforts are completed.
■ Fereydoun Hassanvand said on Wednesday that with the completion of relief and rescue operations in the quake-stricken areas, efforts to repair and rebuild water, power and communications networks in the affected districts of Shanbeh and Tasouj have already gotten underway. The governor added that according to a plan, each governor and chief executive had assumed responsibility for dealing with problems in villages within their jurisdictions. Hassanvand also stated that the latest figures following the 6.1-magnitude earthquake showed that 37 have been killed and 850 injured. ■ According to the Iranian Seismological Center, the powerful quake hit the town of Kaki, some 90 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital, Bushehr, at 4:22 p.m. local time (1152 GMT) on Tuesday at a depth of 12 kilometers. The strong quake was followed by at least four aftershocks, which jolted Kaki and the nearby city of Khour-Mowj. The Persian Gulf Arab states of Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have also felt the shocks from the quake.
Reuters/AlertNet: Quake hits near Iran's nuclear city Bushehr, 37 dead
Ontario is on the verge of becoming the first industrial region in North America to eliminate all coal-fired electrical generation. Here’s how Canada’s most populous province did it – and what the US can learn from it. - Next year, though, Ontario is scheduled to complete a 21st century environmental cleanup project that distinguishes it among North American jurisdictions. After a decade of work by the Liberal Party government, Ontario at the end of this year is scheduled to close the last of its big coal-fired generators, and leave a single small coal-fired unit available during periods of peak electrical demand until it closes next year. In shutting down the province’s 19 boilers fueled by coal, Ontario will become the first industrial region on the continent to eliminate coal-fired generation. The decade-long process to replace a quarter of the province’s electrical generating capacity with new plants fueled by natural gas and renewable energy sources represents one of the most ambitious low-carbon generating strategies in the world. And achieving the coal-less electricity sector has yielded lessons about the constraints of government policy and public acceptance in an industrial democracy seeking to make such a momentous transition.
Researchers have discovered that the Fukushima nuclear disaster has had far-reaching health effects more drastic than previously thought: young children born on the US West Coast are 28 percent more likely to develop congenital hyperthyroidism. In examining post-Fukushima conditions along the West Coast, researchers found American-born children to be developing similar conditions that some Europeans acquired after the 1986 meltdown of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. “Fukushima fallout appeared to affect all areas of the US, and was especially large in some, mostly in the western part of the nation,” researchers from the New York-based Radiation and Health Project wrote in a study published by the Open Journal of Pediatrics.
Resource limits are invisible, so most people don’t realize that we could possibly be approaching them. In fact, my analysis indicates resource limits are really financial limits, and in fact, we seem to be approaching those limits right now. - Many analysts discussing resource limits are talking about a very different concern than I am talking about. Many from the “peak oil” community say that what we should worry about is a decline in world oil supply. In my view, the danger is quite different: The real danger is financial collapse, coming much earlier than a decline in oil supply. This collapse is related to high oil price, and also to higher costs for other resources as we approach limits (for example, desalination of water where water supply is a problem, and higher natural gas prices in much of the world). The financial collapse is related to Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) that is already too low. I don’t see any particular EROEI target as being a threshold–the calculations for individual energy sources are not on a system-wide basis, so are not always helpful. The issue is not precisely low EROEI. Instead, the issue is the loss of cheapfossil fuel energy to subsidize the rest of society.
The central Arkansas spill caused by Exxon’s aging Pegasus pipeline has reportedly unleashed 10,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude - but a technicality says it's not oil, letting the energy giant off the hook from paying into a national cleanup fund. At least legally speaking, diluted bitumen like the heavy crude that's overrun Mayflower, Arkansas is not classified as 'oil.' While the distinction might normally not mean much, in the case of the disastrous spill in Arkansas it ensures that ExxonMobil will not have to pay into the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland has released a public statement apologizing to the public for the passing of the Monsanto Protection Act, stating that the legislation was buried deep within a government spending bill that was required to ‘prevent a government shutdown’. - Mikulski is the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman, one who was ultimately responsible for passing the bill that contained the notorious Monsanto Protection Act — a legislative ‘rider’ that grants biotech juggernaut Monsanto immunity from federal courts when it comes to their GMO crops. Although ‘written’ by Senator Roy Blunt, who actually gave Monsanto the ability to write their own Monsanto Protection Act and has received over $60,000 from Monsanto, Mikulski has taken serious flak for the passing of the rider. A rider that Monsanto thought they could slip through the Senate without much of a fight, only to find that the alternative news has made it a mainstream media topic by force (despite GMO lovers saying that it never even happened).
Stephen Lendman: Monsanto Protection Act
Residents of Mayflower, Arkansas are shocked, frustrated and discouraged after an ExxonMobil oil pipeline - which many were unaware existed - burst, devastating the small town by flooding its streets with thousands of barrels of Canadian crude. ExxonMobil is cleaning up the town after an oil pipeline spilled thousands of oil all over its streets. The company's Pegasus pipeline – which can carry more than 90,000 barrels of Canadian Heavy crude oil per day from Patoka, Illinois, to Nederland, Texas – was shut down after the leak was discovered on Friday in a suburban area near the Arkansas town of Mayflower.
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