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2006-11-07 |

From verbalism and vocalism to vandalism: Graduation of anti-agribiotech activism in India

A few years ago activists, allegedly belonging to the Karnataka Rytha Sangha, the State farmers’ organization, burned Mahyco’s trial Bt cotton fields in Karnataka, India. On October 28, 2006, in Rampura village in Karnal, Haryana State, the Bharatiya Kissan Union (BKU), a farmers’ organization, using some 400 local farmers torched Mahyco's Bt rice under field trials. Mahyco suffers a loss of Rupees one million, and needs to restart the process. A BKU leader threatened to burn all such fields in the country where trials are underway, and said that ‘On Friday (October 27), we got a tip-off from Hyderabad that such tests were underway in Karnal’. In all probability the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, an active anti-biotech group, could be the source of the tip-off. BKU seems to have also sent a team to Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), where similar trials are going on in a field.

2006-11-07 |

Legal challenge on GM rice

Friends of the Earth have filed a legal challenge against the Food Standards Agency over its handling of the contamination of American long grain rice with unauthorised GM material. The Agency is defending the claims made by the environmental campaign group as it believes its actions on this issue have been appropriate and proportionate.

2006-11-07 |

Western Cape Agriculture on Wine Council vote against Genetically Modified Organisms

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has decided to side with the South African Wine Council in their opposition against a request to the Registrar Genetically Modified Organisms for permission to use genetically modified malolactic yeast (ML01) for the commercial production of wine in South Africa.

2006-11-07 |

As Bt trial fields sprout, regulators say ensure monitoring mechanism runs deep

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 5: After three years of Bt cotton, the first genetically modified crop in India, a whole range of crops are being tested in contained fields. As the numbers grow — there are 85 trial sites already in the country (see map) — activists and apex regulators are cautioning that the regulatory mechanism needs to run deep, down to the village-level, to keep pace with new trial sites. The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), whose activists torched a Bt rice trial field in Karnal last week, today alleged that seeds had been left unattended after harvesting at a Bt rice trial field in Gorakhpur and grains removed for storage in a rented room in a village. The field, the BKU claimed, was leased to Mahyco by an absentee landowner.

2006-11-07 |

National Starch raises US ingredients prices

he news comes amid a stream of similar announcements from other ingredients firms, as the industry is increasingly squeezed by higher raw material and energy costs. The latest increases from National starch, effective December 4 2006, will range from 7 to 10 percent on specialty products, depending on the product complexity and processing required. According to the firm, price increases for unmodified corn starch products will be "considerably larger", reflecting the higher base cost of corn in these products

2006-11-07 |

U.S. experiment uses AIDS to fight AIDS

WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - An AIDS virus genetically engineered to fight other AIDS viruses worked better than expected, suppressing the virus and renewing the immune systems of a few patients, researchers reported on Monday. The study involved just five people, and such an approach needs years more study, they cautioned -- but the surprising results offer new hope both for the field of gene therapy and for treating the fatal and incurable AIDS virus.

2006-11-07 |

Scientists seek permission for human-cow embryos

Scientists in Britain have asked for permission to create "hybrid" embryos from animal eggs and human cells for medical research into some of the most intractable diseases. The aim is to create a cloned embryo by fusing a nucleus from a human skin cell with a cow's egg that has had its own cell nucleus removed.

2006-11-06 |

Got milk without hormones? It's headed toward St. Louis shelves

A new category of milk soon will join the old favorites on local store shelves, much to the chagrin of Monsanto Co. Dairies and producers in the St. Louis region are preparing to meet retailers' demand for milk made without the use of Posilac, a synthetic bovine growth hormone sold by Creve Coeur-based Monsanto to boost a cow's production.

2006-11-06 |

Rice farmers biggest losers over altered rice, exec says

Roughly 40 percent of U. S. rice exports have been negatively affected by what many experts consider to be their industry's worst crisis, a USA Rice Federation official said Friday. Speaking in Little Rock to the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board, federation Vice President Bob Cummings discussed the damage caused to the $ 1. 3 billion U. S. rice export market after the U. S. Department of Agriculture's August revelation that traces of an unapproved, genetically engineered rice had been discovered in U. S. longgrain rice supplies.

2006-11-06 |

Monsanto acquisition could lock up cotton market

In a move somewhere between brilliantly audacious and unbelievably outrageous, Monsanto’s Aug. 15 offer to buy Delta & Pine Land Co. will create a titan with a hammer lock on every corner of the cottonseed market—seed genetics, seed distribution and seed price. The $1.5 billion deal marries Delta, with an estimated 50 percent of the U.S. cottonseed market, to Monsanto, whose biotech traits are found over 80 percent of all American cotton acres.

2006-11-06 |

Activists leave occupied Syngenta GMO farm in Brazil

SAO PAULO (MarketWatch) -- Activists from the international anti-transgenic farming and agrarian reform group, Via Campesina, left a Syngenta Seeds (SYT) experimental farm in Parana state on Friday that some 300 people had occupied since March, the company said. Syngenta is one of Brazil's largest researchers of genetically modified organisms. The company sells agrochemicals.

2006-11-06 |

Taiwan looks to capitalize on its flora, fauna and build biotech industry

Algae and fish scales are turned into skin-care products. Herbs are made into health foods. Evergreen trees are cultivated to make anticancer drugs. Though Taiwan has had some success in turning the island's great variety of flora and fauna into commercial products, experts say it has a long way to go before it emerges as a biotechnology powerhouse. With limited government support for research and a poor record of cashing in on laboratory breakthroughs, it is still struggling to create a name for itself in an increasingly competitive field, they say.

2006-11-06 |

WA GM cotton research continues despite focus shifting to Qld

A group behind trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in the Kimberley for over a decade says the cotton industry is shifting its focus to north Queensland. The Cotton Cooperative Research Centre was commenting after the Gene Technology Regulator's decision to approve GM strains for commercial growing in northern Australia.

2006-11-03 |

Hypocrisy claim as tests on animals increase by 4.5%

ANIMAL testing in Scotland has grown sharply despite government assurances that the controversial practice will be reduced, new figures have revealed. The Scotsman has obtained detailed figures on scientific experiments conducted on living creatures in Scotland.

2006-11-03 |

Kuwait lacks laws to regulate GM foods

KUWAIT: Kuwait has no laws or regulations against importing Genetically Modified (GM) foods, Controller of Standards Control at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Department of Standards, Khaled Al-Fahad, said.
The issue remains unclear on the international level, therefore, countries have been reluctant to join one of the two camps, he added. Al-Fahad said this issue remains a hot topic internationally; once there is some global consensus on GM foods, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will follow agreements.

2006-11-03 |

Health warning by the Department of Public Health over GMO rice

The Public Health Department yesterday warned the public against consuming Blue Ribbon Golden Parboiled Long Grain Enriched Rice and Uncle Ben’s Enriched Parboiled Long Grain Rice, due to the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms which is unauthorised in the EU.

For more information, contact the Department of Public Health on 2133-2225 or 2132-4093 between 8am and 1pm.

2006-11-03 |

Czechs profit by allowing GM crops and conventional crops to co-exist

They go together like chalk and cheese. Like orange and green, they should never be seen together. Genetically modified crops just can't be permitted to contaminate conventional or organic ones.
But judging by farmer experience in the Czech Republic, where 1290ha of GM maize was grown commercially this year, there is no reason why co-existence can't succeed.

2006-11-03 |

Genetically modified food discovered in Bulgaria

There are foods in Bulgaria's market that are genetically modified according to a several-month research carried out by the public environment and stable development centre and by For the Earth Association.

Soya sauce and waffles that contain genetically modified organisms were found in the market of Bulgaria's seaside city of Varna.

2006-11-03 |

Experts in science, medicine, law and ethics declare that Missouri's Amendment 2 endorses human cloning

Today over two dozen experts in science, medicine, law and ethics released an open letter to news media and the people of Missouri on the state's proposed ballot initiative known as Amendment 2. They conclude that "the people of Missouri should know what they are actually voting on. Amendment 2 creates a constitutional right for researchers to engage in human cloning. Efforts to deny this are misleading and deceptive."

The signers include experts in embryology, microbiology and maternal/fetal medicine, as well as past and present members of the President's Council on Bioethics and several founding members of Do No Harm: the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics.

2006-11-03 |

Limagrain, GRDC to bring GM healthy wheat to market

A genetically modified wheat variety that has significantly more resistant starch than regular wheat could reach the market in five years, say Australian scientists who have won financial backing to commercialise the crop.
A new joint venture involving French cereals group Limagrain and Australia's Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) will invest $12.5 million in the project run by the Australian research body CSIRO.

2006-11-02 |

Change in IRRI’s copyright policy to facilitate the free exchange of vital information

Los Baños, Philippines – After being given an important new role by the rice-producing nations of Asia to support the free flow of rice research and knowledge, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has announced an important change in its copyright policy.
Taking a leaf out of the software industry’s book, the Philippines-based Institute has announced that it will change its information copyright policy from the original “all rights reserved.” Effectively echoing the software industry’s open-source movement, others will now be able to use IRRI’s intellectual property provided they do not place restrictions on its use by anyone else.

2006-11-02 |

Premier announces new tax incentives aimed to bolster growth of bioscience industry in Prince Edward Island

On October 12, 2006, in Charlottetown, PEI Premier Pat Binns announced a comprehensive tax incentive package for the bioscience industry in Prince Edward Island that will encourage existing companies to expand and focus on commercial opportunities in the industry as well as help attract new companies to the province. Under this new tax incentive program, bioscience companies of more than 10 employees and a $750,000 annual payroll are eligible to receive a full rebate on their provincial corporate income taxes for up to 10 years. Premier Binns said money rebated to bioscience companies will be reinvested, helping to create more jobs and opportunities in the sector.

2006-11-02 |

Kuwait, Mideast nations urged to block import of GM rice from US

KUWAIT (KUNA): Kuwait has no laws or regulations against importing Gene-tically Modified (GM) foods, Controller of Standards Control at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Department of Standards, Khaled Al-Fahad, told KUNA. The issue remains unclear on the international level, therefore, countries have been reluctant to join one of the two camps, he added. Al-Fahad continued this issue remains a hot topic internationally; once there is some global consensus on GM foods, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will follow agreements.

2006-11-02 |

Exporters flash GM rice alert

New Delhi, Nov. 1: Rice exporters have called for a freeze on field trials of genetically modified (GM) rice in India, warning that any leakage into harvested rice could wreak economic havoc.

The exporters said GM rice field trials should be deferred until seed companies and regulatory agencies can guarantee that the rice will not contaminate harvested crop and until national health authorities can certify that GM rice is safe for long-term consumption by humans.

2006-11-01 |

Biopharming panel sees way to protect health, advance work

A state committee on biopharming made final recommendations Monday on how to regulate crops designed to make drugs.

The committee's report suggests ways Oregon can protect public health while leaving the door open to new technology.

The 10-member group's meeting in Portland ended a year of work. Its report to Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Legislature is designed to provide guidance on a bill expected to be introduced during the next several months.

2006-11-01 |

Biotechnology opportunities in Nigeria

A workshop on “Appropriating biotechnology for investment opportunities in Nigeria” was held in Sokoto on Thursday, 20 July. The Sokoto State Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Saddiq Garba Abubakar, on behalf of the Executive Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, declared the workshop open.

2006-11-01 |

ANALYSIS - GMO traces pressure Spain's organic maize farmers

MADRID - Organic farmers in Spain are abandoning maize after finding traces of genetically modified (GMO) strains in their crops, figures show.

The amount of contamination is small, less than one percent, but environmental groups and organic farmers say they fear bigger problems ahead.

2006-10-31 |

New rice farming system promises wonders

NEW DELHI, OCT 29: Several efforts are on for increasing production of world’s major staple crop, rice, in a cost-effective manner. Conservation of natural resources and improvement in soil health are vital for boosting crop production on a sustainable basis.
One such model developed is the system for rice intensification (SRI), developed by Fr Henri de Laulanie in 1980s in Madagascar. “SRI offers unprecedented opportunities for improving rice production in a variety of situations around the world, not just by increments but even by multiples”, says Norman Uphoff of the Cornell International Institute for Food Agriculture and Development.

2006-10-31 |

Thailand reaffirms that all rice is GM-free

Thai authorities have assured importing countries that Thai rice is free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in light of growing concerns, especially in Europe.

The European Union (EU), has urged Thai exporters to obtain GMO-free certification, at 1,800 baht per test, to improve confidence among European consumers, who are especially sensitive about genetically modified foods.

Concern rose earlier this year when genetically modified grains were detected in some rice shipped from the United States and China to the EU.

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