Uruguay’s Jose Mujica – has been dubbed by the international media as ‘The poorest president in the world‘ To this he merely replies — “Poor people are those who always want more and more – who never have enough of anything”.
In his latest official declaration of wealth, he says he owns just two vehicles, a small amount of property and his farmhouse. He donates 90% of his salary to charity.
Makes a nice change from the typical views of our capitalist Right-wing politicos.
Citizens Call for GMO Labeling in Washington – the movement continues
(Washington, Jan 2013): Once again the fight for GMO-labeling has reignited with the introduction of a new GMO labeling bill, but this time in Washington. The “Label it Wa” campaign has already gained 350,000 signatures, and is finally headed to the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia for submission. As the movement comes during the same time that a New Mexico law calls for mandatory labeling of GMOs, it is obvious that individuals everywhere are still deeply concerned over the issue of GMOs.
If you aren’t concerned about GMOs, or think that foods aren’t labeled due to a lack of support over the issue, think again. In addition to being linked to weight gain and disrupting vital organs like the liver, GMO foods have actually been shown to cause massive tumors in rats, in addition to causing early death. Even more concerning is the fact that nearly80% of the US food supply contains GMO ingredients. Ingredients that are likely created by biotech giant Monsanto, who is responsible for upwards of 90 plus percent of the world’s GM seed supply.
In the wake of crippled labeling attempts inside the United States thanks to Monsanto-backed corporate deception, such as phony campaign materials designed to deceive California’s Prop 37 GMO-labeling campaign, this is an extremely bold message by India. A message that will likely be picked up by neighbouring countries where citizens have been demanding GMO labeling — or even an outright ban. The move also comes after other countries like Poland already took moves to ban Monsanto’s genetically modified maize.
While the labeling declaration is certainly a victory, some Indian experts are saying that it would be much more of a victory in somewhere like the US, where around 90% of food products are pre-packaged or processed.
(Wellington, Dec 2012, under the radar just before Christmas): New Zealand this week became the first country in the world to sign an agreement with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that recognises each other’s food safety systems as providing a comparable degree of food safety assurance. Source>>
“This is momentous for MPI as it is the first time the FDA has recognised another country’s food safety system as comparable to its own,” MPI Deputy Director General Standards Carol Barnao says.
This deal is a nasty surprise for people in New Zealand and for our markets overseas. New Zealand would be better to distance itself from decades of the FDA’s scientific compromises, degradation of the integrity of the US food supply, and domination by industry lobbyists.
Agricultural groups are on high alert for the possible introduction of new legislation targeting genetically modified crops this year
(Colorado, Jan 2013): According to news reports, 30 states around the U.S are now working on legislation relating to labeling of genetically modified crops. New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and Vermont are likely to see initiatives completed this year.
Already the site of an intense showdown over GM crops the experience of Colorado farmers there might be used in the future as a blueprint for how to take on biotech opponents and make the case for GM crops.
Boulder County first approved GMO corn open-field plantings in 2003. In 2008, a request was made to expand that policy to include sugar beets. A three-year battle ensued over whether or not to allow the expansion. The backlash against growing GM crops on publicly managed land was particularly strong. Six weeks before the sugar beet hearing, the farmers realised they were in trouble. Farmers lined up experts from the local campus and took their message directly to the editorial boards at the local newspapers. They started hosting farm tours and cultivating closer personal relationships with county commissioners. Most challenging, but perhaps most importantly, they rallied all local farmers to get involved.
The flood of farmers at the hearing seemed to have an impact. Boulder County commissioners made a unanimous decision to allow limited planting of GMO sugar beets on open space land.
In the end – and somewhat to their surprise – several farmers who spoke up during the fray became “the new rock stars” around town.
Farmers need to step up and do interviews, making sure their main message is carefully considered and kept firmly in mind. You have an authenticity that comes through that a corporate PR person doesn’t have. That’s what the media is looking for.
Is Monsanto invulnerable?
Some might think so, but 5 million small farmers in Brazil have a different opinion. The agri-giant Monsanto says their mission is improving agriculture and improving lives. In the past two decades, Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops.
As the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds Monsanto has repeatedly waged war on small farmers, suing hundreds of them over alleged patent infringement. But in Brazil, farmers are suing the company because they say that Monsanto claims unfair annual royalties for renewal harvest of their seeds. Via ByteStyle.TV
In another case due before the U.S. Supreme Court this February Vernon Bowman a 74-year-old soyabean farmer will have his day facing off against Monsanto. More…
On January 31 2013, family farmers in America will take part in the first phase of a court case filed to protect farmers from genetic trespass by Monsanto’s GMO seed, which contaminates organic and non-GMO farmer’s crops and opens them up to abusive lawsuits. Via Food Democracy Now
Poland bans cultivation of GM corn and potatoes
(Jan 2 2013, Warsaw): Poland imposed new bans on the cultivation of certain genetically modified strains of maize and potatoes, a day after an EU
required a ‘green light’ for GM crops took effect.
The centre-right government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk imposed farming
bans on German BASF’s Amflora strain of potato and U.S. firm Monsanto’s MON 810 corn, according to a government statement Wednesday.
The ban on specific strains essentially uses a legal loophole to circumvent
the EU’s acceptance of such products. Global environmental watchdog Greenpeace hailed the move, which will take effect on January 28.
“The government has kept its promises,” Greenpeace Poland said in a
Tusk had vowed to ban genetically modified (GM) crops in November on the
heels of a Senate approval for the registration and sale of GM crops, which
had been banned in Poland until then.
Despite lifting the ban on the marketing of genetically modified seeds in the amended Seed Act, the cultivation of these plants will not be admitted to our field. In this way, Poland joined the EUs eight countries,Germany, Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg, France, Greece, Italy, and Bulgaria, which have banned the cultivation of GMOs in their territory. . More>>
Just weeks after Walmart workers in the U.S. made history with their nationwide strike, hundreds of workers at McDonalds, Burger King, and other fast-food chains have walked off the job in New York City, demanding a living wage and union representation.
These workers are risking everything to challenge a system that keeps millions in poverty just so a few massive corporations can make huge profits. If this strike works, it could be the first step towards creating a more just economy, changing the lives of thousands of workers. These workers aren’t taking on just one company, they’re trying to change a whole industry.
Right now, workers are striking at Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and McDonald’s. Thirty stores have been shut down, and organisers are expecting more to follow suit.
Big business and the Right of the U.S. have had their union-bashing episode before. We hope these worker uprisings herald a long-overdue restructuring of the class system there, and here.
(Shahabad, North India, Oct 2012):
The farmers’ protest followed a recent recommendation by India’s Supreme Court to put a 10-year moratorium on all field trials of GM crops in India 1 owing to the risks involved. Public opposition to GMOs has been building in India owing to growing scientific evidence on the negative impact of GM crops on human health, farmer productivity and environment.
There were also concerns about the manner in which seed companies are taking control of the seed sector by using their patented GM seeds. Farmers and activists of GM Free India had met with the state Agriculture Minister Paramvir Singh to show their resentment that public sector universities had become the experimental grounds for Monsanto’s risky technology.
They had requested a ban on GM field trials in the state. “A month has passed since we met the Agriculture Minister but the government has failed to act on our behalf. The onus is now on us,” said Gurnam Singh, Haryana state president of the BKU.
Hundreds of farmers carrying banners reading “Monsanto GM corn Quit India” protested outside and gave an ultimatum to the research station of the Choudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCHAU) when the university officials promised that they would completely destroy the field trial.
However, Monsanto’s officials were caught trying to sneak out the GM corn from the research station with support of University staff. Alert farmers stopped them and surrounded the research station when this news spread. They then forced the University authorities to comply with their promise and burn the complete field trial.
1 Update - (Nov 29 2012) the Supreme Court today refused to impose an interim ban on GM field trials despite the court-appointed expert committee recommending the ban. The final report will be submitted in January 2013).
(Mexico City, November 2012): Monsanto, DuPont and Dow are expecting a positive response from the Mexican government to sow 2.4 million hectares of GM maize in Mexico. The government is favouring the multinationals at the cost of its indigenous people’s livelihood and health.
The situation is more alarming as Mexico is the world’s centre of maize diversity with thousands of varieties in the fields of peasant communities. Maize is currently one of the world’s three main food staples so the contamination of Mexican maize by GMOs is a threat of the gravest concern.
There are thousands of local varieties of maize in Mexico’s peasant communities, each one the product of different climates, soils, ecosystems and cultures. From Mexico, maize spread across the world, becoming one of the most important foodstuffs for many other peoples, especially in Southern Africa, Asia and all of Latin America. In recent decades, however, industry and the multinationals have also shown considerable interest in maize. They have developed hybrid varieties that are dependent on pesticides and other industrial inputs.
“For the past twenty years, the Mexican Government has been jeopardising our food sovereignty by opening agriculture to free trade, flooding us with cheap, low-quality maize and leaving thousands of peasants in poverty. Now they want to poison us with GM maize. We won’t allow it.”
Studies published recently in France show that GM maize could seriously damage health. These risks have not been properly assessed. In the French studies, rats which ate this maize suffered high incidences of cancer, with damage to their vital organs. In Mexico they want to sow, among others, the same variety of GM maize as that in the French studies, known as “NK 603”.
GM crops are, moreover, a violation of peasant rights. “All GM plants contaminate peasant crops through the genes patented by multinationals, and thus prevent peasants from using their own seeds. That is why in Europe we applied pressure to obtain laws which today ban GM plants from our fields and our food.
Throughout the world we need to support the people of Mexico in their resistance to the multinationals. The well-being of everyone on the planet is at stake”, said Guy Kastler of Via Campesina France.
(Peru, 22 November 2012): A moratorium on the introduction, importation, use and growth of genetically engineered crops in order to protect biodiversity and farmers came into effect today.
The scale and extent of the moratorium and penalties shows how serious the Peruvian government is about protecting biodiversity, and supporting its small and local farmers against the industrial scale agriculture that accompanies GM crop plantations.
The previous President, Alan Garcia, supported GM technology and proposed its introduction. His initiative was encouraged by private sector interests and the Ministry of Agriculture who were focussed on export of agricultural commodities and biofuels production.
Opposition to the proposals was led by the then Environment Minister, Antonio Brack, who argued that priority should be given to technologies more appropriate to food security, protection of biodiversity and the support of small farmers. More >>