SnowBall archive


GE - news 4th march

2)  Actions!!   Against Inappropriate/Irresponsible Use of Biotechnology in

The Northern Echo March 3, 1999 
Harry Mead 
THERE'S no wonder they call  him 
> "Junket Jack". Popping up everywhere recently to defend genetically 
> -modifed 
> food, Cabinet Minister Jack Cunningham is also a zealous supporter of 
> the 
> nuclear industry. British Nuclear Fuels provides accommodation for him 
> and 
> his wife in his Copeland constituency, home to BNF's Sellafield. Last 
> summer 
> BNF also treated Jack and his wife to a night at Glyndebourne. Just 
> days 
> later they were guests of Coca Cola at Wimbledon, and in September 
> Jack 
> enjoyed two days' salmon fishing in Scotland, courtesy Scottish Coal. 
> Man of the highest integrity that he is, Jack would never dream of 
> allowing 
> these freebies to influence his judgement on any matter. And of 
> course the providers of the goodies expect absolutely nothing in 
> return. 
> And yet, if Jack ever does or says anything that could be 
> construed as 
> helpful to his benefactors, it's possible that simple, unsophisticated 
> people -and sadly there are a few around - might harbour the faintest 
> ill-founded suspicion that Jack's actions and opinions might - just 
> might - 
> have a base motive. 
> The newly-published register of MPs' interest shows that the 
> old gravy train is as well-laden as ever. Ex-premier John Major 
> is now chairman of the European advisory boards of two US-based 
> international companies, whose work took him abroad 14 times 
> last year. How can our allegedly overworked MPs fit in such 
> extra-curricular activities? More important - should they? 
> Tory leader William Hague last year accepted free travel, 
> including a helicopter flight to Leicestershire by a multi- 
> millionaire businessman, and a Learjet flight to Teesside. The 
> register acknowledges that, as leader of the Opposition, he 
> receives help towards travel costs. But should they not come out 
> of his permitted expenses, or from party funds? 
> To earn our respect our MPs need to be free from even the 
> whiff of corruption. For we simple souls can't shake off the 
> unworthy thought that the bottom-line in freebies, consultancies 
> and top jobs in business for former PMs and Cabinet Ministers is 
> to gain influence. Why can't our MPs just say no? Ever-hopeful 
> that integrity will prevail - back to blameless Jack Cunningham 
> again - we'll spare them the G-word in the answer. 
> WATCHING Tony Blair's New Labour in action, you often have 
> to rub your eyes. For there is a confusing role-reversal with 
> their former Tory opponents. A doughty fighter for the 
> North-East when in Opposition, Darlington MP Alan Milburn, now 
> Chief Secretary at the Treasury, rejects criticism that it 
> suffers under regional funding. "Its special needs are 
> recognised and it receives the highest local funding per head 
> from the Single Regeneration Budget," he insisted recently. 
> Countering that the system involves English taxpayers 
> stumping up (GBP) 1,000 for "every man woman and child in 
> Scotland", Tory MP Teresa Gorman says this cash would be more 
> properly spent in "needy areas" like the North-East and her own 
> Essex. 
> Before the general election, Alan himself was the most skilled 
> Parliamentarian at digging out awkward facts like these and 
> flinging them at the Government. Now he stands four square with 
> Scottish Office Minister Henry McLeish, who declares: "We have 
> a settled system that is fair and provides stable finances 
> throughout the UK." Yes, it's a strange 
> Through-the-Looking-Glass world with New Labour. 
> MORE THAN 20 years after the the last-but-one Labour Prime 
> Minister, Harold Wilson, promised an end to hare coursing, this 
> second most barbaric bloodsport (the most barbaric is boxing) 
> still flourishes. The recent Waterloo Cup attracted 4,000 
> spectators, including "Fat Lady" chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright, 
> who is obviously beyond shame. 
> Following the Government's craven capitulation to the 
> 'Countryside Lobby' over the Bill that would have banned all 
> hunting with dogs, Crosby Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas is 
> promoting a Private Member's Bill to ban coursing. "We will send 
> a message to the Government that this is an important issue," 
> she says. Blink, blink. You wouldn't think it was her party's 
> Government, would you? That Looking-Glass world yet again.e," 
> she says. Blink, blink. You wouldn't think it was her party's 
> Government, would you? That Looking-Glass world yet again. 

from: HAN Jae-kak <>

        2)  Actions!!   Against Inappropriate/Irresponsible Use of
Biotechnology in Korea

           (Please spread out this mail widely!)

         * Rapid Developments In Korean Biotechnology *

In December 1998, a small  group of Korean medical  scientists led
by Dr. Bo-Yeon Lee, at the Kyung-Hee Hospital, claimed that they
successfully cloned an early human embryo, provoking considerable
public outrage. It was  only a few  weeks after the  Korean public
had been  bitterly  shocked by  the  news that   they might have
unknowingly eaten  foods containing  Monsanto's Roundup  Ready,
herbicide-resistant genetically modified (GM) soybean.

Two months later, in February 1999,  the Korean National Institute
of   Agricultural    Science   and   Technology    (NIAST),   the
government-funded research institute, announced that eight different
kinds of   GM crops,   including Rice,   Cayenne pepper,   Chinese
cabbage, Tobacco, and Tomato, were  developed and planned to be
put on   the market  by  2001.  About  at the   same time,   Prof.
Woo-Suk Hwang of  Seoul National University  produced the  first
Korean genetically engineered  mammal, Young Long,  cloned from
the somatic tissue of an adult cow.

And yet, with regard to bio-safety and ethics, Korea does not even
have minimal regulations, either  on the release of  GMOs into the
environment  or   on  the   use  of  human   embryos.  Although
Monsanto's GM soybean has been imported and used for processed
foods, there   is no   labelling policy  in  Korea  (not to   mention
segregation). While the field trials of GM crops are currently being
conducted, no  government agency  is monitoring  these potentially
hazardous experiments.
Neither have there ever been any health, ecological, or societal risk
assessments of GM technology.

     * Actions Against Inappropriate/Irresponsible Use
                     of Biotechnology *

Since last year, the Korean Alliance for Bio-safety & ethics (KAB),
a   consortium  of   12   leading   environmental  and   consumer
organizations  in   Korea,  has   been  campaigning   against  the
inappropriate/irresponsible use  of biotechnology.  KAB calls  for a
moratorium on all the applications of GM technology, including GM
foods, human   (embryo) and  animal  cloning,  until their   health,
ecological, or ethical repercussions have  been thoroughly examined
and democratically   debated and  a  proper regulatory   regime is
subsequently established.

Meanwhile, a group  of young environmental  activists and Korean
students are organizing an independent action. They are planning to
blockade the greenhouse where the  NIAST's field trials are under
way. The action is designed  to protest against the  NIAST's rush
into GM crop developments while there is  no safeguard regulation,
and to  expose its  irresponsible  release into  the environment   of
GMOs. It is  also intended to  put pressure  upon the government,
demanding strict biosafety & ethics legislations.

Their protest is scheduled  on March 5,  and you can  monitor the
progress at URL:

Your encouragement and support will be greatly  appreciated. Some
of the students and activists are likely to be arrested by the police.
Please visit our web-page and  send your message of solidarity  to
the following address.

HAN Jae-Kak : / Choe :