SnowBall archive


GE - GMO News 03/10 part 1

GMO News 03/10 

1) Signs of the food fight to come 
2)  Frankenstein foods THEY are hereOn the complicated trail of GM foods 
3) WHERE can GM foods be found? New Straits Times (Malaysia) March 10, 1999 
5) The case against Canada and the EU 
7)  Dupont seeks alliances in pharmaceutical industry 
8) DuPont raised to accumulate 
9) DuPont Takes  Steps  to Execute Life Sciences Strategy 
10) Media Release re: Patenting of  Tree Gene 

> The Christian Science Monitor March 10, 1999, Wednesday 
1) Signs of the food fight to come 
> BYLINE:  Laurent Belsie, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor 
HIGHLIGHT: Gene-spliced plants and hormone-treated beef raise 
> ethical questionsabout how much to fool with nature. 
BODY:  Geneticists  are on the verge of revolutionizing 
agriculture and medicine in much  the 
> same way computers have transformed business. Labs around the world 
> are 
> working on crops that could feed a growing planet, plants that could 
> clean 
> up contaminated 
> soils, and pigs whose organs may one day get trans-planted into 
> people. 
> But to do these things, scientists are fooling with nature's 
> basic building blocks. As they do, they are kicking up dissent 
> around the world as one nation tries to sell its genetically 
> altered foods to another's grocers. The current food fight 
> between the United States and Europe - over hormone-treated beef 
> and genetically altered soy beans - could be just a prelude of 
> arguments to come. That's because the greatest risks probably 
> don't lie with today's simple genetic alterations. Future 
> rounds of exotic agriculture pose bigger threats because they 
> will put organisms to completely new uses. The fundamental 
> question: How much should science manipulate nature to care for 
> mankind? 
> And there's no going back, scientists say. Consider the US 
> experience. While Europeans debate how far to proceed with the 
> new technology, Americans are quietly ingesting the new foods, 
> often without knowing it. "The genie can't be put back," says 
> Marshall Martin, an agricultural economist at Purdue University 
> in West Lafayette, Ind. "Anyone who eats pizza or cheese on 
> their hamburger has consumed genetically modified food.... We 
> pulled the cork out of the bottle in a sense with the discovery 
> of DNA." 
> For example, three-quarters of America's cheese gets its start 
> with a bioengineered enzyme. Nearly 1 out of 6 dairy farmers 
> injects his cows with a genetically engineered growth hormone 
> to boost milk production. And genetically modified crops are 
> increasingly taking over farmlands - with some 70 million acres 
> planted worldwide, 60 million of it in North America. This 
> planting season promises more inroads. For example, half of 
> America's soybeans, perhaps more of its cotton, and a third of 
> its corn could be genetically modified - a remarkable adoption 
> rate in the four years since the new seeds were introduced. 
> Other countries are also moving rapidly to incorporate the 
> technology. Last year, some 650,000 farmers in China planted 
> genetically modified cotton. And this year Monsanto, which 
> produces the cotton seed, expects to double that number. 
> Even the European Union has approved bioengineered soybeans and 
> corn. Small quantities of corn, genetically modified to resist 
> pests, are being grown in Spain and, if approved by France's 
> high court, could start showing up in the fields of Europe's 
> largest corn producer. 
> Slow acceptance 
> Biotech companies such as Monsanto hope that resistance to the 
> technology will crumble once European farmers begin to adopt the 
> new strains. That move is likely, companies say, because the 
> new-fangled crops typically improve yields and cut costs. 
> "It's likely to be adopted because the value of the benefits 
> will be recognized," says Philip Angell, a Monsanto spokesman. 
> Take cotton, one of the world's most pest-prone crops. By 
> incorporating the genes of a natural insecticide, scientists 
> have created a pest-resistant strain that requires fewer 
> chemicals. It "has been massively beneficial," says Val 
> Giddings, a vice president of the Biotechnology Industry 
> Organization in Washington. 
> In the three years since they began using it, US farmers have 
> saved the equivalent of 850,000 gallons of pesticides - the 
> equivalent of 48 railroad tank cars of chemicals. 
> Cutting pesticide use saves money. According to newly released 
> figures by one of Britain's leading plant-research centers, 
> bioengineered soybeans saved farmers an average $ 30 a hectare 
> because they used 40 percent less herbicide. Pest-resistant corn 
> saved $ 42 per hectare. (A hectare represents some 2-1/2 acres.) 
> Despite these benefits, environmentalists worry the new crops 
> pose a bigger hazard to human health and the environment. 
> They've caught the ear of many Europeans. 
> The environmental group Greenpeace, for example, has mounted 
> an effective campaign across Europe to block the sale of 
> genetically modified food. In February, it persuaded biotech 
> giant AgrEvo (Hoechst) not to conduct field trials of such crops 
> in Austria. 
> In January, it organized anti-bioengineering protests at the 
> national offices of three European food companies in nine 
> countries. Thanks to a Greenpeace suit, France's highest 
> administrative court in December upheld its preliminary ban on 
> genetically modified corn from a Swiss firm. 
> The debate rings loudest in Britain, where memories of the 
> government's mishandling of "mad-cow" disease remain fresh. The 
> issue has gone all the way to the top: Prime Minister Tony Blair 
> is risking his popularity to support genetically modified 
> foods, while Prince Charles says he will never eat any of them. 
> Further confounding the issue have been the findings of Arpad 
> Pusztai, a Scottish researcher who ignited the whole 
> controversy. Last summer he was quietly feeding potatoes to 
> rats. Then he went public with concerns about the genetically 
> modified rations he was using. 
> On one hand, the researcher claims he's enthusiastic about 
> bioengineering's potential; but he warns that it has to be done 
> right because genetically modified potatoes stunted the growth 
> of rats and depressed their immune system. Mr. Pusztai has not 
> released his full results for review by other scientists - a 
> traditional practice. And when an internal audit committee 
> evaluated his study, it disputed the findings. But 20 scientists 
> have come forward since, saying Pusztai may have a point. 
> Controversy builds 
> Whatever the outcome, even biotech executives acknowledge the 
> controversy is likely to continue. "I think we have to be very, 
> very careful about how these technologies are applied," says 
> Richard Gill, senior vice president and general manger of BTG 
> International Inc., a tech-transfer company with offices in the 
> US, Britain, and Japan. "There needs to be ... more information 
> shared with people in a form that can be understood." 
> Even in the United States, activists remain hopeful they can 
> slow down the technology. Dairy farmer associations and consumer 
> groups, for example, continue to battle the milk-boosting growth 
> hormone. 
> "Americans are expressing their concern with genetic 
> engineering and agribusiness in general, not in a political way 
> but in the marketplace," says Ben Lilliston of the Center for 
> Food Safety. 
> That's why organic products are growing so rapidly, he says, and 
> why some 200,000 citizens complained when US agricultural 
> officials proposed including bioengineered food as organic. 
> Concern is justified, scientists say, because no one can predict 
> how nature will react when new organisms appear. "We're not 
> talking about killer tomatoes. We're talking about plants that 
> will pick up genes," says Norm Ellstrand, a geneticist at the 
> University of California at Riverside. Genes can only transfer 
> to relatives. So genetically modified corn in Iowa doesn't 
> pose much danger because it has no wild relatives there. But 
> planted in central America, it could create super-weeds that 
> could out-compete the corn. And the risks increase as more of 
> these genetically modified plants get released into the wild 
> and interact. 
> The biggest question hangs over plants containing many new genes 
> so they can take lead out of contaminated soil or create 
> ingredients for medicines. "The next generation of crops is 
> going to be engineered for truly novel traits.... And we don't 
> know how those combinations are going to play out," says Louis 
> Myers, a biotech specialist at Fish & Richardson, a law firm. 
> GRAPHIC: PHOTO: 1) BIO-WARS: Activists dumped 4 tons of soya 
> beans onDowning St., home of British Prime Minister Tony Blair 
> after he said bioengineered food was safe to eat last month. BY 
> rally against trade in genetically modified food in Cartagena, 
> Colombia, Feb. 17. BY CARMELO BOLANOS/AP 

> ======#====== 
> New Straits Times (Malaysia) March 10, 1999 
 2)  Frankenstein foods THEY are here
BYLINE: By Rose Ismail 
BODY: THEY are here.  Sitting  innocuously on our supermarket shelves, they
could be in our bread,  breakfast cereal, corn and potato chips, the tofu
drinks we love; 
> perhaps 
> even in cooking oil, and the soya sauces we use for seasoning! 
> Undoubtedly, they form a significant basis for our diet. But, unknown 
> to 
> many Malaysians, raw produce like maize, soyabean and potatoes is 
> coming 
> into the country from places in which such crops are being tampered 
> or 
> tinkered with - genetically. In simple 
> terms, this means, somewhere along the natural path taken by a 
> plant to reach maturity, genetic modification hastens or 
> delays ripening. In crops like maize and soyabean, the 
> technology is said to strengthen the plant's resistance to 
> herbicides and pesticides. But unlike traditional breeding, 
> or even hybridisation, agricultural biotechology (as it is 
> practised now) is the movement of genetic material between 
> completely unrelated plant species and even between the plant, 
> animal and microbe kingdoms, in ways that can never occur 
> naturally. In the case of plants, genetic modification can 
> result in an increased level of toxins, or the transfer of 
> allergens. Another possible occurrence is the transfer of 
> antibiotic resistance. The potential for genetic pollution 
> (when genes move from one plant to another, either of the same 
> type, or closely related) and the creation of superweeds (when 
> genes for herbicide tolerance escape into wild relatives of crop 
> plants that are weeds) has been raised by environmentalists. 
> Such fears, downplayed by proponents of genetically modified 
> (GM) crops, have not been sufficiently allayed. Instead, 
> companies producing such crops have insisted these are perfect 
> foods. Currently, there are no quick or simple methods to 
> identify such produce. They look and taste like their unmodified 
> counterparts. Labelling would help, but companies producing 
> such crops are resisting this, denying governments and people 
> the right to choose what they want on their dinner tables. And, 
> although consumer groups, in Europe especially, are becoming 
> more adept at fighting the entry into their countries of GMOs 
> (are GMO and GM the same?) - or "Frankenstein foods", as some 
> fiendishly call them! - the sophisticated marketing strategies 
> of companies producing such foods are difficult to discern and 
> counter. Because of this, and the unfortunate fact that 
> consumer protection laws in this country lag far behind social 
> and market developments, such foods may already be available in 
> Malaysia. As pointed out by F. Josie, director of Consumers 
> International's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (CI- 
> ROAP), the ban on GM foods in the European Union can only mean 
> countries like Malaysia are "at high risk of being treated as a 
> dumping ground" for such items. Her concerns were echoed by 
> local consumer activists, government officers and academicians 
> attending the International Conference on Food Security, 
> organised by CI-ROAP, in Penang late last week. Over meals, 
> coffee breaks and between sessions, participants discussed the 
> possible presence of such items here, and ways to deal with the 
> matter. "Labelling is a must," said Gurmit Singh, who heads the 
> Centre for Technology, Development and Environment Malaysia. 
> "People must know what they are buying and eating." A health 
> ministry officer agreed. Without labelling, she said, it will be 
> impossible to know whether raw produce coming into the country 
> has been genetically modified. "Even if we keep close tabs on 
> imported raw and processed foods, how can we know if the produce 
> should be banned?" she asked. She said she is aware that much 
> of the soyabean in Malaysia comes from countries like China and 
> Canada, and the bulk of the corn consumed here is from the US - 
> all three countries have millions of hectares devoted to GM 
> crops. Universiti Putra Malaysia deputy dean of Graduate 
> Studies, Dr Mohamad Ghazali Mohayidin, also had strong 
> reservations. "I am all for science and technology. But I also 
> believe people have a right to choose and refuse. What we need 
> is more information about the effects of such technology." Soil 
> microbiologist and Biodiversity Panel member Dr Zulkifli 
> Shamsuddin said: "We are still far too relaxed about raw produce 
> coming into the country. We cannot have soil and plant material 
> coming in without the knowledge of the authorities. The public 
> should know how important this is. Such carelessness can, for 
> instance, wipe out our entire palm oil industry." But, as Josie 
> lamented at the close of the conference, "how can we effectively 
> prevent the entry of banned items when we don't have the laws or 
> the experts at entry points to deal with such matters?" In fact, 
> she adds, some people are saying that Monsanto - the 
> biotechnology company with the biggest stake in GM crops -is 
> making subtle incursions into several Government departments, to 
> persuade Malaysia to consider wide-scale planting of GM crops 
> (see story on Monsanto on page 5). As Malaysia is beginning to 
> grapple with this problem, several governments, especially in 
> Europe, have either banned such produce - raw and processed - or 
> insisted on moratoriums before allowing it to enter their 
> countries. Critics of GM produce have been accused of being 
> hysterical; but, to date, there are no discernible benefits to 
> the consumer, who will end up with these products. The biggest 
> producers of GM organisms - Monsanto, Novartis, AstraZeneca and 
> Avantis - say the technology will feed the world, create 
> sustainable development, help communities in developing 
> countries and, most importantly, reduce the use of pesticides 
> (a boon for the environment) and increase yield. But critics 
> like Dr Michael Hansen say otherwise. Speaking at the 
> conference, the consumer advocate and vociferous critic of 
> biotechnology said GM produce does have higher resistance to 
> pesticides and herbicides, but does not display the higher 
> yield claimed. Recent scientific experiments suggest that much 
> more research is needed before GM foods can be certified safe 
> for human health - in the medium and long-terms. All these 
> factors, however, have been whitewashed by governments like that 
> of the US, who are pressured by business interests to push GM 
> foods onto the world market. Last month, two British scientists 
> wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian that people and 
> groups belonging to the " genetic -industrial complex" are using 
> mafia-like tactics to promote and protect their cause. So 
> powerful is the complex, the article said, that "enemies" are 
> dealt with by the use of legal suits. In some cases, critics are 
> paid huge sums to keep quiet. Many who question the technology 
> are eventually hired by the companies. Hansen also said some 
> scientists studying GMOs have been effectively silenced by 
> huge research grants from companies with a stake in such 
> technology. The unfortunate few who come up with negative 
> findings on GM organisms face alienation, ridicule and searing 
> criticism from other scientists. Last August, one scientist, Dr 
> Arpad Pusztai, lost his job at the Rowett Institute for 
> Agriculture in Aberdeen, when he announced that potatoes 
> genetically modified to make a natural insect poison called a 
> lectin had, when fed to rats, made their organs grow somewhat 
> more slowly, and depressed their immune systems. Although 
> twenty scientists in Britain and America signed a memorandum 
> seeking his re-instatement, the boot Pusztai received will be a 
> reminder to many others that research on GM organisms has far- 
> reaching non- scientific implications. Added to this is the 
> recent introduction of a technology - which Monsanto is in the 
> process of buying -creating plants which kill their offspring by 
> producing sterile seeds, preventing farmers from collecting 
> these seeds to replenish their stocks. Naturally, such 
> developments have raised questions. Apart from the issue of 
> morality, which some say must be considered when there is 
> considerable meddling with the genetic make-up of plants, 
> there are consumer groups asking about the real motivation of 
> the GM foods industry: is it need - or greed? As they do this, 
> many organisations, including the aggressive Greenpeace 
> movement, are raising public awareness and helping governments 
> create legal frameworks and keep GM produce off their markets. 
> The fight has risen to the level of the United Nations where, a 
> fortnight ago, attempts to forge the world's first global treaty 
> to regulate trade in GM products failed, due to disagreements 
> about market safeguards (see story on his page). As Hansen 
> stated: At the protocol talks, the US was fighting tooth and 
> nail to resist the labelling and liability of GM foods. "Why? If 
> these companies insist their produce is perfectly safe, they 
> should stand by it. "The fact that they won't tells us we need 
> to be very careful, very suspicious about such foods." Dr 
> Michael Hansen will present a paper on genetic engineering and 
> the challenge to Malaysia at IKIM on March 15. Those interested 
> can call 2939366, ext. 165. GRAPHIC: (STF) - Is genetic 
> modification' a euphemism for genetic meddling'? When we dable 
> in the stuff of Nature, are we creating monsters whose strength 
> we cannot possibly know? Rose Ismail reports. 

> ======#====== 
> New Straits Times (Malaysia) March 10, 1999 
3) WHERE can GM foods be found? 
BYLINE: By Rose Ismail 
Reports from the UK indicate  that 
> over 7,000 common food products, from baby foods, chocolates, frozen 
> desserts, bread and margarine, to sausages, meat products and meat 
> substitutes, may contain genetically - altered soyabean 
> derivatives. Yet 
> none are labelled as such. Food manufacturers state that it is up to 
> consumers to avoid soya- containing products. But soya is used in 
> many 
> forms. It can be in oil or used as flour, vegetable protein or as an 
> emulsifier. If you are lucky, the list of ingredients may make 
> it clear if soya has been used in the item. However, soya finds 
> its way into food in many forms, which are not always listed. 
> You may find soya as: Vegetable protein and hydrolysed vegetable 
> protein and protein isloate - in savoury products, sausages, 
> nuggets, gravy powder, soups, stock cubes, coffee creamers, 
> frozen desserts, and in the brine injected into cured products 
> such as ham and bacon. Textured vegetable protein - in meat 
> products and meat substitutes and vegetarian dishes. Lecithin - 
> an emuslifying agent used in a wide range of products, 
> including chocolate, margarine, breakfast cereal, bread, cakes 
> and biscuits. Vegetable oil, vegetable fat, hydrogenated 
> vegetable oil - in a wide range of foods including cakes and 
> biscuits, margarines, crisps, fried foods, fast foods such as 
> French fries and other take-aways. Unlabelled soya flour - for 
> example, in baked products bought unwrapped. Unlabelled soya 
> flakes - occasioanlly used for beer production. Soya also finds 
> its way into pet food and farm animal feed, as well as providing 
> the basis for soya milk, tofu and soya baby milk. 
> From: Food Magazine, London, October-December, 1996.) 
> GRAPHIC: Picture - X' marks the sceptics ... Greenpeace 
> demonstrates in London against Unilever's genetically modified 
> soya. 

> ======#====== 
By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, PA News 
> Genetically  modified crops pose unknown risks to wildlife and ecosystems in
> British countryside, experts advising the Government told MPs today. 
> Two  senior scientists from English Nature said the impact on natural food 
> chains of crops engineered to increase their tolerance to weed 
> killers and  resistance to insects had not been assessed. Until the risks
> known  no attempt should be made to plant genetically modified crops 
> commercially,  they told the Science  and Technology Select Committee at the
House of Commons. 
> Commercial planting was not expected for another three or 
> four years. Dr Derek Langslow, chief executive officer at 
> English Nature, and Dr Keith Duff, chief scientist, were giving 
> evidence to MPs investigating the way Government policy 
> concerning genetically modified foods is driven. They said GM 
> crops were likely to make farming practices more intensive than 
> at present which could have an impact on countryside ecology and 
> threaten wildlife. 
> Dr Duff said: "There's pretty compelling evidence that 
> existing intensive agriculture has had significant effects on 
> wildlife in the countryside. "Our concern is that genetic 
> modification of traits such as herbicide tolerance will allow 
> even more effective management of unwanted species. "The loss 
> of these weeds will lead to the loss of invertebrates which feed 
> on them, and the loss of birds which feed on these." 
> Development of crops resistant to herbicide use during the 
> growing season would allow virtually all weeds to be removed 
> from a crop. None of these effects had yet been assessed by 
> the expert committee advising the Government on the release of 
> GM crops. 
> There were also unknown effects which GM crops could have on 
> biodiversity. Dr Langslow said: "If you've got a situation 
> where suddenly a crop you hadn't been able to grow in the west 
> of England becomes possible to grow, you get a complete change 
> of land use with all sorts of effects." 
> English Nature, which advises the Government on conservation 
> issues, was not in principle opposed to GM crops, MPs were told. 
> The organisation supported large scale field experiments -- 
> due to start this spring -- since only these could provide the 
> environmental research data needed. Dr Langslow said: "We 
> have not pressed for a moratorium, but we have said we need to 
> go more slowly and find more evidence." 
> He said, so far, ministers appeared to have been listening to 
> the advice English Nature was giving. 
> Dr Douglas Parr, director of the environmental pressure group 
> Greenpeace UK, told the committee he was wholly opposed to GM 
> foods and crops because of the inherent unpredictability of the 
> science. 
> He called for a change in the system by which ministers took 
> advice from experts before deciding policy on GM issues. 
> He said the advisory committees began from a standpoint that 
> genetic modification was desirable. Instead they should be 
> listening to the voice of public opinion, which was highly 
> suspicious of GM foods. 
> A body should be set up to ensure an adequate flow of 
> information between Government departments. 
> "A cross-departmental body should be responsible for 
> understanding the articulation of public values in policy 
> terms," said Dr Parr. "These questions are at some stage or 
> another inevitably political questions about acceptable risk." 
> Also appearing before the committee today were representatives 
> of Monsanto plc, the multi-national seed firm which has 
> extensive interests in the development of GM products. 
> Ann Foster, responsible for the company's government and 
> public relations in the UK, acknowledged that its high profile 
> in the GM field meant it was suffering from an image problem 
> during the current controversy. Committee member Ian Taylor, 
> Tory MP for Esher and Walton, asked her how the company's views 
> were supposed to inspire public confidence when it was being 
> presented as "the devil incarnate". 
> She said: "It's very difficult. We are being portrayed as the 
> devil incarnate. 
> "Whatever we say or do is twisted and turned and spun until 
> it's very difficult to get a fair hearing. 
> "We hope the day will return when it is possible for us to 
> convey our message and be regarded as a credible messenger." 
> Ms Foster confirmed that the company had held discussions 
> with the Government about GM-related issues. 
> "We have had meetings with ministers ... all our meetings are 
> a matter of public record," she told the committee. 
> The company had, for example, conveyed its concerns to 
> Environment Minister Michael Meacher about suggestions that 
> there should be a moratorium on GM development. 
> "We have put to the UK Government why we believe it is not 
> necessary," said Ms Foster. 
> She believed that the company's views were given due weight, 
> though ministers had consistently stressed that those views 
> carried no more weight than those of any other interested party. 
> "I think it (our advice) is properly regarded," she said. 
> Dr Ken Baker, Monsanto's director of government affairs in 
> Europe and Africa, rejected a suggestion that the company had 
> tried to use legal action against companies concerned about GM 
> food in the United States. 
> Asked by committee member Dr Alan Williams, Labour MP for 
> Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (correct), whether it had taken 
> legal action against companies which advertised their products 
> as GM-free, Dr Baker said he did not believe it had. "We have 
> not taken action," he told the committee, though he undertook to 
> check and write to the committee with a definitive answer. 
> ======#====== 
> The Globe and Mail 

5) The case against Canada and the EU 
Wednesday,  March 10,  1999 PETER COOK Brussels --
The barrage against U.S. banana imperialism in 
> this town has become something to wonder at. At a press briefing on 
> Monday, 
> a spokesman for European Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan declared 
> the 
> United States guilty of "flagrantly, blatantly, breaching world trade 
> rules" 
> in one sentence, and suggest sell their fruit, would turn to drugs as 
> a 
> substitute in the next. In the dispute over trade in bananas, the 
> Americans 
> appear to have made themselves choice targets indeed. 
> For this is an issue that allows Europe to play every tune on its 
> reedy, 
> nationalist accordion. Washington's support is not for free trade but 
> for 
> the ruthless Carl Lindner of Cincinnatti, chairman of Chiquita Brands 
> International and generous friend to Democrats and Republicans -- who, 
> courtesy of the junk bond trade in the 1980s and is determined to 
> kill 
> Europe's kind- hearted patronage of its former colonies. As the 
> dispute has 
> dragged on, makers of cashmere sweaters and pecorino cheese and sweet 
> biscuits have found themselves unfairly subject to illegal U.S. 
> sanctions. 
> Yet plucky Europe has held its ground and stuck b 
> It is a lament for the little guy that may sound familiar to 
> Canadians, attuned as they are to Ottawa's wailings over the 
> fragility of the country's magazine industry and the need to 
> take measures to defend it against the U.S. predator. 
> In one case, Europeans pay $515 (U.S.) a tonne for Caribbean 
> bananas against a free market price of $162. In another, 
> handsome profits are handed to two Canadian publishing firms. 
> Sure, an emotional case can be made for both arrangements 
> but, in Europe particularly, as the intensity of the emotion 
> builds, doubts arise about the argument being made. Do Europeans 
> normally trade in such an altruistic way? If so, why don't they 
> open their markets to Third World agriculture? Is it a good 
> thing, of anything? And what is the logic of favouring, say, 
> the Windward Islands over even poorer Ecuador? 
>  Trade is not often a moral matter. Nor should it be -- 
> unless, of course, it has become an instrument needed to serve 
> political ends. In the case of bananas and magazine advertising, 
> the real test of rectitude is to look at who is playing by world 
> trade rules, or is closer to playing by them, and who is not. 
> Superficially, the Americans stand condemned. Against 
> Europe, they have effectively imposed sanctions and retaliated 
> ahead of getting approval from the Geneva-based World Trade 
> Organization (WTO), and against Canada they have threatened the 
> same thing. But it is worth looking a little deeper into the 
> provocation 
> The great virtue that the WTO has over its precedessor, the 
> General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), is that its 
> rulings on trade matters cannot be ignored. This, in turn, is a 
> guarantee of fairness for small countries in their dealings with 
> the United States or the European Union.oi importrompted changes 
> t regulations to benefit Venezuela and their clothing quotas 
> to help Costa Rica after judgments were made in the WTO that the 
> United States was guilty of discriminating against them. 
> When it comes to bananas, the Europeans introduced rules to 
> discriminate in favour of Caribbean suppliers in 1993. 
> Washington first complained to the WTO two years later; by 1997, 
> the EU had lost twice and been told to open up its banana trade 
> and change its rules. It did not. Instead it modified them 
> slightly, s questioned whether the WTO decision had been 
> complied with. Stalling for time, the EU now says no action can 
> be taken until the WTO has ruled again -- whereupon, it will 
> doubtless offer more minor changes and repeat the process. Where 
> Washington has acted illegally is in getting frustrated and 
> trying to force Eur 
> A similar situation exists with Canada on magazines. Having 
> been told that it cannot restrict advertising in U.S.-owned 
> magazines, Ottawa has devised Bill C-55 to get around the WTO's 
> ruling and continue to do what, according to world trade rules, 
> it cannot. 
> Who is playing by the rules on this? Despite the fury that 
> attends trade actions by the United States, it is Washington 
> that is acting in support of a rules-based trade system on 
> bananas and magazines. And it is Brussels and Ottawa that 
> deserve to be in the dock. The irony is that, if the EU and 
> Canada really wan bound by WTO decisions, they should 
> themselves be obeying them scrupulously -- not constantly 
> thinking up ways of getting around decisions they don't like. 
> Peter Cook can be reached by 
> ======#====== 
> The Independent (London) March 10, 1999 
> BYLINE:  Iain Morse John Denham: 
Disclosure by pension fund trustees; Non-GM  crop 
> producers are benefiting from the organic food boom, and that looks 
> good 
> for a sound and ethical investment Philip Meech BODY: THERE IS a 
> tradition in some investment circles of looking at the world in a 
> fairly 
> cynical manner. Okay, so a few companies might contribute a tad to 
> global 
> warning and sell a few ciggies too many but did you see their results 
> last 
> week? And look at those share prices. 
> The fact is, this approach does not correspond with the view 
> expressed by those most affected by this fund management style: 
> ordinary savers, who would like to see a social dimension 
> applied to how their money is invested. This is even more the 
> case in relation to pensions. According to a survey by the 
> Ethical Investment Research Service (Eiris) 73 per cent of us 
> would like our pension funds run on ethical lines. 
> Perhaps more surprisingly, almost a third of those 
> questioned would also be prepared to accept some reduction in 
> their pension benefits as a result. In any event, this 
> choice is denied to members of occupational schemes. Only the 
> self-employed or those opting out of employers' schemes can 
> choose to invest into "ethical" or "green" funds through a 
> personal pension plan. Here the range of funds available is 
> growing. Most providers already offer an ethical unit trust, and 
> reproduce its asset allocation in their pension fund. 
> Examples include NPI's Global Care pension fund, which has shown 
> better than 70 per cent growth over three years. 
> The Stewardship fund from Friends Provident grew by 40 per 
> cent over the same period, coming second in the Balanced Managed 
> fund category against mostly non -ethical competitor funds. 
> For members of occupational schemes seeking to top up their 
> pension benefits most ethical pension providers also offer 
> access to their funds through so -called free standing 
> additional voluntary contributions (FSAVCs). Anyone contracting 
> out of the state top-up scheme, Serps, can also choose to have 
> higher National Insurance contributions paid into a contracted 
> out "appropriate personal pension" (APP) investing in an ethical 
> fund. 
> John Denham, the Pensions minister, is considering proposals 
> that would require employers' pension scheme trustees to 
> disclose whether and how non -financial considerations might 
> influence their conduct in running these funds. "This is an 
> issue of key importance," says Karen Eldridge of Eiris, "because 
> of the very large amounts of investment capital held in UK 
> pension funds and mostly invested into British company shares." 
> Common sense suggests that if pension scheme members elect 
> to have their fund contributions invested according to given 
> ethical or ecological guidelines, they should be allowed to do 
> so. 
> But Charles Scanlan, head of the pensions department at law 
> firm Simmons & Simmons, says: "A pension fund is held in trust 
> and run on behalf of its beneficiaries by trustees who are 
> obliged to act in their best interests. "Trustees could be held 
> legally liable if they fail in their duties. Essentially, they 
> must make investment decisions in the best interests of all 
> scheme members. Also, in the case of defined benefit pension 
> schemes - those set up to pay pensions which are equivalent to 
> fractions of final salary - the employer company may be liable 
> for any underfunding. 
> "One can argue that in certain circumstances comparing the 
> (ethical) policies of two similar firms when deciding which one 
> to buy shares in is wholly congruent with acting in the best 
> interest of scheme members." This applies in what is called a 
> "tie break" situation where a decision has to be made between 
> two similar investments. 
> A Green Paper in December suggested pension scheme trustees 
> should feel able to consider moral social and environmental 
> issues. These could be laid out in a statement of investment 
> principle. 
> But in a further consultative document in January that has 
> been changed to a bare statement of whether trustees should be 
> allowed to mention "any considerations other than financial 
> ones" in their statement of the investment principles under 
> which they run a fund. "Many of those making some contribution 
> during this consultative process welcomed these proposals, but 
> this change of wording amounts to a dilution of what was 
> originally proposed," says Ms Eldridge. 
> "The question now is whether any substantive change for the 
> better will come out of all of this." 

> ======#====== 
7)  Dupont seeks alliances in pharmaceutical industry 
NEW YORK, March 10 (Reuters) - 
DuPont Co. said on Wednesday it was actively seeking  alliances 
> with partners in the pharmaceuticals industry, and that it will 
> create a 
> tracking stock to show off the hidden value of its "life sciences" 
> businesses. The company, is likely to strike a deal with one or more 
> partners by the end of the year, DuPont's Chief Executive Charles 
> Holliday 
> said in a prepared statement. Dupont seeks alliances -2 Wilmington 
> "Our 
> goal is to bring our already solid DuPont Pharmaceuticals to critical 
> mass 
> through strategic alliances," 
> Holliday said in the statement. "Given the success of our 
> discussions to date, we expect to be able to conclude one or 
> more of these alliances by the end of this year." 
> Investors pushed up DuPont's stock $1.88 to $55.44 in early 
> trade on the New York Stock Exchange. 
> DuPont said it will file to launch the "tracking stock" of 
> its life sciences with the U.S. Securities and Exchange 
> Commission late in 1999, and will seek shareholder approval the 
> following quarter. Tracking stocks are designed to isolate 
> particular assets within a corporation that may have a 
> particular value. Pharmaceuticals typically are far more 
> profitable than chemicals, which for over a century have been 
> the lifeblood of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont. DuPont 
> signalled its determination last summer to become a major player 
> in life sciences, which includes pharmaceuticals and 
> agricultural products, when it agreed to buy Merck & Co's 50 
> percent interest in the two companies' DuPont-Merck joint 
> venture for $2.6 billion. DuPont and Merck continue to share 
> marketing rights on Sustiva, an AIDS drug that is the crown 
> jewel of DuPont's pharmaceuticals portfolio. 
> A published report earlier this month said that DuPont and 
> life sciences heavyweight Monsanto Co were in preliminary merger 
> talks. Both companies had declined comment. 

> ======#====== 
8) DuPont raised to accumulate 
NEW YORK, March 10  (Reuters) 
> - Deutsche Bank Morgan Grenfell chemical sector analyst Frank Mitsch 
> said 
> on Wednesday that he raised his rating on DuPont Co. <DD.N> to 
> accumulate 
> from hold. Mitsch said he was more bullish on the stock after 
> DuPont's 
> "bold" announcement earlier that it was seeking alliances with 
> other 
> partners in pharmaceuticals, and that it would set up a tracking 
> stock for 
> its life sciences business. -- Mitsch raised the target price to 
> $61 
> from $55. -- Shares of Dow component up 2-4/16 at 55-13/16. -- 
> "I 
> have long felt there were two major holes in DuPont's 
> pharmaceutical business: They had no economies of scale and no 
> European and Asian coverage. And it would be expensive to build 
> such an infrastructure," he told Reuters. "My instinct suggests 
> this alliance could solve both." 
> -- He said the creation of a tracking stock for its life 
> sciences business could also give the stock a lift. "Investors 
> may more readily assign a higher multiple to that part of the 
> business," he said. 
> -- He said the timing of the announcement was key. He noted 
> that the company is having a major investor meeting Thursday 
> night and all day Friday, with both buy- and sell-side analysts 
> in Wilmington, Del. "This puts a whole other spin on the 
> meeting," he said. 

> ======#====== 
> PR Newswire 
9) DuPont Takes  Steps  to Execute Life Sciences Strategy 
> BODY: DuPont (NYSE: DD) today announced two strategic efforts to 
> aggressively and rapidly build its life sciences portfolio. First, 
> the 
> company said that it is actively seeking alliances with other strong 
> partners in the pharmaceuticals industry. "Our goal is to bring our 
> already solid DuPont Pharmaceuticals to critical mass through 
> strategic 
> alliances," said Charles O. Holliday Jr., DuPont chairman and CEO. 
> "Given 
> the success of our 
> discussions to date, we expect to be able to conclude one or 
> more of these alliances by the end of this year." 
> Additionally, the company said its board has authorized 
> actions toward the creation and issuance of a "tracking" stock 
> for its life sciences businesses to give DuPont the financial 
> flexibility to more advantageously participate in industry 
> consolidation trends and expand the portfolio without undue 
> dilution to earnings. Such action would require shareholder 
> approval. The company anticipates that the earliest it could 
> file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange 
> Commission for the stock would be in late 1999, then requesting 
> shareholder approval in the following quarter. Tracking stock 
> -- sometimes called targeted or letter stock -- is a useful 
> financial tool to companies with distinct businesses that are 
> valued differently by investors. The two classes of common 
> stock would offer investors two investment options in DuPont, 
> while the company would remain unified in its technology and 
> management. Tax consequences of the strategy are currently a 
> subject of legislative debate as part of the Clinton 
> Administration's fiscal 2000 budget. 
> "Our governing objective is to increase shareholder value," 
> Holliday said. "Growth toward critical mass in our life sciences 
> portfolio is an imperative. Today's announcement is further 
> evidence of our commitment to transform DuPont into a faster 
> growing, more profitable and less cyclical company." 
> DuPont's life sciences portfolio includes DuPont 
> Pharmaceuticals, Crop Protection Products and the recently 
> formed Nutrition & Health business. Nutrition & Health includes 
> Protein Technologies International, Qualicon Inc., the alliances 
> with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and the company's 
> biotechnology research and development efforts focused on 
> agriculture, food and nutrition. 
> Sales in 1998 for DuPont life sciences businesses totaled 
> $4.3 billion, including the pro-rata share of equity affiliate 
> sales. After-tax operating income reached $515 million, 
> excluding nonrecurring charges of $926 million principally 
> related to the write-off of purchased in-process research and 
> development. 
> Founded in 1802, DuPont is a global science and technology- 
> based company. DuPont serves worldwide markets including food 
> and nutrition, health care; agriculture, fashion and apparel; 
> home and construction; electronics; and transportation. The 
> company operates in more than 70 countries and has 92,000 
> employees. 
> Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains 
> forward-looking statements based on management's current 
> expectations, estimates and projections. All statements that 
> address expectations or projections about the future, including 
> statements about the company's strategy for growth, product 
> development, market position, expected expenditures, financial 
> results are forward-looking statements. Some of the forward- 
> looking statements may be identified by words like "expects," 
> anticipates," "plans," "intends," "projects," "indicates," and 
> similar expressions. These statements are not guarantees of 
> future performance and involve a number of risks, uncertainties 
> and assumptions. Many factors, including those discussed more 
> fully elsewhere in this release and in DuPont's filings with the 
> Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly its Current 
> Report on Form 8-K filed on November 13, 1998, as well as 
> others, could cause results to differ materially from those 
> stated. These factors include, but are not limited to changes 
> in the laws, regulations, policies and economic conditions of 
> countries in which the company does business; competitive 
> pressures; successful integration of structural changes, 
> including acquisitions, divestitures and alliances; failure of 
> the company or related third parties to become Year 2000 
> capable; research and development of new products, including 
> regulatory approval and market acceptance. 
> SOURCE DuPont 
> /EDITORS' ADVISORY: DuPont's logo is available via Wieck 
> Photo DataBase, 972-392-0888./ 
> CONTACT: Susan Gaffney of DuPont, 302-774-2698 

> ======#====== 
> AAP NEWSFEED March 10, 1999, Wednesday
SECTION: Nationwide General  News; 
> Finance Wire HEADLINE: FBI 
10) Media Release re: Patenting of  Tree Gene 
> 1/1 (B) Comnews FBI Sydney 1090/1/1 
FBI - ASX Company Announcement 
> mb2 10 
> March 1999 Part 1/1 
FORBIO INC HOMEX - Brisbane - Media Release re: 
> Patenting of Tree Genes Tree Genes to be Patented by ForBio ForBio, 
> a  specialist forest biotechnology company, is patenting several key 
> genes  derived from trees. These are thought to be the first tree genes 
> patented  in Australia from a gene discovery project. ForBio is filing 
> provisional  patents on forty one separate genetic sequences from eucalypts
> pines.  Eleven of the sequences control fertility and flowering time 
> whilst the remaining thirty are integral to the way a tree deals 
> with stresses such as salinity. The patenting of genes by ForBio 
> is part of its program to secure rights to genes of commercial 
> value in forestry. With over 10% of the eucalypt genome covered, 
> ForBio has already sequenced about 10,000 genes from eucalypts 
> and pines. One of the world's most pressing environmental 
> problems is the decrease in land quality. Large areas of 
> Australia and other continents are affected by high salinity, 
> heavy metal contamination, cold, drought, flooding and low 
> nutrient soils. Having control of genes that allow plants to 
> tolerate such stresses is of great commercial importance to 
> ForBio. It also complements ForBio's existing program of 
> breeding salt tolerant trees, the first of which were planted in 
> Australia's Murray Darling Basin last year and are growing well 
> in saline soils. Understanding the genes that control flowering 
> in plants is a highly competitive area of research around the 
> world. ForBio has a powerful position worldwide in the 
> reproductive control of trees through its existing patents and 
> gene licences. ForBio's gene discovery project aims to 
> strengthen its position. Uses of reproductive control include 
> making trees sterile and inducing early flowering. In the case 
> of sterile trees, more energy is diverted into making more wood. 
> Also, with sterile trees, it is possible to add 'foreign' genes 
> to the plant without the risk of gene escape through 
> interbreeding with native trees. Example of 'foreign genes are 
> those that are added to give herbicide or insect resistance to 
> trees. Early flowering accelerates breeding, shortening the time 
> between generations. This is essential to foresters looking to 
> quickly and efficiently improve forest performance in order to 
> supply the world's timber and fibre needs. ForBio's gene 
> discovery program, whereby it finds and catalogues all the 
> genetic material in eucalypts and pines, started about eighteen 
> months ago. Part of its program is in collaboration with the US 
> multinational Dupont, Its main focus is on eucalypts. A decade 
> ago, gene discovery was a new and untested idea. In 1986, when 
> the US department of Energy announced it would fund a Human 
> Genome Initiative, people doubted if such a project would be of 
> any value to science. Reservations about the value of gene 
> discovery projects have long vanished and there is now a race on 
> around the world to secure patent rights to genes of potential 
> commercial significance in trees and plants generally. For 
> further information Prof Bob Teesdale, Director of Research, 
> ForBio Inc, T: +61 (0) 7 3870 5888 M: (0) 414 854 929 Beryl 
> Morris, CEO, ForBio Research T: +61 (0)7 3870 5888 M: (0) 411 
> 190 003 ends - AAP 

> ======#======