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GE - news 17th March



1) ASHDOWN URGES SPECIAL WTO GROUP ON GENETIC FOODS
2) Human Gene Research Accelerating 
3) PIE SLINGER CAPTURED!
4) PR - Sainsbury's heads international consortium in commitment to be GM
free 
5) Greenpeace welcomes major global steps to get out of genetically modified
food 
6) Superquinn First Irish Chain to go GE Free?
7) Wye College has announced that it is going to start GE field trials..
8) SHAPIRO TAKES $18 MILLION IN STOCK OPTIONS BUT MONSANTO CEO'S 
PAY IS CUT 38% 
9) open meeting in Canterbury on the 26 March 1999. 
10) BRAZIL - Today (03/16/1999) the main commercial newspaper, Gazeta
Mercantil, 
published the extraordinary news that Monsanto announced they decided to
withdraw the request to register the intellectual propriety for the 5
varieties
of RRSoya! 


1) ASHDOWN URGES SPECIAL WTO GROUP ON GENETIC FOODS
GENEVA, March 11 (Reuters) - Britain's outgoing Liberal Democratic leader 
Paddy Ashdown said on Thursday the controversial issue of 
genetically-modified crops should be part of the next global round of 
trade liberalisation talks.
Speaking after talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and with trade 
ambassadors of the European Union and the United States, he warned that 
the issue could become a "huge problem" that could poison relations 
between the two powers.
"The WTO regulations were not set up to handle GMOs," he told a news 
conference, using the acronym for genetically-modified organisms which 
are rapidly emerging as a potentially explosive topic in international 
trade.
He said a working party of the Geneva-based trade body should be set up 
rapidly to look at how parts of the WTO rules and its underlying accords 
that could be applied to GMOs could be linked to take in the whole 
problem. 
"Then this should be thrown into the next trade round," he said.
A Ministerial Meeting of the WTO's currently 134 member states to be held 
in Seattle from November 29-December 3 is expected to agree to launch a 
new round next year - the eighth since World War Two.
Ashdown, widely tipped as a possible candidate for a future post on the 
EU's executive Commission, came to Geneva with five other prominent 
Liberal Democrats as Brussels and Washington are squaring off in their 
banana dispute.
Two members of his delegation, who did not attend the news conference, 
were members of Parliament from the Scottish Borders area where cashmere 
producers have been hit by effective U.S. sanctions in the banana row. 
Ashdown said the group's talks with U.S. WTO ambassador Rita Hayes and EU 
ambassador Roderick Abbott had left them with some hope that the dispute 
might be resolved in bilateral talks. But he gave no details. 
(C) Reuters Limited 1999. 
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
======================
2) Human Gene Research Accelerating 
Reuters 
12:00 p.m. 15.Mar.99.PST 
LONDON-- The first working draft of the human genome -- all the genes in 
the body -- will be completed next 
February, a year ahead of schedule, scientists said on Monday. 
"We announced back in September ... that a 'working draft' would be 
available in 2001. However, the pooling 
of expertise and the increase in resources between British and American 
genome centers have proved that a 
working draft can be available much earlier," said Dr. Michael Morgan, 
chief executive of the Wellcome Trust 
Genome Campus, in a statement. 
Morgan said the draft will include 90 percent of the 3 billion human DNA 
sequences which should pave the way 
for the final sequence by 2003 at the latest. 
The mammoth task has already produced new findings in diseases such as 
breast cancer, heart disease, and 
diabetes. The mapping of the entire genome promises to revolutionize 
medicine and provide new treatment for 
diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's disease. 
"The scientific community wants this data immediately and we aim to give it 
to them as it plays a vital role in 
understanding the very basis of life, health, and disease," said Dr. John 
Sulston, director of the Sanger Centre 
in Cambridge, England. 
The center, the world's largest genome sequencing organization, is part of 
a global undertaking known as The 
Human Genome Project. 
The Sanger Centre and its American counterpart, the Genome Sequencing 
Center in St. Louis, Missouri, 
recently completed the genetic sequence of the roundworm. With 19,000 
genes, it is the most complex 
genome sequenced so far. 
The 15-year project was set to map and sequence the human genome -- all the 
DNA in the 23 pairs of human 
chromosomes contained in each cell in the human body -- by 2003. 
==============================
Immediate Release contact: Steve Diamond 
603/862-5299
3) PIE SLINGER CAPTURED!

March 16,1999
Communique of the Biotic Baking Brigade-Nor'eastah Irregulars (BBB-NI).
BBB-NI Agent Creamy Genes was taken into custody today by North 
Hampton, NH police for suspected crimes against science. "This is all 
half-baked," declared the pie man. "Pies are no crime. The crime is 
cloning!" 
Police are charging Agent Creamy Genes with assault with a cream 
pie, conspiracy to create creative mischief, and for damaging the ego of an 
important person, namely geneticist and animal cloner Neil First. The 
charges stem from a messy incident last Thursday at the University of New 
Hampshire, when first was served his just desserts in the form of two cream 
pies to the face. The good doctor had just presented his efforts top clone 
cows pigs, monkeys, etc. Following the cloning of a sheep in Scotland when 
three agents of the delicious Biotic Baking Brigade presented their pies 
and dissenting opinions. 
Police are continuing to search for BBB-NI Agents Rusty and Lemon 
Souffle who are rumored to be among New England's pie-baking underground. 
Speaking from an unknown kitchen, Agent Lemon Souffle warned, "We are very 
concerned for the baking world now that they have isolated the Creamy Gene. 
What will happen to whipped cream? What of sauces and bread spreads and 
dessert toppings? We must free Creamy Genes and all genetic material from 
the jail cells and test tubes of sourpuss scientists and their donut-eating 
henchmen!"
Statement on the Pieing of Dr. Neil First. Geneticist and Animal Cloner 
by David Pike AKA Agent Creamy Genes, Biotic Baking Brigade
I smooshed a whipped cream pie into the face of geneticist Neil 
First in order to humble a man arrogant enough to create living creatures 
from cold science. Dr. First is the top-level scientist involved in animal 
cloning and the general field of genetic engineering. 
At the present time this field included such "wonders" as potatoes 
and corn which internally produce pesticides, thereby forcing us to consume 
the pesticide with the vegetable, soybeans are resistant to herbicide 
thereby increasing the use of poisonous chemicals on this food, and an 
amazing breakthrough dubbed "terminator technology" which creates plants of 
any type whose seeds all turn out sterile thereby stopping any future 
generations and insuring profits for the seed companies. Many genetically 
altered plants are already in production in this country and one estimate 
puts the chance of processed food products to contain genetically altered 
ingredients at 30%. 
In the area of animal research, attempts are being made to engineer 
pigs with human genes to make their meat more tender, mice are being 
created with all sorts of variations for laboratory testing, and some 
scientists want to grow human organs for transplanting. 
I believe these efforts violate the basis of life on this planet: 
the DNA of organisms. Slicing and splicing the genetic code of life is 
inexcusable and to then patent and profit from this is criminal. 
I see the geneticists of today as parallel with the Nazi doctors of 
the Third Reich. To them, the human race is the master race and the rest 
of life is disposable. Plants may be mutated and animals mutilated for any 
whim of human "need" or greed. Unwanted species may even be genetically 
eradicated or replaced with an "improved" version in the newest eugenics. 
Faced with these nightmares, I used humorous mischief to bring 
people's attention to the subject. Genetic engineering is spreading 
rapidly with barely any public education or consideration of it. Because I 
"assaulted" this madness and the ego of one of its perpetrators, I am 
identified as a resistant strain with several police departments dispatched 
to isolate me from society. The cream -pie-in-the-face slapstick routine 
has been used many times in the past by politically motivated clowns on 
arrogant authority figures. The Yippies did it during the Vietnam War. 
And who doesn't remember the great pie fights in the old black and white 
movies. The cream pie must be de-criminalized. Humor must replace fear. 
Genetic engineering and cloning must stop.

=============================
PRESS RELEASE 
17 March 1999 
0171 695 7295 
Gillian Bridger 
4) PR - Sainsbury's heads international consortium in commitment to be GM
free 
Sainsbury's has set up an international consortium of food retailers and
industry experts to establish validated sources of GM free crops, products and
derivatives. 

This move will enable Sainsbury's to eliminate all GM ingredients from its own
label products in response to customer demand for GM free foods. The
consortium
will be responsible for establishing audit and testing processes to verify the
authenticity of GM free raw materials to be used in their products. 

The consortium is made up of seven major international food retailers
including
Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencers from the UK. It also includes an
independent
group of experts led by Law Laboratories Ltd leaders in technical verification
of GM free products. 

Working together this group creates a long-term commitment to the farming and
commodity industries in order to respond to customer demand and produce GM
free
foods. 

Sainsbury's Environmental |Manager, Alison Austin said: "This is a world
first.
A consortium like this is the only way Sainsbury's and other food retailers
can
establish GM free sources of crops and derivatives. By establishing verified
non-GM sources in the farmers field and ensuring segregation through the
supply
chain we will be GM free. 

We always wanted GM and standard crops to be separated and were extremely
disappointed when this did not happen with the US soya crop. Over the last 18
months we have been working hard to source non-GM soya or alternatives for our
won brand products. By working with international food retailers and
scientists
we will give UK shoppers what they want." 
ENDS 

Notes to editors 
The consortium includes of 7 food retailers; Sainsbury's (UK), Marks and
Spencer (UK), Carrefour (France), Effelunga (Italy), Migros (Switzerland),
Delhaize (Belgium) and Superquinn (Ireland). 

The work Sainsbury's have done over the past 18 months means only 40 to 50
products, out of 1,500, currently contain GM soya protein or DNA. These
products are labelled. With Sainsbury's commitment to eliminate GM from its
own
brand products, these products will be discontinued if a GM free alternative
cannot be found. 

In addition Sainsbury's are working on all own brand products which contain
ingredients which could be GM derivatives, such as soya oil and lecithin.
Whether possible alternatives are being found but again if this is not
possible
these products will also be discontinued. 

=========================

5) Greenpeace welcomes major global steps to get out of genetically modified
food 

AMSTERDAM, March 17, 1999 - Greenpeace International today welcomed two 
major steps towards a genetically modified (GM) free food supply at two 
different ends of the world. 

Monsanto, the world's most aggressive seller of genetically engineered 
seeds yesterday announced that it had withdrawn applications for approval 
of their herbicide resistant (Roundup Ready) soyabeans in Brazil. The step 
comes after massive protests by environmental and consumers organisations 
as well as scientists and lawmakers in Brazil. Brazil is the worlds second 
biggest exporter of soyabeans. Soyabeans are used in 60 per cent of 
processed supermarket food products including bread, pasta, yoghurt, 
chocolate and ice-cream. 

At the same time the UK retailer J. Sainsbury's announced that it will not 
sell any genetically engineered products under it's own label. Sainsbury's 
also revealed that it had formed a consortium of major European retailers, 
including Marks & Spencer (UK), Carrefour (France), Superquinn (Ireland), 
Migros (Switzerland), Delhaiz (Belgium) and Effelunga (Italy), who will 
jointly source GM-free products. 

"This is the beginning of the end of trying to forcefeed consumers unwanted 
and unneeded genetically manipulated food", commented Greenpeace 
International's campaigner Benedikt Haerlin. "We hope to see more 
supermarket chains and food producers join the GM-free consortium in the 
next few days." Haerlin added that other major food producers and 
retailers, such as Unilever in Germany and Austria, and 90 percent of all 
supermarkets in Austria and countless small producers have already declared 
that they are GM free. "No supermarket or food producer can claim that it 
was not possible to avoid GM ingredients in their products." 

Monsanto's withdrawal of applications for seed approvals of genetically 
engineered "Roundup Ready" soyabeans in Brazil follows vigorous protests of 
environmental and consumer groups as well as scepticism and discussions 
within the Brazilian government. Last week IBAMA, the Brazilian 
environmental state agency formally joined a lawsuit of Greenpeace Brazil 
against the approval of Monsantos GM soyabeans. Also the Governor of 
Brazil's major soyabean growing state, Rio Grande del Sul, declared that 
his state will stay a "GM free zone". Finally the Brazilian public agencies 
for consumer protection (Procons) demanded a moratorium on GM products at 
their annual meeting in Brasilia, on the 11 and 12 of March. 

"Now it is up to consumers to question those, who still refuse to take a 
clear position and to confront other companies, such as Nestle, who openly 
insist on feeding their customers genetically engineered food." concluded 
Haerlin. 

For further information contact: 

Benny Haerlin, Greenpeace International GE coordinator: +49 30 308899-12 
Jon Walter , Greenpeace International press officer ++31-20-523 6222, 
Matilda Bradshaw UK press office ++44-171-8658256 
=======================
From: "Quentin Gargan," <quentingargan@tinet.ie> 
Subject: Superquinn Own Brand to go GMO-Free 
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 19:25:46 -0000 
press release

6) Superquinn First Irish Chain to go GE Free?
Sainsburys in the U.K. has announced that itís own products are to become free
of genetically modified ingredients.
Not only that, but that they have formed a European consortium of retailers
including M&S, Carrefour, Superquinn, Effelungs, Migros and Delhaiz.
Genetic Concern welcomes the move which will have the effect of creating a
market for segregated crops from farmers not using the technology. As more
food
producers reject genetically engineered ingredients, farmers will be forced to
start growing the sort of foods that consumers demand.
However, the group emphasised that the move only affected own-brand
products in
those stores - other major brands still have different policies, with
companies
such as Milupa, Cow&Gate and Kelloggs refusing to use GMOs,, while other
companies have no policy as yet. 
Genetic Concern also point out that the decision will only apply to foods
containing protein or DNA from genetically engineered crops. 
"Consumers are still be left with no labelling, no information and no
choice in
relation to the myriad of oils, starches, and other derivatives that are used
in margarine, biscuits, cakes etc." said Quentin Gargan, spokesperson for
Genetic Concern, adding that "consumers are not just interested in whether a
food contains genetically engineered protein, they want to know if it was
produced using genetically engineered crops - full stop!"
Increase in soy allergies just a co-incidence?
A survey carried out by the York Nutritional Laboratory this week reveals that
allergies to soy have increased by 50% in the last year. This was the first
year in which there was a significant amount of genetically engineered soy
sold. 
A link between the increase in allergies and genetic engineering cannot be
established or denied because genetically engineered soy is not segregated
from
the traditional varieties.
"In view of this research, the move by supermarkets such as Superquinn may
well
be too little too late" said Mr. Gargan "this technology has been
introduced in
a totally irresponsible manner which enables companies like Monsanto to
declare
the technology to be safe while ensuring that no adverse health effects could
be detected and pinpointed"
ENDS.
For further information, please call Quentin Gargan on 088 275 4857
encl; Extract from Daily Express re soya allergies
Why soya is a hidden destroyer
Daily Express 12 March 99 Exclusive by Mark Townsend

Fresh fears over the safety of genetically modified foods surfaced faced
yesterday after new research revealed that food allergies relating to soya
increased by 50 per cent last year. A study by Europe's leading specialists on
food sensitivity found health complaints caused by soya - the ingredient most
associated with GM foods - have increased from 10 in 100 patients to 15 in 100
over the past year. Researchers at the York Nutritional Laboratory said their
findings provide real evidence that GM 
food could have a tangible, harmful impact on the human body.

The findings were sent to Health Secretary Frank Dobson last night as
scientists urged the Government to act on the information and impose an
instant
ban on GM food, while further safety tests are carried out. Dr Michael
Antoniou, senior lecturer in molecular pathology at Guy's Hospital, Central
London, said: "This is a very interesting if slightly worrying development. It
points to the fact that far more work is needed to assess their safety. At the
moment no allergy tests are carried out before GM foods are marketed and that
also needs to be looked at."John Graham, spokesman for the York laboratory,
said: "We believe this raises serious new questions about the safety of GM
foods because it is impossible to guarantee that the soya used in the tests
was
GM-free." It is the first time in 17 years of testing that soya has crept into
the laboratory's top 10 foods to cause an allergic reaction in consumers. The
vegetable has moved up four places to ninth end now sits alongside 
foodstuffs with a long history of causing allergies, such as yeast, sunflower
seeds and nuts.

Mr. Graham said researchers tested 4,500 people for allergic reactions to
vegetables including soya. Among the range of chronic illnesses it caused were
irritable bowel syndrome, digestion problems and skin complaints including
acne
and eczema. "People also suffered neurological problems with chronic fatigue
syndrome, headaches and lethargy. It is worrying," 

Mr Graham added. Researchers measured the levels of antibodies in a person's
blood. If increased levels were detected it showed the person suffered an
adverse reaction to a particular food.
Soya, the wonder crop of the 20th century is found in 60 per cent of all
processed foods sold in the UK - from bread to baby food, ready-to-eat curries
to vegetarian lasagne. But because GM and natural soya are mixed at source in
America - the world's biggest supplier - it has become increasingly difficult
for retailers to guarantee the purity of any products.

Last month campaigners from Greenpeace dumped four tons of GM soya beans from
America at the gates of Downing Street in protest. The Consumers' Association
yesterday renewed its demand for the Government to investigate the safety
of GM
foods. A spokesman said: "We just don't know what health problems could arise
in the future. " Waitrose yesterday announced that it would be stocking its
own-label GM-free foods by the end of the month. Managing director David
Felwick said: "We believe customers should be able to make an informed choice
about the products 
they are buying."
===============================
The Kentish Express (4/3/99) has printed that 

7) Wye College has announced that it is going to start GE field trials.. The
college principal, Prof. John Prescott, said that although scientists at the
college had grown genetically altered plants in closed conditions for several
years, they planned to run field tests in the future.
Most of the work the college does has so far been directed at testing plant's
resistance to fungal 
diseases. They have been working mainly with tobacco plants but also testing
rice intolerance to 
salt and looking at the protein content of wheat and yam.

ef!au
PS. Winter Oilseed Rape flowers in April - the time to harvest is now!!!
==============================

8) SHAPIRO TAKES $18 MILLION IN STOCK OPTIONS BUT MONSANTO CEO'S 
PAY IS CUT 38% 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Robert B. Shapiro, [ Monsanto Co. ] 's chairman and chief 
executive, exercised stock options worth $18.04 million last 
year, the company said Monday.
Shapiro got 590,000 shares with the options and is keeping all 
but 100,560. He sold those to cover taxes on the options, a 
spokeswoman said.
Shapiro's cash pay was $1.7 million last year, a decline of 38 percent 
from 1997. His 
compensation, like that of other top executives, includes a base salary, 
bonus payments and other 
items, such as company-paid insurance premiums and a savings plan.
Shapiro asked Monsanto's board of directors to cut his bonus to $800,000 
from the $1.6 million 
he would have received for having achieved certain financial goals, 
according to the company's 
proxy statement. Shapiro made this request because of the failure of the 
proposed merger with 
[ American Home Products Corp. ] , the proxy says.
His pay also dropped because he had received $750,365 in 1997 from 
long-term incentive pay 
program based on Monsanto's performance from 1994 to 1996. Shapiro didn't 
receive any 
long-term incentive payment last year.
In a year of aggressive acquisitions, a failed merger and the quick 
development of a financial 
independence plan, investors in Monsanto stock got a total return-- stock 
price plus reinvested 
dividends -- of 13.4 percent.
That was better than the 9 percent gain by a group of seven similar 
companies involved in life 
sciences and chemicals, but below the 28.6 percent advance in the [ S&P ] 500.
In a letter to shareholders, Shapiro said last year's results "fell short" 
thanks to the merger's 
collapse and the pursuit of seed companies. But he defended his strategy, 
saying that although 
this policy is "understandably controversial," it was necessary to insure 
Monsanto's long-term 
strength.
"By slowing down the rate of increase in this spending, we could have 
reported financial results 
in the last few years that would have shown healthy increases in income," 
Shapiro said in a 
three-page introduction to Monsanto's annual report.
The big investment in new technologies and marketing, plus the 
acquisitions, were pushed "to 
move quickly to maintain our lead over increasingly aggressive 
competitors," Shapiro added.
Stockholders will get a chance to vote on Shapiro's vision at the April 23 
annual meeting; he is up 
for re-election to the board. Shareholders also will be asked to:
* Renew an incentive plan for top executives. Federal law requires 
stockholder approval every 
five years.
* Authorize more stock to support other incentive plans, including a 
reinstated premium option 
program for 15 to 20 top executives. This plan was launched in early 1998, 
then canceled in June 
when Monsanto announced the merger with American Home.
In a related matter, Monsanto will shrink its board to eight members. Dr. 
Robert M. Heyssel, 
president emeritus of Johns Hopkins Health System, won't stand for 
re-election because he has 
reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. Nicholas L. Reding retired 
from the board Dec. 31 
when he retired as Monsanto's vice chairman.
******
Shapiro's '98 pay
Salary: $800,000
Bonus: $800,000
Other: $101,070
Gain on options: $18,041,610
(Copyright 1999)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: March 16, 1999
==================================
Please put in the mailings regarding an 

9) open meeting in Canterbury on the 26 March 1999. 
It is being held from 7.00pm and finishing about 
9.00pm. I am organising this meeting so we have some contact down in 
this area as at present nothing is happening... It will be held at the 
Quakers Meeting House in Canterbury. Will have someone from Snowball 
there, along hopefully people from Greenpeace, WEN, The Alliance, 
Green Party as well.. if not a show of people definetly a show of 
information etc.. Please any enquries do not hesitate to pass on to me 
on 01843-599366 or email me ngairet@yahoo.com.
=====================================

10) BRAZIL - Today (03/16/1999) the main commercial newspaper, Gazeta
Mercantil, 
published the extraordinary news that Monsanto announced they decided to
withdraw the request to register the intellectual propriety for the 5
varieties
of RRSoya! 
According a Monsanto's director, the reason was 
only that some technical information were lacking in the process. But 
the Gazeta Mercantil's article makes clear that Monsanto was loosing the 
battle in Brazil, listing several political facts which happened in the 
last months: the European polemic against transgenics, the statement 
against the RRsoya taken by all Brazilian public agencies for consumers 
proctetion, which met last Friday in Brazilia, by iniciative of the 
Minister of Justice, the Rio Grande do Sul decrete, which put in the 
illegality all trials and commercial plantations without environment 
assessment, and the decision of IBAMA, the enforcement agency for 
environmental policies from the Minister of Environment to joint itself 
to the judicial suit from IDEC and GREENPEACE, against the CTN-Bio's 
permit for the soya RR, and at least, the strong oposition from the SBPC, 
the national association of scientists, to the transgenics.
Charles Margulis 
Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaign 
736 West End Avenue #8D 
New York, NY 10025 
(212) 865-5645 
fax # (212) 865-4128 
<http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/>http://www.greenpeaceusa.org