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OBAMA COMMITTED TO ‘GREEN’ ECONOMY (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

by Xinhua

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

LOS ANGELES: The Obama administration is pushing forward with plans to aggressively limit greenhouse gas emissions PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMAand fight global warming, US media reported.

The plans would include a cap-and-trade initiative to limit greenhouse gases and raise the cost of pumping more carbon into the atmosphere, the Los Angeles Times said Sunday (Monday in Manila).

Under the initiative, the government would set limits on carbon emissions by power plants, factories and other installations, but allow those who emit more to buy or trade permits with companies and facilities that emitted less than the prescribed limit, according to the newspaper.

But the move would amount to a tax, raising energy costs. And several independent studies have suggested that emissions limits would only increase energy price and be a drag on economic growth, at least in the short term.

Despite such fears, the Obama government believed that a “clean energy economy” move would spur competition and promote investment in renewable alternatives to imported oil.

Two-pronged plan

The administration is expected to move forward with a two-pronged effort to stimulate renewable energy supplies and ensure demand for the megawatts they would produce, the newspaper reported.

The first part is to invest heavily in wind power, solar power and biofuels through the massive stimulus bill, while the second is to help those forms of energy compete with cheaper fossil fuels by pumping up fossil fuel costs to reflect the potential economic damage from global warming, according to the paper.

“If we don’t put a price on carbon,” said Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “We’ll never get these clean energy sources on line.”

Instead of dragging the economy, the plan to limit greenhouse emissions would stimulate the economy and “allow polluters to transition from a high-polluting environment to a low-polluting environment,” said Andy Stevenson, a former hedge fund manager who is now a finance advisor for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

Posted in AEOLIC, AGRICULTURE, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), BIODIESEL, BIOFUELS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, ETHANOL, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, GLOBAL WARMING, HEALTH SAFETY, HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATURAL GAS, POLLUTION, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STATE TARIFFS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

CHINA OFFICIALS ‘TOLD FIRM TO BUY RECALLED GYOZA’

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 25, 2009

Jan. 26, 2009

Satoshi Saeki – Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY YOMIURI’ (Japan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY YOMIURI’ (Japan)

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRAUD, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, MILK, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

TWO GET DEATH, 10 JAILED OVER TAINTED MILK (China)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009 – 17:25

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STANDARD’ (China – Hong Kong)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STANDARD’ (China – Hong Kong)

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, DAIRY PRODUCTS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FOREIGN POLICIES, FRAUD, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, MILK, POWDERED MILK, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES | Leave a Comment »

THE TRUTH ABOUT ‘BRITISH’ PORK … THAT COMES ALL THE WAY FROM A POLISH FACTORY FARM (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

12:29 PM on 17th January 2009

by Danny Penman

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FOREIGN POLICIES, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PORK, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

COKE SUED FOR FRAUDULENT HEALTH CLAIMS ABOUT VITAMINWATER – THE COCA-COLA COMPANY IS BEING SUED FOR MAKING “DECEPTIVE AND UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS” ABOUT ITS VITAMINWATER LINE OF BEVERAGES, WHICH IT TOUTS AS HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO SODAS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in BEVERAGES, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRAUD, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

CURTIN UNIVERSITY MISLED ABOUT ADHD DRUG – THE ETHICS COMMITTEE OF AN AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITY GAVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO A STUDY INVOLVING A TRIAL OF A NEW ADHD DRUG AFTER BEING WRONGLY TOLD BY A RESEARCHER THAT THE US FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION HAD DROPPED A “BLACK BOX” WARNING THAT THE DRUG BROUGHT AN INCREASED RISK OF SUICIDAL THOUGHTS (AUSTRALIA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 10, 2009

January 10, 2009

by Julie-Anne Davies – The Australian

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in AUSTRALIA, CHEMICALS (processed components), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FRAUD, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, PHARMACAL INDUSTRIES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

INCREASE OF SICK BROWN PELICANS BAFFLES EXPERTS (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 8, 2009

Wed, Jan. 7, 2009

by Denise Petski – The Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PHILLY.COM’ (USA)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, POLLUTION, RECESSION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

EM SÃO PAULO, 90% DO COMÉRCIO TEM ALGUMA IRREGULARIDADE (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 7, 2009

07/01/2009 – 08h00

Agência Estado

PUBLISHED BY ‘BOL’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BOL’ (Brazil)

Posted in ARRECADAÇÃO DE IMPOSTOS E CONTRIBUIÇÕES, BRASIL, CIDADES, COMÉRCIO - BRASIL, COMMERCE, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, HEALTH SAFETY, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »

DEADLY SALMON INFECTION DETECTED – AN OUTBREAK OF ISA IN 1998 SEVERELY DAMAGED THE SCOTTISH SALMON INDUSTRY – AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE WHICH CAN DEVASTATE FARMED ATLANTIC SALMON STOCKS HAS BEEN DETECTED ON SHETLAND, THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT HAS CONFIRMED

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 5, 2009

15:15 GMT, Sunday, 4 January 2009

BBC News

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FISHERIES, FOOD INDUSTRIES, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MEAT, POLLUTION, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SCOTLAND, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

SOOT REDUCTION ‘COULD HELP TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING’ – CUTTING ONE OF HUMANITY’S MOST COMMON POLLUTANTS WOULD HAVE IMMEDIATE COOLING EFFECT, NASA CLAIMS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 4, 2009

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Geoffrey Lean – Environment Editor

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GLOBAL WARMING, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, POLLUTION, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, USA | 1 Comment »

PCA WARNS CONSUMERS VS ADULTERATED COCO SUGAR (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 3, 2009

01/03/2009

The Daily Tribune

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COCONUT, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRAUD, HEALTH SAFETY, INTERNATIONAL, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SUGAR | Leave a Comment »

CALIFORNIA SUES TO BLOCK BUSH ENDANGERED SPECIES RULES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

by Samantha Young – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DETROIT NEWS’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DETROIT NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, POLLUTION, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

IMPORTED GOODS TO FACE TOUGHER SCRUTINY (South Korea)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 27, 2008

Dec.26,2008 12:11 KST

Arirang News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CHOSUN ILBO’ (South Korea)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CHOSUN ILBO’ (South Korea)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FOREIGN POLICIES, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA | Leave a Comment »

IAGRO CONSIDERA VACINAÇÃO CONTRA AFTOSA JUNTO COM O PARAGUAI UM SUCESSO – CERCA DE 740 MIL BOVINOS FORAM VACINADOS NA REGIÃO DE FRONTEIRA DE MATO GROSSO DO SUL (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 26, 2008

25/12/2008 – 14h51min

Luiz Patroni – Campo Grande (MS)

PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL RURAL’ (Brazil)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL RURAL’ (Brazil)

Posted in A INDÚSTRIA DE ALIMENTOS, BRASIL, CIDADES, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FOREIGN POLICIES, HEALTH SAFETY, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MS, O PODER EXECUTIVO ESTADUAL, ORÇAMENTO ESTADUAL, OS GOVERNADORES, PECUÁRIA, POLÍTICA EXTERNA - BRASIL, POLÍTICA REGIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RELAÇÕES DIPLOMÁTICAS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, SETOR EXPORTADOR | Leave a Comment »

COMPANY AT CORE OF CHINA’S MILK SCANDAL IS DECLARED BANKRUPT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 25, 2008

December 24, 2008

by Edward Wong – The International Herald Tribune

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, DAIRY PRODUCTS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRAUD, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, MILK, POWDERED MILK, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »

ARROZ: RS INAUGURA UNIDADE DE BENEFICIAMENTO DE ORGÂNICO (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 21, 2008

19/12/2008 – 17:36

C. B. L.

PUBLISHED BY ‘SAFRAS & MERCADO’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘SAFRAS & MERCADO’ (Brazil)

Posted in A INDÚSTRIA DE ALIMENTOS, AGRICULTURA, AGRICULTURA SUSTENTÁVEL, AGRICULTURE, BRASIL, CIDADANIA, CIDADES, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFESA DO CONSUMIDOR - BRASIL, DEFESA DO MEIO AMBIENTE - BRASIL, ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, O PODER EXECUTIVO ESTADUAL, O PODER LEGISLATIVO ESTADUAL, O PODER LEGISLATIVO MUNICIPAL, OS GOVERNADORES, POLÍTICA REGIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RICE, RS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

R.I. TO GET $198,000 IN MATTEL SETTLEMENT (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 17, 2008

01:00 AM EST on Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL’ (USA)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL’ (USA)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, RECESSION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

GROUPS URGE BPA BAN IN ALL FOOD PACKAGING (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 17, 2008

December 16, 2008 at 3:49 AM EST

by Marti Mittelstaedt – Globe and Mail

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE & MAIL’ (Canada)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE & MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in CANADA, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FEMINISM AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »

WE WON’T BE ABLE TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE: PACHAURI

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

11 Dec 2008, 1021 hrs IST

IANS

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES'(India)

POZNAN (POLAND): Very soon, the impacts of climate change will exceed our capacities to adapt to them, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Rajendra Kumar Pachaurihead of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has warned.

The head of the panel that has done more than anyone else to bring the effects of climate change, lowered farm output, more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and a rise in sea level, to the forefront of world attention said, “The impacts of climate change are now so evident. If we don’t take immediate action they will get far worse.

“And remember, poorest countries and the poorest communities in these countries are the most vulnerable to these effects.”

As the Dec 1-12 climate summit here stayed bogged down in bickering between industrialised and developing countries over who should do what to combat climate change, Pachauri warned: “Very soon, climate change impacts will exceed the adaptive capacities of local communities.

“We have to have a strategy by which the adaptation has to be local, while mitigation (to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming the earth) has to be global.”

“The good news is that mitigation possibilities are not costly,” Pachauri added. “There is now plenty of evidence to show that moving to a low carbon renewable energy development path is a win-win solution.”

Pachauri also heads the New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute, which is now distributing all over India lanterns powered by solar energy.

The head of the IPCC, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with Al Gore for its seminal Assessment Report 4 (AR4), said that the next assessment report (AR5) would come out in 2014 and in that the IPCC would look at various new risk reduction strategies as well.

“Before that, we’re planning to bring out a special report on renewable energy sources in 2010 and maybe one on extreme weather events triggered by climate change as well.”

Since the publication of AR4, one of its principal authors Bill Hare has said here that science had advanced to the point where he could predict a strong possibility that the Greenland ice sheet would melt if the temperature rose 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-Industrial Age level and this would raise the sea level worldwide by 6-7 metres.

Asked about this, Pachauri said, “Even in AR4, we had not put an upper limit on sea level rise, because we simply don’t know.”

When it was pointed out that negotiators were working on the baseline figure of keeping temperature rise to two degrees Celsius and that this would mean the death of the Greenland ice sheet, Pachauri said: “Two degrees Celsius is an arbitrary number set by the EU (European Union).

“I deliberately raised that point on the opening plenary session on this Poznan summit (on Dec 1, when he had talked about the danger of even a 1.1 degree Celsius temperature rise). It was a warning that we should get nowhere close to it (a 1.1 degree rise).

“But IPCC does not prescribe. It provides the scientific information, the scenarios of what is likely to happen with what level of certainty if governments do this or that. After that, it is up to the governments.” But Pachauri did say that the IPCC would look at impacts at lower (than two degree) thresholds in its next assessment report.

When asked if he thought the negotiations at this climate change summit were too slow and the countries too reluctant to change from a business-as-usual scenario, Pachauri responded: “It is the only show in town, though it may seem painfully slow and a waste of time.

“But science can bring out the urgency of the situation. I am reasonably satisfied about the reaction we had from all countries in Bali (at the 2007 summit).” Pachauri repeated more than once, “We must keep reinforcing AR4 data, keep reminding people about it. We have to ensure that people do not lose sight of the science.”

Asked what kind of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets countries should be aiming at, Pachauri said: “The 20-20 target is very important”. That means industrialised countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

Asked how adaptation to climate change could be improved, the IPCC chief told media, “Don’t look at (global) averages. Look at specific impacts in different parts of the world. That is the way to adapt.”

What was the IPCC going to do with its share of the Nobel Peace Prize money? “We’re using it to provide fellowships to scientists in developing countries, those who are working in the area of climate change,” Pachauri said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES'(India)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

FIRST PORK, NOW TAINTED BEEF IN IRELAND – DIOXINS IN CATTLE DOUBLE OR TRIPLE LEGAL LIMITS; MEDICAL CHIEF SAYS NO HEALTH RISK

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

DUBLIN, Ireland, Dec. 9, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘CBS NEWS’ (USA)

(AP) Ireland announced Tuesday it has found illegal levels of dioxins – the chemicals that are devastating its pork industry – in cattle, but insisted its beef was safe to eat.

Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith said Ireland has decided not to recall any of its beef products at home or abroad because, unlike the contamination of pork products, the level and extent of dioxin found so far in cattle is much lower.

Smith said dioxin tests had come back positive for three farms out of 11 tested so far, while results were pending for 34 more farms that received dioxin-contaminated feed. He described the three farms that failed as “technically noncompliant, but not at a level that would pose any public health concern.”

Smith said the government would prevent any cattle at those three farms from being slaughtered and put into the food chain until they could be individually tested for dioxin levels. Until then, he said, no meat from those farms would be permitted to enter the market.

Alan O’Reilly, deputy chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, said dioxin levels detected in cattle from the three farms were two to three times over legal limits. He contrasted that with last week’s finding of dioxin levels in pigs that were 80 to 200 times over those limits.

“There’s a huge difference,” O’Reilly said.

Ireland’s chief medical officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, said the levels of dioxins detected in Irish beef and pork would not pose a health risk to anyone who ate either meat.

“To all intents and purposes this is not a public health issue. … We do not expect to see symptoms as a result of this,” Holohan said.

Nonetheless, the latest findings threatened to undermine Ireland’s annual $2 billion industry in beef, Ireland’s primary agricultural export – more than three times the value of Ireland’s gridlocked pork industry.

Ireland’s major pigmeat processors have been refusing to start slaughtering an estimated 100,000 pigs at nine farms where illegally high levels of dioxins have been confirmed. The processors have already laid off 1,400 workers and say they won’t budge until the government reimburses their costs.

© MMVIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CBS NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in CATTLE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), HEALTH SAFETY, INTERNATIONAL, IRELAND, MEAT, PORK, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »

GIRLS CHEW QAT TOO (Yemen)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

Friday December 12, 2008 – Issue: (1215), Volume 16 , From 11 December 2008 to 14 December 2008

by Saddam Ashmori For the Yemen Times

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE YEMEN TIMES’

In the governorate of Amran, some 50 kilometers north of Sana’a, chewing qat and smoking among women is strongly disapproved of by society. Although only a few elder women would practice these habits in the past, nowadays more and more women of different ages chew qat and spark up their cigarettes and hookahs, the ancient Middle Eastern water pipe filled with sweetened tobacco, on a daily basis during social gatherings similar to those of men.

Elham, a university student says that she picked up the habit when she was in high school: “I liked qat because it helped me stay up late to study, particularly during exams. Now, I chew qat every day and in increasing quantities.”

Um Ammar says that she usually chews qat at her friend’s house. “I chew every day at the qat session and smoke my hookah as well,” she points out. “Girls like these sessions as it’s an opportunity for them to share their problems and they talk about different things including politics and gossip.”

Some girls say they are only victims, as they succumb to peer pressure. “One of my friends insisted that chew qat and smoke with her until I became addicted,” says Siham, another university student. “Now, I don’t believe I can ever give up chewing or smoking. I have tried, but unfortunately I couldn’t quit, although I know the risks of these habits. I chew qat in front of my family members but started smoking in secret.”

Najwa says that, after she completed high school, her family didn’t allow her to attend university. “I found myself always idle and bored and resorted to chewing qat and smoking with my friends. It helps me momentarily relax and to forget some of my troubles.”

Um Arwa says that she chews qat to keep slim. She says that she doesn’t have her supper because qat causes loss of appetite. “If I chew qat, I don’t eat supper and only eat a small portion at breakfast. This helps me to maintain my grace,” she points out.

Many girls in Amran lead a life of chewing and smoking with little regard to the dangers that result from such practices. Balqees Al-Masswari, a sociologist, says that the reason of this increasing trend is a vacuum in other forms of entertainment such as clubs for women. She says that it is widely thought that chewing qat and smoking bring about psychological relaxation, which prompts many girls to practice these habits. She also stressed that families are responsible for their daughters’ well-being.

“The absence of family scrutiny on the behavior of girls during their teenage years makes them subject to peer pressure with little awareness of its consequences. Some girls believe that these practices are part of a woman‘s freedom,” says Al-Masswari, adding, “Families should educate their daughters about the dangers of qat and smoking to health.”

General medical practitioner Dr. Faisal Makhidi confirms that chewing qat and smoking have many bad consequences on health. “Many girls who come to the hospital suffer from health problems due to qat and smoking such as pulmonary diseases, toothache and insomnia, apart from other serious ailments including cancer and liver diseases,” he says.

He maintains that smoking and chewing qat have many detrimental effects on pregnant women and their unborn child. In addition, the practices decrease the amount of breast milk during feeding and can even lead to infertility and schizophrenia.

For centuries, men in Yemen have gathered around hookahs to puff fruit-scented smoke and chew qat, talk and pass the time. Today, unaware of the devastating -quite possibly even deadly- consequences of the habit, women are increasingly taking it up as a favorite pastime.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE YEMEN TIMES’

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSUMERS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, HEALTH SAFETY, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, YEMEN | Leave a Comment »

US FACES DEEP PROBLEMS, OECD SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

December 08, 2008 Monday – Zilhaj 9, 1429

by Steve Schifferes – Economics reporter, BBC News

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

The US economy is still facing “sharp downside risks” to growth, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Paris-based organisation warns that the credit squeeze has been spreading to other forms of lending, and other financial firms could become insolvent.

It says that another fiscal stimulus could be needed if things get worse.

But it warns that longer term problems, including health care reform and the US budget deficit, must be tackled.

Obama’s challenge

The OECD paints a grim picture of the challenges facing the incoming Obama administration, which takes office on 20 January.

It says that “the US economy is going through an exceptionally difficult period” and despite major policy interventions, it is likely that “activity will get worse before it gets better”.

The OECD suggests that the weakness will continue well into 2010.

It also warns that “house prices appear to have further to fall, and foreclosures are widely expected to rise.”

The decline in household wealth of about 20%, due to falls in the stock and housing markets, is likely to affect spending and household consumption.

The OECD broadly endorses the need for a further stimulus plan, saying that “macroeconomic policy should stand ready to provide a renewed stimulus”.

But it warns that, “given the underlying fiscal situation, the package should aim to be strictly temporary, timely and targeted” – an approach that appears to differ from the plan for big infrastructure projects that President-elect Obama has talked about.

And it adds that in the longer term, “the ageing of the population and other trends put the Federal budget on an unsustainable course” and says that increased tax revenue and controls on spending will be needed.

Financial disruption

The OECD says that “resolving the financial crisis could be a long drawn-out process”, which could require substantial government spending just as in previous banking crises.

It says that the “full effects of the forceful easing of monetary policy will only be felt after financial market conditions normalise”.

So it argues that big rate cuts by the US central bank, the Fed, “appear to be roughly appropriate in light of the adverse effect on real activity” of the credit squeeze, and says that “monetary policy should remain highly accommodative for quite some time to support the economy and the financial system”.

However, it warns that in the long run, the regulatory system needs to be fundamentally reformed, or else the rescue of troubled financial institutions “could inadvertently serve to encourage imprudent behaviour” in the future.

“A major overhaul of regulatory and supervisory policy is necessary to remedy the deficiencies in oversight that the crisis revealed,” the report says.

It also calls for reform of the supervision of mortgage brokers, underwriters and credit agencies to protect borrowers and investors.

And it says, more controversially, that in the long-term “it would be preferable to leave the securitisation of mortgages to the private sector,” eliminating or reducing the role of the big government-sponsored agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were effectively nationalised by the government earlier this year.

Health care reform

The OECD report has a special chapter highlighting the problems of the US health care system, which was much debated during the recent election campaign.

It points out that, despite spending 15% of GDP, “the health status of the US population does not appear to fare well by international comparison”.

The OECD endorses the goal of the Obama administration in making progress towards providing health care insurance for all Americans.

However, it appears to give support to the plan proposed by his electoral rival, John McCain, to replace tax subsidies to employers with subsidies to individuals to choose their own health plans that would not be tied to their jobs.

It says the current system is regressive and encourages people to buy expensive plans, as well as reducing job mobility.

But it also suggests that reforms suggested by president-elect Obama, such as a requirement to have health insurance, and regulating insurance companies more tightly so they must accept all applicants, “are likely to be necessary to expand coverage substantially”.

And it warns that the government will have to take tough measures to control costs in state-run Medicare system of health insurance for older people.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HEALTH SAFETY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD), RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

GM CROPS CLIMB TO NEARLY ONE-TENTH OF GLOBAL CROP PRODUCTION – Genetically Modified crops have risen to the level of nine percent of world crops, warned the Worldwatch Institute today (www.WorldWatch.org)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Friday, Dec 05, 2008

by Mike Adams – Natural News

PUBLISHED BY ‘ALEX JONES’ INFOWARS.NET’

Tensions are rising over the GM foods issue as consumers become increasingly educated about the sharp increases in infertility resulting from the consumption of GM foods.

A popular book, Genetic Roulette by Jeffrey Smith, is also raising literacy about genetically modified foods and the threats they pose to sustainable life on our planet.

It’s more than just a health threat, of course: GM foods also pose a threat to the environment, polluting the fertile soils of the world with unnatural genetic material that may have unknown long-term consequences. Cross-pollination with non-GM crops, monoculture practices and the liberal use of chemical pesticides alongside GM crops are just a few of the serious threats to sustainable life on Earth posed by food scientists playing God with seeds.

Activists are increasingly suggesting that the infertility side effects of GM foods are not coincidental and are, instead, part of a genocidal plan by powerful elitists who want the human population to shrink by 80 percent and are willing to destroy human fertility in order to accomplish it. “Let ’em eat their way to population control!”

Although I don’t have any solid evidence to prove such a sinister plan actually exists, I’m greatly concerned about GM crops anyway. Despite the population control conspiracy agenda, GM crops are dangerous even if they’re just a big, arrogant mistake by corporate-funded scientists.

These foods are bad for you. They’re dangerous for human consumption and they could lead to a runaway agricultural blight that causes mass global starvation. Never play God with Mother Nature unless you’re begging to be made extinct.

Learn more at www.GeneticRoulette.com

I highly recommend the Seeds of Deception videos there, too.

GM Crops Climb to Nearly One-Tenth of Global Crop Production from wwww.worldwatch.com

From Worldwatch.org: Genetically modified crops reached 9 percent of global primary crop production in 2007, bringing the total GM land area up to 114.3 million hectares, according to Worldwatch Institute estimates published in the latest Vital Signs Update. The United States continues to be the global leader in production, accounting for half of all GM crop area.

GM production has been on the rise since the crops were first introduced more than a decade ago, and it now includes 23 countries. But controversy over the benefits of genetic modification continues, including questions about the technology’s ability to deliver on promises of enhanced yields and nutrition.

“GM crops are definitely not a silver bullet,” said Alice McKeown, a researcher for the Worldwatch Institute. “They sound good on paper, but we have yet to see glowing results.”

Even as GM crop area expands, tensions are building. The European Union is expected to offer new guidance on the crops by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a new scientific study funded by the Austrian government suggests that a popular variety of GM corn reduces fertility in mice, raising questions about the technology’s safety.

“There are still many unanswered questions about GM crops,” said McKeown. “But the good news is that we have solutions to food security and other problems available today that we know work and are safe for humans and the environment, including organic farming.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘ALEX JONES’ INFOWARS.NET’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL FOOD, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), GENETICALLY MODIFIED AGRO-PRODUCTS, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, USA | Leave a Comment »

SUPER SUSTAINABILITY – CAN YOUR SUPER FUND SAVE THE WORLD?

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Last Updated – December 04th 2008

by John Kavanagh

PUBLISHED BY ‘CORPORATE CITIZEN’ (Australia)

Blair Comley wants people in the investment community to change the way they think about the Australian Government’s climate change policy. With over $1 trillion sitting in Australian superannuation funds, the scope for changing the investment landscape is huge. Even a subtle shift in investment decisions by the managers of this capital could go a long way to unlocking some of this money and, in turn, help to achieve those policy goals.

BLAIR Comley, deputy secretary of the Department of Climate Change, believes companies and investors have become obsessed with the detail and have lost the big picture. They worry about how much a tonne of carbon emissions will cost in the new emissions trading scheme. They worry about how quickly the limits on carbon emissions will be adjusted. They worry about whether they will qualify for compensation and how much they will be entitled to receive. And investors in particular will worry about how many percentage points to knock off their earnings forecasts for polluters.

Comley finds this thinking understandable but narrow. After all, he says, achieving a low carbon economy is a major reform, a structural transformation of the economy. One estimate of the amount of investment required to build clean power generation facilities in Australia to meet the Government’s goals over the coming decade is upwards of $40 billion. The opportunities for investment in infrastructure are enormous.

The other thing that surprises Comley is how impatient business is over the issue, especially the investment community. Speaking at a climate change conference in Sydney in October, he reminded his audience of mostly financial services industry professionals that economic reform is usually a graduated process. Using the example of tariff reform, a major micro-economic policy launched by the Hawke Government in the 1980s, he said it was part of the socio-economic compact to spread the burden of reform by bringing in change over a number of years.

And it is not just a matter of spreading cost in an equitable way. The government knows it risks causing serious damage to the Australian economy if it gets things wrong. One risk factor is leakage – companies moving their polluting activities to economies where the rules are less stringent to avoid having a price and a cap put on their carbon emissions.

The issue of climate change has taken on a great deal of importance for investment managers following the release in July of the Government green paper on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, and the Garnaut recommendations on emissions reductions. Both papers contain proposals that will have an impact on earnings, costs and investment programs for a wide range of Australian businesses over the coming decade, and both papers put forward a number of options.

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, also known as an emissions trading scheme, will set a price on a tonne of carbon emissions and determine which companies are included in the scheme and how they are to report their emissions. It will set up a compensation scheme and it will exempt certain industries (see breakout).

The Garnaut paper sets out the blueprint for emissions reduction and, in the process, points to the type of investment that will need to be made in renewable energy, transport, water systems and more.

The Government will publish a white paper in December and most analysts are waiting until then before they start drawing conclusions about how the investment markets will be affected by all of this.

Comley is right in thinking that the investment community is obsessed with detail and short-term issues. Respondents to a survey of fund managers conducted for Corporate Citizen by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR) found that they were near-unanimous in saying they were not prepared to make investment decisions around climate change issues until they had a clear picture of the rules and the regulatory framework for the Government’s proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme.

It is those investment managers, analysts and asset consultants not ready to invest in climate change who are guiding the asset allocation decisions of the country’s biggest investors – the superannuation funds. Typical of the response is this comment from Elaine Prior, a senior analyst at Citi Investment Research: “Very clearly, we need a regulatory environment that allows change solutions to become economically viable. At the moment we have a lot of talk about climate change solutions and carbon emissions and so on but we don’t have a regulatory authority. And given that a lot of the things that will cut emissions will cost a lot of money, there needs to be that regulation to act as a catalyst for investment.”

Some specialist managers, however, report that they are finding investment opportunities. The managing director of Australian Ethical Investments, Anne O’Donnell, says an area where strong investor demand is emerging is for green commercial buildings. Community awareness of where energy savings can be made in buildings is relatively high and, as a result, tenants want to move into them and institutions want them in their portfolios.

Helga Birgden, head of responsible investment for the Asia Pacific at Mercer, says superannuation fund trustees with experience in investing in the agribusiness sector are starting to ask about how the issue of carbon sequestration fits into investment in the sector.

Managers in the small, specialist funds groups say the attention of large funds management groups has been caught by the imminent introduction of a system that will put a price on carbon emissions and have a direct impact on the earnings of many of the big companies in which they invest. But, like Comley, they see this as a very narrow focus. They need to look at renewables such as wind, which has demonstrated its viability already, consumer products that will assist households reduce their energy consumption, carbon capture technology, and suppliers to the public transport sector.

But the investment management industry is dominated by large financial institutions and they are fundamentally conservative organisations. Many of them have adopted standards such as UNPRI, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing, or ESG (environmental, social and governance) but they tend to use these metrics as overlays for making adjustments to their mainstream equity and fixed interest portfolios. In other words, they might reduce their portfolio weighting to steelmaker Bluescope if it shows up as a bigger polluter than OneSteel. What they are not doing is investing in clean energy start-ups or other businesses with a direct stake in climate change.

What many of the managers argue is that their mandate is to invest conservatively on behalf of people who are committing funds to their retirement savings. It is not their job to take risks on new ventures. And they also argue that the biggest impact of climate change policy will come from changes that big companies make to their business practices.

Survey respondent John Guadagnuolo, an investment manager at Portfolio Partners, says: “For instance, you might decide to invest in a company that participates in a process to capture carbon from coal-fired power stations. You are taking on significant risk because you are betting the carbon price will be high enough to pay off that investment. As a fund manager we might like low emissions or sustainability to be present in a company that we invest in but it’s not a deciding factor. If there’s too much risk it’s not something we can get into.”

Unspoken in all of this is the fear that investment managers have of being caught up in the next bubble, and the reputational damage that would follow. In 2000 the fund manager BT launched a fund called the BT TIME Fund. It was set up to invest in technology and new media and, coming on the crest of the dotcom wave, it was one of the most successful retail investment product launches ever. The wave crashed soon after and the BT fund has been a chronic underachiever ever since. It has reported an average annual loss of 14.5 per cent a year since its launch. No investment manager wants to be associated with such disasters and, in the case of clean technology, managers fear there are too many unknowns. Some investment managers say there has already been something of a bubble around biofuels and that the sector represents more hype than substance.

Some commentators argue that one reason there are too many unknowns is that the investment management industry has been slow to equip itself with the expertise that would allow it to make informed investment decisions in the sector. In October this year, the Financial Services Institute of Australia (Finsia) released the findings of a study it had undertaken with Griffith University Business School, looking into the preparedness of the financial services industry to respond to climate change and its capacity to do so. Like the ACCSR, it found that regulatory uncertainty was the biggest road block for investors, along with a perception that investment in emerging climate change technologies involved excessive risk and low returns.

But it also found that there was a lack of expertise, skills and knowledge about climate change throughout the industry. Finsia chief executive Martin Fahy says most investment managers were prepared to admit their engagement with the issue was inadequate and that there was a lack of leadership within their organisations pushing for change.

Some investment managers are prepared to concede this. Colonial First State head of sustainability and responsible investment, Amanda McClusky, says: “There’s a gap around education. The traditional training for an analyst is a finance degree and most of the education that analysts get does not include sustainability issues and, more broadly, social issues, reputation tracking, human capital and some corporate governance factors.”

The consensus among investment managers in the ACCSR survey was that in five or 10 years time climate change and sustainability will be mainstream investment issues. It took about 10 years for corporate governance to move from the fringe, where a handful of investment managers paid attention to issues of board independence, fair remuneration policies and transparency, to a situation today where investment managers are asked to justify why they don’t vote on director elections and remuneration proposals.

In the meantime, the field will have to be developed by a handful of specialists. One such specialist is Sean Wiles, an investment manager at CVC Sustainable Investments, a venture capital fund that aims to increase Australian private investment in renewable energy and enabling technologies through the provision of equity finance. (Funding is provided under the Australian Greenhouse Office’s Renewable Energy Equity Fund licence as well as from private sources.) Wiles reports that his fund has been investing in emerging Queensland gas producers such as Blue Energy. While gas is not exactly clean, it produces about 40 per cent of the carbon emissions of coal and receives favourable ESG scores from fund managers for that reason.

Wiles says he has trouble getting good research from brokers and investment bankers but has, nevertheless, been able to put together a portfolio of stocks in areas such as renewable energy, waste management and water. It all sounds great until you see the numbers: CVC has a mere $400 million invested across four funds.

In the end, it seems that a mix of strong, sound government policy as well as strong impetus from super clients is what is needed to shift money into climate-aware investment strategies. As Guadagnuolo says, “At the end of the day we’re a fund manager, not a venture capital firm. That makes a difference to how we see things. It’s not our job to develop new technologies, it’s our role to invest our clients’ money as we see prudent. As a venture capital firm you have much higher approval from your investors to take on risk.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘CORPORATE CITIZEN’ (Australia)

Posted in AEOLIC, AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BIOFUELS, BIOMASS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HEALTH SAFETY, HYDROGEN - FUEL CELLS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, NATURAL GAS, RECESSION, RECYCLING INDUSTRIES, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOLAR, SOLAR CELLS INDUSTRIES, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, WATER | 1 Comment »

MYSTERY OF CROCS’ MASS DIE-OFF (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Measuring up to 6m Some gharials may be feeding on fish that have large toxic loadslong, with elongated narrow snouts, gharials are one of the world’s most distinctive-looking crocodilians.

Just 100 years ago, these fish-eating reptiles were prevalent throughout the Indian subcontinent; but by 2007, there were just 200 breeding adults found in only a handful of rivers in India and Nepal.

Last winter, this already critically endangered species was dealt another cruel blow. Over the space of just five months, more than 100 of the creatures washed up dead on the banks of India’s Chambal river – and nobody knew why.

For the past year, herpetologist Rom Whitaker, who runs the Madras Crocodile Bank, has been followed by a BBC Natural World team as he attempted to solve this mystery.

Here, he explains how scientists may finally be on the verge of finding some answers.

“It’s been a bit like a long drawn out Agatha Christie mystery. Everything we hear about just throws up more questions.

Why is it just a particular 40km stretch of the river that is being affected, and the deaths all occurred over winter?

Why is it that only one particular size class – the medium sized ones – is dying?

And why is it that only one fish-eating animal is being affected?

Death by gout

We started to speculate that it had to be something in the food chain.

Autopsies have told us the deaths were caused by gout, which more or less indicates kidney failure – and this points to the build up of toxins.

The river that they live in – the Chambal – is one of the cleanest rivers in India. But this flows into another river called the
Yamuna, which is a big huge toxic mess.

We think the gharial are moving into the Yamuna and feeding on fish that have big toxic loads.

Then it is likely that they are coming back to the Chambal, having brought with them all this fish they have gorged upon, and this bioaccumulation of toxin is then affecting them.

We believe that the die-off happened in winter because when it is cold, the animals are unable to metabolise anything in their system – they sort of shut down.

This will take a toll on weak, injured or sick animals. And in this case, if they had damaged kidneys, and the kidneys were trying to excrete the uric acid but were unable to, then the uric acid would have spread to the body, causing gout.

Could sights like the mass-hatching of 500 baby gharials soon be a thing of the past?

Ecologist Jeff Lang was able to fill us in on another piece of the puzzle concerning the size of the animals that were dying.

The little crocodilians can bask in what little sunshine is available in the winter, and because they are small they heat up very fast. Even if they have eaten polluted fish, they would be able to metabolise it very fast – in other words, get rid of it as quickly as they consume it.

The very large animals are at a stage of their life where they are not gorging on fish as they have no great incentive to grow fast. They are more likely to be concentrating on patrolling their territory than on feeding.

It is the medium-sized class that are dying – these are feeding on a lot of fish as they want to grow quickly. And in the case of the adult females, they need extra energy for egg production at this time of the year.

But being larger, it takes them a heck of a long time to warm up, and we think that they never do warm up enough to aid digestion and metabolise out the toxins.

‘Educated speculation’

But why aren’t other fish-eating animals affected?

If you are talking about river dolphins, cormorants, otters and pelicans – these are all warm-blooded, and they are eating and expelling waste as fast as they can.

So this accumulation may take place, but it isn’t happening fast enough to kill them – at least not yet. And of course, there is the sinister possibility that people who eat the fish may also be affected.

The other species of crocodile that’s there is the mugger crocodile.

And this animal is not a specialist like the gharial.

Gharials only eat fish, but these muggers eat anything that moves. So we surmise they are not getting the same kind of accumulation of nasty fish in their systems.

This is all speculation – but it is educated speculation. The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to all come together. But it is not enough to just find out what happened.

If they are going to 'The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to all come together' - Rom Whitakerclean up the Yamuna river, we are talking probably about another long decade of really hard work – and there is a chance that a die off could happen again before that.

The Chambal population is the most important last repository of gharial. So it seems that a critically endangered species with this one last bastion left is in real real trouble.

But the problem goes much wider.

The gharial could be the canary in the coalmine. They are telling us something very important – that our rivers are dying, and that could mean us dying next.”

Crocodile Blues is on BBC2 on Tuesday 2 December at 2000GMT as part of the Natural World strand

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Posted in ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH SAFETY, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, WATER | Leave a Comment »

BANANA FIRM SUED OVER TOXIC WASTES (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

First Posted 23:39:00 11/29/2008

Edwin O. Fernandez – Inquirer Mindanao PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The local government of Magpet in North Cotabato has sued one of the country’s major banana producers over its disposal of suspected toxic wastes in at least two villages there.

Mayor Efren Piñol on Saturday said toxic chemical wastes from the plantation of AJMR Holdings had leaked into the villages of Basak and Datu Celo and the company did nothing about it.

The villages are near the company’s banana plantations, which are at the foot of Mt. Apo.

The Inquirer repeatedly tried but failed to reach officials of AJMR in Davao City.

AJMR is a holding company of the AMS Group of Companies, which counts Sumifru Corp. of Japan as one of its major shareholders.

Contaminated drainage

Piñol said villagers of Datu Celo were the first to notice the chemical spill, which filled their drainage system.

The complaints also started coming in from residents of Basak.

Last week, Piñol said he personally saw the chemical wastes flowing in the canals of the two villages.

“I already called AJMR officials and informed them of the spill but it seems they had ignored the matter,” Piñol said.

The company’s apparent lack of interest to remedy the situation has prompted the town to sue AJMR for violation of environmental laws, according to Piñol.

“It was just appropriate to file a complaint against AJMR, which seems to be neglecting its responsibility of keeping the people safe from these chemicals,” Piñol said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, HEALTH SAFETY, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, PHILIPPINES, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | 1 Comment »

THE KILLING WINDS – THE MENACE OF BIOLOGICAL WARFARE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 30, 2008

Chapter 2

by Jeanne McDermott (Arbor House – 1987 – Hardback – 322 pages – ISBN 0877958963)

HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BIOLOGICAL WARFARE

“Armis Bella Non Venenis Geri” (War is waged with weapons, not with poisons). — Roman condemnation of well poisoning

Identical copies of the BIOCHEMICAL WARFAREtreaty banning biological weapons reside in Moscow, London, and at the mammoth State Department building in Washington, D.C. The United States stores its treaties in a dim, almost shabby room, behind a massive, electronically controlled bank vault door, filled with scores of musty manila folders crammed together on rows of gray metal shelves. Here, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction is nothing special, just one of thousands of international agreements on everything from wheat to whaling, seabeds to outer space.

Genevieve Bell has been the treaty librarian since 1969, the year Nixon renounced biological weapons. Dressed in a green corduroy suit and a green blouse for Saint Patrick’s Day, she welcomes the infrequent visitor. In the age of instant Xerox, few people care to see the originals anymore. “It’s not too often at all that I bring out the Biological Weapons Convention,” she says. “If a party wants to see it, yes, sure, we have an obligation to show it. But I can’t say I’ve had many requests.”

The Biological Weapons Convention, or BWC, as it is usually abbreviated, has the feel of a noteworthy and honorable modern document. It is bound with a simple, blue leather, folio-size cover; typed on creamy, gold-edged paper; decorated with a delicate red and blue ink border; held together with a red, white, and blue ribbon that threads through punched holes in the paper and binder.

The treaty itself is written in five languages: English, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Russian, and followed by thirty-five pages of official and often ornate signatures. To date, over a hundred countries have signed the Biological Weapons Convention, the most recent being China, which the State Department welcomed with a small ceremony.

The text of the treaty has fifteen articles, but the first and second express the heart of the agreement. The first says:

Each State Party to this convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain 1) microbial or other biological agents or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes; 2) weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.

The second article reads:

Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to destroy or to divert to peaceful purposes, as soon as possible, but no later than nine months after the entry into force of the Convention, all agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of delivery specified in Article I of the Convention, which are in its possession or under its jurisdiction or control.

The treaty specifically bans biological weapons, those made Ayith disease-causing germs such as anthrax, and toxin weapons, those made with poisons produced by living organisms such as botulinum. It does not ban chemical weapons, those made with synthetic chemicals such as nerve gas. (Another treaty, the Geneva Protocol, bans the use but not the production or stockpiling of chemical weapons.) Despite the differences in their legal status, chemical and biological weapons are often lumped together, abbreviated in discussions within military circles as CBW. What the weapons have in common is the fact that they are invisible killers that travel through the air.

For historians, as well as students of arms control, the Biological Weapons Convention represents a daring landmark and a milestone in detente. It was the first treaty, and remains the only one in existence, to ban outright an entire class of weapons, prohibiting not only the use, but also the manufacture and stockpiling of the weapons. No other arms control treaty has aimed to be so comprehensive or ambitious, and in the last few years, no other treaty has found itself at the center of so much controversy. With the passage of time, the State Department retires some international agreements to the National Archives, simply to make room for newcomers. But those treaties that provoke accusations and counteraccusations — such as the Biological Weapons Convention—stay inside the vault.

The Biological Weapons Convention bans one of the oldest and least respected forms of warfare—the use of poison and disease. Since Greco-Roman times, poisons have figured not so much as weapons of war but as tools for assassination. Although the use and preparation of poison was a shrouded, clandestine art, it seems clear that the Greeks and Romans knew about the toxic qualities of hemlock, hellebore, rhubarb, the castor bean, and the amanita mushroom. In the imperial courts, professional poisoners tried to outsmart the cup bearers and food tasters, and often succeeded, the best-known example being Agrippina, who is thought to have poisoned her husband, the Roman emperor Claudius. Some historians claim that Pope Alexander poisoned his way to power, that during the Italian Renaissance, the powerful Borgias picked off their rivals with poison, and that the plotting in the courts of Louis XIV and the Russian czars involved tainted potions.

Until the invention of the microscope and the germ theory of disease, diseases could not be spread in the sophisticated ways that poison was. One technique was to dump a corpse in the enemy’s well or water supply. But then, as now, the attacker ran the risk that the disease would strike his own troops.

Possibly the earliest, and one of the few, recorded accounts of biological warfare took place in the spring of 1346 when the Mongols laid seige to Kaffa, a walled city on the Crimean coast. After three unsuccessful years in which their own soldiers were dying of the plague, the Mongols tried something new. According to an eyewitness, “The Tatars, fatigued by such a plague and pestiferous disease, stupefied and amazed, and observing themselves dying without hope of health, ordered cadavers placed on their hurling machines and thrown into the city of Kaffa so that by means of these intolerable passengers, the defenders died widely. Thus there were projected mountains of dead, nor could the Christians hide or flee or be freed from such a disaster.” While Kaffa filled with plague, some of the survivors fled, carrying the disease with them to Constantinople, Venice, Genoa, and other European ports. Within three years, the Black Death (spread by less heinous activities as well) swept Europe, killing a quarter of the population.

In another often recounted case, the British commander-in-chief in the American colonies, Lord Jeffrey Amherst, set out to destroy the American Indians with disease after an Indian rebellion in 1763. “You will do well to try to innoculate the Indians by means of blankets,” Amherst told his subordinates, “as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.” At his request, two blankets and a handkerchief from a smallpox hospital were given as presents to an Ohio tribe. A few months later, smallpox broke out, and, lacking immunity, the Indians were ravaged by disease.

By the twentieth century, disease ceased to be explained by mysterious miasmas or elemental imbalances of humors. Microscopic organisms—bacteria, fungi, and viruses—were gradually identified as the culprits, isolated, cultured, and studied. At the same time, the molecules responsible for the toxicity of so many plants ANTHRAX SPORESand animals were extracted, concentrated, and purified by methods more reliable than making incantations under a full moon. During World War II, scientists around the world began to devise ways to incorporate invisible germs and poisons into conventional military hardware.

To the modern soldier, the various types of biological weapons developed since then do not look like anything very special. In fact, they look like conventional weapons—a bomb dropped from an airplane, a canister and shell fired from a rocket launcher or howitzer, a missile, a drone, and even bullets. The weapons are designed to be hurled, fired, or dropped. The weapons can also be in the form of a spray, spread by a low-flying airplane like a crop-dusting pesticide. While the bomb and the spray tank became standards, a few unusual efforts also emerged—like long-range balloons carrying feathers infected with anticrop spores, bombs filled with disease-carrying insects, and a deadly aerosol spray can shaped like a whisky hip flask.

What distinguishes one biological weapon from another is not so much the hardware but the fillings, which contain the ANTHRAX THRU AN ELECTRONIC MICROSCOPEdeadliest organisms nature ever concocted, all too small to be seen with the naked eye. Some are bacteria and fungi, living creatures only one cell big. Others are viruses, even tinier, ephemeral entities on the threshold of life, made of chunks of DNA, which replicate only by invading and taking over a cell. And finally, some are toxins, the poisonous molecules secreted by plants and microbes, sprayed by insects, or injected by snakes to destroy their own enemies.

In nature, the microbes, viruses, and toxins that cause disease are everywhere, lurking in the soil, the water, the air, your food. Physicians battle these primordial public enemies daily, trying to prevent their growth, treating those people who fall prey. The creation of a biological weapon, in fact, begins with the knowledge gained by doctors of medicine in the process of treating disease. Instead of applying that knowledge to save life, the practice of medicine is perverted, turned inside out, upside down, in violation of the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.

From the enormous roster of the world’s diseases and toxins, which grows each year as new diseases evolve or are discovered, almost all have been considered as potential biological weapons. But many have not been seriously studied because they are not hardy, swift-acting, reliably infective, or easily spread through the air—qualities that a weapon designer wants. From 1943, when the United States launched its biological weapons program, until 1969, it experimented with the following human and animal diseases and toxins: anthrax, botulinum, brucellosis, chikungunya, cholera, coccidiosis, dengue, dysentery, food poisoning toxin, influenza, melioidosis, plague, psittacosis, Q-fever, Red Tide poison, Rift Valley Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Russian spring-summer encephalitis, shigellosis, smallpox, tularemia, typhoid, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, and yellow fever.

It also experimented with the following crop diseases: wheat rust, rice blast, tobacco mosaic, corn stunt, potato yellow dwarf, Fiji disease (which attacks sugar cane), hoja blanca (which attacks rice), rice blight, corn blight, sugar cane wilt, coffee rust, maize rust, rice brown-spot disease, late blight of potato, powdery mildew of cereals, stripe rust of cereals.

Of all the countries in ANTHRAXthe world, only the United States admitted to amassing a stockpile of biological weapons, and when the Biological Weapons Convention was signed, only the United States publicly destroyed its arsenal. It had had an active biological warfare program for twenty-five years and had produced and/or standardized ten different biological and toxin weapons, selecting them for a constellation of practical characteristics. The list included:

Anthrax: The renowned bacteriologist Robert Koch first cultured the single-celled bacterium, Bacillus anthracis, in 1877, which under the microscope looks like a football. It lives in the soil in many parts of the world, where it forms an almost indestructible spore resistant to disinfectants, rapid freezing and thawing, even boiling. Anthrax infects goats, sheep, horses, cattle, elephants, hippos, and many other animals, including people. If you touch the spores, the bacterium can enter through a wound in the skin and form a small lesion or pustule that eventually turns coal black. (Anthrax is from the Greek word for coal.) Fever, chills, malaise, nausea, and vomiting follow. Even without adequate treatment, almost everyone recovers.

While the cutaneous form of anthrax is the most common today, in nineteenth-century England the inhalation form of anthrax was widespread. It was known as wool-sorter’s disease because factory workers fell sick after reaching into bins full of wool and shaking the wool out. The motion unleased a cloud of anthrax spores into the air which the workers then inhaled. Within two to three days, they died from suffocation, the result of a toxin released by the anthrax bacterium.

The spores clung not only to sheep wool but to many other animal products as well. A vaccuum cleaner assembler caught it from revolving horsehair brushes, a man who cut piano keys from an elephant’s tusk, and a tourist from a hide-covered bongo drum brought back from a Caribbean vacation. If untreated, the inhalation form of anthrax kills almost everyone exposed to it. While anthrax remains a negligible livestock concern in this country, cases of inhalation anthrax have all but disappeared since the passage of stricter sanitation laws. The military concentrated on the inhalation form of anthrax as a weapon, particularly during World War II. But the spore is so indestructible that once unleashed it permanently contaminates an area, denying it to both defender and attacker. Despite these drawbacks, the United States continues to view anthrax as a potential biological weapon.

Botulinum: Botulinum is a toxin that takes its name from the Latin word for sausage because it was first identified in 1793 when thirteen people in a small German town fell sick after eating the same sausage. The bacterium, which secretes the toxin, was isolated a hundred years later when band members in a small Belgian town fell sick after eating a ham. Shaped like a stout rod, Clostridiwn botulinum commonly and harmlessly grows in the oxygen-free surface layers of the soil, particularly in California, and for reasBACTERIAons unclear, produces botulinum, the most potent neurotoxin known. The microbe only causes problems in improperly canned or cooked food, of which a mere nibble can kill. The toxin takes effect within twelve to seventy-two hours, leaving the victim headachy, dizzy, and (if the dose is sufficient) ultimately dead from respiratory paralysis. About a hundred people succumb to botulinum each year worldwide, and of these 30 percent die. The U. S. Army produced twenty-thousand botulinum-tipped bullets and also planned to spread the toxin as an aerosol until it became clear that sunlight degrades it and destroys its potency.

Brucellosis: Found in wild animals like antelope, reindeer, caribou, and hares, brucellosis was a common livestock disease in the United States until eradication programs began in the 1960s. Today, this country has about one hundred-fifty cases each year, mostly among abattoir workers, farmers, and veterinarians who are exposed to the blood of the infected animals. The disease is caused by several strains of the Brucella bacterium. After a four- or five-day incubation period, the infected person has a low-grade fever, and a tired, rundown feeling that gets progressively worse. Over the next two to three months, he or she loses weight, feels depressed, and suffers an intermittent fever. Once diagnosed, brucellosis is treated with tetracycline. Explored by the army as a weapon in the early days of the program, it was dropped in the 1950s in favor of diseases that act and incapacitate more quickly and more uniformly.

Q-fever: Q-fever is short for query fever. When first discovered among abattoir workers in Queensland, Australia, no one BOTULISMknew what it was. The disease hits suddenly, triggering severe headache, stiff neck, chills, sweats, and a lack of appetite, like a severe case of the flu. Within seven to ten days, it subsides. Nobel laureate F. McFarlane Burnet isolated the cause, a single-celled microbe that changes from the shape of a rod to that of a bead, and named it Coxiella burnetii. C. burnetii is highly infective and very persistent, able to survive in sheep’s wool for seven to nine months. It spreads by aerosol, ticks, mice, bedbugs, and fleas. In Italy, the passage of a flock of sheep through a narrow street was enough to start an infection. Employees at a commercial laundry caught it from handling the unsterilized clothes of lab workers who studied it. Only one to ten microbes are needed to infect. Q-fever strikes sheep, goats, and cattle worldwide, but the infection often escapes notice in both animals and people. Doctors in the United States see one hundred to two hundred cases a year in people, but suspect that a milder form is more common and probably mistaken for the flu. For the military, Q-fever was attractive because it is stable, infective, and quick to act. The army continues to research it today.

Saxitoxin: Throughout many of the world’s oceans, single-celled plankton called dinoflagellates bloom in the summer months, tinging the water red, creating what coast-dwellers call Red Tide. Clams, mussels, oysters, and other filter-feeding bivalves eat the dinoflagellates. People eat the molluscs and occasionally die as the result of ten or more deadly and paralyzing toxins, including the extraordinarily powerful saxi-toxin, produced by the dinoflagellates. In 1974, there were 1,600 cases worldwide of paralytic shellfish poisoning and 300 deaths. Death, when it occurs, takes place within thirty minutes after the meal, as the lips, tongue and face start to burn and tingle. As the feeling spreads to the legs and arms, paralysis sets in. The throat closes up. Until the respiratory muscles cease all movement and suffocation occurs, the victim stays calm and conscious. There is no specific antidote. In the 1950s and 1960s, Detrick scientists prepared over 30 grams of shellfish toxin by harvesting, collecting, and grinding up a vast number of Alaskan butter clams and other shellfish. The toxin was used in the suicide pill carried by Francis Gary Powers, the pilot who flew the secret U-2 plane over the Soviet Union in 1960.

Staphylococcus YERSINIA PESTISenterotoxin: Staphylococcus is a ubiquitous, beach ball-shaped bacterium that comes in many strains. Some are harmless and some, like those that cause toxic shock syndrome and food poisoning, are not. The food-poisoning strain wreaks havoc by secreting an enterotoxin. Although the organism is killed by normal cooking temperatures, it can multiply very rapidly, producing enough toxin to make you sick in two to three hours. Severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea hit within half an hour to four hours after eating and last for one to two days. The CIA chose the toxin for its immediate and fierce action and stockpiled a form resistant to the chlorine in city water supplies. Since the freeze dried form of the toxin is stable and can be stored for up to a year, the military planned to spray it over large areas.

Tularemia: Tularemia resembles the plague. Discovered in Tu-lare County, California, in 1911, tularemia is carried by squirrels, rabbits, field voles, mice, shrews, and ticks. The disease exists in all countries north of the equator. In Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado, it occurs most frequently during rabbit-hunting season. Caused by the bacterium Pasteurella tularensis, it strikes two to seven days after exposure—usually in the course of skinning the rabbit. The victim starts to feel achey, with chills and a fever as high as 105 ° F. If inhaled, which happens infrequently in nature but would be the case in a biological war, it causes a cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. If untreated, 5 to 8 percent of the people who get tularemia die. For inhalatory tularemia, as many as 40 percent may die. Doctors treat it with antibiotics, but the U.S. military developed a strain of tularemia that was resistant to streptomycin. There are 250 to 300 cases in the United States each year. At the time of the arsenal’s destruction, the government had a large stockpile of tularemia and considered it a useful weapon.

Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE): VEE is a mosquito-borne virus first found in horses in Venezuela, and later across South and Central America, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Panama. In 1970, the mosquito harboring VEE crossed over the Rio Grande River into Texas, but the feared spread of the disease was contained by eradicating the insect. Within twenty-four hours of injection, the virus produces a headache and fever from which most recover in three days. The virus spreads to the nervous system in 10 percent of the cases and is fatal in 1 percent. The United States was increasing its stockpiles of VEE in the late 1960s.

Yellow fever: Yellow fever is a disease with a notorious legacy, responsible for killing the slaves on the slave ships and probably for destroying the crew and passengers of the legendary Flying Dutchman. It is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes found in a belt just above and below the equator. It strikes three to six days after the mosquito bite, with a fever and often liver damage, which brings on a yellow color—hence the name. As part of an “entomological warfare” program started in the early 1950s, Detrick labs produced half a million mosquitoes a month, and in tests, planes dropped infected mosquitoes over a residential area in Georgia and Florida. In addition to yellow fever-infected mosquitoes, Detrick grew mosquitoes infected with malaria and dengue; fleas infected with plague; ticks infected with tularemia; flies infected with cholera, anthrax, and dysentery. By the late 1960s, yellow fever was not considered a weapon of choice.

The United States also stockpiled two anticrop diseases:

Wheat rust: In April of each year, the Romans held a ceremony, sacrificing a red dog to keep the gods from unleashing the YERSINIA PESTISred rust disease on their wheat crop. Like fire, the rust streaks the leaves and stems, sometimes even reddening the soil. Once it takes hold, the rust can destroy more crop in less time than any other disease. It is caused by a fungus, Puccinia graminis, which forms a tough, windblown spore that grows under humid conditions. Rust can kill the plant outright or shrivel and stunt it.

Rice blast: Caused by the fungus Piricularia oryzae, rice blast also spreads as a windblown spore, growing under humid conditions. If it attacks during an early stage of the plant’s growth, the plant fails to produce rice. Some American planners considered dropping rice blast on Vietnamese rice paddies during the war but the plan was never approved by senior officials. It would have proved difficult to implement since the Vietnamese planted so many different strains, each becoming susceptible at slightly different times.

Outside of isolated sabotage incidents, biological and toxin weapons have seen remarkably little use in the twentieth century, or rather, remarkably little use that everyone can agree on. No one disputes that the Japanese used germ warfare against the Chinese during World War II. But opinions are divided on two notorious and widely publicized incidents. Did the United States wage germ warfare against North Korea and China during the Korean War? Did the Laotians and Cambo-dians use Soviet-made toxin weapons in Southeast Asia in the late 1970s and early 1980s?

Pound for pound, and penny for penny, biological weapons excel in packing the deadliest punch of any weapon. According to an army field manual written in 1966, a single fighter plane spraying a lethal biological agent could cause 50 percent mortality over an area of 300 square miles; that is, it could kill half the people in a city the size of Dallas or New York. That is ten times the area that would be devastated by the same amount of nerve gas.

Biological weapons come relatively cheap. A panel of experts told the United Nations in 1969 that in a large-scale operation against a civilian population, casualties might cost $2,000 per square kilometer for conventional weapons; $800 for nuclear; $600 for nerve gas; $1 for biological weapons. For the price, one gets a brutally versatile weapon. Biological weapons can be weapons of mass destruction, capable of wiping out huge civilian centers; they can blight a country’s breadbasket while leaving the industrial infrastructure intact; they can be sprayed on people ill-equipped to defend themselves in order to drive them off the land; they can be spread in unconventional ways—on the wings of birds, through infected ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and tourists. They are, however, most uniquely suited to sabotage, terrorism, and covert operations since they are invisible, small enough to carry in a pocket, and, without careful monitoring, can be indistinguishable from natural occurrences.

Why, then, did President Richard Nixon, a political realist who approached foreign policy as if it were a chess game, give up such a good thing? The reason is simple: Biological weapons provoke far more trouble than they are worth. In the modern theater of geopolitics, their very attributes create horrendous liabilities. Consider this fact: biological weapons are so cheap and powerful that they have been dubbed “the poor man’s atomic bomb.” By condoning and furthering the development of biological weapons, the United States created an arms race that would only hurt it in the long run.

The United States is a rich and powerful country, one of the richest and most powerful in the world. One way it maintains military superiority is by spending money on the development and stockpiling of weapons. Very few countries are wealthy enough to keep up. It is in the best interest of the United States and the other superpowers to keep war expensive. The more expensive it is, the fewer countries that can pose threats. It was, therefore, not in the best interest of the United States to develop a cheap and powerful weapon like biological weapons. That was the fundamental logic behind Nixon’s decision.

Other factors contributed to the American renunciation of biological weapons. There is no credible defense against TULAREMIAan all-out biological attack. No devices will even give reliable advance warning. Even if such devices existed, what steps could be taken? People can be vaccinated against some diseases, but these work only if taken weeks before the attack. Even then, experts doubt their protective value against the onslaught of aerosol germs in a biological weapon, or that an attacker would choose a weapon for which the country had prepared an effective vaccine. Gas masks would help, but few civilians have their own. Lacking genetic resistance to a particular disease, crops and livestock are defenseless.

In 1969, the U.S. military was reluctant but willing to give up biological weapons. Troop commanders had never heartily approved of them, in part because they had a disreputable air that never quite fit the military’s self-image of what an honorable warrior should be asked to do. For battlefield operations, the advocates of biological weapons never proved them superior to conventional or even chemical weapons.

A host of practical problems bedeviled biological weapons. They did not behave in a straightforward way. In the field, commanders found them too complicated, too demanding, too quirky. They spread like killing winds. For each disease, the symptoms, incubation, duration, and treatment varied. Coupled with the way the vagaries of the wind, temperature, and terrain influenced the weapon’s stealthy drift, the commander had a lot of variables to juggle and few guarantees. Although the army subjected biological weapons to hundreds of tests, it never had enough data—for the obvious ethical reasons—on what real weapons do to real people. What good is a weapon that you can’t test? In the end, the military decided it wasn’t good enough to keep.

In 1969, three years before the two superpowers signed the Biological Weapons Convention, the United States gave up BW, as biological weapons are usually abbreviated, altogether. Nixon renounced not only biological weapons but also toxin weapons, which occupy a gray area, somewhere between biological and chemical weapons. Although the two had been developed in tandem at Fort Detrick, the U.S. center for biological warfare research in Frederick, Maryland, toxins behave more like chemical weapons on the battlefield. The only difference between a toxin and a chemical weapon is that one is synthesized by nature and the other concocted by man. Both are inert molecules, acting in minutes to hours, and toxic in micrograms or milligrams, not picograms like biological (or germ) weapons. By contrast, germ weapons are living creatures that grow and multiply, taking their toll in days.

Nixon did not renounce chemical weapons, nor did the subsequent international ban include them. Chemical weapons are deployed like biological weapons—in bombs, from spray tanks—but instead of spreading live organisms, they disperse toxic chemicals, such as nerve gas, tear gas, herbicides (like Agent Orange), mustard gas, and other harassing and incapacitating chemicals. The United States, the Soviets, and now a number of other countries continue to stockpile chemical weapons, and the Iraqis are currently using them in their war against Iran. The Reagan administration lobbied hard to build a new generation of nerve gas weapons, but the Congress consistently blocked appropriations for that purpose until September 1986, when Congress finally gave its okay.

While it is illegal to produce and use biological weapons, it is not illegal to produce chemical weapons. (It is illegal to use them.) Chemical weapons remain a legal component of the world’s stockpiles in part because they are not as cheap, potentially powerful, nor as unpredictable as their biological counterparts. They draw on a longer, more successful tradition within the military, and have a more powerful constituency than biological weapons. After all, they had been used in World War I and the Vietnam War, with arguable success. They have also served a useful function as a deterrent: the United States could give up biological weapons with an easy conscience because it could always retaliate with chemical weapons.

But chemical weapons also raise a prickly question from an arms control perspective. How can you distinguish between industrial chemicals and chemicals of war? What if you ban one but not the other? Since World War II, the creation of insecticides and nerve gases have marched hand in hand. Gerhard Schrader, a German scientist working at I. G. Farben, discovered an organophosphorus compound in 1936 that killed insects in seconds. Under a law that decreed that any industrial invention with military potential should be shared with the Wehrmacht, Schrader’s finding led to the development of nerve gases. Today, a plant that produces the pesticides ma-lathion or parathion could be used to produce nerve gas.

Many other chemicals are Jess toxic, but just as lethal and widespread as organophosphate pesticides. When a 1984 The Living Weapon - As America's germ warfare program expanded during the Cold War, scientists began to conduct their own covert tests on human volunteers. The United States continued the development and stockpiling of biological weapons until President Nixon terminated the program in 1969. This American Experience production examines the international race to develop biological weapons in the 1940s and 1950s, revealing the scientific and technical challenges scientists faced and the moral dilemmas posed by their eventual success.accident at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, released methylisocyanate into the air, five thousand people died. In a magazine interview, the Bhopal mayor said, “I can say that I have seen chemical warfare. Everything so quiet. Goats, cats, whole families—father, mother, children—all lying silent and still. And every structure totally intact. I hope never again to see it.”

When the Biological Weapons Convention officially went into effect in 1975, it left the impression that every trace or consideration of biological weapons utterly disappeared from the world’s military establishments. That was not the case. By keeping chemical weapons legal, military establishments maintained an institutional infrastructure familiar with the equipment, training, doctrine, and insidious action of invisible weapons. While the United States burned its germs and toxins, scrapped its weapon hardware, dismantled and converted its mass production facilities, it retained the books, reports, studies, and test data accumulated over the twenty-five-year existence of the biological-warfare program. According to one Pentagon official, it would take the United States (or any other country that dismantled its full-fledged offensive program) two to three years to get back into the biological weapons business IF the president of the United States renounced the treaty.

As allowed by treaty, research continues around the world. The systematic study of nasty germs and toxins has not stopped. In the United States, it takes place on a largely unclassified basis and in the name of defense. Fifteen years after the renunciation, the list of germs and toxins studied at Fort Detrick bears little resemblance to those studied in 1969. These new agents have been identified, grown, studied, analyzed, assessed, evaluated, and, if Dugway builds the BL-4 lab, will be tested. But they have not been developed into weapons, that is, mass produced or loaded into hardware—two steps that would clearly violate the treaty.

Since the Reagan administration took office in 1980, the budgets for both biological and chemical weapons have skyrocketed. Compared with the cost of building an F-16 fighter plane, the budgets dedicated to the subject of biological warfare still look small, but it is important to bear in mind that biological research costs relatively little. In 1987, the total budget for biological warfare defense was $71.2 million. Compare that with what was spent on research and development at Fort Detrick at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969. Then, it was $19.4 million—or if you adjust for inflation, $55.6 million. In other words, the United States is spending more on BW research than it did when it had an offensive program.

What this jump in budgets means is that the military is again talking about biological warfare. “Up until three or four years ago, we weren’t talking on the subject [of biological weapons] at all,” says Major Dick Ziegler, a Pentagon spokesman. According to the Department of Defense, the Dugway lab is essential for preparing a defense against the mounting Soviet threat. The Pentagon and the Reagan administration point to a mysterious outbreak of anthrax in Sverdlovsk and to Yellow Rain in Southeast Asia as evidence of the Soviet’s disregard for and violation of the treaty.

In conservative circles throughout the nation, the two events are already taken as proof that the Biological Weapons Convention has failed. Like the clock in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the treaty is an anachronism, some say, out of step with the times. But others vehemently disagree with that conclusion. They stress that the evidence for treaty violations at Sverdlovsk is open to question and that cited for Yellow Rain has failed to stand up to scrutiny.

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REFORMA DEL SECTOR LÁCTEO CHINO TRAS LOS CASOS DE LECHE CONTAMINADA – El Gobierno chino emprendió hoy una campaña para reformar en un año el sector lácteo en su conjunto, desde la cría de ganado hasta la venta final, “ya que el escándalo de la leche contaminada dañó la salud, la imagen de China y la industria”

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 22, 2008

20/11/2008

TAINTED MILK FROM CHINA EFE- Según informó el Consejo de Estado (Ejecutivo), en un plazo que concluirá en octubre del 2009 deberán estar en vigor nuevas leyes, reglamentos y normas de calidad para estimularla producción de la industria y devolver la confianza de los consumidores.

La crisis de la leche con melamina reveló los principales problemas que afronta el control de calidad en la industria láctea china y el Ministerio de Salud Pública revisará durante la campaña los criterios que deben cumplir en calidad y seguridad alimentaria los productos lácteos.

Por su parte, el Ministerio chino de Agricultura deberá elaborar las normas de control para las pruebas tanto de melamina como de otras sustancias tóxicas contenidas en los alimentos para animales y mientras llegan las normas poner en práctica controles temporales.

Los ganaderos recibirán subsidios y las empresas lácteas préstamos que les ayuden a superar la crisis que les afecta ya que las ventas de productos sufrieron un gran descenso tras el último escándalo de la leche contaminada que originó la muerte de 3 bebés y la hospitalización de decenas de miles.

El grupo lácteo Xingtai Sanlu Dairies, uno de los principales de China, registró una caída del 20 por ciento en sus ventas, respecto al período anterior al escándalo, dijo Cao Zhanwu, su director de A 3D REPRESENTATION OF A MOLECULE OF MELAMINEventas.

Las directrices para reformar el sector lácteo chino implicarán a la Comisión Nacional de Reforma y Desarrollo (CNRD), máximo órgano de planificación de China, el Banco Central, 11 ministerios, comisiones y departamentos, según la agencia oficial Xinhua.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘AGROINFORMACION’ (Spain)

Posted in CHINA, COMMODITIES MARKET, DAIRY PRODUCTS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FOREIGN POLICIES, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MILK, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »