More on the GE struggle
Sat, 18 Apr 1998 10:42:00 EDT
NOVARTIS TRANSGENIC MAIZE REMAINS BANNED IN AUSTRIA AND LUXEMBOURG
>Brussels, 15 April 1998 -- The European Commission failed to outlaw
>the import ban on genetically engineered maize declared by Austria
>and Luxembourg over a year ago. In a vote finalised today the
>Commission failed to get the required majority from EU countries (1)
>to force Austria and Luxembourg to allow Novartis genetech maize (2)
>to enter their territories.
>"The European Commission should once and for all register that
>European countries and the public in Europe do not want Novartis'
>genetically altered maize," said Greenpeace spokesperson Louise Gale.
>"The Commission should not have the right to force this both into the
>environment and the food chain when countries and their public
>consider it too dangerous", said Gale. "To please the biotech
>industry, the European Commission has sacrificed democracy and the
>protection of the environment and public health."
>Greenpeace blocked yesterday from 8 am the installations of the soya
>import and processing company SOYA MILLS SA for 15 hours at Kalamaki
>(Korinth), Greece. Activists, including activists from Germany,
>climbed on a 30-metre high silo and hung a 300 square metre banner
>with the words "Genetic Danger, Stop". SOYA MILLS SA is the second
>biggest soya importer in Greece. The company has repeatedly refused to
>ensure genetically engineered-free supplies. A total of 22 activists
>were arrested, and will appear in court on July 3.
>"As reflected throughout Europe, the Greek public is clearly against
>the use of GE products in their food," Nikos Charalambides of
>Greenpeace Greece. Government and independent scientists are now also
>expressing their concerns about the releases of genetically
>manipulated organisms into the environment, and the risks of these
>releases on human health and the environment (3).
>"Experts from Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, the UK and
>other countries such as Switzerland have raised concerns about
>antibiotic resistance genes present in transgenic crops," said Gale.
>"Will we have to wait for a genetic disaster before the European
>Commission takes real precautionary measures and withdraws its
>authorisation for this genetech maize of Novartis?"
>For further information:
>Louise Gale, Greenpeace EU Advisor: ++32. 2. 280 14 00 Isabelle
>Meister, Greenpeace International: ++41.1.447 41 95 Nikos
>Charalambides, Greenpeace Greece, 0030-94-555515. Photos of the Greek
>action available from Reuters and AP. Also available on request
>chronology of Novartis GE maize authorisation in the EU
>(1) Austria, Greece and Luxembourg objected to the European Commission
>proposal. And Belgium, Denmark, France and Ireland abstained.
>(2) Novartis' transgenic maize contains three alien genes, one
>conferring resistance against the antibiotic ampicillin, one
>conferring tolerance against the herbicide glufosinate, and one
>producing a toxin from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
>which acts like an insecticide.
>(3) There is increasing scientific evidence demonstrating the high
>risk of these transgenic Bt crops triggering the fast development of
>resistant insects undermining the future use of the
>environmentally-friendly, natural Bt formulation. In addition,
>Novartis transgenic maize may well jeopardize the future effectiveness
>of ampicillin treatments of infectious diseases. Existing scientific
>research documents that bacteria in the digestive tract of humans or
>animals is highly likely to incorporate the antibiotic resistance
>gene. Ampicillin is widely used in human therapy; for example, it is
>used in the treatment of pneumonia, bronchitis or diphtheria.
>Genetic Engineering Campaign
>Chausseestr. 131 - 10115 Berlin - Germany
> April 15, 1998
> EU To Approve Sale of Bio-Grains
> Filed at 10:34 a.m. EDT
> By The Associated Press
> BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- The European Union plans to
> approve the sale of four new types of
> genetically-modified grain this week, a spokesman for
> the EU's executive agency said Wednesday.
> Peter Jorgensen said the European Commission plans to
> approve Friday requests to sell gene-modified corn
> developed by U.S.-based Monsanto, Novartis of
> Switzerland and AgrEvo of Germany.
> It also intends to approve the sale of gene-modified
> grapeseed oil by AgrEvo.
> The move had been expected since a panel of EU
> scientists approved such a move in February, followed in
> March by environment officials from the 15 EU nations.
> Environmental groups, including Greenpeace, have
> expressed concern about introducing biofoods on the
> market as have several EU governments, including France,
> Austria and Luxembourg.
> Greenpeace says there is evidence some biofoods are a
> health risk to people and animals because they contain
> genes that increase resistance to antibiotics.
> Separately, EU environment experts rejected a Commission
> order that Austria and Luxembourg end their bans on a
> gene-modified corn that was already approved for sale in
> the EU in 1996.
> That type of corn was developed by Novartis and approved
> by the Commision in December 1996, but Austria and
> Luxembourg banned its sale in 1997.
> EU environment ministers will probably discuss the
> Austrian and Luxembourg bans, which are considered
> illegal by the Commission, at a June 16 meeting in
> Luxembourg, Jorgensen said.
>Businessmen In The News, Business India
>April 16, 1998
>The Associated Press via NewsEdge Corporation : Monsanto India,
>one of the most successful chemical companies in the country (its
>stock is quoting at Rs670 on a price multiple of 16) is diversifying
>into seeds. The company, which is a subsidiary of the $7.5-billion
>American giant Monsanto, is setting up a 50:50 joint venture with
>Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) called Mahyco
>Monsanto Biotech India for producing and marketing insect tolerant
>cotton seeds. ``Both partners have invested Rs1 crore each. We
>expect this insect resistant variety of cotton seed to go down very
>well with farmers in India. We felt that Mahyco's experience in
>marketing seeds would go a long way in making this joint venture a
>success,'' says Raj Ketkar, chief executive of the new joint venture.
>Monsanto has already spent $25 million in setting up a new R &D
>centre at Bangalore. This research centre will contribute towards
>providing intellectual capi- tal to the new joint venture. ICICI's
>experience in mutual funds so far has been disastrous. ICICI-power
>and ICICI- premia, its two funds which between them raised Rs160
>crore from investors a few years ago, have done poorly and are now
>quoting at heavy discounts to their issue price. So it wasn't
>surprising when the corporation sold 55 per cent stake in ICICI-AMC
>to Prudential Corporation of UK, one of the world's largest insurance
>and asset management companies. Renamed prudential ICICI Asset
>Management Limited, the company has a new managing director
>who hopes to clean up the act at both the funds for starters. Says
>-jaX Srinivasan, whTC Classic Threadneedle, ``We are planning to
>restructqru"the funds, especially the Rs110-crore ICICI-Premia by
>reducing the number of scrips in it frKl - blu present 60 to around 35.
>Prudential brings with it the expertise of managing funds worldwide
>and its skills complement tho#e`Ff ICICI. Our focus from now will be
>on income products which individual investors prefer compared to
>equity products.'' Carrier Aircon ha s-
>[Copyright 1998, Associated Press]
>San Francisco Business Times - April 13, 1998
>GeneTrace reaps harvest of Monsanto's seed business
>by Chris Rauber
>GeneTrace Systems Inc., a fast-growing genomics company in the midst of
>moving from Menlo Park to Alameda, has signed a multi-year deal with
>Monsanto Co. that gives it $17.2 million in equity investment and research
>funding up front.
>The agreement involves plant and animal-based genomics research and
>includes options for Monsanto to exclusively license resulting technologies
>for agricultural use.
>"The $17 million is just the first part of it," said George LaMotte, CEO of
>the privately held biotech company. "There are a series of options they
>have the rights to."
>As part of the initial agreement, Monsanto exercised an option to license
>GeneTrace's genotyping methods -- which help determine the genetic makeup
>of an individual species. The St. Louis-based pharmaceutical, agricultural
>and food-ingredient conglomerate intends to use the technology for crops
>such as soybeans and corn. The alliance will enhance Monsanto's seed
>business by providing it with genetic information it can use to improve
>existing products and offer new ones, according to Hendrik Verfaillie,
>GeneTrace, founded in 1994 as a spinoff from SRI International, started
>moving early last month from the SRI site to the Harbor Bay Business Park
>It has about 35 employees, but should approach 65 by early September,
>according to LaMotte, who said most of the company's R&D staff will
>transfer to the new site soon after May 1.
>Several pilot projects with unidentified partners could blossom into
>arrangements similar to the Monsanto alliance. "We're working on several of
>those," LaMotte said.
>© 1998, San Francisco Business Times
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