posted by Paul Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
UK Daily Telegraph 1st April 1999
National Trust bans GM crops from 700 farms By David Brown, Agriculture Editor
THE National Trust joined calls for a moratorium on the commercial
production of genetically modified crops yesterday.
The trust said it was taking action to stop hundreds of its tenant farmers
growing them. Farmers will need explicit permission to grow GM crops from
now on, it said. The move affects more than 700 producers on 575,000 acres
of National Trust land in England and Wales.
It follows decisions by a string of supermarkets to exclude GM ingredients
from their own-label foods and an announcement on Monday by the Co-op,
Britain's largest farmer, that it would not be taking part in "flawed"
Government trials in which whole fields are given over to GM crops. In a
statement, the trust called for a moratorium on GM crops that could pose a
risk to wildlife and the environment, although it accepted the need for
"small scale" trials to enable the risks to be assessed.
John Harvey, the trust's head of nature conservation, said: "The difficulty
with GM crops is that we do not know the risks. A moratorium on the
commercial growing of these crops is the only sensible way forward, to
allow the risks to be scientifically assessed. It may take one year, it may
take 10. There should be no commercial growing until the scientific
judgment is made."
The trust also said that it was removing all foods labelled as containing
GM ingredients from sale in its 136 tearooms and restaurants and 127 shops,
which sell a range of foods from jams to Christmas puddings.
Here is some news from some hero journalists
Subject: NEWS FROM STEVE & JANE
JUDGE SAYS NO TO FOX REQUEST FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; LANDMARK TRIAL IS NOW
SET TO BEGIN MAY 10
TAMPA (April 2)-After predictions by Fox Television and its lawyers
that the whistleblower case of two former WTVT reporters would never
make it to trial, a Florida judge has cleared with the way for the
landmark trial to begin May 10.
The suit, filed almost exactly a year ago (on April 2) by investigative
reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, alleges they were fired for refusing
orders from WTVT news managers and Fox lawyers who directed them to lie and
distort the facts about a dairy hormone they discovered in Florida's milk
supply. The station has long said there is no basis for the charges by the
Attorney Patricia Anderson, representing Fox Television and it's
network-owned Channel 13 argued in court, that the whistleblower claim
filed by the journalists should be thrown out because it did not meet
certain standards set by Florida law. She cited alleged technical
deficiencies in the suit and claimed it should be dismissed for those
reasons and because she claimed there were no real issues of fact for a
jury to decide.
In his ruling, Circuit Court Judge Robert Bonanno said, "genuine issues of
material fact remain on all the grounds raised by Defendant in their Motion
"As such, this Court is prohibited from entered a summary judgment."
Attorney Thomas McGowan, Anderson's law partner who has also been working
on the case, responded today, "I always defer to the wisdom of the courts."
In praising her own attorneys, Jane Akre said, "John Chamblee did a
magnificent job documenting the legal basis for our claim. We are entirely
confident that he and Steve Wenzel and Matt Fenton will do an equally
superb job presenting the facts to the jury in a few weeks."
In a year since the case was filed, Wilson has personally taken the
depositions of several WTVT and Fox employees. The defendant company and
its lawyers have bitterly argued that his efforts were motivated by a
desire to intimidate the witnesses and disrupt the station's operations.
The judge, and a special legal master assigned to hear pre-trial discovery
disputes, has never agreed that Wilson has acted inappropriately in
deposing top company officials including Fox News
chief Roger Ailes and a host of others.
"So far, we've heard sworn testimony that our editors and Fox lawyers never
found a single misreported fact in any of the 83 scripts we proposed to
broadcast," Wilson said.
"The news director who hired us has testified once Fox took over, there was
little support for the kind of aggressive reporting that sometimes steps on
toes of big, powerful corporations like Monsanto," he continued. (That news
director, Daniel Webster, was subsequently himself
fired by Fox. He is now a news director for CBS in charge of their San
Francisco station's news department.)
"And after launching a personal smear campaign and telling reporters we
walked away from the story because we couldn't get our way, WTVT's news v-p
Phil Metlin has admitted under oath we provided final scripts in accordance
with his direction but he never even looked at them!" Wilson added.
Meanwhile, the defendant has taken only a handful of depositions and never
followed through on its stated intention to depose more than 20 individuals
outside Florida. With the trial set to start in just five weeks, they have
deposed only the plaintiffs, a postal worker, and three Florida dairymen.
Wilson and Akre were hired to produce hard-hitting investigative reports, a
mandate which changed once Fox formally closed on its purchase of the
station in January 1998. Their first report, an expose on the widespread
secret use of Bovine Growth Hormone in Florida, was set to begin February
24, 1997 but was derailed after the hormone maker hired an influential New
York lawyer to pressure Fox.
The journalists say they were ultimately fired for refusing to report
information they knew to be false and misleading and to slant the story in
Monsanto's favor to avoid potential litigation and the loss of advertising
revenue Fox and its associated companies receive.
When the Society of Professional Journalists recognized the reporters with
an Award for Ethics, Fox responded by demanding that the award be rescinded
on the grounds there was no basis for their claims. SPJ declined to do so,
despite a letter-writing campaign which involved at least two WTVT
employees and its vice president of News.
Wilson and Akre were also cited with the Joe Calloway Award for Civic
Courage, awarded by a foundation supported by the family of consumer
activist Ralph Nader.
For more information:
Steve Wilson or Jane Akre (727) 799-7559
Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign,
for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596
Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
contains more information on genetic engineering as well as previous
genetic engineering news items. Subscription fee to genetic engineering
news is $35 for 12 months, payable to "BanGEF" and mailed to the above
address. Or see website for details.
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