News

2016-02-11 |

Gene editing is a 'weapon of mass destruction'

The US intelligence chief added gene editing to a list of threats that includes North Korea's nukes and Syria's chemical weapons

The United States' top intelligence official just added gene editing technology to a list of threats that includes North Korea's nukes and Syria's chemical weapons, MIT's Technology Review reported.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday about 2016's US Intelligence Community's Worldwide Threat Assessment.

Genome editing is a technology used to cut and paste DNA inside living cells.

In recent years, a technique known as CRISPR has been widely adopted because it is far easier and more precise than previous methods.

2016-02-11 |

Intensive, corporate agriculture is increasing poverty in Africa

New research indicates that agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa are making things worse, writes Lawrence Woodward. Backed by 'development' aid, big business is forcing modern farming practices on unwilling rural communities. Only the rich benefit, while the poor carry the burden of landlessness and debt.

A new study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) indicates that agricultural policies which governments, international donors and organisations such as the International Monetary Fund claim to be economically successful and alleviating poverty are not working.

In fact they are having large negative impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable people in rural Africa.

2016-02-10 |

Argentine and Brazilian doctors suspect mosquito insecticide as cause of microcephaly

With the proposed connection between the Zika virus and Brazil's outbreak of microcephaly in new born babies looking increasingly tenuous, Latin American doctors are proposing another possible cause: Pyriproxyfen, a pesticide used in Brazil since 2014 to arrest the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water tanks. Might the 'cure' in fact be the poison?

The World Health Organization view that the microcephaly outbreak in Brazil's impoverished northeast is caused by the Zika virus has, so far, received few challenges.

Brazil's Health Minister, Marcelo Castro, has gone so far as to say that he has "100% certainty" that there is a link between Zika and microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with small heads.

2016-02-10 |

Hold Monsanto accountable for devastating impact of PCB pollution

PCBs are taken in via ingestion, inhalation and skin contact, the city points out. PCBs show up in breast milk. Exposure can start very early. PCBs damage the human body in a variety of ways and cause cancer.

The natural and human assault caused by PCBs and other pollutants are devastating. So is the financial tsunami to make even the most basic and belated cleanup attempts. Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes reports Seattle’s share of the entire Duwamish cleanup could run $342 million, not including another $27 million for a water-treatment plant to remove pollutants from only 1.25 percent of the 20,000 acres that drain into the Lower Duwamish.

2016-02-10 |

Zimbabwe Says It Won’t Accept GMO Corn for Drought Relief

Zimbabwe will inspect all corn imported as emergency food aid to check that it’s not genetically modified, agriculture minister Joseph Made told lawmakers Wednesday.

The government remains opposed to GM crop imports and “may later consider such purchases provided it is trucked directly to millers under security escort,” Made said. A ban on genetically modified seed-corn won’t be lifted, he said.

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