Archive for April, 2013


linktv linktv

Published on Apr 30, 2013

As Europe considers expanding cultivation of genetically modified crops, the European movement against GMOs heats up. A campaign film produced by Sourced TV highlights European concerns.

Watch more at http://www.linktv.org/earthfocus.

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growingyourgreens

Published on Apr 27, 2013

John http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ gives you a tour of his front yard garden and talks about weedy vegetables or plants that will re-seed themselves in your garden so you don’t have to replant them. In this episode John will share with you about a dozen crops that have dropped seed and come up on their own in his garden. By growing weedy vegetables it will reduce the amount of work so you can be eating more out of your organic garden and less out of the grocery store.

burqa

Afghan women cover themselves as required by Islamic law. (AP Photo)

April 30, 2013

Afghan women cover themselves as required by Islamic law. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – A U.S. lawmaker, expressing concern about the lives of Afghan women when most U.S. troops leave the country in 2014, said those who want to do so should be allowed to come to the United States:

“I’m really concerned about these women,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told a House Armed Services subcommittee on April 25. “I think everyone on this panel is very concerned about these women…But I think there is something we can do. And that is to create a refugee status for any Afghan woman who wants to leave the country and is seeking asylum in our country.

Prosecutor to Gosnell: ‘Are You Human?’

April 30, 2013
gosnell

The Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic at 3801-05 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. (Grand Jury Report)

(CNSNews.com) – “Are you human?” Assistant District Attorney Ed Cameron asked Kermit Gosnell during closing arguments in the abortionist’s trial on Monday.

Cameron noted that during the six-week trial, “Mr. McMahon (the defense attorney) kept asking the witnesses, are you human?” That question really should be asked of Gosnell, Cameron said, turning to look directly at the defendant: “Are you human?” he asked.

Gosnell stared right back and laughed.

“To med these women up, to stick scissors in babies necks — he’s the one in this case that doesn’t deserve to be called human,” Cameron said.

The trial of Gosnell entered its final phase on Monday, after lengthy closing arguments from defense attorney Jack McMahon and from prosecutor Cameron. Gosnell is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, for allegedly killing babies born alive during abortions by snipping their spinal cords with surgical scissors.

Cameron ended his closing argument with a plea to the jury to reach a guilty verdict. He quoted Steve Massof, an unlicensed medical graduate who worked at Gosnell’s clinic, the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia:

“I felt like a fireman in hell,” Massof testified about the time he spent doing abortions late at night before Gosnell would arrive. “It was raining fetuses.”

“[Gosnell’s] the captain of that hell,” Cameron told the court. “It’s time for us to extinguish the hell he created.”

Cameron asked the jurors to “use their common sense” in determining whether the babies were born alive. Gosnell’s defense spent the morning arguing there was reasonable doubt that the four babies alleged to have been murdered were born alive.

“Why do you think there’s a hole in its head?” Cameron said.  “It was because that it was an added step to make sure that baby was dead.”

Cameron recalled clinic janitor Jim Johnson’s testimony that the clinic’s toilet was constantly clogged up.  “You all know what that’s from, that’s from babies in the toilet,” he said.

“Maybe you’ve been desensitized by this case, but just the thought of using a plunger and having an arm and a leg come up,” Cameron told the jury.  He said Gosnell had no respect for the dead, putting fetal remains in the garbage disposal, the toilet, and the freezer.

Cameron also relayed the testimony of Shanice Manning, who was only 14 or 15 years old when her mother brought her into Gosnell’s clinic for an abortion.  She did not receive the required counseling before an abortion under Pennsylvania law, nor was the 24-hour waiting period applied.

Manning had to go to the hospital after complications, and that’s where the baby was stillborn.

“What she said in the hospital when the baby was stillborn was, ‘Can I see the baby?  Can I hold it?’” Cameron said.

“That is why you have to have counseling,” he said.  “To this day she regrets what happened.”

While still at the clinic, Manning had asked Gosnell what the sex of the baby was.  “Well, if you’re a good girl, maybe I’ll tell you,” Gosnell was quoted as saying.

Read Full Article Here

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Defense Attorney: Prosecution of Gosnell Is ‘Elitist, Racist’

April 29, 2013


gosnell

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with 4 counts of first-degree murder, killing babies reportedly born alive at his abortion office in West Philadelphia, Pa. (AP)

(Warning: Some of the photos in this story are graphic.)

(CNSNews.com) – Defense lawyer Jack McMahon delivered his closing argument on behalf of abortionist Kermit Gosnell on Monday, accusing  prosecutors of “manipulating” the case to engage in an essentially “racist” prosecution of the man charged with four counts of first-degree murder, killing babies born alive during abortions by snipping their spinal cords with surgical scissors.

“Never have I seen the presumption of innocence so trampled on, stomped on,” said McMahon in court today, adding that the Philadelphia district attorney’s office “tried to manipulate everybody” and was pursuing an “elitist, racist prosecution.”

“Dr. Gosnell is not the only one doing abortions in Philadelphia,” McMahon said, “but he was an African American singled out for prosecution.”

“We know why he was targeted,” he said.  “If you can’t see that reality, you’re living in some sort of la-la land.”

Speaking for nearly two hours before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, McMahon painted Gosnell as a doctor who cared for his community “providing a service” to vulnerable young girls.

Gosnell “provided a service to the community,” where people would “pay what they could” and often give paper IOU’s, McMahon said.

baby boy b

Baby Boy B, with slit neck, discovered by police at the abortion office of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia, Pa. (Photo: Grand Jury Report.)

“He knew what he was doing, he was giving this community health care they might not have otherwise had,” he said.

“He never turned away a desperate, troubled young lady because they didn’t have enough money,” McMahon said.

He talked about 13-  and 14-year-old “desperate young girls.”

“And who comes to help them?” McMahon asked.  “Dr. Gosnell.”

“He gave them a solution to their problem,” he said.  “They went in for a service and Dr. Gosnell got it done.”

Gosnell, 72, is facing four counts of first-degree murder for the killing of babies born alive after abortions, and a third-degree murder charge in the anesthesia-overdose death of a mother, Karnamaya Mongar, at his clinic the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia.

He is also charged with infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.

The grand jury report presented in the case asserted that Gosnell killed “hundreds” of babies over the years, by cutting their spinal cords with scissors after they survived late-term abortions.

 

Read Full Article Here

Richters Herbs Richters Herbs

Published on Feb 25, 2013

Permaculture is a system of ecological design that strives to emulate natural ecosystems so that our gardens and farms become self-sustaining, healthy and bountiful. It seeks to create gardens and landscapes that arrange all the elements of the design in ways that maximize the synergy of the design while minimizing the need for human inputs such as labour, fertilizer and pesticides. Trees and idea of forest gardening play a big part. Increasingly the principles of permaculture are being adapted for homes, even in the cities and suburbs. Travis Philp, a trained environmental and eco management technician, is a resident of the Greenshire Eco Farm where he manages the permaculture garden beds and looks after crop planting, maintenance, harvest and the weekly filling of food boxes. He will show you how to incorporate the principles of permaculture around your home or farm.
(Hugelkultur images courtesy Paul Wheaton, http://richsoil.com/hugelkultur.)

 

Myk Rushton

Uploaded on May 7, 2011

This is the full video of the no dig garden construction workshop from 2009 that the previous quick video was made from. The video features Bob Jones and Myk Rushton

You do not have to follow the video specifically, you can use different materials – just follow the general pattern of construction

Visit the New Zealand no dig garden website http://www.no-dig-gardening.org or the http://www.permaculture.org.nz if you wish to further discuss this or other techniques for a resilient future

Reblogged from : Piazza della Carina

A documentary made by the team of Russia 24 channel correspondents in Syria.

To activate the subtitles click on the icon CC at the bottom right of the screen

A year after chaos, Seattle police say they are ready for May Day

Seattle Times staff reporter

One year after a May Day demonstration erupted in vandalism and caught Seattle police ill-prepared, the Police Department says it has learned from its mistakes and is ready to respond to problems when marchers return to the streets for Wednesday’s events.

Capt. Chris Fowler, who has been assigned to oversee this year’s planning, said Monday he was given a clear directive from the police brass about a month ago: Allow peaceful marchers to exercise their free-speech rights but be prepared to arrest people who commit crimes against people or property.

That message got muddled last year, when planning didn’t begin until a week before May Day and officers were sporadically deployed, with conflicting messages regarding when they could use force to stop violence.

As a result, police found themselves undermanned when dozens of violent protesters, including black-clad anarchists, broke away from a midday march, smashing windows at the William Kenzo Nakamura U.S. Courthouse, businesses and cars in the downtown core.

Assistant Chief Mike Sanford became a lightning rod for some critics when he bolted on his own in civilian clothing to make an arrest — forcing officers to come to his rescue and use force when he tripped and found himself surrounded by hostile protesters.

While no one was hurt, the business-oriented Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), upset at the police response, called for a thorough review.

The department responded with two reviews, one internal and another by a former Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief, but they were only released April 2 after delays.

This year, police are preparing for a 1:30 p.m. rally at Judkins Park in South Seattle, followed by a march to the downtown Henry M. Jackson Federal Building beginning at 3:30 p.m.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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OLYMPIA — The countdown to May Day is on.

Local police are hoping for the best, and planning for the worst.

CAPITOL photoAt a small coffee shop on 5th and Water in downtown Olympia, protesters, some who consider themselves anarchists, gathered for a strategy session… May Day planning, but they didn’t let the media in and declined to send somebody out to talk with us.

We did talk with Mark McElroy across the street.

He’s not a protester but he supports their right to do so.

“I think it’s important for people to have the right to protest.  That’s one of the cornerstones of American democracy is protest so I think that’s a valuable component of being an American citizen,” Mark McElroy said.

Valuable component as long as it doesn’t go too far.

Police fear the violence that erupted in Seattle last year.

“Peaceful protests are fine. Our concern is a criminal element getting mixed up in legitimate protests and causing trouble and for those folks we want them to know that won’t be tolerated,” Olympia Police department spokesperson Laura Wohl said.

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I  have gone  through the Oil Sands Fact   Check site and  honestly  all I  can  find is boasting as  to  the boon in the  US  economy, jobs and the fact that  activists  are  using the  pipeline and  tar sands oil as a   scapegoat. Not once  in all the  supposed  facts they  have there do they  address the  real concerns, simply   twisting  the  facts to their advantage.  Painting themselves  as  responsible entities.  Never  once addressing that this substance  is way  more dangerous  than oil to  the  environment and  the  water, especially.  The tap dance over  the  fact by  stating that   tar  sands  oil has  been  transported into the US for decades. 

What they  fail to miss is  this:  Instead  of  reporting  the  factual analysis of the  toxic substances that this tar sand emits they  skirt  over the  fact  claiming their emissions testing results.  Now  please correct  me if I  am  wrong , but the  major concern  of environmentalists  and activist is  not the emissions once it is  in the  car.  In  fact the  concern is of the  damage  the  unrefined substance will do  to the  environment  and the  water shed if a spill were to take  place.  As we can  see in  Arkansas the substance is so toxic that   the  residents  are  already  suffering  from it’s effects .

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They  call themselves  responsible entities, so  then my   question is this :  

what  is  Exxon doing  to  make this right? 

Exxon  has  stated  that the   water   quality was  within  safe  limits. 

So what  exactly  does that  mean ? 

Are  we to  accept  the  status  quo with  regards to safety limits just  as  we  are  to  accept that  GMO’s are  good for us  even  though there   are more and more opponents  coming out  stating  that   it is  in fact  detrimental to human  health?

What about  the air quality?  Or does  that not  matter? 

Children are   getting  sick.  People are  becoming  ill due to the  toxic  conditions.

Are we to believe  this is acceptable ?

Or will this also be  kept from the  people and the sick treated like insignificant data as  the  people of the  gulf  were?

Good health  once it has been compromised cannot be replaced. 

Will your  tar sands oil paycheck take care  of it?

There  is no amount of compensation that will replace good health.  Nor erase catastrophic  illness.

Or does it  not  matter  because  it isn’t your family?

I am sorry to break it to you  , but  unless  you  have a crystal ball that tells  you otherwise .  It could  very well be  you  and  your  family that suffers  next!  Do not  delude  yourself  by  detaching from the reality  of things entertaining the belief that  it  won’t happen to you .  I am sure the  people  of Mayflower , Arkansas never  imagined they would now  be mired  in this  poison.  Their children getting sick and  their  homes surrounded, helpless waiting  for some  heartless  oil company to decide  whether the clean up is worth the expense.  Not the  lives  of the people affected by their poison, but their bottomline.

Don’t kid yourself!

With  the   lack of responsibility  and  lack of corrective  action  taken  by   oil companies in  Africa.  With  leaking pipelines and  toxic sludge where lakes had once been.  Dead  soil where crops were once  grown. 

How can  anyone  in their  right  mind take the  word of these companies as to their integrity and responsibility? 

We  have  seen  what  BP did  in the  Gulf Of Mexico.

Do you  truly  consider what  was done in the  gulf an adequate job  of cleaning up the mess  made by their incompetence  and lust  for profits? 

The sea life  dying  as  a result and scientists complaining  that they  have  been  legally gagged  from making their findings available to the  public. 

Restrained by  whom? 

The oil companies?

No restrained by the  government   that  is supposed to  be looking  out  for our   benefit.  Instead  they are  protecting the Oil Companies interests. 

Is this the kind of safety  measure   you  want?  

The  reins handed over to a company  who’s  haste  for fattening up their bottom line poisons our earth , our  air and our water so  that they  can  police themselves? 

How many  journalists  were   kept away  from  the  Gulf  to keep them from reporting  what they   saw  there?

How many  reporters  were  kept from Mayflower, Arkansas for the  same reason?   

Everyone is crowing about  the jobs the  tar  sands oil will bring to the  US.

  Are  you truly  understanding  what  you are   asking  for? 

Do you  even understand that   Mayflower  Arkansas could be anywhere   in the heartland? 

Do  you  realize  what   would happen if  that   pipeline leaked into the  water  shed.?

It  would not  be someone else’s problem , it  would be  everyone’s problem . You are looking for  jobs, yes  we  understand.  We  all live  here in the   States and we are all going  through  the  same hard  times.  We  all need to  work and  we all  need  to  pay  our  bills. 

Where  do  we   draw the line  at  what  is admissible and what  is  over the  not? 

There  is only  one   Earth and when  she is   completely  trashed   where  will you  go ? 

Will your  job with  tars sands oil help you  bring  her  back ? 

Will you  be  able to remove  the  horrible toxins  deposited by   your  tars  sands  oil from the  earth,the rivers, the  water?

Are  you  not paying attention to what  is  happening around  you?

I want  you  to  understand one very  important thing.  The responsibility   for the  destruction of  our environment  is not just  on the  oil companies.  It is  on  everyone of  you   who  don’t  give it  a second thought.  On  everyone of you that  takes  clean  air ,and water  for  granted.  On everyone of you that  places  a  job  over  the  well  being  of  your  children and your fellow  American’s children.  This is not a  game this is a very   hazardous  situation  that  has   grave   consequences and until all of  you realize  that , we  are  lost.

Money  has become the  denominating factor in our lives. 

What  happened to principal , responsibility and honor.

What  happened to doing  what is  right ?

  Where is  the  concern for our   children’s well being?

   I  see  my  fellow citizens on a collision course with destruction,  hell bent on  ignoring  the  warning   signs.  Their eyes on the prize of money and material things. 

One wonders how much that  money  and those materials possessions  will help when  you  can  no longer   give  your   child a cup of clean , safe  water to  drink?

 

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Excerpts  taken  from  Oils Sands  Fact Check

Top 5 Things You Should Know About Transporting Oil Sands Crude

On March 29, an oil pipeline running through Mayflower, Arkansas experienced a leak that resulted in the evacuation of 22 homes and immediate clean up efforts from the pipeline’s operator, ExxonMobil. According to reports, the Pegasus line was carrying Wabasca Heavy crude oil – a blend of crude produced in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta.

Of course, in the minds of oil sands opponents, all pipelines are made alike and are uniformly threatened by oil sands crudes. In fact, following the news of the incident, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) stated:

“This latest pipeline incident is a troubling reminder that oil companies still have not proven that they can safely transport Canadian tar sands oil across the United States without creating risks to our citizens and our environment.”

We have the top five reasons why that’s not the case.

1)     Oil sands crudes have been transported safely in the U.S. for more than 40 years. Accident reports from the Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) from 2002 through mid-2012 show zero internal corrosion-related releases from pipelines carrying diluted bitumen.

 2)     Oil sands crudes are not more corrosive than other crude oils. In a 2011 report, Canadian research group Alberta Innovates found that acid and sulfur compounds found in oil sands crudes “are too stable to be corrosive and some may even decrease corrosion.” Recent testing and studies by ASTM International and Penspen support this conclusion.

 3)     Oil sands crudes are transported at comparable pipeline pressures as other heavy crude oils. All U.S. pipelines must operate under Maximum Operating Pressure limitations administered by PHMSA. In other words, pipelines are constructed to specifications that ensure they can handle the intended operating pressure and the type of liquid that flows through them.

 4)     Oil sands crudes are not heated for transportation in pipelines above the temperature of other crude oils. The range of temperatures for all crude oils from Canada is 40-135 degrees Fahrenheit. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code for Pipeline Transportation Systems for Liquid Hydrocarbons and Other Liquids does not consider pipeline temperatures to be elevated unless they exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

5)     Keystone XL would “have a degree of safety over any other.” As mentioned in point #3, pipelines must meet certain specifications before transporting any type of crude, no matter if it’s heavy or light. Keystone XL, which will also carry heavy oil from Alberta, is going above and beyond those requirements by adopting 57 extra safety measures, leading the State Department to declare that the project would “have a degree of safety over any other.”

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I challenge  you to watch this  video and  tell me  a  paycheck is worth all this destruction and misery! 

           …………………………….The True Cost Of Oil…………………………………

             If  you  have a  conscience you  would have  to admit  it  is not  worth it.                    Unless this is how you  want  to see  America  when they are done

                                                                             with   her

 photo Nowenteringamericavulturesign_zps13093b1f.jpg
~Desert Rose~

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Citizen group sees ‘toxic’ oil soup in Arkansas

UPI
Published: April 30, 2013 at 7:34 AM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 30 (UPI) — There’s been a “toxic soup” hanging over residents in Mayflower, Ark., as a result of an Exxon Mobil oil pipeline accident, a citizen’s group said.

Exxon said about 5,000 barrels of oil was released last month from a 22-foot rupture on its Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower. The pipeline, built in the 1940s, was carrying a diluted form of Canadian crude oil, dubbed oil sands, at the time of the spill.

Air samples taken March 30, the day after the incident, indicated high levels of compounds considered harmful to human health. The samples were conducted by a student activist trained by the Faulkner County (Ark.) Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor.

“Total toxic hydrocarbons were detected at more than 88,000 parts per billion in the ambient air and present a complex airborne mixture or soup of toxic chemicals that residents may have been exposed to from the Mayflower tar sands bitumen spill,” Neil Carman, a representative from the Texas chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

Exxon admitted to finding levels of benzene and other harmful chemicals in early samples taken at Mayflower. It said air and water quality was within safe limits in the weeks following the spill, however.

The report, published by the activist groups, said residents are showing signs of exposure to chemicals ranging from benzene, a carcinogen, to toluene, a central nervous system depressant, more than four weeks after the spill.

There was no response from Exxon on the report.

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Study Reveals 30 Toxic Chemicals at High Levels at Exxon Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill Site

An independent study co-published by the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor reveals that, in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of diluted bitumen (dilbit) into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

Roughly four weeks after the spill took place, many basic details are still unknown to the public, according to recent reporting by InsideClimate News. Questions include what exactly caused the spill, how big was the spill exactly, and how long did it take for emergency responders to react to the spill, to name a few.

But one thing is certain according to the new study: For the residents of Mayflower, quality of life has been changed forever.

The chemicals found in the samples include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, n-hexane, and xylenes. Breathing in both ethylbenzene and benzene can cause cancer and reproductive effects, while breathing in n-hexane can damage the nervous system and usher in numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue.

All of these chemicals are hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), “regulated under the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act amendments as the most toxic of all known airborne chemicals,” as explained in the press release summarzing the study.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Last-ditch lobbying to sway vote in Brussels to halt use of killer nerve agents

Beekeepers report higher loss rates In bee population

Bees are vital for pollination, and scientific studies have linked pesticides to huge losses in their numbers. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty

Europe is on the brink of a landmark ban on the world’s most widely used insecticides, which have increasingly been linked to serious declines in bee numbers. Despite intense secret lobbying by British ministers and chemical companies against the ban, revealed in documents obtained by the Observer, a vote in Brussels on Monday is expected to lead to the suspension of the nerve agents.

Bees and other insects are vital for global food production as they pollinate three-quarters of all crops. The plummeting numbers of pollinators in recent years has been blamed on disease, loss of habitat and, increasingly, the near ubiquitous use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

The prospect of a ban has prompted a fierce behind-the-scenes campaign. In a letter released to the Observer under freedom of information rules, the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, told the chemicals company Syngenta last week that he was “extremely disappointed” by the European commission‘s proposed ban. He said that “the UK has been very active” in opposing it and “our efforts will continue and intensify in the coming days”.

Publicly, ministers have expressed concern for bees, with David Cameron saying: “If we do not look after our bee populations, very serious consequences will follow.”

The chemical companies, which make billions from the products, have also lobbied hard, with Syngenta even threatening to sue individual European Union officials involved in publishing a report that found the pesticides posed an unacceptable risk to bees, according to documents seen by the Observer. The report, from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), led the commission to propose a two-year ban on three neonicotinoids. “EFSA has provided a strong, substantive and scientific case for the suspension,” a commission spokesman said.

A series of high-profile scientific studies has linked neonicotinoids to huge losses in the number of queens produced and big increases in “disappeared” bees – those that fail to return from foraging trips. Pesticide manufacturers and UK ministers have argued that the science is inconclusive and that a ban would harm food production, but conservationists say harm stemming from dying pollinators is even greater.

“It’s a landmark vote,” said Joan Walley MP, chairwoman of parliament’s green watchdog, the environmental audit committee, whose recent report on pollinators condemned the government’s “extraordinary complacency”. Walley said: “You have to have scientific evidence, but you also have to have the precautionary principle – that’s the heart of this debate.”

A ban has been supported by petitions signed by millions of people and Paterson has received 80,000 emails, an influx that he described as a “cyber-attack“. “The impact of neonicotinoids on the massive demise of our bees is clear, yet Paterson seems unable to escape the haze of sloppy science and lobbying by powerful pesticide giants,” said Iain Keith of the campaign group Avaaz. “Seventy per cent of British people want these poisons banned. Paterson must reconsider or send the bees to chemical Armageddon.” Andrew Pendleton of Friends of the Earth said a ban would be “a historic moment in the fight to save our bees”.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “As the proposal currently stands we could not support an outright ban. We have always been clear that a healthy bee population is our top priority, that’s why decisions need to be taken using the best possible scientific evidence and we want to work with the commission to achieve this. Any action taken must be proportionate and not have any unforeseen knock-on effects.”

“This plan is motivated by a quite understandable desire to save the beleaguered bee and concern about a serious decline in other important pollinator species,” said the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, “but it is based on a misreading of the currently available evidence.” He said the EC plan was a serious “mistake”.

Julian Little, a spokesman for Bayer Cropscience, said: “Call me an optimist, but I still believe the commission will see sense. There is so much field evidence to demonstrate safe use [and] an increasing number of member states who reject the apparent drive towards museum agriculture in the European Union.” However, Bulgaria is the only nation known to have changed its voting intention and it will reverse its opposition.

Read Full Article Here

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Bee-harming pesticides banned in Europe

EU member states vote ushers in continent-wide suspension of neonicotinoid pesticides

A bee collects pollen from a sunflower in Utrecht

A bee collects pollen from a sunflower in Utrecht, the Netherlands. EU states have voted in favour of a proposal to restrict the use of pesticides linked to serious harm in bees. Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters

Europe will enforce the world’s first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides alleged to cause serious harm to bees, after a European commission vote on Monday.

The suspension is a landmark victory for millions of environmental campaigners, backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), concerned about a dramatic decline in the bee population. The vote also represents a serious setback for the chemical producers who make billions each year from the products and also UK ministers, who voted against the ban. Both had argued the ban would harm food production.

Although the vote by the 27 EU member states on whether to suspend the insect nerve agents was supported by 15 nations, but did not reach the required majority under voting rules. The hung vote hands the final decision to the European commission, which will implement the ban.

Tonio Borg, health and consumer commissioner, said: “Our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the EFSA, [so] the European commission will go ahead with its plan in coming weeks.”

Friends of the Earth‘s head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said: “This decision is a significant victory for common sense and our beleaguered bee populations. Restricting the use of these pesticides could be an historic milestone on the road to recovery for these crucial pollinators.”

The UK, which abstained in a previous vote, was heavily criticised for switching to a “no” vote on Monday.

Joan Walley MP, chair of parliament’s green watchdog, the environmental audit committee, whose investigation had backed a ban and accused ministers of “extraordinary complacency”, said the vote was a real step in the right direction, but added: “A full Commons debate where ministers can be held to account is more pressing than ever.”

Greenpeace‘s chief scientist, Doug Parr, said: “By not supporting the ban, environment secretary, Owen Paterson, has exposed the UK government as being in the pocket of big chemical companies and the industrial farming lobby.”

On Sunday, the Observer revealed the intense secret lobbying by Paterson and Syngenta.

Read Full Article Here

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