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France bans the sale of glyphosate

(NaturalNews) France is the latest country to ban the private sale of Monsanto‘s favorite carcinogen – glyphosate. France has been in the alternative news quite a bit lately, asking the makers of Nutella to stop using palm oil, insisting all new rooftops be covered in solar panels or plants, and mandating the donation of all supermarket food waste. This new move by their Ecology Minister is the latest result of their forward thinking.

The French aren’t the only people around the world waking up to the effects of Roundup. Governments are now more likely to look for independent research to explain the uptick in the rates of diseases like cancer. Monsanto continues to bleat about the safety of glyphosates and their inability to harm humans, claiming that “the dose makes the poison.” With the levels of glyphosates on the rise in our food, our soil, our air, and water, at what magic point does the saturation of our environment turn from harmful to poison? Are we willing to wait until that switch has been flipped with no hope of going back?

The List of Governments Waking Up Keeps Growing

The fight against GMOs and Monsanto has made waves the world over, and as the United States deals with a food system where 80 percent of products now likely contain GMOs, Europe continues their crackdown against the damage caused by Monsanto and all of their products. While most of the focus has been on Monsanto crops, the tremendously influential study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer has caused many to consider banning all of their products. The Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka preceded France in banning over the counter sales of Roundup. It is worth noting that Bermuda and Sri Lanka have prohibited the use of glyphosates in all applications, including commercial ones, unlike the Dutch and the French.

Monsanto Maintains the Same Response as Always

It’s business as usual for the PR department of Monsanto, as they continue to refine their denial skills. Glyphosate was introduced as Roundup in the 1970s, and in that time it has expanded to become the most produced weed killer is the world. As Monsanto is a company willing to throw their financial weight around, it’s been easy for government institutions to look the other way, and it was easy to keep the public in the dark before the Internet. In 1985, the Environmental Protection Agency listed glyphosate as a possible carcinogen. Six years later the memo had been changed, despite several scientists supporting the original classification. With it officially listed as a 2A carcinogen, it’s become more difficult to accept Monsanto’s manipulation in the face of growing public outrage.

Monsanto’s variations on the theme that “glyphosate is non-toxic” are endless. They frequently argue that studies that find any fault with their products ignore important information. Some statements have referred to Roundup as low risk to human health, but that has been the extent of any admission of guilt.

It’s time to acknowledge that Monsanto is an irresponsible corporation with enough money, power, and manipulation to sway government agencies. Nothing will change until the public steps up and says, “Enough!” The tipping point is near – that point at which our planet is too saturated with environmental disruptors. Groups like Occupy Monsanto and March Against Monsanto are great place to start if we are ready to step up and heal our environment.

It is also important to address personal exposure to Monsanto’s toxic products. See how to detoxify from GMOs, and check out the first two sources for more on GMOs and your health.

English: Glyphosate 3D balls.
English: Glyphosate 3D balls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shark Found living Inside A Volcano in the Solomon Islands

shark found living inside a volcano

Ocean engineer Brennan Phillips made a discovery in an underwater volcano in the Solomon Islands. The camera’s found footage of three species scalloped hammerhead shark, the silky shark and the sixgill stingray.

The camera was able to examine inside the activity of the volcano, and provided footage life. The most recent eruption occurred in January 2014.

The camera was lowered into acidic water and travelled 20 metres (66 Feet) below the surface and landed inside the crater at 45 metres (147 feet). These species are living in a place where they could die at anytime.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is ongoing

Andrew R. Marks

The 5th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster and the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the two most catastrophic nuclear accidents in history, both occurred recently. Images of Chernobyl are replete with the international sign of radioactive contamination (a circle with three broad spokes radiating outward in a yellow sign). In contrast, ongoing decontamination efforts at Fukushima lack international warnings about radioactivity. Decontamination workers at Fukushima appear to be poorly protected against radiation. It is almost as if the effort is to make the Fukushima problem disappear. A more useful response would be to openly acknowledge the monumental problems inherent in managing a nuclear plant disaster. Lessons from Chernobyl are the best predictors of what the Fukushima region of Japan is coping with in terms of health and environmental problems following a nuclear catastrophe.

Five years after a tsunami caused the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, cleanup of radioactive contamination is ongoing and a formerly vibrant farming region lays largely fallow. A recent visit to northeast Japan revealed wholly unexpected aspects of the impact of the meltdown of three nuclear reactors. The area devastated by the nuclear accident is easily accessed by a two-hour train ride from Tokyo to the city of Fukushima. It is then possible to rent a car and drive to within 18 kM of the reactors, which are still in meltdown.

On the train, digital banners in Japanese and English encourage passengers to visit the beautiful cherry trees in the Fukushima district. In the rental car agency, glossy pamphlets exclaim the beauty of the region and feature the brilliant pink blossoms. On a recent April afternoon, the cherry blossoms were indeed spectacular. The roads deep into the region affected by the radioactive plume that engulfed the area in March of 2011 are clearly marked and readily accessible in a car rented at the Fukushima rail station. My Japanese-speaking colleague translated the rental agency’s map as indicating an “area not to return to,” which we carefully avoided.

Following route 114 traveling east toward the coast, progressively larger piles of large black plastic bags filled with dirt appeared on the roadside. At first, there were piles of several hundred such bags, each approximately five feet wide by five feet in height, methodically stacked one upon the other. Of note, similar bags appear to be used elsewhere in Japan to hold debris at construction and yard cleaning sites. Each bag was numbered with a white marker.

Approaching the eastern coast of Japan, the piles of bags on the roadside were more frequent and larger and larger and larger. As route 114 progresses toward the exclusion zone indicated on the car rental agency’s map, the piles of plastic bags filled with dirt reach unimaginable dimensions. Numbered in the many thousands, they eventually fill entire valleys that recede off into the horizon. In some instances, the piles of black plastic bags are covered with blue tarps with pipes inserted into their tops, presumably to provide ventilation.

Roadside radiation monitoring stations are placed near now abandoned homes, many of which are still decorated with plantings of flowers and the blossoming cherry trees that are found in the yards of most homes in this region. The readings on the radiation monitors ranged from 0.2115 to 1.115 microsieverts per hour, a measure of the relative risks imparted to biological tissues by ionizing radiation. One microsievert per hour is equivalent to four airport security screenings per hour and is almost twice the annual limit for occupational whole-body radiation dose limits established by the nuclear regulatory commission. One sievert total exposure causes a 5.5% risk of cancer (1).

To understand the health risks associated with ongoing radiation contamination and cleanup in the Fukushima region, the best comparator is Chernobyl. Two of the most important public health issues related to both the Chernobyl and the Fukushima disasters are thyroid cancers and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Assessing the effects of these nuclear accidents on the risk of thyroid cancer is confounded by the fact that the mere collection of data required to make the diagnosis (e.g., thyroid scans and ultrasounds) necessitates extranormal surveillance. Thus, true control populations are not available. Nevertheless, there have been reports of increased rates of thyroid cancer following the Chernobyl nuclear accident (2), and extrapolation from that incident to Fukushima is reasonable but as-yet unproven. The incidence of PTSD is understandably quite high following nuclear accidents (3). There are no controlled experimental data available to assess the ongoing risks of chronic low-level radiation now present throughout the Fukushima region. Thus, it is imperative that epidemiological data are collected as thoroughly as possible to provide insight concerning the risks of long-term low-level environmental radiation. Similarly, it is imperative that data are collected concerning the spread of radioactivity from the nuclear plant disaster via water (e.g., streams running through the region should be sampled regularly) and via animals (in particular birds should be banded and monitored to determine how they may be vectors for spreading radioactivity in seeds and other forms throughout Japan).

Just outside the town of Iitate, brilliant pink flags, which are the same color used for the advertisements designed to attract tourists to view the cherry blossoms in the region, flap in the breeze, announcing (only in Japanese) “radioactivity removal.” At one particularly large site near the town of Iitate, a constant stream of large trucks with entirely open containers was streaming into an excavation site located at a large mountain of brown dirt. Huge shovels were digging dirt and placing it onto conveyer belts pouring the dirt into the open trucks, which were leaving the site heading south. The men and women handling this contaminated dirt were wearing outfits similar to construction workers observed in other regions of Japan, including helmets, masks, gloves, and overalls (Figure 1). Over an approximately 5-hour period of driving through the region, the only police observed were at the turn around marking the edge of the restricted zone. No military presence was observed. On several occasions, workers were seen handling the plastic bags of radioactively contaminated dirt without gloves.

During the entire afternoon of driving through the region not a single sign warning of the potential dangers of radioactive contamination was observed in any language other than Japanese. There was no security at most of the contaminated sites, and thousands of plastic bags of contaminated dirt were piled high in areas without any supervision or even a fence to prevent access from the public roadway. Birds flew all through the area, presumably transporting radioactive seeds and leaving contaminated droppings throughout Japan.

It is estimated that over 100,000 individuals have been displaced from their homes due to the reactor meltdown (4). Some have been relocated to far away cities, including Tokyo. During my visit, a group of five elderly women arrived on the same train as we did and were escorted onto a waiting bus to be driven to see the cherry blossoms decorating the village they used to live in. Other displaced former residents of now unlivable villages are perhaps less fortunate and have been relocated to one of the numerous “temporary” dwellings dotting the region indicated by convenient roadside signs. Many of these were immediately adjacent to radioactivity detectors indicating levels of at least 1 microsievert per hour.

Ironically, during my visit to Fukushima on April 14, 2016, an earthquake rocked the Kumamoto region of Japan, ultimately causing at least 42 deaths and displacing thousands. This region contains the only working nuclear reactor remaining in Japan. Too far away to be felt in Fukushima, it was nevertheless a harsh reminder of the continued risk for further damage to the reactors already in meltdown.

The continued high level of radioactivity removal efforts in the Fukushima region (entire hill sides have been denuded of surface soil) indicate that the Japanese government knows the health threat caused by the contamination remains. The lack of security, the failure to provide any of the internationally accepted protective warnings against radioactivity contamination (e.g., the universal three-armed black and yellow sign warning of radioactivity), and the absence of any warning signs for non-Japanese-speaking individuals, despite the active advertising campaign to attract tourists to view the cherry blossoms on this beautiful region of Japan, is disturbing. The possibility that individuals could access enormous amounts of radioactively contaminated dirt and transport it to a sensitive area in Japan or elsewhere is frightening.

Credit:

http://www.jci.org/articles/view/88434#B2

Chernobyl – 30 Years After – April 26 2016

Gordon Edwards is interviewed on the 30th anniversary of the event that the IAEA has called “the worst industrial disaster on record”: the explosion, fire and core meltdown at Chernobyl reactor unit 4 in the Ukraine near the border with Belarus. Canada AM.

 

 

Wife stages her own funeral

By: Sarah Kaplan

Noela Rukundo sat in a car outside her home, watching as the last few mourners filed out. They were leaving a funeral — her funeral.

Finally, she spotted the man she’d been waiting for. She stepped out of her car, and her husband put his hands on his head in horror.

“Is it my eyes?” she recalled him saying. “Is it a ghost?”

“Surprise! I’m still alive!” she replied.

Far from being elated, the man looked terrified. Five days ago, he had ordered a team of hit men to kill Rukundo, his partner of 10 years. And they did — well, they told him they did. They even got him to pay an extra few thousand dollars for carrying out the crime.

Now here was his wife, standing before him. In an interview with the BBC Thursday, Rukundo recalled how he touched her shoulder to find it unnervingly solid. He jumped. Then he started screaming.

“I’m sorry for everything,” he wailed.

But it was far too late for apologies; Rukundo called the police. The husband, Balenga Kalala, ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison for incitement to murder, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC).

The happy ending — or, as happy as can be expected to a saga in which a man tries to have his wife killed — was made possible by three unusually principled hit men, a helpful pastor and one incredibly gutsy woman: Rukundo herself.

Here is how she pulled it off.

Rukundo’s ordeal began almost exactly a year ago, when she flew from her home in Melbourne with her husband, Kalala, to attend a funeral in her native Burundi. Her stepmother had died and the service left her saddened and stressed. She retreated to her hotel room in Bujumbura, the capital, early in the evening; despondent after the events of the day, she lay down in bed. Then her husband called.

“He told me to go outside for fresh air,” she told the BBC.

But the minute Rukundo stepped out of her hotel, a man charged forward, pointing a gun right at her.

“Don’t scream,” she recalled him saying. “If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They’re going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead.”

Rukundo, terrified, did as she was told. She was ushered into a car and blindfolded so she couldn’t see where she was being taken. After 30 or 40 minutes, the car came to a stop, and Rukundo was pushed into a building and tied to a chair.

She could hear male voices, she told the ABC. One asked her, “You woman, what did you do for this man to pay us to kill you?”

“What are you talking about?” Rukundo demanded.

“Balenga sent us to kill you.”

They were lying. She told them so. And they laughed.

“You’re a fool,” they told her.

There was the sound of a dial tone, and a male voice coming through a speakerphone. It was her husband’s voice.

“Kill her,” he said.

And Rukundo fainted.

Rukundo had met her husband 11 years earlier, right after she arrived in Australia from Burundi, according to the BBC. He was a recent refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and they had the same social worker at the resettlement agency that helped them get on their feet. Since Kalala already knew English, their social worker often recruited him to translate for Rukundo, who spoke Swahili.

They fell in love, moved in together in the Melbourne suburb of Kings Park, and had three children (Rukundo also had five kids from a previous relationship). She learned more about her husband’s past — he had fled a rebel army that had ransacked his village, killing his wife and young son. She also learned more about his character.

“I knew he was a violent man,” Rukundo told the BBC. “But I didn’t believe he can kill me.”

But, it appeared, he could.

Rukundo came to in the strange building somewhere near Bujumbura. The kidnappers were still there, she told the ABC.

They weren’t going to kill her, the men then explained — they didn’t believe in killing women, and they knew her brother. But they would keep her husband’s money and tell him that she was dead. After two days, they set her free on the side of a road, but not before giving her a mobile phone, recordings of their phone conversations with Kalala, and receipts for the $7,000 in Australian dollars they allegedly received in payment, according to Australia’s The Age.

“We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened,” Rukundo said she was told before the gang members drove away.

Shaken, but alive and doggedly determined, Rukundo began plotting her next move. She sought help from the Kenyan and Belgian embassies to return to Australia, according to The Age. Then she called the pastor of her church in Melbourne, she told the BBC, and explained to him what had happened. Without alerting Kalala, the pastor helped her get back home to her neighbourhood near Melbourne.

Meanwhile, her husband had told everyone she had died in a tragic accident and the entire community mourned her at her funeral at the family home. On the night of Feb. 22, 2015, just as the widower Kalala waved goodbye to neighbours who had come to comfort him, Rukundo approached him, the very man whose voice she’d heard over the phone five days earlier, ordering that she be killed.

“I felt like somebody who had risen again,” she told the BBC.

Though Kalala initially denied all involvement, Rukundo got him to confess to the crime during a phone conversation that was secretly recorded by police, according to The Age.

“Sometimes Devil can come into someone, to do something, but after they do it they start thinking, ‘Why I did that thing?’ later,” he said, as he begged her to forgive him.

Kalala eventually pleaded guilty to the scheme. He was sentenced to nine years in prison by a judge in Melbourne.

“Had Ms Rukundo’s kidnappers completed the job, eight children would have lost their mother,” Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said, according to the ABC. “It was premeditated and motivated by unfounded jealousy, anger and a desire to punish Ms. Rukundo.”

Rukundo said that Kalala tried to kill her because he thought she was going to leave him for another man — an accusation she denies.

But her trials are not yet over. Rukundo told the ABC she’s gotten backlash from Melbourne’s Congolese community for reporting Kalala to the police. Someone left threatening messages for her, and she returned home one day to find her back door broken. She now has eight children to raise alone, and has asked the Department of Human Services to help her find a new place to live.

And lying in bed at night, Kalala’s voice still comes to her: “Kill her, kill her,” she told the BBC. “Every night, I see what was happening in those two days with the kidnappers.”

Despite all that, “I will stand up like a strong woman,” she said. “My situation, my past life? That is gone. I’m starting a new life now.”

Washington Post

Known Facts and Hidden Dangers

By Dr. Gordon Edwards

Uranium

What do we know about uranium? Well, uranium is the heaviest naturally occurring element on earth. It is a metal, like all other metals, except that it had no commercial value before the mid-twentieth century. Until the last fifty years it was produced only as a byproduct. Thus the entire history of the mining of uranium has taken place during my lifetime. Moreover, a great deal of it has occurred in my homeland, Canada, which was the first country to produce and process uranium as such.

The first uranium processed by Canada was used to produce nuclear explosives for the atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Indeed, the beginning of the nuclear weapons program marked the beginning of the uranium industry. By 1956, uranium had become the fourth most important export from Canada, after pulp, lumber and wheat; and every ounce of it was used to produce A-bombs and H-bombs for the American — and, to a lesser extent, the British — nuclear weapons programs. It was the only use uranium had at that time.

Today, Canada remains the world’s largest producer and exporter of uranium, ostensibly for peaceful purposes; that is, as fuel for civilian nuclear reactors. Canada is also one of the very few countries in the world in which uranium mining is currently expanding. In the province of Saskatchewan, there are environmental assessment hearings going on now, this year, having to do with the potential opening of five new uranium mines. This, despite the fact that the price of uranium is lower today than it has ever been. The price has been falling steadily for more than fifteen years, and is now at an all-time low.

I hope that those attending this conference will write to the Prime Minister of Canada (c/o House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0A6) and to the Premier of Saskatchewan (c/o Saskatchewan Legislature, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) asking them not to continue the expansion of this industry. Why? Because uranium is the deadliest metal on earth. As you will see, the scientific evidence fully bears out this conclusion. I would now like to explain why.

Both the commercial value and the dangers of uranium are based on two extra-ordinary characteristics which it possesses. First of all, uranium is radioactive. Secondly, uranium is fissionable. These are two quite different properties, however, and they should not be confused.

Radioactivity

The phenomenon of radioactivity was accidentally discovered in 1896 when Henri Becquerel put a rock in a drawer. The rock contained uranium, and the drawer contained a photographic plate, which was well-wrapped and shielded from the light. Some weeks later, when Becquerel unwrapped and developed the plate, he found rays of light on the photograph emanating exactly from the point of contact where the rock had been resting on it. Being a scientist, he was astounded. He could think of no possible way in which an inert rock could spontaneously be releasing energy — especially such a penetrating form of energy. Moreover, the energy release had taken place in total darkness, in the absence of any external stimulation — there was no chemical reaction, no exposure to sunlight, nor anything else. Becquerel had discovered radioactivity.

Marie Curie decided to pursue the mystery further. She got some uranium ore from the Erz mountains, not very far from here. She chemically separated the uranium from the rest of the crushed rock (she had to crush the rock and dissolve it in acid to get the uranium out, which is what we still do today in mining uranium) and she found that even after the uranium had been removed, the crushed rock remained very radioactive — much more so than the uranium itself. Here was a mystery indeed. Why is it that eighty-five percent of the radioactivity stays behind in the crushed rock?

Starting with many tons of rock, Madame Curie proceeded to separate out all the chemical elements she knew. It was painstaking work. Finally she was left with a small beaker of concentrated, highly radioactive liquid. By evaporating the water, she felt sure she would discover whatever was causing this intense radioactivity. But when the liquid was evaporated, the beaker was, apparently, completely empty. She was deeply disappointed. She couldn’t fathom what had gone wrong. But when she returned to the laboratory late at night, she found the beaker glowing brightly in the dark, and she realized that it wasn’t empty after all. In this way, Marie Curie discovered two new elements: radium and polonium. We now know these are inevitable byproducts of uranium.

By 1906, all the basic facts of radioactivity were known, except for the central mystery as to “why”; this we do not understand. Indeed, science doesn’t really understand why anything is the way it is. All science can do is describe how things behave. Science tells us, for example, that all material things are made up of tiny atoms. The atoms found in most substances are remarkably stable, but in the case of radioactive materials, the atoms are unstable.

Consider the water in this glass. It is made up of stable atoms. Pure water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, and these atoms are, as far as science can determine, eternal and unchangeable. The very same atoms of hydrogen and oxygen that are in this glass of water were around, in some other combinations, in the days of the dinosaurs.

But radioactive substances have unstable atoms which can and will explode microscopically, and when they do, they give off a burst of energy. This process is called “radioactive disintegration” or “radioactive decay”. When radioactive atoms explode, they give off highly energetic charged particles of two types: alpha and beta. These are particles, they’re not invisible rays. They are like pieces of shrapnel from an explosion. And this microscopic shrapnel does great damage because of the high energy of the particles which are given off.

Decay Products

When a radioactive atom explodes, that atom is changed permanently into a new substance. And radium turns out to be one of the results of exploding uranium atoms. So wherever you find uranium on the earth, you will always find radium with it because it is one of about a dozen so-called “decay products” of uranium.

To be more precise, when uranium disintegrates it turns into a substance called protactinium, which is also radioactive. And when that disintegrates it turns into a substance named thorium, which is likewise radioactive. When thorium disintegrates it turns into radium; when radium disintegrates it turns into radon gas. And when radon gas atoms disintegrate, they turn into what are called the “radon daughters”, or “radon progeny”, of which there are about half a dozen radioactive materials, including polonium.

Finally, in this progression, you end up with a stable substance, which in itself is highly toxic: lead. But because the radioactivity of the other materials is so much more dangerous than this toxic heavy metal, people don’t even talk about the lead at the end of the chain. They think that once all the radioactivity is gone, what’s left is perfectly safe. It isn’t — but the lead that remains is just a whole lot less dangerous than the radioactive materials that produced it.

So all the radioactive decay products of uranium remain in the crushed rock when uranium is separated from the ore. That’s why Marie Curie found most of the radioactivity left behind in the residues, including all the radium and all the polonium.

Radium

Well, how did the story of uranium progress? Because uranium was less radioactive than its daughter products, it was not valued commercially. But radium was. And radium began to be used principally for two purposes. One was to burn cancerous growths. I should tell you that both Henri Becquerel and Marie Curie suffered grievous burns which were very difficult to heal and which left permanent scars just as a result of handling radium. Other scientists got the idea that if they embedded a needle containing radium inside a cancerous tumor, it would burn the cancer — and indeed it did. That was the beginning of cancer therapy using radiation, wherein the harmful effects of atomic radiation are directed against cancerous cells instead of healthy cells. Of course, atomic radiation does similar damage to healthy cells.

Now, the other main use for radium was as a luminous paint, because of the glow-in-the-dark phenomenon that Marie Curie had observed. Believe it or not, the price of uranium in the 1920s was $100,000 a gram — and this is using dollars of the twenties! It was a very expensive commodity, but only very little was needed for any given purpose. Some of it was used to make luminous paint, with which they would paint dials so they could be read even in the dark.

Now the young women who painted these things began to get sick. This was first reported by an American dentist called Blum, who said that he had some very young women — 19 years old, 18 years old, 20 years old — coming into his dentistry office. Their teeth were falling out, their gums were badly infected and bleeding profusely, they were anemic, their bones were soft, and in some cases their jawbones had spontaneously fractured. Some of them died of severe anemia.

The only thing these women had in common was that they worked in a radium dial painting factory in New Jersey. Blum called this phenomenon “radium jaw”. A few years later, the women who had recovered from these symptoms started developing problems in the rest of their skeleton. They suffered weakening of the bone, spontaneous fractures of the hip and of other bones, and growths — tumors, some of which were cancerous — in the bones themselves. Now, bone cancer is such an exceedingly rare disease, that there was little doubt that this cancer was caused by exposure to radium.

It was discovered that simply by wetting the tip of the brush in order to get a nice clean figure on the dials, these women were ingesting minute quantities of radium. And that was sufficient to cause all these symptoms. When autopsies were performed on the corpses of these women, doctors discovered that in their entire skeleton there were only a few micrograms of radium. This quantity was so small, that no conventional chemical analysis could detect it. Nevertheless, this tiny amount of radium had distributed itself so thoroughly through their skeleton, that you could take a picture of any one of their bones just by laying it on a photographic plate in a dark room, It is called an auto-radiograph — that is, an x-ray picture with no x-ray machine.

So this was our first introduction to the harmful effects of even minute quantities of such substances. By the way, many of the women who survived this phase of the assault later on developed cancers of the head — cancer of the sinuses, cancer of the soft palate, and other types of head cancers. We now know how these were caused. Remember, radium is radioactive — even inside the body. As I told you earlier, when radium atoms disintegrate, they turn into radon gas. So radon gas was being produced inside the bodies of these women. In fact, one test for radium contamination is to check a person’s exhaled breath and see if it has radon gas in it; if it does, that person must have radium in his or her body. In the case of the radium dial painters, the radon gas was being produced in the bones, dissolved in the blood, and pumped by the heart up to the head where it collected in the sinus and other cavities. And there it was irradiating the delicate living tissues and causing head cancers.

Radon

Now, it so happens that for hundreds of years, going back to the 15th century, there had been reports that miners working in the Erz mountains had been dying at a tremendous rate from some unknown lung diseases. We’re talking here about 75 percent mortality in some cases. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the principal disease was diagnosed and found to be lung cancer. At that time, lung cancer was virtually unknown among the surrounding population; yet these miners were experiencing in some cases up to 50 percent lung cancer mortality. The other lung ailments were not lung cancer, but other types of debilitating lung damage.

By the 1930s it had been established that this epidemic of lung cancer and other lung diseases was caused by breathing radioactive materials in the atmosphere of the mine. In animal experiments, radon gas was identified as the main killer.

Uranium finally acquired commercial value in 1942, when we discovered that we could make atomic bombs with it. Only then did we start mining uranium for itself and not as a byproduct of something else. A few years earlier, in 1938, it was discovered that uranium is not only radioactive, it is also fissionable, which makes it unique among all naturally occurring radioactive materials. When uranium atoms undergo the fission process, large amounts of energy are released. Unlike the process of radioactive decay, which cannot be turned on and off, nuclear fission can be controlled. The energy release caused by fission can be speeded up, slowed down, started or stopped. It can be used to destroy cities in the form of nuclear weapons, or to boil water inside a nuclear reactor.

Suddenly, uranium was in demand. We sent miners into the mines in North America at a permissible level of radiation exposure which was comparable to the levels that those miners in the Erz mountains had been getting back in the 19th century. And of course, the results were entirely predictable: an epidemic of lung cancer and other lung diseases. One has to ask therefore: Why were these consequences not predicted and prevented?

Radon Daughters

The answer is, in part, that the scientists refused to believe that such a small amount of radon gas could cause such a huge increase in cancer. As it turns out, the scientists were wrong. One of the basic things they overlooked, is that if you take a sample of radon gas — right now, if I filled a tube with radon gas in front of your eyes, and measured the radiation in that tube — within three hours, the level of radioactivity would increase by a factor of about five. Why?

As the radon atoms disintegrate, they produce other radioactive substances. And so, in fact, you have a multiplication of new radioactive materials which weren’t there to begin with. This is one of the things the scientists overlooked. So that when the miners go into a mine where the radon has been collecting for several hours, it’s five times as radioactive as radon in the laboratory. And those other substances — the radon daughters — are extremely dangerous. The worst of the radon daughters, by the way, is a substance called polonium — the same polonium that Marie Curie discovered so many years ago. Recent scientific evidence shows that polonium is, in many circumstances, at least as toxic as plutonium, and in some cases more toxic.

Nuclear Fission

Now, what is that property that made uranium commercially valuable? It’s called fissionability. More precisely, uranium is called a “fissile” material. Let me explain what that means.

Yes, uranium atoms are radioactive, and so they will disintegrate if you just leave them alone; but what happens if you poke them? What happens if you bombard uranium atoms with tiny particles called neutrons? It turns out that in that case, you can force a much more violent disintegration of the atom, which is called fission. When fission occurs, the uranium atom doesn’t just disintegrate, it actually breaks apart into two or three large chunks. In the process it gives off some extra neutrons, and it also gives off about 400 times as much energy as is produced by a radioactive disintegration event.

Now, the fact that fission is triggered by a neutron makes it quite different from normal radioactivity. Radioactivity is not triggered, and therefore science does not know how to control it. We have no mechanism for speeding up, slowing down, starting or stopping radioactivity. That’s why radioactive wastes are such a problem. But with fission, we can start it, stop it, and control it, just by maintaining control over the extra neutrons that are produced at each stage. Starting with just one neutron, we can split one uranium atom, and the extra neutrons can go on to split two more uranium atoms, giving even more neutrons which can then split four atoms, which can then split eight atoms, and so on. In this way, forty quintillion uranium atoms can be split with only sixty generations of splittings, all triggered by a single neutron. [A quintillion is a billion billion, or a million million million.] This whole “chain reaction”, as it is called, takes place in less than a thousandth of a second. That is really what constitutes the atomic bomb.

Fission Products

You may now realize that all of the radioactive materials which escape from an atomic bomb when it explodes, are basically the broken bits of uranium atoms. These are new radioactive materials, called “fission products”, which are created by the splitting of uranium atoms. There are hundreds of them. They all have different names, and different chemical and biologically properties. Most of them did not exist in nature before the advent of nuclear technology.

You see, uranium travels in many disguises. In every sample of uranium ore, one finds radium — but radium is, in a certain sense, just a transformation of uranium. Speaking loosely, one could say that it is a disguised form of uranium. It is just one of the many elements in the chain of decay. Similarly with polonium. Similarly with radon gas. These are all just different manifestations of uranium, so to speak, resulting from radioactive decay.

And similarly with the fallout from atomic bombs; all those radioactive materials which are released by nuclear explosions — such as iodine-131, strontium-90, cesium-137, krypton-85, and all the rest — they are all broken bits of uranium atoms. They are additional disguises for uranium, resulting from nuclear fission.

The radioactive poisons that were released from the Chernobyl reactor are also broken bits of uranium atoms. Incidentally, 80 percent of the total radiation dose delivered by the Chernobyl accident worldwide was caused by the escape of just a couple of kilograms of radioactive materials from the damaged nuclear plant. It doesn’t take much…. To this day, the sheep in Wales are unsuitable for human consumption because of contamination by one particular by-product of the Chernobyl accident called cesium-137. But every atom of cesium-137 from Chernobyl started out as an atom of uranium.

These radioactive materials, which are called fission products — the ones in the bomb fallout and which in nuclear reactors — should not be confused with the other radioactive materials I told you about earlier, which are the decay products of uranium. The decay products of uranium are due to radioactive disintegration. They are about two dozen in number, and they occur in nature because uranium does. When you talk about fission products, however, you are dealing with completely different substances. They are created only inside nuclear weapons or nuclear reactors. They are the leftover pieces of uranium atoms which have been violently broken apart by the fission process. There are over 300 of them altogether, when you consider that — being radioactive — each of the fission products also has its own decay products!

Health Effects of Radioactive Materials

And so this one material, uranium, is responsible for introducing into the human environment a tremendously large range of radioactive materials which are all very inimical to biological organisms. These are not invisible rays, they are materials. They get into our water, our food, and the air we breathe. They’re exactly like other materials except for the fact that they’re radioactive.

Take, for instance, radioactive iodine. It behaves just like ordinary iodine, which is not radioactive. Why is there iodine in our table salt? Well, it’s one of the few examples of preventative medicine we have. The iodine, when it’s eaten in the table salt, goes to the thyroid gland, and there it helps to prevent a disease of the thyroid gland called “goiter”. Radioactive iodine does exactly the same thing. If a child or an adult gets radioactive iodine in the diet, the radioactive iodine goes to the thyroid too, and it also helps to prevent goiter. But while it’s there, the atoms explode, and the shrapnel rips through the cells of the body, and in the process breaks thousands of chemical bonds randomly.

It’s like throwing a grenade into a computer. The probability of getting an improvement in a computer by throwing a grenade into it is very small, and similarly with radiation events and human cells. Now, the cells that die are really no problem, as long as not too many of them die. They can be replaced. The ones that are particularly dangerous are the ones that survive. Those damaged cells can develop into cancers. You can also have damage to germ cells — eggs and sperm — leading to genetically damaged children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.

As Alice Stewart mentioned in her talk, there are two categories of human illness that everyone agrees can be caused by exposure to atomic radiation even at very low levels. They are (1) cancers of all kinds, and also (2) genetic mutations — which can be caused right down to the lowest levels of radiation exposure. Most scientists believe that these harmful effects are linearly related to the dose, so that if the dose is doubled, the number of cancers and genetic defects will also be doubled, and if the dose is cut in half, only half as many cancers and genetic defects will be seen. It is important to realize that if a damaging dose is spread out among a very large population, so that each individual receives only a very small portion of the total dose, the number of cancers and genetic defects is in no way diminished. Thus, in the case of radioactive pollution, dilution is no solution at all.

However, there is one other effect of radiation at low levels which wasn’t mentioned in the previous talk, and I would like to just mention it here. It has now been confirmed by the scientific community — only in recent years, by the way — that mental retardation is caused by radiation exposure in the womb. This type of biological damage also seems to be linear, that is, proportional to dose, right down to the lowest levels of exposure. There doesn’t seem to be any cut-off point. And so we have now discovered yet a third category of documented and scientifically accepted harmful effects of radiation and that is mental retardation in children who were irradiated while still in the womb.

Uranium Tailings

Now, if I could just wrap up, I have to tell you something extremely important. The title of my talk was “Known facts and hidden dangers”. I’ve told you a bit about the known facts. Now for at least one of the hidden dangers.

When we extract uranium from the ground, we dig up the rock, we crush it and we leave behind this finely pulverized material — it’s like flour. In Canada we have 200 million tons of this radioactive waste, called uranium tailings. As Marie Curie observed, 85 percent of the radioactivity in the ore remains behind in that crushed rock. How long will it be there? Well, it turns out that the effective half-life of this radioactivity is 80,000 years. That means in 80,000 years there will be half as much radioactivity in these tailings as there is today.

You know, that dwarfs the entire prehistory of the Salzburg region which goes way back to ancient, ancient times. Even archaeological remains date back no further than 80,000 years. We don’t have any records of human existence going back that far. That’s the half-life of this material.

And as these tailings are left on the surface of the earth, they are blown by the wind, they are washed by the rain into the water systems, and they inevitably spread. Once the mining companies close down, who is going to look after this material forever? How does anyone, in fact, guard 200 million tons of radioactive sand safely forever, and keep it out of the environment?

In addition, as the tailings are sitting there on the surface, they are continually generating radon gas. Radon is about eight times heavier than air, so it stays close to the ground. It’ll travel 1,000 miles in just a few days in a light breeze. And as it drifts along, it deposits on the vegetation below the radon daughters, which are the radioactive byproducts that I told you about, including polonium. So that you actually get radon daughters in animals, fish and plants thousands of miles away from where the uranium mining is done. It’s a mechanism for pumping radioactivity into the environment for millennia to come, and this is one of the hidden dangers.

Conclusion

All uranium ends up as either nuclear weapons or highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactors. That’s the destiny of all the uranium that’s mined. And in the process of mining the uranium we liberate these naturally occurring radioactive substances, which are among the most harmful materials known to science. Couple this with the thought that nuclear technology never was a solution to any human problem. Nuclear weapons do not bring about a sane world, and nuclear power is not a viable answer to our energy problems. We don’t even need it for electricity. All you need for conventional electricity generation is to spin a wheel, and there’s many ways of doing it: water power, wind power, geothermal power, etc. In addition, there are other methods for producing electricity directly: solar photovoltaics, fuel cells, and so on. What we have here, in the case of nuclear power, from the very beginning, is a technology in search of an application.

So, I think that we as a human community have to come to grips with this problem and say to ourselves and to others that enough is enough. We do not want to permanently increase our radiation levels on this planet. We have enough problems already.

Thank you.

Credit: http://www.ccnr.org/salzburg.html

Natalie-Marie Hart Interviews Birke Baehr on GMOs and the industrialized food system

Biography:

Birke Beahr is a 15-year-old on his way to being a biodynamic/organic farmer…to help make changes in the world! He has become a speaker, writer and campaigns with an enthusiasm to educate others, about the unhelpfulness of the industrialized food system and the shares with us alternatives of sustainable and organic farming, food and practices. Birke spoke out about genetically modified foods and what they could do to your health. Birke has visited and worked at farms around the United States and even had an opportunity to work on an organic farm in Italy.
Birke began his journey as a presenter at TEDx Next Generation Asheville 2010, Birke’s talk, “What’s wrong with our food” received the most views ever and wowed audiences worldwide.
Birke has been featured in various media venues, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm about food. He enjoys getting his hands dirty on chemical free farms, growing his own vegetables, checking out local farmers markets and farms. I was very pleased to have this wonderful opportunity to interview a kid just like me. He is working hard in making a difference. Birke and I discussed his views, his work, and his ongoing events to free the world from harmful farming and food practices.
Birke is truly a person that I respect and I wish him lot of luck on educating people and to save the planet.

 

Historical Statement by Canada in 1986 regarding potential transboundary effects of nuclear waste from the USA

Background:                                  June 11, 2015
 

The following public statement, made by Joe Clark on January 16, 1986, speaks for itself.  At one time Joe Clark was the Prime Minister of Canada, but in 1986 he was Minister of State for External Affairs in the Mulroney cabinet. 

The US Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 required the Department of Energy (DOE) to issue guidelines for the selection of sites for the construction of two permanent, underground repositories for high-level nuclear waste (both civilian and military). The DOE was to study five potential sites in the western United States for the first repository, and then recommend three to the president by January 1, 1985. Five additional sites were to be studied as possible locations for a second repository in the eastern United States and three of them were to be recommended to the president by July 1, 1989.

The search for a second repository focused on crystalline rock in the northeastern states, not far from the Canadian border. Concerns over the possibility that radioactive pollutants could be carried into Canadian waters turned the search for a second repository into an international issue. 

Very early on, citizens from Quebec entered Vermont by the busload in a show of solidarity to express their joint opposition to the proposed nuclear waste dump. In both Quebec and Vermont, opposition grew by leaps and bounds, being widely reported in the mass media and reaching the highest political levels.

The Premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa, famously proclaimed that his province would never allow a permanent nuclear waste repository within the territory of Quebec or on its borders. Jean Charest, then the Member of Parliament from Sherbrooke, Quebec — just a short distance from Vermont — successfully mobilized the Canadian government to become involved  through its embassy in Washington D.C.  

Meanwhile, growing opposition was being manifested by US citizens and politicians in the eastern United States, particularly in Vermont. At one public meeting that was broadcast live throughout the state, the lieutenant governor asked DOE officials a blunt question: “Whose decision is this, yours or ours?  Because if it is our decision, then we can keep this meeting very short indeed.  And if it’s your decision, then what exactly is the purpose of this meeting?” 

The choice of a site for a second repository was clearly becoming a major political liability.

In December 1987, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to designate Yucca Mountain, Nevada as the only site to be characterized as a permanent repository for all of the nation’s nuclear waste.  The amendment repealed provisions in the 1982 law calling for a second repository in the eastern United States. 

—————–

The Age of Nuclear Waste is upon us. Ordinary citizens and their elected representatives must become involved. The stakes are too high to leave such decisions to the nuclear establishment, which includes the regulatory agency. What’s good for the survival of the nuclear enterprise is often in conflict with long-term human welfare.  

As Emilio Varanini, chair of the California Energy Resources Development and Conservation Commission, said back in 1978: 

Excessive optimism about the potential for safe disposal of nuclear wastes has caused backers of nuclear power to ignore scientific evidence pointing to its pitfalls.  That’s the real crux of what we found — that you have to weigh scientific evidence against essentially engineering euphoria.”

 

As Michael J. Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan has said, “Delusion is not the solution to pollution.”

 

A policy of Rolling Stewardship, with Hardened On-Site Storage where appropriate, based on a societal commitment to provide for continuous monitoring and retrievability, with periodic recharacterization and repackaging of the wastes, is the only acceptable approach for the foreseeable future.  Those in charge of the nuclear waste should be independent of the nuclear industry, but they must have all the necessary information and resources to keep society and the environment safe from the radioactive legacy of the nuclear age. An official “changing of the guard” every 20 years or so will provide the opportunity for a complete and detailed review of what has been accomplished in the past and what improvements can be made for the future.  

The industry sees nuclear waste as a public relations problem.  Nuclear proponents want to be able to abandon the nuclear waste, limit the industry’s liability, and let amnesia slowly set in: “Let’s pretend it never happened”.  

Rolling Stewardship begins with the frank admission that getting rid of nuclear waste is impossible at the present time — it is an unsolved problem. The only approach that is justifiable on 

scientific and ethical grounds is, not to abandon these wastes that will remain dangerous for millions of years, but to safeguard them on an intergenerational basis in the interests of society as a whole.  We know how to do it safely, one generation at a time, as long as we stop adding to the problem.  

 

Gordon Edwards.

 
 
 

==============================

 
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
SECRÉTAIRE DÉTAT AUX AFFAIRES EXTÉRIEURES
 
86/02
 
Statement by the Right Honourable Joe Clark,
Secretary of State for External Affairs,
concerning the U .S . Nuclear Waste Repository Program
 
OTTAW A
January 16, 1986 
 
The United States Department of Energy has released a draft Area Recommendation Report as part of its program to locate a site for its second nuclear waste repository.
 
The draft report identified 20 areas for further study (12 will be actively studied; 8 will be held in reserve, if needed) from a list of 235 rock bodies located within the United States. The US Department of Energy has stated that it will receive comments on these 20 areas before the final report is issued in mid-1986. The areas on the final list will then be subject to field investigations, leading to a further narrowing, in 1991, to 3 sites for even more intensive study. A final selection of one
site will be made in 1998.
 
I am pleased to see that none of the potential areas listed in the draft report is within 25 miles of the border. However, one in Maine, known as the Bottle Lake complex, is just beyond this minimum distance from New Brunswick and may be at least partially in the St. Croix River watershed. Other areas of potential concern to Canada, because they are in drainage basins that eventually flow into Canada, are in Minnesota and WisconsinThe four potential areas of concern in Minnesota are in the Red River basin. Two areas in Wisconsin are at least partially in the Great Lakes basin. 
 
The Government of Canada is examining the detailed US Government information on these areas. The Canadian Government and adjacent provinces will assess this information for indications of potential effects to the health and property of this and future generations of CanadiansCanadian officials will also review the data available on all 20 areas to ascertain if any of them could pose any concern to Canadians due to the movement of groundwater or other factors.
 
The Government of Canada and the governments of the concerned provinces expect to present their concerns to United States representatives at an early meeting of the Canada/USA consultative group on this issue which will take place once the information available in the draft report has been fully assessed. These concerns will also be registered with the US Administration at the Cabinet level at the earliest appropriate opportunity.
 
I and several of my Cabinet colleagues have made it clear to our US counterparts that this Government opposes any development that could present a transboundary threat to the welfare of Canadians or the integrity of the Canadian
environment.
 
During consultations, the US agreed that no area would be selected if field work or sampling in Canada would be required or if it was adjacent to the border. One site in Maine, adjacent to the Quebec border near Lac Megantic, has been dropped specifically for those reasons.
 
The United States has also assured Canada that the 15-year screening process which it is conducting to select a site is intended to ensure that no site will be selected which will have harmful effects on either side of the border. The Government will monitor the US process carefully to ensure that the interests of this and future generations of Canadians are protected.
 
The Government will continue its consultations with the provinces and the citizen groups concerned with this issue.
 
– 30 –

Pope Francis, Neil Young, and 100,000 Beekeepers Take a Stand Against Toxic Agriculture

By Dr. Mercola

What do Pope Francis, Neil Young, and German beekeepers have in common? They’re all speaking out against genetically engineered crops and the excessive use of toxic pesticides.

Meanwhile, the chemical technology industry is feverishly trying to revamp its image by renaming itself and putting out new spins on words to disguise what they’re really all about.

The sad fact is, the chemical industry has to a large degree taken over the food industry, not to mention hijacked the federal regulatory process. In essence, most of the population is being fed by poison experts.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which has been instrumental in keeping Americans in the dark about what’s in our food, also admits it has played an integral role in shaping the draconian “DARK Act,” which delivers Monsanto everything they’ve ever wanted on a silver platter while obliterating the democratic process.

Pope Francis Calls for Radical Transformations to Confront Environmental Degradation

On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis’ 184-page long Encyclical letter1,2 was published, in which he calls for the transformation of lifestyles, politics, agriculture, economics, and business in general to tackle environmental degradation.

“The violence present in our hearts is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life,” he says.

And, while praising scientific advancements, he criticizes the use of novel technologies without adequate forethought, noting that: “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”

To many people’s surprise, Pope Francis appears to have a fairly comprehensive grasp of the subject of genetically engineered food and its many inherent hazards, both to the environment and human health.

Far from coming from a strictly religious perspective, he comprehensively addresses the issue from the point of ecological and economical balance, noting:3

“The expan­sion of these [genetically engineered] crops has the effect of destroying the complex network of ecosystems, diminishing the diversity of production and affecting region­al economies, now and in the future.

In various countries, we see an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products needed for their cultivation. This dependency would be aggravated were the production of in­fertile seeds to be considered; the effect would be to force farmers to purchase them from larger producers.

Certainly, these issues require constant at­tention and a concern for their ethical implica­tions. A broad, responsible scientific and social debate needs to take place, one capable of con­sidering all the available information and of call­ing things by their name.

Discussions are needed in which all those directly or indirectly affected (farmers, consumers, civil authorities, scientists, seed producers, people living near fumigated fields, and others) can make known their problems and concerns, and have access to adequate and reliable infor­mation in order to make decisions for the com­mon good, present and future.

This is a complex environmental issue; it calls for a comprehensive approach which would require, at the very least, greater efforts to finance various lines of inde­pendent, interdisciplinary research capable of shedding new light on the problem.”

German Beekeepers Call for Nationwide Ban of GE Crops

The issue of GE crops goes hand-in-hand with the issue of rising pesticide use, and the effects these chemicals are having on soils, pollinating insects, and human health.

Bees can be viewed as “canaries in the coal mine,” and over the last decade beekeepers have grappled with bee colony collapse disorder (CCD). Bees are priceless as they pollinate one-third of the food we eat. Just about every fruit and vegetable you can imagine is dependent on the pollinating services of bees.

But bee die-offs have in recent years been so severe that many farmers were barely able to get enough bees to get the job done, and beekeepers are asked to deliver their bees over far greater distances than ever before due to bee shortages.

Toxic pesticides have long been suspected of being responsible for CCD, and GE crops are particularly contaminated. To protect these crucial pollinators, the German Beekeepers Association (DIB), which represents nearly 100,000 beekeepers, has called for a nationwide ban on genetically engineered (GE) crops.

GE crops are approved on the European Union (EU) level, but recently adopted legislation4 allows member states to opt-out of the cultivation of GE crops if it so chooses. According to a report by GM Watch:5

“Under the law, a member state can ban a GMO in part or all of its territory. But the law has come under heavy criticism for failing to provide a solid basis for such bans.

The beekeepers are urging Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) to implement a Germany-wide ban on cultivation. The Minister pleads, however, for letting each state decide individually.

The beekeepers counter that a piecemeal approach will not work. Bees fly up to eight kilometers in search of food, the DIB said, so a juxtaposition of GM crop cultivation zones and GMO-free zones within Germany would be ‘environmentally and agriculturally unacceptable.. ‘Bees know no borders,’ the DIB added.”

Neil Young Sings About ‘The Monsanto Years’

Neil Young’s latest album, The Monsanto Years, is all about Monsanto and “exposing the myth of progress,” to quote one of his musicians. Young has also made public statements decrying the hijacking of democracy by corporate interests, warning:6 “These Corporations were originally created to serve us but if we don’t appropriately prioritize they will destroy us.”

“I choose to speak Truth to this Economic Power,” he writes. “I support those bringing these issues to light and those who fight for their rights like Freedom of Choice. But Freedom of Choice is meaningless without knowledge. That’s why it’s crucial we all get engaged and get informed.

That’s why GMO labeling matters. Mothers need to know what they are feeding their children. They need freedom to make educated choices at the market. When the people have voted for labeling, as they have in Vermont, they need our support when they are fighting these corporate interests trying to reverse the laws they have voted for and passed in the democratic process.”

Don’t Be Confused by the Chemical Industry’s Word Games

Monsanto recently made a bid to take over Syngenta, the world’s largest pesticide producer. The $45.1 billion bid was rejected, but there’s still a chance for a merger, in which case Monsanto may assume the Syngenta name, or a new more “neutral” name—a move intended to dissociate Monsanto from its long list of atrocities and lies. The two companies are also floating ideas for relocating the merged chemical behemoth to a lower-tax region to avoid US taxes.7

Whatever happens, I sincerely doubt Monsanto will be able to escape its past as I am committed to relentlessly exposing their lies, frauds, and deceptions to the masses. We will make sure that its sordid history will quickly transfer over to whatever name it assumes next. Still, words and names can be powerful, and the chemical technology industry is busy renaming and rebranding itself and its toxic wares in an obvious effort to disguise their true nature.

Take the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), for example, which on June 17 renamed itself the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.8 Basically, they want to remove the idea of “industry” from the industry. Monsanto also recently started using the word “seed protectants” for pesticides.9

Do these chemicals “protect seeds”? You could argue that they do, but their main function is to kill insects and other plants. Yet it’s much harder to associate a “seed protectant” with toxic pesticide exposure that can cause harm to human health, isn’t it? Do not let them get away with it by adopting this ridiculous new verbiage.

 

Monsanto, a war chemical company that has been sued over toxic pollution multiple times, and been found guilty of lying and covering up evidence of their wrong-doing in virtually every case, is now looking to buy another giant chemical company, move their headquarters overseas to avoid US taxes, change their name, and rename their toxic bug and weed killers into nicer sounding things like “seed and crop protectants.”

At the end of the day, Monsanto is still just a chemical company that is now using many of the same war chemicals to grow our food. Why do we accept food from a poison expert? Toxins are rendered largely unnecessary using regenerative practices, which have also been shown to outperform chemical agriculture in terms of yield.

Monsanto’s president and chief operating officer Brett Bergemann recently stated that:10“We have the challenge of feeding 9.5 billion people by 2050. We need to meet that need in a sustainable way and we need to drive sustainable intensification of agriculture.” And yet everything Monsanto specializes in drives us in the polar opposite of regenerative agriculture. If you still believe Monsanto is concerned with feeding billions of people healthy nutritious food, then you simply have yet to objectively and carefully review their scandalous history.

They design and patent seeds that withstand the very herbicides they make and sell. They promised weeds would not develop resistance, but 10 million acres of superweeds stand witness to that lie. This has led to more Roundup being used to keep up with the weeds. Now crops resistant to even more toxic chemicals are being brought to market. Everything Monsanto has ever done has been centered around toxic chemicals, and now they’re trying to purchase the world’s largest pesticide producer.

Toxins and health do not go together, and anyone with impartial and rational motivations will quickly realize that Monsanto is not in the health-food business. They’re in the poison business, and with the bid to take over Syngenta, it should be crystal clear that Monsanto is not about to change their century-old track record anytime soon, no matter how many new words they invent to confuse you about the use of toxins on your food.

GMA Threatens to Take Away Vermont’s Twinkies

On April 27, 2015, a judge ruled against the food industry, spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), upholding Vermont’s GMO labeling law. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2016. But the GMA isn’t done fighting against democracy and freedom and just about everything else the United States claims to stand for.

It recently sent a letter to Vermont, threatening to remove snack foods from the state lest Vermont drop its GMO labeling law. According to Politico:11 “The Grocery Manufacturers Association is warning Vermont officials that the cost to food companies to comply with the state’s GMO labeling law could exceed their sales revenue, forcing many of them to leave.” Should such a threat actually go through, it would surely be a magnificent experiment to see how residents’ health might improve compared to other states where snacks containing GMO corn syrup, sugar from GMO sugar beets, and vegetable oils from GMO soy and cottonseed are still sold.

GMA Admits Playing Integral Role in ‘Denying Americans the Right to Know’ (DARK) Act

The GMA has also been a driving force behind Pompeo “DARK” Act (HR 1599, “The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”)—a law that would not only preempt states’ rights to create their own GMO food labeling laws, it also preempts any and all state and local regulation of GE crops, and weakens federal oversight.12 In short, it’s a Monsanto dream come true, and a corporate fascism nightmare for the rest of us.

Not only would it nullify existing GMO regulation, it also prohibits future laws from even being considered! The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) admits playing an integral role in the creation of this draconian anti-democratic, anti-consumer bill.
In a June 17, 2015 email to the GMA board of directors, Pamela Bailey writes, in part:

“GMA knows that your companies are facing difficult decisions and monumental challenges implementing the Vermont mandatory GMO labeling law. Many of you have reached out to me and other GMA staff with your concerns. The federal legislation introduced in the House by Representatives Pompeo and Butterfield continues to gain very significant traction. Indeed, tomorrow there will be a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and GMA has been integral to the process.

One of the witnesses is the Assistant Attorney General of Vermont, and he will be responding to several tough questions. One of our expert witnesses in the Vermont litigation, President and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, will testify on the impact the Vermont law will have on food supply chain. Next week the House Agricultural Committee is holding a hearing, and we expect the only witness at that hearing to be USDA.” [Emphasis mine]

Not surprisingly, Monsanto is also on the board for the Supply Chain Management…13

Take Immediate Action: Tell Your Congressman to Vote NO on Pompeo’s Bill, HR1599

As noted by the Center for Food Safety (CFS),14 the latest changes to Pompeo’s bill “create an anti-democracy, anti-consumer, anti-environment mega-bill” that simply MUST be stopped. We need everyone to put pressure on your federal representatives, and demand they vote NO on the Pompeo bill. We need to do everything we possibly can to prevent it from passing, so please, take action now! Tell your representative to support consumer and state rights, and reject Rep. Pompeo’s bill, H.R. 1599.

take action btn

 

 

Do You Have a Victory Garden?

The idea of planting Victory Gardens goes back to World War I and II, and was advertised as a way for patriots to make a difference on the home front. Planting these gardens helped the citizens combat food shortages by supplying themselves and their neighbors with fresh produce.  

Planting your own Victory Garden can go a long way toward healthier eating, and in the long run, it can provide incentive for industry-wide change, and a return to a diet of real food, for everyone, everywhere. A great way to get started on your own is by sprouting. They may be small, but sprouts are packed with nutrition and best of all, they’re easy and inexpensive to grow.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/30/beekeepers-genetically-modified-crops-toxic-pesticide.aspx

Arranged Marriage is not Married at First Sight

The show’s premise: A bunch of single people take a personality test, then let experts match them up with life partners based on their results. The twist: Contestants must marry the person they get matched with, sight unseen. The challenge: the newlyweds move in together for one month, then decide whether they want to stay married or get divorced.

(The) Indian marriage system is not ‘marriage at first sight,’” Sarojini Sahoo, a professor who has penned numerous books and blogs about feminist ideals in India, wrote to Fusion an email.

Sahoo says there are several factors a family or matchmaker would consider before arranging a typical marriage. Physical appearance, castes, matching horoscopes (“at least 60 percent match is necessary”), and agreement on dowry are among the more important considerations, Sahoo says.

But none of that happens on “Married at First Sight.” The only addition to the personality test (or rather, the personality SAT—one contestant said it took her 6 hours to fill out), is a few cursory questions about the physical attributes contestants look for in a mate. The show claims it relies on science and data to create perfect couples; issues like appearance (or your zodiac sign) shouldn’t be important when someone is a match for you on a deeper level, their expert matchmakers claim.

On “Married at First Sight,” couples aren’t allowed to meet, see photos of one another, or even learn the name of their intended spouse before they’re literally walking down the aisle.

Married at first sight failed 3 couples

Arranged is

Maria and Christian from Queens, New York were first to be featured. They are Gypsies who were matched by their parents. The couple is young, and bride Maria will be moving in with Christian’s family. Christian and Maria have never been alone together. Christian’s mom said that she’ll mold Maria to follow her methods. Like we’ve seen on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Christian’s mom expects Maria to follow her model of cooking and cleaning.

Romani is learned are homeschooled. There may be conflicts between Romani  values, especially for those who receive more schooling. The prime loyalty is to the family: Roma may consider other nationalities to be insufficiently family-oriented. Training in skills begins quite early, and children help their parents in whatever is the family occupation, be it dancing, carpentry, or something else. Girls become skilled at household tasks and may have experience with other kinds of work by the time they marry in their mid-teens. They also learn modestly deferent deportment.

Marriage. Rom (man) and romni (woman) also mean “husband” and “wife.” Roma avoid ceremonies and have their own interesting wedding ceremonies.  These ceremonies are different from traditional wedding ritual and they use Gypsy custom.  The bride and groom arrive separately at the church; after they have been “crowned,” they travel together to the reception. There they kneel, holding icons while elders bless them with bread and salt. In some weddings, a procession circles the bride, who carries a staff. Dancing and singing are as important as tables bending under the weight of the food. After it is established that the bride is a virgin, guests don red armbands. (In some weddings the sheet is shown.) Guests offer gifts of money to the couple, placing the bills in a carved-out loaf of bread or announcing the amount with words such as, “from me a little, from God much more.”Marriages are customarily arranged by the parents, with the matchmaking usually initiated by the parents of the groom. Many couples marry in their mid-teens. Unmarried young men and women are not allowed to socialize alone together, as great value is placed on female chastity.

Domestic Unit. Young marrieds live with the parents of the husband. The bride is called bori, which means “one that my vitsa has acquired through marriage.” The bori takes on most household tasks, giving up all outside activities for some time. For a couple to have only one or two children is rare; usually there are three or four. It is obligatory to live a year or two with the parents, at least before the first child is born. This pattern is reinforced by the urban housing shortage. Among rural and nomadic groups, extended families may stay together, living in adjoining houses. Among drovers, herdsmen travel together on seasonal cattle drives, whereas the women continue their chores in the home area.

Men command deference from women and are served by them in the home. Women may be considered potentially unclean ( marime ); in the past a woman had to take care not to brush the man accidentally with her skirts, which could pollute him. This was, however, also a source of female power, for a woman could avenge herself on a man by lifting her skirts before or over him. This could lead to his ostracization for up to a year. Although men make many family decisions and only male elders can judge in the kris (court), women are respected for their skill at bringing in daily provisions. The physical deference of women and the separation of the sexes does not always mean that women are silent, especially once they become elders in their own household.

FYI showed many American their Rom weddings.

 

source:  http://www.everyculture.com/Russia-Eurasia-China/Gypsies-Marriage-and-Family.html
 
 

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