Monsanto’s Pesticides Are Partly Responsible for the Collapse of the Bee.

By Natalia Sanchez  4th March 2014.       Find Article Here:-

MonsantoOver the years research has been conducted to understand why the bees have been disappearing, and the culprit seems to be Monsanto’s genetically modified herbicides and pesticides. Monsanto, a chemical and agricultural biotech company, has received quite the bad reputation from activists across the spectrum because of research linking them to human related issues like autism, cancer, and obesity. But, evidence suggests that Monsanto’s GMO’s have negative ecological consequences as well, and are partially responsible for the collapse of the buzzing bees.

The history of the declining bee population, known as colony collapse disorder (CCD) goes back to 2002 when a bee-specific virus had been identified, which was causing their numbers to plummet. The Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) had originated in Australia and scientist assumed that IAPV was to blame for what was steadily becoming a global bee colony collapse. Yet the sudden onset and devastating results of IAPV had researchers looking for possible causes that would have compromised the immune system of the honey bee, leaving the entire population vulnerable to such a virus.

Developing research found that the bees were ingesting systemic pesticides that were now a part of the DNA structure of the plants that bees were pollinating. Historically speaking, when pesticides were used in the past, they were sprayed on leaves or the body of the plant, which left the pollen and bees unaffected. The pollen now, however, carries the same DNA as the rest of the plant, thus contaminating the entire food supply that the bees depend on.

A clear picture of how Monsanto’s pesticides are partly responsible for the collapse of bee colonies is becoming more evident. Tests done on bees that were exposed to Monsanto’s Mon810 corn, a genetically engineered corn crop that produces insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) showed that, once ingested by the bees, Bt binds to receptors within the gut which stop the bees from eating. This results in bees that are weaker and unable to produce enough honey to sustain their colonies. Research on the mechanisms and function of Bt, from the University of California, San Diego, explain that Bt was designed to work this way within insects; first by reducing an insects capacity to eat, then breaking down the intestinal wall, which, lastly, exposes the insect to spores and bacteria that would otherwise be controlled and isolated within the gut of the insect.

Whats more, is that it is not just Bt thats causing the problem. On their Save The Bees page, Greenpeace explains the use of pesticides, especially neonicotinoids, causes acute and chronic poisoning not just of one bee, but of the entire colony. When the bees collect the nectar and pollen from flowers of plants engineered to produce these systemic pesticides, they bring it back to the hive and store it in the honeycombs. The younger generations of bees, which eat these reserves, are then exposed to the pesticides severely damaging their ability to function normally. Unlike Bt which attacks an insects immune system, neonicotinoids targets the central nervous system (CNS) of insects, damaging their navigational capabilities, impairing their memory, and eventually leads to paralysis. If bees cannot find their way back to the hive, due to impaired navigational capacities, then they cannot bring the nutrients back which are necessary for sustaining the colony and its honey production. Similarly, if a bee cannot fly, then a bee cannot pollinate, which is necessary to the lifecycle of flowering plants and sustaining our agriculture.

Understanding the effect that the use of Monsanto’s pesticides has on a bees ability to maintain a healthy immune system and functioning CNS, it becomes clear how these pesticides make bees more susceptible to CCD. With a compromised CNS, bees lose their ability to adequately provide nourishment to the colony, which keeps the colony functioning. A weakened immune system prevents bees from the natural ability to ward off parasites or bacteria that make them vulnerable to disease. The bees simply cannot fight off the virus in such a compromised state.

Research from governments around the world have come to the same conclusion regarding the hazards involved with systemic pesticides and bee collapse. In May of 2012, Poland officially banned the use of Monsanto’s MON810, holding it responsible, at least in part, to CCD. France also imposed its own ban on Monsanto’s pesticide, and in general the European Food Safety Authority found the use of systemic pesticides unacceptable. The United States, however, has yet to embrace the research of the harmful effects that Monsanto’s genetically engineered pesticides has on the bees, or ecology in general.

Bees and other insects, are susceptible to a wide range of viruses, just like mammals are. The IAVP is just one example of such a virus but other dangerous ones exist such as the Nosema virus, a fungal parasite, and the deformed wing virus, which impairs flight and has spread outside the honey bee population to the bumble bee as well. These viruses are contributing to the overall decline in numbers of our most precious pollinators. Monsanto’s genetically engineered pesticides may not be the cause of the collapse but they certainly play a role in making bees more vulnerable to the viruses which are drastically reducing their numbers.

Sources:

The Honey Colony
Bacillus Thuringiensis
Greenpeace
Natural News
Global Research

184 Spaniards a day kicked out of their homes.

By Steve Tallantyre  28th March 2014.                 Find Article Here:-

Evictions Report for 2013.

184 Spaniards a day kicked out of their homes

A Spanish law leaves many homeowners liable for mortgage payments even after losing their properties. Photo: Petro Armestre/AFP
The full scope of Spain’s evictions epidemic has been revealed in figures from the General Council of the Judiciary which show that 67,189 people lost their homes in 2013.

An average of 184 Spanish people were evicted from their homes every day last year after failing to keep up with their mortgage payments or falling foul of the Tenancies Act.

It is the first time that eviction figures from the Statistics Section of the Judiciary have been published, according to Spanish daily El Pais.

Most evictions took place in Catalonia (23.8 percent) followed by Valencia (14.6 percent), Andalucia (13.8 percent) and Madrid (13 percent).

But the total number of open cases of home foreclosures was put at 82,650 – down 9.8 percent from 2012.

This was explained as being the result of new legislation passed in 2013 which gave judges discretionary powers to stop evictions if they believe that any of the clauses in the mortgage contract are “abusive”.

Despite this, the Bank of Spain released figures in January which showed that the eviction rate had accelerated in the first half of 2013.

Spain’s high unemployment rate has left many people across the country unable to pay their mortgages.

The repossession of homes by banks has become a huge social issue, resulting in mass protests and demonstrations.

Many campaigners have demanded changes to the Spanish law which leaves many homeowners liable for mortgage payments even after losing their properties.

UK Votes Against Greater Transparency Around Drones at UN.

28th March 2014.        Find Article Here:-

The UK today voted against a UN resolution seeking to “ensure transparency” around drone strikes, just days after an influential Parliamentary committee called for “greater transparency” around the UK’s role in the US’ covert drone programme.

The resolution, which was voted on at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)today, also“express[ed] deep concern” at civilian casualties resulting from drone strikes.

The UK’s no vote comes just days after the House of Commons’ Defence Committee called for “greater transparency” from the British Government over its reported involvement in the US programme of secret drone strikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Pakistan and Yemen.

The UNHRC resolution, which passed despite opposition from the US, UK and other European states, also raised concerns over “the interruption of education, the undermining of religious and cultural practices and the reluctance to assist the victims of drone strikes for fear of being caught in secondary strikes.” It called upon states using drones – currently the US, UK and Israel – to ensure transparency in their use of drones and “to conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of a violation of international law.”

Ireland was the only European member state to vote in favour of the resolution – it was opposed by France, while Germany – whose intelligence sharing links with the US are reportedly supporting the covert drone programme – abstained. Last month members of the European Parliament voted in an overwhelming landslide of 534 to 49 to ban covert drone strikes.

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Jennifer Gibson, Staff Attorney at Reprieve, said: “While the British and European Parliaments have recently made it crystal clear that they want to increase transparency around drone strikes, the governments of these countries seem happy to ignore the voice of the people. This ‘no’ vote from the UK shows that the Government is happy to support US drone strikes without any transparency or accountability. The British people deserve to know what is being done in their name to civilian communities in Yemen and Pakistan.”

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office:clemency.wells@reprieve.org.uk or donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8161 / 8166

2. The full text of the resolution can be found here.

Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

Libya poised to retake oil ports from rebels in move that could split country.

By   28th March 2014.         Find Full Article Here:-

Rebels blockading ports in the eastern province of Cyrenaica say they will form a breakaway state if government forces attack.

Rebels vehicles are deployed to maintain the blockade of oil ports near the city of Sirte, Libya

Rebels vehicles are deployed to maintain the blockade of oil ports to the east of city of Sirte. Photograph: Reuters

Libyan government forces are poised to attack rebels blockading key oil ports this weekend in an offensive that risks splitting the country apart.

A deadline for rebels in the eastern province of Cyrenaica to hand over the ports, blockaded since last summer, has passed with the opposition still in control and vowing to form a breakaway state if attacked.

Rebel militias are dug in along Red Wadi, a valley preventing access along Libya‘s coastal highway to three blockaded ports. “The deadline is already over,” said Osama Buera, a spokesman for the rebel Cyrenaica Political Bureau. “The central authorities in Tripoli are in a weak position. We still encourage a serious dialogue, otherwise we will just break away declaring the independence of new Cyrenaica.”

Meanwhile, militias in the western mountain town of Zintan have cut one of Libya’s last remaining pipelines, further choking production and leaving the government facing rebellion on two fronts.

The blockade, which has robbed the government of one of its only sources of revenue, is the most serious crisis Libya has faced since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi three years ago. It has left some observers predicting disaster. “Libya is teetering on the brink of failure,” said Sarah Lean Whitson of Human Rights Watch.

Militias and tribes in both eastern and western oil-producing regions demand a bigger share of cash, echoing complaints that the economy is in chaos despite Libya having Africa‘s largest oil reserves.

Earlier this month, US special forces captured a renegade tanker off Cyprus after Cyrenaica rebels tried to sell oil independently. Washington insisted it supported the elected authorities.

The episode triggered a political crisis in Libya, with congress firing the prime minister, Ali Zeidan, and ordering the pro-government Libya Shield militias to mobilise. The two-week deadline set by the president of congress, Nur Abu Sahmain, for the ports to be unblocked or face attack expired on Friday.

Libya Shield militias led by forces from thecoastal city of Misrata are ready to attack, having already fought against rebels earlier this month. “The deadline has passed, they [the rebels] were supposed to hand the ports over.” said Anwar Sawan, a Misrata community leader. “Weapons are the only resort if they don’t hand them over.”

With both sides mobilising, tension is high across Libya. Most international airlines, including British Airways, have suspended flights to Tripoli international airport, controlled by a Zintan militia, after rockets struck the runway. “We have no idea when the planes will be back. We will wait and see,” said a travel agent at the half-empty airport on Friday.

Nightly skirmishes between militias along the airport road have emptied the streets and left many fearful.

“Everyone is worried about the militias,” said Abdullah Abdul Masen Bashir, the owner of Tripoli’s most successful honey shop . Normally, his shelves would be groaning with the spring harvest from the eastern Green mountains, but the de facto frontline near the border of Cyrenaica has cut deliveries. “My shop should be full. It was a very good year. The conditions were right, just the amount of rain, but nothing has arrived,” he said.

Why fructose sugar makes us sick.

By Ole Hendrickson  28th March 2014.                                  Find Full Article Here:-

Photo: Laura Taylor/flickr

In 1972, British physiologist, nutritionist and physician John Yudkin summarized years of research on the dangers of eating too much sugar in his book Pure, White and Deadly. Julia Llewellyn Smith’s recent article, “The man who tried to warn us about sugar,” details how the sugar industry ruined Yudkin’s scientific reputation, led scientists astray, and postponed action by health authorities for decades.

With sugar overconsumption now firmly established as a major cause of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, Yudkin is seen as a prophet. But in the 1970s, an opposing theory was that saturated fats were the primary cause of heart disease. Its leading proponent, University of Minnesota epidemiologist Ancel Keys, engaged in a highly personal attack on Yudkin in the scientific literature: “Yudkin has no theoretical basis or experimental evidence to support his claim… [it] is disproved by many studies superior in methodology and/or magnitude to his own.”

Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, and an expert on childhood obesity, writes in the introduction to a new version of Pure, White and Deadly: “The Pharisees of this nutritional holy war declared Keys the victor, Yudkin a heretic and a zealot, threw the now discredited Yudkin under the proverbial bus, and relegated his pivotal work to the dustbin of history.”

So, fat became the culprit. The food industry was quick to come out with a wide range of “low-fat” products. Consumers were told these products were healthy — even when laced with sugar. And the cost of adding sugar to other foods declined significantly after some clever Japanese chemical engineers developed an enzyme-driven process to transform corn into high-fructose corn syrup.

Fructose — the sweetest of the natural sugars, found in fruits — is now produced in huge amounts and added to a wide range of processed foods and drinks. According to United States Department of Agriculture statistics, Americans now consume a staggering 10 million tonnes of high-fructose corn syrup annually, mostly in sweetened beverages. Average individual consumption of corn syrup increased from 0.5 pounds per year in 1970 to 43.5 pounds per year in 2010.

On March 5, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a consultation on a new draft guideline on sugar intake. In 2002, WHO recommended that sugars comprise no more than 10 per cent of dietary calories. It now proposes that sugar intake be reduced to 5 per cent of total calories: about 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons per day for an average adult. WHO points out that “A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of sugar.”

A March 11, 2014 article in the journal Nature, “Storm brewing over WHO sugar proposal: Industry backlash expected over suggested cut in intake,” points out that the US Sugar Association, a Washington-based lobby group, pressured the U.S. government to defund the WHO after it issued its 10 per cent sugar guideline in 2002. Average Americans of all ages still exceed this guideline. Sugar currently comprises over 15 per cent of the dietary calories of children aged 2-19.

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British components in North Korean rockets, UN finds.

By Leo Byrne  27th March 2014.        Find Full Article Here:-

Sanctions against the secretive state have not stopped it from sourcing parts from the UK, US and South Korea for its rockets.

 North Korean rocket Unha-3

North Korean rocket Unha-3, carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, lifting off from the launching pad in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province in North Korea.

North Korea built the Unha-3 rocket, one of the most important missiles in its arsenal, using British, American and South Korean components, United Nations experts have concluded.

The missile also contains off-the-shelf parts from Switzerland and China, as well as parts of Russian Scud missiles.

The majority of the parts, the UN said, did not contravene sanctions and their use “shows the ability of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to assemble complex systems with globally sourced components”.

The Unha-3, a three-stage missile which was first unveiled when it was used to launch a satellite into space in December 2012, is the closest that North Korea has come to developing a missile which can deliver a nuclear warhead to the west coast of America.

The analysis from the United Nations, released earlier this month, came just before North Korea launched two medium-range Rodong ballistic missiles into the sea on Tuesday. The UN security council is planning a closed door meeting on Thursday to discuss a response.

Venice votes to split from Italy as 89% of the city’s residents opt to form a new independent state.

By Hannah Roberts In Rome  21st March 2014.               Find Article & Video Here:-

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Venetians have voted overwhelmingly for their own sovereign state in a ‘referendum’ on independence from Italy.

Inspired by Scotland’s separatist ambitions, 89 per cent of the residents of the lagoon city and its surrounding area, opted to break away from Italy in an unofficial ballot.

The proposed ‘Repubblica Veneta’ would include the five million inhabitants of the Veneto region and could later expand to include parts of Lombardy, Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Residents of Venice have voted 89 per cent to leave Italy and become an independent state in protest at high taxes levied on the wealthy in order to prop up the poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south

Residents of Venice have voted 89 per cent to leave Italy and become an independent state in protest at high taxes levied on the wealthy in order to prop up the poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south.

The floating city has only been part of Italy for 150 years. The 1000 year–old democratic Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, was quashed by Napoleon and was subsumed into Italy in 1866.

Wealthy Venetians, under mounting financial pressure in the economic crisis, have rallied in their thousands, after growing tired of supporting Italy’s poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south, through high taxation.

Activists have been working closely with the SNP on their joint agendas, even travelling to Scotland alongside Catalonians and Basque separatists to take part in pro independence rallies.

Campaigners say that the Rome government receives around 71 billion euros  each year in tax from Venice – some 21 billion euros less than it gets back in investment and services.

Organisers said that 2.36million, 73 per cent, of those eligible to take part voted in the poll, which is not recognised by the Rome government.

The ballot also appointed a committee of ten who immediately declared independence from Italy. Venice may now start withholding taxes from Rome.

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