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New genetically engineered corn and soybeans approved and other news and views for Thursday 16 October

October 16th, 2014


  • New GMOs Get A Regulatory Green Light, With A Hint Of Yellow – “Government regulators have approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. They’re the latest weapon in an arms race between farmers and weeds, and the government’s green light is provoking angry opposition from environmentalists. The actual decision, at first glance, seems narrow and technical. The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it had “registered” a new weedkiller formula that contains two older herbicides: glyphosate (better known as Roundup) and 2, 4-D. Versions of these weedkillers have been around for decades. But farmers in six Midwestern states will be allowed to use the new formula, called Enlist Duo, on their corn and soybeans. And that counts as big news. Farmers will now be able to plant new types of corn and soybeans that have been genetically engineered by the biotech company Dow Agrosciences to tolerate doses of those two weedkillers. (The beauty of herbicide-resistant crops is that they make the herbicides exquisitely selective: They kill the weeds but not the crop.) So farmers can spray either glyphosate or 2, 4-D (or both) to wipe out weeds without harming their corn or soybeans.”
  • Tony Abbott’s own side may put paid to parental leave
  • Is the Pope a Communist? – “At the height of the economic crisis, the appearance of the modestly dressed and humble Pope Francis seemed a statement in itself. His relatively non-judgmental approach to homosexuality surprised conservatives and perplexed liberals. His criticisms of capitalism soon after had the Christian world talking again, with many commentators on the left grudgingly welcoming his comments while some figures on the right, such as radio host Rush Limbaugh, were less than impressed.”
  • Freedom vs. Stability: Are Dictators Worse than Anarchy? – “Although there is always reason to celebrate the toppling of an autocrat, the outcome of the Iraq war and the rise of Islamic State have demonstrated in horrific terms that the alternative can be even worse.”
  • Thailand’s Leader Hints At Putting Off Return To Democracy


  • Forget Facebook, Abandon Instagram, Move To A Village – “People who live in a traditional village — that means a community of about 150 people — are far better off than the rest of us. The author of a new book explains ‘the village effect’.”
  • To G-20 Leaders: Urgent Need to Boost Demand in the Eurozone – “No doubt, under their powerful communication weapons, the G-20 Leaders will give the impression that a vast armada is being marshalled to attack the global growth problem. It will look impressive. … But besides the communication strategy success, the truth remains that, in the absence of a major reconsideration of macroeconomic policies, the G-20 meeting in Australia in November will be another non-event.”
  • Do Plastic Bag Bans Work?


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