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‘Silent revolution’ of biotechnology food will surpass GMO products: Greenpeace report

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The row over genetically modified crops should be a thing of the past because they have failed to live up to their promise, according to Greenpeace, which will publish a report this week highlighting the successes of biotechnology projects it claims are outstripping GM in improving food production around the world.

The environmental campaign group – which has long been against GM foods – claims that a “silent revolution” in agriculture is showing a stronger track record than the GM process, which it labels as having shown disappointing results.

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“Whilst the debate between GM and non-GM has used up most of the political oxygen, this report shows it is not the only – or indeed, the best – show in town. There is a growing range of non-GM biotechnologies which show how a growing world population can be fed at a time when natural environments are increasingly stressed,” said Greenpeace chief scientist Dr Doug Parr.

“It’s a silent revolution, making huge strides on the ground for the world’s farmers without the novel risks of GM,” he said. “The debate is not about GM any more; things have moved on.”

However, the group has been accused of “bizarre” hypocrisy by several leading geneticists who point out that the same science is behind both GM and the biotechnologies Greenpeace are backing. Known as MAS – Marker Assisted Selection – they combine genetics and molecular biology to pick out and control the best traits of an individual plant. Essentially, it is using gene technology to improve what is already there rather than introducing new elements as GM does, for example in the “golden rice” project which added vitamin A to rice.

“This is bizarre. What they are talking about is essentially the suite of technologies that spearhead the ‘green revolution’, which eco groups such as Greenpeace have steadfastly rubbished for decades. Now they see it as agriculture’s saviour,” said Johnjoe McFadden, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey.

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“If GM is not up to much then why has it been so successful that crops such as soya are now nearly all GM worldwide. Who knows best how to grow their own crops – farmers or Greenpeace?

“Genetic-assisted breeding is certainly very important and will help to generate new crops but it can’t, for example, replace golden rice. Vitamin A-rich rice cannot be bred because it isn’t a trait which already occurs in rice. This places strict limitations on this form of breeding.”

But Greenpeace insisted Vitamin A rice was still “years away” from being ready for use and pointed to MAS successes with rice, wheat and in increasing resistence to disease to crops that are of key importance in their own small geographical areas – such as Indian millet and sorghum in Sudan.

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“Our report shows how MAS has a much stronger track record of delivery than GM technologies on properties that genuinely help poorer families globally, yet currently receives little attention,” the group said.

The Greenpeace report on biotechnology will be launched at the International Rice Congress in Bangkok later this week.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014

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2020 Election

Cory Booker planning to suspend his campaign if his fundraising does not improve: report

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On Saturday, NBC News reported that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has released a campaign memo indicating he will exit the Democratic presidential primary if he is unable to raise millions of dollars within days.

"Without a fundraising surge to close out this quarter, we do not see a legitimate long-term path forward," wrote campaign manager Addisu Demissie in the memo to staff ersand supporters. "The next 10 days will determine whether Cory Booker can stay in this race."

The memo added that it is likely that only four candidates presently have enough money to stay in the race for the long haul. These candidates are likely former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who report the largest fundraising hauls.

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Trump snarls at press for pursuing Ukraine phone call complaint instead of reporting on debunked Biden story

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Donald Trump lashed out at the media for pursuing the story of a suppressed inspector general's report that he may have made an illegal promise to the president of Ukraine, saying they should be investigating former Vice President Joe Biden instead.

Taking to Twitter, the president wrote: "The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a..... story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine. Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster. The Fake News knows this but doesn’t want to report!"

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The new Rambo movie is essentially a MAGA fever dream of bigotry

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"Rambo: Last Blood," the latest in the long-running franchise about a traumatized war veteran (Sylvester Stallone) turned on-demand badass, is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Even for a series that has always been shaped by a right wing worldview, the only reason for this latest sequel to exist — besides generating profits from die-hard Stallone fans — is to validate MAGA-world bigotries about Mexicans.This article first appeared in Salon.

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