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Monsanto pleads guilty to using banned pesticide on research crop

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Biotech giant Monsanto on Thursday agreed to plead guilty to illegally using a banned and highly toxic pesticide on research crops at one of its facilities on the Hawaiian island of Maui and to pay $10 million in fines.

The company admitted in court documents filed in US District Court in Honolulu that it sprayed the pesticide known as Penncap-M on corn seed and other crops at its Valley Farm facility in 2014, even though it knew the chemical had been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency the year before.

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“The illegal conduct in this case posed a threat to the environment, surrounding communities and Monsanto workers,” said Nick Hanna, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, whose office handled the case. “Federal laws and regulations impose a clear duty on every user of regulated and dangerous chemicals to ensure the products are safely stored, transported and used.”

The case against Monsanto was brought as the agriculture giant faced a slew of lawsuits arguing that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

Federal prosecutors had initially sought to file felony charges against the company for illegally spraying Penncap-M, a nerve agent. But they reportedly agreed to let the company plead to a lesser misdemeanor offense after Monsanto’s lawyers intervened at the highest levels of the Department of Justice.

In its guilty plea, Monsanto admitted that after the 2014 spraying, it told employees to enter the sprayed fields a week later even though it knew the workers should have been kept from entering the area for 31 days.

The plea calls for Monsanto to pay a $6 million criminal fine and $4 million in community service payments to Hawaiian government entities.

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Hanna’s office said the government agreed to dismiss felony charges in two years if Monsanto abides by the plea agreement.

Photo AFP/File / JOHN THYS

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‘Comparing yourself to terrorists?’ Internet cracks up at Trump saying dead 9-11 hijackers got more justice than him

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President Donald Trump quoted Fox News host Mark Levin that left many scratching their heads. Levin, who has a show on Sunday evenings, claimed that the terrorists from Sept. 11 got more due process than the president.

The claim was a curious one because, as many on Twitter noted, it's not often that the president of the United States compares himself to a terrorist. Secondly, the 9-11 hijackers all died in the attack, as they were on the planes that crashed into the buildings and into a Pennsylvania field.

Trump is known to quote Levin frequently, though the citations often make the president look worse.

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If people of color showed up to a Capitol protest heavily armed — Trump would call them terrorists: commentator

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Legal analyst Areva Martin explained in a CNN panel discussion Sunday that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has historically been a day in which white supremacists rear their ugly heads with racist protests and other public displays of bigotry. Monday's expected rally of racist gun nuts expected at the Virginia capitol is no different.

Colorblind author Tim Wise said that it's a whole different level with pro-gun activists. He noted that there was a message from the NRA that former President Barack Obama was going to take everyone's guns away. Of course, that never happened, but it was part of the narrative to scare sensible gun owners. Now, President Donald Trump is employing the same idea, saying that the rally of racists in Virginia is being spun by the president as another Democratic power-grab. Wise called it a kind of "front-lash" instead of "backlash."

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Farmers refuse to cheer for Trump as he lies that he’s fighting for them to keep their land

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President Donald Trump appeared in Texas Sunday to speak to the Farm Bureau conference. Among the things he promised was that he was fighting for them to have their water rights and rights to control their own land usage.

As one viewer noted, there was noticeable silence when Trump mentioned land usage. It could be due to the fact that Trump is suing in court to take the land of farmers and ranches so he can build his border wall. For some, the land has been in their family since the founding of the state of Texas.

https://twitter.com/TheClearCider/status/1219050816084029442

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