Indiana farmer must pay agribusiness giant $84,000 for patent infringement
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
Indiana grain farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman walks past the US Supreme Court on February 19, 2013 in Washington (AFP/File, Mandel Ngan)
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, ordering Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, 75, to pay Monsanto more than $84,000 for patent infringement for using second generation Monsanto seeds purchased second hand—a ruling which will have broad implications for the ownership of ‘life’ and farmers’ rights in the future.
In the case, Bowman had purchased soybean seeds from a grain elevator—where seeds are cheaper than freshly engineered Monsanto GE (genetically engineered) seeds and typically used for animal feed rather than for crops. The sources of the seeds Bowman purchased were mixed and were not labeled. However, some were “Roundup Ready” patented Monsanto seeds. Continue reading
Religious News Service
Reprinted by Washington Post
By David Gibson
NEW YORK — The “Nuns on the Bus” are revving up their engines for another national campaign, only this time the Catholic sisters are taking their mobile platform for social justice along the country’s Southern border to push Congress to pass immigration reform.
“The’Nuns on the Bus’ is going on the road again!” Sister Simone Campbell, head of the social justice lobby Network, told an enthusiastic gathering of faith leaders and charity activists at a Manhattan awards ceremony Wednesday (May 1). Continue reading
Institute for Policy Studies
Photo by Javier Manzano/ AFP
The allegations of chemical weapons being used in Syria have given rise to a whole escalating campaign for direct US military intervention. That’s a very dangerous problem.
First, even though this issue is usually relegated to secondary or even tertiary consideration, let’s start with the “even if” argument. Use of chemical weapons is certainly a war crime; there are separate international laws prohibiting such weapons, and any use is undoubtedly illegal. But just what would be accomplished by escalating the rest of the war with more arms to the opposition side, or creation of a Libya-style US (or US-NATO) “no-fly zone,” widely understood as a way towards regime change? First step in imposing a no-fly zone, in the words of Robert Gates, then secretary of defense during the US-NATO Libya intervention, is an act of war. This time around, that means bombing Syria to destroy its anti-aircraft system. How many civilians would die in that bombing campaign, given the widespread presence of anti-aircraft batteries across the country? Continue reading
Carey L. Biron
WASHINGTON, May 6 2013 (IPS) – Advocates for the African diaspora in the United States have stepped up a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress not to end a longstanding visa programme aimed at boosting immigration from “underrepresented countries”.
The programme, known as the diversity visa lottery, has in recent years been sharply tilted towards African immigration. Since 2008, immigrants from African countries have made up nearly half of the 55,000 randomly awarded U.S. work visas annually awarded.
Yet under a landmark bipartisan proposal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, released in mid-April and currently being debated in the U.S. Senate, the so-called DV lottery would be eliminated (see Section 2303 of the [ http://www.schumer.senate.gov/forms/immigration.pdf ]draft bill). Instead, it would be replaced with “merit-based” visas aimed at opening U.S doors to higher-skilled workers, particularly in the science, technology and engineering fields. Continue reading
[Religious News Service
Reprinted by Washington Post
By David Gibson
NEW YORK — The “Nuns on the Bus” are revving up their engines for another national campaign, only this time the Catholic sisters are taking their mobile platform for social justice along the country’s Southern border to push Congress to pass immigration reform. Continue reading
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) welcomes the release of S-744, Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 and thanks Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for their efforts to craft bi-partisan legislation to fix our nation’s broken immigration system.
The Senate bill provides hope to our immigrant brothers and sisters and the promise that values that are the bedrock of our national identity will flourish. Continue reading
New York Times
By MARTIN FACKLER
TOKYO — The United States and Japan agreed Friday on a new timetable for the return to Japan of a Marine airfield and other military bases on Okinawa, moving to solve a long-festering issue that has bedeviled America’s ties with its largest Asian ally.
By agreeing to a clear timetable for the return of 2,500 acres, both nations are hoping to entice Okinawans to drop their opposition to the air base, which Washington and Tokyo want to move to another part of the island but which many Okinawans want to move off the island. Fierce local opposition has kept Japan from being able to follow through on a deal originally made in 1996 to allow the base and its noisy aircraft to be relocated to a less populated area of the island.
Setting up bee hives at D-Town Farm in Detroit. The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network runs D-Town Farm, teaches gardening skills, and educates about the food system. They also work on policy change and dismantling racism to build food security in Detroit’s Black community. Photo courtesy of Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.
By Beverly Bell, Tory Field, and Deepa Panchang
A shovel overturned can flip so much more than soil, worms, and weeds. Structural racism – the ways in which social systems and institutions promote and perpetuate the oppression of people of color – manifests at all points in the food system. It emerges as barriers to land ownership and credit access for farmers of color, as wage discrimination and poor working conditions for food and farmworkers of color, and as lack of healthy food in neighborhoods of color. It shows up as discrimination in housing, employment, redlining, and other elements which impact food access and food justice.
Many people involved in creating food – from Haitian tomato pickers organizing in Florida, to Native Americans saving seeds in Arizona, to Black Detroit residents growing gardens in fractured neighborhoods – are simultaneously chipping away at structural racism. In the Harvesting Justice series we touch on many of these issues, starting with a look at African-American farmers and what they doing to win justice in the food system.
New York Times
Ten years after it began, the Iraq war still haunts the United States in the nearly 4,500 troops who died there; the more than 30,000 American wounded who have come home; the more than $2 trillion spent on combat operations and reconstruction, which inflated the deficit; and in the lessons learned about the limits of American leadership and power.
It haunts Iraq too, where the total number of casualties is believed to have surpassed 100,000 but has never been officially determined; and where one strongman was traded for another, albeit under a more pluralistic system with a democratic veneer. The country is increasingly influenced by Iran and buffeted by the regional turmoil caused by the Arab Spring. Continue reading
Kxl Pipeline (Photo: 350.org via Flickr / Creative Commons License)
10 KXL amendment co-sponsors took $8 million from fossil fuel industry
- Jacob Chamberlain and Jon Queally, staff writers
In a 62-37 vote late Friday, the US Senate passed a non-binding amendment calling for the approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Environmental groups and climate activists were quick to condemn the vote, but said the “symbolic vote” was valuable because it revealed which members of the Senate have received the message on the seriousness posed by climate change and which continue to bend to the demands of industry lobbyists.
A post-vote analysis by Oil Change International, in fact, revealed that supporters of the amendment “received 3.5 times more in campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests” than those who voted against it. In total, the researchers found that supporters took an average of $499,648 from the industry before voting for the pipeline, for a total of $30,978,153. Continue reading