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SchNEWS 245, Friday 28th January 2000

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Sun, 6 Feb 2000 15:07:18 -0500


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SchNEWS, FRI 28TH JANUARY 2000

wake up! wake up! YER GENES ARE UNDER ATTACK

TRIPS, D.N.A. AND ORGASMS

"Right now, the US is supporting a loop-hole so large that
ship-loads of genetically engineered grain could go through
there."
Sarah Newport, Friends of the Earth


Surprise, surprise! The first major international trade talks
since the Seattle debacle look set to fall apart, just like the
stomachs of the poor bastards eating the crap.

Representatives of 150 nations began talks in Montreal on
Monday in another attempt to come to an agreement which
would regulate trade in Genetically Modified foods.
However, the U.S. and four other nations in the so-called
Miami 'Mice' Group, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Chile and
Uruguay - basically the world’s biggest grain exporters - plus
their lobbying mates from the Global Industry Coalition
representing 2,200 bio-tech companies worldwide, are once
again trying to put the boot into any agreement.

The European ministers arrived at the talks on Wednesday,
except for the French minister who thought there was more
chance on him dining on British beef than this bunch of
G.M. freaks coming to a consensus.  One U.S. official put it
more bluntly: "It would be a miracle if we succeed in
hammering out an agreement." Meanwhile, the Italian
minister, contrary to popular belief did not surrender when
he saw the protesters, but was in fact at home with the flu.

PIE THE GM GUY!

Proponents of biotechnology were holding a news
conference to extol the virtues of genetically altered food
when a pie-wielding protester found his mark.  "Down with
biotechnology!" the assailant shouted. "We have to eat
those foods - not you!"  Joyce Groote, the receiver  of this
well aimed flan stated "at least it was to my taste." Unlike
the shite he throws at us.
In London banners bearing the slogan ‘Gene dictators - the
world is watching’ were hung outside Canada House, with
the area being symbolically sealed with biohazard tape by
protesters in decontamination suits. Anti-GM activists
around the globe also joined the demonstrations this week,
with a march in Montreal and actions as far afield as South
Korea and Australia.

With massive pressures from consumers European Union
ministers are pushing for clear labelling on foods. They are
part of the ‘like-minded’ group (many of whom are ‘third
world’ countries) representing over a hundred nations, who
are arguing for the right to be informed of and refuse to
import genetically modified foods, seeds and other GM
products.


The US reckon not only will this break ‘free trade’ rules but
will cost them billions of dollars just to seperate GM and non
GM food. Our genetically modified hearts bleed.
And if an agreement is signed? Well, the US could once
again use the strong arm tactics of the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) to say that the agreement was a barrier
to trade. The stakes are high with the bio-technology
industry worth billions, and the US complaining that it is
already losing £120 million annually because of the
European Unions resistance to GM foods. But force feeding
us all frankenstein fodder will not go down well with the
public, and will make the WTO, still shaky after the kicking it
got in Seattle (see SchNEWS 240) about as popular as a
socialist at a New Labour Conference.
*  Look out for the Trade Related International Property
rights talks in Geneva, in February. TRIPS (not as fun as
they sound) give the multinationals the right to patent life.
They’re already selling living organisms and robbing
indigenous people of their DNA.  Watch out for protests in
Geneva. Hooray!

* Genetic Engineering Network (GEN),PO Box 9656,
London N4 4JY,Tel 0208 374 9516
www.geneticsaction.org.uk/protocol

* ‘Animal feed and genetic engineering’ available for 40p
SAE to Corporate Watch, 16b Cherwell St., Oxford, OX4
1BG  www.corporatewatch.org

MIAMI  MICE
"The Biosafety talks have been stalled for too long - if the
Miami Group wants to remain isolated, so be it. The rest of
the world cannot be their hostage forever".
Benny Haerlin,Greenpeace

At the international trade talks in Seattle an attempt was
made to form a 'biotech working group' within the World
Trade Organisation. This would mean that trade in
genetically modified organisms would fall under WTO
regulations. Luckily for people who eat food, this motion
was defeated. If no protocol agreement is reached in
Montreal by Saturday, talks will continue in Nairobi in May -
a less friendly atmosphere for U.S. based multinationals.

* ‘Animal feed and genetic engineering’ available for 40p
SAE to Corporate Watch, 16b Cherwell St., Oxford, OX4
1BG  www.corporatewatch.org

WOT A RELIEF!

Midland Expressway Limited (MEL), the company behind
the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, are in a little financial
strife  thanks to a long public enquiry and the occupation of
the site by protesters.  After a 3 year delay the cost of the
road has doubled, and now MEL is being relieved by a
shortlist of eight of yer favourite banks. MEL are looking for
a little spare change from the  banks, somewhere in the
region of £700million, to make sure the road goes ahead.
As Birmingham Friends of the Earth points out "Investment
into this road is the achilies heel for the Highways Agency
and the Department of the Environment."
* The HOCKLEY protest camp in Essex, set up to prevent
66 luxury houses being built on greenbelt land, are in court
today( Friday) and expecting eviction within the next 2
weeks. Legal aid for an appeal has been mysteriously
withdrawn, but a friendly local lawyer has offered his
services for free.  Tel 0831 717815 or check out
www.angelfire.com/mt/GBH
* Clearance work has started on the Glen of the Downs
protest site near Dublin. The nature reserve is being
destroyed so a road can be widened to a dual carriageway.
People needed now. www.emc23.tp/glen


REVOLTIN’ STUDENTS
Students at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
in London went into occupation this Tuesday in defence of
over 30 tuition fee non payers who are threatened with
disciplinary action. The occupiers took over the college’s
management offices on the 1st floor to demand that the
college does not expel non payers, that they refuse to
collect fees and that they lobby the Government for their
abolition.
SOAS management continually winge about how they’re not
responsible for tuition fees, and students should lobby the
government. However the head of SOAS, Tim Lankester
has considerable influence in government circles, since he
has been an executive director to the World Bank and IMF,
and was permanent secretary at the Dept for Education for
a while.

Management decided to evacuate all 5 floors of the SOAS
building. They even shut down the college’s telephone and
internet system as well for a while, so no-one on campus
could use their e-mail! Management claim that this was
done under Health and Safety law, but it is more likely to be
a tactic to try and turn students and staff against the
occupiers. However, the lecturers’ union said that closing
down the building amounted to a lock-out under trade union
law, and contested it.

Some sympathetic lecturers have even been holding
lectures in the occupied building. Management agreed to
reopen most of the building on Thursday morning, but the
floors above and below the occupied corridor are still
locked. They also agreed to meet the occupiers to
negotiate, but they are still up for eviction in the High Court
this Friday, and could be evicted  any time after.
* Campaign for free Education, PO Box 22615 London. N4
1WT  Tel 0958 556 756 cfe@gn.apc.org

BLAIR WITCH-HUNT
SchNEWS readers may remember that last November 40+
students from Sussex University stopped Cherie Blair
coming to a posh Uni dinner. She was supposed to talk
about increasing access for women to enter higher
education, but the Sussex Non-Payment Campaign saw this
as complete hypocrisy when it was her husband’s
government that had abolished grants and brought in fees
during the last two years. They occupied the dining room
where the dinner was to take place and eventually the
dinner was cancelled.

The University wern’t best pleased, and in retaliation are
now victimising some of the students who were there.
Seven are to be disciplined and 3 of these are to be done
for breaking and entering. On top of this the Uni have also
sent the cops round to people’s homes. This victimisation
and harassment is a political move to break the
Non-Payment Campaign. These students need your
support now.
* Sussex Non-Payment Campaign, Falmer House,
University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 8DN or
susxnonpay@hotmail.com.

VIVISECTORS SHOPPED
The Shopworkers Union, UDSAW, this week announced
that it was withdrawing it’s investments in Huntingdon Life
Sciences. Huntingdon vivisect dogs, cats and monkeys
among other animals and were secretly filmed by Channel 4
showing workers punching and beating Beagle puppies.
Apparently the union was not aware of the involvement
which came from Labour’s staff pension fund. * National
Demo against Huntingdon on Sat 12th Feb. Phone 0121
632 6460 for transport and more details.


SchNEWS in brief

Riotous Assembly is a forum for direct action campaigners
in Manchester to meet each other. Their next meeting
Tuesday 1st February, 7:30pm, Yard Theatre, 41, Old Birley
Street, Hulme (opposite the Junction Pub) This month’s
short discussion is "World Trade Organisation /Seattle -
What Next?" www.snet.co.uk/ef/
** On the same lines in the Capital, is the London
Underground. Next meeting Friday 4th February at the
Arsenal Tavern, Blackstock Road, London, N4 (Finsbury
Park Tube). With cheap food and music from 9pm and a
suggested donation of £2. And if you’re in Brighton, then
check out the Rebel Alliance. Next meeting Sunday
February 6th at Brighton Unemployed Centre, 6 Tilbury
Place 6pm (turn left past Hectors Pub up very steep Carlton
Hill)
** A demonstration has been called in London to oppose
the Russian war in Chechny on Saturday 5 February . The
march starts at 12 noon at Tothill Street (behind
WestminsterHall, Tubes: St James’s Park) Tel 0171 207
3997
** Showcase for Kosova Headmix Collective, story telling
and films. Sunday 30th, 5pm-10:30pm, The Gloucester,
Brighton. Free food before 7pm!. + SEATTLE FILM **
There’s a The Land Is Ours Winter Gathering at the Exodus
Collective Manor Road (the A6), Nr Luton on the18th - 20th
February. Sleeping space avaliable, bring a mat and money
(£1 charge for each meal). Tel 0181 357 8504
www.oneworld.org/tlio
** Peace 2000 aims to 'promote a culture of Nonviolence for
the New Millennium'. For a diary of events ring 01273
620125.
** On 1st Feb there will be a talk and video showing about
Shamrock monkey farm, followed by a discussion of the
Terroism Bill. Contact Worthing eco-action, PO Box 4144,
BN14 7NZ.
** Protesters took Pie-rect action against Dolly the Sheep’s
father this week.While promoting his new book, The Second
Creation, Keith Campbell was planted a lovely fresh pie in
the face, while being told to ‘fuck his sheep’** Congrats to
Chumbawumba’s Alice Nutter and Keir on the birth of baby
Mae.

Inside SchNEWS

Two more people have been sent down for June 18, and
would all love to receive your witty scriblings: Jeff Booker ,
DN 7071, and Stuart Tokham, DN 7072, both at  HMP
Brixton, Jebb Avenue, London, SW2 5XF. Jeff got 21
months for violent disorder, while Stuart received 12
months.
*URGENT WITNESS APPEAL - Danny Penman is a
sympathetic journalist, who has covered such issues as the
M11 campaign. He was visciously attacked and hospitalised
by the police in Euston, November 30th. You can Call
Danny on 0850 751575. *If there are any witnesses from
J18, or Euston that may help someones case, call Legal
Defence Monitoring Group 0171 837 7557

SPUD-U-LIKE
Fed up with the choice of potatoes in your local
greengrocers? Want to get your hands on an International
Kidney or a Yukon Gold?. Then why not get along to Ryton
Organic Gardens on the 5th and 6th February for the 7th
National Potato Days. On offer for spud lovers will be seeds
and tubers from 120 varieties of potatoes. The event
organised by the Henry Doubleday Research
Association(HDRA) who are keen to increase the number of
potato varieties avaliable, will also include talks, gardening
advice and cookery demonstrations. Entrance is £3, or free
to HDRA members. More information: 024 7630 8211.
www.hdra.org.uk
DEATH IN CUSTODY

"The Home Office has confirmed that, early on the morning
of Monday 24th January, a 49 year old asylum seeker from
Lithuania, committed suicide in Harmondsworth Detention
centre".

Figures announced by the Commons Public Accounts
Committee, reveal that 71,000 asylum seekers entered
Britain last year, a 55% increase from 1998. Downing Street
blames the confict in Kosovo for the significant rise, MPs
criticise the Home Office for not doing enough, whilst
Barbara Roche, the immigration minister claims that the
problem is under control! BUT WHAT ABOUT THE
REFUGEES??? Welcome to the lovely world of refugee
detention!

Yes, the Government’s answer is to lock asylum seekers up
in Detention Centres and prisons whilst they wait for their
cases to be heard. One of these places is HMP Rochester
where refugees make up almost half the prison population.
A report compiled by Sir David Ramsbotham, the chief
inspector of prisons, showed the appalling treatment that
the asylum seekers receive. The denial of basic rights, and
disregard for regulations was revealed to be commonplace.
Refugees are given no opportunity to work and earn money,
being forced to survive on the generous amount of £2.50 a
week. Prison guidelines are issued to them only in English,
despite the majority being unable to speak the language.
The list goes on..no visits, no right to exercise, no choice of
menu, no access to the gym or library...

So what’s being done about it ??Surprise, surprise...not a
great deal. Prison officials admit that Embassies are not
informed of the refugees’ detention. Even more worrying is
the confirmation that the Immigration and Nationality
Directorate has "no recognised imput into the treatment of
detainees". So there we have it, Great Britain, what a
wonderful place to be a refugee! Hardly suprising that one
took his own life, is it?
* National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, 110
Hamstead Road, Birmingham, B20 2QS. Tel 0121 554
6947.

...and finally...

"I don’t like doing this," Judge Leahy told defendant
Kenneth Saasta while pronouncing sentence, "because
cocaine dealing carries a mandatory prison sentence. But
after looking at all the evidence, I’m gonna have to let you
off with community service, because you’re so goddam fat
you’d break the jail."

The prosecuting attorney begged the judge not to impose a
custodial sentence: Saasta weighs more than 47 stone and
there isn’t a jail in the state that can hold him. We have to
prise him through the cell doors. The night he was arrested,
he demolished all the bunks in the police cells by lying down
on them, and smashed three toilets simply be sitting on
them. No prison uniforms will fit him, he can’t stand for more
than 5 minutes but chairs collapse when he sits on them,
and because of this problem with constant diarrhoea, we
have to hose everywhere he’s been.

The jail would need to buy reinforced beds, chairs and
toilets and worse, he’s so fat he can’t even cut his own
toenails or wipe himself in the bathroom.
Someone has to do it for him and the sheriff’s department is
threatening strike action if Saasta is sent to jail. Judge
Leahy also ordered that Saasta be tagged with an
electronic monitoring device, but this was overuled when it
was discovered that none of the devices were large enough
to fit round his ankles.
*Stolen from Merseyfin, who nicked it from San Jose
Mercury News.

DIsclaimer
SchNEWS warns all gen’ies not to grant any wishes to profit
mad crazy genetic scientists. Honest!

------------------------------------------------------------------------

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