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Friday, May 1, 2015

Industrial espionage, GMO and russian gas

Europe is a complicated place. Go figure why a foreign intelligence service would spy a company where its own country has a share (Airbus) in favor of its direct foreign competition (Boing etc)

Also, go figure how a fine of $2.5 billion would compensate a crime which affected transactions for trillions, which affected probably the lives of million people. But it works for European banks and the US bank authorities. Also, go figure why in Europe the fines are only for millions. Obviously we profited from those crimes. Only I don't think we did. Europe was torn by the bank crisis and still cannot recover. Yet, no bank was found guilty. So obviously someone did profit after all. Right?

Then we have the gas fiasco. So. South Stream was cancelled by Russia, because Bulgaria was pressured by the EU and USA to stall the project to no end, BECAUSE IT DIDN'T OBEY THE THIRD ENERGY PACKAGE. And yet, they give the competing Trans-Adriatic pipeline an EXEMPTION from the SAME PACKAGE?! Is it only me or I smell a trade war? Oh well, I guess Europe is smart enough to choose who to be in a war with. Only considering the Airbus case, it has a good tradition in treason of national interests. Oh well. And yeah, the funnies thing (for some) is that Bulgaria is the only really f*cked country in the whole story. Because it lost its participation in the project and prospect for any kind of cheap gas. Btw, Bulgaria is still the poorest country in the EU. But then who cares...

And finally, the GMO fiasco. So basically, the countries will be able to ban GMOs, but only on random grounds - they cannot refer to science and ecology. Ok, fair enough. Only, nobody, even Germany, dares to do the same on imports. And only, nobody will monitor the situation in small countries like Bulgaria, because of course, Bulgaria cannot launch a legal action against Monstanto or BASF for extortion and illegal distribution of seeds in a country with a GMO ban. And without the backing of EU-wide ban on GMO, it becomes quite easy to grow and sell GMOs against the will of the people of the country. How's this about democracy? Wait, does anyone still believe in it?

Airbus to press charges on NSA/BND spying claims

Airbus said on Thursday that it had formally requested information from the government in Berlin about how the US and German foreign intelligence services, the NSA and the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), spied on the aviation giant. Airbus told several news outfits that, following media reports suggesting Airbus was the target of industrial espionage, the company would be pressing charges against "persons unknown".

Deutsche Bank fined record $2.5 bln over Libor rate rigging

On Thursday (23 April), Deutsche Bank agreed with US and British authorities to pay a record $2.5 billion in fines, over manipulated benchmark interest rates it used to price contracts in Europe, and around the world. 
American authorities fined Deutsche Bank $2.12 billion and UK watchdogs imposed a $340 million penalty for its role in a scam that ran from around 2003 to 2011 to fix rates such as the Libor to benefit their trading positions. The benchmark rates are used to price hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial transactions by banks and companies worldwide.

Gazprom buys South Stream shares from Eni, EDF and Wintershall

Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom has bought the shares of its European partner companies in the South Stream gas pipeline company, namely Eni, EDF and Wintershall, for approximately $1 billion, thus becoming sole owner of the defunct pipeline.
Although the financial situation of Gazprom is not good, it is believed that by making these payments, Russia preserves good relations with Eni’s subsidiary Saipem, who has a licence to lay pipes under the Black Sea for South Stream (see background).

TAP pipeline secures exemption from Third Energy Package

The Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP), representing the European section of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) which will bring gas from Azerbaijan, has obtained an extension of the validity period of the project’s exemption from third party access to its pipe.

UN cancer agency issues warning about five pesticides

The UN's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said Friday (20 March) that three pesticides were "probably" carcinogenic and two others, which have already been outlawed or restricted, were "possibly" so.
IARC classified the herbicide glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – and the insecticides malathion and diazinon as "probably carcinogenic" on the basis of "limited evidence" of cancer among humans.
The insecticides tetrachlorvinphos and parathion were classified as "possibly carcinogenic" in the light of "convincing evidence" from lab animals, the IARC said in a statement.


EU proposal on GMO food criticised by Greenpeace, industry

The European Commission's proposed new rules on the approval of food derived from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), published on Wednesday (22 April), have immediately attracted criticism from both environment NGOs and the agribusiness sector.
For the first time, the proposal formally allows EU countries to opt-out from the Europe-wide approval system.
Only one GM crop is currently grown in Europe, Monsanto's maize MON810, in Spain and Portugal.
But the new proposal attracted criticism by Greenpeace, which said the proposed reform would still allow the Commission to authorise the import of GMOs, even when a majority of national governments, the European Parliament and the public oppose them.

US trade negotiator 'very disappointed' at European GM food ban

US Trade Representative Michael Froman expressed disappointment on Wednesday (22 April) that the European Commission has decided to let member states have 'opt-outs' on imports of genetically-modified food and feed.
Froman, who is America's chief negotiator in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks between the US and the EU, said the Commission's new proposals will allow member states to ignore science-based evidence and environmental facts.

Germany sceptical of national import ban on GM foods

Despite overwhelming public disapproval of genetically modified crops, the Merkel government is reluctant to prohibit imports of GM soy and corn. Meanwhile, the German government is decidedly against cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and is currently in the process of developing a national ban on cultivation. But Berlin has been more reserved on the issue of also imposing a national import ban on GM products, as proposed by the European Commission. 
US companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Dupont make billions in revenues on GM seed sold worldwide. In Europe, BASF, Syngenta and Bayer Cropscience are among the leading GMO manufacturers.

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