Bayer Shareholders Vote Against Board over Monsanto Merger

Sustainable Food – Apr 27 2019

Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann was dealt a blow Friday at the German chemical giant’s annual general meeting, amid tensions over last year’s decision to buy US seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto, as disgruntled shareholders voted against management.
Source: AFP

At the AGM in Bonn, 55.5 percent voted against the management board, led by embattled CEO Werner Baumann, with just 44.5 percent of shareholders in favour – a huge drop down from 97 percent support last year.

The result is a slap in the face for Baumann and his management team. Although the vote carries no direct consequences, it is a clear statement by disgruntled shareholders.

Around 500 protesters gathered outside the Bonn conference centre with placards mocking Bayer’s corporate motto “science for a better life” or calling to “stop glyphosate”, the Monsanto-made herbicide at the centre of the group’s woes.

Inside, investors were fuming.

“Bayer has choked on Monsanto,” said Ingo Speich of Deka bank. “The company risks being taken over and dismantled.”

Mark Tuemmler of investors’ federation DSW said 2018 was “a nightmare for shareholders”.

– ‘A scandal’ –

Bayer’s share price fell last year by around 40 percent following its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto in June — the biggest in German history.

At 57 billion euros, its market capitalisation is little higher than the price it paid to acquire Monsanto in the first place.

“A scandal,” Tuemmler said.

Opening the meeting, Baumann acknowledged that some 13,400 US lawsuits relating to glyphosate and initial unfavourable judgements against Bayer “are placing a heavy burden on our company and worrying many people”.

Last year’s share price plunge was driven by the first of two jury rulings so far that have awarded plaintiffs — cancer patients who had been exposed to glyphosate over long periods — $80 million each.

Baumann complained that such decisions had been based on a 2015 finding by World Health Organization arm IARC that glyphosate “probably” causes cancer.

“We remain convinced of the safety of glyphosate,” the CEO said, recalling regulators worldwide found no new evidence that the pesticide causes cancer in reviews prompted by the IARC judgement.

In the two cases already heard, “we remain optimistic that the next higher courts will reach different verdicts,” the CEO added, calling for “decisions based on scientific analysis — and not on emotions”.

The business case for the merger remained as strong as ever, he assured investors, with the merged companies now operating “leading businesses in chemical and biological crop protection, in conventional and biotech seed, and also in digital farming”.

And he reiterated the group’s targets — including its pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medicines units — to increase sales four percent, to 46 billion euros ($51 billion) in 2019, with an operating profit before special items of 12.2 billion euros.

Current market reactions were “exaggerated” and did not reflect Bayer’s “true value”, he said.

SOURCE

How GMO Seeds and Monsanto /Bayer’s “RoundUp” Are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

Mintpressnews – May 6, 2019 – Whitney Webb

With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

How GMO Seeds and Monsanto/Bayer’s “RoundUp” are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — As the political crisis in Venezuela has unfolded, much has been said about the Trump administration’s clear interest in the privatization and exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, by American oil giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Yet the influence of another notorious American company, Monsanto — now a subsidiary of Bayer — has gone largely unmentioned.

While numerous other Latin American nations have become a “free for all” for the biotech company and its affiliates, Venezuela has been one of the few countries to fight Monsanto and other international agrochemical giants and win. However, since that victory — which was won under Chavista rule — the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition has been working to undo it.

Now, with Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

In recent months, Monsanto’s most controversial and notorious product — the pesticide glyphosate, branded as Roundup, and linked to cancer in recent U.S. court rulings — has threatened Bayer’s financial future as never before, with a litany of new court cases barking at Bayer’s door. It appears that many of the forces in the U.S. now seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government are hoping that a new Guaidó-led government will provide Bayer with a fresh, much-needed market for its agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, particularly those products that now face bans in countries all over the world, including once-defoliated and still-poisoned Vietnam.

U.S.-Backed Venezuelan opposition seeks to reverse Chavista seed law and GMO ban

In 2004, then-president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, surprised many when he announced the cancellation of Monsanto’s plans to plant 500,000 acres of Venezuelan agricultural land in genetically modified (GM) soybeans. The cancellation of Monsanto’s Venezuela contract led to what became an ad hoc ban on all GM seeds in the entire country, a move that was praised by local farmer groups and environmental activists. In contrast to anti-GM movements that have sprung up in other countries, Venezuela’s resistance to GM crops was based more on concerns about the country’s food sovereignty and protecting the livelihoods of farmers.

Although the ban has failed to keep GM products out of Venezuela — as Venezuela has long imported a majority of its food, much of it originating in countries that are among the world’s largest producers of genetically modified foods — one clear effect has been preventing companies like Monsanto and other major agrochemical and seed companies from gaining any significant foothold in the Venezuelan market.

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Forced vaccination – agenda SB276 – Video 46 min

Dr. John Bergman – May 6, 2019 – Video: 46 min

With the world becoming increasingly toxic and the incredible lack of knowledge regarding appropriate healthcare, it has never been more important to take charge of your health and your life. The Extreme Health Academy is a website that’s full of information to help you learn exactly what you must do to survive and thrive in this world. Best of all this website is a community of people ready to help others on the road to optimal health with features like an online forum, live webinars, podcasts, video courses, and more.

VIDEO LINK

Is milk pasteurization OBSOLETE? New low-temperature treatment promises 60 days of fresh milk in your fridge without “cooking” it

Natural News –  May 04, 2019 by: Isabelle Z.

When it comes to milk, you generally have two choices: You can get fresh milk and consume it quickly before it goes bad, or you could get UHT milk that can stay on the shelf unopened for months on end and accept the compromise in flavor and potential digestion problems this option brings.

Soon, however, consumers may not have to make this choice as an Australian company has announced a new technique that can extend the shelf life of fresh milk to more than 60 days.

The company, Naturo, doesn’t rely on the high heat used in pasteurization, and the resulting milk is said to retain its natural color and taste just like it came right from a cow.

Although the company hasn’t released a lot of details, likely due to confidentiality reasons, they have said they based their process on existing technologies and it does not involve the addition of additives or preservatives. The company’s CEO told ABC Australia that they don’t use the aggressive pasteurization process of heating to 162 degrees Fahrenheit followed by homogenization.

The treatment has already gotten the stamp of approval from Australia’s Dairy Food Safety Victoria, and it meets the standards for killing any pathogenic microorganisms that could be present in the milk. In fact, they say it kills off even more pathogens than pasteurization does, including Bacillus cereus, which isn’t always removed in pasteurization. Best of all, it does this while retaining vitamins and enzymes.

The same company also came up with an air pressure process that can preserve avocados and prevent browning, and it is possible the milk procedure works on a similar principle. Naturo CEO Jeff Hastings said: “It is safer, better for you and lasts longer. The primary difference between our milk and pasteurized milk is the fact that we don’t ‘cook’ the milk to make it safe for human consumption. Our milk is much closer to milk in its original state and is independently proven to be nutritionally superior.”

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Hydroponically Grown Produce Threatens Real Organic Agriculture

Truthout – May 2, 2019 – Alison Rose Levy

Calling food grown without soil-based nutrients “organic” amounts to fraud, say organic farmers.Calling food grown without soil-based nutrients “organic” amounts to fraud, say organic farmers.

In the produce section of my local food co-op sit Driscoll’s berries in their neat little rows: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, each in plastic clamshells. No other berry options are present on the shelf. Paging the receivers, I ask, “Do we have any non-hydroponically grown berries?”

In response, I am told, “We only have organic berries and organic berries aren’t hydroponic.”

It turns out that’s not always true, at least not anymore. It’s something that organic food consumers find very confusing — and for good reason. Driscoll’s owns 64 percent of the U.S. organic berry market. The company’s signature offering is making berries, formerly seasonal treasures, available year-round.

The California-based Driscoll’s, a global conglomerate, has gained a major foothold in the booming organic segment of the food industry. An aggregator, it works with hundreds of farmers all over the world. The New York Times called the company, “one of the largest hydroponic growers, using the system to grow hundreds of acres of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.”

In November 2017, after years of pressure, Driscoll’s and its corporate allies in the Organic Trade Association (the group of large companies that now own many organic brands), launched what has become an ongoing redefinition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-regulated Organic Standards at the National Organic Program (NOP). Following its acceptance of hydroponics, the program increasingly allows practices, inputs and products that most organics-seeking consumers want to avoid.

“Organic food is about an entire ecosystem: taking care of the soil, recharging nutrients with crop rotation, [and] providing for natural pollinators and pest control. It is a way for farming, which can often be ecologically destructive, to work with the planet,” writes Dan Nosowitz at Modern Farmer. “Massive hydroponic and container operations like Driscoll’s do not do that: They are willfully separate from the environment.”

With catch phrases, like “share the berry joy,” and “berry lovers unite,” its deft marketing portrays Driscoll’s as fun and community-oriented, but the corporate culture and practices belie this carefully cultivated image. The National Independent Democratic Farm Workers Union, which launched a worldwide boycott, called Driscoll’s “one of the most [exploitative] agricultural companies in the San Quintín Valley, Baja California.” Baja is just one of the many regions around the world where Driscoll’s subsidiary farmers grow the company’s proprietary berry varieties, which are then cooled to near-freezing, stored, trucked and shipped across borders to reach millions of consumers throughout the world. Despite the undisclosed carbon footprint incurred by Driscoll’s global transport, the company boasts of using recycled water, as a key sustainability feature.

One factor that has hastened Driscoll’s market takeover is stiff competition for the limited shelf space in natural food stores and co-ops around the country. Another is the increasing consolidation of food wholesalers. This means that, over time, most small wholesalers have either sold out to — or been driven out of business by — larger conglomerates like Tree of Life and United Food International. Down to just a few giants, public choice is limited.

Nevertheless, it’s not as The New York Times alleged, merely a “turf battle” between Driscoll’s and the farmers who originally devised and still champion the growing methods essential to organics; it’s also about regulations under the National Organics Program. A rare governmental program with popular appeal, from the beginning, the NOP has relied on standards, accountability and small local farming.

During a time of massive deregulation in many areas affecting public and environmental health, the intrusion of hydroponic and container growing into organics undermines its long-standing intention, practices and values, the farmers who spoke to Truthout claim.

“Both the NOP and the National Organic Standards Board failed to enforce … the soil fertility and crop nutrient management practice standard,” Linley Dixon of the Real Organics Project testified at a recent National Organic Standards Board meeting. Organically certified berry farmers are “struggling to stay in business right now because they are losing markets to hydroponic berries under the same organic label, despite extreme differences in cost of production due to the failure to follow soil fertility standards.”

Nevertheless, the newly “certified organic,” hydroponically grown berries, tomatoes and salad greens have crept onto shelves at grocers nationwide, where there is no further requirement that they be labeled as hydroponic, even though there is evidence that many of them are.

Hydro vs. Soil Grown

Thanks to the recent publicity about the Green New Deal, more people are becoming aware of the global trend toward regenerative agriculture — a process which relies on drawing down carbon into the soil to help to mitigate and even reverse the effects of climate change. A complex of plant material, root systems, fungi and microbes link together to create a “soil sponge” that holds in carbon, grows nutritious plants and retains water.

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Climate Disruption Is Not Due to CO2 Global Research – Prof. Claudia von Werlhof and Silvia Terribili (Audio 43 min)

Global Research – Apr 30, 2019 – Prof. Claudia von Werlhof and Silvia Terribili (Audio 43 min)

Professor Claudia von Werlhof wrote to Greta Thunberg. In this letter Von Werlhof tells that the disruption of the global climate is not due to CO2.

Following questions arose from this letter for Silvia Terribili, who asked von Werlhof to give an interview for her radio show Onda Italiana on salto.nl, April 9th.

Audio Interview (43 min)

Dear Greta Thunberg,

As so many others I have followed your activities and those of so many young people concerning the problems our planet is suffering from. Yes, we need a panic instead of a hope that has no ground! This is what I am saying as well, and I am very happy that the youth has started to become active, finally!

I am the founder and forewoman of the „Planetary Movement for Mother Earth“, founded in Germany in 2010 and situated in Austria (www.pbme-online.org). So, during the last weeks people are approaching me telling me that I should contact you. Well, I´ll try. Because, there is one big question:

The reason for all these terrible problems we are observing on earth, is not CO2. The reason is military geoengineering, invented during World War II and developed since then, but kept in secrecy. We know about it first of all through Dr. Rosalie Bertell, a scientist and Catholic nun from North America who worked with the UN on environmental problems worldwide during all her life until she passed in 2012. Her last book: „Planet Earth. The Latest Weapon of War“ was published in 2000 already, but did nearly not become known, because the publisher went bankrupt. When I knew Rosalie Bertell in 2010 we founded the Movement and translated her book into German, adding all her additional knowledge to it (s. att.). The book now exists even in Spanish, Italian and French. It is the book that explains the history of technologies that are destroying the earth´s living systems and are transforming the planet into a weapon of war and mass destruction, as Bertell says.

I am adding a chapter -as manuscript in progress- on Geoengineering that I just wrote for a book „Global Warning! Geoengineering is Wrecking Our Planet“ that is to appear now with Talma Studios in Paris and contains articles of 12 women from Europe, the Near East and the Americas concerning the question (att.). It explains the chronology of the problem and its complexity.

CO2 does not explain anything of what is happening today. On the contrary it is guiding all the efforts made into a wrong direction that does not help to overcome the real dangers that, on top of all, are much more and much more serious than those nornally mentioned.

So, as a sort of grandmother compared to your age I am glad to try at least to pass another type of information to you and your comrades in order to overcome the gap between the official policy and that what is needed to be done now, and very urgently so.

Yours,

Prof. em Dr. Claudia von Werlhof, University of Innsbruck, Austria, „Planetary Movement for Mother Earth“

Reference: I am adding a chapter -as manuscript in progress- on Geoengineering that I just wrote for a book „Global Warning! Geoengineering is Wrecking Our Planet“ that is to appear now with Talma Studios in Paris and contains articles of 12 women from Europe, the Near East and the Americas concerning the question (att.). It explains the chronology of the problem and its complexity.

Earth as Weapon / Geoengineering as War pdf (26 pages)