These important newsletters may interest you.

Hi All,
These important newsletters may interest you.
Bruce

From: iifning@googlemail.com [mailto:iifning@googlemail.com] On Behalf Of Eve Mitchell, Coordinator - GM Freeze
Sent: 20 May 2010 17:54
To: Pete Riley
Subject: Syn-bio organisms need public scrutiny and controls – Call for immediate moratorium

Immediate release 20 May 2010
Syn-bio organisms need public scrutiny and controls – Call for immediate moratorium
The announcement from the Craig Venter Institute that they have successfully genetically engineered an entirely artificial organism that can replicate itself raises many ethical, scientific, economic and safety issues. GM Freeze believes the general public should be fully involved in debating them.
The new “breakthrough” in genetic engineering, published in the journal Science today [1], is the creation of a simple bacterium with an entirely synthetic genome. Backers of synthetic biology claim that the technology will be able to create new organisms to produce synthetic fuels and chemicals by digesting plant materials.
GM Freeze say the new technology has progressed to the point of creating a new life form without adequate regulation or public oversight and is highly irresponsible.
The group highlight many problems and issues including:
• should scientists be allowed to construct organisms in the first place?
• who should decide what is developed?
• who should benefit from such developments?
• what are the human and environmental safety issues if such organism were to escape from laboratories or reactors?
• what are the risk of the technology falling into the wrong hands or being misused?
• will the escaped synthetic organisms evolve over time and what will the consequences be?
• how and where will the crops to feed syn-bio reactors come from?
• will there be competition for land with food crops?
Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:
“This is a very significant step, which has largely taken place behind closed doors. Most people will not have been aware that such research was even being contemplated, let alone carried out. It raises profound ethical issues about whether scientists should be allowed to create viable synthetic organisms, as well as a whole range of safety, environmental, and socio economic questions the public has a right to have a say on.
“The consequences of an escape of a synthetic bacterium that was designed to decompose wood could be very significant.
“Today’s announcement has more to do with securing investment than practical application, so the UK Government and EU should allow time for public debate to gauge public opinion and shape regulation of this technology accordingly. A moratorium on developments should be imposed until the debate is completed and a decision is made. This is too important to be left to scientists who stand to profit if the technology is furthered without public oversight and controls.”
ENDS
Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341065
Notes
[1] The announcement will be made at 1:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time Thursday, 20 May 2010, to discuss the forthcoming Science paper, "Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome."
From: jamesrobertson@getresponse.com [mailto:jamesrobertson@getresponse.com] On Behalf Of James Robertson
Sent: 19 May 2010 15:09
To: Bruce Nixon
Subject: James Robertson's Newsletter
James Robertson's
Newsletter No. 30 - May 2010
The full Newsletter can also be viewed at
www.jamesrobertson.com/news-may10.htm.
Could A Historic Political Breakthrough For Britain Help To Achieve A Historic Financial Breakthrough For The World?
This newsletter contains only this item. Its title may sound ambitious, and it is. In practical terms, it refers to two very recent events of potentially historical significance. The first has been headline news in Britain for the past two weeks. The second concerns a topic that corporate media worldwide still feel compelled to ignore altogether.
The first is that, following post-election negotiations at this time of financial crisis, we now have a new UK government based on a Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition. It is part of a more pluralistic structure which is emerging in UK politics and government.
The second is the publication on the internet of the draft of a Proposed Bank of England Act 2010, specifying that " the Bank of England will be the only institution permitted by law to ‘create money’ or increase the money supply in any way". Although personally I played virtually no part in drafting this, it reflects the scheme that Joseph Huber and I put forward ten years ago in Creating New Money, and I support it wholeheartedly.
It embodies a banking and monetary reform that will both help to ease the burden of paying off our massive public debt and help to prevent future banking failures causing repeated credit booms and busts and damaging financial crises. In other words, it could directly help the new UK government to deal with two of our most urgent financial and economic problems, as well as bringing many other economic, social and ecological benefits.
The combined effect of the more pluralistic structures of government and politics now developing in the UK, the threatening economic and social hardships we now face, and growing public awareness that successive governments keep us dependent on commercial banks to provide our public money supply at big profit and little risk to themselves, could be profound.
You will find more about this in a short two-page note on "A Good Question, As We Face The Hardship Years Ahead". (Download as Word document.)
But what should we do?
One of the best things we can do is to ask our MPs to ask the government a question on the following lines. It doesn't matter whether the MP is Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour, Green Party, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) or Independent. In the present more pluralistic political environment, any of these could see advantage in picking up the ball of monetary reform and running with it, or at least in not being left behind when others pick it up.
Why, in our modern democracy, do we continue to allow commercial banks to enjoy the privilege of creating the national currency and money supply as profit-making loans, instead of getting the Bank of England to create it in the national interest?
In addition to what you yourself want to say in the message to your MP, please use any material you like from my two-page note on "A Good Question" (download as Word document) without attributing it to me.
You could show that you know what you're talking about by specifically suggesting to your MP to ask the government to commission advice from the Treasury, the Department of Business and the Bank of England on whether the function of actually creating new money should be transferred to the Bank of England. The alternative of leaving the Bank to use interest rates to influence indirectly the amounts of money the commercial banks create as profitable loans to their customers has proved to be quite ineffective.
But, of course, the underlying need is to get more and more people to ask the question. We can do that by discussing it person-to-person, raising it with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that we support, or using any local or national media (papers and journals, television and radio programmes) and the internet, to communicate it more widely.
Reforming the money system at the national level to serve the public interest, will also help to clear the path for comparable reforms of the international money system and provide greater freedom for the spread of local democratic innovations like community currencies and community banks that meet the needs of their own localities.
It is an excitingly ambitious challenge, and the present time provides a good opportunity to respond to it.

James Robertson
19th May 2010

james@jamesrobertson.com
www.jamesrobertson.com



, The Old Bakehouse, Cholsey, Oxfordshire OX10 9NU, United Kingdom


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