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X prize-ing open the genome for $$$

X prize-ing open the genome for $$$

Not content with heading for the stars, the corporate sponsored X-Foundation that awards the X-prize has now set a bounty for commericalising the neXt frontier - the human genome. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal the X-foundation will award a new X-prize of between $5-$20 million to the first inventor of a gene sequencer that can decode the DNA of 100 people in a matter of weeks. behind it is craig venter, the genomics mogul.

Granada's Grim Sowers Plow Up Moratorium on Terminator, Clear the Path for its Approval at UN

Terminator Opponents Prepare for Battle at COP8 in Curitiba, Brazil March 20-31, 2006

Indigenous peoples were betrayed and Farmers' Rights trampled at a UN meeting this week (March 2006) when the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian governments - guided by the US government and a brazen cabal of corporate Gene Giants - took a major step to undermine the existing moratorium on Terminator technology (i.e., plants that are genetically modified to produce sterile seeds at harvest). The damaging recommendations from the meeting in Granada, Spain, now go to the upcoming 8th biennial meeting of the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Curitiba, Brazil, March 20-31, 2006.

Cresce a Ameaça do Terminator: Encontro intergovernamental para atacar o problema das sementes suicidas

Os povos indígenas, as organizações de agricultores e os representantes da sociedade civil estão se unindo para defender uma moratória de fato das Nações Unidas sobre a tecnologia de esterilização de sementes - a moratória está atualmente sob ataque da indústria multinacional de semente e biotecnologia. Uma reunião da Comissão sobre Diversidade Biológica, onde as "sementes suicidadas" estão na agenda, acontecerá na Espanha na próxima semana. A moratória das Nações Unidas - a qual tem recomendação contra os testes a campo e a venda comercial da tecnologia de esterilização de sementes - está sob ataque. A Delta & Pine Land (uma companhia multinacional de sementes) e o Departamento de Agricultura dos Estados Unidos recentemente obtiveram novas patentes sobre o Terminator na Europa e no Canadá.

Terminator Technology Debated

Terminator Technology Debated

Two of us from ETC are in Granada, Spain following the Working Group on 8j the CBD body that has the mandate to recognize and protect the traditional knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous peoples. By the end of the week, the Working Group on 8(j) will make recommendations to COP8 (Curitiba, Brazil, March) on the social and economic impacts of Terminator. Heres a brief round-up of government interventions (just the highlights) in yesterdays working group.

Terminator Threat Looms: Intergovernmental meeting to tackle suicide seeds issue

CBD's Working Group on 8(j) Meets in Granada, Spain 23-27 January 2006

Indigenous peoples, farmers' organizations and civil society representatives are bracing to defend a de facto United Nations' moratorium on seed sterilization technology - the moratorium is now under attack by the multinational seed and biotech industry. A meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, where "suicide seeds" are on the agenda, gets underway in Spain next week (January 2006). The UN moratorium - which recommends against the field-testing and commercial sale of seed sterilization technology - is under attack. Delta & Pine Land (a multinational seed company) and the US Department of Agriculture recently won new patents on Terminator in Europe and Canada.

What next? disagreements?

What next? disagreements?

Some of us at ETC have just spent the past three days in a drafting group for the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation's inspiring What Next? project. Hopefully we will write more about What Next? as it gets closer to completion. Briefly the What Next? project its an attempt to stop, reflect and look forward to the challenges and issues Civil Society faces in the coming thirty years. How will we organise ourselves? what new global trends will we be leading or responding to?

Captain Hook Awards for Biopiracy 2006

Captain Hook and fellow crooks are in Curitiba where cogs* are keeping the COPs in line at the UN’s Biodiversity Convention

The Coalition Against Biopiracy exposed the globe's nastiest biopirates and rewarded the most steadfast resistors at the Captain Hook Awards on 24 March 2006 during the meeting of the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Curitiba, Brazil. This ETC Group Communique provides a detailed description of the 2006 award winners.


After more than a decade of negotiations, the CBD has yet to provide meaningful regulations to stop biopiracy – the monopolization of genetic resources and knowledge taken from the farming communities and peoples that have developed and nurtured those resources. The Captain Hook Awards for Biopiracy are given out at the meeting of the CBD’s COP to draw international attention to the Convention’s failure to put human rights above monopoly rights and for continuing to propagate the myth that equitable benefit sharing is achievable in the context of predatory patent regimes. Cog awards are given to those institutions, peoples’ organizations, governments and individuals who have fostered real opposition to biopiracy, defeated predatory patents or defended the intellectual and cultural integrity of farmers and Indigenous Peoples.

*In the Middle Ages, cogs were small ships built with high sides to make them less vulnerable to pirate attacks.

New Report on Corporate Power - Oligopoly, Inc. 2005

As governments at the 6th WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong bristle with the thorny politics of trade, the report that ETC Group releases today, Oligopoly, Inc. 2005, serves as a reminder that what looks like buying and selling between countries is most often the redistribution of capital among subsidiaries of the same parent multinational corporation.


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