Results have been posted online from the first controlled trial of LSD in more than 40 years. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published results Tuesday from a Swiss study that tested the effects of the drug as a complement for talk therapy for 12 people nearing their end of life. Most of the subjects suffered from terminal cancer, and several died within a year of the trial, but researchers said the psychedelic drug apparently eased their fears as they faced the unknown. “Their anxiety went down and stayed down,” said Dr. Peter Gasser, who conducted the therapy. The patients met with Gasser for a couple of sessions before taking LSD at two sessions a couple of weeks apart. Each session lasted about 10 hours, Gasser said, and the patients were permitted to sleep afterward at the office under the care of a therapist or assistant.
[...] Researchers around the world are trying to bring hallucinogens back under the umbrella of mainstream psychiatry after decades of neglect or outright bans. “We want to break these substances out of the mold of the counterculture and bring them back to the lab as part of a psychedelic renaissance,” said Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which has financed many of the studies. Doctors had previously tested LSD for its effect on a variety of conditions, including end-of-life anxiety, before such research was prohibited in 1966. But psychiatrists have been working in recent years alongside government officials and medical ethics boards to life restrictions on psychedelic research, including Ecstasy-aided therapy for post-traumatic stress.
Are Any Plastics Safe? Industry Tries to Hide Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Containers: Interview with Mariah Blake
‘A new exposé by Mother Jones magazine may shock anyone who drinks out of plastic bottles, gives their children plastic sippy cups, eats out of plastic containers, or stores food with plastic wrap. For years, public campaigns have been waged against plastic containing bisphenol-A (BPA), a controversial plastic additive, due to concerns about adverse human health effects caused by the exposure to synthetic estrogen. But a new investigation by Mother Jones reporter Mariah Blake has revealed that chemicals used to replace BPA may be just as dangerous to your health, if not more. Plastic products being advertised as BPA-free — and sold by companies such as Evenflo, Nalgene and Tupperware — are still releasing synthetic estrogen. The Mother Jones piece also reveals how the plastics industry has used a “Big Tobacco-style campaign” to bury the disturbing scientific evidence about the products you use every day. Blake joins us to discuss her findings.’ (Democracy Now!)
Ivory Coast is re-emerging as the prime investment destination in French-speaking West Africa after a decade of political turmoil but President Alassane Ouattara must weed out corruption and promote reconciliation to keep cash flowing in. Long considered the jewel in the crown of France’s former West African territories, a 1999 coup destroyed the reputation of Ivory Coast – the world’s largest cocoa producer – as an island of stability in a troubled region. A bloody presidential election in 2000 and a rebellion two years later triggered an exodus of capital that undid decades of development, dubbed the Ivorian Miracle.
With peace finally restored, French construction firm Bouyges, oil companies such as Tullow and Lukoil, and South Africa’s Standard Bank are among those flocking to invest. ”We lost half of our companies during that time. The level of poverty increased from 10 percent to almost 50 percent,” Trade Minister Jean-Louis Billon told Reuters. “Now we want to move forward.” A brief civil war in 2011 allowed Ouattara, who won an election that sparked the fighting, to secure the presidency and reunite a nation still divided between a rebel north and government-controlled south despite years of peace overtures.
With the former International Monetary Fund official at the helm, Ivory Coast’s $40 billion economy – comprising nearly half West Africa’s six-nation CFA currency bloc – embarked on a dramatic revival. It posted growth of over 9 percent the past two years and the government is targeting double-digits in 2014 as it seeks to make up ground on neighbouring Ghana, a new oil exporter. ”Ivory Coast could become one of the motors of economic growth in Africa again,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a conference in Abidjan last week that drew 4,000 delegates and more than $800 million in investment pledges.
Large-scale infrastructure projects, shelved during a decade of political deadlock, are springing back to life. A motorway linking the port of Abidjan to the administrative capital Yamoussoukro opened late last year. Bouyges is pressing ahead with a long-delayed third bridge across Abidjan’s lagoon to unlock congestion. Heavy investment in electricity generation aims to boost output from 1,600 megawatts to 4,000 by 2020 as Ivory Coast, already a power exporter, seeks to become a regional energy hub.
Azodicarbonamide is a chemical used to make shoes, yoga mats, a variety of plastic products, and … bread? American supermarkets are crawling with the chemical, also known as ADA, according to the Environmental Working Group, which today released a report identifying almost 500 food products that use it. Most of the foods were bread-like—things like hot dog buns, bagels, pizza, tortillas—and they came from brands ranging from Wonder Bread to those marketed as healthy, like Nature’s Own and Village Health.
The World Health Organization says there’s “abundant evidence” that ADA can cause asthma and skin sensitization, according to Reuters. It also releases the carcinogen urethane when baked. In plastics, it’s used to make materials more flexible. For bakers, it bleaches flour, making dough easier to work, and bread fluffier. ADA was thrust into the public eye earlier this month when FoodBabe.com launched a petition demanding that Subway stop using it. The chain acquiesced, but said it believed the chemical was safe—and some scientific experts do agree; one tells Bloomberg that toasting bread creates far more urethane than ADA.
Black box recorders are a common feature in aircraft. They sit there keeping track of everything that is happening. Then, if something goes wrong the information can be reviewed to piece together exactly what happened and form a view of the events that may otherwise have been lost.
Now the Pentagon is attempting to develop a similar system for use in humans, and in particular soldiers who have suffered brain damage. If they could be fitted with a black box in their brain, then it may be possible to trigger memories surrounding a traumatic event and overcome memory loss quickly and easily.
Here’s something we don’t hear much: good news on the nation’s childhood obesity rate. The CDC says it’s down among kids ages 2 to 5 by 43% over the last decade, reports Time. That’s not just a mild surprise, it’s “stunning,” declares the New York Times. Specifically, the percentage of kids in that group who were obese dropped from 14% in 2004 to 8% in 2012. “This is the first time we’ve seen any indication of any significant decrease in any group,” says the author of the new report to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “It was exciting.”
Of course, the federal survey shows that obesity in the overall population remains a problem, reports NBC News, with about 33% of adults and 17% of all kids and teens classified as such. But the drop among the very young obviously bodes well. What’s going on? The stories cite a slew of potential factors, from fewer sugary drinks, to increased breastfeeding, to better physical-education programs at school, to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. In a statement, Obama said she was “thrilled” at the improved numbers. (A recent study show why it’s important: Kids are who obese in kindergarten are more likely to remain that way as adults.)
Agriculture was always expected to be a main sticking point in the talks to form a “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, particularly since the goal is not just to reduce tariffs but also to reconcile the two different regulatory philosophies. The gap is especially wide on food safety, with the EU practising the “precautionary principle” – which has a much lower threshold for setting restrictions compared to the US, with its more lenient “risk assessment” model.
Agricultural policy and methods remain the subject of intense debate within the EU and divisive issues among its member states. In May, new European Parliament elections are expected to produce a big swing in favour of populists, many of them anti-American and from rural constituencies. Those lawmakers will ultimately have to approve TTIP so their political hue is vital.
The European Commission is expected soon to authorise the use of a new insect-resistant GM strain of corn/maize called Pioneer 1507. But that follows more than a decade of debate and six separate scientific studies. It also comes despite votes by 19 of the EU’s 28 member states to block approval thanks to the bloc’s weighted voting system. While the UK backed approval, France vehemently opposed it.
US corn and soyabean producers complain that it can take more than 4 years to approve certain genetically modified approved crops, when it should only take 18 months – and they also question the EU’s mandatory labelling of GMO products. “It is nothing less than a scare label for consumers,” says Mr Censky. Nick Giordano, vice-president and counsel for international affairs at the US National Pork Producers Council, acknowledges that these are “emotional issues” in Europe, but said Mr De Gucht’s comments were “troubling” and it was “preposterous” to question the safety of US food.
All of contemporary bioethics springs from the Nuremberg Doctors Trial in 1947. Seven Nazi doctors and officials were hanged and nine received severe prison sentences for performing experiments on an estimated 25,000 prisoners in concentration camps without their consent. Only about 1,200 died but many were maimed and psychologically scarred.
So did the US do to the hundreds of Japanese medical personnel who experimented on Chinese civilians and prisoners of war of many nationalities, including Chinese, Koreans, Russians, Australians, and Americans? They killed an estimated 3,000 people in the infamous Unit 731 in Harbin, in northeastern China before and during World War II – plus tens of thousands of civilians when they field-tested germ warfare. Many of the doctors were academics from Japan’s leading medical schools.
Well, almost nothing. Twelve doctors were tried and found guilty by the Soviets in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949, but they were all repatriated in 1956. American authorities dismissed the trials as Soviet propaganda. Many of the doctors in Unit 731 went on to successful careers in Japan after the War. The commander of the unit, Shirō Ishii, lived in relative obscurity but his successor late in the war, Kitano Masaji, became head of one of Japan’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
How did the Japanese doctors escape justice?
A fascinating answer appears in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. The broad outline of the story has been well documented, even if it is not widely known. To cut a long story short, the Americans struck a deal with the doctors. They traded immunity from prosecution for access to scientific information from the ghastly Japanese experiments – many of which are too grim to detail here. (If you have the stomach for it, a remorseful doctor describes, at the age of 90, some of his vivisection experiments in an article in the Japan Times.)
More wine is drunk per person in the Vatican City than in any other country in the world, according to the latest statistics released by the Wine Institute.
The figures show that residents of the Vatican consume 74 litres of wine on average – roughly equivalent to 105 bottles over the course of a year.
That’s around double the amount drunk by the average person in France or Italy as a whole, and triple the quantity consumed in the UK.
Abby Martin speaks with Dr. Roberto De Vogli, lead author of a recent report in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization that concludes that stronger government intervention is needed to slow and possibly even reverse the problem of obesity. (Breaking the Set)
Argentina’s fertile lands make it one of the world’s great food-producing nations. But farmers there are in a constant battle against insects with environmentalists worried about the side effects from the heavy use of pesticides. (Al Jazeera)
In work inspired partly by the movie “Avatar,” one monkey could control the body of another monkey using thought alone by connecting the brain of the puppet-master monkey to the spine of the other through a prosthesis, researchers say. These findings could help lead to implants that help patients overcome paralysis, scientists added.
Paralysis due to nerve or spinal cord damage remains a challenge for current surgical techniques. Scientists are now attempting to restore movement to such patients with brain-machine interfaces that allow people to operate computers or control robotic limbs. ”However, we were interested in seeing whether one could use brain activity to help control one’s own paralyzed limb,” said study author Ziv Williams, a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston. “The benefit there is that you are using your own body as opposed to a mechanical device, which can need a lot of support and is not always practical to carry around with you.”
Ultimately, “the hope is to create a functional bypass for the damaged spinal cord or brainstem so that patients can control their own bodies,” Williams told Live Science. The researchers developed a brain-to-spinal-cord prosthesis that connected two adult male rhesus monkeys.
Until 2010, when the Physician Payments Sunshine Act passed, requiring doctors to disclose payments, the only thing better than working for Pharma was being a doctor wined and dined by Pharma. Pfizer jetted 5,000 doctors to Caribbean resorts where they enjoyed massages, golf and $2,000 honoraria charges to sell its painkiller Bextra (withdrawn from the market in 2005 for heart risks). GSK sent doctors to lavish resorts to promote Wellbutrin, the Justice Department charged. Johnson & Johnson bestowed trips, perks and honoraria on Texas Medicaid officials to get its drug Risperdal preferred on the formulary, a state lawsuit charged. Bristol-Myers Squibb enticed doctors to prescribe its drugs with access to the Los Angeles Lakers and luxury box suites for their games, California regulators say. In China GSK is charged with using a network of 700 middlemen and travel agencies to bribe doctors with cash and sexual favors, and Victory Pharma, an opioid drugs maker, was charged with treating doctors to strip shows. Nice.
Of course, Pharma reps did as well as the doctors. Thanks to their Barbie and Ken doll looks and the free samples, gifts and lunches they would bring medical staff, they would often waltz in to see the doctor before the sick and waiting patients. Some had their own lounges at medical offices. Since the 2010 sunshine law, part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in 2013, drug companies must display the doctors and groups they pay on their websites. That includes their payments to faux grassroots groups like Go Red For Women and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, which are widely seen as Pharma fronts. But will it make a difference? For years, doctors have also begun presentations with slides detailing their Pharma funding but it doesn’t seem to alter their credibility or audience cynicism.
When it comes to acknowledging the influence of gifts and money on behavior, doctors, like everyone else, suffer from self-delusion. Most say they believe it affects the other guy, not them, and many become offended at the idea that they are “for sale.” ”My prescribing never changes because once a month a drug rep brings in a tray of sandwiches,” Maria Carmen Wilson told the Tampa Bay Times. (Wilson was Eli Lilly’s number-two earner in Florida in 2009, the paper reports.) It’s tempting to ask such doctors that if the largesse doesn’t affect them, when was the last time they prescribed the competitor’s pill? Would anyone believe or even read the journalism of a reporter who accepted an honorarium or speaker’s fee from the subject she reported on? Even if she claimed it didn’t influence her?
Trips to resorts and strip clubs will likely continue to diminish under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, but there are many other ways, often sneaky, that Pharma can entice doctors to prescribe its expensive, patent drugs.
Big Pharma’s hidden links to NHS policy, with senior MPs saying medical industry uses ‘wealth to influence government’
NHS bosses allowed a lobbying company working for some of the world’s biggest drugs and medical equipment firms to write a draft report which could help shape future health policy. NHS England commissioned a group called the Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA) to consult with patients’ groups, charities and health organisations and produce a report feeding into its future five-year strategy for commissioning £12bn of services. But the SHCA has confirmed to The Independent that it is entirely funded by commercial “members”. Its director, John Murray, is also a lobbyist whose company lists some of the world’s biggest drug and medical device firms as clients.
Mr Murray put his name on a foreword to the NHS England document along with James Palmer, the clinical director of specialised services at NHS England, with whom he admits he has had “many meetings [on] a wide range of organisations and interests”. The findings raise significant questions about links between the lobbying industry and NHS England – a quango set up to run the NHS under the Government’s health reforms.
Unlike other government departments NHS England does not register its meetings with lobbyists. It also does not routinely publicly disclose all potential conflicts of interest of those who do work for it. While the report itself makes no specific spending recommendations, it does suggest that NHS England should set out a “clear commitment” to “disinvest in interventions that have lower impact for patients” in favour of “new services or innovations”. This could ultimately provide financial benefits to an industry keen to sell the latest equipment and treatments to the NHS, even if some of the benefits might be marginal.
Toxic chemicals may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children — such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia — according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers say a new global prevention strategy to control the use of these substances is urgently needed. The report [was] published online February 15, 2014 in Lancet Neurology.
“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis. They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” said Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at HSPH.
The report follows up on a similar review conducted by the authors in 2006 that identified five industrial chemicals as “developmental neurotoxicants,” or chemicals that can cause brain deficits. The new study offers updated findings about those chemicals and adds information on six newly recognized ones, including manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides), tetrachloroethylene (a solvent), and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants).
A new supermarket opened in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, in December last year. Nothing exciting about that, you’d think. But this is no ordinary supermarket. Instead, it’s a rather exclusive, members-only store.
The Community Shop caters specifically to people who are in receipt of benefits, such as income support, and who live in a catchment area around the store. The first of its kind in Britain, it’s known as a ‘social supermarket’ and sells surplus food drawn from major retailers, stocking many of the same items and brands you’d find in a high street supermarket, except the prices are up to 70% lower. A social enterprise, it’s been launched as a subsidiary of Company Shop, a longstanding commercial redistributor of surplus food.
The store will also offer access to other services such as CV-writing skills, debt advice and cookery classes. Goldthorpe is a former coalmining village, and still has high levels of social deprivation; with this pilot, and its additional services, Company Shop hopes that customers in the catchment area will be able to get “on the road back to becoming mainstream consumers.”
On February 25 and 26 the US Food and Drug Administration will discuss the possibility of legalising three-parent embryos – or, in scientific lingo, “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease or treatment of infertility”.
This procedure, which involves removing the nucleus from one human egg whose cytoplasm contains defective mitochondria and placing it in an enucleated egg with healthy DNA for subsequent fertilisation, is also being debated in the UK.
The measure is strongly opposed by the Center for Genetics and Society, which is promoting an open letter to the FDA. It claims that mitochondrial transfer is unsafe, is effectively experimentation on unconsenting human subjects, and would only help a handful of women. Most importantly, it constitutes germline modification, a form of eugenics. This is a bright line which no country has ever stepped across.
We strongly believe that clinical trials … should not be permitted because of the profound safety, efficacy, policy and social problems they would pose. We question the ethics of bringing children into existence by experimental techniques that have had developmentally poor outcomes in studies using both animal and human oocytes. We are also concerned about the contravention of widespread prohibitions against human germline genetic modification that approval of clinical trials would represent, and about the possible precedent such approval could set for additional human germline modifications.
Copeland in West Cumbria is the fattest local authority area in England, according to new government figures. The borough has 75.9% of its population classed as overweight or obese, the Public Health England data show. Overall, 63.8% of adults in England have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over – a figure of between 18.5 and 24.9 is deemed healthy for an adult.
The fattest region is the North East, where 68% of people are overweight, followed by the West Midlands at 65.7%. Other obesity hotspots include Doncaster (74.4%), East Lindsey in Lincolnshire (73.8%) and Ryedale in North Yorkshire (73.7%). The thinnest local authority areas include several in London, such as Kensington and Chelsea (45.9%) and Richmond upon Thames (47.6%).
A bill permitting euthanasia for children has passed the lower house of the Belgian Parliament by a vote of 86 to 44, with 12 abstentions. The parties gave their members a free vote on the controversial issue. It will become law when King Philippe gives royal assent. This will make Belgium the only country in the world which allows euthanasia without an age limit. This has come only 12 years after it was first legalised. Neighbouring Netherlands also allows euthanasia for children, but only up to the age of 12.
Supporters of the bill insist that it is safe and that there will only be a handful of cases each year. The child must be suffering from a terminal illness, with “constant and unbearable suffering”. He or she must demonstrate a “capacity of discernment”. Can an eight-year-old give informed consent to a lethal injection? Yes, they say, because youngsters in this situation often display a maturity beyond their years.
“This is an act of humanity that allows the doctor to make the most humane course of action for his patient,” said Philippe Mahoux, a doctor and Socialist Party senator who sponsored the legislation. “What is scandalous is the suffering of sick children when they are going to die.” Opponents are not convinced that children are capable of making a mature decision on such a momentous matter. British barrister Charles Foster commented late last year: “children could easily think, or be actively or unconsciously persuaded, that they should opt for death because their illness causes trouble for their parents.”
Severe flooding threatens to undermine the country’s food security, according to farmers and environmental groups, who today accuse the government of failing to address the effects of climate change on coastal and rural areas.
As gales swept southern and western parts of the UK, with already drenched counties bearing the brunt of the storms, it has emerged that parliament’s select committee on the environment warned in a report last year that “the current model for allocating flood defence funding is biased towards protecting property, which means that funding is largely allocated to urban areas. Defra’s [the Department of the Environment's] failure to protect rural areas poses a long-term risk to the security of UK food production, as a high proportion of the most valuable agricultural land is at risk of flooding.”
“We need a response from government that recognises the importance for our long-term food security of safeguarding high-quality farmland,” said Neil Sinden of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. “We need to view the countryside as more than a place for building, and value it for the food it provides.” Defra has estimated that 35,000 hectares of high-quality horticultural and arable land will be flooded at least once every three years by the 2020s. This could rise to around 130,000 hectares by the 2080s if there is no change to current flood defence provision.
Some hospitals must stop providing certain services or even shut altogether if the NHS is to remain viable, even though such changes are “notoriously controversial”, an influential group of MPs warns today.
The Commons health select committee said in a report that a dramatic expansion of the centralisation of hospital services was needed to help the NHS cope with the increasing pressures on its budget.
In a report on the finances of the NHS and social care, the MPs say that integrating the currently separate services, which ministers and NHS leaders say is vital for the NHS to remain sustainable in the face of rising demand caused by ageing, “will also require reconfiguration”.
The UK government is currently building a database called care.data that will contain all of England’s medical records. It’s being promoted as providing valuable information for healthcare management and medical researchers that will lead to improved treatment.
Given the extremely sensitive nature of the material that will be stored, you might have expected this to be opt-in, but instead the UK government has chosen to make it opt-out. Not only that, but the relatively sparse information about what was happening was sent in the form of a generic, unaddressed letter that differs little from the dozens of junk mail pieces received by most households each week, and failed to include any easy-to-use opt-out form.
This has fuelled suspicions that the UK government is making it hard to opt out in order to keep the numbers enrolled in the database as high as possible. More recently, good reasons why people might want to avoid the scheme have emerged. For example, it was revealed that as well as being provided to research scientists, the database could also be bought by companies. Now we learn that the UK police will also have access.
One hundred feet beneath the bustling city of London, in air raid shelters used during World War II, a company is growing leafy greens. Welcome to Growing Underground. Using a hydroponics system — a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water — and LED lighting, the company grows nine kinds of veggie and three herbs year long in the 2.5 acres underneath the London Underground’s Northern line.
As a part of the larger company Zero Carbon Food, cofounded by Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, Growing Underground prides itself on being a carbon neutral operation. The underground farm estimates that its hydroponics system uses 70 percent less water than the traditional open-field farming. Besides providing eco-friendly food, Growing Underground’s system seeks to reduce “food miles” — or the distance it takes for produce to reach your plate. Because the company grows in, around and under London for London residents, the time between harvest and sale could be as little as four hours.
Consumers are being sold food including mozzarella that is less than half real cheese, ham on pizzas that is either poultry or “meat emulsion”, and frozen prawns that are 50% water, according to tests by a public laboratory. The checks on hundreds of food samples, which were taken in West Yorkshire, revealed that more than a third were not what they claimed to be, or were mislabelled in some way. Their results have been shared with the Guardian.
Testers also discovered beef mince adulterated with pork or poultry, and even a herbal slimming tea that was neither herb nor tea but glucose powder laced with a withdrawn prescription drug for obesity at 13 times the normal dose. A third of fruit juices sampled were not what they claimed or had labelling errors. Two contained additives that are not permitted in the EU, including brominated vegetable oil, which is designed for use in flame retardants and linked to behavioural problems in rats at high doses.
Experts said they fear the alarming findings from 38% of 900 sample tests by West Yorkshire councils were representative of the picture nationally, with the public at increasing risk as budgets to detect fake or mislabelled foods plummet.
Editor’s Note: A quote from the book ‘Ethical Eating: A Complete Guide to Sustainable Food’ by Malcolm Coxall: “These days, along with the arms, oil and pharmaceutical industries, Big Food is one of the most powerful and unethical industrial monopolies on the planet. With its history in the transatlantic slave trade of the sugar and coffee plantations, the food industry maintains the same criminal attitudes to the present day. The production and distribution of food is now controlled by a tiny group of untrustworthy global transnational corporations, driven only by profit. Our food industry is riddled with scandals of food contamination and adulteration. The nutritional quality and safety of our food has been in freefall for 70 years and diet related illnesses are now at epidemic levels with obesity, heart disease, strokes and cancers all being closely linked to our worsening diet. Despite appeals for the food industry to clean up its act and stop adulterating our food with cheap unhealthy ingredients, the shelves of our supermarkets are still full of junk.”
New documents released by Anonymous reveal that the FBI has sent out a terrorism warning that a news program, which featured video footage of a lab cited for animal welfare violations, may “incite criminal activity.”
The documents were obtained by hackers calling themselves “Team Berserk,” and include intelligence bulletins from Department of Homeland Security fusion centers. The document dump included a weekly intelligence bulletin distributed by the FBI to counterterrorism units about “animal rights extremists.”
The February 6, 2012 bulletin warns of a network news broadcast about a biomedical facility that has been fined for animal welfare violations. It included “footage of actual research procedures performed there on primates.”
The case of the missing corn seeds first broke in May 2011 when a manager at a DuPont research farm in east-central Iowa noticed a man on his knees, digging up the field. When confronted, the man, Mo Hailong, who was with his colleague Wang Lei, appeared flushed. Mr. Mo told the manager that he worked for the University of Iowa and was traveling to a conference nearby. When the manager paused to answered his cellphone, the two men sped off in a car, racing through a ditch to get away, federal authorities said.
What ensued was about a year of F.B.I. surveillance of Mr. Mo and his associates, all but one of whom worked for the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group or its subsidiary Kings Nower Seed. It resulted in the arrest of Mr. Mo last December and the indictment of five other Chinese citizens on charges of stealing trade secrets in what the authorities and agriculture experts have called an unusual and brazen scheme to undercut expensive, time-consuming research.
China has long been implicated in economic espionage efforts involving aviation technology, paint formulas and financial data. Chinese knockoffs of fashion accessories have long held a place in the mainstream. But the case of Mr. Mo — who was arraigned last week in Des Moines, pleaded not guilty and remains in custody — and a separate one in Kansas last year suggest that the agriculture sector is becoming a greater target, something that industry analysts fear could hurt the competitive advantage of farmers and big agriculture alike.
A six-year-old boy suspended for having a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox has now been expelled from school.
Riley Pearson was suspended for four days last Wednesday from Colnbrook CofE Primary School in Berkshire, after teachers found the packet of snacks in his lunchbox.
He had been due to return to school on Tuesday, but his parents say that both Riley and his four-year-old brother have now been permanently excluded because of the row over what he eats for lunch.