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Farmers Sue USDA Over Monsanto Alfalfa - Again

flowering alfalfa
© Jean Forman Orth/ Flickr
Flowering alfalfa plant
A coalition of farmers and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on March 18 to challenge the agency's recent decision to fully deregulate Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa.

This is the second time the USDA has been sued over its approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa, which is genetically engineered (GE) to tolerate glyphosate, a popular herbicide commonly sold under the Monsanto brand name Roundup. The latest lawsuit, filed by groups like the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the National Family Farm Coalition, opens a new chapter in the five-year battle over the GE alfalfa seed developed by Monsanto and Forage Genetics.

Industry watchdogs and farmers say that Roundup Ready alfalfa will increase reliance on already overused herbicides like Roundup, encourage the spread of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" and contaminate organic and conventional alfalfa with Monsanto transgenes through cross-pollination.


Wisconsin Church Members Charged With Abusing Infants

© Dane County Sheriff's Office
Philip Caminiti, left, the pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church in Black Earth, Wis., and his brother, John Caminiti, 45, have been charged with a dozen counts of child abuse for allegedly using wooden rods to punish children.

The pastor and seven members of a small church in central Wisconsin have been charged with using wooden rods to spank infants as young as 2 months old for "being emotional, grumpy or crying," the Dane County Sheriff's office said.

The Aleitheia Bible Church, in the town of Black Earth, was started in 2006 with a donation in the range of $500,000-$600,000 from Bob and Lori Wick of nearby Mazomanie, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

Lori Wick is the author of almost three dozen historical Christian novels with more than five million books in print, according to her Amazon profile. Reached by AOL News today by telephone at their home, Bob Wick said they "have no comment" on the case.

Black Cat

Japan: Huge Radiation Spike at Nuclear Plant Was a Mistake

Tokyo -- Emergency workers struggling to pump contaminated water from Japan's stricken nuclear complex fled from one of the troubled reactors Sunday after reporting a huge increase in radioactivity -- a spike that officials later apologetically said was inaccurate.

The apology came after employees fled the complex's Unit 2 reactor when a reading showed radiation levels had reached 10 million times higher than normal in the reactor's cooling system. Officials said they were so high that the worker taking the measurements had withdrawn before taking a second reading.

On Sunday night, though, plant operators said that while the water was contaminated with radiation, the extremely high reading was a mistake.


Coverup and Complicity: The Mysterious Death of David Kelly: Doctors Challenge Cameron Government

david kelly
© Unknown

David Kelly inquest plea made to David Cameron

A group of doctors campaigning for a full inquest for Dr David Kelly have appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene on their behalf.

The doctors have questioned Lord Hutton's 2004 verdict of suicide on the government weapons inspector.

Evil Rays

International Cargo Ships Avoid Japan Ports

Fukushima plant
© n/a
Fukushima nuclear plant before Japan quake
International shipping companies say their cargo ships will not enter Japan ports for the fear of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Many of the companies on Saturday avoided Tokyo Bay, which is home to two major ports of Tokyo and Yokohama,The New York Times reported.

Chinese officials had detected radioactive contamination in their cargo ship having sailed at least 80 miles farther from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Although some cargo ships enter ports south of Tokyo, many others have totally cancelled any shipment to Japanese ports until further notice.

Bizarro Earth

Japan Radiation Killing Sea Life, Warning for Oregon Coast Fishing Industry

bike rider @ Newport, Or
© Dave Masko
A bike rider reports 'swirls of greasy sea water is washing up' along this stretch of Oregon beach this morning in Newport.
Newport, Ore. - While the U.S. Department of Energy said in public statements that there are "no significant quantities of radiological material" deposited on West coast beaches, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was time to reassess the international atomic safety regime; meanwhile, there's growing fears here in Newport and other West coast fishing communities that Japan's radiation will spread from its coast to here.

Japan crisis spawns new concerns about fish safety along West coast

As Japan's nuclear reactors continue leaking radiation into the atmosphere and, in turn, have obliterated centuries-old fishing ports in the Tsunami-hit city Kamaishi, this news has prompted growing fears here in Newport and other coastal fishing towns that radiation could find its way here. For example, a hard wind blowing post-Tsunami wind came sliding down over the Newport beach Saturday morning greeting a lone bike rider on usually packed beaches that are now filled socked in waste from Japan. The woman biker said she's fears rabid dogs that are roaming the low sand dunes called "denes" where toxic water and dead sea life collect along sandy tracks. And, this against a backdrop of zero Spring Break tourists being seen on what's traditionally the busiest Saturday of the early spring season.

Heart - Black

US: Billionaire charged with child sex assault

© Associated Press
Billionaire Curt Johnson, right, listens to defense attorney Michael Hart discuss bond recommendations, as he is charged with repeated child sexual assault March 24, 2011 in Racine, Wisconsin.
Prosecutors in Wisconsin say executive tied to SC Johnson empire molested girl up to 20 times, beginning after sixth grade

Racine, Wisconsin - A billionaire executive whose family has run SC Johnson for five generations was charged Thursday with having sexual contact with a now 15-year-old girl over the course of several years.

Samuel Curtis Johnson III, who goes by Curt, faces a count of repeated sexual assault of a child. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Johnson, 55, is the former chairman of Sturtevant-based Diversey Inc., a cleaning-products company that was spun off from SC Johnson in the late 1990s. Privately held SC Johnson makes household products including Pledge, Glade, Windex and Ziploc.


Radiation soars to 10 MILLION TIMES normal level at Fukushima plant

© Kyodo/Reuters
Fukushima Daiichi's reactors 1 to 4 are shown in this image taken 30km (18 miles) offshore from the stricken nuclear plant
Tests at Fukushima No 2 reactor reveal radiation at 10m times normal levels amid warnings crisis could last months

Radioactivity levels in one part of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are 10m times higher than normal, Japanese officials have said, amid warnings that the operation to avert disaster at the facility could last for months..

Tests on the surface of a pool of water that has formed in the No 2 reactor revealed radioactivity of 1,000 millisieverts (mSv) per hour - four times the level deemed safe by the government. The worker carrying out the test reportedly fled before taking a second reading.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for Japan's nuclear and industrial safety agency (Nisa), said: "This is quite a high figure." The water was "likely to be coming from the reactor", he said.


Dubai: 'French spiderman' takes on world's tallest tower

© Agence France-Presse/Martin Bureau
French climber Alain Robert poses in Paris on March 17. After scaling the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Sydney Opera House, the "French Spiderman" now has his sights set on the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa in the cosmopolitan Gulf emirate of Dubai.
After scaling the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Sydney Opera House, the "French Spiderman" now has his sights set on the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa in the cosmopolitan Gulf emirate of Dubai.

Alain Robert, 48, is due Monday to climb the exterior of the skyscraper which stands 828-metres (2,717-feet) tall, as part of an "Education Without Borders" conference for which it is being used as a venue, organisers said.

The climber, whose nickname comes from wearing the outfit of the fictional superhero while scaling the tallest of the tall around the globe, usually works without a safety harness, relying on bare hands and sturdy footing.

In Dubai, however, he will resort to a rope and harness, organisers said.


US: Geraldine Ferraro Dies at 75

© unknown
Geraldine A. Ferraro
Geraldine A. Ferraro, who rose from a U.S congressional seat in Queens to a place in history as the first woman to run on a major party national ticket for vice president, has died. She was 75.

Ferraro, born in Newburgh, N.Y., died Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital while surrounded by her loved ones, a statement from her family said.

The cause of death was complications from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that she had battled for twelve years, her family said.

Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro, a former Queens schoolteacher, was the first woman and first Italian-American to run on a major party national ticket, serving as Walter Mondale's vice presidential running mate in 1984 on the Democratic Party ticket.