25-31 May, 2014
Australia $3.4, Austria EURO 1.81, Balkans EURO 4, Belgium EURO3.50, Holland EURO 2.70, Central Asia USD7.5, Central EuropeUSD5, Canada $5, Cyprus CYP 1.80, Denmark: DKK 19.95, EasternEurope USD7.5, France EURO 3.04, Germany EURO 3.57, GreeceEURO 4, Hungary HUF430, Japan Y900, Italy EURO 3.62, Nordiccountries USD7, Pacific Rim USD8.5, Russia USD 4, SwitzerlandSFr4, UK GBP 4.5, USA $2.95, all other countries EURO 6
EU propels Russiainto WTO orbit
There is no doubt that the EuropeanUnion is taking very careful steps on the“slippery floor” of GMOs. In this respectthe Commission authorised the import of canned genetically modified sweet cornunder new strict labelling conditions, so consumers can choose. No licence has been issued though for GMO seeds to beused in agricultural production. So the floor in these quarters remains very slip- pery, not only because Americans are pressing hard to introduce GMOs in Europe’s dishes but more so to introduceGMOs to European soil and the agricul-tural production. But the Union does not want to lose thetrainofprogressandmanyEuropeancoun-tries are making good progress in this cut-ting-edge technology of geneticallymodified organisms.SotheCommissionistakingthe very difficult path to keep calm the highly sensitive European public opinion on thisissue and at the same time not to lose con-tact with the progress of technology. All the recently licensed GM products to enter the EU markets consist of consump-tion products. No licences have beenissued for seeds to be cultivated in Euro- pean soil, at least not yet. Any imports to Europe of canned vegetable containing GMOs will have to be labelled clearly, cit-ing that the corn or other foods have been harvested from a GM plant.The Commission has put in place a clear,transparent andstringent systemtoregulateGM food, feed and plants. So EU legisla-tion ensures that authorised GMOs are safe for human consumption and for release into the environment. Clear labelling rules allow farmers to choose what to plant and consumers to choose what to buy. Each authorisation is granted on its own merits and requests for authori- sations, which do not fulfil all criteria, were and will be rejected.
uring the re-cently conclu-ded EU-Rus-sia Summit,the European Union (EU)and Russia decided tobridge the gap of differ-ences and Brussels threw its weight behind the long-run-ning bid of Moscow to jointhe World Trade Organisa-tion. The signing of this lat-est agreement will facilitateMoscow’s efforts to join theWTO as the importance of theEUintheRussiantradebooks can be gauged fromthe fact that it accounts formore than 55 percent of thecountry’s foreign trade.To a discerning eye,there is another factor thathas been tagging alongunofficially: the Kyoto Pro-tocol. Europeans have beenpushing for the ratificationof the Kyoto Protocol for acouple of years now and with the withdrawal of theUnited States of America,the biggest emission de-faulter, Russia, the secondone, has become veryimportanttotheratificationprocess.Russian President Vla-dimir Putin said that “thefact that the EuropeanUnion has met us halfwayin negotiations on WTOmembership cannot butinfluenceMoscow’spositiveattitude toward ratificationof the Kyoto Protocol. We will accelerate our move-ment toward ratifying thisprotocol.”AccordingtoEUTrade Commissioner Pas-cal Lamy, Putin had saidthat winning approval fromthe Duma would be harder without the EU agreeing tosupport Russia’s bid forWTO membership. Thatleaves both in a win-winposition. Lamy later com-mented, “I think that 2006is the closest likely date.”
Year, Number 575
May 30 - June 5, 2004
OPEC strives tohammer out oil price crisis
Oil prices are set to remainhigh despite a meeting by theOrganisation of PetroleumExporting Countries (OPEC)scheduledforBeirutonJune3,analystspredicted.OPECmin-istersareduetodiscussaSaudi Arabian proposal to lift thecartel’sofficialproductionceil-ing by at least two million bar-rels per day.Saudi Arabia’s call for in-creased production quotasfrom OPEC is creating a rarepublic rift in the group. Ana-lystssaidthateveniftheminis-ters overcome their disagree-mentsanddecidetoboostpro-duction, it may be too late tolower oil prices, which havebeen near USD 40 a barrel.Theypointoutthatthesoaringoil price is not due to a lack of supply but due to global politi-cal instability as a result of thecurrentsituationintheMiddleEast.Security concerns in the Mid-eastandelsewherecontinuetoratchet up tension in the ener-gy business, while persistentattacks on Iraq’s infrastructuredog attempts to keep its sup-plies flowing. Soaring demandfromfast-growingChinaisalso widely seen as one reason forthetight market.
Moscow nods for Kyoto, EU enlargement hastens process
Institutional violence topshuman rights violations
n the introduction to its 340-page “Report 2004” paper,released last Wednesday, Amnesty International said:“The UN faced a crisis of legitimacy and credibility becauseof the US-led war on Iraq and the organisation’s inability tohold states to account for gross human rights violations.International human rights standards continued to be flout-ed in the name of the ‘war on terror’, resulting in thousandsof women and men suffering unlawful detention, unfair trialand torture – often solely because of their ethnic or religiousbackground.” Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan said: “Govern-ments are losing their moral compass, sacrificing the global valueofhumanrightsinablindpursuitofsecurity.Thisfail-ureofleadershipisadangerousconcessiontoarmedgroups.Byfailingtoprotecttherightsofthosewhomaybeguilty,gov-ernments endanger the rights of those who are innocent andput us all at risk.” The report which reads like a chronologi-calaccountofinstitutionalviolencegavearaponthewristinEuropetomostlyBritain,France,Germany,GreeceandItaly, while Russia got a special treatment as the report pointedthat torture was endemic there and maltreatment virtuallynever brought to book.