On Sunday afternoon, 24 April 2016, about 20 Beijing food safety advocates came together in front of ChemChina headquarters in Beijing to protest the state-owned company's acquisition of Syngenta, and the harm that GMOs and toxic agrochemicals will bring to the Chinese people.

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[The US state of] Vermont's attorney general has asked a federal court to force big seed and food companies to turn over internal research on genetically modified crops, escalating a legal battle as the state defends its law requiring labels for GMO ingredients. State Attorney General William Sorrell filed motions in several US district courts seeking to compel Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and other seed firms to produce studies or research related to "potential health or environmental impacts" of the crops, as well as pesticides used on them.

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McDonald’s steps up expansion in Asia

Lindsay Whipp, Financial Times | 18 April 2016 | corporations | China, Korea, Republic of

McDonald’s plans to open more than 1,500 restaurants in China and Korea with local partners over the next five years, as it refocuses on expansion in the world’s second-biggest economy after a food safety scare there in 2014 hit sales. Once the outlets are opened, the fast-food chain would have more than 4,300 restaurants across the two countries, 54 per cent more than it has now. 

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Around 400 Chinese citizens have signed a letter to protest the purchase of Swiss-based seeds and pesticides company Syngenta by state-owned ChemChina, saying the deal would eventually lead to genetically modified crops being sown across swathes of the country. Although relatively few people signed the letter, it marks a rare example of open opposition to state-supported corporate strategy in a nation where the government often clamps down hard on any criticism.

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India has still not made any commitment to the World Trade Organisation to liberalise its retailing services. Nevertheless, the state continues to advance policies to liberalise and corporatise the sector. India now allows 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in wholesale trading, single brand retailing and business to business e-commerce.

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The India FDI Watch Campaign, along with the Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (Federation of All India Traders and Industries), Federation of Associations of Maharastra, The Hawkers Federation, Janpahal and various other groups, oppose the proposal to allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in food produced and manufactured in India.

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David Friedberg is a lifelong vegetarian. He was president of his high school’s “Healing Our Planet Earth” club. He’s a major investor in a restaurant chain that serves only bowls of quinoa. The 35-year-old software designer is also an unapologetic advocate of Monsanto, which bought his start-up, The Climate Corporation, in 2013 for a cool $1 billion.

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After almost four years of litigation led by farmers and allies, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has permanently stopped the field testing of Bt talong, an eggplant variety genetically engineered to produce its own toxin. 

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Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are once again in the news.  On November 19, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that a genetically modified animal, a breed of fast maturing salmon, had been approved for human consumption for the first time, sparking an uproar. China may be separated from the U.S. by the Pacific Ocean, but that hasn’t insulated it from GMO controversies. In the two years since a campaign to demand greater openness from China Ministry of Agriculture, three Chinese residents has brought a case against Ministry of Agriculture and third party: Monsanto Far East Ltd. 

This is an interview with Yan Hairong, a professor in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a volunteer with People’s Food Sovereignty Network who is involve in the case.

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The real cattle class: cows fly to China on 747s

Angus Whitley - Bloomberg | 30 November 2015 | corporations | Australia, China

Next time you’re stuck on a long-haul flight in a packed, economy-class cabin, being ignored by a frazzled flight attendant, spare a thought for the passengers on a recent flight from Melbourne to Chongqing in China. They were cows. Destination: the abattoir.

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