ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

19 March 2003


Following Syngenta's announcement of its first financial loss at the end of last year, its Chief Financial Officer has just quit, claiming "personal" reasons. (item 1)

This follows Monsanto's Chief Executive Officer's sudden departure in December which has left Monsanto without a CEO.

According to Syngenta's outgoing CFO, "the world's largest agrochemicals firm remained cautious on the global agricultural industry, its bedrock market" - in short, it aint going to get better any time soon.

The Wall Street Journal concluded more than two years ago that it was "hard to see those companies as a good investment, even in the long term."

1.Syngenta CFO says remains cautious on farm outlook
2.Thai rice farmers protest U.S. interference in biopiracy bill


1.Syngenta CFO says remains cautious on farm outlook

Source - Reuters Securities News (Eng)
Wednesday, March 19, 2003  16:40
ZURICH, March 19 (Reuters) - Syngenta's outgoing Chief Financial Officer Richard Steiblin said on Wednesday the world's largest agrochemicals firm remained cautious on the global agricultural industry, its bedrock market.
"I think we stick to what we said at the full year presentation," he told Reuters, adding the firm will release its first-quarter trading statement on April 29.
The firm said in February the outlook for the agricultural markets remained uncertain while progress on improving its EBITDA margin in 2003 would likely be
Syngenta earlier on Wednesday said Steiblin would step down at the end of May. The CFO said that his decision to quit was taken for "personal" reasons.
"It is nothing that has, should have or could have, an impact on Syngenta's strategic direction and the quality of its management," Steiblin told Reuters.
"There is nothing from an investor perspective to worry about. I felt the need for change," he added.
"With the controversy over genetically modified foods spreading across the globe and taking a toll on the stocks of companies with agricultural-biotechnology businesses, it's hard to see those companies as a good investment, even in the long term." The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 7, 2000


2.Protest over plant, animal names bill

House to consider legislation today
Kultida Samabuddhi  BKK Post  Mar. 19 , 2003

About 100 rice farmers from northeastern provinces rallied in front of the United States embassy yesterday, calling on its government to stop interfering in the drafting of Thailand's Geographical Indication Protection Bill.

A petition was handed to the embassy's regional security officer, Robert Eckert, who offered to arrange a meeting between the demonstrators and American officials in charge of the geographical indication bill, to discuss the issue in detail.

Ubon Yoowa, leader of the Alternative Agriculture Network of Thailand, claimed some animal and plant varieties were excluded from the draft bill's protection list because certain agencies had been lobbied by American officials.

The US government, she said, was worried about economic losses if the bill was passed into law.

`As a result, the names of plants and animals with origins in Thailand _ such as fragrant jasmine rice, mon thong durian and bang mod oranges _ could be misused by competitors, who intend to mislead consumers that the products contain unique characteristics relating to the country,'' she said.

Farmers would also demonstrate in front of parliament today to urge the House, which is scheduled to take up the bill for final consideration, to put the legislation on hold and set up a committee to revise it. The bill was endorsed by the Senate in November.

Witoon Lianchamroon, director of Biothai, an NGO working to promote biodiversity, said the bill stated that animal and plant strains were ``generic names''. This meant any producers were allowed to use the names of plants and animal varieties freely to promote their products.

He would lodge a complaint with the Administrative Court and an appeal with His Majesty the King if the House passed the bill, he said.



New York Times, March 16, 2003
The United States and France were the source in the 1980s for "all the foreign germ samples ... used to create the biological weapons that are still believed to be in Iraq's arsenal, according to American officials and foreign diplomats who have reviewed Iraq's latest weapons declaration to the United Nations. ... --- URGENT appeal to let the voices of the world be heard.

The leaders of the most powerful nations on Earth have failed us. The Security Council has failed us. The world stands on the brink of war.

If ever there was a need for the United Nations to rise to the challenge it was conceived to meet, now is that time.

Through a little-used mechanism known as Resolution 377A, the "Uniting for Peace" resolution, the General Assembly may be the last hope for disarming Iraq peaceably and stopping the US war machine.

You can write to your UN ambassador to support this resolution from here:

The Uniting for Peace resolution empowers the General Assembly to meet in emergency session to address acts of aggression or a breach of the peace when the Security Council has been unable to act. Its was first used to bring about a cease-fire in the Suez crisis of 1950, forcing Britain and France to withdraw from Egypt within a week, even after they had vetoed calls for a cease-fire in the Security Council. It's been used ten times since then, most often at the request of the United States.

If you believe, as we do, that the very future of the world, and of the United Nations, is being put at risk in the name of a pre-emptive war, please join the call for the UN General Assembly to respond.  Ask that the Uniting for Peace resolution be invoked, that the war on Iraq be condemned, and that peaceable means of disarming Iraq be sought.

The next hours may provide our last chance to change a dangerous course in history.  The United Nations must not allow a world order based on multilateralism to be replaced with one in which the mightiest and richest make the rules.

You can read more here:

and, again, you can write to your UN ambassador to support this resolution from here:

Visit the No War website for more news:

Please take a few minutes to act now.
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