'Merger From Hell' Wins Approval From Trump DOJ
By Jon Queally
Green groups and opponents of the powerful corporate interests that dominate the global food system expressed dismay on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Justice announced tentative approval of a merger between the U.S.-based agro-chemical company Monsanto and the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer.
Dubbed the "merger from hell" by critics, Trump's DOJ reportedly mediated and approved a deal in which the two companies agreed to shed portions of their businesses as a way to alleviate monopoly concerns.
"The settlement," reported Bloomberg, "came together after Justice Department antitrust officials pressed for significant divestitures to remedy the competition problems from combining the two companies. The companies have received antitrust approval from most jurisdictions around the world. Bayer has said it's confident the deal will close by the June 14 deadline."
Though predicted, the news was met with vocal displeasure by environmental groups and those opposed to a food system driven by consolidated corporate power, industrial-scale farming, and for-profit greed:
"This toxic mega-merger is another Trump Administration handout to an industry that's poisoning people and the planet," declared Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, in response to the announcement. "The Department of Justice is prioritizing corporate profits instead of listening to the 1 million Americans who spoke out against the merger. DOJ also failed to listen to more than 93 percent of polled farmers who are concerned about the merger."
The American people, added Fink-Haynes, "deserve better than corporate monopolies that drive up food prices and put family farmers out of business. The DOJ's weak divestment requirements will do nothing to stop Bayer-Monsanto from controlling more and more of our food system. This merger will damage the bargaining power of family farmers, prevent farmers from accessing diverse seed varieties, and allow seed prices to rise."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
'Kicking Ass for Her Generation': Applause for 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg as EU Chief Pledges $1 Trillion to Curb Climate Threat
By Julia Conley
Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.
In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis.
‘Plastic Is Lethal’: Groundbreaking Report Reveals Health Risks at Every Stage in Plastics Life Cycle
With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the world's oceans every year, there is growing concern about the proliferation of plastics in the environment. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the full impact of plastic pollution on human health.
But a first-of-its-kind study released Tuesday sets out to change that. The study, Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, is especially groundbreaking because it looks at the health impacts of every stage in the life cycle of plastics, from the extraction of the fossil fuels that make them to their permanence in the environment. While previous studies have focused on particular products, manufacturing processes or moments in the creation and use of plastics, this study shows that plastics pose serious health risks at every stage in their production, use and disposal.
Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.