Monsanto partners with USAID to push GM corn in Nepal


NaturalNews) The southeast Asian country of Nepal is once again having to fight against foreign interests that are trying to take over its agricultural system. Biotechnology giant Monsanto apparently has its sights set on bringing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) to this sliver of a country just north of India, and it is allegedly working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a so-called humanitarian group, and officials in Nepal to make it happen.

USAID issued a statement on Sept. 13, 2011, saying that it had partnered with Nepal’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoACs) and Monsanto to “promote hybrid maize (corn) seeds among 20,000 farmers of Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kavre districts and provide training to them.” Media across Nepal quickly picked up on the story, and massive public outcry ensued.

GMOs are not widely cultivated in Nepal, and the country has always taken a very cautious approach to adopting them. In fact, when it was discovered that some GMO ingredients had potentially already contaminated the nation’s food supply back in 2003, government officials quickly made precautionary recommendations at the time to require GMO labeling on all food items.

But with multinational corporations and the US government working overtime to force GM corn on Nepali farmers, Nepal appears to be getting pushed to the brink of no return. Though Nepal still imports some of its corn from elsewhere, the country is having no problems with the conventional, organic, and heirloom varieties it currently cultivates, and has no need whatsoever for GM varieties.

Since the controversy erupted, Nepali officials have reportedly backed off from the plan. Hari Dahal, joint secretary at MoACs, told reporters recently that his agency had “no idea why USAID issued the statements saying that the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives was partnering with Monsanto” because “no agreement had been signed.”

USAID was a little more ambiguous about whether or not MoACs was specifically involved in the matter, but the agency did make it very clear that it is working with Monsanto to promote GMOs around the world, including in Nepal. And based on the way Monsanto continues to thrust GMOs on the people of India just to the south, there is no doubt that the biotech giant is doing the same thing to people of Nepal as we speak.

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Ghee – This is butter that is good for you

NaturalNews) To some it’s known as clarified butter, to others it’s the golden elixir of healing – ghee is a staple ingredient in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic healing known for its versatility, great taste, and many health benefits. It’s derived from butter through a process of cooking off its milk solids until it becomes an easily digestible, healthier alternative to butter and oil, and it can be used for cooking or as an ingredient to add flavor and richness to foods such as kitchari.

Cooking benefits

  • Excellent cooking oil – Since ghee doesn’t start smoking until it’s heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, it will neither burn nor splatter easily. Its chemical structure also remains more stable than other oils when heated.
  • Stores well – Thanks to its low moisture content, ghee can go weeks without refrigeration. It can last up to six months in the fridge or one year in the freezer, according to the Ayurvedic Institute. The key to ghee longevity: store it somewhere cool, keep it covered, and make sure it doesn’t get contaminated by other liquids – don’t double dip!
  • Flavorful – Thanks to its strong flavor, not much ghee needs to be added to a dish to make it sing.

    Health benefits

  • Easily digestible – The process of cooking off milk solids from butter burns off its lactose and cholesterol (says Holistic Chef Shani Cranston of hOMe Grown Living Foods). This makes it much easier to digest than butter or vegetable oils.
  • Anti-inflammatory – According to the Sushruta Samhita, a text of the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda, ghee is the ultimate anti-inflammatory food.
  • Whole body healing – Ayurvedic practitioners use the golden elixir for everything from rejuvenating skin to aiding digestion to balancing hormones.
  • Flexibility – Dr. Vasant Lad, founder and director of the Ayurvedic Institute, explains ghee’s popularity among yogis by stating that it lubricates connective tissues and makes the body more flexible.
  • Enhances your essence – As reported by Paul Pitchford in Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, ghee boosts ojas, the underlying essence of body issues; this leads to an increased immune system and greater longevity.
  • Increases agni – In Ayurveda, proper digestion revolves around agni, the body’s digestive fire. Consuming ghee boosts one’s agni, leading to better digestion and faster metabolism.

    Butter’s yummy richness adds to many a dish, yet its unhealthiness prevents people from using it. Though it still has a high fat content, ghee’s many health benefits make it a fine alternative to butter or oil that you can make yourself. See below for detailed directions from Holistic Chef Shani Cranston:


    Makes 2 cups

    1. Melt 1 pound of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 or 4 cloves if you wish. This will aid in the clarification and lend a delicate flavor.
    2. As soon as the butter begins to boil and foam, reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep the melted butter at a steady simmer until it is golden in color and no foam remains on top.
    3. When the crackling sound stops, the ghee is ready.
    4. Cool the mixture and strain it into a sterile quart jar. Discard the curds from the bottom, as they are almost pure cholesterol.


  • The Ayurvedic Institute (
  • hOMe Grown Living Foods (
  • Yoga Journal: To Ghee or Not to Ghee (…)
  • Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2003)

    About the author

    Kiva Bottero works with a collective to publish The Mindful Word journal of engaged living ( He also writes and edits for Dew Media, a company that specializes in providing custom publishing services for non-profits and social enterprises (, as well as various magazines and blogs, such as Cleantech Authority (

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Heal with the miraculous powers of garlic

NaturalNews) When you’re sick with the flu, an infection, or simply unwell, doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics. We all know however, how dangerous antibiotics can be. But what if you could find that very cure for these things in nature, where you wouldn’t have to suffer the dismal side effects of nausea, wrenching stomach pains, potential hallucinations, and a gruesome attack on the friendly flora that lives in your intestines? What if you didn’t have to feel like a run-down old tractor, or like you’ve suddenly run out of batteries?

Yes, it stinks a bit – no wonder vampires hate it! But the abundance of health benefits contained in a single clove of garlic should be enough to make you embrace it – for there is a whole list of those benefits. In Russia, garlic is even called the ‘Russian Penicillin’, where it’s healing properties make it the most potent antibiotic nature can offer.

Phytochemicals: while garlic does not have a huge stash of vitamins and minerals, it does contain a particular phytochemical called ‘allicin’ (produced when garlic is chopped, minced, or chewed), which protects your body from a variety of ailments including bacterial infection and also excessive cholesterol.

Antimicrobial and antifungal agents: In two recent studies, it has been discovered that allicin found in garlic is effective against two very difficult strains of bacteria… Enterococci and Staphylococcus.

Baby weight: A team of London researchers found that garlic can help to boost baby weight during pregnancy, and to decrease risks of preeclampsia complications at birth.

Reduced caner risks: In the Iowa Women’s Health Study, women who added garlic to their diets had a 32% less chance of developing colon cancer. Another study at the National Cancer Institute in the US suggested that garlic can both slow the growth of cancer cells as well as cause abnormal cells to self destruct, making it an optional anti-cancer agent.

Heart health and cholesterol: Garlic acts as a mop when it comes to elevated LDL cholesterol, and it reduces platelet adhesion (blood stickiness). In a sixteen-week study that involved giving garlic to 261 patients, cholesterol levels were reduced by 12% and triglyceride levels were reduced by 17%.

For thousands of years, garlic has been used in many unusual ways and for a multitude of ailments – colds, ear infections, sore throats, warts, yeast infections, sinusitis, asthma, congestion, and even impotence. After thousands of years however, in our labs today the world of science is discovering that these old ways were in fact not so far off, and that there is yet still much to be discovered about the healing properties of nature’s own antibiotic.

Sources for this article include:


About the author

Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. In 2010, Michelle created, to share with people her approach to the raw food diet and detoxification

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CDC admits not a single person has died from consuming raw milk products in 11 years

NaturalNews) The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refuses to acknowledge that, based on all available statistics, raw milk produced on clean, small-scale farms is actually far safer than pasteurized milk from factory farms. But the agency did admit earlier this year, after being pressed and warned of a potential Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request if it failed to comply, that not a single person has died from raw milk consumption in over a decade.

This may come as a shock to some who, because of all the propaganda about the alleged dangers of raw milk, are convinced otherwise, but it is true — one of the two deaths often cited by the CDC as evidence that raw milk is dangerous was actually linked to the consumption of raw queso fresco cheese, which is currently outlawed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And the other is likely linked to an adulterated raw milk product as well, rather than to raw milk.

After repeatedly petitioning the CDC for clarification about its questionable raw milk statistics and getting nowhere, Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) in California, finally threatened to file a FOIA request to get to the truth. Shortly thereafter, he received a response from an unidentified official at the CDC’s information office explaining that the one “raw milk” death that occurred between 1998 and 2008 was actually linked to illegal raw queso fresco cheese.

The agency has not yet provided details about the other death, but it is likely that it, too, was linked to some adulterated raw milk product rather than to raw milk itself. If and when the agency finally fesses up to the truth about that case, it will also be inadvertently admitting that it has lied to the public for many years about the nature of raw milk.

The CDC’s continual avoidance of talking about the much worse dangers associated with pasteurized milk further illustrates its raw milk bias. In 2006 alone, there were at least 1,300 people who got sick from pasteurized milk just in California — and yet the CDC only talks about the roughly 39 reported illnesses every year in the Golden State that are alleged, but not necessarily proven to be, linked to raw milk.

To learn more about the safety of raw milk versus pasteurized milk, check out this FREE chapter from Dr. Ron Schmid’s book The Untold Story of Milk: Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Products:

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Study: Zeaxanthin helps protect eyes, improve vision

NaturalNews) Carotenoids play a crucial role in protecting the integrity of vision and ocular health, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin which are the macula’s carotenoids of choice. And a new study published in the Journal of Optometry confirms that supplementation with zeaxanthin demonstrably helps improve vision and protect against macular degeneration.

Individuals over the age of 55 have an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition marked by symptoms of decreased visual acuity at night, blind spots, color degradation, and problems reading in low light. Many elderly folks who suffer from advanced AMD end up losing their independence as they no longer have the ability to see clearly in certain situations.

But Stuart Richer, PhD, OD, at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Chicago found that zeaxanthin effectively helps prevent and reverse such symptoms by restoring this vital pigment in the retina macula. Participants in the study that took 8 mg (milligrams) of zeaxanthin, 9 mg of lutein, or a combination of both over the course of a year experienced increased macular pigment optical density (MOPD), improved vision, and a number of other benefits.

Zeaxanthin and lutein both occur naturally in the back of the eye at an optimal 2:1 ratio. Zeaxanthin in particular protects the cones of the eye, also known as photoreceptors, which are responsible for maintaining central vision, color perception, and fine detail. And while this powerful nutrient occurs naturally in various fruits and vegetables, most Americans do not ingest enough of it, on average, to acquire optimal benefits.

Supplementing with zeaxanthin, individuals can ensure that they are effectively protecting their vision against light-induced oxidative damage, which is one suspected cause of AMD. Supplementing with zeaxanthin can also provide general antioxidant health benefits as it is a known anti-inflammatory nutrient.

“Since the identification of zeaxanthin and its role in eye health more than 20 years ago, I have seen it as my mission to bring the benefits of Zeaxanthin to a wider audience,” said Dennis Gierhart, PhD and CEO of ZeaVision, a company that researchers and produces zeaxanthin. “I am thrilled with the findings that support the many benefits of zeaxanthin supplementation.”

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NaturalNews) Three of the most widely used screening tests in medicine have taken a hit lately and been cast into disfavor or abandoned.

NaturalNews) Three of the most widely used screening tests in medicine have taken a hit lately and been cast into disfavor or abandoned.

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test has been condemned as useless in saving lives and accused of leading to unnecessary surgical interventions. This test, which had previously been popular as a screening tool for prostate cancer in men over 50 is now reviled. It not only does not reveal cancers that lead to loss of life, but it leads to unnecessary biopsies and surgeries that can result in impotence and incontinence. It is no longer recommended.

Mammograms have also run aground amidst accusations that they cause the very problem they are intended to prevent – breast cancer. The radiation risk from repeated mammograms puts women at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, not a very good trade-off when alternatives are available. And mammograms too lead to aggressive treatment which may not be necessary in many cases. A better testing tool is breast thermography, which detects heat changes from abnormal tissue growth. Thermography does not involve any exposure to radiation.

And now colonoscopies have been questioned as well. An editorial in the Nov. 9, 2011 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that colonoscopy as a screening tool has not been adequately investigated for benefits and harms. Colonoscopy is expensive and prone to overdiagnosis and overtreatment as well. The primary result of colonoscopies is the removal of benign polyps, which are not cancerous. A better strategy, these authors suggest, may be to screen for blood in the stool with a simple test and perhaps perform limited flexible sigmoidoscopy before recommending a full colonoscopy. The strategy of screening for blood and performing a sigmoidoscopy has been shown in controlled studies to reduce mortality from colorectal cancer, but no additional benefit has been shown from performing an additional colonoscopy.

Perhaps our focus should shift from unproven, expensive, and invasive screening tests to a strategy of prevention with supportive measures. Certainly limiting alcohol and tobacco use are proven methods of reducing cancer risk. Avoiding known carcinogens in the form of petrochemicals in household products, pesticides in foods, and skin care products (soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, deodorants) makes sense.

Taking antioxidant supplements is another preventive measure that can help avoid abnormal tissue growth and the deleterious effects of aging on cells. A potent antioxidant program could include resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid (or r-lipoic acid), astaxanthin, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and n-acetyl-cysteine (a precursor of the body’s own antioxidant glutathione). Taking a high quality multi-vitamin supplement can also supply the cofactors necessary for detoxification and prevention of oxidation in the body’s tissues, supporting healthy organ function.

About the author:
Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD, has practiced and taught holistic medicine for more than thirty years in the San Francisco Bay area, specializing in child health care. He is a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Chinese medicine, author of The Holistic Baby Guide, Child Health Guide and The Vaccine Guide. Visit his website,, to register for a free newsletter with pediatric specialty articles and follow him on Facebook, at Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD.

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Are WA farmers heading down the most lucrative canola path?

Richard Hudson ABC Rural, 16 November 2011 Are West Australian farmers doing themselves a disservice by choosing to plant more genetically modified (GM) canola crops? The two biggest acquirers of WA grown canola are saying the strongest message coming from their biggest customer is “We are prepared to pay more for non-genetically modified canola with a ‘sustainable’ accreditation”. So if WA farmers gradually increase the amount of GM canola (compared to non- GM canola) will they end up sacrificing a key market advantage currently held over countries such as Canada? Today there was a $40 dollar difference between the prices (per tonne) on offer for WA’s GM and Non GM canola. Sally Porter is Cooperative Bulk Handling’s quality and technical manager for their protein and oil seeds team and she says Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive and their new sustainability requirements are driving the price difference. “Our customers in Europe want sustainable canola and they also want non-GM canola.” She says even though the main buyers want the canola for their biofuel industries, they also want to use the by-products for animal and human consumption and in Europe those markets demand non GM produce. CBH was accredited for the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) scheme in April. Sally says about 300 farmers signed up for the 2010/11 season and so far about 700 growers have signed up for the 2011/12 season. Interest is growing due to the price premium on offer for this sustainable non GM market. She expects even more farmers to put their hand up once CBH and those involved with the ISCC have simplified the accreditation system for Australian growers. (She hopes that will be achieved within about three months) In the last few weeks Graincorp, Gavilon and Glencore were also accredited as marketers for the ISCC scheme. Canola trader for Glencore Grain Australia Peter Tustin says they are involved because of the price premium but he thinks WA farmers will end up getting less for their canola if they over-commit on GM varieties. He says currently Europe pays “quite a decent premium above Canadian levels…and if we were to have a big shift to GM in WA then our price competitiveness will have to be marked against Canada who is the biggest exporter of GM canola.”

Stop Signal Discovered for Skin Cancer

ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2011) — An extraordinary breakthrough in understanding what stops a common form of skin cancer from developing could make new cancer treatments and prevention available to the public in five years. In research recently published in the cancer journal, Cancer Cell, an international team of scientists led by Professor Stephen Jane and Dr Charbel Darido of Monash University’s Department of Medicine at the Alfred Hospital, has discovered a gene that helps protect the body from squamous cell cancer (SCC) of the skin. The Cancer Council estimates that two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70 with SCC being one of the most common forms. Up until now, its genetic basis has not been well understood, with surgical treatments the only option. Professor Jane said the team discovered that a gene with an important role in skin development in the fetus is missing in adult SCC tumour cells. Although the researchers initially focused on skin cancer, they found that the protective gene is also lost in SCC that arises in other tissues, including head and neck cancers, that are often associated with a very poor outcome for the patient. “Virtually every SCC tumour we looked at had almost undetectable levels of this particular gene, so its absence is a very profound driver of these cancers,” Professor Jane said. In collaboration with Associate Professor Rick Pearson from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Monash researchers showed that loss of this particular gene knocks out the signal to stop skin cells from growing. Without this stop signal, the cells keep increasing in number and eventually forms a cancer. Identifying this driver of cancer in skin and other organs provides a clear direction for developing strategies for both prevention and treatment in the relatively near future. “Our research indicates that drugs already in clinical trials for other cancers may actually be effective in treating SCC — they just need to be applied to skin or head and neck cancers. “This means that a number of the usual hurdles in getting therapies to trial have already been cleared, so patients could be reaping the benefits of this research in under five years,” Professor Jane said. “It’s a similar case with prevention. There are strategies by which we could increase the expression of this gene that will likely afford some protection from skin cancer, for example in the form of a supplement in sun-cream. The molecules that would increase this expression, are very well validated, so there would be few barriers to applying them in clinical trials.” Collaborating institutions on the paper include the Polish Academy of Sciences, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Harvard Medical School, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and the Alfred Hospital.

New Drug Combo Targets Multiple Cancers: Sugar Molecule Primes Cancer Cells for Early Death from Second Compound

ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2011) — Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Kyushu University Medical School say a novel combination of a specific sugar molecule with a pair of cell-killing drugs prompts a wide variety of cancer cell types to kill themselves, a process called apoptosis or programmed cell death.

The findings are reported online in the journal Cancer Research.

“The goal of targeted therapy is to stop the growth of cancerous cells while doing little or no harm to healthy tissue,” said Guy Perkins, PhD, associate project scientist at the Center for Research in Biological Systems at UC San Diego. “Cancer researchers are always looking for new therapies to target a variety of cancers and kill tumor cells in various stages of development.”

Unfortunately, added co-author Ryuji Yamaguchi, PhD, senior researcher at Kyushu University Medical School in Fukuoka, Japan, “even the best new drugs seem to be limited to specific cancer types and too often tumor cells develop resistance to these drugs, leading to eventual treatment failure.”

The new two-part therapy described by Perkins and Yamaguchi focuses on depriving cancer cells of their fundamental need for sugar to fuel growth and multiplication. The first component is a modified glucose or sugar molecule called 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG). Although readily taken in by sugar-hungry cancer cells, it cannot be broken down to produce energy. Instead, it hampers cancer cell growth and primes the cells for early death by opening access to an internal protein that can trigger apoptosis.

Cells primed with 2-DG are then exposed to a pair of drugs, ABT-263/737, which signal the internal protein to initiate cell death. Researchers say only cancer cells sensitized for death by 2-DG and exposed to ABT-263/737 are broadly impacted. Healthy brain cells, which are also highly glycolytic like cancer cells, are protected because ABT-263/737 cannot cross the body’s blood-brain barrier.

After first determining that in vitro cancer cells incubated with 2-DG and exposed to low concentrations of ABT-263/737 died, the researchers conducted animal studies. They found that when 2-DG was injected into animals, it predominantly accumulated in cancer cells that were subsequently killed by an injection of ABT-263/737. The two-step approach successfully induced apoptosis in leukemia, hepatocarcinoma, lung, breast and cervical cancers. Yamaguchi said it caused cell death at many stages of cancer development, including a difficult-to-treat, chemo-resistant, highly metastasized form of prostate cancer.

“Since the combination of 2-DG and ABT-263/737 induces rapid apoptosis through the intrinsic pathway, meaning through mitochondria, it leaves little room for interference by a cancer cell’s highly active mutagenic programs,” Perkins said.

The combined treatment, however, does not work on all cancers. “There are certain cancers that are resistant or in which this would cause lymphopenia and thrombopenia,” said Yamaguchi. Lymphopenia and thrombopenia are a loss of white blood cells or platelets, respectively. The scientists are developing “workarounds” to counteract these adverse effects, possibly by using stored hematopoietic stem cells for transplant after treatment.

“We are now trying to initiate a clinical trial for the combination,” said Yamaguchi. “Since both 2-DG and ABT-263 (Navitoclax) are already in Phase II clinical trials (for other treatments), we know something about the safety of these agents. Once we take precautionary measures, the 2-DG-ABT combination therapy may prove an effective alternative to some existing cancer therapies. We may have found a simple, partial solution to a very complex disease.”

Funding for this research came, in part, from the National Center for Research Resources and National Institutes of Health

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