Grower takes on Monsanto over weedkiller

Cellessur Aisne (AFP): Weaving through the aisles of his greenhouse in northern France, Jean-Claude Terlet, a retired farmer who grows tomatoes for local markets, seems to be brimming with energy. "That's a beef tomato, they're delicious," he says, showing off his produce which, he stresses, is 100 percent organic. But since he was treated for prostate cancer in 2017, the 70-year-old says he feels constantly exhausted and has to deal with a host of other problems. "No sex life, that's over. And I am completely incontinent and have to wear pads that I change two or three times a day... On a market that's pretty uncomfortable. I feel really diminished," he said. Convinced his illness was caused by exposure to chemicals, he asked for urine tests as soon as he was diagnosed. Despite his hunch, the results still came as a shock. They detected glyphosate, the chemical used in US biotech giant Monsanto's flagship weedkiller Round Up which some studies and the World Health Organization have labelled carcinogenic.

"I'm convinced that that's what caused my cancer," Terlet told AFP, saying the chemical was found at levels of 0.25 micrograms per litre of blood and that the tests showed up no other chemicals or traces of medication.

Terlet has joined thousands of people around the world, most of them in the US, who are taking legal action against Monsanto for failing to warn users about the risks of using glyphosate.

The compensation bill could be steep.

In a landmark ruling earlier this month, a California jury awarded a dying groundskeeper damages of almost $290 million (335 million euros) after finding Round Up caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Monsanto's German parent company Bayer has vowed to appeal the ruling, saying it was "at odds with the weight of scientific evidence".

But the victory of plaintiff DeWayne Johnson, feted by Monsanto's critics as a modern-day David battling a corporate Goliath, has heartened Terlet, who is hoping for a similar finding by a French court.

The French government, which has vowed to ban glyphosate by 2021, also hailed the "historic" ruling and called on the US and other EU countries to join the "war" against dangerous chemicals.

AChina revises regulations on economic census

BEIJING (Xinhua): The Chinese government has revised regulations on national economic census to guarantee the accuracy and timeliness of economic data, government officials said Friday. Some articles in the regulations on national economic census decree, taking effect in 2004, need revision, including those concerning the range and methods of the census as well as the duties and working procedures of census agencies, so that they conform to the current conditions, said unidentified officials from the Ministry of Justice and National Bureau of Statistics. The State Council announced the revised regulations on Thursday. The revision was also aimed at keeping the regulations in line with the Statistics Law, which was revised in 2009, according to the officials. Under the current regulations, statistics on the self-employed can be compiled through sampling surveys. The revision puts small and micro businesses in the same category since, as due to their huge number, it is very difficult and costly to collect data through door-to-door visits of all firms, the officials said.

The revision also allows statistics agencies to collect data through digital forms filled on site or online, instead of hand-written forms.

The revised rules add articles to protect privacy of businesses in the census. Statistics agencies and their staff are required to keep confidentiality of state secrets, business secrets and personal information obtained in the census.

China will launch the fourth national economic census this year, following three censuses in 2004, 2008 and 2013.

Business Advisory Council formation hailed

SIALKOT (APP): Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association's Chief Coordinator (PRGMEA) Ijaz A. Khokhar on Friday said multi-pronged strategy of Prime Minister Imran Khan could steer the country away from serious economic problems,and assured that the business community was ready to support the government intending  reforms for betterment in various sectors. Ijaz said it was heartening that PTI led government has decided to constitute Business Advisory Council to address the problems and difficulties of business community on priority basis. Talking to APP on Friday he underscored the need of inducting stakeholders in proposed Business Advisory Council to ascertain problems confronted by the business community of the country. PRGMEA Chief Coordinator urged the government to introduce One Window tax collection system which he said will help collect ten times more revenue. Ijaz stressed for special steps to encourage youth entrepreneurship for providing boost to mainstream economy.

He urged end of Saturday's holiday in government departments, banks and other organizations to get one more working day each week.

Ijaz also called for reviewing the policies of State Bank of Pakistan in the favour of SME sector.

Experts advise start of beetroot cultivation

FAISALABAD (APP): The agriculture experts here have advised  growers to immediately start cultivation of beetroot (Chukandar) to get bumper produce. According to a spokesman of agriculture department,beetroot has exceptional nutritional value as it is very rich in minerals,calcium,iron and vitamins A & C. It is also an excellent source of fiber, potassium, manganese and folic acid,besides having very powerful antioxidants. The beetroots are an essential part of salad which is largely used across the world. "The growers should cultivate beetroots at maximum space of their lands as it will also play a pivotal role in mitigating financial constraints of farmers",he added. Agri spokesman further said that second half of August is most suitable time for cultivation of beetroots. However,its cultivation can also be completed by mid of September. The growers can increase production of beetroot from 700 mounds per acre to 1200 mound per acre by using latest technology."Farmers should contact their nearest agriculture center or toll free agri helpline through 0800-15000 and 0800-29000.