- Woman sleeping in car accused of attacking Cape officer (7/26/16)13
- Seeking new history: Centurion Development buys former Woolworth building at 1 N. Main St. (7/28/16)5
- Prosecutor says shooting by state trooper was justified (7/24/16)15
- Cape resident gets seven years in prison for shooting at man (7/26/16)1
- Former Scott City mayor refutes claims made about loss of curbside recycling pickup (7/26/16)
- Burglary of trailer leaves its residents homeless (7/27/16)4
- Golden Corral coming to Cape; may hire 100 workers (7/21/16)10
- Police: Child's video revealed stepfather's abuse of sibling (7/28/16)3
- Foot plots provide habitats and nutrition to attract wildlife, grow populations (7/18/16)
- City may spend extra park tax money on Cape Splash, skate park, other projects (7/25/16)10
Ag secretary says biotechnology can help end hunger
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- An international biotechnology conference began Monday with the U.S. agriculture secretary hailing genetically modified food as a tool to reduce global hunger and demonstrators outside decrying it as a health threat.
Eight protesters were arrested as more than 1,500 people marched in the streets of the state capital at the start of the three-day event.
Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman told agriculture ministers, scientists and health care experts from 120 countries that biotechnology can help developing nations reduce hunger while improving nutrition and their economies.
"Biotechnology is already helping both small and large-scale farmers around the world by boosting yields, lowering costs, reducing pesticide use and making crops more resistant to disease, pests and drought," Veneman said.
Demonstrators claim biotechnology isn't the antidote to complex global food problems and say the conference is a means for the United States to lower trade barriers and expand the use of genetically altered crops.
They rallied on the steps of the state Capitol under the scrutiny of hundreds of police and California Highway Patrol officers and then spread out through downtown. Authorities said eight protesters were arrested but had no information on possible charges.
About 20 protesters doffed their clothes, danced on the Capitol steps and began an unauthorized march through downtown. The naked protesters dispersed when the highway patrol brought in buses and threatened to arrest them.
The conference, sponsored by the Agriculture Department, is focusing on farming methods, irrigation and pest management to help developing countries cut world hunger by 2015, a goal set by agriculture secretaries at the World Food Summit last year.
More than 800 million people face chronic hunger or malnutrition.
The debate over genetically modified foods is intensifying, with the United States demanding that the World Trade Organization force the European Union to end its ban on genetically modified food. EU ministers did not attend the conference.
The Agriculture Department has closed the conference to the public and certain events to the media, citing security reasons.
On the Net:
Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology: www.fas.usda.gov/icd/stconf/conf_info.ht...
Protest information: sacmobilization.org