Tag Archives: european union

Italian police and protesters clash over Alpine rail link

28 Jun

Some 60 people were injured when police and protesters clashed over the construction of a high speed rail link between France and Italy. Environmentalists say the railway would destroy a picturesque Alpine valley.

Scores of people were injured in northern Italy as police confronted protesters opposed to the construction of a high-speed rail link between France and Italy on Monday.

Some 60 individuals – about half of them police officers – had to go to hospital for injuries sustained in the violence, according to the country’s medical emergency services.

Police said officers were injured as protesters threw firecrackers and rocks while demonstrators said that some activists had been beaten.

Protesters, includíng environmental activists as well as local residents, oppose construction of the line between Turin and Lyon, claiming it will destroy the picturesque Alpine valley known as Val di Susa.

The confrontation began as 2,500 officers began to dismantle wooden barricades aimed at preventing construction workers from accessing a tunnel boring site.

‘Urgent need to start work’

Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has said that work must start by June 30 to prevent Italy losing funding for the project from the European Union, worth hundreds of millions of euros. Construction costs for the link are estimated at 15 billion euros ($21 billion).

Environmental group Legambiente said there should be an “immediate end to all the violence” and claimed the government had made a “grave error” by sending police in to clear the barricades. “Batons are not the instrument of good politics,” said Legambiente leader Vittorio Cogliati Dezza.

France and Italy signed a deal in 2001 to build the new rail connection, which is to be a strategic link in the European network and allow travel time between Milan and Paris to be slashed from seven to four hours.

Further protests have been announced, with a demonstration in Rome planned for Tuesday.

Author: Richard Connor (dpa, Reuters)

Editor: Martin Kuebler

cross-posted from here

Food from Cloned Animals Debated in Europe

18 Mar

Cloned meat sales are allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration

European Union governments and lawmakers remained deadlocked on how to regulate the production and sale of food from cloned animals, following all-night talks in Brussels that ended on Thursday morning.

EU sources said the remaining sticking point was a demand by lawmakers in the European Parliament for a full EU ban on the sale of food derived from cloned animals and, crucially, their offspring.

EU governments and the bloc’s executive support an EU ban on the use of cloning for food production, and on the import and sale of food from clones.

But banning the sale of food derived from the offspring of cloned animals would be impractical and disrupt global trade, as meat, milk and processed products from such animals cannot be distinguished from those produced traditionally, they argued.

The Parliament’s representatives in the negotiations accused EU governments and the European Commission of intransigence, saying they had turned a blind eye to the ethical and animal welfare concerns raised by the use of cloning for food.

“It is … incredible that the Council is willing to turn a blind eye to public opinion, as well as the ethical and animal welfare problems associated with cloning,” EU lawmakers Gianni Pittella and Kartika Liotard said in a joint statement.

Under EU procedures, governments and the Parliament have until the end of March to reach an agreement on the draft legislation, which regulates the approval and sale of “novel foods” not widely consumed in the EU before 1997.

A final round of negotiations is scheduled for March 28.


Animal cloning, which uses DNA transfer to create an exact genetic copy of an animal, currently has a success rate of below 20 percent, with most cloned animals dying during or shortly after birth.

The technique is complex and costly, ensuring that cloned animals are unlikely to be used directly as food, but they can be bred traditionally to produce offspring that share similar traits, such as high milk production or rapid growth.

The United States is the most advanced country in terms of animal cloning for food production, with estimates provided by companies suggesting that “thousands of cattle” and “hundreds of pigs” have been cloned there so far.

The United States currently has a voluntary moratorium on the marketing of food from cloned animals, but not from their offspring.

In August, it emerged that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow was placed on the market by a dairy farm in Scotland, leading some British supermarkets to pledge not to sell any meat from clones or their young.