‘Mafia law of silence,’ complains activist fined for publishing about pesticides in French wine

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“They want to silence me,” charged Valérie Murat of the French Toxic Alert Association after being ordered to pay damages of €125k to the Bordeaux Wine Council and other wine world plaintiffs for having reported that an analysis of 22 bottles of wine boasting a “High Environmental Value” which denotes a “virtuous practice” did indeed contain pesticides.

Denouncing the presence of toxins at levels so tiny that they fall between 60 and 5,000 times below the limit authorized by the French regulations amounts to a “collective denigration of the sector” of Bordeaux wines, according to a court ruling in Libourne, France.

“These results show significant gaps between marketing, promises and the reality of professional practices,” said Murat to the online magazine Basta supporting her decision to publish the data.

Murat’s report says traces of substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic were revealed in the tests, and that some wines contained at least one of the so-called SDHI fungicides. Some biologists believe that even in small doses these are carcinogens, pointed out the activist who says she is driven by a promise made to her dying father who contracted lung cancer from the use of pesticides in his vineyards.

“There is a real omertà,” she said of the ruling, referring to the Southern Italian code of silence know to most people through their reading about the Mafia. The wine lobby is strong because it is protecting 50k jobs and anyone who discloses such information is considered to be “polluting the nest” —  using a French version of “killing the goose who laid the golden egg” – and has to fear professional and personal disadvantage, she complained.

Murat has already announced on Twitter that she will appeal the verdict. She has a mission, she said: Zero pesticides in Bordeaux.

By Milan Sime Martinic

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Possible new law of nature on the way

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The world of physics is excited about strong but early evidence about the behavior of muons, paricles identical to electrons only 200x more massive (heavier), which once born take 2.2 microseconds to decay into an electron, and which spin like tops. In a new, extremely precise measurement, they were made to wobble using magnetic fields but they unexpectedly wobbled quite significantly faster than the Standard Model suggests they would. They might spin so fast due to an unknown force caused by an unknown particle, and this is what is so exciting.

“We found that a muon … is not in agreement with our current best theory of physics at the subatomic level, and … it potentially points to a future with new laws, new particles and new forces in physics which we haven’t seen to date,” said Professor Mark Lancaster at U of Manchester.

“The main goal of the experiment is to make the measurement and compare with the theory, and if they disagree then it’s telling us that there’s something in nature which is not in the theory,” explained James Mott at Fermilab.

The four known forces of nature (gravity, electricity, two nuclear forces: strong and weak interactions) have left scientists without an answer for some observed phenomena, such as the speed at which galaxies spin (faster than the best model suggests). Therefore, they continue to search for glitches in their already-tight models which might point them things they don’t yet know about.

The most recent work was done at Fermilab (Muon g-2 experiment), but a similar experiment was already done earlier at the Large Hadron Collider. These tools accelerate particles in large rings at close to the speed of light.

The evidence needs more tests for greater certainty, particularly to rule out the possibility of a systematic error, and particularly with a new, independent experiment, but physicists will be chasing this line of experiment eagerly.

“This is outstanding confirmation of experimental technique, and very, very suggestive of the possibility of new physics,” noted scientist David Hertzon of U of Washington.

By the editors

#AnomalousMagneticDipoleMomentOfTheMuon #QuantumElectrodynamics

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People in Kachin state demonstrate against China

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YANGON, Myanmar – The people in the Pharkant area of Kachin state demonstrated against China this week, drawing a cross on the Chinese flag and burning a picture of Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing.

“China stands with the military leader,” shouted the demonstrators.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Aye Yarwaddy

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Myanmar military council arrests the artist Zarganar

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YANGON, Myanmar – The artist Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military council from his home in Tarmwe township, Yangon this morning.

Zarganar is not only a director but also a comedian famous for political jokes since the 1988 democratic revolution.

Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military many times before 2010.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Zarganar page

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Kayin IDPs struggle to get for food

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YANGON, Myanmar – Kayin internally displaced people are desperate for food, clothing and shelter, hiding in the forest from the air strikes of the Myanmar military.

The IDPs fled to neighboring Thailand, but Thai government turned them back. However, Wednesday morning the Thai government opened Maeseli jetty in Maehaungsaung district to sending rations and medicines over the border to Kayin state, according to a Thai media.

By Htay Win

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Twenty Myanmar celebrities charged with incitement

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YANGON, Myanmar -They were charged under the country’s media law with inciting government employees to join the popular civil disobedience movement (CDM) through social media.

Celebrities took part in the NLD election campaigns and are thought to have played a large part in influencing the public, particularly Myanmar’s youth, to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Myanmar celebrity

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