India and China are accelerating investment in biotechnology research to fight the odds in agriculture and feed their teeming mil-lions, say scientists and officials. \nScientists at a workshop in one of India's biggest gene research centers in Patencheru in southern Andhra Pradesh state said China and India accounted for more than half the developing world's expenditure on plant biotechnology. \nMargarita Escaler of the US-based International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications said the Asian giants were putting the emphasis on genetically modified (GM) seeds and technology to ensure their billion-plus populations have enough to eat. \n"There are around 50 public research units in India and they make investments of US$15 million per year while private spending in India on agri-biotech research amounts to over US$10 million annually," Escaler said. \n"In China, funding for agri-biotech research comes entirely from the government and China is only second now to the United States in research investment. China invested US$112 million in biotechnology research in 1999 -- that figure will grow by 400 percent in 2005," she said. \nIndia has not approved any genetically modified food for com-mercialization or consumption. But state-run laboratories are pumping millions of dollars into developing 22 food items ranging from protein-rich potatoes, rice to groundnut. \nScientists expect the GM groundnut to get Indian government approval for commercialization by 2007. \nThe shifts in China and India appear to be at odds with the widespread rejection of GM technology in many other countries, particularly in Europe. \nBiotech advocates say genetic modification boosts output, cuts costs and can improve nutrition. \nBut critics including environmental group Greenpeace fear the environmental impact and worry GM foods may have long-term effects on health. \n"There's no doubt Indian agriculture is in a state of crisis," Greenpeace spokeswoman Divya Raghunandan said. \nBut she added it was "laughable" that the government was looking at genetic engineering as the solution.
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Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
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Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo