Wednesday, October 21, 2015

MONSANTO UNDER INVESTIGATION - EMPLOYEE STOCK VIOLATIONS

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Notice to Monsanto Employees and Former Employees: Zamansky LLC Investigates The Monsanto Savings and Investment Plan for Possible ERISA Violations

October 21, 2015 06:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Zamansky LLC announces its investigation of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON)(“Monsanto”) and the Monsanto Savings and Investment Plan (the “Plan”) for possible violations of the federal Employee Retirement Income Securities Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). ERISA imposes fiduciary duties to prudently manage and invest the assets of the Plan. These duties were potentially violated by Monsanto’s continued offering of its company stock while it allegedly knew that the stock price was artificially inflated.
On March 20, 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (“IARC”), an agency of the international World Health Organization (“WHO”), issued an evaluation of several herbicides, including glyphosate. Glyphosate is the main chemical used in Monsanto’s “Roundup” pesticide responsible for over $5 billion in annual sales. The IARC evaluated studies on exposures to glyphosate since 2001, and concluded that glyphosate was Grade 2A agent and “probably carcinogenic” to humans.
Following the IARC’s report, Monsanto’s pesticide has come under intense scrutiny. Several foreign countries including France, Columbia and Brazil have reportedly banned or sought to ban the pesticide. The California Environmental Protection Agency issued notice of its intent to place glyphosate on its list of chemicals requiring labels indicating that it is carcinogenic. The news of these events have brought Monsanto’s stock price down from over $120 per share to $85 per share.
Additionally, there have been lawsuits filed against Monsanto which allege that it knowingly sold an unsafe and carcinogenic product and misled the public. A class action lawsuit was filed in California state court alleging that Monsanto engaged in false advertising that Roundup pesticide affects enzymes in plants, and not people. A former farm worker with years of exposure to Roundup pesticide filed another lawsuit in California federal court, alleging that his bone cancer was caused by the unsafe product.
According to employee stock fraud attorney, Jake Zamansky, Monsanto’s existing and former employees who purchased company stock through the Savings and Investment Plan may have suffered damage to their retirement savings. If the lawsuit allegations that Monsanto knew the risks of Roundup pesticides prove true, Zamansky states, then the Company knew that its stock price was artificially inflated and that it would correct when the truth came out. Monsanto’s existing and former employees who bought or held company stock that was artificially inflated were likely damaged, he states.
What Existing and Former Monsanto Employees Can Do
If you are an existing or former Monsanto employee who purchased or held company stock through the Monsanto Savings and Investment Plan, please contact our firm for an evaluation of your rights. If you are an existing or former Monsanto employee who has knowledge that would assist the investigation, please contact our firm. You can contact Jake Zamansky by telephone at(212) 742-1414 or by email at jake@zamansky.com.
About Zamansky LLC
Zamansky LLC is a leading stock law firm specializing in securities fraud, ERISA and employment class actions. We are investment fraud attorneys who represent both individual and institutional investors. Our practice is nationally recognized for our ability to aggressively prosecute cases and recover investment losses.
To learn more about Zamansky LLC, please visit our website, http://www.zamansky.com.

Contacts

Zamansky LLC
Jake Zamansky, 212-742-1414
jake@zamansky.com

HUNDREDS OF BOUGHT "PEER REVIEWS" CAUGHT - IN FRAUD

"How to FAKE PEER REVIEWS,"Image result for new england journal of medicine
Charlotte J. Haug, M.D., Ph.D.
October 21, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1512330
from the New England Journal of Medicine

In August 2015, the publisher Springer retracted 64 articles from 10 different subscription journals “after editorial checks spotted fake email addresses, and subsequent internal investigations uncovered fabricated peer review reports,” according to a statement on their website.1 The retractions came only months after BioMed Central, an open-access publisher also owned by Springer, retracted 43 articles for the same reason.


“This is officially becoming a trend,” Alison McCook wrote on the blog Retraction Watch, referring to the increasing number of retractions due to fabricated peer reviews.2 Since it was first reported 3 years ago, when South Korean researcher Hyung-in Moon admitted to having invented e-mail addresses so that he could provide “peer reviews” of his own manuscripts, more than 250 articles have been retracted because of fake reviews — about 15% of the total number of retractions.

How is it possible to fake peer review? Moon, who studies medicinal plants, had set up a simple procedure. He gave journals recommendations for peer reviewers for his manuscripts, providing them with names and e-mail addresses. But these addresses were ones he created, so the requests to review went directly to him or his colleagues. Not surprisingly, the editor would be sent favorable reviews — sometimes within hours after the reviewing requests had been sent out. The fallout from Moon's confession: 28 articles in various journals published by Informa were retracted, and one editor resigned.3

Peter Chen, who was an engineer at Taiwan's National Pingtung University of Education at the time, developed a more sophisticated scheme: he constructed a “peer review and citation ring” in which he used 130 bogus e-mail addresses and fabricated identities to generate fake reviews. An editor at one of the journals published by Sage Publications became suspicious, sparking a lengthy and comprehensive investigation, which resulted in the retraction of 60 articles in July 2014.

At the end of 2014, BioMed Central and other publishers alerted the international Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) to new forms of systematic attempts to manipulate journals' peer-review processes. According to a statement published on COPE's website in January 2015, these efforts to hijack the scholarly review system were apparently orchestrated by agencies that first helped authors write or improve their scientific articles and then sold them favorable peer reviews.4 BioMed Central conducted a comprehensive investigation of all their recently published articles and identified 43 that were published on the basis of reviews from fabricated reviewers. All these articles were retracted in March 2015.

The type of peer-review fraud committed by Moon, Chen, and third-party agencies can work when journals allow or encourage authors to suggest reviewers for their own submissions. Even though many editors dislike this practice, it is frequently used, for a number of reasons. One is that in specialized fields, authors may be best qualified to suggest suitable reviewers for the topic and manuscript in question. Another is that it makes life easier for editors: finding appropriate peer reviewers who are willing to review in a timely manner can be both difficult and time consuming. A third reason may be that journals and publishers are increasingly multinational. In the past, the editor and editorial board of a journal knew both the scientific field it covered and the people working in it, but it's almost impossible to be sufficiently well connected when both editors and submissions come from all over the world. Having authors suggest the best reviewers may therefore seem like a good idea.

In the aftermath of the recent scandals involving fake peer reviewers, many journals have decided to turn off the reviewer-recommendation option on their manuscript-submission systems. But that move may not be enough, as the publisher Hindawi discovered this past spring. Although Hindawi doesn't let authors recommend reviewers for their manuscripts, it decided to examine the peer-review records for manuscripts submitted in 2013 and 2014 for possible fraud.

The peer-review procedure used in Hindawi's journals depends mainly on the expertise of its editorial board members and the guest editors of special issues, who are responsible for supervising the review of submitted manuscripts.5 Since the peer reviewers selected by the guest editors were not subject to any sort of independent verification, editors themselves could undermine the process in much the same way that authors or third-party agencies have done elsewhere: by creating fake reviewer identities and addresses from which they submitted positive reviews endorsing publication.

And that's exactly what happened — Hindawi's investigation revealed that three editors had engaged in such fraud. When all manuscripts handled by these editors were examined, a total of 32 articles were identified that had been accepted thanks to the comments of fake reviewers. It is unclear what motivated the guest editors to engage in such fraud, nor has it been determined whether the authors of the manuscripts involved participated in the deception in any way.

There are several lessons to be learned from these instances of peer-review and peer-reviewer fraud. One is that the electronic manuscript-handling systems that most journals use are as vulnerable to exploitation and hacking as other data systems. Moon and Chen, for example, both abused a feature of ScholarOne: the e-mail messages sent to scholars (at whatever address has been provided) inviting them to review a manuscript include log-in information, and whoever receives those messages can sign into the system. Most other electronic manuscript submission systems have similar loopholes that can easily be hacked.

The most important lesson is that incentives work. The enormous pressure to publish and publish fast — preferably in the very best journals — influences both authors and editors. This pressure exists almost everywhere but is particularly intense in China. It is therefore no surprise that the most inventive ways to game the peer-review system to get manuscripts published have come from China. The companies mentioned above that provide fake peer reviews all come from China and countries in Southeast Asia, and most of the authors involved in these cases come from the same areas. But it would be a mistake to look at this as a Chinese or Asian problem. The problem is the perverse incentive systems in scientific publishing. As long as authors are (mostly) rewarded for publishing many articles and editors are (mostly) rewarded for publishing them rapidly, new ways of gaming the traditional publication models will be invented more quickly than new control measures can be put in place.

Disclosure forms provided by the author are available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org.

This article was published on October 21, 2015, at NEJM.org.
Source: www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1512330?query=TOC

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1512330?query=featured_home

Sunday, October 18, 2015

REGENERATION INTERNATIONAL IS BORN - FOR HEALTHY SOILS

Organic Consumers Association
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We need a message of hope . . . 

Dear Organic Consumer,
I’ve just returned from an inspirational trip to India. I went on this journey (which my fellow traveler, Vandana Shiva, refers to as a “soil pilgrimage”) to celebrate the International Year of the Soil.
But I also undertook this journey to see firsthand what many Indian farmers are up against. And also because I believe that the crises we face today—hunger, poverty, chronic illness, drought, floods—demand that we come up with solutions that we can adapt to every region of the world, and execute on a global scale.
Friday was World Food Day. It was also the day we publicly launched, in conjunction with other international leaders and organizations, a new project: Regeneration International.
What better day—the day on which the International Year of the Soil and World Food Day intersect—to remind world leaders and policymakers that without healthy soil, there are no healthy farms. Without healthy farms, there is no healthy food. Without healthy food, there are no healthy people. Without healthy farms, food and people, there are no healthy local economies.
And, as it turns out, without healthy soil, there is no healthy climate.
The world's best climate scientists warn that even if we miraculously achieve zero emissions tomorrow, on a global scale, it would take about 1,000 years to get back to the magic "safe" number of 350 ppm carbon in the atmosphere.
That could be too late.
We need a message of hope to counter such dire climate predictions. We need a message of hope for those people, all over the world, who don’t worry about global warming, because they are too worried about where their next meal will come from. 
Regeneration International’s mission is to broadcast a new message of hope. The message is this: Organic regenerative agriculture and land use practices, scaled up all over the world, can restore the soil’s natural ability to draw carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil. And by restoring the health of the world’s soils, we will also revitalize local economies, and produce abundant, nutrient-dense food.
I didn’t have to go all the way to India to learn that we need to shut down our degenerative industrial GMO factory farm system and replace it with a regenerative one. But my “soil pilgrimage” did serve as an urgent reminder that there are people all over the world who go hungry, every day.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The solutions to hunger and poverty lie right under our feet, in the soil. We just have to cultivate it with consciousness.
On this World Food Day, I have several invitations for you.
If you would like to support this new projectplease make a donation here. 
If you would like to join the “Regenerator” movement, please sign up here for news and alerts. 
And please read this wonderful World Food Day essay by Vandana Shiva.
In Solidarity,
Ronnie Cummins
National Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund
P.S. I serve on the steering committee of Regeneration International, along with: Vandana Shiva (Navdanya); Tom Newmark (The Carbon Underground); Hans Herren (Millennium Institute); Andre Leu (IFOAM Organics International); Steve Rye (Mercola.com); and Renate K√ľnast (German Parliament). Regeneration International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations are tax deductible. Click here if you would like to support this project.