POSTED: Sunday, April 05, 2009

Maui bill seeks to ban modified taro

WAILUKU, Maui » County Councilman Bill Medeiros is proposing to ban genetically engineered or modified taro in Maui County.

A bill legislating the ban received strong support from native Hawaiians, taro farmers and critics of genetic modification technology when it was introduced Friday.

State lawmakers are considering a similar ban for all of Hawaii.

Proponents of developing genetically modified taro say research could help the plant resist modern pests and diseases.

But critics say genetic experimentation still hasn't been proved safe, and natural strains of the plant could be contaminated through pollination.

They also point out taro's cultural and spiritual significance to Hawaiians.


Stamps honor Mauna Kea telescope

Two Canadian stamps have been issued honoring the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, which placed Canada at the forefront of international astronomy, said Christian Veillet, CFHT executive director.

Canada Post issued two domestic-rate (54-cent) stamps on April 2 to recognize 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy and honor Canada's astronomers for playing a significant role in space discoveries.

Veillet said the recognition “;is a wonderful early birthday present”; for the observatory, which will celebrate its 30th birthday later this year. Both stamps show nebulae photographed by the telescope. One features the Eagle Nebula against an image of the Mauna Kea telescope. The other shows the Horsehead Nebula with an image of Canada's National Research Council's Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Saanich, British Columbia.


500 students vying in science fair

More than 500 students in sixth through 12th grades at public and private Hawaii schools are participating in this year's State Science and Engineering Fair, opening with a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Queen's Conference Center.

The students will compete with 382 projects ranging from “;Bathroom Bacteria”; to “;The Role of HIV-1 LTR Variants in HIV-1 Induced Neuropathogenesis.”;

Their work will be judged by scientists and science professionals from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Neal Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall.

The projects may be seen free by the public from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Pikake Room.