Obama’s presidential seal falls off podium during speech

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October 06, 2010

The presidential seal fell off US President Barack Obama’s lectern, clattering to the stage, as he delivered a speech at a women’s conference on Tuesday. It happened about halfway through the president’s speech to Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women Summit” Tuesday night at Carnegie Mellon Auditorium in Washington.

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After Growth, Fortunes Turn for Monsanto

 

Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Farmer Jerry McCulley refills his sprayer with the weed killer glyphosate on a farm near Auburn, Ill. A handful of hardy weeds have adapted to survive glyphosate, which many scientists say threatens to make the ubiquitous herbicide far less useful to farmers.

By ANDREW POLLACK

As recently as late December, Monsanto was named “company of the year” by Forbes magazine. Last week, the company earned a different accolade from Jim Cramer, the television stock market commentator. “This may be the worst stock of 2010,” he proclaimed.

Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak of creating ever more expensive genetically engineered crops is coming to an end.

The company’s stock, which rose steadily over several years to peak at around $140 a share in mid-2008, closed Monday at $47.77, having fallen about 42 percent since the beginning of the year. Its earnings for the fiscal year that ended in August, which will be announced Wednesday, are expected to be well below projections made at the beginning of the year, and the company has abandoned its profit goal for 2012 as well.

The latest blow came last week, when early returns from this year’s harvest showed that Monsanto’s newest product, SmartStax corn, which contains eight inserted genes, was providing yields no higher than the company’s less expensive corn, which contains only three foreign genes. 

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