Sunday, February 23, 2003

Writers force Nestlé to scrap teenage book award

The independent
By James Morrison, Arts and Media Correspondent
23 February 2003

"Nestlé, the controversial Swiss-based multinational, has been forced to scrap plans to sponsor a new teenage book prize after a group of Britain's foremost children's writers told the company that they never want to be entered for the award. Gillian Cross, the author of The Demon Headmaster, and Carnegie Medal winners Melvin Burgess and Tim Bowler are among seven leading writers who have signed a letter stating that they "do not wish to be associated" with Nestlé's prize "in any way". The strongly worded letter, composed by Mr Burgess, accuses Nestlé of continuing to "violate" codes on the marketing of powdered baby milk in the Third World ­ an issue that has seen Nestlé's products targeted by a decades-long international boycott. The latest protest has been backed by Philippa Pearce, the author of Tom's Midnight Garden, and the Whitbread Prize-winner Philip Pullman, who said he was minded to tell his publisher not to enter him for the award. He said: "When I next have a book out in two or three years' time and the publishers suggest it's put forward for this prize, I'll probably say 'No, I'd rather you didn't'.""
Pregnant women keep on drinking
By Julie Robotham, Medical Writer
February 24 2003

"More than half of Australian women drink alcohol while they are pregnant or breastfeeding, and a quarter smoke, according to the first national survey on drug use during pregnancy. While almost all of those who drank said they reduced their consumption compared with their non-pregnant intake, Australian women were still more than three times as likely as those in the United States to drink at all while pregnant. Just over a third of the 83 per cent of women who usually drank alcohol gave it up completely, leaving 53 per cent taking at least an occasional drink - compared with 15 per cent in the US." [This article doesn't break down the number of mothers who drank while pregnant vs breastfeeding - unfortunate. If we are going to ask mothers to nurse their babies for a minimum of 2 years, we're asking them to give up drinking for almost 3 years, which is a long time for a social drinker who doesn't have an alcohol problem. Is this based on evidence? - JC]