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Yes, trade deals really do overturn democracy

David Morris / On the Commons

28th July 2015

Back to the future with TPP and other 'trade deals'? Winston Cigarette advertisement published in Ebony magazine, July 1971, Vol. 26 No. 9. Photo: Classic Film via Flickr (CC BY-NC). Forget tariffs, forget Obama's promises. The whole point of modern 'trade agreements' is to whack pesky labor, environment and health laws, writes David Morris, and so empower capital and corporate power against regulators, governments and democracy itself. Unconvinced? Just imagine what these deals would look like if they were there to empower people. more...

Neoliberal Ebola: palm oil, logging, land grabs, ecological havoc and disease

Rob Wallace

27th July 2015

Daily life in Conakry, Guinea on 3rd December 2014. Photo: Dominic Chavez / World Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa had everything to do with logging, deforestation and the disruption of traditional agro-forestry by large scale industrial agriculture, writes Rob Wallace. The only long term solution to this terrible disease may lie in forest conservation, the restoration of agroecological farming systems, and the exclusion of agribusiness investment. more...

Campaigners resist destruction of Istanbul forests and wetlands for airport megaproject

Rose Bridger

25th July 2015

Trucks in the airport excavation area. Photo: North Forest Defence. Destruction of 76 square kilometres of forests, lakes and farmland is proceeding north of Istanbul for the city's third airport, writes Rosie Bridger. But the gigantic ‘aerotropolis' project is vigorously opposed by local farmers and residents, and an urban resistance fighting other ecologically destructive megaprojects across the beautiful, biodiverse region - both on the streets and in the courts. more...

The world is already committed to a six meter sea level rise

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

24th July 2015

The Gerlache strait, Andvord Bay, Antarctica. Photo: Rita Willaert via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The climate change discourse rarely looks beyond 2100, writes Pete Dolack. Maybe that's because even at current levels of CO2, we are committed to thousands of years of warming and polar ice melt that will raise sea levels by at least six meters. However the implacable imperatives of capitalism mean there's little prospect of change for a long time to come. more...

Permanent Peoples' Tribunal puts fracking on trial

Dr Damien Short & Dr Tom Kerns

23rd July 2015

Protest at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The damage caused by fracking to people, communities and the wider environment will be put under the legal spotlight in public hearings in the US and the UK, write Damien Short & Tom Kerns. While the 'ruling' that emerges will be non-binding, it will provide an authoritative, expert dossier of fact and argument for real legal actions to follow. more...

US, UK, World Bank among aid donors complicit in Ethiopia's war on indigenous tribes

Will Hurd

22nd July 2015

Young Mursi cattle herders. Photo: Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA). USAID, the UK's DFID and the World Bank are among those covering up for severe human rights abuses against indigenous peoples in Ethiopia's Omo Valley, inflicted during forced evictions to make way for huge plantations, writes Will Hurd. Their complicity in these crimes appears to be rooted in US and UK partnership with Ethiopia in the 'war on terror'. more...

Lancashire's fracking victory was even greater than we knew

Damien Short

21st July 2015

Workers at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The anti-fracking movement scored a great victory when Lancashire councillors refused planning permission for two fracking wells, writes Damien Short. But dig deeper and the triumph was all the greater, as it overcame not just Cuadrilla, but a morass of pro-fracking bias and legal and scientific misrepresentation from those meant to be providing impartial advice. more...

Fox hunting is political poison for David Cameron and the Tory Party

Dominic Dyer

20th July 2015

Demonstration outside the Downing Street Gates last week, 15th July, to protest David Cameron's plan to fatally amend the Hunting Act. Photo: Luke Dray (www.lukedray.com). Last week David Cameron backed down over his plans to bring back fox hunting by 'fatally amending' the Hunting Act, writes Dominic Dyer. The way he spun it, it was all about SNP interference in English law, but the real problem was opposition within the Conservative Party, which increasingly sees blood sports as a barbaric relic that alienates voters of all persuasions. more...

Ruthless power and deleterious politics: from DDT to Roundup

Evaggelos Vallianatos

18th July 2015

'DDT is good for me!' - detail of Penn Salt chemicals advertisement in Time magazine June 30, 1947. Photo: Crossett Library via Flickr.com. Just as the chemical industry and its shills once proclaimed the safety of DDT, they are doing the same today with the herbicide glyphosate which has penetrated throughout the food chain, writes Evaggelos Vallianatos. And once again it is a toxic lie that threatens species, ecosystems and people. It's time to demand a new kind of agriculture, and a future free of all pesticides. more...

Ecocide in the Amazon - Chevron evades $9.5bn restitution order

Orlan Cazorla & Miriam Gartor

17th July 2015

Crude oil in an open toxic oil waste pit abandoned by Texaco / Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon Rainforest near Lago Agrio. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC). After 20 years of oil spills, deforestation, waste dumping and ill health, farmers and indigenous people in the the Ecuadorian Amazon have been fighting the Chevron-Texaco corporation. But despite its three times conviction and a $9.5 billion damages award to the victims, the oil giant looks no closer to making good its damage. more...

Indian Treaties are the new front in the battle against coal exports

Jan Hasselman / EarthJustice

16th July 2015

Young participants observing the flames at the symbolic check burning ceremony. Photo: Paul Anderson / EarthJustice. The 1865 Treaty of Point Elliot is clear, writes Jan Hasselman: the Lummi Nation has the right to fish, hunt and gather in their accustomed places in perpetuity - and they can't do that if a gigantic coal terminal is built in the Salish Sea's most productive waters. First Nations' treaty rights are now central to protecting the Pacific Northwest from destruction by fossil fuels. more...

GMO study finds 'indications of harmful and adverse effects'

Nafeez Ahmed

15th July 2015

A store of probably GMO soya in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Márcio Garoni via Flickr (CC BY-NC). A new biosafety report for the Norwegian Environment Agency says GM foods cannot be declared safe due to major gaps in the science, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Indeed research clearly indicates harmful and adverse impacts to both health and environment. But Monsanto insists that GMOs are just as safe as, or even safer than, conventional crops. more...

Enclosing the indigenous commons in highland Peru

Arthur Scarritt

14th July 2015

Quechua mother and child in the Sacred Valley near Qosqo (Cusco), Peru. Photo: Thomas Quine via Flickr (CC BY). Under the guise of a land-titling project, Peru is breaking up and privatising indigenous common lands across the Andean highlands, writes Arthur Scarritt. While the law provides for communal titling and democratic votes, in practice there's no provision for communities to exercise these rights, and the many are being dispossessed in favour of large, 'efficient' market-oriented producers. more...

TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' would force down standards in US and EU

Friends of the Earth Europe

13th July 2015

One of the big debates under TTIP's 'Regulatory Cooperation' chapter concerns animal welfare and meat safety, with US standards consistently lower than those in the EU. But the cheaper US meat could take over EU markets. Photo: US 'broiler' chicken farm b Dissent over the massive USA-EU TTIP trade deal is focused on the 'corporate courts' allowing investors to sue national governments, But largely neglected has been the equally serious issue of 'Regulatory Cooperation' - which would impose a huge burden of 'red tape' on EU and US legislatures, while forcing down health, safety, social and environmental standards. more...

European Commission's deregulation drive threatens EU nature laws

Leonardo Mazza

11th July 2015

The Augustow Primeval Forest in Poland - saved from a motorway project by the EU's nature laws. Is the problem that they work too well? Photo: Erik de Haan via Flickr (CC BY-NC). The EU's nature directives provide effective protection for endangered species and habitats, writes Leonardo Mazza. So why the Commission's decision to 'review' and 'modernise' the laws? With its commitment to business-friendly deregulation and uninterest in the environment, the aim is surely to gut them - something only EU-wide citizens' mobilisation can prevent. more...

African governments sell out their farmers in secret seeds protection deal

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

10th July 2015

Ethiopian teff grain. Photo: SarahTz via Flickr (CC BY). African governments, ignoring the protests of their farmers and civil society, this week agreed an oppressive 'plant variety protection protocol' that will open up their countries to commercial seed monopolists, while limiting farmers rights to save, use, exchange, replant, improve, distribute and sell the seeds they have developed over countless generations. more...

Lab rats used in safety studies eat feeds laced with pesticides, herbicides and GMOs

Pat Thomas

9th July 2015

Watch it rat! What's in that feed? Photo: Rick Eh? via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND). A new scientific study has found that laboratory rats used in health and toxicity studies are routinely given feeds contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, writes Pat Thomas, potentially invalidating the results of crucial safety tests on GMOs, agrochemicals, medical drugs and other substances, on which health and environmental regulators base critical decisions. more...

Safe, low carbon, inexpensive: the renewable alternatives to fracking

Keith Barnham

8th July 2015

No, not a fracking rig: a biogas purification plant in Lund, Sweden. Photo: Petter Duvander via Flickr (CC BY-NC). In its haste to get fracking, the UK Government is neglecting safe, clean alternatives that could be providing low-carbon gas and heat energy, writes Keith Barnham. The technologies are already well established in other European countries and are picking up fast here too - so why the insistence that only fossil fuels can deliver the UK's energy needs? more...

TTIP could open EU to 'new biotech' GMO seeds and foods

Coroprate Europe Observatory & Inf'OGM

7th July 2015

Decoding the cassava genome. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). The EU Parliament is voting tomorrow on the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the USA and the EU. But do MEPs realise that the agreement could force European markets open to 'new biotech' foods and crops using advanced GM technologies that do not meet current definitions of 'GMO' within the EU? more...

OXI ! Our NO is a majestic, big YES to a democratic, rational Europe!

Yanis Varoufakis

6th July 2015

OXI! Before the Greek referendum, on 3rd July 2015,  thousands gather to campaign for a NO vote in Syntagma square, Athens, Greece. Photo: Ggia via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA). Greece's refusal to accept a century of debt servitude to illegitimate creditors is a decisive moment for Greece, Europe and indebted nations everywhere, writes Yanis Varoufakis. With even the IMF agreeing with SYRIZA's economic analysis, the troika's insistence on endless austerity was only meant to ruin Greece and humiliate its government. But now everything has changed. more...

Labour's choice: neoliberalism, more neoliberalism - or Jeremy Corbyn?

Ben Whitham

4th July 2015

Jeremy Corbyn speaking out against austerity outside Parliament, 27th May 2015. Photo: Sleeves Rolled Up via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA). Within minutes of Labour's election defeat its MPs were denouncing Miliband for failing to 'embrace aspiration' and alienating 'wealth creators', writes Ben Whitham. But the real problem was that he never expressed a coherent alternative to neoliberalism and austerity, presenting at best a 'Tory lite' agenda that failed to inspire. And who are the real wealth creators anyway? more...

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