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A rice field and some traditional farm houses in a small village in the South of Niigata, Japan. Photo: Norman Tannert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Japan's 'sacred' rice farmers evade TPP death sentence - for now

Nicole L Freiner

3rd August 2015

Japanese rice farmers won a reprieve last week when TTP negotiations in Hawaii ended without conclusion on opening Japan up to cheap US rice imports, writes Nicole L Freiner. But with Japan keen to export more cars to the US, the victory is a temporary one. At stake is a way of life, an ancient land-rooted religion, and the future viability of Japan's farming villages. more...
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).

Yes, trade deals really do overturn democracy

David Morris / On the Commons

28th July 2015

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...
Ethiopian teff grain. Photo: SarahTz via Flickr (CC BY).

African governments sell out their farmers in secret seeds protection deal

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

10th July 2015

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...
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

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

Friends of the Earth Europe

13th July 2015

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...
Rapporteur Bernd Lange: 'we have given clear guidance for the Commission on what kind of deal we want. And if, at the end of the day, the agreement is bad, we will reject it. If it's good, we will vote in favour.' Photo: European Parliament.

European Parliament TTIP vote ignores citizen concerns

The Ecologist

8th July 2015

MEPs backed the TTIP EU-USA trade and investment deal by almost 2:1 today, ignoring civil society fears. New texts on key issues like ISDS appeared to address public concerns, but campaigners insist that 'the most dangerous proposals' remain. more...
Barack Obama and David Cameron plotting the 'Bill of Corproate Rights' that is TTIP at the Lough Erne G8 summit in June 2013. Photo: President of the European Council via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

European Parliament's TTIP vote - democracy itself is at stake

Polly Jones

8th July 2014

The European Parliament votes today on the TTIP 'trade' deal, described as a 'Bill of Corporate Rights' that will undermine democracy in both the EU and the US, writes Polly Jones. But given the extraordinary secrecy that shrouds the negotiations, few of the MEPs themselves really know what they are voting on. more...
If it's such a good idea to burn real rhino horn, how is making synthetic horn going to help? Rhino horn ready for incineration, 21st September 2014 at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Photo: IFAW via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Can 'genetically-identical' synthetic horn save the rhino?

Diogo Veríssimo

6th July 2015

Soon a artificial rhino horn may be on the market that's identical to the real thing down to its DNA, writes Diogo Veríssimo. A boon for rhinoceros conservation? Or an act of biopiracy that will enrich biotech corporations while perpetuating demand for rhino horn and confounding efforts to end its trade? more...
Decoding the cassava genome. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

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

Coroprate Europe Observatory & Inf'OGM

7th July 2015

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...
Texaco's toxic signature, written in spilt oil: Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The company, now part of Chevron, has yet to compensate the victims of its pollution, or clean up. Photo: Julien Gomba via Flickr (CC BY).

Coming closer this month: a UN Human Rights Treaty for corporate abuses

Sam Cossar-Gilbert

1st July 2015

This month the UN is meeting to enact binding global rules on the conduct of business and transnational corporations, writes Sam Cossar-Gilbert, reversing the trend for increasing business empowerment in TTP, TTIP and TISA. The new UN Human Rights Treaty aims to provide justice for the victims of corporate criminality anywhere in the world. more...
Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser

25th June 2015

Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings. more...
Lettuce on an Organic Farm in Havana, Cuba. Photo: David Schroeder via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cuba's warming relations with the US may undermine its agroecological city farms

Julia Wright & Emily Morris

27th June 2015

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness? more...
US-based Renco Group used ISDS to bully the Peruvian government after they shut down a metal smelter in La Oroya - one of the most polluted towns in the world - when the company delayed environmental improvements. The Renco Group pressured the Peruvian go

Today is the USA's last chance to ditch TTP, TTIP. Act now!

Conor J. Lynch

12th June 2015

A final vote to give President Obama 'fast track' authority to pursue the TTP and TTIP trade negotiations is will take place in the US House of Representatives today, writes Conor J. Lynch. This time, it's final. And yes, it really does matter. A 'yes' vote would represent the greatest corporate power grab of our times - and there's just hours in which to stop it. more...

trade: 1/25 of 218
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A TTIP flashmob event in Hamburg - one of many protests that have won over popular opinion, and increasiongly, that of MEPs. Photo: Campact via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Cancelled: the EU's great TTIP debate that never was

Nick Dearden

10th June 2015

A long scheduled vote on the TTIP was suddenly postponed in the European Parliament today, writes Nick Dearden. Officially, this was because there were 'too many amendments'. But in reality TTIP backers smelt defeat and ducked the democratic test. more...
Almost one in every two of Tanzania's elephants has been lost in the last five years - but the government is more concerned to conceal the truth, than to tackle the crisis, Photo: Sakke Wiik via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tanzania in denial over 60% elephant population crash

The Ecologist

4th June 2015

After six months of denial Tanzania has finally admitted that its elephants have suffered a catastrophic 60% decline in five years. But they still refuse to accept it's caused by poaching for ivory, rampant corruption and 'above the law' smuggling networks. more...
Mursi tribal member, Omo Valley, by Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Stopping the corporate power grab - it's not all just about TTIP

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

20th May 2015

Thanks to TTIP the corporate drive for free trade is once more facing critical public scrutiny, writes Alex Scrivener. But in the rush to oppose TTIP we mustn't lose sight of the context in which the deal is being negotiated - the hundreds of bilateral treaties that give corporations the right to sue in secret 'trade courts'. more...
STOP TPP Overpass Light Brigade San Diego. Photo: Syd Stevens / Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

US Senators just knocked a wheel off TPP and TTIP. Now let's finish the job!

Nick Dearden

13th May 2015

A Senate vote yesterday to deny President Obama 'fast track' authority in negotiating TPP and TTIP looks like the beginning of the end for these trade deals and their secret corporate courts, writes Nick Dearden. Now it's up to Europeans to make sure the EU Parliament votes against TTIP in a crucial vote next month. more...
The Middelgrunden marine wind farm near Copenhagen is a wonder of 'green' energy technology. But even this has its toxic footprint, in the mines that produce the neodymium that's indispensable to their operation. Photo: Andreas Klinke Johannsen via Flickr

Renewable energy alone cannot reverse global warming or make a sustainable world

Pete Dolack

25th May 2015

The renewable power boom is excellent news for people and planet, writes Pete Dolack. But let's not get carried away: much energy that claims to be 'renewable; like biomass and big hydro, is no such thing. And greening our energy is just one of many steps to a sustainable world. The greatest challenges - like tackling the monster of infinite 'growth' - all lie ahead. more...
Where were the GMO 'humanitrian' lobbyists? Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa demanding an end to the eviction of Oromo farmers for agricultural 'development' projects, 24th May 2014. Photo: Gadaa.com via Flickr (CC B

The devil in disguise: unmasking the 'humanitarian' GMO narrative

Colin Todhunter

18th May 2015

Corporate lobbyists and their tame politicians love to present GMOs as being humanitarian in purpose, writes Colin Todhunter - as if they exist only to feed the starving millions. But if that's the case, why are they silent on genocidal land grabs, agrochemical poisonings and the destruction of efficient, productive smallholder farming? more...
Insulating homes is much less glamorous than building a nuclear power station - but a much better national investment for health, comfort, jobs, climate and a flourishing economy! Photo: Martin Pettitt via Flickr (CC BY).

Ten election ideas to bring on the 'green economy'

David Powell / Friends of the Earth

4th May 2015

Tired of politicians' platitudes, defensive pledges and blinkered vision? As the General Election approaches, we desperately need to expand our discussion of 'the economy' beyond its usual narrow confines, writes David Powell. And if they won't get the ball rolling, he will ... more...
Participants on the April 2015 EU Lobbyland tour of Brussels. Photo: Corporate Observatory Europe.

Exposing the secrets of the EU's corporate Lobbyland

David Lundy & Olivier Hoedeman, Corporate Europe Observatory

28th April 2015

Brussels is a city of ruthless, well-resourced corporate lobbyists. And unlike ordinary EU citizens, they enjoy priviliged access to officials, negotiators and parliamentarians, and are used to getting their own way. That's a state of affairs that David Lundy & Olivier Hoedeman are determined to end with their 'citizens tours' of EU Lobbyland ... more...
Paris-based Veolia and Suez are aggressive global companies running public water supply in cities around the world. But water in Paris itself (see here at La Defense) has been taken back under municipal control and ownership. Photo:  jean-marc via Flickr

Our public water future - closing out the corporate profiteers

Satoko Kishimoto

17th April 2015

Private water companies have never been more aggressive in their sabotaging of efforts to 'make water public', writes Satoko Kishimoto, with legal threats and challenges launched under 'free trade' agreements. But as citizens worldwide reject corporate water profiteering, the trend of water re-municipalisation has gathered unstoppable momentum. more...
A 2009 protest in Argentina's Santa Fe province against water privatization to Suez. Photo: International Rivers via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

TTIP won't stop public services being run for ordinary people? Tell that to Argentina

Nick Dearden

17th April 2015

Now it's Argentina's turn to be sued in a secret 'free trade' court run by the World Bank, writes Nick Dearden. After bringing a profiteering water company that was missing all its service and quality targets back into public ownership, the country has been ordered to pay $405 million 'compensation'. more...
Conditions in US factory farms are even worse than those in the EU. Now will MEPs vote to make the higher of EU and US standards apply under TTIP? Or the lower? Photo: Farm Sanctuary via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

TTIP: Europe's food, farms and animals at risk from EuroParl backroom deal

Molly Scott Cato MEP

13th April 2015

MEPs vote tomorrow on Green measures to ensure that TTIP 'harmonisation' on food and farming means applying the highest standards, not the lowest, writes Molly Scott Cato. But will MEP's put farmers, food and animals before corporate profit? more...
It's estimated that 70% of food products in US supermarkets contain GMO ingredients. With TTIP, things could soon go the same way in the UK and other European countries. Photo:  Jaro Larnos via Flickr (CC BY).

TTIP could soon bring GM foods to UK supermarket shelves

Linda Kaucher

2nd April 2015

Thanks to pro-GMO politicans and lobbying by powerful agribusiness interests the UK and other EU countries may soon find supermarket shelves flooded with GM foods, both imported and home grown, writes Linda Kaucher. We must press parliamentary candidates now to defend us from this serious and long-term debasement of our food and farming. more...
Yolanda Oquelí stands between the National Police and the mine entrance. Credit: Guatemalan Human Rights Commission.

Guatemala: women lead the struggle for life, land, clean water

Jeff Abbott / Waging Nonviolence

1st April 2015

For over two years the small community of San José del Golfo has maintained a 24-hour barricade against the US-owned mine El Tambor that threatens to destroy their land and water. The non-violent resistance, led by women, is transforming the traditional 'macho' culture, and attracting support across Guatemala, and beyond. more...

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