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Image of CRISPR / Cas9. Image: NHGRI. via ja.wikimedia.org (Public Domain).

New GMOs are 'not GM' - EU folds under US pressure

Oliver Tickell

21st April 2016

The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new 'gene editing' techniques as non-GM - in violation of the EU's own laws. The move could make the 'new GMOs' exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing. more...
CETA could act as a 'backdoor agreement' for US corporations even if TTIP fails - no wonder they are trying to push it through!  Demo against TTIP & CETA in Hamburg, February 2015. Photo: Foto: Chris Grodotzki / Campact via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

CETA Canada-EU 'free trade' deal could come into force without vote

Oliver Tickell

15th April 2016

The Stop TTIP coalition is warning that under a 'stealth clause' in CETA the trade deal could come into force without a single parliamentary vote - including its ISDS provisions allowing investors to sue governments in secret courts. US corporations would then be able to sue EU nations - even if TTIP fails. more...
At risk - Laguna Verde in Paramo Santurban, Colombia. Photo: Grupo Areas Protegidas CORPONOR via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Colombia: there's no place for clean water under 'free trade'

Pete Dolack

14th April 2016

The latest country to be hooked under 'free trade' agreements is Colombia, writes Pete Dolack, sued for tens of billions of dollars by US and Canadian gold mining companies for valuing its national parks and the high-altitude Andean wetlands that provide 70% of the nation's water above the profits of foreign corporations. Free trade or clean water? You can't have both. more...
Banggai Cardinalfish in their natural habitat. Photo: Fondation Franz Weber.

From coral reef to 'aquarium filler': the beauty of tropical fish is their doom

Monica Biondo / Fondation Franz Weber

15th April 2016

Gorgeous coral fish are to be seen everywhere, writes Monica Biondo, decorating aquariums in restaurants, doctors' offices and living rooms. The coral fish trade is booming! But it's destroying the reefs themselves, and driving many species to extinction. The Banggai Cardinalfish is among those unlikely to survive as this evil trade lays waste to them and their precious habitat. more...
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA)

Two minute hate? Trump, the enemy at the gates of US corporate power

John McMurtry

11th April 2016

There are many good reasons to criticise Donald Trump, writes John McMurtry. But none of these matter to the US media, political and corporate powers determined to keep him out of the White House. With his radical talk of halving military spending, controlling Big Pharma and exiting 'free trade' agreements, Trump is a direct threat to the parasite capitalism that's destroying America. more...
Breakfast at McDonalds in Maddur, Karnataka, India. Photo: Harsha K R via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

India: obesity, malnutrition and the globalisation of bad food

Colin Todhunter

4th April 2016

India's food system, essentially clean just a generation ago, has been comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country's neoliberal 'great leap forwards', writes Colin Todhunter. The result? a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, but no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption. more...
Vegetable stall in the Old Havana market, Cuba. Photo: Guillaume Baviere via Flickr (CC BY).

Cuba's sustainable agriculture at risk in US diplomatic thaw

Miguel Altieri, University of California, Berkeley

1st April 2016

Among Cuba's greatest achievements is its organic farming sector, writes Miguel Altieri. Developed in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union, small agroecological farms now employ 300,000 campesinos and provide an abundance of healthy fruit and vegetables. But now US food and agribusiness corporations are eyeing up a multi-billion dollar business opportunity. more...
An illegal clear-cut on steep-sided hills in Harghita County, just a small part of a much larger illegal clear-cut. Photo: Ecostorm.

Illegal loggers levelling Romania's Carpathian mountain forests

Katy Jenkyns

30th March 2016

Austrian timber giant Schweighofer claims to be working hard to ensure that the huge volumes of timber it buys from Romania's mountain forests are strictly legal, writes Katy Jenkyns. But an Ecostorm investigation has uncovered its purchase of illegally cut wood, its acceptance of fraudulent paperwork from suppliers, and the deep shadow of fear it casts over local communities. more...
Red chilis grown by a traditional small-scale farmer in Morocco. Photo: Ali JAFRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Resisting the corporate stranglehold on food and farming - is agroecology enough?

Colin Todhunter

4th March 2016

Agroecology is key to retaking control over food, farming and land from the 'monstrous machine' of agribusiness, biotech, big finance and 'free trade', writes Colin Todhunter, as it represents a truly viable alternative to agriculture for corporate profit. But such are the powers ranged against the world's small farmers that it must be supported by a broad-based, global people's movement. more...
A female solar engineer from Rajasthan, India - just one of many who could have benefitted from the work to create the National Solar Mission. Photo: Knut-Erik Helle via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

World Trade Organisation smashes India's solar panels industry

Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert

28th February 2016

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has found India's huge solar initiative 'guilty' of breaking trade rules, write Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert, because it gives domestic manufacturers a small 10% quota for the supply of panels, leaving up to 90% for foreign competitors. It's a warning for perils of the entire WTO system, and of even harsher trade rules like those in TPP, TTIP and CETA. more...
People power: more than 25,000 marched against TTIP and CETA in Berlin last month, 16th January 2016. Photo: Uwe Hiksch via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

TTIP talks resume today - but the wheels are wobbling!

Guy Taylor / Global Justice Now

22nd February 2016

As the twelfth round of negotiations over the EU-US TTIP mega-trade deal begins in Brussels today, the chances of a treaty being concluded are looking weaker than ever, writes Guy Taylor. Time is running out, complex legal issues are crowding in, and most important of all, public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic is turning against the massive 'bill of corporate rights' that TTIP represents. more...
Elected representatives are reduced to the status of the proverbial 'three monkeys' by security rules forbidding disclosure of TTIP texts. Photo: Len

Secret TTIP talks resume Monday as EU-US rifts deepen

The Ecologist

19th February 2016

EU and US resume their negotiations next week over the TTIP trade and investment deal. But deep rifts have emerged over the corporate courts in which investors can sue governments for any actions that reduce their profits. Meanwhile MPs are seething over their restricted access to draft texts and negotiating documents. more...

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Dairy farmers protest in Brussels, October 2009. Photo: Teemu Mäntynen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Dairy farmers' uprisings lead the way to a democratic world food system

David Miller

17th February 2016

The increasingly militant protests by dairy farmers against low prices forced on them by the corporate 'free market' represent serious and effective resistance against the 'free trade' agenda being forced on the world by neoliberal governments, writes David Miller. They are the first steps to building a new global food system that respects food, people, culture and environment. more...
It may not always feel that way, but the UK's European partners are constantly holding the UK's right wing political establishment in check. Photo: Paul Shaw / Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

If you think it's bad inside the EU, think again

Caroline Lucas

9th February 2016

A British exit from the EU wouldn't liberate us from the extreme neoliberalism epitomised by TTIP, writes Caroline Lucas. On the contrary, UK governments have been the strongest drivers of the EU's 'free trade', pro-corporate agenda. Despite all the EU's faults - and they are many - it is protecting us from much, much worse. more...
The TPP is none too popular in New Zealand, where trade ministers are signing it today, either. No TPPA! march in Wellington, NZ, 31st March 2014. Photo: Peg Hunter via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Promises be damned: TPP 'benefits' are strictly for the corporations

Pete Dolack

4th February 2016

Boosters of 'free trade' agreements - like the Trans Pacific Partnership that's being signed today - like to make big promises, writes Pete Dolack: trillions of dollars of economic gains, billions of dollars of investment, millions of new jobs. But there's only one certainty, and it's one they never mention: the permanent redistribution of power and income from working people to capital. more...
With this lot behind TPP, what's not to trust? US Secretary of State John Kerry participates in a meeting with national leaders in Bali, Indonesia, 8th October 2013. Photo: William Ng / State Department (Public Domain).

Never mind today's signing charade: TPP is heading for the rocks

Sam Cossar-Gilbert / FOEI

4th February 2016

Trade ministers will sign the Trans Pacific Partnership 'free trade' deal today, writes Sam Cossar-Gilbert. But don't be fooled by the razzmatazz. Resistance to the agreement is growing fast, and the more people find out about it and its devastating impact on jobs, health, human rights and environment, the less they like it. more...
In Germany, it's not just flashmob protestors opposing TTIP. The German Judges Association is in on the act now too. Photo: campact vius Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

'No legal basis' for TTIP corporate courts, say German judges

Nick Dearden

3rd February 2016

Germany's association of judges and magistrates has condemned the EU's plan to create a special court for investors and corporations to sue national governments, writes Nick Dearden. The proposed new court would: have no legal basis; supplant the sovereignty of member states; and usurp the role of national courts. The chances of TTIP and CETA ever being agreed just took a big step back. more...
You want transgenes with that? Avocado Alfalfa Delight. Photo: Victoria Ristenbatt and Scott Redding via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Feral 'Roundup Ready' GM alfalfa goes wild in US West

Bill Freese / Center for Food Safety

19th January 2016

A USDA study shows that a GM alfalfa has gone wild in alfalfa-growing parts of the West. This may explain GMO contamination incidents that have cost US growers and exporters millions of dollars - and it exposes the failure of USDA's 'coexistence' policy for GMOs and traditional crops. more...
Under TTIP, this landscape of small farms interspersed with trees and woodland in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, might be unable to survive. Photo: Renate Dodell via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

TTIP: the downfall of European agriculture?

Dario Sarmadi / EurActiv.de

14th January 2016

The TTIP 'trade agreement between the US and the EU would devastate EU farms as it opens them up to competition from larger, less regulated US operations, writes Dario Sarmadi. This is the conclusion of a new study to be published tomorrow, which also finds that small-scale farmers would be the first to go - with the big winners the large agri-food corporations. more...
We're not having it! 2014 XL Dissent in Washington DC in front of the White House, 2nd March 2014. Photo: Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

We're not having it! $15bn KXL lawsuit shows what's wrong with 'trade deals'

Sam Cossar-Gilbert

8th January 2016

TransCanada has just made a big mistake by bringing its $15 billion lawsuit against the US government for refusing the Keystone XL pipeline, writes Sam Cossar-Gilbert. The move has exposed the real nature of 'trade deals' like TTIP and TPP - and why all democrats must rally to defeat them. more...
The US Government finally decided to refuse the KXL pipeline last November after years of protests like this one in 2012. But now US taxpayers may be on the hook for $15 billion under the NAFTA 'free trade' agreement. Photo: 350.org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-S

Trans-Canada sues US for $15 billion over KXL refusal

Guy Taylor

7th January 2015

The US government is being sued for $15 billion for its cancellation of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline last year in order to combat climate change. The legal challenge under NAFTA sends a warning to all countries contemplating similar 'free trade' agreements. more...
A young Jewish family watch the sun set over the West Bank from their settlement in Occupied Palestine. Photo: Rusty Stewart via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Genocide, ecocide and the Empire of Chaos

Professor John McMurtry

4th February 2016

The true nature of western civilization is hard to grasp from within, says Professor John McMurtry, because we perceive it through media whose primary purpose is not to convey the truth, but conceal it. What is actually playing out is a global war of empire and capital against the Earth and her people, backed up by the omnipresent threat of overwhelming force. more...
Day three of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference, Nairobi, 17th December 2015. Photos: WTO / Admedia Communication via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Defeated: rich countries' plan to impose investor rights in WTO trade deal

Alex Scrivener

29th December 2015

Rich nations at this month's World Trade Organisation summit in Nairobi failed in key objectives, writes Alex Scrivener, like the inclusion of investor rights as in TTIP, TTP and CETA. But the unfair order of global trade remains in place, and the greatest danger for poor countries is that the neoliberal agenda will now be forced upon them in opaque regional and bilateral trade deals. more...
The WTO has been quiet in recent years. But now it's back, with a vengeance. Anti-WTO protest in Cancún, Mexico, on the occasion of the 2003 Ministerial Meeting. Photo: Klaus Werner-Lobo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

WTO is back. And this time, no more Mr Nice Guy

Polly Jones / Global Justice Now

13th December 2015

Overtaken by massive regional trade agreements like TPP, TTIP, CETA and TINA, the World Trade Organisation has slipped into the background, writes Polly Jones. But this week it's back with a vengeance, with its first big meeting in two years. The US's plan is to globalise the investment protection regime set out in the TTP, and open a new era of corporate rule and the eradication of democracy. more...
Minister Gregory Barker visits what was then the UK's largest rooftop solar array at Bentley Motors in Crewe, October 2013. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

EU renews 70% 'solar tax' on Chinese PV

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2015

The EU's decision to renew 'punitive' tariffs on imports of PV modules and cells from China will cost the EU's solar installers an extra £700 million, writes Oliver Tickell - just as the UK industry is reeling from 87% government cuts. more...

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