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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Buenos Aires WTO summit ends with no major accomplishments

The Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference adjourned in Buenos Aires today without any major progress made other than vocal criticisms of global trade and the entity itself. Smaller trade proposals on e-commerce and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing which were expected to move forward, could not be reached.

“Members cannot even agree to stop subsidizing illegal fishing. Horrendous” European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. Malmström also criticized “several large countries” who exhibited destructive behavior made results “impossible.”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer remarked that “some members are intentionally circumventing obligations” and that the US is pushing for a discussion on the need to correct the “sad performance” in transparency.

Lighthizer issued a joint statement with Japan's Economy Minister, Hiroshige Seko, admonishing China to combat market-distorting policies that have long been customary in the Asian giant such as subsidies for state-owned enterprises.

U.S. continued its refusal to appoint new judges to the seven-person WTO appellate body; there are two current vacancies on the bench and one due to open at the end of this month. By withholding these appointments, the U.S. has the potential to bring transnational trade disputes to a standstill - a move seen by many of the 164 WTO members as strong-arming other countries into more America-centric policies in line with President Donald Trump’s world view.

Negotiations collapsed quickly at that point. The inability to reach even minor goals means that WTO negotiations will likely drag on into 2018 without a hard deadline in sight.

The failure of the WTO conference - as well as similarly stalled talks between the Mercosur trade bloc and the EU - had local political implications as well, denying the right-wing Mauricio Macri administration a much-sought public relations win.

President Macri, a vocal advocate of free-trade policies, instead came under heavy criticism for banning representatives of 26 international NGOs from attending.

WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell reiterated the WTO's disagreement with Argentina’s decision to revoke activists’ credentials. “We didn’t have the same perspective (as Macri) but we’re now moving on,” he said.

Petter Titland of the Norweigan NGO Attac Norge, who was detained and deported upon arrival, was allowed entry two days later following a media uproar.

"My visit must have been inconvenient to Macri from a political point of view," Titland acknowledged. His NGO monitors offshore banking and money laundering.

At: http://www.thebubble.com/wto-summit-ends-with-no-major-accomplishments/

Jeremy Corbyn and Noam Chomsky win Sean MacBride Peace Prize amid media silence

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize along with Noam Chomsky and Japanese anti-military base activists, yet the award received scant coverage in the British media.

The International Peace Bureau presents the Sean MacBride Peace Prize to individuals, organizations or movements for their work for peace, disarmament and human rights.

Corbyn was deemed this year’s recipient, along with renowned scholar Noam Chomsky and the All Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base. He received his award in Geneva on Friday.

The Labour leader was recognized for his “sustained and powerful political work for disarmament and peace.” His longtime work with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK and the Stop the War Campaign was commended, along with his work for peace as a politician.

At: http://editiononline.co.uk/index.php/2017/12/11/jeremy-corbyn-and-noam-chomsky-win-peace-prize-amid-media-silence/

Amid little media notice, Jeremy Corbin receives the Sean McBride Prize for Peace in Geneva.

Sri Lanka, struggling with debt, hands a major port to China

Struggling to pay its debt to Chinese firms, the nation of Sri Lanka formally handed over the strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease last week, in a deal that government critics have said threatens the country’s sovereignty.

In recent years, China has shored up its presence in the Indian Ocean, investing billions of dollars to build port facilities and plan maritime trade routes as part of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative to help increase its market reach.

Along the way, smaller countries like Sri Lanka have found themselves owing debts they cannot pay. Sri Lanka owes more than $8 billion to state-controlled Chinese firms, officials say.

Sri Lankan politicians said the Hambantota deal, valued at $1.1 billion, was necessary to chip away at the debt, but analysts warned of the consequences of signing away too much control to China.

“The price being paid for reducing the China debt could prove more costly than the debt burden Sri Lanka seeks to reduce,” said N. Sathiya Moorthy, a senior fellow specializing in Sri Lanka at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.

At: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/world/asia/sri-lanka-china-port.html

Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows

Source: The Guardian

British Airways, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Porsche are among five large companies that have been identified as having paid corporate intelligence firms to monitor political groups that challenged their businesses, leaked documents reveal.

The surveillance included the use of infiltrators to spy on campaigners. The targets included the grieving family of Rachel Corrie, a student protester crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer, as well as a range of environmental campaigns, and local campaigners protesting about phone masts.

The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread. However, police chiefs have in the past raised a “massive concern” that the activities of the corporate firms are barely regulated and completely uncontrolled. The police have claimed that commercial firms have had more spies embedded in political groups than there were undercover police officers.

The revelations are based on hundreds of pages of leaked documents from two corporate intelligence firms, seen by the Guardian and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, that reveal the inner workings of a normally subterranean industry over several years in the 2000s.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/12/surveillance-firms-spied-on-campaign-groups-for-big-companies-leak-shows?CMP=share_btn_tw

Basic income to be given to 84,000 people in Canada

Source: The Independent

An estimated 84,000 people in the Canadian province of Quebec are to receive basic income from the start of next year, as part of the government's anti-poverty plan.

Quebec’s Premier Philippe Couillard made the announcement as part of his administration’s $3bn plans on Sunday, which aims to promote “economic inclusion,” CBC News reported.

Those who qualify for basic income include those with a limited capacity to work, including people with physical and intellectual disabilities. It means their current financial support will increase by at least $73 per month.

The plan will see the annual income of those covered by the scheme increase from $12,749 to $18,029 by 2023, which meets the poverty threshold of $18,000, the Montreal Gazette reports. The project, which largely targets single people, intends to bring some 100,000 people out of poverty by 2023, government officials told reporters.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/basic-income-quebec-canada-poverty-unemployment-ontario-a8103616.html

77 Holistic Practitioners Now Dead Since 2015

Since June 2015, 77 holistic practitioners, more with other deaths associated with them, have died, with official causes ranging from suicide to heart attacks.

The latest victim, Dr. Annie Fairbanks, was found murdered in her home, along with her husband, their 3-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Officials claim the husband killed his wife, two small children and then turned the gun on himself.

Friends and loved ones have contacted Erin Elizabeth at Health Nut News, who has been documenting the deaths of so many in the world of holistic medicine since 2015, to express doubts of the official claim of murder-suicide within hours of the discovery of the bodies.

“This is an isolated incident,” Sgt. Ben Hoster, a spokesman for the Scottsdale Police Department, told reporters during a news conference in the neighborhood on Friday afternoon. “We do not believe there are any outstanding suspects.”

Dr. Fairbanks, like many of the holistic doctors who have died in mysterious circumstances since 2015, focused her studies on immunology and cancer treatment.

At: http://allnewspipeline.com/Holistic_Doctors_Dead_Now_Total_77.php

Dr. Annie Fairbanks and her 9 month-old son, both murdered in November along with her husband and 9 year-old daughter. Police concluded it to be an “isolated incident” within hours.

Acclaimed NY surgeon found dead in Park Avenue apartment in suspected suicide

Source: ABC News

An acclaimed trauma surgeon was found dead with a knife in his torso Sunday in his Park Avenue apartment in a suspected suicide, New York City police said.

Dr. Dean Lorich, 54, was the associate director of the orthopedic trauma service at the Hospital for Special Surgery who treated Bono in 2014 after the U2 frontman was badly injured in a cycling accident in Central Park.

His death is being investigated as an apparent suicide, a New York Police Department official told ABC News. Initial investigations did not find any signs of forced entry at his apartment, the official said. Authorities have not found a suicide note.

Police responding to a 911 call of an assault in a Park Avenue apartment at 1:05 p.m. Sunday found Lorich unconscious and unresponsive with a knife in his torso, according to the NYPD.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/york-surgeon-found-dead-park-avenue-apartment/story?id=51710242

Dr. Dean Lorich, 1963-2017.

Pence's older brother retiring as Cummins executive

Source: Fox 59

One of Vice President Mike Pence’s older brothers is retiring as an executive with southern Indiana-based engine maker Cummins Inc.

Sixty-year-old Ed Pence is the vice president of strategic initiatives for Cummins and says his final day will be at the end of January. He’s worked since 1981 for the company that’s headquartered in his hometown of Columbus.

Pence says he’s willing to help both his vice presidential brother and older brother Greg Pence who’s running for Indiana’s 6th District congressional seat that Mike Pence once held.

Read more: http://fox59.com/2017/12/10/pences-older-brother-retiring-as-cummins-executive/

The article neglects to mention that Cummins Inc. is controlled by the Russian state-owned heavy machinery concern Kamaz.

I'm sure this having recently come to light had nothing to do with his retirement.

Cristina Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff warn of "lawfare" - the judiciary as a weapon against opponents

Speaking in Buenos Aires, former presidents Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil warned that right-wing administrations in Latin America and elsewhere are increasingly relying on a weaponized judiciary to silence adversaries.

"This is a process known worldwide as Lawfare," Kirchner said, "involving the use of the judicial system as a weapon to destroy politics and opposition leaders."

"The media plays a fundamental role, and is central to this strategy of persecution," she added.

The former heads of state met yesterday in Mrs. Kirchner's Buenos Aires apartment to discuss their countries' political and social situation.

"The objective is the same in Brazil as in Argentina," they agreed. "To hide the economic disaster that neoliberal (i.e. pro free-trade) governments are carrying out in the region."

Both women, two of the leading populist figures in the region, have faced down repeated trial-by-media attacks by their countries' largely conservative news outlets while their right-wing successors, Mauricio Macri and Michel Temer, receive favorable coverage and often have corruption charges dismissed by the courts - including documented cases involving the Panama Papers.

Rousseff, 70, was impeached in August 2016 by conservative majorities in Brazil's Congress over alleged fiscal accounting gimmicks to mask the country's yawning budget deficits.

Her successor, Vice President Temer, was later charged with corruption and obstruction of justice - as were most of his cabinet and the congressional leadership that instigated her impeachment.

No sooner Kirchner, 64, returned to elected politics by winning a Senate seat this October, she was accused of having asked Interpol to lift Red Notices against Iranian officials implicated in the 1994 AMIA terrorist attack in Buenos Aires.

The three year-old claim, dismissed by Argentine courts in seven instances - including two appeals - was revived on Thursday by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadío, who indicted Mrs. Kirchner for “treason” and asked that the Senate expel her in order to facilitate her arrest.

“A biased Judge Bonadío report cannot change the truth,” fomer Interpol head Ronald Noble tweeted yesterday. “INTERPOL was never asked by Argentina or (former Foreign Minister Héctor) Timerman to remove the AMIA Red Notices!”

Bonadío, who has dismissed numerous corruption charges against Macri, was exposed in 1996 as a “napkin judge” - a shortlist of judges who lent themselves to politicized trials at the behest of then-President Carlos Menem.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.diarioregistrado.com%2Fpolitica%2Fcristina-se-reunio-con-dilma-rousseff---utilizan-a-la-justicia-como-arma-para-destruir-a-la-politica-_a5a2c5dc0a4d76178ffbd2cad&edit-text=

Former presidents Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil discuss their experiences with right-wing 'lawfare' during Rousseff's Buenos Aires visit yesterday.

Crew of missing Argentine submarine died 'instantly' in huge explosion: former American Navy expert

The 44 crew members on board missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan died 'instantly' and without suffering after a huge explosion, a former American Navy expert has claimed.

Acoustic analyst Bruce Rule concluded they were killed after the submarine's hull was 'completely destroyed' in around 40 milliseconds. Rule calculated the energy produced by the submarine's collapse was the equivalent of the explosion of 12,500 pounds (5.7 tons) of TNT at 1,275 feet below sea level.

Key parts of the report said:

'Although the crew may have known collapse was imminent, they never knew it was occurring. They didn't drown or experience pain. Death was instantaneous. The entire pressure-hull was completely destroyed in about 40 milliseconds or 1/25th of a second.'

Mr. Rule, described as the former lead acoustic analyst at the US Office of Naval Intelligence, the premier U.S. maritime intelligence service, concluded the submarine wreckage had sunk vertically at a speed of 10 to 13 knots.

ARA San Juan went missing on November 15 in the South Atlantic and although the search for the vessel is continuing, Argentine Navy officials have admitted they are now only looking for a wreck.

At: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5165173/Crew-missing-Argentinian-sub-San-Juan-died-instantly.html

The ARA San Juan in Buenos Aires last May. Both Navy officers shown were among the 44 killed.
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