EU dropped pesticide laws due to US pressure over TTIP, documents reveal

image

Chief EU negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero (R) and chief US negotiator Dan Mullaney hold a press conference in Washington, DC after a new round of talks on creating a transatlantic free trade zone, 19 May. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Courtesy of Arthur Neslen @ The Guardian:

EU moves to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals linked to cancer and male infertility were shelved following pressure from US trade officials over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal, newly released documents show.

Draft EU criteria could have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). But these were dumped amid fears of a trade backlash stoked by an aggressive US lobby push, access to information documents obtained by Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Europe show.

On 26 June 2013, a high-level delegation from the American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) visited EU trade officials to insist that the bloc drop its planned criteria for identifying EDCs in favour of a new impact study.

Minutes of the meeting show commission officials pleading that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards”.

The TTIP is a trade deal being agreed by the EU and US to remove barriers to commerce and promote free trade.

Responding to the EU officials, AmCham representatives “complained about the uselessness of creating categories and thus, lists” of prohibited substances, the minutes show.

The US trade representatives insisted that a risk-based approach be taken to regulation, and “emphasised the need for an impact assessment” instead.

On 2 July 2013, officials from the US Mission to Europe visited the EU to reinforce the message. Later that day, the secretary-general of the commission, Catherine Day, sent a letter to the environment department’s director Karl Falkenberg, telling him to stand down the draft criteria.

“We suggest that as other DGs [directorate-generals] have done, you consider making a joint single impact assessment to cover all the proposals,” Day wrote. “We do not think it is necessary to prepare a commission recommendation on the criteria to identify endocrine disrupting substances.” Continue reading

Advertisements

UK Bail-in Powers Implementation

Courtesy of Gov.uk, because they care:

1. Introduction

The Special Resolution Regime (SRR) established in the Banking Act 2009 (“the Banking Act”) confers a number of resolution powers on the Bank of England and HM Treasury. The Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (the 2013 Act) confers on the Bank of England a further option for the resolution for banks, building societies, investment firms, and certain banking group companies: the bail-in stabilisation option.

Since the financial crisis, a wide-ranging programme of financial sector reform has been underway at domestic, European and international levels. The government set up the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), charged with considering structural and related non-structural reforms to the UK banking sector to promote financial stability and competition. It reported in 2011, and one of its key recommendations was the introduction of a bail-in tool. Bail-in powers were also recommended by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS) in its June 2013 report. The Financial Stability Board’s (FSB), ‘Key Attributes of Effective Resolution Regimes’ – endorsed by the G20 – has recommended that resolution regimes put in place a bail-in tool in order to improve the toolkit for dealing with the failure of large, globally systemic banks.

Bail-in involves shareholders of a failing institution being divested of their shares, and creditors of the institution having their claims cancelled or reduced to the extent necessary to restore the institution to financial viability. The shares can then be transferred to affected creditors, as appropriate, to provide compensation. Alternatively, where a suitable purchaser is identified, the shares may be transferred to them, with the creditors instead receiving, where appropriate, compensation in some other form. Continue reading

Oil, Power, And Psychopaths

image

James F. Gibson Tent of A. Foulke, Horse Artillery, Brandy Station, Virginia 1864

Courtesy of Raul Ilargi Meijer @ Automatic Earth Blog:

Iran has a – very – long running dispute with the US about its nuclear technology. The US wants Assad (Bashar Al-Assad) out of Syria, while Iran and Russia support Assad (Russia’s sole proper base in the Middle East), who’s an Alawite (a Shi-ite branch), a people historically persecuted by Sunni’s. ISIS (or Daesh in the region) is Sunni. So are the Saudi’s. Iran is Shi’ite. Bahrain is ruled by Sunni but has a majority Shi’ite population. And I could go on for a while. A long while.

All this plays into the oil game, the falling oil prices. Blaming OPEC for the recent price fall is seeing the world from a child’s perspective. OPEC and its major voteholder, Saudi Arabia, are no more to blame for the plunge than the US, Russia or other non-OPEC producers. Everybody produces as if there’s no tomorrow, and the Saudi’s have merely concluded that their only choice is to do the same. It’s a race to the bottom.

The reason is the fast declining demand for oil; China is nowhere near as mighty as we seem to think, Europe is a basket case, emerging economies are being strangled as we speak by the surging dollar and the Fed taper, and we’re just getting started. It’s cute and all that nobody wonders how much virtual money has vanished into the great beyond as both oil itself and the companies that get it out of the earth have lost half of their ‘values’ in Q4 2014, let alone the countries that depend on oil for their very existence. But cute doesn’t cut it.

Oliver Stone talks about ‘Ukraine: The CIA Coup’. I’ve talked about exactly that all of last year. While on vacation, Obama declares new sanctions on North Korea for hacking a Japanese company only the FBI claims it was guilty of. While US sanctions against Iran are ongoing.

America is trying to control the world by throwing it into confusion, emboldened by poorly understood theories about military superiority, and creating conflicts all over the place that look like they will never be solved. Whereas all it would need to do is make sure it secures itself, its own territory, not control the entire planet. Continue reading

Democracy And Corruption: Germany Files War Crimes Charges Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld And Other CIA Officials

image

Courtesy of Tiffany Willis @ Liberal America:

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has filed a criminal complaint against U.S. torture program architects and members of the Bush Administration. The organization has accused CIA director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of war crimes and they’ve called for a German prosecutor to conduct an immediate investigation.

This move follows the release of the damning Senate report on CIA torture that includes the case of German citizen Khalid El-Masri, who was captured in 2004 by CIA agents in a case of mistaken identity. The report revealed the shocking contrast of democracy and corruption.

Bizarrely, the only person involved with the CIA torture program who has been charged with a crime is the man who exposed the war crimes — whistleblower John Kiriakou.

The relevant parties in this case have given an extensive interview to Democracy Now. Some of the important points are below.

Wolfgang Kaleck, the general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the author of International Prosecution of Human Rights Crimes said this:

“By investigating members of the Bush administration, Germany can help to ensure that those responsible for abduction, abuse and illegal detention do not go unpunished.”

Continue reading

George Osborne Criticised for Claims over EU £1.7bn Bill as UK to pay Full Amount

image

George Osborne at the start of the European finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Wiktor Dabkowski/Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Corbis

 Courtesy of Ian Traynor @ The Guardian:

George Osborne won more time to settle an outstanding and highly contested £1.7bn EU budget bill and went on to make a disputed claim that he had halved the money owed by factoring in Britain’s budget rebates in Europe.

The chancellor’s position was immediately challenged by the European commission, which made clear that the UK has long enjoyed a system of budgetary rebates, so a discount on the controversial surcharge was always going to be applied.

Osborne did succeed in persuading his European counterparts to allow the UK to pay the money in two instalments by next September, delaying payment until well after the general election. Cash had been due by 1 December. David Cameron had loudly and repeatedly insisted he would not pay the £1.7bn demanded and flatly rejected the December deadline, after suddenly being presented with the demand during an EU summit a fortnight ago.

The row over whether the bill had actually been reduced continued after a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels , when Osborne factored in Britain’s automatic rebate on gross contributions to the EU budget – which have operated since 1980 – to argue that he had succeeded in halving the bill.

However, several participants in the meeting said no one, including Osborne, had contested the correctness of the £1.7bn surcharge demanded from Britain and said no discount had been awarded. Continue reading

Putting a price on love: Half of Brits banned from living with a foreign partner

image

Courtesy of Politics.co.uk:

Nearly half of Brits working in the UK are banned from living with a spouse from outside the EU under the coalition’s tough new anti-immigration law, new research has revealed.

Rules introduced by Theresa May mean only people earning over £18,600 can bring a wife or husband to live with them in the UK, leaving 47% of British employees potentially unable to live with their loved one in their own country.

“This analysis shows that hardworking families outside London are bearing the brunt of the government’s tough migration rules,” Ruth Grove-White, policy director at the Migrants Rights Network said.

“Effectively, a price has been put on love – and those who don’t earn enough are facing indefinite separation from their husband or wife.

“This is not just a problem in the immigration rules, it raises questions about the kind of society we want to be – one that respects the right of British citizens to live with their family or one that deems some too poor to have equal rights?”

The research found 74 constituencies in which less than 50% of employees earn £18,600 per year.

Brits in the north-west and south-west of England, as well as across Wales, are particularly likely to be affected due to lower than average earnings in those regions.

The £18,600 benchmark is considerably higher than that earned by a full-time worker earning the national minimum wage, who receives approximately £13,200. Continue reading

E.U. Officially Adopts the Bank Depositors Bail-In

Almost a year ago to the day I wrote a piece called Derivatives and the Real World Implications, citing that bail-ins would be coming to the UK. This issue has been picked up by Andy Sutton @ Market Oracle.com, well here’s the proof but not all hope is lost. You can still exchange your worthless pieces of paper and digital 1’s and 0’s for gold and silver. People have foolishly put their faith in government and their ability to manage ‘money’, they have failed us but it is all by design and agenda. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail:

It has now been more than a year since that fateful weekend in the Mediterranean when everything changed. However, like most of the big changes we’ve seen lately, there is a subtlety afoot that somehow results in few noticing. This should surprise no one really. How the world can change in such dramatic ways without any type of mass awakening is a topic more for the psychologists who help pull the strings and the evil they represent than for anyone involved in the analysis of economics and events, but I say the above so that you know you’re not kidding anyone.

Even a year later, the subtlety continues and ignorance abounds. Most still don’t know the ramifications of the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill back in 2010. They take it at its word that it is a consumer protection act, but is nothing of the sort. They’ll reap what they sow. The evidence has been plentiful, the analysis outstanding. There have been countless opportunities for people to learn of the truth. Ours is not to concern ourselves with those who refuse to have their eyes opened, but for those who are seeking knowledge. After all, nobody can fault someone who doesn’t know, but wants to. There are plenty who do, especially in light of the EU’s passage of a new set of bail-in ‘rules’ this week. Much of this was already known and previously agreed to, but there are some more interesting spin-offs and it is definitely worth revisiting. The mere fact that they’re spending so much time prepping for another bank blowup essentially guarantees that one is coming at some point. These things tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies in and of themselves, and when there is so much potential looting and pillaging to be done, all the more so!

We want to state up front that this is an extensive subject and that it is impossible to provide a comprehensive look at all the facets of the emerging truth regarding the bail-in mechanism and the entire associated minutia in a single essay. Our commitment is to dedicate our remaining articles to this topic alone in the hopes of providing a singular source of information on the topic. Continue reading