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Slavery's Last Stronghold (CNN)

Moulkheir Mint Yarba returned from a day of tending her master’s goats out on the Sahara Desert to find something unimaginable: Her baby girl, barely old enough to crawl, had been left outdoors to die.

The Scramble for Africa

A previous "gold rush" or "land grab" structurally similar to GATS and its global grab of today Exploration of Africa Scramble for Africa Part of a series on New Imperialism "The Rhodes Colossus" (1892) by Edward Linley Sambourne History Western imperialism in Asia "The Great Game" The "Scramble for Africa" Historiography of the British Empire Theory The Expansion of England Gentlemanly capitalism The Imperialism of Free Trade Imperialism: A Study Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism Porter–MacKenzie debate See also ImperialismColonialism Decolonization Areas of Africa controlled by European colonial powers (Belgian, British, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish Empires) The Scramble for Africa, also called the Partition of Africa, Conquest of Africa, or the Rape of Africa,[1][2][3] was the invasion, occupation, division, and colonization of most of Africa by a handful of European powers during a short period known to historians as the New Imperialism (between 1881 and 1914). The 10 percent of Africa that was under formal European control in 1870 increased to almost 90 percent by 1914, with only Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and Liberia remaining independent. The Berlin Conference of 1884, which regulated European colonization and trade in Africa, is usually referred to as the starting point of the Scramble for Africa.[4] There were considerable political and economic rivalries among the European empires in the last quarter of the 19th century. Partitioning Africa was effected largely without Europeans going to war.[5] In the later years of the 19th century, the European nations transitioned from "informal imperialism" — i.e., exercising military influence and economic dominance — to direct rule, bringing about colonial imperialism.

TISA vs Climate Action: Trading Away Energy Democracy

Energy is possibly the global economy’s most strategic sector given its implications for national security, economic growth, social stability, and ecological sustainability. Yet 80% of the world’s primary energy comes from fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases. If humanity is to avert the worst extremes of the climate crisis, we must all reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, rapidly and dramatically. This was recognised by UN Member States in the December 2015 Climate Agreement. Yet, at the very time that Member States were negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement 1 , their trade negotiators were meeting in Geneva to secretly forge a new Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) covering Energy Related Services (ERS). The climate crisis is recognized as the free market’s single largest failure, and there are few who think that markets have the tools needed to solve the deepening climate crisis. Yet, TiSA’s ERS aims to strengthen the market and limit the space for government policy and regulation in the energy sector. Governments preparing to implement the Paris Agreement may find their trade ministers undermining their efforts in the TiSA negotiations.>>More at link- (PDF)

Webinar: The Energy Charter Treaty: To "modernize" or to exit?

This webinar, part of IISD's series of Webinars on Investment Law and Policy, focused on the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). The event was held on January 22, 2020, at 3:30 PM CET/9:30 AM EST. The ECT is a treaty from 1994 that aimed to set out a multilateral framework for cooperation in the energy sector. It covers, among other areas, trade and investment, and includes an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that has been used in various arbitration cases. A negotiation mandate for an ECT "modernization" process was adopted in late 2019, with meetings planned throughout the coming year. Given this context, this webinar considered the history of the ECT, the modernization process now underway, and some of the main aspects of reform, including from the perspective of climate action. It considered questions such as the implications of ECT termination and withdrawal and noted the case history under the ECT to date. The guest speaker for the webinar was *Kyla Tienhaara*, Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment and Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Studies and Department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. IISD International Law Advisor Martin Dietrich Brauch also served as speaker as well as webinar moderator. The webinar was held on the Zoom platform. It can be viewed below and on IISD's YouTube channel.

Webinar on Termination and Renegotiation of Investment Treaties (IISD)

This webinar involved a discussion on the termination and renegotiation of investment treaties, including the presentation of a paper from our Best Practices Series, entitled Terminating a Bilateral Investment Treaty. March 25, 2020 8:00 pm (Open to public) Share this page: Twitter Facebook This webinar was held on Thursday March 26 at 3 PM CET / 10 AM EST. It involved a discussion on the termination and renegotiation of investment treaties, including a presentation of our paper from our Best Practices Series, entitled Terminating a Bilateral Investment Treaty. This paper situates the growing trend of bilateral investment treaty (BIT) termination and renegotiation in the context of UNCTAD’s Phase II of International Investment Agreement (IIA) Reform, examining recent developments in this area. It undertakes a detailed examination of recent state practice in BIT terminations and related drafting, and presents options and recommendations for states that wish to use termination and renegotiation to deal with their stock of older BITs. The event is part of our series of Webinars in Investment Law and Policy. Our featured speakers included Sarah Brewin and Suzy Nikièma from IISD and Hamed El Kady from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, IISD Senior Director, Economic Law and Policy, served as the webinar moderator. It also involved a dedicated Q&A session.

GATES Foundation using coronavirus as a cover for its biometrics and global ID surveillance agenda

Please read this article, There is another issue..discussed in the linked article as well.. I would not have believed this had I not had arguments with "Malthusian" people who want population reduction myself a few years ago when I wrote an article about how Ambien sometimes almost miraculously brings TBI injured people out of comas. It attracted a lot of comments, some nasty, from creepy people who literally really wanted to just let them die. Yuck.

Papers please! EU heralds end of uncontrolled activities (a Trojan Horse for ID2020 campaign to force digital ID on the whole world- creepy special interests are promoting it)

By Norbert Haering of ID 2020 – a unified digital identity for everybody on earth April 21, 2020 | Eric Wagner of multipolar has written a piece on ID2020, which cites translated sections from my reporting in German. Since I have not gotten around to translating my recent writing on ID2020, I take this opportunity to familiarize international readers with this creepy campaign. The following is the second part of … a multipolar article ID 2020 – a unified digital identity for everybody on earth April 21, 2020 | Eric Wagner of multipolar has written a piece on ID2020, which cites translated sections from my reporting in German. Since I have not gotten around to translating my recent writing on ID2020, I take this opportunity to familiarize international readers with this creepy campaign. The following is the second part of a multipolar-article. A link to the first part on mass vaccinations is at the end. Eric Wagner. The “Digital Identity Alliance”, or “ID 2020”, says it is concerned with the creation of a digital identity that will enable people to identify themselves across borders while retaining control over their personal data. The founding partners of the project are Gates’ company Microsoft, the Gates-sponsored vaccination alliance GAVI, the management consultancy Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the oldest and wealthiest foundations in the USA. Since September 2019, the “Digital Identity Alliance” has been cooperating with the government of Bangladesh to introduce digital identities. This involves combining vaccinations with the recording of biometric data, such as fingerprints, to enable digital identification of the respective person. By February 2020, 100 million digital identities had been created, as the responsible minister reported in an article for the World Economic Forum. This collection is marketed as “digital inclusion”, supposedly to include disadvantaged people in the benefits of the modern world. Traveling only with a “digital immunity proof”? Also in Europe, the first approaches to establish the technology are emerging. Journalist Norbert Häring, for example, reports on an application within the framework of the “Known Traveller” program of the arguably evil, antidemocracy World Economic Forum, which provides for an initially voluntary data release for preferred handling in air travel. In the long term, however, a mandatory regulation also appears possible, once the system has been established. Gates explained on 24 March in an interview with TED host Chris Anderson:

Gerald Casale: Oral History of Devo

This interview was originally intended to be used in a documentary on the history of rock 'n' roll in 1995. It is unclear as to what stopped this from being shown on TV, but the footage was clearly early in the filming process for the special. Either way, this interview contains tons of background information on Devo, a lot of interesting insight into punk and rocks histories, and some really hilarious stories.

How Ladies Against Women Flummoxed Phyllis Schlafly

By Barbara Winslow, by way of --------------- If not planned well, *guerilla theater*–frequently an accompaniment to protests or sometimes the protest itself,–can fall flat, can confuse more than enlighten, and can insult the very people it’s trying to reach. At its best, however, guerilla theater can be both entertaining and consciousness-raising. Every movement has its traitors, be they called scabs (labor movement), antis (women’s suffrage), Uncle Toms (Black movement), running dogs of imperialism (Chinese Revolution). These traitors often have a lot of power and can be hard to deal with. Phyllis Schlafly, a right wing lawyer and conservative Republican Party operative, frequently led the charge against the feminist movement (among other progressive social change initiatives) in the last half of the 1900s. Here is an example of one group creatively and successfully taking on our nemesis in 1982. Who says radical feminists don’t have a sense of humor? We have been known to make people laugh when we go after misogyny’s jugular! Take 1982, for instance, when the Cleveland City Club, which liked to host “controversial speakers,” announced that Phyllis Schlafly, the leading right wing anti-feminist, architect of the successful campaign to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, had been invited to speak at its February meeting. The Cleveland Pro-Choice Action Committee, an organization of left feminists, decided to protest Schlafly, but we knew it had to be a carefully planned action. Schlafly was an expert at putting down feminists, relished calling protestors “Typhoid Marys.” A picket line alone would be boring, thus deadly. At one of those meetings which goes on late into the night, perhaps even early into the morning, we were talking, arguing, frustrated as we tried idea after idea, plan after plan. We were getting a bit punchy, thinking up outrageous forms of protest, when we remembered Ladies Against Women (LAW). Of course! LAW was a part of the Reagan for Shah coalition, which was founded by a guerilla theater troupe called the Plutonium Players following the 1980 Reagan landslide. Various groups affiliated with the Reagan for Shah Committee had marched in the 1981 Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena, California. I contacted Ladies Against Women, they sent us materials, and we created the Cleveland Chapter of LAW. The flyers we sent out, with a picture of Schlafly, announced how thrilled we were that “our dear leader” was coming to Cleveland and asked that everyone please come out and greet her. The leaflet was signed by faux groups whose names played on the various progressive groups in Cleveland. For example, “WELCOME,” an organization that promoted school desegregation, became “unWELCOME”; “Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice” became “Ladies Whisper for War and Injustice.” Schlafly’s organization, the Eagle Forum became the Vulture Forum…and so on.

The Role of Digital Products Under the WTO: A New Framework for GATT and GATS Classification

Sam Fleuter  Abstract This Comment provides a new system of classifying digital products as goods or services under international trade law. Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), WTO member states have limited power to impose protectionist measures on the importation of goods. Under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), states face similar limitations on their ability to restrict international trade in services. But GATS only applies if states opt in, meaning that countries can choose which services are subject to trade liberalization. Within the GATT-GATS framework, digital products are notoriously difficult to classify because they possess traditional characteristics of both goods and services. Though this Comment applies to different types of digital products, it focuses on the international trade of 3D renderings used for additive manufacturing, as this is a type of digital product that has not received any attention in international trade literature. This Comment proposes a three-part taxonomy for distinguishing digital goods from digital services. To distinguish goods from services, I first look at formalistic definitions of good and services. Next, I look at practical concerns of consistency across international trade. Finally, I investigate the underlying goals of the WTO to identify which classification best suits digital products. I conclude that digital products should be treated as services and therefore be governed by the GATS.

Weaponizing Digital Trade.

from Councilo on Foreign Relations, which is a private non-democratic non governmental group that, like the Atlantic Council often takes extreme neoliberal positions and often, tries to look like part of the government, and pretend that neoliberalism is inevitable and, its assertions credible. As the last few years have shown, people are beginning to realize that if the world has democracy, then it has a choice to reject neoliberalism and neoliberals greed centered global coup. They don't own us.

WTO: I Am The Most Qualified For The Job - Okonjo-Iweala

Despite the fact that - I tend to like her when I see her speak, somehow this appontment doesnt seem to add up for me. It seems perhaps like another shameless attempt to cover up the antidemocracy WTO agenda. Its hard to believe that they would ever appoint anybody who was not a most enthusiastic drinker of the Kool Aid they are selling, A player of their game, or anybody, really, who didn't see it as totally legitimate which is still very much an open question. I certainly know that African-Americans generally - which she is, being a naturalized citizen of the US of African origin, as well as a Nigerian citizen, most AA's I have spoken to about the WTO are if not hostile to the idea of their giving up their jobs for the neoliberal "single undertaking" they certainly would hardly see the WTO agenda for them as being legitimate as its rigid neoliberal services ideologyreeks of the long and painful history of theft of everything of value ever posessed in any way by indigenous people. Of course, due to the WTO all of us, even white Americans have had our roles reversed, we are now the indigenous folks who are being asked to give up everything for the neoliberal payoff to the third world. To sacrifice our futures for a pile of steaming hyperbole.

The Amistad Trial

In August 1839, a U.S. brig came across the schooner Amistad off the coast of Long Island, New York. Aboard the Spanish ship were a group of Africans who had been captured and sold illegally as slaves in Cuba. The enslaved Africans then revolted at sea and won control of the Amistad from their captors. U.S. authorities seized the ship and imprisoned the Africans, beginning a legal and diplomatic drama that would shake the foundations of the nation’s government and bring the explosive issue of slavery to the forefront of American politics. Illegally Captured and Sold Into Slavery The story of the Amistad began in February 1839, when Portuguese slave hunters abducted hundreds of Africans from Mendeland, in present-day Sierra Leone, and transported them to Cuba, then a Spanish colony. Though the United States, Britain, Spain and other European powers had abolished the importation of slaves by that time, the transatlantic slave trade continued illegally, and Havana was an important slave trading hub. The Spanish plantation owners Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz purchased 53 of the African captives as slaves, including 49 adult males and four children, three of them girls. On June 28, Montes and Ruiz and the 53 Africans set sail from Havana on the Amistad (Spanish for “friendship”) for Puerto Principe (now Camagüey), where the two Spaniards owned plantations. Revolt at Sea The Amistad Revolt Newspaper's depiction of the revolt aboard the Amistad. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images Several days into the journey, one of the Africans—Sengbe Pieh, also known as Joseph Cinque—managed to unshackle himself and his fellow captives. Armed with knives, they seized control of the Amistad, killing its Spanish captain and the ship’s cook, who had taunted the captives by telling them they would be killed and eaten when they got to the plantation. In need of navigation, the Africans ordered Montes and Ruiz to turn the ship eastward, back to Africa. But the Spaniards secretly changed course at night, and instead the Amistad sailed through the Caribbean and up the eastern coast of the United States. On August 26, the U.S. brig Washington found the ship while it was anchored off the tip of Long Island to get provisions. The naval officers seized the Amistad and put the Africans back in chains, escorting them to Connecticut, where they would claim salvage rights to the ship and its human cargo. The Court Battle Begins Charged with murder and piracy, Cinque and the other Africans of the Amistad were imprisoned in New Haven. Though these criminal charges were quickly dropped, they remained in prison while the courts went about deciding their legal status, as well as the competing property claims by the officers of the Washington, Montes and Ruiz and the Spanish government. While President Martin Van Buren sought to extradite the Africans to Cuba to pacify Spain, a group of abolitionists in the North, led by Lewis Tappan, Rev. Joshua Leavitt and Rev. Simeon Jocelyn, raised money for their legal defense, arguing that they had been illegally captured and imported as slaves. The defense team enlisted Josiah Gibbs, a philologist from Yale University, to help determine what language the Africans spoke. After concluding that they were Mende, Gibbs searched New York waterfronts for anyone who recognized the language. He finally found a Mende speaker who could interpret for the Africans, allowing them to tell their own story for the first time. In January 1840, a judge in U.S. District Court in Hartford ruled that the Africans were not Spanish slaves, but had been illegally captured, and should be returned to Africa. After appealing the decision to the Circuit Court, which upheld the lower court’s decision, the U.S. attorney appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard the case in early 1841. John Quincy Adams for the Defense To defend the Africans in front of the Supreme Court, Tappan and his fellow abolitionists enlisted former President John Quincy Adams, who was at the time 73 years old and a member of the House of Representatives. Adams had previously argued (and won) a case before the nation’s highest court; he was also a strong antislavery voice in Congress, having successfully repealed a rule banning debates about slavery from the House floor. In a lengthy argument beginning on February 24, Adams accused Van Buren of abusing his executive powers, and defended the Africans’ right to fight for their freedom aboard the Amistad. At the heart of the case, Adams argued, was the willingness of the United States to stand up for the ideals upon which it was founded. “The moment you come to the Declaration of Independence, that every man has a right to life and liberty, an inalienable right, this case is decided," Adams said. "I ask nothing more in behalf of these unfortunate men, than this Declaration.” The Verdict On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court ruled 7-1 to uphold the lower courts’ decisions in favor of the Africans of the Amistad. Justice Joseph Story delivered the majority opinion, writing that “There does not seem to us to be any ground for doubt, that these negroes ought to be deemed free.” But the Court did not require the government to provide funds to return the Africans to their homeland, and awarded salvage rights for the ship to the U.S. Navy officers who apprehended it. After Van Buren’s successor, John Tyler, refused to pay for repatriation, abolitionists again raised funds. In November 1841, Cinque and the other 34 surviving Africans of the Amistad (the others had died at sea or in prison awaiting trial) sailed from New York aboard the ship Gentleman, accompanied by several Christian missionaries, to return to their homeland.

Dawn of Day: Stories from the Underground Railroad

These are the stories of the people who fought at tremendous personal risk, to defy the government to help individual slaves reach Canada and their freedom from slavery. They provided safe houses and food for people making the difficult journey north, often traveling at night to avoid slave catchers.. "a rough road leads to the stars" (Kansas Historical Society)

Slavery By Another Name:Documentary about Debt Peonage in America.

After the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves the white Southerners were obsessed with enslaving the black population of the south by means of imprisonment often on made up excuses. These laws are still on the books. Slavery needs to be totally eliminated or it will return.

Ex Slaves talk about Slavery in the USA

I'm worried slavery might be revived because its still on the books, if somebody is convicted of any crime. Maybe its time for abolition of that loophole. Digital Trade is the cotton of the 2020s.

Princes of the Yen: A film on corporate capture in Japan and the postwar use of propaganda and the causes of the 1991 bubble..

Michael Oswald's film “Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of the Economy” 『円の支配者』reveals how Japanese society was transformed and manipulated to suit the ideological agenda and desires of powerful interest groups, and how citizens were kept entirely in the dark about this manufactured crisis which devastated the economy. Based on the book of the same title by Professor Richard Werner, a visiting researcher at the Bank of Japan during the 90s crash, during which the stock market dropped by 80% and house prices by up to 84%. The film uncovers the real cause of this extraordinary period in recent Japanese history. This film has huge lessons for Americans today. We must realize that much of what we take for granted has been fabricated, and the real story is quite different than what we're endlessly told in the corporate media. We live in a system that is much less of a democracy than what we think. The Cold war is no longer going on, its time for a fact based society. Governments do not have a god-given right to manipulate economies as they think, in order to effectuuate political hegemony. often with tragic effects on the citizenry. This especially applies to the banking system. Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to hear about upcoming releases​

Longevity derivatives

Bankers are making bets on lifespan, we are living too long, they think. Longevity Derivatives By DANIEL LIBERTO Updated Feb 6, 2021 What Are Longevity Derivatives? Longevity derivatives are a class of securities that provide a hedge for parties exposed to longevity risks through their businesses, such as pension plan managers and insurers. These derivatives are designed to deliver increasingly high payouts as a selected population group lives longer than originally expected or calculated. KEY TAKEAWAYS Longevity derivatives are a class of securities that provide a hedge against longevity risks. They are designed to deliver increasingly high payouts as a selected population group lives longer than originally expected. Longevity derivatives come in the form of survivor bonds, forward contracts, options, and swaps.

The Global Financial Crisis And Government Support For Banks : What Role For The GATS?

This paper examines whether the GATS is a useful instrument to tackle government support that creates distortions of international competition in the banking sector. The GATS has no specific provisions on subsidies. However, general support schemes ‘as such’ or ‘as applied’ may violate Article XVII if they exclude foreign- owned banks with a commercial presence in the territory of the WTO Member that adopts the scheme. This depends on the specific commitments of the WTO Member and the limitations to this commitment. Moreover, it is required that the excluded banks are ‘like’ the domestic banks. A single application of a general scheme may violate Article VI:1 if solid evidence is available that this application is not reasonable, objective or impartial. Despite these possible violations, the great majority of measures will still be justified under the broad ‘prudential carve-out’. Only support measures that are not reasonably able to achieve the prudential goal will not be exempted. Hence, the GATS imposes only in very limited cases restraint on government support. The WTO Members should address the remaining uncertainties with regard to both the obligations and the exception. This would ensure that the GATS is able to prevent that government support distorts competition and would also alleviate concerns that the GATS constitutes a danger to financial stability.


A posted worker is a European Union (EU) worker who is sent from one EU Member State to another by an employer known as a ‘service provider’. The se are workers who are said to return to ‘ their country of origin after the completion of their work without at any time gaining access to the labour market of the host Member State’ , and are in this way legally constructed as workers ‘without footprints’ . 1 We argue that the notion that posted workers do not ‘gain access’ to the labour market of a host State is problematic, especially ‘hard times’ of financial crisis or recession. Our concerns are threefold. First, the terms on which posted workers are hired are more lightly regulated than host State workers, being subject only to those minimum standards which a host State is allowed to set under EU law. Opportunities to engage in collective bargaining over their wages have been limited by EU law. This allows their employers to undercut existing established terms and conditions for host State workers, which in times of fierce competition for work, has led to both legitimate concerns relating to access to work for host State workers and the expression of xenophobia. 2 Second, the lack of visibility of posted workers allows scope for poor treatment. As migrants from another State, posted workers are often isolated in terms of language, but the available evidence suggests instances where this can be compounded by forms of segregated housing and exposure to dangerous working conditions. 3 The circumstances in which posted workers work lead to de facto deprivation of access to a home State union representative and to that of relevant host State unions. 4 We argue that this capacity for breach of rights to freedom of association and access to justice is compounded by the current state of EU law regarding access to collective bargaining

Wood smoke more harmful to the lungs than vehice emissions.

The thick, grey wildfire smoke that shrouds California each autumn and winter could be more harmful to humans than pollution from cars and other sources, a new study has found. that also has other implications for health. Wood smoke causes 10 times more respiratory disease than smog. Many people plan to replace cheap natural gas energy which is now being exported due to WTO rules after more than a 40 year export ban. with wood burning stoves in the winter. They might not be able to. They may have to junk their stoves. Because of the smoke, its likely many communities may bar it. Some already have. So people may have to pay the high prices for natural gas or electricity whose prices track natural gas closely, or cut back on heat. Which is not a good idea because of COVID-19 which requires homes and businesses ventilate more if they have multiple occupants indoors.

Gregory Mankiw crticism of Blinder on Offshoring

Offshoring has devastated the business of computing and must be responsible for the loss of at least a million entry level computing jobs for young Americans. Its a class war on the working people of this country blocking one of the only routes into the middle class that was briefly open. Its was a huge betrayal of our country by a cartel of oligarchs and its literally poison for our future economy. I have personal experience with this situation having seen how devastating its been to many in the Bay Area. Despite that betrayal in the form of the illegitimate WTO GATS 'agreement', We don't owe our young people's jobs to Indians, we owe them to our own young people. A curse on both their houses (the two corrupt and elitist political parties and their dishonest diversionary tactics. )

Video on young mother possibly killed by unsafe US Amazon COVID policies

This is a heartbreaking situation. The late Poushawn Brown was tasked by Amazon with administering COVID-19 testing despite having no medical training. without adequate protection. She did not receive hazard pay."She never said no" to Amazon's exploitation. Poushawn leaves an 8 year old daughter. Thanks to Trump corporations have been spinning the US as a Mexico-like country without health and safety regulation. This is the neoliberal future the incumbency is offering to young Americans who want to work in their home country. Amazon is known for working conditions, they are well known for low pay, anti union activities, and making workers work in warehouses under high heat conditions. Related article:

What to make of the sudden death of this young mother - with no medical training, tasked by Amazon with administering COVID-19 testing to other employees.

“So what you’re saying is that Amazon will not be closing the warehouse and [having it] professionally cleaned and sanitized,” the late Poushawn Brown wrote to HR at the DDC3 Virginia warehouse in April 2020 Poushawn Brown, a 38-year-old Amazon worker who suddenly died in January after working in her Virginia warehouse’s COVID testing area for several months, complained to human resources and supervisors about Amazon’s unsafe and unsanitary conditions early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, emails obtained by Status Coup show. On January 14th, Brown, who worked at Amazon for two years, came home from work not feeling well. She called her sister Christina and shared that her head hurt. The next morning, after Poushawn got her 12-year-old daughter Gabrielle ready for virtual school, she laid back in bed still feeling unwell. She never woke up. Poushawn’s family couldn’t afford an autopsy to find out what caused her death. According to her sister and other sources who worked with her in the DDC3 warehouse in Virginia, Brown had been administering COVID-19 nasal swab tests on co-workers for months before her death. While doing so, she wasn’t provided the proper N-95 mask, surgical gloves, gowns, goggles, or other protective measures nurses and doctors are supposed to wear while conducting COVID-19 testing. “Amazon should have hired or paid third-party companies with medical expertise to conduct testing,” Christian Smalls, an Amazon worker who was fired after blowing the whistle on the company’s unsafe conditions early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, told Status Coup. “As a result of this company cutting corners to save money, workers like Poushawn pay the price.” In emails obtained by Status Coup, it’s clear Poushawn had expressed concerns multiple times to Amazon about the lack of cleaning and safety protocols that were being taken to keep workers safe early during the pandemic. On April 8th, 2020—a day in which over 2,000 Americans died from COVID-19—Brown emailed the HR department for DDC3 asking “is the warehouse going to be professionally cleaned and sanitized?”

Economics and Emigration: Trillion-Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk?

This deceptive article shamelessly attempts to have Americans confuse immigration (which we generally like, with good reason) with GATS's "Movement of Natural Persons" which is a scheme to massively lower the entire world's wages, that trades away jobs with the aim of lowering wages, and also becomes an entitlement of jobs to broker for foreign services firms. Implementation of the WTO's GATS agenda which Bill Clinton agreed to, in 1994, could result in the loss of *tens of millions of decent jobs* to low wage "body shopping" firms. Its often been compared to slavery. It will in many cases mean huge profits for the already incredibly rich, by brokering skilled jobs, shaving off immense profits. according to leading economists. Notice especially how many misrepresentations are made in this essay which is an excellent example of the logical fallacies used to sell TiSA and GATS to our gullible nation. This article is not about what we think of as immigration because the Mode 4 is not about immigration, its about non-immigration only which allows workers coming here to work for short periods of typically six years, often at very low wages. These irreversible trade rules which as they have admitted have no expiration date, are a betrayal of the nation and the reason the stakes wee sohigh in 2020. They are designed to give foreign investors certainty and protection from the voters wishes all around the world. no matter how bad a crash or other economic disaster gets the governments cannot help. Services FTA also block increases in the minimum wage for workers if they apply to the huge foreign temping firms which are expected to take over entire industries (typically highly unionized ones) Please read up on the related categories listed in the keyword tags.

Lawless coup on Wall Street continues

It’s not just the nation’s Capitol that saw a lawless attempted coup this year. There’s an ongoing lawless coup taking place on Wall Street among stock manipulators who seem to be sending the message to the Biden administration, “we dare you to catch us.”

The English Enclosures

Video explaining the impacts of the Inclosure Acts which are in spirit much like GATS and its successor TISA. The far reaching implications were similar in their impacts on the common people of England. The enclosures were also a land grab. A revolution by the rich against the poor.

Jane Kelsey on E - commerce - The development implications of 'future proofing' global trade rules for GAFA

The World Trade Or ganization (WTO) General Council established a Work Programme on Electronic Commerce in September 1998 t o examine all trade - related issues arising from electronic commerce , taking into account the economic, financial, and development needs of developing countries. 1 Consistent with Article III.2 of the Marrakesh Agreement, 2 electronic commerce was defined in terms of its trade characteristics, with discussions to be conducted through the bodies responsible for the relevant WTO instruments 3 and supplemented by ad hocdedicated discussions at the General Council. The work programme identified many critical issues, especially on trade in services, but languished in recent years. In 2016, the issue of electronic commerce was brought to life with gusto as the US, Japan and the European Union initiated moves that were clearly designed to secure a mandate for formal negotiations at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their proposals go far beyond traditional notions of trade and would see the WTO adopt binding and enforceable rules that restrict how governments can regulate the digital domain. This paper first examines the drivers behind the push for electronic commerce to become the major ‘new issue’ adopted in a post - Doha round WTO. It th en assesses the development implications of the new e - commerce agenda for the WTO acquis, with particular reference to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Four interrelated factors underpin this new focus on electronic commerce. The first is the pre - eminence of the mega - corporations from Silicon Valley, symbolised by the acronym GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple), who by 2010 had displaced the old industrial giants as the world’s largest corporations. With their rise in corporate power came greatly enhanced political influence in the US Congress and in the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) . The industry’s wish-list of global rules became the US agenda in the relevant negotiating forums. The second factor is the growing threat posed by China to the dominance that both GAFA and the US had established over the digital economy, as China refocuses its domestic economy on services and technology and expands internationally through the One Belt One Road initiative and its digital component led by Alibaba. Other countries in the global South are also exploring strategies to close the digital divide and catch- up through digital industrialisation. That strategy commonly includes technology transfer, support for domestic start-ups and attracting joint venture investments, while balancing their social, employment and economic development objectives.

“Consumers should never forget this era and what the brands have done with workers,”

“They Left Us Starving”: How the Fashion Industry Abandoned Its Workers- - by Tansy Hoskins, a journalist covering the garment industry and the author of ‘Foot Work – What Your Shoes Are Doing To The World’ and ‘Stitched Up – The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion.’ Originally published at openDemocracy ... URL: - From the 1970s onwards, globalisation shifted clothing production from western Europe and North America to the Global South. Garment workers, who were previously direct employees of the major brands, became distant actors in complex global supply chains. In turn, major fashion brands no longer faced a legal obligation to pay fair wages or offer employment benefits. With exploitatively low salaries, garment workers in the Global South have for years struggled to survive. Saving for emergencies was near impossible, meaning they had nothing to fall back on when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “Consumers should never forget this era and what the brands have done with workers,” said Kalpona Akter, the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity. “When the time came for them to have our back they left us starving.” “COVID has shown us the reality of empty promises from businesses, from brands, retailers and manufacturers,” Kalpona continued. “The workers made them profits for years, and gave them a lavish life, but when the pandemic started they just left the workers to starve.” In a recent study, which interviewed 400 garment workers across nine countries, the Worker Rights Consortium found that even those employees who managed to hold onto their jobs reported a 21% decrease in income between March and August 2020 – with monthly wages falling from $187 to $147. It is a scenario that Kalpona Akter recognised: “Workers are not getting overtime and in many factories they have been told ‘we are not paying the minimum wage, if you want to work, work, if not – leave’.” Garment worker families in Bangladesh are now having to make impossible choices to survive. “When they get full wages, 30% goes on housing – it’s not a dream house, it’s a ten-by-ten concrete room, sometimes with no window,” Kalpona explains. “Losing 20% means they are substituting their food and their children’s food because they still need to pay for where they live. Instead of having 70% left, they have 50% left and that means they are starving.” Across the sea in Sri Lanka, labour rights advocates paint a similar picture of lost earnings. “Workers live for those wages – it is their main source of income,” said Abiramy Sivalogananthan of the Asia Floor Wage Alliance. She explained that many workers in Sri Lanka’s vast free trade zones are migrant workers who support not just themselves but their families in rural villages. Most garment workers in Sri Lanka also lost their critical December bonus of an additional month’s wage. “The bonus is really important,” Abiramy explained. “Workers usually have plans for that bonus even at the beginning of the year – like they will pay off their debts.”

Countries’ Policy Space to Implement Tobacco Packaging Measures in the Light of Their International Investment Obligations: Revisiting the Philip Morris v. Uruguay Case

By Alebe Linhares Mesquita and Vivian Daniele Rocha Gabriel This Policy Brief aims to provide a concise analysis of the international investment dispute involving Philip Morris subsidiaries and the Republic of Uruguay. It depicts the main legal and political background that preceded the case, analyzes the decision reached by the arbitral tribunal, and assesses the award’s major regulatory and policy implications. It intends to contribute to the discussions on how and to what extent States can adopt tobacco control measures without violating their international obligations to protect the investment and intellectual property of tobacco companies. The main lesson that can be learned from the analysis of the Philip Morris v. Uruguay case is that investors rights are not absolute and can be relativized when there is a clash between private and public interests, such as in the case of public health. As a result, claims such as indirect expropriation and fair and equitable treatment can be dismissed. Finally, one of the main consequences is the progressive change in the design of international investment treaties, containing more provisions related to the right to regulate.


soon to be a movie about trade agreements impact on New Zealand (Aetorota) They are looking for crowd-funding.

Ongoing negotiations on countries domestic regulations under the GATS Article 1:4 mandate.

The GATS already contains disciplines on barriers to trade in services in the form of restrictions on">market access (Article XVI) and on national treatment</a> (Article XVII). Market access restrictions encompass quantitative restrictions such as limitations on the number of services suppliers, total value of services transactions or assets, total number of services operations, the total quantity of services output, the total number of persons that may be employed, as well as measures restricting or requiring specific types of legal entity or joint venture, and foreign equity limitations. <p> The obligation of national treatment prohibits the discriminatory treatment of foreign services and services suppliers when compared to domestic services and services suppliers. In drafting the GATS, negotiators recognized that non-quantitative, non-discriminatory measures relating to licensing and qualification requirements and procedures, and technical standards could also adversely affect trade in services. For example, excessively lengthy, complex and opaque licensing procedures may discourage foreign services providers from doing business in the market of another WTO member. By the same token, lack of objective and transparent criteria, on the basis of which authorities would grant a qualification, may disguise protectionist intentions. Article VI:4 is not intended to start a deregulatory process, but rather to lead to better regulation that has the potential to address and prevent undesirable regulatory practices. In more general terms, WTO negotiations on domestic regulation disciplines seek to boost good regulatory practices and to enhance regulatory quality, with a view to boosting economic growth and development. </p> Evolution of the negotiations Between 1995 and 1998, WTO members negotiated in the Working Party on Professional Services the <a href="" target="_blank">Disciplines on Domestic Regulation in the Accountancy Sector</a> (<u>S/L/64</u>) and adopted the Guidelines for Mutual Recognition Agreements or Arrangements in the Accountancy Sector (S/L/38). The Accountancy Disciplines were intended to be integrated into the GATS at the end of the Doha Round of trade negotiations (S/L/63). Therefore, they have not yet entered into force. Subsequently, a <a href="">Working Party on Domestic Regulation</a> was established in 1999 for the continuation of the negotiations, replacing the earlier Working Party on Professional Services. The mandate of the Working Party is to develop generally applicable disciplines and to develop disciplines as appropriate for individual sectors.</p> <p> WTO members have focused on negotiating general disciplines on domestic regulation applicable to any services sectors within the scope of the GATS. Members felt that work on general disciplines would be more efficient than negotiating specific disciplines for each sector. </p> <p> In December 2005, the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration called on members to intensify negotiations and to develop a text for adoption before the end of the Doha Round.&nbsp; </p> <p> In the Working Party on Domestic Regulation, more than 60 WTO members have submitted drafting proposals. These were consolidated into a number of texts issued by the chair of the working party. &nbsp;The most recent was contained in a 2011 <a href="" target="_blank" title="MS word format; opens in a new window">Progress Report</a> reflecting progress in the negotiations up to 2011 and containing possible options for disciplines on domestic regulation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Following a slowdown in negotiations between 2012 and 2015, activities were revived in 2016, with a number of text proposals submitted by members in the hope of securing an outcome by the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires in December 2017. However, no outcome was achieved at MC11. </p> The Working Party on Domestic Regulation met most recently in March 2019 to discuss a revised proposal for disciplines on domestic regulation.</p>

A teaser: TISA, Trump and the security industry by Jane Herbstritt

Question: What’s the connection between US President Donald Trump, GEO group – the private prison operator that runs Dungavel immigration centre, and TISA, the super-privatisation global trade deal? The answer: They all make, or will make, huge profits for the security industry (the companies that run for-profit prisons and immigration centres in the UK and the US).

Private prisons in Australia: our 20 year trial

by John Alizzi ---- The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons – Dostoevsky, The House of the Dead ----- Prisons run by private companies are now part of many justice systems around the world. Archaic signs reading ‘Her Majesty’s Prison’ are far from the emerging reality of modern, for-profit facilities. State and Federal governments worldwide have turned to private enterprise to provide better and cheaper services – “efficiency” – contracting out what is traditionally a public responsibility. ------ In Australia, whether the various trials of private prisons in the last 20 years will give way to sweeping privatisation, remain as is, or revert back to full public stewardship is unclear. What are the prospects of private prisons in Australia, and what are the likely implications for prisoners, prison staff, and public safety?

Prison Privatization in Australia (report)

Prison Privatisation in Australia: The State of the Nation Accountability, Costs, Performance and Efficiency Associate Professor Jane Andrew, Dr Max Baker and Dr Philip Roberts

Private prisons, TiSA and the human services privatisation creep

TiSA, according to WikiLeaks and other whistleblowing sites, is a deal that will “lock in” the privatisation of services — even in cases where private service delivery has failed. Governments would never be able to return water, energy, health, education or other services to public hands. Perhaps this is why there is such secrecy and a five-year clause preventing public access to the TiSA agreement after it has been signed. We have seen the Australian Federal Government’s attitude towards human services with Centrelink and Medicare, and the absolute lack of transparency when it comes to the treatment of private prison operators in Australia. Should our tax payer dollars be used to pay private, overseas companies bonuses for fulfilling their contract’s? If companies need incentives to do a good job it sounds like human services belongs in the hands of public. When will state government’s using private, prison operators admit that a lack of staffing appears to be much of that sectors problems? And, lastly, I implore you to help create awareness about this, if they come for our services it will be the end of Australia or the world as we know it.

“a State cannot use safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth.”

"The state of Washington issued regulations in 2019 that would limit the volatility of crude oil being transported by rail through the state. As DeSmog has reported, lowering the volatility of dangerous crude oil like the Bakken oil from North Dakota is necessary to remove the threats of these bomb trains. To limit the volatility of the crude oil being produced in the Bakken region that is currently being shipped by rail to Washington refineries, oil producers would need to stabilize the oil by removing volatile natural gas liquids like propane and butane — something producers refuse to do because those natural gas liquids that make the oil more volatile and dangerous also make it more valuable to refineries. In 2019 Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources, made it clear that to remove the volatile elements of the Bakken crude oil mixture would “devalue the crude oil immensely.” In 2020, however, PHMSA overruled Washington and argued that it did so because “a State cannot use safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth.” As a result, the dangerous trains continued to move volatile oil through Washington. In December, a train full of volatile Bakken crude oil was going seven miles per hour on a straight flat track in Custer, Washington. It derailed and the tank cars ruptured and spilled oil which immediately ignited in the middle of town. As it has done with the dangerous practice of moving oil and ethanol by rail, by not requiring known safety improvements like modern ECP brakes for LNG trains, PHMSA is also effectively allowing the rail industry to volunteer to make any safety improvements instead of doing its job of regulating safety."

Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts (OffshoreAlert)

(Brooke Harrington) A behind-the-scenes, eye-witness account of the international wealth management profession from a sociologist who has spent the last eight years researching it, during which time she trained to become a wealth manager and visited 18 offshore jurisdictions.

Could glutathione depletion be the Trojan horse of COVID-19 mortality?

"This review identified this common pathway to be a low baseline of reduced glutathione (i.e., GSH) level. In particular, this review provided an in-depth discussion regarding the pathophysiology by which COVID-19 leads to GSH depletion, tissue damage, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. In addition, the current review demonstrated how GSH depletion could result in failure of the immune system and rendering the end organs vulnerable to damage from the oxidative stress. CONCLUSIONS: This preclinical study shows that GSH depletion may have a central role in COVID-19 mortality and pathophysiology. Therefore, elevating the GSH level in tissues may decrease the severity and mortality rates of COVID-19."

Molecular modelling of the antiviral action of Resveratrol derivatives against the activity of two novel SARS CoV-2 and 2019-nCoV receptors

"The molecular docking approach can provide a fast prediction of the positive influence the targets on the COVID-19 outbreak. In this work, we choose resveratrol (RV) derivatives (22 cases) and two newly released coordinate structures for COVID-19 as receptors [Papain-like Protease of SARS CoV-2 (PBD ID: 6W9C) and 2019-nCoV RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase (PBD ID: 6M71)]. The results show that conformational isomerism is significant and useful parameter for docking results. A wide spectrum of interactions such as Van der Waals, conventional hydrogen bond, Pi-donor hydrogen bond, Pi-Cation, Pi-sigma, Pi-Pi stacked, Amide-Pi stacked and Pi-Alkyl is detected via docking of RV derivatives and COVID-19 receptors. The potential inhibition effect of RV-13 (-184.99 kj/mol), and RV-12 (-173.76 kj/mol) is achieved at maximum value for 6W9C and 6M71, respectively." A. Ranjbar, M. Jamshidi, S. Torabi Molecular modelling of the antiviral action of Resveratrol derivatives against the activity of two novel SARS CoV-2 and 2019-nCoV receptors Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci Year: 2020 Vol. 24 - N. 14 Pages: 7834-7844 DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202007_22288

"reforming global health security"

"This wave of optimism from Washington D.C. swept through W.H.O virtual board meeting, when the U.S. renewed its commitment to global health in the gentle glow of camaraderie. This is a shot in the arm for scientific collaboration and diplomacy in these challenging times. It also sets the stage for a contest on who will ultimately shape WHO in the post-pandemic world."

How the rich get richer – money in the world economy | DW Documentary

Exploding real estate prices, zero interest rate and a rising stock market – the rich are getting richer. What danger lies in wait for average citizens? For years, the world’s central banks have been pursuing a policy of cheap money. The first and foremost is the ECB (European Central Bank), which buys bad stocks and bonds to save banks, tries to fuel economic growth and props up states that are in debt. But what relieves state budgets to the tune of hundreds of billions annoys savers: interest rates are close to zero. The fiscal policies of the central banks are causing an uncontrolled global deluge of money. Experts are warning of new bubbles. In real estate, for example: it’s not just in German cities that prices are shooting up. In London, a one-bed apartment can easily cost more than a million Euro. More and more money is moving away from the real economy and into the speculative field. Highly complex financial bets are taking place in the global casino - gambling without checks and balances. The winners are set from the start: in Germany and around the world, the rich just get richer. Professor Max Otte says: "This flood of money has caused a dangerous redistribution. Those who have, get more." But with low interest rates, any money in savings accounts just melts away. Those with debts can be happy. But big companies that want to swallow up others are also happy: they can borrow cheap money for their acquisitions. Coupled with the liberalization of the financial markets, money deals have become detached from the real economy. But it’s not just the banks that need a constant source of new, cheap money today. So do states. They need it to keep a grip on their mountains of debt. It’s a kind of snowball system. What happens to our money? Is a new crisis looming? The film 'The Money Deluge' casts a new and surprising light on our money in these times of zero interest rates.

Expression of ACE2 and a viral virulence-regulating factor CCN family member 1 in human iPSC-derived neural cells: implications for COVID-19-related CNS disorders

It has been reported that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes not only pneumonia but also systemic inflammations including central nervous system (CNS) disorders. However, little is known about the mechanism that triggers the COVID-19-associated CNS disorders, due to the lack of appropriate experimental systems. Our present study showed that angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), a cellular receptor for SARS-CoV-2, is expressed in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (hiPSC-NS/PCs) and young neurons. Furthermore, together with database analysis, we found that a viral virulent factor CCN family member 1 (CCN1), which is known to be induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection, is expressed in these cells at basal levels. Considering the role of CCN1 which is known to be involved in viral toxicity and inflammation, hiPSC-NS/PCs could provide an excellent model for COVID-19-associated CNS disorders from the aspect of SARS-CoV-2 infection-ACE2-CCN1 axis. In addition, we identified compounds that reduce CCN1 expression. Collectively, our study using hiPSC-NS/PCs may aid in the development of a therapeutic target for COVID-19-related CNS disorders.

Integrated Bioinformatics Analysis for the Screening of Associated Pathways and Therapeutic Drugs in Coronavirus Disease 2019

COVID-19 caused by a novel coronavirus, a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has recently broken out worldwide. Up to now, the development of vaccine is still in the stage of clinical research, and there is no clinically approved specific antiviral drug for human coronavirus infection. The purpose of this study is to investigate the key molecules involved in response during SARS-CoV-2 infection and provide references for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. Methods: We conducted in-depth and comprehensive bioinformatics analysis of human proteins identified with SARS-CoV-2, including functional enrichment analysis, protein interaction network analysis, screening of hub genes, and evaluation of their potential as therapeutic targets. In addition, we used the gene-drug database to search for inhibitors of related biological targets. Results: Several significant pathways, such as PKA, centrosome and transcriptional regulation, may greatly contribute to the development and progression of COVID-2019 disease. Taken together 15 drugs and 18 herb ingredients were screened as potential drugs for viral treatment. Specially, the trans-resveratrol can significantly reduce the expression of N protein of MERS-CoV and inhibit MERS-CoV. In addition, trans-resveratrol, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and BX795 all show good anti multiple virus effects.

EU makes tech alliance offer to Biden administration ‘Make multilateralism great again’. Is it all about providing cover for new "Orwellian" agenda? It certainly looks as if it is.

"The EU presented a new transatlantic agenda on Wednesday, laying out a wish-list for better ties with the US on technology, trade, climate change and public health preparedness. EU foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell said the push for closer cooperation with the incoming US president Joe Biden is an attempt to get off a “bumpy road”. “We want to make multilateralism great again,” Borrell said, presenting the plan. The European Commission is proposing a new ‘Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council’ to set joint standards on new technologies. Areas of work would include 5G mobile networks, artificial intelligence and data flows. Borrell dismissed the suggestion that the new proposal is about siding with the US to outflank China and prevent China from dominating important economic and technological sectors. “That would be a crazy objective. We need China,” he said. Washington and Brussels "must work closely together on solving bilateral trade irritants", the commission said in a 12-page paper, noting that EU-US commerce accounts for a third of world trade." Irritants like democracy?

‘A good day for global health’: US to join COVAX program, fulfill obligations to WHO

The United States under President Joe Biden intends to join the COVAX vaccine facility that aims to deliver vaccines to poor countries, his chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci has told the World Health Organisation. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the announcement to the WHO executive board, saying: “This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health.” “President Biden will issue a directive later today which will include the intent of the United States to join COVAX and support the ACT-Accelerator to advance multilateral efforts for COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic distribution, equitable access, and research and development,”

Protective effects of resveratrol on acute kidney injury in rats with sepsis.

Resveratrol significantly decreased the mortality rate of septic rats and alleviated AKI, probably by attenuating endoplasmic reticulum stress, inhibiting activation of the NF-κB pathway and mitigating the inflammatory response. --- The survival rate of cecal ligation + Res group (75.00%) significantly exceeded that of the CLP group (41.67%) (P<0.05). At postoperative 12 h, resveratrol significantly decreased serum creatinine and urea nitrogen levels (P<0.05). Resveratrol evidently relieved renal tubular swelling and luminal narrowing in CLP rats, and significantly reduced the high expressions of GRP78, BiP, phosphorylated IRE1 and p65 proteins (P<0.05). P65 was mainly located in the cytoplasm of Sham, Sham + Res and CLP + Res groups, and in the nucleus of the CLP group. At postoperative 12 h, resveratrol significantly reduced serum levels TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 in CLP rats (P<0.05), whereas elevated that of IL-10 (P<0.05). This has application to COVID-19 ICU treatment.

Effective inhibition of MERS-CoV infection by resveratrol.

By consecutive administration of resveratrol, we were able to reduce the concentration of resveratrol while achieving inhibitory effectiveness against MERS-CoV. CONCLUSION: In this study, we first demonstrated that resveratrol is a potent anti-MERS agent in vitro …

How Government Contracts Became Next Trade War Front

(Bloomberg, Feb 20, 2020) Global trade tensions have a new front: government contracts. President Donald Trump is said to be mulling America’s withdrawal from a decades-old pact known as the Government Procurement Agreement. Overseen by the World Trade Organization, the GPA is an agreement among a group of 48 WTO members that offers preferential access to contracts worth $1.7 trillion per year.

The (Oppressively undemocratic, elitist) World Economic Forum is slowly taking over the UN

The World Economic Forum is a lobby of the 1000 largest multinational corporations calling itself “THE international organization for public-private cooperation”. According to the WEF, the most important political business and other leaders of society are involved in determining global, regional and industry agendas. The agenda is set by the 100 largest and most influential who contribute the most money. In all major countries, the forum has “hubs” in the largest cities, where the “global shapers” are networked with one another. The final GRI report was called “Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World” and was 600 pages long. The forum seems to have removed it from its website in the meantime. The link to download the report on the relevant page of the forum no longer works. There is a short version in the form of a Readers’ Guide on the website of the University of Massachusetts Boston, from which I will cite below. In the section titled “An Overview of the WEF’s Perspective” it says clearly that the goal is to replace the UN- and nations-based system of global governance by one that the corporations like better

A Massive Loss of Habitat: New Drivers for Migration

Saskia Sassen: The paper examines three emergent migration flows, each with specific features that can be described as extreme. The effort organizing the paper is to understand conditions at places of origin that lead people to risk their lives in dangerous trips to escape those places of origin. As is by now known, these migrants are not the poorest of the poor in their places of origins. The rapid surge in these flows combined with the conditions they leave behind raise a question that organizes much of the analysis: Are the categories we use to understand and describe migrations—that is, the notion of people in search of a better life, who leave behind a family and home that they want to support from afar and possibly return to–enough to capture the specificity of these emergent flows. My answer is: not quite. One big difference from the past is that part of the story is a massive loss of habitat due to a variety of extreme patterns, from massive land-grabs to poisoning of land and water due to mining. The paper examines how the development models implemented over the last 30 and more years have enabled some of these negative conditions. Further, another major factor reducing the habitat of these migrants is a proliferation of asymmetric wars. Both sets of factors reduce the habitat for more people. One outcome of this combination of elements is these new migrations. Keywords:migration, development, globalization

"No more vampire treaties" The Global South has much to lose with so called Free Trade Agreements – Interview with Sanya Reid Smith

By Gerhard Dilger Ms. Smith, what chances and what risks are there for the countries of the Global South when negotiating so-called new generation free trade agreements (FTAs), or vampire treaties? Let´s take the Mercosur-EU negotiations as an example. ------------------------ sanya: Latin America is facing many FTA negotiations at the moment and they’re all being negotiated in secret, so they can be called vampire treaties – we don’t know what’s in them unless the text is leaked...

The Totalitarian Dystopia of the World Economic Forum is Becoming Reality

A global, totalitarian system? The KTDI White Paper makes clear the great ambition of the project in its conclusions: This paper outlines the ambition for KTDI to provide the foundations for a globally accepted decentralized identity ecosystem. Further development and wider adoption depend on maximizing data exchange interoperability and federated trust. Success will rest upon cooperation between world governments, regulators, the aviation industry, technology providers and other players to establish global standards and specifications for compliance by all stakeholders. "The conditions for enforcing this global surveillance standard are excellent." it says "The Known Traveller project uses technical standards for verifiable credentials and decentralized identifiers as they are currently being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) . W3C is the most important standards-setting body for the Internet and is dominated by US-American Internet and telecommunications companies."

Real-time facial recognition and remote biometrics combine in Idemia NSS’ ‘installation of the future’

Idemia NSS recently won an OTA to provide the government with a different and disruptive solution, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX program. The company developed a suite of technologies, consisting of I2 Embedded, I2 Access, and I2 Verify, which overhaul the process, starting with remote registration that can be carried out from home, and work together to enable what Idemia NSS calls “the installation of the future.” Not only does this streamline access control and permissions processes, it also gives base operators the capacity to identify the occupants of a car speeding into the base at 80mph with facial recognition. The frictionless biometric entrance capability also works with tracking on base, provides a way to let someone into a building without keeping them waiting out in the rain, and even access into digital environment. Idemia NSS Senior Solutions Engineer Stanley Lagrenade demonstrated the ID document capture, automatic information-capturing, and selfie biometrics of the I2 Verify mobile enrollment app. By moving identification processes forward, traffic can also be directed in ways that avoid bottlenecks, such as by sending preregistered visitors through a fast lane. As they approach the base, vehicles and people are scanned with biometrics, thermal and infrared cameras from different angles.

Globalization 2.0 will not be unfettered, Google learns

The significance of the decision lies in the context of the push and pull between the old continent and the United States, and in the fact that at issue is a piece of software which is nominally open source, not governed by the institutional norms regarding intellectual property.

ID 2020 – a unified digital identity for everybody on earth

Norbert Haring is right on top of scary series of developments that US media is ignoring. What amounts to a push to vastly extend a net of control, using cashless digital ID technology. while taking away peoples means of preserving privacy. In the event of a solar storm which wiped out the grid for possibly years, in a cashless global economy billions of people would starve to death.

Harvard Kennedy School: National TV news has created the perception Congress is more polarized than it is

Denise-Marie Ordway highlights a study showing that national network and cable TV news outlets have given the most airtime to Congress members with the most extreme views, exacerbating the public's perception of a highly polarized federal legislative branch. "The Congress that gets reported in the media is a different ideological distribution than Congress as it exists," Joshua P. Darr, an assistant professor of political communication at Louisiana State University, tells Ordway. "The media feature these extreme legislators and that makes Congress seem more extreme than it is."

Saskia Sassen: "Our economic system no longer incorporates but expels" (in French)

A sociology professor at Columbia University in New York, Saskia Sassen is an atypical intellectual. She is one of those minds capable of theoretical flashes of globalization (like her concept of “predatory formations” ), while imagining daily political mobilizations. It was with her book on megalopolises released in 1996 - the Global City, Descartes & Cie - that the Dutch-American made herself known, questioning the happy discourse on globalized cities. Long before the criticism of the bobo, she identifies the logic of exclusion that can engender interconnected cities. This time, it is a vision of the globalized economy that she proposes in Expulsions,his new essay. An intervention book aimed at as many people as possible to grasp a paradox: why does the extreme complexity of the cross-border economy generate "primitive forms of accumulation" while strongly unbalancing the distribution of wealth?

WTO COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver Proposal: Myths, realities and an opportunity for governments to protect access to medical tools in a pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, one of the challenges is the negative impact that intellectual property (IP) barriers have had in the past and are anticipated to have on the scale up of manufacturing and supply of lifesaving COVID-19 medical tools across the world. Given this, South Africa and India submitted a landmark proposal earlier this year to the World Trade Organization (WTO) requesting that countries be allowed to waive certain IP rights, under the Agreement of Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), until the majority of the world population receives effective vaccines and develops immunity to COVID-19. Unfortunately, some WTO members – Australia, Brazil, Canada, the EU, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the UK, and the US – oppose this proposal. Some of these countries have traditionally backed the interests of pharmaceutical corporations through a proprietary IP system. Opponents of the TRIPS waiver proposal have promoted some myths regarding the impact of IP on COVID-19 technologies. This briefing document dispels those myths and explains why all countries should support the waiver proposal to protect access to lifesaving medical tools in a pandemic.

Saskia Sassen on the Age of Extraction

"What marks the specificity of our current period is that we have extracted so many resources from our planet and pushed so many people and whole communities off their land to do so, that this extractive logic is now becoming highly visible. Elsewhere I have argued that this extractive mode has also generated new types of migrations. And it is not clear to me how this all ends, but it can’t be very good." GT: "Recently I was reading an article in which you were positing the importance of considering expulsion as an analytical category, which adds something more to the well-established category of exclusion, as it introduces the concept of ‘systemic edge’. What are the main differences between borders, peripheries, and systemic edges?" SS: "Very glad you picked up on this. In Expulsions I develop an argument, partly methodological and partly conceptual, that aims at identifying a radical rupture that goes well beyond what is captured with more familiar categories such as inequality and social exclusion. When that systemic edge is crossed, such conditions become invisible to our ‘standard measures’. I see a multiplication of sharp breaking points that can be thought of as systemic edges. Once crossed you are in a different space; it is not simply a less agreeable or liveable zone, as might be the spaces of social exclusion. It is far more radical: you are out."

Extrinsic fraud

This is a legal concept. Is it relevant to how the right to regulate and the right to govern is being taken? See also Rodrik's Trilemma of the global economy.

Adverse possession

This is a legal concept. Is it applicable to FTA's theft of the nations and world from our planet's people?

"TISA's Threat to Democracy" A Trade Justice Alliance Webinar

"The TISA would override your Constitution, override your domestic laws" - 55:30 (Sanya Reid Smith) 2 hour video with: Sanya Reid Smith, Legal Advisor and Senior Researcher, Third World Network, Deborah James, Director of International Programs at the Center for Economic and Policy Research ABOUT TISA: TISA, the Trade in Services Agreement or TiSA, is the largest multilateral trade deal ever negotiated, and currently includes 50 countries. TiSA would set the rules for “services” that the text defines so broadly as to encompass almost all areas of our lives. TiSA would apply to approximately 80% of the global economy yet the massive corporate-designed agreement has been negotiated completely behind closed doors without public input. Without WikiLeaks, we would know very little. TiSA would inhibit regulations of the very banks that brought down the global economy, destroy online privacy and data protections and would legally codify global privatization of the commons, including access to clean water, public education and quality health care. TiSA would entrench neoliberal dirty energy projects like fracking and tar sands at the expense of renewables like solar and wind power. Despite President Trump’s proclaimed opposition to TPP, and his checkered messages around NAFTA, he has yet to say one word about TiSA which has farther-reaching implications.

Copyright and the Right to Repair

QUT Faculty of Law Thursday, 29 October 2020 Session 4 Intellectual Property and the Right to Repair Professor Leanne Wiseman and Dr Kanchana Kariyawasam Abstract The inability to repair and modify consumer goods is increasingly and globally important as countries transition to Circular Economies. The inability of Australians to repair their smart goods or to access repair or service information has a significant impact on not only the Australian economy, but also its economic future. At the heart of legal and regulatory barriers to repair are the IP rights exerted by the manufactures. This paper will focus on the role that copyright plays in inhibiting consumer’s ability to repair their goods. Manufacturers of digital enabled goods, such as our smart phones, smart watches and the myriad of smart devices that now inhabit our homes, use copyright in the computer software to ‘lock’ up consumer goods. They rely upon the copyright scheme of technological protection measures (TPMs), developed in the 1990s to protect music, film and other digital works to prohibit access to the underlying software programs that are now embedded in everyday smart consumables. In addition to TPMs, copyright owners are using copyright law to deny access to basic repair information in product manuals. This has attracted much recent attention, particularly in relation to access to repair information for ventilators, that have been so urgently needed during the Covid 19 crisis. This paper will explore how copyright owner’s excessive control over the owner’s ability to repair and modify physical goods has given rise to the international right to repair movement. In so doing, it will consider the different regulatory approaches being taken to the Right to Repair internationally, and explores how reform of IP, particularly copyright law, could rebalance the competing demands of private incentives for product and technology innovation and the public’s concerns over access to goods that have digital technologies embedded within them. Biographies Professor Leanne Wiseman is a Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Griffith Law School, Griffith University. Her research addresses critical questions about the role intellectual property plays in hindering or enabling access to new technologies. She has published widely on intellectual property, in particular, copyright law, and its intersection with new digital technologies. Her current research focus is on intellectual property and the right to repair and legal implications of the digitalisation occurring in consumables, motor vehicles and agricultural machinery. Dr Kanchana Kariyawasam is a Senior Lecturer in Griffith Business School at Griffith University. Kanchana's primary research interests lie in the field of intellectual property (IP) law and her publications are in the fields of intellectual property and consumer Law. Kanchana completed her PhD in IP Law at Griffith and holds Masters Degree in IP from the University of Queensland. She has published widely on copyright law and information technology, patent law and biotechnology, and access to medicines.

The Trojan Horse of e-commerce.

The Trojan Horse of e-Commerce Professor Jane Kelsey (University of Auckland) Intellectual Property and Trade in the Pacific Century Brisbane, 22 June 2017 QUT Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Program The comprehensive chapter on electronic commerce in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) heralded a game changer in the negotiation of international rules. The benign chapter heading belies a fundamental rewriting of the international trade rules to serve the rapid growth of digital economy, controlled by a powerful oligopoly of mega-corporations. Their stated goal is to achieve global rules that protect them from national regulation of their activities for the indefinite future. The TPP text has since been tabled in the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), judging by a leaked list of the headings of articles in the e-commerce chapter. If adopted, these rules would impose huge and unforeseeable fetters on the sovereignty of governments to regulate their economies, and address related issues of privacy, security and consumer protection. The cross-fertilisation of the e-commerce chapters with others on cross-border services, financial services, telecommunications and transparency would create a regime of unprecedented constraints and complexity that even advanced countries in RCEP would struggle to implement them, let alone the developing and least developed country parties in the RCEP.

Jane Kelsey: Secret talks bring threat of financial crises

"They also want to make light-handed regulation the global norm. A standstill rule aims to freeze the existing level of regulation as the new bottom line. What Wikileaks posted was the draft chapter on financial services. We can assume it will be very similar to the TPP's financial services chapter. This is especially scary, because it aims to extend the model of liberalised and deregulated financial markets that brought us the global financial crisis. The International Monetary Fund has criticised the US and EU for being in denial over the risks this model poses to themselves and the world. Yet they are pushing a more extreme version in Tisa, and, presumably, in the TPP. The Wikileaks expose caused a flurry across the Tasman. Journalists realised that Tisa could threaten the four pillars policy that prevents mergers and takeovers among the Australian banks, who own most of ours. Limiting competition means less reckless behaviour. Removing those restraints means pressure for even higher returns and temptations to play Russian roulette in the shadow banking system."

FTC Settles Facial Recognition Misuse Suit With Everalbum

According to the complaint, users upload photos and videos to Ever’s cloud servers and Ever’s features automatically organize users’ photos and videos into albums by location and date. The complaint noted that in 2017, Ever launched its “Friends” features, which “uses face recognition to group users’ photos by faces of the people who appear in the photos.” A user can tag and name the individuals in their photos. The FTC claimed that the Friends facial recognition feature was enabled by default, however, Everalbum allegedly did not give users the option to disable this feature. Meanwhile, Everalbum claimed that it would not apply facial recognition without users’ consent. In May 2018, for users in select locations, the app presented a pop-up message requesting users to select if they would like the app to use facial recognition, thus disabling the feature unless users selected yes; this pop-up was presented to all users in April 2019. Therefore, prior to this, users were unable to disable the facial recognition feature and it was automatically active for users and could not be turned off. The FTC averred that since Ever presented users with the pop-up message, “approximately 25% of the approximately 300,000 users who made a selection when presented with the pop-up message chose to turn face recognition off.” However, the complaint also claimed that facial recognition was used for other things in addition to the Friends feature. For example, between September 2017 and August 2019, Everalbum purportedly used users’ photos to train its facial recognition technology. While Everalbum claimed it would delete the photos and videos of deactivated users, it allegedly failed to delete this content until at least October 2019.

EU's TISA fact sheet

The US would never publish a TISA factsheet. BUT one still needs to understand a hell of a lot that they are not explaining, and would never explain to the public. So BEWARE.

How the United States Exports Managed Care To Third World Countries.

As their expansion slows in the United States, managed care organizations will continue to enter new markets abroad. Investors view the opening of managed care in Latin America as a lucrative business opportunity. As public-sector services and social security funds are cut …

Protecting Financial Stability: Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic

Jackson, Howell Edmunds and Schwarcz, Steven L., Protecting Financial Stability: Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic (June 30, 2020). Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2020-39, Harvard Business Law Review, Available at SSRN: or Note: Its stunning how many legal changes have been made in the financial sphere "because of the coronavirus epidemic"

Glossary on free trade agreements and health part 1: the shift from multilateralism and the rise of ‘WTO-Plus’ provisions (2021)

The global trading system has undergone a shift away from multilateral trade negotiations to a ‘spaghetti-bowl’ of regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). In this two-part glossary, we discuss why this shift has occurred, focusing on how it poses new challenges for public health. Specifically, we introduce key terms that shape this new trading environment and explain them through a public health lens. Part 1 of this glossary focuses on provisions in FTAs that build on previous agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO). These provisions are commonly designated as ‘WTO-Plus’. This approach continues into part 2 of the glossary, which also considers components of FTAs that have no precedent within WTO treaties. Following a broader discussion of how the current political context and the COVID-19 pandemic shape the contemporary trade environment, part 2 considers the main areas of trade and health policy incoherence as well as recommendations to address them. This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

Postneoliberal Public Health Care Reforms: Neoliberalism, Social Medicine, and Persistent Health Inequalities in Latin America (2016)

Several Latin American countries are implementing a suite of so-called “postneoliberal” social and political economic policies to counter neoliberal models that emerged in the 1980s. This article considers the influence of postneoliberalism on public health discourses, policies, institutions, and practices in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Social medicine and neoliberal public health models are antecedents of postneoliberal public health care models. Postneoliberal public health governance models neither fully incorporate social medicine nor completely reject neoliberal models. Postneoliberal reforms may provide an alternative means of reducing health inequalities and improving population health.

The Automated Public Sphere

The public sphere has experienced yet another structural transformation. Firms like Facebook and Google have largely automated the types of decisions made by managers at television networks, or editors at newspapers — but with much more powerful effects. Long critiqued in academic circles, the manifest inadequacy of this new media landscape is now itself a matter of public debate... Keywords: Digital Public Sphere, Megaplatforms, Consumer Protection, Media Regulation, Facebook, Google, Black Box Society, Information Privacy, Propaganda, Fake Content Generators, Algorithmic Accountability

Living and Dying in America in 2021

In addition to killing at least 340,000 people in America alone, COVID-19 has accelerated economic trends that promise to undermine the lives and livelihoods of less-educated people in the years ahead. While the pandemic eventually will be brought under control, there is still no end in sight for the epidemic of deaths of despair.

In 2021, Let’s Ring a Global Alarm — on Inequality — That Everyone Can Hear.

"Remember that old joke they used to tell — The customer, precious product in hand, walks over to a haughty sales clerk at a high-end emporium and timidly asks: “How much does this cost.” “If you have to ask,” the sales clerk smiles back, “you can’t afford it.” How much more unequal have we become in 2020? This question demands that we turn that old joke inside-out: We have to ask because we can’t afford not to know. And we can’t afford not to know because inequality is killing us. We have to know exactly what we’re facing. And what we’re facing, the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have just reminded us, doesn’t look good. Yes, they acknowledge, we most certainly will be getting the pandemic much more under control over the course of the year ahead. But that will just leave us with an intolerable status quo ante, with “deaths of despair” — suicides, drug overdoses, and liver disease — taking lives by the tens of thousands. In 2019, the last full pre-pandemic year, “deaths of despair” felled 164,000 Americans, almost triple the annual total a generation earlier. These deaths may well increase significantly in 2021, Case and Deaton fear, “as the structure of the economy shifts.” Many more people will be working remotely post-pandemic than before COVID-19 first hit. Downtowns will be losing service jobs on a permanent basis. The resulting disruptions will likely seriously expand the ranks of the despairing.

WTO: Interview with Peter Sutherland about the Doha Round - Must see

This must be watched to understand how certain powerful entities think. This video is also about this report: Pushing through these changes is a key part of the current events. Listen to what is said about US politics.

Glossary on free trade agreements and health part 1: the shift from multilateralism and the rise of ‘WTO-Plus’ provisions (2021)

The global trading system has undergone a shift away from multilateral trade negotiations to a ‘spaghetti-bowl’ of regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). In this two-part glossary, we discuss why this shift has occurred, focusing on how it poses new challenges for public health. Specifically, we introduce key terms that shape this new trading environment and explain them through a public health lens. Part 1 of this glossary focuses on provisions in FTAs that build on previous agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO). These provisions are commonly designated as ‘WTO-Plus’. This approach continues into part 2 of the glossary, which also considers components of FTAs that have no precedent within WTO treaties. Following a broader discussion of how the current political context and the COVID-19 pandemic shape the contemporary trade environment, part 2 considers the main areas of trade and health policy incoherence as well as recommendations to address them. This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

BMJ Glossary on the World Trade Organisation and public health: part 2 (2006)

Abstract Part 1 of this glossary introduced different health and trade arguments, overviewed the history of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), defined key “trade talk” terms, and reviewed three WTO treaties concerned with trade in goods (GATT 1994, the Agreement on Agriculture, and the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures). Part 2 reviews five more agreements and the growing number of bilateral and regional trade agreements, and concludes with a commentary on different strategies proposed to ensure that health is not compromised by trade liberalisation treaties. View Full Text

BMJ Glossary on free trade agreements and health part 2: new trade rules and new urgencies in the context of COVID-19

Part 1 of this glossary provided a brief background on the rise of regional/bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) and described the health implications of new trade obligations that figure prominently in current and recent trade negotiations, focusing on those provisions that build on previous agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This approach continues into part 2 of the glossary, which also considers components of FTAs that have no precedent within WTO treaties. Following a broader discussion of how the current political context and the COVID-19 pandemic shape the contemporary trade environment, part 2 considers the main areas of trade and health policy incoherence as well as recommendations to address them. ------------------------------------------ This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

World Economic Forum: a history and analysis (TNI)

"These findings raise a number of red flags. Defending institutions, as demonstrated recently by the media solidarity with the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, is one important function of journalism. But the close-knit relationship between the World Economic Forum and many media outlets systematically undermines another, potentially even more important, function of journalism (and social science): questioning institutions. What does it mean to be a responsible journalist? Perhaps we should return to Susan George's description of the responsible social scientist: "The job of the responsible social scientist is first to uncover these forces [of wealth, power and control], to write about them clearly, without jargon ... and finally ... to take an advocacy position in favour of the disadvantaged, the underdogs, the victims of injustice." When media outlets no longer question powerful institutions such as the World Economic Forum, what's the difference between a journalist and a PR manager? Journalists have a choice on whether they satisfy their principals' agendas or if they serve the truth. If all they do is echo the official message, readers will have no choice but to look elsewhere for information."

Workers’ Wages: The Next Frontier in the Financialization of Just About Everything

By Nick Corbishley, From Naked Capitalism. As the virus crisis bites deeper and deeper into workers’ wages and household finances, big money is pouring into workplace finance initiatives. The virus crisis is opening up a rich vein of opportunities for some well-placed financial intermediaries. Salary Finance, one of the UK’s leading workplace lenders, enables cash-strapped workers at its client companies to receive advances on their wages as well as other financial products, including low-interest loans that are deducted directly from workers’ pay checks — a mechanism that sharply reduces default rates, since it’s much more difficult for borrowers to avoid paying their debt if it is extracted directly from their salary.

Financial Globalization, Institutions, and Growth

From an in-progress open access book "Emerging Market Economies and Financial Globalization: Argentina, Brazil, China, India and South Korea" by Leonardo E. Stanley, Kevin Gallagher and Jayati Ghosh on JSTOR. The entire book is open access. TOC URL:

review of: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly

"Building on a historical narrative that uses an extensive data set of their construction, Reinhart and Rogoff (hereafter R&R) show that periods of excessive public debt accumulation generally do not end well. Over time, many countries have defaulted on their debt (including restructuring) for a variety of reasons and by a variety of methods (inflating away the real value of the debt has been very popular). These defaults, they show, can produce detrimental spillover effects. Recent defaults by Russia (1998) and Argentina (2001) come to mind, and the possibility of a future restructuring by Greece looms large for its foreign creditors (for example, European banks)—and for European policymakers. One drawback of R&R’s analysis, which they readily admit, is that it focuses almost entirely on debt issued by governments, or sovereigns, rather than by the private sector. In the financial crisis of 2007-09, which they term the “Second Great Contraction,” the accumulation of private debt (chiefly mortgage debt of the dodgy variety) and the collapse in nominal house prices eventually helped trigger a banking and financial crisis of immense proportions and a collapse in economic activity. In response, federal government outlays in the United States and other advanced economies rose enormously, which resulted in huge budget deficits that have significantly boosted debt-to-GDP levels. Since emerging and developing countries tend to rely heavily on foreign creditors such as large multinational banks, sharply higher debt-to-GDP ratios in the context of weakening economic fundamentals can lead to “sudden stops”—that is, credit is withdrawn abruptly, leading to a cascade of defaults. In advanced economies, which have better credit and inflation histories, and thus sharply lower probabilities of default, rising debt-to-GDP ratios tend to weaken economic growth."

Davos Class: a silent global coup d’etat

The real concern about the WEF, however, is not the personal hypocrisy of its privileged delegates. It is rather that this unaccountable invitation-only gathering is increasingly where global decisions are being taken and moreover is becoming the default form of global governance. There is considerable evidence that past WEFs have stimulated free trade agreements such as NAFTA as well helped rein in regulation of Wall Street in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Less well known is the fact that WEF since 2009 has been working on an ambitious project called the Global Redesign Initiative, (GRI), which effectively proposes a transition away from intergovernmental decision-making towards a system of multi-stakeholder governance. In other words, by stealth, they are replacing a recognized model where we vote in governments who then negotiate treaties which are then ratified by our elected representatives with a model where a self-selected group of ‘stakeholders’ make decisions on our behalf. …

Cancel the Debt of Third World Countries

There is a connection. The Third World Debt is odious and should not have to be paid back because the Western banks *lent it realizing it would be stolen* from those countries people, leaving them having to pay, long after their corrupt leadership had flown the coop. Countries should not be left holding the bag for deals done by their kleptocrats.

Inside the battle over water privatization and whether there should be a human right to, (or a corporate right to sell) precious drinking water.

"ALICANTE, Spain — Last week, U.N. Special Rapporteur On The Human Rights To Safe Drinking Water And Sanitation Léo Heller presented a report on privatization in the water and sanitation sector to the United Nations. Little was mentioned, however, of the behind-the-scenes controversy leading up to it, including a vicious clash between pro- and anti-private sector advocates, accusations of “interference” and bias on both sides, and an appeal to the U.N. Human Rights Council. The report aims to act as a guide to states as they decide whether or not to privatize water and sanitation services by laying out the human rights risks — such as unaffordable services, neglect of sustainability, no improvement or deterioration of services, and corruption — and how to mitigate those risks. The process of putting the research together began at the end of last year with a series of consultations with various entities, followed by a questionnaire."

TiSA: Not our Future

A new report (TiSA: Not our Future!) prepared for the IUF by Professor Jane Kelsey of Auckland University reveals the scope of the corporate power grab through a close examination of TiSA's potential impact on workers across the IUF sectors and TiSA's broader implications for the labour movement, society and democratic governance. The report explains in plain language the meaning and context of TiSA's complex rules and how they are designed to lock in the corporate agenda. TiSA -and 'trade in services' components of other mega-trade deals like the reborn Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, ex-TPPA) - are, on the one hand, a continuation of long-standing efforts to complete the corporations' unfinished agenda at the WTO by establishing enforceable global rules on public and private services, finance and investment, domestic regulation and government procurement. But the new model 'trade in services' fuses these familiar objectives with the potent force of digitally-based technologies expressed in the rise of Big Tech. 'E-commerce' rules in TiSA are not about online shopping. They are about the control of the algorithms and data flows which are essential to the corporate-driven digitalization of everything, including work. When the WTO rules were established over two decades ago, digital 'high precision' agriculture fed a data stream from cloud computers did not exist. Nor did lab-grown meat and dairy, 3D printed meals, 'smart fishing', Airbnb, Amazon Prime food deliveries, UberEats, and digitally-based worker surveillance technologies. Under current WTO rules, the products of IUF sectors like food processing and beverage manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries are treated as goods the moment they cross borders. TiSA introduces another layer of rules, under which every current and future task performed by workers in these sectors can be treated as a discrete, stand-alone 'service' to be outsourced to a transnational 'service provider' who is liberated and protected by TiSA's rules. These service providers would not be required to have a physical presence in the countries they operate in, shielding them from regulation and liability. The same rules would apply to all other manufacturing sectors and to the extractive industries. In the IUF sectors already treated as services - hotels, restaurants, catering - TiSA gives new impetus and encouragement to the ongoing process of outsourcing and casualization. The report identifies the many ways in which TiSA will deepen the concentration of corporate power over all the IUF sectors and accelerate the fragmentation and precariousness of work in each of those sectors, eroding the capacity of workers to organise and to bargain on a workplace, national and international scale. TiSA would accelerate a process of digitalized automation potentially resulting in massive job destruction, while its rules would radically reduce the possibility for workers to negotiate the application and impact of these new technologies. At the same time, TiSA's rules on financial services effectively preclude meaningful efforts to regulate the crisis-prone financial sector through new laws or regulations. The volatile, speculative flow of money which increasingly drives food production and the global economy acquires even greater power to disrupt. Understanding TiSA and similar provisions in the new generation of trade and investment deals is crucial to defeating them. As the report notes, the TiSA negotiations are currently suspended because opposition has made them - for the moment - politically toxic. In the immediate term, the task is to ensure that they are definitively abandoned. Defeating TiSA is both possible and necessary. But in a world where everything is now a 'tradeable service', they will resurface in another guise, just as the investment provisions of the defeated Multilateral Agreement on Investment have regularly resurfaced in the regional and bilateral trade and investment deals. The larger task facing the labour movement and its allies is to unwind the thickening web of trade and investment deals to reclaim the democratic policy space needed to defend worker rights, sustainable livelihoods, public services, the environment and the world's food resources.

From Dictatorship To Democracy

"A short but impressive guide to how to run a democratic revolution. Reportedly rather influential and certainly provides an interesting structure for thought." (Aaron Schwartz)

Poor Economics (book+web site)

"Part of why running a nonprofit is so hard is that pretty much all nonprofits are delegation. Donors aren’t buying a particular thing they know they want, they’re buying a chance to help others, without knowing exactly what it is they want. And that’s why randomized controlled trials have been transformational for the nonprofit sector — they’ve converted a delegation into a service. Great nonprofits don’t have to guess at what will help people the most; they just need to look up the most helpful service and then purchase more of it. Poor Economics is a remarkable book if only because it shows how crucial this is. It’s full of tales of small-scale experiments where well-intentioned do-gooders try hard to help some people and fail catastrophically. But they only notice because there are academics there collecting data; in the typical nonprofit, where the decisionmakers are far removed from the evidence on the ground, they’d probably never know that much was going wrong (assuming that they even cared)."

Private Firms Working in the Public Interest-Is the Financial Statement Audit Broken? Abigail Bugbee Brown

2007 - "The Big Four accounting firms have become the object of much scrutiny following the string of financial statement fraud scandals at the beginning of this century. The apparent involvement of the large auditing firms in the accounting misdeeds comes as a surprise, since the academic literature on auditor incentives predicts that large, reputable firms will not engage in collusion with their clients. The lace of a consensus economic framework to understand the incentives facing the audit firms that reflects the historical reality has hindered consensus building in the policy response to the scandals. This dissertation develops a principal-auditor-agent model that suggests there may well be socially sub-optimal levels of audit intensity, even among the best audit firms. It explores archival historical evidence to identify examples of how these incentives have shaped the profession and develops a more nuanced reading of the root causes of the recent scandals. This work also identifies the gaps in our understanding of the cost and occurrence of fraud that hinders a proper cost-benefit analysis of policy options designed to improve the quality of information available to the market."

The upshot of Polyphenolic compounds on immunity amid COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging communicable diseases: An appraisal

Polyphenols are a large family of more than 10,000 naturally occurring compounds, which exert countless pharmacological, biological and physiological benefits for human health including several chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases. Their role in traditional medicine, such as the use of a wide range of remedial herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, mint, basil), has been well and long known for treating common respiratory problems and cold infections. This review reports on the most highlighted polyphenolic compounds present in up to date literature and their specific antiviral perceptive properties that might enhance the body immunity facing COVID-19, and other viral infectious diseases. In fact, several studies and clinical trials increasingly proved the role of polyphenols in controlling numerous human pathogens including SARS and MERS, which are quite similar to COVID-19 through the enhancement of host immune response against viral infections by different biological mechanisms. Thus, polyphenols ought to be considered as a potential and valuable source for designing new drugs that could be used effectively in the combat against COVID‐19 and other rigorous diseases. Keywords: Polyphenols, Natural product, COVID-19, SARS, Respiratory tract, Infectious diseases

Veolia loses ISDS case against Egypt – after six years and millions in costs

Veolia, the giant French corporation which operates in Australia and world-wide, has finally lost its claim against Egypt over a waste management contract dispute in which they claimed compensation for an increase in the minimum wage under a new labour law. Its claim was for €174 million (A$268 million), and was launched in 2012. On May 25, 2018, the IAR Reporter stated that the ICSID Tribunal had dismissed the claim by Veolia. Veolia has not issued a statement, nor has ICSID, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes of the World Bank, published the details.

Video: Papering over Poverty

This mess is arguably caused by GATS, and Britons, like we Americans, are being kept in the dark about that connection.

For Covid-19 Vaccines, Some Are Too Rich — and Too Poor

"CAPE TOWN — A few months from now, a factory in South Africa is expected to begin churning out a million doses of Covid-19 vaccine each day in the African country hardest-hit by the pandemic. But those vials will probably be shipped to a distribution center in Europe and then rushed to Western countries that have pre-ordered them by the hundreds of millions. None have been set aside for South Africa. The country, which will help manufacture the vaccine and whose citizens have enrolled in clinical trials, does not expect to see the first trickle of doses until around the middle of next year. By then, the United States, Britain and Canada may already have vaccinated more than 100 million people. The first year of the Covid-19 pandemic revealed that a country’s wealth would not spare it from the virus. Overconfidence, poor planning and ignored warnings felled some of the world’s richest nations. But now, money is translating into undeniable advantages. Over the past few months, rich nations like the United States and Britain have cut deals with multiple drug manufacturers and secured enough doses to vaccinate their citizens multiple times over. China and Russia have conducted their own trials and begun mass vaccination programs. Yet countries like South Africa are in a singular bind because they cannot hold out hope for charity. Although its government is nearly insolvent and half of its citizens live in poverty, South Africa is considered too rich to qualify for cut-rate vaccines from international aid organizations. “Where you’re not rich enough but you’re not poor enough, you’re stuck,” said Salim Abdool Karim, an epidemiologist who leads the country’s coronavirus advisory council."