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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. 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."

Unaffordable prescription drugs: the real legacy of the Hatch-Waxman Act

By ALFRED ENGELBERG -This is a 2880 word article by Al Engleberg in Stat, on the Hatch Waxman Act, a law that he played an important role in shaping. The article ends with several of Al's endorsed reforms, including those directed at "minor changes" to a drug. One is to stop granting patents for minor changes, and to eliminate the presumption of validity in USPTO inter partes reviews. He wants FDA regulations changed "to prevent non-essential changes to a drug that serve to delay generic competition." Third, he wants to eliminate injunctions "for infringement of patents claiming minor changes to a drug after the patents claiming the drug itself or its medical use have expired." This last reform is a limitation on the remedy to infringement. Patent holders could seek compensation or remuneration for the use of the patented inventions, but not block their use. Governments that are WTO members can implement such a limitation on the availability of injunctions, under Article 44 of the TRIPS, and there are already such limitations in U.S. law, for some other purposes, such as the government's use of a patented invention, or a limitation on remedies when a biologic drug maker does not provide timely disclosure of patent landscapes to competitors. Engleberg notes that the Supreme Court has held that "aninjunction for patent infringement is discretionary and should not be granted when it would do a disservice to the public interest," (the eBay v Mercexchange case), and he proposes "Congress can make a legislative determination that it is not in the public interest to enjoin generic competition after the patent claiming a new drug or its medical use expires — at least in those instances where an injunction is sought due to the existence of a secondary patent claiming subject matter that is not material to the safety or efficacy of a drug as originally approved."

Fungal virulence, vertebrate endothermy, and dinosaur extinction: is there a connection?

by Arturo Casadevall - Fungi are relatively rare causes of life-threatening systemic disease in immunologically intact mammals despite being frequent pathogens in insects, amphibians, and plants. Given that virulence is a complex trait, the capacity of certain soil fungi to infect, persist, and cause disease in animals despite no apparent requirement for animal hosts in replication or survival presents a paradox. In recent years studies with amoeba, slime molds, and worms have led to the proposal that interactions between fungi and other environmental microbes, including predators, select for characteristics that are also suitable for survival in animal hosts. Given that most fungal species grow best at ambient temperatures, the high body temperature of endothermic animals must provide a thermal barrier for protection against infection with a large number of fungi. Fungal disease is relatively common in birds but most are caused by only a few thermotolerant species. The relative resistance of endothermic vertebrates to fungal diseases is likely a result of higher body temperatures combined with immune defenses. Protection against fungal diseases could have been a powerful selective mechanism for endothermy in certain vertebrates. Deforestation and proliferation of fungal spores at cretaceous-tertiary boundary suggests that fungal diseases could have contributed to the demise of dinosaurs and the flourishing of mammalian species.

Global Warming Will Bring New Fungal Diseases for Mammals

Fungi are major pathogens of plants, other fungi, rotifers, insects, and amphibians, but relatively few cause disease in mammals. Fungi became important human pathogens only in the late 20th century, primarily in hosts with impaired immunity as a consequence of medical interventions or HIV infection. The relatively high resistance of mammals has been attributed to a combination of a complex immune system and endothermy. Mammals maintain high body temperatures relative to environmental temperatures, creating a thermally restrictive ambient for the majority of fungi. According to this view, protection given by endothermy requires a temperature gradient between those of mammals and the environment. We hypothesize that global warming will increase the prevalence of fungal diseases in mammals by two mechanisms: (i) increasing the geographic range of currently pathogenic species and (ii) selecting for adaptive thermotolerance for species with significant pathogenic potential but currently not pathogenic by virtue of being restricted by mammalian temperatures.

Australian government has failed to learn from Robodebt fiasco, new tender seems to be returning to failed policies and targets."Privatising debt collection exposes people to companies who are not accountable"

Critics of the (Australian) Federal Government's botched Robodebt system fear Centrelink's new debt collectors have failed to learn from the mistakes of the unlawful recovery program. Key points: ## Centrelink's new debt collectors will be incentivised to compete with each other ## Those collecting more will win increased work, others will be penalised ## Settling the failed 'Robodebt' scheme cost the Government $1.2 billion ## Tender documents reveal a panel of new collection agencies must continuously compete to beat rigorous financial targets for recovering money from customers: either winning more work or facing penalties. Australian Unemployed Workers Union spokeswoman Kristin O'Connell said she was surprised the department was going to outsource the work. "As the Government's own documents acknowledge, this outsourcing model means debt collectors have incentives that can result in 'unintended and perverse' behaviour to meet targets and trigger fees," Ms O'Connell said.

The Robot Assault On Fukushima - The cleanup will take decades, and it’s no job for humans.

"Government officials originally estimated it would take about 40 years and $50 billion to clean up the plant, decontaminate the surrounding area, and compensate the disaster’s victims. In December 2016, they more than tripled that estimate to $188 billion. “We have never experienced a disaster as big as Fukushima,” Hiroshige Seko, the head of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, told reporters at the time, according to Bloomberg. “With our limited knowledge, it was very difficult to make the previous forecast.”

Therapeutic blockade of inflammation in severe COVID-19 infection with intravenous N-acetylcysteine

Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency facilitates human coronavirus infection due to glutathione depletion. G6PD deficiency may especially predispose to hemolysis upon coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection when employing pro-oxidant therapy. However, glutathione depletion is reversible by N-acetylcysteine (NAC) administration. We describe a severe case of COVID-19 infection in a G6PD-deficient patient treated with hydroxychloroquine who benefited from intravenous (IV) NAC beyond reversal of hemolysis. NAC blocked hemolysis and elevation of liver enzymes, C-reactive protein (CRP), and ferritin and allowed removal from respirator and veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenator and full recovery of the G6PD-deficient patient. NAC was also administered to 9 additional respirator-dependent COVID-19-infected patients without G6PD deficiency. NAC elicited clinical improvement and markedly reduced CRP in all patients and ferritin in 9/10 patients. NAC mechanism of action may involve the blockade of viral infection and the ensuing cytokine storm that warrant follow-up confirmatory studies in the setting of controlled clinical trials. Keywords: Coronavirus 19, COVID-19, N-acetylcysteine, Glutathione, Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, Mechanistic target of rapamycin, C-reactive protein, Ferritin, Respirator, Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Domestic Regulation within the Framework of GATS

by Jan Wouters and Dominic Coppens, Institute for International Law Working Paper No 93 - May 2006 1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... 4 2. EXPLORING THE WEIGHING SCALE OF GATS: BALANCING MEMBERS’ RIGHT TO REGULATE AND TRADE LIBERALIZATION ....... 4 3. GENERAL FRAMEWORK OF GATS ............................................................. 7 3.1. SCOPE ............................................................................................................. 7 3.2. GENERAL OBLIGATIONS ................................................................................... 8 3.3 SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS ................................................................................... 9 3.4. GENERAL EXCEPTIONS ................................................................................... 11 3.5. PROGRESSIVE LIBERALIZATION ...................................................................... 12 3.6. INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES ................................................................................... 12 4. ARTICLE VI ON DOMESTIC REGULATION WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF GATS ................................................................................... 12 4.1. THE ROLE OF ARTICLE VI IN THE FRAMEWORK OF GATS................................ 12 4.2. ADMINISTRATION AND APPLICATION OF DOMESTIC REGULATIONS.................. 14 4.3. FUTURE DISCIPLINES ON DOMESTIC REGULATION .......................................... 16 4.3.1. The Working Party on Domestic Regulation (WPDR)............................. 17 4.3.2. Disciplines Developed under Article VI:4: the Accountancy Disciplines 19 4.3.3. Key Issues for Future Disciplines........................................................... 21 a) Legal Status of Future Disciplines............................................................ 21 b) Scope of Future Disciplines ..................................................................... 22 1. Type of Measures................................................................................. 22 2. Restricted to Non-Discriminatory Measures? ....................................... 24 3. Unconditional or Conditional Disciplines? ........................................... 35 4. Level of Government ........................................................................... 36 5. Sectoral or Horizontal Level?............................................................... 38 c) Content of Future Disciplines................................................................... 39 1. Transparency disciplines ...................................................................... 39 2. Necessity Test...................................................................................... 41 3. Mutual Recognition.............................................................................. 48 4. Role of International Standards ............................................................ 50 4.3.4. Article VI:5 on Provisional Application ................................................. 51 5. CONCLUSION: BALANCING THE RIGHT TO REGULATE AND TRADE LIBERALIZATION, EQUILIBRIUM REACHED?........................................... 53

Potential therapeutic effects of Resveratrol against SARS-CoV-2

Home Acta Virologica 2020 Acta Virologica Vol.64, No.3, p.276-280, 2020 --- Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 or Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) as well as Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), are human pathogens. Current pandemics of SARS-CoV-2 represents a major health problem worldwide, with over four million cases and more than 300,000 deaths in the world. Development of effective therapy thus became an emergency. This report aims to highlight Resveratrol as possible therapeutic candidate in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The antiviral efficacy of Resveratrol was demonstrated for several viruses, including coronavirus. Resveratrol was shown to mitigate the major pathways involved in the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2, including regulation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), stimulation of immune system and downregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines release. It was also reported to promote SIRT1 and p53 signaling pathways and increase cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) immune cells. In addition, Resveratrol was demonstrated to be a stimulator of fetal hemoglobin and a potent antioxidant, by trapping reactive oxygen species (ROS). According to these reports, Resveratrol could be proposed as potential therapeutics in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Resveratrol; antiviral activity; immune response; ACE2; oxidative stress; HbF.

TISA Dispute Settlement - TISA Training Day 2

US is requiring countries to liberalize (privatize and end public services for corporations) Training on the TISA with trade expert Jane Kelsey - trade expert from New Zealand See also

China, GATS, Trump: Do Non-US Insurers Get A Piece Of The China-US Trade Deal?

Of course these kinds of deals will make buying their regulatory freedom (required, under GATS Artiicle XXI (21)) and making any kinds of public healthcare scheme subsequently much more costly, quite likely so costly as to become impossible for the governments of both countries. But not as much as what going ahead ignoring GATS would cost! Not exactly what their peoples best interests require given the uncertain future, but certainly what their corporations very much want locked in forever, as soon as possible.

Lighthizer on a Sunset Clause in NAFTA

ALL US FTAS should have 5 year sunset clause. Having FTAS bind our nation forever is literally killing our democracy. Also see clip of the hearing on CSPAN - and read this comment on ---- "Joel Trachtman said... "No need for a clause like this if, as the ALI posits, the president already has independent authority to terminate trade agreements. The inclusion of this clause suggests that perhaps he does not."

Legal Commentary on Article XIX GATS: Progressive Liberalization (GATS' noose?)

Panos Delimatsis Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg Law School - Date Written: 2008 This is written in the format used in law books and its examining the chapters of the GATS which define it's one-way, noose-like "progressive liberalization" of services, making it so deregulation in services committed to in the GATS cant be re-regulated. The US media is suppressing this important fact. (and indeed the entire existence of the GATS) MAX PLANCK COMMENTARIES ON WORLD TRADE LAW, WTO - TRADE IN SERVICES,

World Competition Day

World Competiton Day is brought to us by INCSOC. This year, 2020, the theme is "Competition Policy and Access to Healthcare". Their main area is increasing competition of all kinds in governments global procurement of (often newly privatized) services.

Perils of the US-India free trade agreement for Indian farmers (

Dated May 26, 2020. so this is about the Trump Administration, and agricultural issues but the US-India FTA has NOT gone away. As India has with jobs, (services) the US has similarly weaponized agriculture, IP, and a cluster of related issues. To hear how many put it, we've become a monster. indulging the huge corporations every wish. The issues surrounding what the US agribusiness corporations want on seeds (Actually, virtually all IP, including generic drugs they want taken off the market, drugs that saved many peoples lives) We also are pushing for rights to sell often controversial pesticides and hormones and chemicals and food products that use them which should be left to countries. The battle over seeds is particularly scary. IMHO if we want to keep our midlevel high skilled jobs, which were foolishly put on the table during the 1990s Uruguay Round, (and now the TNCs are drooling over the prospect of replacing a great many unionized and high skill workers with cheap guestworkers who really deserve decent wages, if they are to come here, and should not be used as scabs to screw US workers) we really should stand down on these other issues., Nothing is as it seems. The corporatists are hiding all this for a bunch of fairly clear reasons.

Guardian: Belgian minister tweets EU's Covid vaccine price list to anger of manufacturers

Guardian Link by way of ip-health mailing list at . (When countries often fund vaccine development, why are the vaccines still so expensive?) "The UK, like the EU, has paid a considerable amount of money up front to help in the development of a number of vaccines that may or may not work, including AstraZeneca’s, so the final prices for those will be lower. However, it did not support Pfizer/BioNTech nor Moderna, so will be left with a high price tag for those vaccines. The United States has paid higher prices than Europe. Bernstein Research, an analysis and investment firm, calculated that the EU has a 24% discount on the Pfizer vaccine compared with the United States. Part of the reason may be that Europe helped fund the original research by BioNTech."

Broker says Anthem's new short-term plan will undermine Obamacare; Anthem says it's designed to complement ACA plans

It seems to me that WTO "standstill" rules may have limited any deregulation hiatus (the ACA) to a defined temporary period of time, and other restrictions, possibly ten years, please see the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services and the late Nicholas Skala's 2009 paper for the IJHS. Note I am not a lawyer and it is also an area of WTO that hasnt been tested, but likely will soon, like the limits on outsourcing offshoring jobs, the outcome could devastate the ability to purchase healthcare by the growing numbers of unemployed - the losers of liberalization.

The beginning of the end for "guaranteed issue" healthcare to the huge number of Americans with health conditions?

Quotation from the story by Melissa Patrick for Kentucky Health News "What’s happened? Insurance consultant Robert Laszewski told me that “we have a program that is really bad for the middle class and really good for those with low incomes.” People whose incomes are between 250% and 400% of the poverty level (between $31,900 and $51,040 for a single person and $65,500 to $104,800 for a family of four) get “fairly good premium subsidies. People with incomes less than 250% of poverty get great subsidies.” But those with incomes greater than 400% get no subsidies to help with premiums and the other cost sharing insurers require. That means, he said, that millions of Americans without subsidies have bailed out of Obamacare, either going uninsured as some 200,000 New Yorkers are doing because insurance is unaffordable or turning to the new market the Trump administration has created that offers short-term plans for far less money and far less coverage. As I was researching the high costs of Obamacare policies, Kentucky Health News happened to publish one of the best insurance stories I’ve seen in a long time. The piece by Melissa Patrick clearly laid out what Anthem, the country’s second largest health insurer, has in mind for people who aren’t eligible for Obamacare subsidies. The carrier has designed a series of six policy options designed to reach a wide audience of untapped prospects, the company tells its brokers. The policies, called the “Anthem Enhanced Choice Plans” are, according to the company, “a new marketing opportunity” and “quality coverage for clients.” It calls them budget-friendly options for people who don't qualify for ACA subsidies. The new policies are “medically underwritten,” meaning that people with preexisting conditions will not necessarily qualify for coverage, as they would with an Obamacare policy. Anthem will scrutinize your health records. If you pass the test, you can buy coverage for as long as three years. “Anthem has positioned this to brokers as an alternative to the ACA,” says Joel Thompson, an independent broker in Ceredo, West Virginia. “When we talk to clients who don’t get a subsidy, they are suggesting ‘Enhanced Choice’ instead.” He added: “They are trying to draw off the healthy consumers from the risk pool.” If that happens, that's bad news for the ACA long-term. Prices will go even higher."

Comedian Jimmy Dore on the incoming President-elect

This is an exploration of a leaked tape of Biden addressing an audience that isn't afraid to ask him what he has to offer. "I have record that is second to none", but his responses are filled with a high number of misrepresentations. His audience, IMHO, have a right to honest answers to his questions. Its not enough to just compare ones self to Trump over and over.

Medical journal article shows several key aspects of RESV and virus inhibition against another highly virulent virus in pigs.

Antiviral properties of resveratrol against pseudorabies virus are associated with the inhibition of IκB kinase activation. (Note, this study is not about COVID-19 directly, however its illustrative of how RESV can work to prevent and/or atetnuate a much more pathogenic virus that infects the brain in a way that is relevant to COVID-19, when we consider that RESV has similarly been shown to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 virus (as well as MERS and SARS-CoV-1) in vitro, in the lab.

Trading Away Our Jobs: How "free trade" threatens employment around the world.

The world is facing an economic crisis on a scale unseen since the Great Depression. Hundreds of millions of people stand to lose their jobs and their livelihoods as a result of the current recession, adding to the hundreds of millions who have already lost their livelihoods to the "free market" model of globalisation. Yet still politicians continue to proclaim their faith in the principles of "free trade" as the means to pull the global economy out of recession and create employment opportunities for the future. --- This report examines the empirical evidence of the impact of "free trade agreements" on jobs. Using studies and statistics collated here for the first time, the report shows how past trade "liberalisations" caused huge job losses in both Africa and Latin America, the two continents that bore the brunt of early experiments in "structural adjustment" and other "free trade" policies. Findings from those experiments reveal a pattern of deindustrialisation, job losses and falling wages whose impact continues to be felt to this day, condemning whole generations to unemployment and poverty and stifling hopes for sustainable development. (Note: This report was written in the UK but also applies to the US which along with the UK is likely next in line for massive "structural adjustment") Working people and the non-wealthy are invariably expected to pay the full price. Direct PDF URL:

No TTIP through the back door. Health, environment and climate are not negotiable

TTIP negotiations have been continuing under the radar, completely uncovered in the US media. Recently, More than 100 EU Civil society organisations (Plus the US's IATP) demand a stop to trade talks that will further endanger EU rules on health and the environment and aggravate the climate crisis. A change of course is needed. (Seattle2Brussels Network)

Rough Trade: The threat of TTIP to small businesses in the UK (and USA, and Canada, and EU)

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for the overwhelming majority of all businesses across Europ and create the vast majority of new jobs.The European Commission has called SMEs “the engine of the Europe economy”, adding: “They drive job creation and economic growth, and ensure social stability. In 2013, over 21 million SMEs provided 88.8 million job throughout the EU. Nine out of every 10 enterprises is an SME, and SMEs generate 2 out of every 3 jobs.”1 In the words of Jean-Claude Juncker, Presiden of the European Commission, “SMEs are the backbone of our economies.”2 In the UK, SMEs are hotwired into every part of the economy. According to UK government statistics:3 • SMEs represent 99.9% of all UK private sector businesses and account for at least 99% of businesses in every main industry sector. • The UK’s 5.4 million SMEs provide jobs for 15.6 million people (60% of all private sector employment), and their combined £1.8 trillion turnover represents almost half the entire turnover of the UK private sector. • 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK are small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees). As the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills acknowledges, “Small businesses are a major source of job creation as well as being critical in driving economic growth through innovation and competition.”

A $500 billion pot of gold: How Boston Consulting and Google pushed Modi to end the era of cash

“We expect the digital payments space to witness significant disruption in the days ahead.” "The disruption came on November 8, when Prime Minister Modi decreed that most of the cash notes by value were no longer legal means of payment. By itself, the remark about the “disruption in the days ahead” might be considered suggestive but weak evidence that BCG and Google knew something of those plans. However, combine this with the fact that they forecast a tenfold increase of digital payments and of the merchant acceptance network by 2020 without giving any real compelling reason why such an unlikely development should come to pass. In fact, the report is pretty heavy on reasons why it will be difficult to get many more merchants on board and says that the acceptance network has more or less stagnated in recent years. From stagnant, the growth rate has to jump to at least 60 percent per year (if you want to start 2015, more if the baseline is 2016) to make the forecast of a tenfold increase by 2020 come true. The only real reason given in the report for the expected stellar increase is mobile payment apps becoming available. This is not a very convincing reason for a large jump in the growth rate, as these apps have been around for a number of years already."

Stilbene-based natural compounds as promising drug candidates against COVID-19

Note that resveratrol is already available in the supply chain and inexpensive. J Biomol Struct Dyn . 2020 May 12;1-10. doi: 10.1080/07391102.2020.1762743. Online ahead of print. Hussain Mustatab Wahedi , Sajjad Ahmad , Sumra Wajid Abbasi PMID: 32345140 DOI: 10.1080/07391102.2020.1762743 The pandemic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) presents a great threat to public health. Currently, no potent medicine is available to treat COVID-19. Quest for new drugs especially from natural plant sources is an area of immense potential. The current study aimed to repurpose stilbenoid analogs, reported for some other biological activities, against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and human ACE2 receptor complex for their affinity and stability using molecular dynamics simulation and binding free energy analysis based on molecular docking. Four compounds in total were probed for their binding affinity using molecular docking. All of the compounds showed good affinity (> -7 kcal/mol). However, fifty nanoseconds molecular dynamic simulation in aqueous solution revealed highly stable bound conformation of resveratrol to the viral protein: ACE2 receptor complex. Net free energy of binding using MM-PBSA also affirmed the stability of the resveratrol-protein complex. Based on the results, we report that stilbene based compounds in general and resveratrol, in particular, can be promising anti-COVID-19 drug candidates acting through disruption of the spike protein. Our findings in this study are promising and call for further in vitro and in vivo testing of stiblenoids, especially resveratrol against the COVID-19. Stilbenoid analogs could be potential disruptors of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and human ACE2 receptor complex.In particular, resveratrol revealed highly stable conformation to the viral protein: ACE2 receptor complex.The strong interaction of resveratrol is affirmed by molecular dynamic simulation studies and better net free energies. Keywords: COVID-19; MM-PBSA; Stilbenoids; molecular docking; molecular dynamic simulations

Resveratrol inhibits the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) in cultured Vero cells

Phytotherapy Research/Early View OPEN ACCESS Dear Editor, An emergence of the novel coronavirus designated as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) at the end of 2019 has triggered an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) globally. As of 22nd September 2020, more than 30,949,804 confirmed cases and 959,116 deaths have been reported worldwide (WHO, 2020). COVID‐19 bears several pathological hallmarks including fever, breathing difficulty, bilateral lung infiltration, and death in the most extreme cases (Huang et al., 2020). Several anti‐viral drugs have been used to target the SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. These drugs include remdesivir, ribavirin, penciclovir, lopinavir/ritonavir, chloroquine (Wang, Cao, et al., 2020). However, most of these medicines have limited efficacy to reduce the severity and, particularly the mortality of COVID‐19 patients. In addition, some of them have serious side effects (Cao et al., 2020; Wang, Zhang, et al., 2020). The shortcomings of current medicines lead scientists and physicians to continuously look up for better remedies for COVID‐19. Resveratrol is a promising one of those remedies. Resveratrol (3,4,5‐trihydroxy‐trans‐stilbene, RES) is a phenolic compound produced by various members of spermatophytes such as grapes, mulberry, and peanuts. It displays potential effects to suppress replication of several viruses including dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus (ZIKV), as well as influenza virus (Mohd, Zainal, Tan, & Sazaly, 2019; Paemanee, Hitakarun, Roytrakul, & Duncan, 2018). Particularly, RES has the capacity to significantly inhibit MERS‐CoV infection and increases the viability of cells infected by this virus (Lin et al., 2017). Based on these observations, we have initiated a study to test whether RES also inhibits the replication of SARS‐CoV‐2. This study has been approved by the ethics committees from Shenzhen Third People's Hospital and strictly follows the approved protocol. All procedures involving SARS‐CoV‐2 infection were performed in a biosafety level 3 laboratory. First of all, the dose‐responsive study of RES (from 1.56 to 200 μM) was performed to assess whether RES exhibits cytotoxicity on Vero cells (ATCC, CCL‐81). The results showed that cell viability of Vero cells remained above 90 and 80% with the RES at concentrations of 100 and 200 μM for 48 hr, respectively (Figure 1a). The results suggested that RES had little cytotoxicity to Vero cells even at such high concentrations which is consistent with previous reports on various other cell types including oocytes or embryos (Li et al., 2016). To test the effects of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 replication, the Vero cells were infected with SARS‐CoV‐2 (BetaCoV/Shenzhen/SZTH‐003/2020 strain virus GISAID access number: EPI_ISL_406594) at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 0.01 and treated with different concentrations of RES. The viral replication was analyzed at 48 hr postinfection with quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT‐PCR) and immunofluorescence assay (Figure 1b,c). The results showed that RES significantly inhibited the replication of SARS‐CoV‐2 with an EC50 (half‐maximal effective concentration) of 4.48 μM. To examine the time window of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 infection, RES was incubated with cells before and/or after their infection and the time‐of‐addition assay was used to evaluate the effects described by Wang, Cao, et al. (2020). Briefly, viral RNA was extracted from the harvested supernatants and then qRT‐PCR was performed. The SARS‐CoV‐2 mRNA copy number was compared between the mock‐treated and RES‐treated cells. The results showed that the inhibitory rate for SARS‐CoV‐2 replication in cells pre‐treated with RES 50 μM for 2 hr was less than 20%; however, inhibitory rate in cells treated with RES after virus infection was excessive at 98% which was similar to the full time treatment (pre and after treatment together). The results indicate that the inhibitory effects of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 replication have a strong presence after the viruses are inoculated into the culture medium. It has been reported that RES possesses highly stable conformation to the viral S protein‐ACE2 receptor complex (Wahedi, Ahmad, & Abbasi, 2020). Interestingly, when cells were co‐incubated with virus and RES for 1 hr and then the RES was removed for additional 48 hr incubation, the inhibitory rate was still at around 64% (Figure 1d). This suggests that RES has a blocking capacity to the viral entry into cells. These novel data support the potential utility of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 infection.

Comparing TiSA and TTIP

this is one of three documents which somebody posing as me uploaded some time ago to a site, around the same time as my twitter account was arbitrarily deleted. Although Its open access and says so, I had not uploaded it. So I find that as quite strange. Its still worth reading now, given that Biden has been elected so these deals are likely to both be revived soon. They set our country up for huge punitive penalties if we attempt to change our minds about the things that result in the highest fines ever recorded - for example. ISDS and non-ISDS work alikes like the sanctions in anti-democratic WTO deals should be eliminated. This is the URL that is linked. One of the others is "TISA vs Climate Action: Trading away EnergyDemocracy" That one is also quite topical. Its worrisom that ISDS could put our country on the hook for huge bills that could literally result in our natural resources like energy and water being sold off to pad the pockets or pay the debts created by - seized to pay debts incurred by our dishonest oligarchs, in the country's's peoples names.

Logical Fallacy: Poisoning The Well

A major propaganda operation is trying (and succeeding) at making discussion of a lot of topics, TOXIC. Discussions that need to be happening now, given the HUGE future altering changes that are being carved in stone due to our FTA commitments. Lets not forget, Rodrik's Trilemma makes a good argument that democracy and hyperglobalization don't mix. At all. Except for the very rich, we will all basically lose big under the changes they made back in 1995, which are only being implemented now. In particular, potentially tens of millions of good jobs may be lost, if firms from elsewhere in the world can do them for less. This will mean massive losses in humn lives as families fall apart, homes are lost and hearts broken. And we've never had a chance to discuss them, let alone vote on them, because of sophisticated disinformation schemes.. like poisoning the well. On a huge scale. Please think about that before you buy the suppression of even discussing the "trade" agenda. Which is a pretext for a theft of the entire world and future from almost everybody.

How Should the EU and Other WTO Members React to Their WTO Governance and WTO Appellate Body Crises?

Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, Abstract Since 2017, the United States (US) and other World Trade Organization (WTO) members violate their legal duties and democratic mandates given by national parliaments to maintain the WTO Appellate Body (AB) as legally prescribed in Article 17 of the WTO Dispute Understanding (DSU), i.e. as being ‘composed of seven persons’, with vacancies being ‘filled as they arise’. This contribution argues that none of the reasons offered by the US for its blocking of the (re)appointment of AB candidates - on grounds unrelated to the personal qualifications of the candidates - can legally justify its disruptions of the WTO legal and dispute settlement system. Also the European Union (EU) has offered no convincing justification of its failure to protect ‘strict observance of international law’ in it external relations, as required by Article 3 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union (TEU) and by Article IX:1 WTO Agreement (‘where a decision cannot be arrived at by consensus, the matter at issue shall be decided by voting’). The 2018 ‘Concept Paper’ prepared by the EU Commission on ‘WTO modernization’ indicates no strategy for the obvious problem that the EU objective of ‘preserving and deepening the rules-based multilateral system’, including ‘more effective and transparent dispute settlement including the Appellate Body’, is inconsistent with the US strategies underlying US blocking of the AB jurisdiction by preventing the appointment of AB judges, a strategy which was previously applied by the US for blocking third-party adjudication under Chapter 20 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trade diplomats have no democratic mandate for disrupting the AB jurisdiction by illegally reducing the number of AB members to one single judge by December 2019 and, thereby, undermining the WTO legal and dispute settlement system. EU trade diplomats must exercise leadership for using the existing legal powers and duties of the WTO Ministerial Conference and General Council under Article IX:1 WTO – if necessary, based on ‘a majority of the votes cast’ - to initiate and complete the WTO selection procedures for filling AB vacancies and protect the AB as legally defined in Article 17 DSU. Article IX.2 could be used for authoritative interpretations ‘taken by a three-fourths majority of the Members’ confirming the collective duties of WTO members to fill AB vacancies in case of illegal blocking of AB nominations. WTO law foresees similar majority decisions for the appointment of the WTO Director-General; such majority decisions are necessary for preventing illegal de facto amendments of the WTO legal system, and do not set a precedent for future WTO majority voting on discretionary, political issues, which most WTO diplomats reject as a ‘nuclear option’. As suggested by European ordo-liberalism, citizens and democratic institutions must hold trade politicians democratically and legally more accountable for complying with their legislative mandates to implement and modernize, but not to destroy WTO law and dispute settlement. Keywords: Appellate Body; competition rules; governance crisis; ordo-liberalism; WTO

Resisting the Merger and Acquisition of Human Rights by Trade Law: A Reply to Petersmann (by Philip Alston)

Petersmann's proposal for the enforcement of human rights through the WTO is presented as though it were simply a logical development of existing policies, rather than representing a radical break with them. In a form of epistemological misappropriation he takes the discourse of international human rights law and uses it to describe something which is in between a Hayekian and an ordoliberal agenda. It is one which has a fundamentally different ideological underpinning from human rights law and would have extremely negative consequences for that body of law. Many of his characterizations of the existing state of the law - whether at the national, EU or international levels - are questionable. What is needed is for all participants in the debate over the future relationship between trade and human rights, be they ordoliberals such as Petersmann or mainstream human rights proponents, to move beyond such analyses and to engage in a systematic and intellectually open debate which acknowledges the underlying assumptions and meets a higher scholarly burden of proof than has so far been the case.

The essence of neoliberalism by Pierre Bourdieu

Utopia of endless exploitation The essence of neoliberalism What is neoliberalism? A programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic. As the dominant discourse would have it, the economic world is a pure and perfect order, implacably unrolling the logic of its predictable consequences, and prompt to repress all violations by the sanctions that it inflicts, either automatically or —more unusually — through the intermediary of its armed extensions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the policies they impose: reducing labour costs, reducing public expenditures and making work more flexible. Is the dominant discourse right? What if, in reality, this economic order were no more than the implementation of a utopia - the utopia of neoliberalism - thus converted into a political problem? One that, with the aid of the economic theory that it proclaims, succeeds in conceiving of itself as the scientific description of reality? This tutelary theory is a pure mathematical fiction. From the start it has been founded on a formidable abstraction. For, in the name of a narrow and strict conception of rationality as individual rationality, it brackets the economic and social conditions of rational orientations and the economic and social structures that are the condition of their application.

(Forbes) Court Case Against Trump "Immigration" (non-immigrant) Visa Ban Moves Forward

According to Forbes, even in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, there is no reason not to outsource, and continue to outsourcing an ever growing, potentially unlimited number of good US jobs. (See also several articles on India's WTO suit DS503 in Inside US Trade, from March 2016, and others.) This is just nuts. Money isn't everything.

Trade Wars are Class Wars (video that comes to this conclusion)

This video shows how the US is hiding GATS even from "insiders". A very serious problem. Good point made at 23:50 about the recent "trade wars" between the US and other countries- they seem to be a negotiating tactic on some level, more than not, but not between the two countries, between their elites and the rest of us. A very Orwellian situation) : "Chinese elites and American elites both cooperated against the interests of American workers and Chinese workers in different ways". "This briefing is part of a series of Hinrich Foundation-sponsored National Press Foundation webinars on global trade during the COVID-19 era"

"If H-1B visa reform goes ahead, here are the GATS violations US would be committing" - Firstpost - India (2017)

"Few know that India has already filed an objection (referred to as ‘request for consultation’ which is the first step for trade dispute settlement) with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in March last year on the current H-1B visa rules. If Trump has his way upending work-visa programs than the present Indian concerns may just look finicky. India requested for consultations with the US, regarding certain American measures for imposing increased fees (objections to “pay higher filing fees and fraud prevention and detection fees under certain specified circumstances”) on certain applicants for L-1 (a non-immigrant visa which allows companies to relocate foreign qualified employees to its US subsidiary or parent company) and H-1B (a non-immigrant visa that allows American employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations), and concerns relating to a numerical commitment for H-1B visas. India has said that these measures are in violation of several articles of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) — the set of multilateral rules that govern international trade in services. New Delhi requested for consultations with Washington that were held last year. India has not yet requested the WTO for establishing a Dispute Settlement Board (DSB). Specifically, India has said that some Washington measures on these categories of visa holders violate clauses related to Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) treatment, rules on transparency, clauses on domestic regulation, measures to increase the participation of developing countries in world trade and commitments to market access and national treatment. Consider some of these stipulations under GATS. The national treatment clause says that a government shall accord services and service suppliers of other countries “in respect of all measures affecting the supply of services, treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own like services and service suppliers”. The MFN treatment clause requires that governments should accord “immediately and unconditionally” treatment “no less favourable” to a country what it accords to other countries for like services and service suppliers. In sectors where a country has undertaken market commitments, the measures that a country cannot “adopt or maintain” in its sub-regions or its territory extend to limitations on the number of service suppliers whether in the form of numerical quotas, monopolies, exclusive service suppliers or the requirements of an economic needs test, limitations on the total number of service operations or on the total quantity of service output expressed in numerical units in quotas, among other such stipulations. The clause on movement of Natural Persons Supplying Services in the GATS Annex says that though GATS does not prevent a country from applying measures to regulate the entry of natural persons into, or their temporary stay in its territory, “provided that such measures are not applied in such a manner as to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to any Member under the terms of a specific commitment”. All of these possible violations would be important to cite if India chooses to request WTO to set up a DSB. After the panel judgment, either of the countries can appeal against the judgment. If the highest international trade court even then rules in favour of India then US would be bound to comply. However, it is unclear how much the Trump administration would feel bound by its WTO commitments, including dispute judges’ verdicts against it. The growing rhetoric of “unfair” trade agreements used in the current US political discourse might even see Washington pulling out of the WTO. India and most other WTO members are in for rough weather in the present climate as far as trade negotiations with the US are concerned. In a hypothetical situation of India winning a case against the US regulations on work visas at the highest trade court and US ignoring the verdict against it, India can seek WTO’s authorisation to retaliate (to “suspend concessions or other obligations”) against the US — normally such an authorisation is not refused, trade experts opine. India could then consider imposing punitive tariffs on US imports. Another option for retaliation, experts say, could be the refusal to recognise some of the intellectual property (IP) rights of US right holders. But this option of retaliation could involve a much more complicated procedure. An across-the-board or discriminatory higher tariffs, on the face of it, would also be violative of international trade rules, particularly the MFN clause, though much depends on the nitty-gritties of the American legal changes in trade policy. Even Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ would not be so easy to implement if US does choose to abide by its international trade commitments. There could be two scenarios: one, when the US government procures only from domestic sources, and linked with that the government mandates that even a private entity must source from within the US. In both these possible realities, there is no talk of subsidies yet (which could violate other WTO rules). “In the first situation, the US has some flexibility — it is government procurement to mandate procurement from domestic sources provided this is for non-commercial use and for government’s own use. Then the US would be within its rights to mandate such a local procurement for government purposes. But if the US government mandatorily requires even the private sector to source domestically then that would be violative of WTO rules,” Abhijit Das, Head of the Centre for WTO Studies at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade says. “Then the second situation where US government gives incentives to procure domestically, such an incentive would be violative of WTO subsidies agreement. This is commonly called the local content subsidy, which is prohibited,” he adds." Updated Date: February 06, 2017 08:39:31 IST

Social Exclusion, Education and Precarity: neoliberalism, neoconservatism and class war from above

In this article we analyze neoliberalism and neoconservatism, their intentions and characteristics, and the relationship between them. We locate these ideologies and associated policies and discourses as part of the `class war from above' (Harvey, 2005). We critically interrogate the impact of their policies and discourses on the social production and hierarchicalisation of labour power, firstly, with respect to education, and, secondly, to employment. Keywords: precarity, jobs, education, class, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, discourse, policy Capitalism and Class War from Above Commentators from across the political spectrum are in general agreement that in a vigorous `class war from above’ (Harvey, 2005; Hill, 2012a, 2013a; Malott, Hill and Banfield, 2013) since the economic crisis of the mid-1970s, (‘the oil crisis’), and, more spectacularly, since ‘the bankers' crisis' of 2008, the capitalist class has been remarkably successful in wresting back from the working class a

India's Lucrative Organ Trade

For a long time it was legal, now its not. But the organ trade is still flourishing in India. Because of the poverty which has only been worsened by neoliberal "reforms" there. People, especially those with large families, see selling their organs as the only way out of unpayable debts after sudden loss of jobs they expected to have their entire lives.

MSF statement supporting the extension of TRIPS (affordable drugs for the poorest countries) exemption for least-developed countries

Backgound: Least-developed country (LDC) members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have requested an extension that would enable them to remain exempt from implementing some intellectual property rules expiring next year, including for medicines. MSF urges all WTO members to support this +request. MSF works in more than 20 LDCs, facing multiple challenges including disease outbreaks, conflicts and natural disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily hit some LDCs already facing long-term challenges of fragile health care systems and lack of access to affordable medical tools.

‘Fair workweek’ laws help more than 1.8 million US workers

Laws promote workplace flexibility and protect against unfair scheduling practices. (These, along with US wage laws requiring "minimum wages" be paid and work visas be sought, are among the kinds of laws that foreign firms feel discriminate unfairly against them and their workers, since they don't offer them such flexibilities while they are working at home.) Suppose India wins their case, and the number of such employers and employees skyrockets. Will such laws have to be eliminated? Or will they simply not apply to foreign firms, giving *them* an unfair advantage? That seems to be okay in the WTO's eyes, by the way. Since its allegedly the repayment of a debt we now owe, which materialized in the 1990s.

More on India's 2016 mode 4 request to WTO.

Conflict of interest now exists between India's rich people wanting to get "US jobs" and satisfaction of this request in the US, source of most of India's business. Because, India is no longer an LDC! Given that they are flying Rovers to the Moon. A luxury item, they don't need poor US young people's jobs. Should educate their own children first! Also, Oxford educated MBAs from Africa are not "the poor", and likely could get jobs here without the WTO's help/interference if a company really needs them. India wants to take the bread and butter jobs, i.e. not at all unique.

Globalization and the Black Market Organ Trade: When Even a Kidney Can't Pay the Bills

Karen A. Hudson - In "Universal Design: The Work of Disability in an Age of Globalization," Michael Davidson links disability to the negative impacts of globalization. He considers the organ trade, in which bodies become commodities in an international market reflecting wealth and poverty, and comments on the silence about disability in literature on globalization (121). So how are people with disabilities involved in — or products of — the organ trade, and what aspects of globalization are creating and exploiting this international community of disabled people? The implications of the silence in regard to disability and the organ trade are significant, because aspects of globalization — particularly the spreading of a competitive market-based economy and the resulting privatization of healthcare — are perpetuating a hierarchy based on wealth and privilege that is exploiting poverty-stricken individuals for their organs. These exploited individuals are now disabled not only by the absence of an organ, but also productively within the community. This lowered productivity stems not from the state of disability itself, but rather from a lack of proper follow-up medical care that may result in further health complications. In turn, these health complications more often than not perpetuate the indebted state from which donors were hoping to free themselves in the first place.

Citing the WTO/GATT (including GATS and other) Agreements (NYU Law)

Outline: Selected books, databases & websites Books, Ebooks, Working papers, etc. Law reviews, journals, articles News, blogs & paper/note topics The trade agreements Drafting & negotiating history WTO structure, members, meetings Schedules, tariffs & non-tariff measures Documents & publications The U.S. & the WTO U.S. regulations & tariff schedules WTO dispute settlement Trade Policy Reviews Statistics & terminology Other research guides

"Visas and Work Permits: Can GATS/WTO help or is a New Global Entity needed?"

Most Americans don't realize that previous Administrations put into place a gradual process that is trading "their" jobs away, and that the power of vastly lower wages is pretty much insurmountable when it really starts happening. The time to change this was in the past, when the primaries were determining political candidates. Where will now working Americans go? Anywhere we can afford. We will be on our own as GATS and similar agreements are also silently dismantling safety nets all around the world. This is an example of the literature on setting up a global "GATS Visa" that trumps national laws on work-related permits.

Mode 4 trade in services: promoting temporary labour mobility via the trade détour?

By Werner Raza, A comprehensive process of the liberalisation of trade and capital flows notwithstanding, neoliberal globalisation has not been equally successful in freeing the international movement of labour. With the General Agreement on Trade in Services, (GATS), the WTO set up a novel legal framework within the domain of trade politics that includes the cross-border movement of natural persons to deliver services, labelled Mode 4, thus aiming at the promotion of temporary labour mobility. This article seeks to explain the emergence of Mode 4 and its subsequent development as the outcome of a particular politics of scale motivated by the interests of transnational capital as well as the strategic selectivity of specific institutional terrains. The result has been a compromise that restricts Mode 4 liberalisation to highly qualified personnel only. Keywords: political economy, international trade, labour mobility, Mode 4, EU trade policy, services

Politics of scale and strategic selectivity in the liberalisation of public services – the role of trade in services

By Werner Raza. One of the most contentious issues of the neoliberal agenda has been the privatisation of public services. The WTO GATS negotiations over the liberalisation of trade in services, which commenced in the year 2000, led to a strongly contested debate over whether the international level would provide an additional channel for the privatisation of public services. In particular, the position of the European Union was criticised for promoting this agenda. More recently, this question has regained its significance with the start of negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Thus, this article seeks to analyse the politics of scale in the field of trade in services and its specific impact upon the liberalisation of public services. By applying a Neo-Poulantzian IPE approach, we propose a typology of (i) scalar forms in trade policy and (ii) of particular liberalisation strategies. Our results suggest that the multilateral level is but one element in a strategic politics of scale, with the former primarily fulfilling the role of locking-in liberalisation gains achieved at other levels, while other scalar forms, in particular bi- and plurilateralism, are primarily used to progressively advance the liberalisation agenda. KEYWORDS: Public services, liberalisation, trade in services, politics of scale, Poulantzas

Temporary labor migration programs Governance, migrant worker rights, and recommendations for the U.N. Global Compact for Migration

By Daniel Costa and Philip Martin • Economic Policy Institute August 1, 2018. The suggestion made that only some inherently temporary jobs should rely on migrant work and workers is a good one but its quixotic and shamefully unrealistic with all of Wall Street counting the gains to be had from turning literally most work into precariatized, temporary labor. Even despite coronavirus, they are determined to do it, "on principle" (Note: One might get a dangerously ignorant false impression on the situation from this paper, if one doesnt realize how much power is being brought to bear to crack our ability to regulate work-related labor. The WTO wants to be put in charge - and has since it was still its predecessor, GATT in the 1980s. In fact putting "Services" under the WTO was the main reason it was formed.) (The effect on wages and the existence/sustainability of having a middle class globally will be astronomical.)

GATS Mode 4: Movement of Natural Persons and Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights (International Labor Organization)

GATS Mode 4: Movement of Natural Persons and Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights By Pradip Bhatnagar A Paper presented during the Challenges and Opportunities of Bilateral and Multilateral Arrangements for the Mobility of Health Professionals and Other Skilled Migrant Workers Training Programme held on 8-10 October 2014, Philippines (note: Migrant Workers in this context are usually high skilled, professional laborers, such as doctors, nurses, computer programmers, engineers, coders, administrative workers, teachers, or executives.) Other jobs don't matter as much profit wise so the body shop firms are not interested in them, but ultimately, like shale gas etc, they will in turn come under the same pressures.

Migration Policy Institute's "Migrants' Human Rights: Could GATS Help?" ignores core facts about GATS Mode Four, whitewashes its problems.

NOTE: The WTO is completely human rights agnostic. And as such GATS Mode Four favors multinational staffing (i.e. "body shop") corporations moving to countries with very low wages and levels of regulation that are signatory to many trade agreements, in a sense forum shopping for the countries with the lowest wages and worker rights. (which will often apply in lieu of a labor consuming country having other laws, other laws that may not even be applicable if the work is done under a trade agreement, for example, see WTO document T/N/S/14 for the arguments against national wage laws applicability. Trade agreements are also harmonizing other regulations downward to the lowest common denominator levels. When the WTO talks about "wage parity" for example, it means the lowest legal wage. i.e minimum wage, not prevailing wages in a field.

Temporary Movement of Labor Fuels GATS Debate (Migration Policy Institute)

(I disagree with many of the assumptions made by this article and similar articles. In particular, I see the so called "efficiency gains" advocates claim from deals like GATS, TISA, NAFTA, and similar as losses. Unambiguously.) On the other hand, I feel traditional immigration is a gain, the kind of immigration where people move permanently with their families, that isnt used as a substitute for educating and taking care of the needs of our own workforce. In other words, its seen by myself and many others as a means of reducing the wages of workers more than anything else. Part of a war on the continued existence of a middle class.

"Biden Cuts Social Security" (The Intercept) Actually, its the GATS agreement we signed more than two decades ago, and the TISA that they probably will revive soon that do it. Medicare is likely to get the same treatment too. See elsewhere on this site.

The Intercept (the destination of the link) doesn't mention this but GATS (and TISA, which is likely to be revived) makes all deregulation in committed services (like financial services) permanent (Yes, both are considered to be in competition with the banking and insurance industries - financial services) Making cuts so costly and difficult to reverse they will become permanent. This has been planned for a long time as shown by the trade literature. here is lots on this site. Voters should refuse to swallow this rigged Kool Aid. Oh, but everything that happens in the WTO is not subject to voting.

Edward Alden: India's landmark WTO challenge to US

In the midst of a xenophobic U.S. presidential campaign in which candidates in both parties have harangued China and Japan over their trade policies, and leading Republicans have called for a "great wall" to keep out immigrants from Mexico and Central America, one country has quietly refused to take it any longer. The government of India filed suit on March 3 in the World Trade Organization (WTO) seeking to overturn a new U.S. tax on high-skilled migrants that India says discriminates against its citizens and would damage some of its most successful companies. The case marks the first time that a country's immigration laws have been challenged using the rules of a trade agreement. And despite the logic of India's action, it may well be the last such case. With tariffs on imports already very low in most countries, economists have argued that easing restrictive immigration laws in advanced countries would now do far more than additional trade liberalization to boost global growth. Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development has written that immigration restrictions are the "greatest single class of distortions in the global economy," amounting to "trillion dollar bills on the sidewalk" if such distortions could be eliminated.......

Statement from the world's Trade Unions on the GATS negotiations (from 2002) bears reading again today.

Reading the BIDEN-SANDERS UNITY TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS COMBATING THE CLIMATE CRISIS AND PURSUING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE I am struck by how many parts of the statement are obviously being blocked by trade agreements and the conspicuous omission of mentions of the same. Therefore I think it bears re-reading the warnings here from 2002. GATS has not gone away. In order to end the spiral into global corporatism and privatization and outsourcing/offshoring of most services. The only services which can survive are defined in such a limited manner as far as I can see there wont be any fairly soon., it is urgently necessary to leave these trade agreements and not write any new ones. Both parties must be having a huge laugh over this. This is not a joke, however. They are not going to help us, they are escorting the majority of Americans off the edge of the economic map.

Resveratrol And Pterostilbene Potently Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Infection In Vitro

The current COVID-19 pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and has an enormous impact on human health and economy1. In search for therapeutic options, researchers have proposed resveratrol, a food supplement with known antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties as an advantageous antiviral therapy for SARS-CoV-2 infection2–4. Here, we provide evidence that both resveratrol and its metabolically more stable structural analog, pterostilbene, exhibits potent antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Resveratrol and pterostilbene showed antiviral activity in African green monkey kidney cells and in human primary bronchial epithelial cells cultured in an air-liquid interface system. Mechanistic analyses demonstrated that both compounds actively interfere with the post-entry steps of virus replication cycle and their antiviral activity is long-lasting. Collectively, our data indicate that resveratrol and pterostilbene are promising antiviral compounds to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection and advocate evaluation of these compounds in clinical trials

Potential therapeutic effects of Resveratrol against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

"This report aims to highlight Resveratrol as possible therapeutic candidate in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The antiviral efficacy of Resveratrol was demonstrated for several viruses, including coronavirus. Resveratrol was shown to mitigate the major pathways involved in the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2, including regulation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), stimulation of immune system and downregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines release. It was also reported to promote SIRT1 and p53 signaling pathways and increase cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) immune cells. In addition, Resveratrol was demonstrated to be a stimulator of fetal hemoglobin and a potent antioxidant, by trapping reactive oxygen species (ROS). According to these reports, Resveratrol could be proposed as potential therapeutics in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. " Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Resveratrol; antiviral activity; immune response; ACE2; oxidative stress; HbF. -- Acta Virol . 2020 Sep 28. doi: 10.4149/av_2020_309. Online ahead of print.

The Looming GATS Conflict with Capital Controls (2013)

Tucker, The Looming GATS Conflict with Capital Controls (2013). in Kevin Gallagher and Leonardo Stanley (eds.), Global Financial Reform and Trade Rules: The Need for Reconciliation, (Boston: Boston University, 2013).,, To Available at SSRN: