Push to stop Parliament ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Nearly 60 community organisations are calling for an independent assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership before Parliament is asked to vote on ratifying the agreement. The Age – Gareth Hutchens A large alliance of groups – from World Vision and the Public Health Association, to Greenpeace, the ACTU, Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network – have signed a letter warning the agreement poses “grave risks to the public interest” without being independently assessed. They want an organisation ... Read More »

Israel gains strategic depth in Eastern Mediterranean

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The Trilateral Declaration between Cyprus, Israel and Greece issued in Nicosia on January 28 at a summit meeting of the three regional states shifts the tectonic plates in the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean. Asia Times By M.K. Bhadrakumar The Declaration agreed between the president of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras commits the three countries “to strengthen the cooperation… in order to promote a trilateral partnership in different fields of common ... Read More »

Libya’s rival parliaments sign unity government deal

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Members of Libya’s rival parliaments have signed Dec. 17 a U.N.-sponsored deal on forming a unity government, aiming to bring peace to the war-ravaged country. Hurriyet – SKHIRAT – The Associated Press Supporters of the agreement hope that rival political factions and militias will embrace the deal and agree on a cease-fire, so that they can fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISL) extremist group, which is expanding its gains in the country. U.N. envoy Martin Kobler ... Read More »

COP21: Climate deal ‘final draft’ reached in Paris

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Organisers of the climate talks in Paris say a final draft text has been reached after nearly two weeks of intensive negotiations. BBC An official in the office of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the AFP news agency the draft would be presented to ministers at 10:30 GMT. No details of the proposed agreement have been released so far. The tentative deal was reached nearly 16 hours after the talks had been scheduled to close. “We have a text ... Read More »

Calls for Trans Pacific Partnership to be independently assesed


After years of negotiations details surrounding the highly-anticipated Trans Pacific Partnership have been released to the public. SBS – By Manny Tsigas The government says they prove just how beneficial the deal will be for Australia, but critics are still concerned about provisions on health, intellectual property and the environment. Video Thousands of pages have been published online showing plans to remove nearly all tariffs on everything from energy and resources to food and manufactured goods. “It’s been obvious to us all ... Read More »

EU, US open new round of free trade talks

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EU and US negotiators have started a new round of trade talks to advance the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The negotiations come after the US and 11 Pacific nations finalized a trade pact. Deutsche Welle – EU and US negotiators in Miami on Monday started the 11th round of trade talks seeking to create a trade and investment zone encompassing 800 million people and nearly half of global economic output. The five-day negotiations will seek to bridge differences ... Read More »

Tehran won’t get sanctions relief from US until next year under Iran nuclear deal

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New York: The United States was set to issue conditional sanctions waivers for Iran on Sunday, though it cautioned they will not take effect until Tehran has curbed its nuclear program as required under a historic nuclear deal reached in Vienna on July 14. Louis Charbonneau Several senior US officials, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said that despite Washington’s move on Sunday, actual implementation of the deal was likely several months away. That means the sanctions relief Tehran ... Read More »

Berlin protest against TTIP trade deal draws thousands

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BBC – Thousands have protested in the German capital Berlin against a planned free-trade deal between the EU and US. Organisers said 250,000 people took part in the rally; police put the figure at around 100,000. Opponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) say it is undemocratic and threatens consumer and worker rights. But supporters of the deal, which lowers trade barriers, say it would boost economies and create jobs. Hundreds of buses shuttled protesters to Saturday’s demonstration ... Read More »

Wikileaks release of TPP deal text stokes ‘freedom of expression’ fears

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Intellectual property rights chapter appears to give Trans-Pacific Partnership countries’ countries greater power to stop information from going public The Guardian – Sam Thielman in New York @samthielman Wikileaks has released what it claims is the full intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the controversial agreement between 12 countries that was signed off on Monday. TPP was negotiated in secret and details have yet to be published. But critics including Democrat presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, ... Read More »

World View: Dayton Accord offers a possible route out of Syrian disaster

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US brokered deal was imperfect and based on exhaustion and impasse rather than justice. But it stabilised the region The Irish Times – Paul Gillespie Could Russia’s military intervention in Syria be the prelude to – or even enable – a regional peace deal similar to the 1995 Dayton Agreement, which brought an end to fighting in the former Yugoslavia? That Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian civil war killed 100,000 people and was stoked by regional and global powers. Dayton was an imperfect peace ... Read More »

The TPP has a provision many will love to hate: ISDS. What is it, and why does it matter?

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With the conclusion of negotiations in Atlanta on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we will soon have texts to look at, and, eventually, a vote in Congress. It’s the biggest deal in trade politics in several years. It will be widely covered in the media against the backdrop of the presidential election — where many candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, are touting their TPP opposition. The Washington Post – By Todd Tucker * The vote on Fast Track Trade Promotion authority earlier ... Read More »

Hillary Clinton faces a tough choice on trade

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Hillary Clinton is facing one of the most fateful decisions of the presidential primary season: what to say about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and when to say it. The Washington Post – By Ruth Marcus, Columnist Politically, Clinton’s decision is a true “Sophie’s Choice.” Whatever she does is guaranteed to generate criticism and anger key constituencies. The best-case scenario for Clinton would have been to have negotiations blow up and therefore avoid having to take a position. Now that failure is ... Read More »

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Pacific countries agree to historic trade pact

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Australian officials confident Drug breakthrough brings deal closer Washington, DC: After eight years of negotiations, 12 Pacific-rim nations – including Australia – have agreed upon the largest free-trade agreement in history during a last-minute round of talks in Atlanta, Georgia. The Canberra Times – Nick O’Malley, US correspondent for Fairfax Media The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which covers 40 per cent of the global economy, will strip thousands of trade tariffs in the region and set common labour, environmental and legal standards among signatories. Negotiations, ... Read More »

Statement on the Transitional Justice Agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC

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The agreement on transitional justice reached by the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and publicly announced yesterday in Havana is a major breakthrough in the four-year peace talks. In effect, it anticipates the termination of the 51-year armed conflict. In an unprecedented personal meeting, President Juan Manual Santos and FARC’s maximum leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry (“Timochenko”), agreed that a final peace agreement would be signed within six months. Bogotá/Brussels | ICG The agreement establishes ... Read More »

Forget Sykes-Picot. It’s the Treaty of Sèvres That Explains the Modern Middle East.

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Ninety-five years ago today, Europe carved up the Ottoman empire. That treaty barely lasted a year, but we’re feeling its aftershocks today. Foreign Policy – By Nick Danforth Ninety-five years ago today, European diplomats gathered at a porcelain factory in the Paris suburb of Sèvres and signed a treaty to remake the Middle East from the ashes of the Ottoman empire. The plan collapsed so quickly we barely remember it anymore, but the short-lived Treaty of Sèvres, no less than ... Read More »

A “No” to Iran Means No Forever

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There is a notion cultivated by opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement, attractive to members of Congress under intense pressure to vote no, that congressional rejection of the agreement will enable U.S. negotiators to reach a better deal. Politico – By Samuel R. Berger The expectation is, that with a further turn of the screws, we can pressure the Iranians to give more and/or we give less. But it can’t happen. The agreement needs to be judged on its merits ... Read More »