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No Returning to G8: Russia

The BRICS Post | June 4, 2014

Russia said Wednesday that it was open for cooperation with major Western powers, but ruled out a return to the Group of Eight (G8), made up of the seven most industrialized nations, known as G7, and Russia.

“Such a format does not exist for now,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told a Russian radio station.

Russia would, however, continue to participate in the Group of 20, which includes the most developed and major developing countries of the world, Peskov said.

Leaders of G7 declared in March that they would boycott the G8 summit in Sochi, where they were scheduled to have met with Russia this week. Instead, they gathered in Brussels for a two-day G7 summit.

The expulsion of Russia from the G8 came three days after Crimea accession to Russia.

Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin will not have a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama even though both leaders are attending the 70th anniversary of D-Day Landings in France’s Normandy on Friday.

“We are not making such preparations … Participants of war memorial events will stay together, in one group,” Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.

He, however, did not rule out possible brief talks between Putin and Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

The Kremlin earlier confirmed that Putin, on his first visit to a Western country since the start of the Ukraine crisis, would have separate meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Normandy.

The US and EU have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on dozens of Russians over what they called Russia’s “meddling” in Ukraine’s affairs.

The European Union, however, would be troubled by Russia’s attempts to veer away from gas exports to the bloc by moving towards energy-hungry China.

Russia has had some success in diverting attention away from the troubling sanctions with the successful negotiations that led to the inking of a massive $400 billion gas deal with China last month and also the signing of the treaty to form the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, a combined $2.7 trillion economy and vast energy resources.

June 5, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

EU-US historic trade deal: ‘Putting the corporation above the nation’

RT | November 11, 2013

The successful adoption of the EU-US trade agreement promises both parties massive gains of up to $159 billion, but the profits could come at the expense of the everyday consumer, who could see the quality of their products diminish as a result.

Over 50 US officials are in Brussels to negotiate the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which, if signed, will create the world’s largest free-trade area, which has also been dubbed an “economic NATO”. Officials meeting in Brussels this week will hammer out details to reduce trade limiting regulations.

The new round of talks will focus on reducing trade barriers on investment, energy, services, and raw materials, and key agreements will be announced Friday.

‘Non-tariff barriers’ increase the cost of business, whether it’s adjusting the voltage on an electronic device, changing a car’s exhaust system to comply with local environmental regulations or a difference in opinion of which chemicals are “harmful” or “hazardous” in the respective territories.

By limiting health, safety and environmental regulations in order to boost trade, the US and EU are “putting the corporation above the nation,” Glyn Moody, journalist and author, told RT in an on-air interview.

“That’s a very big assumption. People may not want to have their food less safe or environment polluted for the sake of more money,” Moody told RT.

Moody also warns the trade agreement could behoove giant corporations like Monsanto, who could use the new ‘de-regulation’ to sue the EU for billions of dollars if they refuse to import GMO products

The EU says the TTIP could bring annual benefits of $159 billion (€119 billion) to its 28 member states. This breaks down to an extra $730 (€545) in disposable income for a family of four in Europe and an extra $875 (€655) per family in the US, according to a March 2013 study on “Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment”.

There would be fewer constraints and companies will benefit, but “the public will pay in terms of regulation reduced protection and that is never calculated in these trade agreements, it’s always about the bottom lines of the big companies,” Moody said.

The week-long round of negotiations were originally scheduled for October but postponed due to the US government shutdown.

On December 16-20 officials will meet in Washington DC for another round of talks. The first round was held in Washington in July after the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.

The Perks

The trade flow of goods and services between the two blocs reached about $2.7 billion per day in 2012, according to the US Office of Trade and Commerce. Total trade in 2012 was $647 billion.

The agreement could boost employment on both sides of “the pond”, as increasing exports usually creates more jobs.

The European Commission has brazenly promised the deal could boost gross domestic product in the dilapidated EU by 1 percent.

Auto trade will especially benefit from jettisoning regulations. Turnover between the US and Germany could double if the trade agreement makes more umbrella standards- for example, if  a car is crash-tested in America, it need not be again tested in Europe.

North America is an important destination for Foreign Direct investment, and is home to about one third of European foreign direct investment. Investment activity between the EU and US suffered after the financial crisis in 2008, and both sides will also try to find a balance on trade regulation to save big bucks.

Broken trust

Limited trust over the fall out of the NSA spying scandal may also put a hamper on negotiations between the trade giants.

The feasibility of the deal came under question after  NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information showing the extent of espionage on allies abroad. France announced the wanted to temporarily postpone the talks over snooping, but they proceeded as planned.

The spying row shouldn’t affect US-EU trade talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry said as the trade partnership is “really separate from any other issues”. The US hasn’t provided any guarantees it will curb spying on its allies.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Northern Ireland all set for G8 police state

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Press TV – June 14, 2013

British police are preparing one of their most unprecedented security operations, involving water cannons and summary hearings, for next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Police Service of Northern Ireland district commander Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields said more than 8,000 officers are being dispatched to Northern Ireland to help local police in the security operations.

The arrangements include a daunting four-mile security fence around the Lough Erne Golf Resort that will host the summit on Monday and Tuesday next week, while another barbed wire barrier is being set up outside the area.

The police have also deployed several mobile water cannons to frighten off potential protesters with a seven-mile area of the Lough Erne lake itself being closed down and patrolled by police boats.

“I would say the scale of the G8 in Northern Ireland is the biggest operation that the Police Service of Northern Ireland has ever had to deal with and probably as big as any police service throughout the UK would have dealt with,” Shields said.

This comes as she dismissed concerns that the police are gearing up a heavy-handed response to any protests outside the summit venue.

Police say they have made 260 extra prison cells available in nearby Omagh, Country Tyrone, and in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast, while sixteen judges will be on standby to hold summary hearings for arrested demonstrators.

But Shields claimed the measures are only meant to “facilitate” peaceful protests.

“We will have a policing operation in place that will facilitate peaceful protest…. We believe there may be a small minority of people who may be intent on causing disorder – we would ask people to abide by the law and if they break the law, then we will be in a position to deal robustly with them,” she said.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Security fears? Chicago G8 Summit canceled, relocated to Camp David

RT | 06 March, 2012

Amid concerns over thousands of protestors descending on Chicago, Illinois for the G-8 Summit this spring, the event have been moved to the presidential compound at Camp David, Maryland, around an hour outside of Washington.

Leaders from the United States, Russia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and European Union were expected to arrive in Chicago this May for the annual meeting of the world’s largest economies. Protesters also had plans for the Windy City, however, and demonstration groups including Occupy Wall Street offshoots had begun orchestrating events to coincide with the meeting. Now barely two months before the event is slated to occur, the G-8 Summit is being moved outside of Chicago to Camp David, a suburban city outside of the US capital that serves as a historic retreat locale for America’s commander-in-chief.

“In May, the United States looks forward to hosting the G-8 and NATO Summits. To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners, the president is inviting his fellow G-8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues,” reads a statement released Monday by the White House.

After the G-8 Summit, the NATO meeting is expected to continue as planned in Chicago on May 20 through 21.

In the past, these high-profile meetings of the minds have attracted massive demonstrations, with the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto resulting in the largest mass arrest in the history of the entire country of Canada. In recent weeks, the Apartment Building Owners and Managers’ Association of Chicago began a series of presentations in which it explained how building managers could effectively handle riots, protests, tear gas and bomb threats.

Camp David has served as a retreat for every president since Franklin Roosevelt went into office in the 1940s and has hosted foreign dignitaries such as Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Anwar al-Sadat. Come this spring, however, it will serve as a meeting place for more than just a few heads of state. Obama, Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy are just a few of the names that are expected on this year’s guest list — and don’t expect there to be many more. Camp David is normally subjected to heightened security standards, and this spring’s G8 Summit won’t come as any exception. For protesters hoping to picket outside the grounds — a mass demonstration would be unlikely.

Coincidently, a new bill drafted by Congress, HR 347,will make it a federal offense to trespass on the grounds of any place granted Secret Service. If approved, the NATO Summit in Chicago will fall into this jurisdiction, as will the presidential retreat at Camp David. What does that mean for protesters? Even if you’re in the proximity of the premises, you could be considered a criminal for engaging in any activity that disrupts a governmental event.

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments