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  1. By Kate Sheppard 01/15/2014 12:22 pm EST Updated: 01/15/2014 5:18 pm EST WASHINGTON -- WikiLeaks published a leaked draft of the environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Wednesday, and environmental groups are lining up to take a swing. The leaked documents come from a meeting of the trade deal's chief negotiators held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Nov. 19 to 24, 2013. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes 12 countries - the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei - and would govern a number of international environmental and trade issues. The draft indicates the pact will include a number of promises on the environment, but will lack strong enforcement tools. "When compared against other TPP chapters, the Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures," wrote WikiLeaks in its release. The chapter is intended to deal with issues like overfishing, trade of wood products, wildlife crime, and illegal logging. But most of the measures in the chapter are voluntary, rather than binding, and do not include penalties or criminal sanctions for violations. Compliance is largely left to the respective countries. Enviros offered similar criticism. "The lack of fully-enforceable environmental safeguards means negotiators are allowing a unique opportunity to protect wildlife and support legal sustainable trade of renewable resources to slip through their fingers, said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, in a statement. The leaked document from November is only a draft, but if the trade pact's final environmental chapter looks like it, it would make the Obama administration's environmental trade record "worse than George W. Bushs," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. This draft chapter falls flat on every single one of our issues -- oceans, fish, wildlife, and forest protections -- and in fact, rolls back on the progress made in past free trade pacts. According to a report from the chairs of the TPP Environmental Working Group drafting the chapter, also released by WikiLeaks, there remains significant disagreement among the parties on many of the pact's provisions. The chairs wrote that Vietnam, Peru and Malaysia object to a provision calling for countries to "rationalize and phase out" fossil fuel subsidies "that encourage wasteful consumption." They also noted that the United States and Australia object to the climate change portion of the pact as it is written. Negotiation of the pact has been underway since 2010, but all discussions take place entirely outside of public view. The Obama administration has already received backlash for leaked portions of the pact that indicate it would grant greater rights to corporations to challenge national laws in private courts. Efforts to fast-track the trade deal met resistance from Democrats in Congress this week. UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. -- The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a response to the release on Wednesday afternoon. From the statement: The United States' position on the environment in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is this: environmental stewardship is a core American value, and we will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement. Our proposals in the TPP are centered around the enforcement of environmental laws, including those implementing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in TPP partner countries, and also around trailblazing, first-ever conservation proposals that will raise standards across the region. Furthermore, our proposals would enhance international cooperation and create new opportunities for public participation in environmental governance and enforcement. Read the full statement here. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/15/tpp-environment_n_4602727.html?ir=Politics Wikileak Document PDF https://wikileaks.org/tpp2/static/pdf/tpp-treaty-environment-chapter.pdf
  2. Samsung SSD 840 Evo Series 250GB SATA III US$ 149 + Int Shipping. http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-EVO-Series-2-5-Inch-MZ-7TE250BW/dp/B00E3W1726/ref=zg_bs_1292116011_2 Price fluctuates, Currently: US$ 159.99 plus Int shipping.
  3. It looks like Microsoft isn't going to have too difficult a time in getting through its massive purchase of Nokia's mobile devices and services business. The boards each voted through the $7.2 billion acquisition, and now the governmental review process is moving along quite well. Just a couple days ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) approved the deal "unconditionally". Both the Motorola acquisition and the Waze acquisition by Google brought much slower approval processes as investigations took place. But, Microsoft doesn't have Google's standing in the mobile market, so its purchase of Nokia hasn't gotten the same scrutiny it seems. The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Bureau of Competition released a notification of the DoJ approval today, although the approval actually came through on November 29th. "We look forward to the date when our partners at Nokia will become members of the Microsoft family, and are pleased that the Department of Justice has cleared the deal unconditionally." - Microsoft spokesperson Source
  4. Manchester United have reportedly signed a huge £300M kit sponsorship deal with sportswear giants Nike. The contract would equal the Premier League record deal signed between Chelsea and Adidas earlier this year. The new United deal, reported by the Sun, would potentially bolster the cash available to Red Devils' boss David Moyes to rebuild his side - which has struggled for form this season. If sufficient funds were made available to the manager he could go after the star names he tried and failed to sign in the summer. Moyes is already expected to go back in with a new bid for Everton and England left back Leighton Baines in the January transfer window. But with tens of millions of pounds in the kitty, he could bid for some of the biggest stars in Europe, including Borussia Dortmund's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and even make another move for Barca midfielder Cesc Fabregas. United's failure to sign big names in the summer window has been seen as an embarrassment for the club - and something Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward will want to put right. United's key summer buys have yet to make a serious impact, with Marianne Fellaini still settling in at United and Wilfred Zaha yet to make his debut for the club. source: mirror
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