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Have You Heard Of TTIP?

Eggs

TIPP is the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” which is a new treaty being negotiated between the European Union and the US.

As onlinefocus reader Jason Richer has mentioned in comments, its not getting much coverage in the media.

For example, if you search the Daily Mail website , it has been mentioned exactly once (compared with over 1500 stories that mention Rihanna) And here’s their complete coverage:

 

BRUSSELS (AP) — President Barack Obama says some countries have legitimate questions about whether budding free trade deals will benefit them in the long-term.
But Obama is cautioning skeptics to wait to see what’s negotiated before jumping to conclusions.
Obama is speaking at a news conference with European Union leaders in Brussels. The United States and the EU are working on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which seeks to remove trade barriers between the 28-nation bloc..
Obama says some suspicions about the so-called TTIP have been unjustified. He says he’s fought his entire political career for consumer and environmental protections. He says he doesn’t intend to sign legislation that would weaken those protections.

 

And the good old Daily Express, which normally gets into a lather about any threat to UK sovereignty, has never mentioned it at all:

sunday express

If you hunt around on the web , you can find some stuff on this. John Hilary , Executive Director of War on Want writes: writes:

…..The aim is to rush through the talks as swiftly as possible with no details entering the public domain, in the hope that they can be concluded before the peoples of Europe and the USA find out the true scale of the TTIP threat.
——-
The main goal of TTIP is, by their own admission, to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations, such as labour rights, food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. The stakes, in other words, could not be higher.
———
In addition to this deregulation agenda, TTIP also seeks to create new markets by opening up public services and government procurement contracts to competition from transnational corporations… Most worrying of all, TTIP seeks to grant foreign investors a new right to sue sovereign governments in front of ad hoc arbitration tribunals for loss of profits resulting from public policy decisions…

So some people on the left see this treaty as a way of driving a coach-and-horses through public safety regulations in Europe. And there is no doubt for example, that there are big differences in regulations on each side of the Atlantic. For example American eggs are currently illegal in a European supermarket, and vice versa. This article from Forbes magazine explains why:

 

Believe it or not, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) graded eggs would be illegal if sold in the UK, or indeed anywhere in the European Union (EU). It’s all to do with the fact that commercial American eggs are federally required to be washed and sanitized before they reach the consumer. EU egg marketing laws, on the other hand, state that Class A eggs – those found on supermarkets shelves, must not be washed, or cleaned in any way.
—–
“In Europe, the understanding is that this mandate actually encourages good husbandry on farms. It’s in the farmers’ best interests then to produce to cleanest eggs possible, as no one is going to buy their eggs if they’re dirty, ” explained Mark Williams, Chief Executive, British Egg Industry Council in a phone interview.
—–
According to the USDA, despite how conscientious and thorough modern day farm-management practices might be, there will still be a small percentage of “dirty eggs” produced. Dirt almost always equates to chicken manure and, if the eggs are produced in a free-range system, other raw agricultural commodities that hens might pick up from roaming freely.

 

These differences may seem fairly harmless. But people may be much more concerned about meat – the US uses growth hormones and antibiotics in its livestock much more than the EU. And how would it affect laws about cigarettes?

What would the be impact be on our local area? Hard to say. Maybe American companies tendering for council contracts? Small businesses in our area finding it easy to export to the US ? Though maybe the deal won’t happen, as the Telegraph has reported here:

“In so far as a public TTIP debate exists, EU member states are losing it,” the report said. “There is…a risk that transatlantic trade is perceived as ‘sending stuff across the ocean’, and therefore not relevant to an ordinary household or small business.”

Sources close to the negotiations say the odds are still in favour of a TTIP deal getting done, but that there is only a one-in-three chance of that deal being as effective as once hoped.

Wild Woods Day Tomorrow !

wwd2013 099

From the District Council website:

Wild Woods Day
Sponsored by Virgin Active
Saturday 7 June 2014
11am – 4pm
Hockley Woods

The eleventh annual Wild Woods Day will be held on Saturday 7 June at Hockley Woods.

Entry is free to this family-friendly event which has a focus on ‘green’ themes including recycling, sustainability and protecting the local environment. A pop-up market will offer local produce and upcycled and recycled products. Visitors can try out a pedal-powered smoothie maker and have a go at geocaching.

Other activities include a range of arts and sports including archery, axe throwing, mini golf, ‘make and take’ art workshops, woodlands crafts and live music.

Selected activities require a £2 ‘Wild Stamp’ which you can purchase on the day. Only one stamp is required per person and this is valid for a range of activities that can be accessed more than once throughout the event. Terms and Conditions apply.

Rochford District Council’s Recycling, Environmental Services and Woodlands Teams will also be at the event.

Follow updates on Twitter and join in the conversation using the hashtag #wildwoodsday

Planning your journey to Wild Woods Day
Please note there is no on-site parking at Hockley Woods on the day of the event. Free parking and a free shuttle bus service will run from Hockley Community Centre, Westminster Drive, SS5 4XD.

Alternatively, visitors can travel by train to Hockley (Southend Victoria Line) or take the No.7 Bus.
Train and Bus information: 0871 200 22 33.

Wild Woods Day is organised by Rochford District Council Leisure Team and is sponsored by Virgin Active. The event has also received Community Games funding from Active Essex.

If you don’t want to cycle for a smoothie then don’t worry, there will be a refreshment van as usual plus a number of new catering outlets including a hog roast and fresh Italian coffee stand.

A Glorious Sunday

roses in our garden

Chris Black writes:

A glorious sunny day  yesterday . Thanks to our great helpers, I think all our leaflets are delivered now (last one was at Clarks Cottages this afternoon, delivered by my wife Lena). I even had time to slow down and smell the roses in our garden…

iPads Going Back

image

 

All district councillors up for re-election have to return their iPads – so we lose access to our council  email accounts. If you want to contact Chris Black, make sure you use  cllrchrisblack@gmail.com

A Warning From A Resident

Sent to us by email overnight:

I wonder if you could put a warning on the website. There was a white pick up doing the rounds here this afternoon offering gardening/tree cutting. Three men in it although only one got out, Irish accent. He was very very keen for me to leave the house and come down to the front gate to look at a tree he said was dangerous. I said I wasn’t interested in his services thank you, but he was getting extremely insistent, tried to stick his foot in the door and even though I only had it half open was trying to peer round me all the time. I’d shut the dog away and in the end I asked him if I let her out did he think he could make the truck before she got him, and that made him go. He didn’t fancy meeting my nice big German Shepherd. I did write down the reg no of the truck, and I’m 99% certain it’s the same number that has been mentioned on the RAG facebook page as being around just before there were burglaries. Don’t see any point in phoning the Police as they won’t do anything anyway, it isn’t a crime to door knock for business. But if you could warn people that they are around again it would be good

Atlantic Crossing….

jack monroe

Southend blogger, campaigner and food writer Jack Monroe gets a favourable profile in the New Yorker

It’s worth reading in full, so we won’t quote any of it here…

Sorry…

No time to write anything tonight, but there’s going to be one or two interesting things to write about tomorrow evening!

“Rayleigh Through Time”

rayleigh through time

No Update Tonight

No update tonight, due to a touch of manflu…

Best Wishes To All Our Readers

Seasons Greetings

Best wishes from all of us at onlineFOCUS to all of our readers and posters… we’ll be back in a couple of days!

Using Our IPads

image
There were a few raised eyebrows when the district council loaned an IPad to each councillor.
This is partly for security and data protection reasons required by government – if councillors have confidential emails sent to them by to special councillor email addresses, then the IPads could be checked to see if the emails have been spent on to anywhere else. The IPads are strictly for council use only.

We are starting to get council agendas and accompanying reports sent to our IPads now. This could save a lot of paper and printing costs. The pile of paper above is just the reports for three meetings this week. Admittedly, this is particularly “heavy” week for paperwork. But you can see that over a year it could make some savings….

Early Morning Noise

A new complaint on Fixmystreet :

“Council contractor sweeping Castle Road at 6:10 on Remembrance Sunday morning”

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