Corporate Power and International Trade

A leaked document posted at Public Citizen last night offers a stark reminder of the rising power transnational corporations enjoy in the domestic settings of nation-states where they do business. The Huffington Post's Zach Carter writes that "The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration's advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws." As Carter points out, "The terms run contrary to campaign promises issued by Obama and the Democratic Party during the 2008 campaign."

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Mara Salva-Truce-A: El Salvadoran Gangs Broker Tentative Peace

The most significant story in Central America right now is also the most underreported. El Salvador, the tiniest country in the land belt connecting North and South America, has long suffered socioeconomic violence—first in its civil war during the 1980s, then in the period of organized crime’s rising power in the 1990s, and most recently under the mano dura years of conservative authoritarianism—largely in answer to the growing influence of transnational criminal gangs in the 2000s. But since the start of May, El Salvador’s murder rate—by some estimates, the highest in the world in 2011—has dropped by nearly 66 percent, the result of a truce between the country’s two leading gangs (or maras, as they are popularly known) that was brokered in March by religious and government representatives and deepened by gang leaders on May 2.

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