Join the call for Arroyo's resignation (12/3/2008)


2.Mandelson in 'warm' talks

NOTE: Under President Gloria Arroyo the Philippines has pursued the most extreme pro-GM policy in Asia, even subsidising farmers to grow GM crops. At the same time anti-GM activists have been amongst those slayn in the killings that have scarred political life. (item 1)

Peter Mandelson was Blair's closest ally and has used his position as an EU Commissioner to push GM crop acceptance and to challenge environmental protection measures in developimng countries in the name of free trade. Now this neoliberal hardliner may get to serve another five years (item 2), while some are supporting the idea of Blair being the EU's first President.



The Legal Rights and Natural Resources/Friends of the Earth-Philippines are asking you to join the call for the resignation of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo now.

Filipino people have taken to the streets again in an attempt to oust the President Arroyo, frustrated by a long series of scandals. Allegations of fraud date back to her election in 2004, the infamous 'Hello Garci' tapes, in which president Arroyo is alleged to have sought assurance of an election win of a hundred thousand votes.

There have been 474 political killings in the last three years alone, and more than 180 people have been made to disappear. It is a government which prefers to be supported by large businesses and corporations than local communities; a government that is willing to sell off the country's minerals, forests and lands; and a government who exercises its power over its people like a mafia.

Act now by visiting our website and signing the petition http://www.foei.org/en/get-involved/take-action/arroyo-out/

It only takes two minutes and the Filipino people need your support.

Please pass this message on to your contacts and encourage them to take part.

Thanks for your support.

Debra Broughton
Friends of the Earth International

2.Mandelson in 'warm' talks with old foe
By George Parker, Political Editor
Financial Times, March 10 2008

Gordon Brown has asked Peter Mandelson if he would like to continue as Britain's European Union trade commissioner when his term expires next year, according to officials in Brussels, in a sign that one of politics’ most enduring feuds is coming to an end.

Mr Brown discussed the prospect of Mr Mandelson’s staying on in Brussels during an 80-minute meeting last month, described by both sides as 'warm'.

Brown allies say 2009 election likely - Mar-02MPs find positives alongside negatives - Feb-19Labour donor calls for radical reform - Jan-29Finger-pointing leaves supporters thinking twice - Jan-29Labour struggles to contain new funding row - Jan-27Hain quits UK cabinet ‘to clear name’ - Jan-24One Brussels official said: 'The prime minister asked Peter if he would be interested in staying and, if not, why not? Peter replied that he had not reflected on the matter fully and that it was a decision for next year.'

The rapprochement is extraordinary given that Mr Brown and Mr Mandelson had barely spoken face to face for years before the meeting in Brussels.

Relations between the two have been poisonous since 1994, when Mr Mandelson backed Tony Blair against Mr Brown for the Labour leadership.

While Mr Brown might see a certain attraction in keeping a potential critic out of the way in Brussels, the warming of relations is also a sign that the Labour civil war between Brownites and Blairites is easing.

Mr Mandelson said publicly last year that he would not continue in Brussels when his stint as EU trade commissioner expired in autumn 2009, reflecting his certainty that Mr Brown would not nominate him.

Such was the level of animosity that Mr Mandelson told the Today programme: 'I don’t know whether this is going to come as a disappointment to him, but he can’t actually fire me.' When Mr Brown questioned Mr Mandelson about his outburst on the BBC, the trade commissioner claimed he was jetlagged at the time and 'bounced' into giving an intemperate reply.

Now Mr Mandelson is keeping open the option of remaining in Brussels. Asked whether he might seek a second term, his spokesman said: 'He has not reached a definitive view.'

Number 10 said it did not comment on private discussions but stated: 'It is very early to be talking about who the next commissioner might be.'

Mr Brown has criticised the slow pace of the Doha trade negotiations and wants Europe to go further on offering cuts to farm tariffs. Meanwhile Mr Mandelson, as the EU’s chief negotiator, has sought to balance the interests of free-trade European countries with more protectionist states such as France. Many in Brussels expect the commissioner to take up lucrative jobs in the private sector when his term ends, using his experience and contacts as a trade negotiator.

If Mr Mandelson did serve a second term in the 27-member European Commission, he would not necessarily continue as trade representative. The choice of portfolios is for the Commission president, but Mr Mandelson – as an experienced representative from a large member state – would expect to be given a big job.

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