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The Story the Media Missed in Afghanistan
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Since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the American press has focused on the fates of three groups that are of special interest to Western readers. One is the many thousands of Afghans who had worked with the US government and military or other Western organizations and were desperate to leave. In addition to dramatic reports […]

Irelandas Coming of Age and Mine
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On a Sunday in the summer of 1970, we were all herded up to the little church in CAoil Aodha for Mass. We were city kids sent to this small and remote village in County Cork to learn Irish from the native speakers. Their little chapel was gray, pebble-dashed, with no steeple, more like a […]

Sisias New Cairo: Pharaonic Ambition in Ferro-Concrete
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I have the sense, on many days, that my city is at war with itself. Not in the visibly armed meaning of battle, but an insidious crusade of ideology and will. Such is President Abdel Fattah el-Sisias plan to make over Egyptas capital, a neo-pharaonic campaign so ludicrous it would be dismissible if it didnat […]

In His Fatheras Footsteps
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On October 1, 2021, we published Raja Shehadehas essay aThe Nakba, Fatheras Papers, and Jaffa Revisited.a Expanded from an address the Palestinian lawyer and writer recently gave at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, it touched on many of the themes and preoccupations that have animated Shehadehas booksaamong them, Strangers in the House (2001), Palestinian Walks […]

Not So Great Britain
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In a single stroke, the new security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States offended France, disrespected the European Union, raised nonproliferation concerns, and painted a target on Australiaas back for China. For Britain, though, it offered to reinforce its tenuous aspecial relationshipa with the US, helping it to piggyback on Americaas […]

Unknown Sources of Lift
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In the last few years The New York Review has published Ben Lerner in almost all his modes: poetry, a prose that hovers between poetry and fiction, and criticism. He is best known as a novelistaThe Topeka School, his latest, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize last year, and his first two novels came […]

Coltraneas New aLove Supremea
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At a press conference in Tokyo in July 1966, a Japanese jazz critic asked John Coltrane what he would like to be in ten years. aI would like to be a saint,a he replied. Coltrane, who died the following July of liver cancer, at forty, reportedly laughed when he said this; but among his followers, […]

A Canon for the American Prisoner
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In 2001, Reginald Dwayne Betts was about five years into a nine-year sentence in a Virginia prison for a carjacking head committed at age sixteen. That was the year that I shot and killed a man on a Brooklyn street, when I was twenty-four years old. I am now twenty years into a sentence of […]

Calling Grandma
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When I was seven, Syd was my best friend. Hers was the first number I memorized when I learned to use a telephone. She would answer, a little curious and with a Brooklyn air of aWho the hell is this?a, which gingered up as soon as she heard me say aHi, Grandma.a Iad call every […]

Human Diagnostics
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In the September 23, 2021, issue of the magazine, Gavin Francis considers three books about the ways weare in thrall to digital technologies, and how theyare affecting our mental health. In his review, Francis writes that during the pandemic, our devices have been aboth boon and curse, strengthening opportunities to connect even as they can […]

The Nakba, Fatheras Papers, and Jaffa Revisited
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This summer, I walked the lovely stretch of seaside along the coast road south from Tel Aviv to Jaffa. The ancient port city came into view for me on the hill ahead. In Arabic, we call it the bride of the sea. I remembered how my mother enjoyed smoking a cigarette only when sitting in […]

Another Immigration Purgatory for Children
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Victoria was seventeen when, in 2014, she made the journey alone to the US: escaping gangs in her native El Salvador, crossing the Rio Grande on foot, and being placed in immigration detention in Texas. She endured more than a month there and another in an immigration shelter where she learned a bit of English, […]

Emissary from a Watery Future
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In the October 7, 2021, issue of The New York Review, Nathaniel Rich reviews They Called Us River Rats, Macon Fryas account of life in the batture, a colony of houses on stilts abutting the Mississippi River, on the far side of New Orleansas levees. A longtime resident of the Big Easy himself, Rich writes […]

The New Abortion Vigilantism
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Recently the US Supreme Court temporarily let stand Texasas antiabortion law, SB 8, which rewards any person a minimum of $10,000 for suing abortion providers or those who aid or abet the performance of an abortion after roughly the sixth week of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. The first bounty-seeker, a felon […]

Covid booster jabs could be brought forward as UK daily cases hit 52,000
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MPs voice frustration to new vaccines minister about astallinga programme in England

Millions of people could have their booster jab brought forward as ministers consider cutting the six-month gap between doses as part of a scramble to shore up the faltering vaccine programme and avoid imposing Covid restrictions.

As the number of new daily Covid cases hit 52,009 across the UK, the government is launching an advertising campaign urging people to get their booster and flu jabs.

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The Queen spent night in hospital after cancelling Northern Ireland visit
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Buckingham Palace says Elizabeth II is now back in Windsor after doctors advised a few daysa rest

The Queen spent Wednesday night in hospital after cancelling a visit to Northern Ireland, Buckingham Palace has said.

The 95-year-old had been due to take part in a two-day trip, but doctors told her that she should rest for a couple of days at Windsor Castle.

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GPs in England threaten industrial action over in-person appointments
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Family doctors reject plan to force them to see any patient who wants face-to-face appointment

GPs in England are threatening industrial action in protest at the governmentas attempt to force them to see any patient who wants a face-to-face appointment.

The British Medical Associationas GPs committee voted unanimously to reject the plan by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, which included anaming and shaminga surgeries that see too few patients in person.

Declining to comply with Javidas insistence that they see patients in person who request it.

Visiting care homes less often to check on residentsa health.

Undertaking fewer or less regular medication reviews of the drugs being taken by patients with a long-term health condition.

Refusing to issue Covid medical exemption certificates, which will allow people who remain unvaccinated to continue working in environments such as care homes because they have a medical reason not to have been jabbed against the disease.

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House holds Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress
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The House voted on Thursday to hold Donald Trumpas former chief strategist Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, over his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the 6 January Capitol attack.

The approval of the contempt citation, by 229 votes to 202 against, escalates the select committeeas efforts to punish Bannon for his non-compliance as they intensify their inquiry into whether then-president Trump helped plan or had advance knowledge of the insurrection.

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England and Wales court backlog crisis ato go on for several yearsa
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Report says MoJ and and HM Courts and Tribunals Service anot yet working towards shared objectivesa

The backlog of cases in criminal courts in England and Wales is likely to be a pervasive issue for several years, severely affecting victims, witnesses and defendants, the National Audit Office has said.

In a report published on Friday, the NAO says the Ministry of Justiceas plan to tackle the backlog is ambitious and hinges on securing funding and resources, neither of which are a given.

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Almost all Tory voters agree company tax avoidance morally wrong, poll finds
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Survey after Pandora Papers leak finds 90% of Conservative and 85% of Labour voters object

A majority of the public, including Conservative voters, support tougher action against tax avoidance, according to an opinion poll after the revelations in the leaked Pandora Papers about widespread use of offshore tax havens by some of the worldas wealthiest people.

Among Conservative voters in the 2019 general election, 90% agreed that tax avoidance by large companies was amorally wrong even if legala, the poll found.

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Laura Kuenssberg in talks to step down as BBC political editor
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Exclusive: those with knowledge of negotiations say Kuenssberg could become presenter on Today programme

Laura Kuenssberg is in talks to step down as BBC political editor after six years and become a presenter on the Today programme as part of a major reshuffle of senior on-air staff, individuals with knowledge of the negotiations told the Guardian.

Although the deal has yet to be signed off and there is no confirmed timeframe, her departure would leave a vacancy in one of the most powerful positions in British journalism at a time when the government is still negotiating the future of the BBC licence fee and trying to shape its news agenda.

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California family found dead on hike killed by extreme heat, sheriff says
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Deaths of couple, their daughter and their dog in August during hike in Sierra national forest had baffled investigators for months

The California family that died in August while hiking in Sierra national forest was killed by extreme heat and probable dehydration, law enforcement officials announced on Thursday, providing some answers to a mystery that had baffled investigators for months.

The Mariposa county sheriffas department believes 45-year-old Jonathan Gerrish, originally from the UK, his wife, 30-year-old Ellen Chung, their one-year-old daughter, Miju, and their dog, Oski, died while on a hike on the Hites Cove trail on 15 August. Temperatures were as high as 109F (42.8C) that day, and the majority of the eight-mile trail has little shade or trees.

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Suspect in David Amess MP killing plotted attack for years, court hears
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Ali Harbi Ali visited Houses of Parliament, an MPas home and another constituency surgery, say prosecutors

The suspect in the killing of the MP David Amess prepared terrorist acts over more than two years, it was alleged in court on Thursday.

Prosecutors claimed that Ali Harbi Ali, 25, visited the Houses of Parliament, an MPas home and another constituency surgery as part of reconnaissance for a potential attack.

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New rose named after one of UKas first documented black gardeners
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John Ystumllyn was abducted from west Africa in 1746 and taken to Gwynedd, north Wales

One of Britainas first known black gardeners has been honoured with a rose named after him in celebration of his life.

John Ystumllyn, whose original name is unknown, was abducted as an eight-year-old boy in west Africa around 1746 and taken to Gwynedd, north Wales. There he became a servant in the household of the Wynn family of Ystumllyn, whose estate he was named after, and learned horticulture in the gardens.

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aSorry, a slight distractiona: Jacinda Ardern unruffled as earthquake interrupts press conference
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The 5.9 magnitude quake forced the prime minister to pause and grip her podium before continuing to outline post-Covid lockdown plans

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has been interrupted by an earthquake midway through announcing the countryas plans for a post-Covid-lockdown future.

The 5.9 quake rattled parliament in Wellington on Friday as Ardern was holding a press conference on the countryas new vaccination targets.

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Lana Del Rey: Blue Banisters review a as perplexing as she is captivating
From https:

Despite weaving relatable scenes of Zoom calls and lockdown weight gain into her distinctive aesthetic, the stylised singer remains as elusive as ever on her eighth album

Despite some misguided early philosophising, the pandemic has not turned out to be a great leveller: we have all been, to borrow a viral metaphor, navigating the same stormy sea in very different vessels. It has, however, made Lana Del Rey a bit more relatable. The musician has often seemed more highly stylised cipher than everywoman, toying with romantic ideals of American culture and darkly dysfunctional love. Yet on her eighth album, Blue Banisters, she has more pedestrian activities in mind, such as Zoom calls and trips to Target.

aIf this is the end, I want a boyfriend / Someone to eat ice-cream with and watch television,a she sings on Black Bathing Suit, a song that appears to nod to lockdown weight gain (aThe only thing that still fits me is this black bathing suita). Later, she is overcome by signs of ordinary life returning: on Violets for Roses, once run-of-the-mill sights such as young women frolicking maskless and bookshops reopening can now elicit euphoria.

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Oil refinery woes raise concern in Westminster over financial backers
From https:

Petrol crisis puts spotlight on little-known foreign supporters of Stanlow and Prax Lindsey plants

The panic-buying of petrol and diesel that gripped Britain in September served as an unwelcome reminder of how disruption to supplies can rapidly escalate into crisis. But while the long queues on forecourts have gradually receded, concerns persist about the finances of refineries supplying about 25% of fuel.

Financial difficulties afflicting two of the UKas remaining oil refineries have raised concerns in government about their little-known ties to a Kremlin-allied oil business and a commodities trading house under investigation for corruption, the Guardian understands.

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aNever sold a painting in his life a but died worth $100ma: the incredible story of Boris Lurie
From https:

The difficult, devastating work of the Holocaust survivor turned painter is being celebrated at a new exhibition at New Yorkas Museum of Jewish Heritage

aHe never sold a painting in his life, lived in hovels, yet died worth about $100m,a says Anthony Williams, chairman of the Boris Lurie Art Foundation, at a press preview for Boris Lurie: Nothing to Do but Try. aHe was,a he later says with a sigh, aa complicated man.a

The paradox of Boris Lurieas living conditions is just one contour in the tragic and fascinating life of this painter, illustrator, sculptor, diarist, co-founder of the No!art movement, and concentration camp survivor, whose work is on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage a A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in lower Manhattan.

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aIt seems impenetrablea: the trials of HGV training
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Three HGV trainees relate the early barriers theyave found on the road to a potential career change

The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK and reports of salaries of up to APS50,000 has prompted some people to change careers and retrain to join the sector.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified HGV drivers in the UK.

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Introducing World Now
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The Los Angeles Times this week launched World Now. Coverage that once appeared on Babylon & Beyond can now be found by following the Middle East and South Asia threads on World Now.

ISRAEL: Trying classic, digital and celebrity diplomacy
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The Palestinian plan to ask the United Nations for statehood recognition has preoccupied Israel's leaders and news media for months, making "September" a code word for trouble ahead. Public officials have sounded dire warnings, each with a metaphor describing what...

IRAN: Key cleric calls for more prayer, less Web surfing
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An influential Iranian ayatollah is telling his students to spend more time praying and less time clicking through cyberspace. Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, a conservative Islamic cleric and chairman of the Imam Khomeini Research and Education Institute in Qom, said the Internet is rife with dangers and temptations that lead to family problems.

WEST BANK: U.S. envoys' paper emboldens Abbas to go before U.N.
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A paper special U.S. peace envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross presented to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday that was supposed to sway him away from going to the United Nations was what caused Abbas to take a...

SYRIA: Momentum builds as uprising reaches six-month mark [VIDEO]
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Protests continued throughout Syrian villages late Wednesday, which marked the eve of the uprising's six-month anniversary. At least eight protesters were reported dead, three each in Hama and Homs, and one in each Aleppo and and Idleb. The uprising stands...

WEST BANK: 18 years after Oslo, Palestinians try a new tack
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On Sept. 13, 1993, current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and current Israeli President Shimon Peres signed at the While House the so-called Oslo Accords, ushering in a new era and hopes of peace in the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The...

LIBYA: Seven keys to post-revolution resurgence
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Editoras note: This post is from analyst Lahcen Achy with the Carnegie Middle East Center. Neither the Los Angeles Times nor Babylon & Beyond endorses the positions of Carnegie analysts, nor does Carnegie endorse the positions of The Times or...

SYRIA: Activist's death shakes opposition as casualty count jumps
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The body of well-known Syrian opposition activist Ghaith Mattar was delivered to his family over the weekend by security forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Mattar was on the run...

EGYPT: Testimony of top general postponed in Mubarak trial
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The testimony of Egypt's top general in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak was postponed Sunday after the military leader said he was too busy with national security matters, including repercussions from a mob attack on the Israeli embassy...

WEST BANK: Palestinians start pro-U.N. bid activities
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The Palestinian support group for the United Nations bid to gain statehood recognition announced Saturday a series of activities that would reach a peak when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23.

SYRIA: Some Syrians decry Arab League chief's visit with Assad
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The secretary-general of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, visited Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday in an effort to end the bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters that has gripped Syria for months and led to international condemnation.

EGYPT: Thousands in Tahrir Square angry at slow pace of reforms
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Thousands of Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square on Friday, calling on the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces to fulfill the demands of the revolution that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak. It was the first in Tahrir since a sit-in in July and early August that lasted for more than three weeks and made similar demands.

Webinar-- The modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty: Substantial and procedural implications for the IIA regime
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This is from the University aParthenopea of Naples and the Asia Pacific FDI Network: On 5 November, 14.00-17:30 CET; 08:00-11.30 (NY) we will host a webinar on "The modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty: Substantial and procedural implications for the...

What Does the Biden Administration Think About a Power-Based vs. a Rules-Based Trading System?
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I wanted to elaborate on a point I made in my post from last week, where I discussed U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai's response to my question about ways to improve the WTO panel process. As a reminder, here's what...

USTR Requests ITC Investigation on Distributional Effects of Goods and Services Trade and Trade Policy
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USTR has just requested that the ITC carry out the following two-part investigation of distributional effects of goods and services trade and trade policy: under authority delegated by the President to the United States Trade Representative and pursuant to Section...

Guest Post: aThe crown and the jewela The rise and fall of the WTO Appellate Body: a critical analysis
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This is a guest post from law professor Luca Rubini: In yesterdayas speech in Geneva, Ambassador Katherine Tai, the current USTR, said: aReforming dispute settlement is not about restoring the Appellate Body for its own sake, or going back to...

Katherine Tai on WTO Dispute Settlement
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U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai gave a speech on WTO issues in Geneva today at the Graduate Institute's Geneva Trade Platform. Here is the section on WTO dispute settlement: Over the past quarter century, WTO members have discovered that they...

Birmingham Law School International Economic Law and Policy Working Group Events
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This is from law prof Luca Rubini: We are glad to present the first events in the 2021/2022 academic year of the International Economic Law and Policy Working Group (IELPWG), set up in 2019 at Birmingham Law School. The IELPWG...

Soumaya Keynes' Great Special Report on World Trade (and Two Quibbles)
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Soumaya Keynes of the Economist has a great six part Special Report on World Trade. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it! (Unfortunately, Soumaya is apparently leaving the trade beat, but this was a nice way to go out)....

New GATT Dispute Database from the WTO
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The WTO Secretariat has just put out a cool new database on GATT disputes. The official press release is here: The database allows users to search for information relating to the 317 GATT disputes brought by contracting parties from 1948...

The Role of Women in U.S.-China Trade Negotiations
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I found this question and answer from CNBC's Kayla Tausche to U.S. Trade Rep. Katherine Tai interesting: Tausche: In the direct talks that took place during the prior administration, the only women that were at the table were the translators....

The Biden Administration's China Trade Policy
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I wrote a piece over at China Trade Monitor (still free for now!) on Katherine Tai's speech from yesterday and the Biden administration's developing China trade policy. Here's the intro and conclusions: After months of saying that they are reviewing...

What Would Happen if WTO Members Voted on AB Appointments?
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Henry Gao has been making the case that WTO Members should have a vote on appointing AB Members, as a way to get around the U.S. block. I don't think that's likely to happen, but just for fun, I ran...

Guest Post: Eco Oro Minerals Corp. v. Republic of Colombia: some thoughts on an investoras due diligence
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This is a guest post from law professor Yulia Levashova: The investoras due diligence has become a significant factor in determining whether the legitimate expectations based on the stability of a regulatory framework of an investor give rise to protection...

Guest Post: Appointing Appellate Body Members by Majority a A Draft Article IX:2 Interpretation
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This is a guest post from law professor Geraldo Vidigal (see also my totally unscientific twitter poll related to this issue): With the Biden administration having continued the previous administrationas stance of blocking all appointments to the Appellate Body, the...

Guest Post: Proof that WTO subsidy rules are out-of-date in the climate change age
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This is a guest post from trade lawyer Bixuan Wu of the Hiways law firm: Last December, the US Commerce Department ruled that, under the EU's Emission Trading System, extra free allowances received by EU producers with high carbon leakage...

A Sixth Agreement To Use the MPIA
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I previously noted the five WTO disputes where agreed procedures between the parties for using the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA) have been circulated (as well as an agreement to use Article 25 arbitration outside the context of the...

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