The secretive conferences where delegates are hammering out the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are effectively rewriting the law for the United States, particularly in the area of intellectual property.

The TPP is an international trade treaty currently being negotiated behind closed doors by nine nations located along the Pacific Rim (Mexico and Canada have been invited to join and would bring the total number of participants to 11)  The 14th round of talks will be held on September 6-15 in Leesburg, Virginia.

In yet another instance of "unintended consequences," a recent study has determined that this year’s drought damage to corn crops is even worse because of Bt corn, and failure to rotate crops.

As TrapWire searches out and scrubs all references in the mainstream media to its global surveillance system, new connections between it and other tracking technologies are being uncovered.

Strict lead-based paint regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have resulted in costly fines to businesses and landlords looking to sell or rent their property. “Thinking of renting or selling a home or apartment?” the EPA asked in a press release in April 2010, when its Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule went into effect. “Make sure you disclose its lead-based paint history. Mr. Wolfe Landau did not and it cost him a $20,000 fine.”

Hundreds of activists showed up at a hearing about so-called “smart meters” held by the Texas Public Utility Commission this week, with most of them seeking a way to opt-out from receiving one of the controversial electricity meters that critics link to serious privacy and health concerns. A Republican member of the state legislature even promised that if the PUC refused to allow consumers a choice, he would introduce legislation to force its hand.

The federally backed meters have long been a source of controversy and criticism in Texas, which has rolled out millions of the devices in recent years and is reportedly almost 90 percent finished with its state-wide installation scheme. Hundreds of outraged citizens sent comments to authorities before the hearing demanding that their concerns be addressed. Most wanted the option to refuse a smart meter at the very least, with some seeking an “opt-in” system instead.

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