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Energy

Australian Uranium Mining Company Accused of Contaminating Lake Malawi
Mayu Chang
January 28th, 2015

Paladin Energy, an Australian mining company, has been accused of discharging uranium-contaminated sludge into Lake Malawi, which supports 1.7 million people in three countries – Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The company began uranium mining operations in Malawi in 2009 although it suspended operations last year after ore prices fell.

Lake Malawi. Photo: bathyporeia. Used under Creative Commons license.


Manufacturing

Brazilian Truth Commission Alleges Volkswagen Had Ties To Former Military Junta
Nicolas Krotz
January 26th, 2015

Volkswagen's subsidiary in Brazil has been accused of providing material support for torture conducted by the military dictatorship during its 21 year reign from 1964 to 1985. Details of the role of the German car manufacturer emerged in the final report of a national Truth Commission issued last month.
Citizens demanding justice for crimes committed during Brazilian military dictatorship. Photo: Circuito Fora do Eixo. Used under Creative Commmons license.

Labor

Subsidizing Contractor Misconduct: Alma's Story
Chris Thompson
January 21st, 2015

When Alma Aranda tried to exercise her legal right to take unpaid time off to care for her dying mother, Verizon harassed her with so much paperwork that her hair fell out. In a new CorpWatch investigation into federal contractors who violate workers rights, Chris Thompson tells her story.
Phyllis Cheng, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, brought the lawsuit against Verizon. UC Irvine Law School. Used under Creative Commons license.

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Kazakh Oil Consortium Accused of “Mass Poisoning” of Village School Children
Fatima Hansia
January 14th, 2015

A Kazakh oil consortium has been accused of “mass poisoning” after 25 school children and four teachers passed out almost simultaneously at a school in Berezovka village in northwest Kazakhstan. The incident is the latest in a decade of allegations of pollution caused by the neighboring Karachaganak oil field.
The village of Berezovka, Kazakhstan. Photo: Sanat Urnaliyev. Used under Creative Commmons license.

Labor

Subsidizing Contractor Misconduct
Chris Thompson
January 7th, 2015

Every year, the U.S. government awards billions of dollars in federal contracts to companies who routinely violate basic legal rights of workers. This new report profiles three individuals who were harmed by Imperial Sugar, Tyson Foods and Verizon and explains a new presidential order that could help reduce abuses.
Damage caused by Imperial Sugar refinery explosion at Port Wentworth, Georgia. U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Human Rights

Saudi Star To Restart Rice Project on Disputed Anuak Lands in Ethiopia
Fatima Hansia
December 30th, 2014

Saudi Star Agricultural Development plans to pump $100 million into a rice export project in Gambella region of Ethiopia despite allegations of human rights violations surrounding the “villagization” program under which the land has been taken from indigenous Anuak pastoralists to lease to foreign investors. 

An abandoned Anuak village in Gambella, Ethiopia. Photo: Julio Garcia. Used under Creative Commons license.

Natural Resources

Families of Murdered Colombians Lose U.S. Lawsuit Against Occidental Petroleum
Pratap Chatterjee
December 15th, 2014

A U.S. court has refused to allow family members of three murdered Colombian union leaders the opportunity to sue Occidental Petroleum. The families claimed that the Los Angeles based company should be held responsible since it allegedly provided financial support for the military unit that killed the men.
Caño Limon pipeline. Photo: Rainforest Action Network. Used under Creative Commons license.

Construction

Mega First of Malaysia Under Fire for Lao Dam Construction Plan
Rozali Telbis
December 12th, 2014

Plans for the Don Sahong dam in southern Laos have come under renewed fire from environmental activists. This week activists boycotted a regional consultation on the dam, just eight weeks after filing a formal request for an investigation of Mega First Corporation, the company that has the construction contract.

Fisherman bringing in his catch in Siphandone, Laos. Photo: International Rivers Network.

Energy

U.S. Attorneys General Form Secret Alliance To Help Energy Companies
Pratap Chatterjee
December 8th, 2014

Major energy companies have effectively created a secret law firm of conservative attorneys general to persuade Washington lawmakers to gut environmental regulations, according to an investigation by the New York Times. In return, these senior government officials have received millions of dollars to help them win political campaigns.
Devon Energy headquarters in Oklahoma city. Photo: Paul L. McCord Jr. Used under Creative Commons license.