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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.

Construction

Mexican President Accepted Favors From Construction Contractor Grupo Higa
Richard Smallteacher
December 1st, 2014

A $3.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail link between Mexico city and the city of Queretaro has been canceled after Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican president, was alleged to have accepted favors from Grupo Higa, a Mexican construction company that was a member of the winning consortium.
Enrique Peña Nieto on the campaign trail. Photo: Aristóteles Sandoval. Used under Creative Commons license.

Financial Services, Insurance and Banking

Argentina and Belgium Accuse HSBC of Aiding Tax Evasion
Pratap Chatterjee
November 28th, 2014

Argentina and Belgium have separately accused HSBC bank's Geneva branch of setting up a network of offshore accounts to help their citizens avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes. The charges are apparently based on a trove of documents provided by Hervé Falciani, a former HSBC employee turned whistleblower.
HSBC offices in Geneva. Photo: I Am Sargant. Used under Creative Commons license.

Energy

Adani Gets Billion Dollar Loan for Australian Mega Coal Project
Richard Smallteacher
November 26th, 2014

Adani Enterprises has been offered a $1 billion loan by the State Bank of India to support a mega coal mining project in the Galilee basin in central Queensland, Australia. Environmentalists say that the accompanying industrialization is likely to severely impact the Great Barrier Reef, 400 kilometres away.
Photo: FusionVision. Used under Creative Commons license.

Natural Resources

Firestone Tire's Role in Funding Liberian Warlord Revealed
Pratap Chatterjee
November 19th, 2014

Firestone, a U.S. tire company, paid out millions of dollars to Charles Taylor, a Liberian warlord in the 1990s, despite knowing about his brutal human rights record, according to documents uncovered by ProPublica, an investigative journalism website. Taylor is now serving a 50 year prison sentence for war crimes.
Photo: ProPublica/Frontline

Food and Agriculture

European Supermarkets Defend Low Wages To Moroccan Tomato Pickers
Mayu Chang
November 12th, 2014

Tomato pickers in Morocco – who supply fresh produce during the winter to big European supermarket chains like Albert Heijn in the Netherlands and Sainsbury’s and Tesco in the UK – are paid poverty wages, according to a new report from Fairfood International.
Tomato Workers in Morocco. Photo courtesy Fairfood International.

Tobacco

Uruguay Presents Defense Against Philip Morris Tobacco Lawsuit
Richard Smallteacher
November 10th, 2014

Uruguay has presented a 500 page document to defend itself against an international lawsuit challenging the country's tough tobacco packaging regulations. The claim was brought by Philip Morris, the global tobacco giant, at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington DC.
Uruguayan tobacco packaging. Photo: Andrew Sorensen. Used under Creative Commons license.