French Tribunal Investigates Qosmos Over Surveillance Software Use In Syria
Fatima Hansia
July 21st, 2015

Qosmos – a French technology company– is being investigated for acting as an “assisted witness” in alleged torture in Syria. The specialized crimes unit of the Paris Tribunal has agreed to study the use of Qosmos surveillance software by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, following complaints filed by two human rights NGOs.

The aftermath of a bombing in Syria. Photo: Freedom House. Used under Creative Commons license.

Food and Agriculture

Agrica’s Tanzania Rice Scheme Has Devastated Local Farmers, Say NGOs
Richard Smallteacher
July 7th, 2015

A flagship rice plantation in Tanzania run by UK investors has allegedly destroyed the livelihoods of local smallholder farmers, driven them into debt and impacted the local environment, according to a new report published by the Oakland Institute. The report was co-authored with Greenpeace Africa and Global Justice Now.

KPL plant and fields. © Greenpeace

EuroZone Profiteers: How German and French Banks Helped Bankrupt Greece
Pratap Chatterjee
June 29th, 2015

Almost none of the huge amount of money “loaned” to Greece has actually gone there, writes Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank chief economist. CorpWatch's EuroZone Profiteers report sheds light on how some of it was used to pay off bad loans made by private-sector banks in France and Germany.

Cartoon by Khalil Bendib

Pemex Secretly Expanding Fracking In Mexico, Say Activists
Richard Smallteacher
June 26th, 2015

Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the state owned oil company, is quietly expanding operations to extract oil from shale deposits in six Mexican states. However, the company has failed to disclose its use of a controversial technology called fracking and explain the potential environmental impacts to local communities, say activists.

Cartoon by Khalil Bendib
Technology & Telecommunications

Uber Plans to Track Users Should Not Be Allowed, Says Privacy Group
Pratap Chatterjee
June 22nd, 2015

A formal complaint has been filed against Uber, the car ride company, by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-profit advocacy group. The NGO says Uber plans to use their smart phone app to access user’s locations at all times, and to send advertisements to user’s contact lists.

Uber protest in Chicago. Photo: Scott L. Used under Creative Commons license.
Food and Agriculture

Nestle Recalls 400 Million Packets of Instant Noodles in India
Richard Smallteacher
June 18th, 2015

Nestle says that it will destroy 400 million packets of Maggi brand instant noodles in India worth some Rs 320 crores ($50.5 million). The company made the announcement after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India found “hazardous” levels of lead in company products and ordered legal action.

Maggi noodles on sale in India. Photo: srabanirsphotos. Used under Creative Commons license.

Soco International Accused of Paying Bribes for Congo Oil Exploration
Richard Smallteacher
June 12th, 2015

Shareholders have demanded that the CEO of Soco International be fired after handwritten receipts for $42,250 in alleged bribes to Congolese army officials were published by Global Witness. At the time, the UK company was exploring for oil in Virunga, a United Nations World Heritage site in eastern Congo.

Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: David Lloyd. Used under Creative Commons license.
Media & Entertainment

Traffic, Brazilian Sports Company, at Center of World Cup Football Scandal
Pratap Chatterjee
June 8th, 2015

Traffic International, a Brazilian sports media company, has been named as the source of at least $60 million in bribes paid to Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) officials, the organizers of the World Cup football tournament, to obtain media and marketing rights to international games.

Sepp Blatter. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert. Used under the Creative Commons

Tobacco Companies Ordered to Pay C$15.6 Billion to Quebec Smokers
Richard Smallteacher
June 4th, 2015

Over one million people in the Canadian province of Quebec will receive a total of C$15.6 billion ($12.5 billion) in damages for smoking related diseases from three of the biggest tobacco companies in the country. The settlement is the result of a 17 year long court battle.

Tobacco warning. Health Canada. Used under Creative Commons license.