Sinopec Fracking In China Turns Deadly
Fatima Hansia
April 24th, 2014

A deadly explosion in Jiaoshizhen, Sichuan province, has raised concerns about the risks involved in hydraulic fracking in China. The explosion occurred at a facility operated by Sinopec – one of China’s biggest oil and gas companies – that is being advised by Breitling Energy, a Dallas-based company.

Cartoon by Khalil Bendib.

Financial Services, Insurance and Banking

Barclays Temporarily Backs Down On Somali Money Transfers
Pratap Chatterjee
April 21st, 2014

Dahabshiil, a Somali money transfer company, has won a temporary reprieve from Barclays, the last major bank to allow remittances to Somalia. The agreement comes just as a new report estimates that African expatriates lose $1.8 billion a year in transfer fees to companies like Moneygram and Western Union.

Photo: warsame90. Used under Creative Commons license.
War & Disaster Profiteering

KBR and Halliburton Can Be Sued For Iraq Toxic Burn Pits, Court Rules
Fatima Hansia
April 17th, 2014

KBR and Halliburton – two major U.S. military contractors – can be sued for the health impacts of trash incineration on U.S. soldiers who served in the war in Iraq, according to a new court decision that allows a series of 57 lawsuits against the companies to go forward.

A soldier pushes the bulldozer into the flames of the burn pit. Photo: Sgt. Abel Trevino. Used under Creative Commons license.

Caterpillar Uses Swiss Subsidiary to Avoid Billions in Taxes
Rozali Telbis
April 14th, 2014

Caterpillar - one of the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment - used a subsidiary in Switzerland to avoid paying $2.4 billion in taxes over a period of 13 years, according to a new U.S. Senate report titled ‘Caterpillar’s Offshore Tax Strategy.’

Caterpillar equipment. Photo: Kelly Michals. Used under Creative Commons license.
War & Disaster Profiteering

Failed Cuban “Twitter” Project Designed By U.S. Government Contractors
Pratap Chatterjee
April 8th, 2014

ZunZuneo - a now defunct social media platform similar to Twitter – was designed to undermine the Cuban government by two private contractors: Creative Associates International from Washington DC and Mobile Accord, a Denver based company. Funding was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Cuban woman listens to digistal device. Photo by <rs>> snaps. Used under Creative Commons license.

Big Pharma Abandons New Tuberculosis Drug Research
Fatima Hansia
April 1st, 2014

Three major pharmaceutical companies - AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer - have recently delayed or canceled clinical trials for testing tuberculosis (TB) drugs in India and South Africa. Activists say this is symbolic of a trend by Big Pharma to abandon research into diseases that affect poor people.

Tuberculosis microbe. Photo: Sanofi Pasteur. Used under Creative Commons license.
Natural Resources

Anglo American Workers Strike Against Contract Labor Conditions in Chile
Pratap Chatterjee
March 25th, 2014

Some 4,000 contract workers at Los Bronces copper mine in Chile went on strike against Anglo American, a UK-based mining multinational from South Africa. The strike is the latest in a series of protests against the Chilean copper industry, the world’s largest producers of the metal.

Copper mining in Chile. Photo: Rodrigo Arancibia Zamora. Used under Creative Commons license.

Fast Food Workers File Lawsuit Against McDonald’s for Alleged Wage Theft
Fatima Hansia
March 21st, 2014

Over 25,000 low-wage employees working at McDonald’s franchises in California, Michigan and New York are being systematically cheated of their wages, say attorneys who filed seven simultaneous lawsuits last week against McDonald’s and its franchisees for violations of labor law.

Protest outside McDonald's. Photo: Steve Rhodes. Used under Creative Commons license.
Tourism & Real Estate

Cambodian Villagers Land Bulldozed for UDG Casino Complex
Pratap Chatterjee
March 14th, 2014

Villagers in Koh Kong, Cambodia, say that their lands have been bulldozed by employees of the Union Development Group, a Chinese company, which is building a massive casino on a 45,000-hectare-land concession inside Botum Sakor National Park.

Protest against UDG in Koh Kong. Photo: Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)