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US: Wal-Mart to Loosen Health Insurance Limits
by Michael BarbaroThe New York Times
February 23rd, 2006
Wal-Mart Stores, facing a raft of state legislation that would require it to increase spending on employee health insurance, will lift several of its long-standing — and most-criticized — restrictions on eligibility over the next year, the giant retailer said this morning.

AUSTRALIA: Lobbyists hired by AWB
by Richard BakerSydney Morning Herald
February 22nd, 2006
AWB enlisted the help of an influential Washington lobby firm headed by the former US defence secretary, William Cohen, to deal with a United Nations investigation into kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein.

US: Tobacco Firms' Suit Rejected
Reuters
February 22nd, 2006
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a free-speech challenge by two tobacco companies over California's anti-smoking ads.

UK: British Court Backs Extradition of Three in Enron-Related Case
Associated Press
February 22nd, 2006
Three British bankers may be extradited to the United States to face Enron-related fraud charges, the High Court ruled on Tuesday in a ruling that was the first test case of laws introduced to speed the transfer of suspected terrorists.

US: Former miners meet to consider suit against Alcoa over waste
by Mark WilsonCourier and Press
February 21st, 2006
More than 50 former miners and management personnel attended a meeting Monday evening to discuss joining a class-action lawsuit alleging Alcoa was negligent in burying hazardous waste at a strip mine in Warrick County.

NIGERIA: Nigerian oil industry helpless as militants declare war on Obasanjo
by Dino MahtaniFinancial Times
February 21st, 2006
Villagers in Okerenkoko, once a peaceful settlement along a creek in Nigeria's oil-producing delta region, have feared for weeks what a big military operation against a guerrilla insurgency could bring.

US: Company Town Relies on G.M. Long After Plants Have Closed
by Jeremy W. Peters and Micheline MaynardThe New York Times
February 20th, 2006
General Motors once had so many plants here that it had to stagger their schedules so that the streets would not be clogged with traffic when the workday ended. At the city's peak, 35 years ago, one of every three people in Anderson worked for G.M.

US: Tollbooths on the Internet Highway
by EditorialThe New York Times
February 20th, 2006
When you use the Internet today, your browser glides from one Web site to another, accessing all destinations with equal ease. That could change dramatically, however, if Internet service providers are allowed to tilt the playing field, giving preference to sites that pay them extra and penalizing those that don't.

BOLIVIA: Bolivia Indicts Shady Oil Transnat
Prensa Latina
February 20th, 2006
Bolivia´s President Evo Morales is analyzing Monday with specialized officials the current situation of Andina Co., controlled by Spanish transnational Repsol which is accused of illegally trafficking petroleum.

IRAQ: Baghdad's Green Zone Rents Now Match Mayfair
by Colin FreemanThe Telegraph
February 19th, 2006
They look like just another rundown Iraqi neighbourhood, but a row of houses in Baghdad's Green Zone are the ultimate proof of the maxim: "location, location, location."

INDONESIA: Rachmat says $30 million Newmont deal no slap in the face
by ID NugrohoThe Jakarta Post
February 19th, 2006
State Minister of the Environment Rachmat Witoelar has defended the government's out-of-court settlement with PT Newmont Minahasa Raya, saying US$30 million was better than no compensation at all.

US: Iraq Propaganda Effort a Mistake, Rumsfeld Says
by Mark MazzettiThe Los Angeles Times
February 18th, 2006
The Defense secretary says he ordered the planting of articles to stop after learning of it, although others have said the effort continues.

US: Judge Rules Iraq Security Contractor Disobeyed Court Order
by Brendan Kirbyhttp://www.al.com/
February 18th, 2006
Firm principals, facing another case in Virginia, ordered to appear in Mobile for deposition.

US: Feds Seek 10 Years for Former Congressman on Bribe Charges
by Onell R. SotoSan Diego Union-Tribune
February 18th, 2006
Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to sentence former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham to the maximum 10 years in prison for putting “a 'for sale' sign upon our nation's capital” and taking more than $2.4 million in bribes.

US: Witness Faults Custer Battles Billing Practices
by John E. MulliganThe Providence Journal
February 17th, 2006
Hugh B. Tant III, a retired general, testifies in a whistleblower trial against the Rhode Island-based company that an invoice seeking a $3.7-million profit for work in Iraq "appeared to be fraud."

US: Farmers, Others Sue USDA over Monsanto GMO Alfalfa
by Carey GillamReuters
February 17th, 2006
A coalition of farmers, consumers and environmental activists Thursday sued the U.S. government over its approval of a biotech alfalfa that critics say will spell havoc for farmers and the environment."

IRAQ: Australian Wheat Mission About Repairing Relations
ABC Rural
February 17th, 2006
Trade Minister Mark Vaile will lead the trip with AWB boss Brendan Stewart, despite news overnight that the Iraqi Grains Board will stick to its decision to suspend trade with AWB.

IRAQ: Wheat Executives 'Helped Key Iraq Official'
by Robin PashNews.com.au
February 17th, 2006
Australian executives used their positions as government-appointed advisers in Iraq to ensure the post-war survival of one of dictator Saddam Hussein's top trade officials.

IRAQ: Corrupt Iraqi Boss Promoted to Top Post in Australian Wheat Deal Lure
by Marian WilkinsonThe Sydney Morning Herald
February 17th, 2006
Autralian attempts to secure postwar contracts were part of Operation Hunta, and involved Autralian Wheat Board managers and AWB officials seconded to the occupation government in Iraq.

US: Witness Faults Billing Custer Battles Billing
by  John E. MulliganThe Providence Journal
February 17th, 2006
Hugh B. Tant III, a retired general, testifies in a whistleblower trial against the Rhode Island-based company that an invoice seeking a $3.7-million profit for work in Iraq "appeared to be fraud."

US: HazChem Criminal Who Sent Waste to Rotterdam Fined $2 Million
Environmental News Service
February 17th, 2006
Joel Udell and two affiliated businesses, Pyramid Chemical Sales Co. and Nittany Warehouse LP, were sentenced on Tuesday to pay more than $2 million in restitution and fines for mishandling hazardous wastes in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

NIGERIA: Nigeria oil 'total war' warning
BBC News
February 17th, 2006
A Nigerian militant commander in the oil-rich southern Niger Delta has told the BBC his group is declaring "total war" on all foreign oil interests.

IRAQ: Bribes Offered in Australian Wheat Lobbying Drive
by Marian Wilkinson and Cynthia BanhamThe Sydney Morning Herald
February 16th, 2006
An Australian government appointee to the US-led occupation government in Iraq attended a secret meeting with a businessman who had offered to bribe "influential people" in the new regime to secure wheat contracts.

IRAQ: A Permanent Basis for Staying
by  Tom Engelhardt Tomdispatch
February 16th, 2006
Nothing could be more concrete - though less generally discussed in our media - than the set of enormous bases the Pentagon has been building in Iraq. Quite literally, multibillions of dollars have gone into them.

US: Congressman Starts Inquiry of Windfall to Oil Companies
by Edmund L. AndrewsThe New York Times
February 16th, 2006
A House Republican began a broad investigation on Wednesday of an Interior Department program that is expected to give billions of dollars in benefits over the next five years to companies that pump oil and gas on federal territory.

US: Skilling's Lawyer Portrays an Accuser as Out of Touch
by Alexei BarrionuevoThe New York Times
February 16th, 2006
A lawyer for Jeffrey K. Skilling, a former Enron chief executive, tried Wednesday to portray the head of the company's broadband unit as an out-of-touch manager who was criticized for his free-spending ways and did not even know how many employees were working under him.

US: U.S. Foodservice auditors committed misconduct-SEC
Reuters
February 16th, 2006
Two KPMG auditors working on the 1999 audit of Ahold's U.S. Foodservice unit missed several instances of improper revenue recognition a year before an $800-million revenue overstatement scheme began at the company, regulators charged on Thursday.

US: EPA cites Northshore Mining for clean-air violations
by John MeyersDuluth News Tribune
February 16th, 2006
The EPA alleged Wednesday that Northshore, a subsidiary of Cleveland-Cliffs and its former owner, Cyprus Minerals, modified three taconite furnaces at its Silver Bay processing plant without installing the best available pollution control technology.

US: Outsourcing Is Climbing Skills Ladder
by Steve LohrThe New York Times
February 16th, 2006
The globalization of work tends to start from the bottom up. The first jobs to be moved abroad are typically simple assembly tasks, followed by manufacturing, and later, skilled work like computer programming. At the end of this progression is the work done by scientists and engineers in research and development laboratories.

INDONESIA: U.S. mine to pay Jakarta $30 million to settle suit
by Jane PerlezThe New York Times
February 16th, 2006
Newmont Mining agreed Thursday to pay $30 million to Indonesia in a settlement of a civil lawsuit in which the government argued that the company had polluted a bay with arsenic and mercury.

US: Web Firms Are Grilled on Dealings in China
by Tom Zeller Jr.The New York Times
February 16th, 2006
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco Systems came under fire at a House human rights hearing on Wednesday for what a subcommittee chairman called a "sickening collaboration" with the Chinese government that was "decapitating the voice of the dissidents" there.

US: Advisories on Fish and the Pitfalls of Good Intent
by Marian BurrosThe New York Times
February 15th, 2006
SHOPPING for fish these days is fraught with confusion. There is so much contradictory information about what is safe and what isn't. Some nutritionists are worried that people will throw up their hands and choose steak instead.

US: Firm's Clients Benefiting from Contracts
by Matt KelleyUSA Today
February 15th, 2006
Republican Sen. Arlen Specter directed millions of dollars to companies represented by a lobbying firm headed by the husband of a top Specter aide.

IRAQ: Australian Corruption And 20,000 Iraqi Infant Deaths
by Dr Gideon PolyaCountercurrents.org
February 15th, 2006

IRAQ: Australia May Be Forced to Suspend Wheat Monopoly
by Owen BrownDow Jones Newswires
February 15th, 2006
Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, who defended the AWB's monopoly during a World Trade Organization gathering of trade ministers in Hong Kong in December, has attempted to separate the wheat exporter's privileged sales position from the ongoing inquiry into its business dealings with the former Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.

CHILE: ‘Yes' to Gold Mine, but Don't Touch the Glaciers
by Daniela EstradaInter Press Service
February 15th, 2006
Environmental authorities in Chile gave the go-ahead Wednesday to the Pascua Lama gold mining project on the Argentine border, but told Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold that it would not be allowed to carry out its plans to "relocate" three glaciers.

US: Pay Fight in Tech's Trenches
by Elissa SilvermanThe Washington Post
February 15th, 2006
The situation casts light on the low-tech backbone of a high-tech project -- the casual laborers who are rounded up by subcontractors, sometimes bused across state borders to job sites and set to work digging ditches. Predominantly Hispanic, they work with few guarantees and often no benefits, and they typically are hesitant to come forward with problems, according to lawyers and advocacy groups.

US: Maryland Power Plants Linked to 700 Premature Deaths Per Year
Environmental News Service
February 15th, 2006
Nationwide, 700 premature deaths, 30,000 asthma attacks and 400 pediatric emergency room visits each year are linked to current pollution from six Maryland power plants, according to a new study released today by the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA).

US: Quick Rise for Purveyors of Propaganda in Iraq
by David S. CloudThe New York Times
February 15th, 2006
Mr. Bailey, a boyish-looking Briton, and Mr. Craig, a chain-smoking former Marine sergeant, then began winning multimillion-dollar contracts with the United States military to produce propaganda in Iraq.

US: EFF Challenges Clear Channel Recording Patent
ag-IP-news
February 15th, 2006
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced it has filed a challenge on Tuesday to an illegitimate patent from Clear Channel Communications. The patent - for a system and method of creating digital recordings of live performances - locks musical acts into using Clear Channel technology and blocks innovations by others.

US: Teflon Chemical a Likely Carcinogen
by Randall ChaseAssociated Press
February 15th, 2006
A group of scientific advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a recommendation that a chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon and other nonstick and stain-resistant products should be considered a likely carcinogen.

US: Sales Brisk for "Wal-Mart" Docu As Accusations Fly
Reuters
February 15th, 2006
Berlin's European Film Market became the backdrop for yet another verbal battle between Wal-Mart and its filmmaker nemesis Robert Greenwald on Tuesday. The Greenwald-directed film "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" made for hot sales but heated words at the market.

US: Day in Court for Custer Battles
by Pauline Jelinek Associated Press
February 15th, 2006
Whistleblowers Robert Isakson and William Baldwin are suing their former employer, Custer Battles, accusing company officials of defrauding the U.S. government of about $50 million while doing security work in Iraq.

US: Security Company on Trial for Fraud
by John E. MulliganThe Providence Journal
February 15th, 2006
Defense contractor Custer Battles is accused in a whistleblower suit of war profiteering.

UK: Drug firm censured for lapdancing junket
by Sarah BoseleyThe Guardian
February 14th, 2006
One of the world's largest drug companies has been disciplined by the industry's UK watchdog after admitting that its staff entertained doctors to greyhound racing, lapdancing and Centre Court tickets at Wimbledon.

US: U.S. ROYALTY PLAN TO GIVE WINDFALL TO OIL COMPANIES
by Edmund L. AndrewsThe New York Times
February 14th, 2006
The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

IRAQ: BHP's '$US100m Loan' for Saddam
by Dan Silkstone,The Age
February 14th, 2006
BHP executives planned a $US100 million loan to Saddam Hussein's regime in a bid to curry favour and gain rights to explore a massive Iraqi oil field, the Cole inquiry was told.

US: Kraft, US Surgical Caught Leaking Ozone Depleting Chemicals
Environmental News Service
February 13th, 2006
A fine of more than $100,000 may be levied against the international company Kraft Foods for Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Woburn, Massachusetts processing plant.

IRAQ: Billions Wasted
by Steve KroftCBS.com
February 12th, 2006
Billions of dollars are unaccounted for, and there are widespread allegations of waste, fraud and war profiteering.

IRAQ: War’s Virtues May Be Debatable. The Profits Aren’t.
by Hubert B. HerringThe New York Times
February 12th, 2006
Some indisputable winners are clear now: military contractors.

WORLD: Hidden World Bank Whistleblower Report Made Public
Environmental News Service
February 10th, 2006
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) today released the Vaughn Report, commissioned by the World Bank as a guide to modernize the Bank's whistleblower protection policies. In the nine months since the Vaughn report was released on April 30, 2005, the World Bank has refused to publicly release the report, consult staff on Vaughn’s recommendations, or accept any offers from experts to help implement Vaughn’s analysis.

IRAQ: Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Can't Find Job
by David MartinCBSNEWS.com
February 10th, 2006
Torin Nelson was a civilian interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. He was not implicated in any of the abuses, but his name has been linked to the scandal, and he has been unable to hold a job as an interrogator ever since.

US: The Net Effect of Neutrality
by Eric HellwegTechnology Review
February 10th, 2006
In Congress this week, two sides presented their cases in front of a Senate committee that’s considering revising a 10-year-old telecommunications bill. The topic was Internet neutrality: the idea that all bits coursing along the Web should be treated equally.

IRAQ: US State Department Contractors Kill Two Civilians
by Jonathan FinerThe Washington Post
February 9th, 2006
Gunmen in a convoy of three dark-colored GMC sport-utility vehicles opened fire on a taxi north of downtown Kirkuk, killing two men.

US: A.I.G. to Pay $1.6 Billion to Settle Charges
by Vikas BajajThe New York Times
February 9th, 2006
The American International Group, the insurance giant, agreed today to pay more than $1.6 billion to settle New York State and federal charges that the company engaged in fraud, bid-rigging and improper accounting.

US: Cendant Trial Ends Without Verdict
Associated Press
February 9th, 2006
A federal judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the accounting fraud trial of former Cendant Corp. Chairman Walter Forbes.

PHILIPPINES: More woes for Lafayette surface in House hearing
by Michael Lim UbacPhilippine Daily Inquirer
February 9th, 2006
MORE WOES for Lafayette Philippines Inc. (LPI) whose mine on Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay province figured in two toxic spills last year.

EU: Europe Defends Stance on Genetically Altered Foods
by Paul MellerThe New York Times
February 8th, 2006
The European Commission defended its current practices on screening genetically altered foods in the wake of a report from the World Trade Organization that criticized its past action in restricting the entry of modified products into the European Union.

EU: Europe's Biotech-Seed Rules Ruled Illegal by WTO, U.S. Says
by Warren Giles and Mark DrajemBloomberg
February 8th, 2006
The World Trade Organization ruled that the European Union unfairly blocked imports of genetically engineered crops, U.S. trade officials said, setting a precedent that may force other nations to drop their restrictions.

PHILIPPINES: Petition against mining firm to be filed in House
by Ronnie E. CalumpitaThe Manila Times
February 8th, 2006
A militant group on Tuesday said that 90 percent of some 5,000 residents of an island in Albay had signed the petition calling for the permanent closure of the operations of an Australian-financed mining firm in the area.

SOUTH AFRICA: GM debate fought on cotton fields of KZN
Reuters
February 7th, 2006
Taking a break from spraying his neat, one-hectare plot of young cotton plants with herbicide, Moses Mabika surveys the land that has been supporting his family for 45 years. He may not realise it, but he is standing at the epicenter of a heated debate about growing genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa.

US: Exposed: the secret corporate funding behind health research
by George MonbiotThe Guardian
February 7th, 2006
Three weeks ago, while looking for something else, I came across one of the most extraordinary documents I have ever read. It relates to an organisation called Arise (Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment). Though largely forgotten today, in the 1990s it was one of the world's most influential public-health groups.

NIGERIA: Nigeria braces for outbreaks of unrest
by Dino MahtaniThe Financial Times
February 7th, 2006
The commander of Nigeria’s military operation in the oil-rich Niger delta has warned of more unrest there as Africa’s biggest oil producer and most populous nation heads towards national elections next year.

US: The Secret World of Stephen Cambone: Rumsfeld's Enforcer
by Jeffrey St. ClairCounterPunch
February 7th, 2006
A Republican staffer on the Senate foreign relations Committee tells CounterPunch the little-known Cambone, who like so many others on the Bush war team skillfully avoided military service, has quietly become one of the most powerful men in the Pentagon, rivaling even Paul Wolfowitz.

US: Seated at Both Sides of the Table
by Scott WoolleyForbes
February 7th, 2006
To settle a $400 million debt he owes to himself, Carl Icahn wants to sell some prized possessions--to himself. Confused yet?

US: Top Enron Execs Knew of Changes
by Kristen HaysAssociated Press
February 7th, 2006
Enron Corp.'s former investor-relations chief grew tense Tuesday when challenged about his testimony that suggested former CEO Jeffrey Skilling participated in schemes to hike earnings estimates or minimize how much revenue stemmed from asset sales.

US: Record Sales of Sleeping Pills Are Causing Worries
by Stephanie SaulThe New York Times
February 7th, 2006
Americans are taking sleeping pills like never before, fueled by frenetic workdays that do not go gently into a great night's sleep, and lulled by a surge of consumer advertising that promises safe slumber with minimal side effects.

US: EPA probing why arsenic found at toxic cleanup site
by Jan BarryNorth Jersey Media Group
February 7th, 2006
The federal Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the source of arsenic found at a cleanup site in Upper Ringwood where a Ford Motor Co. contractor recently removed tons of paint sludge.

INDONESIA: Indonesia to change security pay rules
by Shawn DonnanThe Financial Times
February 7th, 2006
Indonesia plans to revise guidelines governing the relationship between its military and foreign companies for which its soldiers provide security in conflict areas, the country’s defence minister said yesterday.

US: The high-speed money line
by Ken BelsonThe New York Times
February 6th, 2006
Phone and cable companies have stoked those fears recently by floating plans that would have Amazon, Yahoo and other Web sites paying new fees to ensure that their content will be delivered to customers faster.

US: Defense Industry Frets about High Iraq Spending
by Bill RigbyReuters
February 6th, 2006

US: The End of the Internet
by Jeffrey ChesterThe Nation
February 6th, 2006
The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

MEXICO: Mexico and Cuba Protest Hotel's Expulsion of Havana Delegation
by James C. McKinnley Jr.The New York Times
February 6th, 2006
Mexico and Cuba criticized the United States on Monday for demanding that the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel here order a group of Cuban officials, who were meeting last week with representatives of American oil companies, to check out of the hotel and leave the premises.

THAILAND: Thai PM shrugs off shares sale protests
by Amy KazminFinancial Times
February 6th, 2006
Thaksin Shinawatra, Thai prime minister, this weekend declared he would not bow to pressure and step down from office, even as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Bangkok to demand his resignation.

AFRICA: Mauritania and firm row over oil
BBC News
February 6th, 2006
Mauritanian leaders and Australia's Woodside Petroleum have still to reach agreement over contracts, a fortnight before an oil production deal starts.

IRAQ: Dog of War Builds 62m Business
by Tracey BolesThe Sunday Times
February 5th, 2006
Tim Spicer makes fortune from Pentagon deal.

BULGARIA: Bulgarians Protest Use of Cyanide Leaching
by Michael WerbowskiWorld Press
February 5th, 2006
The cyanide "leakage" that killed tons of fish in the Czech river Labe (Elbe) recently has re-focused public attention throughout central and Eastern Europe to the environmental and human dangers associated with this toxic chemical, especially when it spills into a nearby river or tributary.

US: Telecoms let NSA spy on calls
by Leslie Cauley and John DiamondUSA TODAY
February 5th, 2006
The National Security Agency has secured the cooperation of large telecommunications companies, including AT&T, MCI and Sprint, in its efforts to eavesdrop without warrants on international calls by suspected terrorists, according to seven telecommunications executives.

IRAQ: Dog of War Builds £62m Business
by Tracey BolesThe Sunday Times
February 5th, 2006
Tim Spicer makes fortune from Pentagon security deal.

AFRICA: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: 'Conflict Free' Diamonds Emerge -- but Should You Believe It?
by Ron LieberWall Street Journal
February 4th, 2006
The "conflict" or "blood" diamond problem first drew wide notice in the late 1990s, when reports highlighted that rebels in African countries were using diamonds to fund brutal campaigns.

UK: Kyrgyzstan President's attack sends Oxus shares crashing
by Saeed ShahThe Independent
February 4th, 2006
Oxus Gold shares crashed 17 per cent yesterday as the City reacted to news that the President of Kyrgyzstan had called its operations in the country "irresponsible and unlawful".

PHILIPPINES: No new mining permits
by Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. , Blanche S. RiveraPhilippine Daily Inquirer
February 4th, 2006
PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo has offered to suspend the issuance of new mining permits to try to appease Roman Catholic bishops strongly opposed to the country's new Mining Act, a top Malacanang official said yesterday.

BRAZIL: Indigenous People Fight for Their Rights
by Mario Osava Inter Press Service
February 3rd, 2006
Land conflicts involving indigenous people have multiplied in Brazil over the last few months, generating greater tension and showing once again that the country's roughly 400,000 indigenous people still have a long way to go to win respect for their rights.

US: U.S. Moves to Seize Pension Fund in Dispute With Renco
by MARY WILLIAMS WALSHThe New York Times
February 3rd, 2006
The federal government filed a lawsuit Friday to seize the pension plan of the bankrupt WCI Steel, saying that the plan was more than $100 million short of the amount it needed and that the government believed WCI's corporate parent, the Renco Group, should be held responsible for the money.

US: U.S. Mining Giant Called Lax in Waste Disposal in Indonesia
by Jane PerlezThe New York Times
February 3rd, 2006
A star government witness in a criminal trial against the American mining giant, Newmont, told a court today that waste from the company's mine was deposited in the sea at too shallow a depth, causing the contamination of fish.

WORLD: Shell Makes Record $23bn Profit
by Michael HarrisonThe Independent
February 3rd, 2006
The oil giant Royal Dutch Shell defended itself yesterday against charges of profiteering at the expense of motorists and householders after announcing the biggest profit in UK corporate history.

MIDDLE EAST: Firms feel pain of people power
by Robert PlummerBBC News
February 3rd, 2006
The backlash throughout the Muslim world against a series of Danish cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad is having a severe impact on at least one prominent business in Denmark.

INDIA: Strike disrupts Indian airports
BBC News
February 2nd, 2006
Workers picketed Delhi and Mumbai airports amid tight security. Flights operated near to normal, officials say.

UK: Chancellor changes tune on environmental reporting
by Sam Bond Edie News Centre
February 2nd, 2006
The Operating and Financial Review (OFR) is back on the agenda just weeks after Gordon Brown scrapped it as unnecessary 'gold plating' on already-planned corporate legislation.

US: Mountaintop Removal Mining Permits Challenged in West Virginia
Environment News Service
February 2nd, 2006
To stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from permitting streams, valleys, historic places, and communities across West Virginia to be destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining and valley fills, West Virginia citizen groups went back to court Wednesday.

US: PCB Damage to South Carolina Waters Costs Texas Company $20 Million
Environment News Service
February 2nd, 2006
Schlumberger Technology Corporation, headquartered in Texas, has agreed to pay $11.8 million to federal and state agencies for damge to natural resources caused by the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) in the Twelvemile Creek, Lake Hartwell and surrounding areas, the Justice Department has announced.

WORLD: WHO Shuts Life Sciences Industry Group Out of Setting Health Standards
Environment News Service
February 2nd, 2006
The World Health Organization (WHO) has barred a life sciences industry association from participating in setting global standards protecting food and water supplies because its members have a financial stake in the outcome.

INDIA: Police Investigate Death of Coca-Cola Bottling Plant Opponent
Environment News Service
February 2nd, 2006
A Coca-Cola franchise company in India is the subject of a police inquiry into the death of a community leader who had publicly objected to a planned Coca-Cola bottling plant in the village where he chaired the local council.

US: 4 Charged With Fraud in Insurance Inquiry
by Timothy O'BrienThe New York Times
February 2nd, 2006
Three former executives of the General Reinsurance Corporation and a former executive of American International Group have been indicted on charges that they fraudulently manipulated A.I.G.'s finances in order to mislead analysts and investors, the Justice Department said today.

GHANA: World Bank unit OKs Newmont Ghana mine investment
by Lesley WroughtonReuters
February 1st, 2006
The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank's private-sector lending arm, on Tuesday approved $125 million in loans for gold major Newmont Mining Corp.'s Ahafo project in Ghana, but not all countries on the IFC's 24-member board agreed it was a good move.

US: $8.5 million from ex-smelter owner will aid cleanup
by Lisa StiffleSeattle Post Intelligencer
February 1st, 2006
A former smelter owner has agreed to pay the federal government $8.5 million to help pay for the massive cleanup of lead and toxic chemicals on Harbor Island.

US: Former Official in Iraq to Plead Guilty to Contract Fraud
by James GlanzThe New York Times
February 1st, 2006
Court papers depict a sordid exercise in greed and corruption that was spread much more widely that previously known.

US: Official to Plead Guilty in Iraq Contract Scheme
by Mark ShermanAssociated Press
February 1st, 2006
Robert J. Stein Jr., a former contracting official for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, acknowledged his role in the conspiracy in a signed statement that has been filed with the court.

IRAQ: Sierra Leoneans Complain Work Too Hard, Some With Fake Certificates
by Sahr Musa YambaallArfrica.com
January 30th, 2006
Reports say many went with fake certificates while others complain the work was too hard so they could not fit in the work plan of the company that took them to Iraq.

US: 10 Enron Players: Where They Landed After the Fall
by staffThe New York Times
January 29th, 2006
KENNETH L. LAY and his second in command, Jeffrey K. Skilling, were the public faces of Enron, painting a rosy picture of strong profits and healthy businesses. But as the facts began to tumble out, in the fall of 2001, the company swiftly collapsed, taking with it the fortunes and retirement savings of thousands of employees.

INDONESIA: New York Urges U.S. Inquiry in Mining Company's Indonesia Payment
by Raymond Bonner and Jane PerlezThe New York Times
January 28th, 2006
The New York City comptroller has charged that the American mining company Freeport-McMoRan knowingly made ''false or misleading'' statements about payments to the Indonesian military, and has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department to investigate.

US: Minority Stake in Halliburton's KBR Will Be Sold
by Renae MerleThe Washington Post
January 28th, 2006

IRAQ: Seized Money Found Squandered by Coalition
Associated Press
January 28th, 2006
"Tens of millions of dollars in cash had gone in and out of the South-Central Region vault without any tracking of who deposited or withdrew the money, and why it was taken out," says a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is in the midst of a series of audits for the Pentagon and State Department.

IRAQ: Corruption, Missing Millions and Two Dead Contractors
by Deborah HastingsAssociated Press
January 28th, 2006
After securing contracts with the Iraqi government potentially worth hundreds of millions, someone killed Dale Stoffel.

AUSTRALIA: Big tobacco's filter ploy to beat bans
by Clara PiraniThe Australian
January 28th, 2006
British American Tobacco encouraged hotels to install ventilation air filtration systems, despite knowing they were ineffective at removing tobacco smoke.

US: New York City urges probe into Coca-Cola in Colombia
Agence France-Presse
January 27th, 2006
"The New York City pension funds are concerned about the allegations of alleged human rights abuses at Coca-Cola's Colombian affiliate," city Comptroller William Thompson said in asking for a shareholder resolution on the matter.

VENEZUELA: Indigenous Demonstrators Protest Coal Mining
by Humberto MárquezInterpress News Service
January 27th, 2006
Indigenous protesters from northwestern Venezuela marched Friday through the streets of Caracas, which is hosting the sixth World Social Forum (WSF), to protest plans for mining coal on their land.

IRAQ: Rebuilding Found to Fall Short
by James GlanzThe New York Times
January 27th, 2006
The American-financed reconstruction program in Iraq will not complete scores of promised projects to help rebuild the country, a federal oversight agency reported.

INDIA: Labor Trafficking Victims Protest
newKerala.com/
January 27th, 2006
Citing a recent exposed case of over 40 youths stranded in Kuwait and Iraq without valid documents as "bonded labourers," the victims are said to have been penalised by the Kuwait police while hiding from them with no regular or valid documents.

IRAQ: Planted Articles May Be Violation
by Mark MazzettiLos Angeles Times
January 27th, 2006

KATRINA: Louisiana Tires of Its Rogues
by Miguel BustilloLos Angeles Times
January 27th, 2006
Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho), who sits on the pivotal appropriations committee which oversees all major spending bills, compared fraud in Louisiana to fraud in Iraq.

INDONESIA: A Widow Who Won't Let Indonesia Forget
by Raymond Bonner and Jane PerlezThe New York Times
January 26th, 2006
In more than six hours of questioning by Indonesian police investigators, Patsy Spier described how attackers fired into the convoy carrying her, her husband and eight other Americans up a mountain road inside the concession of Freeport-McMoRan, an American mining company. Then she repeated her pitch for justice.

US: Halliburton's 2005 profit 'Best in our 86-year history'
by Lynn J. CookThe Houston Chronicle
January 26th, 2006
After three years of losing money, Halliburton reported a hefty profit for 2005 and announced that all six of its divisions posted record results.

WORLD: 'Suicide Seeds' Could Spell Death of Peasant Agriculture, UN Meeting Told
by Haider RizviOneWorld.net
January 26th, 2006
Groups fighting for the rights of peasant communities are stepping up pressure on governments to ban the use of genetically modified ''suicide seeds'' at UN-sponsored talks on biodiversity in Spain this week.

US: Big Test Looms for Prosecutors at Enron Trial
by Kurt EichenwaldThe New York Times
January 26th, 2006
"For the government, if they lose the Enron case, it will be seen as a symbolic failure of their rather significant campaign against white-collar crime," said John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School. "It will be seen as some evidence that some cases are too complicated to be brought into the criminal justice process."

US: EPA Calls for End to Releases of Chemical in Teflon Process
by Marla ConeLos Angeles Times
January 26th, 2006
In a rare move to phase out a widely used industrial compound, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it was asking all U.S. companies to virtually eliminate public exposure to a toxic chemical used to make Teflon cookware and thousands of other products.

US: Multiple Risks of Surgery Drug Seen
by Thomas H. Maugh IILos Angeles Times
January 26th, 2006

US: Wal-Mart's Musical Moves
by Abigail Goldman and Charles DuhiggLos Angeles Times
January 26th, 2006
This latest example of Wal-Mart's "direct procurement" approach continues the company's practice of upending the traditional relationship between the makers of goods and those who sell them. The deal has some in the recording industry alarmed at the thought of Wal-Mart's establishing direct partnerships with musicians and cutting out the labels. And it may just be the start.

SWITZERLAND: "Corporate villains" named and shamed
Swiss Info
January 25th, 2006
The Walt Disney Company, the Chevron Corporation and Citigroup have been awarded booby prizes by Swiss non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

GERMANY: Tobacco giant sponsors work on DNA repair
Nature.com
January 25th, 2006

US: Possible big jump in tolls upsets motorists: Residents of Northern Indiana say plan isn't fair to their communities
by Bill RuthhartThe Indianapolis Star
January 25th, 2006
Residents of Northern Indiana feel that a plan to privatize toll roads and raise fares does not benefit the community.

US: I.B.M. Accused of Denying Overtime Pay to Workers
by Lisa Alcalay KlugThe New York Times
January 25th, 2006
A lawsuit was filed in federal court Tuesday accusing I.B.M. of denying overtime pay to tens of thousands of workers.

US: In Article, Doctors Back Ban on Gifts From Drug Makers
by Gardiner HarrisThe New York Times
January 25th, 2006
The gifts, drugs and classes that makers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices routinely give doctors undermine medical care, hurt patients and should be banned, a group of influential doctors say in today's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

US: Hard Times Haunt Enron's Ex-Workers
by Simon RomeroThe New York Times
January 25th, 2006
For Angelique Chappell, a former administrative assistant at Enron, it all now seems like a mirage.

IRAQ: Audit Describes Misuse of Funds in Iraq Projects
by James GlanzThe New York Times
January 25th, 2006
A new audit of American financial practices in Iraq has uncovered irregularities including millions of reconstruction dollars stuffed casually into footlockers and filing cabinets, an American soldier in the Philippines who gambled away cash belonging to Iraq, and three Iraqis who plunged to their deaths in a rebuilt hospital elevator that had been improperly certified as safe.

IRAQ: Cronyism and Kickbacks
by Ed HarrimanLondon Review of Books
January 25th, 2006
Auditors who have discovered Iraq’s deepening financial crisis have been ignored. They asked the US ambassador and the US military commander in Iraq for their views. Neither replied. The US State Department was to submit estimates of how much it will cost to complete all American-funded projects in Iraq to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The Office won’t discuss the matter. Earlier this month, Brigadier-General William McCoy told reporters: ‘The US never intended to completely rebuild Iraq . . . This was just supposed to be a jump-start.’

US: How Dr. Weil, Dr. Phil, and Larry King Turn Your Trust into Cash
Center for Science in the Public Interest
January 25th, 2006
These three men use their fame to hawk vitamins, herbs, and other dietary supplements that often rely on inflated claims and dubious (or nonexistent) science. Consumers who buy these products may be overpaying or wasting their money entirely, according to CSPI.

PHILIPPINES: Rare Marine Mammal Dies in Waters Contaminated by Mine Tailings
by Gerry Albert CorpuzBulatlat
January 24th, 2006
The recent fish kill and death of the dugong, a rare marine mammal, in Rapu-Rapu Island validate the toxic effects of cyanide and other heavy metals found in mine tailings that spilled from the mines of Lafayette Mining.

US: Whistleblower suspended by Pentagon oversight committee
The Raw Story
January 24th, 2006
A senior fraud investigator for the Pentagon who has crusaded against military contractor overcharges for seven years has been suspended for "insubordination," according to an article written by Eric Rosenberg for the Hearst News Service, RAW STORY has learned.

UN: Probe of Peacekeeping Fraud and Contracts Abuse
by Thalif DeenInter Press Service
January 24th, 2006
The abuses relate mostly to U.N. supplies and services -- both in the department of management and the department of peacekeeping operations.

US: $20 Ice Trays Rile Whistleblower But not Pentagon
by Steh BorensteinKRT NEWS SERVICE
January 24th, 2006
Defense Department fraud-hunters dismiss data from retired officer about inflated prices.

UN: Waste and Fraud Found in Peacekeeping Work
by Colum LynchThe Washington Post
January 24th, 2006
Eight Procurement Officials Suspended

IRAQ: Rebuilding Effort Badly Hobbled, Report Says
by James GlanzThe New York Times
January 24th, 2006
The first official history of the $25 billion American reconstruction effort in Iraq depicts a program hobbled from the outset by gross understaffing, a lack of technical expertise, bureaucratic infighting, secrecy and constantly increasing security costs, according to a preliminary draft.

US: Ex-Atlanta Mayor on Trial for Corruption
CNN
January 24th, 2006

GHANA: Ghana Journalists Condemn Gold Mining Campaign Aimed at Children
Environment News Service
January 23rd, 2006
The Ghana Institute of Journalism is objecting to a new public relations collaboration between the mining company Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd. and the weekly newspaper "Junior Graphic" to make positive information about gold mining available to children in Ghana.

IRAQ: Halliburton Gave Troops Foul Water, Workers Say
Reuters
January 23rd, 2006
A Halliburton Co. subsidiary provided water to U.S. troops at a camp in Iraq that was twice as contaminated as water from the Euphrates River, former employees of the company said on Monday.

US: Ford owners not told of ways to reduce fuel-tank fire risk
by James Polk and Susan CandiottiCNN
January 23rd, 2006
The parents of three sisters burned to death in a rear-end crash are asking Ford Motor Co. to install the same gas tank protective devices in regular models as it did for its police cars.

WORLD: Partying at Davos
by Jeff FauxCommonDreams.org
January 23rd, 2006
The world’s rich and powerful are heading this week to their annual meeting in the plush mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland. Hosted by the great global corporations (Citigroup, Siemans, Microsoft, Nestles, etc.), some 2000 CEO’s, prominent politicians, pundits and international bureaucrats will network over great food, fine wine, good skiing and cozy evenings by the fire contemplating the world’s future.

US: As Profit Soars, Companies Pay US Less for Gas Rights
by Edmund L. AndrewsThe New York Times
January 23rd, 2006
At a time when energy prices and industry profits are soaring, the federal government collected little more money last year than it did five years ago from the companies that extracted more than $60 billion in oil and gas from publicly owned lands and coastal waters.

KATRINA: FBI uncovers fraud, creates hurricane task force to probe corruption
Associated Press
January 23rd, 2006

KATRINA: FBI uncovers fraud, creates hurricane task force to probe corruption
Associated Press
January 23rd, 2006
Federal dollars are rolling into the Gulf Coast for hurricane recovery -- and the FBI is finding some fraud, on the part of public officials.

JAPAN: Livedoor Execs Arrested for Fraud
by James BrookeInternational Herald Tribune
January 23rd, 2006
Takafumi Horie, the brash entrepreneur whose rise captivated Japan and whose fall unsettled the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was arrested on Monday night on suspicion of spreading false financial information to deceive investors.

IRAQ: All is Not Quiet on the Military Supply Front
by Timothy O'BrienThe New York Times
January 22nd, 2006
In the world of military contractors, times like these - when a sudden, pressing need intersects with a limited number of suppliers - have all the makings of full-blown financial windfalls.

BOLIVIA: Bolivia’s Morales rejects US domination
by Hal WeitzmanThe Financial Times
January 22nd, 2006
Evo Morales was sworn in on Sunday as Bolivia’s first indigenous president in a historic and emotional ceremony that set the tone for his new government, promising to move much the profits of Bolivia's natural resources to the people of Bolivia.

US: Ramapough Mountain Indians Sue Ford Over Toxic Contamination
The Environmental News Service
January 21st, 2006
Attorneys representing the Ramapough Mountain Tribe and other residents of Ringwood, New Jersey have filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company and other defendants for property damage and personal injuries allegedly caused by the improper disposal of toxic waste from Ford’s former Mahwah, New Jersey automobile plant.

KATRINA: Government overpaid $32 million for Katrina evacuation contract
by Leslie MillerBoston Globe
January 20th, 2006
A bill for busing evacuees from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was $32 million more than it should have been, and the government paid it without question, the Transportation Department inspector general said Friday.

US: The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart
by Charles FishmanFast Company
January 20th, 2006

KATRINA: CH2M Hill Gets Another Clean-up Contract
by Gordon Russell and James VarneyThe Times-Picayune
January 20th, 2006
CH2M Hill, a national company based in Denver, landed the deal for the collection and disposal of about 30,000 damaged and abandoned cars, trucks, buses and boats littering public streets and rights of way.

US: Marlboro Smokers' Group Names Philip Morris in Suit
by Melanie WarnerThe New York Times
January 20th, 2006
A group of long-term Marlboro smokers filed an unusual lawsuit yesterday against Philip Morris USA, seeking to require the company to pay for medical tests to detect early-stage lung cancer.

AUSTRALIA: Inquiry into oil-for-food scandal stretches to Pakistan
Agence France Press
January 20th, 2006
The Australian wheat exporter caught up in the Iraq oil-for-food scandal could potentially also have made illegal payments to agents in Pakistan to ensure contracts, an inquiry heard Friday.

ROMANIA: Government Official Investigated for Corruption
by Alex IancuBucharest Daily News
January 20th, 2006
Deputy Prime Minister George Copos, who is the richest member of the government, is under investigation in relation to the alleged illegal acquisition of a commercial area by the Romanian Lottery from Ana Electronic, a group of companies owned by the politician.

MALAYSIA: Dirty Dam Draws Dirty Smelters
by Anil NettoInter Press Service
January 19th, 2006
Transnational aluminium smelters, some teaming up with Malaysian partners, are beating a path to eastern Sarawak state with an eye to surplus power from the problem-ridden Bakun Dam.

INDIA: Recruitment of Workers or Human Trafficking?
by Rajmeet SinghThe Tribune (India)
January 19th, 2006
The lid on the recent "drivers recruitment" scam in Chandigarh by a Delhi-based recruiting agent allegedly for the banned Kuwati Transport company, KGL Ltd, has finally blown off.

INDONESIA: Mining Company Notes U.S. Review of Payments to Indonesian Military
by Katharine Q. SeelyeThe New York Times
January 19th, 2006
Executives of Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold have acknowledged that the mining company is under scrutiny by the federal government regarding payments it made to the Indonesian military.

BOLIVIA: Bechtel Drops $50 Million Claim to Settle Bolivian Water Dispute
Environmental News Service
January 19th, 2006
Bechtel, a global engineering and construction company based in San Francisco, today reached agreement with the government of Bolivia, dropping a legal demand for $50 million after a revolt over privatizing water services in the city of Cochabamba forced the company out of Bolivia in April 2000.

KATRINA: DOT Audit Probes Katrina Evacuation Fiasco
by Tim SharrockReconstruction Watch
January 19th, 2006
The fed is looking into contracts for evacuation of New Orleans awarded to the FAA and a transportation company with ties to Bush. Did the agency and the company do anything at all post-Katrina?

US: State Department Probes Claims that Army Contractors Engage in Human Trafficking
by Cam SimpsonThe Chicago Tribune
January 19th, 2006
The State Department office charged with monitoring human trafficking is investigating alleged abuses of workers who are part of an undocumented pipeline used to deliver thousands of Asians to labor on U.S. military bases in Iraq.

GERMANY: Daimler 'acts over Iraq bribes'
BBC News
January 19th, 2006
DaimlerChrysler has suspended at least six managers over bribery allegations linked to the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq, the Financial Times says.

SOUTH AFRICA: Shaik asset seizure in SA court
BBC News
January 19th, 2006
Mr Shaik was found guilty of receiving money from the French arms company, Thomson-CSF, to facilitate a deal worth more than $4bn.

US: Writer Says Ex-Chief of HealthSouth Paid for Positive Coverage
Associated Press
January 19th, 2006

US: Consumer Group to Sue Cereal Maker
ABC News
January 18th, 2006
A consumer group wants to keep Tony the Tiger from promoting sugary cereals on the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon show, or anywhere else kids are watching.

US: Taking Enron to Task
by Carrie JohnsonWashington Post
January 18th, 2006
Sean M. Berkowitz and a small group of government lawyers will be in the spotlight in the Jan. 30 trial of Enron's former leaders. The case is the capstone in the cleanup after an era of business misconduct that left investors billions of dollars poorer. The outcome could shape the public's -- and history's -- judgment of how effective it was.

LIBERIA: Can Africa's first woman president get Liberia back on track?
by Emira WoodsChristian Science Monitor
January 17th, 2006
Now that Liberia is struggling to transition to peace and democracy, the US government cannot turn its back on this resource-rich, yet fragile country.

IRAQ: Some Rebuilding Funds Go Untraced
by Scott J. PaltrowThe Wall Street Journal
January 17th, 2006
Investigators Have Yet to Pursue U.S. Contracting Money That May Be Missing

JAPAN: Livedoor shares suspended after new allegations
Reuters
January 17th, 2006
The Tokyo Stock Exchange suspended trading in shares of Livedoor Co. on Wednesday after media reports that the Internet company, which was raided by prosecutors on Monday, had tampered with its earnings reports.

US: AT&T to pay $25 million to settle Calif. lawsuit
Reuters
January 17th, 2006
AT&T Inc. will pay $25 million to end a lawsuit by California officials alleging the company failed to test properly and repair its underground storage tanks, the state attorney general said on Tuesday.

MADAGASCAR: Gold Rush Attracts Foreign Interest
by Tim CocksPort Louis L'Express
January 17th, 2006
Though largely unexplored, mining experts think the Indian Ocean island has big untapped deposits of gold, platinum, sapphires, rubies, diamonds and emeralds. Each year, thousands leave their villages to dig for gold and precious stones in a country where three quarters of the 17 million-strong population live on less than a dollar a day. An increasing number of international mineral exploration companies are also setting up operations on the world's fourth largest island.

NIGERIA: Shell may pull out of Niger Delta after 17 die in boat raid
by Daniel HowdenThe Independent (UK)
January 17th, 2006
The oil giant Royal Dutch Shell was considering pulling out of the volatile Niger Delta region yesterday after heavily armed militants stormed one of its facilities and killed at least 17 people.

FRANCE: Nike Unit Is Placed Under Investigation
Associated Press
January 17th, 2006
Nike Inc.'s French unit has been placed under judicial investigation as part of a fraud probe linked to its sponsorship of the Paris Saint-Germain soccer club, a judicial official said Tuesday.

US: Judge Sends Ex-Westar Energy CEO to Prison
Associated Press
January 17th, 2006
David Wittig, the former chief executive of Westar Energy Inc., was sent to federal prison Tuesday after a judge ruled he had violated terms of his release pending an appeal of his bank fraud convictions.

US: SEC Moves to Require More Disclosure on Executive Pay
Associated Press
January 17th, 2006
Federal securities regulators moved Tuesday to require companies to provide far greater detail about their executives' pay packages and perks in an effort to bring more transparency to an area that has provoked investor and public anger.

ECUADOR: Selling the Amazon for a Handful of Beads
by Kelly HearnAlterNet
January 17th, 2006
In the midst of an Amazonian oil boom, classified documents reveal deep links between oil companies and Ecuador's military.

WORLD: Security Firms Try To Evolve Beyond The Battlefield
by Renae MerleThe Washington Post
January 17th, 2006
The industry grew rapidly when the government and corporations paid hundreds of millions of dollars for armed guards after Sept. 11, 2001, and the invasion of Iraq. Now many industry insiders reason that demand for private security in Iraq will begin to decline, and they want to expand beyond just toting guns.

The Australian: US 'war profiteer' wins Byron deal
by Kevin MeadeThe Australian
January 16th, 2006
CorpWatch's research is cited in this article questioning an Australian government contract with Halliburton.

The Incredible Shrinking Company
by Christopher Moraff Dollars and Sense
January 15th, 2006
Between 2002 and 2005, St. Augustine, Fla., exercise equipment vendor Raul Espinosa watched mystified as, one after another, a series of Air Force contracts he had placed bids on were given to other companies. Of the 14 bids that Espinosa has documented, his company, FitNet International, did not win one. To his surprise, Espinosa learned that some of the competitors he was losing contracts to had never even bothered to bid on them.

US: Class-action case sought over Katrina oil spill
by Ellen WulfhorstReuters
January 13th, 2006
Attorneys argued in federal court on Thursday over whether homeowners whose property fell victim to an oil spill from Hurricane Katrina can band together and sue Murphy Oil Corp in a class-action lawsuit.

US: 600 People Monitoring Hurricane Contracts
by Charles R. BabcockWashington Post
January 13th, 2006
The federal government has sent nearly 600 auditors and investigators to the Gulf Coast region to monitor $8.3 billion in contracts awarded to help victims of last year's hurricanes, according to year-end figures released by the Department of Homeland Security.

US: AIG May Pay Up to $1.5 Bln in Settlement
Reuters
January 13th, 2006
American International Group Inc. may pay as much as $1.5 billion to settle civil investigations by state and federal authorities into an accounting scandal.

US: Defendants File a Flurry of Motions Challenging the KPMG Tax-Shelter Case
by Lynnley BrowningThe New York Times
January 13th, 2006
A revised indictment, handed up last October, accused the 19 of "devising, marketing and implementing fraudulent tax shelters" as well as preparing "false and fraudulent" income tax returns containing the shelter losses, and with hiding all of this from the government. The case is the largest criminal tax case ever filed by the government.

US: Fed Contract Website Found Insecure
by John MarkoffThe New York Times
January 13th, 2006
The General Services Administration has shut a Web site for government contractors after a computer industry consultant reported that he was able to view and modify corporate and financial information submitted by vendors.

US: Suit Alleging Wal-Mart Pressured Workers Into Working Through Breaks Granted Class-Action Status
Bloomberg News
January 13th, 2006
A Pennsylvania judge granted class-action status yesterday to a lawsuit contending that Wal-Mart employees had been pressed to work through breaks and after hours.

US: Maryland Sets a Health Cost for Wal-Mart
by Michael BarbaroThe New York Times
January 13th, 2006
The Maryland legislature passed a law Thursday that would require Wal-Mart Stores to increase spending on employee health insurance, a measure that is expected to be a model for other states.

US: Disney Paid Eisner $10.1 Million in '05
Associated Press
January 12th, 2006
Michael D. Eisner, former chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, received $10.1 million in compensation last year, including a $9.1 million cash bonus, according to the company's annual proxy statement filed Wednesday.

US: Katrina Contract Payments May Be Limited
by Lara Jakes JordanAssociated Press
January 12th, 2006
In one instance, investigators found that mathematical errors contributed to $3 million in overbilling by a private contractor providing food and lodging at base camps across Louisiana.

THAILAND: Thai Farmers Fear Free Trade Deal With US
by Marwaan Macan-MarkarInter Press Service
January 12th, 2006
When United States negotiators fly into Thailand to thrash out a bilateral free trade deal next week, they will be greeted with jeers rather than this country's famed smile of welcome.

LATIN AMERICA: Big Tobacco Fights Back
by Diego CevallosInter Press Service
January 12th, 2006
According to the non-governmental Corporate Accountability International, based in the northeastern U.S. city of Boston, the tobacco industry is interfering in public health policy in several Latin American countries, and is attempting to block the regulations implemented in compliance with the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

US: For One Clerk, Fight for Wal-Mart Bill Is Personal
by Mary OttoWashington Post
January 12th, 2006
The debate over the Fair Share Health Care Fund Act, commonly known as the Wal-Mart bill, has dominated politics in the run-up to the General Assembly, with the retailer arguing that Democrats have unfairly singled out one company and union leaders arguing that workers deserve better treatment.

US: EEOC Sues Oppenheimer For Sex Discrimination
by Chad BrayDow Jones Newswires
January 12th, 2006
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Thursday that it has filed a sex-discrimination lawsuit against Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. in federal court in Manhattan, alleging discriminatory behavior in its hiring practices.

US: Former Biogen Executive Settles Insider-Trading Charges
by John HechingerWall Street Journal
January 12th, 2006
The former general counsel of Biogen Idec Inc. settled securities-fraud and insider-trading charges, agreeing to pay more than $3 million related to his sale of company shares on the day the biotech company learned that a patient taking its new multiple sclerosis drug was sick with a deadly infection.

US: Boeing Settles Cancer Suit
Associated Press
January 12th, 2006
Boeing Co. has agreed to pay $30 million to settle a lawsuit by residents who alleged that pollutants from a company lab caused them to get cancer.

US: Army May End Lockheed Spy Plane Contract
Associated Press
January 12th, 2006
The Army is expected to cancel a Lockheed Martin Corp. contract to build a new spy plane, according to industry and Pentagon officials, despite efforts by the defense contractor to solve problems that include lightening the plane's weight.

US: SEC Opens Informal Probe Into Home Depot
Reuters
January 12th, 2006
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an informal investigation into charges that Home Depot Inc. inflated profits through supplier payments meant to cover the cost of damaged merchandise

US: Wall $t. bonuses balloon to new record
CNN
January 11th, 2006
Wall Street bonuses set a new record of $21.5 billion in 2005, surpassing the previous record of $19.5 billion set in 2000 during the peak of the last bull market, according to a report released Wednesday by New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

US: Blunt, DeLay shared connections to lobbyist Abramoff
USA Today
January 11th, 2006
Roy Blunt, R-Mo., wrote at least three letters helpful to Abramoff clients while collecting money from them. He swapped donations between his and DeLay's political groups, ultimately enriching the Missouri political campaign of his son Matt.

US: Drug Makers Scrutinized Over Grants
by Gardiner HarrisThe New York Times
January 11th, 2006
A Congressional investigation of the money that drug companies give as supposed educational grants has found that the payments are growing rapidly and are sometimes steered by marketing executives to doctors and groups who push unapproved uses of drugs.

US: Prosecutors Shift Focus on Enron
by Alexei BarrionuevoThe New York Times
January 11th, 2006
Government lawyers who will try the case against Enron's former chief executives, Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling, have signaled that they intend to spend less time befuddling jurors with talk of Enron's accounting.

US: Doomed Miners Tried to Escape; Mine's Safety Record Examined
by Gardiner HarrisThe New York Times
January 11th, 2006
Also yesterday, federal mine officials made public records of inspections done at the Sago Mine last year that concluded that mine supervisors had repeatedly failed to uncover dangerous conditions before starting a day's production.

BOLIVIA: Spanish energy giant Repsol says it respects international law
Agence France Presse
January 10th, 2006
Spanish energy giant Repsol-YPF said that it respects international law, in reaction to accusations that the company claimed to own part of Bolivia's gas reserves.

US: DeLay Tried, Failed to Aid Abramoff Client
by Suzanne GamboaAssociated Press
January 10th, 2006
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay tried to pressure the Bush administration into shutting down an Indian-owned casino that lobbyist Jack Abramoff wanted closed — shortly after a tribal client of Abramoff's donated to a DeLay political action committee.

US: SEC to Propose Overhaul of Rules On Executive Pay
by Kara ScannellWashington Post
January 10th, 2006
The Securities and Exchange Commission, responding to rising criticism of soaring -- and partially hidden -- executive pay, is poised to propose the most sweeping overhaul of pay disclosure rules in 14 years, seeking to push companies to divulge much more about their top executives' perquisites, retirement benefits and total compensation.

US: AmeriDebt Founder Settles Charges
by Caroline E. MayerWashington Post
January 10th, 2006
The founder of the defunct credit-counseling firm AmeriDebt Inc. yesterday agreed to pay up to $35 million to settle two lawsuits accusing him of misleading debt-burdened consumers into paying high fees to support his lavish lifestyle.

US: Lobby Firm Is Scandal Casualty
by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and James V. GrimaldiWashington Post
January 10th, 2006
One of Washington's top lobbying operations will shut down at the end of the month because of its ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former House majority leader Tom DeLay.

US: Fines in mining deaths cut back
by Thomas FrankUSA Today
January 10th, 2006
The nation's coal mines have been required to pay only a fraction of the federal fines imposed after deadly accidents since 1999, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

INDONESIA: Recklessness in Indonesia
The New York Times
January 9th, 2006
Freeport-McMoRan, an American company that operates a giant open-pit copper and gold mine in Papua, is a major contributor to Indonesia's economy. The company is also one of Indonesia's most reckless polluters and a source of hard cash -- cash the company concedes is protection money -- for the Indonesian military, which has one of the worst human rights records anywhere.

KATRINA: Tiers of Subcontractors Bleed Off Reconstruction Money
by Gordon Russell and James VarneyNewhouse News Service
January 9th, 2006
The blue-tarp roof, a symbol of hurricane damage in south Louisiana and Mississippi as recognizable as curbside debris, may wind up as a post-Katrina emblem of government waste reminiscent of the Pentagon's fabled $435 hammers and $640 toilet seats.

US: Labor Objects to Executive Bonuses at American
Associated Press
January 9th, 2006
"It is absolute insanity to pay out seven-figure bonuses at a time when the company is suffering nine-figure losses, mired in eleven-figure debt, and seeking further help from its employees to survive for the long term."

US: Moving Mountains
by Erik ReeceOrion Magazine
January 9th, 2006
It is the people of Appalachia who pay the highest price for the rest of the country's cheap energy—through contaminated water, flooding, cracked foundations and wells, bronchial problems related to breathing coal dust, and roads that have been torn up and turned deadly by speeding coal trucks.

US: AmeriDebt Founder to Settle With the FTC
by Steven ManningAssociated Press
January 9th, 2006
The founder of the credit counseling firm AmeriDebt on Monday agreed to pay $35 million to settle suits filed by regulators and former customers over $172 million in allegedly hidden fees the company collected from financially strapped debtors.

GERMANY: Dresdner Faces Discrimination Suit
by Chad BrayDow Jones Newswires
January 9th, 2006

US: Lobbyist's Work for Publishers of Magazines Under Scrutiny
by By Katherine Q. Seelye KATHARINE Q. SEELYEThe New York Times
January 9th, 2006

ANALYSIS: Was Wal-Mart's Anti-Union Image Used as a Shield?
by Michael BarbaroThe New York Times
January 9th, 2006
The "union project" was a secret scheme, approved by senior Wal-Mart executives, to pay union members for information about which stores they planned to organize.

US: Call It the Deal of a Lifetime
by Landon Thomas, Jr.The New York Times
January 8th, 2006
It has been a wrenching professional and personal reversal for Michael Kopper, who three years ago became the first Enron executive to plead guilty to criminal charges and cut a deal with the government. Mr. Kopper was also the first high-ranking Enron employee to publicly admit to lying and stealing - in his case, more than $16 million - from the company.

US: Under Bush, mine-safety enforcement eased
by Seth Borenstein and Linda J. JohnsonPhiladelphia Inquirer
January 8th, 2006
A Knight Ridder investigation shows the number of major fines has dropped and the dollar amounts have plunged. But deaths and injuries from accidents are near record-low levels in recent years.

US: Officials Focus on a 2nd Firm Tied to DeLay
by Anne E. Kornblut and Glen JusticeThe New York Times
January 8th, 2006

US: Lobbyist's Firm Escapes Fallout From a Scandal
by By JONATHAN D. GLATER and ANNE E. KORNBLUTThe New York Times
January 8th, 2006
Greenberg Traurig was a politically well-connected law firm long before Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist who pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion, joined it about six years ago.

US: Economists Say Cost of Iraq War Could Top $2 Trillion
by Bryan BenderThe Boston Globe
January 8th, 2006
Tally exceeds White House projections.

IRAQ: Punjab Youths Hoodwinked to Serve US Army in Iraq
by Ajay BharadwajDNA India
January 7th, 2006
Human trafficking is not a new phenomenon in Punjab. However, it is the landing of young aspirants in Iraq that has started raising hackles.

IRAQ: Unscrupulous Travel Agents Push Punjab Youths to Iraq Jobs
WebIndia123.com
January 7th, 2006
One claimed a travel agent sent him to Kuwait from where he was forced to go to Iraq. He was held captive in Iraq and forced to work for several hours every day for a pittance.

US: Boeing-Lockheed Granted Monopoly
by Andy Pasztor and Jonathan KarpWall Street Journal
January 7th, 2006
The Pentagon has given preliminary approval to a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. for military-rocket launches, endorsing a rare monopoly that could set a precedent for defense contractors facing slower military spending, said industry and government officials.

US: AOL to Settle Billing Complaints
Bloomberg News
January 7th, 2006
America Online agreed yesterday to pay customers as much as $25 million to settle claims that it wrongly billed them for some online services and products.

US: Ex-Wal-Mart Executive Expected to Plead Guilty to Fraud
by Michael BarbaroThe New York Times
January 7th, 2006
The former vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Thomas M. Coughlin, has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges that he defrauded the company of at least $350,000, people close to the negotiations said yesterday.

US: Two Linked to Dynegy Scheme Are Given Shorter Prison Terms
Associated Press
January 6th, 2006
The two people who helped a former Dynegy Inc. executive hatch a fraudulent accounting scheme that landed him two dozen years behind bars will serve dramatically shorter prison terms.

US: Wal-Mart Web Site Makes Racial Connections
by Ylan Q. MuiWashington Post
January 6th, 2006
Wal-Mart apologized yesterday after its retail Web site directed potential buyers of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Planet of the Apes" DVDs to also consider purchasing DVDs with African American themes.

US: Appeals Court Upholds Martha Stewart's Conviction
Associated Press
January 6th, 2006
A federal appeals court Friday upheld the conviction of celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart for lying to investigators about selling stock that plunged in price soon after her trade. Stewart completed her sentence in the case last summer but pursued the appeal anyway.

US: Contractor Supplies IRS with Citizens' Political Affiliations
by Mary DalrympleAssociated Press
January 5th, 2006
The Internal Revenue Service said Thursday it had told a contractor to stop sending the agency information about political party affiliation in databases used to track down delinquent taxpayers.

US: Lobbyist's Guilty Plea Seen as Threat to DeLay Return
by Carl Hulse and Adam NagourneyThe New York Times
January 5th, 2006
The decision by Mr. Abramoff to cooperate in a broadening federal inquiry reaching deep into Mr. DeLay's inner circle led some influential Republicans on Wednesday to issue new calls for Mr. DeLay to abandon his goal of regaining his post.

US: Shell Trader, Unit Are Fined Over Bogus Oil Trades
by Chip CumminsWall Street Journal
January 5th, 2006
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission fined a top oil trader at Royal Dutch Shell PLC and one of the energy titan's trading subsidiaries a combined $300,000 for a series of bogus oil-futures trades on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CHINA: Microsoft Shuts Down Blog Potentially Offensive to China
by Kathy Chen and Geoffrey FowlerWall Street Journal
January 5th, 2006
Microsoft Corp. has shut down a popular Chinese-language blog that has run edgy content potentially offensive to Chinese authorities, amid China's continuing efforts to control information on the Internet.

US: Jury Asks Judge for Aid in Cendant Trial
Associated Press
January 5th, 2006
Jurors considering the fate of former Cendant Corp. Chairman Walter Forbes asked a federal judge for assistance Thursday after being unable to reach a verdict during their 12th day of deliberations in his accounting fraud trial.

US: Wal-Mart in Their Sights, States Press for Health Benefits
by Michael BarbaroThe New York Times
January 5th, 2006

US: Crime and Consequences Still Weigh on Corporate World
by Floyd NorrisThe New York Times
January 5th, 2006
The Securities and Exchange Commission, trying to put several years of angry battles behind it, announced yesterday an agreement on principles governing when the commission will impose financial penalties on companies and when it will refrain from doing so.

US: Four Years Later, Enron's Shadow Lingers as Change Comes Slowly
by Stephen LabatonThe New York Times
January 5th, 2006
Four years after the company's ignominious collapse, Enron's former top executives are about to head to a climactic criminal trial later this month, serving as a reminder that changes in the behavior of many American companies have been more muted than many once expected.

US: General Electric workers sue Monsanto over PCBs
by Carey GillamReuters
January 4th, 2006
More than 500 General Electric Co. employees have sued Monsanto Co. along with two related companies, claiming they were exposed to toxic chemicals manufactured for decades by Monsanto, the company said Wednesday.

US: Pentagon Foot-dragging on Contractor's Labor Trafficking
by EditorialMacon Telegraph
January 4th, 2006
Privatizing many military support operations in combat zones may have yielded savings in reduced overhead. But human trafficking practiced by some foreign subcontractors - involving forced prostitution and forced labor - has tarnished our reputation.

US: Corporate Crime: Execs Taking Fall While Corporations Go Free
by Niko KyriakouOneWorld.net
January 4th, 2006
With help from the U.S. Justice Department and state prosecutors, corporations are getting away with serious crimes by using their executives as cannon fodder, according to a new report, which questions whether this new legal strategy is hindering or enabling corporate malfeasance.

US: Fannie Mae Report May Be Delayed
by Dawn KopeckiDow Jones Newswires
January 4th, 2006
A report due this month detailing Fannie Mae's accounting troubles could be delayed into early February as investigators sift through volumes of new documents, some of which were just delivered last week, according to the lead investigator of Fannie's internal probe.

US: McAfee to Pay $50 Million Fine To Settle SEC Fraud Charge
by Judith BurnsThe Wall Street Journal
January 4th, 2006
McAfee Inc. will pay $50 million to settle accounting fraud charges, ending a long-running investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

US: Enron Prosecutors, After Plea Bargain, Can Reduce Technical Jargon in Trial
by John R. EmshwillerThe Wall Street Journal
January 4th, 2006
The plea bargain last week by former Enron Chief Accounting Officer Richard Causey gives federal prosecutors the chance to present a shorter and less technical case against former company Chairman Kenneth Lay and former President Jeffrey Skilling. The pair's trial on conspiracy, fraud and other charges is scheduled to start in Houston on Jan. 30.

US: Safety Violations Have Piled Up at Coal Mine
by Joby WarrickWashington Post
January 4th, 2006
Time and again over the past four years, federal mining inspectors documented the same litany of problems at central West Virginia's Sago Mine: mine roofs that tended to collapse without warning. Faulty or inadequate tunnel supports. A dangerous buildup of flammable coal dust.

US: Re-Sentencing Set for Ex-Dynegy Executive
Associated Press
January 4th, 2006
A former executive at energy company Dynegy Inc. whose 24-year prison sentence for accounting fraud was thrown out by a federal appeals panel should serve no more than five years, his attorney said in court papers.

US: Shell Subsidiary Agrees to Settle Charges
Associated Press
January 4th, 2006

US: Abbott Suit Granted Class-Action Status
Associated Press
January 4th, 2006
A federal judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing Abbott Laboratories Inc. of cheating older workers out of retirement benefits when it spun off its hospital equipment business in 2004.

US: Feds Not Told of 2 Deaths During Study of Heart Drug
by Stephanie SaulThe New York Times
January 4th, 2006
The Scios unit of Johnson & Johnson yesterday added to the questions already clouding its heart failure medication Natrecor, saying the company had failed to tell federal regulators about the deaths of two patients in a clinical trial of the drug.

US: Judge Orders Ex-HealthSouth Chief to Repay Nearly $48 Million
by Kyle WhitmireThe New York Times
January 4th, 2006
A judge in Alabama ruled Tuesday that the former chief executive of HealthSouth, Richard M. Scrushy, must repay his former company more than $47.8 million in bonuses.

US: Lobbyist Pleads Guilty in Florida; Second Plea in 2 Days
by Abby Goodnough and Anne E. KornblutThe New York Times
January 4th, 2006
A day after he pleaded guilty to three felony counts in Washington, Jack Abramoff, a once prominent Republican lobbyist, pleaded guilty today to two felony charges of conspiracy and fraud in a case stemming from his purchase of a casino boat line in 2000.

US: U.S. says Skilling mislead the SEC
CNN
January 4th, 2006
Prosecutors intend to argue that former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling attempted to deceive the Securities and Exchange Commission in a deposition he gave soon after the company's bankruptcy about his reason for selling 500,000 shares of Enron stock, according to a motion filed in a Houston federal court Tuesday.

US: Wal-Mart Bank faces tough opposition
by Shaheen PashaCNN
January 4th, 2006
It's a new year and the fate of Wal-Mart Bank still hangs in the balance.

US: Businesses behaving (less) badly
by Stephen LabatonThe New York Times
January 3rd, 2006
Even as the former top executives of Enron head to a climactic criminal trial soon, the impact of the company's ignominious collapse on the behavior of corporations across America has begun to show its limitations.

US: Katrina Oil Spill Clouds Future Of Battered Suburb
by Betsy McKayWall Street Journal
January 3rd, 2006
When the levees that protected Chalmette gave way to Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, about 1,800 homes were inundated with floodwaters carrying nearly 1.1 million gallons of oil from a nearby refinery.

US: SEC Accuses 6 Ex-Putnam Execs of Fraud
Associated Press
January 3rd, 2006
Federal regulators have accused six former executives of Putnam Fiduciary Trust Co., the transfer agent for a big mutual fund company, of defrauding several funds and a 401(k) plan client of some $4 million in 2001.

US: Lobbyist admits kickbacks, influence peddling
CNN
January 3rd, 2006

CHINA: Starbucks wins China court case over trademark
by Geoffrey A. FowlerThe Wall Street Journal
January 3rd, 2006
In a legal step forward for international brands doing business in China, a Shanghai court ruled in favor of Starbucks Corp. in a battle with a local competitor over the use of the same Chinese name.

US: Laws for Gov't Contractors under Human Trafficking Spotlight
by Francis HelgueroThe Christian Post
January 2nd, 2006
A human trafficking bill seen as a tougher upgrade to current laws is set to be signed into law by President Bush. However, concerns are being raised about enforcement of 2003 trafficking laws applying to U.S. government overseas contractors.

US: University of Michigan Suspends Coca-Cola Sales
Associated Press
January 2nd, 2006
The University of Michigan suspended sales of Coca-Cola products on its three campuses over allegations that the company permits human-rights and environmental abuses abroad.

US: Opposition to Drug Co. Liability Protection Grows
by  Brendan CoyneThe New Standard
January 2nd, 2006
With enactment of a $453 billion defense spending bill at hand, opposition is growing over a provision granting pharmaceutical companies wide protection from lawsuits.

JAPAN: An insider's dark view of Toyota
by Matt RuslingChristian Science Monitor
January 2nd, 2006
In 1996, Darius Mehri, a wide-eyed young American engineer, went to Japan to work for Toyota's production system. What he found was an abusive environment where the company controlled every movement - inside and outside work - of its employees.

WORLD: Tobacco Companies Keep Profiting Despite Regulation
by Thomas Mulier and Chris BurrittBloomberg News
January 2nd, 2006
Shares of the three biggest companies - Altria Group, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco - are surging to record levels.

UK: Corner shops face closure 'within a decade', MPs warn
by Saeed ShahIndependent UK
January 2nd, 2006
An influential group of MPs will warn in a forthcoming report that independent retailers and wholesalers will disappear within a decade, piling pressure on government and competition authorities to curb the power of the big four supermarkets.

IRAQ: Pentagon Paid Sunni Clerics To Aid Propaganda Effort
by David S. Cloud and Jeff GerthThe New York Times
January 2nd, 2006
A Pentagon contractor that paid Iraqi newspapers to print positive articles written by American soldiers has also been compensating Sunni religious scholars in Iraq in return for assistance with its propaganda work, according to current and former employees.

GHANA: World Bank Says No Excuses
Ghana Web News
January 1st, 2006
The World Bank Country Director, Mr Mats Karlsson, has stated that Ghana has no reason to complain about difficulties in managing its economy because it has all the resources for accelerated development at its disposal.

US: The Big Winner, Again, Is 'Scandalot'
by Gretchen MorgensonThe New York Times
January 1st, 2006
Same stuff, different year. That's one way to look at 2005, the fourth consecutive year in which corporate chicanery loomed large. But while business titans' transgressions may have lacked creativity last year - there was the usual hubris, greed and accounting tricks to prop up stock prices - at least the cast of "Scandalot 2005" involved a few new characters.

NIGERIA: Blood Flows With Oil in Poor Villages
by Lydia PolgreenThe New York Times
January 1st, 2006
For months a pitched battle has been fought between communities that claim authority over this village and the right to control what lies beneath its watery ground: a potentially vast field of crude oil that has caught the attention of a major energy company.

US: The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail
by R. Jeffrey SmithThe Washington Post
December 31st, 2005
The U.S. Family Network, a public advocacy group that operated in the 1990s with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay and claimed to be a nationwide grass-roots organization, was funded almost entirely by corporations linked to embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to tax records and former associates of the group.

AZERBAIJAN: Azerbaijan oil: a mixed blessing
Christian Science Monitor
December 30th, 2005
The corruption-prone country expects oil revenues to total $160 billion by 2025.

INDONESIA: Military Admits Accepting Payments from Mining Company
Associated Press
December 29th, 2005

CHINA: Billionaire Builder of China
by David BarbozaThe New York Times
December 29th, 2005
There are only 10 known billionaires in China, and he is one of them. His name is Xu Rongmao, and he is no Donald Trump, Sam Zell or Mortimer Zuckerman. He's bigger.

US: Profiting From Cures for the Sarbanes-Oxley Blues
by Eve TahminciogluThe New York Times
December 29th, 2005
New regulations that sprang from systematic fraud at those Enron and WorldCom have created a cottage industry of businesses that provide consulting, accounting, computer security and other services to help companies cope with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. That law was passed in an effort to clean up corporate accounting.

INDONESIA: Mining Company Paid Military, General Says
Associated Press
December 29th, 2005
A senior Indonesian general has admitted that the military received massive payments from a U.S. mining company for providing security at a gold and copper mine in the remote eastern province of Papua.

RUSSIA: In Russia, Pollution Is Good for Business
by Andrew E. KramerThe New York Times
December 28th, 2005
One of the paradoxes of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is that companies in Russia and other Eastern European countries, which are among the world's largest producers of greenhouse gases, are poised to earn hundreds of millions of dollars through trading their rights to release carbon dioxide into the air.

UN: Advisory Board Press Conference for Iraq Development Fund
UN Press Centre
December 28th, 2005
The Board had consistently raised concerns about inadequate controls over Iraqi oil and other aspects of IDF’s operation.

UN: US Urged to ‘Seek Resolution’ with Iraq over Halliburton Oil Contract
UN News Centre
December 28th, 2005
Given the “significant” sum involved, the length of the audit process and the fact that $1.2 billion has been spent on the contract, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board called on Washington to “seek resolution” with the Iraqi Government on the possible improper use of resources.

US: Four Major Katrina Recovery Deals Planned
by Gordon RussellThe Times-Picayune
December 28th, 2005
Nearly four months after the storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and left more than 30,000 ruined vehicles in public rights of way, Mayor Ray Nagin is poised to award a large contract to a private company that will oversee the collection and disposal of the wreckage, city officials said.

US: Ex-Qwest Executive Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
Reuters
December 28th, 2005
A former top executive of Qwest Communications International Inc on Wednesday pleaded guilty to wire fraud, avoiding a five-week trial that had been set to start on Tuesday.

US: Timeline of Qwest Woes
The Associated Press
December 28th, 2005

US: F.D.A. Puts Restrictions on Guidant
by Vikas BajajThe New York Times
December 28th, 2005
The Food and Drug Administration yesterday released a warning letter it sent to the Guidant Corporation, restricting the ability of the company to win approval for some new medical products. In the letter, sent a week ago, the agency said Guidant, the heart device maker, had not fully responded to its concerns about manufacturing procedures at the company's biggest plant.

US: Former Top Enron Accountant Pleads Guilty to Fraud
by Simon Romero and Vikas BajasThe New York Times
December 28th, 2005
The former chief accounting officer of Enron pleaded guilty today to a single felony charge of securities fraud and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, giving a significant lift to the government's case against the two leading figures in the scandal over Enron's collapse.

NEW GUINEA: Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste
by Jane Perlez and Raymond Bonner, with Evelyn RusliThe New York Times
December 27th, 2005
It is hard to discern the intricate web of political and military ties that have helped shield Freeport-McMoRan from the rising pressures that other gold miners have faced to clean up their practices. Only lightly touched by a scant regulatory regime, and cloaked in the protection of the military, Freeport has managed to maintain a nearly impenetrable redoubt on the easternmost Indonesian province as it taps one of the country's richest assets.

INDONESIA: The Cost of Gold: The Hidden Payroll
by Jane Perlez and Raymond BonnerThe New York Times
December 27th, 2005
Months of investigation by The New York Times revealed a level of contacts and financial support to the military not fully disclosed by Freeport, despite years of requests by shareholders concerned about potential violations of American laws and the company's relations with a military whose human rights record is so blighted that the United States severed ties for a dozen years until November.

US: Pentagon Stalls on Banning Contractors from Using Forced Labor
by Cam SimpsonThe Chicago Tribune
December 27th, 2005
A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away.

US: Study Tied Pollutant to Cancer; Then Consultants Got Hold of It
by Peter Waldman Wall Street Journal
December 23rd, 2005
Amid contemporary debates about safe levels of chromium-6, a PG & E funded PR scandal involving medical report is remembered.

US: On Opinion Page, a Lobby's Hand Is Often Unseen
by Philip ShenonThe New York Times
December 23rd, 2005

US: Judge Orders Lucent to Pay $224 Million
The Associtaed Press
December 23rd, 2005

US: HealthSouth Founder Is Arraigned
Associated Press
December 22nd, 2005
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth Corp. Chairman Richard Scrushy both proclaimed their innocence Wednesday at an arraignment on government corruption charges.

US: California Supreme Court overturns $14.8 million tobacco fine
by David KravetsAssociated Press
December 22nd, 2005
The California Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a $14.8 million fine the state imposed on R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for illegally doling out free cigarettes at a beerfest, a biker rally and other public events.

US: Jury Awards $207 Million To Wal-Mart Workers
Associated Press
December 22nd, 2005
A California jury on Thursday awarded $207 million to thousands of employees at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. who claimed they were illegally denied lunch breaks.

US: Deutche Bank Settles Arms-Trade Fraud Case
by Tim HuberPioneer Press
December 22nd, 2005
German financial giant Deutsche Bank has agreed to a $270 million settlement of claims that it participated in a complex securities fraud orchestrated by a fugitive Saudi arms merchant that bankrupted Minneapolis-based securities firm Stockwalk Group four years ago.

ROMANIA: PM advises Bechtel contract could be annulled
by Adrian HamzescuBucharest Daily News
December 22nd, 2005
Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu warned the American company Bechtel that the contract for the Brasov - Bors (Transylvania) highway could be annulled if the company does not follow the laws to the letter.

US: Texas expands Sony spyware lawsuit
MSNBC
December 22nd, 2005
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott expanded his lawsuit against Sony BMG Music Entertainment on Wednesday, alleging that a second form of anti-piracy technology used by the label violates the state's spyware and deceptive trade practices laws.

EUROPE: EU Threatens Microsoft With Penalties
Associated Press
December 22nd, 2005
The European Union on Thursday threatened to fine Microsoft Corp. up to 2 million euros ($2.37 million) a day for failing to obey its 2004 antitrust ruling, saying the company was being intransigent about sharing information regarding its software blueprints with competitors.

US: No, let me pay: Execs get tax help
CNN
December 22nd, 2005
More than half the nation's largest companies are giving their top executives extra money to pay taxes due on corporate perks such as luxury cars and even on capital gains, according to a published report.

US: Lawsuit Could Dent Global War-Contractor Boom
by Bernd DebusmannReuters
December 22nd, 2005
Military experts say the lawsuit highlights legal gray zones, a lack of regulation and little oversight of a booming global industry.

US: Insurance Redlining Rampant in California
by Brendan CoyneThe New Standard
December 21st, 2005
In many parts of California, moving merely across the street could cause drivers’ car-insurance rates to go up. This is especially the case if the new address is in a zip code with an even slight increase in the percentage of black or Latino residents, a study has found.

AUSTRALIA: Billionaire Pratt Faces Price-Fixing Charge
by Chris NoonForbes
December 21st, 2005
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has alleged that billionaire Richard Pratt--the chairman of paper recycling and packaging company Visy Industries--engaged in price fixing and market sharing in the cardboard box market.

UK: Britain in $70 Billion Jet Deal With Saudi Arabia
Agence France Presse
December 21st, 2005
Britain is to supply Saudi Arabia with Typhoon jets in a massive deal reported to be worth up to 70 billion dollars, that primarily benefits British company BAE Systems, the Ministry of Defence said.

US: Another Former HealthSouth Exec Gets Jail Time
by Verna GatesReuters
December 21st, 2005
A former HealthSouth Corp. finance executive was sentenced to a year and a day in prison on Wednesday for his part in the multibillion-dollar accounting fraud that rocked the company.

US: H&R Block agrees to settle four of five refund suits
Reuters
December 21st, 2005
H&R Block Inc., the U.S. tax preparation company, said on Wednesday it reached an agreement to settle four class-action lawsuits that claimed it defrauded consumers who took out high-interest, short-term loans against their expected income tax refunds.

US: Seattle jury clears Boeing in racial lawsuit
Reuters
December 21st, 2005
A federal jury in Seattle on Wednesday cleared Boeing Co. in a lawsuit brought by 4,000 black salaried employees, who claimed they were passed over for promotions because of racial discrimination.

US: Lilly Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor Violation
Reuters
December 21st, 2005
Eli Lilly and Co. said on Wednesday it will plead guilty to a misdemeanor violation as part of a settlement with the government over its marketing and promotional practices for an osteoporosis drug.

US: Trial Against News Corp. Is Allowed to Go Forward
by Rita K. FarrellThe New York Times
December 21st, 2005

GERMANY: Germany's Top Banker Faces Retrial
Associated Press
December 21st, 2005
A federal court ordered a retrial for Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann and five others on Wednesday over large payments to executives during Vodafone PLC's 2000 takeover of rival mobile phone company Mannesmann AG.

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