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US: Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP
by Joe StephensWashington Post
May 24th, 2010
The Nature Conservancy faces a problem: a potential backlash as its supporters learn that BP and the world's largest environmental organization long ago forged a relationship that has lent BP an Earth-friendly image and helped fund the Conservancy. The crude emanating from BP's well threatens to befoul a number of alliances between energy conglomerates and environmental nonprofits.

US: Oil Hits Home, Spreading Arc of Frustration
by Campbell Robertson, Clifford Krauss and John M. BroderNew York Times
May 24th, 2010
More than a month has passed since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up, spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico and frustrating all efforts to contain it. The disaster underscores the enduring laxity of federal regulation of offshore operations and has shown the government to be almost wholly at the mercy of BP and of Transocean, the company leasing the rig.

WORLD: Disaster Plans Lacking at Deep Rigs
by Ben Casselman and Guy ChazenWall Street Journal
May 17th, 2010
Dealing with a deep-sea spill is a a problem that spans the industry, whose major players include Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell and Petróleo Brasileiro SA. Without adequately planning for trouble, the oil business has focused on developing experimental equipment and techniques to drill in ever deeper waters, according to a Wall Street Journal examination.

US/AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
by Mark MazzettiNew York Times
May 15th, 2010
Top military officials continue to rely on a secret network of private spies set up by Michael D. Furlong, despite concerns about the legality of the operation. A New York Times review found Mr. Furlong’s operatives still providing information, with contractors still being paid under a $22 million contract, managed by Lockheed Martin and supervised by a Pentagon office.

US: U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits
by Ian UrbinaNew York Times
May 13th, 2010
The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.

UK/CANADA: Tar sands crude is reaching British petrol stations, Greenpeace says
by Terry MacalisterThe Guardian (UK)
May 9th, 2010
While City investors have begun to question the role of companies such as BP and Shell in the tar sands business, a new report by Greenpeace claims British motorists are unwitting users of diesel and petrol derived from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. The carbon-heavy production methods involved make tar sands extraction particularly damaging to the environment.

US: BP touts itself as 'green,' but faces PR disaster with 'BP oil spill'
by Paul FarhiWashington Post
May 6th, 2010
Ever careful of its public image, BP has been careful not to invoke its name in regard to the massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "We refer to it as Gulf of Mexico response," said Andrew Gowers, the company's spokesman. The name of a disaster can be critical, both as a historic matter and the more immediate matters of image, public relations and legal liability.

KYRGYZSTAN: Kyrgyzstan investigating firms that sold fuel supplied to U.S. air base
by Walter Pincus Washington Post
May 5th, 2010
Kyrgyzstan's interim government has begun a criminal investigation of local companies that were sources of fuel supplied to the U.S. Manas air base in the Central Asian country, under Department of Defense contracts. Corruption allegations involving supplies to Manas have repeatedly surfaced in Kyrgyzstan and the United States.

US: FBI Probes Explosion in West Virginia Mine
by Kris Maher and Siobhan HughesWall Street Journal
April 30th, 2010
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a criminal probe of the deadly explosion at a Massey Energy Co. mine in West Virginia in early April that killed 29 miners, according to people familiar with the matter. In a statement on Friday Massey Energy said, "Massey has no knowledge of criminal wrongdoing."

US: BP Is Criticized Over Oil Spill, but U.S. Missed Chances to Act
by Campbell Robertson and Eric LiptonNew York Times
April 30th, 2010
The Obama administration began Friday to publicly chastise BP America for its handling of the spreading oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials initially seemed to underestimate the threat of a leak, just as BP did last year when it told the government such an event was highly unlikely.

US: Oil Spill’s Blow to BP’s Image May Eclipse Costs
by Clifford Krauss New York Times
April 29th, 2010
BP says that the offshore drilling accident that is spewing thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico could cost the company several hundred million dollars. Nobody really knows whether the oil giant is being too conservative about the cost for the April 20 accident, which some experts say could end up as the biggest oil spill in history.

BURMA: Pressure Mounts on Energy Giant Chevron to Disclose Revenue
by Marwaan Macan-Markar Inter Press Service (IPS)
April 29th, 2010
When shareholders of the multinational company Chevron gather for their annual meeting in the U.S. city of Houston in late May, they will come face to face with Naing Htoo, whose community has suffered due to the exploits of the energy giant in military-ruled Burma.

CANADA: Munk takes on mine protesters, defends capitalism
by John SpearsThe Star
April 28th, 2010
Mark Ekepa journeyed from Papua New Guinea to tell the shareholders of Barrick Gold Corp. how police had burned down his house near the Barrick’s Porgera mine. Idolia Bornones travelled from Chile to say that Barrick operations are damaging local glaciers and rivers. But Barrick chairman Peter Munk was unrepentant as he faced the company’s annual meeting.

US: Financial Debate Renews Scrutiny on Banks’ Size
by Sewall ChanNew York Times
April 20th, 2010
One question has vexed the Obama administration and Congress since the start of the financial crisis: how to prevent big bank bailouts. In the last year and a half, the largest financial institutions have only grown bigger, mainly as a result of government-brokered mergers. They now enjoy borrowing at significantly lower rates than their smaller competitors, a result of the bond markets’ implicit assumption that the giant banks are “too big to fail.”

AFRICA: E Guinea ejected from industry clean-up body
by Tom BurgisFinancial Times
April 16th, 2010
A pioneering initiative aimed at cleaning up the oil and mining industries has ejected Equatorial Guinea from its ranks. The board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a voluntary coalition of companies, governments, donors and civil society groups, had been under pressure from activists on granting extensions to 17 states that had missed a deadline to have audits of their industries independently verified.

US: SEC charges Goldman Sachs with civil fraud in subprime deal
by Greg GordonMcClatchy Newspapers
April 16th, 2010
The Securities and Exchange Commission Friday charged Goldman Sachs & Co. and one of its executives with fraud in a risky offshore deal backed by subprime mortgages that cost investors more than $1 billion.

US: Senators Call For Changes to Troubled, Costly Afghan Police Training Program
by Ryan KnutsenProPublica
April 15th, 2010
State and Defense department officials took a tongue-lashing today, trying to explain to a Senate subcommittee how the government has poured $6 billion since 2002 into building an effective Afghan police force with disastrous results.

WORLD: Banks Making Big Profits From Tiny Loans
by NEIL MacFARQUHARNew York Times
April 13th, 2010
In recent years, the idea of giving small loans to poor people became the darling of the development world, hailed as the long elusive formula to propel even the most destitute into better lives. But drawn by the prospect of hefty profits from even the smallest of loans, a raft of banks and financial institutions now dominate the field, with some charging interest rates of 100 percent or more.

EUROPE: Open-source Advocate Enters IBM Antitrust Fray
by Paul MellerPC World - Business Center
April 12th, 2010
Software developer and political lobbyist Florian Mueller weighed in on the European Commission's investigation of monopoly abuse claims against IBM, accusing the computing giant of deserting the interests of the open-source software community.

US: Fed Reviews Find Errors in Oversight of Citigroup
by Sewall Chan and Eric DashNew York Times
April 7th, 2010
Citigroup ran into trouble under the noses of federal regulators. But even after taxpayers rescued the financial giant, regulators failed to monitor the company adequately, according to reviews by the Federal Reserve.

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