|FRANCE/UAE: Gulf base shows shift in France’s focus|
by Ben Hall and Andrew England, Financial Times
May 25th, 2009
France's new naval base in Abu Dhabi, its first overseas military base in 50 years, has sparked a round of lobbying on behalf of lucrative business for French companies including Dassault, the military aircraft maker, and a consortium of Total, GdF-Suez and Areva, which is bidding to build two nuclear power stations in the UAE. Dassault is hoping to sell as many as 60 of its Rafale fighters to the UAE.
|EUROPE: Greenpeace warns on Shell oil sands projects|
by Carola Hoyos, Financial Times
May 18th, 2009
A study by Greenpeace and several other environmental groups has concluded that Royal Dutch Shell's carbon intensity will rise 85 per cent as it develops its oil and gas fields in the coming years. Campaigners warn Shell’s investors that this disadvantages the company vis a vis its peers as US and European policymakers move towards a broad cap-and-trade system to limit carbon emissions. Shell’s growing carbon intensity stems from its resource base, which is heavily made up of Canadian oil and Nigerian gas.
|ECUADOR: In Ecuador, Resentment of an Oil Company Oozes|
by SIMON ROMERO and CLIFFORD KRAUSS, New York Times
May 14th, 2009
Texaco, the American oil company that Chevron acquired in 2001, once poured oil waste into pits used decades ago for drilling wells in Ecuador's northeastern jungle. Texaco’s roughnecks are long gone, but black gunk from the pits seeps to the topsoil here and in dozens of other spots. These days the only Chevron employees who visit the former oil fields do so escorted by bodyguards toting guns. They represent one side in a bitter fight that is developing into the world’s largest environmental lawsuit, with $27 billion in potential damages.
|WORLD: When Chevron Hires Ex-Reporter to Investigate Pollution, Chevron Looks Good|
by Brian Stelter, New York Times
May 10th, 2009
When Chevron learned that “60 Minutes” was preparing a potentially damaging report about oil company contamination of the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador, it hired a former journalist to produce a mirror image of the report, from the corporation’s point of view. An Ecuadorean judge is expected to rule soon on whether Chevron owes up to $27 billion in damages.
|NIGERIA: A Writer’s Violent End, and His Activist Legacy|
by Patricia Cohen, New York Times
May 4th, 2009
A new novel, "Eclipse," by Richard North Patterson, is based on the case of the Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, executed in November 1995 by the government of General Sani Abacha. The circumstances, along with related incidents of brutal attacks, are getting another hearing. This month the Wiwa family’s lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell over its role in those events goes to trial in federal court in Manhattan.
|WORLD: Skype’s iPhone application raises protests|
by David Gelles, Financial Times
April 3rd, 2009
Skype’s application for the Apple iPhone is igniting network neutrality disputes around the globe after less than a week on the market. Free Press, asked the US Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether AT&T was violating US guidelines by preventing the app from running on its 3G network. An alliance of internet groups on Friday responded to Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile’s threat to block the Skype for iPhone application on its network.
|IRAQ: Ex-Blackwater Workers May Return to Iraq Jobs|
by Rod Nordland, New York Times
April 3rd, 2009
Late last month Blackwater Worldwide lost its billion-dollar contract to protect American diplomats in Iraq, but by next month many of its private security guards will be back on the job here. The same individuals will just be wearing new uniforms, working for Triple Canopy, the firm that won the State Department’s new contract.
|CHINA: Banks Face Big Losses From Bets on Chinese Realty|
by David Barboza , New York Times
April 3rd, 2009
Evergrande Real Estate Group, now mired in debt, has become a symbol of China’s go-go era of investing, when international bankers, private equity deal makers and hedge fund managers from Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and others rushed here hoping to cash in on the world’s biggest building boom.
|UK: Shareholders vote against RBS pay|
April 3rd, 2009
More than 90% of Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders voted against the bank's pay and pensions policy at its annual general meeting in Edinburgh. RBS does not have to make any changes as a result, saying it was a "substantive" protest at Sir Fred Goodwin's £703,000 a year pension. Sir Philip blamed RBS's difficulties on its acquisition of the Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007.
|UK: Residents challenge Google camera |
BBC News Online
April 3rd, 2009
Google's Street View mapping project ran into local opposition in England, with angry residents in the village of Milton Keynes blocking a Google driver when he started taking photographs of their homes. Villagers accused the company of going too far, violating their privacy and possibly facilitating crime.
|US: Banks Get New Leeway in Valuing Their Assets |
by Floyd Norris, New York Times
April 2nd, 2009
A once-obscure accounting rule was changed Thursday to give banks more discretion in reporting the value of mortgage securities. Apparently under political pressure, the five-member Financial Accounting Standards Board approved a controversial change that makes it possible for banks to keep some declines in asset values off their income statements.
|WORLD: The Jewel Trade's Fading Luster|
by V. Dion Haynes and Rama Lakshmi, Washington Post
March 28th, 2009
The drop in U.S. demand for high-end jewelry in a slumping economy is having ripple effects around the globe as stores close, workers are laid off in mass in the diamond-polishing factories of Gujarat, and countries like Botswana experience a dramatic drop in diamond revenue.
|AFRICA/CHINA: As Chinese Investment in Africa Drops, Hope Sinks|
by Lydia Polgreen, New York Times
March 25th, 2009
As global commodity prices have plummeted and several of China’s partners in Africa have stumbled deeper into chaos, China has backed away from some of its riskiest and most aggressive plans. China has sought to secure minerals in Africa through agreements to build huge projects in exchange for minerals. African governments are now realizing that these deals are loans against future revenue, and falling prices could leave them saddled with debt.
|US/CANADA: Alaskan lake’s fate could echo across continent|
by Todd Wilkinson, Christian Science Monitor
March 24th, 2009
A landmark legal case now before the US Supreme Court holds huge implications for lakes across the continent. Nearly four decades the Clean Water Act was passed to protect waterways from industrial pollution, a proposal by Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. to dispose of tons of effluent in Alaska's Lower Slate Lake has sparked an international debate.
|US/AFGHANISTAN: Unknown Afghanistan|
by Pratap Chatterjee, TomDispatch.com
March 17th, 2009
Want a billion dollars in development aid? If you happen to live in Afghanistan, the two quickest ways to attract attention and so aid from the U.S. authorities are: Taliban attacks or a flourishing opium trade. For those with neither, the future could be bleak. This piece take a look at the lack of reconstruction aid in areas like Bamiyan, Afghanistan.
|INDIA: Pricewaterhouse Revamps Indian Unit|
by Heather Timmons, New York Times
March 5th, 2009
The auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers is overhauling its operations in India two months after starting an investigation into fraud at Satyam Computer Services, a software and outsourcing firm whose chairman said in January that he had falsely claimed assets of $1 billion in cash and overstated operating margins.
|US, GLOBAL: Layoffs Without Notice Sting Workers|
by Steve Lohr, New York Times
March 5th, 2009
With the economy weakening, chief executives want Wall Street to see them as tough cost-cutters who are not afraid to lay off workers. Big companies also routinely carry out scattered layoffs that are small enough to stay under the radar, contributing to an unemployment rate that keeps climbing. I.B.M. is one such company.
|IRELAND: U2 rattled by claims of tax dodging|
by Michael Seaver, Christian Science Monitor
March 3rd, 2009
The band that loves to rail against global corporate malfeasance is being criticized at home over allegations of tax dodging. The controversy stems from 2006, when the band moved its publishing company to the Netherlands to avoid a potential multi-million-euro tax bill after the Irish government capped artists' tax-free earnings at €250,000 ($315,000).
|ECUADOR/CANADA: Canadian Mining Firm Financed Violence in Ecuador: Lawsuit|
by Jennifer Moore, Tyee Online
March 3rd, 2009
Three villagers from the valley of Intag in northwestern Ecuador are suing Copper Mesa Mining Corporation and the Toronto Stock Exchange. They allege not enough has been done to reduce the risk of harm being faced by farmers and community leaders who have faced violent threats and attacks for opposition to a large open-pit copper mine in their pristine cloud forests.