|US: Biggest pension fund boycotts Wal-Mart|
by Terry Macalister, The Guardian
June 7th, 2006
Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer and owner of the Asda supermarket chain, is being boycotted by the world's largest pension fund for alleged "serious and systematic" abuses of human and employment rights.
|CANADA: Platinum Mine Sparks Lawsuits|
May 29th, 2006
The development of a potentially rare and lucrative platinum mine near a reserve in Northern Ontario has prompted a First Nation to sue the provincial government while it faces a $10 billion lawsuit from a Canadian exploration company.
|NIGERIA: Ijaw Win $1.5 Billion Suit Against Shell|
by George Onah, Vanguard (Lagos)
May 23rd, 2006
The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to pay $1.5 billion about N210 billion into the coffers of Central Bank of Nigeria, in favour of the Ijaw Aborigenes of Bayelsa State, between last Friday and noon tomorrow.
|US: Uh-oh, it's the shareholders|
by Bruce Meyerson, Chicago Sun-Times
May 21st, 2006
It happens only once a year, and yet so many headstrong corporate CEO's can't seem to cope with being in a room with shareholders for a few hours at the annual meeting.
|US: AT&T Whistle-Blower's Evidence|
May 17th, 2006
Former AT&T technician Mark Klein is the key witness in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's class-action lawsuit against the company, which alleges that AT&T illegally cooperated in an illegal National Security Agency domestic-surveillance program.
|JORDAN: An Ugly Side of Free Trade - Sweatshops|
by Steven Greenhouse and Michael Barbaro, The New York Times
May 3rd, 2006
Workers from Bangladesh said they paid $1,000 to $3,000 to work in Jordan, but when they arrived, their passports were confiscated, restricting their ability to leave and tying them to jobs that often pay far less than promised and far less than the country's minimum wage.
|NETHERLANDS: The Dutch Try One of Their Own Over Links to Liberia|
by Marlise Simons, The New York Times
May 3rd, 2006
Mr. van Kouwenhoven, 63, is also charged with war crimes. He is accused of supplying Mr. Taylor with militia fighters from his lumber companies. He is further charged with violating a United Nations embargo by smuggling weapons into Liberia. His trial, held under a new mix of national and international law, is drawing attention because it is the second time a Dutch court is prosecuting a Dutch businessman for being involved with human rights abuses on another continent.
|CHINA: Yahoo China is under fire again
by Ilya Garger, MarketWatch
April 28th, 2006
U.S. internet companies like Yahoo and Google may have gone to China hoping to find a gold mine. But it's also turned out to be a mine field of controversy over censorship and political rights.
|US: Halliburton' Internment Camps|
by Ruth Conniff, The Progressive
April 18th, 2006
KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary recently reprimanded for gross overcharging in its military contracts in Iraq, won a $385 million contract to build large-scale detention centers in case of an "emergency influx" of immigrants.
|US: The Case Against Coke|
by Michaeil Blanding, The Nation
April 14th, 2006
The Coca-Cola Company will hold its stockholders' meeting, an annual exercise designed to boost the confidence of investors. If the meeting is anything like last year's, however, it may do the opposite.
|ARGENTINA: Bolivian Community Divided Over Sweatshops|
by Marcela Valente, Inter Press News Service
April 6th, 2006
The Buenos Aires city government's new offensive against slave labour has resulted in the closure of 30 clandestine textile sweatshops in the Argentine capital. But it has also caused divisions in the Bolivian immigrant community: some denounce the exploitative labour conditions, while others desperately want to keep their jobs, however precarious.
|NIGERIA: Government Investigation Indicts Shell over Toxic Waste|
by Yemie Adeoye, Vanguard (Lagos)
April 4th, 2006
THE Ministerial investigation committee into alleged dumping of toxic waste by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Igbeku and Ejekimoni communities of Sapele local government area of Delta State has come up with recommendations for the company to remove and treat in situ the "alleged buried waste" to acceptable statutory levels.
|INDONESIA: U.S. Aid to Corrupt TNI Risks More Rights Abuses
by Lisa Misol, The Jakarta Post
March 14th, 2006
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Jakarta follows the Bush Administration's controversial decision to reestablish full relations with the Indonesian Military (TNI). That move opens the door to renewed U.S. assistance, but pumping aid to an unreformed Indonesian military would serve only to encourage further rights abuses and undermine civilian governance.
|PERU: Substandard Peruvian Gas Pipeline Blamed for Spills|
Environmental News Service
March 2nd, 2006
A pipeline crossing the Peruvian Amazon has spilled natural gas liquids four times since it opened 15 months ago because it was shoddily built by unqualified welders using corroded pipes left from other jobs, according to a new technical report by the nonprofit environmental consultancy E-Tech International based in San Diego.
|UK: UK attacked for Uganda arms deal|
by Karen Allen, BBC News
March 1st, 2006
The UK has failed to act on promises to plug loopholes that allow the sale of arms to countries with poor human rights records, aid agency Oxfam says. It says that military vehicles were sold to Uganda by a South African subsidiary of the UK firm BAE Systems.
|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.
|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.
|US: Wal-Mart Web Site Makes Racial Connections|
by Ylan Q. Mui, Washington 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: General Electric workers sue Monsanto over PCBs|
by Carey Gillam, Reuters
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.
|NIGERIA: Blood Flows With Oil in Poor Villages|
by Lydia Polgreen, The 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: Insurance Redlining Rampant in California|
by Brendan Coyne, The 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.
|AFRICA: Death By Dilution|
by Robert Cockburn, American Prospect
December 20th, 2005
When fakes of a GlaxoSmithKline anti-malarial drug turned up in Africa, authorities assumed the drug giant would want to know. Instead, they learned about a huge, evil trade in fake drugs -- and about an industry that doesn’t want the truth to get out.
|INDIA: Testing Drugs on India's Poor |
by Scott Carney, Wired
December 19th, 2005
Multinational corporations are riding high on the trend toward globalization by taking advantage of India's educated work force and deep poverty to turn South Asia into the world's largest clinical-testing petri dish.
|US: EPA, DuPont in Settlement Over Chemical|
The Associated Press
November 29th, 2005
Federal regulators have reached an agreement with DuPont to settle allegations the company hid information about the dangers of a toxic chemical known as C8 used in the manufacture of Teflon.
|TURKEY: Turkish Coke Bottler Under Fire|
by Caroline Wilbert, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 3rd, 2005
United Students against Sweatshops held a news conference in Washington on Wednesday, alleging that within the last several months, employees of a Coke bottler in Turkey were fired for joining a union. These workers protested and were allegedly beaten by police at the behest of Coke.
|WORLD: Social audits 'are failing to detect factory abuses'|
by Alison Maitland, The Financial Times
November 2nd, 2005
Social audits of clothing factories in developing countries are failing to detect excessive and forced overtime, abusive treatment of workers and violations of freedom of association, says a report by the Clean Clothes Campaign, a coalition of trade unions and pressure groups, to be published today.
|AFRICA: The Dark Side of Chocolate|
by Kate McMahon, Alternet, Wiretap
October 28th, 2005
The truth behind the chocolate is anything but sweet. On the Ivory Coast of Africa, the origin of nearly half of the world's cocoa, hundreds of thousands of children work or are enslaved on cocoa farms. With poverty running rampant and average cocoa revenues ranging from $30-$108 per household member per year, producers have no choice but to utilize child labor for dangerous farming tasks. Some children, seeking to help their poor families, even end up as slaves on cocoa farms far from home. Slavery drags on and we are paying the slaveholder's wages.
|INDIA: Health Minister: 'Coke Plant Will Not Be Allowed to Function' |
October 25th, 2005
Health Minister K.K. Ramachandran on Monday said the Government "would not allow the bottling plant of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. at Plachimada to reopen against the will of the people." (Mr. Ramachandran is the first Minister to have visited Plachimada where the local people have been waging an agitation for the last three years demanding the closure of the company for allegedly exploiting the groundwater, leading to shortage of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.)
|WORLD: The Cost of Gold|
by JANE PERLEZ and KIRK JOHNSON, The New York Times
October 24th, 2005
The price of gold is higher than it has been in 17 years - pushing $500 an ounce. But much of the gold left to be mined is microscopic and is being wrung from the earth at enormous environmental cost, often in some of the poorest corners of the world.
|CANADA: MPs Call for Tougher Rules on Overseas Mines|
by Paul Weinberg , Inter Press Service
October 22nd, 2005
A call by members of Canada's parliament for legally binding measures to govern the behaviour of Canadian mining companies around the world, and specifically to investigate the activities of a Calgary-based operation in the Philippines, has been turned down flat by the Canadian government's foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew.
|ECUADOR: Amazon Indians say Texaco left damage|
by Gonzalo Solano, Associated Press
October 20th, 2005
About 50 Cofan Indians, some holding handkerchiefs over their faces to fend off an acrid chemical stench, gathered around two contaminated open pits they say were left behind and never adequately cleaned up by the former Texaco Corp.
|KOREA: Tobacco firm has secret North Korea plant|
by Ian Cobain and David Leigh, The Guardian
October 17th, 2005
British American Tobacco, the world's second largest cigarette company, has secretly been operating a factory in North Korea for the past four years, the Guardian has learned. The company opened the plant in a joint venture with a state owned corporation shortly before the regime was denounced by George Bush as a member of the "axis of evil", and despite widespread concern over the country's human rights record.
|US: A Company's Troubled Answer for Prisoners With H.I.V.|
by Paul von Zielbauer, New York Times
August 1st, 2005
Even within the troubled Alabama penal system, this state compound near Huntsville was notorious for cruel punishment and medical neglect. In one drafty, rat-infested warehouse once reserved for chain gangs, the state quarantined its male prisoners with H.I.V. and AIDS, until the extraordinary death toll - 36 inmates from 1999 to 2002 - moved inmates to sue and the government to promise change.
|Belgium: Belgian court stops human rights probe of Total oil|
by Reuters, Reuters
July 1st, 2005
A Belgian court has stopped an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed by the French oil giant Total in military-ruled Myanmar, dashing the hopes of four refugees who brought the case.
|US: Torture by Taser|
by Peter Gorman, Fort Worth Weekly
June 24th, 2005
More than 5,000 police agencies across the country have purchased Tasers since 2000. Amnesty International documented hundreds of cases in the last three years in which Taser-happy police used the weapon on everyone from disturbed children to old men and women to a Florida man — strapped down on a hospital bed — who wouldn’t provide a urine sample.
|COLOMBIA: Terrified Farmers Sue BP|
by Robert Verkaik, The Independent Online
June 21st, 2005
BP is facing a £15m compensation claim from a group of Colombian farmers who say that the British oil company took advantage of a regime of terror by government paramilitaries to profit from the construction of a 450-mile pipeline.
|NIGERIA: Shell Extends Gas Flaring Deadline |
by Sopuruchi Onwuka, Daily Champion
May 31st, 2005
A major hiccup on government's effort to terminate gas flaring by 2008 has occured as oil multinational, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said the official deadline will no longer be realistic to the firm.
|SUDAN: Investing in Atrocity: The Cost of Doing Business with Khartoum|
by By Joanne Mariner , FindLaw's Writ
May 25th, 2005
Besides oil companies, the list of firms linked to Sudan is dominated by agricultural and engineering concerns. Names like PetroChina and Tafneft (a Russian enterprise) suggest why the U.N. Security Council, where China and Russia exercise veto power, is so reluctant to impose economic sanctions against Khartoum.
|NICARAGUA: Chiquita's Children
by By Nicolas Bérubé and Benoit Aquin, In These Times
May 23rd, 2005
In the ’70s and ’80s, the banana companies Dole, Del Monte and Chiquita used a carcinogenic pesticide, Nemagon, to protect their crops in Nicaragua. Today, the men and women who worked on those plantations suffer from incurable illnesses. Their children are deformed. The companies feign innocence.
|UK: G8 Protesters Face Tasers|
by Dan McDougall, The Scotsman
May 20th, 2005
Police dealing with civil unrest during the G8 summit in Scotland will have controversial weapons that have been blamed for the deaths of 104 civilians in the United States and Canada.
|CHINA: Corporate Social Responsibility|
May 13th, 2005
Today, China is probably more integrated into the international community than at any point in its history, and the competitive economic landscape is changing rapidly. For multinational companies that take social and environmental responsibilities seriously, unprecedented opportunities abound for them to turn the corporate social responsibility (CSR) fad into a real opportunity for social change.
|US: Memphis '68, Revisited|
by Si Kahn, AlterNet
May 6th, 2005
With help from some unlikely places, Corrections Corporation of America is hoping to build the largest for-profit private prison in the United States.
|US: Sodexho Settles Large Racial Bias Case|
by By Erin Texeira , Associated Press
April 27th, 2005
Food services company Sodexho Inc. agreed Wednesday to pay $80 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of black employees who charged that they were routinely barred from promotions and segregated within the company.
|US: Microsoft Reversal on Gay Rights Bill
by By Sarah Kershaw , New York Times
April 22nd, 2005
The Microsoft Corporation, at the forefront of corporate gay rights for decades, is coming under fire from gay rights groups, politicians and its own employees for withdrawing its support for a state bill that would have barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
|US: Harvard Divests from PetroChina|
April 7th, 2005
Harvard University, after months of pressure from student activists, will sell an estimated $4.4 million (A€3.42 million) stake in PetroChina, whose parent company is closely tied to the Sudanese government, university officials said.
|WORLD: The 10 Worst Corporations of 2004|
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, Alternet
January 26th, 2005
The year's most egregious price gougers, polluters, union-busters, dictator-coddlers, fraudsters, poisoners, deceivers and general miscreants.
|US: Corporate Ad Network Monitors Web Habits
by Bob Tedeschi, New York Times
November 15th, 2004
At the height of the dot-com boom, DoubleClick made itself the object of scorn among privacy advocates by trying to track Internet users individually and show them ads related to their surfing habits.
|US: Probe into Iraq trafficking claims|
by Elise Labott, CNN
May 5th, 2004
The United States is investigating reports Indian nationals were victims of human trafficking to Iraq and mistreated while working there as contractors in U.S. military camps, the State Department has said.
|Iraq: Contractors Fall Through Legal Cracks|
by T. Christian Miller, New York Times
May 4th, 2004
Three civilian employees who allegedly participated in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners have yet to face any disciplinary action, their employers said Monday, raising within the Pentagon the issue of accountability for thousands of private contractors in Iraq.
|Iraq: Al Sabah Editor Quits, Citing U.S. Meddling|
May 4th, 2004
The head of a U.S.-funded Iraqi newspaper quit and said Monday that he was taking almost his entire staff with him because of American interference in the publication.
|US: Medco Health to Settle Complaints|
April 27th, 2004
In a case that could alter how prescriptions are filled, the nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager said Monday that it would pay $29 million to settle allegations by 20 states, including California, that it pressured doctors to switch patients' medications to benefit its bottom line.
|US: Strengthening Bones, Raising Questions|
by Denise Gellene, New York Times
April 23rd, 2004
Last fall, the National Kidney Foundation for the first time set treatment guidelines to prevent a complication from kidney failure that causes damage to bones. The guidelines were tough, and there was no drug on the market that would easily help a patient meet them.
|US: Merrill Lynch Ordered To Pay For Sexual Bias|
by Patrick McGeehan, New York Times
April 21st, 2004
Merrill Lynch & Company, the nation's biggest brokerage firm, discriminated against women who worked as stockbrokers, according to a panel of arbitrators that has awarded $2.2 million to one of them.
|Uganda: Coffee Project Faces Collapse|
by Isabirye Musoke, The Monitor
April 21st, 2004
Failure to pay suppliers of planting materials is threatening plans to increase coffee production in the country.
|Iraq: Whose Human Rights Is The Occupation Defending?|
by David Bacon, US Labor Against The War
April 15th, 2004
The disaster that is the occupation of Iraq is much more than the war that plays nightly across U.S. television screens. The violence of grinding poverty, exacerbated by economic sanctions after the first Gulf War, has been deepened by the US invasion. Every day the economic policies of the occupying authorities create more hunger among Iraq's working people, transforming them into a pool of low-wage, semi-employed labor, desperate for jobs at almost any price.
|Iraq: Contractors Put Reconstruction On Hold|
by Nicolas Pelham, Financial Times
April 11th, 2004
Many of Iraq's reconstruction projects are being put on hold after a spate of foreign kidnappings and attacks on convoys in Baghdad grounded foreign and Iraqi contractors.
|Colombia: Workers Starved For Justice|
Green Left Weekly
April 7th, 2004
From March 15 to March 27, workers at Colombia's Coca-Coca bottling plant went on hunger strike, in a desperate attempt to improve their working conditions. Carlene Wilson, a member of the Socialist Alliance and Workers Power, and an activist in Melbourne's Colombia Demands Justice campaign, explains why their struggle is so important.
|US: California Voters Reject Wal-Mart Initiative|
by John M. Broder, The New York Times
April 7th, 2004
Voters in Inglewood, a racially diverse working-class suburb of Los Angeles, have soundly rejected a ballot initiative to permit construction of a 60-acre Wal-Mart shopping complex exempt from virtually all state and local regulation.
|World: Lenders Urge World Bank to Reject Oil, Mining Pullout|
by Emad Mekay, Inter Press Service News Agency
April 5th, 2004
International investment banks are lobbying the World Bank to rebuff the recommendations of an independent study that urged the global lender to bail out of gas, oil and mining projects.
|Iraq: Attack Slays Iraqi Employee Of Bechtel|
by David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
March 25th, 2004
An Iraqi working for Bechtel Corp. in Baghdad died in a mortar attack last week, the San Francisco construction firm's first known loss to the violence roiling the country.
|India: An Outsourcing Giant Fights Back|
by Saritha Rai, New York Times
March 21st, 2004
To his compatriots, Azim Premji is the Bill Gates of India. By transforming his family-owned vegetable oil business into a global technology powerhouse, Mr. Premji has become the country's richest citizen, with a net worth hovering around $8 billion.
|UK: Dasani Bottled Tap Water Withdrawn After Cancer Scare|
by Felicity Lawrence, Guardian (London)
March 19th, 2004
First, Coca-Cola's new brand of "pure" bottled water, Dasani, was revealed earlier this month to be tap water taken from the mains. Then it emerged that what the firm described as its "highly sophisticated purification process", based on Nasa spacecraft technology, was in fact reverse osmosis used in many modest domestic water purification units.
|EU: Microsoft's Last-Ditch Offer Is Rejected|
by Daniel Dombey, Financial Times
March 18th, 2004
The European Commission said it had been unable to reach a settlement with Microsoft after considering the software group's last-ditch offer to end the long-running antitrust battle.
|US: Tobacco Firms Can Be Sued Under RICO|
March 18th, 2004
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said the department was "not engaging in policymaking" but was trying to enforce the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO.
|US: New School's Labor War|
by Tom Robbins, Village Voice
March 17th, 2004
Despite a mail-in vote last month in which a majority of part-time faculty members casting ballots voted to be represented by a division of United Auto Workers, university president and former U.S. senator Bob Kerrey is asking that the results be thrown out, saying the vote wasn't sufficiently representative of employees.
|US: A Wave Of Desalination Proposals|
by Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
March 14th, 2004
More than 20 projects to make seawater fit for the tap are being considered in the state. Those from private firms stir debate over public's interests. It's purified seawater, stripped of its salts and ready for the tap. MacLaggan's firm, Poseidon Resources
|Trinidad: Life In Point Fortin|
by Roxanne Stapleton, Trinidad and Tobago Express
March 14th, 2004
Persons at the strike camp say the strike started because of poor wages, inhumane conditions and very bad industrial relations. Things took a turn for the worse, they said, when they tried to have negotiations with Bechtel and contractor DMC (a Germany-based company).
|US: Nevada Nuke Dump Workers Hurt By Toxic Dust|
by Ken Ritter, The Associated Press
March 11th, 2004
A former tunnel worker at the nation's nuclear waste dump in the Nevada desert filed suit Thursday against Energy Department contractors, claiming the companies deliberately exposed employees to toxic dust at the Yucca Mountain project.
|US: A Heroic Defense And a Cruel System|
by David Bacon, San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center
March 4th, 2004
The southern California grocery strikers are true working-class heroes. Seventy thousand held fast to their strike over four and a half months, a remarkable achievement in the current "jobless recovery."
|US: IBM Settles Suit Over Toxic-Chemical Claims|
Los Angeles Times
March 3rd, 2004
IBM Corp. settled a lawsuit Tuesday over claims that a worker's exposure to chemicals at the company's plant in New York caused her child to be born with birth defects.
|Mexico: Community Radio Stations Up Against The Wall|
by Diego Cevallos, Inter Press Service News Agency
March 2nd, 2004
According to spokespersons for the National Chamber of the Radio and Television Industry (CIRT), which is demanding the immediate closure of all community radio stations, the non-profit broadcasters foment piracy of the airwaves and incite guerrilla groups.
|France: Government Pounces on OTC|
by Jon Henley, Guardian (London)
February 27th, 2004
According to reports in the French press - mostly denied by the British - the 16 employees of OCT's French plant turned up for work last Friday to find it had been emptied overnight of machinery and raw materials, the phone lines had been cut and the files had gone. They were given a brief letter, in bad French, telling them they were fired "as of now". Each employee was offered 500 (334) in compensation - which all refused on the grounds that under French law most would be entitled to several years of redundancy pay based on a percentage of their salaries.
|UK: Watchdogs Call Government on Unethical Sales|
February 25th, 2004
The government is allowing British arms manufacturers to sell to some of the most dangerous and repressive regimes in the world, two charities claim. A dramatic rise in the sale of arms components to these regimes undermines the government's own ethical policies, say Oxfam and Amnesty International.
|US: Workers Fear Toxins In Faster Nuclear Cleanup|
by Sarah Kershaw and Matthew Wald, New York Times
February 20th, 2004
Faster cleanup schedules raise questions about environmental dangers and workers at risk for exposure to asbestos and beryllium.
|Chad: The Making Of An African Petrostate|
by Somini Sengupta, New York Times
February 18th, 2004
Oil is bringing big changes to Chad, some cultural, like the one Mr. Elie worries about, others practical, like the way the World Bank will be overseeing how Chad manages its new wealth. Chad, among the poorest countries in the world, is now Africa's newest petrostate.
|Indonesia: U.S. Tilt To Business Stirs Backlash|
by Peter Waldman, The Wall Street Journal
February 11th, 2004
creditors was at the center of the table in everything we did," says Edmund McWilliams, who was chief political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta from 1996 to 1999. "Concerns about stability made it to the margins. Concerns about human rights, democracy, corruption never made it onto the table at all."
|UK: Attempt To Halt US Human Rights Cases Against British Firms|
by Robert Verkaik, The Independent
February 11th, 2004
The Government has made a formal intervention in the US justice process in an attempt to stop British companies being sued in America for alleged human rights violations committed around the world.
|USA: Doctors Call for Abbott Boycott on AIDS Price Hike|
by Lisa Richwine and Kim Dixon, Reuters
February 10th, 2004
A group of AIDS doctors on Tuesday called for a boycott of drugs made by Abbott Laboratories Inc. to protest the company's recent price hike on an important HIV medicine.
|Australia: Gov't Looks Away From Payments to Indonesian Forces|
by Bob Burton, InterPress Service
February 7th, 2004
One month after an unarmed protester against the construction of a Australian-owned mine in Indonesia was shot and killed, the Australian government is refusing to warn companies against paying Indonesian security forces for protection.
|India: Findings on Cola Companies Expose Need for Food Standards|
by Ranjit Devraj, Inter Press Service
February 6th, 2004
The affirmation by an Indian parliamentary committee of the findings by an environmental group - that beverage giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola have been using pesticide-contaminated water -- underscores the need for independent food standards in the country. The report of the all-party, 15-member committee, released on Thursday, was constituted to investigate the claim made in August by the non-government Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that the colas made by the two transnational corporations had unacceptably high levels of commonly used pesticides. These pesticides -- which include Lindane, DDT, Chlopyrifos and Malathion -- have apparently contaminated groundwater sources because India has yet to formulate a comprehensive policy on pesticides used extensively in agriculture and vector control.
|AMERICAS: Alleged Union-Buster Expands in South|
by Marty Logan, Inter Press Service
February 5th, 2004
Dogged by allegations that it persecutes its workers who back labour unions in Canada and overseas, one of North America's largest shirt-makers is set to expand its Latin American and Caribbean workforce by 50 percent by 2008. Montreal-based Gildan Activewear unveiled the plans at its annual shareholders meeting Wednesday, just days after agreeing to an independent audit of a Honduras plant where labour activists say more than 100 workers have been fired for unionising activities.
|Iraq: RTI Plans Future "Local" Government|
by Naomi Klein, The Nation
February 5th, 2004
Iraq's future government is being engineered in an anonymous research park in suburban North Carolina. On March 4, 2003, with the invasion just fifteen days away, the United States Agency for International Development asked three US firms to bid for a unique job: After Iraq was invaded and occupied, one company would be charged with setting up 180 local and provincial town councils in the rubble. The "local governance" contract, worth $167.9 million in the first year and up to $466 million total, went to the Research Triangle Institute (RTI), a private nonprofit best known for its drug research. None of its employees had been to Iraq in years.
|COSTA RICA: Low Wage Workers Make Baseballs For Millionaires|
by Tim Weiner, New York Times
January 25th, 2004
The baseball workers arrive at 6 a.m. and work until 5 p.m. Peak production pressures have pushed the day deep into the night. Each can make four balls an hour, painstakingly hand-sewing 108 perfect stitches along the seams. They are paid by the ball on average about 30 cents apiece. Rawlings Sporting Goods, which runs the factory, sells the balls for $14.99 at retail in the United States.
|India: The Loud Answer to Davos, In Bombay This Year, Is Antiwar|
by Saritha Rai, New York Times
January 22nd, 2004
Kenyans in colorful robes and headgear, South Koreans with blue peace signs painted on their faces and Britons carrying posters of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush crossed out in black joined thousands of others marching through the congested streets of Bombay on Wednesday to denounce the Iraq war. It was a demonstration that marked the close of the fourth annual World Social Forum.
|US: Wet Seal Is Set to Settle Wage Claim|
by Leslie Earnest, Los Angeles Times
January 21st, 2004
In a decision that could reverberate through California's $22-billion apparel industry, retailer Wet Seal Inc. is set to announce today that it has agreed to pay $90,000 to four garment workers who said they were underpaid by one of its contractors. The expected settlement would be the first time a retailer has agreed to pay workers under a state law that broadens the ability of garment industry employees to file claims for alleged violations of wage and hour laws.
|US: Ralph Stores Involved In Labor Dispute|
by Nancy Cleeland, Los Angeles Times
January 16th, 2004
Pickets are returning to some Ralphs supermarkets in Southern California as frustrated union members and their leaders seek to put pressure on the chain and remind shoppers that Ralphs is still a key player in the long-running labor dispute.
|Burma: Fifty Companies Added to Union's Burma Hit List|
by Abigail Townsend, Independent (London)
January 11th, 2004
A top trade union organisation has added almost 50 companies to a hit list of businesses still operating under Burma's military dictatorship, including the American industrial giant Ingersoll-Rand.
|Mexico: Resolution Calls Costco On Cultural Crimes|
by William Baue, Social Funds
January 8th, 2004
Shareowners express concern that Costco, which demolished a culturally significant site in Mexico to build a store, may be demolishing its reputation in the process.
|US: Unions Call on Nation to Boycott Safeway Stores|
by Nancy Cleeland, Los Angeles Times
December 17th, 2003
Several thousand striking and locked-out supermarket workers and their supporters marched to a Pavilions store in Beverly Hills on Tuesday in the largest demonstration since the regional walkout began Oct. 11. The union also sought to portray its fight with Safeway Inc., Albertsons Inc. and Kroger Co. parent of Ralphs as a pivotal moment for American labor. "If we lose here," said national UFCW President Doug Dority, "it will set off a corporate tidal wave that will sweep away benefits in contracts in all industries."
|South Africa: Police Arrest Body Parts Traders|
December 4th, 2003
Two people have appeared in a South African court, charged with illegal trafficking of human organs. They are accused of being part of an international syndicate which buys body parts from poor people in Brazil and Israel for use in South Africa. The ring allegedly supplies kidneys to surgeons who perform illegal transplants at South African hospitals.
|US: Funeral Firm That Dug Up Bodies Pays Settlement|
by Duncan Campbell, Guardian (London)
December 4th, 2003
The world's largest funeral company has agreed to pay $100m (58m) in damages for digging up bones from its graves and throwing them away to make room for more coffins. Service Corp International (SCI) was reported yesterday to have agreed the settlement in a series of lawsuits after accusations that its employees desecrated the graves at two Jewish cemeteries in Florida.
|Myanmar: Unocal Faces Landmark Trial Over Slavery|
by Kathy George, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter
December 1st, 2003
The Unocal oil company is about to become the first corporation in history to stand trial in the United States over human rights violations abroad. And two Seattle law professors are helping to make history in the shocking case, in which corporate partners used Myanmar's notoriously brutal military regime to provide "security" for a natural gas pipeline project in the remote Yadana region near the Thai border.
|Ecuador: Texaco Leaves Trail of Destruction|
by T. Christian Miller, Los Angeles Times
November 30th, 2003
Torres is one of thousands of Ecuadoreans who stand to benefit from a multibillion-dollar lawsuit alleging that Texaco's operations between 1972 and 1992 destroyed land, sickened residents and contributed to the demise of indigenous tribes. Oil company officials deny the charges, saying the operations had minimal impact.
|World: Ozone Layer 'Sacrificed' for Bush Re-election|
by Geoffrey Lean, Independent (London)
November 23rd, 2003
President George Bush has brought the international treaty aimed at repairing the Earth's vital ozone layer close to breakdown, risking millions of cancers, to benefit strawberry and tomato growers in the electorally critical state of Florida, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
|Americas: FTAA Goes 'Lite' But U.S. Still Trade Heavyweight|
by Emad Mekay, Inter Press Service
November 21st, 2003
The scaled down plan given the nod at the end of a meeting here Thursday on a proposed pan-American common market marks a U.S. retreat on its ambitious trade policies in the western hemisphere but Washington's new aggressive push for bilateral deals could be a greater threat to the region's developing countries.
|Scotland: Islands Abuzz with Land-Grab Plans|
by James Arnold, BBC
November 13th, 2003
Scotland's remotest rural regions are the testing ground for the most ambitious idea launched so far by the five-year-old devolved government. At the beginning of this year, the Scottish parliament finally passed a highly contentious bill on land reform
|UK: BAT to Pull Out of Burma|
November 6th, 2003
British American Tobacco is to sell its cigarette making operation in Burma, bowing to pressure to cut ties with a country that is widely criticised for human rights abuses
|Congo: UN Says War Fueled by Foreign Firms|
by David Usborne, The Independent (London)
October 31st, 2003
A panel of experts renewed its warning to the United Nations yesterday that the illegal exploitation of precious minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is continuing to fuel conflict in the country.
|US: Right to Protest at Risk|
by Duncan Campbell, The Guardian (London)
October 31st, 2003
Greenpeace is being taken to court by the US government because of its action against the illegal importation of mahogany. Its lawyers says it is the first time an entire organisation has been criminally prosecuted for the activities of two members.
|Ecuador: Peasants Sue ChevronTexaco|
by Jim Lobe, OneWorld.net
October 23rd, 2003
A landmark class-action lawsuit by 30,000 Ecuadoran peasants and Indians against ChevronTexaco, which bounced around U.S. federal courts for nearly a decade, finally got underway this week in a small courthouse in a remote area of Ecuador.
|Iraq: Contractors Accused of Importing Labor and Exporting Profit|
by Nicolas Pelham, Financial Times/UK
October 14th, 2003
US sub-contractors are importing cheap migrant labor from south Asia to Iraq, despite high local unemployment and complaints from Iraqi contractors that they are being overlooked by the US-led administration in Baghdad. US officials in the Iraqi capital say that six months into their occupation of Iraq, security conditions have forced companies to turn to south Asian lab our to implement contracts, from prison-building to catering for US troops.
|South Africa: Workers Launch $100bn Lawsuit|
by Nicol Degli Innocenti, Financial Times
October 13th, 2003
The case is being brought by Ed Fagan, the controversial US lawyer, and a group of South African colleagues on behalf of over 10,000 former employees of companies operating in South Africa. The lawyers allege their clients were "victims of what could be viewed as one of the greatest corporate, accounting, banking, financial services, and pension and benefit fund frauds in history".
|US: Coke Pays Off Whistleblower|
October 8th, 2003
Coca-Cola has agreed to pay $540,000 to a former employee who claimed the company inflated its profits and knowingly sold contaminated drinks. The company agreed the out of court settlement with former finance manager Matthew Whitley, who sued Coca-Cola for unfair dismissal.
|US: Iraqi Sues Bechtel for Discrimination|
by David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
October 3rd, 2003
Bechtel Corp., the San Francisco construction firm helping to rebuild Iraq, has been sued by the federal government for allegedly discriminating against an Iraqi American employee after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Bechtel on Tuesday on behalf of Sahir Kizy, of Royal Oak, Mich., saying he was subject to ethnic slurs at work, excluded from meetings and eventually fired.
|US: Inequality Gap Widest Since 1929|
by Steve Schifferes, BBC
September 25th, 2003
The gap between rich and poor in America is the widest in 70 years, according to a new study published by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
|Russia: Sale of Forests to Loggers Could Create Ecological Crisis|
by Nick Paton Walsh, Guardian (UK)
September 19th, 2003
A plan by the Kremlin which would allow Moscow to sell off the 843m hectares of Russia's forests to private logging companies has raised fears of an ecological disaster. Forest makes up 70% of Russia's territory and spans 12 time zones. It is known as Europe's lungs and is second only to the Amazon in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs, and is home to many rare species.
|Afghanistan: Elite Seizes Land|
by Phil Reeves, Guardian (UK)
September 19th, 2003
International reconstruction efforts proceed at a snail's pace in much of the countryside, but steady progress is being made on scores of palatial homes in the capital's most prestigious neighbourhood. The affair is an embarrassment for the "transitional" government of Hamid Karzai, and for his chief sponsor, the United States, which is keen to declare Afghanistan a success, particularly after the disaster in Iraq.
|Iraq: Yegor Gaidar Brings His Bag of Tricks to Baghdad|
by Matt Taibbi, New York Press
September 18th, 2003
Early last week it was announced that the U.S., in the person of L. Paul Bremer III, had invited one Yegor Gaidar to Baghdad to assist in the development of Iraqs postwar, "transition" economy. Gaidar, former Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin, is not the most despised man in Russia. That title belongs to the man who succeeded him as the chief architect of the Russian privatization effort, Anatoly Chubais. There is no way to talk about the meaning of this decision to invite Gaidar to Iraq without mentioning Chubais, because in inviting Gaidar, what the U.S. almost certainly was trying to say to the world was: At least we didnt invite Chubais.
|Nigeria: Shell Workers Hold Firm|
Agence France Presse
September 10th, 2003
Informal talks between the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell and striking Nigerian workers appeared deadlocked, two weeks into the latest labour dispute to disrupt Africa's largest oil industry.
|South Africa: Crippled Gold Miners Seek Payout|
August 28th, 2003
UK mining giant Anglo American is among the companies facing a multi-million pound legal battle with former gold miners in South Africa. The ex-workers claim to have contracted crippling lung disease silicosis as a result of bad ventilation in the country's mines. The disease, which causes cancer, is widespread among South African miners.
|USA: The Great American Land Row|
by Chris Summers, BBC News Online
August 25th, 2003
American Indians are embroiled in a $137bn lawsuit with the US Government over land royalties. The saga,which has been going on for seven years, rests on a judge's decision, which is expected shortly.
|USA: Very Richest's Share of Income Grew Even Bigger in 2000|
by David Cay Johnston, The New York Times
June 26th, 2003
The 400 wealthiest taxpayers accounted for more than 1 percent of all the income in the United States in the year 2000, more than double their share just eight years earlier, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. But their tax burden plummeted over the period.
|INDIA: Holding Corporate Terrorists Accountable|
by Indra Sinha, AlterNet
May 6th, 2003
At noon on May 1, two Indian women, watched by a crowd of sympathizers, seated themselves on the sidewalk under the bull statue on Wall Street to begin "a fast unto death." Rasheeda Bee and Champa Devi Shukla are survivors of what the people of Bhopal still refer to as "that night."
|IRAQ: For Bangladeshis, War's End Means Return to Jobs|
by Qurratul Ain Tahmina, Inter Press Service
April 8th, 2003
Ninety percent of the yearly average of documented 200,000 migrant workers from mainly Muslim Bangladesh is placed in Middle Eastern countries. Remittance from migrant workers in the Middle East comes to about one-fifth of Bangladesh's yearly import payments. Last year Bangladesh got $2.5 billion in remittances, 75 percent of it from workers in the Middle East.
|Iraq: Bread Basket Stands to Be Ruined by War|
Environmental News Service
April 5th, 2003
The war in Iraq could be devastating for the country's rural economy with consequences on farmers' capacity to produce food, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today. The winter grain harvest, set to begin in a few weeks, and the spring planting could both be affected.
|US: Family Farm Organizations Endorse Taco Bell boycott|
Coalition of Imokalee Workers
March 19th, 2003
In what is a natural -- but all too rare -- partnership, farmworkers and family farmers have joined forces in the battle against the corporate domination and consolidation of agriculture, as several family farm organizations have endorsed the Taco Bell boycott!
|USA: Judge Tosses Bhopal Lawsuit|
by Larry Neumeister, Associate Press
March 18th, 2003
NEW YORK -- A federal judge threw out a lawsuit Tuesday that sought damages for those living near the deadly 1984 gas leak that killed thousands in Bhopal, India, saying Union Carbide Corp. had done enough and that too much time had passed.
|JAPAN: 10,000 at Water Forum to Seek Action, Not Talk|
by Sanjay Suri, Inter Press News Service
March 10th, 2003
More than 10,000 delegates who will attend the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto next week will be under pressure to step up water flows, rather than just talk about it.
|Burma: Tobacco Giant under Pressure to Pull Out of Joint Venture|
by Bob Burton, InterPress Service
March 4th, 2003
CANBERRA- Ahead of its mid-April annual general meeting, British American Tobacco (BAT) is facing increasing pressure from human rights groups in Asia and elsewhere to withdraw from a joint-venture partnership with the Burmese military regime.
|MEXICO: Toll of Murdered Young Women Tops 300|
by Diego Cevallos, IPS
February 20th, 2003
Three more young women were added this week to the list of over 300 like them who since 1993 have been murdered and mutilated in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.
|Thailand: Returning Migrants Face Hard Times|
by Chayanit Poonyarat, InterPress Service
February 9th, 2003
Many Thai migrant workers look forward to coming home after years of hard lives overseas, but not everyone finds a happy ending.
|USA: INS Roundups Put Nation's Growing Ethnic Media in Bind|
by Sandip Roy, Pacific News Service
December 30th, 2002
As editor of the San Jose-based Farsi monthly Pezhvak, Shahbaz Taheri says he strives to be a bridge between Iranian immigrants and American society. Now he fears he helped deliver some of his readers to jail.
|CHINA: Democracy Websites Censored|
December 4th, 2002
Internet sites containing the words "democracy", "Tibet" and "Taiwan" are among those most frequently blocked by the Chinese government, a study of Chinese net access has revealed
|UN: Water Deemed As Public Good, Human Right|
by Gustavo Capdevila, InterPress Service
November 27th, 2002
The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights issued a statement Wednesday declaring access to water a human right and stating that water is a social and cultural good, not merely an economic commodity.
|USA: Apartheid Victims Sue Global Corporations|
by Alison Raphael, OneWorld U.S.
November 13th, 2002
A lawsuit filed Tuesday in the New York District Court demands reparations from 20 banks and corporations that supplied critical support to the apartheid regime that ruled South Africa until 1994.
|UK: Former Tobacco Executive Faces Embarrassment over Burma Link|
by Alison Maitland and Jean Eaglesham, Financial Times
November 12th, 2002
Kenneth Clarke, former chancellor and deputy chairman of British American Tobacco, faces severe embarrassment today over revelations that he criticised companies investing in Burma -- where BAT has a joint venture with the military junta.
|US/China: Up Against the Firewall|
by Ethan Gutmann, RedHerring.com
November 8th, 2002
Why are American corporations, which have labored hard to present positive global images, providing censorship and surveillance technologies to what many see as China's Big Brother Internet? The short answer: money. Building China's Internet means making lots of it, and companies that want access to this new market often must give the Chinese leadership what it demands.
|Burma: Oil Giant Denies Workers' Claim of Forced Labor|
by Kalyani, OneWorld South Asia
October 22nd, 2002
French oil giant TotalFina-Elf flatly rejected accusations by a global trade union body Monday that its investments in Myanmar (formerly Burma) were directly linked to forced labor used for road-building and other heavy work around the Yadana oil pipeline off the country's southwest coast.
|USA: Critics Detail Risks of Colombian Coca Spraying|
by Cat Lazaroff, Environment News Service
October 1st, 2002
A U.S. State Department report on aerial spraying of coca crops in Colombia fails to prove that the pesticide program does not harm the environmentor pose safety risks to humans, charge six independent reviews released Monday by scientists and advocacy groups. The groups argue that the U.S. cannot authorize more funds for the controversial program until it can rule out health and environmental risks from the spraying.
|UK: De Beers Changes Its Name to Element Six|
September 30th, 2002
CO. CLARE, Ireland (September 30) -- From October 1st, 2002, the De Beers Industrial Diamonds group of companies (Debid) including Drukker International, will become Element Six. The new corporate and brand name is derived from the fact that diamond is a form of carbon, and carbon is the sixth element in the periodic table. The companies feel that the choice of this name encompasses their several businesses in an imaginative and differentiating way, reflecting the modern industrial diamond industry.
|USA: What About Corporate Terrorism?|
by David Moberg, Newsday
August 23rd, 2002
Until 1998 Sherri Bufkin happily worked as a manager for Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, N.C. But in 1997, when workers in the giant meatpacking plant there began to organize a union, her superiors - she has testified - forced her to join their campaign to "do whatever was necessary to keep [the union] out."
|India: Cadbury's Ad Outrages Citizens|
by Claire Cozens, The Guardian, UK
August 20th, 2002
Confectionery giant Cadbury's has committed a gaffe of epic proportions after comparing a brand of chocolate to the disputed territory of Kashmir and describing both as "too good to share".
|USA: State Department Tries to Get ExxonMobil Suit Dropped|
by Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service
August 7th, 2002
Weeks before the State Department told a trial judge that a lawsuit against oil giant ExxonMobil for alleged human rights abuses in Indonesia could endanger Washington's 'war on terror', Indonesia hinted the suit might put U.S. interests at risk, says Human Rights Watch (HRW).
|US: Store Customer Cards a Source for FBI?|
by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, FoxNews.com
August 1st, 2002
WASHINGTON -- So you have a secret craving for Little Debbie peanut butter bars and a penchant for Kendall-Jackson merlot? While that customer loyalty card at the supermarket might perceivably save you a few pennies at the checkout counter, your buying habits could end up in the hands of government agents.
|US: ACLU Pushes for Open Access|
by Troy Wolverton, ZDNet News
July 30th, 2002
The Internet's status as an open forum for ideas will come under attack if cable companies aren't forced to open up their broadband networks to rivals, civil liberties and consumer advocacy groups said Monday.
|USA: Corporate Misdeeds Foment Corruption in Developing Countries|
by Emad Mekay, Inter Press Service
July 12th, 2002
WASHINGTON -- The multinational firms recently fingered for corrupt practices in the United States may be practicing similar operations on a larger scale in developing countries, say long-time corporate watchdogs.
|Africa: Commission Hands Down Significant Human Rights Decision|
by Jim Lobe, OneWorld US
July 3rd, 2002
Groups hailed Tuesday a sweeping and unprecedented ruling by Africa's premier human rights tribunal that held that the former military regime of Nigeria violated the economic and social rights of the Ogoni people by failing to protect their property, lands, and health from destruction caused by foreign oil companies and the Nigerian security forces.
|USA: Seeking Justice For Apartheid Through the Courts|
by Stan Winer, AlterNet
June 24th, 2002
Victims of apartheid are demanding $50 billion from American and Swiss banks in compensation for profiteering from the "blood and misery" caused by white South Africa. The lawsuit -- which was filed on June 16, the 26th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprising -- accuses Swiss companies, Credit Suisse and UBS, and U.S.-based Citicorp of providing loans to the apartheid government in violation of UN-imposed economic sanctions. The suit is spearheaded by Ed Fagan, a U.S. lawyer who forced Swiss banks to pay $1.25 billion to World War II victims of the Nazi Holocaust in 1998.
|WORLD: New Survey Shows 2001 Grim for Trade Unions|
by Jim Lobe, OneWorld US
June 18th, 2002
Labor unions around the world faced a difficult year in 2001 due both to direct and sometimes violent repression, as well as the continuing pursuit by major multinational corporations of cheap labor in poor countries, according to the latest in a series of annual reports by the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).
|Africa: Pact to End 'Chocolate Slavery'|
May 2nd, 2002
Chocolate manufacturers, human rights groups and the Ivory Coast Government have signed pact aimed at ending the abuse of child labour in the chocolate industry.
|Ecuador: Labor Abuses Rampant in Banana Plantations, Says Group|
by Jim Lobe, OneWorld US
April 25th, 2002
Banana workers, including children as young as eight years old, suffer from a range of abuses on plantations in Ecuador whose government fails to enforce international labor standards or even its own national labor code, according to a report released in Washington Thursday by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
|US: Ellison, Ashcroft Win 'Big Brother' Awards|
April 19th, 2002
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and database billionaire Larry Ellison were named this year's most notorious American violators of personal privacy by leading advocacy groups on Thursday. The annual ''Big Brother Awards'' are presented to government, corporations and private individuals who allegedly have done the most to threaten personal privacy.
|USA: Three Companies Sued for Role During Slavery|
by Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service
March 28th, 2002
A class-action lawsuit filed by some 35 million descendants of black slaves against three companies with ties to the slave trade is aimed as much at shaking up U.S. society as at winning financial returns, say lawyers and observers.
|Palestine: Restrictions leave Economy "Near Collapse" Says World Bank|
by Alan Beattie, Financial Times
March 27th, 2002
Restrictions on the movement of goods and people in Israel and the occupied territories in response to the 18-month old intifada have brought the Palestinian economy close to collapse, according to a new report by the World Bank.
|US: Students Campaign for Coffee in Good Conscience|
by Jake Batsell, The Seattle Times
March 17th, 2002
Starbucks serves fair-trade certified drip coffee on campus through Sodexho, the food-services vendor. But with the school considering bids for a new 10-year food-services contract, McDonald and the group he leads, Students for Fair Trade, are pushing for all coffee including decaf and espresso drinks on campus to be fair-trade certified. To be certified, third-party monitors must have confirmed that farmers were paid a fair price for their beans.
|CANADA: Feminist Calls for Anti-Globalization, Anti-Fundamentalism|
by Judy Rebick, ZNet Commentary
March 12th, 2002
Whether or not women will be better off after the war against Afghanistan is an open question. But the claim that the United States is some kind of liberator is contradicted by the role that U.S.-led corporate globalization plays in creating the conditions that enable fundamentalists like the Taliban to gain power in the first place.
|Mexico: Environmentalist Speaks About Saving Forests in His Homeland|
by Colleen Valles, San Francisco Chronicle
March 11th, 2002
Environmentalism in Mexico has a dim future unless young people are taught to be more aware of their world, according to Rodolfo Montiel, an environmentalist from the country who was released from prison late last year.
|US: Ashcroft Asks Telcom to Help Track Terrorists|
by Brian Krebs, Newsbytes.com
March 1st, 2002
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft shopped the Bush administration's anti-terrorism agenda to the nation's regional telecom providers today, urging them to press ahead with reforms that would make it easier for the government to intercept terrorist communications.
|ECUADOR: Farmers Fight DynCorp's Chemwar on the Amazon|
by Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch
February 27th, 2002
The International Labor Rights Fund has filed suit in US federal court on behalf of 10,000 Ecuadorian peasant farmers and Amazonian Indians charging DynCorp with torture, infanticide and wrongful death for its role in the aerial spraying of highly toxic pesticides in the Amazonian jungle, along the border of Ecuador and Colombia.
|USA: Activists Challenge Corporations They Say Are Tied to Slavery|
by James Cox, USA Today
February 21st, 2002
A powerhouse team of African-American legal and academic stars is getting ready to sue companies it says profited from slavery before 1865. Initially, the group's aim is to use lawsuits and the threat of litigation to squeeze apologies and financial settlements from dozens of corporations. Ultimately, it hopes to gain momentum for a national apology and a massive reparations payout by Congress to African-Americans.
|India: Enron's Debacle at Dabhol|
by Sandip Roy, Pacific News Service
February 8th, 2002
Enron's collapse may have begun with the kind of misadventures it engaged in half a world away among the quiet coastal villages of Dabhol, India.
|INDONESIA: Running From Reebok's Hypocrisy|
by Alexander Cockburn, Los Angeles Times
February 7th, 2002
Right till the end of January, Dita Sari was preparing to fly from her home near Jakarta to Salt Lake City to bask today in the admiration of assorted do-gooders and celebrities mustered by Reebok. The occasion is the 13th annual Human Rights Awards, overseen by a board that includes Jimmy Carter and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo.
|INDONESIA: Man Shot at Australian Gold Mine|
Environment News Service
January 23rd, 2002
An Indonesian man was shot by security police at an Australian gold mine in Indonesian Borneo. The gold mine is located in a remote area of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, inhabited mainly by indigenous Dayak people.
|US: Software Firms Say FBI Eavesdropping Unacceptable|
December 11th, 2001
Antivirus software vendors said Monday they don't want to create a loophole in their security products to let the FBI or other government agencies use a virus to eavesdrop on the computer communications of suspected criminals.
|Mexico: Fox to Free Jailed Activists Montiel and Cabrera|
by Amparo Trejo, Associated Press
November 8th, 2001
MEXICO CITY -- President Vicente Fox said Thursday that he had ordered the release of two peasant environmental activists whose convictions on weapons and drug charges had been condemned worldwide.
|Canada: Nortel Helps Build China's Surveillance Technology|
October 22nd, 2001
Human rights activists have launched an attack on Nortel Networks, accusing it of contributing to human rights violations in China by helping the country overhaul its ageing surveillance technologies.
|USA: Relief Efforts Miss the Undocumented|
by Martin Espinoza, Pacific News Service
September 26th, 2001
NEW YORK -- Alejandro Fuentes may never see a dime of the millions of dollars Americans are donating to those most affected by the terrorist attacks in Lower Manhattan.
|USA: Children Affected by Tragedy|
by Sarita Sarvate, Pacific News Service
September 25th, 2001
ALBANY, CA -- On the morning of Tuesday, september 11, I sent my children to school as usual. I hadn't realized yet that this was the day their world was to change forever.
|USA: War on Terror, or Fight Against Old Enemies?|
by Robert Fisk, The Independent (UK)
September 25th, 2001
While covering the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, I would, from time to time, drive down through Jalalabad and cross the Pakistan border to Peshawar to rest. In the cavernous, stained interior of the old Intercontinental Hotel, I would punch out my stories on a groaning telex machine beside an office bearing the legend ''Chief Accountant'' on the door.
|USA: The War Comes Home|
by Rahul Mahajan, Common Dreams
September 12th, 2001
The war that the United States has been waging against the nonwhite peoples of the world for over half a century came home yesterday. The main practitioner of attacks that either deliberately target civilians or are so indiscriminate that it makes no difference, is no shadowy Middle Eastern terrorist, but our own government
|UK: Terror in the US and Middle East|
by Robert Fisk, The Independent
September 12th, 2001
So it has come to this. The entire modern history of the Middle East the collapse of the Ottoman empire, the Balfour declaration, Lawrence of Arabia's lies, the Arab revolt, the foundation of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and the 34 years of Israel's brutal occupation of Arab land all erased within hours as those who claim to represent a crushed, humiliated population struck back with the wickedness and awesome cruelty of a doomed people. Is it fair is it moral to write this so soon, without proof, when the last act of barbarism, in Oklahoma, turned out to be the work of home-grown Americans? I fear it is. America is at war and, unless I am mistaken, many thousands more are now scheduled to die in the Middle East, perhaps in America too. Some of us warned of ''the explosion to come''. But we never dreamt this nightmare.
|US: Feds Push Internet Surveillance|
by Declan McCullagh, Wired
September 12th, 2001
Federal police are reportedly increasing Internet surveillance after Tuesday's deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
|South Africa: Reparations? 'Will an apology do?' asks Europe|
by Robert E. Sullivan, Conference News Daily
September 6th, 2001
Although Europe and Africa are minimizing it in public, a wide gulf separates the two continents on the slavery issue at the World Conference against Racism (WACR), according to several inside sources.
|Bhopal: Industrial Disaster Victims Still Battle Health Effects 17 Years Later|
by Paul Watson, Los Angeles Times
August 30th, 2001
Verma is a patient at a clinic for survivors opened five years ago by a charity called the Sabhavna Trust. Up to 100 patients come to the two-story building every day for treatment of chronic lung ailments, eye problems, psychiatric disorders and other illnesses common among Bhopal victims.
|TAIWAN: Businesses Said to Run Sweatshops In Central America|
by Andrew Perrin, San Francisco Chronicle
August 15th, 2001
This island nation has long been famed for its transformation from a developing country to an industrial colossus. But a recent labor dispute at a Taiwanese-owned textile factory in impoverished Nicaragua has cast a spotlight on what U.S. activists say is Taiwan's least admired export: labor rights abuses.
|US: Nike Capitalizes on the Anti-Capitalists|
by Alicia Rebensdorf, AlterNet
August 7th, 2001
An angry mob gathered around a train station, passing out photocopied flyers and shouting protests against an unjust company. Scrappy stickers were slapped on billboards, directing passers-by to a crudely designed website. The company they were railing against was a frequent target of grassroots activism: Nike. And the group running this guerilla-style anti-advertising campaign? None other than Nike itself.
|US: Chocolate Firms Fight 'Slave Free' Labels|
by Sumana Chatterjee, Philadelphia Inquirer
August 1st, 2001
The proposed legislation is a response to a Knight Ridder Newspapers investigation that found some boys as young as 11 are sold or tricked into slavery to harvest cocoa beans in Ivory Coast, a West African nation that supplies 43 percent of U.S. cocoa. The State Department estimates that as many as 15,000 child slaves work on Ivory Coast's cocoa, cotton and coffee farms. The House of Representatives passed the labeling initiative, 291-115, in late June, and the measure awaits Senate action.
|Colombia: Americans Blamed in Raid|
by Karl Penhaul, San Francisco Chronicle
July 15th, 2001
Three American civilian airmen providing airborne security for a U.S. oil company coordinated an anti-guerrilla raid in Colombia in 1998, marking targets and directing helicopter gunships that mistakenly killed 18 civilians, Colombian military pilots have alleged in a official inquiry.
|MEXICO: Economic Downturn Deepens|
by Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
July 1st, 2001
From farms and automotive plants on the outskirts of Mexico City to the industrial heartland of Monterrey and the wineries and electronics firms in Tijuana and Guadalajara, signs are that this nation's recession is becoming more entrenched.
|Colombia: Oxy's Relationship with Military Turns Deadly|
Drillbits and Tailings (Project Underground)
June 30th, 2001
New evidence has surfaced in a Colombian government inquiry exposing active collaboration between security forces protecting oil operations of the Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and the notorious Colombian military in one of the country' deadliest attacks on civilians.
|IVORY COAST: Slave Labor Taints Sweetness of World's Chocolate|
by Sudarsan Raghavan and Sumana Chatterjee, Kansas City Star
June 23rd, 2001
Forty-three percent of the world's cocoa beans, the raw material in chocolate, come from small, scattered farms in this poor west African country. And on some of the farms, the hot, hard work of clearing the fields and harvesting the fruit is done by boys who were sold or tricked into slavery. Most of them are between the ages of 12 and 16. Some are as young as 9.
|Sudan: Oil Money Is Fueling Civil War|
by Karl Vick, Washington Post
June 11th, 2001
In a civil war that seems to be fueled by so much -- religion, for example, because one side is Muslim and the other side is not, and race, because one side is Arab and the other African -- nothing has supercharged the fighting in southern Sudan quite like Nile Blend crude.
|USA: Bush Energy Plan Faulted, Ignores Human Rights|
May 31st, 2001
A leading advocacy group has taken the Bush administration to task for failing to include human rights considerations in its new national energy plan, according to a letter obtained by Reuters yesterday.
|USA: Bush Administration OKs Drilling on Native Lands|
by Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times
May 22nd, 2001
A federal land agency on Monday upheld billionaire Philip Anschutz's right to drill an exploratory oil well in an area of south-central Montana where Native American tribes want to preserve sacred rock drawings.
|USA: Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban|
by Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times
May 22nd, 2001
That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that ''rogue regime'' for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban's estimation, are most human activities, but it's the ban on drugs that catches this administration's attention.
|Nigeria: Shell Oil Spill Increases Tensions in Ogoniland|
May 8th, 2001
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria finally managed to cap the oil gushing from one of its wells in Ogoniland at the weekend, but the well's blow-out and the resulting flood of oil and gas into the immediate environment has once more intensified tensions between the giant oil company and the half-million strong Ogoni Kingdom.
|USA: Environmental Justice Issues Force Plant to Close|
by Cat Lazaroff, Environment News Service
April 24th, 2001
In a precedent setting environmental justice decision, a federal judge has halted operations at a New Jersey cement plant, saying toxic emissions from the facility would harm nearby residents and violate their civil rights.
|South Africa: Drug Companies Drop AIDS Suit|
by Ravi Nessman, Associated Press
April 19th, 2001
In a move activists hoped would lead to a flood of affordable AIDS medication to Africa, the pharmaceutical industry dropped its suit Thursday challenging a South African law many say would allow the government to import or produce generic versions of the drugs.
|BRAZIL: Farmers Demand Agrarian Reform|
by Mario Osava, Inter Press Service
April 17th, 2001
Demonstrators in dozens of cities throughout Brazil and around the world marked International Day of Farmers' Struggle on Tuesday, protesting police massacres of rural workers, genetically modified seeds, and agricultural trade that jeopardises food security.
|USA: Washington Indifferent to Trade in Torture Weapons|
by Cesar Chelala, Earth Times News Service
April 10th, 2001
Several related events recently took place that highlight the seriousness of the trade in torture weapons such as electroshock weapons, and the role that private companies in some countries, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, have in it.
|US: My Nike Media Adventure|
by Jonah Peretti, The Nation
April 9th, 2001
Nike's website allows visitors to create custom shoes bearing a word or slogan -- a service Nike trumpets as being about freedom to choose and freedom to express who you are. Confronted with Nike's celebration of freedom and their statement that if you want it done right, build it yourself, I could not help but think of the people in crowded factories in Asia and South America who actually build Nike shoes.
|Turkey: Anti-Mining Activist Jailed|
by Jon Gorvett, Environment News Service
March 30th, 2001
The leader of one of Turkey's longest running environmental campaigns was jailed for a year and a half this week under the country's tough anti-protest laws written by the Turkish military.
|Sudan: Oil Firms Accused of Fueling Mass Displacement and Killing|
by Victoria Brittain and Terry Macalister, The Guardian (London)
March 15th, 2001
Oil companies operating in Sudan are complicit in the systematic depopulating of large areas of the country and atrocities against civilians, tens of thousands of whom have been killed and displaced from the areas around the oil fields, according to a report to be published today.
|Brazil: Dam Protestors Occupy Energy Ministry|
Environment News Service
March 14th, 2001
The Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy was occupied this morning by 1,500 people who came from all across the country to protest the negative effects of large dams.
|SRI Lanka: Overtime Law Hurts Sweatshop Workers|
by Renuka Senanayake, Inter Press Service
March 2nd, 2001
Rights activists are unhappy with the Labour Ministry's plan to amend labour laws to introduce 80 hours of overtime every month for factory workers, including those in export processing zones (EPZ).
|US: Nike Sued for Greenwash|
March 2nd, 2001
Marc Kasky, a self-described environmentalist, viewed the Ernst and Young audit as an opportunity. Enlisting the support of San Francisco attorney Alan Caplan, he filed a suit against Nike in April of 1998. The suit claims that Nike's assertions about the labor conditions in its Asia factories amounted to false advertising.
|South Africa: Bush Policy Threatens AIDS Prevention Among Youth|
by John Murphy, Baltimore Sun
February 28th, 2001
But Senne's ambitious plans have been replaced by fears of severe budget cuts. When President Bush announced a ban last month on aid to international organizations that perform or promote abortions, it signaled the end of U.S. funding to Planned Parenthood of South Africa, Senne says.
|AMERICAN SAMOA: Abuses Cited at Apparel Plant That Supplied U.S. Retailers|
by Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times
February 6th, 2001
Workers at a factory in American Samoa that made apparel for the J. C. Penney Company and other retailers were often beaten and were provided food so inadequate that some were ''walking skeletons,'' a Labor Department investigation has found.
|SWITZERLAND: UN Chief Warns Business|
by Orla Ryan, BBC News Online
January 28th, 2001
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on business to work harder on environmental and social issues.
|Nigeria: Ogonis Say Arms Were Sponsored by Shell|
by Ahamefula Ogbu and Chuks Akunna, AllAfrica.com
January 25th, 2001
The multinational oil giant, the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) was yesterday accused of importing arms and ammunitions into the country with which destabilisation was engendered in the Niger Delta.
|USA: Ten Worst Corporations of 2000|
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, Focus on the Corporation
January 3rd, 2001
Here is the annual Top 10 Worst Corporations of 2000 list compiled by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman. This year, rushing to the head of the pack of irresponsible biotech companies was the French corporation Aventis, the maker of Cry9C corn, sold under the name StarLink.
|Kenya: Protests Against World Bank-Driven Land Reforms|
by Judith Achieng', Inter Press Service
December 7th, 2000
Kenyan human rights activists are adding their voices to those already opposed to the World Bank driven land reforms, which they say, seek to make land "just another commodity" to be subjected to the whims of market forces, at the expense of millions of landless peasants.
|Colombia: Monsanto, US War on Drugs Poison Environment|
by Brian Hansen, Environment News Service
November 20th, 2000
The aerial fumigation program that has grown out of the U.S. government's so-called ''war on drugs'' is endangering the fragile ecosystems and indigenous cultures of Colombia's Amazon Basin, a coalition of groups warned today at a news conference on Capitol Hill.
|Ecuador: Farmers Accuse Logging Firm of Harassment|
by Kintto Lucas, Inter Press Service
October 2nd, 2000
The logging firm Botrosa, one of whose partners is Ecuador's Trade Minister Roberto Pea Durini, has been charged in court for harassing peasant farmers and environmentalists in the northwestern province of Esmeraldas, near the Colombian border.
|USA: Shell to Face Lawsuit for Saro-Wiwa Execution|
by Karen McGregor, The Independent
September 19th, 2000
Allegations that the oil multinational Shell aided and abetted the torture and murder of Nigerian activists including the executed writer Ken Saro-Wiwa will be tested by a full jury trial in New York, after the oil company's attempts to have the case thrown out were rejected.
|Mexico: Environmentalist Found Guilty, Rights Groups Protest|
New York Times
August 29th, 2000
In closing a case that has led to outrage among environmental groups around the world, a district judge in the state of Guerrero found Rudolfo Montiel Flores guilty today of drugs and weapons crimes and sentenced him to nearly seven years in prison.
|USA: Behavior in Nazi Era Examined|
August 27th, 2000
The country that would prefer to be known more for its World War II heroism will take its turn in examining how some in corporate America and official Washington also failed Hitler's victims.
|Germany: Farben to Create Slave Labor Fund|
August 23rd, 2000
IG Farben, the German chemical company that made poison gas for Nazi death camps, will set up a compensation fund for Nazi-era slave laborers within weeks, an official in charge of liquidating the once-great firm said Wednesday.
|TURKEY: Dam Will Destroy Kurdish Culture, Say Critics|
August 16th, 2000
A Kurdish human rights lawyer is spearheading an international campaign to block the Turkish government's efforts to build a dam he says will dislodge thousands of Kurds and destroy archeological artifacts.
|Nigeria: Court Fines Shell $40 Million for 1970 Spill|
Environment News Service
June 26th, 2000
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria -- A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt has ordered Royal Dutch/Shell to pay US$40 million in compensation for an oil spill which happened in 1970 in Ogoniland.
|USA: Oxy CEO Confronted by U'wa Leader in Congresswoman's Office|
Environment News Service
March 30th, 2000
A surprise encounter in the Congressional office of Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney today brought the vice president of Occidental Petroleum face to face with the president of the U'wa indigenous people who are fighting the company's oil drilling on their traditional land in Colombia.
|Burma: US Oil Giant Pulls Out of Country|
Agence France Presse
March 29th, 2000
Oil services provider Baker Hughes has become the latest United States firm to pull out of Burma, human rights campaigners and the firm's local partner said Wednesday.
|US: High Court Considers Massachusetts Anti-Burma Law|
by Steven Mufson, Washington Post
March 23rd, 2000
Tearing a page from the anti-apartheid movement, the two drew up legislation that penalized companies with ties to Burma when those firms competed for Massachusetts state contracts. Using the draft of an anti-apartheid bill, they crossed out South Africa and inserted Burma. Two years later, the measure became law.
|Mexico: First Census of Street Working Children|
Child Labour News Service
March 15th, 2000
Alejandro and Adrian are two of 14,322 children who work illegally on the streets of this city of 20 million people, according to the first survey Mexico City has conducted on the trend. Mexican law prohibits children younger than 14 from working. According to Isabel Molina, director of the federal System for the Whole Development of the Family, officials completed the study, supported by UNICEF, in order to draft policies to resolve the problem.
|USA: Union Carbide CEO Fugitive in Bhopal Suit|
by Chris Hedges, New York Times
March 7th, 2000
Warren M. Anderson, chairman of the Union Carbide Corporation during the 1984 chemical disaster at Bhopal, India, has apparently gone into hiding to avoid a summons to appear in a Manhattan federal court as part of civil proceedings against him and the company, say lawyers who have hired a private investigator to locate Mr. Anderson.
|USA: People of Color Battle Toxics in Communities|
by Cat Lazaroff, Environment News Service
February 11th, 2000
Ten African American children are visiting Washington, D.C. this week, but they did not come to see the usual tourist attractions. They are here to illustrate the dangerous legacy of hazardous wastes, contaminated manufacturing sites, and polluting industries, placed predominantly in poor, non-White communities.
|Canada: Oil Company Targeted for Ties to Sudanese Military|
by Mark Bourrie, Inter Press Service
February 7th, 2000
An oil company headquartered in Alberta, Canada, is the target of a divestment campaign aimed at forcing the company to stop its partnership with the Sudanese government in the exploitation of oil fields in the war-torn southern region of Sudan.
|Colombia: ILO to Investigate Alleged Rights Violations|
by Yadira Ferrer, Inter Press Service
February 4th, 2000
Colombia has come under the scrutiny of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which begins Feb 7 to investigate alleged violations of the freedom to organise and of the human rights of workers.
|India: Construction Industry Uses Toxic Waste|
by Nidhi Jamwal, Down to Earth
January 31st, 2000
Ignorance is bliss. This seems to be the state of mind of the Indian government for several environment-related issues, including that of hazardous waste like phosphogypsum (PG). A byproduct of the fertiliser industry, PG is used liberally by the construction industry and its use is promoted by the government.
|Peru: Isolated Amazon Tribes Threatened By Logging|
by Danielle Knight, Inter Press Service
January 28th, 2000
The survival of four indigenous tribes of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest -- who have decided to live in voluntary isolation -- is being threatened by commercial logging, warned indigenous leaders who traveled here this week from the South American country.
|USA: Prisoners Who Speak Out Receive Punishment, Suit Says|
by Peter Blumberg, San Francisco Daily Journal
August 23rd, 1999
Two inmates allege in a lawsuit to be filed today that state corrections officials violated their civil rights by punishing them for helping the media expose a prison labor program as an illegal sweatshop, according to their lawyers.
|MEXICO: Consumers Accuse Phone Company of Human Rights Violations|
by Kent Paterson, Borderlines
August 11th, 1999
For more than four years, Graciela Ramos and Women for Mexico have been a thorn in Telmex's side. The group has waged a campaign to force Mexico's privately-owned, local phone service giant to cancel measured service, provide devices that track the number of phone calls made from a home, and ensure that economically disadvantaged groups have access to both public and private telephones.
|US: History of U.S. sanctions shows most haven't worked|
by Michael Paulson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
May 11th, 1999
The U.S. regularly imposes economic sanctions -- generally defined as restrictions on foreign commerce -- for purposes of foreign policy or national security. But numerous studies show that many of the targets of U.S. sanctions -- countries such as Iraq, Iran and Cuba -- do not change their behavior in the face of sanctions.
|US: US banks named in Holocaust suit |
December 24th, 1998
Lawyers acting on behalf of victims of the Jewish holocaust and their families have accused two US banks of seizing their wealth during the Nazi occupation of France.
by Traci Griggs and Martha Valds, La Jornada
December 9th, 1998
Non-profit environmental justice groups such as the San Diego-based Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), are trying to remove the rose colored glasses and expose the harsh reality of the U.S/Mexico border in an attempt to protect public and environmental health. EHC's battle against an abandoned maquiladora turned toxic dump, serves as a microcosm of what's wrong with border health and how NAFTA, for the most part, has exacerbated the problem.
|Double Standards: Notes for a Border Screenplay|
by Debbie Nathan, Texas Observer
June 6th, 1997
The case had been settled only minutes ago, and now jurors for Mendoza v. Contico were seated in a room outfitted with movie theater chairs and plugs for devices like VCRs. They were in the ''Ceremonial Court'' in El Paso, where victorious lawyers often hold post-trial press conferences.