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NIGERIA: Shell to Pay $15.5 Million to Settle Nigerian Case
by Jad MouawadNew York Times
June 8th, 2009
Royal Dutch Shell agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a case accusing it of taking part in human rights abuses in the Niger Delta, a striking sum given it has denied any wrongdoing. Ken Saro-Wiwa, Shell’s most prominent critic at the time in Nigeria, was hanged in 1995 by that country’s military regime after protesting Shell's environmental practices in the oil-rich delta, especially in his native Ogoni region.

INDONESIA: Scramble for coal assets in Indonesia
by Sundeep Tucker and John AglionbyFinancial Times
June 7th, 2009
Some of the world’s largest energy groups are scrambling to acquire coal mining assets in Indonesia as family-run conglomerates consider divestments to raise cash. Peabody Energy, the US coal miner, and Xstrata, the Anglo-Swiss miner, are believed to be among those interested. Industry analysts said Chinese, South Korean, Indian and Middle Eastern companies were also scouring Indonesia for assets.

FINLAND: In Finland, Nuclear Renaissance Runs Into Trouble
by James KanterNew York Times
May 28th, 2009
As the Obama administration tries to steer America toward cleaner sources of energy, it would do well to consider the cautionary tale of this new-generation nuclear reactor site. The massive power plant under construction on muddy terrain on this Finnish island was supposed to be the showpiece of a nuclear renaissance. But things have not gone as planned.

ECUADOR: In Ecuador, Resentment of an Oil Company Oozes
by SIMON ROMERO and CLIFFORD KRAUSSNew 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 StelterNew 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.

US: Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama’s Green Lead
by Jad MouawadNew York Times
April 7th, 2009
The Obama administration seeks the most ambitious transformation of energy policy in a generation. But Big Oil is not on board. Royal Dutch Shell said last month that it would freeze research and investments in wind, solar and hydrogen power, and focus its alternative energy efforts on biofuels. BP, a company that has spent nine years saying it was moving “beyond petroleum,” has been getting back to petroleum since 2007, paring back its renewable program. The list goes on.

US: Online Age Quiz Is a Window for Drug Makers
by STEPHANIE CLIFFORDNew York Times
March 25th, 2009
RealAge, promising to help shave years off your age, has become one of the most popular quizzes on the Internet. The test asks 150 questions about lifestyle and family history to assign a “biological age." But then pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge to compile test results of RealAge members and send them marketing messages by e-mail.

US/CANADA: Alaskan lake’s fate could echo across continent
by Todd WilkinsonChristian 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.

CHILE: Chilean Town Withers in Free Market for Water
by Alexei BarrionuevoNew York Times
March 15th, 2009
Nowhere is the system for buying and selling water more permissive than in Chile, where water rights are private property, not a public resource, and can be traded like commodities with little government oversight or safeguards for the environment. The small town of Quillaga is being swallowed up in the country’s intensifying water wars.

US: Food Problems Elude Private Inspectors
by Michael Moss and Andrew MartinNew York Times
March 5th, 2009
When food industry giants like Kellogg want to ensure that American consumers are being protected from contaminated products, they rely on private inspectors. With government inspectors overwhelmed by the task of guarding the nation’s food supply, the job of monitoring food plants has in large part fallen to an army of private auditors, and problems are rife.

EUROPE: Europe to Allow Two Bans on Genetically Altered Crops
by James KanterNew York Times
March 2nd, 2009
European Union governments delivered a blow Monday to the biotechnology industry, allowing Austria and Hungary to maintain national bans on growing genetically modified crops from Monsanto. The market for genetically engineered crops is worth several billion dollars worldwide.

US: Board cancels hearing under Bayer pressure
by Ken Ward, Jr.The Charleston Gazette
February 25th, 2009
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has canceled a public meeting to brief local residents on its investigation of an August 2008 explosion that killed two Bayer Institute plant workers. Chemical plant security activists expressed shock; the meeting was also to discuss concerns about a methyl isocyanate tank located near the site of the deadly blast.

US/WORLD: Smokeless Tobacco to Get Push by Venture Overseas
by Kevin HellikerWall Street Journal
February 4th, 2009
Swedish Match AB and Philip Morris International Inc. announced a joint venture Tuesday to market smokeless tobacco world-wide. The venture combines a world-wide giant in smokeless, Swedish Match, with the world's second-largest purveyor of cigarettes, PMI, an Altria Inc. spinoff.

US: Tobacco Trial Opens in Florida, First of Many Suits
by Associated PressWall Street Journal
February 3rd, 2009
The first of about 8,000 lawsuits blaming the health problems and deaths of Florida smokers on tobacco companies went to trial Tuesday. The key to the case is proving whether now-deceased Stuart Hess was addicted to cigarettes made by Richmond, Va.-based Philip Morris, a unit of Altria Group.

US: Plant Shipped Tainted Products, F.D.A. Says
by ReutersNew York Times
January 27th, 2009
Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, identified as the source of an outbreak of salmonella, shipped out products that managers knew might have been tainted, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said on Tuesday.

US: New Rules on Doctors and Medical Firms Amid Ethics Concerns
by Barry MeierNew York Times
January 24th, 2009
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, reintroduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, would require device and drug makers to report all financial links with doctors on a federal Web site. The medical field has been troubled by federal investigations over the issue of frequently undisclosed financial ties between companies and physicians.

US: Plant That Spilled Coal Ash Had Earlier Leak Problems
by John M. BroderNew York Times
January 8th, 2009
The chief executive of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates the coal-burning power plant responsible for an enormous flood of coal ash in East Tennessee late last month, acknowledged Thursday that the plant’s containment ponds had leaked two other times in the last five years but had not been adequately repaired.

CHINA: Chinese Dairies Agree to Pay $160 Million to Tainted-Milk Victims
by David Barboza New York Times
December 30th, 2008
The China Dairy Industry Association, blamed for selling contaminated milk that killed six children and sickened nearly 300,000 others earlier this year, has agreed to pay $160 million in compensation to the victims and their families.

US: Altria Ruling Ignites Legal Moves
by BRENT KENDALLThe Wall Street Journal
December 21st, 2008
The Supreme Court's ruling last week allowing smokers in Maine to sue Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris unit for allegedly deceptive advertising of "light" cigarettes already is prompting new legal activity, including an effort to revive a multibillion-dollar case against the tobacco company that had been thrown out.

US/IRAQ: Indiana guardsmen sue defense contractor KBR
by Farah StockmanBoston Globe
December 4th, 2008
Sixteen Indiana national guardsmen filed a lawsuit yesterday against military contractor KBR. The complaint alleges that several reservists contracted respiratory system tumors and skin rashes after guarding reconstruction work at the Qarmat Ali treatment plant, strewn with the toxin chromium dichromate.

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