Food and Agriculture

European Supermarkets Defend Low Wages To Moroccan Tomato Pickers
Mayu Chang
November 12th, 2014

Tomato pickers in Morocco – who supply fresh produce during the winter to big European supermarket chains like Albert Heijn in the Netherlands and Sainsbury’s and Tesco in the UK – are paid poverty wages, according to a new report from Fairfood International.

Tomato Workers in Morocco. Photo courtesy Fairfood International.


Uruguay Presents Defense Against Philip Morris Tobacco Lawsuit
Richard Smallteacher
November 10th, 2014

Uruguay has presented a 500 page document to defend itself against an international lawsuit challenging the country's tough tobacco packaging regulations. The claim was brought by Philip Morris, the global tobacco giant, at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington DC.

Uruguayan tobacco packaging. Photo: Andrew Sorensen. Used under Creative Commons license.

Tanzanian Officials Arrested For Failure to Publish Natural Gas Contract Details
Pratap Chatterjee
November 7th, 2014

Two senior Tanzanian officials were arrested after they failed to produce details of 26 multi-billion dollar agreements signed with Statoil of Norway; the BG Group and Ophir from the UK; and ExxonMobil from the U.S. Opposition politicians want assurances that the money will be spent in a transparent manner.

Statoil's futuristic head office in Oslo. Photo: Wojtek Gurak. Used under Creative Commons license.
Technology & Telecommunications

Indian Government Loses Major Tax Case to Vodafone
Mayu Chang
November 4th, 2014

Vodafone recently won a rare – but potentially very significant – victory over Indian tax authorities. The Bombay High Court dismissed the government demand for the company to pay 30 billion rupees (about $490 million) for a share transaction conducted in the offshore tax haven of Mauritius.

Vodafone sign in India. Photo: Ishan Khosla. Used under Creative Commons license.

New European Commission Marred By Corporate Conflicts of Interest
Pratap Chatterjee
November 2nd, 2014

The newly elected president of the European Commission and his cabinet - who together form the central executive body for the 28 member states of the European Union - have deep ties with powerful corporate interests that make them poor choices to support citizen rights, say critics.

Cartoon by Khalil Bendib
Financial Services, Insurance and Banking

Major Banks Prepare to Pay Billions For Foreign Exchange Manipulation
Richard Smallteacher
October 31st, 2014

Multinational banks are preparing to pay out billions of dollars in fines to settle charges of foreign exchange manipulation. Some 19 investigations in ten different legal jurisdictions are now winding their way to completion and analysts says the final tally may hit $41 billion.

Photo: Don Harder. Used under Creative Commons license
War & Disaster Profiteering

Four Blackwater Guards Found Guilty in 2007 Baghdad Killings
Pratap Chatterjee
October 26th, 2014

A federal jury has found three former Blackwater contractors guilty of manslaughter and a fourth guilty of murder for killing 17 Iraqis in Baghdad's Nissour Square on September 16, 2007. The men were private security guards hired to provide security to U.S. government employees at the time.

Blackwater convoy in Iraq. Photo courtesy Robert Young Pelton.
Natural Resources

Secwepemc Tribes Fight New Mines and Old Laws in British Columbia
Richard Smallteacher
October 22nd, 2014

Indigenous activists burned down a bridge in British Columbia, Canada, to prevent Imperial Metals from starting a lead and zinc mine on the lands of the Secwepemc peoples. Local tribes say that the mine may severely impact the one of the largest remaining sockeye salmon populations in the world.

Neskonlith tribe camping near proposed Ruddock Creek Mine. Photo: Ramsey Hart, Mining Watch Canada.
Media & Entertainment

Data Secrecy Company Accused of Sharing Information with Media and Military
Pratap Chatterjee
October 18th, 2014

Whisper – a new social network that claims to provide anonymity – has been accused of secretly tracking users. The allegations were made by the Guardian newspaper, provoking renewed scrutiny of a multitude of data privacy claims made by software companies.

Whisper app. Photo: Douglas Porter. Used under Creative Commons license.