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Kazakh Oil Consortium Accused of “Mass Poisoning” of Village School Children
Fatima Hansia
January 14th, 2015

A Kazakh oil consortium has been accused of “mass poisoning” after 25 school children and four teachers passed out almost simultaneously at a school in Berezovka village in northwest Kazakhstan. The incident is the latest in a decade of allegations of pollution caused by the neighboring Karachaganak oil field.

The village of Berezovka, Kazakhstan. Photo: Sanat Urnaliyev. Used under Creative Commmons license.


Labor

Subsidizing Contractor Misconduct
Chris Thompson
January 7th, 2015

Every year, the U.S. government awards billions of dollars in federal contracts to companies who routinely violate basic legal rights of workers. This new report profiles three individuals who were harmed by Imperial Sugar, Tyson Foods and Verizon and explains a new presidential order that could help reduce abuses.
Damage caused by Imperial Sugar refinery explosion at Port Wentworth, Georgia. U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Human Rights

Saudi Star To Restart Rice Project on Disputed Anuak Lands in Ethiopia
Fatima Hansia
December 30th, 2014

Saudi Star Agricultural Development plans to pump $100 million into a rice export project in Gambella region of Ethiopia despite allegations of human rights violations surrounding the “villagization” program under which the land has been taken from indigenous Anuak pastoralists to lease to foreign investors. 

An abandoned Anuak village in Gambella, Ethiopia. Photo: Julio Garcia. Used under Creative Commons license.

Natural Resources

Families of Murdered Colombians Lose U.S. Lawsuit Against Occidental Petroleum
Pratap Chatterjee
December 15th, 2014

A U.S. court has refused to allow family members of three murdered Colombian union leaders the opportunity to sue Occidental Petroleum. The families claimed that the Los Angeles based company should be held responsible since it allegedly provided financial support for the military unit that killed the men.
Caño Limon pipeline. Photo: Rainforest Action Network. Used under Creative Commons license.

Construction

Mega First of Malaysia Under Fire for Lao Dam Construction Plan
Rozali Telbis
December 12th, 2014

Plans for the Don Sahong dam in southern Laos have come under renewed fire from environmental activists. This week activists boycotted a regional consultation on the dam, just eight weeks after filing a formal request for an investigation of Mega First Corporation, the company that has the construction contract.

Fisherman bringing in his catch in Siphandone, Laos. Photo: International Rivers Network.

Energy

U.S. Attorneys General Form Secret Alliance To Help Energy Companies
Pratap Chatterjee
December 8th, 2014

Major energy companies have effectively created a secret law firm of conservative attorneys general to persuade Washington lawmakers to gut environmental regulations, according to an investigation by the New York Times. In return, these senior government officials have received millions of dollars to help them win political campaigns.
Devon Energy headquarters in Oklahoma city. Photo: Paul L. McCord Jr. Used under Creative Commons license.

Financial Services, Insurance and Banking

U.S. Government Fails to Act on JP Morgan Whistleblower's Evidence
Richard Smallteacher
December 5th, 2014

A whistleblower has stepped forward to provide evidence that executives at JP Morgan, a major Wall Street bank, were aware that the bank was selling bad mortgages – but she says that the U.S. government has failed to do anything with the evidence that she has provided to them.
Protest against JP Morgan in Los Angeles in 2010. Photo: SEIU International. Used under Creative Commons license.

Construction

Mexican President Accepted Favors From Construction Contractor Grupo Higa
Richard Smallteacher
December 1st, 2014

A $3.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail link between Mexico city and the city of Queretaro has been canceled after Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican president, was alleged to have accepted favors from Grupo Higa, a Mexican construction company that was a member of the winning consortium.
Enrique Peña Nieto on the campaign trail. Photo: Aristóteles Sandoval. Used under Creative Commons license.

Financial Services, Insurance and Banking

Argentina and Belgium Accuse HSBC of Aiding Tax Evasion
Pratap Chatterjee
November 28th, 2014

Argentina and Belgium have separately accused HSBC bank's Geneva branch of setting up a network of offshore accounts to help their citizens avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes. The charges are apparently based on a trove of documents provided by Hervé Falciani, a former HSBC employee turned whistleblower.
HSBC offices in Geneva. Photo: I Am Sargant. Used under Creative Commons license.