March 29, 2007

TOP STORIES * March 15-21

Pipeline Politics Aflow in Central Asia

A new pipeline is expected to bring more than $200 billion into Azerbaijan in the next 20 years, but with such a windfall comes claims of birth defects caused by pollution, accusations of profiteering, lawsuits and conflicting land claims in the impoverished villages that line the pipeline’s course.

Yahoo! Blamed for Chinese Dissident’s Arrest

The wife of a Chinese dissident says her husband was jailed after Yahoo! gave his personal information to government security forces, and is now in the United States preparing to sue the company. A spokesman says Yahoo! is “required to follow the laws” of its host nations, Wired News reports.

Human rights groups accuse Yahoo! of enabling the arrest of at least three other activists in China.

Cocaine Traffic Finds New Hub

Under pressure at home, Colombian smugglers have a new route through Venezuela, which ended cooperation with U.S. anti-drug programs. Cocaine increasingly comes through Venezuela to the United States via Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and to Europe via West Africa, where gangs take advantage of lawlessness and poverty to set up front companies and illegal air strips, and use locals as “mules.”

Sources:

“Life along the pipeline: BTC’s impact on Azerbaijan”
Eurasianet.org, March 19, 2007

“‘Yahoo Betrayed My Husband'”
Wired.com, March 15, 2007

“Drug smugglers blaze new trail”
Miami Herald, March 16, 2007

“West Africa becomes a hub for cocaine traffic to Europe”
Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2007

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