September 26, 2007

News You Might Have Missed * Vol. 6, No. 38

Dear readers:

In light of the ongoing protests in Burma/Myanmar, we bring you a special edition of News You Might Have Missed this week.

Instead of several shorter roundups of world news, we’re focusing on Newsdesk’s previous coverage of the oil industry and the money that keeps the Myanmar junta in power.

This special feature also brings together the latest coverage of oil and gas development there, which promises billions more in profits for the junta.

It’s all the context and depth you’re not getting from mainstream media — a hallmark of Newsdesk.org’s journalistic mission.

* If you find our work of value, please tell your friends, family and co-workers, and invite them to subscribe to our free newsletter.

* Although our expenses are very low, and most of our editors work pro bono, we need your support to continue publishing NYMHM thoughout 2007. Thank you for your generous, and tax-deductible, donations.

Sincerely,

Josh Wilson Editor * Newsdesk.org


NYMHM — SEPT. 26, 2007

Important but overlooked news from around the world.

QUOTED:

“Where do you think that the money is going to go? It’s not going to education or health programs — it’s going to the military to build a better command-and-control center to repress the population.”

— Activist David Mathieson, on a pipeline that would earn $17 billion for the Myanmar junta (see “Bumra Backstory,” below).

CONTENTS:

*Top Stories*
Agribusiness gets another record harvest — of subsidies
Billboards no more for Brazil’s megalopolis
Day labor site divides in Texas

*Burma Backstory*
Myanmar: How oil funding keeps the junta in business


TOP STORIES

* Agribusiness Gets Another Record Harvet — of Subsidies

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the latest federal farm bill would spend $280 billion on traditional subsidies for corn, cotton and wheat, but virtually ignores burgeoning organic and alternative farming centered in Northern California.

The newspaper notes that Calfornia’s Fresno County produces more food than the entire state of South Dakota, but gets a fraction of the federal money sent to the Great Plains.

Organic farmers and advocates say that the subsidies reinforce destructive farming practices — including overreliance on chemicals and lack of crop diversity — and that if California was as heavily subsidised as other states, the development of farming alternatives might never have taken root.

Source:

“Federal bill helps huge farmers, not California’s innovative ones”
San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 2007

* Billboards No More for Brazil’s Megalopolis

More than 70 percent of residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and the nation’s economic powerhouse, remain fully committed to a near-total ban on outdoor urban advertising there.

Adbusters reports that the city’s conservative mayor, Gilberto Kassab, pushed through the new Clean City Law to target air, water, noise and “visual” pollution.

Despite opposition from business, particularly Clear Channel Communications, $8 million in fines have been passed down this year, and 15,000 billboards, placards and outdoor video screens have been taken down or remain blank.

Source:

“Sao Paulo: A City Without Ads”
Adbusters, Sep-Oct 2007

* Day Labor Camp Divides in Texas

A Christian church in Houston is part of an interfaith coalition that has drawn the ire of anti-immigration activists by planning a new center for day laborers, the Houston Chronicle reports.

U.S. Border Watch, a civilian group, brought 200 people to a rally opposed to the plan, saying it would undermine border security.

But members of the Cypress Creek Interfaith Coalition for Economic Development, while acknolwedging that most day laborers were indeed undocumented immigrants, said the site was vital because there is an “economic need” for their work.

Source:

“Faith leaders plan day-labor site, despite protest”
Houston Chronicle, September 26, 2007


THE BURMA BACKSTORY

* Myanmar: How Oil Funding Keeps the Junta in Business
Newsdesk.org, Sept. 26, 2007

Although most of the world’s political powers, including the United States, have condemned the Myanmar junta’s crackdown on reformist protestors, the military regime’s persistent grip on power there has only been strengthened by decades of economic cooperation with the West.

Here’s a roundup of Newsdesk.org’s coverage of the issue, as well as the latest articles from other regional and international news sources.

In 2002, Newsdesk.org reporter Jennifer Huang broke ground with an exclusive investigative article on a series of human rights lawsuits filed against international energy corporations working in developing nations with abusive regimes.

The lawsuits — which targeted a number of American oil companies, including California’s UnoCal — were filed in federal court under the Alien Tort Claims Act, an 18th century law that gives U.S. courts jurisdiction over some offenses committed overseas.

Unocal was sued for its partnership with the French oil giant Total in the construction of the Yadana Pipeline, which carries millions of cubic feet of natural gas every day along a 63-kilometer route through Burma’s southern Tenasserim region.

Rich with natural resources and dense rainforest, Tenasserim is also home to ongoing ethnic strife, and the construction of the pipeline brought with it ongoing reports of forced labor, rape and murder of local minorities by government …

GET THE WHOLE STORY


Editor: Josh Wilson

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