Peak globalization?Burmese men, women and children are being sold to factories in Thailand – “no names are used, just numbers” – and forced to peel shrimp that ends up in global supply chains.As a recent AP investigation uncovered, U.S. customs records show the shrimp made its way into the supply chains of major U.S. food stores and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Dollar General and Petco, along with restaurants such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden.
Shrimp is the most-loved seafood in the U.S., with Americans downing 1.3 billion pounds every year, or about 4 pounds per person. Once a luxury reserved for special occasions, it became cheap enough for stir-fries and scampis when Asian farmers started growing it in ponds three decades ago. Thailand quickly dominated the market and now sends nearly half of its supply to the U.S.
And the way to keep those prices low enough for a stagnant-wage-earning America… “slavery”
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Two large quakes with a magnitude of 7.0 struck near north Thailand’s border with Myanmar and Laos, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
Witnesses said the tremors were felt in Bangkok, Myanmar and as far away as the Vietnam capital of Hanoi where people were evacuated from tall buildings.
The quakes struck seconds apart at 1355 GMT and were centered 69 miles north of the Thai town of Chiang Rai.
And here are the criminals that gave the nuclear technology to North Korea:
Leaked UN report says Pyongyang is using front companies to export nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Syria and Burma
South Korean president Lee Myung-bak (left) and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao. The revelations came just hours before Wen arrived in South Korea for a three-day visit. (Reuters)
International efforts to avert a full-blown crisis on the Korean peninsula were given greater urgency today after a leaked UN report claimed that North Korea is defying UN sanctions and using front companies to export nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Syria and Burma.
The report, by a panel that monitors sanctions imposed after Pyongyang conducted nuclear weapons tests in 2006 and 2009, said the regime was using shell companies and overseas criminal networks to export the technology.
The revelations came just hours before the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, arrived in South Korea for a three-day visit certain to be dominated by mounting tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang.
At a meeting today, Wen told the South Korean president Lee Myung-bak that China would not “harbour” anyone over the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, in which 46 soldiers died.
But he added that China has not yet concluded that North Korea was responsible. Pyongyang has denied involvement. Continue reading »
More than 1 million people still don’t have adequate food, water or shelter a month after a devastating cyclone swept through Myanmar, and the military junta’s policies are hindering relief efforts and driving up the cost of aid operations, the United Nations said Tuesday.
Humanitarian groups say they continue to face hurdles from Myanmar’s military government in sending disaster experts and vital equipment into the country. As a result, only a trickle of aid is reaching the storm’s estimated 2.4 million survivors, leaving many without even basic relief.
Compounding these problems, the junta’s refusal to allow the use of military helicopters from neighboring countries is driving up relief costs, an official from the World Food Program said.
Aid groups are unable to provide 1.1 million survivors with sufficient food and clean water, while trying to prevent a second wave of deaths from malnutrition and disease, the U.N. said in its latest assessment report. Continue reading »
Last week, two McCain staffers resigned after it was reported that they had performed extensive lobbying on behalf of the Burmese junta. However, Doug Goodyear and Doug Davenport are the not the only lobbyists on McCain’s campaign staff with ties to unsavory international figures.
Three other lobbyists, Charlie Black, Tom Loeffler, and Peter Madigan, and their firms’ clients, have generated at least $3.5 million in campaign donations to Sen. McCain over his career, according to Campaign Money Watch analysis of campaign finance data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (hyperlink: www.opensecrets.org). DCI Group, which employed Davenport and Goodyear, and their clients provided less than a quarter as much campaign money — $817,685 – to McCain’s elections.
Charlie Black, McCain’s senior counsel and spokesman, began his lobbying career by representing numerous dictators and repressive regimes
- Black’s firm represented the governor of Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. According to a 1985 report, the firm Black, Manafort & Stone earned $950,000 plus expenses for its work to provide “advice and assistance on matters relating to the media, public relations and public affairs interests.”1
- Black’s firm lobbied on behalf of Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire, earning $1 million a year for his efforts.2
- Black’s firm lobbied on behalf of Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.3
- Black’s firm represented Nigerian dictator Ibrahim Babangida, earning at least $1 million for his efforts.4
- Black’s firm has represented Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich state “best known for the outlandish brutality of its rulers.”5
- Black represented Angolan rebel and “classical terrorist” Jonas Savimbi, a job that earned him $600,000.6 “We have to call him Africa’s classical terrorist,” Makau Mutua, a professor of law and Africa specialist told the New York Times. “In the history of the continent, I think he’s unique because of the degree of suffering he caused without showing any remorse.”7
- In recent years his client list has also included the Iraqi National Congress8, Friends of Blackwater9, and the China National Off-Shore Oil Corp.10
- Since 2005, BKSH has received more than $700,000 in fees from foreign entities.11
Thomas Loeffler, co-chairman of McCain’s campaign, has represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia RESIGNED: Click here
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid the Loeffler Group “a whopping $7.9 million from December 1, 2005, though November 2006 — the largest fee collected from a foreign government by any lobbying firm in 2006,” according to National Journal.12 The Washington Times reported that “Mr. Loeffler’s firm has received more than $10 million since 2006 from the Saudi Embassy and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”13 Much of this work was centered on gaining admission for the Kingdom to the World Trade Organization.14
- Since 2005, according to the Washington Times, “the Loeffler Group reported more than $11 million in fees from foreign lobbying clients.”15
Peter Madigan, a leading McCain fundraiser, lobbies on behalf of the king of Dubai
- Madigan has earned upwards of $800,000 to improve the United Arab Emirates’ reputation in the face of a class action lawsuit over the enslavement of boy camel jockeys.16
“An estimated 100,000 people have already died in the badly hit Irrawaddy Delta region.
“Oxfam has warned the final figure could be as high as 1.5 million unless aid is given free access to the worst hit areas.”
Aid should be dropped into Burma from the skies if access to Burma does not improve dramatically within the next day, Tory leader David Cameron urged today.
Amid increasing concern at the limited supplies getting through to those in need, he said: “The sands of time are running out.”
International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said nothing was being ruled out, although access had improved recently.
Devastation: Cyclone Nargis tore through Burma leaving destruction in its path.
Their comments came as charities warned Burma was on the cusp of a second wave of disaster due to the inadequate relief being allowed into the country.
Mr Cameron said he hoped direct drops would not be necessary but if Burma did not allow aid in that would constitute a “crime against humanity”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “What we need to do is say if the situation hasn’t radically improved by Tuesday then we need to consider the further steps of direct aid being dropped to help people in Burma. Continue reading »
Children standing amid the debris of their village, which was destroyed by the cyclone, near the township of Kunyangon, Burma. Photograph: Adam Dean/EPA
Burma is still exporting rice even as it tries to curb the influx of international donations of food bound for the starving survivors of the cyclone that killed up to 116,000 people.
Sacks of rice destined for Bangladesh were being loaded on to a ship at the Thilawa container port at the mouth of the Yangon River at the end of last week, even though Burma’s ‘rice bowl’ region was devastated by the deadly storm a week ago.
The Burmese regime, which has a monopoly on the country’s rice exports, said it planned to meet all its contractual commitments. Continue reading »