bm138 CocaCola and Human Rights Violations Worldwide

To call it a soda company would be an understatement. There is no corner of the world where the name isn’t known, and in the last decade, communities in places like Kerela, India, have shed new light on the business practices of the cocacola company. They site cases of human rights violations and environmental terrorism. Cocacola, meanwhile, says its quite the opposite.. so who’s opinion do the facts support?

Background Briefing from Australian Public Radio, Episode on Water in India

Common Dreams Article on Dasani Water
CorpWatch on CokeIndia, Uzbekistan

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Who Gave What to New Orleans

Catching up on news from the past few days, I found time to look into some details until now I had not seen. As I read the list of who gave what for the Hurricane Recovery from around the world, it’s really interesting to see how the world can be. Take a look for yourselves:

  • Kuwait: 500 million (makes sense considering what the US spends on Kuwait)
  • Qatar: 100 millon, including 17.5 mil to Xavier University
  • Saudi Arabia and UAE: 100 million each
  • India and China, 5 million each
  • Bangladesh: 1 million (I’m impressed.)
  • Sri Lanka: 25,000
  • Cyprus and Dominican Republic: 50,000 each
  • Ghana: 15,000
  • Denmark: An oceanliner docked in Baton Rouge which houses evacuees

Of course there’s alot more. Some is direct, but much is actually through organizations. Lots of donor countries, especially the EU, didn’t do the direct money thing, probably because they’re well aware how many can be mismanaged. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in Louisiana… but considering how corrupt the national government and the shakey record of the local government in places like New Orleans.. everyone should keep on eye on this.

Speaking of eyes on New Orleans and hurricane recovery, I’m subscribed to miss B. havens vlog, and you should see their place down there.

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130 Million Indian Voters

130 million people voted… and the elections were only in five states.. that’s how cool India is. If you consider voting cool, I mean, which is debatable. But I digress; the left parties romped in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh. Not interested? Those five states alone have more people then the entire United States. – Just thought I’d mention that.

One of the most fascinating cases among these states, is that of West Bengal. This state is actually home to the longest running democratically elected communist governments in the world. It has been in power for 26 years, and just got re-elected.

This makes me wonder what they’ve done to earn such a long run. Obviously there is a long established tradition of voting for the Communist Party of India-Marxist in the state, but what does this tradition consist of?

A brief search around the internet taught me a few things. One of the most interesting- every member of the CPI-M pays monthly membership fees. I also read about the very important agricultural industry of the state, yet also the big manufacturing and IT hubs they have. This tells me there’s alot of economic acitivity, but doesn’t really tell me what it is that the CPI-M does for its electorate.

Regardless of the reasons, the Indian Left has made some big gains in the last few years, and this latest gives them more influence over the national government. Which means maybe less of these pro US type deals, as we saw recently with nuclear technology cooperation. And hey, more opening up to and talks with Pakistan will likely continue. So hooray for that!

Turning to the other side of India, Dilip is in Goa.

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Dams and Boats Weekend

This boating thing could really make one forget about all the problems in the world. I smell complacency everytime I lie back and stare at the cyclists riding by. Maybe it would help if I brought my powerbook and parked where I could catch some wifi and from there I could keep abreast to all the things happenning in different corners of the world. I was so busy learning how to manage the vessel today, I actually forgot to take photos or video – imagine that!

be040625But instead of going on and on about this very shallow reflection on canal cruising life, I think it would be better if I recommend you a blogger and an ongoing story that effects the lives of hundreds if not thousands: Dilip in Bombay is doing some excellent blog-journalism on dam building in India; specifically the Narmada Dam project. It’s an issue I have always come back to and has always stuck out in my mind. Mostly the influence of both a former professor of mine from India and the great Arundhati Roy, of course. I recommend his posts from this past week to get an idea and detailed arguements on the issue regarding the who, what, and why.

Meanwhile I’m off to sleep where I’ll likely dream about perfect boat parking spaces and ultimate frisbee tournaments. Apathy can’t be too far away.

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