Chevron Corp. will work with USAID and another group to support economic development in Angola. The San Ramon-based oil giant will work with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Cooperative League of the United States of America (CLUSA) on this project. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton witnessed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the project in Angola’s capital, Luanda. The partnership is intended to support financial, educational, technical and training services to improve the viability of small and medium scale farmers in the southern African state. According to Chevron spokesman Scott Walker, the MOU is an extension to the $56 million Angola Partnership Initiative, created in 2002. The new MOU focuses on agricultural initiatives to increase yield and market share for small to medium scale farmers. Chevron didn’t disclose how much funding it will provide for the program, but itsoil interests in Angola include the Tombua-Landana Project, which is projected to achieve peak production of 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day as of 2011. Read the full story here.
According to the International Herold Tribune “Managing Globalization” blog of Daniel Altman:
It takes quite a big profile to get the attention of the Chinese government. Steven Spielberg is betting that his is big enough, according to a report over the weekend from the BBC. Spielberg may bow out as cinematic mastermind of Beijingâ€™s 2008 Olympics unless China compels Sudan, with which it has substantial economic ties, to accept peacekeepers from the United Nations. Does he have a shot?
Well, Spielbergâ€™s economic might by itself isnâ€™t so huge. Yes, heâ€™s one of the worldâ€™s highest earning entertainers, with an income equivalent to the GDP of quite a few small island nations. His pull in Hollywood might count for more. But the fact that his actions make headlines is the most important one.
Still, I canâ€™t see China changing a longstanding policy at the behest of a single movie man. Spielberg may just be looking for a principled way out of what has become an uncomfortable situation – in other words, it could be a business decision. If more influential people join him, however, the government may have to think again; the games are supposed to be Chinaâ€™s global coming-out party. So, who else is willing to give up the money and spectacle of Beijing?
The University of California at Berkeley released a report Saturday documenting rising violence in the twenty-year-long conflict between Ugandan government forces and a rebel group. according to a report by CBS Broadcasting. The UC Berkeley report, conducted in conjunction with Tulane University, could be used in the International Criminal Courts indictment of rebel leader Joseph Kony and four other commanders of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), according to UC Berkeley officials. The report echoes an indictment alleging that Kony and the LRA have abducted as many as 38,000 children and 37,000 adults into its army over the past eleven years. The report claims that the LRA forced civilians to commit horrible crimes, including the mutilation and killing of fellow villagers and even family members. “One of our most alarming findings is that young women between ages 19 and 30 were held the longest in rebel captivity, averaging about four and a half years,” said report coauthor Phuong Pham. “Many, if not most, of these women were forced to serve as ‘wives’ and domestic servants to top rebel commanders.” The report, compiled by faculty and researchers from UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and Tulane’s Payson Center for International Development, collected data from Ugandan rehabilitation centers.
According to IFAW’s Animal Rescue Blog:
As these things happened, however, the pace picked up dramatically with the receipt of a call from one of our media contacts asking us if we could comment on some information he had received indicating that ebay would be announcing a global ivory ban. After a flurry of activity, including calling San Jose, California, speaking with journalists and confirming details, we were elated by the news that ebay had indeed (and not a moment too soon), decided to announce global policy banning sales of ivory across international borders, in compliance with CITES regulations. Their quote, regarding ivory, was a resounding ‘it’s the right thing to do,” a refrain that we have been repeating for quite some time now! The message is clear for us here in the trenches; both public opinion and commercial trends indicate a move towards decisions based on responsible conservation practices. Not bad for a day’s work (plus all the work over the course of two years; well done all of you who spearheaded this effort)!
The International Herold Tribune reports that a racketeering claim against Chevron Corp. filed by Nigerians who claimed the oil company conspired with the military and police in Nigeria to gun down demonstrators protesting their operations:
Nine Nigerians, represented by lawyers from EarthRights International and other nonprofit groups, sued Chevron in a San Francisco federal court in 1999 after Nigerian soldiers and police shot protesters who opposed drilling by a Chevron subsidiary and destroyed villages where they lived.
The plaintiffs failed ‘to present evidence that defendants gained a competitive advantage in the United States or impacted the U.S. economy, by engaging in the alleged racketeering activity,’ U.S. District Judge Susan Illston wrote in the decision announced Wednesday.
While the racketeering charge did not apply, Illston acknowledged evidence showed that Chevron played a role in the subsidiary’s security policies, approved payments to the military and attempted to cover up the subsidiary’s involvement in the attacks… The Nigerians allege soldiers, supported by Chevron Nigeria Ltd., destroyed homes and killed or injured dozens of people. They also claim Chevron provided helicopters, boats and planes to Nigerian soldiers who fired at demonstrators in 1998 on an offshore oil platform and in 1999 at two villages where protesters lived.
Chevron lawyers have said the protesters were armed youths who demanded money and took more than 200 workers hostage. They were shot during an attempt to rescue the hostages. The company has argued the case belongs in African courts.
“Establishing the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure in Africa necessary to support the region’s economic development is the goal of a USTDA-sponsored conference to be held March 19-21, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Ministers and other senior government officials from more than 15 African nations will discuss their ICT needs and present more than 25 projects ranging in value from $1 million to $200 million.”
“In protest against the continuing violence in Darfur, Los Angeles will withdraw $27 million from pension funds with companies that deal with the Sudanese government. ‘The city of Los Angeles is adding its voice to the international outcry over the genocide in Darfur,’ said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a statement after announcing the cityâ€™s intention to divest. ‘We must stand for freedom and basic human rights for all, and we must do everything possible to stop the killing in Darfur,’ the mayor said. Violence in Darfur, which Congress has unanimously declared to be genocide, has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced around 2.5 million people since fighting broke out in the region in 2003. The Sudanese government has been accused of providing money and assistance to militia groups carrying out the violence and participating in joint attacks.”
“Cisco Systems on Tuesday announced a deal with South African phone service provider MTN. MTN, which does business in 21 African countries and the Middle East, joins Wataniya Telecom of Kuwait as a customer of Ciscoâ€™s systems that help shuttle data between cell sites… Cisco enhanced its financial capacity in much of the developing world with $2 billion worth of short-term inventory financing. The San Jose, California-based firm said in December that it had secured the financing from Citibank, GE Capital Solutions, and Standard Chartered Bank to help its customers in developing nations secure Cisco equipment.”
“Century Aluminum Co. said Thursday it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Republic of the Congo for an exclusive right to develop an aluminum business there. Monterey-based Century said the development will include an aluminum smelter, an alumina refinery and a bauxite mine.”
“Eva LaRue, star of CSI:Miami, has signed on to host an important humanitarian documentary entitled UGANDA, Peril to Pearl. This feature-length documentary, financed by HHB Inc. and produced by The Film Factory, LLC (both California Companies with offices in Riverside), will explore the difficulties that this landlocked African nation has in attempting to finance its growing needs and revive its people and culture.. Eva LaRue will travel to Uganda, New York, Washington D.C., Georgia, and London, seeking insight from politicians, getting historical perspectives from universities, finding common ground from humanitarian organizations, and garnering understanding from all parties. As her efforts progress, follow John Parks and Bill Seiber of HHB Inc. in their attempt to broker a failsafe and transparent compliance program that will invigorate investment, free international financial aid, and create business opportunities for this suffering nation, while protecting investors and donors.”
“In its anxious search for energy security, the United States has embarked on a risky strategy to arm and train the militaries of oil-producing West Africa, all as part of an expansion of the Global War on Terror. Over the past 15 years, amidst a deepening crisis in the Middle East and tightening petroleum markets, the U.S. has quietly institutionalized a West African-based oil supply strategy… In a new International Policy Report published by the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., three University of California experts report on the motives, actions and potential consequences of this strategy, and argue that militarization policies are not only short-sighted but also deeply flawed.”
CHF International has teamed up with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley to research, design and manufacture more energy efficient stoves for use in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Sudan. To execute the first phase of this program, Visiting International Professional (VIP) Brian Tachibana traveled to Khartoum, Sudan, to oversee production of the first 50 stoves. With an education and work experience as an engineer, Brian was able to work with CHF Sudanese staff to simplify the initial stove design, to account for material availability and allow greater productivity during the manufacturing process. In just two weeks, the initial 50 stoves were constructed and then transported to locations in North and South Sudan for testing.