August 1, 2007

Spielberg may pressure China on Sudan

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 Beijing’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, Spielberg’s economic might by itself isn’t so huge. Yes, he’s one of the world’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 can’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 China’s global coming-out party. So, who else is willing to give up the money and spectacle of Beijing?

Filed under China, Media and Entertainment, Sudan by

February 17, 2007

Los Angeles to divest $27 million from Sudan

“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 city’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.”

Filed under Foreign Relations, Sudan by

February 7, 2007

Lawrence Berkeley Lab designs low-tech stove for Sudan Refugees

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.

Filed under Energy Industry, Philanthropy, Sudan by

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