nature of corporations

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In Germany, Using Prison Labor To Undercut Cheap Chinese Manpower

World Crunch – Otto Oberländer calls out a friendly “Hello!” as he enters the production hall where a dozen men work at a long table putting garden sprinklers together. The men, who all wear blue boiler suits, give a friendly acknowledgement of the boss’s greeting and then get back to work. The fact that the door to the hall is locked doesn’t strike, one way or the other. It’s only when Oberländer refers to his “rogues” instead of workers that we remember this isn’t any old medium-sized enterprise: it’s the JVA Ravensburg prison just outside the city of Ravensburg in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Read Article

Fortnum & Mason’s to investigate claims of cruelty made in undercover film at foie gras farms

The Guardian – One of the country’s most prestigious stores has pledged to investigate claims of animal mistreatment at farms linked to a company that has supplied it with foie gras. Activists from Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, filmed undercover at two French geese farms that supply the firm that has sold the delicacy to Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, London. The two farms belong to a co-operative that uses an abattoir where Peta investigators also filmed. Peta claims the footage, seen by the Observer and which Fortnum’s is reviewing, suggests some of the birds were killed without being stunned first, in contravention of French law. The footage also suggests that birds are force-fed to the point of being unable to move freely. Read Article

Open Your Eyes News recommends – Food Inc

Do you know where the food on your shelves actually comes from?

(Note: This film is in 11 parts on You Tube. To watch the next part follow the link “Food, Inc Part 2 of 11″ when this section finishes, and so on)

For over 30 other documentaries that will challenge your views on the world visit our Films & Documentaries archive

Monsanto’s Modified Corn Should Be Banned in S. Africa, ACB Says

Bloomberg – Monsanto Co. (MON)’s genetically engineered NK603 corn is hazardous to the health, said South Africa’s African Centre for Biosafety, which called on the authorities to ban its cultivation, import and export. “We urge the South African government to take the necessary steps to protect its citizens,” the ACB said in a letter to the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The modified corn has been shown to cause tumors as well as liver and kidney damage in laboratory rats, it said. Read article

Russia Suspends Use of Genetically Modified Corn

WSJ – Russia’s consumer-rights watchdog said Tuesday it has suspended the import and use of a genetically engineered corn made by Monsanto Co. following a study’s findings that suggested the crop might cause cancer. The consumer-rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said the country’s Institute of Nutrition has been asked to assess the validity of the study. The study, conducted by France’s University of Caen and published last week, found that rats fed over a two-year period with the U.S. … Read article

Tobacco giant Philip Morris plans plant flu vaccine for China

FP – A Canadian company has joined forces with cigarette giant Philip Morris in an unusual project to sell flu vaccine to the huge Chinese market, a potentially major step forward for the controversial science of producing medicines in plants. Medicago Inc. said Tuesday it is licensing its system for making vaccine in tobacco to Philip Morris Products SA, which will develop, test and, it hopes, market the products in China, where it already sells a much different item — Marlboro cigarettes. Read aritcle

Bayer’s Stivarga OK’d for Colon Cancer

MedPage Today – Regorafenib (Stivarga), an inhibitor of multiple kinase enzymes, has been approved for use in treatment-refractory, metastatic colorectal cancer, the FDA announced Thursday. Approval was based primarily on the 760-patient CORRECT trial, in which patients treated with regorafenib had a median overall survival of 6.4 months compared with 5 months in a placebo group (P=0.005). Patients in the study had metastatic colorectal cancer that was progressing after treatment with approved standard therapies. All patients received best supportive care in addition to regorafenib or placebo. Read article

Merck agrees to settle Coppertone class action lawsuit

Reuters – Merck & Co has agreed to pay between $3 million and $10 million to settle a nearly decade old class-action lawsuit that alleged the company made false claims about the benefits of its Coppertone sunscreen products. Merck acquired the popular Coppertone franchise in 2009 when it bought U.S. rival Schering-Plough Corp, and thereby inherited the 2003 lawsuit. Read article

Amnesty, Greenpeace urge prosecution in I.Coast dumping

AFP – Britain must launch a criminal probe into the multinational firm Trafigura and its role in the 2006 deadly dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan, Amnesty International and Greenpeace said Tuesday. Ivory Coast says the toxic waste, which came from the Probo Koala ship chartered by Trafigura, killed 17 people and caused thousands of cases of poisoning. Read article

Discover to refund $200m to customers

BBC – America’s sixth-largest credit card issuer has agreed to pay $200m (£123m) in refunds to settle accusations it misled customers into add-on services. Discover Bank will also pay a $14m fine, after regulators said it enrolled clients in schemes such as credit monitoring, without consent. It is the third public enforcement action taken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). More than 3.5 million customers are to receive refunds. Read Article

China Foxconn factory reopens after brawl

AFP – A Foxconn factory making the iPhone 5 in northern China reopened on Tuesday, a manager said, a day after it shut down following a huge workers’ brawl that took 5,000 police several hours to quell. Foxconn — the world’s largest maker of computer components — assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia among others and employs one million people in China. Read Article

Thank You, Millions Of Anonymous Chinese Workers Making $2 An Hour, We Love Our iPhone 5s!

Business Insider – The iPhone 5 debuted to rave reviews yesterday. By now, millions of them are in the hands of rich consumers in the 7 lucky countries that got the iPhones first. And, for the most part, these customers love them. As well they should! Because, relative to what we all carried around as recently as 6 years ago, the iPhone 5 is nothing short of a miracle. Read Article

Author of IBM Holocaust book says corporations are again aiding in potential genocide

Times of Israel – Investigative journalist and author Edwin Black was Wednesday referring all inquiries about reports that Brad Pitt plans to make a movie of his 2001 bestseller “IBM and the Holocaust” to his agents at William Morris. But in a telephone interview with The Times of Israel, Black said his meticulously documented tale of the computer giant’s key role in enabling the Holocaust holds vital lessons for today about the dangers of corporate complicity in genocide. Read Article

£2billion cash Isa robbery: UK banks swipe tax breaks meant for their interest-starved customers

This is Money – Today Money Mail can reveal how savers are missing out on up to £2?billion interest a year because banks and building societies are failing to pass on cash Isa tax breaks. Some of Britain’s biggest High Street names are routinely denying cash Isa savers the best rates by paying a better rate on ordinary savings accounts, where interest is taxed, than on untaxed Isas. In doing so, they are effectively stealing the tax relief to line their own pockets. Read Article

Drug giants fined $11bn for criminal wrongdoing

The Independent – The global pharmaceutical industry has racked up fines of more than $11bn in the past three years for criminal wrongdoing, including withholding safety data and promoting drugs for use beyond their licensed conditions. In all, 26 companies, including eight of the 10 top players in the global industry, have been found to be acting dishonestly. The scale of the wrongdoing, revealed for the first time, has undermined public and professional trust in the industry and is holding back clinical progress, according to two papers published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine. Leading lawyers have warned that the multibillion-dollar fines are not enough to change the industry’s behaviour(OYEN italics). Read article

Thailand’s Biggest Bank Deal Seen as GE Exits

Bloomberg – General Electric Co.’s potential exit from Thailand’s banking industry is giving Malayan Banking Bhd. (MAY) the chance to claim a foothold in Southeast Asia’s second- largest economy. GE may sell its 33 percent stake in Bank of Ayudhya Pcl, people with knowledge of the matter said last week. Tisco Securities Co. says the sale may create an opening for a foreign takeover of the entire Bangkok-based company, which is the most profitable lender among 11 publicly traded Thai banks based on net interest margins. Read Article

Lehman Unit Held Liable for Failed CDOs Sold to Australian Towns

Bloomberg – Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s Australian unit must repay three towns that invested in failed securities backed by U.S. subprime mortgages, a judge ruled. The lawsuit’s sponsor said the case is the first of its kind to complete a trial. Lehman’s unit “engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct,” Federal Court Justice Steven Rares said. The unit “is liable to compensate the councils for their losses,” he said in issuing the decision in Sydney today, more than a year after the trail’s conclusion. Read Article

Condoms ‘too big’ for Indian men

BBC – A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men. The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms. Read article

How the world’s oceans could be running out of fish

BBC – It has been some time since most humans lived as hunter-gatherers – with one important exception. Fish are the last wild animal that we hunt in large numbers. And yet, we may be the last generation to do so. Entire species of marine life will never be seen in the Anthropocene (the Age of Man), let alone tasted, if we do not curb our insatiable voracity for fish. Last year, global fish consumption hit a record high of 17 kg (37 pounds) per person per year, even though global fish stocks have continued to decline. On average, people eat four times as much fish now than they did in 1950. Read article

Six million Americans likely to pay healthcare tax in 2016

Reuters – U.S. budget experts raised their forecast on Wednesday of how many Americans will probably have to pay a penalty in 2016 for not buying health insurance to 6 million from 4 million. The 50 percent increase was likely to draw fire from Republicans on the campaign trail who want to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law and who reject the penalty as a government intrusion into the lives of individuals. Read article

Painkillers ‘are the cause’ of millions of headaches

BBC – Up to a million people in the UK have “completely preventable” severe headaches caused by taking too many painkillers, doctors have said. They said some were trapped in a “vicious cycle” of taking pain relief, which then caused even more headaches. The warning came as part of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) first guidelines for treating headaches. Read articledis

US: Pfizer’s Wyeth ordered to face class-action over Pristiq

Reuters – A federal judge has granted class-action status to former Wyeth Inc shareholders who accused the company, now part of Pfizer Inc, of misleading them about risks associated with the antidepressant Pristiq. The decision issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan is a victory for shareholders led by the Pipefitters Union Local 537 Pension Fund in Boston. Read article

Peregrine Financial Group boss admits $100m fraud

BBC – The founder of US futures broker Peregrine Financial Group has pleaded guilty to a fraud involving 24,000 customers in the US state of Iowa. The embezzlement, totalling over $100m (£61.5m), began some 20 years ago. Russell Wasendorf Sr, who is 64, was once regarded as a noble figure who supported a range of institutions from health care to universities. Read Article

UK: GPs are given cash ‘bribes’ not to send patients to hospital… Practices promised up to £26,000 if they cut referrals

Daily Mail – Doctors are to be offered cash ‘bribes’ to slash the number of patients they send to hospital. GPs have been promised financial incentives of up to £26,000 for their surgery if they take certain measures to reduce referrals. Every time a doctor sends a patient to hospital for a scan, consultation or operation, the local NHS trust is charged for the cost of their treatment. Read article