Construction & Megaprojects

Sacyr, the Spanish construction giant, has threatened to halt work on the expansion of the Panama canal unless it is paid an extra $1.6 billion. The company leads a consortium that won the 2009 contract after bidding to do the job for $1.1 billion less than the next bidder.
President Gloria Arroyo has ordered an investigation into reports that Filipino workers were forced to go to Iraq to work on the U.S. embassy there despite a ban on them traveling there. A report from the watchdog organization CorpWatch said that "other South Asians" were indeed working for First Kuwait Trading and Contracting in Iraq.
Media attending the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are being housed in apartments constructed by workers "in conditions analogous to slavery" by Cyrela, the largest real estate company in Brazil. The local community has also complained that the construction has ruined the water supply and destroyed forested areas.
A U.S.-based company is planning a system of elevated highways in Chennai, India, that will despoil natural resources that humans and wildlife have shared for millennia, environmentalists and villagers claim. Wilbur Smith Associates has won approval for the projects, they further charge, through deceptive practices and corporate sleight of hand.
Destined for American kitchens, planks of birch and poplar plywood are stacked to the ceiling of a cavernous port warehouse. The wood, which arrived in California via a cargo ship, carries two labels: One proclaims "Made in China," while the other warns that it contains formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical.
A major Dutch arms manufacturer's bankruptcy revealed a secret deal to supply weapons to General Augusto Pinochet of Chile. The man behind the scheme is now a tax exile who appears to be immune from charges of bribery or tax evasion.
Villagers in Koh Kong, Cambodia, say that their lands have been bulldozed by employees of the Union Development Group, a Chinese company, which is building a massive casino on a 45,000-hectare-land concession inside Botum Sakor National Park.
Well over a year after AES Corporation, a U.S. based power company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, inundated the lands of the Ngäbe to build a hydroelectric dam in Panama, many in the community remains dispossessed.
Tata, India's largest conglomerate, wants to take 10,000 acres of land to mine ilmenite in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The plan has sparked protests by local villagers who say the project will destroy their traditional way of life and the environment.
Plans for the Don Sahong dam in southern Laos have come under renewed fire from environmental activists. This week activists boycotted a regional consultation on the dam, just eight weeks after filing a formal request for an investigation of Mega First Corporation, the company that has the construction contract.