Global Trade

Introduction to a new CorpWatch report that shines a light on the role of six major banks in Greece, Ireland and Spain in the EuroZone crisis. "The EuroZone Profiteers" profiles Commerzbank, Depfa and Westdeutsche Landesbank from Germany; Crédit Agricole and Société Générale from France; together with Dexia - a Franco-Belgian financial institution.
Sneaker maker Converse Inc., best known for its basketball and ''Chuck Taylor'' brand shoes, is closing three North American production plants and shifting production to Asia as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
One of the poorest towns in Mexico, El Porvenir last year signed a sister-city agreement with one of the richest, San Pedro Garza Garcia, on the outskirts of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon state. The pact signed last August with President Vicente Fox on hand was meant to be a model for a new vision of fighting poverty: an exchange of products, help with schooling and technical training, new investment for a town where fewer than one in five homes has electricity.
The price of gold is higher than it has been in 17 years - pushing $500 an ounce. But much of the gold left to be mined is microscopic and is being wrung from the earth at enormous environmental cost, often in some of the poorest corners of the world.
Dueling reports released yesterday -- one by a consortium largely funded by the biotech industry and the other by a pair of environmental and consumer groups -- came to those diametrically different conclusions.
Rights activists are unhappy with the Labour Ministry's plan to amend labour laws to introduce 80 hours of overtime every month for factory workers, including those in export processing zones (EPZ).
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), a major Swedish "fast fashion" retailer, led 30 international companies this week to commit to a new $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh. Watchdog organizations say the companies acted only because of external pressure by activists and workers.
Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian who grew up in childhood poverty, has won the Bolivian presidential elections. He is part of a wave of leftists taking power in Latin America and challenging multinational corporations.
Some 700 representatives of the central trade unions of the members of South America's leading trade bloc, the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) - Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay - called on their governments to submit an eventual continent-wide free trade treaty to national plebiscites.
The World Conference on Racism in Durban spotlights many insidious forms of racism, including anti-immigrant activity.