Law & Regulation

The fight against corruption in Africa is faltering as public agencies investigating wrongdoing by powerful politicians have been undermined and officials leading the charge have been dismissed, subjected to death threats and driven into exile. The search is on for more effective ways to tackle corruption, including intensified legal efforts to prosecute multinational corporations that pay the bribes and reclaim loot that African political elites have stashed abroad.
Comcast said yesterday that it purposely slows down some traffic on its network, including some music and movie downloads, an admission that sparked more controversy in the debate over how much control network operators should have over the Internet.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has agreed to pay a total of $60.2 million in penalties to U.S. government regulators to settle documented charges of bribery in eight countries: Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Serbia.
Hundreds of drugs tested in India have been banned from sale in the European Union after French inspectors found flaws in clinical trials conducted by GVK Biosciences, a company based in Hyderabad. The Indian government has threatened to take legal action against the ban under international trade rules.
British oil trader Trafigura has offered to settle a court case brought by 31,000 Africans who say that they were injured in the largest personal injuries class action mounted in an English court. The action resulted from the dumping of 400 tonnes of waste in the Ivory Coast by an oil tanker, the Probo Koala, in 2006 - one of the worst pollution disasters in recent history.
As legislation moves through Congress that would empower the F.D.A. to regulate the tobacco industry, Reynolds, whose brands include Camel cigarettes, is attacking what it views as the bill's vulnerability: a weak, overextended F.D.A.
Violations of the Clean Water Act have risen steadily across the nation, an extensive review of water pollution records by The New York Times found. Polluters include small companies, like gas stations, dry cleaners, and shopping malls. They also include large operations, like chemical factories, power plants, sewage treatment centers and one of the biggest zinc smelters, the Horsehead Corporation of Pennsylvania.
The FBI has just released an ad featuring the fictional character Gordon Gekko from the "Wall Street" films to target insider trading. Increasingly, however, it seems that Scotland Yard needs a similar campaign for the City of London, which has become the center for the mantra "Greed is Good."
Two senior Tanzanian officials were arrested after they failed to produce details of 26 multi-billion dollar agreements signed with Statoil of Norway; the BG Group and Ophir from the UK; and ExxonMobil from the U.S. Opposition politicians want assurances that the money will be spent in a transparent manner.