Money & Politics
Alcoa and Cargill have bypassed laws designed to prevent destruction of the world's largest rain forest, Brazilian prosecutors say. The damage wrought by scores of companies is robbing the earth of its best shield against global warming.
Entergy, one of the largest utilities in the U.S., has enjoyed healthy profits since Hurricane Katrina. Yet its New Orleans subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy, and frightened ratepayers with visions of bills bloated to 140% of their pre-storm size. Now the Fortune 500 company is threatening to pull the plug on New Orleans if it doesn't get a $700 million-plus federal bailout it doesn't actually need.
American companies have been arriving in Iraq to pursue an expected multibillion-dollar bonanza of projects to revive the country's petroleum industry. But there are questions about the Iraqi government's capacity to police the companies. "These are for-profit concerns and they are trying to make as much money as they can," said Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch.
In a secluded valley a few miles from Kabul's international airport, $285 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars have flowed into a Black & Veatch-built power plant outside Tarakhil village. But, far from the public relations coup the project was intended to supply, the plant has run into problems with planning, cost over-runs and alleged corruption.
Public relations giant Omnicom has received almost a quarter of a billion dollars in contracts from the federal government for public relations work. At least one has been labeled "covert propaganda," another involved paying off a journalist and opinion-maker.
Undersecretary of Defense Stephen A. Cambone ordered an internal study of how funding earmarked in a bill by then-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) led to contracts for MZM Inc. to do work for the Pentagon's new agency: the Counterintelligence Field Activity.
Ten major U.S. banks settled charges of illegally kicking people out of their homes for pennies on the dollar, under two agreements with the government. The biggest beneficiary is Bank of America which will win a get-out-of-jail free card for selling fraudulent loans to the government.
Benon Sevan, the administrator who was in charge of overseeing the United Nation's oil-for-food programme for Iraq, was indicted on Tuesday on federal charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, as part of a growing attempt by prosecutors to hold UN employees accountable to US laws.
Activists organized protests against corporate greed, oil company abuses and the lack of campaign finance reform to mark Monday's opening of the Democratic National Convention.