jump to content
In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxTorontoVancouverMontreal

International News

strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_date::exposed_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::exposed_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /var/alternc/html/f/ftm/drupal-6.9/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_date.inc on line 0.

December 22, 2003

International News

Uruguay Votes Against Privatization

Uruguayans at a rally opposing an IMF-backed plan to privatize the nationally-owned oil company. Photo: Indymedia Uruguay
In a referendum on the privatization of Ancap, the Uruguayan national oil company, Uruguayans voted decisively to keep the company's monopoly on oil import and export. In a plan backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-a body that grants loans to countries when certain conditions are met-the government had decided to terminate Ancap's control over oil in Uruguay in order to make it more efficient.

The opposition campaign noted that Ancap provides the government with a substantial part of the income used to fund pension plans, health care, and education. The IMF has considerable clout in Uruguay due to the country's massive foreign debt, most of which is left over from the rule of US-backed military dictators in previous decades.

* * *

Cost of Climate Change to Exceed Global GDP by 2065: Study

Insurance companies in the US and UK are increasingly questioning their ability to insure against weather-related catastrophes. According to the Reinsurance Association of America, insurers paid $57 billion for weather-related losses in the first half of the 1990s. In the whole of the 1980s, they paid $17 billion.

With weather-related damages growing by 10 per cent per year over the last decade, insurance companies are increasingly refusing to insure vulnerable areas like Florida and the Caribbean. A report released by the Chartered Insurance Institute of the UK estimated that economic losses from extreme weather will exceed the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2065.

In recent years, climate scientists have increasingly concluded that human-created greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming, leading to increased occurrence of "extreme weather events." (Engineers Australia)

* * *

Unions Banned in Iraq

As many as 7 million Iraqi workers-70 per cent of the country's workforce-do not have jobs. Those workers who have hoped to find security or improved situations by forming unions have been disappointed in recent weeks by the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) enforcement of a Hussein-era law banning the formation of unions in state-owned enterprises. Currently, most working Iraqis are employed in such enterprises.

The CPA has also passed a measure to hold anyone who "incites civil disorder" as a prisoner of war, a charge that many Iraqis say could be interpreted in order to target union organizers. According to an Iraqi organizer interviewed by phone, one union office experienced a raid by 10 personnel carriers and Humvees. Files and equipment were seized from the office of the Transport and Communications Workers union, and organizers were arrested and held without explanation overnight.

US Congress recently appropriated $87 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq. None of the money was set aside for unemployment relief. Most Iraqis employed by CPA earn $60 per month, which many say is not enough to provide the bare essentionals for a family. Many of the firms with reconstruction contracts shy away from hiring Iraqis, prefering to bring in subcontractors from Pakistan and India.

Many Iraqis have expressed alarm over the US policy of rapid privatization aimed at attracting international investment. The manager of one oil refinery claimed that if his firm were privatized, he would have to lay off 1500 of his 3000 workers. "In America, when a company lays people off, there's unemployment insurance and they won't die from hunger. If I dismiss employees now, I'm killing them and their families." (The Progressive, Pacific News Service)

* * *

Indian Court Orders Coke to Stop Depleting Water Supplies

The top court in the Indian state of Kerala has ordered Coca Cola to stop drawing groundwater. The court said that the Coca Cola bottling plant, which used 400,000 gallons of water daily, was depleting groundwater in the area, leading to a regional water shortage. (ENN)

Own your media. Support the Dominion. Join the Media Co-op today.

Archived Site

This is a site that stopped updating in 2016. It's here for archival purposes.

The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

»Where to buy the Dominion