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The Top Censored Stories of 2012 - Page 4 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Project Censored   
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 05:40

(16) Sweatshops in China Are Making Your iPods While Workers Suffer

Apple suppliers such as Foxconn, Dafu, and Lian Jian Technology routinely violate China’s Law on the Prevention & Control of Occupational Diseases. Several manufacturers replaced alcohol with n-hexane, which is used to clean parts. It is a chemical that works better than alcohol but poisons workers. In these factories, the workers – often women in their teens or 20s – were forced to work with the poison in unventilated rooms.

Because of the chemical in Lian Jian Technology’s plant Suzhou No. 5, People’s Hospital admitted 49 employees who fell ill. More employees were likely poisoned, but many were pushed out before they fell ill, and Lian Jian forced them to sign papers saying they would not hold the company accountable. They left with 80,000 to 90,000 yuan ($12,000 to $14,000) that they got in exchange for their lives and health, with fees and medical costs they would have to pay for the rest of their lives.

(17) Superbug Bacteria Spreading Worldwide

Lethal superbugs are emerging that do not respond to any known drugs. The World Health Organization states that the New Delhi – also known as the NDM-1 – superbug was recently found in UK patients and has reached a critical point. These superbugs are resistant to carbapenem antibiotics, which is a major concern to experts because these drugs are used for hard-to-treat infections that evade other medications.

Already 25,000 people die each year from superbugs in Europe, and there are a number of bacteria that are now resistant to all drugs. That figure will increase to even greater numbers unless new, more powerful antibiotics are developed.

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics is leading to “unprecedented levels” of resistance, and a lack of development of new drugs means we could see current treatments become useless. The problem is worsened because drug companies have put off developing new antibiotics because they are seen as not profitable enough.

(18) Monsanto Tries to Benefit from Haiti’s Earthquake

In May 2010, six months after an earthquake hit Haiti, the American multinational Monsanto donated to the country 60 tons of corn and vegetable hybrid seed. The United States Agency for International Development took charge of the seed distribution.

A month later, around 10,000 Haitian farmers demonstrated against Monsanto’s donation. “If Monsanto’s seed enters Haiti, farmer’s seed will disappear,” said Doudou Pierre Festil, member of Papaye Farmer’s Movement and coordinator of the National Sovereignty & Food Security Network. Haitian farmers denounce that Monsanto’s seeds can’t be reused each year, which leads to the necessity of buying new seed from the multinational every new sowing season. Moreover, the organization Farmer’s Route has warned that Monsanto’s seeds could force the farmers to depend on the company. This dependence could also extend to the fertilizers and herbicides required by the American multinational that also produces them.

“Haitian government is using the earthquake to sell the country to multinationals,” declared Chavannes Jean Baptiste, coordinator of Papaye Farmer’s Movement. Monsanto is the world’s biggest seed company; it controls 20 percent of the seed market and the 90 percent of agricultural biotechnological patents.

(19) Oxfam Exposes How Aid Is Used for Political Purposes

In a March report, Oxfam found that billions of dollars in international aid that could have transformed the lives of many people in some of the poorest countries in the world was spent on unsustainable, expensive, and dangerous aid projects that donor governments used to support their own short-term foreign-policy and security objectives.

This type of aid often bypasses the poorest people and dangerously distorts the line between civilian and military activity. This report also showed that even though aid increased between 2001 and 2008, more than 40 percent of this increase was spent in just two countries: Afghanistan and Iraq. The remainder of that was shared between 150 other poor countries.

Last year, the report showed that 225 aid workers were killed, injured, or kidnapped in violent attacks, compared to 85 in 2002. The politicization and militarization of aid has in some places made it much harder for aid agencies to provide help to those in need – especially in Somalia.

(20) U.S. Agencies Trying to Outlaw GMO Food Labeling

There is growing concern over the health impact of growing and eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The World Health Organization has identified allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, gene transfer, outcrossing, gene stability, susceptibility of non-target organisms (insects), and loss of biodiversity as potential issues of using GM seeds.

Currently, most health studies are done by GM companies that have a natural conflict of interest that can lead to biased research or reporting. Many countries such as Japan, Australia, China, and the European Union recognize the possible risks and require mandatory labeling for products made with GMOs. There is a growing call for more comprehensive, independent research.

However, the official position of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture is that there is no difference between GMOs and non-GMOs. These agencies have also proposed to the Codex Alimentarius Committee that no country should be able to require GMO labeling on food items. The FDA and USDA say that mandatory labeling of GMOs is “false, misleading, and deceptive, implying there is a difference between GMO and non-GMO ingredients.”