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Hedge funds 'grabbing land' in Africa
Hedge funds are behind "land grabs" in Africa to boost their profits in the food and biofuel sectors, a US think-tank says. In a report, the Oakland Institute said hedge funds and other foreign firms had acquired large swathes of African land, often without proper contracts. It said the acquisitions had displaced millions of small farmers. Foreign firms farm the land to consolidate their hold over global food markets, the report said. They also use land to "make room" for export commodities such as biofuels and cut flowers. "This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat than terrorism," the report said. The Oakland Institute said it released its findings after studying land deals in Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mozambique.

Tax-payers Burden
US politicians have agreed on the details of $700bn Wall Street bail-out package to be sent to Congress for approval, a Republican negotiator says. The measures would enable the US Treasury to spend up to $700bn taking over bad debts from ailing financial institutions.

A third of UKs big business pays no corporation tax
Almost a third of the UK’s 700 biggest businesses paid no corporation tax in the 2005-06 financial year while another 30 per cent paid less than £10m each, an official study has found.

Ethical fund 'tops league table'
For the first time, an ethical investment fund has topped the performance chart of 324 unit trusts investing in the UK stock market. The Co-operative Insurance Sustainable Leaders fund is the best performing unit trust over the past year.

UK Corporate killing law to change
Long-awaited moves to crack down on corporate manslaughter have been welcomed by UK Members of Parliament. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill has been formally introduced in the Commons.

Banks pushing people further into debt
A powerful insider breaks the banking industry's code of silence and reveals how the High Street banks deliberately target their customers and push borrowing.

OECD warns on global imbalances
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned that the global imbalances in world trade are unsustainable and must be tackled.

The Welfare Kings
At a time when tens of millions of workers are struggling to pay for gas for their car, electricity for their home, and medical care for their families, the Republicans have stepped forward with a plan to help.

Huge fraud exposed in Iraq contracts
A US Congressional inspection team set up to monitor reconstruction in Iraq has published a scathing report on failures by contractors to carry out projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Shareholders amend company bylaws to tighten corporate governance
According to The Wall Street Journal , some shareholders dissatisfied that shareholder resolutions are nonbinding, are turning to amending company bylaws to tighten corporate governance.

Drugs Companies 'Inventing Diseases'
Pharmaceutical firms are inventing diseases to sell more drugs that place healthy people at risk, a leading medical journal claims. "Disease-mongering" promotes non-existent diseases and exaggerates mild conditions in order to boost profits for the industry, according to the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

Public Eye Awards 2006
On the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF), The Berne Declaration and Pro Natura will confer the “Public Eye Awards” for the second year for particularly irresponsible corporate behavior.

The corporate plunder of Iraq
The looting of Iraq’s oil wealth is unprecedented in the history of corporate crime, writes criminologist Dave Whyte The neo-liberal transformation of Iraq is portrayed as a humanitarian venture.

US firms must go green, says Gore
Corporate America must face up to green and ethical challenges if they are to avoid disaster, former US Vice President Al Gore has told the BBC. Firms are so focused on delivering quarterly financial figures, he said, they lose sight of long-term trends.

Internet firms 'bowed to Beijing'
US congressmen have condemned major IT firms including Microsoft and Google for helping China censor the internet. Members of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus said four US firms were putting profits before American principles of free speech.

Firms asked for emissions data
More than 1,500 of the world's largest companies have been asked to provide information about their greenhouse gas emissions and environmental strategies.

Ethical investment made easy
Is it possible to invest with a clear conscience and still make money? One of the main reasons that people choose to invest ethically is to be sure that their money is not funding something they would consider wrong such as gambling, pornography or arms.

Major banks contravening their social policies
Environmental organisations have warned that major banks may be contravening their environmental and social policies by helping to finance controversial projects indirectly.

Global corruption on the rise
Corruption is on the increase in a majority of countries around the world, according to a study by global pressure group Transparency International. People in 48 of the 69 countries covered in its annual Global Corruption Barometer survey said corruption had risen over the past three years.

Tax evaders 'rob poorer nations'
Global poverty will never be beaten unless poor countries can stop big business and rich elites from dodging tax and stealing wealth, a report says. Poorer nations are losing $500bn (£270bn) a year in revenues to prosperous international tax dodgers, UK charity Christian Aid argues.

Ethical issues arise in doing business with China
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has accused Yahoo of being "a police informant for the Chinese regime", following allegations that information supplied by the company helped jail a journalist.

Long working hours 'health risk'
Working long hours can greatly increase the risk of suffering injury or illness, a study says. Workers who do overtime were 61% more likely to become hurt or ill, once factors such as age and gender were taken into account.

Ethical savings in the UK break 10bn ($18bn) mark
The amount of money put into UK ethical savings and investments has broken through the £10bn barrier for the first time, a study has said. Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) said the level of ethical investment rose 18% to £10.6bn during 2004.

UK Unpaid overtime tops $40b mark
UK employees who did unpaid overtime in 2004 would have each earned £4,650 for their efforts if they had received a wage, a new report from the TUC says.

UK Boardroom pay rises gallop ahead
The pay gap between the boardroom and the workforce is continuing to widen, according to an annual report. Over the year to 30 June 2004, the average total earnings received by directors of the UK's 350 leading firms rose by 16.1%, the study found.

Irregular hours 'make staff ill'
Shift workers are more likely to suffer from depression or end up in a car crash because of exhaustion brought on by irregular hours, a report has said.

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