World Bank

IMF and World Bank meet in Washington

GREG PALAST:
It’s quiet now, but all police leave in the capital has been cancelled. They’re taking no chances after last week’s anti-globalisation protests in Quebec and the street wars on this spot during the same meeting last year of the IMF and World Bank. So what’s their complaint? The protesters say that what we have here is a conspiracy – the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation don’t help the poor of the world, they crush them. Well, the bosses are here today, let’s ask them. Mr Wolfensohn, the protesters say you are the chief of a secretive, undemocratic world government which has made poverty worse worldwide. How do you respond?

Gregory Palast – International Investigative Reporter

Gregory Palast is almost certainly the greatest investigative journalist you’ve never heard of. An award-winning reporter in Britain, where he writes for The Guardian and The Sunday Observer, as well as hosts the BBC’s 60 Minutes-esque Newsnight, Palast abandoned his native America when the mainstream press declined to publish his groundbreaking, hard-hitting exposes, known for stripping bare abuses of power. Case in point: his recent series on how Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris conspired to illegally purge the Florida voting rolls of thousands of former felons whose voting rights had been restored by other states, the vast majority of whom were (not coincidentally) Democrats. In the few venues that have bothered to report it in the United States, it’s caused scarcely a ripple. Palast will be in Cleveland on Tuesday to debunk reigning myths about the much-touted phenomenon known as globalization.

A High Price to Pay For The Power and The Glory

The Firms That are Pulling The Plug on California Learnt Their Trade From Margaret Thatcher
The Observer
President George W. Bush has announced that on 7 February, come hell or high water, he will end Bill Clinton’s order directing emergency electricity supplies to California.
As the lights on the Golden Gate bridge blink off, the state’s politicians are in full panic that this spells bankruptcy for two giant regional electricity companies, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. Not me. I can’t think of anything which would more joyously combine historic justice and good public policy than their corporate death.

Inside Corporate America

An internal Study Reveals The Price ‘Rescued’ Nations Pay: Dearer Essentials, Worse Poverty and Shorter Lives The Observer So call me a liar. I was standing in front of the New York Hilton Hotel when the limousine carrying International Monetary Fund director Horst Kohler zoomed… 

Bolivia Vanishes: See Style Section

From The MediaChannel
In April, five people were shot dead in Bolivia, a military policeman was lynched and the president declared a state of siege following a general strike that shut down much of the nation. At the end of it all, for the first time in a decade anywhere in the world, American and British corporate giants, the targets of the protest, were booted out of the Andean nation, a stunning reversal of the march of globalization.

Millions May be Eligible for Microsoft Refund Anti-Cartel Lawyers who Joined Forces to Fight Price Fixing Worldwide will File Suit on Behalf of non-US Windows Customers

and Clare Dyer for The Guardian UK
Millions of Britons could be in line for a refund if it is proved that they paid inflated prices for Microsoft’s all-pervasive software, ready installed in most computers on sale.
Next Monday 16 leading US law firms will file the billion pound suit on behalf of hundreds of millions of people who bought Microsoft Windows and programs outside the US.

Tony Rushes in Where Bill Fears to Tread

For The Guardian UK
For all those conspiracy cranks and paranoid anti-globalisers who imagine that the planet’s corporate elite and government functionaries actually meet to conspire about their blueprint for rewriting the laws of sovereign nations, be advised that the next meeting of the New World Order is being held this week at the Swiss Hotel in Brussels. It is the mid-year meeting of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue.

New British Empire of the Dammed Bolivia's Water Supply is the Latest Acquisition of Thirsty British Firms in the Service of Uncle Sam

for The Observer/Guardian UK
With the front pages jammed with photos of two dead white farmers in Zimbabwe, the news from Bolivia “Protests claim two lives” was pushed into a teeny “World in Brief” in the Guardian, and unmentioned elsewhere. What a shame. The Zimbabwe murders merely exercised a suppressed nostalgia for England’s imperial past. But Bolivia is the story of Britain’s imperial future.

Postcards From The de-Valuation Carnival

For The Observer/Guardian UK
As Fat Tuesday nears, the political chit-chat above the carnival drums is about the minimum wage, which the nation’s Constitution effectively sets at US$100 per month. With currency devaluation and massive inflation of basic necessities (electricity is up 250%), the minimum should rise automatically to at least 170 REALS from 130.
Regarding this relief for the low-paid, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Latin America’s carrier of the Third Way torch, remains inscrutably befuddled. But his ministers, the chambers of commerce and their academics have filled newspaper columns with arguments for eliminating the Constitution’s ‘inflexibility.’

Utility Bill Plugs the Supply of Leaks

For The Observer/Guardian UK
I SPENT my last night on the Observer ‘s expense account at the Groucho Club killing a £30 bottle of claret. I had convinced the editor I needed a wad of dosh to maintain my cover as a grasping yuppie. But my mark, a young New Labour lobbyist, was in no mood for good vintage. ‘It’s appalling,’ he moaned, head in hands. He was horrified that competitors, former aides of Messrs Blair, Brown and Mandelson, had passed confidential Government information to me and to their clients, US power companies.

Inside Corporate America The Few Cyberati Dial Handouts from the Many

For The Observer/Guardian UK
It’s 2022 and my grandchildren ask, ‘Grandpa, when did the communications counter-revolution begin?’ As we huddle round the cyberfire, they guess it all went wrong in October 1999. That was when MCI WorldCom paid $115 billion for Sprint Corporation which, once it had merged with AT&T in 2002, gave the telephony behemoth 80 per cent of America’s long-distance market.