July 21, 2000
Is the IMF at the Root of Pipeline Spills That Kill Hundreds of Nigerian People?
Loans from the International Monetary Fund – or IMF – to developing countries often come with conditions attached which weigh most heavily on the poor. In Nigeria, the government is now negotiating for a one billion dollar loan. Past IMF loans have been tied to increases in the gasoline prices paid by Nigerian consumers, and in May, those prices went up by ten percent in line with IMF requirements. Ironically, those worst hit by the price increases are oil producing communities, especially those near oil pipelines. Early this month, three hundred people scooping fuel from a leaking pipeline near the Niger delta town of Warri were burnt to death when the oil caught fire. As Sam Olukoya reports from the Niger delta, the incident demonstrates the human and natural costs of IMF-imposed economic policy.
“Affordable” AIDS Drugs More Than Average Africans’ Annual Income
The U.S. Export-Import Bank announced this week that it will loan one billion dollars a year to sub-Saharan African countries to help them buy U.S.-made drugs and support their battle against AIDS. The loans will allow the countries to buy so-called combination therapies at major discounts, although even at a discount those therapies cost one to two thousand dollars a year per patient. And the loans themselves must be repaid by the governments at market interest rates. The Export-Import Bank plan is the latest in a series of moves by affluent nations and international pharmaceutical companies to respond to criticisms that life-saving drugs have been priced out of the reach of the world’s poor. But, as Rupert Cook reports from Durban, South Africa, it’s far from clear that the actions taken so far will make a dent in the AIDS pandemic among the world’s poor.
Russia and the G8 Summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin has had quite a week. First, he traveled to Beijing for talks with Chinese President Jiang Zemin which produced a declaration warning the U.S. not to build a national missile defense system, and several agreements on economic cooperation between Russia and China. Then Putin went to North Korea, where he secured an agreement from Pyongyang that it would halt its rocket development program, provided it could use other countries’ rocket technology. And by now he’s arrived on the Japanese island of Okinawa for the Group of Eight Summit of industrialized nations. The G8 summit has already been met by protests from more than twenty-five thousand local residents who want the U.S. Air Force Base on Okinawa closed, as well as from leaders of developing countries who want rich countries to follow through on debt relief plans. Professor David Kotz teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He spoke with host Matt Martin.
Censored by Monsanto, TV Reports Sue Fox TV Station
This week in Tampa, Florida a Civil Lawsuit filed by 2 Former Fox Television Reporters against their former employer, local Fox affiliate WTVT, began on Monday. Investigative reporters Steve Wilson And Jane Akre say they refused to lie. In a story they produced about a bovine growth hormone used by Florida Milk Producers. They claim that Monsanto, who manufactures the hormone – called Ponsilac – called on Fox to put pressure on the reporters to soften their story. Mitch Perry reports from Tampa.
The Computer Industry and Toxic Waste
One of the claims made on behalf of the so-called “new economy” is that, because it’s based on information, not natural resources, it treads more lightly on the environment than traditional smokestack industries. Environmentalists in California’s Silicon Valley, however, have found that the reality of information technology is not as clean as its image — and they’re leading a drive to hold computer manufacturers responsible for the toxic materials which can be found in every microprocessor. Max Pringle has more from San Jose.
Free Speech Radio News is a production of Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship. Over 40 freelance reporters in 14 states and four continents are boycotting the Pacifica Network News for censoring legitimate news stories. These reporters are risking their livelihoods.
Free Speech Radio is produced by Aaron Glantz.
Thanks to the National Radio Project for leasing us production space.
Vanessa Tait provided technical assistance.
Krissy Clark coordinates distribution.
Matt Martin anchors.