New Internationalist

Briefly

Issue 202

new internationalist
issue 202 - December 1989

BRIEFLY...

MULTINATIONALS

Cartoon: Mark Stivers, Utne Reader, Sept/Oct 1989. Pepsi-Cola comeback
After more than 10 years of being reputedly the only non-communist country with no foreign soft-drinks companies, India has approved the re-entry of Pepsi-Cola and is thinking of allowing Coca-Cola to set up a unit in Indias free trade zone. This is a big turn-around for the country's soft-drinks industry.

Pepsi is said to have gained a toehold in the Indian market by going into fruitjuice processing in the Punjab region - production of soft drinks was supposed to be only incidental to this project.

Since the Indian government forced out Coca-Cola in 1977 for failing to satisfy certain conditions, more than 50 Indian soft-drink brands have been developed and 200 production plants set up. The rate of growth in this sector has been over 10 per cent a year and the market of 770 million Indian thirsts to slake must look lucrative.

From Economic and Political Weekly. June 3 1989

POLLUTION

Filth flourishes
Worldwide pollution from carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, rose by 1.6 per cent in 1987 to 5.6 billion tonnes of carbon a year. The figures are from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US.

Since 1983 global CO2 emissions have risen by 10 per cent. The Toronto Conference on the Changing Atmosphere held last year suggested a 20-percent cut in CO2 emissions by 2005 and a 50-percent cut by 2020.

The US, Soviet Union and China recorded the biggest increases, with China alone having a rise of 4.8 per cent. In contrast. France reduced emissions from 98 million tonnes to 95 (-3.2 per cent) and West Germany from 185 to 181 million tonnes (-2.2 per cent). The cuts were the result of a more efficient use of energy and, particularly with France, a greater reliance on nuclear power.

From The Environment Digest. No.27. 1989

[image, unknown]

PHILIPPINES

Gold crush
Government officials largely demolished the squatter village of Kidapawan on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines last August. Armed soldiers and members of the Citizens Armed Forces' Geographical Unit stood guard over the bulldozers while the community saw their homes flattened.

The demolition was because the mayor believed that gold had been buried there during the Japanese occupation in World War II. The land was under the control of the Bureau of Plant Industry and had been reserved for a nursery. However the department had requested an inquiry to see if the land should be given to the squatters, who had made it their home since 1985. The mayor ignored the government order which says that no slum can be cleared before alternative housing has been arranged.

Many of the villagers who protested were arrested. Also arrested for trying to immobililize one of the bulldozers were two Australian church workers.

From Truth and Liberation Concern Newsletter, Melbourne.

AUSTRALIA

Aborigines enterprise
Of the A$550 million 1987-8 Central Australian regional economy, more than 33 per cent was contributed by Aborigines - according to University of Sydney calculations. 17 per cent was earned directly by Aborigines or Aboriginal enterprises, developing the region for both black and white Australians.

Combined Aboriginal enterprises are a growing part of the economy. They also tend to be the most stable component, retaining wealth in Central Australia rather than allowing profits to leave the region.

From report by G Crough, R Howitt and W Pritchard, Dept of Geography, University of Sydney.

CULTURE

Oompapa priorities
More than half of all British government spending on music and opera, £62 million ($98 million) goes to support military bands. There are 81 such bands and they account for 55 per cent of the £109 million ($173 million) spent by the Government in 1987-8. The bands performed at 1,320 engagements during the year, costing the income tax payer £46,969 ($74,000) per public hearing.

'It is ridiculous,' commented a spokesperson for the National Campaign for the Arts, 'that the Ministry of Defence should spend more money on music than the government department responsible for music provision.'

Cultural Trends, published by the Policy Studies Institute.

HEALTH

Canadian doctors act
Pressure is being put on Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada's largest drug store chain, to stop them selling tobacco products. It is coming from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), representing 46,000 doctors. It is urging its members to take 'assertive action' against the chain. Unfortunately Shoppers Drug Mart is a subsidiary of the Montreal-based Imasco Ltd, which also controls Imperial Tobacco, the country's largest tobacco company.

The absurdity of pharmacies selling cigarettes is self-evident. And there are signs of progress. In 1986 the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association launched a 'Stand Up and Be Counted' campaign, convincing 771 pharmacies to stop selling the weed.

From Financial Post, Canada, May 29. 1989

Jokes often reveal truths in Cuba. One story doing the rounds in Havana has Fidel visiting his barber. The barber asks: 'Fidel, what do you really think of glasnost?' Fidel does not respond. The barber repeats the question every time Fidel comes for a haircut. Finally an annoyed Fidel replies, 'Why do you keep asking me that question?' 'It makes your hair stand on end,' the barber answers, 'and it's easier to cut.'

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