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Pieces Together

MEGA-DEATH MARKETPLACE
"The annual Asia Security Conference, a forum for discussion, brought together some of the world's main arms-makers with military chiefs nervously eyeing their neighbors' moves and looking to upgrade defenses in a region full of long-running insurgencies, potential maritime disputes and growing wealth. ‘Defense suppliers find it very important to be here to make a set of contacts,’ said Jonathan Pollack, professor of Asian and Pacific Studies at the U.S. Naval War College. Japan's defense minister told the gathering that the country, anxious about North Korea's latest nuclear test, would not strike first but it was still looking to boost its air force with Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter jets. Top executives from firms such as Boeing, the Pentagon's No.2 defense supplier, flew to Singapore to rub shoulders with potential clients, as they look to expand foreign sales at a time when the Obama government is starting to cap defense project spending." (Yahoo News, 31 May)

YESTERDAY’S PRICE OF OIL
"Royal Dutch Shell and the families of Ken Saro-Wiwa, an executed Nigerian opposition leader, and other activists hanged by the military government in 1995, on Monday agreed a $15.5m settlement in a New York court case stemming from allegations the oil group was complicit in the executions. The settlement, in which Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary denied any liability, ended a 13-year campaign by relations and supporters of Saro-Wiwa to hold the company accountable. A spokesman for the plaintiffs said $5m of the settlement to be paid by Shell would be put into a trust fund to promote education and welfare in the Ogoniland region of the Niger delta. The balance would be shared among 10 plaintiffs after legal costs were met. Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists were hanged after leading a campaign against Shell’s activities in the region and the then military-led government. ...Oil production stopped in Ogoniland in 1993 when Shell ceased operations amid mass protests led by Saro-Wiwa against the environmental damage alleged to have been inflicted by the company’s operations. The plaintiffs had alleged that at the request of Shell, and with its assistance and financing, Nigerian soldiers used deadly force and massive, brutal raids against the Ogoni people throughout the early 1990s to repress a movement against the oil company." (Financial Times, 9 June)

TODAY’S PRICE OF OIL
"President Alan Garcia labored Saturday to contain Peru's worst political violence in years, as nine more police officers were killed in a bloody standoff with Amazon Indians fighting his efforts to exploit oil and gas on their native lands. The new deaths brought to 22 the number of police killed — seven with spears — since security forces moved early Friday to break up a roadblock manned by 5,000 protesters. Protest leaders said at least 30 Indians, including three children, died in the clashes. Authorities said they could confirm only nine civilian deaths, but cabinet chief Yehude Simon told reporters that 155 people had been injured, about a third of them with bullet wounds." (Associated Press, 6 June)