1990s >> 1996 >> no-1098-february-1996

The Scavenger: These Foolish Things: One World

One World 
“. . . A Brave New World is being created out there. Not, as one hoped, by one world idealists or UN diplomacy, but by the global corporations for the simplest of all reasons—profits. The state can either play along with them or have delusions of grandeur. The cost of delusions will be severe and will, be paid not by politicians but by the citizens.” Meghnad Desai, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics. Letter in the Guardian, 24 October 1995

Over 100 million landmines have been laid in 64 countries. They are still being laid. Eight million old ones still lie buried. Five hundred people are being killed and injured by them every week. But mines are a very profitable product, so the likelihood of production and sales being halted in capitalism is rather small.

Top Gun
No amount of impassioned argument by lawyers and no predictions of the tragic human costs of possible conflicts can obscure the fact that international law simply does not prohibit per se the use of nuclear weapons.” Conrad Harper, legal adviser to the US State Department, said. The US held nuclear arms for self-defence and deterrence, he said. Reuters.

Serious accidents in the mining industry are up by more than 28 percent, according to the first official figures since privatisation . . .  [At Thoresby] one worker died and seven were given hospital treatment after a huge outburst of oil and gas 1,000 feet underground. Guardian. 2 November 1995.

I am one of the miners involved in the tragedy at Thoresby Colliery on October 12. Just 48 hours before the underground accident that killed Andrew Fielding, we were visited at the face by members of the management team and the safety engineer. We reported that the fumes gave us headaches, dizziness, nausea and some of our men were vomiting. The fumes were getting stronger each shift. The management’s attitude was that we would have to persevere. They told us: ‘The fumes are like dog shit—you might not like the smell, but it won’t hurt you.’ We were actually sent a bottle Olbas Oil to put into carbon masks to disguise the smell and 100 paracetamol tablets for our headaches . . . “ Peter Davies, letter in the Guardian, 2 November 1995.

The report of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), 15 November 1995, states that the number of refugees in the world being looked after by the Commission is now 27 million, but that contributions to the fund for improving their conditions are decreasing . . .

Social cancer
Booming sales of cigarettes to developing countries including China, Russia and Brazil have helped BAT Industries, Britain’s seventh biggest company, to record pre-tax profits of £1.8 billion in the nine months to the end of September.

BAT, whose brands include Lucky Strike, Kool, Kent and State Express 555, said the figures, up 22 percent on the same period last year, reflected an exceptional performance from its tobacco division. Guardian, 9 November 1995.

The Scavenger

The Scavenger thanks readers for items sent in. Regrets some will have to be held over to next month.