Sunday, September 28, 2003

Gold Fields to fight lawsuit

Johannesburg - Gold Fields, the second-largest gold producer in South Africa, will vigorously defend a lawsuit brought against to it by the company's former employees, said company officials on Monday.Ed Fagan, an American lawyer, and his South African counterpart, John Ngcebetsha, were expected to file the lawsuit in New York on Monday on behalf of Gold Fields' former workers. Fagan and Ngcebetsha claim that Gold Fields exposed more than 500 of its former employees to "dangerous working conditions leading to uranium contamination", and they seek compensation for that, Business Day reported on Monday. Willie Jacobsz of Gold Fields said the company received a letter from Fagan on April 22 telling them he and Ngcebetsha intended suing the gold producer. "I read that they may file; it could be today (Monday) that something could come up," Jacobsz said, adding Gold Fields had not yet received letters confirming that Fagan had filed the lawsuit. Business Day reported that Gold Fields was taking the lawsuit seriously, and would strenuously defend it. Fagan and Ngcebetsha demand compensation of up to $7bn (about R52bn). Ngcebetsha and Fagan are claiming billions of rands from Sasol, De Beers and Anglo American on behalf of victims of apartheid.

Apartheid claims widened

Salzburg - US attorney Ed Fagan is to file lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in compensation from Swiss banks on behalf of victims of the apartheid regime this week, he said on Tuesday. Fagan, who was heckled by a crowd in the heart of Zurich's financial centre as he sought to present a case against Switzerland's two leading banks on Monday, said the incident had provided new material for an additional claim. "The defendants provided the plaintiffs with new and additional information about their involvement and their possession of documents related to their business dealings with the apartheid administration," he said in a statement. The lawsuit claims reparations from UBS, Credit Suisse and US banking group Citibank, on behalf of four victims of apartheid. In the late 1990s, Fagan played a leading role in pressing compensation claims against Swiss banks by Holocaust survivors, triggering international pressure on Switzerland to account for its record during World War II. The banks are accused of "profiteering" under the apartheid regime. They have also been accused of helping to prop up white-only rule in South Africa by continuing to do business with the authorities there after 1985. - Sapa-AFP

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Edward Said dies

Malise Ruthven
Friday September 26, 2003, The Guardian
Edward Said, who has died aged 67, was one of the leading literary critics of the last quarter of the 20th century. As professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, New York, he was widely regarded as the outstanding representative of the post-structuralist left in America. Above all, he was the most articulate and visible advocate of the Palestinian cause in the United States, where it earned him many enemies. More...

Friday, September 26, 2003

Been Away in the USA

I have been travelling over the last while. Was first at a conference at Notre Dame entitled Peacebuilding after Peace Accords. Thereafter took a short road trip from Chicago to Boston through the strange country of the US, via the Finger Lakes, Adirondack mountains and Vermont. As always it was full of surprises, very beautiful and a place one cannot simply put into a pigeon-hole. Constantly one runs into some of the nicest people on earth, which is always hard to reconcile given the countries foreign policy, but here is hoping for some changes in brief sojourn tells me this is what most people want...

Monday, September 1, 2003

Peruvian TRC report out

The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, finding that 69 280 people died at the hands of the armed forces and of the Shining Path group, has now been published. The report is available here.