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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Amnesty International Report Portrays Bhopal as a Continuing Disaster
As reported in The New York Times (Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2004), the international human rights organization Amnesty International has released a new report which contends that, almost twenty years after the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Union Carbide plant site in Bhopal, India has still not been cleaned up, the survivors are still waiting for compensation, and the companies responsible have gone unpunished.

In its report, “Clouds of Injustice,” Amnesty International states that “The Bhopal case illustrates how companies evade their human rights responsibilities and underlines the need to establish a universal human rights framework that can be applied to companies directly.”

The new First Run/Icarus Films documentary release, LITIGATING DISASTER, reveals how Union Carbide successfully manipulated both the U.S. and the Indian legal systems against each other, in order to avoid having to defend its record in the Bhopal plant in court. Featuring, a young Indian-American lawyer, the film follows the case he brought on behalf of the victims in front of the Federal District Court in New York. Case number 99CIV 11239 has survived two motions to dismiss, and is now proceeding to trial.
NYC Comptroller Calls for Crackdown on “Knock Off” Counterfeiting
In a New York Times article (November 23, 2004), New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. decried the proliferation of hawkers selling counterfeit brand-name items, from Fendi handbags and replica Rolex watches to pirated DVDs. Thompson estimated that more than $23 billion in counterfeit goods are sold in New York City each year, resulting in an estimated tax loss to the city of some $1 billion.

This situation is colorfully chronicled in KNOCK OFF: REVENGE ON THE LOGO, which takes us on a journey up the world's longest shopping strip, Broadway in New York City, a veritable meridian of counterfeit selling. This provocataive documentary juxtaposes the deified position brand-name logos occupy in our consumer culture with the lives of sweatshop workers who cannot afford the items they create.

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