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Egyptian Workers Strike against Fertilizer Export to Israel

Mashahed, Monthly Review
In an unprecedented action, the first following the recent Israeli war on Gaza, workers of the Egyptian Fertilizers Company in Suez protested on Saturday, 7 February against the export of fertilizers to Israel.

The Egyptian Fertilizers Company is owned by Onsi and Nassef Sawiris under the umbrella of Orascom Construction Industries. The Egyptian Fertilizers Company signed an agreement to export 1,000 tons of phosphate fertilizers to Israel, at a rate of 100 tons per week. An estimated 800 Egyptians work at this factory.

Two days prior to the protest, workers were surprised by a request from the management to process an order of unmarked bags that will be transported by Jordanian trucks to an undisclosed location. As a result, about 100 workers went on strike and refused to process the order because they believed, rightly, that the cargo would travel to Israel.
(18 February 2009)
First I’ve heard of using fertilizers as a political weapon. We may see more of it. -BA

David King: Iraq was the first ‘resource war’ of the century

James Randerson, Guardian
The Iraq war was just the first of this century’s “resource wars”, in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities for themselves, according to the UK government’s former chief scientific adviser.

Sir David King predicted that with human population growing, natural resources dwindling and seas rising because of climate change, the squeeze on the planet would lead to more conflict.

“I’m going to suggest that future historians might look back on our particular recent past and see the Iraq war as the first of the conflicts of this kind – the first of the resource wars,” he told an audience of 400 in London as he delivered the British Humanist Association’s Darwin Day lecture.
(12 February 2009)

Russian gas imports to Korea start in April

Joong Ang Daily
Korea will bring in 1.5 million tons of liquified natural gas per year from Russia starting in April to ensure a steady supply of the vital fuel resource, the government said yesterday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the 20-year import deal with Sakhalin Energy, which recently began operating a new LNG refining plant, will reduce the country’s dependence on gas from the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries. Reliance on a few countries has weakened Seoul’s bargaining position, leading to sharp price fluctuations.

The gas will come from the “Sakhalin 2” project, which refines gas from two offshore fields east of Sakhalin Island.
(19 February 2009)

Crude Impact and The Tyranny of Oil
Sonali Kolhatkar, Uprising, KPFK
Despite the fact that most industries across the board are feeling the impact of the recession, the oil industry has so far remained more or less immune. Oil giant Exxon-Mobil posted a net profit of $45.2 billion for all of 2008. Still, the fall in oil prices from last year has begun to affect some oil and gas companies. Struggling to find favor with the Obama administration, oil company executives are now publicly accepting that something needs to be done about global warming and, at an industry conference this week, expressed eagerness to do something about climate change. There seems little acknowledgment however, of the fact that doing anything significant about global warming naturally means making the oil industry entirely obsolete. Oil and petroleum products have been the engine of American industrialization and dominate every aspect of global trade and the American lifestyle. With stakes so high, wars are fought over it, and the earth’s destruction ignored. We spend the hour examining the oil industry, and, in light of the recession, tackle new solutions toward a clean, green, and oil-free economy.

Crude Impact is a brand new, far-reaching, award-winning documentary, the story of the interconnection between human domination of the planet and our use of oil. Crude Impact, chronicles our insatiable appetite for oil and how it has collided with the rights and livelihoods of indigenous cultures, as well as animal species, and the air and water on our planet. The film journeys from the West African Delta region to the heart of the Amazon forest, from Washington to Shanghai, and features scientists, analysts, and activists. It explores peak oil production, foreign policy impacts, environmental impacts, and possibilities for change. The film has been an official selection at over 30 film festivals around the world, and has won numerous awards.

Antonia Juhasz is a policy-analyst, author and activist. She is an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies, a fellow with Oil Change International, and a senior analyst for Foreign Policy In Focus. Her book The Tyranny of Oil: the World’s Most Powerful Industry, and What We Must Do To Stop It, is a hard hitting exposé of the oil industry, answering today’s most pressing energy questions: Why did oil and gasoline prices rise and fall so quickly? Where will prices go in the future? Who’s really controlling those prices? How much oil is left? How far will Big Oil go to get it? And at what cost to the economy, environment, human rights, worker safety, public health, democracy, and America’s place in the world? Juhasz answers these questions in a talk she gave recently in Orange County.
(12 February 2009)
Left radio station (Pacifica). Many fund-raising requests punctuate the audio. This may be an old interview.