News Snippets

Published: Wednesday 31 March 2004

Based on interviews with workers and management in China, Bulgaria, Turkey, Thailand and Cambodia, Oxfam and uk trade unions have accused sportswear firms of overriding labour standards and exploiting workers in a bid to get products onto shop shelves in time for the Athens Olympics in August this year.

The battle to stifle open software has taken another turn. The us-based sco group, which owns the Unix operating system -- that inspired Linux -- has begun taking legal action against Linux users and distributors. sco's claim is that the Linux kernel contains large portions of code that legally belongs to it.

Rwanda's first private radio station since the 1994 genocide, during which the central African country's media were used to incite the slaughter of up to a million people, has began broadcasting. Radio 10 kicked off its fm program with an on-air promise from its businessman owner that it would not repeat the acts of Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines, which openly encouraged the killings. Eugene Nyagahene also said it was high time Rwandans, who for the past decade have had only state-run Radio Rwanda, had an independent outlook on affairs.

Reporters Without Borders has condemned new Chinese government regulations on Internet chatrooms. Since these regulations came into force February 23, 2004 onwards, claims the media rights organisation, many news groups have been shut down and the filtering of online messages stepped up. "It also seems that debates of a political nature have virtually disappeared from forums as a result of stricter filtering criteria used by the Ban Zhu (discussion group moderators)".

In a March 5 statement, the us-based Committee to Protect Journalists has said that Bangladesh is the most dangerous place in Asia to be a newsperson. "The violence is particularly intense in south-western regions, where criminal gangs and clandestine groups frequently target local journalists who report on such topics as corruption and organised crime. Vigorous prosecutions are rare".

Chernobyl Heart, a film about the effects of radiation on the children of Belarus 16 years after the accident at the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, has won the Oscar award for best documentary, short subject. After a journey to the plant, the film follows the trail of radiation to the country's hospitals, cancer centers, orphanages and mental asylums, where the children live, or are being treated.

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