The Chinese government has pledged 45 billion yuan (nearly $6.6 billion) for media that target foreign audiences, "in an aggressive global drive to improve the country's image internationally." The Xinhua News Agency wants to use the funding to "expand its overseas bureaus from about 100 to 186," nearly enough to have a bureau in every country.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which "advises most major governments across the world on energy policy," has systematically underestimated the potential of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, "because of its ties to the oil, gas and nuclear sectors," charges Energy Watch, a group of scientists and politicians. Swiss parliamentarian Rudolf Rechsteiner, a member of Energy Watch, said that IEA was "delaying the change to a renewable world.
Many of the of the tobacco industry's underhanded strategies and tactics have been exposed, thanks to landmark legal cases and the hard work of public health advocates. But we are still uncovering the shocking lengths to which the industry has gone to protect itself from public health measures like smoking bans. Now we can thank the city of Pueblo, Colorado, for an opportunity to look a little bit deeper into how the industry managed the deadly deceptions around secondhand smoke.
A new study, now the ninth of its type and the most comprehensive one yet, has shown a major reduction in hospital admissions for heart attacks after a smoke-free law was put into effect.
On July 1, 2003, the relatively isolated city of Pueblo, Colorado enacted an ordinance that prohibited smoking in workplaces and indoor public areas, including bars and restaurants. For the study, researchers reviewed hospital admissions for heart attacks among area residents for one year prior to, and three years after the ban, and compared the data to two other nearby areas that didn't have bans (the part of Pueblo County outside city limits, and El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs). Researchers found that during the three years after the ban, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 41 percent inside the city of Pueblo, but found no significant change in admissions for heart attacks in the other two control areas.
Eight studies done prior to this one in other locales used similar techniques and yielded similar results, but covered shorter periods of time -- usually about one year after the smoking ban went into effect. The results of this longer, more comprehensive study support the view that not only does secondhand smoke have a significant short-term impact on heart function, but that lives, and money, are probably being saved by new laws proliferating around the world in recent years that minimize public exposure to secondhand smoke.
"In the usual process," writes Greg Mitchell, "the U.S. government -- and media here -- are playing down questions about whether Israel overreacted in its massive air strikes on Gaza, while the foreign press, and even Haaretz in Israel, carries more balanced accounts. The early reports on Sunday already reveal the bombing of a TV station and mosque and preparations for an invasion." Mitchell cites eyewitness accounts that describe morgues full of civilians, along with editorial stating that Israel's bombing of Gaza "within the span of a few hours ...
The "Worst EU Lobbying Awards," sponsored each year by Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, LobbyControl and Spinwatch, have been announced for 2008.
There's nothing quite like a hotly contested election. The candidates have their devoted supporters and angry detractors. Then there are vigorous debates over the issues, while some people question the integrity of the entire process.
We speak, of course, of the Falsies Awards.
This year marks the Center for Media and Democracy's (CMD's) fifth annual Falsies Awards. The Falsies are our attempt to shine an unflattering light on those responsible for polluting the information environment over the past year. We're happy to report that more people -- nearly 1,450 -- voted in this year's Falsies survey than ever before! We're also bestowing special recognition on one of this year's "winners."
Falsies recipients can collect their prizes -- a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, our two cents and a chance to atone for their spinning ways by making a detailed public apology -- by visiting CMD's office in Madison, Wisconsin. This year's Gold and Silver Falsies go to masters of war deception, while the Bronze Falsie recognizes a massive greenwash campaign. The first-ever Lifetime Achievement Falsie goes to a serial corporate front man, while a determined (if at times laughable) attempt at nation re-branding wins dishonorable mention. Then there are the Readers' Choice Falsies and Win Against Spin Awards, nominated by our survey participants.
The White House says that the Iraqi Parliament's approval of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is cause for celebration and a sign that we have won the war. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino rejected the idea that the Agreement's stipulation of troop withdrawal in three years is in fact exactly the type of timetable that President Bush has consistently opposed.