The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy that precludes employees from accepting trips paid for by companies the agency regulates is easily side-stepped. Alexander Cohen reports that non-profit groups that "draw their members, their boards and even some of their funding from medical and pharmaceutical-related companies" paid for roughly one-third of the 3,600 sponsored trips received by hundreds of FDA employees since 1999.
"When 15 Latino groups sent a letter to top Senate Commerce Committee lawmakers urging video-franchising relief for the Bell telecommunications firms, the appeal appeared to be on behalf of Hispanic Americans," writes David Hatch. "But critics said the letter also was on behalf of the Bell firms AT&T and Verizon Communications, which have financial and business ties to many of the signatories. ...
"Money will define the right to communicate," warned media analyst Néstor Cortés, regarding a bill before the Mexican Senate that would likely further media consolidation in the country.
In Britain, "public money has been used to support a vigorous pro-nuclear campaign." The campaign, Nuklear21, includes "workers from the defunct Chapelcross nuclear plant in Dumfries and Galloway," who have been handing out leaflets at "Scottish party political conferences." The leaflets call nuclear power "atoms for peace" and claim that "nuclear will help save the planet." N
U.S. coal industry lobbyists have "resumed a longstanding effort to eliminate -- or at least greatly weaken" the federal requirement for four full inspections a year at underground coal mines. Already this year, 21 coal miners have died, including 16 at West Virginia's Sago Mine. Twenty-two miners died in all of 2005. "A decade ago, industry lobbyists and conservative activists" tried to eliminate the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).