The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "United Nations" ...

  • The betrayal of Basra

    This Mother Jones' investigative report exposes the desperation of Iraqi people "after ten years of American-sponsored sanctions." The story describes the suffocating air in Basra's pediatric hospitals where thousands of children die because of malnutrition and lack of medicines. The article follows the history of Iraq in recent decades from the standpoint of ordinary people, who have survived in a struggle with poverty and Saddam Hussein's regime. The reporter points to examples of how Iraq cannot use its oil money to pay wages, to finance public-works contracts, to run hospitals or to revitalize the welfare state. A major finding is that this lack of cash flow makes it easier for the regime to monopolize access to all essential goods and services. "And, as the United States learned on September 11, that sense of injustice can fuel a desperate desire for revenge," the author concludes.
  • Epidemic Proportions

    The American Prospect looks at the everyday health-seeking practices in third-world countries. "If there is one thing AIDS has taught us, it is to be wary of interactions between medical technology and local sociocultural factors," points out the author, a PhD holder and resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The main findings are that poorly trained doctors in developing nations are prescribing aggressive and inappropriate medical treatments in order to comply with patients' expectations, and that many residents of third-world countries seek effective treatment for their illnesses only after repeatedly visiting untrained doctors.
  • New Regimen: AIDS-Drug Price War Breaks Out in Africa, Goaded by Generics

    A Wall-Street Journal analysis looks at the AIDS-drug market, and finds that "pharmaceutical giants seek to blunt a growing threat from generic-drug companies and recoup some moral high ground amid the crippling epidemic." The story reports on the slashing of the prices by the biggest drug-makers. It also includes a table of prices for AIDS per patient per year in the U.S. and Africa offered by large drug makers and two Indian generic drug companies.
  • The Catalyst: Behind Cipla's Offer Of Cheap AIDS Drugs: Potent Mix of Motives

    The Wall Street Journal looks at the role of Cipla Ltd., an Indian pharmaceuticals company, in the "extraordinary price war for supplying the lifesaving medicines to Africa and developing nations elsewhere." The story reveals that Cipla has offered "to sell a triple combination of "antiretroviral" AIDS drugs to the international aid group Doctors Without Borders at less than $1 a day per patient..." The reporter finds that even though "multinational pharmaceuticals companies dismiss Cipla and its peers as "patent" pirates," the smaller rivals are "transforming the debate over how to provide critical medicines to poor nations."
  • Adverse Reaction: AIDS Gaffes in Africa Come Back to Haunt Drug Industry at Home

    The Wall Street Journal examines the increasing risks to the pharmaceutical companies, if they continue "to conduct their business as usual - by finding and patenting a few new drugs, pricing them high and marketing them aggressively..." The story finds that AIDS-drug price cuts in poor nations have deepened U.S. pharmaceuticals industry domestic trouble, as the firms have revealed the 'true' cost of pills. The article points to evidence that some "medicines are priced - excluding research expenses - at eight to 10 times their cost of manufacturing and distribution. The reporter finds that even though drug makers "poured $80 million into last year's Congressional campaign... their credibility is weakening in the public eye." The story also looks at the possibility for government-mandated price-controls for prescription drugs.
  • The Secret Behind the Sanctions

    A Progressive Magazine investigation reveals that "contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the county's water supply after the Gulf War." The story reports on documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving "the United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, but it went ahead anyway." The article describes multiple death cases, mostly of children, that resulted from the degraded water supply. The author points out that "over the last decade, Washington extended the toll by continuing to withhold approval for Iraq to import the few chemicals and items of equipment it needed in order to clean up its water supply."
  • Bystanders to Genocide

    The Atlantic Monthly investigates "why the United states let the Rwandan tragedy happen." The story includes "exclusive interviews with scores of the participants in the decision-making." The author analyses "a cache of newly declassified documents" that reveal that "the U.S. government knew enough about the genocide early on to save lives..." The story reveals that "the U.S. did much more than fail to send lead a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda." The article is a "chilling narrative of self-serving caution and flaccid will - and countless missed opportunities to mitigate a colossal crime."
  • Disgrace Into Space

    Space is looking more and more like the final frontier as military, commerical and environmental interests vie with each other for control of space's resources, and space. Karl Grossman reports on the battle between the US and other contries in the United Nations for the rights to exploit and weaponize space.
  • As Unicef Battles Baby-Formula Makers, African Infants Sicken

    The Wall Street Journal reports on the spread of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa through breastfeeding, resulting in the debate over whether infant formula should be made available to poor African mothers. While major formula makers say they will donate tons of free formula to HIV infected women, "Unicef (an United Nations agency) refuses to green light the gifts, because it doesn't want to endorse an industry it has long accused of abusive practices in the developing world." The rivalry started in the1970s when formula makers gave free samples to attract women in maternity wards. But when the free samples stopped, the woman's own breast milk usually was dried up. The result left "few who could afford to purchase any formula, or they diluted it to make it last longer, sometimes starving their babies in the process." "Unicef continues to lead the crusade for breast-feeding in the developing world . . but the agency is 'supportive' of formula as an option for HIV-infected mothers. However, they say they are worried about how "the despretly poor, HIV-infected women who do choose formula are supposed to get it." In addition, Unicef says "it has ample evidence of wrongful industry marketing efforts in developing world countries . . . and fear the industry will try to exploit the AIDS crisis as a way to build its African market. The Wall Street Journal looks at this debate and raises questions on the efforts to fight this worldwide disease.
  • Guns, Money and Cell Phones

    The Industry Standard reports that the demand for an ore called columbite-tantalite -- or coltan -- is helping to fuel the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When refined, coltan becomes tantalum, a highly heat-resistant metal powder that is a key component in everything from mobile phones to computer chips and VCR's. As the demand for these products has increased, "a new, more sinister market began flourishing in the ...Congo. There, warring groups - many funded and supplied by neighboring Rwanda and Uganda - are exploiting coltan mining to help finance a bloody civil war now in its third year." Although selling coltan is not illegal, a United Nations report in April suggested that thousands of tons of coltan had been smuggled from the Congo into Rwanda and Uganda, and may have eventually made it to the U.S. companies that use the material. For their part, these companies have no way of knowing whether the tantalum they use is helping to finance the civil war. Another side effect of the coltan trade: mining activity is especially big in the mountainous northeastern region of the Congo, where endangered gorillas live.