Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Global Food and Fuel Crisis Worsens:

  • Haveri, Karnataka, India - Police fired on farmers protesting a critical fertilizer and seed shortage killing one Siddalingappa Churi, a local farmer and injuring four others on Tuesday. The farmers had already turned violent - burning three buses. Three police officers were reported injured in the unrest. Shortages have affected planting in two other states, including Maharashtra where another demonstration was attacked by baton-wielding police.
  • Spain - Striking truckers, seeking relief from rising fuel costs, have caused food shortages in stores across the country. One picketing trucker was rundown and killed by a scab driver. Another driver who refused to respect the strike had his rig firebombed and suffered severe burns over 25 percent of his body. Seventy-one strikers have been arrested and charged with a variety of offenses including intimidating drivers who refused to join the protest.

    A panic has spread among some consumers throughout the country who have emptied the shelves of some grocers as the majority of deliveries have been halted. The food crisis is now costing food markets an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars a day.

  • Brussels, Belgium - Hundreds of fishermen angry about the rising costs fuel converged on the EU headquarters in Brussels last week where they clashed with police and smashed windows at the European Commission's agriculture offices and a bank. The fishermen came primarily from France and Italy, where they have been on strike. Fishermen have also been refusing to work in Spain, and, until recently, in Portugal. Rioters also ripped up paving stones, overturned cars and destroyed surveillance cameras. Seventy-four demonstrators were arrested, and three officers were reported injured.

  • Britain - Shell petrol tankers are just hours away from beginning a four-day strike. This has lead some alarmists in the media to invoke the quote that Britain is just, "nine meals from anarchy." The origin of the quote was Lord Cameron of Dillington, the first head of the Countryside Agency, who made the statement to Tony Blair to illustrate what would happen if the oil needed to get food from the farms to the markets disappeared.

  • South Korea - Approximately 13,000 unionized truckers have walked off the job in response to rising fuel expenses. The action is expected to cripple the nation's ports and cause serious losses to businesses. The government has sent hundreds of riot police to the ports, and have threatened to intervene if the workers attempt to prevent unorganized drivers from replacing them, which they are sure to do.