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Wednesday, February 24, 1999

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  • Sentencing Phase of Jasper Trial Begins

    After a week of hearing gruesome testimony and examining grisly evidence, it took a Texas jury of 10 whites and one African-American less than three hours to find John William King, an admitted white supremacist, guilty of capital murder in the killing of an African-American man. James Byrd, 49, was dragged to death for over three miles while chained to the back of a pickup truck in Jasper, Texas. Jurors are now hearing evidence in the sentencing phase of the trial, and will vote for either life in prison or the death penalty.

  • Chevron Linked to Violence in Nigeria

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is close to making a decision on whether to approve the introduction of a Chevron shareholders’ resolution. The resolution calls for a review of Chevron’s code of business conduct, which would include an explicit commitment to human rights, social justice and environmental responsibility. It is sponsored by Franklin Research, a Boston-based socially conscious investment firm representing several progressive religious orders that own shares in Chevron. The oil giant has asked the SEC not to allow introduction of the resolution, arguing that a similar version was introduced and defeated less than three years ago. SEC rules say that the same resolution can only be introduced once every three years.

  • Nigeria Human Rights Watch

    In a new report released this week, Human Rights Watch is charging that oil companies operating in the Niger Delta are directly benefiting from human rights abuses and repression by the Nigerian military. The report says that the companies have failed to respond adequately to serious human rights abuses in the region. The report notes that recent events in the Niger Delta, especially the crackdown on Ijaw communities over the New Year’s weekend, indicate that the Nigerian government is continuing to use violence to protect the interests of international oil companies.