Spotlight News 2/24/2016

Thieves in Minas Gerais, Brazil Hijack Cargo Truck Loaded With $327,000 of Pharmaceuticals

At least three armed thieves hijacked a cargo truck in Brazil that was transporting a shipment of unidentified pharmaceuticals estimated to be worth 1.3 million reais ($326,752). According to the driver, the three thieves intercepted his cargo truck on the BR-050 highway near Uberaba, Minas Gerais and forced him from his vehicle. The thieves placed a hood on the driver and placed him into their passenger vehicle while one of the criminals took control of the cargo truck and shipment of pharmaceuticals.

The thieves, with the cargo truck driver still held hostage, drove to an area on the nearby BR-262 highway, where they stopped to offload the cargo. A passerby saw the group on the side of the road and, thinking that they were having mechanical problems, stopped to help. The thieves then took the passerby hostage, locking him and the cargo truck driver in a vehicle and abandoning the two in the area of Jubai, located south of Uberaba, and fled. Police are continuing to search for the thieves and stolen pharmaceuticals. 

Supplier to Australian Clothing Brand Diverted Production Order to Unauthorized Factory in North Korea

A supplier to a major Australian surfing sportswear company allegedly diverted a portion of a production order to an unauthorized subcontractor manufacturing clothing at a factory near Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Clothing items produced at the factory in North Korea were affixed with fake labels falsely stating the products were made in China. The Australian company released a public statement acknowledging it was aware of this issue after investigators from a media outlet sent it photographs of the garments being produced at the factory near Pyongyang. North Korea suffers from a Severe threat to human rights, and workers in the country are subjected to a range of abuses, including being forced to work long hours, for little pay, and often in harsh conditions.

Oil Spill in Peruvian Amazon Contaminates Waterways Used by Indigenous Groups

An oil spill in the Peruvian Amazon has contaminated two waterways used by at least eight indigenous groups. Officials estimated that approximately 3,000 barrels of oil have leaked from the country’s main pipeline into the Chiriaco and Morona rivers, located in the northwestern region of the country, after a landslide caused an initial rupture in the pipeline. Officials later detected a second leak in the pipeline but are not sure what had caused the additional break. The oil company has already promised to clean up the spill, which has so far been hindered by heavy rains, and is providing food and water to affected communities.

According to Peru’s environmental regulatory agency (OEFA), the oil company could face up to $17 million in fines if the oil spill is found to have impacted the health of local citizens. The leaks have forced the company to shut down the pipeline, halting the flow of about 6,000 barrels of oil per day. In addition, the company now faces allegations of paying children to clean up the spilled oil. One NGO indicated that this is the third oil spill to occur in the last month, underscoring the fact that inspections of businesses to ensure compliance with environmental regulations tend to be reactive and are not consistently conducted.