From Volume 8, Issue 21 of EIR Online, Published May 26, 2009

Global Economic News

Global Electricity Consumption To Decline 3.5% in 2009

May 22 (EIRNS)—The International Energy Agency (IEA) will tell energy ministers of the Group of 8 industrial countries on May 24 that it projects global electricity consumption will fall by 3.5% during 2009, according to the May 22 Financial Times. This projection, while a linear extrapolation of a global economy that is actually in a nonlinear collapse, is indicative of the literal dark age that is spreading around the globe. The IEA projection for Russia, is a decline of almost 10% of electricity usage. In China, electricity consumption will be more than 2% lower than in 2008. Three-quarters of the global decline in consumption is accounted for by the plunge in industrial usage, not household demand. The absolute decrease in household demand indicates a lowering living standard for millions.

One of the first actions taken by President Franklin Roosevelt in his first 100 days, was to sign the legislation creating the Tennessee Valley Authority. Within a few years, 6 million people who had never had access to electricity, were brought into the 20th Century. The later Rural Electrification Administration connected millions more to the grid. Now, time is going backwards: The 2 billion people in the world who have no access to electricity, will be joined soon by millions more, who used to.

Japan: The Incredible Shrinking Economy

May 20 (EIRNS)—Japan announced its GDP for the quarter ending March 31, and it shrank 15.2% from the same period a year earlier, marking a fourth straight quarter of loss and the biggest decline since Japan began keeping records. It was also a deeper fall than during the previous three months, when the economy shrank 14.4% from the year-earlier period.

Most of the decline is from the collapse of exports of finished goods to the United States and Europe, which were down 26% from the previous quarter. However, layoffs, and most especially, reduced pay from shorter hours and job sharing, are also reducing domestic demand.

Dutch Commit Fraud, Piracy Against Public Health

May 20 (EIRNS)—Dutch authorities, in the name of the European Union, have seized several shipments of affordable generic drugs produced by independent Indian pharmaceutical companies as they transited through the Netherlands on their way to developing countries. These acts have been carried out on the pretext that these are counterfeits of patented drugs, and thus the Dutch are merely enforcing World Trade Organization (WTO) statutes governing intellectual property rights.

The Dutch are committing fraud, Lyndon LaRouche charged, because generics are not counterfeits.

The Indian and Brazilian governments, in particular, are on a war footing against these seizures, which the Indian government called "acts of piracy." The pharmaceutical cartel has long sought to crush the Indian pharmaceutical companies, which constitute the largest drug-producing capability worldwide, independent of the cartels.

On Jan 15 of this year, a shipment of the Indian pharmaceutical company, Dr. Reddy's Lab, of the generic version of Losartan (for treating high blood pressure) was seized in transit in the Netherlands, en route way to Brazil.

Brazil's Ministry of External Affairs has threatened to take the issue up with the WTO. And Brazil, with strong support from India and Bangladesh, at a recent executive board session of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, succeeded in blocking a controversial resolution backed by the European Commission and International Medical Product Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce. The resolution had been widely criticized for mixing up issues of public health and private intellectual property rights in the context of defining counterfeit drugs.

Last November, Dutch authorities seized HIV/AIDS medicine manufactured by India's Aurobindo Pharma Ltd, meant for use in Nigeria. The drug, purchased by the Clinton Foundation through UNITAID (an international facility for purchasing drugs to treat HIV/AIDS). It was the sixth reported incident of an Indian drug firm's exports being seized in transit in Europe for shipments meant for other markets. Aurobindo's Abacavir tablets are not counterfeit, UNITAID said on its website. "They are medicines used in second-line treatment of HIV/AIDS manufactured by the Indian company Aurobindo. These medicines have been pre-qualified by the WHO and have received tentative approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration," it said.

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