Enduring Questions about Diamonds
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At the height of the holiday season, the Hollywood film Blood Diamond
is raising questions about a $60 billion industry. What are the human
costs of diamond production? Are diamond profits still used to fund
brutal conflicts? How important are diamonds to the economies of many
African countries? Plus, Secretary General Kofi Annan delivers his
farewell speech to the United Nations, and a conversation with an
American journalist all too familiar with the late Agusto Pinochet's
brutal reign in Chile and how he came to power.
Conflict Diamonds ()
At least one million African workers earn pennies a day in the backbreaking effort to find diamonds, which themselves have no intrinsic value at all, but serve as symbols of love, wealth and power, and that makes for an industry worth $60 billion a year. By the time they get to a jewelry store, there's no way to identify these stones that have been used to finance brutal conflict in Africa. Bad publicity has driven the industry to reduce smuggling and try to improve the appalling conditions of diamond miners. But the new Hollywood film, Blood Diamond, is raising disturbing questions. What are the human costs? How much smuggling is still going on? How important are diamonds to the economies of countries including Sierra Leone, Botswana and South Africa?
- Corinna Gilfillan: Head of US Office of Global Witness
- Cecilia Gardner: General Counsel of the World Diamond Council
- Kadir van Lohuizen: Photo-journalist and author
- David Anthony: Professor of African History at UC Santa Cruz
The Death of Chile's Augusto Pinochet ()
Augusto Pinochet led a military coup that topped Chile's elected President, Salvador Allende, on September 11, 1973. It was a bloody affair, and Allende was one of those who died. When Pinochet died yesterday, thousands of demonstrators celebrated in the streets of Santiago, Chile, the country he ruled for almost 20 years. There were some violent encounters with police and with mourners. Pinochet was 91 years old, and his death came--ironically--on International Human Rights Day.
- Marc Cooper: Visiting Professor of Journalism at USC Annenberg School for Communication, @marc_cooper
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Gives His Farewell Address ()
After ten years in office, Kofi Annan has delivered his farewell speech as Secretary General of the United Nations. Annan, who will be replaced by on January 1 by Ban Ki-moon, spoke at the Harry Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.
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