Conflict Diamonds

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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?




Warren Olney