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With a mixture of threats and promises, the Indians in land-conflict with the Lorentzen-company Aracruz Celulose were pressured by the government of Brazil to accept more surveys related to their landclaim. The Indians, however, will not move an inch: In a declaration NorWatch is in reciept of, they write that the accpeted delay till the 24th of February, is to be the absultely last one. If the Brazilian Minister of Justice have not signed the papers ordering the demarcation of the land by that time, the Indians will go to direct action.
Central Bank Governor Kjell Storvik, who is in charge of the Government Petroleum Fund investments, is a worried man. In an interview he says that if the government is to impose conditions regarding investment vehicles in terms of human rights and the environment, it will be difficult to measure the rate of return of the fund. This way the general public won't be able to see whether the Bank of Norway is doing a good job or not.
The fight against Utkal Alumina in the state of Orissa in India is intensifying. At the same time as the company, assisted by local authorities, is escalating the fight to force the indigenous people in the area to accept the compensation they have been offered, resistance is getting stronger, in spite of repeated police violence, and reporting to the police of children taking part in the struggle.
The Indian financial newspaper The Economic Times (ET) reported on December 24 last year, and repeated on February 17 this year, that Utkal Alumina has found its fourth partner in the Canadian mining colossus Alcan. The newspaper says that Alcan as well as Hydro's partner in Utkal, Indal, have confirmed this information.
Already before the investment decisions in Utkal Alumina have been made, and before the ownership structure of the company has been established, the company has started the first round of competitive tendering for the construction of a wall around the site for the planned alumina factory in Kashipur, Orissa. Large areas of fertile agricultural land will be walled in, in spite of the fact that a number of issues relating to this project have yet to be settled.
For the local population of Rayagada district the fight against the Utkal project is a matter of life and death. The struggle against the company is reflected in a number of new songs, performed in the traditional manner. The songs describe the threat, the fight and the need to stand united. These two songs have been written and performed by a 16-year-old boy, Bhogaban Mathi, from Kucheipadar. They have been translated from Uria by G.P. Samontray.
NorWatch has focused attention on the serious problems associated with Norsk Hydro's involvement in Utkal Alumina in India, including forced relocation, use of violence, lack of information and dramatically worsened living conditions for the local population.

At the end of February, Kongsberg Simrad will participate in the Oil & Gas Expo in Burma's capital Rangoon. The Expo is organized by the country's Ministry of Energy. Kongsberg tells NorWatch that the company will trade with Burma's controversial regime if contracts are landed.

- We need an export permit for many of our products, and will first apply for this. If we get a permit, there's no reason not to do business with the country, says the president of Kongsberg Maritime, Jan Erik Korssjøen.

Supported by Norad's matchmaking program, Kongsberg Industri sold its production equipment for wrenches to the Indian company Toptek Hardware. The contract included a 3-year agreement to purchase 100,000 wrenches yearly - an agreement which was crucial in order to secure profitability for the Indian partner. Two months after production started, KI went bankrupt, but failed to inform Toptek that the contract was canceled. KI had then received approximately USD 133,000 as payment from Toptek for the equipment.
In October last year Norway got a new government. In opposition, several of the three government parties, particularly the Christian Democratic Party, voiced concern about the globalization of Norwegian trade and industry. So far the parties have not followed up their involvement from their governing position.
Skeidar DnM Engros A/S, supplier for the two large furniture chains Ide Skeidar and Det norske Møbelsenter, will not sell garden furniture made of teak from Burma in 1998. Instead Skeidar will sell furniture made of teak from plantations in Java, Indonesia, where efforts are made to obtain environmental certificates for the products. Arve Varleite's furniture factory in Burma has thus lost a major customer in Norway. Skeidar's decision is greatly appreciated by The Future in Our Hands and the Rain Forest Foundation, which since last spring have tried to make the furniture industry boycott teak from Burma's military dictatorship.
The Norwegian furniture manufacturer Arve Varleite can no longer manufacture furniture made of tropical wood in Vietnam. Vietnamese authorities have prohibited further exploitation of the forests, and banned export of wood products in an effort to save the country's threatened rain forest.