corporate diplomacy

Palestinian schoolchildren in the village of Kafr Sur in Tulkarem this week received footballs from Spanish giant FC Barcelona. The balls are apparently replacements for those lost over the separation fence between the West Bank and Israel over the years, the Guardian reported. A Spanish journalist, Anna Alba, who spoke about the “gift” said she hoped that it would encourage other teams to come to the area and support local athletes.

This brings to nine the number of artists who have pulled out of the Biennale because of its partnership with Transfield, which manages the offshore detention of asylum seekers. Agnieszka Polska, Sara van der Heide, Nicoline van Harskamp and Nathan Gray announced today they would not participate in the prestigious exhibition. They have asked the Biennale to leave their spaces blank so their protest will be obvious.

Corporate sponsors of the Sochi Winter Olympics should act now to urge Russia to halt the rising tide of discrimination, harassment, and threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, 40 of the world’s leading human rights and LGBT groups said today, in an unusual joint open letter.

From an ad to stir up interest in carbonated beverages to a dropped partnership between a Hollywood actress and a humanitarian group, some netizens continue to dissect every move made by Scarlett Johansson and SodaStream.

Brazil is known worldwide for its soccer players and supermodels, its lively parties and an appreciation for living life passionately. Another well-known characteristic of the country is its high inequality spurred on by ineffective income distribution practices and clientelistic political systems.

Gender is once again on the World Economic Forum’s agenda. At this year’s Annual Meeting, a series of sessions will focus on the desirability of advancing the rights and economic power of women and girls around the world, and of continuing to close the gender gap in Western C-suites, boardrooms, parliaments and presidencies. These discussions will build on the Global Gender Gap Report 2013, published last November.

Last week saw five workers shot dead, at least thirty injured and twenty three arrested in a crackdown during a nationwide strike by garment workers, calling for an increase of the minimum wage in Cambodia from $100 to $160 per month. The deadly clashes took place near the Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh, home to factories producing clothing for brands such as adidas, Puma and H&M.

One of the mainstays of the Olympics is the myriad examples of branded merchandise that are sold to support the Games, not to mention burnish the images of official sponsors. The supporters of an effort to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of Russia, where the Winter Games are to be held in February, are adapting that marketing tactic with a line of protest merchandise to be sold by American Apparel and promoted by athletes.

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