Tag Archives: pepsi

A Refreshing Glass of Cow Urine?

I’m fully supportive of India giving the water-thieving soda corporations the boot, but cow urine as a replacement to soda? The article below states that the beverage is being launched as a way to cleanse India of foreign influence. I get that. But what bothers me – more than the idea of drinking the urine of an animal – is the reference cited to how urine is traditionally used:

…cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to “purify” those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system. Note in the article the the group promoting this has also been accused of killing Christians and assaulting women. Good reason to boycott both the bovine urine as well as coca-cola and pepsi.


India to launch cow urine as soft drink (no, we’re not taking the p***)

Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing? India’s Hindu nationalist movement apparently has the answer: a new soft drink made from cow urine.

The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.

Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called “gau jal”, or “cow water” – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched “very soon, maybe by the end of this year”.

“Don’t worry, it won’t smell like urine and will be tasty too,” he told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. “Its USP will be that it’s going to be very healthy. It won’t be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins.”

The drink is the latest attempt by the RSS – which was founded in 1925 and now claims eight million members – to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness.Full Story

Related Story: “Loose” women to send knickers to Hindu group

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‘The Coke side of Life’ Brings Destruction to India

Bailing out Companies with Offshore Tax Havens

Report Finds Major U.S. Companies Have Offshore Tax Havens

A majority of America’s largest publicly traded companies and the U.S. government’s largest federal contractors — including some receiving millions in federal bailout money — use multiple subsidiaries in offshore tax havens to conduct business and avoid paying U.S. taxes, a new report finds.

The new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, released today by Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), lists Citigroup and Morgan Stanley as having set up hundreds of tax haven subsidiaries, along with American International Group and Bank of America. Also in the tax-haven list are well-known companies and such federal contractors as American Express, Pepsi and Caterpillar.

GAO, searching publicly available data filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, determined that 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded corporations and 63 of the 100 largest federal contractors maintain subsidiaries in countries generally considered havens for avoiding taxes. Dorgan and Levin said they requested the updated report from one several years ago because they are focused on combating offshore tax abuses, which they estimated cause $100 billion in lost U.S. tax revenue each year.

Full Story

‘The Coke side of Life’ Brings Destruction to India

Farmers in India have discovered the use of coca-cola and pepsi as an efficacious pesticide given the high levels of it in these soft drinks.


Among the thatched huts, coconut trees, and dirt roads that comprise the small south Indian village of Plachimada, sits a virtual fortress of cement and razor wire. Past the gate and a large, mangled sign is a massive Coca-Cola plant that was forced shut in 2004 for polluting drinking water and draining local wells.

Though the plant is now dormant, residents say they have yet to achieve justice for the toll Coke has taken on their community. With help from allies in India and abroad, their plight is now being echoed in the media, at Coke’s annual shareholders’ meetings and on college campuses worldwide. It has even catapulted the issue of water as a human right into the Supreme Court of India.

The water problems in Plachimada started during Coke’s first year of operation, according to Veloor Swaminathan, a resident who was part of the struggle against the Coke plant. He first noticed impurities in the wells closest to the plant and, as time went on, the radius of polluted wells expanded rapidly outward.

The complaints came from people throughout the village. The water tasted and smelled bad, and gave people skin rashes and stomach illnesses. When it was used to cook rice or lentils, the food became inedible within an hour or two.

Swaminathan says the water became so bad that, “even the dogs refused to drink it.” Although the water has improved somewhat since the plant closed, the villagers still depend on government-subsidized trucks to deliver water each week.

In a move that raised eyebrows throughout India and the world, Coke even went so far as to dispose of their production byproduct – sludge laced with lead and cadmium – by calling it fertilizer and selling it or giving it away to Plachimada’s residents. This disposal method was inadequate, so the sludge waste was dumped in various locations such as coconut fields, polluting the land and the groundwater beneath it.

“Coke has dumped on this community, run it dry and then tried to sweep it under the rug,” said Corporate Accountability International Campaigns Director Patti Lynn, who has led the organization’s Coke in India campaign since 2004. “The conviction of local activists, and their solidarity with people and organizations around the world, have insured that Coke will ultimately have to answer for its abuses.”

The issues raised in the Plachimada struggle are now expected to be contested in the Supreme Court of India – notably, how India’s groundwater should be controlled and by whom.

“This struggle has forced the fundamental issues into the legal arena such as, ‘who has the primary decision-making rights over water (groundwater in this case) – the people, local governing bodies, the state government, or the central government,’” says C. R. Bijoy, an Indian activist who has supported the struggle.

The legal questions raised by the Plachimada struggle mirror those at Coke, Nestlé and other bottling plants in the United States – specifically, whether water should be prioritized for meeting basic human needs, or available to whomever has the largest pumps and can make the largest profit. And similar to the United States, there are laws in India that are designed to protect communities’ right to water against attempts by corporations to control the resource.

“Which is superior – water for survival or water for profit?” says C. R. Bijoy. “The Plachimada struggle calls for the recovery of the commons by communities.”

Though most in the struggle are optimistic about the final verdict, for many like R. Ajayan of the Plachimada Solidarity Council, the most important decision has already been made.

“Whatever may be the court’s position, the people’s verdict will be final,” said Ajayan.