Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cut $1 billion in U.S. aid to Afghanistan after efforts failed to settle the ongoing split between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah. Both men claim to have won last year’s September 28 presidential election, which has hampered peace talks with the Taliban. The major cut in U.S. aid could trigger new instability inside Afghanistan’s security forces at the same time the Covid-19 virus begins to ravage one of the world’s poorest nations.
(“Burning Leaves, Spurning Leavers,” The Economist, March 19, 2020)
The coronavirus pandemic has been a major windfall for increased business and profits for online retail giant Amazon. With retail stores across the world largely shut down, Amazon has pledged to hire 100,000 additional workers, increase pay and offer paid time off in warehouses and distributions centers. However Amazon workers complain that Amazon is short-changing workers’ safety, as staff in 10 Amazon distribution centers tested positive for Covid-19. At the same time, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos enriched himself by selling $3.4 billion worth of Amazon stock prior to the virus-induced Wall Street crash.
(“Warehouse Workers Suspect of Amazon’s Promise of PTO for Part-Time Workers As Bait and Switch,” In These Times, March 25, 2020; “Dangerous Life of an Amazon Worker,” American Prospect, March 23, 2020)