This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Aug. 16, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Is Cameroon the next Sudan?
  • Big Dairy is milking California dry
  • Payday lenders engage in reverse redlining

While the bloody civil war in Sudan and the coup in uranium-rich Niger grab headlines, a civil conflict is smoldering in English speaking areas of Cameroon. The conflict that has raged for six years at the cost of thousands of lives, involves Anglophone separatists, who are trying to form a breakaway state called Ambazonia in the country’s minority English-speaking regions.

(“Is Cameroon the Next Sudan?” Foreign Policy, July 6, 2023; “Cameroon Denies Asking for Help With Anglophone Separatist Crisis” Al-Jazeera, Jan. 24, 2023)

Hillside Dairy in Merced County, California is growing like gangbusters. The dairy started out with 3,800 cows 20 years ago, but since then the herd has more than doubled in size. Hillside is just one of dozens of dairies with plans for expansion in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s fertile Central Valley. Access to ample land and a warm climate has made California the leading milk producer in the U.S.  Since 2011 herd sizes have jumped 36 percent and dairies now generate $1 billion annually.

(Big Dairy is Milking California Dry,” Dropped the Ball in Rare Earth Race,” In These Times, June 19, 2023)

For many working-class Americans, a good job is not enough to pay for life’s necessities like food and rent. With paychecks not covering day-to-day expenses, many fall into debt, and drawn into accepting deceptive offers from predatory payday lenders with sky high interest rates, some as high as 400 percent. It often starts with a simple loan to pay off a debt, but it can lead to a revolving door of taking out one loan after another.

(“Predatory Lending’s Prey of Color,” American Prospect, June 5, 2023)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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