This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Aug. 3, 2022

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • World condemns Myanmar junta for 'cruel' execution of activists
  • Pegasus spyware maker NSO lobbying to get off U.S. blacklist
  • Buffalo, N.Y. community activists fight to prevent gerrymandering

• Myanmar’s junta executed four pro-Democracy activists including a close ally of deposed president Aung San Suu Kyi. The executions, which came 18 months after the elected government was ousted by a military coup, has triggered condemnation from the U.S., Japan, the European Union and Myanmar’s Southeast Asian neighbors.

(“Myanmar Junta Condemned for ‘Cruel’ Executions of 4 Democracy Activists,” Reuters, July 25, 2022; “Myanmar: Military Executes Four Democracy Activists Including Ex-MP,” BBC News, July 25, 2022)

• The Israeli maker of the notorious Pegasus spyware has launched a lobbying blitz in Washington, D.C. after the U.S. Commerce Department blacklisted the firm, preventing the cybersecurity firm from accessing U.S. technology. ProPublica reports the NSO Group, developer of the Pegasus spyware that has been sold to law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists and public relations consultants in the U.S.

(“Pegasus Spyware Maker NSO Group Conducting a Lobbying Campaign to Get Off the Blacklist,” ProPublica, July 12, 2022;Biden Administration Blacklists NSO Group Over Pegasus Spyware, Washington Post, Nov. 3, 2021)

• Only four days after a white supremacist murdered 10 African-Americans in a Buffalo supermarket, the city went on with business as usual conducting a short public hearing by the commission redrawing Buffalo’s city council district maps. The new maps, that used data from the 2020 census, looked very much like the old gerrymandered maps — at a time when Buffalo has gained population for the first time since the 1950s.

(“Buffalo Community Activists Show How to Right Gerrymandering,” The Nation, July 12, 2022; “Buffalo Redistricting Could be Test Case for New Voting Rights Law,” Spectrum News, July 26, 2022)

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

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