This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Aug. 9, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Russian Wagner mercenaries disappeared and executed civilians in Mali
  • China is far ahead of the U.S. in rare earth mining
  • One year after union victory, Amazon still refuses to recognize union

Human Rights Watch reports that Malian soldiers and foreign fighters, identified as members of the Russia-linked Wagner Group, have committed extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances of dozens of civilians in the African nation of Mali since December 2022, as published by the Intercept news site.

“Mali: New Atrocities by Malian Army, Apparent Wagner Fighters” Human Rights Watch, July 24, 2023; “Wagner Group Disappeared and Executed Civilians in Mali,” Intercept, July 24, 2023)

China is far ahead of the U.S. in the extraction and processing of rare earth metals used in critical military applications like the F-35 fighter jet and green energy technology such as electric vehicles. Washington has repeatedly attempted to restart its rare earth mining program, but thus far has failed to make a dent in China’s dominance in the processing of these metals over the last 40 years.

“America Dropped the Ball in Rare Earth Race,” Foreign Policy, July 27, 2023; “Insight: World Battles To Loosen China’s Grip on Vital Rare Earths for Clean Energy Transition,” Reuters, Aug. 2, 2023

A year ago, 8,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, NY won a historic labor movement victory for the newly formed Amazon Labor Union. However, Amazon has never recognized the independent union, and ALU elections to unionize other Amazon facilities, have been unsuccessful so far. The National Labor Relations Board recently filed a complaint against Amazon for failing to bargain with the union.

“Reform Caucus Rises, Sues for Elections in Amazon Labor Union,” In These Times, July 14, 2023

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

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