This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Feb. 22, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Gold mining and humanitarian crisis in the Amazon
  • FTX bankruptcy reveals influence peddling
  • Is it time to nationalize the railroads?

• Horrific images of malnourished infants and the elderly have emerged recently from the Yanomami Indigenous lands in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest that mirror the worst famines seen in Ethiopia and Sudan. The humanitarian disaster in this forest region, however, was not caused by crop failure or war, but by illegal gold mining and genocidal neglect by the government.

(“How Illegal Mining Caused a Humanitarian Crisis in the Amazon,” Yale Environment 360, Feb. 2, 2023)

• The bankruptcy filing of accused crypto fraudster Sam Bankman Fried, founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, reveals the company’s intricate maze of influence.  The Intercept reports that the list includes nearly a dozen public relations experts — specialists who generate positive spin in the media on behalf of clients — as well as political consultants, think tanks and trade groups.

(“New FTX Filing Pulls Back the Curtain on Sam Bankman-Fried’s Massive Influence-Peddling Operation,”  Intercept, Jan. 30, 2023; “Judge Talks of Jail if FTX Founder Doesn’t Curb Internet Use,” New York Times, Feb. 16, 2023)

• The first nationwide U.S. railroad strike in 30 years was averted after President Joe Biden and Congress intervened in December and imposed a settlement without addressing top union demands: short staffing and lack of paid sick days. In recent weeks, public attention on rail industry safety issues has focused on high-profile railroad accidents, including the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio that exposed thousands of residents to toxic chemicals.

(“The Case for Nationalizing the Railroads” In These Times, Feb. 16, 2023; “Railroad Profit Rose Recently, as Did Crashes,” New York Times, Feb. 17, 2023)

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

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