This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Jan. 20, 2021

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • India’s highest court suspends implementation of new farm laws
  • South Africa braces for possible 25% cut in government jobs
  • Immigrants lacked soap as COVID spread in ICE detention centers

• For nearly two months, India’s farmers have blockaded streets in New Delhi to demand the repeal of the new agricultural privatization law pushed through by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Small farmers afraid of losing social safety net protections constitutes the most serious challenge yet to Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.

(“India’s Highest Court Suspends Implementation of New Farm Laws,” Associated Press, Jan. 12, 2021; “India’s Farmers Defy Modi’s Plans for Revamping the Economy,” Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2020)

• For a generation, South Africa’s black middle class has prospered, employed in government jobs and living in the suburbs. But their prosperity is now threatened by a budget crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and a stagnant economy. Over the last decade, public debt has tripled and the state Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has threatened mass layoffs of public sector workers. Most black South Africans live in poverty, without secure employment, and are forced to live in dire conditions in shantytowns on the outskirts of big cities.

(“Bourgeois Blues,” The Economist, Jan. 9 2021)

• A new report by Physicians for Human Rights and the Harvard Medical School found that detainees inside detention facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ICE) were denied the most basic Covid19 prevention measures like hand soap. Many detainees fear reporting their Covid19 symptoms out of fear of being placed into solitary confinement.

(“Immigrants Lacked Soap As COVID Spread in ICE Detention Centers,” The Guardian, Jan. 12, 2021)

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

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