• The Trump administration has turned the tables on South Sudan, by imposing sanctions on key government officials, as there’s movement toward a unity government ending the nation’s long civil war that began in 2013, and led to the deaths of some 400,000 civilians. Since South Sudan won independence in 2011, the US government and American evangelicals have been the primary supporters of the new predominantly Christian nation.
(“In South Sudan, US Shifts From Support to Sanctions,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 13, 2020; “US Sanctions South Sudan Vice President Over Human Rights Abuses,”Al-Jazeera, Jan. 8, 2020)
• The Guardian reports international agencies have developed an early warning system to predict possible conflicts over water, as violence over limited supplies of potable water surge. The Dutch-funded Water, Peace and Security warning tool was recently presented to the United Nations Security Council one month before its launch. The warning tool combines environmental variables such as rainfall and crop failures with political, economic and social factors to predict the risk of violent water-related conflicts up to one year in advance.
(“Water Wars: Early Warning Tool Uses Climate Data to Predict Hotspots,” The Guardian, Jan. 8, 2020)
• Under austerity budget cuts, Mississippi’s prison system is crumbling. This comes at the same time as violence has consumed the state’s prisons system, with state corrections officials imposing a statewide lockdown as prison gangs have launched an all-out war against one another. Since July 2019, seven prisoners have been killed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman by fellow inmates at what is claimed to be the most secure facility in the state. The state’s decision to leave hundreds of corrections officers’ positions unfilled, has contributed to the facilities’ unsafe conditions.
(“Lawmakers Refused to Increase an Infamous Prison’s Funding. Then Chaos Erupted,” ProPublica, Jan. 8, 2020)
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.