This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – July 28, 2021

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Pegasus Project: spyware leak suggests lawyers, activists surveilled
  • Celebrating secession and succession in South Sudan
  • American farm workers at risk in record-breaking heat

An international investigation uncovered a broad campaign using spyware against dissidents, journalists and human rights lawyers. The inquiry found governments used spyware developed by the Israeli software company NSO Group against political opponents. NSO maintains that their spyware was meant for use only to surveil terrorists and criminals.

(“Pegasus Project: Spyware Leak Suggests Lawyers and Activists Are at Risk Across Globe,” Guardian, July 19, 2021; “Jamal Khashoggi’s Wife Was Targeted With Spyware Before Death,” Washington Post, July 18, 2021)

In early July, South Sudan celebrated its 10th anniversary as an independent nation. But there was little to celebrate as nearly 400,000 people have died in the country’s brutal 5-year-long civil war among the nation’s ethnic groups. The road to “succession” was built on the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement with Sudan, which led to a referendum and seccession in 2011.

(“South Sudan’s Lost Decade,” Foreign Policy, July 14, 2021; “Succession in South Sudan,” Foreign Policy, July 7, 2021)

The climate crisis and record-breaking summer heat are placing the lives of American farm workers at risk, who by and large, lack health protections. On hot days, many farm workers are reluctant to ask for water, shade or extra breaks since they are paid at a piece rate. Farmworker advocates say that if these workers slow down, it costs them money.  After the heat exposure death in June of a tree farmworker, Oregon quickly imposed an emergency rule.

(“We Are Not Animals, We’re Human Beings: US Farm Workers Labor in Deadly Heat,” The Guardian, July 16, 2021)

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