This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – June 12, 2024

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Which party will dominate South Africa’s next government?
  • Is bird flu destined to be next pandemic?
  • Proud Boys re-emerge to rally around Trump

For the first time in 30 years, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress lost its majority in an election, winning only 40 percent of the popular vote. President Cyril Ramaphosa is now leading negotiations to form a unity government. While the pro-business center-right Democratic Alliance party came in second, the real surprise was the success of former, disgraced President Jacob Zuma and his MK party known as Umkhonto weSizwe. Zuma, who was forced to resign over corruption scandals, won a plurality of the vote in his native KwaZulu Natal province, where the ANC came in third. The MK party has refused to negotiate with the ANC until Zuma’s main rival, Ramaphosa, resigns the presidency.

(“Race to Form South Africa’s Next Government: Who Will the ANC Ally With?” Aljazeera, June 3, 2024; “South Africa Elections Final Results: What Happens Next?” Aljazeera, June 2, 2024)

This spring H5N1 infections, commonly known as bird, or avian flu, is on the rise in dairy cattle ranches across the U.S., which has now resulted in the infection of three immigrant dairy workers in Michigan and Texas. Since March 29, there has been a major outbreak of bird flu in dairy cows, with 86 infected herds across 11 U.S. states.

(“The Bird Flu Outbreak Has Spread to Humans — Are we too late to prevent the next pandemic?” The Hill, June 8, 2024; “Birds Infected With the Bird Flu Have Died in Five Staes,” Reuters, June 6, 2024; “As Avian Flu Hops to Cows and At Least Two Humans, Migrant Workers Are At Risk,” Guardian, May 29, 2024)

The far-right paramilitary group Proud Boys played a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Since Donald Trump incited the failed coup attempt, four former Proud Boys leaders have been convicted in federal court of seditious conspiracy, each sentenced to 15 or more years in prison. At least another 70 members have been charged with participating in the violence. Yet, in recent months, a newly decentralized Proud Boys movement has emerged alongside the Trump campaign to retake the White House.

(“Proud Boys are Back: How the Far Right Group is Rebuilding to Rally Behind Trump,” Reuters, June 3, 2024)

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

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