This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – June 22, 2022

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • 49 million people face famine amid Russia-Ukraine war wheat shortage
  • Vietnam is leading the transition to clean energy
  • Private equity billionaires are looting the country

• When Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, threatening that nation’s urgently needed export of grains to the rest of the world, crop-rich India was seen as a global buffer, that could make up for the shortfall. But this spring’s erratic rains and scorching heat killed much of India’s crops, dramatically decreasing India’s grain production. To help prevent famine at home, in May, New Delhi responded by announcing it would shut down all grain exports. This action would have the effect of contributing to starvation abroad.

(“49 Million People Face Famine as Ukraine, Climate Disasters Intensify,” Washington Post, June 13, 2022)

• While most Southeast Asian nations continue to rely on dirty fossil fuels to power their economies, Vietnam is a bright spot in embracing solar energy.  Since 2017, the share of electricity generated by solar in Vietnam increased from virtually zero to nearly 11 percent. Not only was Vietnam’s increase in the use of solar power faster than anywhere else in the world, it is a greater share than larger economies such as France or Japan.

(“Vietnam is Leading the Transition of Clean Energy in Southeast Asia,” Economist, June 2, 2022)

• In the early days of private equity in the 1970s, the leveraged buyout, or LBO, was king. An early example is Houdaille Industries, a cash-rich machine tools company, seen as a likely target for a corporate takeover. The investment bank KKR, Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, convinced CEO Jerry Saltarelli to go private. But the deal backfired as the machine tool industry sank and the company choked on its debt. Soon afterward KKR laid off 2,200 workers.

(“The Smash and Grab Economy,” Mother Jones, May-June, 2022 )

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo

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