This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – May 31, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • South Africa’s non-alignment is challenged
  • Western states agree to breakthrough water deal
  • New generation of coal miners dying from Black Lung disease

• On May 11, U.S. Ambassador Reuben Brigety accused the South Africa government of supplying weapons to Russia, although South Africa has long declared itself to be “non-aligned” and “neutral” in the Ukraine war. Brigety claimed that the “Lady R,” a Russian merchant ship subject to American sanctions, was loaded with weapons and ammunition last December in Simon’s Town naval base before heading back to Russia.

(“America Accuses South Africa of Sending Arms to Russia,” Economist, May 11, 2023; “South Africa’s Nonsensical Non-Alignment,” Foreign Policy, May 19, 2023)

• Three western states—California, Nevada and Arizona have agreed to a new formula to use less water from the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin. The agreement, announced on May 22nd, proposes that the three states’ water districts, Native American tribes and farms cut about 13% of their total water use in the lower Colorado basin, a reduction that will likely trigger significant water restrictions for the region’s residents and farmers.

(“US States Agree Breakthrough Deal to Prevent the Colorado River from Drying Up,” Guardian, May 22, 2023)

• Across Central Appalachia, a new generation of coal miners are dying from Black Lung disease. Black Lung is spreading among miners who work mostly in non-union mines in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Miners contract Black Lung by breathing in silica dust in underground mines. Today, coal miners must dig through more layers of silica-laden rock to reach Appalachia’s rich coal seams. Silica dust is 20 times more dangerous than coal dust.

(The Young Miners Dying of ‘An Old Man’s Disease,’ In These Times,  May 17, 2023)

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

Subscribe to our Weekly Summary