This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Nov. 15, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Pakistan carries out mass expulsion of Afghans
  • China is now the world’s biggest debt collector
  • IRS says Microsoft owes $28.9 billion in back taxes

As the world is focused on the brutal Israel Hamas war in Gaza and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, upwards of 200,000 Afghan refugees living in Pakistan were forced to return to Afghanistan, facing a Nov. 1 expulsion order from the Pakistani military. The expulsion order targeted 1.7 million Afghan refugees, many who had lived in Pakistan for decades.  A network of “holding centers” for detained migrants has been set up in Pakistan’s provinces and locals report a surge in police harassment and abuse of Afghans living in the country.

(“Pakistan Carried out Mass Expulsion,” Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2023; “As Pakistan Deports Refugees—Tensie Afghanistan Ties Come Into Sharp Focus,” Al-Jazeera, Nov. 7, 2023)

After nearly two decades of massive lending to emerging economies across the world, China has become the world’s biggest debt collector.  Beijing has invested heavily in its 10- year-old “Belt and Road” initiative, a grand plan to connect China with major economies in Asia, Africa and Europe.  China now sits on $1.7 trillion in external debt from 60 nations. However, the Guardian reports that an estimated 80 percent of China’s overseas lending portfolio in the global south is now supporting countries in financial distress.

(“China: ‘World’s Biggest Debt Collector’ as Poor Nations Struggle with its Loans,” Guardian, Nov. 6, 2023)

In a major development the Internal Revenue Service announced that after a 15-year audit of Microsoft, the agency notified the software giant that it owes $29 billion in back taxes, plus penalties and interest, for the years 2004 to 2013.

(“How a Maneuver in Puerto Rico Led to a$29 billion Tax Bill for Microsoft,” ProPublica, Oct. 13, 2023)

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

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