This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Nov. 30, 2022

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Leftist Colombia president Gustav Petro to take new approach to cocaine
  • Biden's green industrial policies not making green jobs good union jobs
  • Toxic metal pollution 10x worse in racially segregated communities

• Forty years after the U.S. launched the war on cocaine in Colombia, Gustavo Petro, the nation’s newly-elected — and first leftist president — is pursuing a new strategy. The president-elect, who has called the war on drugs a “categorical failure” that has “left a million Latin Americans dead,” seeks to focus on dialogue with farmers and help them substitute coca with legal crops. It’s an ambitious policy, but many coca farmers are hopeful that Petro will succeed in finally overhauling the country’s approach to drugs.

(“Colombia’s Radical New Approach to Cocaine,” Foreign Policy, Oct. 30, 2022)

• Over the summer, President Biden signed a series of bills designed to upgrading industrial jobs, including the the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act to build new semiconductor factories in the American Midwest.  Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker praised the legislation as giving a jumpstart to the electric vehicle industry by investing in car manufacturers like Ford, Lion Electric and Rivian. However, critics warned there were no guarantees that these new electric vehicle plants would employ union workers.

(“Industrial Policy Without Industrial Unions,” American prospect, Sept. 28, 2022)

• Racially segregated communities, especially in cities, are exposed to high levels of toxic air pollution damaging to public health. A new study in the Nature Communications journal found that residents in segregated neighborhoods are exposed to twice the total air pollution and 10 times the rate of airborne toxic metals than more well-integrated communities.

(“Toxic Metal Pollution is 10 Times Worse in Racially Segregated Communities,”  Washington Post, Nov. 1, 2022)

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

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