• In early October Mali’s opposition leader Soumaila Cisse and a 75-year-old French woman Sophie Petronin were released from captivity by jihadist groups in northern Mali. In exchange 200 jihadi fighters were set free, beginning a new chapter in the conflict-driven Sahel.
(“We Were Soldiers Once,” Economist, Oct. 17, 2020; “Mali, France Differ on Holding Talks With Armed Groups,” Al Jazeera, Oct. 26, 2020)
• The Supreme Court ruled in 2010, that juvenile life without parole is an unconstitutional sentence for crimes other than homicide. In 2012 in the case, Miller v. Alabama, the Court prohibited juvenile life without parole as a mandatory minimum sentence for any crime — but did not ban it outright. Finally, in 2016 the Montgomery v. Louisiana case made the Miller decision retroactive, ruling that people “must be given the opportunity to show their crime did not reflect irreparable corruption; and, if it did not, their hope for some years of life outside prison walls must be restored.”
(“The Supreme Court Said Their Sentencing Was Unconstitutional. But They’re Still Behind Bars,” In These Times, Oct. 21 2020)
• In the early days of Facebook, there were few rules on moderating content, with really no guidelines other than, “If something makes you feel bad in your gut, take it down.” Those days are long over, with the platform now home to reactionary politicians and white supremacists posting racist comments, Russian trolls infiltrating groups and data mining of millions of unsuspecting Facebook users.
(“Why Facebook Can’t Fix Itself,” New Yorker, Oct. 12, 2020)
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.