This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Nov. 4, 2020

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Mali, France differ on holding talks with armed groups
  • Sentenced as children, still behind bars
  • Why Facebook can’t fix itself

• 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.

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