This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Oct. 11, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • The plundering of the South China Sea
  • AIDS treatment threatened by limits on abortion
  • Wildfire smoke is eroding air quality gains

The South China Sea has for years been the focus of rising geopolitical tensions between China, and the United States and its allies.   While the threat of a dangerous future military conflict between China and the U.S. over Taiwan’s independence from Beijing, the South China Sea is experiencing irreparable environmental damage resulting from decades of over-fishing, and the decline of critical coral reef marine habitats from China’s construction of artificial islands in the disputed Spratly Islands.

(“The Plundering of the South China Sea,” The Nation, Sept. 18, 2023)

In 2003 President George W. Bush pushed for the creation of what’s called, the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.  Over the past 20 years, the program which provides the resources needed to supply HIV positive patients with antiretroviral treatment, has  saved some 25 million lives in more than 50 countries.  Although the program has been strongly supported by a bipartisan coalition, PEPFAR is now in danger of becoming a victim of abortion politics.

(“What’s Behind the Debate to Reauthorize PEPFAR, the Widely Hailed Anti-AIDS effort,” NPR News, Sept. 24, 2023; “Popular AIDS Program Faces Threat as GOP Seeks Limits on Abortion,” New York Times, July 29, 2023)

In the 50 years since the U.S. Clean Air Act was enacted, the nation has witnessed dramatic improvements in air quality by regulating and reducing industrial, and auto pollution. However, over the past two decades, air quality improvements have slowed or been reversed across most of the U.S., due to a dramatic increase in climate change-related wildfire smoke.

(“Wildfire Smoke is Eroding Decades of Air Quality Improvement,” Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2023)

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

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