This Week’s Under-reported News Summary Oct. 30, 2019

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • As a generation of Syrian refugees comes of age, what future awaits?
  • Lawyers challenge UK imports of ‘slavery-tainted’ Uzbek cotton
  • Seeking a cure: what can be done to stop the rash of rural hospital closures?

• Seven years after the outbreak of Syria’s bloody civil war, a generation of teenage refugees are struggling to secure funds for college tuition.  Most of the international aid dedicated for the education of Syrian refugees has been allocated to primary and secondary schools.  Refugees who are taking college entrance exams face an uncertain future. Many Syrian refugees are reluctant to return home, fearful of political repression and being imprisoned by the Assad regime.  Before the civil war, college was free in Syria and a right guaranteed by the Assad’s government.

(“As a Generation of Syrian Refugees Comes of Age, What Future Awaits?” Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 30, 2019; “Why Syria Is Signaling Refugees They’re Not Welcome Home,” Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 5, 2019; “State of Disgrace,” Economist, Oct. 5, 2019)

• Uzbekistan in the heart of Central Asia has earned a bad reputation for state-sponsored conscription of forced unpaid labor to harvest its large cotton crop. Human rights campaigners in recent years have pressured over 300 western clothing companies, including Disney, Nike and Wal-Mart, to boycott purchasing Uzbek cotton. The nation’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has pledged reforms and claims no public sector workers will be forced to pick cotton this year.

(“Lawyers Challenge UK Imports of ‘Slavery-Tainted’ Uzbek Cotton,” Guardian, Oct. 21, 2019; “A Radical Plan to Abolish Slave Labor,” The Economist, Oct. 17, 2019)

• Thirty-seven-year-old Heather Edwards, who lives in an Appalachian town in Virginia, had to travel over an hour and cross state lines to get to a hospital neonatal unit to deliver quadruplets. Ten years ago, a neonatal unit would have been just 10 minutes away. But in 2013, the Lee County Regional Medical Center closed due to a shortage of physicians and the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

(“Seeking a Cure: What Can Be Done to Stop the Rash of Rural Hospital Closures?” In These Times, Oct. 1, 2019; “The High Price of Rural Hospital Closures,” In These Times, Nov. 5, 2019)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Ruthanne Baumgartner.

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