• Competing claims to energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean crossed a line when Greek and Turkish navy ships collided on Aug. 12. The Kemal Reis, a Turkish frigate, was one of five escort ships sent to protect the Oruc Reis, a research vessel there to hunt for undersea oil and gas. When a Greek navy frigate, the Limnos, approached the research ship, its bow collided with the the rear of the Turkish warship. A Greek defense spokesperson described the collision as an accident, while Ankara called it a provocation.
(“Battling Over Boundaries,” Economist, Aug. 22, 2020; “How Did the Eastern Mediterranean Become the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm,” Foreign Policy, Aug. 18, 2020; “Turkish-Greece Tensions Escalate Over Drilling Plans,” BBC)
• For months, Donald Trump has blamed China for the rapid spread of the coronavirus, labeling COVID-19 the Chinese or Wuhan virus in an attempt to shift blame for the more than 185,000 Americans who have died during the pandemic. In a cable TV news interview, Peter Navarro, the president’s trade adviser, suggested the coronavirus is a “deliberate” Chinese attack.
(“The GOP’s New China Scare,” In These Times, Aug. 17, 2020)
• Grays Ferry, an African-American neighborhood in South Philadelphia suffers from high rates of asthma and cancer. The community sits adjacent to an aging Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery which regularly released toxic chemicals like benzene and hydrogen cyanide that exceed federal health standards. The New York Times magazine reports that local activists have identified two dozen residents in Grays Ferry who have cancer which they believe are linked to the local pollution generated by the PES refinery.
(“The Refinery Next Door,” New York Times magazine, July 28, 2020)
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.