This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Sept. 21, 2022

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Famine engulfs Somalia in the Horn of Africa
  • Creative ways Chinese activists attempt to pressure the state
  • Water activism bubbles up in the suburban Towamencin, Pennsylvania

• As famine engulfs Somalia in the Horn of Africa, 500,000 children are at risk of dying according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Hunger is concentrated in the isolated regions of central and southern Somalia, areas controlled by the Al-Shabab Islamist rebels. During the 2011 famine, 340,000 children were treated for malnutrition. So far this year over 500,000 children have been treated for severe malnutrition.

(“Catastrophic Hunger Levels Leave 500,000 Children at Risk of Dying in Somalia,” UN News, Sept. 13, 2022; “Drought Likely to Push Parts of Somalia into Famine by End of the Year,” Guardian, Sept. 5, 2022)

• A single pay phone rings in Beijing with an unusual message. It’s a call from residents of Huludoa, 400 miles away. When answered, the caller complains about foul smelling air and chemical leaks. They recount how residents are having trouble breathing, but the local government refuses to act.

(“Airing Grievances,” Economist, Aug. 20, 2022)

• This spring, water activism bubbled up in the sleepy suburban town of Towamencin, Pennsylvania. Hundreds of middle-class residents turned out to oppose the plan to sell the town’s wastewater facility to a giant private corporation. Across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, for-profit companies are buying up water and wastewater systems after state legislation authorized private utilities to buy up municipal water plants. The move to privatize municipal water systems has provoked growing public opposition.

(“War over Public Water in Penn,” The Nation, Aug. 8 2022; “Penn Community Stops Largest Sewer Privatization Deal in US History,” The Guardian, Sept. 8, 2022)

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

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