This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Sept. 7, 2022

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Longtime Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in ill health
  • Puerto Rico's Big Pharma tax breaks are larger than government's operating budget
  • Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods have turned northwest Arkansas into modern day company towns

• Longtime Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is the world’s fourth oldest head of state at 86. Abbas is the only remaining Israeli or Palestinian leader who stood on the White House lawn in 1993 to sign the Oslo Accords. Today, there are constant rumors about Abbas’ ill health. After 18 years as head of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas has never named a successor and his sudden death could spark a battle among Palestinians to choose a successor.

(“The Long Goodbye,” The Economist, Aug. 23, 2022; “Uproar Over Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin, accused Israel of ’50 Holocausts,'” Guardian, Aug. 17, 2022)

• The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a long history of offering generous tax break to big Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Merck and Johnson and Johnson. There are 50 pharmaceutical plants on the island making many of the best-selling drugs for arthritis, stroke and cancer. The advocacy group Hedge Clippers estimates Big Pharma gets tax breaks totaling $14.5 billion, more than the annual operating budget of Puerto Rico’s government.

(“Puerto Rico has Big Pharma Problem,” The Nation, Aug. 19, 2022; “Pharma’s Failed Promise,” Report #76, Hedge Clippers report, Aug. 8, 2022)

• Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods have turned northwest Arkansas into modern day company towns. Both corporations are looking to make life more comfortable for executives and top managers, while life for poorly paid line workers is becoming increasingly harsh.

(“The Modern Company Towns of Arkansas,” American Prospect, Aug. 1, 2022)

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

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