Newscoop Footnotes: December 3, 2018

Welcome to Newscoop Footnotes — the weekly review of important news no one’s talking about.

Hi, I’m Arasha Lalani.

A lot of really important news this week is getting lost in the continued outrage over the Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But lots of interesting Saudi-related news is also getting lost.

  1. 1.   First, on the Saudi front:
  • As many of you know, Donald Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to accept their own CIA’s conclusion that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump had cited what he claimed was a lucrative U.S. arms deal with the Saudis as one reason for his continued support of MbS.  However, Al Jazeera reported this past week that Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, pressured U.S. State and Defense Department officials to exaggerate the figures in the U.S./Saudi arms deal in order to bolster support for the Saudis. (Important background:  Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, has become a close personal pal of the Saudi crown prince, and is relying on him to pressure the Palestinian leadership to accept an Israeli/Palestinian peace plan that very much favors Israel.)

    source:  Al Jazeera

  • Also, as the G20 summit got underway in Buenos Aires, Human Rights Watch invoked universal jurisdiction in asking Argentina to prosecute the Saudi crown prince on charges involving both the torture of Saudi citizens and war crimes in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. More than 85,000 Yemeni children are said to have died of starvation in that war.

    source: NYT, Guardian

  • And on November 28, the U.S. Senate voted 63 to 37 to support a bi-partisan legislative effort to finally end U.S. support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen (thanks go out to Senator Bernie Sanders for driving that bill forward). Notable is that 5 of the U.S. senators who voted against the resolution have received significant campaign contributions from Saudi lobbyists. (America clearly needs campaign finance reform.)

    source:  Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The Guardian

2.   As important as all of that is, however, it pales in comparison to the newest evidence of the growing threat to our planet of climate change.

  • We’ve learned this week that CO2 levels have risen for the first times in four years. That the recent fires in California have released 68 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. And also, that the last 4 years have been the hottest on record. A new poll from Monmouth University shows that even many Republicans are now taking exception with Donald Trump’s climate denials.
  • A 2 week climate change summit began in Katowice, Poland on Monday December 3rd, aiming to turn the vision of the 2015 Paris talks into hard commitments from signatory nations. World Bank CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, gave a dire warning: “We are clearly the last generation that can change the course of climate change…”   And in his keynote address, naturalist Sir David Attenborough pulled no punches when he told conference delegates: “The collapse of civilisation and the natural world is on the horizon.”

    source:  BBC, The Guardian

3.    And lastly, attention was drawn this week to a very disturbing trend for the United States.  While the expected human lifespan is on the rise in most developed nations around the world, the expected length of life in America continues its 3-year decline, due largely to drug use and suicide.

    source: Washington Post

This has been the latest edition of Newscoop’s Footnotes – important events getting too little attention. See you next week with more.

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