Newscoop Footnotes:
July 10, 2018

Welcome to Newscoop Footnotes —

the weekly review of important news no one’s talking about.

Hi, I’m Zoe Licata.

First, an update on the rapid heating of our planet. The last two weeks of extreme temperatures broke records around the globe — including the highest temperature ever on the African continent, as well as the highest ever recorded on a weather thermometer anywhere in the world.

Next, we haven’t heard much recently about the current status of the Dakota Access pipeline. In 2016, Native American activists in North Dakota tried to stop construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline that threatened their water supply and sacred tribal lands. But when Donald Trump was elected his administration expedited pipeline approval, and peaceful activists were met with violent treatment by police and mass arrests. The U.S. Justice Department pursued cases against 6 of the activists, and the state of North Dakota against 800. Now, hundreds of those arrested are facing sentencing.

The situation becomes more convoluted when remembering that Donald Trump has very close financial ties with the project. He invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline operators; an additional $500,000 to $1 million in Phillips 66, which will have a 25% stake in the pipeline; and he received $100,000 in campaign contributions from the company’s CEO. Boggles the mind that such a conflict of interests can be legal.

On July 1st, an annual pro-democracy protest was held in Hong Kong marking the anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule in 1997. It was the lowest turnout ever — 50,000 as claimed by protestors, and just 9800 cited by police. The low numbers were blamed on both the intense heat and on China’s crackdown on dissidents over the last year. China has been tightening its grip on the autonomous territory, jailing democracy activists and ejecting them from their jobs. Xi Jinping warned that activities in Hong Kong that threaten China’s sovereignty and stability would be “absolutely impermissible”.

And, on July 11th, the upper house of the Irish parliament, will vote on a historic bill that makes it illegal to purchase goods and services from Israeli settlements. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu lobbied hard against the bill, but it’s nonetheless gaining traction. Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank are considered a war crime under International Humanitarian Law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

And lastly, after an intense weekend of legal wrangling, supporters of former Brazilian president Lula da Silva are hoping he may soon be released from prison. Three times, an appeals court judge ordered Lula’s release pending trial, and three times his decision was overturned. When Lula was convicted earlier in the year on corruption charges and given a 12 year sentence, legal scholars and politicians the world over expressed certainty that the conviction was politically motivated.

This has been the latest edition of Newscoop’s Footnotes – important events getting too little attention. Tune in next week for more.

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