Newscoop Footnotes: September 18, 2018

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


Hi, I’m Zoe Licata.

The instability in the world continues. The weather, politicians and political institutions are all creating havoc.

  • On Saturday morning, Typhoon Mangkhut clobbered the Philippine province of Cagayan, killing 64 and then moving on to Hong Kong and China. In Hong Kong, more than 284 were reported injured, with 800 flights canceled at Hong Kong International Airport. The storm also forced the relocation of 2.4 million people in China’s Guangdong province.
  • A Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, Aziz Abu Sarah, wants to run for mayor of Jerusalem, and he’s suing Israel in its High Court of Justice to be allowed to do that. Israeli law blocks Palestinians in East Jerusalem from running for mayor, because they do not hold Israeli citizenship (because they’re not allowed to). “Israel claims to be a democracy,” says Abu Sarah. “Yet we (Palestinians) are 40 percent of the residents in Jerusalem, and we are not allowed to run for the most important seat in the city.”

“My whole focus is simple,” he says. “How can we make it easier for Palestinians to remain here.”

  • On Monday, September 10th, Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton went on the attack against the International Criminal Court based in The Hague. Bolton said that if the Court tries to prosecute U.S. military personnel for abuse of detainees in Afghanistan, or Israel for war crimes in Gaza, the U.S. will sanction the Court judges for what he called “unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”  He went further: “The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel.”

Bolton’s statements are being seen as encouraging despots around the world to ignore the jurisdiction of the international court.

  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing former Secretary of State John Kerry of “actively undermining US policy” on Iran by meeting with Iran’s foreign minister. Kerry was a central player in negotiating the JCPOA, President Obama’s agreement with Iran and world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear capability. Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from that agreement last May.

Pompeo joined Instagram this past week, rebranding the U.S. State Department as the “Department of Swagger” — inviting lots of jokes from late-night comedians, as well as expressions of concern from former State department and foreign service members about how the U.S. State Department was being used. A spokesman for Kerry released a statement saying there was “nothing unusual…about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts…What is unseemly and unprecedented is for the podium of the state department to be hijacked for political theatrics.”

  • And finally, on September 13th, Aung San Suu Kyi invoked the “rule of law” while defending the jailing of two Reuters journalists who were investigating Myanmar’s massacre of Rohingya men in Rakhine state. The two journalists were arrested after receiving documents from police officers, and witnesses support their claim that the two were set up by police. Human Rights Watch responded to Ms Suu Kyi’s defense of the verdict by saying she “got it all wrong”.

Aung San Suu Kyi was once held up as a global human rights hero. But her failure to condemn the Myanmar government’s brutal treatment of the Rohingya minority has changed all of that, and numerous awards given her have recently been revoked.

This has been the latest edition of Newscoop’s Footnotes – important events getting too little attention. We’ll be back next week with more.

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