Newscoop Footnotes: September 3, 2018

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


Hi, I’m Zoe Licata.

*  The passing of U.S. Senator John McCain is dominating the news this week. Politicians on both sides of the American political spectrum honored the man and mourned the passing of what one called America’s “permanent Secretary of State.” His kindness and his courage, his enormous commitment to the country, his willingness to speak truth to power, and his effectiveness in working across the aisle for the good of the American people are increasingly rare in Washington these days. Winston Churchill once said that courage was the most esteemed human quality, because it guaranteed all others. McCain was the living example of that. He will be missed.

* Also, Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein wrapped up his four-year term this week as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. That the Jordanian diplomat during his tenure made a lot of enemies among dictators and authoritarians around the world is testament to his effectiveness. He did not hesitate to speak truth to Brexit populists, Filipino president Duterte, and U.S. president Donald Trump. He also played a central role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Many in the human rights community are very sorry to see him go. As he left his post, he expressed his concern about populism, intolerance and oppression “becoming fashionable again.” And he placed his hopes in the work of grassroots leaders around the globe.

* And the Trump administration continues its extraordinary efforts to make life difficult for Palestinian refugees. It announced this week that it would both be ending all aid for the UN agency that is the primary provider of Palestinian aid, and also that it would review the possible elimination of Palestinian refugee status. We’d like to mention that there isn’t a single Arab member on Donald Trump’s team to create a solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict — all are orthodox, and all have close ties to the Israeli government. And so far as we’ve seen, all of Trump’s policies and ideas for a so-called solution in the region serve either to support Israeli objectives or to bolster the U.S. evangelical vote upon which Trump depends.

* Next, Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny must be making Russian president Vladimir Putin very nervous, because Navalny has been arrested and imprisoned once again in a clear effort to prevent him from participating in the September 9th protest against new government policies. This would seem an indicator of Navalny’s growing popularity and potential for bringing democratic change to the country.

* And lastly, Brazil’s top elections court has just issued a decision banning former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva from running in that country’s October 2018 presidential elections. Lula is serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering, an indictment and conviction almost universally seen as a political effort to block him from running again for president. He is the clear favorite in all the polls. His left Workers’ Party will be filing an appeal this weekend to the Federal Supreme Court, and many say the result will be dependent on which judge hears the case.

If Lula does not run, it paves the way for far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Al Jazeera reports that “Bolsonaro has managed to present himself as a credible outsider candidate, despite a track record of homophobic, racist and sexist statements.”

Unfortunately, that seems to be the new model in governance around the globe.

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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