Weekly Wednesday’s What’s-happening-in-the-world: a round-up of nine news articles at noon 17/01/2018


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Sick of news-article round-ups that start with some definitive and authoritative statement – like you ‘need to’ or ‘must’ know – only to feature celebrity stories or what are minor incidences in the grand scheme of things. These lists often reflect the bias in many news outlets towards the novel, tangible, famous and Western. Plane crashes – one of the lowest annual killers – will dominate news coverage over the ongoing epidemics of cancer and heart disease and the enormous number of preventable deaths that occur from them; terrorist attacks in western cities ring-out over much larger massacres in non-western countries or the daily carnage occurring in disadvantaged areas in the US.

So here is an alternative list of nine media articles that are chosen for their important societal implications (apologies for the articles missed):

  1. Plastics and other waste are piling up around the world after China, who in 2016 had been processing at least half of the world’s exports of waste paper, metals and used plastic banned the import of 24 types of waste on Jan 1st.
  2. Following China’s ban the EU launches a plastics strategy featuring a combination of tax disincentives, re-designing plastics production and collection, and what appears to be a series of approaches to target individual behaviours (at times appearing to have too much faith in a targeting-attitudes approach). The goal is for every piece of packaging on the continent to be reusable or recyclable by 2030.
  3. Naomi Klein writes about how major a step it is for New York City to file a lawsuit against five oil majors while announcing at the same time how NY will divest $5 billion from fossil fuel companies.
  4. The collapse of the Carillion company, which was heavily involved in UK government contracts (£16billion worth), is coming with a heavy price for employment with 20,000 directly employed by them in the UK (43,000 globally), which is a figure dwarfed by the number of jobs threatened within the company’s supply chain – here 30,000 small businesses are believed to be owed money.
  5. *Labour‘s shadow chancellor echoes his leader in calling the Carillion collapse a watershed moment against outsourcing government contracts to private finance investment.
  6. On Thursday Trump was accused of referring to Haiti and African countries as ‘shithole’ countries. While Trump and his supporters try to deny the comment or obscure the racist intent this article provides us with form, which at Drunk Tree we feel is always a good indication. From this list it is pretty clear that Trump is a racist.
  7. A Unicef report and its Yemen representative describe how an entire generation of children in Yemen are growing up surrounded by war and how more than 11 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. The problems escalated when the Saudi Arabian-led coalition (with Western supplied weapons) intervened.
  8. The US announced plans to create a 30,000 strong security force in the northeast of Syria has caused tensions in the region largely due to the inclusion of Kurdish fighters. Consequently, Turkish president Erdogan has called it a ‘Terror Army’.
  9. And a cancer article. The fact that both cancer and heart disease are leading global killers and are strongly influenced by environmental, geographical and socioeconomic conditions – and therefore often preventable – means that they should rarely be out of the limelight. This time the article is from India where 1,500 people die from cancer everyday. In India a government study reveals that the area an Indian lives in, economic and educational status, and religion, contribute to the rate of death from cancer.

* While it is an article by a politician it highlights the political significance of the collapse and is an article that links well to supporting material.

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