Oct 05 2015

Newsflash: TPP Deal Reached, MSF Hospital in Kunduz Bombed, S. Carolina’s Historic Rain

Uprising’s guest expert Cristina Mislan, Assistant Professor of Journalism Studies, Missouri School of Journalism, analyzes today’s news headlines:

The Obama Administration is enjoying a major victory with the announcement of a new trade deal with 12 nations, known as the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). Aimed at bolstering US economic dominance in the face of China’s spectacular growth, the TPP faced huge opposition from progressive groups who have cast the deal as “NAFTA on steroids.” Recently Congress voted to give the President so-called Fast Track authority over the deal, meaning that they would not be able to amend it – simply cast an up or down vote. A vote is scheduled for early next year, as Mr. Obama finishes up his last year in office. The TPP sets corporate-friendly rules on such aspects of the economy as pharmaceuticals, energy, agriculture, and the internet. One group of activists was apparently happy with the shape of the newly-reached deal: wildlife conservationists praised a deal that many had a hand in crafting. David McCauley of the World Wildlife Federation told the New York Times, “The provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership go beyond what we have seen in other trade agreements.” Click here for a Washington Post article, and here for a New York Times article about the story.

US forces in Afghanistan bombed a hospital in Kunduz, run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), killing 22 aid workers including 10 patients, 3 of whom were children. MSF denounced the strike saying that they had given the hospital’s coordinates to all sides ahead of time to ensure it would be spared. Kunduz is the site of a major battle unfolding between the Taliban and US and Afghan forces. The US was likely acting on the word of the acting Governor of Kunduz, Hamdullah Danishi, who insisted that the hospital was being used by the Taliban as a base. But MSF has maintained that “Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside the MSF hospital compound prior to the US airstrike on Saturday morning.” President Obama announced that a full investigation would be carried out, and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter echoed him. A spokesperson for ISAF forces fighting on the ground told the Guardian newspaper, “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.” But MSF has angrily denounced it as a war crime and said that “relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.” Click here for a Guardian newspaper article about the story.

And finally South Carolina has been struck by historic rain and flooding over several days, fed in part by moisture from Hurricane Joaquin. The torrential rains have broken records. At least 8 deaths have been reported, linked to the flooding, 3 of which were of people being trapped in their cars in the rising waters. Schools and businesses remain closed today as state officials have declared an emergency. Millions of South Carolinians in more than half the state have been impacted. Hundreds of roads and bridges are closed and many have been damaged, water lines have broken, and thousands have lost power. National guardsmen, police, and firefighters have been engaged in search-and-rescue operations all weekend. One meteorologist from the University of Georgia told Associated Press, “The flooding is unprecedented and historical.” In 2013, a local paper reported that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and others buried an official and comprehensive report on the looming impacts of climate change to the state. Click here for a USA Today article about the story.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Newsflash: TPP Deal Reached, MSF Hospital in Kunduz Bombed, S. Carolina’s Historic Rain”

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