Human Rights & Individual Liberties
October 18th – International New York Times – Supreme Court Allows Texas to Use Strict Voter ID Law in Coming Election
It’s been a tough week for civil rights advocates. Just a few days after the Voter ID law got struck down in Texas, a federal court of appeal overturned the decision and made it legal for the State to require photo identification of voters, on the eve of the mid-term elections.
On Sunday, the Supreme Court, which recently issued an emergency order to block a Voter ID law in Wisconsin, surprisingly upheld the court of appeal’s decision. With this ruling, the Court has disenfranchised over 600,000 potential voters being, in their vast majority, black or hispanic.
This decision is set to have a major political impact, as it takes place only one day before the opening of the early voting process.
October 17th – Financial Times – Egg-Freezing Is Latest Talking Point in Valley Diversity Debate
Facebook and Apple announced that they would offer to pay for their employees’ oocyte cryopreservation, aka the freezing of women’s eggs, in a bid to attract more women to the Silicon Valley.
Since last’s week comment from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, advising women not to ask for pay raises, the debate over gender gap and women’s place in California tech companies has been making headlines.
Studies show that these companies remain largely male-dominated (70% of male employees on average). Although some praise the egg-freezing initiative, many analysts say women are still forced to make a choice between their jobs and their families. Instead, they say, tech companies should work on adapting their corporate culture to allow the development of both employee’s career and family life.
October 16th – Truthdig – Hysteria Over Ebola Fuels Racism, While the Real Disease Is Capitalism
Pointing at the myth of the “diseased foreigner” as a fertile ground for racism, Truthdig journalist Sonali Kolhatkar bemoans the instrumentalisation of Ebola in the public debate in the US.
Coming back on the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first man to have developed and died of Ebola on the US soil, she notes “while other Ebola patients were seen as victims, Duncan was viewed by authorities as a malicious carrier of the deadly disease.”
Moreover, “there are major concerns of a global scale that ought to be discussed but are rarely tackled in the mass media”, Kolhatkar adds, citing among others the role of poverty and the chronic lack of medical care, the inaction of Western countries and the culpability of pharmaceutical industries in the fast spreading of the disease.
Environment and Sustainable Development
October 17th – Climate News Network – Ice Loss Sends Alaskan Temperatures Soaring
A study led by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks found that temperature in the Northern part of the State has risen by more than 7° celsius in 30 years. As a comparison, the global average temperature increase over the past century is around 0.8°.
No wonder, say the scientists, because the Arctic has been found to warm up faster than the rest of the globe. Therefore, ice may melt faster than expected and the urge to take action to protect the Arctic is now stronger than ever.
October 14th – USA Today – Tom Steyer: Midterms mark the start of climate campaign
Billionaire environmentalist Tom Meyer has become the biggest Super PAC donor for November election, as his donations for campaigns now exceed $42m.
The hedge fund manager, whose fortune is pegged at $1.6b, already gave away $40m to create the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy in 2008. Today, he promotes Democrat candidates that will push forward actions to help slow down global warming and shed the light on the human consequences of fossil-fuel consumption.
As a consequence, Steyer is today the leading counterweight to the Koch brothers’ conservative network of organizations, whose donations to the GOPs are often counted in hundreds of millions.