Major news events throughout the world continue to be largely ignored until they reach tragic proportions. Underreported, a weekly feature on The Leonard Lopate Show, tackles these issues and gives an in-depth look into stories that are often relegated to the back pages.
In the current economic downturn, governments around the world are looking to crack down on tax loopholes—corporations have been able to take advantage of tax breaks and loopholes that add up to billions of dollars in lost tax revenue. On today’s Underreported, ProPublica senior reporter Jeff Gerth and Megan Murphy, Investment Banking Correspondent for the Financial Times, describe how corporations are saving billions and how governments are now trying to close some of these loopholes.
When we’re in the supermarket, trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, the issues of immigration and migrant laborers usually aren’t on our minds. Yet migrant workers pick much of the produce that ends up on our tables. On today’s Underreported segment, GQ correspondent Jeanne Marie Laskas describes the season she spent with the migrant workers who pick the fruits and vegetables we find in our supermarkets, and why our food system depends on them. Her article "Hecho en América" appears in the October issue of GQ.
This week major clashes erupted in South Africa over the future of the African National Congress, the country’s ruling party since the end of apartheid. New York Times reporter Alan Cowell and Franz Krüger, Director of the Wits Radio Academy in Johannesburg, join us to explain South Africa's political scene.
More than 50 years have passed since the United States sponsored a covert invasion of Cuba that came to be known as the Bay of Pigs. Now, one of the most coveted documents surrounding the disaster been released to the public: the top secret multi-volume CIA history of the operation. Peter Kornbluh of George Washington University’s National Security Archive led the effort to obtain the documents.
The Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought in 60 years. Already, 10 million people are in urgent need of food in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya and yesterday the United Nations declared its first famine in 27 years for parts of Somalia. On today’s first Underreported, Nora Love, the International Rescue Committee’s deputy director of programs, discusses the situation across the region.
More than 2.5 million Somalis are now in desperate need of food, but it wasn’t until late Wednesday that the State Department announced that it would send food aid to the country. The reason? Concerns that sending food aid would be aiding al-Shabab, which controls parts of southern Somalia and which the United States views as a terrorist organization. On today’s Underreported, Eliza Griswold, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and author of The Tenth Parallel, describes why the State Department was concerned that al-Shabab would use the food as a weapon and the challenges of providing food aid to areas where aid workers were banned until quite recently.
This week, a team of Japanese scientists announced that vast deposits of rare earth minerals—considered essential for the production of certain electronics—have been found under the Pacific Ocean. Cindy Lee Van Dover, Director of Duke University Marine Laboratory and Peter B. Kelemen, an Earth & Environmental Studies Professor at Columbia University, tell us about the deposits and how deep sea mining works.
A number of scientists believe that the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima reactors in Japan is much worse than what governments are revealing. Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail discusses what some in the scientific community are saying about the effects of the meltdown.
On this week’s Underreported, Dan Coughlin, reporter for The Nation magazine, Kim Ives, editor for Haiti Liberté, discuss what the WikiLeaks cables reveal about American diplomatic attitudes toward Haiti – both before and after the devasting earthquake there in 2010. A new series of reports about the 1,918 cables that relate to Haiti is being published in a partnership between The Nation and the Haiti Liberté newspaper.
In late March and early April, a boat filled with dozens of African migrants drifted in the Mediterranean for 16 days with almost no food, fuel or water. Although the boat made contact with various European authorities, no rescue was attempted and 61 people died. On this week’s Underreported, Fred Abrahams, Special Advisor at Human Rights Watch, describes what happened aboard the ship and why an investigation has been launched into how NATO and its member states responded to the ship’s distress calls.
Charlie Ornstein and Tracy Weber, ProPublica senior reporters, discuss medical societies and their financial ties to drug and medical device makers. Ornstein and Weber are the authors of the article "Financial Ties Bind Medical Societies to Drug and Device Makers," part of ProPublica's series Dollars for Doctors.
Since last summer, there has been a sometimes violent standoff between students at the University of Puerto Rico and the government over an announced budget cut and an increase in tuition fees, but that may just be part of a wider pattern of First Amendment violations. Jennifer Turner, a Human Rights Researcher at the ACLU and Rosie Perez, who just returned from a fact-finding mission in Puerto Rico, describe how authorities have dealt with students, striking workers, journalists, and civilians in recent months.
Climate change is having dramatic effects on the world’s oceans as ice sheets collapse and the sea becomes more acidic. Warmer temperatures allow some deep sea predators, like King Crab, to expand their range into new areas—to the detriment of many other sea creatures. According to James McClintock, a Professor of Physiology & Ecology of Aquatic & Marine Invertebrates at the University of Alabama, an army of deep sea King Crabs are slowly working their way up the Antarctic slope, a habitat they have never been found in before, and are potentially decimating the extremely delicate marine ecosystem.
It has long been known that Chiquita Brands International made controversial payments to violent guerilla and paramilitary groups in Columbia in the 1990s and 2000s. The company was fined $25 million dollars in a 2007 plea-agreement for making payments to AUC, which was designated as a terrorist group by the US State Department in 2001. Michael Evans, chief researcher on Colombia at the National Security Archive, explains that a newly released trove of internal Chiquita memos obtained by the National Security Archive suggest that, contrary to company claims that the money was extorted, the payments often resulted in direct benefits for the banana giant.
Eighty-three-year-old Luis Posada Carriles is a former CIA operative. He has been connected to the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the funneling of U.S. money to the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s, a series of attacks on Havana hotels in 1997, and the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. Posada was acquitted this month of charges that he lied to U.S. immigration officials when he entered the country in 2005. Jefferson Morley, a former editor at The Washington Post and the author of Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA, looks at Posada's background and his recent acquittal.
Concerns about seismic activity at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant are grabbing the headlines this week, but other issues have been raised in the debate over whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should renew the plant's license. WNYC’s Bob Hennelly looks at environmental concerns about 90-100 degree waste water coming out of the plant into the Hudson River.
The Stuxnet virus made headlines when it damaged computers at Iran’s nuclear program. On this week’s Underreported segment, Vanity Fair writer Michael Joseph Gross looks at who could have built Stuxnet and why Israel may not have been behind the computer worm as many initially assumed. Plus, we’ll look at what Stuxnet means for the future of cyber warfare.