What We’re Following
After Paris: In the aftermath of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, many world leaders have expressed disappointment in the U.S. and reaffirmed their own commitment to the pact. Perhaps more than any other problem facing the world, climate change demands a collective solution—and as Uri Friedman argues, Trump’s withdrawal marks a dangerous return to a worldview in which every nation is concerned only with itself. But some state and local governments say they’ll work to uphold the climate agreement on their own, which is part of why these readers remain optimistic.
Around the World: Ireland’s ruling party has elected a new prime minister, and the results are historic: Not only will 38-year-old Leo Varadkar be the youngest leader in Ireland’s history, he’ll also be its first prime minister who’s openly gay and its first who’s a person of color. Elsewhere, China is waging a successful campaign to become what Isaac Stone Fish calls “the world’s most likeable superpower”—even though its illiberal government doesn’t quite back up the diplomatic rhetoric.
Bitter Pills: As America’s opioid crisis continues, several recent lawsuits are seeking to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the damage, arguing that Big Pharma’s marketing practices and other activities misled doctors into overprescribing the dangerous drugs. Similar claims against tobacco companies set precedent for these suits, but plaintiffs face an obstacle in the fact that addicted users often don’t use pills the way they’re supposed to. Another part of the problem can be traced to a five-sentence letter to the editor published in a leading medical journal in 1980. The letter didn’t prove that opioids are safe, but it’s often been cited as though it did—so many times that the journal is now publishing a new study to correct it.