Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

Colorado sues an opioid manufacturer, the ACLU says the government suppressed pipeline protests, and India lets go of an outmoded gay sex ban.
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Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you a story on Japanese Americans working to preserve a wartime incarceration site, a look at what's at stake if Brett Kavanaugh ascends to the Supreme Court, a conversation with a climate refugee expert, and much more.

But our small newsroom has been following far more stories than we can reasonably cover. Here are a few others that we've been watching this week.

Colorado Is the Latest State to Sue Purdue Pharma

Lawsuits continue to stack up against the company that makes Oxycontin, with Colorado on Thursday joining New York and close to 30 other states. Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman alleged that Purdue Pharma's deceptive marketing practices played a significant role in the opioid crisis. "Purdue unleashed a surge of prescription opioids on Coloradans while hiding the facts about their drugs' addictive properties," Coffman said in a statement. "Their corporate focus on making money took precedence over patients' long-term health, and Colorado has been paying the price in loss of life and devastation of its communities." According to the complaint, there were about 3,000 prescription opioid-related deaths in Colorado between 1999 and 2017. 

The ACLU Accused Law Enforcement of Strategically Suppressing Keystone XL Pipeline Protests

The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act requesting records regarding cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement as well as private security companies in preparation for protests against the pipeline. First reported by E&E News, the lawsuit includes examples—such as an "anti-terrorism" training the Department of Justice hosted in Fort Harrison, Montana—of "highly coordinated law enforcement responses" that the ACLU contends raise questions about the level of collaboration among government agencies and private companies. Anticipating a new wave of environmental and indigenous protests in response to Keystone XL, the ACLU expects law enforcement coordination similar to the response to the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

India Has Decriminalized Gay Sex

In a landmark decision, India's Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a 150-year-old ban, with Chief Justice Dipak Misra calling the law "irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary," the New York Times reports. The ban on gay sex dates back to India's days as a British colony. Thursday's decision goes beyond simply decriminalizing gay sex: The court also ruled that all the principles of nondiscrimination provided under the Indian Constitution apply to gay people. Conservative Christians, Muslims, and Hindus condemned the ruling, while gay activists planned for slow moves forward, according to the Times. "You can't break the fortress in one go," Ashok Row Kavi, a petitioner in the case, told Al Jazeera. "Open the door. If the door gets opened, you are inside. Be inside and fight it out."

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