Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Oct 14, 2020 in Stuff You Should Know

Asian Americans Face Unemployment Crisis

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has significantly damaged the global economy. Asian Americans in the United States have experienced significant economic losses. Just one year ago, Asian Americans had the lowest unemployment rate of any racial demographic group. But now, their jobless rate has climbed from 2.8 percent to 10.7 percent, which is the highest for any group except African Americans.

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Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock

Why have Asian Americans in particular been so drastically affected? First, geography plays a role. The highest Asian American populations are found in places like New York and California, which have been more affected by the virus than other areas. Second, almost a quarter of Asian Americans work in the service industries–restaurants, shops, and nail salons, for example–all of which have faced dramatic layoffs. Racism may have also played a role: Asian Americans have been unfairly associated with the spread of the pandemic because the global pandemic began China.

Dig Deeper Use Internet resources to discover the unemployment rate for White, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans one year ago. Then find out what it is today (the most recent numbers would be from August, 2020). Do you notice any trends? Write a short paragraph about your findings.

Protests in Kyrgyzstan

Last weekend, the country of Kyrgyzstan held their parliamentary elections. Despite sixteen parties competing, only four managed to get enough votes to gain seats in the legislative body. As a result, there are claims that the elections were rigged. Accusations against the government warn that vote buying and voter intimidation occurred. Twelve of the parties have even signed a document saying that they won’t accept the results. They want a new election to be held as soon as possible.

Public outcry over the election has led to rioting in the capital city of Bishkek, where a mob of people broke into the Parliament building and set part of the building on fire. (Not only is this the government legislature; it is also President Soorohbai Jeenbekov’s residence.) Police responded with water cannons and tear gas, injuring dozens of protestors. While these actions dispersed the crowd briefly, the protestors regrouped and broke into several other government buildings. They also freed former President Almazbek Atambayev, who was president before Jeenbekov and was under arrest for corruption. The current president has agreed to meet with heads of all of the sixteen political parties in the hopes that this will help calm the unrest.

Dig Deeper Find Kyrgyzstan on a map. As a former Soviet republic, what is the country’s relationship with Russia today? If you don’t know, use Internet resources to help you with your answer.

Next Debate Cancelled

The next presidential debate, which was scheduled for October 15, has been cancelled. The Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) tried to make this debate virtual because President Trump is still recovering from his diagnosis and treatment of the COVID-19 virus. Medical experts recommend that patients who contracted the virus should be separated for at least 14 days. The scheduled debate fell within that time period.

Donald Trump said that he would not participate in a virtual debate. His campaign said the president was medically able to participate in an in person debate. The two campaigns cannot agree to hold the debate in person, so the planned debate has been cancelled.

The Biden campaign plans to hold a town-hall meeting on Thursday evening in place of the scheduled debate. President Trump is in talks to possibly host a town hall of his own at a later date.

What Do You Think? Given that we are just weeks out from the election, what do you think would be the best strategy for holding the final two debates of the campaign?

The WTO to Select First Female Director General

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international organization that oversees trade agreements between countries. It also negotiates trade disputes and other difficulties. And now, for the first time ever, it is about to name a female director general.

The final decision hasn’t been made yet, but the WTO has narrowed its list of eight candidates to two finalists, both women. The first is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister. She was also a managing director at the World Bank for many years and has had a good deal of experience with international trade. If selected, Okonjo-Iweala will also be the first African to serve in this role. The second candidate is Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean trade minister. She spent her career in international trade. If selected, she would also be the second Asian director general.

Either woman will likely face great challenges as the head of the WTO. While the director general has no actual executive powers, she will still be responsible for guiding the organization during an extremely difficult time. The United States and China have been engaged in an ongoing trade war for the past several years. There are other ongoing trade disputes too. COVID-19 has reduced world trade and strained relationships among nations.

Dig Deeper Research to discover more about the WTO. When did the organization begin? Was there a specific world event that brought it about? Write a short paragraph about what you discover.