Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Nov 10, 2021 in Stuff You Should Know

COVID Vaccine Approved for Younger Children

Up until now, children under twelve have been too young to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. But all of that changed on October 26, 2021,when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended vaccine distribution for children from ages five to eleven. The vaccine is a lower-dose version of the same Pfizer vaccine that many adults received. (It’s about a third of the dose, but just like adults, kids will still receive two shots given three weeks apart.)

The vaccine has been found to be 91 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 in kids. Roughly 28 million children are now eligible to receive the vaccine, and the federal government has purchased enough to make free shots available to every child in the United States. Fifteen million doses were shipped out last week, with the child vaccination program in full effect starting on November 8, 2021.

Vaccinating children is a critical step in battling COVID-19. It is estimated that vaccinating children will prevent up to 600,000 new COVID cases by March 2022.

Dig Deeper Research where children can get vaccinated in your community. Read the news to find out how many children in this age range have been vaccinated since the distribution began.

Coup in Sudan

Sudan, a country in northern Africa, experienced a coup d’etat on October 25, 2021. A coup is when a country’s military uses force to remove the current government and takes control of the country.

Sudan has a long and difficult political history. In 2019, former President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power and was imprisoned. For decades he had been accused of corruption, war crimes, human rights violations, and genocide. After that, a new power-sharing government was put into place, with a Sovereign Council and a prime minister. This was a compromise between the military and pro-democracy civilians. When the October coup took place the military dissolved the Sovereign Council and arrested Prime Minister Abdalia Hamdok. The military declared a state of emergency and removed several state governors. It also suspended several articles of the country’s constitution. The following day, opposition leaders were also arrested. The prime minister and his wife have since been allowed to return home.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s top general and the leader of the Sovereign Council, led the coup. He was supposed to give control of the Council to a civilian administration in the next few weeks. This would have been the first time in three decades that Sudan had democratic rule by the people. But Burhan overthrew the Council instead. He claimed that the Sovereign Council no longer functioned and needed to be dissolved for the good of the people. He said that he will hold free and fair elections to choose a new representative government in July 2023.

The move was not a total surprise. The Sudanese army had been pressuring the prime minister for weeks to speak out against transitioning the leadership of the country to civilian rule.

The United States has condemned the coup and suspended $700 million in promised assistance to the country. This money was supposed to help support Sudan’s peaceful transition to democracy.

Dig Deeper Gain a better understanding of the situation in Sudan by identifying three of the country’s major political figures–Abdalia Hamdok, Omar al-Bashir, and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Explain their role in the Sudanese government and the recent coup.

New Touch Card for the Visually Impaired

When a person is visually impaired, everyday transactions, such as paying for things with a credit card, can be challenging. As new credit card designs remove the raised numbers and letters, visually impaired people need a new way to identify their cards from each other.

To help, Mastercard has created a simple system to help visually impaired people tell at a touch which card they are pulling from their wallets. The new “Touch Cards” have notches cut into their short side. By sliding your finger along the edge, you can find the card you’re looking for. The Touch Card credit card has a round notch cut into the side. The debit card has a square notch, The prepaid card has a triangular notch. The notch allows users to identify the type of card they’re looking for and helps them correctly position the card into the card reader. Touch Cards will also work with ATMs. Each successful transaction will signal with a short musical melody, just like it has already been doing for years, so that customers will know (just from listening) when it has gone through.

Touch Cards won’t be available until next year. But they could be a real benefit to many of the 2.2 billion people around the world who are visually impaired.

Dig Deeper The Touch Card follows another Mastercard innovation that also shows the company’s commitment to inclusivity: True Name. Use Internet resources to learn more about this, and write a short paragraph about what you find out.

Saudi Arabia Builds Unusual Amusement Park

skyline image of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is looking to attract tourists in new ways.

Saudi Arabia is turning a 150,000 square-foot oil rig into a 1.6 million-square-foot oil-themed amusement park and resort. “The Rig,” located in the Arabian Gulf, will be funded by the nation’s Public Investment Fund. It is the first tourist attraction in the world to exist on (and to have been inspired by) an offshore oil platform. The park will contain three hotels, eleven restaurants, roller coasters, waterslides, and other attractions such as bungee jumping and skydiving. The  area is all connected by a series of platform bridges. There will also be a hands-on experience explaining how to use oil drilling machinery.

“The Rig” is part of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to rebrand Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination. Though millions of people visit the country every year during the Islamic spiritual pilgrimage known as hajj, Westerner tourists visit Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Oman.  This is because of Saudi Arabia’s conservative laws and restrictions on women. In addition to “The Rig,” the kingdom has also invested in a second airline and spent $147 billion in other transportation and infrastructure expenses. By 2030, Saudi Arabia hopes to attract one hundred million visitors per year.

There is no exact date for when the park is set to open to the public, though the goal is 2025.

Dig Deeper Create a travel poster for The Rig, using both text and images to convince tourists to visit the new park. Share your poster with the class.