Graphic designed by Evan Brooks.
Just as the Earth keeps spinning, the world keeps moving onwards, and it is important that we take some time every once in a while to analyze what is currently going on in the world. To fully digest it all, it is best to break things down into smaller pieces, which is why this article will be broken down into sections. Each section will deal with a different continent, and will touch on just a few of the current events taking place there. This article will not be able to delve into everything that has happened or is currently happening right now, but these are still important things to know about the current state of our world.
President Biden recently met with the Prime Minister of Canada (Justin Trudeau) and the President of Mexico. (Andrés Manuel López Obrador) This meeting occurred on Saturday, Nov. 18 as part of the North American Leaders’ Summit, or NALS for short. The last time this meeting occurred was on June 29 of 2016 in Canada, under President Barack Obama. The recurrence of this summit shows the renewed U.S. participation in the world, starting in our own backyard. The summit allowed for talks regarding COVID-19, the national economies of those in attendance and collaboration on the world stage.
South America’s largest economy, Brazil, has entered a recession which has been brought on by a lack of growth during COVID-19. The issue is exacerbated by the ongoing drought hitting the continent. High inflation rates have also hit Brazil, soaring to numbers higher than what the U.S. is currently facing. Putting it into perspective, Brazil is facing inflation rates of almost 11%, compared to the U.S. which has rates of about 6%. As the purchasing power of those living in Brazil diminishes, fear of the theft of high-cost food items like meat has driven providers to lock up those items. As Brazil faces an economic crisis, their President, Jair Bolsonaro, continues to lose popularity, making his reelection less likely by the day.
Russia has amassed troops on their border with Ukraine, causing international concern that they will invade like they did back on Feb. 20, of 2014. In 2014, they took the Crimean Peninsula, which they still currently hold. The concern, while valid, begs the question of what Russia will really do, and what they actually want — or more specifically, what Russian President Vladimir Putin wants. Russia has had a poor economy for a while, which COVID-19 has only exacerbated. Should Russia act on their threats, the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline to Germany will most likely be scrapped, and expansive economic sanctions will most likely be enacted.
Ethiopia is still engaged in a civil war that broke out last year, in the northern region of Tigray. Because of the civil war, more than 300 schools have been demolished, leaving behind a humanitarian crisis and taking away education from those in grades Kindergarten through 12. The war has had a further impact on education, as all secondary schools have been closed, so students can go back home and harvest crops for those fighting on the front lines. The longer this civil war wages, the more resources like food will be rationed, and the longer students will be starved of an education. With such a massive gap in education created, the potential economic output of Ethiopia will likely fall to match the drop in those receiving an education, in place of serving the war effort.
The relationship between Taiwan and China has always been ambivalent, but recently, fears of potential military action from China have surfaced. In short, China claims Taiwan, and Taiwan claims China, and with China’s growing military power it seems that China has been looking into reunification with the island of Taiwan. China has also expressed concern with the U.S. involvement with Taiwan, and tensions with the U.S. have only risen after the U.S. sailed a warship through the Taiwan strait. This situation, while serious, looks to be more long term than the current Russian-Ukraine situation.
On top of one of the tallest places in Antarctica, a European team of researchers is drilling for ice cores. Ice cores are packed with carbon dioxide and other elements that were in the air during that time. The cores can be used to see the makeup of the Earth’s atmosphere from hundreds of thousands of years ago. Currently, the team is looking to drill the deepest they have ever gone, so they can create a more complete picture and narrative of Earth’s climate since its beginning.
Evan Brooks is a fourth-year Business Management major with minors in Economics and Civic and Professional Leadership. EB916132@wcupa.edu