Here and There: The World Right Now

Health: W.H.O. Approves First-Ever Malaria Vaccine

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) approved the first malaria vaccine on Wednesday, October 6. Marking a new milestone in the defeat of the disease, the vaccine will potentially prevent 5.4 million cases and 23,000 deaths in children, according to “The New York Times.” Annually, malaria kills close to half a million people in Africa and is prevalent among children. The parasitic disease is carried by mosquitoes and can infect the same person multiple times, resulting in permanent damage to the immune system, if not death. Past preventive methods for the disease, including bed nets, are marginally effective, yielding only a 20 percent reduction in death in children, “The New York Times” reported. In comparison, the vaccine will be 50 percent effective in the first year and gradually drop to zero within four years of vaccination, according to clinical trials. The vaccine is the first developed for a parasitic infection.

Politics: Germany Adds $767 Million to Holocaust Survivor Reparations

On October 6, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) announced an extended $760 million benefit for Holocaust survivors. According to the Claims Conference, the German government has saved more than $90 billion for Holocaust survivors throughout the past 70 years. After a recent negotiation, much of the set aside money was granted to Russian Jewish people who had lived through the Nazi siege of Leningrad. The government money has the potential to impact Jewish communities, as more than 50 percent of Holocaust survivors currently live below or near the poverty level, according to Mr. Eizenstat, a former U.S. deputy treasury secretary. All survivors of the siege of Leningrad qualify for the pension, including the survivors who hid in France and Romania after fleeing from Russia, “The New York Times” reported. Qualified survivors will receive a $5,200 pension, which could become their lifeline, according to Mr. Eizenstat.

Natural Disasters: Death Tolls May Rise in Pakistan Earthquake

Islamabad, Pakistan was struck by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake on Thursday, October 7. Hundreds were injured and left homeless after houses collapsed, according to “The New York Times.” At least 20 are reported dead, and the death toll is expected to rise. The Pakistan military reached the majority of the damaged area for medical assistance and rescue; however, some mountainous areas are still inaccessible to assistance, according to Adeel Ahmed, an official of the Home Ministry. Injured people are treated under arduous medical conditions, and Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged assistance for victims. Officials are making efforts to clear paths and send help, as roads remain blocked by the rubble and landslides. Pakistan is a region of frequent seismic activities, the most recent a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in 2019. In 2005, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit and caused the death of over 87,000, according to “The New York Times.”

Economy: Congress Shrinks President Biden’s Economic Agenda

Recent new Senate negotiations lead to the curbing of President Joe Biden’s ambitious economic agenda. Since the beginning of President Biden’s presidency, remaking the economy has been the main goal including efforts like raising the federal minimum wage, opening up citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and helping communities of color, according to “The New York Times.” However, tax spending on such programs will be reduced from $3.5 trillion to $2 trillion or less. Jennifer Mount, a house health care aide, is unable to pay for her $3,000 medical bill for treatment of blindness in one eye due to the new economic agenda, reported “The New York Times.” There are many more like Mount whose lives may be affected and who hope federal programs will not be cut as a result of Senate negotiations.

War/Conflict: Tension Rises in Taiwan During National Day Incursions

On October 1, the 73rd anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, 25 firefighter jets, bombers, and other warplanes flew across the southern end of Taiwan in orderly formations, according to “The New York Times.” In celebration of National Day, the jets marched to exhibit military power and national pride. However, “The New York Times” reported that the federal government perceived the military show as threatening to their peace and stability. The conflict soon intensified, when one of the jet pilots swore at an air traffic controller who ordered to stop the incursions. Power and control over Taiwan have inflicted tension between the United States and China, creating distrust and potential military conflict. Although both sides work towards avoiding war, the unification of Taiwan and China continues to cause conflicts.