Word In Brief

Politics: Passing of Queen Elizabeth II     

On September 8, Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s constitutional monarch, passed away in her summer residence at Balmoral Castle. Since 1952, the Queen served as a figure of stability for 70 years in the span of 15 prime ministers, ranging from Winston Churchill to the newly-appointed Liz Truss. Buckingham Palace announced the commencement of the Queen’s funeral, Operation London Bridge, which will last ten days and conclude with the Queen’s burial on September 19 in Westminster Abbey. The Queen’s passing incited doubts about the relevance of constitutional monarchy in modern society; some refute the institution’s outdated colonial fundamentals, while others argue its importance as a symbol of national unity and identity, according to “The New York Times.

Droughts: Devastation and Starvation Across the Globe

Since 2000, drought frequency and duration have increased by nearly a third worldwide, reported the United Nations (UN). This past summer was no exception. The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, and “The New York Times” describes Somalia as “close to famine” for the first time since 2011. Data analysis by “EarthSky” indicates that record-breaking heat waves are also drying up the Yangtze River in China and the Danube in Europe, attaining extremely low water levels that reveal sunken ships at the bottom of the water bed. The UN warned that drought could affect more than 75 percent of the world’s population by 2050. 

War: Reopening Of Schools in Ukraine      

On September 10, after seven months of war between Russia and Ukraine, Ukraine reclaimed the city of Izium, a key city that Russia captured six months ago, reported “The New York Times.” School in Ukraine also reopened on September 1, despite the ongoing pandemic and war. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), around two-thirds of Ukrainian children have fled their homes since the start of the war and an estimated ten percent of schools have been destroyed. Despite decreased capacity due to bomb shelters, which results in as little as 14 percent of the schools’ full capacity for students, as many schools as possible are trying to reopen, both virtually and in person. 

Economy: Global Chip Shortage    

This past Friday, President Biden attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a $20 billion Intel computer chip factory in Ohio. The Biden administration is building the factory with the help of the “CHIPS and Science Act,” granting a $50 billion investment in the American semiconductor Industry, reported “The New York Times.” Semiconductor chips control electrical flow and are used in everything from pacemakers to phones to automobiles. However, decreased production during Covid-19 and increasingly complicated global commerce due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a global chip shortage, explains “U.S. News,” which the new factory in the U.S. hopes to help assuage. 

Health: Covid-19 Updates    

As of September 8, about more than 15 million people have died globally due to Covid-19, according to “The New York Times.” Additionally, only 57 out of 195 countries have a vaccination rate of over 70 percent, the majority being high-income countries. However, the current global daily cases average is relatively low compared to its peak in mid-January. As a result, schools in the U.S. opened by eliminating many pandemic rules, like mask-wearing. Schools in other countries, such as the Philippines, reopened for the first time since the pandemic started in 2019, according to “The Times Of India.” Many other countries still enforce stricter rules against Covid-19, such as China’s “zero-Covid policy,” with zero tolerance for the spread of Covid-19.