World in Brief

Russia-Ukraine War: Putin’s Military Draft

Russian President Vladimir Putin imposed a new military draft on former members of the military, in hopes of strengthening Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The draft prompted renewed anti-war protests in Russia, with the police arresting over 1,400 protestors. Russian men who qualified for the military fled the country, hoping to avoid conscription. Some fathers of underage children and other ineligible citizens were mistakenly conscripted. Since then, Russia has begun the arduous process of sending back military personnel while government officials scramble to quell the anti-war protests.

European Energy Crisis: Electricity and Gas Prices Increase Nearly 1000 Percent 

The energy shortage in the European Union (EU) is currently crashing their economy. According to Foreign Policy Magazine, “European electricity and natural gas prices are now close to ten times their historical average in the decade leading up to 2020.” The primary cause of the energy crisis is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Currently, European countries are attempting to avoid trading with Russia, which is one of the largest oil and gas producers in the world. While the EU has been able to replace some of the oil normally piped from Russia by ship instead, increasing demand for oil and gas to heat buildings as winter approaches has caused prices to skyrocket, to the unease of many Europeans. 

Extreme Weather: Super Typhoon Noru Hits Philippines

Super Typhoon Noru made landfall in the Philippines on September 18, causing flooding and killing at least five people. Governor Daniel Fernando of Bulacan province reported that “five rescuers, who were using a boat to help residents trapped in floodwaters, were hit by a collapsed wall then apparently drowned in the rampaging waters,” according to TIME Magazine. Facing flooding and power outages, government officials have temporarily shut down schools and government work. Noru is the strongest super typhoon to hit the Philippines so far this year.

Health: Biden Administration Calls for Nutrition Labels on Food Packaging

Hunger and poverty rates increased throughout the pandemic, prompting many people to turn to cheaper, unhealthier foods. On September 26, the Biden Administration released a plan to end hunger in the United States of America by 2030. Part of the plan involves a proposal to mandate placing standardized nutritional labels on the front of food packaging, to help consumers more easily evaluate nutritional information about food they may be purchasing. The plan also calls for expanding monthly benefits to help low-income Americans afford food. The plan also hopes to expand the availability of obesity and nutrition counseling through Medicare and Medicaid. 

Economics: The Automotive Chip Shortage

Semiconductor chips, while not as tasty as the potato kind, are a crucial component in new cars. Despite their necessity, only a small number of automotive chip plants exist in the world. The pandemic—which produced a spike in demand for cars—has disrupted the production of semiconductor chips. As a result, auto manufacturers built 1.7 million fewer vehicles in 2021 than in 2019. On September 22, automotive manufacturer Honda said it would cut output at two Japanese plants by 40 percent due to ongoing supply chain issues. The shortage of chips is predicted to continue until at least 2023.