World in Brief

Natural Disaster: Deadly Floods in Nigeria

In October 2022, Nigeria was swept by the worst floods the country has experienced in the past ten years. The flooding devastated farmland, infrastructure, and houses across two-thirds of Nigeria’s states, killing over 600 people and displacing approximately 1.3 million, reported “The Guardian” in interviews with “The Guardian” and “The Associated Press.” Experts attributed the severity of the disaster to the government’s inaction, neglect of climate infrastructure, and poor disaster management. Climate change has also increased the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, resulting in erratic, heavy rainfall. According to Kabir Ibrahim, National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, the floods have destroyed nearly 75 percent of crop yield in some areas. Beyond exacerbating the food crisis, the floods have also prompted outbreaks of cholera and other preventable diseases, reported the “International Rescue Committee.”

Russia-Ukraine War: Missile Strikes Target Civilian Infrastructure in Ukraine

Russian missile strikes have bombarded cities and civilian infrastructure across Ukraine. Since October 10, missiles and self-destructing drones have attacked bridges, parks, residential buildings, power plants, etc., causing numerous casualties as well as energy and water shortages throughout Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated the escalation was a response to the partial destruction of the bridge linking Russia and Crimea on October 8, reported “CNN.” According to Ukrainian authorities, the strikes have damaged around 30 percent of Ukraine’s power plants. The World Health Organization has warned about a heightening humanitarian crisis as the prospect of a winter without electricity, water, or heating looms over many Ukrainians.

United Kingdom Politics: British Prime Minister Liz Truss Resigns After 44 Days in Office

Will Liz Truss, Prime Minister of Britain, outlast a head of lettuce? Originating in a column in “The Economist,” the joke has gained popularity as the public debated whether her tenure would last longer than a head of lettuce. The answer appears to be, no. Soon to become Britain’s shortest-serving Prime Minister, Truss resigned on October 20. Appointed by Queen Elizabeth II on September 6, Truss announced plans for “tax cuts, deregulation and free-market economics,” alarming global investors as fears gew that the government would be sent into mass borrowing, reported “The New York Times.” These concerns threw the markets into deeper tumult, compounding the effects of inflation, energy crisis, and forecasted recessions. Following widespread criticism, Truss was forced to virtually cancel all the planned tax cuts on October 17. With her credibility in shambles, she resigned three days later. Liz Truss’s successor, Rishi Sunak, is the first person of color and practicing Hindu to serve as Prime Minister. 

Human Rights: Social Security Changes Gender Documentation Policy

On October 19, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a policy change, allowing people to self-identify their gender on their social security record, regardless of what other identity documents say, reported “The New York Times.” According to the SSA, the policy has been implemented as of October 20. This policy marks a positive development in the rights of transgender people in the United States of America, especially as “trans youth [are] the most frequent target of lawmakers,” according to “The Washington Post.” Although the SSA states that their record systems are “unable to include a nonbinary or unspecified sex designation,” they claim to be exploring potential policy changes, possibly creating greater accuracy in documentation for people of all genders.

U.S. Economy: Tax Brackets to be Adjusted Amidst Surging Inflation

With the aftereffects of Covid-19, the economy has been in a recession since the summer of 2022, according to “Forbes.” To combat rising inflation and worker shortages, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plans to adjust tax brackets, according to “Axios.” Tax brackets determine what percentage of one’s income goes to the U.S. government. Though many people’s wages may have increased to reflect inflation, for most, their financial standing has not changed significantly. Without tax bracket adjustments, however, they would fall into a higher tax bracket, forcing them to pay more. This could be avoided by shifting the income thresholds for different tax rates. Through these changes, the IRS aims to alleviate effects of inflation in the coming year.