President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was inaugurated last week, proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package to both help Americans get through the pandemic and to provide extra funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution across a United States that has been crushed by the virus. His plan calls for $1,400 checks for each person in most households, $400 per week for the unemployed through to December, expanded paid leave, and increases in child tax credit.. This package along with the smaller one released in December would mean that most Americans will be receiving a combined total of $2,000 each. Unlike past packages, all dependent adults, such as college students, will be eligible for payments since Biden has emphasized that he believes that these people, whether they have kept their jobs or not, are in need of help. This portion of the package that directly supports households makes up about half of the plan’s total cost, with much of the other half of it going to vaccine distribution and testing in local and state governments throughout the US. In addition to expanding eligibility, this package will also raise child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 for this year as with $600 additional dollars for children under 6 years old. The plan will also provide the poorest households with the full benefits of this. The child tax credit currently provides parents with a credit of up to $2,000 per child under 17 years old on their taxes. Simply put, it means that if you are a parent of two children under 17, you would pay up to $4,000 dollars less in taxes when it is time to pay them. The package will also focus on extending student loan forbearance, which will pause loan payments, provide $350 billion for state and local governments, and dedicate $50 billion to increasing testing and vaccine distribution. Overall this enormous plan covers a lot of issues in the United States that this pandemic has either created or exacerbated. However, this enormous plan is still the starting point for the new president and his attempts to fight a pandemic and an economic recession simultaneously. Mr. Biden has said that he plans to outline another proposal dedicated to economic recovery and combating climate change in February.
Elections in Uganda
Electoral officials declared on the 16th of January that Yoweri Museveni has been re-elected as President of Uganda in an election with almost 18 million people who registered to vote. Receiving almost 57% of the votes with his main rival Bobi Wine receiving 35% of the votes, he is due to start his sixth term as President of Uganda. Changes had to be made to allow him to continue running for office. Museveni has been in power since 1986, the same year an armed uprising took place after decades of civil war. He claims to represent security and economic stability and has also been portrayed as a liberator, which helps him win votes.
Bobi Wine is a former pop star and with just 38 years of age is a lot younger than 76-year-old President Museveni. He says that he represents the younger generation. After the results were announced, he accused Museveni of cheating. This may sound like he is just a bad loser, but the Ugandan government did shut down the internet ahead of the voting day, an action which was condemned by election monitors. As the results started coming in on Friday, Bobi Wine claims that Ugandan soldiers surrounded his home, a statement which a government spokesman described as “dramatized.” Furthermore, a lot of Wine’s key advisers had either been arrested or are in hiding. There was also a lot of violence leading up to the election. Dozens of people were killed, and opposition politicians accused the government of harassment.
Meanwhile Museveni said that the vote had been peaceful and described the election as possibly being the “most cheating free” in the history of the continent of Africa. He also declared that “foreign meddling will not be tolerated” as the EU, the UN and several other rights groups raised concerns.
Bobi Wine announced that he rejects the results and will continue to present evidence of voter intimidation and rigging. His party — the National Unity Platform (NUP) — is expected to be the biggest opposition party in parliament, campaigning for basic needs such as access to healthcare, clean water, and education. Since then, another opposition party (Forum for Democratic Change) has also called the election “fraudulent.”
“Uganda: Veteran Leader Yoweri Museveni Declared Election Winner.” BBC News, BBC, 16 Jan. 2021, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-55689665.
Kiruga, Morris. “Uganda Elections: Museveni Wins, Bobi Wine the Rising Power in Parliament.” The Africa Report.com, The Africa Report, 17 Jan. 2021, http://www.theafricareport.com/59593/uganda-elections-museveni-wins-bobi-wine-the-new-power-in-parliament/.
On this day
On this day, 73 years ago (January 12th 1948) Mahatma Gandhi began his final fast in an effort to persuade Muslims and Hindus to work towards peace- a reoccurring theme, demonstrated throughout his life. Previously, Gandhi committed himself to 18 fasts, after his vow to “fast unto death”, in order to protest the British government’s decision to colonise the Southern Asian country of India. Throughout his life, Gandhi was the leader of a plethora of non-violent civil disobedience campaigns, ranging from the Dandi Salt March in 1930 to the “Quit India” movement of 1942. The majority of his campaigns stemmed from encouraging the British to allow India to gain its independence as a country, once again. A goal in which he achieved in 1947. Through colonial rule, the British had exploited India’s raw materials, caused cultural upheaval and abused their political power within the country- Gandhi dedicated his life to changing this. In recognition of his selfless acts, I would like to take a minute to remember the unequivocal changes that Gandhi implemented on this Earth, positively influencing millions of people around the globe, causing a conversation that was continued by many famous figures of history including Martin Luther King JR, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. During his many peaceful political protests, Gandhi taught the concept of “satyagraha”, a Sanskrit word which closely translates to “insistence of the truth”. This concept was shown through this extraordinary leader’s actions, to free the oppressed, to obstruct and prevent discrimination and to gain India’s rightfully deserved political, economic and social independence, for the benefit of all. Through the incredible life that he led, Gandhi proved, to all, that one determined man (or woman), has the power to successfully take on an empire.
New Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement
The RCEP is a free trade agreement formed between the Asia-Pacific Nations, which include:
- New Zealand
- the Philippines
- South Korea
The RCEP spans 2.2 billion people, or nearly 30% of the world’s population and 29% of its GDP.
The introduction and signing of the new Trade Agreement in 2020 states that it would eliminate tariffs and quotas on 65% of the goods that are traded in the region of these countries. This is great news for the World Investment Trade! It will particularly aid the economies of the Asia-Pacific Nations and support the post-COVID-19 economic recovery process of the whole world.
However, it may not be entirely clear on the impact that the agreement will have on the Global Trading relationship, particularly between China and the USA. Currently, a shift in the regional dynamic and economic growth is in favor of China. Nevertheless, the latest American Elections and Biden’s new plans may cause that to change.
The US Election Of 2020
After a nail-biting election, Joe Biden has been named President-Elect. Today, his lead continued to increase in the state of Pennsylvania, giving him 20 additional electoral points and making him surpass the needed 270. President Trump has called for re-counts which have little to no merit as Biden carries states with margins of thousands that won’t be affected by a recount. Pennsylvania is vital in re-establishing the Blue Wall which the Democrats lost in 2016. All trends continue to show a clear Biden lead in the states of Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania. If Biden manages to win all those states, he will have the same electoral number as Trump did when he beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections. Major news outlets such as CNN and the BBC have called Biden the new incoming president. This election marks a key turning point in history as Kamala Harris will be the first female and first colored Vice-President, while Joe Biden will be the oldest President of the USA. Traditionally, the sitting President calls the newly elected one, but as of today Trump has not called Biden. The Biden-Harris team will have its first public speech at 8 PM EST on the 8th of November. The following months will be crucial for them as they have the task of somehow uniting a split America. Biden might have won the popular vote by approximately four million, yet around 70 million Americans still voted for Trump. After the winning announcement, celebrations of joy erupted throughout America. However, these celebrations are being overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak; America had its highest increase in the number of cases reported in 24 hours (132,797) on the 6th of November. As the election draws to a close, it will be interesting to see how the world reacts, specifically looking at the markets.
To read more about the election press the following links:
The 2020 Nobel Prize in Economics
On the 12th of October, american economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in economics. The two professors are based at the University of Stanford and were recognized for their work in auction theory. This new theory describes new formats for auctioning many interrelated objects on behalf of a seller motivated by doing good for society rather than simply achieving the highest price possible. These formats were used in 1994, when US authorities wanted to fairly privatize radio broadcasting stations throughout the country. The new development is all about avoiding the ‘winner’s curse’, this phenomenon has the tendency for the winning bid of an auction to exceed the true worth of the item.
For more information, follow these links:
2020 Nobel Prize in Economics
On the 12th of October, American economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in economics. The two professors are based at the University of Stanford and were recognized for their work in auction theory. This new theory describes new formats for auctioning many interrelated objects on behalf of a seller motivated by doing good for society rather than simply achieving the highest price possible. These formats were used in 1994, when US authorities wanted to fairly privatize radio broadcasting stations throughout the country. The new development is all about avoiding the ‘winner’s curse’, this phenomenon has the tendency for the winning bid of an auction to exceed the true worth of the item.