Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Dec 8, 2022 in Stuff You Should Know

Protests Against China’s COVID Policies

Imagine that another surge in COVID-19 cases caused the U.S. government to declare another nationwide lockdown. Would you be upset? A government-ordered lockdown in China has resulted in widespread protests, which are rare in China due to extensive government surveillance. So far, several protestors have been arrested. 

China has one of the strictest “zero-COVID regimes” in the world. China has shut down businesses and schools and required people to remain at home. The government also carries out mass testing and sometimes quarantines infected people at government facilities. There have been reports of the government requiring infected workers to sleep at work so that they can continue to do their jobs while quarantined. Tens of millions of Chinese people have been impacted by some form of lockdown, even though an estimated ninety percent of the Chinese public is fully vaccinated. 

Xinjiang, China has been under lockdown for more than one hundred days. Then, on November 24, 2022, a deadly fire in an apartment complex took the lives of ten people, several of them children. This spurred the protests, which spread rapidly to other cities and provinces, including the Chinese capital of Beijing. The protests continued despite a heavy police presence.  

In response, Xinjiang authorities have agreed to lift lockdown restrictions in neighborhoods that don’t have any new COVID cases. 

Dig Deeper Why are Chinese protestors holding up blank white pieces of paper when they demonstrate? What does that mean? If you don’t know, use Internet resources to learn more. 

Hakeem Jeffries Assumes Leadership Role

Following the 2022 midterm election, the Democrats will be the minority party in the House of Representatives when the new Congress convenes in January. Nancy Pelosi, who led the Democrats when it was the majority party, is stepping down from her leadership role. This week Democrats in the House of Representatives voted on a new minority leader, 

Hakeem Jeffries of New York was chosen by House Democrats as the new minority leader. Jeffries will be the first African American of either political party chosen for this leadership role. Jeffries, first took office in 2013, representing New York’s Eighth Congressional District. He is also the face of a younger generation in Congress. In 2019, Jeffries became the youngest legislator in a leadership role as chair of the Democratic caucus.  

Jeffries has the unanimous support of Pelosi and other Democratic leadership. Jeffries has praised these Democratic leaders for the job they’ve done. He announced that he would like to see Congressional Democrats work harder to fight inflation, welcome immigrants and refugees, protect reproductive freedom, and improve public safety. He plans to focus on these issues as House minority leader. As a congressman, Jeffries has fought for safer communities, affordable housing, and lower costs.  

Dig Deeper Use the Internet to learn more about Hakeem Jeffries. Write a short biography that describes his political career and accomplishments to this point. 

Hawaiian Volcano Erupts

Mauna Loa, an active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, is erupting. Beginning on the night of Sunday, November 27, 2022, scientists noticed lava overflowing the northeastern portion of the volcano. This was after several weeks of heightened activity readings coming from the volcano. 

How dangerous is this eruption? Luckily, Mauna Loa is located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and doesn’t pose a significant threat to the public. It is possible that gas or falling volcanic glass or ash could impact communities on the island. Experts say that if any ash does fall, it will amount to less than a quarter of an inch. But even trace amounts of ash can pollute waterways and damage vegetation. Ash in the air can also be dangerous for people with respiratory issues, so high-risk people are being urged to stay inside or to cover their mouths and noses to go out. Two evacuation shelters have been opened as a precaution, even though no evacuation orders have been issued. Right now, the biggest concerns authorities have are clogged roads from tourists trying to get a better glimpse of the eruption, and drones flying over Mauna Loa to get a look from above. 

Mauna Loa is the world’s largest active volcano. The last time it erupted was in 1984, almost forty years ago. That’s the longest “quiet” period that this volcano has ever had. It’s erupted thirty-three times since 1843. 

Dig Deeper Mauna Loa is located on the big island of Hawaii near Kilauea, a volcano that’s been erupting since 2021. Use Internet resources to learn more about the Kilauea volcano and its history. Then write a short report to share with your classmates.