HEALTH: Recently, New Zealand announced it will ban smoking for the next generation - meaning anyone who is 14 or under will never be legally able to buy tobacco. The legislation basically causes the legal smoking age to increase every year, with the goal of creating a smoke-free generation. In some coronavirus news, US infections are once again surging - fueled by the delta variant and slowing vaccine progress. Three Northeast states (New York, Maine, and New Hampshire) have deployed the National Guard as health systems become overwhelmed by rising cases. Over in the UK, it recently came out that Prime Minister Boris Johnson let a gov Christmas party take place at 10 Downing Street last year - violating a strict lockdown. Cue widespread backlash and the resignation of Johnson’s press sec.
WORLD: For years, China has held between one and three million Uyghur Muslims in internment camps in Xinjiang, where they face forced labor, sexual assault, and torture. Enter: this independent Uyghur Tribunal, which just ruled that China’s actions constitute genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. In other news, India’s farmers have officially ended their protests after the gov agreed to ditch controversial farm laws. Thousands of farmers had camped at the borders of Delhi, with dozens dying from unsafe conditions. Now, it looks like they’ll be heading home to celebrate a victory. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s commanders have bad news for anyone who’s not Russia: if Russia decides to invade, Ukraine would have no hopes of fighting back without major military help from the West. Tensions, high.
BIZ: Meet China Evergrande, a real estate biz that’s dealing with lots and lots and lots of debt. We’re talking at least $300 billion. Even worse: the biz has been struggling to make its payments for months, leading to fears that it will collapse. Well, it looks like those fears have been confirmed, because Evergrande has officially defaulted on its debt. So far, it doesn’t seem like the biz has entered into any kind of bankruptcy filing or liquidation, but whatever happens, it has the potential to do a hit to China’s economy (not to mention the countless homeowners who paid for Evergrande apartments that have yet to be built). Stay tuned. In other news, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri just testified before a US Senate panel. The topic of discussion? The negative impact of the app on kids.