Typhoon Hagibis kills over 70 and inflicts widespread damage in Japan

By: Chi Ngo

Reading Time: 3 minutes Typhoon Hagibis, the worst storm to hit Tokyo since 1958, made landfall southwest of the Japanese capital city around 7 p.m. local time on October 12.

Wind gusts of up to 216 kilometers per hour (134 miles per hour) were reported in some parts of the country.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What were the economic impacts of the typhoon across Japan?
– What did Japanese agency damage reports reveal?

What you need to know about the wildfires in Indonesia – Causes and impacts

By: Chi Ngo

Reading Time: 4 minutes October 2019 – Forest fires continue to wreak havoc on Indonesia’s western island of Sumatra, as well as in Central Kalimantan on Borneo. Hundreds of wildfires have spread across the islands, devastating ecosystems and creating smog so heavy that some regions were forced to close schools and cancel airline flights.

Indonesia’s disaster management agency identified the leading cause of the forest fires as slash-and-burn agriculture – the deliberate setting of fires to clear land for palm plantations.

Go beyond the headlines…

– Who are accountable for the fires?
– What are the impacts of the Indonesian forest fires on wildlife?
– What are the human health risks created by the fires?
– Which neighboring countries have lodged complaints?

Good News for Today Feature – 2019 October Updates

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 5 minutes Amidst the unfolding Trump-Ukraine scandal, South Africa and France struggling to respond to femicide crises, and continual demonstrations and violence in Hong Kong and Indonesia, it can seem as if the world is spiraling backwards.

As part of our ongoing commitment to showcasing the good news stories alongside the bad, The Millennial Source has once again arrived at that time in our publishing calendar when we try to put current affairs into greater perspective.

1) Chinese conglomerate applauded by the UN for environmental protection initiative
2) UCLA is creating the world’s first research institute on kindness
3) After a year of experimenting, Ocean Cleanup vessel is successfully collecting plastic from the Great Pacific Vortex
4) Sales of plastic bags have fallen by 90% in the UK

South African Gender-Based Violence Crisis – Facts, Causes & Ramaphosa’s Plan

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 6 minutes A series of horrific rapes and murders in South Africa captured national headlines in August, renewing public outrage over gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.

The social movements #TotalShutdown and #AmINext rallied thousands of women to protest against femicide and the abuse of women in Cape Town on the 4th of September, the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa.

Protesters called for stronger action from the government, including harsher sentences for perpetrators of sexual offenses and changes in how the criminal justice system handles sexual assault cases.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national plan to deal with the issue of gender-based violence?
– What does South African crime data show about the history of violence, and violence against women in particular, within the country?
– How are civil societies and activists pressuring the South African government, businesses and society as a whole to make needed cultural changes?

Everything you need to know about China’s controversial Xinjiang Muslim Camps

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 5 minutes Xinjiang, China’s westernmost region, revised its laws in October 2018 to legitimize the use of “vocation training centers” for Muslim citizens.

The stated purpose of these centers is to “educate and transform” individuals identified as potential terrorists.

Since the centers were officially sanctioned, detailed accounts from former “trainees” have surfaced in the international press, alleging harsh treatment inside the camps. The reports have sparked global criticism of China’s treatment of minority ethnic groups.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What is China’s history of ethnic, economic and religious struggles in Xinjiang?
– Why has international scrutiny of the re-education camps risen in recent months?
– What is Beijing’s response to the international criticism?
– What do former Xinjiang re-education camp detainees say about the camps?

Indonesia halts controversial penal code revision amid nationwide protests

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 5 minutes On September 20, 2019, President Joko Widodo abruptly delayed the passage of Indonesia’s Draft Penal Code, a controversial 628-article bill that would overhaul the nation’s criminal laws.

The revised code would further restrict freedom of speech in a country where it is already limited, and also ban sex outside of marriage. The bill had been expected to win the approval of the Indonesian Parliament in a vote scheduled for September 25.

With the vote now delayed, the matter will be taken up by the newly elected Parliament later this month.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What other piece of legislation did protesters decry?
– Why are protesters unappeased by the delay of the vote?
– What would passage of the Draft Penal Code mean for Indonesians?

Philippines Declares Polio Epidemic and Launches New Immunization Campaign

By: Chi Ngo

Reading Time: 3 minutes On September 19, 2019, the Philippines announced the re-emergence of polio within the country.

The announcement came 19 years after the WHO declared the infectious disease eradicated on the islands in 2000.

The announcement came following two confirmed cases of polio, a 3-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur in the Davao region, and a 5-year old boy from Laguna province, south of Manila.

A single confirmed polio case or the collection of two positive, genetically linked environmental samples from separate locations is considered an epidemic in a polio-free country.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What is polio and how does it spread?
– What caused the public distrust of vaccinations among Fillipinos?
– How is the Philippines responding to the new polio epidemic?

Alibaba adds work/life balance to core values as pro-996 chairman retires

By: Chi Ngo

Reading Time: 3 minutes Billionaire Chinese businessman Jack Ma, who co-founded the tech and e-commerce giant Alibaba in 1999 has been an outspoken proponent of China’s “996” culture. Ma announced his retirement on September 10.

On the same day that Ma retired, Alibaba opened its post-Ma era by unveiling six new company values, one of which promotes a greater focus on work/life balance.

According to many critics of the company, including some Alibaba employees, this commitment to worker well-being was notably absent under Ma’s leadership.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What is the 996 culture, and how did Ma help to promote it?
– What has been the backlash against Alibaba’s overtime policy?
– What did a Chinese state-run newspaper have to say about Ma’s statements in favor of 996 culture?

Trump-Ukraine Scandal – Checking Trump’s Counterclaims About Joe Biden

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 3 minutes As the scandal surrounding US President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky escalates, the Trump Administration is enduring a new level of scrutiny.

A majority of members of the US House of Representatives now publicly support the newly launched impeachment probe.

Meanwhile, Trump allies are focusing their attacks on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who was heavily involved in US-Ukraine political negotiations from 2014 through 2016.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What do we know about Trump’s accusations about Biden and Ukraine?
– What is the connection between Joe Biden’s son Hunter and Ukrainian criminal prosecutions?
– Why did Biden’s role in the Ukraine increase during the years 2014-2017?

Trump-Ukraine Scandal – What the Documents Say PLUS Trump Retaliation Threat

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 7 minutes Previously, The Millennial Source reported the timeline of the scandal surrounding US President Donald Trump’s communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

At the heart of the controversy is a phone call between Trump and Zelensky that occurred on July 25, 2019. With two key documents related to the call now publicly available, US lawmakers and citizens have begun to weigh the evidence for themselves.

Go beyond the headlines…

– On September 25, the White House released a “rough transcript” of a phone call between Trump and Zelensky. What does the transcript show?
– What can we learn from the whistleblower report, which was filed with the US Intelligence Inspector General (IG) on August 12 by an anonymous intelligence agent?
– Why has the phrase quid pro quo become omnipresent in US media coverage?
– How did Trump threaten retaliation against the whistleblower?

Trump Impeachment Probe – Basic Facts & Timeline of Trump-Ukraine Scandal

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 6 minutes In mid-September, a seemingly minor story of a conflict between Congress and US Intelligence officials quickly mushroomed into a scandal that now dominates headlines worldwide.

Amidst accusations that Republican President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to take actions to influence the 2020 US national election, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has launched a formal impeachment inquiry.

Meanwhile, Trump and his allies claim that it was actually Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden who exercised inappropriate influence in Ukraine.

Go beyond the headlines…

– How did this scandal arise?
– See The Millennial Source timeline of the Trump-Ukraine scandal to date.
– Under the US Intelligence Whistleblower Law, what procedures must intelligence agency members follow to report unlawful or dangerous activity within the US government?
– Why does this law matter so much in this scandal?

Can Trump Win Re-election in 2020? Early Signs and the Role of the Economy

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 6 minutes A recent national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed President Donald Trump badly trailing five major 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

Trump has already defied the election odds once by defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016, when many major polls had suggested that Clinton would win the election comfortably.

As The Millennial Source has previously reported, Trump’s immediate challenge is to survive as president until November 2020, when the next election will occur. Both the US Constitution’s 25th Amendment and the impeachment process threaten to bring his presidency to a premature end.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What national approval ratings has Trump received throughout his presidency?
– How do the vagaries of the Electoral College make Trump’s 2020 re-election possible, even with high public disapproval of his presidency?
– Is the current US unemployment rate really the best to ever occur in the country, as the Trump Administration has claimed?
– How is the US and China Trade war likely to impact Trump’s chances of re-election?

Everything You Need to Know About the French Tax on Tech Giants Like Amazon

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 9 minutes After years of debate on how to tax tech companies, one European nation has decided to take the lead in modernizing its corporate tax system.

In July, France implemented an aggressive tax crackdown on major digital companies, with a wide-ranging 3% tax on revenues.

Desiring a united front within the EU, France proposed this plan to all 28 European Council members in early 2018. However, the proposal was tabled in the face of intense opposition from EU members, as well as tariff threats from the Trump Administration.

Go beyond the headlines…

– Which EU countries opposed France’s initial proposition? What are the likely reasons for their misgivings?
– Why did France decide to enact the levy alone?
– What was Trump’s response to the French tax, which he labeled as “discriminatory”?
Where does the rest of the world currently stand?
– What progress toward a global solution has been made at OECD, G20 and G7 levels?

Good News for Today Feature – 2019 September Updates

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 5 minutes After another horrific mass shooting in Texas, internal conflicts in the UK Parliament stalling progress on Brexit, an escalating trade war between the world’s two biggest economic powers, and months of ongoing protests in Hong Kong, it can be difficult to remember that there are positive things happening in the world.

In alignment with The Millennial Source’s mission to stay neutral and spread awareness of all current events, we have again arrived at that time to showcase some uplifting developments around the globe.

1) Daisy-May Demetre, age 9, is the first double amputee to walk on the “New York Fashion Week” Catwalk
2) The US may soon have a three-digit suicide prevention hotline
3) Over 25% of millennials have altered their diets to help the environment
4) Crowdfunding efforts raise $3 million to protect land in Canada

The Cases For & Against Impeaching Trump PLUS History of Impeachment in US

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 12 minutes Congressional committees are ramping up investigations into the president’s actions before and after his election, with a growing number of representatives calling for impeachment.

Over half of the Democrats in the US House of Representatives now favor opening an official impeachment inquiry, which could lead to Trump’s removal from office.

Those resisting a formal inquiry include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and by far the most powerful single member of the legislative body.

Go beyond the headlines…

– Why is Nancy Pelosi opposing the impeachment of President Trump?
– How does the impeachment process work?
– There have been three notable presidential impeachment inquiries in US history. Which presidents were affected, and why?
– What are the cases for and against the impeachment of President Trump?

Could the 25th Amendment Really End Trump’s Presidency?

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 5 minutes Even by the standards of Donald Trump’s highly unconventional presidency, the United States is entering the autumn of 2019 in a state of political chaos.

After a rambling, undisciplined performance at the G7 Summit, Trump canceled a visit to Denmark over the country’s refusal to sell Greenland to the US. He later held a strange press conference to defend his incorrect tweet about Hurricane Dorian, displaying a National Weather Service forecast map that he evidently altered with a marker.

In the wake of these episodes, former Trump aides have suggested that the president might be unfit for duty.

Go beyond the headlines…

– Could Trump really serve more than two terms if he were to win the 2020 presidential election, as he has suggested at rallies?
– What have some concerned Trump allies said about about the President’s behavior?
– How can the powers of the president be revoked under the US Constitution’s 25th Amendment?

Taiwan’s asylum offer for Hong Kong dissidents angers Beijing

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 4 minutes In July, soon after the Hong Kong protests began gaining international attention, President Tsai Ying Wen of Taiwan publicly offered asylum to “friends from Hong Kong”.

China’s pursuit of a “great reunification” with Taiwan and other self-ruling regions has proven to be much more difficult than Beijing seems to have anticipated.

Despite Tsai’s public offer of assistance to Hong Kong residents, Taiwan has yet to implement a formal system to deal with those seeking asylum.

Go beyond the headlines with us…

– How did a murder in Taiwan ironically spark the demonstrations in Hong Kong?
– What is Taiwan’s asylum capacity?
– Since late 2016, how many people from Macau and Hong Kong have been granted Taiwan residency?
– What reaction has Taiwan’s asylum offer drawn from Chinese officials?

Has President Trump Kept His Promise to “Build That Wall”? Here Are the Facts

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 5 minutes To declare his candidacy for the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump delivered a speech in which he described Mexican immigrants as criminals, rapists, and drug smugglers. He insisted that a new border wall was essential to protect US interests.
Chants of “Build that wall!” have been ubiquitous at Trump rallies since at least May 2016, when he egged on a Phoenix, Arizona crowd that started the chant. Throughout the campaign, Trump stated emphatically that Mexico would pay for wall construction.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox famously responded that there was no way Mexico would “pay for that f—ing wall”. Now, Trump asserts that Mexico will “pay for the wall indirectly”, without offering a coherent explanation of how that will happen.

Go beyond the headlines with us…

– How did the debate over the wall lead to the government shutdown from December 22, 2018 through January 25, 2019?
– According to the Congressional Budget Office and outside analysts, what is the actual cost of building Trump’s wall?
– What is the current status of the wall?

DACA Dreamers – The US-raised Youth Caught in Limbo as Border Debate Rages

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 10 minutes Global headlines about the US-Mexico border crisis center on the loudest voices – the human rights groups expressing outrage over family separations, and the “invasion” claims of President Trump and anti-immigrant groups.
A less-publicized debate centers on the policy called DACA, and the fate of a unique group of immigrants who have come to be known as the “Dreamers”.
Dreamers are undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children. Many of them speak English as their primary language, and speak it with a US accent.
DACA prevents deportation of Dreamers but does not give them permanent legal resident status.

Go beyond the headlines with us…

– At least three times since the year 2000, the US Congress has attempted to resolve the Dreamer dilemma legislatively. Every time, the effort has failed. Why?

How Beijing is using media to prepare for a Hong Kong worst-case scenario

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 5 minutes How Beijing is using media to prepare for a Hong Kong protests worst-case scenario
Recently, Buzzfeed, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and several other major technology companies released public statements announcing the removal of multiple user accounts backed by the Chinese government.
Reddit – a platform that has become the ultimate virtual destination for Hong Kong protest updates – was also suspected to be crawling with Chinese bots. 
During the early phases of the protests, news on Hong Kong affairs rarely reached mainland media platforms. However, as the longevity and severity of the protests grew, hiding the demonstrations from the mainland public became increasingly difficult.

Go beyond the headlines with us…

– What do media users within China see and say about the ongoing rallies in Hong Kong?
– What role does the media play in justifying Chinese military action? 

Targeted by Both the Law and the Lawless, Migrants Endure in Trump’s America

By: Bennett Siems

Reading Time: 16 minutes On August 3, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people. Many of the victims were Latinos, including migrant workers and eight Mexican citizens.
Just four days later in Mississippi, ICE officials took almost 700 undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America into custody. Occurring on the first day of school, the raid left many children parentless for hours or days.
Despite undocumented immigrants adding value to the US economy and paying taxes, politicians claim that illegal immigration costs the country billions of dollars each month.

Go beyond the headlines with us…

– Why is the US averse to punishing employers for hiring undocumented workers?
– Why have past attempts to reform US immigration laws failed to resolve long-standing issues?
– How do Trump’s words and policies on immigration compare with those of the president whose campaign slogan he borrowed?