A World That Embraces Excess
October 3, 2019
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
“Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today’s children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition–a billion–had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition–800 million.”
– Michael Pollan
Human Nature + Consumption Capitalism + Copying American Lifestyles = Global Obesity
Worldwide obesity amongst children is growing at a rapid rate, causing many researchers to worry about what the future holds. New reports have predicted that the number of obese children globally will reach 250 million by 2030, up from the current estimated count of 150 million.
Studies have shown that children who are obese often become adults suffering from obesity, and are more likely to develop serious health problems which will shorten their lives – with common diseases including many forms of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
While some countries have already begun curbing obesity with nationwide regulations, most countries have a moderate to high level of obesity and are doing little to stem the tide. There will be nearly 62 million obese children aged five to nineteen in China by 2030, 27 million in India and 17 million in the United States. Current predictions also indicate that at least nine countries will have over 5 million people aged between five and nineteen living with obesity.
The problem began in more affluent countries but has spread everywhere, with the rise of convenient “fast foods” and “junk foods,” easier modes of lazy transportation, and generally less focus on maintaining healthy lifestyles backed by society.
Saudi Arabia’s Murderous Leader
- Saudi Arabia was recently hit with the largest attack on their kingdom’s oil infrastructure, and tensions have grown between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and members of the ruling family and business elites.
- Concern has been sparked amongst several prominent branches of the ruling Al Saud family about the Crown Prince’s ability to defend and lead Saudi Arabia, which currently stands as the world’s largest oil exporter. The attack has also created discontent for some in the elite circle, who believe the crown prince has too tight of a grip on power.
- With members citing resentment, distrust, and lack of confidence toward the crown prince, the recent attacks have done little to empower his image or strengthen his leadership position. However, he is not without faithful supporters. Many circles remain loyal to their leader, with reports showing that the recent attacks have done little to sway their allegiance and faith.
- Saudi insiders and Western diplomats say that the ruling family is unlikely to oppose the crown prince while the king remains alive, as he will most likely not turn against his favorite son. (Reuters)
- Jamal Khashoggi Is Still Owed Justice: The journalist’s savage murder exposed Saudi Arabia’s ruler as an enemy of a free press. His legacy should not stop there. (NYT, $)
- Trump And Pompeo Have Enabled A Saudi Cover-Up Of The Khashoggi Killing (NPR)
- At Istanbul memorial for Jamal Khashoggi, a moment’s silence, then shouts for justice (WaPo, $)
Get Busy Spending Or Get Busy Dying
- The economy in China has left behind their prosperity and growth. The economy has begun to diminish as the cost of living increases.
- Chinese consumers have opted to save their money in recent times as opposed to spending it on things like cars, electronics and vacations. The younger generation of China has cause to be worried about their potential futures as job opportunities have declined in the past year.
- Many of the jobs that remain are not economically viable like service-sector jobs. “For young people in their 20s, it’s the first real economic downturn that they’ve been through and they are experiencing as young adults,” said Andrew Polk, founder of Trivium, a consulting firm in Beijing. The reduction in Chinese consumers will have global consequences.
- The 100 biggest retailers in China have seen their sales decrease significantly in recent months, according to Capital Economics.
- Young people have been pushed out of the housing market in wealthy places like Beijing and Shanghai. An increasing number of people have mortgages and credit cards, however, extending their spending while accumulating debts. (NYT)
- Slowing U.S. private hiring adds to gloom over economy (Reuters)
Peruvian Power Problem
- Peru is in political chaos amidst a Constitutional struggle between the president and Congress. President Martin Vizcarra, who was elected on an anti-corruption platform, suspended Congress on Monday. Vizcarra’s decision was built on a constitutional rule, which states that the president could dissolve Congress after legislators deny the president’s cabinet a vote of confidence twice. He called for that vote three times this year, bundling it with reform proposals, but Congress responded by approving his cabinet while ignoring the reforms. According to Vizcarra, this gave him ground to dissolve Congress using the aforementioned constitutional rule.
- In response, Congress appointed vice president Mercedes Aráoz to lead the country. She resigned from her post on Tuesday. The head of Congress has refused to take power, leaving the country in even more confusion.
- The conflict has roots in Vizcarra’s anti-corruption stance: he has called out conservatives leading Congress for opposing his efforts to clean up the Peruvian government, which has had widespread issues with corruption since its beginnings in 1992.
- Protests broke out on Monday in support of the president, but have since died down. Vizcarra also posted a photo with the country’s top generals on Monday, signaling that he had the military behind his claim to power. On Tuesday, police prevented legislators from entering conference, under orders from the president. A general election is slated for January of next year, but for now the situation in Peru remains unresolved. (NYT)
Trump and Pompeo’s Ukraineghazi
- Democrats stood by their impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Wednesday. The House Democrats are requesting documents from the White House that would be essential to their probe. If the request is impeded or denied, three House committee chairmen insist they will issue a subpoena for the documents.
- President Trump insisted that he will always comply with congressional subpoenas but then frequently has gone on to belittle Democratic investigations. Trump has asserted that the manuscript the White House released of his call with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky absolved him of any guilt.
- Despite Trump claiming the transcript is a complete document, it is not. Committee chairmen steadfastly state that they will issue the subpoena on Friday, unless the White House concedes to their appeal, which was made over three weeks ago. (NPR)
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Confirms He Was On Trump’s Call With Zelenskiy (NPR)
- Echoes of Benghazi Criticism and Anger Confront Pompeo in Ukraine Inquiry: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once accused the Obama administration of obstructing a House inquiry and letting politics override national interests. He now faces similar charges. (NYT, $)
- As Impeachment Moves Forward, Trump’s Language Turns Darker: “Treason” is a word the president has increasingly used when talking about his critics. (NYT, $)
- If Hunter Biden Is Fair Game, So Are Trump’s Kids: Defenders of Trump would seem to be conceding that a President Kamala Harris could pressure foreign leaders to investigate Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Trump for corrupt business dealings. (Atlantic, $)
- How Trump Could Further Erode Democracy During Impeachment (New Yorker, $)
- Bolstered By Impeachment Inquiry, Trump Campaign And RNC Raise $125 Million (NPR)
Additional USA News
- Bernie Sanders Is in Trouble: Up close and personal with a candidate in decline — and seemingly stuck in his ways. (Politico)
- A Supersize Debate: Here Are The 12 Democrats Who Made The October Cutoff (NPR)
- The New Realities Of Work And Retirement (NPR)
- Harvard Does Not Discriminate Against Asian-Americans in Admissions, Judge Rules (NYT, $)
The Exploding Costs of College
- While most students attend college to improve their financial futures, many schools are failing to make good on their promise to better students’ lives. According to a new report, half of all US colleges in 2018 left the majority of their graduates making less than $28,000 per year, equal to the earnings of the average US high school graduate.
- On top of this, tuition at a nonprofit private college currently costs $48,510. This number has doubled since 2000, when the same colleges cost $22,240. Current college graduates are also graduating with $30,000 in debt on average, with 30% of student loan holders currently in delinquency or default on their loans.
- Many of the disappointing outcomes for college graduates come from for-profit colleges, which were 10 times more likely than other colleges to have the majority of graduates earning less than $28,000 per year.
- In June, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos repealed the gainful employment rule, which made colleges prove that graduates could pay off their student debts.
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
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