Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
Hate-fueled attacks on Asian Americans spiked across major U.S. cities last year — in some cases by triple-digit percentages — even as overall hate crimes declined, newly analyzed police department statistics show. The alarming trend of anti-Asian hate crimes has continued into this year.
Asian American rights advocates attribute the unprecedented string of anti-Asian hate crimes to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric blaming China for the deadly coronavirus and, more broadly, the scapegoating of Asian Americans by ordinary people frustrated or angered by the economic and social impact of the pandemic.
Asian Americans reported nearly 3,800 hate-related incidents during the pandemic.
From 19 March 2020 to 28 February 2021, Asian Americans reported anti-Asian hate crimes from all 50 states according to a report released by Stop AAPI Hate, a not-for-profit coalition tracking incidents of violence, discrimination and harassment.
More than 68% of the abuse was verbal harassment or name-calling, while 11.1% was physical, the report found.
In Georgia, eight people were shot to death at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area, six of the people killed were Asian, and two were white, according to law enforcement officials. All but one were women, raising fears that the crimes may have targeted people of Asian descent.
Women reported hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. California and New York, the two states with the largest Asian American populations, had the most reported hate incidents, with 1,691 reported in California and 517 in New York.
Governor Newsom has signed into law a bill that provides $1.4 million in state funding to help combat the rise in attacks against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals delivered two monumental rulings affirming the tribal sovereignty of the Chickasaw Nation and the Cherokee Nation. The cases are now part of five Oklahoma tribes’ effort to regain their reservations following a historic win in the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a result, if the offender or the victim of a crime occurring on these tribal lands is Native American, then the tribe and the United States have jurisdiction over their prosecution. The majority of the most serious crimes are handled by federal prosecutors in these cases, but tribes do have jurisdiction under the Violence Against Women Act for purposes of domestic violence cases when the offender is a non-Native.
Uber will reclassify all U.K.-based drivers as workers. Under the new designation, more than 70,000 drivers will receive some benefits, including minimum wage, holiday time and pension contributions, but they will not get full employee benefits.
Uber and the gig-economy as a whole is facing regulatory challenges around the globe. Uber has successfully deployed lawyers and lobbyists around the world to fight attempts to reclassify drivers as company workers entitled to higher wages and benefits rather than lower-cost, self-employed freelancers.
Congressmember Ilhan Omar is leading congressional demands that the Biden administration end contracts between Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, and local jails and prisons, calling the practice an extension of mass incarceration. In a letter signed by 24 members of Congress to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, Congressmember Omar highlights a Biden “racial justice” executive order, signed days after he took office, which directed the Justice Department to end its use of private prisons — impacting about 9% of the prison population. At the time, Biden made no mention of ending contacts with privately run immigrant prisons that jail the majority of people for ICE.
The Democrat-controlled House is moving ahead with immigration bills which could create a pathway to citizenship for millions: the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
The U.S. will partner with Japan, India and Australia to expand global vaccine supply. The goal is to address an acute vaccine shortage in Southeast Asia, which in turn will boost worldwide supply.
The United States has fallen far behind China, Russia and India in the race to marshal coronavirus vaccines as an instrument of diplomacy. They are facing accusations of “vaccine hoarding” from global health advocates. While in the U.S., it was announced that there would be enough doses of the coronavirus vaccine available for the entire adult population in the United States by the end of May
Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland and France became some of the latest countries to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. They say they want time for the European Medicines Agency, the European drug regulator, to assess new data after a number of new blood-clotting incidents emerged.
The World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency however say there is no indication of a link between the vaccine and reports of blood clots.
Deliveries of vaccine supplies under the Covax programme started in February, and most countries in Africa have signed up.
The programme – backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other multilateral bodies – aims to distribute an initial half million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine worldwide, with the aim of supplying two billion vaccines by the end of 2021.
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