Inflation Rose 7% in 2021, the highest level in 40 years, as Ukraine Government Websites Hit by Cyberattacks by Russia
Inflation continues to rise and is now breaking records. Multiple Ukrainian government websites have been targeted by cyberattacks, likely committed by Russia. Novak Djokovic, currently the greatest tennis player, will not be allowed to play in the Australian Open and is getting deported for being unvaccinated. A massive asteroid will make one of its closest encounters with Earth next week.The Earth continues to warm, and in 2021, the planet had one of its warmest years on record. Here are this weeks stories.
1. Inflation Rises 7% in 2021, Highest Since 1982
Inflation continues to rise and is now breaking records. According to the Labor Department, inflation rose 7% last year, the highest level since 1982. The Consumer Price Index, which tracks the cost of most goods and services, increased 0.5% in December and 7% from last year. Core inflation, which excludes food and fuel costs, increased 0.6% in December and 5.5% in 2021. It was the highest yearly increase in core inflation since 1991. The Labor Department claims that energy prices declined this month but are still up 29.3% in the 12 months. Gasoline fell 0.5% in December but increased 49.6% over the year. Used cars and trucks rose another 3.5% in December, bringing the increase in 2021 to 37.3%. Basic needs like food and shelter are also up, by 6.3% and 4.1%, respectively. Inflation is rising at a record pace, and wages are not keeping up. According to BLS calculations, average hourly wages increased by 4.7% in 2021, but overall earnings declined by 2.4%. Several factors are contributing to inflation, including strong consumer demand, supply chain issues, worker shortages, and the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program. The Federal Reserve is preparing to increase interest rates as the economy recovers. This increase might help stabilize the economy and inflation within the next couple of years.
2. Ukraine Government Websites Hit by Cyberattacks by Russia
Multiple Ukrainian government websites have been targeted by cyberattacks, likely committed by Russia. Nearly 70 government websites were temporarily down, and many displayed a message warning Ukraine’s people to “be afraid and expect the worst.” The United States and NATO have condemned the attack and pledged their support for Ukraine. Russia has remained silent about the hack. The Russian government and state-sponsored groups have committed multiple attacks against the US and its allies, including the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack and the SolarWinds attack. Tensions are also at an all-time high. There are about 100,000 Russian troops present on the Russia-Ukraine border, and US intelligence warns of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Many countries, along with the US, have vowed to help Ukraine. It will be very difficult for Russia to invade Ukraine, and the country will face huge consequences. Ukraine’s military is better equipped and trained than in the past, and the sanctions threatened by the West would severely harm Russia’s economy.
3. Novak Djokovic Deported by Australia for Being Unvaccinated
Novak Djokovic, currently the greatest tennis player, will not be allowed to play in the Australian Open and is getting deported for being unvaccinated. A three-year prohibition on returning to Australia is usually in deportation orders, however, this can be removed in specific situations. Djokovic was planning to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne to defend his championship and win a record-breaking 21st men’s grand slam title. He has won a record nine Australian Open titles, including three in a row. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed “the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe.” Australia had extremely strict lockdowns and border policies, and it kept Covid cases to a minimum. Melbourne was in lockdown for an insane 260 days, but it kept Covid cases in the country to less than a thousand a day and only a handful of deaths. Once over 80% of the population was vaccinated, the country loosened restrictions, and Covid spread like a wildfire. Cases surged to over 100,000 a day in just one month, and deaths also increased but still stayed relatively low.
4. A “potentially hazardous” Asteroid Will Make Close Pass by Earth Next Week
A massive asteroid will make one of its closest encounters with Earth next week. According to NASA, the asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) will pass by on January 18. The 3,400-foot (1 kilometer) asteroid will zoom by our planet nearly 12 miles per second (20 km/s) and come within 1,231,184 miles of Earth, too far away to impact Earth. The asteroid will also pass by Earth in July and many more times in the future, but none of them this close. NASA classifies the asteroid as “potentially hazardous” because of its close approaches to the Earth. NASA has identified more than a million asteroids and believes 25,000 near-Earth asteroids could be devastating because they could destroy entire cities. The agency believes that none of them pose a risk in the next 100 years. However, NASA believes it has only discovered about 40% of all large near-Earth asteroids, so the agency launched its DART mission, or the Double Asteroid Redirect Mission, which will be the first-ever attempt to change the orbit of an asteroid. NASA will crash DART into an asteroid later this year and deflect the asteroid off its original path by a fraction of one percent, which will significantly alter the astroid’s path in the long term.
5. 2021 was One of the Hottest Years on Record
The Earth continues to warm, and in 2021, the planet had one of its warmest years on record. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth-hottest year ever. The global average surface temperature was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th-century average. Although 2021 was cooler than 2020, NASA noted that the past eight years have collectively been the warmest in recorded history. Several factors led to a “cooler” 2021, including La Niña, an oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon. During La Niña, strong winds and ocean currents bring cold water to the surface in the tropical Pacific, which has numerous impacts on the environment, from causing more hurricanes in the Atlantic to increasing rainfall along the Pacific coast. The ocean also absorbed heat from the atmosphere, leading to a cooler environment. It is clear that the Earth is warming, and it will continue to warm for decades. According to a climate report by the United Nations, if nations cut nearly all emissions tomorrow, the Earth would still warm for at least the next 30 years. So, nations and individuals will have to adapt and learn to live on a warmer Earth.
Above were my top stories for the week of January 16th, 2022. Thank you and see you next week!