Friday news roundup October 2, 2020
Save the Children is predicting the worst rise in child marriage rates in 25 years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a new report from the charity, up to 2.5 million more girls globally are at risk of forced marriages over the next five years as a result of the impact from Covid-19. School closures have interrupted the education of 1.6 billion children around the world, and Save the Children estimates that 10 million, mostly girls, will never go back to school. A million more girls under the age of 18 are also predicted to fall pregnant this year. This puts many of their lives at risk as childbirth is still the leading cause of death among 15- to 19-year-olds. The worst affected region for the surge in child marriage, according to the report, is south Asia.
In the US, the Trump administration advised Congress it will accept fewer than 15,000 refugees in 2021. The estimated ceiling for the number of refugees to be admitted to the US in the fiscal year 2020 was 18,000, but in reality only 11,000 were admitted. The State Department’s notification to Congress cited the coronavirus pandemic as a primary reason for the reduction in refugee admissions. President Trump has focussed on refugees in his bid for re-election and this week Facebook announced it had removed 15-second Trump campaign advertisements that tied the admission of refugees to coronavirus infections without basis in fact. “We rejected these ads because we don’t allow claims that people’s physical safety, health or survival is threatened by people on the basis of their national origin or immigration status,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
Many UK firms are failing to see a recovery, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. Despite the lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions for most parts of the economy, many more British companies reported a fall in sales over the past three months than experienced an upswing, revealed the British Chambers of Commerce on Thursday. Only 27% of the 6,410 businesses surveyed between August 24 and September 14 reported higher sales than in the previous three months. Still facing significant Covid-19 restrictions, hospitality and catering were the sectors most likely to report a further fall in sales.
Low-income Americans are dipping into their savings or retirement money to pay the bills. A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals that 44% of lower-income Americans have had to spend their retirement or other savings since the start of the coronavirus crisis; only 16% of upper-income people say they have done so. Overall, a third of Americans say they have turned to savings or retirement accounts to pay the bills since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the people suffering the most are also those who are less likely to have savings or retirement funds to draw from. The new Pew survey also indicates that half of all US adults who lost a job in the coronavirus crisis continue to be unemployed.