Rescuers on the site of the earthquake in central Italy
Image: © Alessandra Tarantino / AP/Press Association Images

Italian earthquake, UK pay gap, Paralympic threat. 20-26 August: What just happened?

Huge earthquake strikes central Italy, gender pay gap increases in the UK, and more Olympic shenanigans in Rio. Here's our review of the news over the last seven days

Italy devastated by huge earthquake

A large earthquake has struck central Italy leaving hundreds dead and many more injured. The 6.2-magnitude quake has devastated the region, with rescue teams now searching to find those trapped in the rubble. Obviously, this was a natural disaster, and with relief efforts still underway, it may be too early to consider other possible factors for the rising death toll, which currently stands at 247. But the Guardian does point to the fact that building regulations in the country are notoriously slack, especially given the size of Italy’s economy. Apparently, up to 18% of new builds are erected without permission, and so may not conform to safety standards which could prevent loss of life in disasters like this. This terrible event also comes on top of the country’s recent economic problems, so the costs of the clean-up may be difficult to bear.

Part-time mother, part-time worker? No pay rise for you

Two plastic models, one man, one woman, stand on top of piles of pound coins
Image: © Joe Giddens / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new twist has emerged in the UK debate: the so-called 'motherhood penalty', whereby women earn 33% less than men 12 years after childbirth. Why? Well, it turns out that women who work 20 hours or less a week are far less likely to get a pay rise than their male colleagues. The assumption there is that although the quality of their work itself isn't necessarily any different per hour worked, their value to the company as a whole is lower if they're part-time. There's all sorts of things that employers can do to help tackle this economic inequality, from creating part-time positions, to allowing employees to work from home, to subsidizing childcare – here's a few ideas from the BBC.

Did you hear the one about the Olympic swimmer being ‘robbed’ in Rio? Well, his sponsors did...

Ryan Lochte

Companies including Speedo and Ralph Lauren have cancelled their sponsorship deals with swimmer Ryan Lochte, after he was found to have exaggerated a story about getting robbed in Rio recently. You know, the one about him being held-up at gunpoint, which kinda turned out not to be exactly what happened. Well, it’s led to what could be a serious financial hit for the US athlete, for whom these kind of endorsements provide a large part of his income. Ouch! Indeed, some reports suggest that he’s earnt as much as $15m so far during his career. The Guardian has more on the story, including what both Speedo and Lochte have said following the announcement.

The Paralympics are brilliant, so why won’t we be able to see all of them on telly?

Karen Darke holds her Paralympic silver medal

A British Paralympic cyclist has launched a crowdfunding campaign to televise her event, after budget cuts mean it won’t be broadcast. With the Olympics now over, it’s usually time to settle down in front of the telly to watch the Paralympics, but this year’s event will only have half the sports covered. Apparently, only around 20% of tickets have been sold, meaning organizers are having to seriously rethink the TV coverage. Hand-cyclist Karen Darke - who won silver in London - started the campaign to ensure that her and her fellow cyclists’ participation at the Games can be covered. Buzzfeed has the full story.

In other news…

Culture Kalashnikov. The makers of the AK-47 have opened a souvenir shop in a Moscow airport that sells imitation versions of their famous assault rifle. Model guns in an airport? Is that a good idea?. Needless glorification, or legitimate business opportunity? You decide.

Night train. It’s taken a while, but the London underground (part of it anyway) has started running 24 hours a day. Apparently, 50,000 people used it on its first night. TFL, the people who run the tube, say the services are expected to add £6.4bn to the London economy by 2030, creating around 500,000 jobs.

Selfie sales. Cosmetic firm Estee Lauder have reported a huge boost in make-up sales - to $11.2bn for the year. Now that we’re all taking pictures of ourselves all the time, it seems we need to look good. And research suggests this trend will only increase, with the global cosmetics market set to grow to $675bn by 2020.

American jobs are so important to Donald Trump, his suits are made in Indonesia

Donald Trump stands at a podium during a recent speech in the US

So it turns out that Donald Trump’s suits, which he claimed were made in the USA, may not have actually been made in the USA. Yep, Trump’s signature menswear line - you know the classic dark suit he always wears - looks like it was made abroad, which is kind of ironic given what he’s said about protecting American jobs in a world. It’s also just really confusing because on Amazon the product description says the suits are both ‘Imported’ AND ‘Made in the USA’. How does that work? Buzzfeed decided to find out what’s going on, so they’re ordered a couple. Turns out they’re made in Indonesia.

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