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26 billionaires own more than half the world
The charity Oxfam announced this month that the 26 richest people on Earth have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the global population (about 3.5 billion people). Oxfam said global wealth equality (i.e. the gap between the richest and poorest people) is getting worse and worse. It suggested taxing the richest people 0.5 percent of their wealth and using that cash to significantly improve global education and healthcare.
But some people think Oxfam’s findings were flawed. Their issue is that before calculating someone's wealth, Oxfam subtracted their debts like mortgages and student loans. That could make, say, home-owning graduates in rich countries seem really badly off, even though by global standards they were living very comfortably.
New science suggests that taller women live longer. 40-year-olds who were at least 5’9” were almost a third more likely to make it to ninety that their 5’3”-and-under peers. As humans tend to be fans of longer lives, tall women will probably be pleased by this news. But as rising life expectancy is causing many governments to push back retirement age (to keep down the cost of pensions), petite women might be left wondering if they’re getting the short end of the stick.
More than a third of African-American families have zero wealth
After Donald Trump bragged (on Twitter, obvs) that under his presidency less black Americans were unemployed than ever before, some researchers decided to look into the average wealth of different races and found that American people of colour (POC) are not doing as well atm as Trump says they are.
Over the last few years, more POC have got jobs and their wages have gone up. But on average they have far fewer assets (things that are valuable like houses or savings or rare wines) than white people. And this racial gap in what you might call ‘asset ownership’ - and therefore overall wealth - is getting worse. 37 percent of black families in the US already have zero or negative wealth (i.e. because they owe more money than they could get by selling all their stuff).
Dyson, them of the vacuum cleaners, is moving its company HQ from the UK to Singapore. People are pretty outraged/amused by this cos James Dyson, the founder, has been a really vocal supporter of Brexit and dismissive of people who say that leaving the EU will cause companies to up sticks from Britain, taking money and jobs with them.
Dyson (the company, not the man) says the Singapore move has nothing to do with Brexit, they just sell lots of stuff in Asia. They also say they’re only moving two staff out of the UK and will continue to employ 4,000 British workers.
There's a plan to use porn to pay for Trump's border wall
A Republican lawmaker has said that Trump could pay for his border wall (which he wants to stop migration from Mexico) by making people pay to watch porn. (This isn’t a super unusual idea. Governments around the world have put taxes on all sorts of stuff to raise a bit of money, including hot air balloons and beards).
Trump is struggling to get the $5.7 billion he wants for his wall because the opposing Democrat party can veto his spending plans. They say the wall is unnecessary and America should spend that money on stuff like helping poor people. So Gail Griffin suggested that instead of taking money out of the existing government pot, they should just start charging American adults $20 to access naughty stuff online.
Black Panther makes history with its Oscar nominations
Black Panther has been nominated for a bunch of Oscars. People are v-e-r-y excited, not just because it is the first superhero movie to get nominated for Best Picture, but also because Black Panther is one of the few big films to have a majority-black cast and crew.
Its popularity (as well as the award nominations, it made more money at the US box office than any film bar Titanic and Avatar) has thoroughly disproved the long-held (and frankly racist) Hollywood belief that “black films don’t travel”. So now there’s a financial incentive (on top of the obvious ethical one) for film funders to hire more people of colour, whether as actors, writers, directors or other crew members.