NEWSBANK HOT TOPICS for February 2018
Hot Topics addresses a wide variety of contemporary subjects from around the world.
Here is a sample of this month's topics:
Civics, Government and Politics: U.S. State of the Union
TOPIC: President Trump’s first State of the Union speech warned of the dangers of illegal immigration yet was centered on a unifying message for politicians to seek common ground and serve the public that elected them. What were the key policy points delivered by President Trump and how is he working to achieve them? What were the key points made by Rep. Joe Kenney III and Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman as the Democratic response to President Trump’s speech? What are some of the most memorable State of the Union speeches in U.S. history and why?
SEARCH TERMS: Trump AND State of the Union
ENVIRONMENT: South African Drought
TOPIC: Cape Town, South Africa, is facing Day Zero, the day its supply of water runs out. It is thought that day will come in two months. Cape Town’s response to this will be hindered by the fact its mayor, Patrician de Lille, may face a vote of no confidence in the city council. What could prevent Day Zero from arriving? What water use restrictions have been imposed due to this crisis? What demographic changes in Cape Town over the past quarter century have contributed to this drought?
SEARCH TERMS: Cape Town AND water AND Day Zero
BUSINESS: BBC Gender Gap in Paychecks
TOPIC: The British Broadcasting Corp. finds itself under fire for underpaying women when their salaries are compared with those of men in comparable jobs. Its editor for China, Carrie Gracie, resigned over this and went public with her reason for leaving. What is the BBC’s defense of its actions? How has the British Parliament responded to the claims?
SEARCH TERMS: BBC AND women AND gender gap
FINE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE: Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania
TOPIC: The Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart, Tasmania, has opened a new wing called Pharos. It includes four new works by James Turrell, which use light and color to affect their viewers. Which of these works seem most interesting to you? Why? What other works has Turrell done, and which one would you most like to see? Why?
SEARCH TERMS: Museum of Old and New Art AND James Turrell
ECONOMICS: Wealth Report
TOPIC: The charity Oxfam released a report that claimed that the world’s richest 1% made 80% of the gains in wealth in 2017. One reason why is stock markets around the world performed very well, and the poorest people on earth do not have money to invest in the stock market. Was there any good news for the poor in this report? What number of individuals have the combined wealth that equals that of the poorest 50% of the world’s population and how has that figure changed over time? Why is Oxfam focusing on the increase in the amount of wealth going to the richest citizens of the world? What suggestions do they make to help create a more equitable distribution of wealth system in the world?
SEARCH TERMS: Oxfam AND wealth
HEALTH: Bad Flu Season
TOPIC: A strong outbreak of influenza in the United States is the worst in almost a decade. What states are impacted and which one has been affected the most? What is the strain of flu and why has the vaccine not been fully effective? What are some of the ways that the flu can be passed between people and what precautions should be taken?
SEARCH TERMS: (flu OR influenza) AND (U.S. OR US OR United States)
SOCIAL ISSUES: Immigration Proposal
TOPIC: President Trump’s immigration proposal contains a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million illegal immigrants that were brought here as children (called Dreamers after President Obama’s DREAM Act) as well as plans to fund a border wall among other changes in immigration policy. How are the main proposals going to be funded and what are some of the other expected impacts of this proposal if it passes? What has been the reaction from the public and from other politicians to President Trump’s proposal?
SEARCH TERMS: Trump AND immigration AND wall AND dreamers
SPORTS: Winter Olympics
TOPIC: The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in South Korea. North Korea and South Korea are combining their athletes and will compete as one team. How did this come about? How many athletes will be coming from North Korea? What flag will they march under?
SEARCH TERMS: Olympics AND (North Korea OR South Korea)
LITERATURE: The Fire and the Fury
TOPIC: Journalist and author Michael Wolff has written a book called The Fire and The Fury: Inside the Trump White House covering President Trump’s campaign and early presidency. What parts of the book have drawn the most attention in the media and why? What subjects has Michael Wolff covered as a journalist and what other books has he written and how were they received?
SEARCH TERMS: Fire and the Fury AND Michael Wolff
PEOPLE: IKEA Founder
TOPIC: Ingvar Kamprad was the founder or IKEA. He started the firm at age 17. How did he come up with the name IKEA? What other items did he sell before deciding to concentrate on furniture? How did he explain his youthful flirtation with far-right politics in Sweden? Why does IKEA sell furniture that needs to be assembled?
SEARCH TERMS: Ingvar Kamprad OR IKEA
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