📈 Future Trends — Oil Crashes, Aid Innovations, Mass Unemployment

A warm welcome, Future Trends readers. This series, curated by the Institute for Economics & Peace, takes a look at global news which may provide insight to the future. Here’s what you need to know this week:

Oil prices fall below zero for the first time in history as supply exceeds demand during the pandemic crisis. The prices fell as much that some suppliers are having to pay buyers to get rid of the oil.

Italy is to fully reopen restaurants and bars from June. More than two months after the first case of COVID-19 appeared in a small town outside Milan, Italy is preparing a staged end to Europe’s longest coronavirus lockdown.

India joins Japan in paying manufacturers to leave China. As global corporations rethink where they concentrate their production in the country, India is eager to be their next choice. The government is firming up a plan to offer incentives to attract companies looking to shift manufacturing activities out of China.

Another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment. The economic fallout from the pandemic now totals 26 million total jobless claims over the past five weeks and a rise in early retirements. Nevertheless, a majority of Americans still say it’s more important to stay home than return to work.

Fears that coronavirus cases will climb as gatherings continue for Ramadan in Somalia. The Government has rejected claims by militant groups that the virus does not harm Muslims, and imposes a night-time curfew. In Saudi Arabia, Mecca remains closed to pilgrims during Ramadan due to restrictions on mass gatherings for prayer.

Why some people get sicker than others. Latinos and African Americans have died at significantly higher rates than white Americans. Overall, “the rate of death and severe disease is several times higher among racial minorities and people of low socioeconomic status”.

From Peruvian coca farmers to Paris pushers, coronavirus has upended the global narcotics trade. Countries around the world have spent billions of dollars bailing out businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Peru’s coca farmers say they want help, too.

WTO report says 80 countries are limiting exports of face masks and other goods. Eighty countries and customs territories have banned or limited the export of face masks, protective gear, gloves and other goods to mitigate shortages since the coronavirus outbreak began.

President Buhari asks Nigeria’s chief judge to free prisoners because of coronavirus. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the chief judge to free prison inmates who have been awaiting trial for six years or more to ease overcrowding as the novel coronavirus spreads.

Pressured by China, the E.U. softens their report on COVID-19 disinformation. Due to pressure from China, the European Union decided to change the language of a report that was to criticize China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and particularly highlighting Beijing’s disinformation campaign.

President Erdogan clashes with mayors over COVID-19 measures, deepening the political divide. The Turkish Ministry of the Interior has launched an investigation into the COVID-related policies of the mayors of Ankara and Istanbul, Mansur Yavas and Ekrem Imamoglu, both members of the CHP opposition party.

On the way to dictatorship? In the shadow of the corona crisis, Brazilian President Bolsonaro is pushing ahead with the dismantling of democracy. The people shy away from the protest because of the risk of infection, and political opponents are hopelessly at odds.

Mexican criminal groups see Covid-19 crisis as opportunity to gain more power. Close to 200 active criminal groups act as guardians and protectors of communities while using extortion, kidnapping, and violence.

Islamic State steps up attacks in Iraq during coronavirus lockdown. Iraq has been hit by a wave of Islamic State attacks during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. Numerous operations by IS and unknown groups have occurred in Iraq’s disputed territories in April.

Yemen separatists break peace deal, claim control of Aden. Yemen’s southern separatists have broken a peace deal and claimed sole control of the regional capital of Aden, threatening to resume fighting.

Civil society and coronavirus, dynamism despite disruption. The work of civil society has been interrupted globally. This has caused many to become increasingly innovative in their work, taking on new mutual aid initiatives, repurposing, fighting disinformation, and creating new advocacy roles and tactics.

The UN has warned that the world is at risk of widespread famines caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A report estimates that the number suffering from hunger could go from 135 million to more than 250 million. Those most at risk are in 10 countries affected by conflict, economic crisis and climate change, the WFP says.

WHO warns that malaria deaths in Africa could double this year. The number of deaths caused by malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa could double to 769,000 this year, as efforts to curb the disease are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation warned on Thursday.