the brief: issue eighteen


Get your jab or pay the price!

by Neo Allert

image credit: tobias (Openclipart)

The Ugandan Parliament is reviewing a law that would impose fines on people who refuse to take the Covid vaccine. Those who would fail to pay the necessary amount of 4,000,000 Ugandan shillings (roughly £844)  would face a prison sentence of up to six months. Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng views this law as an important step forward. Hopes are high that this law will boost Uganda’s low vaccination rate.

Protecting Uganda’s citizens is essential as Aceng stresses: ‘It is important that whoever is supposed to be vaccinated, is vaccinated’. Uganda has long been under a regime of strict Covid restrictions. Only last month did its economy fully reopen – schools, business and borders all had been closed for almost two years. These strict measures might have helped in minimising the spread of the pandemic – but local businesses and livelihoods have been severely affected by these tough restrictions.


Iran: Home to the biggest shopping centre in the world by area

by Diyar Keyhanfar

image credit: Keyhanfar Sisters

Located northwest of Tehran with a total retail floor area of 21 million square feet, Iran Mall has beaten out Dubai Mall and has become the largest shopping centre in the world by area. Envisioned by Iranian entrepreneur Ali Ansari, the first phase of the project was unveiled in 2020. One of the most popular showcases was the library which is built on three floors and stores more than 45,000 volumes of books, manuscripts and documents.

The interior design of the traditional bazaar incorporates historical patterns and methods of Iranian architecture, culture and literature. For example, the Mirror Hall is decorated with more than 38 million pieces of mirrors.

The Didar Garden features a 14 meters long glass ceiling, and is decorated with a fountain and palm trees. Other features so far include a multiplex cinema, ice rink and 200 restaurants.


A hint of post-Brexit Britain 

by Rachael Ward

image credit: Shutterstock (The Conversation)

Some signs of the impact of Brexit on trade finally have surfaced in statistics. Trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has boomed while trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain has taken a tumble. The value of Northern Ireland goods exported to the Republic saw an increase of 65 percent from 2020 to 2021. Exports from the Republic to Northern Ireland have also climbed up to 54 percent.

Brexit has prompted changes in business behaviour with many opting to avoid the checks that trade with Britain entails. As set down in the Protocol, Northern Ireland has remained in the single market for goods, allowing trade to flow freely with the Republic of Ireland, which remains in the EU. With the rest of Britain outside of the market, new checks have been rolled in. Six years since the referendum, will the promises of post-Brexit Britain hold?


Ever changing Inglewood

by Maiz Cheng

image credit: Carlos Gonzales

The city of Inglewood may best be known for its affiliation with the African-American community, having been particularly influential for rappers like Dr Dre and Kendrick Lamar. Inglewood is not shy to change, where it has previously housed the basketball team LA Lakers and ice hockey team LA Kings (before they relocated to downtown Los Angeles in 1999), but it also used to be a Ku Klux Klan hub up until 1937. Now, its population is 41 percent% black.

Inglewood has seen multiple development plans through the NBA, Los Angeles philharmonics and NFL. It has housed drastic social change as well as economic development after it became a deprived area through companies relocating. Now, it is subject to further change where it will open and close the ceremonies for the 2028 Summer Olympics.


Australian stock exchange tumbles as Russia rushes to Kiev

by Ellis Holden

image credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images (Pixabay)

Markets across the world opened to a sobering reality of war in Europe as indexes such as ASX 200 fell three points. Confidence has dropped due to risk to trade across the world with tensions rising. The Australian dollar has also dropped by 0.6 percent. On an unsure upside, gold has now gone up by 1.7 percent. 

Why is this an unsure upside? Gold is extremely safe because it has physical worth. This means that in times of crisis, people will be cashing out as people fear the looming uncertainty of coming times. However, it also represents some hope that we the people have some resemblance of intelligence and forward thinking. But with petrol now reaching $1.70 a litre for Australian petrol companies, it’s hard to tell how much this forward thinking can do for people in the short term.


A Green Wave washes over Colombia

by Eleanor Austin

image credit: Luisa Gonzalez (Reuters)

Colombia has become the third nation in Latin America to update their abortion laws, legalising access within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Similar to other nations, Colombia’s previous policy had limited abortion to cases of rape, risk to the women or if the pregnancy was not viable. 

The feminist ‘Green Wave’ movement alongside the ‘Causa Justa’ group have been fighting for this ruling, for autonomy over their bodies. It is estimated that only ten percent of abortions conducted in Colombia are carried out legally, something this ruling will undoubtedly increase. However, for those living in less-liberal, more rural areas of Colombia, this will not change much overnight.

Nonetheless, this has improved the lives of not just Colombians but for many other Latin Americans. It has continued a precedent, highlighting the importance of available access to abortions.

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