News Timeline: October 2021

October 6 – Africa / International Organizations:

Africa / World Health Organization (WHO)

Malaria vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) endorses the first malaria vaccine for use among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.  The recommendation is based on positive results from an ongoing pilot program in three countries, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800 000 children since 2019.  The program showed significant reduction of 30 percent in deadly severe malaria.

Malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 260 000 African children under the age of five dying from malaria annually.[1]

More about the malaria vaccine and the history of its development

October 7 – Africa / International Organizations:

Tanzania / The Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize in Literature

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to Abdulrazak Gurnah from Tanzania, the first Black writer to receive the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993.   In his novels, Gurnah explores the themes of exile, identity and belonging, as well as trauma of colonialism, war and displacement.  The Literature Nobel Prize is widely regarded as the most prestigious literary award in the world.[2]

More on Gurnah Nobel Prize and his novels

November 8 – World

Global Health: coronavirus, or COVID-19

More than 250 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported globally and more than 5 million people have died from it since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020. The United States, India and Brazil account for more than 40 percent of all reported cases.  It is believed that actual case numbers are much higher than what is officially reported.  About 4 billion people have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine worldwide, and about 3.1 billion people are fully vaccinated.[3]

(Oct 15): Italy is the first major European country to require workers in all sectors of the economy to show proof of vaccination called a Green Pass, or face unpaid leave.  Employers will be responsible for verifying the certificates and workers that do not comply can be fined up to $1,760.  The law sets a higher bar for other democracies, which are reluctant to implement similar national mandates relying on other ways to encourage people to accept vaccinations.[4]

October 8 – World / International Organizations:

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Economics: Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate

More than 130 countries agree to set a global minimum corporate tax of 15 percent, cracking down on tax havens and the avoidance of corporate taxes.  Under the agreement, which has been led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, corporations will be required to pay taxes in countries where their goods or services are sold.  The new fairer minimum tax rate will apply to companies with annual revenue of more than $866 million.[5]

While this new tax will generate around $150 billion in additional global tax revenue per year helping the economies, economists say that a 15-percent tax still gives the multinational companies a lower rate than the average American pays in state and federal income tax.  They argue the global corporate tax should be set at at least 25 percent to start reversing decades of inequalities.[6]

More on the argument of the need for the global tax higher than 15 percent

October 25 – Africa: Sudan

Military coup

The Sudanese military launches a coup against the government, placing Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and members of his government under house arrest and declaring a state of emergency.  The coup leader, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, blames political infighting.  Large protests erupt calling for the return to the civilian rule. 

The military and civilian transitional authorities have shared power since the 2019 overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.  But the coalition was plagued with divisions and rival political groups.[7]

A guide to Sudan’s coup

Are military takeovers on the rise in Africa?

October 31 – East Asia: Japan

Parliamentary elections

Japan holds general elections choosing members to the House of Representatives, the lower and more powerful house of Japan’s two-chamber Diet.  Ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) along with coalition partner Komeito retain control of the parliament.  The LDP wins 261 seats, 293 with Komeito, which gives them an absolute majority making it easier to pass legislation.  Japan’s prime minister and LDP leader Fumio Kishida will remain in office.  Japan’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic party of Japan loses more than a dozen seats, while the rightwing populist Japan Innovation party, quadruples its presence to 41 seats becoming the third-biggest party in the chamber.

Prime Minister Kishida promises to focus his government policies on response to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as improvements of Japan’s medical infrastructure to better cope with a possible rise in Covid-19 cases and giving support for those who were hit by the pandemic.  He also pledged to double defense spending to 2 percent of GDP, citing rising tensions between China and Taiwan and North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.[8]

Japan’s military spending vs. its pacifist constitution

October 31 – November 13: International Organizations:

United Nations Climate Change Conference

Countries attending the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, United Kingdom, also known as COP26, agree to the Glasgow Climate Pact that aims to reduce the worst impacts of climate change.  The agreement is not legally binding, but it does set the global agenda on climate change for the next decade.


Coal – after intervention from India and China, the deal includes a phase down rather than phase out of coal, but it is the first climate deal to commit to reducing the use of coal that is responsible for 40 percent of annual CO2 emissions.  

Methane – more than 80 countries agreed to cut emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas which causes climate change – by 30 percent by the end of the decade to keep warming limited to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F).  Australia, China, Russia, India and Iran did not sign the deal.  The US and China, the world’s biggest CO2 emitters, pledged to cooperate over the next decade in areas including methane emissions and the switch to clean energy.

Trees – leaders from more than 100 countries with about 85 percent of the world’s forests promise to stop deforestation by 2030.  This program gets better funding than before. 

Help to developing countries – the agreement pledges to increase financial help for poor countries to cope with the effects of climate change and make the switch to clean energy.

Money – financial organizations controlling $130 trillion agreed to back “clean” technology, such as renewable energy, and direct finance away from fossil fuel-burning industries.[9]

What did the scientists make of COP26?

Check out how climate change affects every country

[1] “WHO recommends groundbreaking malaria vaccine for children at risk.” WHO. News Release. October 6, 2021. Accessed February 3, 2022 from

[2] Alexandra Alter and Alex Marshall. “Abdulrazak Gurnah Is Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.” The New York Times. October 7, 2021.Updated October 11, 2021.

[3] Deidre McPhillips.  “Global Covid-19 cases surpass 250 million.” CNN. November 8, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2022.

[4] Jason Horowitz. “Workers across Italy face a new reality: No health pass, no paycheck.” The New York Times.  October 15, 2021. Updated November 12, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2022.

[5] Daniel Thomas. “Nations agree to 15% minimum corporate tax rate” BBC News. October 8, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2022.

[6] Jake Johnson. “Top Economist Warns 15% Global Minimum Tax on Corporations Is ‘Way Too Low’”. Common Dreams. July 7, 2021. Accessed February 9, 22 from

[7] “Sudan coup: Military dissolves civilian government and arrests leaders.” BBC News. 25 October 2021. Accessed February 7, 2022.

[8] Justin McCurry. “Ruling party of Fumio Kishida wins comfortable victory in Japanese election.” The Guardian. October 31, 2021. Accessed February 4, 2022.

[9] “COP26: What was agreed at the Glasgow climate conference?” BBC News. November 15, 2021. Accessed February 7, 2022.