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Don't Let Anyone Stop an American Citizen from Voting
Every citizen has the right to vote. If you think you're being unjustly prevented from voting, or worse, being intimidated, call the appropriate adjacent number for help.

Todos ciudadanos tienen derecho a voto. Si cree que se le impide injustamente votar, o peor aún, se siente intimidado, llame al número adyacente correspondiente para obtener ayuda.
Proctor & Gamble Sponsors "The Look"
In an effort to foster empathy for a variety of individual experiences and create forums where multiple perspectives can be shared, Proctor and Gamble has produced "The Look” A conversation guide is one resource available to help raise awareness, spark conversation and enable changes in hearts and minds. P&G states "We recognize and respect the many different views on the topic and welcome constructive and respectful dialogue."

Talk about Bias

Kenyan factory transforms into a surgical mask assembly line
Max Bearak - Washington Post - A week ago, Josephine Wambua spent her days stitching gardening clothes. This week, the factory where she works transformed into an all-out effort to make 30,000 surgical masks a day in a country that barely produced any before.

“To sit here and do something that is useful to the world is a dream,” said Wambua, 24, who never went to school. “I never thought I would be part of something that has the potential of saving millions from dying.”

Original story

Payroll employment falls, unemployment rises in March
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 11,100 jobs in March and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for March increased from 3.8 percent to 5.1 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“The impacts of COVID-19 may not be fully captured in the March report and are more likely to be evident in the April Report”, said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Although we have seen widespread closings of schools, restaurants, and theaters, these actions largely took effect starting the week of March 16th, after most workers would have been counted. As a result, even if some firms started laying off workers as early as the second week of March, many still would have worked or received pay for at least part of the payroll period including the 12th, and thus their loss of employment is not yet fully reflected in the March report.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that February’s previously reported unemployment rate of 3.8 was confirmed. February’s preliminary estimated gain of 3,500 jobs was revised to a gain of 3,900 jobs.

The national unemployment rate (preliminary) rose from 3.5 percent in February 2020 to 4.4 percent in March 2020. In March 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 185,458 people in March.

Labor force decline is by far the largest month to month decline since 1990

The state’s labor force in March was 3,889,700 – a decrease of 72,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 31,900 over the same period.

From March 2019 through March 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 27,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 200.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

From February 2020 to March 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 151,500 to 197,600. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed increased from 44,700 to 93,400 over the same period.

Five industry sectors expanded and eight contracted

Private sector employment decreased by 11,700 while the public sector increased by 600 jobs in March. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,500 jobs and professional & business services up 1,500 jobs. Also posting increases were information and retail trade, both up 600 jobs. The industries that posted the highest losses were leisure and hospitality down 12,300 jobs, financial activities down 1,500 jobs and, manufacturing down 1,400 jobs. Also posting losses were other services down 700 jobs, wholesale trade down 500 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities down 300 jobs and mining & logging and education & health services both down 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment still up for now

Washington gained an estimated 64,400 jobs from March 2019 through March 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.0 percent, up an estimated 56,400 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.4 percent with a net gain of 8,000 jobs.

From March 2019 through March 2020, eight out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while five sectors contracted.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Professional & business services with 18,000 new jobs
Construction with 12,900 new jobs
Retail trade with 12,600 new jobs
The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Manufacturing down 1,600 jobs
Leisure & hospitality down 1,200 jobs
Other services down with 1,100 jobs
COVID-19 impacts

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had impact on the March 2020 survey data. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment by industry. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it. However, it should be noted that the March survey reference periods for both surveys predated many coronavirus-related business and school closures that occurred in the second half of the month.

March data from the establishment and household surveys broadly reflect some of the early effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market. We cannot precisely quantify the effects of the pandemic on the job market in March at this time. However, it is clear the decrease in employment and the increase in unemployment can be ascribed to effects of the illness and efforts to contain the virus.

More from US Dept. of Labor Statistics

What It’s Like to Have COVID-19
These observations by University of Washington Physicians are a good summary of how to respond to possible infection.
What are the most common symptoms of COVID-19?
Experts have identified three main symptoms of this disease: fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), a newly developed dry cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear individually or together. To ensure you’re getting an accurate reading, take your temperature at least 30 minutes after eating, drinking or exercising and at least six hours after taking fever-reducing medications.
What are other COVID-19 symptoms you may feel?
Along with the classic trio of COVID-19 symptoms, you may also experience body aches, fatigue, a runny nose, a sore throat, a loss of your sense of smell or taste, headaches or gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea. These symptoms don’t always occur but, if they do, they’re easy to confuse with the symptoms of a cold, flu or seasonal allergies. The main way to tell the difference between COVID-19 and these other conditions is if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve after about a week.
What does a mild or moderate case of COVID-19 feel like?
In about 80% of known COVID-19 cases, the resulting illness is mild or moderate. This can range from feeling like you just have a bad cold to feeling like you have the flu and can’t get out of bed. Although you may feel unwell, people with a mild or moderate case usually don’t need to be hospitalized and can care for themselves at home. The typical recovery time is one to two weeks.
What does a severe case of COVID-19 feel like?
A severe case of COVID-19 means you require medical attention, either because you’re having trouble breathing or because you’ve developed a complication from the disease like heart failure, pneumonia or a life-threatening bacterial infection called sepsis. A mild or moderate case can develop into a severe one over the course of a few days or hours, and it can take up to six weeks for you to recover. If you’re older than 60, are pregnant or have an existing health condition or weakened immune system, you’re at greater risk of developing a severe illness from COVID-19 — but it can happen to anyone.
When should you go to the emergency room?
When you first start to feel sick, call your doctor for guidance and track your symptoms. You don’t need to go to the hospital unless you’re experiencing emergency warning signs. Things that are considered a medical emergency include having trouble breathing, feeling a persistent pain or pressure in your chest, becoming confused or disoriented, or having your face or lips turn blue. If you can, have someone call the hospital in advance so they can prepare for your visit.
Most primary care clinics remain open for in-person, medically necessary appointments. Most urgent-care are still operating. Please call in advance before traveling to any physician or clinic. To make receiving care easier, you can also choose to see your provider via a video-based telehealth appointment.

(Adapted from University of Washington Medicine.)

Seeking Arts Editor and Contributors
Feeling the urge to review and describe the art scene in your community? This would be a good time to become a contributor to AABL Digest. Right now the rewards are limited to the satisfaction of seeing your by-line on articles, but we're working to improve on that.

We also need an Arts Editor. If you have the desire and the experience, please consider stepping up. As we grow and add languages we'll need to expand that editorial function, so stay tuned.
Is your device safe from ad-hackers?
Cybersecurity researchers discovered malware earlier this year that was draining people’s Android smartphones and ballooning their data bills by secretly racking up video play requests. The dicovery cast a spotlight on a big and growing problem for the mobile ad industry: sophisticated invalid traffic, or SIVT.

Digital ad fraud costs consumers, advertisers, and publishers billions of dollars per year. One estimate suggests that digital ad fraud will cost advertisers $44 billion globally in 2022, more than double the $19 billion estimated for 2018.

The problem is described more fully in the article linked below.

Read more...

USNIH reports progress in sickle cell disease treatment
NPR Reported 19 December: Scientists report progress using gene therapy to treat sickle cell disease, a common and devastating genetic blood disorder. New genetic technologies offer promise to treat it. Scientists are also renewed interest in older DNA techniques to help people with this common, devastating blood disorder.

One approach involves giving sickle cell patients' cells a new gene to compensate for the defective one, to make their bodies produce a healthy version of a protein called hemoglobin, and that's what red blood cells need to carry oxygen in the body. Another strategy is sort of similar to the CRISPR gene-editing approach that (a US patient) got; it involves using gene therapy to make cells produce a different kind of hemoglobin called fetal hemoglobin to make up for that defective hemoglobin.

Continue to NPR Source

Experts Provide Solutions to End Discriminatory Real Estate Practices
WASHINGTON—December 19, 2019—Following a Newsday investigation revealing widespread discrimination by Long Island real estate agents against people of color, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) released a report this week offering a broad set of solutions to address discriminatory real estate and housing practices throughout the country.

The recommendations enumerated by the National Fair Housing Alliance receive strong support from the nation’s premiere civil rights leaders, real estate industry groups and Walter Mondale, co-author of the Fair Housing Act

“The problem of discrimination in real estate sales is not going away on its own and it is not exclusive to Long Island. It’s time for real estate associations and state and federal regulators to step up and implement actions that will fix what is clearly a broken industry,” said Lisa Rice, President and CEO of NFHA. “The number of housing discrimination complaints is at its highest in years. The good news is that we have the tools to make changes, but we need industry officials, real estate agents, and enforcers to be willing to use them.”

In the report, Fair Housing Solutions: Overcoming Real Estate Sales Discrimination, NFHA proposes a wide range of solutions for both the industry and governmental agencies, including:

  • Increasing funding for fair housing testing, education, enforcement, and research; Increasing the diversity of agents in the real estate business and establishing more offices in communities of color;
  • Improving the content and provision of training for real estate professionals on how to comply with both the letter and spirit of fair housing laws;
  • Improving fair housing investigations and instituting more serious sanctions against violators;
  • Preserving HUD’s 2013 Disparate Impact Rule; and
  • Reinstating HUD’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
Real estate sales discrimination in the United States is not new. For decades, government agencies and real estate boards explicitly sanctioned and even encouraged discrimination and racial segregation. NFHA’s previous multi-year, multi-city investigation revealed an 87 percent rate of racial steering, meaning that people were given listings or shown homes only in neighborhoods occupied predominantly by people of their own race. More than a decade later, Newsday’s “Long Island Divided” investigation found similar results, showing a disturbing lack of progress in the real estate industry. NFHA’s 2019 Fair Housing Trends Report documents that housing discrimination complaints in 2018 were at their highest level since NFHA began producing the report in 1995.

The following civil rights and industry leaders have given their support for the recommendations included in NFHA’s report.

Continues...

Security guard assault on teen characteristic of Brazilian racial history
Social media recently carried video footage of a black teenager being whipped by security guards at a supermarket in Brazil. Commentators asserted that the event was no surprise in a large country still tormented by legacy of slavery.

Source

White Supremacist Sentenced for Killing of Black Teen
In one of those times when justice prevails, it has been reported that a white supremacist who killed an Oregon teen in a hit-and-run attack has been found guilty of intentional murder and sentenced to life with a minimum term of almost 30 years.

ABC News Chicago reported that "Russell Courtier's sentencing came after jurors in March found Courtier, 40, guilty of murder, hit-and-run driving and the hate crime of second-degree intimidation in the death of 19-year-old Larnell Bruce, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

"Courtier and Colleen Hunt were in a Jeep driven by Courtier in August 2016 when he was encouraged by Hunt to drive into Bruce after the two fought outside a convenience store in the Portland suburb of Gresham, authorities have said. "

Search Google for more info

Useful Review of Uganda Politics and Economy
This is not news but does cover in useful detail the situation in Uganda in 2017.

Read the article

Black Home Ownership Lag Worst in Years – Market Watch
Market Watch reports "The home ownership rate has plunged since the (2008 financial) crisis, and blacks have disproportionately lost ground compared to other racial groups. The black homeownership rate stood at 42.3% in the second quarter, the Census Department said last week, while 72.2% of whites are homeowners, marking one of the biggest gaps by race in decades."

Source Article

African art evades Africans as popularity, recognition increase
Writing in the NY Times, Chika Okeke-Agulu emphasized the dilemma of African art, which is being more appreciated and valued than ever, bringing record prices, at the same time it is becoming ever less available to the peoples of the continent. The need for national and regional museums to bring home-grown art to the public from whom it sprang is a key requirement for recycling Africa's creative talents into new generations.

(Thanks to JGC for calling this to our attention via Facebook.)

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