WBEZ | Economy http://www.wbez.org/tags/economy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Will the next leader of the UN be a woman? http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-26/will-next-leader-un-be-woman-112736 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221023835&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">New campaign targets a female UN Secretary General</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon&rsquo;s term as UN Secretary General will end in December 2016. He&rsquo;s said he will not serve another term. The process for selecting the secretary general has generally been done behind closed doors. There are lots of calls to reform the way the position gets filled. Along with calls to change the process, there&rsquo;s been mounting pressure to make the next head of the UN a woman. Many UN observers say it&rsquo;s unclear whether a woman has ever even seriously been considered for the job. Jean Krasno is chair of the &ldquo; Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General.&rdquo; She&rsquo;s been a vocal advocate of having a woman lead the UN. Krasno joins us to discuss her campaign and the reason she believes it&rsquo;s time for a woman to have a leadership role at the UN.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-6a62d090-6ba5-d653-1492-a9a518088ebe">Jean Krasno is a lecturer at Yale University and a tenured lecturer at the City College of New York. She is also </span>chair of the &ldquo; Campaign to Elect a Woman UN Secretary-General.&rdquo;</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221024932&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Venezuela&#39;s crisis continues</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Venezuela is facing a serious economic crisis. There are long lines for basic foodstuffs and with oil prices expected to stay low there is no recovery in site for the resource rich country. The government has declared a &ldquo;state of exception&rdquo; that suspends human rights guarantees. Nicolas Maduro&rsquo;s socialist party government wants to maintain its dominance in the National Assembly with elections scheduled for December 6th. They&rsquo;ve disqualified opposition candidates. We&rsquo;ll discuss their strategy to maintain power and the country&rsquo;s ongoing economic problems with Javier Corrales, a professor of political science at Amherst College and co-author of the book Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the political economy of revolution in Venezuela.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-6a62d090-6ba9-c95c-afb1-9ffa8e49c1a0">Javier Corrales is a professor of political science at Amherst College and co-author fo the book </span>Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the political economy of revolution in Venezuela.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221026385&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Global Notes: Modern indigenous and aboriginal music</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>On this week&rsquo;s Global Notes, music journalist and host of Beat Latino, Catalina Maria Johnson, will play some us some of her favorite tunes from indigenous and aboriginal artists around the globe- ranging from everything from Inuit throat singing to First Nation Canadian hip-hop.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-6a62d090-6baf-f403-a2f2-fdd84f4fa32a">Catalina Maria Johnson is a music journalist and the host of Beat Latino on Vocalo. </span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 14:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-26/will-next-leader-un-be-woman-112736 How China’s crash affects housing market http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-25/how-china%E2%80%99s-crash-affects-housing-market-112718 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/housing DanielSTL_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The news of a slowdown in the Chinese economy last week sent shockwaves across the globe, including the U.S. housing market. The crash has already led the federal government to say it&rsquo;s less likely to increase interest rates this fall. Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin talks about the Chinese market&rsquo;s effect on housing here in the U.S. and Chicago.</p></p> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-25/how-china%E2%80%99s-crash-affects-housing-market-112718 China's need for sustained growth http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-21/chinas-need-sustained-growth-112705 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/220291966&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">China&#39;s devaluation practices spook economy</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>The US stock market registered its worst performance in 18 months this week- driven at least in part by the volatility and recent slump in the Chinese stock market. The Chinese government has tried a host of measures to try to prop up its stock market and manage the devaluation of its currency. Despite the intervention, China&rsquo;s economic growth is slowing. We&rsquo;ll take a look at what that could mean for the global economy with Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist and managing director at Silvercrest Asset Management and an adjunct professor at Columbia University&rsquo;s School of International and Public Affairs.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-db682c02-51bd-691b-71bc-879719ac2cb1"><a href="http://twitter.com/prchovanec">Patrick Chovanec </a>is </span>chief strategist and managing director at Silvercrest Asset Management and an adjunct professor at Columbia University&rsquo;s School of International and Public Affairs.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/220292261&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">&#39;The Iron Ministry&#39; explores China&#39;s railway system</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>China&rsquo;s train system is the largest in the world, and carried a whopping 1,060 billion passengers in 2013. Unsurprisingly, the railway system is used in a variety of ways, and filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki spent three years trying to film them all. The result was a documentary called &lsquo;The Iron Ministry,&rsquo; which debuts at Facets here in Chicago this weekend. Film contributor Milos Stehlik and Sniadecki, a film professor at Northwestern University, joins us today to discuss his film, and the intricacies of China&rsquo;s vast railways.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><ul><li>Milos Stehlik is the director of Facets Multimedia and WBEZ&rsquo;s film contributor.</li><li><span id="docs-internal-guid-db682c02-51bf-d2df-332d-3ca0b6dad42d"><a href="http://twitter.com/J.P.Snidaecki">J.P Sniadecki</a> is the director of Iron Ministry.&nbsp;</span></li></ul></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/220292544&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Weekend Passport: &#39;Doing Business in the Ancient World&#39;</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Each week global citizen Nari Safavi helps listeners plan their international weekend. This week we&rsquo;ll hear about an exhibit at the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Booth School that explores what it was like to do business in the ancient world.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><ul><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-db682c02-51c3-3c0d-0fc5-e0da593e0244">Nari Safavi is one of the founders of Pasfarda Arts and Cultural Exchange. </span></em></li><li><em>Jack Green is the chief curator at the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Oriental Institute.</em></li><li><em>Brittany Hayden is co curator of the exhibit and a PHD candidate in near eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago .</em></li></ul><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 14:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-21/chinas-need-sustained-growth-112705 How a too-strong dollar might lead to a too-weak world http://www.wbez.org/news/how-too-strong-dollar-might-lead-too-weak-world-111346 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap851119269057_wide-c3b91a4ad0260c6a4fdac02dae45ec8b89c83482-s600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s flattering to be King of the Hill.</p><p>And these days, the U.S. dollar is wearing the crown. It has climbed to its highest point in 11 years, with global investors pushing it ahead of the euro and other major currencies.</p><p>But while it&#39;s a compliment to have a strong dollar, the honor is not without its downsides. When the dollar rises against other currencies, it increases risks to U.S. manufacturers.</p><p>So economists are looking for signs that a good thing may be starting to go too far. These questions and answers may help explain what&#39;s happening.</p><p><strong>First, has the dollar really moved that much?</strong></p><p>Yes, the WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar&#39;s performance against 16 other currencies, had a 12 percent rally in 2014. In these early days of the new year, the dollar has been continuing to rise.</p><p><strong>Why is this happening?</strong></p><p>Currency traders are betting the U.S. economy will be growing so quickly in 2015 that the Federal Reserve will nudge up interest rates from recent historic lows.</p><p>The opposite is likely to happen in Europe. There, growth is weak and Greece&#39;s political troubles are creating uncertainties.</p><p>So if you were a saver, where would you put your money &mdash; in a strong, stable country offering rising interest payouts, or in a region with a shaky economic outlook and falling interest rates? Common sense says more people will turn to the United States as a safe haven.</p><p>&quot;As dollar assets become more attractive, more money comes into the U.S., pushing up the value of the dollar,&quot; said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Global Insight. &quot;And as more money leaves Europe, it pushes down the value of the euro.&quot;</p><p><strong>So what&#39;s wrong with having people love the United States?</strong></p><p>It is good to have everyone wanting to stash their savings in the United States. But investors&#39; embrace of the dollar can start to feel like a death grip if it goes too far. Here&#39;s why:</p><p>U.S. companies that make goods and equipment want to compete on a global stage. If the dollar gets too expensive, U.S. exports can get priced out of the market. For example, if a customer in Brazil wants to purchase an earth mover, it could buy one from Caterpillar, or it could turn to companies in Germany or Japan.</p><p>If the dollar&#39;s value is very high, then it could tip the Brazilian&#39;s decision in favor of the Germans or Japanese.</p><p>It&#39;s not just U.S. manufacturers who worry about the rising dollar. The U.S. tourist industry also could take a hit if Germans, Brits and others can no longer afford to visit Florida this winter.</p><p>&quot;A strong dollar is a double-edged sword that could hurt a lot of U.S. companies,&quot; said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist for Sterne Agee.</p><p><strong>How is this likely to play out over time?</strong></p><p>It could turn out just fine over the next year or two. In this good scenario, the European Central Bank would lower interest rates just enough to encourage European companies to borrow money and expand. With energy being so cheap now, this could indeed be the perfect time to take a chance on expanding a plant.</p><p>That would lead to more hiring, which would help consumer spending in Europe. Once growth picked up, the euro&#39;s value would rise. In the end, the United States would have a healthy trading partner again and a more reasonably priced currency, allowing for fair global competition.</p><p>But there could be a bad scenario: Europe&#39;s economy could keep shrinking, with the euro becoming unstable and the dollar getting way overpriced. The bottom line would be less business for U.S. manufacturing and tourism, and the U.S. economy would start to sink too.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/01/06/375201124/how-a-too-strong-dollar-might-lead-to-a-too-weak-world" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 15:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-too-strong-dollar-might-lead-too-weak-world-111346 In 'up-and-coming' area, what's the tipping point for gentrification? http://www.wbez.org/news/and-coming-area-whats-tipping-point-gentrification-111236 <p><p>On a recent weekday, Reid Mackin of the Belmont Central Chamber of Commerce shows off one of the main commercial strips in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a Cricket wireless store on the corner, A&amp;G Fresh Market down the street and a Polish restaurant that nods to the area&rsquo;s past.</p><p>&ldquo;We used to have a lot of franchise foods, but because of the independent restaurants, the franchise food places couldn&rsquo;t compete with those folks,&rdquo; Mackin said.</p><p>But these aren&rsquo;t the restaurants you&rsquo;d find in a destination neighborhood like Logan Square. Over the years, that neighborhood has obviously gentrified. The rent&rsquo;s gone up and the white population has increased. The median home price for 2013 was $360,000, above its previous peak.</p><p>Belmont Cragin isn&rsquo;t experiencing anything like Logan Square&rsquo;s turbo-charged economy. But as it comes back from the housing crisis, some wonder: is this healthy redevelopment or the beginnings of gentrification?</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t tell you how many clients that have started in Logan Square or they&rsquo;ve started in Humboldt Park and they end up looking in Belmont Cragin,&rdquo; said <a href="https://www.redfin.com/real-estate-agents/clayton-jirak">Clayton Jirak, Redfin realtor</a>.</p><p>Jirak says new buyers are attracted to the neighborhood&rsquo;s bungalow belt. They like the solid housing stock and prices ranging from around $150,000 to $300,000.</p><p>&ldquo;The other big factor in Belmont Cragin has been the redevelopment and the renovation that&rsquo;s been going on with a lot of distressed properties that were left over from the real estate recession,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Belmont Cragin hasn&rsquo;t fully recovered, but in 2013 its median home price was up nearly 24 percent from its lowest point after the housing crash. At the high end of the market, a newly flipped home was recently listed at $435,000.</p><p>Those types of sales worry Julio Rodriguez. He&rsquo;s the director of financial education for the Northwest Side Housing Center.</p><p>He says some longtime residents are getting priced out because of those investors.</p><p>&ldquo;Our goal is to have it community owned and have community residents involved. But it&rsquo;s kind of hard to accomplish that when we have so many developers coming in buying, flipping it and renting out for a couple of years and selling it once home prices go up,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The organization&rsquo;s executive director James Rudyk points to Logan Square where a small number of investors own a lot of property.</p><p>&ldquo;What may have started off as a good idea &mdash; let&rsquo;s get some new apartments, let&rsquo;s create loft space, or lets put in new retail or a coffee shop. Great, great, great. But when that happens then all of a sudden folks who have been renting for $800 and now have to pay $1200 or have to leave their home or lose their home, it&rsquo;s not affordable,&rdquo; Rudyk said.</p><p>He finds himself asking where the line is between redevelopment and gentrification.</p><p>&ldquo;How many new condos are too many? How many Starbucks are too many? So I think there&rsquo;s a tipping point a neighborhood has to reach. What it is? I don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But not everyone in this neighborhood thinks that tipping point is imminent.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BC%20gentrification%201.jpg" title="Peggy Mejias stands outside her Belmont Cragin home. Her family was the second Latino household on the block. Although more whites are moving in, she doesn’t think the neighborhood is gentrifying. “These are just average families,” she says. (WBEZ/Susie An)" /></div><p>Peggy Mejias has been living in this house in Belmont Cragin since the 1980s, when home prices were near $50,000. Back then her household was the second Latino family on the block. Over the years she&rsquo;s seen the neighborhood shift from mostly white to mostly brown.</p><p>&ldquo;Now it&rsquo;s more Mexican. But now I&rsquo;m starting to see more Anglos in the area,&rdquo; Mejias said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="320" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/gentrification/widget/19/" style="float: left; clear: left;" width="400"></iframe></p><p>Mejias says there are more businesses opening up, like a busy laundrymat that she calls &ldquo;nice and expensive&rdquo; and a Dunkin Donuts that&rsquo;s packed in the mornings.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s the vacant bar near her house. It&rsquo;s been converted into a trendy-looking hot dog eatery that&rsquo;s set to open next month.</p><p>&ldquo;I caught one of the construction guys and he said the person who purchased it, he&rsquo;s been working for him for a long time. He&rsquo;s an investor and he goes into neighborhoods that he sees are up-and-coming. And I walked home thinking, &lsquo;Oh yeah, up-and-coming. Here we go,&rsquo;&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Mejias doubts this shop will be wildly successful. She knows values in the neighborhood are going up, but she considers that normal redevelopment rather than the early signs of gentrification.</p><p>&ldquo;Gentrification is kind of bringing in a completely different class of people. The artistic. Like you see in, West Town, Bucktown when you saw all of that, it was the hipsters. It was all of that. These are just average families,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>That kind of stable growth is the same thing the Northwest Side Housing Center is seeking. It offers things like foreclosure prevention and financial education programs to keep the neighborhood affordable.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BC%20gentrification%202.jpg" title="Gloria Valencia cooks dinner in her Belmont Cragin home. With the help of the Northwest Side Housing Center, she was able to buy her home last year. (WBEZ/Susie An)" /></div><p>Gloria Valencia took advantage of some of those services by taking a free homeownership class. She then applied for a loan from the Federal Housing Administration that allowed her to buy a four-bedroom house in the neighborhood last year.</p><p>The Northwest Side Housing Center even helped her start a block club.</p><p>&ldquo;We talk about what&rsquo;s going on with our block, our neighborhood and the whole city of Chicago. It could be small things like, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m missing a blue recycling bin&rsquo; to other things that are a little more important to our neighborhood and our block, such as gang violence,&rdquo; Valencia said.</p><p>James Rudyk says affordability doesn&rsquo;t mean housing values have to remain stagnant or that certain people or businesses should stay out.</p><p>&ldquo;If residents on Diversey and Laramie really do want a Starbucks, then let&rsquo;s put in a Starbucks. If they really do want a Trader Joes, then let&rsquo;s put in a Trader Joes. If they&rsquo;re really fine with the fruit market, let&rsquo;s leave the fruit market. So the question is, who makes that decision?,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Rudyk hopes it&rsquo;s the people who live here, and not outside investors. He says that may determine whether Belmont Cragin redevelops or gentrifies.</p><p><em>Susie An is WBEZ&rsquo;s business reporter. Follow her</em><a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> <em><u>@soosieon</u></em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 07:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/and-coming-area-whats-tipping-point-gentrification-111236 Russia's economic dilemma http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-08/russias-economic-dilemma-111200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP24510104665.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Russia&#39;s oil production strategy and Western sanctions have led to a decline in the value of the Russian ruble. Jan Kalicki, a public policy scholar for the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, joins us to explain the problems the Russian economy is facing.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Russia's economic dilemma" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-08/russias-economic-dilemma-111200 Financial burden of Ebola falls to African diaspora http://www.wbez.org/news/financial-burden-ebola-falls-african-diaspora-111031 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Ebola shipping.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Members of Chicago&rsquo;s West African diaspora say they are struggling under the pressure of supporting large extended families in Ebola-stricken countries, where the public health crisis has taken a <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/10/08/ebola-new-world-bank-group-study-forecasts-billions-in-economic-loss-if-epidemic-lasts-longer-spreads-in-west-africa">serious economic toll</a>. Some have turned to neighbors, government assistance programs and faith organizations for help -- not just to send back to their motherland, but to sustain their families in the U.S. during this period.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, to take care of five persons in America, at the same time to take care of more than 25 persons (in Africa), it&rsquo;s not easy,&rdquo; said David Young, &ldquo;and on a low income, it&rsquo;s terrible.&rdquo;</p><p>Young, a Liberian who came to the U.S. two years ago and was recently joined by his wife and three children, worries that his family might perish -- of starvation -- in Chicago&rsquo;s Chatham neighborhood on the South Side. The family receives free housing from the Chatham Fields Evangelical Lutheran Church, where Young is Music Director. Young says his take-home pay, about $1000 a month, is already low for a family that size. But lately, they&rsquo;ve had to make do with less, as he&rsquo;s been wiring about $600 montly back to his family in Liberia.</p><p>&ldquo;Because there&rsquo;s no work now in Liberia -- everything is shut down economically,&rdquo; Young explained, &ldquo;So, they tell me that they are not working.&rdquo;</p><p>The <a href="http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2014/09/17/000470435_20140917071539/Rendered/PDF/907480REVISED.pdf">World Bank </a>and <a href="http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ena/wfp268458.pdf">other international aid groups</a> confirm those reports. People in Ebola-stricken countries, afraid of catching the often-fatal virus, are staying home to avoid human-to-human interaction. This has left many households without income.</p><p>&ldquo;I am telling you that almost everyday they make a call,&rdquo; Young said about his family in Liberia. &ldquo;They have to call and tell us no food, no this one, no this, no that. They are not working. There&rsquo;s no jobs.&rdquo;</p><p>The amount that Young feels obligated to wire abroad has left him desperate for help feeding his family here. Trying to get help, Young said he has attempted twice to qualify for food stamps in Illinois. He was denied because he&rsquo;s lived in the U.S. fewer than five years. Because of the nature of his work visa in the U.S., an R-1 temporary visa for religious workers, Young also faces restrictions on what type of additional work he may seek to augment his income.</p><p>Still, Young feels compelled to continue to reach into his household&rsquo;s meager resources to scrounge whatever they can for his network in Liberia. In a front room of his house, a large blue barrel sits, half-full with items like hand sanitizer, soap, toothpaste, disinfectants, shampoo, and rice. All are items one can find in Liberia, but Young says his sons there tell him that pantry staples and basic household cleaning products have shot up in price since the outbreak began.</p><p>&ldquo;If you ask for a bottle of Clorox right now, it&rsquo;s very expensive,&rdquo; said Young.</p><p>Just across the street from Young&rsquo;s house, at the Chatham Fields Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pastor Kenety Gee helps lead a congregation with many Liberians. He said the financial toll of supporting family back home has hit them all.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really hard to look at the pictures, look at the stories, and ignore your family members,&rdquo; Gee said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really, really hard, so you got to stretch yourself.&rdquo;</p><p>Gee said he&rsquo;s no exception: one of his sisters in Liberia has a successful wholesale business, and never required Gee&rsquo;s support. But with Liberia&rsquo;s economy on hold, things have changed.</p><p>&ldquo;I send them $300 every week. That&rsquo;s $1200 a month,&rdquo; said Gee. &ldquo;But that&rsquo;s the kind of strain that is put on us here in the U.S.&rdquo;</p><p>The World Bank hasn&rsquo;t yet analyzed recent remittances to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Wiring services Western Union and Moneygram weren&rsquo;t able to share data. But people from all three communities share similar stories: that they&rsquo;re constantly transferring money, and that many have shifted away from shipping goods.</p><p>Artemus Gaye used to collect goods monthly to ship to Liberia. But his last 40-foot long container was sent in March. Since then, the business has dried up.</p><p>&ldquo;Who will you send it to now everyone has been quarantined, people are not moving around,&rdquo; said Gaye. &ldquo;The markets are very empty.&rdquo;</p><p>Today, Gaye&rsquo;s collecting protective medical gear and hospital supplies, which he hopes to ship in November. This isn&rsquo;t the usual stuff for this time of year. Normally, Gaye would be shipping Christmas presents. Still, he&rsquo;s optimistic that the market will be back to normal by the holiday</p><p>Gaye&rsquo;s encouraged by recent reports that Ebola is leveling off in Liberia.</p><p>&ldquo;We might be having a good Christmas season,&rdquo; said Gaye. &ldquo;You know, it&rsquo;ll be reflective, but at least people will be out there to do what they do best - interact with each other.&rdquo;</p><p>Many hope their family members in Africa will also be able to return, safely, to work. That could help ease finances for the diaspora in Chicago to celebrate the holidays, too.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/financial-burden-ebola-falls-african-diaspora-111031 Rauner, Quinn battle for African-American votes http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-quinn-battle-african-american-votes-110940 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP911111007939.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-6f97a6f2-1582-0782-483a-897455cafe20">As the clock ticks down to election night, Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner continue to battle over what&rsquo;s best for Illinois&rsquo; future. The top candidates have now faced off in two televised debates.</p><p>The focus of Tuesday&rsquo;s debate, three weeks ahead of the election, was mostly African-American voters, and issues they&rsquo;ll be thinking about in the polling booth. The panel of journalists posing questions to the candidates focused on jobs, the economy, the minimum wage, public safety and the state&rsquo;s finances.</p><p>And it was obvious by their responses that both candidates on stage at the DuSable Museum of African American History realized the importance of getting those votes.</p><p>&ldquo;My investments and my donations to the African-American community have totaled tens of millions of dollars,&rdquo; Rauner said, when asked about his recent <a href="http://abc7chicago.com/politics/rauner-promises-$1m-to-south-side-credit-union-/231631/">million dollar donation</a> to a South Side credit union.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve opened up the doors to many more contracts&mdash;I think it&rsquo;s up to a thousand contracts&mdash;for African-American owned businesses,&rdquo; Quinn said, to a question about government hiring.</p><p>The two also wasted no time trying to cut their opponent down to size&mdash;a recurring theme in both televised debates and on the campaign trail. Quinn accused Rauner of not hiring any African Americans in his company.</p><p>&ldquo;My opponent had 51 executives in his company, no African Americans, not one,&rdquo; Quinn said.</p><p>Rauner shot back that Quinn was &ldquo;taking the African-American vote for granted. He&rsquo;s talking but not delivering results.&rdquo;</p><p>Rauner also accused Quinn of kicking Stephanie Neely, Chicago&rsquo;s city treasurer who is black, off the list of running mates. Neely was rumored to be on the short list of Quinn&rsquo;s choices for lieutenant governor. Quinn later countered that his choice of Paul Vallas was due to Vallas&rsquo; experience with schools and budgeting.</p><p>&ldquo;African-American families are suffering in Illinois: brutally high unemployment, deteriorating schools, lack of proper social services and rampant cronyism and corruption that&rsquo;s taking away job opportunities from African Americans,&rdquo; Rauner said.</p><p>The candidates spent a lot of time in this debate talking about public safety and gun control. Rauner wouldn&rsquo;t say if he supported a ban on assault weapons. He said he believed the conversation about gun control should instead be on getting guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, and creating jobs. Rauner said it was the lack of opportunity that has lead to the state&rsquo;s issue with crime.</p><p>Quinn came out in support of banning assault weapons and called for a limit on high capacity ammunition magazines.</p><p>The ongoing conversation about the minimum wage also surfaced in this debate. Rauner was pressed by the panel to explain his position, as there has been much back and forth about whether he wants to <a href="http://politics.suntimes.com/article/springfield/rauner-admits-he-once-favored-eliminating-minimum-wage/thu-09042014-113am" target="_blank">ditch</a> the minimum wage all together, or raise it.</p><p>Rauner reiterated he wanted to see a national hike to the minimum wage, so Illinois could remain competitive, but he would support raising Illinois&rsquo; minimum wage (currently at $8.25) if it came with &ldquo;tort reform, tax reduction [and] workers comp reform.&rdquo;</p><p>Quinn said he&rsquo;d work to raise the minimum wage to $10 by the end of this year, though he faced questions from both Rauner and the debate panel about why he hadn&rsquo;t boosted it in his six years in office. Quinn responded that &ldquo;you have to build a majority for anything in life&rdquo; and brought up President Barack Obama&rsquo;s tactics with passing the Affordable Care Act as an example.</p><p>The end of the debate featured a special opportunity for the candidates: Rauner and Quinn were able to ask one question of their opponent. You can listen to that exchange here:</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/172278238&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The candidates are scheduled to face off in at least one more debate before the election on November 4.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian.</a></em></p></p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-quinn-battle-african-american-votes-110940 Iraqi musicians continue to play, despite conflict http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-06-18/iraqi-musicians-continue-play-despite-conflict-110371 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP817556148506.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Iraqi musicians have been the target of attacks by extremists who have bombed music shops and forced many concert halls to close, but they have continued to play.On this week&#39;s Global Notes we&#39;ll listen to Iraqi folk and pop.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-iraqi-musicians-continue-to-play-despite/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-iraqi-musicians-continue-to-play-despite.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-iraqi-musicians-continue-to-play-despite" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Iraqi musicians continue to play, despite conflict" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 11:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-06-18/iraqi-musicians-continue-play-despite-conflict-110371 Refugees raise vegetables, put down roots at urban garden http://www.wbez.org/news/refugees-raise-vegetables-put-down-roots-urban-garden-110149 <p><p>On a recent afternoon in Chicago&rsquo;s Albany Park neighborhood, Linda Seyler chirped at a small crew of helpers from Nepal: &ldquo;Stay there,&rdquo; she said to a group ranging from small boys to grown men. Seyler pulled out a measuring tape as she knelt in a tarp-covered ditch. &ldquo;From here to here is two feet&hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>Seyler was helping two more refugee families measure out their new vegetable plots at the Global Garden Refugee Training Farm, located on busy Lawrence Avenue. It was a cool Sunday, but several families were there, eager to start preparing their long, skinny garden beds for spring planting.</p><p>Janet Saidi, a Congolese refugee who came to Chicago more than a year ago stood next to her family&rsquo;s plot, number 95, rattling off what she&rsquo;s grown. &ldquo;Onion, okra, beans,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The name of this one I don&rsquo;t know. It&rsquo;s like mushroom? Yes.&rdquo;</p><p>Saidi and the other refugees who garden here all farmed in their native countries. Most hail from conflict-ridden places like Bhutan and Burma, and often don&rsquo;t know any English when they arrive. With the language barriers and the sense that their farming skills have no use in a big, American city, many battle feelings of isolation as they try to settle in.</p><p>&ldquo;Being here (in the city) they feel themselves really worthless,&rdquo; said Hasta Bhattarai, a Bhutanese refugee who now volunteers as an an interpreter for some of the gardeners. &ldquo;But once they are here (in the garden) and once they are able to produce something, that really makes them happy from inside,&rdquo; he continued, &ldquo;and they feel themselves (like) they are back home, and that gives them some kind of spiritual happiness.&ldquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Refugee-Garden-2.jpg" title="Janet Saidi, a refugee from the Congo, grows okra, onions and beans on her small plot. She said she never imagined she would grow her family’s food in the U.S., as she did in her native country. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><p>The garden began with a grant from the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program, under the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. Seyler, at the time working for the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly in Chicago, applied for the three-year, nonrenewable grant. In its first year, the garden had 42 families with plots.</p><p>Now in its third growing season, the garden has more than 100 vegetable beds jammed haphazardly against each other, with additional areas reserved for new commercial plots and a quarter-acre reserved for use by the Peterson Garden Project. In all, the refugees use about one acre of the 1.33 acre area. They grow bittermelon, bok choy, okra, mustard greens, and roselles -- a plant related to hibiscus. It&rsquo;s a cheap and convenient way to find the vegetables that they traditionally use for cooking, which may be less common in U.S. supermarkets.</p><p>&ldquo;This garden, it&rsquo;s really changed my life,&rdquo; said Mary Thehtoe, a Burmese refugee whose family had a large farm in her native country. Thehtoe got a plot at the garden when it began, during her first year in the U.S., in 2012.&nbsp; She said at that time she knew no English, and cried every night after she came to the U.S., until she met her refugee case worker. That was the first person she met in Chicago who spoke her language.</p><p>&ldquo;If I don&rsquo;t have garden, I always go to the appointments,&rdquo; Thehtoe said through an interpreter. &ldquo;I have a lot of appointments, like medical appointments, And I stay working at home, and just do house chores, take care of my kids, those kinds of thing. When I got the garden, all the sickness and stress, depression, go away, Because I always think about the garden.&rdquo;</p><p>Thehtoe said she comes to the garden every day.</p><p>Saidi said she never imagined that in the U.S. she would be growing her own food, as she did in the Congo. &ldquo;When I came here, I said, &lsquo;Oh my God, I don&rsquo;t know (if in) America, if they have fresh food,&rsquo;&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Yes, they are also farming, and I said &lsquo;Oh my God,&rsquo; it was exciting.&rdquo;</p><p>The garden&rsquo;s success has earned attention from the Governor&rsquo;s office, which wants to replicate it in places like Rockford, Elgin and Aurora. Meanwhile, the grant that started the garden has run out. Its organizers are planning to make the garden self-sustaining with commercial production and an expansion of the farm&rsquo;s community supported agriculture program, which allows individuals to buy &ldquo;shares&rdquo; in the garden&rsquo;s seasonal produce.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Foyousef&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHKQ6bayggMubwgs9U53FsOML-b9A">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FWBEZoutloud&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGciFiqidUKx7xm655BDbaPU9eB3g">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p><p><em>Correction: This article incorrectly referred to the Peterson Garden Project. It has been corrected.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 May 2014 15:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/refugees-raise-vegetables-put-down-roots-urban-garden-110149