Author Archives: nwriley

Hong Kong to extend coronavirus-related restrictions by 14 days

From March 29th to April 23rd, Hong Kong restricted public gatherings to only up to four people, closed all entertainment venues, and suspended all foreign travel indefinitely. Now, even though they have recently stated that as of the 20th, no new cases of coronavirus had occurred, the city is extending these restrictions for another 14 days to be as safe as they can be. However, this is drawing criticism as these laws greatly limit personal freedom in a city where just last year, protests were raging about that very thing. Just last week, Luo Huining, the senior mainland political official, said that a more national security laws should be implemented.

Hong Kong is technically a part of Beijing, but maintains a high degree of autonomy as a state, and it has been that way since 1997. In 2003, Beijing attempted to implement similar security laws to the ones recommended by Huining, and was met with mass protests in Hong Kong that ensured it never occurred. Currently, the restrictions are in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 within the high population density of Hong Kong, but there are fears that the restrictions set a precedent for more control over individual citizens. As the protests for democracy in Hong Kong last year occurred, those issues have not been resolved and the restrictions have prevented activists from organizing.

I chose to compare Brazil and Mexico.


Males per 100 Females: 97.1

People per square kilometer: 25.2

Number of children per woman: 1.7

Current Population: 210.3 Million

Estimated Population 2050: 232.3 Million


Males per 100 Females: 96.1

People per square kilometer: 65.5

Number of children per woman: 2.2

Current Population: 127.3 Million

Estimated Population 2050: 150.6 Million

Brazil's population pyramid is stage 4, and is more heavy on the male side than the female side, with no major differences between the sexes otherwise, with a majority of the population being aged 30-39. In contrast, Mexico's pyramid is a stage 3 with a much larger number of males in younger demographics, but transitioning to majority female in older demographics. This indicates that in the past, young men in Mexico have died more often than women, and though that is also true for Brazil, it is not nearly as marked in the graph. Brazil will experience a lower birth rate in the next 30 years, as they have reached a trough in the population pyramid, while Mexico is in the middle of a spike in the birth rate meaning that their population will increase at a faster rate for longer.

Brazil’s densely packed favelas brace for coronavirus: ‘It will kill a lot of people.’

Brazil's favelas are extremely dense with people, making the common practice supported in the US, social distancing, not possible to combat the spread of COVID-19. Experts are not able to provide a solution so much as determine that many many people who live in these portions of the country will die. Population Density is a concept that is greatly at play here, as social distancing relies on a fairly average population density, and in a place such as a favela, population density is extremely high. At this time, it's not a matter of how badly the nearly one fourth of Brazil's population that lives in favelas will be hit, it's a matter of when.

On the 7th of February, Vladimir Putin met with the Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko at Sochi to discuss reducing the cost of oil being sold from Russia to Belarus. Currently, Belarus relies on oil from Russia, and though they still maintain a favorable deal on natural gas, that isn't enough. However, Putin rejected this deal and instead focused on a 1999 plan to unite the two countries. Lukashenko was predictably unreceptive to this idea, and no progress was made on a deal.

The situation involved in this deal is much the same as the Ukraine crisis that happened recently. Russification plays into this with the simple fact that Russia is aiming to bring Belarus under its control through a union. Irredentism is a large concept present in this deal because like Ukraine, Belarus was part of the major portions of the USSR until 1991 when it gained independence, meaning there are many ethnic Russians present in the country. Finally, the obvious parallel is the focus on the sale of Russian oil and gas, which Belarus is in a similar geographic location to Ukraine and so controlling trade with Belarus can stop the flow of oil into Europe. Though this is not a copy of the events that occurred in Ukraine, the concepts behind it are very similar.

Hi everyone, my name is Nicholas Riley and I look forward to meeting you all this semester. I have lived in Palmer all my life and I plan to continue living here indefinitely. I'm studying for a Bachelor's in Elementary Education, and this is a required course, but I've never taken a geography course. I posted locations in Anchorage where I was technically born, where I live off of Palmer-Fishhook Rd. in Palmer, and Padova, Italy where I would go if I had the chance.