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August 10, 2020 News Summary

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

US Politics and Economics


Although the unemployment rate has decreased by 10 percent in recent reports due to the increase of jobs, the amount of layoffs, especially jobs in the business, health, and recreation industry, has risen 50 percent since April. At a glance, we seem to be headed in the right direction, but not quite at pre-crisis levels, and economists fear that much of these job losses are permanent. In addition, the rate differs among races, with African Americans and Latinos experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates.


Texas Politics


The Texas Education Agency (TEA) officially launched Texas Home Learning 3.0 (THL 3.0) in the hopes that it will better remote-learning classroom instruction during a public health crisis. THL 3.0 will provide “high-quality instructional materials, technology solutions, and professional development resources,” along with an offer of free two-year use of Schoology Learning Management System (LMS), which acts as an online learning hub for digital content and communication. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath asserts that as Texas schools work “to meet the educational needs of millions of kids who will participate in school remotely,” the “TEA is working to provide...support to school...including fully funding schools for remote instruction and providing schools with free, high-end teaching technology.” He, furthermore, believes that the LMS will allow “teachers to seamlessly communicate with their students and helps their students stay focused on their lessons while learning from home” and “go a long way toward ensuring Texas students continue making major academic gains even during the pandemic.”



Health


According to the CDC COVID Data Tracker as of Aug 10, 2020, 12:15 PM (CDT), there is a total of 5,023,649 cases in the United States, and nearly 100,000 of COVID-19 victims are children, per the Washingon’s Post’s report. In addition, DEADLINE.com reports that on August 7th, Dr. Mark Ghaly, director of the state’s Health and Human Services Department, held a news conference in California and admitted that numerous errors have occurred while gathering COVID-19 numbers. He believes that the system for collecting data has possibly backlogged 250,000-300,000 cases.

Millions of people around the world face problems relating to food shortage daily; unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly worsened the issue of food security. According to scitechdaily.com, a recent report from the World Food Programme forecasts that by the end of 2020, over 130 million people will be pushed into chronic hunger.



World Politics and Economics


A massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, that killed 158 people and injured 6000 has caused mass uprisings and protests. On Saturday, thousands of protesters stormed and raided Lebanese government buildings in an attempt to discard official documents and destroy furniture. According to Middle East Monitor, a security officer was killed by protestors as he tried to save the people who were stranded in a hotel, and Reuters reports that at least one officer has died and around 100 protesters have been injured. Demonstrations in Martyr’s Square, Central Beirut have also led to the injuring of 238, the hospitalization of 63, and the arrest of 5 people. Adding to the turmoil amidst a pandemic, BBC headlined in an article, “Beirut explosion: Lebanon's government resigns as public anger mounts.” Hence, Prime Minister Hassan Diab asserted that the government has "gone to great lengths to lay out a road map to save the country, “ but corruption was “bigger than the state” itself and "a very thick and thorny wall separates us from change; a wall fortified by a class that is resorting to all dirty methods in order to resist and preserve its gains." The Lebanese Parliament will likely have to undergo a tumultuous process as it chooses the next prime minister.


Wall Street Journal writes that 130 high-profile Twitter accounts were hijacked by a small group of hackers, led by a teenager in central Florida. Some of the social media service’s most prominent handles— including those of Kanye West, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk— were used to scam hundreds of people out of a combined $118,000 in bitcoin, according to BBC. This event is the biggest recorded security breach in Twitter’s history, and also a shocking embarrassment for the company. According to Twitter, the hack entailed a high level of risk to users’ personal security since messages were sent from the 130 accounts they commandeered, direct access was gained to direct messages of 36 users, and personal data was downloaded from eight profiles.


Two months ago, per interestingengineer’s report, New Zealand announced it was COVID-19 free and lifted all restrictions, but that success soon came to a screeching halt when two new cases had been reported. Currently, however, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, it seems the country is back on track with being absolutely COVID-19 free consecutively for 100 days on Sunday.

Southeast US Weather


As tropical conditions are expected to possibly become unfavorable by the end of this week, a tropical disturbance heads west, continuing to strengthen. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts that it has a 60 percent chance of forming into a system within the next 48 hours. As of today, there have been a total of 9 named storms this hurricane season, but, as we progress into this week, the NHC expects several more disturbances to form off the African coast.


To get more live coverage of the latest updates on the tropics, visit the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Tidbits, CyclonicWx, or watch Force Thirteen.


Today in Houston Texas, the temperature reached a high of 96 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the evening. Although the chance of precipitation is only 15 percent on average, a light drizzle is predicted to possibly move through the northern half of Houston at around 5 pm (CDT). Later this week, despite precipitation chances being at 32 percent, a map by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicates that drizzles spread throughout the week, with Sunday being the heaviest. The wind is at most 9 knots, blowing between the south and southeast.


All local information is gathered from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Please remember to always stay safe and check in with your local weather center for news and weather preparation tips.


_________________________________________________________________________

Writers:

US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Miranda, Yijia, Caleb, and Eric

Texas Politics: Stephanie and Vicki

Health: Matthew, Megan, Allison, Owen, and Amelia

World Politics and Economics: Joseph, William, and Jake

Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon

Editor: VIA and Isabel

(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)

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