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August 11, 2020 News Summary

Texas Politics

Earlier this year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced a funding waiver framework that completely covers school costs remote learning. Although, daily on-campus learning must be provided for those who wish to physically return to schools-- with exceptions for health and safety purposes. These deviations include an 8-week back-to-school transition period and an alternate in-person and remote learning in order to reduce the number of students on campus at once (high school only). Additionally, a 5-day solely remote-instruction due to a confirmed COVID-19 case in the school or beyond a 5-day solely remote-instruction due to a legally authorized closure order will be covered with complete funding. The TEA news release concludes that they continue “to monitor the public health situation very closely, working in collaboration with school systems, and remains prepared to adjust or adapt its waiver framework as necessary to ensure we keep students, teachers, and staff safe.”


According to CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of August 11, 2020, 3:01 PM (CDT), there have been a total of 5,064,171 cases in the United States of America. According to CNN’s report, “It took the country 99 days to reach 1 million, 43 days to hit 2 million, 28 days for 3 million and 15 days to surpass 4 million on July 23. The number has jumped to 5 million in 17 days.”

Per New York Time’s article, “California Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell Resigns,” California converted from a model example in handling the spread of COVID-19 to becoming the center of the pandemic in the United States. The author, Jill Cowan, describes that “the state’s reopening dissolved into a confusing patchwork of restrictions that differed county by county,” and lack of foresight caused a predictable, immense surge in cases. Also, around a week ago, state officials admitted to a technical issue-- or glitch-- in the disease-tracking-system, assumed to have 300,000 recorded cases to vanish from the systems; however, the number of cases specific to COVID-19 is undetermined. Nevertheless, these are all likely reasons why Dr. Sonia Angell resigned from the position of California Public Health Director on August 9, 2020.

ABC13 Houston reports that health officials have counted up to fifteen deaths at a Katy rehabilitation center. In addition, the Harris County Public Health released information on 6 deaths in the Sterling Oaks Rehabilitation Facility, which have been confirmed to have been caused by COVID-19.

World Politics and Economics

With the exception of Thailand, the five countries of mainland Southeast Asia are some of the poorest in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the World Bank Group, Cambodia has a per capita GDP of around 1,600 dollars, whereas Myanmar is at roughly 1,400 dollars. Laos and Vietnam fare marginally better, each at around $2,500. Their political systems differ from semi-democracies to authoritarian one-party states. Yet, according to the, despite multiple initial missteps, they have all largely suppressed COVID-19, proving far more effective in addressing the pandemic than several developed countries, including the United States. Vietnam, a country populated by roughly 95 million people, has reported merely a handful of deaths and only 784 total cases on Sunday. Despite seeing a recent surge centered on the coastal city of Da Nang, the outbreak remains paltry by global comparison. Vietnam’s neighboring countries have done near just as well by comparison.

After controversial results of a presidential election in Belarus, a country in Eastern Europe, and a police crackdown on those opposing the president, Alexander Lukashenko, Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya has fled from her country. Tsikhanouskaya, President Lukashenko’s greatest opposition, is now safe in Lithuania, reports Linas Linkevičius, the country’s foreign minister. The 37-year-old former English teacher has dismissed the results of Sunday’s election, which displays that Lukashenko, who took control of Belarus in 1994, has won a sixth term with 80 percent in favor, while Tsikhanouskaya only received 10 percent of the support. She tells the Associated Press, “We don’t agree with the election results as we have absolutely opposite information. We have official protocols from many poll stations, where the number of votes in my favor are many more times than for another candidate.” However, after presenting her formal demand for a recount to Belarus’ Central Election Commission, Tsikhanouskaya addressed her supporters in a video message declaring that she has “made a decision” to “be with my children,” who were previously sent to an unnamed European country after receiving threats.

Science and Technology reports that scientists at the University of Central Florida. have developed a laser beam that doesn't utilize typical laws of refraction of light physics, which can reveal potential communication technologies for military and defense personnel and space exploration and mapping. The spacetime wave packets have been arranged to not change the speed at all or anomalously speed up in denser materials. As such, these pulses of light can arrive at different points in space at the same time. An example the team uses to explain how their system works is as so: if a plane is trying to send a message to two submarines that are at the same depth but different distances, the closer one will receive the message quicker, but with the new laser beam, the message arrives at the same time to both submarines so long they're at the same depth.

NASA’s spacecraft, Dawn, has given scientists close-up views of the asteroid or dwarf planet Ceres. As the mission ended in October of 2018, the spacecraft dipped 22 miles below the surface of the planet, finding the bright regions that Ceres is known for. A closer look revealed that the deposits consist mostly of sodium carbonate— a compound of sodium, carbon, and oxygen. A NASA director explains, “Dawn accomplished far more than we hoped when it embarked on its extraordinary extraterrestrial expedition. These exciting new discoveries from the end of its long and productive mission are a wonderful tribute to this remarkable interplanetary explorer.”

According to the New York Magazine, Sony has released an extremely powerful noise-canceling headphone, which allows the user to customize how much sound they allow in or keep out. Multiple reports believe that the headphone’s sound quality is a step-up, additionally allowing the user to feel as if they are standing there where the music is playing.

Southeast US Weather

Tropical disturbance 95L Invest is further strengthening and has reached a 90 percent chance at formation. Per multiple sources’ predictions, chances are that this disturbance is already a tropical depression and advisories will be issued soon. The Global Forecast System predicts that the currently weak tropical storm may strengthen even more as wind shear and dry air die down in the Lesser Antilles.

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 high will reach 94 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 79 degrees Fahrenheit later tonight. According to the National Oceanic Atlantic Administration’s weather map, the chance for precipitation has risen by 2 percent and is at 16 percent, but there will likely be no rain until Wednesday to Sunday, as the precipitation will rise by 10 percent. At most, the wind blows at 6 knots between the southeast and southwest.



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

Texas Politics: Stephanie and Vicki

Health: Matthew, Megan, Allison, and Owen

World Politics and Economics: Joseph, William, Jake, and Alexander

Science and Technology: Brian, Andrew, Yiqi, and Amelia

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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