August 14, 2020 News Summary
Updated: Aug 16, 2020
US Politics and Economics
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to file for unemployment, with over 7 million job losses in April alone, and even nearly 2 million a week; however, the losses are slowly leveling off. The newest job reports announced that 960,000 unemployment claims were filed in the past week, which is the first time that number has fallen below 1 million. Although the US seems to be headed in the right direction, this rate is far from normal levels. For example, last year in the same week, a much less comparable 218,000 unemployment claims were filed.
Per the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Yale University is being accused of discrimination “based on race and national origin in its undergraduate admissions process, and that race is the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year." The DOJ’s two-year investigation claims that Yale had violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, the National Public Radio reports that Asian or White applicants with similar academic achievements have 10-25 percent less of a chance compared with their African-American peers. The university’s spokesperson, Karen Peart, denies such allegations, stating that the DOJ did not look into all the data and has accused them on dubious bases. Peart asserts that “at Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants….We are proud of Yale’s admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation.” The alleged practice of discriminating against Asians and Whites from Yale and several other notable colleges, including Harvard, seemingly stemmed from the Obama-era Affirmative Action bill, which allowed schools to give African-American students an advantage over multiple other ethnicities, in the hopes of curbing disadvantages such as bank loans and jobs. However, in 2018, the Affirmative Action was overturned by the Trump Administration, and the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division announced in a press release that “there is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination… [and] unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division. It is past time for American institutions to recognize that all people should be treated with decency and respect and without unlawful regard to the color of their skin.”
Recently, there has been a growing call to defund the police. According to gov.texas.gov, the Austin City Council decided to cut 150 million dollars from the Austin Police Department's budget. Governor Abbott of Texas comments that “some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety. Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk, and paves the way for lawlessness. Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty.”
According to CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of August 14, 2020, 12:45 PM (CDT), there are a total of 5,228,817 cases in the United States of America.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes that rushing to reopen has and could have even more devastating consequences. CNN writes, “Fauci emphasized the importance of acting in a measured, prudent way. He noted that Americans have seen the consequences of jumping over the guideposts that have been established for safe reopening.”
A poll by Fox NEWS showed that more than ⅓ of the Americans will refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine; 60 percent of the respondents would take it, 35 percent wouldn’t, and a mere 5 percent of respondents claimed they were undecided on the topic.
World Politics and Economics
For the last nine years, the Nile river has aroused multiple talks and fragile agreements over how to share the water contained in the world’s longest river-- but due to a heavy bout of rain, all that hard work seems to be doing nothing. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has filled up, and Ethiopia has not taken any action, despite officials in both Egypt to demand an explanation and Sudan to file complaints concerning receding water levels. Per CNN's report, a US-based company, Maxar Technologies, released satellite images that captured water pooling behind the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, and the three nations have yet again failed to reach a solution over how the Nile River project should proceed.
Following the resignation of Elyes Fakhfakh, the prime minister of Tunisia for just five months, due to corruption allegations, President Kais Saied designated one of his own advisers, Hichem Mechichi, to be the new prime minister. According to the middleeasteye.net, Mechichi has until August 25th to form a government that can win parliamentary approval. Should he fail, Saied has the constitutional right to call for new elections— an arduous task as Tunisia struggles with a deepening economic crisis and a spike in COVID-19 cases triggered by reopening the country’s borders in late June.
After being forced to leave for Lithuania in the wake of a disputed election, Belarus’s candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has called for peaceful rallies across the country. Her rival, Alexander Lukashenko, has governed Belarus since 1994, and this year’s election has already been criticized by both the European Union (EU) and United States. "Don't stay on the sidelines," Tikhanovskaya directed, while proposing a broad council to work on the transfer of power. In correspondence to her encouragement, thousands of Belarusians have protested in an attempt to pressure Lukashenko into quitting. However, 6,700 people were detained in the wake of the election, and past detainees speek of torture at the hands of Lukashenko’s “security services”.
Southeast US Weather
Tropical storm Kyle has formed quickly on the east coast and has shattered the record of being the earliest “K” named storm-- beating Hurricane Katrina from 2005. Nevertheless, this storm doesn’t pose any threat to the US and is expected to move along the Gulf Stream before dissipating. Tropical Josephine, on the other hand, is struggling to strengthen and currently has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1004 millibars (Mb), and forecast models from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows it returning to a tropical depression by Wednesday afternoon, as it battles dry air and wind shear.
To get 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 temperatures are skyrocketing as we plunge into mid August. The high is 97 degrees Fahrenheit and is expected to rise over the course of the week with a heat advisory in effect. In addition, despite a few clouds here and there, precipitation is very unlikely.
Please stay safe and for more live coverage on weather, for more please visit the NOAA Graphical Forecast.
US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Miranda, Yijia, Caleb, and Eric
Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan
Health: Matthew, 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)