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August 15, 2020 News Summary

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

US Politics and Economics


The Second World War is considered one of the deadliest conflicts in history, involving nations from around the entire world including the Allies; the US, USSR, UK, France, etc., and the axis powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, etc. The war officially began on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. It later ended in September of 1945 when the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the USSR invaded Japan, causing the emperor Hirohito to surrender on August 15, 1945. The official surrender was signed on September 2nd later that year. Seventy-five years later, the effects of the war are still visible today, such as the US becoming a superpower, the Koreas splitting into two, and the rebuilding of European cities and memorials.


The US elects a president every 4 years using a system known as the electoral college, where rather than the entire country directly voting for the president, a group of 538 people, known as “electors”, cast ballots. Each state has a certain number of electors based on its number of representatives in congress, which, in turn, is based on population. For instance, California has a population of about 39 million, and has 55 electoral votes, whereas a smaller state like Vermont with a population of about 600 thousand has 3 electoral votes. On election day, each party appoints its own electors, and the party with the majority in any given state sends their electors to vote for the president, making the electoral college a winner-take-all system. Whichever candidate gets 270 or more electoral votes becomes President- even if they do not capture the popular vote, but this happened only five times: 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016.



Texas Politics


Per the Texas Tribune, the state of Texas was warned by the United States Postal Service that some ballots sent in by mail wouldn’t reach its destination in time to be counted in the November election. This has sent a wave of confusion towards many, as nobody knows how many people are going to be affected. "This mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them," writes Thomas Marshall, General counsel and executive vice president of the USPS, to Ruth Hughes, Texas Secretary of State.


Months after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are urged to return to “normalcy”. Businesses and schools are beginning to reopen- and movie theaters are no exception; however, they have implemented precautions following health guides to ensure the safety of everyone. "We are limiting capacity and staggering showtimes to ensure physical distancing within our theaters," announced Chanda Brashers with Cinemark Theaters. Per KHOU, “Cinemark and AMC released a detailed video with their cleaning and social distancing guidelines. Masks are required by every guest and must be worn at all times unless you’re eating a snack. Theaters will be disinfected every morning and all occupied seats will be sanitized after each show.” This development recognizes that although things may have changed, people can still find a way to live their daily lives.



Health


According to CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of August 15, 2020, 12:15 PM (CDT), there are a total of 5,285,546 cases in the United States.


According to New York Posts, scientists believe that COVID-19 may have first appeared within a group of Chinese miners in 2012. The physician who treated the miners describes how the patients experienced a high fever, dry coughs, sore limbs, and, in some cases, headaches, which are all symptoms of COVID-19. The physician also sent sample tissues of the miners to Wuhan labs and found that the source of infection came from a rufous horseshoe bat.


According to the New York Times, a strike and overwhelming response by teachers closed down a school district in Arizona amid the Coronavirus.



World Politics and Economics


In a rare rebuke of the Foreign Office on Saturday, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari claimed that it had “let Kashmiris and Prime Minister Imran Khan down” in their struggle for the Kashmir cause. Addressing a function in Islamabad, Mazari believes that it was through the prime minister’s “single-handed efforts” that the narrative surrounding Kashmir changed in the global arena, and “if the Foreign Office had carried forward the prime minister’s narrative, the situation would have been vastly different today.”


This Monday, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, arrived in Taiwan to demonstrate President Trump’s support for the democratic island- the first time since 1949 that Washington has displayed friendship with Taiwan despite retaining close ties. As Azar toured Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, several Chinese fighter jets passed over the border that separates Taiwan from mainland China, and the military was sent to practice drills in the waters near Taiwan. According to CNN, Beijing’s state media reported it as a “warning” to those seeking the island’s independence. Now that the US has made the first move, China’s retaliation can be expected.


BBC writes that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has signed a new defense accord with Poland, which will cause the number of US troops in Poland to rise to around 5,500 and potentially to 20,000 if a threat justifies it. US President Trump claims that the accord is a response to Germany not contributing enough financial support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO allies worry over possible Russian expansionism, and the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was signed by Pompeo and Blaszczak in Warsaw on Saturday. Poland's President Andrzej Duda proclaimed, "This is going to be an extended guarantee - a guarantee that in case of a threat our soldiers are going to stand arm-in-arm."



Science and Technology


According to a report from space.com, a team of researchers has created a new innovative protocol for quantum communication, which could revolutionize the way we encrypt and send sensitive information— protecting information from rising global cybersecurity threats. The method aims to use a low-orbit satellite to transmit encrypted messages to stations on the ground over greater physical distance than other methods of long-range communications. With the new technology, encryption can be much more secure and benefit both the people and defense/offensive services in the US.

According to CNN, Huawei has recently become the world's biggest smartphone maker, surpassing Samsung and Apple at offering consumers phones with amazing cameras at competitive prices. However, their streak is now at risk after the latest US sanctions on the Chinese tech champion, and consumers around the world are abandoning the brand because the phones no longer come with some popular US apps.

In sciencenews.org’s article, “Hurricanes have names. Some climate experts say heat waves should, too, meteorologists have been naming hurricanes and ranking them according to severity for decades.” Jennifer Marlon, a climate scientist at Yale University, states that hurricanes get attention because they cause obvious physical damage, but heat waves are more subtle, silent killers, mostly affecting human health. Therefore, naming and categorizing heatwaves could increase public awareness of this extreme weather category, as heatwaves cause more deaths than any other weather-related disaster.


Southeast US Weather


Both tropical storms, Kyle and Josephine, are still active in the Atlantic. Surprisingly, Kyle has gained more power with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1000 millibars (Mb). According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), tropical storm Kyle is expected to dissipate by Monday evening as an extratropical low-pressure system. On the other hand, Josephine only has a 45 mph maximum sustained wind speed but a higher central pressure of 1008 millibars (Mb). Additionally, a powerful tropical wave coming off the coast of Africa with a lot of convection (development or explosion of thunderstorms) and the potential to become a hurricane; however, the Global Forecast System (GFS) does not show any sign of significant progress for this wave.


Meanwhile, in the East Pacific, things are firing up with tropical depression 10-E, which, according to the NHC, is expected to last but not develop much, as this poorly organized system is battling wind shear and dry air. There are currently also two other disturbances in the East Pacific. EPAC.2 has an 80-90 percent chance of formation, whereas the other disturbance is expected to dissipate by tomorrow. According to the GFS, EPAC.2 is expected to become a potential major hurricane with a minimum pressure of 948 millibars (Mb), but wind shear and dry air will have to also be accounted for.


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 high is just below 100 degrees Fahrenheit at 5 pm (CDT), and the low is 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Chances of precipitation are at 2 percent, and the amount of rain remains calculated at zero inches. In addition, the Heat Advisory is still on and covering most of upper Texas and will stay most likely until Sunday night. Moving on to next week, the high is making its way to the three digits, and the low is 77 degrees Fahrenheit occurring on Monday night. Chances of rain is at most 38 percent with a drizzle on Friday, and the wind reaches 7 knots, moving between the south and north.


Please stay safe and for more live coverage on weather, for more please visit theNOAA Graphical Forecast.


_________________________________________________________________________

Writers:

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)

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