August 16, 2020 News Summary
US Politics and Economics
Whitehouse.gov issued a statement on Saturday night where President Trump announces his younger brother, Robert Trump, passed away at 72-years-old. In the release, he proclaimed that "it is with heavy heart that I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace." Although the cause of Robert Trump’s death has yet to be officially released to the public, New York Times writes that Robert had experienced brain bleeds after a recent fall and had been sick for many months.
Recent polls have suggested that former Vice President, Joe Biden, is still polling up to 9 points ahead of President Trump, but polls in multiple swing states, such as Ohio and Florida, have suggested that, according to FiveThirtyEight, which compiled polling data from every major pollster, Biden’s lead has dipped slightly. In the end, despite a shrink in several state polls, a steady 8-9 point lead in national polls is up to the voters as to which candidate is elected in November.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is investigating the theft of hundreds of Texans’ personal information from those who are especially struggling during this 2020 pandemic. Per dallasnews.com’s report, the TWC has found 233 instances of bank account information being hacked into. “It [TWC] has identified and locked more than 3,500 fraudulent claims since January 2020, representing 0.07% of claims,” spokesman Cisco Gamez addresses and promotes that everyone should check their account frequently in the case of identity theft. TWC executive director, Ed Serna, announces that "all fraud is a betrayal of the taxpayers and a shameless exploitation of the suffering of others for the fraudster’s personal gain, and we take aggressive steps to identify it, prevent it and stop it.”
COVID-19 cases are intensifying in Texas, but over the last two weeks, the number of completed tests have gone down, and incomplete data that officials receive can cause a huge misstep. Texas Governor Greg Abbot informed his team to search for numbers that can be tested in order to make decisions accordingly, while public health experts claim that testing may have gone down due to Hurricane Hanna’s effects. However, people could be also avoiding testing sites because of a false sense of security. Per Politico, “The drop off in testing coincides with a decline in infections after Abbott ordered people to wear masks, reimposed seating limits in restaurants and closed down bars again. That worries disease trackers who suspect any positive news will breed complacency and make people willing to ignore the possibility they could be infected without showing symptoms.”
According to CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of August 16, 2020, 2:00 PM (CDT), there are a total of 5,340,232 known cases in the United States.
Per covidtracking.com, the COVID Tracking Project records that the average number of testing has begun to fall, but USA TODAY writes that the FDA has approved a saliva-based test for COVID-19. This new form of examination can be more accessible and overall easier for citizens.
Texas Tribune’s article, “Texas officials blame coding errors and a system update for recent COVID-19 testing data issues,” COVID-19 cases in Texas suddenly increased by 124,693 on August 13th, and in Florida, a data dump occurred, causing the number of cases to inflate.
World Politics and Economics
A hotel in Mogadishu, the capital of Somali, was attacked on Sunday afternoon, and at least one person was killed, reports CNN. According to Ismael Mukhtar Omar, a spokesman for the Somali government, Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, is responsible for the attack, and Somali security forces have reportedly shot two of the attackers dead. A confirmed casualty is Abdirisak Abdi, a ministry official. In addition, CCN writes that last year, Al-Shabaab targeted SYL hotel in Mogadishu with bombings and gun raids in a seven hour battle.
In opposition to Belarusian President ,Alexander Lukashenko, thousands of people have congregated in Minsk to protest due to alleged poll-rigging and police violence at previous protests. Meanwhile, President Lukashenko addressed a crowd of several thousands and responded to his opponents by calling them "rats" and has called on his supporters to preserve their country and independence. After President Lukashenko spoke to President Vladimir Putin twice over the weekend, rival rallies took place after Russia agreed to offer security aid in the case of outer military threats to Belarus. In addition, Lukashenko stated concerns over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military movement taking place in Poland and Lithuania, and launched into a denunciation against the Western military alliance.
Science and Technology
Citing the Russian health ministry, Interfax News reported on Saturday that the country has started production of its new COVID-19 vaccine, writes Reuters. The novel vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be mass-manufactured by the end of this month.
Frequent tea drinkers claim that water heated by a microwave isn’t the same as boiling it in a kettle, as when water is being warmed by a stove, the container heats up from below. In a process called convection, warmer liquid becomes less dense and moves to the surface, allowing a cooler section of the liquid to contact the source. Contrarily, when using a microwave, the electric “heat” is everywhere, and since the entire glass is warming up, the convection process does not occur, and the liquid at the top of the container ends up being much hotter compared to the liquid at the bottom. In response, a team of researchers from the University of Science & Technology of China plan to focus their efforts on working with a microwave manufacturer to commercialize their microwave accessories for liquids.
Vacuvita is a new food storage system that allows food to last 5 times longer than in a zipped bag by utilizing a vacuum system, effectively taking all air from the storage container.
CNN writes that the US military is focusing its attention on Gen Z, the oldest of whom are now in their late teens and early 20s. Members of the Army and Navy have been meeting their target audience through the videogame live-streaming platform; Twitch. On the digital application, troops broadcast themselves to thousands of followers as they tout the benefits of service and play games, such as "Call of Duty: Warzone."
Southeast US Weather
The Atlantic is picking back up with two new disturbances, both of which, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), has a medium chance at formation but have not shown any sign of development. In addition, Tropical Storm Josephine is expected to dissipate later today.
The Pacific has two tropical storms-- one of which, Fausto, is moving along the west coast of Mexico, moving at 15 mph towards the Northwest with minimum central pressure at 1004mb. At around 11 PM (CDT) Tuesday, the storm will likely dissipate due to wind shear and dry air. On the other hand, Tropical Depression Twelve-E is turning into Tropical Storm Genevieve. It appears very organized and is expected to become a major hurricane, per the NHC. Located about 700 miles south of Honolulu, Hawaii, a disturbance moving westward at 10 mph, reportedly has a 60 percent chance of Cyclone formation and 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression forming.
To get live coverage of the latest hurricane updates on the tropics, visit the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Tidbits, CyclonicWx, or watch Force Thirteen.
Today’s high is a boiling 99 degrees Fahrenheit in Heat Advisory, with the low being 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The chance of rain is at 19 percent for the day and 30 percent at night. On to the slowly cooling week, the high for tomorrow is also expected to be 99 degrees Fahrenheit, and the greatest chance of rain is no more than 45 percent on Thursday with a likely shower in the morning. Additional drizzles may occur in the afternoons of Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. There are no expected hazards, and the wind would be blowing all over at 8 knots (9 mph) at most.
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 Susanna
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)