August 17, 2020 News Summary
US Politics and Economics
The 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC), which formally nominated Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, kicks-off today, covering a wide-range of areas with people all across the political spectrum. However, unlike other conventions that take place in large stages with huge crowds, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the convention to be almost entirely virtual, save for a few small audiences in venues where speeches will be held. The main stages are expected to be in New York, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Biden’s home of Wilmington, Delaware. Prominent speakers include former first lady Michelle Obama, senator and former candidate Bernie Sanders, and John Kasich, a 2016 Republican candidate who ran against President Trump.
Despite multiple objections, several Democratic politicians in congress proposed a 25 billion dollar fund to their financially strapped agency; and, though the bill is still being finalized, it’s set to also prohibit operational changes the Trump administration has made. This bill that may reverse decelerated mail service around the country, due to objections against mail-in voting, is likely to be published on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced.
Per Texas Tribune’s report, multiple Democratic politicians in the Senate aim to take down Confederate monuments in Austin, Texas’ capital. However, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick accuses the Democrats of discrimination in Texas and claims that the party isn’t fully committed to a “sincere” or “serious conversation” about the monuments. He writes, “It is time to be transparent. A first step in addressing these issues is for Democrats to acknowledge that it was your party who carried out those past discriminatory policies and injustices and who built those monuments and hung those paintings.” Texas generally leans to the right, and Republicans have generally been in control of the Texas Legislature, but some have accused them of making laws specifically targeted to people of color. Currently, about 80% of Democrats in the Texas Legislature are people of color, and only 4% of Republicans are. This difference alone is enough to see why officials have to have an opinion. Patrick continues, “I recognize that in every country in the world and every state in our nation, there are periods of injustice and inequality in our history that we lament. But I believe that it’s what we have done as a nation, and as a state to correct those injustices, that defines us.”
CNN writes, "‘COVID is now the No. 3 cause of death in the US -- ahead of accidents, injuries, lung disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and many, many other causes,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said. In addition, the virus has now killed more than 170,000 people in a matter of months.
According to NBC, COVID-19 cases have spiked in South Africa, and the entire continent of Africa has surpassed the 1 million mark (axios.com). This situation is particularly concerning as an extremely cold winter season within the Southern Hemisphere may cause mutations to the virus.
USA TODAY writes, “One of the first major universities to welcome students back on campus, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is reversing course after outbreaks of the coronavirus and going to online classes only.” This university’s setback to achieving safe, in-person learning may be a forewarning to other schools trying to re-open.
World Politics and Economics
Cai Xia, a retired Chinese professor who called President Xi Jinping a “mafia boss” and the ruling Communist Party a “political zombie” has been “disciplined”, according to her former employer. The professor had taught democratic politics at the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party, and is the third prominent figure in recent months to be disciplined after criticising the authoritarian party and its leader. The school, which trains rising officials destined for promotion, announced on Monday that it had rescinded Cai’s Communist Party membership and retirement benefits for making remarks that “had serious political problems and damaged the country’s reputation.”
Currently, the people of Thailand are fighting against their monarchy. On Sunday, approximately 10 000 people, young and old alike, marched on Bangkok’s Democracy Monument in Thailand for democratic reform, changes to the militarized constitution, and the elimination of the current parliament, according to CNN. This march is the largest anti-government protest since the military seized control six years ago, and anger, especially with Thailand’s youth, has been bubbling ever since Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha won 4 more years in office in March’s election of 2019. Arnon Nampa, a protest leader exclaims, "I am so thrilled to see a lot of people turned out to join the protest today. The movement has gone beyond just the youth group-- as you see there are more older people, and some of them even attended the protest with their family."
The Spanish royal palace, putting an end to speculated theories, confirmed that Spain's former king, Juan Carlos, has resided in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since August 3rd of this year. Earlier, the 82-year-old declared in a letter to his son Felipe, who was handed the throne six years ago, that he was leaving Spain amid an alleged corruption investigation. He stated that he is making the decision "in the face of the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating" and in the hopes that his son carries out his duties as king with "tranquillity". The ex-king seemingly first travelled to the Dominican Republic, before, according to several outlets, appearing in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.
Science and Technology
Scitechdaily.com writes that researchers are attempting to merge electronics with the human body-creating something otherwise known as cyborgs, supposedly futuristic fictional part-human and part-robot beings. These innovations have hopes of eventually monitoring tumor development or standing in for damaged tissues, and a team reports that new coatings for components could help them fit more easily into a new environment. Martin, who is at the University of Delaware, claims that his dream is to be able to tailor how biopolymers deposit on a surface and then to store them in tissue in a living organism. He believes that “the ability to do the polymerization in a controlled way inside a living organism would be fascinating.”
CNN writes that after a 14-year hiatus, Microsoft is launching a new version of its "Flight Simulator" video game that includes features such as live weather, traffic, and a massive world map. The simulator allows the player to become a pilot and fly anywhere in the world, while scoping out highly realistic sights along the way. The game begins with selecting a flight route, which typically begins on a runway, and achieving liftoff by gaining momentum. Once in the air players balance speed and momentum, all the while avoiding obstacles such as buildings. In addition, there are options to skip parts of a flight or accelerate flight time to destinations around the world, but part of the game is checking out the scenery en route.
Southeast US Weather
Tropical Storm Josephine from the Atlantic has dissipated, and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is tracking two tropical waves-- one of which has a high chance of formation and is about 700 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands. The other wave is located near the Windward Islands and moving west at about 20 mph.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Fausto of the Pacific has been downgraded to a Low Remnant storm and is expected to dissipate later this Tuesday evening, reports the NHC. Contrarily, Tropical Storm Genevieve, which appeared yesterday, has turned into a hurricane with winds up to 75mph, and is moving at 18mph towards the west and northwest, causing light showers on Mexico’s west coast. Asit remains firm with 36 mph of wind at the least.
Today’s high is 98 degrees Fahrenheit, and the low is 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The chance of rain during the daytime is at 28 percent and 14 percent at night, with zero increase in inches of rain. There is also a Heat Advisory that will likely last until late next week. In addition, this week has a high of 98 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 77 Fahrenheit. Chances of rain, at most, is 45 percent, and the maximum rainfall 0.05 inches. Also, wind speeds may go up to 16 knots, blowing to the northwest forcefully.
To get live coverage of the latest hurricane updates on the tropics, visit the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Tidbits, CyclonicWx, or watch Force Thirteen. Please stay safe, and for more live coverage on weather, for more, please visit the NOAA Graphical Forecast.
US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Miranda, Caleb, and Eric
Texas Politics: Stephanie and Vicki
World Politics and Economics: Joseph, Jake, and Alexander
Science and Technology: Bryan, 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)