August 19, 2020 News Summary
US Politics and Economics
The Democratic National Convention (DNC) continued into its second day last night with more prominent politicians, including former president Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Jill Biden (Joe Biden’s Wife), and many other state governors and representatives. In addition, there was a virtual roll call where delegates from every state casted their vote for either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. In the end, Joe Biden was officially nominated as the 2020 Democratic Nominee.
Tonight, starting around 9:40PM (CDT), Senator Kamala Harris is scheduled to deliver a speech at the DNC, marking her acceptance as the party’s vice presidential nominee. The theme of the convention is “A More Perfect Union,” which reflects that Democrat party’s diversity and addresses systemic inequalities. Former President, Barack Obama, will deliver the keynote address, and other speakers include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin.
The main goal in the DNC convention this year is to increase voter turnout. Therefore, amidst allegations of president Trump’s acts of hindering voter access and the prosecution of USPS, representatives attending the DNC are “working with local authorities to add ballot drop-boxes to neighborhoods without adequate mail access,” claims chairman Tom Perez. Additionally, resources are being published to help voters check their registration status and request ballots by mail.
Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbot, announced that legislation to freeze property tax revenues for cities who cut police budgets would be supported next year. Abbott claims in a press conference, “This will be an effective tool that effectively will prevent cities from being able to reduce funding support for law enforcement agencies.” Per Texas Tribune, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio have historically spent the most on their police fund; however, due to recent changes, Austin has become the first to cut its police department budget. Abbot assets, “If we have police brutality, we don't need fewer police, we need less police brutality, and so we need to take action, whether it be as a Legislature or in police departments or whatever the case may be.”
Per an article by NBC News, “Mexico officials says coronavirus cases are on a 'sustained decline,’” Deputy Health Minister Lopez-Gatell and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, report that Mexico has handled the virus very well. Recently, on August 17th, the country reported a 20 percent decline in fatalities, compared to the week earlier. Nevertheless, Mexico remains to have the third-highest COVID-19 death toll, before India and behind Brazil.
CBS News writes that the University of Notre Dame has suspended in-person classes and moved on to fully use online classes as COVID-19 cases surge after campus parties were held. On Monday, the university reported 80 new cases, bringing the total to 147 infections.
According to USA TODAY, Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, believes that the wealthy should not be prioritized with COVID-19 vaccine. He remarks, “How sad it would be if for the COVID-19 vaccine priority is given to the richest," and he urges for vaccines to be available for all. (catholic-sf.org)
World Politics and Economics
A coup d'état occurring in Mali, a country in West Africa, has the possibility of destabilize the region and affecting the rest of the world. Months of mass anti-government protests and an insurgency of Islamist militants from the North of Bamako, Mali’s capital, per CNN's report, has led to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse announcing their resignation on Tuesday after being arrested by soldiers. In addition to Mali, two other neighboring countries, Burkina Faso and Niger, have also been struggling to deal with growing Islamist groups, and with how unstable the Sahel region is already, if Mali falls further into chaos, the coastal West Africa area-- a place the US has great economic interest in-- may be affected.
On Wednesday, the European Union (EU) declared plans to inflict sanctions on Belarusian officials, following the highly debatable re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. The European Council President, Charles Michel, states that the sanctions will be imposed on a number of individuals responsible for violence, suppression, and election fraud. “We stand firmly behind the right of the Belarusian people to determine their own fate,” Michel declares shortly after an emergency conference with other EU leaders. In addition, President Gitanas Nauseda of Lithuania recently reported that there will also be new elections in Belarus.
Science and Technology
CNN reports that Apple, an American Big Tech company, is now worth more than $2 trillion, making it the first in the US to reach that milestone. Shares have surged almost 60 percent this year and are at an all-time high at nearly 470 dollars a share.
In scitechdaily.com’s article, “New Heat Conduction Technology a Game Changer for Server Farms and Aircraft,” Jonathan Boreyko, an associate professor in mechanical engineering, developed an aircraft thermal management technological device, called “diodes.” By using two copper plates in a sealed environment, separated by a microscopic gap, heat can be conducted in only one direction; Then, the two plates create “Droplets,” which create a bridge, allowing the diode to be used upright, sideways, or even upside-down, and in areas without gravity.
China has now issued a patent to a locally developed vaccine, co-developed by CanSino Biologics Inc. and the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, according to Fortune. Bryan Mercurio, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, believes that this vaccine may not yet be ready for widespread use, since it hasn’t completed phase lll clinical trials. On the other hand, investors have “viewed the patent as a vote of confidence” and CanSino’s stocks have jumped by 14 percent.
Southeast US Weather
A disturbance named 97L, located in the central Caribbean Sea of the Atlantic, has an 80 percent chance of forming into a cyclone, which will then move westward at about 15-20 mph. It will have a possibility of becoming either a depression or hurricane when it reaches the northwestern Caribbean Sea later this week. 97L is predicted to “pull a Harvey,” implying that it might weaken rapidly before strengthening immediately-- behaviours very similar to Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on Texas and Louisiana in August of 2017. Another disturbance has a 90 percent chance of formation, and it generally moves west-northwestward at 15-20 mph across the central and western portions of the tropical Atlantic. The last disturbance has 0 percent chance of formation for the next 48 hours but has a 30 percent chance in the next five days.
Hurricane Genevieve of the Pacific has moved to the middle region of Mexico. It ranges anywhere between 8mph to 90 mph and moves north and northwest. The center of Genevieve will pass near west of the Baja California peninsula tonight or tomorrow, causing heavy rainfall and may lead to life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides across the state. On the other hand, a disturbance hundred of miles off the southwestern coast of Mexico has a 50 percent chance of forming into a cyclone. The conditions appear favorable for slow development of this system, but a tropical depression could form this weekend or early next week.
Today’s high in Houston is 96 degrees Fahrenheit and the low is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The chances of rain are at 5 percent with no increase in the amount of rain. There will likely not be any weather hazards, and winds for the week will stay below 15 mph towards the southeast.
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 on the weather, please visit the NOAA Graphical Forecast.
US Politics and Economics: Dylan and Miranda
Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan
Health: Matthew and Owen
World Politics and Economics: Joseph, William, Jake, and Alexander
Science and Technology: Bryan, Andrew, Yiqi, and Amelia
Southeast US Weather: Jade and Simon
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)