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August 20, 2020 News Summary

US Politics and Economics


The third night of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) aired yesterday, and many key politicians spoke during the program. Former president Barack Obama highlighted the claim that Trump is unfit for president and urged listeners to realize the consequences of Trump’s presidency. Additionally figures, such as Hilary Clinton, spoke at the DNC, and Kamala Harris officially accepted the nomination for Vice President.

Meanwhile, President Trump held a tele-rally on Facebook and expressed his feelings for the Obama Administration’s policies on immigration, trade, and healthcare. Reiterating his outlook on the immigration system, he warned his audience that the DNC is planning the expansion of sanctuary cities, which protect undocumented immigrants from prosecution, despite federal immigration laws. In full contrast, during the DNC, eleven year-old Estrella Juarez described her experiences on her father’s deportation to Mexico. She declared, “My mom worked hard and paid taxes, and the Obama administration told her she could stay. My dad thought you would protect military families so he voted for you in 2016, Mr. President. He says he won't vote for you again after what you did to our family."

New York federal prosecutors charge Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser and former executive chairman of Breitbart News, Brian Kolfage, Anthony Badolato, and Timothy Shea with money laundering and wire fraud. The four men allegedly used hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to an online campaign called “We Build The Wall” for personal expenses and “concealed the money using fake invoices and fraudulent vendor arrangements.” The donors were promised that the 25 million dollars raised “will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose; however, through this non-profit “volunteer organization,” Bannon used more than 1 million dollars to cover his own expenses, including credit card debt, taxes, jewelry, and a boat. Prosecutors also reviewed encrypted messages where Bannon paid Kolfage a 20,000 dollar monthly salary “consistent with the secret deal Bannon had approved."



Texas Politics


As the unemployment rate shoots up over the last few months, a lot of people are finding themselves desperate to change their financial situations, and, as a result, bigger companies are taking advantage of this situation to expand. For instance, Alberto Bayarena, Lead of Amazon's Dallas Tech Hub, announced that Amazon plans to add more jobs in Dallas, saying, "We are proud to create 600 new jobs on top of the thousands of roles we've created over the last several years in the Dallas/Fort Worth area across our tech offices and logistics infrastructure. We are drawn to this region by its highly-skilled workforce and culture of innovation." According to nbcdfw.org, “Amazon said over the last decade they have created more than 43,000 jobs and invested more than $16 billion in communities across Texas, which contributed an additional $18.8 billion to the Texas economy.”

Per Texas Tribune, multiple economists project that 30 percent of all Texas restaurants and businesses will have to close or change the way they do things, which has a massive impact, as agriculture and processing industries are also affected. Greg Hanks, the president of Hanks Brokerage Inc., asserts, “The longer this goes on, the more places will close, and more of the business sites will be down, and it will affect the manufacturing bases [that] supply those restaurants as well, so I think long term I would not expect to be back up to the levels we were pre-COVID for two-plus years. In all honesty, even to get flat, I think [it] will be over two years.”



Health


Per USA TODAY’s article, “How miscommunication and selfishness hampered America’s COVID-19 response”, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center claims, “The U.S. response, I exaggerate not, is a textbook example of how to do it wrong.” The US represents 4 percent of the world’s population, but accounted for a quarter of all COVID-19 cases and 22 percent of all deaths. In addition, relatively successful countries, such as Denmark, Germany, Senegal, and Thailand, have implemented clear policies that are clear, constituent, and strictly enforced. Michael Ollove writes, “some American states, particularly in New England, have fared better than others, but that only reflects the disjointed national response, epidemiologists say.”

In another news article, USA TODAY states that there are “silent spreaders” of the COVID-19, as a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that kids who seem healthy may be more contagious than sick adults. For instance, children are less likely to show COVID-19 symptoms because they have fewer virus receptors than adults but still carry high levels of the virus. The receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), binds to the coronavirus and enables it to infect healthy cells, and this leads researchers to believe children play a larger role in community spread, calling them “silent spreaders,” regardless of their susceptibility to developing an infection.



Science and Technology


Concrete helps fix problems with deterioration, but according to Scitechdaily.com, it has a large carbon footprint, resulting in high waste and energy expenditure. Instead, multiple researchers believe that 3D-printing roads, bridges, and buildings with sustainable building material made from local soil will better the environment. Today, results will be presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo.

The logo of BlackBerry, a Canadian software company, will reappear once again on a smartphone, complete with its physical QWERTY keyboard. It's not a "true" BlackBerry phone, as the company has been out of the phone business since 2016, but the brand has been licensed to phone manufacturers over the years, and this year’s is OnwardMonility, a company located in Austin, Texas.

Apple, an American Big Tech company, eradicated the incredibly popular online game named Fortnite from the Apple App Store, since Epic Games, the developer and publisher of Fortnite, sneaked its own in-app payment system into the iOS version of the game. Accordingly, 'Fortnite Phones'— iPhones with Fortnite still installed — are being listed for absolutely insane prices.



Southeast US Weather


Two new Tropical Depressions, 13 and 14, are heading towards land in the east Atlantic, Tropical Disturbance 14L is approaching the Gulf of Mexico, and another disturbance is coming off the coast of Africa.

Tropical Depression 13 is approaching the Lesser Antilles, and although the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports that it will make landfall in Florida as a Category One hurricane, it may rapidly intensify as it moves over the Caribbean Islands.

In the Caribbean Sea, Tropical Depression 14 has formed and is expected to head into the Gulf of Mexico. The official forecast from the NHC expects it to intensify into a tropical storm and make landfall in Texas at around 8 AM (CDT) next Tuesday. Currently, Houston happens to be in the forecast cone, and necessary preparations ought to be made ahead of time.

Tropical Disturbance 14L has high chances of becoming a hurricane by the time it reaches the Gulf, as the waters are currently very warm.

Lastly, a new disturbance off the coast of Africa has a 40 percent chance of formation in the next five days, per the NHC.


On the other hand, here are only two disturbances in the Pacific.

Hurricane Genevieve has been downgraded to a tropical storm and moves to the Northwest at 12 mph. It will likely bend its way around the US and begin to dissipate next Wednesday.

The next disturbance in the area has a 50 percent chance of formation within the next five day, and will mostly move forward like Genevieve and later become a tropical depression.


Today’s high in Houston is 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the low is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout the week, the temperature will drop due to Tropical Depression 14 bringing in rain.


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.


_________________________________________________________________________

Writers:

US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Miranda, Yijia, Caleb, and Eric

Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan

Health: Matthew, Allison, David, and Owen

Science and Technology: Bryan, Andrew, Yiqi, and Amelia

Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon

Editor: VIA

(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)


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