August 5, 2020 News Summary
US Politics and Economics
According to the Democratic National Convention Committee, presidential candidate Joe Biden, will declare his vice president nomination in his home state of Delaware due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Democratic National Convention, which was supposed to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been pushed back to August 17-20, deriving from health officials informing the committee not to travel to Milwaukee. Hence, most of the speeches and events will take place virtually, or in different parts of the country.
From the Trump Administration, Michael R. Pompeo, US Secretary of State, declared the launch of the Clean Network Program, which has been developed in the effort “to protect America’s critical telecommunications and technology infrastructure” from “aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)”. The Clean Network Program contains five lines, which assert that untrusted carriers are not connected with US telecommunications networks, untrusted applications are to be removed from US mobile app stores, untrusted smartphone manufacturers should be prevented from making available trusted apps on their app store, sensitive information should not be stored on cloud-based systems accessible to foreign adversaries, and undersea cables are not subverted for intelligence gathering by distant oppositions. Pompeo advocates that the US calls on its “allies and partners in government and industry around the world” in “building a Clean fortress around our citizens’ data.”
Federal agents have been rejecting thousands of people, young and old, seeking asylum in the US. Between the months of April and June this year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials counted 3,379 unaccompanied minors at ports of entry; however, only 162 of those minors were sent to federal shelters for immigrant children. As of now, the CBP has refused to provide a statement as to what has befallen on the thousands of expelled minors.
Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) received approval to provide replacement benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients for food lost because of Hurricane Hanna in six of the impacted counties: Brooks, Hidalgo, Kenedy, McMullen, Starr, and Willacy. "As our communities rebuild from the damage caused by Hurricane Hanna, we are working to help ensure that Texans can continue to provide healthy meals for their families," stated Abbott. Wayne Salter, the HHSC Access and Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner, agreed, announcing, "For families that have been impacted by this disaster, these replacement benefits will help provide some peace of mind”.
As of August 5, 2020, 12:15 PM, 156,311 people have died from the effects of COVID-19. Earlier this year, the FDA and CDC warned the public to avoid using hand sanitizers containing highly concentrated amounts of methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed into the skin. Despite such, hand sanitizer poisoning during this COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of calls directed to poison control centers by 70 percent. The amount of calls between January 1 and August 2 this year was 21,074, 8,648 more than the 12,426 calls made in the same time frame in 2019.
Science and Technology
Samsung Electronics hosted its Galaxy Unpacked virtual event last Wednesday and showcased its five latest technological devices. These included their new Note series with the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra, the foldable Galaxy Z Fold2 smartphone, the Tab S7 and Tab S7+ tablets, the Galaxy Watch 3 smartwatch, and the Galaxy Buds Live earbuds. Dr. TM Roh, President and Head of Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Communications Business, advertises that “these devices are powerful tools to help you maximize work and play. Together, as part of the Galaxy ecosystem, they work together seamlessly so you can spend your time focused on what matters most”.
Virgin Galactic, a British spaceflight company, partnered with Rolls-Royce, a long-time world-leader in aircraft engine manufacturing, and NASA to debut the Mach 3- a new, supersonic aircraft design with the potential of cruising three times the speed of sound. It is known to be capable of flying higher than 60,000 feet and plans include the aircraft to be powered by next-generation sustainable fuel. Moreover, the Mach 3 is expected to bring Virgin Galactic’s first commercial passengers into space with the ability to take-off and land at existing airports.
World Politics and Economics
After a deadly explosion near highly-populated districts in Beirut, Lebanon, rescue workers are still frantically searching for survivors. The blast, according to President Michel Aoun, was caused by 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse, and killed, a reported 135 people at least, per CNN. The blast injured more than 5000 others, and could be felt 240 kilometers away on the island of Cyprus. Multiple photos and videos that were taken after this explosion depicted people stuck under rubble and wrecked cars and buildings. The Red Cross, a humanitarian non-profit organization, states that a search and rescue mission is underway to aid in locating the 135+ missing people; among the dead include the secretary-general of the Kataeb political party, Nazar Najarian.
In the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the terms of several high-ranking officials were set to expire mid-July, and the organization had planned to reappoint each of them to another three-year term. However, on June 11th, a letter of protest from Azerbaijan resulted in a decisive political power struggle, which culminated in the toppling of the OSCE’s entire senior leadership team one month later. Thus, on July 18th, the head of the OSCE, Secretary-General Thomas Greminger, the director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, the representative on freedom of the media, Harlem Desir, and the high commissioner on national minorities, Lamberto Zannier, vacated their respective office at OSCE headquarters.
Southeast US Weather
After Hurricane Isaias’ reign, the Atlantic Hurricane Season has come to a near pause- excluding a small disturbance in the tropics that, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), holds only a 10 percent chance of formation. Until mid-August, where the season usually peaks, other tropical systems are not expected to form, but, as the NHC predicted much earlier, 2020’s hurricane season is anticipated to be above average. Thus, a major hurricane is still conceivable.
US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Miranda, Yijia, and VIA
Texas Politics: Stephanie and Vicki
Health: Matthew, Megan, Allison, and Owen
Science and Technology: Bryan, Andrew, and Yiqi
World Politics and Economics: Joseph, William, and Jake
Editor: VIA and Isabel
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)