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August 7, 2020 News Summary

US Politics and Economics


Allan Litchman, a historian and author, with the help of a Russian friend, developed a system in 1981 made to accurately predict the outcome of a general election, and since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1984, he’s been right in every election. His methodology is known as the “13 Keys to the White House” and awards points to either the incumbent party (2020 Republican Party) or the challenger’s party (2020 Democratic Party) based on certain conditions such as the state of the economy, the amount of social unrest, the charisma and talent of the candidates, etc. Each one of the keys is either True (in favor of the incumbent party) or False (in favor of the challenger’s party), and whichever party has the most amount of “keys” will likely be the winner. Despite its surprising accuracy, the “13 Keys” system has been met with criticism, mainly because it does not accurately show the popular vote of each candidate. In the light of the current pandemic and protests, Lichtman sees Biden having the upper hand, with the current social unrest, economic collapse, and pandemic’s erasure. Additionally, he claims that outer forces, such as the 2016 Russian interference, could impact election results.



Texas Politics


Earlier today, on gov.texas.gov, Texas Governor Greg Abbot announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has officially confirmed the surgence of four more temporary sites for COVID-19 testing in Harris County. " As we address surges in COVID-x x19 cases across the state, increasing testing is essential to detecting and mitigating the spread of this virus," said Governor Abbott. Among these extra testing sites that bring data and clarification on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is the recently opened site at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Houston Astros worked together to open this testing site that can process 2,000 tests a day. Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane welcomes, "We’re pleased to partner with the state and local health departments to provide another testing option in our city.” This testing site will be open to anybody and free of charge.

Recently, the Texas Department of State Health Sciences published a news release proclaiming the launch of the Consumable Hemp Program to regulate the manufacturing, processing, distribution, and retail sale of consumable hemp products. Consumable hemp is a food, drug, device, or cosmetic that contains industrial hemp or hemp-derived cannabinoids. These products may not contain more than 0.3 percent concentration of THC. However, the ban on smokable hemp, per marijuanamoment.net’s report, has led to a lawsuit from four Texas companies. Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, claimed, “Hemp regulators are overstepping their authority and encroaching on the economic liberty of Texas business owners.” The companies argue, “If allowed to move forward, these bans on smokable hemp products will shutter businesses across the state, resulting in a loss of jobs and tax revenue.”



Health


According to Click2Houston, an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, the Houston Methodist reports rapid recovery from COVID-19 with a new drug, RFL-100, also known as aviptadil, that has been approved by the FDA for emergency use. When testing RFL-100 on patients, it appears to prevent extended lung complications and removes laboratory markings, which display that the patient experienced COVID-19 inflammation.


A promising new vaccine, NVX-CoV2373 by the company Novavax, is currently underway at phase one trials. The data for their vaccine usage proves greater immunity against COVID-19 then those who recovered from it. While there are safety concerns, as patients experienced mild fevers, headaches, and muscle sores, the vaccine was well-tolerated as there were no need for any hospitalizations.


President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to prioritize purchasing certain drugs and medical materials, thus making the U.S less reliant on some countries while attracting investments from others. CNN reports that during a speech at a washing machine plant in Ohio, President Trump claimed, "The executive order will require that US government agencies purchase all the essential medicines that we need from American sources.”



Science and Technology


In a YouTube live-stream video, SpaceX launched 57 more Starlink internet satellites today at 1:12 AM EDT. Among the spacecrafts were two small BlackSky Earth-imaging satellites — the second of what will become a series of Starlink rideshare missions. SpaceX plans for these thousands of Starlink internet low-Earth orbiting satellites to eventually provide Internet speeds up to, as stated by satelliteinternet.com, 1 gigabyte per second-- while working in combination with ground transceivers. Next, Revenue from Eats reached $1.2 billion in the second quarter, double a year earlier, the company reported Thursday.


Meanwhile, more than likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business revenue of Uber Rides, a platform where drivers connect with riders, declined 67 percent and gross bookings plummeted 73 percent. On the other hand, revenue for Uber Eats, an online food ordering company launched by Uber in 2014, grew by 113 percent, per CNN BUSINESS’s report.



World Politics and Economics


CNN reports that the potential withdrawal of Ankara, the cosmopolitan capital of Turkey, from the European treaty on gender-based violence has caused tens of thousands of women to pour into rallies across Turkey. For the past few weeks, the Istanbul Convention stirred public debate amid an increase in the country’s domestic violence cases in the past few months, which, according to anitsayac.com, a Turkish activist reporting cite, in just this year alone, 205 women in Turkey were killed, while in 2019, 417 died in domestic violence cases.

Weeks earlier, China imposed a security law on Hong Kong that many people claimed threatened their freedoms and Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, calling it an assault "on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong." In response, the US National Treasury imposed several economic sanctions on 11 sanctioned officials from Hong Kong and China, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Per BBC News, the officials will have all property in the US seized and financial assets frozen, but Ms. Lam, who is being accused of "implementing Beijing's policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes,” ridicules the sanctions, stating, "I do not have any assets in the United States nor do I long for moving to the United States." US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explains that the purpose of the sanctions is to target those trying to weaken Hong Kong's democratic government. In addition, Pompeo announced that the US will “treat Hong Kong as 'one country, one system'” and “take action against individuals who have crushed the Hong Kong people's freedoms." In the end, US-China tensions steadfastly continue to rise.



Southeast US Weather


Currently today, there no major tropical systems in the Atlantic ocean, but the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is tracking a minor tropical wave with a 10% chance of formation that many others believe can develop into a tropical depression, but only a tropical depression. More tropical waves are expected to move off the coast of Africa as we progress towards the end of the week.


To get more live coverage of the latest updates on the tropics, visit the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Tidbits, CyclonicWx, or watch Force Thirteen.


Currently, in Houston, Texas, the high temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 79 degrees Fahrenheit later tonight. There will be a clear sky this evening with a little chance of rain moving on throughout the week, as rainclouds will likely circle around the Houston area. By Saturday, wind speeds of up to 8 knots will be blowing to the Southeast and move towards the South by evening.


All local information is gathered from theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Please remember to always stay safe and check in with your local weather center for news and weather preparation tips. _________________________________________________________________________

Writers:

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

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

Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon

Editor: VIA

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

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