September 2, 2020 News Summary
US Politics and Economics
Democratic nominee Joe Biden is expected to arrive at Kenosha, Wisconsin in his first campaign visit. The city has been in the spotlight recently, due to the shooting of Jacob Blake, which has incited protests over racial justice. Blake’s family members declare that the shooting has “moved police brutality, racial injustice and looting to the forefront of one of the nation’s key swing states.” Republican nominee Donald Trump won Wisconsin in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton and is hoping to win it again. Trump uses states where protests have led to looting and violence, such as Minnesota, to argue that “defunding the police” is terribly misguided. Biden responds, accusing that Trump’s lack of response to police brutality has caused the country a dangerous place to be. In addition, he condemns looting and property damage, expressing, “Looting is not protesting.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. car sales have been decreasing in correspondence to low demands. Ford, a multinational automobile company, experienced a 50 percent drop in revenue in the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to a loss of 1.9 billion dollars. In an effort to reduce costs, Ford plans to cut 1,400 white collar jobs, which have a higher salary than blue collar jobs, and they hope to reach targets within the voluntary incentive program before utilizations of involuntary separation. The company sent out letters to employees, which stated that those eligible will receive retirement offers next week. First announced two years ago, the company’s plan to cut costs is part of a five year, 11 billion dollar restructuring plan, expected to be focused on less profitable overseas operations.
A reliable census is crucial to any state’s economic and political future; however, Texas’ 2020 census is not going as planned. According to the Texas Tribune, the state lacks a critical number of census workers, while self-response rates dip below 60 percent. The pressure from the dawning deadline is pushing officials over the edge. That being the case, on August 26th, the secretary of state’s office announced that a 15 million dollar advertising campaign is being launched to urge citizens to get themselves counted. However, the expenses of this campaign drags down funds intended for COVID-19. Luis Figueroa, the legislative and policy director for Every Texan, states, “It’s frustrating that we're doing this at the last minute. We hope there is enough time for it to be meaningful and effective. There’s an adage about ‘better late than never,’ but there is also ‘a day late and a penny short.’” If the census is ultimately successful, estimations indicate that the Texas population has jumped, with more than 3.8 million new residents since 2010.
According to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, as of September 2, 2020, 12:16 PM (CDT), there are over 6 million cases and almost 185k COVID-related deaths in the USA. In Texas, which holds around 10 percent of total cases alone, has more than 167k cases.
FOX News writes that during the pandemic, divorce rates have spiked in the US. Per Legal Templates, rates were 34 percent higher from March to June, compared to the same period of time in 2019, In addition, 31 percent of couples claim that the lockdown has damaged their relationship, due to issues including stress, unemployment, and illness brought on by the quarantine. The article reasons, “It’s possible that divorce rates will continue to rise as economic, financial, social, institutional, and psychological turmoil from the COVID-19 virus unfolds.”
World Politics and Economics
China is considering doubling the number of nuclear weapons in this new decade, proving the Pentagon’s prediction to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. They anticipated, saying, “Over the next decade, China's nuclear warhead stockpile—currently estimated to be in the low- 200s—is projected to at least double in size as China expands and modernizes its nuclear forces… in the next five years.” China’s military, which has already equaled or surpassed the U.S military in certain key areas, is forecasted to make major strides in shipbuilding, the development of ballistic and cruise missiles, and integrated air defense systems.
Five years ago in France, a series of terrorist attacks targeted the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine company, and ended two days later at a supermarket. Recently in Paris, 14 people have gone on trial for alleged involvement via logistical support to the main suspects, Said and Cherif Kouachi, and their accomplice, Amedy Coulibaly. The suspects, if found guilty, may serve up to 20 years in prison and one may possibly face a lifetime sentence, per CNN's report.
According to BBC, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declares that Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition politician, is a victim of attempted murder and that the world ought to investigate Russia for answers. After feeling poorly during a flight in Siberia, Navalny was transported to Berlin in a coma to be treated. His political party and the U.K. claims that through President Vladimir Putin's commands and Russian military intelligence, Navalny was poisoned. Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemns the attack on Twitter, "The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny - we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done." However, Maria Zakharova, the foreign ministry spokesperson, argues that the allegations are not supported by substantial evidence. "Where are the facts, where are the formulas, at least some kind of information?" she demands. Novichok, a series of binary chemical weapons, has been identified as the poison of Navalny and ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018.
Science and Technology
BBC explains that in Elon Musk’s Neuralink project, he plans to link human brains to a computer, giving those with diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, the ability to control their movement through their minds. The team demonstrated last Friday night on a pig named Gertrude, by fitting her with “a Fitbit in your skull.” The tiny device recorded neural activity, and, as they tested it, “a series of beeps happened every time her snout was touched, indicating activity in the part of her brain seeking out food.”
CNN reports that a Japanese company, Sky Drive Inc., has successfully completed a public test drive of a flying car, SD-03. The vehicle took off with a pilot and circled the stage for four minutes before landing back down. Proud to make history in Japan by creating a working, flying car, the CEO stated, “We want to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies and people are able to experience a safe, secure, and comfortable new way of life.” The SD-03 has 8 motors to ensure safety and will hopefully be able to fly outside of the Toyota Test Fi
Intel, an American multinational technology company, has a new logo and jingle, per MSN.
Southeast US Weather
(The Atlantic) Tropical storm Omar has lessened to a tropical depression and is expected to dissipate tomorrow into a remnant low, having no threat to land whatsoever. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Nana has strengthened into a mighty tropical storm with winds of 60 mph and a minimum pressure of 999 millibars (Mb). The system is expected to make landfall on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Belize City where tropical storm or hurricane warnings are in effect. The two disturbances both have a low chance of forming and moving to the Gulf area, as they are far away.
(The Pacific) There are no expected disturbances in the Pacific at the time this article was written.
(Local: Houston, Texas) The current high temperature is 96 degrees Fahrenheit, while the low dips to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Chances of rain remain low at 0.01 inches. However, 0.18 inches of rain can be expected on Saturday early morning. The high remains the same throughout the weekend and lowers to 76 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday.
Are you aware… that 12 years ago today, tropical storm Ike had just formed and it would go on to be a monstrous Category 4 before devastating Houston as a Category 2?
Quick Query: What word is used best for describing hurricanes when they die off? (Hint: The answer is in the paragraphs and it begins with “D”)
Further Information: Hurricanes gradually die as they move over cooler waters, where there is not sufficient heat energy to evaporate water vapor into the atmosphere and fuel the hurricane.
Yesterday’s Answer: [A. Joseph Duckworth made history by flying into the eye of a hurricane]
Yesterday’s Bonus Question Answer: [Hurricane Catarina formed in the South Atlantic as a category 2 hurricane in 2004.]
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 local weather, visit the NOAA Graphical Forecast.
US Politics and Economics: Dylan and Miranda
Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan
Health: Matthew, David, and Owen
World Politics and Economics: Joseph, William, Jake, and Alexander
Science and Technology: Bryan, Yiqi, Amelia, and Joseph
Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon
Editor: VIA, Isabel, Susanna, and Mingyi
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)