September 20, 2020 News Summary
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
US Politics and Economics
The death of U.S. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg yesterday creates a controversy over the vacant Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) seat. Trump, backed by Senate majority conservatives, proposed to fill the seat as soon as possible with one of Trump’s nominees. If achieved, Republicans may tip the judicial scales of balance in their favor, possibly reversing Democrat-majority cases such as Roe v. Wade, a decision in 1973 to protects a pregnant woman's liberty to have an abortion. Democrats, sensitive to a shift, argue that in 2016, Senate Republicans denied hearings to Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland-- which allowed Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch in 2017-- and therefore, should follow the precedent and do the same this year. Furthermore, Biden and Harris threaten to increase the number of spots in the Supreme Court and pack it. Nevertheless, should the President select a new justice this year, he must do so quickly, while Democrats threaten to filibuster until past election day. Whatever the outcome, it is sure to set a criterion for similar situations in the future.
As the 2020 race enters its final weeks, many await the “October Surprise,” a last-minute news event that may influence voters’ choice for President. The latest NPR poll sought to discover the current issues troubling Republicans and Democrats alike, discovering that top concerns are the economy, COVID-19, climate change, and healthcare and racial relations follow suit. Democrats generally placed the attention on climate change and COVID-19, while Republicans focused on the economy and the matter of abortion. All of these listed interests are expected to carry into the Presidential Debate, which will take place in just 10 days.
As Tropical Storm Beta approaches Texas’ Gulf Coast, Gov. Greg Abbot advises citizens to monitor weather conditions and flood threats, announcing, “I call on all Texans in the Gulf Coast region to heed the advice of local officials and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones out of harm's way.” According to USA Today, Beta, the ninth system this season to make landfall in the US, has caused a tropical storm and flood surge warnings to be in effect for over 400 miles of area on the coast. Texas officials warn that rainfall, flash flooding, and isolated tornadoes may occur with little to no notice.
According to CDC’s COVID Data Tracker as of Sep 20, 2020, 2:40 PM (CDT), there are 6.74 million cases and 198k deaths nationwide. California leads with the most infections at 774k, and Texas follows with 686k cases.
AstraZeneca has released prototype blueprints for its COVID-19 vaccine due to safety concerns. Polls report that Americans are increasingly wary of vaccines, as their legitimacy is consistently contested and questioned by public figures, such as scientists. New York Time writes that “experts have been particularly concerned about AstraZeneca’s trials because of the company’s refusal to provide details” about serious side effects. Accordingly, AstraZeneca’s goal is to have a vaccine with a 50 percent success rate.
World Politics and Economics
Per BBC, hundreds of people in Madrid, Spain are protesting against new lockdown measures intended to prevent a spike in COVID-19. Spain has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Europe, and Madrid was particularly devastated. The protesters allege of being discriminated against and fear that restraints may withhold their income.
Science and Technology
Yesterday, President Trump announced that he has approved a deal between ByteDance, TikTok’s company, and Oracle, a software company, and Walmart, a retail store, to provisionally evade completely banning TikTok in American app stores. However, ByteDance will continue to own the majority of TikTok, and Oracle and Walmart will have up to a 20 percent share. Restrictions on the social media app originally set to take place today has been affirmed by the Commerce Department to be delayed a week.
According to BBC, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler hindered the U.S. government from banning WeChat, declaring that a ban threateningly questions the merits of the first amendment. This case arrived at court after WeChat users challenged President Trump's order to shut the app down. In the U.S., WeChat is a lot greater than ‘just an app’ to the nearly 20 million people who use, and to others, it acts as their sole way of communication, making their phone, a phone.
Southeast US Weather
(The Atlantic) Tropical Storm Beta poses a threat to the Texas coast coastal, and flooding has already began in parts of Louisiana and Texas; in addition, a tropical storm warning is in effect in Houston. On the other hand, Hurricane Teddy has weakened significantly to a category 2 and is expected to reduce further as it moves towards Canada. Once a storm, Wilfred is now a tropical depression, and Paulette has a 60 percent of reforming. Meanwhile, a disturbance with a low chance of forming has popped up over Florida.
(The Pacific) The disturbance near 100 percent chance of forming is moving Northwest with no threat to land. Nonetheless, advisories will likely going to be in effect tonight.
(Local: Houston, Texas) Today is cooler with a high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to Tropical Storm, the rain today should last until Wednesday. A tropical storm warning is also in effect for Houston.
Trivia Time: What did Hurricane Beta (2005) peak as?
Yesterday’s answer: [(As of Sept. 19) Two]
US Politics and Economics: Dylan, Caleb, and Annabelle
Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan
Health: Matthew and David
World Politics and Economics: Joseph
Science and Technology: Miranda, Joseph, Bryan, and Yiqi
Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon
(All writers and editors are in middle to high school)