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September 6, 2020 News Summary

US Politics and Economics


The effects, including the Dow's daily drop of over 20 million job losses, from the worst recorded economic recession is beginning to wear off this month. In August’s job report, the unemployment rate dropped to slightly over 8 percent and 1.4 million jobs were added in mostly the retail, education, and health industries. Per CNBC, Vice President Mike Pence suggests that these numbers are “real evidence that the American comeback is underway.” However, full recovery to U.S.’s pre-COVID stage may take much longer, as permanent job losses have more than quintupled from 550,000 in July to over 3 million in August. In addition, over 11 million people are still unemployed, bringing the 8.4 unemployment percent rate to more than double.


The reducing demand for gasoline has caused an oversupply of oil and gas. AAA Gas Prices surveys that the average price of a regular gallon of gas is 2.22 dollars, 14 percent less than the 2.57 dollars an year ago. Additionally in states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and Missouri, average prices dip even below 2 dollars. According to the OPIS, gas prices have not been this inexpensive over the Labor Day weekend in 16 years. To add to such concerns, as summer travels end, prices are expected to continue dropping. However, several storms in the Gulf Coast which hit offshore platforms and oil rigs, including Hurricane Laura, were able to slightly lift oil prices.


Texas Politics


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claims that in order to protect Austin police forces from being defunded, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is contemplating taking them under state control, per Fox News. Earlier, Mayor Steve Adler of Austin pushed to defund 150 million dollars from the Austin Police Department, entirely contrasting the Governor's tweet, “We can't let Austin’s defunding and disrespect for law enforcement endanger the public and invite chaos like in Portland and Seattle.” Thus, Abbot has further threatened to defund cities that defund police departments as a consequence.



Health


According to CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of Sep 6, 2020, 1:46 PM (CDT), there are over 6.2 million recorded cases in and 188k deaths of COVID-19 nationwide. As the state with the most cases, California leads at 727k, followed by Florida with nearly 637k, and then Texas at 635k cases.


The New York Times reports that Democratic Vice President Nominee Kamala Harris does not personally trust President Trump’s assurances on the COVID-19 vaccine. Harris has asked for medical experts to confirm the legitimacy of the vaccine. In addition, she details that some states, despite being forewarned by federal officials, are preparing to mass-distribute vaccines to workers who are most exposed to the virus. Nonetheless, because no COVID-19 vaccine has been tested on a large scale, mutual distrust is more than likely, and expected, to be aroused.



World Politics and Economics


BBC writes that in the latest protests demanding the resignation of incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, thousands of people work their way towards the center of the Belarusian capital Minsk. Even peaceful marches are suppressed by riot police who use water cannons and barriers to close off parts of the city and make numerous arrests. Nonetheless, with full, unwavering belief that authorities rigged the national election just over a month ago, the mass unrest refuses to settle, causing at least four people to lose their lives and hundreds to be injured.

Yesterday, September 5th, a Belarusian activist, Olga Kovalkova, was forcibly removed from the country by security forces, according to the Belarusian Coordination Council. Advisor to the main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to Lithuania after being exiled, Kovalkova was allegedly given two choices: to be removed from the country or be imprisoned for even longer, per CNN's report.

In addition, Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, accuses Western nations of interference in Belarus, a former Soviet Union state that heavily relies on Russia for power and has historically close ties with Ukraine and other European Union states



Science and Technology


Tracked by NASA, asteroid 2010 FR, which is twice the size of the Pyramid of Giza will fly past Earth today. Without posing a risk to humanity, the asteroid will enter Earth’s orbit at 3:30 pm Indian Standard Time. Amongst the countless asteroids in space, rarely do they come extremely near our planet.

Per ScienceTechDaily, the Helicon Plasma Thruster, developed with European Space Agency (ESA) and SENER, an engineering company, underwent another test firing. While traditional chemical and electrical propulsion have limits, the Thruster is propelled by “high power radiofrequency waves,” allowing it to run on plasma.


Southeast US Weather


(The Atlantic) Tropical Storm Omar dissipates, leaving 4 other disturbances in the ocean. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports that Disturbance 1 is moving west into the tropical zone with a 90 percent chance of forming into a tropical depression within the next 24 hours. On the other hand, with a lot of convection and rotation, Disturbance 2 has a 70 percent chance of formation and may elevate to a tropical storm by tomorrow. Meanwhile, Disturbance 3 in the Caribbean may dissipate quickly due to shear and dry air, minimally affecting precipitation in Central America. Although Disturbance 4 has only a 30 percent chance in becoming a tropical system, the National Hurricane Center warns that it may gradually develop.


(The Pacific) Tropical storm Julio moves north-western to the west with winds up to 45 mph and is expected to slide westward off Mexico's coast and dissipate before next week without making landfall. Further disturbances are not anticipated.


(Local: Houston, Texas) The high reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit while the low dips to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, storms are moving in through the northern parts of Houston without anticipated damage. In the following 10-days, starting Tuesday, it may cool down to the mid-80s, followed by sunny skies until next Saturday, and then clouds and possibly rain through Tuesday.


Quick Query (Multiple Levels): Answer in the comment section below!

Easy: Usually, most of the damage from the Hurricane is from the tornadoes that they produce.

  1. True

  2. False

Medium: Why don’t hurricanes form at the equator?

  1. Too many clouds

  2. Weak Coriolis force

  3. Winds are too strong

  4. Seawater is too cold

Hard: Typhoon Tip had the lowest pressure ever recorded for a tropical cyclone. What was the pressure? (Hint: Not lower than 800 millibars)


Yesterday’s answers: [Easy: 4]; [Medium: 4]; [Hard: Hurricane Ivan with 120 tornadoes]


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.


_________________________________________________________________________

Writers:

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

Texas Politics: Stephanie, Vicki, and Megan

Health: Matthew, David, and Owen

World Politics and Economics: Joseph, William, Jake, and Alexander

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

Southeast US Weather: Jade, Aiden, and Simon

Editor: VIA, Isabel, Susanna, and Mingyi

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

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