This Week In Words: August 8–14, 2020

August 13, 2020
Stories about masks, voting by mail, and a deepening crisis in Lebanon all contributed words to this week's list of timely vocabulary from the news.
Bob Woodward is an investigative reporter who became famous in the early 1970s covering the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon's presidency. His second book about the Trump White House, titled Rage, comes out on September 15. Among other documents, it includes transcripts of letters between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
Responding to Woodward’s contention that the Republican party had become home to “a lot of angst and rage and distress”, the then candidate for the party’s presidential nomination said: “I bring rage out."
Guardian (Aug 12, 2020)
Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to full and open diplomatic relations. Driven by their shared mistrust of Iran, the deal is Israel's first such relationship with an Arab country in the Persian Gulf region, and only its third in the world; Egypt and Jordan both have peace treaties with Israel as well. As part of the agreement, Israel agreed not to annex a big part of the West Bank.
In the coming weeks delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies.
BBC (Aug 13, 2020)
Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Center for Disease Control, said that everyone in America needs to wear masks whenever they're in public or the fall and winter will be catastrophically bad. In addition to wearing masks, he reiterated the other three key strategies for getting the virus under control: social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding crowds. "I'm not asking some of America to do it," said. "We all gotta do it."
A top federal health official is issuing a dire warning: Follow recommended coronavirus measures or risk having the worst fall in US public health history.
CNN (Aug 13, 2020)
Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris to be his running mate. Harris, a Senator from California, is the first Indian-American and first Black woman on an American Presidential ticket. The two candidates appeared together with their spouses at a socially distant video conference where they both made speeches celebrating their partnership and harshly criticizing the current administration for its mishandling of the pandemic and more.
Not because of any personal awkwardness between them in their first shared hours as running mates, though perhaps there was some of that, too — discernible in their half-smiles and socially distanced waves inside a Delaware gymnasium plainly smaller than the moment.
New York Times (Aug 12, 2020)
The World Health Organization is warning that governments will have to step in to ensure the fair distribution of a vaccine when one is found to be safe and effective. A gouge is a cut or gash in something, but as a verb it means to raise the price of something sharply because it's urgently needed and people will pay any price to get it. The word is likely of Gaelic origin.
Excess demand and competition for supply is already creating vaccine nationalism and risk of price gouging,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference from the United Nations agency’s Geneva headquarters.
CNBC (Aug 13, 2020)
Teachers' unions are mobilizing against what they see as dangerous orders to reopen schools around the country. With the virus spreading out of control in much of the country, many teachers fear that going back to school in person will endanger their students and themselves, making a severe crisis even worse. Murmur, a Latin word, is the sound a crowd of people make when they're talking to each other in low voices.
As union members murmured about potentially striking again for their safety, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Chicago's near 400,000 students would start the year online-only on Sept. 8.
USA Today (Aug 13, 2020)
President Trump says he doesn't want to fund the United States Post Office because it will allow people to vote by mail. He rejected $25 billion in a House bill, and an additional $3.5 billion in election resource funds, to prop up the struggling institution. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the money is needed to ensure continued delivery of the mail, including prescriptions and other essentials.
Trump has railed against mail-in balloting for months, and at a White House briefing Wednesday, he argued without evidence that USPS’s enlarged role in the November election would perpetuate “one of the greatest frauds in history.”
Washington Post (Aug 13, 2020)
A study at Duke University rated the performance of various different types of face masks at preventing the spread of small exhaled droplets, the main means of transmitting Covid-19. Masks with vents, which filter air coming in but allow unfiltered air out, are ineffective. Even worse are neck gaiters, often worn by runners in cold weather, which break droplets up into smaller particles — which can stay airborne longer — and are worse than wearing no mask at all.
In guidance updated late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against wearing masks with exhalation valves or vents, a type of face covering made for hot and dusty construction work that has become a popular pandemic accessory because of its seemingly high-tech design.
Seattle Times (Aug 13, 2020)
Besides massive physical damage, the huge explosion in Beirut has upended the social and political situation in Lebanon as well. The country was already in an economic crisis, and now the ruined capital city means that poverty and homelessness are spiraling out of control. The government resigned last week, and demonstrators have taken over a number of official buildings.
No block in the city centre seems to be unscathed.
Economist (Aug 11, 2020)
The Trump administration is removing restrictions on methane emissions from natural gas drilling and refining facilities. Methane is a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Environmentalists say that removing the rule will accelerate climate change, and many in the industry also want the rule to stay, since it helps to market natural gas as being cleaner than coal.
It's expected that under the EPA's new regulation methane will be regulated indirectly through another rule aimed at limiting volatile organic compounds from being emitted.
NPR (Aug 13, 2020)

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