This Week In Words: Current Events Vocab for September 12–18, 2020

September 16, 2020
Stories about West Coast fires, Gulf Coast floods, and developments on the pandemic front contributed words to this week's list of timely vocabulary from the news.
A slow-moving Hurricane Sally made landfall near the Florida-Alabama border, bringing severe flooding to the region. Pensacola was hit with two feet of flood water, and other parts of the coast got closer to three. High winds caused extensive damage, and part of the Three Mile Bridge across Pensacola Bay collapsed. Diluvium is Latin for "flood," and this became déluge in French.
Hurricane Sally finally made its move to come ashore Tuesday night, intensifying as it did so. It is now crawling inland near the border of Alabama and Florida, deluging those states.
Washington Post (Sep 16, 2020)
The United Nations says that the Venezuelan government has engaged in widespread violations of human rights, including crimes against humanity. The report found that the highest levels of the administration, including President Nicolás Maduro himself, have authorized torture, murder, kidnapping, and other offenses against opposition figures and members of the public.
"The mission found the government, state agents, and groups working with them had committed egregious violations," it said.
BBC (Sep 16, 2020)
The Justice Department has charged five Chinese and two Malaysian citizens in a hacking scheme that attacked over 100 companies in the U.S. and other countries, stealing user data and other intellectual property. Officials did not say that the Chinese government was involved, but they did not deny it either, saying that China has the ability to crack down on crimes like these and chose not to. Espion is French for "spy."
U.S. officials stopped short of alleging the hackers were working on behalf of Beijing, but in a statement Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen expressed exasperation with Chinese authorities, saying they were - at the very least - turning a blind eye to cyber-espionage.
Reuters (Sep 16, 2020)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield told a Senate subcommittee that masks are more effective against the coronavirus than a vaccine may prove to be. He said that a vaccine — if shown to be safe and effective — might be available to first responders by the end of this year, but that it would likely not be possible for members of the public to get it until the second half of 2021.
But Giroir testified that "these gains could be fleeting or even reversed" if people stop wearing masks and avoiding crowds.
NPR (Sep 16, 2020)
Resources in western states are stretched thin as firefighters continue to battle massive blazes from California to Washington. The size of the fires, combined with high winds and dry weather, have made it impossible to keep up. Gruel is a thin porridge, usually oatmeal, sometimes with added ingredients. "To get your gruel" became slang for being punished or killed, and over time grueling came to mean something brutally hard and physically taxing.
Justin Silvera came off the fire lines in Northern California after a grueling 36 straight days battling wildfires and evacuating residents ahead of the flames.
AP (Sep 16, 2020)
In a ceremony at the White House, leaders from Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement normalizing relations between Israel and the two Arab states. President Trump declared it "the dawn of a new Middle East." Critics of the agreement pointed out that the three countries are not at war and have been cooperating for years, and that the deal does not address the issue of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed a general declaration of principles the White House has named the Abraham Accords, after the biblical father of three monotheistic religions, as well individual agreements between Israel and the two Arab states.
New York Times (Sep 15, 2020)
Breonna Taylor's family and the city of Louisville, Kentucky have reached a settlement in the case of her murder by police officers serving a no-knock warrant. The city will pay $12 million and institute a number of reforms to the police department, including the banning of no-knock warrants. The officers involved have not been arrested, and a grand jury and the FBI are both involved in separate investigations into her killing.
"Justice for Breonna Taylor," Mallory said. "And if there's ain't going to be no justice, there ain't going to be no peace. A settlement is restitution, but it's not arresting the cops."
USA Today (Sep 15, 2020)
The spokesperson of the Department of Health and Human Services will take a leave of absence after it became known that he tried to change data about infection and death statistics related to the pandemic and then went on Facebook live where he said that people were trying to kill him and that members of the department were plotting to hurt the President's reelection chances. Savvy originated in the Portuguese and Spanish verb saber, meaning "to know."
Since he was installed at the department last April by the White House, Mr. Caputo, a media savvy former Trump campaign aide, has worked aggressively to develop a media strategy for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
New York Times (Sep 16, 2020)
President Trump participated in a televised town hall, hosted by George Stephanopoulos, where he took questions from members of the audience. He said the coronavirus "is going to disappear" and said that the American response to the pandemic is the best in the world. He denied downplaying the seriousness of Covid-19.
But while his strongest moments Tuesday came on ending foreign wars and on the economy, and he likely pleased supporters with his unequivocal pro-police statements, the President offered few new policies or approaches at the event that differed from positions in three years when his approval rating has rarely climbed above the low 40s.
CNN (Sep 16, 2020)

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