This Week In Words: Current Events Vocab for October 10–16, 2020

October 14, 2020
Stories about unrest in former Soviet republics, developments in the legal world, and early voting in a number of states all contributed timely vocabulary to this week's list of words from the news.
But Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious-disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, was more circumspect. – New York Times (Oct 15, 2020)
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee, giving testimony about her views on the constitution and a number of cases and laws. She declined to answer a number of questions, including whether the President can pardon himself, whether he can postpone the election, and whether she would recuse herself from a case involving a contested election outcome.
Trump has said he has the "absolute power" to pardon himself, part of his executive clemency authority.
CBC (Oct 14, 2020)
The woman who gained instant notoriety for calling 911 to falsely report that a Black birdwatcher was harassing her was back in the news. She actually made two such calls, and in the second one she claimed he was threatening her and had tried to assault her. She did not enter a plea to the charge of falsely reporting an incident; the crime carries a sentence of up to one year in jail but it's unclear whether prosecutors will ask for that or come to a settlement.
The defendant did not enter a plea when she appeared before the judge on Wednesday, but the prosecutor said the team was pursuing "a resolution of this case which holds Ms Cooper accountable while healing our community, restoring justice, and deterring others from perpetuating this racist practice".
BBC (Oct 14, 2020)
The conflict in and around the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued, with Turkey playing a prominent role in supporting the Azerbaijani side against the Armenians. Turkey has sent Syrian mercenaries to the fight, and Azerbaijan has a fleet of drones that it's using against Armenian assets. Exhortari is a Latin verb meaning "to strongly encourage."
Turkey, meanwhile, has exhorted Azerbaijan to continue its offensive and offered its ally unconditional support.
Economist (Oct 10, 2020)
With unrest in Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan, observers are questioning whether Russia has the same power over its neighbors that it has exercised in the past. China is moving to form alliances with many countries in the region, and with the pandemic out of control inside Russia it's not clear how much of the current instability is a temporary result of these factors or a sign that Putin's power is waning.
“The instability around Russia’s periphery is showing that the Putin government’s nuanced approach to conflicts in the former republics has fallen short in the past few years,” said Donald Jensen, head of the Russia and Strategic Stability project at the United States Institute of Peace.
Washington Times (Oct 13, 2020)
In states that allow early voting, turnout has been heavy. In some states, lines have been hours long as voters wait patiently to cast their ballots. Computer issues and legal challenges have also complicated the matter. Praecinctus means "outskirts" or "surrounding area" in Latin.
Voters have also faced barriers to accessing their ballots, including computer problems in some precincts as well as legal challenges in places throughout the US south.
Guardian (Oct 14, 2020)
Facebook and Twitter imposed restrictions on a New York Post story about Joe Biden's son Hunter, saying that because it may not be true it cannot be shared on their platforms. This is a response by tech companies to the widespread criticism they received for allowing misinformation to spread during the 2016 campaign.
Some security experts expressed skepticism about the provenance and authenticity of the emails.
A high-profile Justice Department probe into Obama administration conduct towards the Trump campaign ended with no finding of wrongdoing. The President said that he's not happy with Attorney General William Barr, saying in an interview that Barr needed to work harder to bring charges against the President's opponents, including Joe Biden.
Trump reiterated his frustrations in an interview with Newsmax TV for the “Greg Kelly Reports” show due to air on Wednesday evening and declined to say whether he would keep Barr in the job should Trump be re-elected in November.
Reuters (Oct 14, 2020)
The Trump campaign responded to the Taliban's endorsement of the President by saying that they reject the support. The Taliban said that they want President Trump to win reelection because he has pledged to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. There are currently under 5,000 troops deployed in the country, and that number is scheduled to shrink by about half next year.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told "Face the Nation" in February that the U.S. should draw down but also keep a residual force of "several thousand people to make sure we have a place from which we can operate" should al Qaeda or ISIS gain capacity to strike the U.S.
CBS News (Oct 11, 2020)
The Saint Louis couple who waved guns at protestors pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. The weapons charge stems from their brandishing guns at the marchers, and the grand jury that indicted the couple added the evidence tampering charge although it's unclear what that specifically refers to.
A St. Louis couple celebrated in some circles and vilified in others for waving guns at protesters marching on their private street pleaded not guilty to two felony charges at a brief hearing Wednesday.
AP (Oct 14, 2020)

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