This Week In Words: October 17–23, 2020

October 21, 2020
Stories about the Pope, President Obama, and Google all contributed words to this week's list of timely vocabulary words from the week's news.
Reporting revealed that President Trump has a Chinese bank account that was not listed on any of his public financial statements. The account is held by Trump International Hotels Management, a company owned by the President, and it paid nearly $200,000 in taxes to the Chinese government from 2013–2015.
The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr. Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names.
New York Times (Oct 20, 2020)
The huge August motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota turned out to be a massive so-called "superspreader" event, infecting thousands of people with Covid-19 who then returned home to dozens of states. In the weeks following the rally, in which people gathered in large groups, close together, with no masks, states in the region quickly led the nation in new infections.
Many went unmasked to an event public health officials pleaded with them to skip, putting themselves and others at risk, because they were skeptical about the risks, or felt the entreaties infringed on their personal liberties.
Washington Post (Oct 17, 2020)
Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made a highly publicized deal in 2018 with the Chinese company Foxconn that was supposed to bring thousands of jobs to the state. But the jobs and the huge factory never came. Reports have surfaced of empty buildings and employees with nothing to do, even after the state and local governments spent $400 million to uphold their end of the deal.
And a recurring cycle of new recruits joined the project, eager to help it succeed, only to become trapped in a mirage.
The Verge (Oct 19, 2020)
Demonstrations in Lagos, Nigeria were met with violence as soldiers opened fire, killing at least a dozen civilians. The protests were against a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), that's been accused of serious abuses. The government has denied that the shootings took place, calling the reports "fake news." Morph comes from Greek, where morphi means "form" or "shape." As a term for computer-generated shape-shifting, morph was coined in the early 1990s.
The calls for police reform have morphed into chants that President Buhari must go.
BBC (Oct 21, 2020)
In a new documentary, Pope Francis says that gay couples should be able to join in civil unions where they have the same legal protections and status as married couples. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family,” the pope said. “Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.” This is the first time a Pope has made such a clear declaration in favor of LGBTQ rights.
Francis, who became pope in 2013, gave earlier, oblique signals interpreted as openness to recognizing same-gender civil unions.
Washington Post (Oct 21, 2020)
With two weeks to go before the election, former President Obama returned to the campaign trail. He gave a speech in Philadelphia in which he harshly criticized President Trump for his response to the pandemic and called not only for voters to choose Joe Biden but to elect a Democratic Senate that will help a President Biden govern effectively.
At the funeral of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, the former President delivered an impassioned speech that was, at the time, his more forceful rebuke of Trump to date.
CNN (Oct 21, 2020)
While plastics and other waste in landfills and the ocean have long been a visible form of pollution, tiny fibers and particles of plastic may be a much worse problem. Even washing clothes with plastic fibers like nylon, polyester, or spandex can cause these tiny pieces to enter wastewater and from there end up in rivers and oceans and then enter the food chain.
Then they used California-specific sludge and wastewater management information to follow the fibers and predict how many end up in bodies of water, landfills, incinerators or spread on land.
Guardian (Oct 17, 2020)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been making progress on negotiating a bill that would provide financial relief to individuals and small businesses. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he wants to focus on confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the election, and that any debate or vote on economic relief would slow that down.
A short time later, outside the hearing room where Republicans met privately, Mr. McConnell told reporters the Senate would consider a broad bipartisan stimulus deal if the White House and Democrats struck one.
New York Times (Oct 20, 2020)
Sweden has banned Huawei and ZTE, both Chinese companies, from building 5G networks in the country, and any existing Chinese network equipment must also be removed. A Swedish government agency has said that China is a security threat, and that its ongoing cyber-spying efforts include theft of technology and data from companies and individuals.
New 5G networks, which are expected to usher in a wave of innovation such as smart factories and remote surgery, are considered critical infrastructure.
AP (Oct 20, 2020)
The U.S. Justice Department is suing Google for anti-competitive behavior, specifically in how it makes its search engine the default in many platforms. Because Google shows up at the top of most browsers and mobile operating systems, it dominates the search space, and most of the top results from a search lead to sponsored content or keep the user within the Google ecosystem: all situations where the company profits.
The U.S. Justice Department is poised to sue Alphabet Inc.’s Google Tuesday for allegedly violating antitrust laws by abusing its power as the world’s largest search engine, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Bloomberg (Oct 20, 2020)

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