This Week in Words: Current Events Vocab for July 3–July 9, 2021

July 5, 2021
Stories about a hot dog eating contest, lifesaving trees, and tattooed mummies all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
After years of penalizing its players for outspoken political activism, the WNBA has begun to embrace players' actions in support of social justice issues. Five years ago, New York Liberty players were fined $500 for wearing shirts protesting gun violence. The team continued to protest, and eventually the WNBA rescinded the fines, an event now seen as a turning point for the league, which last month endorsed Juneteenth celebrations.
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on July 7. The 96-year-old former president and 93-year-old former first lady are the longest-married couple in U.S. presidential history. They celebrated the occasion quietly in Plains, Georgia, and will join family and friends for a party on July 10. Anniversary, from the Latin anniversarius, "returning annually," has a root that means "year."
Mars has its own version of Earth's colorful, glowing northern lights ( aurora borealis) and southern lights ( aurora australis). The red planet's jumbled magnetic field gives it a patchy distribution of auroras all over its surface — and the UAE's Hope spacecraft has recently captured the best view yet of these spectacular greenish light shows. Aurora was the name of the Roman dawn goddess, from a root meaning "to shine."
Social distancing measures during the pandemic resulted in stores and restaurants turning to automation for help. At some grocery stores, robots continue to fill online food orders, while restaurant patrons often order meals on their phones. Many service industry employers are now struggling to fill job openings, leading some to turn again to technology. In the long term, economists worry that this wave of automation will hurt workers, lowering wages and eliminating jobs.
Scientists have recently found that a canopy of trees can lower urban temperatures as much as ten degrees, a temperature difference that can be lifesaving. The layer of foliage overhead provided by the upper branches of mature trees cools the environment enough to reduce the need for air conditioning, which also cuts the risk of power failures. As climate change increases the severity of heatwaves, scientists say that trees should be a vital part of the urban infrastructure.
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut beat his own record on July 4, gobbling 76 hot dogs in one of competitive eating’s most famous matches, the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. It was Chestnut's 14th victory at the annual event, which took place this year on a minor league baseball field instead of its usual location on Coney Island. His closest rival, Geoffrey Esper, consumed only 50 hotdogs.
Equestrian Jessica Springsteen will be part of Team USA's jumping team at the Tokyo Olympics later this month. The 29-year-old horseback rider is ranked 27th worldwide. She and her 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, will compete in their first Olympic Games along with three other team members and their horses. Springsteen is the daughter of musicians Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa. The Latin root of equestrian is equus, "horse."
changed to noun def
A woman in Atlanta woke in the night to find a large, exotic cat sitting on her bed. Kristine Frank said she realized immediately that the two-and-a-half-foot-tall animal was not a neighbor's pet house cat. After opening a door through which the cat eventually left the house, Frank contacted the Department of Natural Resources, where she learned the unusual animal was a serval, native to Africa. Exotic has a Greek root that means "from the outside."
Seventy U.S. zoos will receive a donation of coronavirus vaccine from a veterinary pharmaceutical company this week. Thousands of zoo animals — including apes, bears, and big cats — will get the experimental vaccine doses. The vaccine, which is still in its pre-approval testing phase, is specially formulated for animals. Scientists say protecting animals is important for their health and to avoid new mutations of the virus, which has been shown to pass from farmed mink to humans.
Despite the return of the Milwaukee Bucks' injured star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, in time for the first game of the NBA finals on July 6, the team lost to the Phoenix Suns 118-105. Antetokounmpo's presence on the court was a surprise, as many assumed his knee injury during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals would require surgery. It's the first time in 50 years that the Bucks have made it to this last, best-of-seven game series.
On July 3, a Russian group of hackers demanded an unprecedented $70 million to free a million locked computers. The gang, known as REvil, broke into the computer security of Kaseya, a software company with a large number of customers who manage business internet services. The compromised computers include those of Swedish grocery store chain Coop, which was forced to close most of its 800 stores when their registers became unusable.
The earth's kelp forests cover 25 percent of its coastlines, feeding thousands of species and helping to clean carbon from the air. In recent years, rapid ocean warming has destroyed vast amounts of kelp, and now scientists are searching for ways to save this vanishing ecosystem. Many are focusing on the purple sea urchin, which thrives in the warmer water and devours the large, wide seaweed. Tactics include reintroducing a predator, sea stars, and encouraging urchin fishing.
An estimated 20 people are missing days after a July 3 landslide in Atami, Japan took the lives of at least four people. Torrential rain caused a massive flood of mud to pour down the side of a mountain and into the resort town. The landslide destroyed at least 130 homes and dozens of cars. Many residents were evacuated, and those remaining are on alert, with more heavy rain in the forecast.
At an Independence Day party on the South Lawn of the White House, President Biden said that getting vaccinated was "the most patriotic thing" Americans could do. Although the administration had hoped that 70 percent of adults in the U.S. would have at least one shot by July 4, rates fell just short of that goal, at 67 percent. The president's message stressed both the freedom granted by the vaccine and the importance of supporting fellow Americans by helping to stop the virus's spread.
After Tokyo officials declared a coronavirus state of emergency in the city through August 22, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshide Sug announced that spectators would be prohibited at the Olympic Games later this month. While cases remain relatively low in Japan, the majority of people are unvaccinated. Banning spectators is intended to stem the spread of the virus without canceling the Games altogether.
The British Parliament is currently debating an animal welfare bill which, if passed, would obligate all future governmental policies to take animal sentience into consideration. As scientists learn more about the way non-human animals think and perceive the world around them, they increasingly acknowledge the ability of pets and wildlife alike to be fully conscious of pain and pleasure. The Latin root of sentience means "to feel."
Archaeologists and artists have a shared interest in tattoos recently found on the mummified remains of people from indigenous cultures in Greenland. Contemporary Inuit tattoo artists, inspired by the newly discovered traditional designs, have begun inking ancient patterns onto the skin of their indigenous clients. They say the practice makes them feel a deep connection to their culture and ancestors. Tattoo derives from a Polynesian word meaning "puncture."
Tropical storm Elsa battered parts of Florida and Georgia July 7, injuring multiple people. There were reports of several tornadoes developing along the eastern band of the storm and touching down in both states. Elsa originally formed over the warm tropical waters near Cuba and moved through the Caribbean before making landfall on the coast of Florida. Heavy rains and wind caused by the storm are expected to move into the Northeast by Friday.
Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill that will protect millions of acres of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The Corridor makes up almost half of the state, comprising 18 million acres of national and state parks, forests, timber farms, and citrus groves. Together, they provide a habitat for hundreds of wildlife species, including manatees, panthers, black bears, and other animals. The new law will allocate $400 million toward protecting and preserving the ecosystem.
The U.S. finalized its withdrawal from Afghanistan this week, handing the last of its military bases over to Afghan control. The drawdown of troops marks the end of the longest American war in history, a conflict that started in 2001. The disengagement has received mixed responses, raising concerns that the abrupt withdrawal will lead to increased power for the Taliban and an eventual civil war in Afghanistan.

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