This Week in Words: Current Events Vocab for December 18–December 24, 2021

December 20, 2021
Stories about a runaway Christmas camel, a new White House puppy, and a 12-year-old golfer all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
Tiger Woods and his 12-year-old son Charlie finished second at the PNC Championship this weekend. The tournament, which pairs golfing champions with a member of their family, was won by John Daly and his son, John Daly II. It was Woods' first golf showdown since he was injured in a car accident in February. Championship is from champion and its Latin root, campionem, which means "gladiator."
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden adopted a new puppy, which they named Commander. The three-month-old German shepherd moved into the White House on December 20, following the death last June of the Bidens' dog Champ. Another dog, Major, was relocated to a quieter home with family friends after a biting incident last year. The Bidens also plan to adopt a cat in January. Commander is named after one of the President's official titles, Commander in Chief.
After hearing 15 weeks of witness testimony, jurors in the Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial began to deliberate on December 20. The jury must now consider the evidence presented by the defense and prosecution and decide whether or not it proves that Holmes intended to mislead investors and patients. Deliberations will end when the jurors reach a consensus on her guilt or innocence; their failure to agree unanimously may result in a mistrial.
A dromedary that escaped from a Christmas Nativity scene in a Kansas City suburb last weekend led police on a chase that lasted several days. The single-humped camel, one of several animals in an outdoor display depicting the birth of Jesus, was pursued across a golf course and a highway before being captured. "The camel was reunited with its owners and will go back to doing camel things," a spokesperson for the Bonner Springs Police Department said.
An unusually dry, warm November resulted in a severe snow drought across the state of California. Over the past two weeks, the situation was relieved by several atmospheric river events that brought a large amount of snow to the Sierra Nevada. Average snowpack in the mountain range surged from 18% to 98%. The increase in snow means that the state will have the wettest beginning of a Water Year in decades. The Germanic root of drought means "dry."
An album called Songs of Disappearance shot up to number three on the Australian Recording Industry Association pop chart this week. The record, released on December 3, features the rarely-heard birdsong of 53 endangered Australian birds. The Eastern Gray Plover and Gang-Gang Cockatoo are among the at-risk birds featured on the album. An accompanying book, which focuses on protecting the threatened species, is titled The Action Plan for Australian Birds.
On December 19, 30 foreign ministers from Islamic countries met and agreed to establish a humanitarian trust fund for Afghan civilians. Officials predict that 97% of Afghanistan's population may face extreme poverty by mid-2022. Services in the country are already collapsing, and a majority of Afghans are experiencing hunger. The money will fund a food security program to protect people from starvation. The Latin root of humanitarian means both "human" and "humane."
President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill includes funding to upgrade part of Amtrak's rail system. Sixty-six billion dollars will be used to modernize its trains, as well as the track, tunnels, and bridges they travel on and through. It's the most money the U.S. has spent on passenger rail service since Amtrak was created in 1971. Bringing the system into the 21st century may allow Amtrak to expand its routes and raise more revenue in the future.
The World Economic Forum was postponed because of the omicron variant, officials announced on December 20. The event, which had been planned for the week of January 17 in Davos, Switzerland, was the most high profile of many recent delays and cancellations due to Covid-19. After deferring the Forum, organizers said it is tentatively rescheduled for the summer of 2022. Postpone derives from the Latin roots post, "after," and ponere, "put."
A NASA probe recorded strange sounds on Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede. As the Juno spacecraft orbits the solar system's largest planet, it gathers data about Jupiter's origin. This information has included a map of its magnetic field and photos from inside its ring — and now a recording of radio emissions that can't be heard by the human ear. After taping them, NASA scientists converted the emissions to sound, resulting in noises that sound like R2D2, the Star Wars robot.

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