This Week in Words: Current Events Vocabulary for December 3–December 9, 2022

December 5, 2022
Stories about a dangerous Grand Canyon stunt, Vermont shrimp farmers, and a Sesame Street cast member all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
Vermont's agricultural industry is seeking alternatives to dairy and maple syrup, as climate change makes those goods more challenging to produce. Warmer temperatures and increased precipitation have a new generation of farmers turning to unusual crops including saffron and grains for making malt, as well as industries like shrimp farming. Agricultural is from the Latin agri cultura, "cultivation of land," or "cultivation of a field."
Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia's Senate runoff election on December 6. Warnock, the state's first Black senator, also won 2020's special election in a runoff. His victory over Walker, in which he got more than 51 percent of votes, will give Warnock a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate. Defeat has a Latin root that means "to undo or destroy."
Scientists are optimistic that a new drug used to treat sleeping sickness may eventually eradicate it. The disease, which spreads through parasites, is endemic in many African countries. The drug was found to cure 95 percent of cases with a single dose, and researchers hope it will wipe out the often-fatal illness. The Latin root of eradicate means "root out," and the word was originally used to literally mean "pull up by the roots," as well as "destroy utterly."
As the Chinese government clamps down on dissent inside the country, Chinese expatriates continue to protest around the world. The uprisings began after a deadly fire that protesters believe was caused by China's strict "zero-Covid" policies. Chinese citizens living outside the country have mounted demonstrations of support for friends and family members in China. Expatriate was originally "one who is banished," from roots meaning "out of one's native land."
On December 6, the Trump Organization was found guilty of tax fraud in a New York court. Records viewed by the jury showed that the company avoided paying taxes in part by secretly compensating executives with real estate, cars, and private school tuition. The former president's business was found to be criminally liable for falsified tax documents and lavish perks deliberately hidden from the IRS. Sentencing, which may include fines up to $1.6 million, is scheduled for mid-January.
Bob McGrath, one of Sesame Street's inaugural cast members, died at the age of 90. McGrath played the friendly music teacher Bob Johnson for nearly 50 years, from when the children's show began in 1969 until he retired in 2017. The initial cast included McGrath and three other humans who sang and taught gentle lessons along with their muppet neighbors. From the start, McGrath helped introduce kids to ideas about kindness as well as the ABCs.
Days after a top Iranian official suggested that the country's morality police had been disbanded, Iran's state media denied this statement. The unit is responsible for imposing strict religious laws, most of which affect women, who are required to cover their hair and bodies in public. Though the morality police have kept a low profile since Mahsa Amini died in their custody — arrested for wearing her headscarf improperly — the so-called "hijab law" remains in place.
European governments warned residents that mandatory power outages may be necessary to save electricity this winter. In addition to blackouts, cuts to internet and cell phone service may also be imposed as part of an ongoing energy conservation effort. Britain is bracing for daily power cuts from 4–7 p.m. Outage is an American word, modeled on shortage, that was first used around 1903.
An Afghan women's soccer team that fled to Australia when the Taliban took control last year has lost official FIFA recognition. After giving in to pressure from Afghanistan's Football Federation, soccer's governing body no longer allows the team to represent its country in international competitions. The ruling Taliban does not allow girls and women to participate in sports. FIFA has not responded to questions about why it was swayed by the Afghan officials' influence.
Three tribes whose homes have been severely affected by climate change will receive $75 million from the U.S. government to help them relocate. The money will help Alaska's Newtok Village and Native Village of Napakiak, as well as the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington state, move their communities to higher ground. The total cost to transport the villages uphill, away from rising water levels, is far higher; these initial funds will help move the most important buildings.
The Democratic presidential primary schedule will undergo a big change, after party leaders knocked Iowa out of its first-place slot. A proposal approved by President Biden would move South Carolina into the position of being the first primary. The proposed calendar starts with states that are more diverse than majority-white Iowa, including Georgia in the number four spot on February 13, followed by Michigan on February 27. Schedule has a root that means "slip of paper."
A TikTok influencer was fined for a stunt in which she hit a golf ball into the Grand Canyon. Katie Sigmond, whose workout posts sometimes include golfing videos, has about seven million followers on TikTok. In October, she posted a clip of herself sending a golf ball — and club — sailing over the edge of the iconic canyon. Officials tracked her down this week and charged her with littering and disorderly conduct. Stunt was first used as 19th-century American sports slang.
In a speech, Donald Trump called for the termination of the U.S. Constitution. Despite initial bipartisan condemnation of Trump's suggestion that the Constitution's governing rules should be ended in order to change the results of the 2020 presidential election, no Republican party officials have refused to support Trump in 2024. Termination comes from the Latin root terminare, "to mark the end or boundary."

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