This Week in Words: Current Events Vocabulary for January 21–January 27, 2023

January 23, 2023
Stories about Oscar nominations, young magazine editors, and Earth's rotating core all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a new strategy for protecting Americans from the worst effects of Covid-19. The plan, outlined on January 23, recommends an annual coronavirus vaccine. Similar to flu shots, the yearly injection would target particular strains of the virus that are most likely to be circulating. The word annual is derived from the Latin annus, "year."
Many large technology companies are beginning to cut costs amid worries about a possible recession. This week, Spotify became the latest to downsize in an effort to reduce expenses, laying off 600 employees. By eliminating these positions, Spotify slashed its workforce by about six percent. Last week, both Google's parent company and Microsoft announced layoffs of over 10,000 workers each. Downsize comes from the idea of companies cutting down their size by firing employees.
On January 22, mourners gathered at Graceland to eulogize Lisa Marie Presley, who died earlier this month. About 1000 people attended a ceremony at the former home of her late father, Elvis Presley. Family members and friends spoke about Lisa Marie, who was described by her daughter as "an icon, a role model, a superhero." To eulogize is to give a eulogy, from a Greek root meaning "fine language," or "praise."
People who meditate get just as much relief from anxiety as those who take prescribed anti-anxiety medication, according to a new study. Researchers compared a group of subjects who engaged in mindfulness practices, including breathing exercises and focused meditation, with another group who took Lexapro. A comparison of their anxiety levels on a seven-point scale showed that after eight weeks, the average level dropped from moderate to low in both groups.
Oscar voters nominated Everything Everywhere All at Once for 11 awards on January 24. The exuberant sci-fi action film was honored with the most nominations this year, including the best picture category, in which it will compete with nine other movies including Women Talking, Elvis, Tár, and The Fablemans. The Latin source of nominate is nominare, "to call by name," from a root meaning "name."
George Santos, the New York congressional representative who was elected last fall despite having falsified most of his résumé, may have fooled so many people in part because of the outfits he wore, according to some experts. Preppy sweaters and button-up shirts helped convince observers he went to elite schools; a fleece vest gave the impression he really did work at Goldman Sachs. Outfit originated as a nautical term meaning "equipment needed for an expedition."
Scientists say that a widespread, contagious disease which killed scores of prairie dogs in 2018 also had a major effect on their ecosystem. The plague, spread through flea bites, caused die-offs of entire prairie dog colonies. Researchers studying plants and animals in Wyoming's Thunder Basin National Grassland observed sharp declines in foxes, hawks, and other prairie dog predators, and changes in vegetation the rodents would have eaten. Plague's Latin root means "wound."
prime minister
After Rishi Sunak, the head of the British government, posted an Instagram video showing himself riding in a car without wearing a seatbelt, police issued a fine. Sunak, who has been the U.K.'s prime minister for about three months, apologized for what he described as "a mistake" and agreed to pay the fine. It is against British law to forgo a seatbelt. Last year Sunak was fined after he attended former prime minister Boris Johnson's illegal lockdown party.
In Russia, public opposition to the war in Ukraine is risky, and resistance is usually expressed in subtle ways. Recently, this has included the appearance of bouquets beside the Moscow statue of Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka. Despite the frequent presence of police, flowers have been placed there since a building in Dnipro was hit by a Russian missile, killing nearly 50 civilians. Authorities remove them daily, and protestors replace them, sending a quiet message of resistance.
According to scientists, the earth's core is on a 70-year rotation cycle, spinning one direction for decades and then shifting to rotate the other way — and we're paused right in the middle of it. Seismologists speculate that the interior of our planet is beginning to reverse its revolution and will gradually begin to turn in a westward direction, relative to the surface of Earth. Rotation is from the Latin rotare, "turn about or revolve."
After the Indian army purchased new helmets for male Sikh soldiers that would accommodate their traditional topknots of hair, many in the Sikh community have raised objections. The helmets would replace the turbans worn by observant Sikh men. Wrapping the long piece of fabric around their hair is considered a religious commandment, and historically Sikhs have worn turbans, even while actively engaged in battle.

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