SPOTLIGHT THURSDAY: July 29 - August 4

SPOTLIGHT THURSDAY: July 29 - August 4

by Kathleen Wang


This week’s roundup of current news includes everything from the upcoming Rio Olympics and scientific breakthroughs to politics around the world, from our own backyard to countries thousands of miles away. Read on to find out more!


August 1st, 2016 – SCIENCE AND HEALTH: Miami is ground zero for the first Zika transmission in the continental U.S.

On Monday, the CDC issued an official warning against travel to the Miami, South Florida neighborhood due to the outbreak of ZIKA, a disease recently made rampant with the increase of its primary vector, the mosquito. This situation, where officials warned against travel to part of the continental US due to the outbreak of an infectious disease, is unprecedented in US history, and speaks volumes to the damaging effects of ZIKA.


August 2nd, 2016 – SCIENCE AND HEALTH: Does dental floss actually work? Read below for the conclusion behind the research.

Many kids have been told by parents and dentists alike that flossing is key, and, like my parents always stressed, flossing is to teeth as eating is to living; necessary and a must for survival. But, as the most rigorous research from the last decade indicated, the evidence for flossing is “weak, very unreliable,” of “very low” quality, and carries “a moderate to large potential for bias.” These findings were gathered from the Associated Press in their requests for the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture. Although leading professional groups such as the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology cited studies as proof of the benefits of flossing, in truth most of these studies used outdated methods or tested few people. In fact, one such study cited by the two groups tested 25 people after only a single use of floss.


August 1st, 2016 – ENVIRONMENT: Environmental and safety concerns behind the 2016 Rio Olympics

There probably hasn’t been another summer Olympic games as debated as the upcoming ones in Rio de Janeiro. Just days ahead of the first competitions, the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16 month long study commissioned by The Associated Press. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “not only are some 1,400 athletes at risk of getting violently ill in water competitions, but … that tourists also face potentially seriously health risks on the … beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.” Nevertheless, hundreds of competitors and thousands of athletes have flocked to Brazil’s capital this year for the Olympics, and paired with the close proximity of people and the hot August sun, only time will tell the exact extent of Rio’s many, many viruses.


July 31st, 2016 – INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AND ELECTIONS: Tokyo elects first female governor

On Sunday, Tokyo elected is first female governor on Sunday, marking a landmark in Japanese history. Yuriko Koike, Japan’s first female defense minister, beat out former bureaucrat Hiroya Masuda and liberal journalist Shuntaro Torigoe to earn the position. For Tokyo and Japan as a whole, this news is historic and the first of its kind since women were first elected to Japan’s legislative body in 1946. For a country ranked nearly last out of 193 countries for women’s representation, Koike’s win is a win not only for herself, but the future of politics in Japan, and Koike intends to make a lasting impression. As told to reporters for Reuters, she intends to push female friendly policies “so that both men and women can shine in Tokyo.”


August 3rd, 2016 – DOMESTIC POLITICS AND ELECTIONS: Clinton leads Trump in new national poll

Just after the 2016 Democratic National Convention, a new Reuters/ Ipsos poll confirmed that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is leading her Republican counterpart Donald Trump 43 to 35 percent. This comes as a welcome relief to Clinton, whose party still holds considerable support for primary candidate Bernie Sanders, with thousands of Bernie supporters protesting outside the DNC in Philadelphia when Clinton was officially announced as the Democratic nominee.

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