Newsworthy – February 28th, 2020

The coronavirus continues to be a mounting health and economic crisis, China sends an army of ducks to Pakistan, a court rules in favor of private internet companies censoring content.

These, and more, are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

Science and Environment

  • Scientists detected quakes on Mars for the first time. The planet trembles as it cools, and the Martian crust shrinks like a wizened apple, according to new findings from NASA’s InSight lander. These faint tremors are the first ever detected on Mars or any world other than Earth or the moon, mission scientists said.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Bones in the middle of the foot, called metatarsals, are arranged in a curve across the foot’s width. This bend, called the transverse tarsal arch, stiffens the foot lengthwise and may have evolved more than 3.4 million years ago, a step toward ancient hominids gaining the ability to walk and run on two feet unlike other primates, researchers report February 26 in Nature.

    – ZME Science
  • At least 100,000 Chinese ducks are waiting to be deployed to neighboring Pakistan as early as the second half of this year to combat a desert locust outbreak that threatens regional food security.

    – Bloomberg
  • A new study reports that the oceans need “urgent conservation” in order to avoid massive biodiversity loss. According to the team’s estimates, between 26% and 41% of the ocean’s total surface needs to be designated as conservation areas and safeguarded to act as habitats for wildlife.

    – ZME Science
  • Eagle Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, lost about 20 percent of the seasonal snow accumulation in the region during a heat wave this month.

    Temperatures on the peninsula, one of the fastest-warming parts of the globe, topped 69 degrees on Feb. 9, which if verified would be the ice-covered continent’s hottest temperature on record.

    – Washington Post

Health and Society

  • A CDC survey puts the obesity rate for U.S. adults at 42%. A half-century ago, about 1 in 100 American adults were severely obese, now it’s 10 times more common.

    The findings suggest that more Americans will get diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

    – Axios
  • The coronavirus has already forced millions to work from home in China, and as the outbreak goes global, remote work could become a vital public health strategy.

    – Axios
  • Many U.S. hospitals have been stocking extra supplies and refreshing disaster preparation plans over the past month in the event the coronavirus became more prominent domestically.

    The CDC warned this week that this infectious disease could spread more in the U.S., and hospitals have anticipated such scenarios.

    – Axios
  • Only 15% of patients in American residential drug treatment centers received medication-assisted treatment in 2015, although it’s widely agreed that anti-addiction medicines are the most effective treatment for opioid abuse.

    – Axios
  • One in three people in Venezuela struggles to put enough food on the table to meet minimum nutrition requirements as the nation’s severe economic contraction persists, according to the UN World Food Program.

    – AP
  • A Broadway play was performed in Madison Square Garden for the first time yesterday, with an electric performance of “To Kill a Mockingbird” for 18,000 students.

    Middle and high school students from all five boroughs got to see it for free, courtesy of the Scott Rudin-led production and James L. Dolan, executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company.

    – AP

Business and Economics

  • The effects of the coronavirus continue to threaten the global economy. China now accounts for nearly a third of world GDP growth, and manufacturers world-wide are tethered to China by a supply chain that relies on its factories. The Group of 20 major economies yesterday warned the virus poses a serious risk.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn., rank among the hottest U.S. job markets. The growing Southern state capitals both have vibrant music scenes and an influx of technology jobs. Each city anchors a metropolitan area of around two million people.

    – The Wall Street Journal

Government and Politics

  • Privately operated internet platforms are free to censor content, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously—the most emphatic rejection yet of the argument that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other giant platforms are bound by the First Amendment.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • The Supreme Court ruled that U.S. Border Patrol agents can’t be held liable for damages for shooting people on the Mexico side of the U.S. border.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • From autocratic Iran to democratic India, governments are cutting people off from the global web with growing frequency and little scrutiny.

    Parts or all of the internet were shut down at least 213 times in 33 countries last year, according to Access Now, a nonprofit that advocates for a free internet.

    The shutdowns were used to stop protests, censor speeches, control elections and silence people, human-rights advocates said.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a mission to rebuild Moscow’s influence in the Middle East and Africa, often through proxies such as private security contractors, businesses and advisers, according to people involved and European security officials.

    Russian activity in the Middle East and Africa coincides with a pulling back in those regions by the U.S. and its European allies.

    – The Wall Street Journal

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