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July 29 - August 4: Week in Review

Pittsburgh Synagogue Gunman Becomes First Federal Death Sentence During Biden Presidency: President Joe Bien pledged during his 2020 election campaign to end the use of the death penalty. The Justice Department placed a moratorium on federal executions and has declined to authorize use of the death penalty in hundreds of new cases where it could have applied. That changed on Wednesday when federal prosecutors said the death penalty was appropriate for the convict of the deadliest antisemitic attack in US. history, which resulted in 11 worshipers being killed on October 27, 2018. Read more at Associated Press.


U.S. Announces Taiwan Weapons Package: The Biden administration announced a $345 million weapons aid package for Taiwan on Friday. The formal announcement did not include a list of weapon systems being included.


China voiced opposition to the deal as they continue to claim the democratically-governed Taiwan as a territory of China. Read more at Reuters.


Stock Market, Jobs & Wages: The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq Stock Market and Chicago Stock Exchange closed on Monday to continue a five-month streak of gains. Meanwhile, U.S. job growth continued at a modest rate with unemployment falling from 3.6% to 3.5%. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.4%, and the average workweek shortened from34.4 hours to 34.3 hours. Read more at Reuters.


U.S. Long-Term Credit Rating Downgraded by Fitch: Credit rating agencies, such as Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's provide ratings of the creditworthiness of debt issuances as a tool for investors. Fitch announced on Tuesday their downgrading of the U.S.'s long-term credit rating from AAA, which is the highest rating, to AA+. They noted that the downgrade reflects the expected fiscal deterioration and heavy debt burden of the U.S.


More specifically, the agency stated that it expects the U.S. federal deficit to increase from 3.7% of GDP in 2022 to 6.3% of GDP in 2023. Read more at Fox Business.


Niger: Abdourahamane Tiani, the general who ousted and imprisoned Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, declared himself the head of state. The move marked the seventh military coup in West and Central Africa in just three years.


The U.S. State Department ordered the evacuation of all non-emergency U.S. embassy staff in Niger on Wednesday. The Biden administration is working to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. Read more at Reuters & Axios.


Donald Trump's Legal Battles: Former President Donald Trump was indicted and pleaded not guilty to four counts involving his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The indictment listed six co-conspirators who allegedly assisted the former president in his criminal efforts to overturn the election.


The four charges included:

  • Conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

  • Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding

  • Obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding

  • Conspiracy against rights


In a separate case, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in a Manhattan criminal court related to hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign. Read more at Axios.


Overstock.com Rebrands as Bed Bath & Beyond: After filing for bankruptcy in April, Bed Bath & Beyond ceased to exist as a company. However, it agreed in bankruptcy court to sell intellectual property to Overstock for $21.5 million, which included the website, mobile app and name. With the intellectual property now belonging to Overstock.com the website for Overstock.com now leads users to Bedbathandbeyond.com.


Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Jonathan Johnson stated, "Overstock has a great business model with a name the does not reflect its focus on home. Bed Bath & Beyond is a much-loved and well-known consumer brand, which had an outdated business model that needed modernizing."


Overstock has no plans to use physical stores again for Bed Bath & Beyond because they view it as an outdated business model and a big expense. Read more at NPR.org.


Mass Shootings in US: This week, Gun Violence Archive reported a total of 9 mass shootings resulting in 55 victims injured and 4 victims dead.


Wearable Braw Device To Allow At-Home Breast Cancer Screening: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a wearable ultrasound device that can produce images comparable to ultrasounds in medical imaging facilities.


The goal is to create a screening tool that catches interval or early-stage cancer that develops between regular mammograms. Currently, about 20% to 30% of breast cancers are the interval type


The small device can be moved to six different positions over the breast and can detect cysts as small as 0.3 centimeters in diameter.


The MIT team is in the process of creating a miniature smartphone-sized imaging center ultrasound machine, with hopes of the device eventually being able to scan other areas of the body as well. Read more at HealthNews.



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