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News Brief: Nov. 1 – Nov.5

  • International

Oxford English dictionary names “Vax” word of the year 

According to the annual report from Oxford Languages, “Vax” is the Word of the Year for 2021. The Oxford English Dictionary said the word is defined as “a colloquialism meaning either vaccine or vaccination as a noun and vaccinate as a verb.” 

Oxford Languages, the company which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary, said the word ‘vax’ was relatively rare until this year, but as of September 2021, it became over 72 times more frequent than at the same time last year.  

“When our lexicographers began digging into our English language corpus data, it quickly became apparent that vax was a particularly striking term,” Oxford Language said. “It has generated numerous derivatives that we are now seeing in a wide range of informal contexts… no word better captures the atmosphere of the past year than vax.” 

For the year 2020, when the language company could not choose just one word, the winner terms were ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘Blursday,’ ‘social distancing’ and ‘systemic racism.’

Global COVID-19 deaths pass 5 million 

On Nov. 1, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University released data confirming COVID-19 is responsible for more than five million deaths around the world

According to the New York Times, the number is almost certainly an undercount. Adam Kucharski, an associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, mathematically analyzes infectious disease outbreaks, and he said there will have been many unreported cases across the globe. 

“All of these estimates still rely on data being available, or someone going and collecting it before antibodies and local memories wane,” Kucharski said. 

The United States is the country with the most COVID-19 deaths confirmed in total, with more than 745,000 people. Following the U.S., the nations with the most deaths are Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia. 

  • National 

Biden Rejects Payments for Separated Migrants 

On Nov. 3, President Joe Biden rejected an option for monetary compensation to migrants separated from family members at the border. The negotiations with lawyers representing the families request more than $450,000 payments for damage suffered from former President Donald Trump zero-tolerance  policy. 

After touting the forthcoming availability of vaccines for children in a news meeting, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked about the payments. 

“$450,000 per person? Is that what you’re saying?” Biden said. “That’s not going to happen.”

Representatives of the migrant families and government officials discussed the compensation after Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which led to the separation of about 5,500 children from their parents.

  • Local

Parents accuse OKC metro teacher of stalking and being sexually inappropriate

According to Oklahoma News 4, an Oklahoma City metro teacher is being accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with children. Parents filed petitions for protective orders against the teacher because of alleged behaviors including texts, stalking and a groping incident. 

An Oklahoma City Public School spokesperson sent a statement to KFOR regarding the situation. 

“On Oct. 18, Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) received a report of inappropriate conduct by a teacher at Roosevelt Middle School, indicating they violated district policy,” the spokesperson said. “These allegations are now being investigated by OKCPS. As is routine in these situations, the teacher has been placed on Administrative Leave pending the result of our investigation. Because this is a personnel issue, we cannot provide any further comment at this time.”

Oklahoma parole recommends clemency for Julius Jones

On Nov. 2, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended granting clemency to Julius Jones for the second time, on a 3-1 vote. 

The first trial was on Sept. 14, where the board voted 3-1 for a recommendation on Jones’s death sentence to be commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole. In October, a 2-1 decision gave stays to death row inmates in Oklahoma, including Jones. 

Jones has been on death row for more than 20 years for the 1999 murder of Paul Howell, and he has claimed there is enough evidence to prove his innocence. 

“The Pardon and Parole Board has now twice voted in favor of commuting Julius Jones’s death sentence, acknowledging the grievous errors that led to his conviction and death sentence,” Jones’s lawyer, Amanda Bass, said in a news release. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt will decide Jones’s final outcome. His office commented on the most recent vote, saying, “Gov. Stitt is aware of the Pardon and Parole Board’s vote today. Our office will not offer further comment until the governor has made a final decision.” 

Bass said Jones’s representatives and family members hope Stitt will take the board’s recommendation. 

“We hope that Gov. Stitt will exercise his authority to accept the Board’s recommendation and ensure that Oklahoma does not execute an innocent man.” 

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