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For Grades 5-8 , week of May 06, 2024

1. GOVERNOR’S BOOK ERRORS

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is already under scrutiny for her upcoming new book. In “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Foreward,” Noem falsely claimed she previously met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un—a claim that her spokesperson says will be corrected in any future editions of the book. She also writes about canceling a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron after he made comments she considered “pro-Hamas,” but Macron’s office said there was never a meeting set between the two. The book release is part of Noem’s efforts to be named as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate. Write a summary of this story and the inaccuracies reported in Noem’s upcoming book.

2. REPLACEMENT PLAN

Part of President Biden’s re-election efforts include a visit to North Carolina, where he announced a $3 billion program to upgrade the country’s water systems and get rid of toxic lead pipes. It’s part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill his administration passed in 2021. Lead pipes are particularly dangerous for children, as lead exposure can affect development, and at least nine million homes, schools, day care centers, and businesses are estimated to still get water through lead pipes. Many of those are in communities of marginalized people. Research how lead exposure affects the body. Then, write an article that explains the dangers and why it’s important for these pipes to be replaced in a timely manner.

3. BIDEN ON IMMIGRATION

When discussing immigration at a campaign fundraising event, President Joe Biden called Japan and India “xenophobic” countries that don’t welcome immigrants. He lumped the two countries in with China and Russia, tying their economic struggles to their resistance to immigration. Some were quick to point out that Japan and India are important US allies, but there was no immediate response from the Japanese or Indian governments about the remarks. Research immigration policies for Japan and India and how much of their populations are made up of immigrants. Then, write a paragraph that compares that information with the United States’ polices and population.

4. TIKTOK BRINGS THE BEAT BACK

After months of legal battles, music produced under the label Universal Music Group will return to TikTok. The company pulled its music over issues regarding royalty payments for songs used on the app and its policies around generative AI. Among those whose music was banned from the app for a brief time were Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, BTS, and other major acts. While the fight was on behalf of artists being paid fairly and protected from AI copyright infringement, the ban was disruptive to many artists who use the app for promotion of their work. The ban was also difficult to enforce, since anyone can upload audio to the app and altering songs by speeding them up or slowing them down can avoid TikTok’s detection software for copyright-protected material. Read more about the battle between Universal Music Group and TikTok online or in your newspaper. Then, write a brief article about what this means for artists and users on the app.

5. GOOGLE TRIAL NEARS A DECISION

A landmark court case against Google that began last September wrapped up with closing arguments last week. Prosecutors for the US Department of Justice argued that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, violated antitrust laws in its practices to become the dominant web search engine. Much of the argument hinged on Alphabet’s digital advertising revenue and its practice of paying billions of dollars to be the default search engine on smartphones and browsers. While the judge hasn’t announced when he will make a decision in the case, many experts expect he will call for changes in Google’s business practices. Research a summary of the arguments in the case as it was argued over the past several months. Then, write an article that summarizes what was covered in court.