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For Grades 9-12 , week of Sep. 25, 2023

1. IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republicans in the House of Representatives are starting an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden to investigate potential corruption with him and his family. The inquiry focuses mainly on the potential relationship between the president and his son, Hunter Biden—Republicans have accused Biden of profiting off his son’s foreign business dealings while he was vice president during the Obama administration. While Hunter has been under investigation for his business ventures, including failure to pay taxes and lying about his drug history when purchasing a gun, there has not yet been any direct evidence to prove Republicans’ claims about the president’s involvement. Research more about what an impeachment inquiry means for the president and what will happen next. (This article from ABC News is a good place to start.) Then, write an article outlining the current case Republicans are building and what is likely to happen next.

2. CLIMATE SPEAKERS In the United Nations’ recent Climate Ambition Summit, held to highlight the efforts to fight global warming, countries were invited to speak at the event based on whether UN secretary general António Guterres felt they were taking climate action seriously. As a result, leaders from the United States and China, the world’s two largest polluters, were not given speaking slots. Of the top four polluters globally, only the European Union was invited to speak at the summit, and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California was the only United States official asked to speak, as his state has prioritized climate change, including a recent announcement that California would sue the oil industry for misleading the public. Write an opinion piece on whether you think the “shame tactic” of not inviting some of the world’s biggest powers to speak at the event is a successful strategy for bringing attention to climate change issues.

3. PROMOTION HOLD

While two generals were recently confirmed by the Senate to become chiefs of staff of their respective military branches, one senator is still blocking hundreds of single military promotions. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican senator from Alabama, has created a blockade, refusing to allow the Senate to approve military promotions en masse until the Defense Department amends a recent policy that provides time off and travel reimbursement to military personnel who need to travel long distances to receive reproductive health care, including abortions. The only way around Tuberville’s blockade is for the Senate to approve promotions one-by-one, a time-consuming process that takes time away from other issues that could make it to the Senate floor. Regardless of your opinions on Sen. Tuberville’s cause, write an opinion article on whether you think it should be possible for a single senator to stall action in Congress like this instance.

4. COUNTRY FEUD

Last week, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau shocked the world by claiming that India’s government may have been involved with the assassination of a Sikh activist in Canada. Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia, in June and Canadian intelligence agencies have been investigating his death. As a result of the recent allegations, Canada expelled the head of Indian intelligence from the country. India has denied the allegations and said the accusations are designed to shift focus from people they consider terrorists and extremists who have been given shelter in Canada. Read more about the tensions between the countries and write an article summarizing both sides.

5. FOOD LOWS

A new study from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital linked consuming large amounts of ultra-processed foods—especially drinks with artificial sweeteners like diet sodas—and a higher risk of depression. While researchers have studied the link between these foods and physical problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease, for a while, this was the first study that showed the effect on mental health. The study looked at 30,000 women who did not already have depression and studied their diet and mental health over a span of 15 years—2003 to 2017. Those who ate nine or more portions of ultra-processed grain foods, sweet snacks, ready-to-eat meals, processed meats, beverages with artificial sweeteners, etc. per day had a 49 percent higher risk of depression than those who consumed three or fewer portions a day. The results were adjusted for other health, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors that could relate to depression. Think about this study and how it can be translated to the larger public. What are the challenges in doing so? Consider the group that was studied and the time frame that they were studied. How would you write about this study in a way that informs people but doesn’t mislead them about the results? Write down your thoughts and share them with your classmates.