This Week in Words: November 4 - 10, 2017

No time to scour the headlines or watch the news? No problem! We’ve rounded up the top words heard, read, debated, and discussed this week. Tragedy struck a Texas town this week when 26 people were massacred at their church by a lone gunman. Internationally, the hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran increased. There was a leak from an overseas law firm which detailed how the mega-rich avoid U.S. taxes, tactics which demand further scrutiny. Take a look back at the week that was, vocabulary style.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. altercation
    a noisy quarrel
    Senator Rand Paul suffered five broken ribs and bruises to his lungs in an altercation with a neighbor on Friday at his home in Bowling Green, Ky. - The New York Times (Nov 6, 2017)
    There are two stories competing for strangest story of the week. One involves a heart that has been preserved in a jar since 1849 and the other involves current Senator Rand Paul. Senator Paul was attacked by his neighbor on his very own lawn. Paul suffered five cracked ribs in the altercation. The truly strange part is the rumored reason for the attack — a dispute with the neighbor over landscaping.
  2. assets
    anything of material value owned by a person or company
    In addition to the movie studio, TV production and international assets such as Star and Sky, Disney would also add entertainment networks such as FX and National Geographic. - (Nov 6, 2017)
    Although nothing is official yet, there were numerous rumors this week that 20th Century Fox would sell most of its holdings, or assets, to Disney. If it happens, this deal would create a major media giant.
  3. extradition
    surrender of an accused by one state or country to another
    Even if formally arrested at that point, the five could be released with conditions, such as house arrest. The question of extradition will be decided separately.
    - The New York Times (Nov 5, 2017)
    The Catalonia secession drama continued this week, as several members of the movement to break off from Spain were arrested in Brussels including the former leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont. It remains to be seen whether the men will be extradited from Brussels and sent back to Spain or remain in Brussels to stand trial.
  4. hostility
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    Saudi Arabia charged Monday that a missile fired at its capital from Yemen over the weekend was an “act of war” by Iran, in the sharpest escalation in nearly three decades of mounting hostility between the two regional rivals. - The New York Times (Nov 6, 2017)
    Iran has denied responsibility for the missile launched from Yemen that struck a city in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Iran have been enemies for a long time, engaged it what can be described as a "cold war," fought through small skirmishes in other countries. If Saudi Arabia does take this missile launch as an act of war, the entire region could be embroiled in conflict, with devastating consequences.
  5. insatiable
    impossible to satisfy
    The daughter of Cheryl Bridges, who once held the world record in the marathon, Flanagan had been an insatiable runner, splitting her time between world marathon majors and track events. - The New York Times (Nov 5, 2017)
    This week, for the first time in 40 years, an American woman won the New York City Marathon. Shalane Flanagan, 36, ran the race in just over two hours and twenty-six minutes. The word insatiable implies that one cannot get enough of something. Most of us can relate to an insatiable craving for chocolate, even after Halloween, but find it a little harder to comprehend Flanagan's insatiable need to run.
  6. mandate
    assign under an official instruction or command
    The mandate, which imposes a tax penalty on Americans who fail to buy insurance under ObamaCare, is considered a critical component of the 2010 health care law. While previous efforts to overhaul the law have failed, repealing just the mandate could have significant consequences. - (Nov 6, 2017)
    The Republican Tax Plan was released last week, and now changes to the bill are being worked out to satisfy constituents and the law. One suggested change would get rid of the Obamacare mandate that all Americans must have health insurance. Since violating this mandate has tax consequences, some legislators who want to dismantle the ACA are hopeful this strategy will succeed. Several bills that directly sought to dismantle Obamacare failed in recent months.
  7. massacre
    kill a large number of people indiscriminately
    A day after a gunman massacred parishioners in a small Texas church, the Air Force admitted on Monday that it had failed to enter the man’s domestic violence court-martial into a federal database that could have blocked him from buying the rifle he used to kill 26 people. - The New York Times ( Nov 6, 2017)
    A man with a history of violence opened fire on church in a small Texas town this week, killing 26 people. The death toll makes it the worst mass shooting in Texas history. This tragedy closely follows the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead.
  8. recuse
    disqualify oneself as a judge in a particular case
    Ross has denied any wrongdoing. He has recused himself from transoceanic shipping matters and has said that he met all disclosure requirements, despite some Democratic lawmakers’ claim that the link between his investments and Russia were not fully revealed. - (Nov 6, 2017)
    Wilbur Ross, The Commerce Secretary, sat on the board of an American shipping company that does business with a Russian company with ties to Vladimir Putin's family. There is now a question as to whether Mr. Ross was completely honest when he was asked about connections to Russia, or whether he needs to disclose such a relationship in the first place. Ross has recused himself, or voluntarily declined to participate in, any business with the Russian company while this is sorted out.
  9. scrutiny
    the act of examining something closely, as for mistakes
    Both tech firms and members of President Trump's inner circle have faced scrutiny; the Paradise Papers add to that conversation. - (Nov 6, 2017)
    There was a leak of 13.4 million records from the law firm Appleby, which specializes in off-shore accounts of the very wealthy. Companies and rich individuals often hide money in these accounts to avoid paying taxes. Everyone from Apple Computers to Jared Kushner to Queen Elizabeth herself has been touched by this scandalous release of records that gives us a peak into how the mega-wealthy stay that way.
  10. sublime
    inspiring awe
    “With a feeling of mystery hanging in the air, they worked in total concentration, mostly whispering, as they removed the heart from its resting place and carried out the inspection — taking more than 1,000 photos and adding hot wax to the jar’s seal to prevent evaporation.”
    One of the scientists, Dr. Tadeusz Dobosz, told The A.P., “The spirit of this night was very sublime.” - The New York Times (Nov 6, 2017)
    Researchers now believe that composer Frederic Chopin did not die of cystic fibrosis, as previously believed, but rather from tuberculosis. How can they tell? Well, they've been re-examining his heart, which has been well-preserved since Chopin's death more than 150 years ago. Chopin was terrified of being buried alive, and his heart was removed from his body upon his death for this reason. Now that very heart has revealed the answer to a medical mystery.

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