Your Summit Weekly Briefing
By Jovani Contreras, Ethan Ignatovsky, Sean Quigley and Ashwath Vimal
Disclaimer: Though the Weekly Briefings are no longer tagged in the Opinions section of Summit News and we try to remain as unbiased as possible, our opinions may show through in this article, especially in the “Actions” section.
Content Warning: Mentions of explicit themes occur in the third section of “General News” and in “Actions”.
- It is now February, which means it is officially Black History Month! Take time out of your day to honor it by researching the background of it, along with just familiarizing yourself with a different culture! Do online research, talk to your black classmates, and reach out to your Black Student Union if your school has one!
- The U.S. State Department says Secretary Antony Blinken has postponed his trip to Beijing amid concerns about a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over U.S. airspace. The Pentagon said Thursday it had “very high confidence” that the high-altitude surveillance balloon came from China and is being used to collect information from sensitive sites. China’s foreign affairs ministry confirmed on Friday that the balloon is theirs, but called it a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes,” that had gone off course by accident. China says it is looking into the report of a spy balloon over U.S. airspace.
- A sixth Memphis officer was fired Friday after an internal police investigation showed he violated multiple department policies in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, including rules surrounding the deployment of a stun gun, officials said. Preston Hemphill had been suspended as he was investigated for his role in the Jan. 7 arrest of Nichols, who died in a hospital three days later. Five Memphis officers have already been fired and charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’ death.
- The Covid-19 emergency will officially end on May 11 of this year. President Biden announced this past Monday to congress that after nearly three years the public health emergency will expire. This was in response to House Republicans introducing legislation to bring an end to the emergency. The emergency allowed for federal funding for free vaccines, testing kits and treatment, as well as relaxed insurance, and cheap or free access to Paxlovid, Pfizer’s drug that lowers the severity of Covid. The White House told NPR, “An abrupt end to the emergency declaration would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system… [and] tens of millions of Americans”. It’s estimated that around 18 million Americans could be dropped from Medicaid after the end of the emergency. Although the pandemic is over, this is still an age of uncertainty for Americans.
- The Environmental Protection Agency has blocked a proposal for a mining project that would threaten Alaskan salmon. The agency stated that the project would have harmed local salmon fisheries. The announcement blocks the Pebble Mine project, which would have been the largest copper, gold, and molybdenum extraction site on the continent. The agency used authority granted by the Clean Water Act to stop the proposal. The Bristol Bay watershed is home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world and is home to 25 federally recognized indigenous communities which rely on the salmon for more than half of their subsistence harvest. Pebble Limited Partnership’s CEO John Shively called the action “unlawful” and threatened legal action. The final determination on the proposal also prevents any future proposals to construct a mine that would damage the ecosystems and resources surrounding the Pebble deposit. This marks the 14th time that the CWA’s authority has been brandished by the EPA. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy denounced the decision, stating that it was “a blanket prohibition on development.” The Alaska state Attorney General and the Alaska state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner also opposed the decision.
- NBA All-Star starter voting has concluded and we know who will be starting the festivities in Utah. In the Western Conference, LeBron James, who is closing in on the NBA all-time scoring record, will once again be captain in his 19th All-Star selection. The other starters in the West are Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Zion Williamson. In the Eastern Conference, Giannis Antetokounmpo is once again a captain, and the other starters from the East are Donovan Mitchell, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Kevin Durant. Per Shams Charania of the Athletic and Stadium, the West reserves are: Ja Morant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Damian Lillard, Jaren Jackson Jr., Domantas Sabonis, Lauri Markkanen, and Paul George. In the East it’s: Joel Embiid, Jaylen Brown, Bam Adebayo, Julius Randle, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, and Tyrese Haliburton. The players will be drafted by their captains on the day of the All-Star game
- Last week, the NBA trade season began with a deal between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers. The biggest name in the Trade is Forward, Rui Hachimura, who will be joining the Lakers. The 24 year old Japan native put up 13 points, 1.2 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 48.8% from the field and 33.7% from 3 for the Wizards prior to the trade. Hachimura was unhappy with his situation on the Wizards, and should have a bigger role on the Lakers who hope to keep him around after this season as a corner three specialist and wing defender. In return for Hachimura the Wizards receive a defensively minded point guard in Kendrick Nunn as well a 2023 second round pick via Chicago, the lower second round pick between the Wizards and Lakers in 2028, and the Lakers 2029 second round pick.
- The Super Bowl LVII matchup is set, and it will be the AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs facing off against the NFC’s Philadelphia Eagles inside of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February, 12. The Eagles advanced past the San Francisco 49ers in a 31-7 blowout. Unfortunately the game had no chance of being close after 49ers Quarterback Brock Purdy’s Cinderella season came to an end after suffering a torn UCL after a Haason Reddick sack early in the game. Purdy went from Mr. Irrelevant to a leader and great QB for the 49ers down the stretch, and it’s unfortunate that he wasn’t able to have a full fight against the Eagles and Jalen Hurts. Injuries are part of the game though, and the Eagles are a very worthy team to be making a superbowl appearance, going 16-3 on the season. The Chiefs moved past the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to play in the big game. It was a close fight, but Patrick Mahomes was able to move his team into field goal range on the final drive of the game with some help from an unnecessary roughness call on the Bengals, and Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicked home the game winner. The refs in the game were subject to lots of criticism, but like injuries, questionable calls will be made. The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are also worth of the Super Bowl, and are considered to be the favorites, but anything can happen.
- The greatest player the NFL has ever seen, Tom Brady, is retiring… again. After 23 years, Brady announces he’s retiring “for good”. Brady announced his second retirement on February 1st, a year after he hung up the cleats for a mere 40 days. This time though, it seems more real. Brady, 45, said he “wouldn’t change a thing” in regards to his career, and why would he with 7 Super Bowl Rings to his name. This past season didn’t go the way Brady would’ve wanted it too, getting bounced out of the playoffs in the wildcard round, but he can look back on his career knowing he couldn’t have done many more amazing things. Brady retires with 89,214 passing yards (the most all time), 649 touchdown passes (also the most all time), a QB rating of 97.2, 5 Super Bowl MVPs (the most all time), 3 regular season MVPs, 251 QB wins (the most all time), and most completions with 7,753 (yet again, the most of all time). Outside of football, Brady holds the distinction of being the last athlete drafted by the Montreal Expos to retire from professional sports, it’s safe to say that his decision to stick with football worked out.
- The Baseball Hall of Fame will gain one new member after Scott Rolen was finally voted in by the BBWAA in his sixth year on the ballot. Rolen is one the greatest defensive third baseman of all time, and won eight gold gloves for his effort across his 17 season career. His eight gold gloves currently place him fourth all time. Rolen was also good with the bat as well, having a 122 OPS+ for his career, and slash line of .281/.364/.490, with 2,077 career hits, 316 home runs, and 1,287 RBI’s. Rolen ended his career with 70.1 rWAR, and can now add hall of famer to his rookie of the year, 7 time all star, 2006 World Series winner, 8 time gold glover, and silver slugger resume. Rolen was the only player to get voted in on this ballot, next year could be different though, and names like Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, David Wright, and Chase Utley will join the ballot. Jeff Kent, the all time leader for home runs among second baseman, will not get a chance next year as he was not voted in by his 10th ballot. It’s up to the Historical Overview Committee to now decide if the 2000 National League MVP is a hall of famer when they convene in 2025.
- The Tampa Bay Rays and Lefty Jeffery Springs have agreed to a contract with a base of 4 years $31 million, that could become a 5 year $65.75 million investment by the Rays if they pick up the fifth year option and Springs wins two Cy Young awards and reaches certain innings goals. This deal avoids Springs and the Rays having an arbitration hearing to determine his 2023 contract, and will take him throughout the rest of his arbitration years and beyond. After an unfortunate first 84.2 innings in the big leagues for the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox where Springs had a 5.42 ERA and 1.701 WHIP, he broke out in 2021 for the Rays as a reliever, posting a 3.43 ERA across 44.2 innings with a 1.097 WHIP. This past season the Rays let Springs start 25 games, where he posted a 2.66 ERA and 1.104 WHIP in those outings. The Rays have also agreed to terms with third baseman Yandy Diaz on a 3 year contract worth $24 million, which could become 4 years and $36 millions. Diaz is one of the most underrated third baseman in the MLB, posting a .296/.401/.423 slashline last year.
- New York Mets star second baseman and National League batting champion Jeff McNeil have agreed to a four year, $50 million contract extension according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The contract means the two parties avoid arbitration. McNeil slashed .326/.382/.454 with 9 home runs good for a 140 OPS+. McNeil can play the corner outfield positions and third, but is mostly the second baseman for the club. McNeil’s season was worth 5.7 rWAR and for his career he amassed 16.9 in 516 games. For his career McNeil’s slash line is .307/.370/.458. If the Mets reach the World Series McNeil will certainly be a big part of their journey.
- Stranger Things was reportedly the most streamed TV show in 2022. Netflix’s show, led by its fourth season, took the No. 1 position on Nielsens 2022 streaming chart. The series registered 52 billion minutes of streaming last year, the highest since the Covid-19 pandemic drove audiences to watch 57.1 billion minutes of NBC’s The Office in 2020. According to Netflix, Stranger Things holds the title of the most watched English TV series in the first four weeks of release, with the fourth season raking in 1.35 billion minutes watched within a 28 day period. While original content proved popular in 2022, older shows also garnered popularity on streaming platforms. NCIS, the CBS crime-drama, pulled in 38.1 billion minutes viewed with its 356 episodes making it the second most streamed program in 2022. These shows were followed by CoComelon, the kids show made by Moonbug entertainment with 37.8 billion minutes viewed and Ozark, both of which were streamed on Netflix. In total, American viewers watched over 19.4 million years of content last year, up 27% from last year’s 15 million years, according to Nielsen.
Cooking: Hoisin Glazed Pork Chops
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Yield: 4 servings
- 4 pork chops (boneless)
- ¾ tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp ginger minced
- ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- Pinch of cilantro
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, simmer the garlic, ginger, hoisin, rice vinegar, and water, whisking occasionally until the mixture is fully combined, about 4 minutes.
- Set aside. Lightly salt pork chops. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over high heat. Once the oil is smoking, place the pork chops in the skillet, and cook without turning until well browned, 3-4 minutes on each side (adjust timing based on how thick your pork chop is).
- When an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135°F, remove the pork chops from the pan.
- Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with hoisin sauce drizzled over top and sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
Editor’s note: The “Actions” section includes petitions to sign, prompts and scripts to write officials with as well as other opportunities to engage in your local, national and global communities.
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