Taylor Swift Announces New Album at MTV Music Awards and Other News of the Week

We are delighted to present “While You Were Out”—In truth takes a quick look at this week’s events.

Children’s math and reading scores have plummeted during the pandemic

A new federal study reveals how children’s math and reading skills have plummeted during the pandemic, when most schools across the country were closed.

“Reading scores saw their biggest drop in 30 years, while math scores saw their first drop in the history of the testing regime behind the study, according to the National Center for Education Statistics,” AP reports.

The nation’s just-released report card compared the tests of 14,800 9-year-olds to the tests taken by the same age group at the start of 2020. It revealed that students suffered massive setbacks in the learning during school closures, and these losses have hit minority students the hardest.

“In math, black students lost 13 points, compared to five points for white students, widening the gap between the two groups,” he added. New York Times reports. “Research has documented the profound effect that school closures have had on low-income students and on Black and Hispanic students, in part because their schools were more likely to continue remote learning for longer. long periods.”

Learning losses were also particularly large for students who were already struggling, with math scores for students in the bottom 10th percentile being four times lower than those in the top 90th.

These significant drops in test scores may have a cumulative effect that has many experts worried about the future of students. “Students’ test scores, even from first, second, and third grade, are really quite predictive of their success later in school and their academic trajectories in general,” said Susanna Loeb. , director of the Annenberg Institute at Brown University. Told the New York Times. “The main reason for concern is the low achievement of the lowest performing children.” —Madeline Fry Schultz

Taylor Swift announces new album, Lizzo plays politics at VMAs

At the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift stole the show with three awards and a surprise announcement: her latest album will be released next month. “I thought it would be a fun time to tell you that my brand new album is coming out October 21st,” she said. said during his acceptance speech. “I’ll tell you more at midnight.”

That night, she announced on her social media that her new album, “Midnights,” will feature 13 songs from “13 Sleepless Nights Throughout My Life.” (October 21 happens to be the birthday of Kim Kardashian, who Swift dated. quarrel in the old days.)

Lizzo has also made headlines for getting into politics. The artist won the Video for Good award for his music video “About Damn Time”. “Your vote means everything to me, it means everything to make a change in this country,” she said during her acceptance speech. “So remember when you vote for your favorite artists, vote to change some of these laws that oppress us.”

Other notable events at the VMAs: Gen Z rapper Jack Harlow won four prizes; Lil Nas X and Harry Styles each won three; BLACKPINK’s Nicki Minaj, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lisa went home with two. —MFS

Amazon Prime Releases First Episodes of $100 Million ‘Lord of the Rings’ Prequel Series

Episodes one and two of power ringsAmazon Prime’s prequel series to the iconic the Lord of the Rings trilogy, are now available for streaming.

The series is set in Middle-earth, thousands of years before the adventures chronicled in The Hobbit trilogy-An Unexpected Journey, The desolation of Smaugand The Battle of the Five Armies—or the trilogy itself—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King– and follows the major events that occurred during the Second Age. With familiar characters, Elrond and Galadriel, played by Robert Aramayo and Morfydd Clark respectively, power rings chronicles the forging of the rings of power, the alliances between men and elves, the rise of Sauron, and other pivotal events that set the stage for the trilogy.

Initial reviews of the series praise its visuals and aesthetic details and are largely critical of the pacing. Although the world building and staging are extensive, CNN writes“The format of the series – episodes will drop weekly after the two-part premiere – also tends to invite some bad habits from even Jackson’s notoriously long films, with plodding interludes and a second episode that spans several fronts without feeling like a lot is going on, relatively speaking.”

Amazon bought the TV rights to the Lord of the Rings for $250 million in 2017 and produced the first season of power rings on a budget of $100 million. The series was developed by Patrick McKay and JD Payne in close collaboration with the Tolkien estate.—Maggie Sicilia

Serena Williams continues the legacy of tennis at the US Open

Serena Williams took to the court at this year’s US Open and hinted that this tournament could be her last.

Williams openly announced his eventual departure from tennis in a vogue feature last month, where she described the change as an “evolution” rather than a “retirement”. She reflects on her desire to start her family and work more with Serena Ventureshis new venture capital firm that focuses on funding underrepresented ideas and founders.

Williams began her tennis career in 1999 and has won 367 major matches, four Olympic gold medals and 23 Grand Slam titles. She was the number one ranked player in the Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women’s Tennis Association for 319 weeks of her career; only four other players have held this ranking for more than 300 weeks: Steffi Graf, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Martina Navratilova.

In the second round on Wednesday, Williams passed Anett Kontaveit, the second international player. Williams faced Alija Tomljanović on Friday night in the third round and although she played valiantly, Williams ultimately lost. She and her older sister Venus lost their first-round doubles match to Czech duo Linda Nosková and Lucie Hradecká. Venus and Serena have won 14 Grand Slam titles as doubles partners.

The US Open started on August 23 and will end on September 12.—MS

The last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, has died

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the former Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, died tuesday after a long illness. Gorbachev, who was 91, is credited with restoring democracy to communist-ruled European nations.

Gorbachev established himself as a different leader from his predecessors as he worked to reform the economy and politics of the Soviet system. His time as a leader is associated with the expressions “glasnost” (opening) and “perestroika” (restructuring). Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his role in ending the Cold War.

World leaders have paid tribute to Gorbachev and his legacy. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, wrote on Twitter that Gorbachev’s role in ending the Cold War “paved the way for a free Europe. This legacy is one we will not forget.”

“As leader of the USSR, he worked with President Reagan to reduce the nuclear arsenals of our two countries, much to the relief of the peoples of the world who pray for an end to the nuclear arms race,” said President Joe Biden, adding that Gorbachev’s reforms have led to “a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people.”

However, while most Westerners applaud Gorbachev, those at home in Russia view him less favorably. On Thursday, it was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attend Gorbachev’s funeral and that Gorbachev would not receive an official funeral. As Putin paid his respects on Thursday morning by laying flowers on Gorbachev’s coffin in the mourning room of Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital, the choice not to attend the funeral is seen as a significant political snub.

Gorbachev critical Putin to roll back democratic reforms and implement new ones reminiscent of the Soviet era. —Gabrielle Patti

Good news of the week

A 60-year-old man from Nebraska paddled 38 miles down the Missouri River – his personal watercraft of choice? An 846-pound pumpkin.

Duane Hansen set off in his pumpkin patch in an attempt to smash the Guinness World Record for the “longest pumpkin boat trip”, a record currently held by a man named Rick Swenson of Grand Forks, ND. Swensen paddled 25.5 miles in his pumpkin boat, named SS Berta.

Hansen asked two people from the city of Bellevue, NE mayor’s office to come to the river to witness his efforts to complete the trek.

“We were very surprised when we saw the hollowed-out pumpkin and realized it would sit in the pumpkin for 11 hours as it floated down the Missouri River,” said Phil Davidson, who works in community relations for the town of Bellevue. Davidson was one of Hansen’s witnesses and was surprised when he realized that Hansen would not just float the pumpkin down the river, but roll in it.

Hansen has grown gourds and gourds all his life, and several years ago he decided to grow tall gourds or gourds at home and started growing giant pumpkins. Although he said it was difficult to grow giant pumpkins, he managed to grow three or four 500-pounders.

While Guinness World Records is still reviewing Hansen’s application, Hansen is proud of what he has accomplished.

“I’m glad I did it. I mean, 30 miles is a long way to go in a pumpkin patch on a river, but I’m sure one day someone will try to beat it,” said said Hansen. “I turned 60 the day before I did this, so I’m not a young punk, you know? If someone beats me, I’ve just got enough experience in it now. I’d probably try to do it again.” —GP

Watch of the week

Curious to watch power ringsAmazon Prime’s prequel series to the iconic the Lord of the Rings trilogy – check out the trailer below!