16-20 September Weekly News



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The word 'they' is now also a singular pronoun

Merriam-Webster added a new definition of the pronoun "they" to its Webster's Dictionary. It says "they" also refers to a "single person whose gender identity is non-binary". These are people who identify neither as male nor female. Many places use a gender-neutral option on official forms. Many local governments, schools and airlines have the choice of "X" for people who do not consider themselves as male or female, and for gender fluid people.

Merriam-Webster said using "they" for "he" or "she" recognizes people who did not "conform to an expected gender expression, or who seemed to be neither male nor female". It says the word "they" was used as a singular pronoun in the 1300s. Shakespeare used it in this way in the 17th century. Also, the 1898 play Antony and Cleopatra has the words: "No man goes to battle to be killed....But they do get killed." Many people use the singular "they" today.


Giving children time-outs won't harm them

There is good news for parents worried about time-outs as a punishment. Research shows time-outs can effectively discipline children up to eight years old. Parents do not need to worry about their parenting skills as time-outs do not harm children or their relationship with their parents. Researchers compared children whose parents used time-outs with those who didn't. They found no difference in the children's emotional wellbeing or behavior.

Parents use time-outs to change their children's behavior. Children go to a quiet space to think about their actions. Scientists have disagreed about the effectiveness of this. A researcher said: "Some reports...suggested that time-out is ineffective and even harmful [and] can damage the parent-child relationship and negatively affect emotional health". She said: "We did not find a relationship between time-outs and negative side effects in children."


Oil prices rise after Saudi drone attacks

Oil prices soared on Monday after the drone attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia. Prices saw their biggest rise in a decade. At one point, prices shot up by nearly 20 per cent. This is the biggest one-day rise since the 1990-91 Gulf War. Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil plant cut the kingdom's oil production in half. The attacks will cut the world's daily oil production by five per cent. The Bloomberg news agency said it could take weeks for Saudi to repair the damage. During this time, people could see higher gasoline prices at the pumps, especially in Asia. People may also have to pay higher prices for food and other goods.

Yemen's Houthi group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Saudi Arabia. The group said the attacks were because of Saudi Arabia's attacks on rebel groups in Yemen. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani supported the Houthi claim. He called the attack an act of self defense. He said: "Yemeni people are exercising their legitimate right of defense. The attack was a reciprocal response to years of Saudi aggression against Yemen." However, an Arab coalition says there is evidence that the weapons used to strike the Saudi oil plants were made by Iran. U.S. officials say satellite images suggest the attacks came from either Iraq or Iran and not Yemen. Iranian officials called the U.S. allegations "maximum lies".



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