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Shark Scoop - April 3, 2022

Shark Scoop is a weekly roundup of five stories that examine developments in global, national, and local news, as well as a top headline in entertainment and sports.


Tourism Is Coming Back to New York City

Last year, the city received just 32.9 million visitors, less than half the record total for 2019. (Photo: Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

As the U.S. loosens travel restrictions and New York is opening up, tourists are once again beginning to flock to the city. In 2019, New York City welcomed more than 66 million tourists, but then the number plummeted to 22.3 million in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Slightly more tourists found their way to the city in 2021, but numbers remained far below the decade of consecutive record years before 2020. New York City’s tourism promotion agency, NYC & Company, released a report on Wednesday projecting a 70 percent uptick in 2022 compared to 2021. This is good news for the city, as visitors create job opportunities and bring in billions of dollars in tourism-related tax revenue. It is also good news for Mayor Eric Adams, whose goal is to have tourism back to pre-pandemic numbers by the year 2024.

Biden to Release Oil from Reserve Amid Soaring Prices

A Strategic Petroleum Reserve site in Texas. (Photo: F. Carter Smith/Polaris/ The New York Times)

For months, gas prices in the U.S. have steadily gone up, mainly due to inflation. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the problem, prompting calls for the government to step in and lower gas prices. On Thursday, March 31, The Biden administration announced that for the next six months, one million barrels of oil per day will be released from the Strategic Petrolium Reserve. The move was effective, as oil prices dropped on Thursday, both in the U.S. and around the world. What long-term effects it will have on gas prices and the rising inflation remains to be seen.

Shanghai Goes Into Lockdown as COVID-Cases Rise

A transit officer controls access to a tunnel in the direction of Shanghai's Pudong district, as a part of lockdown measures, on March 28. (Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

While many countries, including the U.S., are beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions, Shanghai is going back into lockdown. China is currently seeing its worst wave of infections since the disease was discovered in Wuhan, with 56,000 reported cases between March 1 and 24. The lockdown, called a “yin-yang lockdown” by the Shanghai Government, began on Monday, forcing one half of the city to stay inside for four days. After four days, it was the turn of residents on the west side of the Huangpu River to isolate. This move follows in the footsteps of many other Chinese cities who recently imposed strict restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

USMNT qualifies for World Cup

Christian Pulisic, left, trying to score against Costa Rica. Pulisic scored three goals in the win against Panama. (Photo: Mayela Lopez/Reuters)

The United States men’s national team in soccer will soon travel to Qatar to compete in the World Cup. Despite losing its last game against Costa Rica, 2-0, on Wednesday, the team still managed to qualify due to a big 5-1 win against Panama three days earlier. The win meant that the USMNT had to lose to Costa Rica by six goals or more to miss the World Cup, which they of course didn’t. “It's amazing what this group of guys have been able to do over these last seven months,” head coach Gregg Berhalter said. Along with the U.S., Mexico and Canada also qualified for the World Cup from the CONCACAF. In the case of Canada, the Qatar World Cup will be its first since 1986.

Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at Oscars

Will Smith walking back after slapping Chris Rock on the stage of the Oscars. (Photo: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

Last Sunday, the annual Academy Awards ceremony was held in Los Angeles. As usual, actors, films and filmmakers were celebrated, but everything was overshadowed by Will Smith. After comedian and host of the ceremony, Chris Rock, made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith jumped up on the stage, made his way to Rock and slapped him. Smith then turned around and walked back, twice shouting, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f------ mouth.” The slap came after Rock joked about Pinkett Smith’s baldness, which is caused by the disease Alopecia. 20 minutes after the altercation, Smith himself received his first Oscar for his performance in “King Richard.” In the aftermath of the altercation, much has happened. Rock decided not to press charges against Smith, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences still moved to investigate the incident. Smith apologized to Rock on social media on Monday, March 29, and on Friday, April 1, he also put out a statement announcing his resignation from the Academy.

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