Foreign and Domestic News Roundup

     1. Following two weeks of mass protests across the war torn country, Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri announced his resignation.  The protests stem from growing economic unease and excessive taxation. Similar protests continue in Iraq, where protestors decry wealth inequality and economic mismanagement (WSJ).

     2. A U.S. military raid in northwestern Syria led to the elimination of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Soon after, a U.S. airstrike killed ISIS spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, Baghdadi’s potential successor (WSJ).

     3. A China-backed trade agreement between Southeast Asian and Pacific nations appears close to being signed.  Although less ambitious than the abandoned Trans-Pacific Partnership, the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” would significantly open up the international trading system (WSJ).

     4. For several weeks, mass anti-inequality protests have engulfed Chile in political unrest.  Chilean President Sebastian Piñera dismissed his entire cabinet and promises to enact popular social reforms (BBC).’

     5. After Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to gain parliamentary approval for a quick departure from the EU, the U.K. will head to the polls on December 12th.  The Conservative Prime Minister will primarily face opposition from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson, and the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage.  Although the Prime Minister suffers from low approval ratings, his main opposition, Corbyn’s Labour, is plagued by antisemitism among its ranks. Furthermore, the socialist party proposes economic changes that could devastate Britain’s economy (CNBC).

     6. House Democrats continue in their efforts to lead an impeachment investigation against President Trump.  The House passed a vote almost entirely on party lines to begin the public phase of the impeachment inquiry.  Popular support for impeaching the President has grown increasingly partisan (WSJ).

     7. There is growing scrutiny over Democrat presidential contender Elizabeth Warren and her plan to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system with a single-payer “Medicare-for-All” plan, eliminating private insurance.  Her proposals to pay for the plan would not completely cover the trillions of dollars in additional government spending. Furthermore, she has proposed an unconstitutional wealth tax and a massive tax on employers, both of which could have detrimental impacts.

    8. The United States Federal Reserve delivered a third consecutive interest rate cut to stimulate the economy.  The Fed has decided to pause rates cuts moving forward as the economy appears to stabilize (WSJ).

     9. Almost 100,000 acres have burned in wildfires sweeping California.  President Trump attacked California Governor Gavin Newsom in a tweet, saying that he has done a “terrible job of forest management” and threatening to cut federal funding for the wildfires (BBC).

     10. Democrats did fairly well in the 2019 general election, sweeping races in Virginia and gaining control of the State Senate and House of Delegates.  Democrats gained control of the governor’s mansion in Kentucky after Andy Beshear narrowly defeated deeply unpopular incumbent Matt Bevin. However, Republicans maintain control in Mississippi and flipped statewide offices in both Mississippi and Kentucky.  In New Jersey, Republicans gained one State Senate seat and 2-4 State Assembly seats in what was seen as a referendum on the Murphy administration (NYT).