Military Sexual Assault and Military Sexual Trauma are sensitive and controversial topics to discuss, but I have never been one to shy away from controversy. My articles have reflected my sometimes unpopular position that the military needed to open all its ranks to women service members.
- New Zealand is still picking up the pieces after at least 50 people were killed, and another 50 were injured, in Friday’s terror attack, the worst in the country’s history. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spent the weekend visiting grieving family members and the Muslim community. The attacks, on two mosques in Christchurch, have also prompted a debate over gun laws. The Police Association has called for a ban on semi-automatic weapons, and the Prime Minister has pledged, “our gun laws will change.”
- In a series of non-binding votes last week, Parliament approved a short delay of Britain’s divorce from the European Union, and ruled out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. They also resoundingly rejected both Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal and a second referendum.
For those that don’t know what a Debt Jubilee is, let me briefly explain. The word Jubilee is from the Bible. Leviticus. Essentially it means that the whole community’s debt has been forgiven them, everything owned by the community, whether personal or business, is divided up into equal shares and given to the community.
- President Trump issued the first veto of his administration Friday, blocking a congressional resolution that rejected his national emergency declaration. The move came a day after twelve Republicans joined every Senate Democrat to send the resolution to his desk. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said at an Oval Office ceremony.
Woman today claim that the environment of the world (global warming and the threat of Nuclear War) is a good reason not to make a family. Birth Strike is part of the Woman’s Liberation movement. The movement is based on a book by Jenny Brown – Socialism and the Woman’s movement. It is important to listen to women. They have valid claims which should be considered.
Veterans may soon be provided free child care while undergoing treatment for mental health and other medical issues. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced the possibility of this benefit in hopes that it will make it easier for veterans to get help. A House of Representatives Bill (H.R. 840) would extend and seek to make permanent a 2011 pilot program Veterans Child Care benefits program.
The constitution of America is man-made law. It was an attempt by the founders of America to bring liberty and justice to America with the help of God. America declared independence–freedom the gift of God before writing the constitution. The Law of God begins with freedom. American Law is Judeo-Christian with freedom. The first amendment cannot reject the Declaration of Independence.
- FINLAND: The center-right government unexpectedly fell Friday, ahead of planned elections on April 14. The trigger was Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s failure to pass social and health care reforms. Sipila’s Center Party has trailed the Social Democrats in opinion polls since last May.
- Several 2020 presidential candidates, including Republicans Bill Weld and John Kasich, gathered in Austin this weekend for the 33rd SXSW conference. What began as a local music conference and festival has morphed into one of the biggest and most-influential gatherings anywhere, leading some to believe that Austin is the new Iowa.
- The House of Representatives voted to condemn “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry” Thursday, in the wake of controversial remarks by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The vote was 407-23.
- Things have, for the most part, returned to normal, after a tumultuous week between nuclear-armed rivals, India and Pakistan. An Indian pilot was returned from Pakistan Friday, after being shot down over the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday. Now Washington wants to know if an F-16 was used in the dogfight.
- President Donald Trump says he will soon sign an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal resources. Trump made his remarks to conservatives at the annual CPAC Conference in D.C. this weekend.
- Meanwhile, a man sought for the assault of a conservative activist on the University of California, Berkeley campus last month has been arrested. UC police arrested Zachary Greenberg Friday.
- U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un concluded their two-day nuclear summit in Hanoi, Vietnam with no deal. “Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a news conference, following the summit.
- At least four people were killed, and hundreds more were injured, in a wave of violence across Venezuela this weekend. Opposition activists defied President Nicolas Maduro and attempted to bring emergency food and medical supplies into the country from Colombia.
Why are the public generally unaware of the important research that connects variations in the output of the Sun with climate change? They should know about it, since the Sun is responsible for far more climate change than anything we cause.
The reason for this ignorance is that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the source of most people’s understanding about the field, was deliberately directed to study only the human causes of climate change.
- Trouble continues to build for Actor Jussie Smollett. His character on “Empire” will be removed from the final two episodes of this season in the wake of his arrest for allegedly coordinating a hate crime hoax. Some cast members think that Smollett sought to play on the show creator Lee Daniels’ emotions in the hopes of becoming “an LGBT hero” and curry favor with his boss.
- Members of the House will vote Tuesday on a resolution to block President Trump’s emergency declaration, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday night. If successful, it would be the first time Congress has blocked such an action since the National Emergencies Act came in to force in 1976.
- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: “Meanwhile, far-left activists succeeded in forcing Amazon to abandon plans to create a second headquarters in the New York City area, which would have brought 25,000 jobs and injected billions of dollars into the local economy. Where has common sense gone?“
- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called a snap election, for April 28, on Friday. Sánchez became Prime Minister in May, after the first successful vote of no confidence in modern Spanish history. The announcement comes two days after his Socialist government was defeated in Congress, and failed to pass its budget.
- In an interview, to air Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe says he briefly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment against President Trump with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Recently, the “Meituan” take-outs increased the commission: from the original 18% to 22%, an increase of 4% commission. Such a blatant increase in commissions, which led to domestic criticism, domestic consumers and businesses have expressed dissatisfaction.
- SYRIA: The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced Sunday they were engaged in fierce fighting as part of a “final push” against Daesh in Syria. The offensive comes as President Trump announced plans to declare, as early as next week, that all Daesh territory has been recovered.
- A Yellow Vest protestor was severely injured in Paris on Saturday, as police shot tear gas at those trying to knock down a barrier at the French Parliament. It is the second severe injury in as many weeks. The uprising against President Emmanuel Macron is in its thirteenth consecutive week.
- Virginia Democrats’ worst week in recent memory continued Friday. All three statewide elected officials— Governor Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring— are mired in scandal, and facing demands to resign.
- President Trump’s planned address to Congress is back on. With the longest government shutdown in American history in the rear-view mirror (and another possibly ahead), the president will deliver his annual state of the union address, Tuesday at 9 PM Eastern.
- The president again hinted at announcing some kind of action toward a border wall during the address. When asked, he refused to rule a declaration of a state of emergency in or out, instead urging the media, and his audience, to watch the speech.
- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is under intense pressure to leave office Friday night, after the discovery of a yearbook photo, in which he appeared either in blackface or in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood. The press never found the yearbook, which was sitting on file at a local library, during last year’s Virginia governor race.
- Governor Northam apologized: “for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.” In a statement Friday evening, Northam did not resign, or identify which of the people in the photo was him.
Aid in the holy doctrine that wrath of Mother Nature is inevitable and comes to those who forget the basic principles of faith. Nonetheless, whatever happened in Brumadinho, Brazil cannot be overlooked or simply ignored. Consequently close to hundred have been reported dead and about three hundred missing in this silhouette of catastrophe – wiping out the whole village of Brumadinho. This is so far the causalities that have been quantified on an estimated basis, and more is yet to come. Nevertheless, whether it was due to the poor quality of raw material (to save cost) used in the construction of this dam or it was a genuine tragedy, the scope of recovering from the destitute cannot be objectified. Many organizations, such as “Developing Our World” and their associated partners have managed to gather a formidable task force of volunteers and at the same time collate enough aids for those affected by this unforeseen tragedy.
- PHILIPPINES: Terrorist group Daesh has claimed responsibility for a Sunday church bombing, which left 20 people dead and 100 wounded, on the southern island of Jolo. In response, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to “crush these godless criminals.”
- In the last two weeks, mainstream media outlets have run wild with bombshell reports that turned out to be false. First, Buzzfeed claimed President Trump had directed Michael D. Cohen, his longtime lawyer and fixer, to lie to Congress about his role in negotiations to build a skyscraper in Moscow. The story led many well-known news outlets to begin speculating about a potential impeachment of Trump. Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the unusual step of issuing a public statement rebuking the story.
- A few days later media personalities on Twitter competed to one-up each other in their condemnations of Kentucky Catholic high school students who many claimed were mocking a Native American man at the Lincoln Memorial in a short video clip. The truth is that the 16-year-olds were subjected to a “verbal racist assault by grown men; and then the kids were accused of being bigots…How did this grotesque inversion of the truth become the central narrative for what seemed to be the entire class of elite journalists on Twitter?” asks Andrew Sullivan.
- Then yesterday, the UK Telegraph issued a public apology to First Lady Melania Trump for a Jan. 19 story they admit was filled with false statements. They also announced that as “a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.”
- Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has compiled a long list of MSM errors adding “we defend ourselves by trying to convince the public that our mistakes are actually a virtue because we (sometimes) correct them. Or we blame Trump for why we’re getting so much wrong.”
- All of this hasn’t generated much sympathy for the 1,000 media industry employees who got laid off this week. HuffPost’s parent company Verizon announced a 7% cut to staff in its media division. BuzzFeed confirmed that it will lay off 15% of its staff and Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, shed dozens of staffers throughout the country.
According to Kitabat Electronic News Page:
Protests in Basra started again during the Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi visit; and turn it into a time bomb in his face.
Demonstrations came out again in the streets of “Basra” Iraqi (Friday night January 18th ) and increased the accessions of other demonstrators; in despite of the number of victims occurred during the recent protests two months ago, because of corruption and the deterioration of basic services and lack of jobs in the province, which is the richest in Iraq.
- SYRIA: Israeli fighter planes struck Syrian and Iranian targets late Sunday night and early Monday morning, according to an IDF spokesman. The attack was in retaliation to a missile launched by Iranian forces, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome.
- UNITED KINGDOM: Prime Minister Theresa May will consider amending the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland, as part of her “Plan B” Brexit deal. The plan must be presented to Parliament on Monday.
- GUATEMALA: About 500 Hondurans reached Tecún Umán, on the border of Guatemala and Mexico, as part of a new caravan hoping to reach the U.S. President Trump, meanwhile, continued to demand funding for a wall to keep them out.
- CHINA: Coming as no tremendous surprise to analysts, China announced its economy grew at 6.6% in 2018, the lowest official pace in 28 years. The announcement comes amid Beijing’s ongoing trade dispute with the United States, its largest trading partner.
- CONGO: In a surprise move Thursday, the Southern African Development Community abandoned calls for a recount in the disputed Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election. Their decision to back opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi’s victory indicates a delicate balancing act for the 16-member bloc.
- PREVIOUS: International Roundup: Kurds, Canada, Congo, Caracas
- President Trump on Saturday offered to extend protections from deportation for some undocumented immigrants in the U.S., particularly those fleeing violent Central American countries, in exchange for a requested $5.7 billion to build the southern border wall.
- Before Trump announced the proposal Saturday, Democratic leaders rejected it as inadequate or even “unacceptable” as details emerged in media reports.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised he would bring the plan to a vote in Republican-controlled chamber by the end of the week, forcing members to take a public stand on the new plan. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House that work on the plan would start in Congress on Tuesday.
- “Our immigration system should be a source of pride … not a source of shame as it is all over the world,” Trump said in his plea. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted, “What we didn’t hear from the President was any sympathy for the federal workers who face so much uncertainty because of the chaos of the #TrumpShutdown.”
- The proposal capped a week of escalating clashes between the president and Mrs. Pelosi, who has refused to consider money for a border wall. After she withdrew her invitation for Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address, the president blocked Mrs. Pelosi and a congressional delegation from traveling on a military plane to visit U.S. troops Afghanistan.
Naglaa Mokhtar Younis Mohamed Azzab Morgan, the wife of Los Angeles Businessman David Lee Morgan, has been undergoing unfair and severe torture by the Egyptian government since August 19, 2018.
Naglaa Mokhta is a very famous preacher in Egypt and the co-founder of Eye Witness Human Right Activists and International Law. Prior to being taken hostage, Naglaa Mokhtar has been devoted to helping women and children in need. On August 19, 2018, at approximately 3:40pm, while waiting for a flight with her husband, David Lee Morgan of 150W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90015, Naglaa was arrested by the Egyptian police who are said to be carrying out an order of the Egyptian President, Al-Sisi.
They seized her passport without arrest warrant of any sort or a judge’s order. “Our flight on Nile Airline was cancelled by Egyptian Immigration Offers for no apparent reason, I believe, other than to harass my wife because we are human right activists” said David Lee Morgan.
The human right activist, who himself is a US citizen, immediately called and also mailed the American Citizen Service section of the Embassy of the United States of America in Cairo, Egypt and reported the details of the event that occurred at the Cairo airport.
- A senior Department of Justice official says he repeatedly and specifically told top officials at the FBI and DOJ that the dossier by Christopher Steele was biased and his employer Fusion GPS’ had conflicts of interest, information they kept hidden from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
- These conversations involved high-level officials, including some who are now senior officials in the special counsel probe. And the conversations began taking place in the earliest days of August 2016, much earlier than previously revealed to congressional investigators seeking to learn the facts about the FBI’s decision to spy on the Trump campaign.
- One former federal prosecutor says the FBI was conducting a probe to try to make a criminal case on Trump. He says because they did not have solid evidence of a crime, they did it under counterintelligence authority rather than criminal authority – calculating that the cover of probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election would enable them to keep investigating while they tried to tighten up the obstruction case or find some other criminal offense.
- The FBI, however, used as the bulk of evidence information from the dossier to obtain a secret warrant to spy on short-term Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, according to a Congressional investigation.
- Under questioning from U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker revealed “that in May 2017, political bias infected senior FBI leadership, and emotion — not evidence — drove their decision making,” according to Ratcliffe.
- One danger in the what the FBI apparently did is that it implies that the unelected domestic intelligence bureaucracy holds itself as the ultimate arbiter—over and above the elected president who is the constitutional face of U.S. intelligence and national security authority—about what actions do and don’t serve the national security interests of the United States.
- If the FBI can open up a secret counterintelligence investigation of the president based on its belief that his actions threaten national security, it would chill controversial presidential foreign policy actions that the Constitution says are solely the president’s decisions to make.
- However, many Americans still believe the actions of law enforcement officials were justified because they became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.
- SYRIA: President Trump threatened to “devastate Turkey economically,” if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria, upon the Americans’ withdrawal. Trump also pushed for the creation of a safe zone for the Kurds, without mentioning any other details.
- GREECE: A deal to end a decades-long naming dispute between Macedonia and Greece has thrown the latter’s government into chaos. One of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ coalition partners announced their withdrawal ahead of parliamentary elections in October.
- CANADA: Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland welcomed 18-year old Saudi refugee Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to Canada, as she arrived in Toronto on Saturday. Alqunun captured international attention, and thousands of Twitter followers, by resisting deportation in a Bangkok hotel room.
- CONGO: The Southern African Development Community is urging the creation of a unity government in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after long-delayed presidential elections ended in dispute. Two opposition leaders, Felix Tshisekedi and Martin Fayulu both insist they won.
- VENEZUELA: Opposition leader Juan Guaido had a simple message for followers and opponents Sunday, after being briefly detained by intelligence agents: “Here we are! We are not afraid!” Guaido was dramatically pulled from his car while driving from the capital, Caracas.
- PREVIOUS: International Roundup: Bongo, Belgade, Beijing, Bolsonaro
- After numerous withdrawals and delays, Tuesday appears to be D-Day for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Her agreement with the European Union will almost certainly be defeated in the long-awaited “meaningful vote” in the House of Commons.
- Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition Labour Party, is expected to table a dramatic vote of no confidence in May’s government within hours of the expected defeat. If passed, it would force an early general election.
- Less than a week before the meaningful vote, May’s government suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Commons by a vote of 308-297. If May’s agreement goes down, she will be forced to present a new one within three days.
- Meanwhile, police have advised retailers to consider hiring extra security, should a no-deal Brexit lead to panic buying by consumers. Contingency planners are concerned disruption of ports caused by a hard Brexit could lead to shortages of goods.
- On the other side of the isle, in Thanet, reports of “Project Fear” are met with laughter by a population that can’t wait to get on with it. Put bluntly, one resident of the port town of Ramsgate said, “no deal is fine.”
- The ongoing partial government shutdown entered its 22nd day Friday, officially becoming the longest in American history. The previous record was 21 days, between President Clinton and the Republican Congress, lasting from December 1995 to January 1996.
- Government workers have resorted to shopping at discount stores and selling their things on Facebook Marketplace while bracing for their first missed paycheck on Friday. Some 800,000 are working without pay or being furloughed as the shutdown continues.
- Conservative Republicans in Congress are privately warning President Trump not to try to declare an emergency to build his border wall. Members of the House Freedom caucus are worried both about the protracted legal battle and the precedent for a future Democratic president.
- The current turmoil in Washington has also caught the attention of credit rating agencies. Should the shutdown last until March, it could prevent Congress from raising the debt ceiling. Fitch warns that could cost the United States its AAA credit rating.
- Game theorists have long studied the sort of dilemma currently confounding Pennsylvania Avenue. So, who is to blame for the shutdown? According to FiveThirtyEight, we are. We, the voters, are watching, which alters the bargainers’ incentives.
Shara issued the following statement to Communal News:
My name is Shara Cumins and I have pain and suffering on my heart….. My 11 month year daughter is currently in foster care do to a bad decision I choice to make to support my family….. I am currently facing charges but not yet convicted of drug trafficking….. I was on the road with my daughter as I was being stopped by the police and I was currently arrested and they took my child into custody in Oklahoma….. True enough I had marijuana in the car almost 100 pounds but my daughter does not need to suffer behind my actions…. My family amd friends was not contacted to come and get my child nor was I giving time to come and get my child from DHS custody….
- GABON: Shots were fired Monday morning in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, as military officers attempted an apparent coup Monday morning. A group calling itself the Patriotic Movement of the Defense and Security Forces of Gabon seized state radio and announced their dissatisfaction with ailing President Ali Bongo.
- SYRIA: During a four-day trip to Israel, national security advisor John Bolton announced the US would only withdraw troops from Syria with assurances that Turkey would not attack America’s Kurdish allies. There is no timetable for such a withdrawal, Bolton added.
- SERBIA: Thousands of people took to the streets of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, to protest President Aleksandar Vucic and his right-wing Serbian Progressive Party on Saturday. The protests were sparked by the assault of opposition politician Borko Stefanovic by unknown assailants in November.
- CHINA: American and Chinese officials will begin talks aimed at resolving their trade war on Monday. They are the first formal meeting since the two sides agreed to a 90-day truce in Argentina. Skepticism, however, remains as to whether any breakthrough can be achieved in Beijing.
- BRAZIL: President Jair Bolsonaro defended the deployment of 300 troops to the northeastern state of Ceara, which has been ravaged by gang violence. It is providing the first test of his right-wing administration, which was inaugurated New Year’s Day.
- PREVIOUS: International Roundup: China, Channel, Congo, Colombia
- Nancy Pelosi become the first person since Sam Rayburn in 1955 to regain the Speakership, as the new 116th Congress was sworn in on Thursday. The Democrats retook the House after eight years in opposition, but Republicans increased their majority in the Senate.
- The new Congress will include a record number of women, and be the most racially and religiously diverse in American history. The vast majority of such gains came from House Democrats, although Republican Marsha Blackburn will serve as Tennessee’s first woman senator.
- Democrats face long odds at accomplishing much of their ambitious agenda, with the White House and Senate still Republican. However, they did pass a number of sweeping rules changes, and seated new committee chairs— who will now have subpoena power.
- One of Speaker Pelosi’s first official acts was to invite President Trump to deliver the annual State of the Union address on January 29. With no end in sight to the current funding impasse, it is quite possible that by that date, the government will still be shut down.
- Meanwhile, Senate Republicans’ top priority is likely to be confirming more of President Trump’s judicial nominees. The upper chamber already moved at breakneck speed over the last year, outpacing the last five presidents.
- Two full weeks (and one new Congress) after the federal government entered a partial shut down, neither congressional Democrats nor the Trump administration seem any closer to a deal. Instead, both sides dug in their positions on whether or not to provide $5 billion for President Trump’s border wall.
- At a press conference in the Rose Garden on Friday, the president confirmed a threat made to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer to keep the government closed for “months or even years.” He also hinted at using emergency powers to bypass congress and build the wall.
- The Transportation Security Administration insists an increase in employees calling in sick since the shut down began is having “minimal impact” on the agency. This was in response to a CNN report that mass call-outs by personnel forced to work without pay had affected four major airports.
- The shutdown is also having adverse effects on everyone’s favorite government agency, the Internal Revenue Service. Tax refunds may be delayed, questions may not be answered, and those requiring proof of income for loans may not be able to receive transcripts.
- Will the Democrats cave, or will President Trump declare victory and leave? Politico Magazine sat down with eleven analysts across the political spectrum to collect their thoughts on how we got here, and how we might get out.
- CHINA: Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Donald Trump of the United States remain optimistic about a possible trade deal between their two countries. The two spoke on the phone Saturday, and hope to reach a deal during the 90-day ceasefire period, which was announced at the G-20 summit.
- BRITAIN: Home Secretary Sajid Javid agreed to a joint action plan with French counterpart Christophe Castaner to tackle a rise of migrants trying to reach Britain in small boats. Some 220 people have attempted to cross the English Channel since November.
- CONGO: Long-delayed presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo are underway. Voters in the capital, Kinshasa, braved torrential rain, long delays, and broken machines to participate in what might be the first peaceful transfer of power in the nation’s history.
- VENEZUELA: The Venezuelan government announced it is willing to investigate a plot to assassinate Colombian President Ivan Duque, involving three of its nationals. Relations between the neighboring countries— and the leaders personally— have been tense.
- BANGLADESH: Bangladesh’s leading lady, Sheikh Hasina, won a third term as Prime Minister Sunday, amid widespread claims of vote-rigging. Seventeen people were killed across the country as the vote took place.
- PREVIOUS: International Roundup: Detain, Delay, Defeat, Defect
- Facing the toughest test of his political career, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections this week, to take place on April 9. Both his party, Likud, and his current coalition partners hold substantial leads in current polling.
- Netanyahu’s closest rival might be former Chief of the General Staff, Benny Gantz, who formed a new party on Thursday. Resilience, as it is called, remains ideologically ambiguous, but could hypothetically lead a fractured left bloc with fifteen seats.
- Meanwhile, two former ministers in the current government, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, formed their own party on Friday. The New Right is, in Bennett’s words, “right-wing, no buts and no sort-of’s.”
- Ultimately, the Prime Minister’s real opposition is Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, now expected to wait until after the election to announce any possible indictments against Netanyahu. To do otherwise, Likud hopes, would draw parallels to former FBI Director James Comey.
- For supporters of the Prime Minister, the choice is an easy one, between the State of Israel and the Deep State. The question is not, as Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post opines, whether Mandelblit’s decisions will impact Netanyahu’s ability to win the elections, but how they “will impact Netanyahu’s ability to govern in accordance with the will of the voters.”
- The partial shutdown of the federal government entered its second week Saturday, with no apparent end in sight and both sides effectively dug in. Congress stands adjourned until New Year’s Eve, and President Trump remains at the White House.
- Some 380,000 federal employees on furlough and 420,000 working without pay are also bracing for a long shutdown. To that end, the Office of Personnel Management tweeted out sample letters for federal employees to send to creditors, mortgage companies, and landlords.
- Despite fears to the contrary, Coast Guard members will still receive paychecks on New Year’s Eve. The short-term solution for active duty members, reservists, and retirees was agreed upon by the Trump administration, Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard.
- Why did the Democrats shut down a quarter of the federal government to stop Trump’s wall? Because, as Deroy Murdock of National Review opines, Trump loves it. “They hate Trump’s guts more than they love America.”
- If conservatives really wanted a wall, writes Vox’s Matthew Yglesias, they would offer something Democrats would want in return. However, the core truth of the standoff, he says, is that immigration hardliners don’t see the wall as a good idea, and thus, won’t trade it for anything.
- CANADA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has continued to call for the release of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, detained in China in response to the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. Beijing promised retaliation after Meng was arrested at U.S. request.
- FRANCE: President Emmanuel Macron says he deeply regrets his American counterpart’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria. “To be allies is to fight shoulder to shoulder,” Macron said on a visit to French troops in Chad. France is a key part of the coalition, and will remain in Syria.
- BELGIUM: King Filip of Belgium accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel on Friday. The meeting was necessitated by the withdrawal of Michel’s Flemish nationalist coalition partners, the N-VA, over the UN’s Migration Compact. A caretaker government will be in place until regularly-scheduled elections in May.
- DR CONGO: Members of the opposition are furious after the electoral commission announced a weeklong delay to presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC election body said the delay was necessary after last week’s warehouse fire destroyed voting materials.
- CUBA: Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association announced a major agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation on Wednesday, aimed at stemming the smuggling of Cuban players. The agreement faces an uncertain legal future with the Trump administration.
- PREVIOUS: International Roundup: Climate, Coalitions, Comrades and Cease-Fire
- The shockwaves from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ surprise resignation Thursday continued to reverberate across the political establishment in to the weekend. In a letter, the outgoing secretary cited policy and viewpoint differences with President Trump.
- Thoughts of Mattis’ replacement quickly united around a common theme: senators want a defense secretary who will challenge and contain the president’s isolationist views. “I’d like a Mattis clone. I think we all would,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) summed up.
- Taking to his favorite platform, President Trump tweeted Saturday that he gave Mattis a second chance, after President Obama “ingloriously fired” him. Regarding their apparent difference of opinion, he added that “allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.”
- Mattis’ resignation is proof, says Eliot Cohen in The Atlantic, that you can’t have it all. “In the end, he could not do his job and serve the country as he knew it had to be served. No one could.”
- Writing for Fox News, Jim Hanson asserts that the secretary of defense, like all other subordinates, must support the president’s policies. “It is one thing to have a ‘team of rivals,'” he argues. “It is unacceptable for the president to be prevented from leading the nation by Cabinet members not on board with his agenda.”