A Joint Effort
November 22, 2021
The Good News
- Ohio State has a plan to erase student loan debt (NPR)
- Monarch butterflies return to California after a year of record low numbers (WaPo, $)
“Don’t make election popularity largely a matter of which candidate hires the most creative and effective propagandists. Insist that it be, instead, a running conversation with the public.” — Ron Howard
Elections Heating Up In Chile
Chile has been embroiled in civil unrest and protests for nearly two years, beginning in 2019 with protests that saw millions of people taking to the streets in defiance of social and economic disparities. Coronavirus restrictions were the only thing that helped calm the crowds, and while protests fizzled, their displeasure did not. Last year, the country voted overwhelmingly to elect an assembly to write a new constitution. This week, voters will choose a new leader for the country, and the two front-runners could not be more different from one another.
On the one hand, voters can choose Gabriel Boric, a 35-year-old progressive who organized protests in 2011 to demand better and cheaper higher education for all. Now, he runs on a platform that promises to overhaul General Augusto Pinochet’s economic model. Boric says, “There are lots of things we want to change about the current model: the total privatisation of social rights, the triumph of individualism over cooperation, and a development model based on the extraction of natural resources.” Boric wants to make Chile more inclusive, decentralized, sustainable, and to make the citizens more participatory. He says that the idea of the “Chilean miracle” wasn’t actually for everyone — “when you talk to people in low-income neighbourhoods, they will look around and ask you where this progress can actually be found.”
Boric’s competition is José Antonio Kast, a far-right proponent of Pinochet’s dictatorship and of the status quo. Kast has said he considers himself to be politically incorrect, is a strict Catholic, and opposes marriage equality and abortion. His old-fashioned and unwavering views appeal to those who want a firm hand after two years of unpredictability. The candidates are currently almost tied (though Kast has a slight lead), but neither looks in great shape to cross the 50% threshold needed to win, which will result in a runoff election in December to decide who takes over for President Sebastián Piñera in March 2022.
Five other candidates remain in the field, including two moderates who will likely split the centrist vote. Yasna Provoste, the only female candidate, and Sebastián Sichel, who has regained some faith after a couple of recent gaffes by Kast in the waning days of campaigning. The remaining candidates make up quite a cast of characters. There’s Eduardo Artés the communist, a primary school teacher, and Marco Enríquez-Ominami, who has run for the presidency four times but never made the second round. Rounding it out is Franco Parisi, a businessman who has spent his candidacy in the United States as he owes his ex-wife a significant amount of child support that he would have to pay when he returns to Chile. (Guardian)
Protests Of Violence Against Women Erupt In France
- On Saturday, tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets of France calling for increased government protections for women facing violence. The protests came as French women began speaking out more about the violence they face in French society.
- Increased dialogue on the subject of gender-based violence has the French public outraged as more and more women have shared stories of other women killed by their partners, as well as the sexual harassment and abuse they face as women.
- Some advocacy groups state that at least 101 women have been killed by current or ex-partners this year in France, and a national study showed that over 220,000 women suffered physical or sexual abuse in 2017. Protestors are calling upon President Macron to expand government spending to fight this, asking for 1 billion euros annually, up from the 360 million euros the government spends on such programs now. (Al Jazeera)
Sudan Change Of Plans
- On Sunday, a month after he was placed on house arrest by a military coup, Sudan’s formerly deposed prime minister Abdalla Hamdok signed a deal with the military reinstating him to his former office. The deal, announced on Sudan’s state TV channel, places Hamdok at the helm of an independent technocratic Cabinet, which will act as an interim government under the oversight of the military until elections are held.
- The military coup that removed Hamdok from his position was met by widespread backlash, both domestically and internationally. Hamdok’s government itself was just about two years old at the time of the coup, instituted after an uprising ousted Omar al-Bashir and his autocratic government. At least 15 people were killed in anti-coup demonstrations last week, and unnamed sources within the military and government stated that both the U.N. and U.S. were involved in this deal. (Associated Press)
Additional World News
- China downgrades diplomatic ties with Lithuania over Taiwan (Reuters)
- Israeli Is Killed by Palestinian Militant Near Holiest Site in Jerusalem (NYT, $)
- Blinken says U.S. investing in Africa without unsustainable debt (Reuters)
- Palestinian carries out deadly shooting in Jerusalem (WaPo, $)
- Poland says Belarus has changed tactics on border crisis (Guardian)
- Ukraine’s doctors pushed to the limit by COVID-19 wave (AP)
- Two of 17 Kidnapped Missionaries in Haiti Are Freed, Group Says (NYT, $)
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- Starting our Thanksgiving week off with a bang, Georgia authorities are searching for a man who fled Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after a gun in his luggage was discharged at a security checkpoint on Saturday. According to police, the gun was in the bag of one Kenny Wells, a convicted felon. TSA’s federal security director for Georgia stated that Wells’ luggage was flagged for a secondary search after a “prohibited item” was detected.
- During this search, Wells lunged for the bag, removing his firearm and discharging it before escaping. While nobody was injured by the gun itself, the gunshots caused chaos at the airport. Flights were temporarily grounded, people pushed over dividers, and some even boarded planes they didn’t have tickets to in order to escape the possibility of being shot. The chaos left three people with non-life-threatening injuries in its aftermath.
- This incident came just before Thanksgiving week and after TSA screened 2.2 million people last Friday, a peak since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, despite COVID-19’s impact on travel, the TSA has also found 4,650 guns in travelers’ luggage in the first 10 months of 2021, up from the previous full-year record of 4,432 guns found in 2019. The majority of firearms found were loaded. (CNN)
A Joint Effort
- In an interesting turn of events, Republicans are pushing for marijuana legalization as polls reveal that half of Republican voters support it. Both the state and federal levels are pushing for legalization, with Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina leading the charge with her introduction of a bill last week.
- Mace pointed out that nearly three-quarters of Americans support legalization, a rare moment of bipartisan support for the country. While this could encourage legalization across the country, it also takes away a defining platform of the Democratic party ahead of midterm elections to excite voters. Republican attempts at legalization advocate for lower taxes than Democrats, and less regulation, though they still include expunging records of nonviolent offenses.
- Mace has managed to include the hands-off approach to lawmaking that Republicans love, and the criminal justice reform that Democrats love. Mace will have to overcome the deeply-entrenched opposition in the Republican party, but she’s making strides Democrats have attempted to do for years. (Politico)
Additional USA News
- Democrats worry inflation could imperil agenda and congressional majorities (Guardian)
- Coast Guard investigating reports of an oil sheen near area of October’s oil spill off southern California coast (CNN)
- How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy (NYT, $)
- Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty after fatally shooting two in Kenosha unrest (Guardian)
- McCarthy delays Dems vote, victory lap (Politico)
- Police report ‘some fatalities’ after more than 20 people were injured when a driver plowed through a Wisconsin Christmas parade (CNN)
- 3 arrested after dozens ransack a Nordstrom store near San Francisco, police say (CNN)
A Monetary Lapse In Judgement
- This might be the only time anyone’s ever wished they had been in rush hour traffic in Southern California. On Friday morning, California Highway Patrol started getting 911 calls from drivers reporting wads of cash floating on the breeze near Carlsbad on I-5.
- An armored truck somehow “dropped” cash onto the freeway, which caused major backups as motorists got out of their vehicles to gather up whatever they could grab. CHP is being assisted in the investigation by the FBI, who said many people returned the cash to officers on the scene — but not everyone.
- In a joint statement, they requested that drivers “do the right thing” and turn in the money they stole. Luckily for law enforcement, but unlucky for the newly-richer, many people were posting videos to social media of the frenzy, which means images of the people and their license plates are up for grabs. (NBC)
- ‘SNL’ has Judge Jeanine go over the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict and a chat with Donald Trump (CNN)
- A Canadian Teen Was Arrested in a $36.5M SIM-Swap Heist (Wired)
- Vietnam welcomes 1st tourists to resort island after 2 years (ABC)
- Body Language Pseudoscience Is Flourishing on YouTube (Wired)
- India police charge Amazon execs in alleged marijuana smuggling case (Reuters)
- Tiger Woods shows off his golf swing in new video following February car crash (NPR)
- Surprising New Information on How Salt Affects Blood Flow in the Brain (SciTechDaily)
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