No Cong-Rest For The Wicked
November 30, 2021
The Good News
- Lush CEO: ‘Happy to Lose’ $13M by Deleting Social Media Accounts (Business Insider)
- In French Pantheon, Josephine Baker makes history yet again (AP)
“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.” — Joseph Conrad
“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” — Theodore Roosevelt
A Country Under (Hon)Duress
On Monday, the vote for Honduras’ new president was inexplicably paused for hours, leaving the country in a lurch during a hugely important election. Hondurans are increasingly attempting to leave the country amid violence and economic strife, and while the election may have the ability to change the course of the country’s future, many analysts say that deeply ingrained corruption will prevent any major changes from taking place.
President Juan Orlando Hernández has held the office for eight years, but the left-leaning opposition party has the first chance to take power since 2009, when a coup removed President Manuel Zelaya. The last election was full of irregularities, so the National Party hopes that this election will help them to restore some faith from the citizens. President Joe Biden also hopes that the elections provide a much-needed boost to his approval ratings, as he’s struggled with two key points of his foreign policy agenda — stemming the tide of immigration and repairing corruption in Central America.
The candidates are Nasry Asfura, 63, and Xiomara Castro, 62. Asfura is a former businessman, has served as a mayor for seven years, and is regularly referred to as “Papi” (which means “daddy). He represents the National Party, but despite trying to market himself with the slogan “Daddy is Different,” he has been plagued by corruption claims and embezzlement rumors. His platform is job creation and fixing the economy, and he argues that his opponent is a Communist committed to destroying the country.
Castro, who is married to ousted former President Zelaya, would be the country’s first woman president. On Monday afternoon, before the vote was stalled, she held a nearly 20-point lead with over half the ballots counted. Castro wants to reestablish a relationship with China, make abortion more accessible, overhaul the constitution, get U.N. support for fighting corruption, and manage the country’s $13 billion debt. She’s won the support of other political parties and the business sector.
Castro’s victory sounds like a fairy tale, but this election cycle has been unbelievably dangerous, as almost 30 candidates, activists, and their relatives have been killed leading up to Sunday’s election, almost double the violence seen four years ago during the last cycle. Experts say that the violence occurred on both sides of the aisle, but it is more likely to benefit the National Party, with people fearful of exercising their right to vote amidst the danger. (NYT, $, Reuters)
Hot-Headed Down Under
- Authorities have charged a 31-year old woman with arson after she set fire to her quarantine hotel room in Queensland, Australia. Police reports state that the fire started around 7am under a bed in her room, which led to the evacuation of the 163 occupants of the Pacific Hotel.
- No injuries were reported, though the hotel sustained “significant damage.” The woman was staying in the hotel with her two children, who are currently being looked after by the police, and the arsonist is expected to appear in a local court.
- Australia, like many countries during the pandemic, has a 14-day quarantine rule for travelers from overseas. The pandemic measures are being heavily protested across the continent, which has resulted in incidents similar to this hotel fire in addition to public protests in the streets of major cities. (NYT, $)
- Barbados announced on Monday that “tonight’s the night,” referring to their intention to remove Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as their head of state to become a republic. Britain’s Prince Charles arrived on Sunday night to join the inauguration of President-elect Sandra Mason in replacement of Queen Elizabeth.
- Barbados is severing imperial ties nearly 400 years after English ships initially reached the Caribbean island. Barbados will remain a republic within the Commonwealth, a grouping of 54 countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe.
- Many rejoiced in the country’s decision. “I am happy. We are on our own now with no king or queen from England… This is the full drop after independence.” The last time the queen was removed as head of state was in 1992 when Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, proclaimed itself a republic. (Reuters)
Additional World News
- Taiwan says China military trying to wear it out, but it can respond (Reuters)
- Omicron COVID variant: “Reason to be worried,” but South African scientists feel punished for their good work (CBS)
- Covid-struck Czech President appoints new Prime Minister from inside a glass box (CNN)
- Macau casino shares fall after ‘illegal gambling’ arrests (BBC)
- Minus 10C Arctic blast predicted as Storm Arwen rages on (Guardian)
- Couple detained on plane after leaving Dutch quarantine (ABC)
- Duterte, Marcos and political dynasties in the Philippine presidential election (NPR)
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Celebs In Office Might Not Be Alright, Alright, Alright
- Breaking away from the company of Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Matthew McConaughey has officially decided against running for Texas governor after considering a bid for public office over the last two years. McConaughey had been pondering how to be most useful in his life, stating “One category of service I’ve been exploring is politics — I’ve been considering a run for governor of Texas.”
- However, on Monday, he released a video stating his new take on running for public office – “It’s a humbling and inspiring path to ponder. It’s also a path that I’m choosing not to take at this moment.” Instead, the Hollywood star stated, he would continue working as a private citizen to support “entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that I believe are leaders, establishments that I believe are creating pathways for people to succeed in life.” Throughout his time contemplating running for office, McConaughey never stated which party he might choose for his run for governor. (NBC)
No Cong-Rest For The Wicked
- Congress has quite the busy schedule heading down the home stretch of 2021. Once the legislature returns from their Thanksgiving holiday, they’re slated to face down a series of deadlines before the Christmas break. On the keeping-the-government-running side of things, Congress must first figure out how to keep the government funded by Friday. With neither party agreeing to a yearlong appropriations bill, we might see a temporary funding measure passed to push back that deadline.
- Speaking of deadlines, the last day the government can raise the debt ceiling is December 15. Spending past the ceiling could make the U.S. government default on its loans and trigger a recession. The ceiling was raised in the short term last month, but a more permanent solution still needs to be implemented.
- The House passed a $778 billion Pentagon policy bill, and the Senate must also pass the bill by the end of the year. Finally, the Biden administration’s $1.7 trillion Build Back Better Act is also on the docket. While the bill has passed in the House, it needs to be approved by the Senate as well, which will require all 50 Senate Democrats to approve it. This has proven a hard task before, and Republicans are reportedly expected to make the process even harder on Democrats by introducing amendments and cuts to the bill to sow more chaos in the Democrats’ ranks. (NBC)
Additional USA News
- “What happened on Jan. 6, Senator?” Dr. Fauci blasts Ted Cruz for threatening to put him in jail (Salon)
- DOJ prosecutors push back against Bannon for wanting to publicize evidence against him (CNN)
- Doug Emhoff, first Jewish spouse of a U.S. president or vice president, speaks at lighting of National Menorah (CBS)
- The Ghislaine Maxwell trial is about to begin. Here’s what to watch for (NPR)
- ‘They’re all begging me’: Trump’s 2024 veep tryouts get underway (Politico)
- Jill Biden unveils traditional White House holiday décor (The Hill)
- Carrie P. Meek, 5-Term Florida Representative, Dies at 95 (NYT, $)
- Picture this: you’ve gone to see your favorite band, Noasis, an Oasis cover band, play at a pub in the U.K., and then suddenly, you’re roommates. No, it’s not the beginning of a wacky romcom, it’s something that actually happened to a group of about 60 strangers on Friday evening. A storm rolled through Richmond, a town in North Yorkshire, and about three feet of snow fell and blocked the doors.
- The Tan Hill Inn served as home for three nights to those who were told by local authorities that it wasn’t safe to drive. The band members and seven employees joined the patrons in watching movies, playing games, and in some cases, sleeping on the floor of the pub. A group of off-roaders rescued some parents to get them home to their children, and one man was taken out due to a medical condition, but everyone else seemed mostly content to stay.
- By Monday evening, almost everyone had left the pub thanks to a snowplow that cleared the way on Monday morning. The inn’s general manager, Nicola Townsend, said two women who still weren’t comfortable driving in the conditions stayed another night. Townsend also said that “because we’ve had such a good time meeting new friends, getting to know new people,” the goodbyes on Monday were rather emotional. She also said that even with nowhere to be and essentially unfettered access, patrons weren’t “getting loud and drunk.” (NYT, $)
- Disney is streaming ‘The Simpsons’ in Hong Kong without the Tiananmen Square episode (CNN)
- Vaccine: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year follows 1,048% rise in searches (Guardian)
- Peruvian mummy at least 800 years old found by archeologists in Lima (CNN)
- Fruit galore: Thai monkey festival returns as tourists come back (Reuters)
- ‘It’s critical’: can Microsoft make good on its climate ambitions? (Guardian)
- Football field-sized asteroid to approach Earth on Monday night, one of several in the coming weeks (USA Today)
- World’s first living and self-replicating robots reproduce like Pac-Man (CNN)
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