BLOWBACK BLASTS: ZIMBABWE AND ETHIOPIA

Both men took power only recently. Both come from within the broken authoritarian systems they promise to fix. And both — Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (pictured above) — were apparently targeted for death last weekend.


In Zimbabwe, a bomb exploded inches from Mr. Mnangagwa during a campaign rally. “It is not my time,” he said. (We’ve written backgrounders hereand here on Mnangagwa, nicknamed the Crocodile, who once survived attempted assassination by ice cream.)

Who did it? Ahead of what could be Zimbabwe’s first remotely fair elections in decades, the field of suspects is wide. Some within the ruling ZANU-PF party hate Mnangagwa because he toppled long-serving strongman Robert Mugabe last November — and because he’s pledged to open the system in ways that threaten them. Opposition supporters hate him because he was once Mugabe’s enforcer, the head of his ruthless security service. The attack on Mnangagwa took place in the city of Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold, but the near miss suggests it might have been an inside job.

In Ethiopia, someone lobbed a grenade at Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as he addressed tens of thousands at a rally in Addis Ababa in support of his reform plans. Two were killed and more than one hundred injured.

The youthful Mr. Abiy took power in April after months of riots against government repression left hundreds dead. Since then, Abiy has lifted a state of emergency, begun a nationwide listening tour to ease ethnic tensions, released thousands of political prisoners, pledged to privatize struggling state companies, and signaled agreement on a long-frozen deal to formally end the war with neighboring Eritrea.

It’s still more talk than action, but the promises themselves are big news in one of Africa’s most historically repressive regimes.

Now, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia sit 2,500 miles apart. They are very different countries with different strengths, burdens, and political histories. But they have this in common: each has a new leader who promises big changes to a deeply entrenched authoritarian system. And each man has enemies who want to see him dead.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

What do people think is driving the stock market's recent record high gains?


Well, there's really no precise answer, but analysts point to several factors. So, number one is strong third quarter earnings. Companies have reported stronger than expected results so far this season. The second is the jobs market. You saw the October jobs numbers exceed economists' expectations. And the third is the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates three times this year. That lowers borrowing costs for consumers and businesses and encourages them to spend more.

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In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 220 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least 19 Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

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