Watching and Ignoring

What We're Watching

Corsica — Spain is not the only country with a potential separatist problem. French President Emmanuel Macron paid his first visit to Corsica this week to respond to demands for greater autonomy from increasingly ambitious nationalists on the island.


Korean Women’s Ice Hockey Team — The Winter Olympics are officially open, and one of the great stories of these games will be a women’s hockey team that brings together South and North Korean athletes for the first time. Forget politics. Forget medals. Forget your national team, at least in women’s hockey. They may not win a single contest, but these women are THE team to watch in Pyeongchang.

Other Animals That Can’t Fly — Last week, we told you about United Airlines’ refusal to allow a woman to board her flight with a large peacock she claimed she needed for “emotional support.” Now United is preparing a list of other animals that will not be allowed. The preliminary list includes hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles and “non-household birds.” Your Friday author will be watching to ensure his Support Llama is not included.

What We're Ignoring

Lembert Mende — In 2016, Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Joseph Kabila refused to step aside when his term of office ended. Violent street protests followed. This week, Kabila’s Minister of Communications, Lambert Mende, said that Kabila, in office since 2001, would not stand for re-election or try to select a successor who would protect his interests in a vote now scheduled for December. No offense, Mr. Mende, but we’ll need to hear this news directly from Joseph Kabila.

Pence in Pyeongchang — US Vice President says he plans to attend the Games to ensure that North Korea is unable to “hijack the messaging of the Olympics.” Is there anyone alive today on this planet who is capable of being charmed by Kim Jong-un but then guided by Mike Pence? No, there isn’t.

North Korean opinions about beer — North Korea’s state-run Taedonggang brewery has introduced a new beer which North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun says tastes and smells “better than existing beers” and has “already gained positive reviews from North Korean citizens.” Dear North Korea, we’ll cheer for your hockey players, but we aren’t going near your beer.

 

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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Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreements over sharing the cost of maintaining military readiness have caused friction between the alliance's members in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.