The Malaysia Surprise

We’d love to tell you that Tuesday Signal author Alex Kliment profiled 92-year-old Mahathir Mohammad earlier this week because we knew he was about to be elected Malaysia’s next prime minister. Not quite. But we certainly suspected this was a story worth your time, whatever the election outcome. As it happens, Mahathir won, and the ruling party has been voted out for the first time in independent Malaysia’s 61-year history.

There are many ways to look at the outcome, but for now we’ll focus on this: This is another country where voters moved a seemingly immovable object, a coalition with a decades-long stranglehold on Malaysia’s politics, in favor of something new.

Mahathir is no fresh face. He created modern Malaysian politics. But he has promised to pass power to opposition leader, and former nemesis, Anwar Ibrahim, who awaits release from prison next month and a chance to win a seat in parliament via a special election.

That political handover, if and when it happens, will be even more interesting than this one.

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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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