Modi's Electrifying Promise

When Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014, 40 million Indian homes (300 million people) had no electricity. Modi pledged to fix that. Given the remote locations in which so many Indians live, it’s a huge job. Last weekend, Modi declared victory.


But when you hear that India now has “universal electrification,” remember two things:

The bad news: Modi defines “universal connectivity” as the point at which at least 10 percent of households in every village have power. Despite claims of “mission accomplished,” 30 million homes still light the night with candles. Just 8 percent of villages are fully electrified. Others face daily blackouts.

The good news: More than 5 million homes have gained electricity since Modi arrived in office, and more than 18,000 villages have now gained some access to power. That’s a major step forward for an awful lot of people.

The bottom line: Political hype or historic achievement? Like everything else in politics, it depends on where you sit. In this case, your answer will probably depend on how you feel about Narendra Modi and whether your lights work. Call it a “promising work in progress.”

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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