Not Exactly a Fresh Face in Malaysia

It’s not often that you look to a 92-year old former strongman as the best hope for positive political change in a corrupted system, but that’s exactly what’s happening right now in Malaysia.


As the country heads for general elections tomorrow, the popular former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was born when Calvin Coolidge was the US president, is leading the opposition against the current prime minister, Najib Razak, who is fighting to hold onto power amid a massive corruption scandal and flagging popular support.

Mahathir, as a reminder, ruled Malaysia from 1981 until 2003 with a strong hand — jailing opponents, cracking down on the press, and railing against the West. He oversaw an economic miracle in the country, and he famously defied the IMF in 1998, imposing capital controls rather than accepting austerity measures during the Asian financial crisis — the IMF later admitted that he’d gotten it right.

Now after several years out of the political limelight, he is partnering with people he once jailed, taking on a man who was once his protégé, and seeking to knock his old party out of power for the first time since Malaysia’s independence.

Most observers think Najib will squeak out a victory — lavish spending, nationalist rhetoric, and jerrymandering will all help. But Mahathir is set to give him a stiff challenge. We’ll wait for the results on Thursday morning. Irrespective of the outcome, Malaysians seeking a new generation of leaders may still have to wait a bit longer than that.

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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