Watching and Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Karl Marx’s birthday parties — Karl Marx turns 200 years old tomorrow. We’ll be watching to see how people around the world mark the occasion and, of course, what sorts of presents he gets. Happy birthday, Karl!


The Age of Fake Video — Signal has warned this moment would come sooner rather than later. A US Senate candidate in West Virginia is running a TV ad that shows a Republican campaign rival shaking hands with Hillary Clinton. This is a doctored image of the same man shaking hands with Donald Trump.

China’s View of Venezuela — For years, the crisis-plagued Venezuelan government has gotten by with a little help from its friends, particularly deep-pocketed China. Between 2007 and 2016, Chinese state-owned banks lent Venezuela $60 billion. Crude oil served as collateral. But Venezuela’s oil output isn’t what it used to be, and political paralysis has taken a toll. In 2017, Chinese banks offered no new loans. Last month, a two-year grace period on a remaining $19 billion debt to China expired.

Second acts in Iraqi life — Remember the Baghdad press conference in 2008 where an Iraqi reporter threw both his shoes at George W. Bush? Convicted of assault on a foreign leader, Muntader al-Zaidi called his nine months in prison a time of broken bones and teeth. Now he’s a candidate for Iraq’s parliament on the list of a multi-party alliance called “Marching Toward Reform.” He pledges that, if he wins a seat on May 12, he will “sweep away the thieves and corrupt people, prosecute those who steal Iraqi money, and stop public money being wasted.”

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

Math, apparently — Last week, I wrote that South Korean officials estimate their country is targeted by one North Korean hacking attempt every 17 seconds. I should have said 17 hacking attempts every one second. I regret underestimating North Korea’s capacity for cyber mischief… and my math mistake.

Your plan to invade Azerbaijan — Think you can take down Azerbaijan’s border force? Think again.

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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