What the Story Tells You: Pyongyang Airplane Edition

One of the biggest obstacles to getting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to attend a summit with US President Donald Trump is — quite literally getting Kim to the summit with Donald Trump. The North Korean leader’s Soviet-era plane, you see, can’t fly more than a few thousand miles without an undignified refueling stop. And borrowing a ride, meanwhile, wouldn’t sit well with Kim’s paranoia or his pride.


But the plight of the North Korean leader’s sky-jalopy actually illustrates a few important things about Kim’s preoccupations as he prepares for summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday and, provided a location can be found, President Trump himself.

What Kim needs: Kim’s rattletrap airplane (the Soviet-built IL-62 was designed in the 1960s and produced only until 1995) is a reflection of North Korea’s economic backwardness and isolation. That’s no Dreamliner in Kim’s parking lot. But now that he’s built up North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Kim has pledged to increase living standards for his people — going so far as to suggest that economic development is now his primary goal. Economic development means better airplanes, for one thing.

What he fears: The plane isn’t up to snuff in part because the Kim family notoriously hates flying, preferring instead to trundle across the Asian landmass in a massive bulletproof train. Why? Fear. More than anything else, the Kim dynasty worries about violent overthrow. Air travel tempts fate with accidents, sabotage, or surface-to-air missiles. Just as being without nuclear weapons tempts fate with invasions, regime change, or air-to-surface missiles.

All of that still leaves open the question of where, exactly, the summit will be. Send us your thoughts on what the best place is and why. You aren’t limited to national capitals, dry land, or even planet earth.

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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