What they’re thankful for

Tomorrow, millions of people will gather around dining tables across the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving – a day traditionally reserved for food, football, and reflecting on life's blessings. There'll be turkey and stuffing. And pie. But also: political conversations with relatives. To get you ready, we've imagined what some of the most important world leaders are thankful for this year:


Donald Trump: Mueller, the Ukraine scandal, impeachment proceedings. It's been a miserable year. Ok? Thankfully the economy is very, very strong – unemployment near 50-year lows, and just look at the stock market. Record highs! Senate Republicans will never vote to impeach me with the economy humming like this. So much to be grateful for, America! All thanks to me. You're welcome! Enjoy!

Vladimir Putin: On New Year's Eve I will mark 20 years in power in Russia. I am thankful to have made Russia great again after the humiliation by the West in the 1990s. I'm grateful for the internet and social media, which help me sow confusion and undermine my rivals; but most of all, this year, for the US withdrawal from Syria, which has confirmed Russia's status as a major power broker in the Middle East.

Xi Jinping: Yes, my economy is slowing. Yes, Hong Kong is a mess. And those leaked files on Uighur detention camps are terrible for China's overseas image. But I'm still the country's most powerful leader since Mao, with an ability to invest and mobilize state resources that few, if any, Western leaders can match. Thank goodness for that.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Gratuitous Turkey reference on Thanksgiving, huh? Ok, I'll play. Like Vlad, I'm grateful that Trump withdrew those troops from Kurdish-controlled northern Syria: without that I'd never have been able to clear the buffer zone I need to resettle millions of Syrian refugees who are causing me political headaches.

Boris Johnson: I couldn't have asked for a weaker opponent in next month's general election than my friend, Jeremy Corbyn. Three years of Brexit omnishambles should have voters lining up to punish my Tory Party when they hit the polls on December 12, but the Labour leader's hard-left policies and fence-sitting on Brexit have given Remain voters a difficult choice. If I can maintain our comfortable lead in the polls, we'll be out of the EU, with a deal, by January. Then the real negotiations over the UK's future relationship with the EU can begin. Thanks, Jeremy!

Theresa May: I'm so thankful I no longer have to deal with this.

Carrie Lam: I'm thankful that once my term is up, or Beijing finally lets me resign, no one can force me to run for Hong Kong chief executive again. Staying in Hong Kong might be tough. Maybe I can apply for one of those new UK skills visas.

Mark Zuckerberg: Sorry, this content is not available to our community right now. This year Priscilla and I have decided we'll only be sharing what we are thankful for with a small group of family and friends in an encrypted WhatsApp chat.

This month, a bipartisan group of legislators in Washington state presented new legislation that could soon become the most comprehensive privacy law in the country. The centerpiece of this legislation, the Washington Privacy Act as substituted, goes further than the landmark bill California recently enacted and builds on the law Europeans have enjoyed for the past year and a half.

As Microsoft President Brad Smith shared in his blog post about our priorities for the state of Washington's current legislative session, we believe it is important to enact strong data privacy protections to demonstrate our state's leadership on what we believe will be one of the defining issues of our generation. People will only trust technology if they know their data is private and under their control, and new laws like these will help provide that assurance.

Read more here.

Let's be clear— the Middle East peace plan that the US unveiled today is by no means fair. In fact, it is markedly more pro-Israel than any that have come before it.

But the Trump administration was never aiming for a "fair" deal. Instead, it was pursuing a deal that can feasibly be implemented. In other words, it's a deal shaped by a keen understanding of the new power balances within the region and globally.

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Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, explains:

Do election years have an impact on the markets?

So, the short answer is it depends. There's lots of factors that affect the markets, right. But there are some trends. So, the S&P has had its best performance in the year before elections and the second-best performance on election year. Now since 1928, we've had 23 election years and the S&P has had negative returns only four times in that duration.

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For months now, the US has been lobbying countries around the world to ban the Chinese tech giant Huawei from building the 5G data networks that are going to power everything from your cell phone, to power grids, to self-driving cars. US security hawks say allowing a Chinese company to supply such essential infrastructure could allow the Chinese government to steal sensitive data or even sabotage networks. On the other hand, rejecting Huawei could make 5G more expensive. It also means angering the world's second-largest economy.

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The end of the interim in Bolivia? – Mere months after taking over as Bolivia's interim president, Jeanine Áñez has decided that "interim" isn't quite permanent enough, and she now wants to run for president in elections set for May 3. Áñez is an outspoken conservative who took over in October when mass protests over election fraud prompted the military to oust the long-serving left-populist Evo Morales. She says she is just trying to unify a fractious conservative ticket that can beat the candidate backed by Morales' party. (Morales himself is barred from running.) Her supporters say she has the right to run just like anyone else. But critics say that after promising that she would serve only as a caretaker president, Áñez's decision taints the legitimacy of an election meant to be a clean slate reset after the unrest last fall. We are watching closely to see if her move sparks fresh unrest in an already deeply polarized country.

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