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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, November 4, 2019, and this almost makes up for the playoffs. (Almost.)
BULLETIN: ISIS STRIKES AGAIN
• The Background
A brutal attack on an army post in northern Mali left 54 soldiers and one civilian dead — marking one of the most destructive attacks on Mali’s military in recent history. Shortly after the assault, ISIS claimed responsibility for the killings. The militant group has proudly declared its involvement in a number of attacks since U.S. troops killed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last weekend. The attack will likely lead to further tensions in the capital, Bamako, where families of victims have taken to the streets in protest of the terrorist group. NBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
The attack comes just after deadly jihadist raids in September that demonstrated the expanding power and sophistication of militant groups in the area. Mali’s military says they haven’t been properly protected on the ground as they continue to face attacks from jihadist groups. Many with ties to Al Qaeda and ISIS are based in Mali, and have spread themselves across the Sahel, moving to wreak havoc on Niger and Burkina Faso.
• What’s Next?
Since a jihadist insurgency spread into the north and centre of Mali in 2012, foreign troops and Mali’s own government have failed to regain control of multiple regions in the landlocked country.
• The Clashes Continue
Protests in Hong Kong that started in response to the now-shelved extradition bill are raging on, as demonstrators continue to demand full democracy and police accountability. Another day of chaotic unrest was capped off when a man went on a stabbing rampage, injuring five people, including a pro-democracy politician who had his ear bitten off. (Ew.) Riot police clashed with protestors as they erupted into flashmob rallies inside several shopping malls across the city. Multiple pro-democracy candidates for the district council have also been attacked during the last few months of protests. The Guardian
• U.S.: You Win Some, You Lose Some
We have good news and bad news for immigrants in the U.S.: President Donald Trump has approved a plan to dramatically drop the annual number of refugees taken in by the U.S. to a maximum of 18,000 in 2020. For perspective, during the Obama administration, the refugee ceiling was 85,000. But on the bright side, a federal judge blocked a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants to prove they can afford health insurance prior to getting visas. The rule, which was set to take effect yesterday, would have obstructed nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants. ABC News
• World: Polarizing Politics
Like Hong Kong, Ethiopia is also facing major unrest. Ongoing protests over the last month have racked up a death toll of at least 86 people. The clashes are between supporters of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and supporters of Jawar Mohammed, an independent media mogul and a staunch enemy of the country’s leader. The main trigger for the violence was a Facebook post by Mohammed, claiming that security forces attempted to orchestrate an attack against him. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission says that approximately 10 of the deaths in the last week alone were carried out by security forces. The Guardian
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There is a serious problem — similar to the climate emergency — with right-wing extremism right up the middle of society. “
– Max Aschenbach, a local councillor in Dresden, Germany, after the city declared a “Nazi emergency” due to years of extremist, right-wing activity in the region. CNN
• Alphabet’s Expanding
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is officially set to buy Fitbit for a cool US $2.1 billion, giving Apple a run for its money as the bigwigs of wearable fitness tech. The Friday announcement resulted in a 16% surge in Fitbit’s stock, following a 30% surge earlier in the week after rumours that Alphabet had made an offer began making the rounds. The deal is expected to close sometime in 2020. CNBC
• Airbnb Crackdown
A shooting at a Halloween party in an Airbnb rental in Northern California has prompted Airbnb Inc. to officially ban “party houses.” (And here we thought guns might be the problem. 😒) The shooting left five people dead and several of the 100 or so other party-goers wounded. CEO Brian Chesky said the company will be cracking down on so-called “high risk reservations” and creating a dedicated rapid response team that can take immediate action against users who violate company policies. (Maybe the company can look into this U.S.-wide scam next?) USA Toda
• Racing: Grand Prix Prize
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton is now the second most successful F1 driver ever, after claiming second place and his sixth world title in the US Grand Prix yesterday. The Mercedes team’s one-stop pit strategy for Hamilton was ultimately a losing gamble after his tires started fading in the final stretch, allowing his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, to overtake him for first, but Hamilton holds the top spot overall and is within spitting distance of world record-holder Michael Schumacher. CNN
• New Name in Vegas
Because Kelly Clarkson doesn’t already have enough on her plate (seriously, does she ever sleep?), she’s adding a Vegas residency to the list. She made the announcement on The Kelly Clarkson Show Friday; Kelly Clarkson: Invincible starts April 1, 2020, at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort and shows are scheduled through September. Entertainment Weekly
• Bum Gun
File this under instances where the TSA jumped the gun. A traveller was nearly in deep sh*t with officers at a New Jersey airport after they discovered what they thought was a gun in his bag — but it turns out it was just a toilet paper holder shaped like one. (Probably not the best idea to fly with gun-shaped anything.) Since the TSA doesn’t permit replicas — even if they’re just decor for the pooper — the traveller was forced to hand it over. (Talk about flushing money down the toilet.) CNN
• Wingardium Leviosa
Eighteen years ago, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone premiered — the first film of eight. The iconic movie was awarded numerous accolades, including Oscars for best original score, best art direction and best costume design.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Pollution and toxic smog in Delhi, India, has reached its worst levels so far in 2019, causing flights to divert away from the city.
• A bus travelling from Paris to London overturned in northern France, leaving 33 people injured.
• Zac Posen’s namesake fashion label is shutting down after 20 years, due to financial troubles.
• Speaking of trouble in the workplace, the CEO of McDonald’s resigned after violating company policy by entering a consensual relationship with another employee.
• Spilling the Tea
This is one food mashup we never saw coming.