Election Night 2017
Election Night 2017 took the country by storm, with several Republican positions going to Democrats. Charlotte got its first female African-American mayor, Vi Lyles. New Jersey and Virginia both elected Democratic governors, Phil Murphy and Ralph Northam, respectively. Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person elected to a state legislature anywhere in the country by winning a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Two Duke alums made history by winning their races in Virginia. Justin Fairfax (‘00) became only the second African-American statewide office-holder with his election as Lieutenant Governor. Kathy Tran (‘00) became the first Asian-American woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.
Closer to home, Durham held municipal elections. Steve Schewel (‘73), a professor at Duke, is our new mayor. He is filling the vacancy left by Mayor Bill Bell, who served for 16 years. DeDreana Freeman, Mark-Anthony Middleton, and Vernetta Alston all won seats on the City Council.
Air Pollution Creates Public Health Hazard in New Delhi
New Delhi, India has been blanketed by smog so severe that India’s chief minister has called the city a “gas chamber.” Levels of dangerous particles have reached more than double the threshold for “hazardous” conditions in many places. Continued exposure to such high quantities of these particles is equivalent to smoking 45 cigarettes per day.
This thick fog often comes around this time during the year. It comes from many sources, including car emissions, the illegal burning of crops, and dust from nearby construction sites. The problem is worsened by the windless, cold climate. Recently, however, the problem has gotten worse.
President Trump Visits China
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump arrived in China with the intention of asking President Xi Jinping to increase pressure on North Korea’s nuclear program. The urgency of North Korean relations prompted him to strike a diplomatic tone during his tour of the Forbidden City.
While President Trump had reportedly wanted President Xi Jinping to cut off oil exports to North Korea, experts believe that the Chinese President is not interested in rupturing relations so dramatically.
President Trump is attempting to rally international pressure against North Korea. Earlier in the day, he addressed South Korea’s National Assembly, decrying the aggression and humans rights abuses of North Korea.
Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of Planning Attacks with Yemen
On Monday, Saudi Arabia accused Iran of ordering a Yemen missile attack near the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The Saudi military intercepted the missile on Saturday. Though Saudi Arabia has been at war with Yemen’s Houthi militia for two years, this is the first time a missile came close to a highly populated city.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman asserted that Iran’s actions “may be considered a direct act of war“. The United States has additionally condemned the attack, reaffirming its support of ally Saudi Arabia, while accusing Iran of threatening the stability of the region.
Iran has denied supplying Yemen with arms.
In Other News…
The U.S. government enacted rules that make it more difficult to travel or do business with Cuba.
As turmoil and violence in Venezuela worsens, the EU imposed an arms embargo and is considering imposing sanctions.
Germany’s High Court approved of a legal third-gender categorization for people who do not identify with the male/female binary.
Kevin Spacey’s role in the upcoming film All the Money in the World will be recast with Christopher Plummer following sexual assault accusations.
In their biggest-ever drug bust, Colombian authorities seized 12 million tons of cocaine from the Gulf Clan gang. This haul is estimated to be worth $360 million