Mugabe, Air Force General John Hyten, Ankara’s Ban of LGBTI Events, and the Republican Tax Bill in: 60


Mugabe Refuses to Back Down

On November 19th,  President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe was dismissed as the leader of his party, the Zanu-PF, following a military takeover earlier this week. Mugabe, 93, has been in power in Zimbabwe for over 37 years, making him the longest-serving leader in Africa. The ruling party gave Mugabe an ultimatum to either resign from the presidency by Sunday or be impeached.

In a nationally televised address on Sunday, however, Mugabe shocked the nation by decliningto resign. Instead, he reiterated that he saw himself as “commander-in-chief” and declared that he intended to oversee next month’s special congress, though this refusal to resign will likely lead to an impeachment vote on Tuesday. In recent years, President Mugabe had been attempting to clear a path for his wife, Grace, to take over leadership. This shake-up has positioned former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the interim head of the ruling party.

Top US General Says He Would Resist Illegal Nuclear Strike Order

In a forum on international security in Halifax, Air Force General John Hyten declared on Saturday that he would resist an order from President Trump to carry out a nuclear strike if it were unlawful. He stated, “[Trump] will tell me what to do, and if it’s illegal… the military is obligated to refuse to follow it.” General Hyten is the top officer of US Strategic Command, which originated as a command structure to manage the US nuclear defense systems.

General Hyten addressed the issue following the intense scrutiny of President Trump’s power to initiate a nuclear strike. This follows his inflammatory rhetoric towards North Korea and his stated commitment towards modernizing the US’s nuclear arsenal. To this end, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Wednesday in which national security expert and Duke professor Dr. Peter Feaver testified on the presidential authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.

Turkish Capital Ankara Bans LGBTI Events

Citing “public security” and “health and morality,” the governor of the Turkish capital of Ankara has placed an indefinite ban on events related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) issues. Ankara’s governor office announced that the ban will protect against animosity between different groups and possible impositions on the rights and freedoms of the Turkish public. Though homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, there have been numerous reports of harassment and violence against Turkish LGBTI individuals.

Republican Tax Bill Makes Progress

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed its tax bill with 227 votes exclusively from Republicans. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee voted along party lines to bring their version of the bill to a vote after Thanksgiving. Significant obstacles remain, however, as Republicans are already facing opposition from within their own party. With no Democratic support, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes since they control the Senate 52-48.

Even if the Senate bill passes, the two bills would need to be reconciled. This is a significant hurdle, as the bills contain stark differences on issues such as number of tax brackets, the repeal of the individual mandate, and the repeal of the estate tax after 2024. Republicans face significant pressure to succeed with tax reform as they feel it may determine their fate in the 2018 midterms.

In Other News…

President Trump attacked Lavar Ball on Twitter after Ball refused to thank Trump for helping his son avoid jail time in China. Lavar Ball’s son, Liangelo, was arrested after shoplifting during a UCLA men’s basketball trip to China.

New Orleans elected its first woman mayor since the city’s founding almost 300 years ago.

A new study published in Sweden suggests that owning dogs is related to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a longer lifespan.

A large crowd of people stampeding at a food distribution event in Morocco killed 15 people and injured dozens of others.

A Keystone Pipeline leak spilled over 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota on Thursday.

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