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Cramm for 11/19/19
 
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THE HIGHLIGHTS

The State Dept’s taking a few steps back. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

For forever, there’s been debate over what part of Israel belongs to who. Palestinians currently have the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but Hamas (which has been labelled a terrorist group) has attacked Israel for years - leading to lots of violence and death on both sides. In retaliation, Israel started building settlements in Palestinian territories - a move that’s been criticized by much of the world. Includes the US, who agreed in 1978 that the settlements are “inconsistent with international law.” Scene, set. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

It’s no secret that Prez Trump’s a big fan of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - and vice versa. Think: since Trump’s been in office, he’s moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Controversial, btw. Yesterday, things got even more controversial. As in the Trump team said ‘flippity flop’ and announced that the US no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be wrong. 

 

THE REACTION. 

ICYMI, Israeli’s gov is kinda sorta up in the air right now. Hint: the country’s faced two elections in the last year - with no candidate ultimately able to secure a majority vote or put together a majority gov. Now, many are saying Trump’s move to back Netanyahu when it comes to the settlements could give him a boost among voters. 

 

SO…?

By supporting the Israeli settlements, Trump’s reversing decades of US foreign policy - plus going against many major US allies. TBD, TBD, TBD. 


THE ACTION

POLITICS: Everyone’s talking about the impeachment inquiry. This week, the public hearings are expected to ramp up, with 9 witnesses testifying in the next four days. Not a typo. Today, four current and former Trump team officials - including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, both of whom listened in on that July 25 phone call - are up. Breath, bated. Meanwhile, impeachment investigators are looking to the past. There’ve been reports that investigators are taking a magnifying glass to Prez Trump’s written statements to special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia probe - apparently to see whether he lied. And speaking of which, Prez Trump says he’s open to testifying in the impeachment inquiry. Plot twist. 

 

USA: Chick-fil-A’s making some changes. Quick refresher: for years, the fast food biz has been under fire for donating to two organizations that’ve been criticized as anti-LGBTQ+. Think: the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), both of which have taken controversial stands on same-sex marriage. Now, it looks like Chick-fil-A will no longer donate to these organizations - and will instead only work with places that focus on “education, homelessness, and hunger.” In other news, recently, a gunman opened fire on an Oklahoma Walmart, killing two people. He then turned the gun on himself and died. No word yet on a potential motive. 

 

WORLD: Yesterday, an American and an Australian held captive by the Taliban for three years were released - with the Afghan gov releasing three Taliban militants in exchange. Unclear if this will help fire up peace talks in between the Taliban and the Afghan gov. Meanwhile, the UK general election kicks off today. Spoiler: tonight marks the first televised debate of the campaign. Expect to see Prime Minister Boris Johnson face off against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Stay tuned. And in other news, the deforestation rate in the Amazon rainforest just hit its highest level in over a decade, with nearly 3,800 square miles lost in the 12 months ending in July. 


WHAT TO KNOW

Fox:” what just filed a trademark application for a TV show called “Ok boomer.” Like Baby Boomers, this is going to get real old real fast. 


SAY WHAT?

“Gonna tell my kids this was” - A new meme that has Twitter users pairing completely unrelated images with historical figures. The future is officially screwed. 

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