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In a Nutshell News from the Week of 10/21

Important testimony from the impeachment inquiry, A new Brexit deal, the Chicago public schools Strike and more

Ellen, Beth and Katie break down the news

All Week

Chicago Teachers strike

by Beth Carlson

The Chicago Public School Teachers Union made small steps towards going back to school this past week, after 25,000 teachers have been on strike since last Thursday. Over 300,000 Chicago children are out of school until a deal can be made on the basis of smaller class sizes and adding staff. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated on Wednesday that meeting the requests may not be possible. The union has met with officials to discuss a deal, but stated they had not come to an agreement on the top priorities of the union, including class size caps. The group continued negotiations with officials in hopes of returning to school on Monday.

“During this same phone call I had with Mr. Morrison [an official at the national security council], he went on to describe a conversation Ambassador Sondland had with Mr. Yermak [an aide to zelenskyy] at Warsaw. Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that the security assistance money would not come until President Zelenskyy committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.” -Opening Statement, Ambassador William Taylor

Tuesday

Impeachment Inquiry

by Ellen Yandel

The Trump administration’s main argument that he did not pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family was undermined on Tuesday by the testimony of William Taylor, the head diplomat to Ukraine. Describing a Sept. 1 phone call with Tim Morrison, a National Security Council aide, Taylor claimed Morrison described a conversation between ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, and an aide to Ukranian President Volodymr Zelenskyy. In that conversation, Sondland had apparently told the aide, Andriy Yermak, that the financial aid from the US would not come before a public investigation into the Bidens -- all of this occurring before the aid was restored.

The timeline directly opposes the idea that Ukranian officials did not connect the investigation request with the aid withdrawal, as Trump has suggested. Taylor’s testimony also reinforced the role of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, in interactions with Ukraine, and revealed more about that of Attorney General William Barr.

For an in-depth look into the impeachment inquiry, read our breakdown of events here.

Tuesday

Brexit

by Ellen Yandel

The British House of Commons voted Tuesday to approve Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill but rejected the timetable, which would have put it on a fast-track through Parliament in just three days. The decision means that it is unlikely Britain will make the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline, though Mr. Johnson has maintained that they will leave with the approved bill on that date regardless of Parliament’s decision.

Meanwhile, President of the European Council Donald Tusk tweeted that he will advise the European Union to grant Britain the extension they requested last week to agree on a Brexit deal until January 31, 2020.

Sticking points on previously proposed Brexit legislation have mainly centered on how Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK but shares a border with the Republic of Ireland, would be affected by leaving the European Union. Northern Ireland policymakers have said they will resist the current legislation unless it is changed to be economically favorable to them -- Unionist politicians being especially interested preventing any sort of border separating the region from the rest of the U.K., something that Johnson's plan has been accused of doing. This concern, along with those such as worker’s rights without EU regulations, mean that there is no certain way forward with the current Brexit deal. Leaving without a deal, however, would have significant economic consequences for the UK, with some of the most pressing including possible food and medicine supply shortages.

Katie de waard brings you some other news...

Monday

Canada

Overcoming recent racial controversy and a corruption scandal, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was re-elected for another four years on Oct. 21. Despite the victory, Trudeau’s Liberal Party lost twenty seats and their majority in the House of Commons to a Conservative Party wave. As a result, Trudeau will not be able to form a Liberal Party majority government, and he has already started talks with other parties to potentially form a minority government.

Wednesday-Present

UK Truck

39 people were found dead in a refrigerated container truck in Grays, a town in East London. In a statement from Essex Police, the victims, eight women and 31 men confirmed dead, were “believed to be Chinese nationals,” although recent speculation indicates some of the victims may be Vietnamese nationals, and were potentially being smuggled into the United Kingdom. The 25-year-old driver has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering. He is expected to appear in court on Monday. The police also arrested three other people on manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people, but they were all released on bail until mid-November. Since 2014, the United Nations recorded five other possible migrants have died in containers trying to enter the United Kingdom.

Image Attribution

  1. "Chicago Teachers Strike" image from Charles Edward Miller licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
  2. "Impeachment Inquiry" image from the State Department
  3. "Brexit" image from Diliff licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5