Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
General awareness at home: The Fed meets today. Don’t expect much from the two-day meeting but the get-together could give us an idea about how the central bank views the economy and the recent volatility in US markets.
General awareness abroad: Today marks the start of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The five-day fete is India’s biggest and brightest national holiday and celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It’s as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians, and it marks the start of a new financial year for Indian businesses worldwide.
America Awakes to a Divided Congress After Midterms
Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives after the US midterm elections, with the Senate remaining in the hands of the Republicans who are on track to increase their majority in the upper house. Why it matters: the changeover in the House is significant because Democrats will have the ability to investigate Donald Trump – including the power to subpoena the administration and go after his tax returns – as well as frustrating his agenda. Big Picture: the outcome tests the appetite of both sides to work together after years of partisan tribal warfare often marked by personal attacks. – WSJ / The Guardian
We’re serving up a double-dose of politics this morning in light of the midterms. Here are the highlights that you should know about courtesy of Countable: Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has kept his Senate seat after a tight race with Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has won a Utah Senate seat. New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 29. Jared Polis won the Colorado governor’s race, making him the first openly gay man to become governor in U.S. history. Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scottousted Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Also in Florida, former Congressman Ron DeSantis (R) will become the next Florida governor after Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum conceded. Golden State Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo lost re-election to his Democratic challenger, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. And finally, Rashida Tlaib, who ran unopposed in Michigan, will be the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress. – Countable
US Christmas sales predicted to surpass $1 trillion for the first time this year
Increasing wages and low unemployment may help holiday sales in the U.S. hit $1.002 trillion this year. According to eMarketer retail sales made between Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 will increase almost 6% from 2017. The projection paints an optimistic picture amid concerns over the health of the retail industry — especially brick-and-mortar stores. The report projects in-store sales will increase 4.4% over the previous year with E-commerce sales also increasing to 16.6%. – CNBC
French President Emmanuel Macron Calls for a ‘European Army’ to Defend Against China, Russia, and the U.S.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron used a first-world-warcommemoration to say “we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own.” Zoom out: France has long made such calls, against British insistence that NATO remain Europe’s first line of defense. Zoom in: with that said, Brexit and Donald Trump’s wobbly commitment to NATO have scrambled that formula. The main hurdleis dismal European defense spending, which ironically is one of the main things Trump has called on NATO to increase. – TIME / Defense News
Facebook Admits Platform Used to Incite Hate Attacks in Myanmar
A report commissioned by Facebook found its platforms were used to incite violence in Myanmar, helping organized groups to conduct sectarian attacks on the country’s Rohingya Muslim population. As many as 20m people in the country use the platform, many as their main source of news. Facebook accepted the findings and conceded it hadn’t done enough on the issue. – Bloomberg
Islamic State Dumped At Least 6,000 Bodies In Mass Graves In Iraq, U.N. Says
Investigators have found 202 mass graves in Iraq, a grisly reminder of the Islamic State’s terror-based control of large parts of that country, according to a new report by the United Nations. The agency says at least 6,000 people were buried at the sites — and possibly more than 12,000. The Economist said it may amount to “possible genocide”. – NPR / The Economist
EU approves Disney buy from Fox if makes TV divestments
Disney’s $71.3-billion offer to buy Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s entertainment assets won approval from the European Commission yesterday, subject to Disney selling interests in factual TV channels in Europe. Why it matters: The deal would expand Disney’s unrivaled portfolio of some of the world’s most popular characters, uniting Mickey Mouse, Luke Skywalker and Marvel superheroes with Fox’s X-Men, “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” franchises. – Reuters
Why College Basketball Starting Last Night Mattered
For the past decade, the college basketball season has always started on a Friday with only a few games actually worth watching. Why this was no good: come Monday, results from college and pro football, along with other major sports over the weekend, would drown out any notable box scores from the Friday before. Someone or some group of people finally figured this out, so last night college basketball began. The major storyline was Duke humiliating Kentucky in every way possible. Elsewhere, Michigan State kept it close with Kansas, but couldn’t quite pull off the upset. Here’s who oddsmakers have slated to win the whole thing this year. – SB Nation / CBS
Chinese ‘gait recognition’ tech IDs people by how they walk
Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool: “gait recognition” software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras. One thing to note: the technology isn’t new. Scientists in Japan, U.K., and U.S. have been researching gait recognition for over a decade. With that said: gait recognition in the wrong hands is why this matters. Case in point: security officials in China’s far-western province of Xinjiang, a region whose Muslim population is already subject to intense surveillance and control, have expressed interest in the software. – AP
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
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