5 Things You Need to Know About What Went Down This Week - October 13

We know you’re busy out there crushing your goals, so we’re keeping you in the loop on what’s going on in the headlines. Powered by Pressed News, here are five things you need to know from this past week—from Brexit to NASA good news.

PHOTO CREDIT:  NASA

PHOTO CREDIT: NASA

1. A GREAT NEW DEAL

The European Union and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have agreed on an outline of a Brexit deal. While that’s good news in this never-ending saga, it’s still not a done deal. The outline needs the go-ahead from all EU members and the British parliament still needs to approve it. The goal is to get Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31.

Brexit hasn’t Brexit-ed yet?

It’s been three years since Britain voted to leave the EU, and so far, no one has been able to come up with a plan that 1) doesn’t screw over the entire country or 2) makes everyone happy. Johnson’s predecessor, PM Theresa May, tried and failed many times to secure a deal. Johnson is not playing as nice. He’s committed to getting Britain out of the EU by the deadline with or without a deal. FYI, Britain exiting without a deal could cause a sudden disruption in travel, economy, and food shortages.

What’s different about this deal?

Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., doesn’t really want to leave the EU, but this deal would allow Northern Ireland to keep close ties. The U.K. will continue to follow EU rules until next year in order to let businesses adjust, and U.K. citizens living in the EU (and vice versa) will be able to stay put.

Will this get passed?

Long sigh. TBD. The U.K. will have to pay a $66-billion divorce bill but Johnson says he’s confident this is the one. The Northern Irish party that Johnson needs on his side, however, has refused to sign the deal because it doesn’t think it’s in Northern Ireland’s best interest.

2. ON PAUSE

Turkey’s invasion into Syria last week, which has already killed dozens of people, is on hold for now. On Thursday, VP Mike Pence struck a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pause the fighting in Syria for five days.

That’s sort of good news, right?

Depends who you ask. Many – Democrats and Republicans – think this is a bad move and some called it a “total surrender.” President Trump called it a “great day for civilization” and repeatedly called the deal a ceasefire. But Turkey’s foreign minister said it’s not a ceasefire; it’s just a pause – with a one-sided win.

What do you mean?

Remember that Turkey entered Syria last week after the U.S. pulled its troops out of the country and left Kurdish fighters to fend for themselves. Turkey wants a piece of land in Syria - which it's calling the “safe zone” - to resettle millions of refugees who have been living in Turkey. But in order to take over the land, the Kurds (an ethnic minority) living Syria have to go. The U.S. and the Kurds are friends and together have been fighting ISIS and watching 11,000 detained ISIS fighters. Since Turkey has invaded the country, dozens of Kurds have died, and several left their ISIS-post to protect the Syrian border.

How will the ceasefire (pause) help?

In exchange for the five-day pause, Turkey is getting the safe zone they’ve been fighting for, and the U.S. is lifting the economic sanctions it placed on the country. But no one knows where the Kurds will go, how they’ll get there, and what happens after the five days.

3. FRIENDLY FIRE

This week, PM Justin Trudeau got a major endorsement from someone you might know – former President Barack Obama, who tweeted his support for Trudeau, calling him “a hard-working, effective leader,” and saying the “world needs his progressive leadership.” While an American president wading into a Canadian election is rare, it’s not likely to make moves in the polls, and some consider it foreign interference in the Canadian election.

Interesting perspective. What else?

While Obama and Trudeau were having a moment, Liberals in Trudeau’s cabinet were busy playing the campaign game. Minister of Transport Marc Garneau tweeted out a 2016 video of Conservative leader and PM-hopeful Andrew Scheer sitting during the singing of O Canada in Parliament. Scheer responded by saying it was during a time when Liberals were “using our national anthem for a political statement.” FYI: Scheer is referring to that time Trudeau’s Liberal government voted to change the national anthem to include gender-neutral lyrics. Garneau’s tweet had some bad timing, though, arriving on the same day Trudeau called out the Conservatives for running the “dirtiest, nastiest” campaign ever. Meanwhile, Scheer took the opportunity to announce his plan to slap politicians who break ethics laws with fines of up to $20k

4. WHAT DO YOU MEME?

A video posted on YouTube in July 2018 suddenly went viral because it was shown at a conference organized by Trump supporters last weekend. The video (which has since been removed by YouTube) is apparently a clip from Kingsman: The Secret Service and shows a shooter, with a superimposed Trump head, killing people with superimposed heads – of media outlets, opponents of Trump (like Hillary Clinton), and even Black Lives Matter. The group that organized the conference, American Priority, said the video was “not approved, seen, or sanctioned” by the organizers. Trump did not immediately respond or condemn the video, but CNN, one of the media outlets targeted in the video, did. A spokesperson said, “sadly, this is not the first time that supporters of the President have promoted violence against the media.” Last year, mail bombs were sent to CNN officesand last month, a soldier was arrested for allegedly talking about bombing a news outlet.

5. GOOD NEWS

To celebrate World Sight Day this month, NASA put an out of this world spotlight on how it’s helping the visually impaired experience the beauty and wonders of our universe. With the book, Touch the Universe: A NASA Braille Book of Astronomy, NASA’s famous Hubble Telescope’s images were converted into braille so that the shapes, colours, and other details of interstellar objects are accessible and can continue to spark wonder in all readers.

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