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US House rejects call to withdraw troops from Syria
The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a resolution sponsored by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz to remove the approximately 900 U.S. troops from Syria. The resolution was defeated in a 103-321 vote, with both Republicans and Democrats opposing the measure. Gaetz and other supporters argued that the U.S. military presence in Syria lacked a clear objective and was operating under an outdated authorization for use of military force. However, opponents argued that withdrawing U.S. troops could lead to a resurgence of ISIS or other terrorist groups. The debate comes amid ongoing criticism of U.S. military operations in Syria, with some calling for a more clear and updated authorization for the use of military force.
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Taiwan's Matsu Islands have suffered internet outages for a month following the severing of two submarine internet cables connecting the archipelago to the main island of Taiwan. Two Chinese ships are suspected to have cut the cables, an accusation that China denies. While Taiwan's government has not explicitly blamed Beijing, some experts believe that China may have cut the cables deliberately as part of its intimidation tactics toward Taiwan. Matsu residents have had to rely on a limited microwave radio transmission as a backup, which has made it difficult for them to conduct daily activities such as paying bills, making doctor appointments, or receiving packages. The loss of the internet cables also has national security implications, particularly for a self-ruled island considered part of China's territory. Taiwan's Ministry of Digital Affairs is looking into backup plans, including using low-Earth orbit satellite operators, but the plan is stalled by a law that requires providers to be at least 51% domestically owned.
Lori Lightfoot, the first Black woman and first openly gay person to be elected mayor of Chicago, has lost her reelection bid, becoming the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to do so. Lightfoot's loss was expected, and it served as a referendum on her first four years in office and on crime in Chicago. Violent crime surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching levels not seen in the city since the 1990s. Because of this, Lightfoot was viewed as the underdog. Nearly half of Chicago voters rated crime and public safety as their top electoral issues, and more than 60 percent of voters said they felt personally unsafe in the city. The election was a reflection of a larger trend in Democratic city politics, where the pandemic has led to a rise in crime and visible property crimes, testing Democrats politically. The mayoral race echoed local races in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC over the last two years. The result of the Chicago mayoral race fits in with the broader trend among big-city Democrats to moderate their politics and resort to more conservative proposals for dealing with crime and policing.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have launched a two-pronged attack on JetBlue's proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines, aimed at maintaining access to cheaper fares for consumers. The DOJ has filed a lawsuit alleging that the merger would raise prices and reduce consumer choice in travel options, while the DOT announced it would deny a request for the airlines to operate as a combined entity before the merger closes. The DOJ argues that the merger would be particularly harmful to cost-conscious travellers, while the DOT says the move will ensure passengers have choices, access to low fares, and competition. JetBlue and Spirit have argued that the merger would increase competition and help them compete with larger rivals, but their arguments were not enough to avoid the lawsuit.
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