Forced to choose between the United States and Iran, Iraqi lawmakers voted Sunday to expel all 5,200 U.S. troops from their country. The vote, however, was nonbiding.
The short-term implication of Iraq’s backlash is an American military-ordered shift from targeting ISIS (Islamic State) fighters in the region to protecting its own soldiers. U.S forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011 but returned in 2014 at the request of Baghdad to help battle ISIS after it seized vast areas of the country.
Meanwhile, Iran said Sunday that it would no longer abide by any of the commitments of the 2015 nuclear deal. Since Washington backed out of the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions, Tehran has been gradually unwinding the limits on uranium enrichment, stockpiling materials, and research and development to build a nuclear weapon.
2. Relief Down Under: Cooler temperatures and calmer winds brought some relief Sunday and Monday to Australian communities ravaged by wildfires. While nearly 140 wildfires are still burning in New South Wales, firefighters have gained the upper hand on about half of them. On Saturday, the federal government took the unprecedented step of calling up 3,000 reservists – the largest military deployment on the continent since World War II – to battle the fires and assist with evacuations. Celebrities are chipping in too. Singer songwriter Pink announced a donation of $500,000 to firefighters on Friday. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman also announced on Saturday a $500,000 donation. “Our family’s support, thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires all over Australia,” the couple wrote on Instagram.
3. On-screen excellence: The rise of Netflix as a creative force in films and television was evidenced by a total of 34 Golden Globes nominations – 17 in each category. But unexpectedly, only two of Sunday night’s awards went to the streaming service: Laura Dern best supporting performance in “Marriage Story” and Olivia Colman in “The Crown” for best actress in a television series drama. Instead, Sam Mendes won best director and best picture (drama) for his World War I tale “1917.” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” ran the table, winning best film (comedy or musical), as well as best screenplay, and Brad Pitt took best supporting actor (comedy or musical). The Golden Globes awards are voted on by 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Monday, Jan. 6
#MeToo justice: Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein faces a criminal trial involving allegations that he raped one woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulted another in 2006. The Oscar-winning film producer has pleaded not guilty and maintains any sexual activity was consensual.
Tuesday, Jan. 7
Frontiers of tech: Silicon Valley was once the star the Consumer Electronic Show, which opens today in Las Vegas. But now, it’s about streaming video shows and your phone. But there will also be artificial intelligence for home appliances, security cameras and cars, as well as the latest in robots and souped-up TVs.
Awarding creativity: Nominations for the best British on-screen entertainment are announced by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Who would you choose? “Fleabag”? “The Crown”? And, the Oscar nominations come out Monday, Jan. 13.
Saturday, Jan. 11
Leadership shift? Taiwan goes to the voting booth for presidential and legislative elections. Polls suggest that Han Kuo-yu, the presidential candidate seeking closer ties with China, may win.
We’re seeing altruism breaking out as the 2020 Tip Challenge ramps up. First, a Michigan waitress found a $2,020 tip on a $23 bill. Danielle Franzoni moved to Alpena, Michigan, a year ago for a fresh start. A former addict and homeless, single mom, she couldn’t believe it. “Things like this don’t happen to people like me,” she told her boss at the Thunder Bay River Restaurant, reported The Alpena News.
“Happy New Year,” a firm hand had scrawled on the receipt, along with the words, “2020 Tip Challenge.”
Actor Donnie Wahlberg took up the challenge. On Jan. 1, he left a $2,020 tip for Bethany Provencher, a waitress at the IHOP in St. Charles, Ill.
When the Ms. Franzoni, the Michigan waitress, went out for a modest celebratory dinner after her big tip, she paid it forward with a $20.20 tip of her own. Generosity, pass it on.
Start your week with a recent video that inspired Monitor readers:
In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about balancing an Israeli woman’s “right” to wear shorts vs. a religious man’s “right” not to see her.
Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:
- Why U.S. assassination of Soleimani is unlikely to deter Iran
- Soleimani killing: How pivotal for US role in Middle East?
- Ebola crisis: Healing distrust to fight disease
- Rise of the boatwomen? Russia ending gender bar on many jobs
- She survived an atomic bomb. Now she campaigns against them.
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