Global News February 27, 2017

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  2. Global News February 27, 2017

The Economist
“Tom Perez is elected leader of a party in crisis”

Tom Perez is taking over the leadership of the Democratic Party at one of the lowest points in its 189-year history. Since 2009 the party has lost more than 1,000 state legislature seats, more than a dozen governor’s mansions and numerous city halls. Its defeat at the presidential election in November was as painful as it was unexpected. It is deeply divided between a progressive wing led by Bernie Sanders, a self-professed socialist senator from Vermont, and the party’s establishment, of which Mr. Perez is a proper part. After falling one vote short in the first ballot, Mr. Perez was elected in the second round of voting at the Atlanta Convention Centre where members of the DNC had gathered. His closest rival was Keith Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota, who was backed by Mr. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, a populist senator from Massachusetts. To appease the progressive wing of the party—and to harness the youth and energy of its supporters—Mr. Perez announced shortly after his election that Mr. Ellison would be his deputy. Appealing to his own visibly disheartened supporters—who had chanted “Party for the people, not big money!” when Mr. Perez was announced as the winner—Mr. Ellison said that if they trust him, “they need to come on and trust Tom Perez as well”. Democrats hope Mr. Perez’s election will mark the end of a rocky period for the DNC. It started last year when Russians hacked the DNC’s computer system. Its leaked e-mails revealed that the party leadership had tried to undermine Mr. Sanders when he seemed like a threat to Hillary Clinton’s success in the Democratic primary elections and nomination as the party’s presidential candidate.


“Europe’s giant stock exchange merger is in big trouble”

A mega-merger designed to create a European stock exchange big enough to compete with U.S. rivals is now in peril. Plans to combine the London Stock Exchange (LDNXF) with Deutsche Boerse (DBOEF), which runs the main German stock market, have been in the works for more than a year. But late Sunday, the London exchange warned that the deal has run into trouble with European regulators. The European Commission, the EU’s top antitrust watchdog, told the London exchange this month that the company will need to sell off a bond-trading platform in order to win approval for the Deutsche Boerse merger. But the London exchange said the sale would cause various problems, including damaging its business in Italy, where the trading platform, MTS, is «systemically important.» It said the Commission already rejected one alternative solution proposed by the stock exchanges. As a result, the London exchange said it won’t submit a plan to sell MTS in time to meet the Commission’s deadline on Monday, making it «unlikely» the regulator will approve the merger. The deal would build a powerful link between Europe’s premier financial centers. London is a global center for banking and insurance, while Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank and is the finance hub for Germany, the world’s fourth biggest economy.


The Guardian
“US drone strike in Syria kills top al-Qaida leader, jihadis say”

One of al-Qaida’s most senior leaders have been killed by a US drone strike in north-west Syria, jihadi leaders have said. Abu al-Khayr al-Masri – who has been part of the global jihadi organization for three decades and was a son-in-law of its founder, Osama bin Laden – was killed on Sunday when a missile fired from a drone hit the small car in which he was travelling. Masri had also been a close aide to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, a fellow Egyptian. On Monday, the Pentagon confirmed it had carried out a strike in north-west Syria, but did not say whom the attack had targeted. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the al-Qaida-inspired group that Masri had worked alongside in Syria, acknowledged the death, as did individual jihadi leaders. The 59-year-old was killed by a drone strike on a car in Idlib, Syria, according to local reports. Middle East Institute scholar Charles Lister, a leading Washington-based analyst of the Syrian conflict, linked on Twitter to video said to be from the scene of the strike. The killing of an unusually high-profile al-Qaida figure is likely to be hailed by the Trump administration as an important national security victory. The president has come under harsh criticism after a Navy Seal was killed in an unevenly executed assault in Yemen last month.


“Rio carnival: 20 hurt as out-of-control float hits fence”

At least 20 people have been injured, three of them seriously, in an accident at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome, the venue for the annual carnival parade by the city’s samba schools. A truck carrying a huge float veered out of control on the wet pavement, crushing a number of dancers and spectators against a fence. The vehicle, belonging to the Paraiso de Tuiuti samba school, «went into reverse and ended up pressing revellers against the fence on one side,» police investigator William Lourenco Bezerra said.


“Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia vandalized; 2nd incident in a week”

Between 75 and 100 tombstones were overturned and damaged Saturday night at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, police said Sunday. The incident at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in the Wissinoming neighborhood is being classified as institutional vandalism, but investigators have not established a motive, said Detective Jim McReynolds of the police department’s Northeast Detectives Division. Cemeteries are located on each corner of the intersection, but no vandalism was found at the three Christian cemeteries, he said.