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November 27, 2019


“Cooperation, yes, intervention, no.” —Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, on US plans to designate Mexican cartels as terrorist groups

US

1. Federal prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into several major pharma companies (at least six) for alleged contributions to the national opioid crisis – a step closer to potential federal criminal charges for companies already facing multi-billion-dollar civil litigation across the country. The opioid-makers and distributors disclosed subpoenas related to the “broader, industry-wide investigation” in public financial documents.

More context: The US opioid crisis claimed over 400k lives from 1999 to 2017 (more).

US

2. Two storms are expected to disrupt Thanksgiving travel across much of the US this week, including: (1) a winter storm tracking across the central US packing snowfall and high winds (which prompted ~500 flight cancellations in Denver yesterday), and (2) a “bomb cyclone” along the West Coast (which hit the Oregon coast yesterday evening).

Extra: Here’s a satellite view from the National Weather Service.

FOREIGN POLICY

3. President Trump unveiled plans to formally designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups in an interview yesterday (three weeks after nine US citizens were killed in an ambush in Northern Mexico). The announcement prompted a swift response from the Mexican foreign ministry which requested top-level discussions with the US State Department, while stressing the importance of “mutual respect” as the basis of cooperation and rejecting any “violation of national sovereignty.”

POLITICS

4. The House Judiciary Committee scheduled its first impeachment hearing for next Wednesday, marking a new phase in the ongoing inquiry as the Judiciary panel (responsible for deliberating articles of impeachment) takes over following weeks of testimony led by the House Intelligence Committee (currently writing a formal evidence report). The Democrat-led panel invited President Trump to the December 4 hearing, requesting a decision by Sunday.

Extra: Here are aggregated poll averages on where the public stands on impeachment.

QUICK BITS

  • Iranian authorities reported that ~200k protesters took part in two weeks of civil unrest (initially sparked by fuel price hikes), following a government crackdown that included a week-long internet blackout. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the violent unrest was driven by a “dangerous conspiracy.
  • Massachusetts enacted a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products (the first passed by a state legislature) in response to a youth vaping “epidemic” and the ongoing identification and study of vaping-related lung injuries (including 47 reported deaths).
  • President Trump signed the bipartisan PACT Act into law on Monday, making animal cruelty (already a crime under state law) a federal crime for the first time.

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BRAIN CANDY

When the other side of hump day... is a holiday.

Editors


P. S. Have a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving! We’ll see you back here on Monday.