Germany's parties reach coalition deal; Bipartisan US budget deal agreed

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  • Budget deal reached – Republicans and Democrats reached a bipartisan deal on Wednesday to raise government spending by almost US$300 billion. The agreement would lift caps on defense funding and some domestic spending and is likely to be added to a stopgap spending bill that is aimed at avoiding a government shutdown on Thursday at midnight. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate agreement was “a genuine breakthrough.” However Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she would oppose the deal unless there was a vote on legislation addressing President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. That plan protected young immigrants who entered the country illegally as minors. Pelosi spoke for eight hours in the house chamber on the issue. It was said to be the longest continuous speech in the chamber on record. Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan said the budget agreement was a “monstrosity.”
  • Germany’s center-left and conservative parties reach coalition deal – “This is the first SPD government led by a CDU chancellor,” tweeted the editor of Bild, Germany’s most-read newspaper, after the Social Democrat Party (SPD) extracted major concessions from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, after four months of political wrangling. The SPD, which had previously ruled out entering another ‘grand coalition’ with Merkel after suffering a punishing defeat at the polls in September, will take control of the finance ministry and several other ministries, according to a source involved in the negotiations. The agreement still has to be approved by the SPD’s 464,000 members, who will have the final say in a postal vote.
  • California bans transport of oil coming from off-shore drilling – The state of California announced plans to deny permits for pipelines carrying oil extracted off of the Californian coast. Trump signed an executive order in the beginning of his presidency allowing for drilling in several off-shore oil deposits. By banning the transport of oil from these Pacific Ocean sites, California’s Democratic government hopes deter energy companies from drilling off the coast of the state, something that hasn’t happened since 1969.
  • Asia stocks bounce back after Wall Street volatility – Stock markets rebounded in Asia on Tuesday after Wall Street regained some of the ground it lost in a day of extreme trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 3.2 percent after falling nearly 7 percent in the previous session. On Monday, the Dow Industrials average recorded its biggest one-day points decline in history, which wiped out Wall Street gains for the year. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 dropped by 4 percent. Asian markets followed suit. However, by Tuesday the Dow Jones Industrial Average had risen 2.3 percent. Analysts told the BBC that the gains were reached with the help of investors seeking bargains.

  • Aftermath of Taiwan earthquake reverberates – Aftershocks from a powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake continue to rattle Taiwan. The quake, which killed at least six people, struck late on Tuesday, about 20km off the island’s east coast. Structures throughout the city of Hualien were damaged and more than 140 people remain missing.

What we’re reading

  • More than 60,000 ancient Mayan structures have been found in the jungles of Guatemala after researchers used advanced laser mapping to survey the landscape. “Everywhere that we looked, there was more settlement than we expected,” Thomas Garrison, a National Geographic explorer, told the New York Times.  This piece outlines the methods that researchers undertook to find the structures – firing lasers down from planes to cut through the jungle canopy. The find could have big implications for the understanding of ancient civilizations and the uses for the technology itself. – Charles Anderson

What the WikiTribune community is up to

  • WikiTribune community member Jean-Jacques Subrenat’s latest piece considers the difficult situations of three of the world’s most prominent whistleblowers (or leakers, depending on how you view them) – Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden. Subrenat then explores the different ways in which the latter two might resolve their plights.
  • WikiTribune community member Mohamed Salih interviewed a Sudanese blogger, Abubakr Mohammad, who dedicates his time to educating the public about natural diversity in Sudan. Some of his work highlights the effects of environmental pollution caused by logging and mining.

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