Monday Sunrise Briefs: What's next on impeachment and Hong Kong?

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, sunrise briefing. 

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you were kick boxing, sitting by a campfire, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news coming this week.

REUTERS/Jim Bourg
A section of a White House memorandum describing President Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It was released by the White House in Washington, Sept. 25, 2019

The perceptions campaign.

A battle over voter perceptions of the impeachment proceedings ramped up this weekend. White House aides characterized President Trump's role as the true whistleblower seeking to stop corruption in Ukraine. “If he hadn’t asked them to investigate Biden, he would have violated the constitution,” the president's lawyer Rudolph Giuliani said on ABC’s “This Week.” President Trump retweeted dozens of videos and comments from Republicans defending his role to his 65 million followers. 

Technically, Congress is in recess. But there are hearings planned all week. Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly removed in May, is scheduled to testify. The former US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, who resigned Friday, is expected to testify Thursday. U.S. Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who handled the whistleblower complaint, is slated to testify in private on Friday. And House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that the whistleblower is ready to testify "very soon."

In the court of public opinion, 77% Republicans disapprove of the impeachment proceedings, 87% of Democrats approve, and independents are almost evenly split, according to a CBS News poll released Sunday.  

2. A protest preview of China's National Day? Violence rose a notch higher in clashes between Hong Kong police and protesters this weekend. Police fired tear gas and a blue liquid from water cannons to mark protesters. Pro-democracy demonstrators threw molotov cocktails and bricks at police. Despite a ban, protesters are planning to march again Tuesday to embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping as his ruling Communist Party marks 70 years since taking power. "So many youngsters feel that they're going to have no future because of the power of China," Andy Yeung, 40, told the Associated Press as he pushed his toddler in a stroller. "If we don't stand up, there will be no hope."

3. To extend consciousness. On Saturday, Elon Musk unveiled a spacecraft designed to carry a crew and cargo to the moon, Mars and land back on Earth perpendicularly. In a live-streamed event from SpaceX's launch facility near the southern tip of Texas, Mr. Musk said that the Starship rocket’s first orbital flight could come in the next six months, followed by missions to space with humans the next year. He said it's essential for the viability of space travel to be able to reuse spacecraft and that it's important to take steps to extend consciousness beyond our planet. NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co., a total of $6.8 billion to build competing systems to launch astronauts into orbit. But development of both astronaut capsules have been beset by delays and testing mishaps. 

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
'A victory for motherhood,' said Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who carries her 2-year-old son Zyon on a victory lap after the Jamaican won her fourth 100-meter title at the world championships Sunday in Doha, Qatar.

Look ahead

Monday, Sept. 30

Black and white justice: The trial resumes in the case of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who fatally shot Botham Jean, an unarmed black neighbor in his own apartment last year. She said she mistook his apartment for her own.

Tuesday, Oct. 1

Chinese rule celebrated and condemned: China's ruling Communist Party marks 70 years since taking power, what is officially called "National Day." A military parade - likely to include nuclear-capable missiles that could reach the U.S. in 30 minutes - will highlight Beijing's ambition to enforce claims to Taiwan, the South China Sea and other disputed territories. But in Hong Kong, pro-democracy protestors are planning "A Day of Grief."

Wednesday, Oct. 2. 

Gun violence solutions debated: Ten Democratic presidential candidates gather for a TV debate in Las Vegas on the two-year anniversary of the mass shooting at a country-music festival that left more than 60 people dead. 

Hockey returns: The NHL champion St. Louis Blues host the Washington Capitals to open the NHL's (1,271-game) regular season.

Wisdom watch

H.B. Ryan/GoFundMe
Brad Ryan and his grandmother are touring all the U.S. national parks and have a GoFundMe page to help defray costs.

On the road with Grandma Joy. Four years ago, Brad Ryan and his grandmother, Joy Ryan, embarked on an epic road trip. At 85, the Duncan Falls, Ohio resident had never seen an ocean or a mountain. Brad, a wildlife veterinarian,  decided to change that. Over the past four summers, they’ve ticked off 32 out of 61 U.S. National Parks. They’ve posted their journeys on Instagram. This weekend they visited Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior, in Michigan. By November, they expect to have visited all the parks (49) in the Lower 48 states. Next up, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. They’ve seen lots of America and wildlife, including bison, bears, and a whale. 

But more meaningful than the sights, says Brad, is his shift in perspective. “She’s always looking at life through a very grateful lens,” he told the Chicago Tribune last week. He’s learned to slow down, focus more on what’s right in front of him. “I’ve learned to live more presently because of her,” he says, in accord with Grandma Joy’s advice: “Stop and smell the roses.”

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor editors and readers:

Mars or bust: A comic strip

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about a Monitor staffer's ethical dilemma during a trip to Yellowstone this summer with his family.

Finally, the Monitor’s five best stories in Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. Trump, impeachment, and US voters’ alternate realities
  2. At stake in Afghan vote: presidential vision, and legitimacy
  3. A corner of Moscow fights to keep history from being built over, literally
  4. Pitch perfect? How culture shapes the way you hear music
  5. Uganda’s forests are disappearing. He’s fighting back.

This is a beta test. This is an experiment with an early Monday morning news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

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