Monday Sunrise Briefs: Another whistleblower, US leaves Syria

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, sunrise briefing. 

Here are four news events from this past weekend (while you were hot air ballooning, canoeing, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news coming this week.

Photo by Hawar News Agency (ANHA) via AP
U.S. troops seen withdrawing from positions along the Turkey's border in northeast Syria, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

Another whistleblower, more facts?

The credibility of the allegations against President Trump may be strengthened by the emergence of a second whistleblower who can corroborate what's in the first whistleblower complaint, said attorney Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers. The second whistleblower was identified as a member of the U.S. intelligence community with "first-hand knowledge" of key events. On Saturday, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, became the third Republican senator to criticize the president's request that China investigate a political rival, saying "it's completely inappropriate." While Mr. Trump doesn't like having impeachment on his resume, he says that it will help him get re-elected, reports Axios.

2. U.S. abandons Kurds in Syria. As Turkey prepares a major military offensive into northern Syria to clear out US-backed Kurdish militia - the People's Protection Units (YPG) - about 1,100 U.S. troops began to withdraw Monday. In a major policy shift, the White House issued a statement late Sunday saying: "The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the [Turkish] operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial 'Caliphate,' will no longer be in the immediate area."  Kurdish forces say the U.S. has betrayed an ally. Turkey considers YPG a terrorist group affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought the Turkish state for more than three decades. 

3. Fed up with corruption in Iraq. For six days now, violent protests have swept Iraq. Religious leaders have called for calm. But the lack of trust in the political system is evidenced by attacks on more than 50 public buildings and eight political party headquarters. The official tally: 104 people killed, including eight members of the security forces, and more than 6,000 wounded. On Saturday, the prime minister offered a plan to address protesters' concerns, including paying out unemployment benefits, ending cash payments to contractors, and providing subsidized housing for low-income groups. But calls for new elections are growing, and some politicians are now lining up behind the street protesters. 

4. Challenging celibacy. Pope Francis appealed to conservatives on Sunday not to be bound by tradition as he opened a three-week assembly of bishops to discuss the future of the Roman Catholic Church in the Amazon. The most contentious issue: allowing priests to marry. "...if we spend our days content that 'this is the way things have always been done', then the gift vanishes, smothered by the ashes of fear and concern for defending the status quo," the Pope said. Ending celibacy is seen as a controversial solution to the shortage of priests. Critics fear it would spread to the entire church. Separately, Pope Francis added 13 new cardinals, elevating clergy who share his views at a time when his pontificate is under fire from conservatives. 

 Simone Soars

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Where no gymnast has gone before: Simone Biles performed two original moves at the world championships in Germany, Saturday. She did a double-twisting double backflip off the balance beam and a double backflip with three twists during a floor routine. Team USA won the competition.

Look ahead

Monday, Oct. 7

Nobel achievements: The Nobel Prizes are awarded this week, starting with prizes for physiology or medicine on Monday. The prize for physics is Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday, and literature (2018 and 2019) on Thursday.  

Tuesday, Oct. 8

Gender justice: Does the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) cover LGBTQ rights? The U.S. Supreme Court goes back to work and is scheduled to hear arguments in three cases dealing with gay and transgender rights. 

Impeachment inquiry: Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who has become a key figure in the probe, is expected to be appear before House committees investigating the Ukraine affair. 

Day of Atonement: Yom Kippur begins at sundown. This holiday is considered the most important date on the Jewish calendar. The central themes are repentance and forgiveness.

Friday, Oct. 11

Champions for Peace: The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner is to be announced Friday. Some 301 candidates have been nominated. The 2018 winners were Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad of Iraq "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict."

Loyal to what? Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was abruptly removed in May. Was it because she resisted efforts to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden? She is scheduled to testify on Friday before three House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry. 

Generosity Watch

Screenshot Fox 8 News Cleveland
Zac Clark, of Butler, Ohio, lifted a Volkswagen Passat off a neighbor.

Lift a car, help a neighbor. If a car is going to fall off a jack on top of your husband, you’d want a 225-pound offensive lineman - with a willing heart - as your neighbor. Sixteen-year old Zac Clark and his mom, Lora, of Butler, Ohio, were doing yard work on Sept. 22 when they heard a cry for help. They ran next door and found their neighbor crushed under a Volkswagen Passat. Zac lifted the front of the 3,000-pound vehicle just enough so that Zac’s mom and the neighbor’s wife could pull him out. Zac’s neighbor is at home recovering from his injuries."I thank God for letting me be able to do that, " Zac told Fox 8 News in Cleveland. “My husband and I raised our boys to be kind to one another and if you can help, then to help," Mrs. Clark told CNN.

Hidden gem

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

A Muslim woman comic walks into a bar: Changing perceptions through jokes

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about U.S. black women taking the mayoral reins in record numbers.

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

  1. How impeachment is playing in one swing district
  2. A rapper’s quest to be president
  3. Dictator: deposed. Democracy: check. But what about jobs?
  4. Do disturbing stories have a place in today’s unsettling world?
  5. Decline of the enforcers: How hockey skated away from fights

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