Monday Sunrise Briefs: Brexit churns, U.S. troops don't go home

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, sunrise briefing. 

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you were leaf-peeping, cycling, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news coming this week.

(AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
Going to Iraq: U.S. forces stationed in northern Syria are being redeployed in Iraq, U.S. officials said Sunday. Here, a military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.

Breaking up is hard to do.

The British parliament Saturday forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to, er, sort of, ask the European Union for a three-month extension on the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. But Mr. Johnson says he still wants out by month’s end. He may try to force another yes or no vote from Parliament as soon as Monday. Expect another week of political maneuvering with everything from a call for another Brexit referendum to a “crash out” no-deal exit to a new U.K. election. 

2. Not homeward bound. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mike Esper said this weekend that some 1,000 U.S. troops pulling out of northern Syria are being repositioned in nearby western Iraq to help stop a resurgence of Islamic State (ISIS) forces. President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previous stated the American forces were “coming home.” On Sunday, Kurdish fighters completed their evacuation from Ras al-Ayn, a Syrian town near the Turkish border. The move appears to be part of a wider pullback from the 20-mile-wide “safe zone” agreed to under the U.S. brokered ceasefire with Turkey. Turks and Kurds have accused each other of violating the ceasefire. 

3. Course correction. Late Saturday, President Trump reversed a decision to host the Group of Seven economic summit next June at his own golf resort in Florida. Mr. Trump was widely criticized for a conflict of interest by helping his own property profit from a U.S. taxpayer funded event. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump "still considers himself to be in the hospitality business."


REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Dancing with democracy? Bolivia voted Sunday as the nation's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, sought an unprecedented fourth term (after a court rejected a 2016 term limits referendum). Here, Morales dances at campaign rally in El Alto, Bolivia Oct.r 16, 2019.

Look ahead

Monday, Oct. 21

Canadian leadership choice: In federal parliamentary elections Monday, Liberal incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer are in a dead heat. Health care and climate change are top issues. Check out the Monitor's story about why Canada cooled to Trudeau.

Tuesday, Oct. 22

A pitching duel: The 2019 World Series pits the Houston Astros against the Washington Nationals. Game 1 is at 8:08 p.m. in Houston.

A pause in the ceasefire: The U.S.-brokered 120-hour ceasefire in northern Syria is scheduled to end. It could get extended or mark the start of a new offensive.

Impeachment testimony: Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor is expected to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. In a text exchange with E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Amb. Taylor wrote: "It's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign." 

Wednesday, Oct. 23

In Facebook we trust? CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before a House committee about the tech company's plans to launch a digital currency, named Libra.

Generosity Watch

Eric Christine Usinger/Facebook
Teewon Vaye helps change a tire for Eric Usinger in Charlotte, N.C.

There’s an old adage describing someone who’s generous: He’d give the shirt off his back. In the case of Teewon Vaye, he gave his spare tire. 

A little over a week ago, Erica Usinger, a nurse, got a flat tire on I-85 in Charlotte, N.C. She sat by the side of the road as cars whizzed past for 20 minutes. A stranger - a young man of character and kindness - pulled over to help. But they discovered her spare tire was flat too. Erica called her mother, who took more than 40 minutes to arrive, and Teewon stayed with her. Unfortunately, mom’s spare tire was flat too. At that point, Teewon took the spare from his own car and put it on Erica's vehicle. They drove to a nearby gas station where he filled Erica's and her mom’s flat spares and changed the tire on Erica's car. Erica wanted to buy him dinner to thank him. Teewon declined, but suggested she pay it forward: do something kind for someone else in need. She posted her rescue story on Facebook so that his employer, Wells Fargo Bank, would know what a great employee they have. “He restored my faith in humanity,” Erica wrote. “Spread kindness.”


Hidden gem

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

The power of mothers: Fighting Islamic extremism begins at home

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for a plain-spoken chat between two Monitor reporters as they untangle the latest Brexit developments. Is it over yet? Not even close. 

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

  1. Adam Schiff and the credibility of impeachment
  2. How Ukraine became such a big part of White House politicking
  3. Why Canada has cooled on Justin Trudeau
  4. Immersed: A walk through Hong Kong’s protests (video)
  5. ‘American Utopia’: Reinventing the pop concert

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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