Monday Sunrise Briefs: Hong Kong backs democracy, Bloomberg runs

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, sunrise briefing. 

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you were watching "Frozen 2," prepping for Thanksgiving, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

AP Photo/Vincent Yu
Supporters of a pro-democracy candidate cheer after winning their seat in district council elections in Hong Kong, early Monday, Nov. 25, 2019.

Hong Kong voters made a self governance statement Sunday. In local elections, pro-democracy candidates won  90% of 452 district council seats, which will help it take unprecedented control of 17 out of 18 district councils. This vote for a community level post tends to be a low-turnout event. But this election was different; it was seen as a referendum on the past six months of increasingly violent street protests against political restrictions by Beijing. Record turnout - 71 percent participation - sent a message. “This is historic. As our city plummets from being semi-autonomous to semi-authoritarian, we react by showing what’s democracy in action,” tweeted activist Joshua Wong, who was barred from running in the election.

2. Will Democrats vote for a pragmatist or a progressive? Michael Bloomberg’s official entrance in the 2020 Democratic presidential race Sunday may test that question. The former Republican mayor of New York City has spent tens of millions of dollars to influence gun safety and climate change policies. He's not a supporter of Medicare for all. With an estimated net worth of $50 billion, he says he’ll spend at least $150 million of his own money on the campaign. Bloomberg enters the race late, so his strategy is to skip the first four primary states - Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Instead, he’ll focus on the 15 states holding a primary vote on Super Tuesday, March 3. 

3. Progress for the poorest:  In a historic shift, the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is now looking at the U.S. economy through the eyes of the lowest-paid workers. Fed chairs typically talk about monetary policy, preventing inflation, and maximizing employment. But Mr. Powell seeks an economy that addresses income inequality. He noted that a recent rise in pay for low-skilled American workers “underscores for us the importance of sustaining the expansion so that the strong job market reaches more of those left behind,” he said. On Monday, the Fed chair is scheduled to visit a working-class neighborhood in East Hartford, Connecticut, to meet with residents and look at a career development program.

AP Photo/Jerome Delay
Interspecies buddies: Hunter, a Belgian Malinois dog, keeps an eye on Jazz, a nine-day-old orphan giraffe, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, Nov. 22 2019.

Look Ahead

Monday, Nov. 25

Impeachment-free TV: The U.S. Congress heads home this week and the House impeachment inquiry goes on hiatus. No word yet whether Democrats will draw up articles of impeachment or call for more hearings.

Frankfurt Christmas Market: One of the largest in Germany, opens with a sing-along of Christmas carols with the Frankfurt Opera. 

Tuesday, Nov. 26

Presidential pardon: Two turkeys are expected to be given a reprieve as part of an annual Thanksgiving tradition. For the fourth year in a row, the pardoned poultry will become Hokies, spending their remaining years at “Gobblers Rest” a farm run by Virginia Tech.

Thursday, Nov. 28

Thanksgiving in the U.S.: A day of gratitude. 

The 93rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City (on NBC & CBS at 9 a.m.).

Pro football on TV: Chicago Bears-Detroit Lions (12:30 pm ET), Buffalo Bills-Dallas Cowboys (4:30 pm), New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons (8:20 pm). 

Saturday, Nov. 29

A tree in Bethlehem: Annual lighting of the Christmas tree in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, marking the start of the Christmas season.

Small Business Saturday: To encourage shoppers to support local businesses. 

Compassion Watch

Courtesy Father Ed Schnur, St. Wendel Parish/WEHT-TV
Coat rack of compassion in downtown Evansville, Ind. Nov. 11, 2019.

This photo on West Franklin St in Evansville, Ind., is a simple idea. But it hit home for me because a relative has been living on the streets off-and-on since July. He has no steady income. He lives 1,500 miles from any family, and won’t leave the small, rural Midwestern town where he grew up. 

That free coat rack symbolizes the universality of kindness that has blessed this relative.

When he lost his apartment, a woman in town opened her home to him to sleep on the couch temporarily. That stretched into nearly two months. But that arrangement ended a few weeks ago. He set up camp in the woods. By day, he goes to the library, where the librarians know him, and speak highly of him. But winter is coming, and his situation has become more desperate. The local Salvation Army store gave him a sleeping bag. When temperatures dipped to 9 degrees F., he found refuge in a local McDonald’s for a few hours one night. Family members have traveled out three times to help him find housing. Last night, a couple from a local church gave him a bed. If all goes as planned, today he’ll move into a modest apartment. 

We know we're not alone. Homelessness touches thousands of families. But as our family counts our blessings this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for free coat racks, and the generosity of strangers. 

Hidden gem

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

Houston, we have a solution: How the city curbed homelessness

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about how animal rights could open a new moral frontier.

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

  1. Impeachment scorecard: A House, and nation, still divided
  2. Zimbabwean doctors’ difficult call: Do they have to strike to serve?
  3. Why Holland aims to leave $80 billion in the ground
  4. For ‘our kids,’ a bundle of dignity for youth in foster care
  5. For Karen Armstrong, scripture is more than doctrine. It's an art form

This is a beta test - 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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