Monday Sunrise Briefs: Protests topple leaders in Iraq and Malta

AP Photo/Hadi Mizban
Sky's the limit: Anti-government protesters occupy the rooftop of a building near Tahrir Square during protests in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.

Stepping down. Iraq and Malta saw top leadership changes this weekend. In Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation was accepted by Parliament Sunday. It was prompted by the deaths of at least 400 people during two months of street protests, similar to the demonstrations that have rocked nations from Latin America to Hong Kong. But the Iraqi government has responded with live ammo as thousands protested Iranian influence, corruption among elites, poor services, lack of jobs, and called for an end to the post-2003 political system. The process for forming a new Iraqi government is unclear, but populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a referendum to choose a prime minister from among five proposed candidates. In Malta, Prime Minster Joseph Muscat said he will resign in January after a scandal surrounding the murder of an anti-corruption journalist

2. Security over Brexit: A stabbing attack in London Friday shifted the public debate this weekend from Brexit to security and criminal justice. As the Dec. 12 election looms, Britain’s political leaders sparred Sunday over who is responsible for the early release of a convicted Islamic extremist who launched the attack. The suspect was apprehended by bystanders - one wielding a 5-foot narwhal tusk (grabbed off a wall at Fishmonger’s Hall) and the other a fire extinguisher - a reminder of the role citizens have played in previous terrorist attacks. Police later fatally shot the attacker who was wearing a fake suicide vest.


Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser via AP
Honoring courage: State and city leaders pose with a new Rosa Parks statue unveiled in Montgomery, Ala., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, on the 64th anniversary of her arrest for not giving up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus.

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, sunrise briefing.

Here are two news events from this past weekend (while you were watching "Knives Out," shopping, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

Look Ahead

Monday, Dec. 2

Second Amendment case: The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case challenging a New York City law that limits where licensed handgun owners may carry their guns.  In 2008, in the case of Washington, D.C. v. Heller, the high court ruled that the Constitution provides a right to keep a handgun at home for self-defense.

Seeking climate solutions: The global UN Climate Change Conference, aka COP25, starts in Madrid, and goes for 12 days. At issue are the steps more than 200 nations agreed to take in 2015 to limit carbon emissions. Among the topics, the emerging link between declining biodiversity and rising temperatures. 

Tuesday, Dec. 3

A security partnership: The 70th anniversary of NATO will be celebrated at a gathering of heads of state in London. The 29-nation military alliance has been marked by arguments over funding (the US says it pays too much) and questions about its effectiveness and purpose. Now, there are concerns that one NATO member, Turkey, is being drawn into an alliance with Russia. 

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Impeachment inquiry, Part II: The House Intelligence Committee is expected to file its report to the House Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hold its first hearing today with constitutional scholars invited to discuss the historical basis of impeachment. The committee has invited President Trump, or his representative, to testify. By Christmas, the Judiciary Committee is expected to make a recommendation on articles of impeachment for a full House vote.

Thursday, Dec. 5

Illumination: The 97th National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is held in Washington D.C. Also, in Saint Peter’s Square, the lighting of the Vatican Christmas tree and an adjacent nativity scene.

Generosity Watch

Adrianna Edwards walked nearly 2.5 hours to work at Denny’s in Galveston, Texas before she started her shift as a waitress. And, then she walked the 7 miles home. But no longer.

Last Tuesday, she served a couple breakfast. They heard about Adrianna’s work ethic and we’re so moved that they came back with a car. The couple - who asked to remain anonymous - went to a car dealer and bought a white 2011 Nissan Sentra (worth about $5,000 according to Kelley Blue Book) and gave Adrianna the keys. She was stunned. Her commute to Denny’s is now just 30 minutes. She’s saving money for college. 

I still feel like I’m dreaming. Every two hours, I come look out my window and see if there’s still a car there,” she told KTRK-TV in Houston.  The couple didn’t ask Adrianna for anything but to pay the generosity forward.

Hidden gem

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

Near-perfect ‘A Beautiful Day’ captures the wholeness of Fred Rogers

Lacey Terrell/Sony-Tristar Pictures via AP
Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in a scene from "A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood."

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story that asks this question: Can civil discourse be taught? 

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

  1. Does Trump's Navy SEAL pardon undermine military justice?
  2. Mississippi’s forgotten floods: When nation looks away, locals unite
  3. In Jordan’s desert, ancient rock art finds modern defenders
  4. Is saying ‘I’d kill for those shoes’ OK? One woman and Sixth Commandment.
  5. How to feed an island: Try World Central Kitchen.

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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