Monday Sunrise Briefs: Why protesters now target Iran's leaders

Mona Hoobehfekr/ISNA via AP
A woman attending a candlelight vigil Saturday night to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, scolds a policeman, near Amri Kabir University in Tehran, Iran.

Outrage over Tehran’s lack of integrity spawned a weekend of protests in Iran after the government admitted late Friday that Iranian forces had inadvertently shot down a commercial airliner last week, killing all 176 people on board. The populist anger directed at the U.S. after the killing of an Iranian general, has shifted, and is now directed at the leaders of Iran for hiding the truth. Videos show tear gas and live ammunition was used against some of the protests. “I feel ashamed when I think about their families,” said Zahra Razeghi, a Tehran resident. "The denial and covering up the truth over the past three days greatly added to the suffering and pain of the families, and me,” she said. 

2. A vote for independent identity. The pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong helped shape the message - and the results in Taiwan. Record voter turnout gave incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen another term in Saturday’s elections and her party retained the majority in the legislature. Beijing still claims sovereignty over the island of 23 million people and threatens to use force to seize control if necessary. “We have sent out a crystal-clear message — there are certain values that we are protecting," said one voter, Rocky Hwang, an interior designer. “This is a basic opinion that says Taiwanese people want to decide on their future on their own, and protect our own values.”

3. Going on offense. Milder winds and temperatures are allowing Australian firefighters to gain the upper hand in New South Wales. “The fire behavior has changed. So we're able to get in front of the fire now, get on the offensive,” Dale McLean and other firefighters told the Associated Press Sunday. The fire has also reignited debate over climate change. Protesters rallied Friday in Sydney and Melbourne, calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to be fired and for Australia to take tougher action on global warming. Mr. Morrison said Sunday that his government was building resilience to the fire and other national disasters risks posed by climate change.

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Jan. 13, 2019, sunrise briefing.

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been watching the NFL playoffs, basking in a January heat wave, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.


Chris Symes/Photosport via AP
Serena Williams won her first singles match in three years. Ms. Williams donated her $43,000 in prize money to Australian wildfire relief efforts. Shown here with daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Jan 12, 2020.

Look Ahead

Monday, Jan. 13

Excellence in college cleats: The national championship pits LSU against reigning champ Clemson at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.  

Tuesday, Jan. 14

Impeachment returns: After nearly a month’s delay, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to hold a vote to send two articles of impeachment - based on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - to the Senate. The Senate trial is likely to begin this week, although the issue of whether any new witnesses will testify remains murky. 

On the 2020 campaign trail: The last Democratic presidential candidates' debate before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses will be at 9 p.m. at Drake University in Iowa. Only six candidates qualified.  At the same time, President Trump will hold a campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016, becoming the first Republican to take the state since 1984. 

Wednesday, Jan. 15

Trade deal, Phase One: China’s Vice Premier Liu He is expected to be in Washington, D.C., to sign a “phase one” trade deal with the U.S. Details aren’t public yet but are expected to include China’s commitment to buy $40-50 billion worth of U.S. farm products annually in exchange for reduced tariffs on Chinese goods.

Sunday, Jan. 19

Grace on the gridiron: The upstart Tennessee Titans take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC conference championship at 3:05 p.m. ET. The San Francisco 49ers play the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship at 6:40 p.m. ET. The conference winners will go to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. 


Generosity Watch

Cath Hill @patsythecorryongwonderdog/Instagram
Patsy just after she and her owner Stephen Hill of Curryong, Victoria, brought the sheep to safety on the morning of New Year’s Eve.

Sometimes poise and courage are best expressed by our four-footed friends. 

In the early morning hours of Dec. 31, fire was closing on her flock. So, Patsy went to work. The six-year-old shepherd mix rounded up 220 sheep and gently but quickly herded them into a barn safe from the bushfire sweeping over the property in Curryong, Australia. Her owner, Stephen “Benny” Hill says that despite the heat and smoke that blanketed the property, Patsy kept her cool. He lost several sheds in the fire, but only a handful of sheep. “She’s earned her keep. As I said, she rides in the front of the ute [utility truck] for the rest of her life with me,” Mr. Hill told SBS news. 

Hill's sister, Cath Hill, called Patsy a "wonder dog" for her rescue efforts. She posted a 20-second video on Instagram that’s now going viral and bringing in donations.  “I never dreamed that ... me posting pictures of a little black and white dog would become my way to help my hometown recover from the worst fires in living memory. It’s funny how life works sometimes… It’s easy to feel helpless. But, it’s also easy to help,” she wrote.  

In Australia, scores of businesses are helping, ranging from hairdressers to musicians, by holding fundraising events. The state of Victoria has also set up a bushfire relief fund to help towns, such as Corryong, families, businesses, and the wildlife with recovery.

Hidden gem

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

Jealousy at Ivy League level: How a law professor views Tenth Commandment

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about the first North American ban on religious symbols, everything from Muslim veils to Christian crosses. 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s five selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. Closer ties with China? Taiwan’s voters look likely to say, ‘No thanks.’
  2. For Canada, airliner tragedy in Iran is deeply personal
  3. How political tribalism can lead to more political hypocrisy
  4. Thailand’s Steve Irwin wants to make snakes less scary
  5. From rockets to cuddly foxes, bring out kids’ inner scientist

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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