Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bill O'Reilly Fired from Fox News

Bill O'Reilly (R), seen here in an interview with President Trump, was fired
from Fox News Wednesday after revelations on amount of settlement money
paid after allegations of inappropriate conduct by O'Reilly
Credit: Fox News
Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News's top-rated 'O'Reilly Factor,' was fired from the network Wednesday after the New York Times reported on the amount of money spent to settle earlier allegations of harassing behavior towards women. The revelations led to protests outside the Fox News studios and numerous advertisers leaving the show. O'Reilly, who had long denied claims of inappropriate actions, has been with the network since 1996.

The 'O'Reilly Factor', originally called the 'O'Reilly Report' from 1996-1998, was Fox News's flagship primetime program, often millions viewers each night (including its rerun each night). While Fox News has the highest-rated shows on cable news in primetime, O'Reilly's ratings continued to lead the pack for much of its run. O'Reilly's departure from the network could cause a significant decline in viewership, both through the absence of O'Reilly's show itself and the lack of a lead-in for the other shows from the 'O'Reilly Factor.'

O'Reilly's departure comes months after Fox News Channel's CEO Roger Ailes left the network following similar allegations, with former female anchors and hosts, including Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Tantaros, alleging harassing behavior from Ailes.

May Calls for Snap Election Amid Brexit Negotiations

British PM Theresa May (pictured here in an earlier joint
press conference with US President Donald Trump) announced Tuesday an
early general election set to take place in June
Credit: Flickr
British Prime Minister Theresa May called Tuesday for an early general election, coming just weeks after May triggered Article 50 on the Lisbon Treaty, formally beginning negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (UK).

With this announcement, which has already been approved by Parliament, the Parliament will be dissolved by May 3 to make way for a general election on June 8. With this, May hopes to expand the Conservative majority over opposition parties, namely the Labour Party, which has seen its political power wane significantly since the 2015 general election and the elevation of Jeremy Corbyn as its leader. The Conservative Party, which holds a narrow majority in the House of Commons, stands to gain more seats and expand its majority as May's government moves forward in the Brexit negotiation process, according to some recent polls.

Friday, March 31, 2017

British PM Theresa May Begins Brexit Process

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivered Wednesday the letter triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally beginning the negotiations for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union (EU). This follows the June 2016 referendum in which a majority of voters voted to leave the EU.
The negotiations will center on creating new trade agreements with the EU, an important step given the level of trade between the UK and other European economies. If no agreement is reached, trade policies will default to World Trade Organization (WTO) standards, which is widely believed to have a detrimental affect on both economies should it occur.

In addition, negotiations will create a timetable for the UK to begin to sever ties with EU programs and agencies, along with deciding whether the UK will continue to abide by certain EU standards as a precondition for maintaining certain trade practices with EU nations. It will also set the amount the UK owes the EU for its withdrawal.

The British pound rose against the euro following the announcement of May’s letter, but fell against the US dollar.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

French Presidential Election Worries Investors

The upcoming French presidential election has investors worried about the possibility of a major shakeup in French and European politics, as Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the right-wing populist to far-right National Front (FN) Party leads the pack in polls for the first round of voting on April 23. She leads conservative Francois Fillon and the more liberal Emmanuel Macron, who are both battling for second place to make the runoff. While Le Pen leads in the first round, she loses in the polls to either man in a head-to-head matchup in the second round, though her support has risen in the past few weeks through her emphasis on security and anti-immigration appeals.

Le Pen, if elected, will work to hold a referendum on whether France should leave the European Union (EU), as Britain did in June of last year. The withdrawal of France, the main political and economic anchor of the bloc along with Germany, would cast doubt on the future viability of the EU. Investors, most of whom support the continuation of the EU, have begun to sell French bonds in favor of German bonds, which are seen as more safer

Murder of Kim Jong Nam Helps Expose North Korean Chemical Capabilities

The murder of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the former heir apparent to Kim Jong-il, through agents using VX nerve agent in Malaysia has shed a light on the chemical weapons capabilities of the North Korean Regime.

VX, a toxic nerve agent which stimulates the nervous system to the point of death, is one of the most toxic substances known, capable of killing through inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion with only very small amounts. The use of it to murder Kim Jong Nam shows that North Korea has chemical weapons capability and will not tolerate dissension, as Kim Jong Nam was a notable critic of his half-brother’s rule.