Analysis of the 2018 U.S. Midterm Election
Voter turnout was exceptionally high at an estimated 114 million votes cast in the House election. With the addition of 16 percent first-time voters this is significantly higher turnout than the past two midterm elections, which saw 25 and 35 million votes cast in 2010 and 2014, respectively. More than $5 billion USD was spent this election cycle.
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Signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has announced cabinet ministers from the United States, Mexico, and Canada will sign a new trade agreement on November 30. The deal will be signed in Buenos Aires, as Argentina is hosting the G20 international forum for governments and central bank governors. It was yet to be determined whether the presidents and prime minister will participate in the signing, Guajardo said.
After more than a year of negotiations to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, the United States and Canada reached a deal in September, by which time Mexico and the United States had already struck a bilateral agreement. Legislators from the three countries still have to approve the pact, officially known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), before it goes into effect.
Twelve dead in mass shooting at bar in Thousand Oaks, California
A US Marine Corps veteran opened fire on a crowd of students dancing at a country and western bar in a suburb of Los Angeles, using a handgun and a smoke device to kill twelve people and wounding many more.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean identified the gunman as 28-year-old Ian David Long, and said Long had likely shot himself, with no known motive.
Sheriff Dean said his department had several previous contacts with Long, including a call to his home in April, when deputies found him angry and acting irrationally. The Sheriff said a mental health crisis team was called at the time and a specialist concluded Long did not need to be taken into custody under laws pertaining to his mental health.
The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 17 classmates and teachers were gunned down at a Parkland, Florida school nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. That, in turn, closely followed the series of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, CNN and former officials critical of President Donald Trump.
Canadian MP leaves Conservative caucus over sexting scandal
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has asked long-time MP Tony Clement to leave Conservative caucus after he shared sexually explicit images and a video with an individual online, which resulted in an alleged extortion attempt. The RCMP are investigating the claim that an extortionist asked Clement to pay $75,200 or risk seeing the images and video released publicly.
Clement resigned from his role as justice critic and positions several Commons committees, including a top-secret national security and intelligence committee. Parliamentarians on this committee, including MPs and Senators alike, are privy to Canada’s most guarded secrets as they review the work of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Communications Security Establishment, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency.
The Parry Sound-Muskoka MP was first elected to the House of Commons in 2006 after making the jump from provincial politics. Stephen Harper picked Clement for a number of senior cabinet positions in his government, including president of the Treasury Board and minister of industry. Scheer did not answer questions about whether Clement can run under the Conservative banner in 2019.
Volkswagen plans to sell electric Tesla rival for less than $23,000
Volkswagen intends to sell electric cars for less than 20,000 euros and protect German jobs by converting three factories to make Tesla rivals, an inside source has revealed. Plans for VW’s electric car, known as “MEB entry” and with a production volume of 200,000 vehicles, are due to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on November 16. Another vehicle, the I.D. Aero, will be built in a plant currently making the VW Passat, a mid-sized sedan.
The November 16 strategy meeting will discuss Volkswagen’s transformation plan to shift from being Europe’s largest maker of combustion engine vehicles into a mass producer of electric cars. VW’s strategy shift comes as cities start to ban diesel engine vehicles, forcing carmakers to think of new ways to safeguard 600,000 German industrial jobs, of which 436,000 are at car companies and their suppliers.
VW and other carmakers are struggling to adapt quickly enough to stringent rules introduced after the carmaker was found to have cheated diesel emissions tests, with its chief executive Herbert Diess warning last month that Germany’s auto industry faces extinction.