China and Taiwan hold first talks since 1949 split
When the Presidents of China and Taiwan shook hands on Saturday, they reached across a gap that has yawned between the two sides since 1949, in the wake of China’s civil war. Then, the Communist Party took control of the majority of China and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to Taiwan. The mainland became the People’s Republic of China; Taiwan took the name Republic of China and embraced democracy.
Mistrust and fear of more bloodshed between them have haunted them for decades. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou met in a third-party country — Singapore. They eschewed their presidential titles and address each other simply as “Mr.”
In a Thursday press conference, Ma said that the two sides would even split the bill for their hotel and meal costs. What may seem like informal manners was actually governed by a complicated protocol reflecting the bitter history between the two. Every gesture they made has been closely scrutinized. CNN
President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline
President Obama announced Friday that the White House has rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, ending seven years of speculation about its fate and marking a major victory for environmental groups who have put pressure on the Obama administration. In a press conference, Obama said the pipeline would not contribute meaningfully long-term to the economy, would not lower gas prices for the American consumer, and that there are new clean energy technologies that would be better for the environment than dirty crude oil.
The pipeline would have carried oil from Alberta, Canada, through the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico. Supporters of the project champion its ability to create jobs and curb U.S. dependence on foreign oil, while those against it cite environmental concerns. The Wall Street Journal, Mashable
Ben Carson’s campaign rumbles with Politico over West Point story
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson claimed in his book Gifted Hands that he was offered “full scholarship” admission to West Point Military Academy when he was 17, an offer he ultimately turned down because he wanted to be a doctor.
After West Point called into question the validity of this narrative due to a lack of records showing Carson applying or being offered admission or a scholarship, Carson’s campaign admitted Friday that Carson never applied to the school. Carson’s communications director Doug Watts later called Politico‘s story on those revelations “an outright lie,” maintaining that Carson never claimed he had actually applied or been admitted to the school.
Putin suspends all flights from Russia to Egypt in wake of crash
Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended all flights from Russia to Egypt Friday amid security concerns following the fatal crash of a Russian jet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Though Russia has so far denied the U.S. and Britain’s suspicions that a bomb planted by ISIS was responsible for the crash that killed all 224 people on board, Putin ordered that measures be taken to ensure the safe return of Russian tourists already in Egypt.
Mr. Putin’s decision was the first breach in what has largely been a consistent response from Russian and Egyptian authorities to the crash on Saturday. Until now, the two countries have been playing down the possibility of terrorism — even as Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said it was likely a bomb and President Obama said “we are taking that very seriously.” The New York Times
The U.S. economy created 271,000 jobs in October
The American economy gained 271,000 jobs in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. It also revised estimates from the last two months upwards by 12,000, making for an overall uptick in the jobs outlook. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained effectively unchanged at 5 percent.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.5 percent), teenagers (15.9 percent), whites (4.4 percent), blacks (9.2 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (6.3 percent) showed little or no change in October. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Mormon church issues rules aimed at gay members, their kids
Mormon church officials have issued a rule change that says members in same-sex marriages can be kicked out and their children must wait until they’re 18 and disavow homosexual relationships to be baptized.
The revisions triggered a wave of anger, confusion and sadness for a growing faction of LGBT-supportive Mormons who were buoyed in recent years by church leaders’ calls for more compassion and understanding for LGBT members.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints disseminated the handbook changes this week to local church leaders around the world. The goal was to provide clarity to lay leaders who run congregations, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. He noted the church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages. AP
Pakistani Christian Couple Who were Burned in Kiln Remembered on Anniversary of Death
On the anniversary of the murders of a Pakistani Christian couple, the humanitarian organization which cares for the couple’s children, is speaking out for justice. Christian Today reports that Shama and Shahzah Masih were accused of blasphemy against Islam and beaten by an angry mob. The couple was then burned inside the brick kiln at which they worked.
The Cecil Chaudhry & Iris Foundation, which stands up for the marginalized in Pakistan, is looking after the couple’s children. “We wanted to bring a change for the better in the lives of these children. Today it gives us great pleasure to see these children happy, safe and engaged in school activities,” said Michelle Chaudhry, president of the foundation.
Although the Masih’s children are doing well, Chaudhry firmly condemned the cruel death suffered by their parents. Christian Headlines
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