News Update for Thursday, November 16


End of an Era

Source: The New York Times

Jekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

After almost 40 years in power, the reign of Robert Mugabe may be coming to a close as tanks were deployed in the streets of the capital of Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe appears to be under house arrest. Much of the public anger centered on his wife, Grace, amid allegations of graft and plans to install her as his successor.

France Takes a Leading Role

Source: The New York Times

Jekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

French president Emmanuel Macron invited Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, and his family to come to France, in an attempt to find a way out of the political crisis in Lebanon. Concern has increased that Mr. Hariri may actually be a prisoner in Saudi Arabia. His insistence in a television interview on Sunday that he was “free” did little to dissipate the questions. The French invitation and Hariri’s statement came as the Lebanese government, along with the European Union and several Western European countries, augmented public pressure on the Saudis to make clear that Mr. Hariri is free to leave their country. And in Lebanon, this humiliating moment has become an occasion for national unity, even pride.

“Salvator Mundi” breaks all records

Source: The New York Times

Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $450.3 million, smashing the record for any work of art sold at auction. To critics, this was thanks to the role of salesmanship in art, because of the painting’s damaged condition and questions about its authenticity. It has been called “the Last da Vinci,” but some experts disagree. “The composition doesn’t come from Leonardo,” said Jacques Franck, an art historian and Leonardo specialist. “It’s a good studio work with a little Leonardo at best, and it’s very damaged.”

Free Money Versus Capitalism

Source: The New York Times

A nonprofit organization, GiveDirectly, is proceeding with plans to provide universal cash grants in rural Kenya. A grant allowed this recipient to build a house. Credit: GiveDirectly

As jobs paying decent salaries become harder and harder to find, and robots appear ready to replace millions of human workers, the idea of universal basic income is gaining ground. The general notion is for governments to distribute regular checks to everyone, regardless of their income of whether they are working or not. This would ensure food and shelter for all, while removing the humiliation of public support. The idea is that it would allow workers to find jobs with better conditions or devote time to artistic endeavors. “Basic income gives the worker the power to say, “Well, if Walmart’s not going to pay me enough, then I’m just not going to work there,” says Karl Widerquist, a philosopher at Georgetown University in Qatar.

Brazilian National Soccer Championship

Photo: LANCE! / LANCE!

Corinthians defeated Fluminense last night to claim the Brazilian National Soccer championship. And Peru defeated New Zealand by 2 X 0 and will be back in the World Cup after 36 years.

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