10 things you need to know today: November 10, 2019

Tim O'Donnell

1.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Saturday denied House Republicans' request to bring Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower, whose complaint about President Trump's phone call in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred the House impeachment inquiry, to the witness stand in the inquiry's upcoming public hearings. Schiff said the committee will neither "facilitate efforts" to "threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower," nor serve as "a vehicle to undertake the sham investigations into the Bidens." Schiff did say, however, that the committee is reviewing the other possible witnesses proposed by Rep. Devin Nunes (D-Calif.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, in a letter sent Saturday to Schiff. [Axios, Fox News]

2.

President Trump told reporters Saturday he is planning to release the transcript of a second phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, likely on Tuesday. "We have another transcript coming out that is very important," Trump said. "They ask for it, and I gladly give it." The call took place in April just after Zelensky won the Ukrainian presidential election and it was reportedly mainly a congratulatory call, though little is known about its contents. Of course, the phone call between the two leaders that took place in July was the catalyst for the impeachment inquiry Trump now faces. [The Guardian, Politico]

3.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) directly challenged billionaire Michael Bloomberg during a Democratic presidential campaign speech Saturday in Iowa. "Our campaign is going to end the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality which exists in America today," Sanders said. "So tonight we say to Michael Bloomberg and other billionaires: Sorry, you ain't going to buy this election." Bloomberg is contemplating a run at the Democratic nomination and filed for the Alabama primary Friday. Sanders also criticized Bloomberg's plan, if he runs, to bypass early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire in favor of focusing on Super Tuesday states. [The New York Times, The Washington Post]

4.

Pro-democracy, anti-government protests continued in Hong Kong on Sunday, one day after thousands gathered for a peaceful vigil mourning Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old university student who fell to his death this week after police were attempting to disperse a rally. The Sunday crowds continued to honor the student, but the day has reportedly been more active than Saturday with messages circulating online calling for people to occupy shopping malls. There have also been calls for a general strike and class boycott Monday with plans to disrupt train service in the city in the early morning. In related news, seven pro-democracy lawmakers were detained or faced arrest Saturday. They could spend up to a year in jail if convicted for allegedly "assaulting, obstructing, or molesting" three pro-Beijing lawmakers. [The South China Morning Post, Deutsche Welle]

5.

Saudi Aramco published a 658-page prospectus for its initial public offering Saturday. The document revealed that retail investors will be offered up to 0.5 percent of the offering, but it did not unveil what percentage will be sold to institutions. Investors were ultimately left to guess the number of shares on offer, the price range, and when the listing will officially go forward, though The Wall Street Journal notes that it isn't uncommon for an IPO when demand for the offering is unclear. The prospectus also highlighted the risks in investing in the state-owned oil giant, which include the involvement of the Saudi royal family, climate change, and antitrust suits in the United States connected to Saudi Arabia's OPEC membership. [The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times]

6.

Voters are heading to the polls Sunday for the fourth time since 2015 in Spain where they will decide the outcome of the country's general election. Surveys are predicting the vote will result in a fractured parliament without an absolute majority in a continuation of the norm since 2017 as the Spanish government has struggled to broker deals. The Socialist Party is expected to remain the largest vote-getter, but only at around 27 percent, which will make it unlikely to form a majority government. Meanwhile, the country's far right party, Vox, is also likely to continue to make gains thanks to a rise in support from conservatives angered by the ongoing secession crisis in Catalonia, and the Socialist Party's decision to allow the exhumation of former dictator General Francisco Franco. [El Pais, Al Jazeera]

7.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday he plans to call for new elections after weeks of protests in the country calling for his resignation. Morales' announcement came shortly after the Organization for American States recommended new elections and the annulment of the previous results from Oct. 20, which were considered fraudulent by Morales' opposition. As Bolivians marched in protest throughout the weekend, there were reports that some members of the police joined the demonstrators with some reportedly refusing to guard the square where the presidential palace is located. Members of an elite tactical operations unit were reportedly among those who withdrew in solidarity with the protests. [France 24, Reuters]

8.

A cold front emerging from Siberia is expected to reach the United States next week, with temperatures possibly dipping to record lows for November from New England to Texas. The cold front is expected to hit the northern Plains and Upper Midwest on Sunday before heading south, potentially bringing below freezing temperatures even to the Gulf Coast. The expected temperatures are reportedly closer to those that normally occur in January and could wind up being 30 degrees below what is usually expected for this time of year. Some snowfall is anticipated earlier in the week, but will likely taper off even as temperatures remain frigid. [CBS News, The Washington Post]

9.

Leaders from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic attended a ceremony Saturday in Berlin honoring the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is viewed as one of the pivotal moments in the final stages of the Cold War. The leaders placed roses in the remnants of the barrier that once divided the city. "The Berlin Wall, ladies and gentleman, is history," German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced. "It teaches us: No wall that keeps people out and restricts freedom is so high or so wide that it can't be broken down." President Trump congratulated Germany on the anniversary, saluting the "courageous men and women from both East and West Germany" who united to "tear down a wall that stood as a symbol of oppression." [The Associated Press, The Week]

10.

In one of the most anticipated matchups of the college football season, No. 2 Louisiana State University defeated the third-ranked University of Alabama, in a 46-41 barn burner on Alabama's home turf. The two teams were unbeaten going into the game, and while they both remain in contention for the College Football Playoff, it wound up being a statement win for LSU, who had gone eight straight tries without beating Alabama. The Tigers were led by quarterback and leading Heisman candidate Joe Burrow who threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns. Alabama was down 33-13 at halftime and rallied back, but LSU answered the challenge and survived. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, one of the nation's top draft prospects, threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns, but was hampered by an interception and a fumble. [ESPN]

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