5 things for November 27: Pope Francis, volcano, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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Pope in Myanmar
Pope Francis arrived in Myanmar this morning. Francis, the first pope to ever visit the nation, will be focused on the Rohingya crisis. The Pope has previously decried the unspeakable violence against the Rohingya and referred to them as his persecuted "brothers and sisters." But he's been advised not to say the word 'Rohingya' out of fear that could start anti-Muslim protests in staunchly Buddhist Myanmar. The ethnic group is not a recognized minority in the country. The government, instead, refers to them as "Bengalis," and claims they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
There's a political fight brewing at the nation's consumer watchdog agency, but, please, don't scroll down to the next item. What happens with the CFPB is actually pretty important. Richard Cordray, the agency's director, resigned last week and named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the acting director. But then President Trump named Mick Mulvaney, who's already running the Office of Management and Budget, as the CFPB's acting director. English is suing to stop that.
The CFPB oversees financial institutions and protects consumers from financial fraud. It's also not popular at all with Trump, Republicans or Wall Street, so that may explain why the administration seems to want to get its hands on it. Mulvaney himself has been one of CFPB's biggest critics, saying it creates burdensome regulations. So will there be a showdown this morning? It's unclear, but Mulvaney's team expects there will be a normal transition.
The sex harassment allegations swirling around Rep. John Conyers caused the long-serving Michigan Democrat to step down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, Sen. Al Franken said he's embarrassed and ashamed after several women said he had inappropriately touched them. But he still plans to return to the Senate today, after missing votes when the allegations went public. Finally, Sen. Lindsey Graham wishes the President would cool it with the support for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, whose campaign was rocked by sex harassment allegations weeks ago.
Egypt mosque attack
We're starting to hear the stories from the survivors of the horrifying terror attack on a mosque in Egypt that killed more than 300 people. One man said he concealed himself under dead bodies to hide from the dozens of gunmen who attacked the Sufi mosque in northern Sinai with automatic machine guns. One of the attackers carried an ISIS flag. Another survivor said he lost nine family members in the massacre. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that some extremists consider heretical.
If your holiday travels include a trip to Bali, a volcano may put a serious dent in them. Volcanic eruptions from Mount Agung are shooting thick ash miles into the air, forcing the closure of Bali's main airport. About 40,000 nearby residents have been evacuated. The high level of concern on Bali, one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, is warranted. When Mount Agung erupted in 1963, more than 1,700 people were killed.
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