Eye on the World 11/18/19

Public hearings begin in Trump impeachment probe

The House of Representatives voted to formally open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, prompting a series of open-door testimonies from Bill Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch that took place last week. On Nov. 12, House Intelligence officials released the schedule for testimonies, officially announcing eight additional witnesses will be heard from publicly this week. In total, 11 witness testimonies have been officially scheduled and conducted, which will coincide with the release of transcripts from the preliminary depositions that took place in October.

Despite ongoing protests from the White House, House investigators are still seeking the testimony of over a dozen witnesses including names like Mike Pompeo, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney. The White House has presently refused a number of subpoenas issued by the inquiry, therefore it is uncertain whether or not they will choose to cooperate with these requests.

Iran engulfed in protests after gas price hike and rationing

On Saturday, Nov. 16, multiple protests erupted in Tehran and dozens of other cities in Iran after the government raised the price per liter of gasoline by a third of its original price and began to ration how much citizens can buy. Most of the protests turned violent, and in the city of Sirjan one protestor was killed while many others were injured.

As these protests have continued they have gotten more politically focused. In Sirjan, protestors attacked a fuel storage warehouse and attempted to set it on fire, and in a video circulating Twitter, protesters managed to set fire to a bank. These anti-government protests received lip-service from the United States when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “The United States is with you.” This uprising in Tehran is merely one of the many different protests that have rocked several countries around the world, as protesters continue to clash with authorities in Hong Kong, Bolivia and Chile following political and economic unrest.

Venice flooding continues, water reaches dangerous levels

Historic flooding has paralyzed Venice, Italy in recent weeks. It caused a combination of unusually high spring tides, as well as a severe storm surge. The city has recorded its highest water level in 50 years and declared a state of emergency. At present, two people have been reported dead in the flooding.

Officials in Venice have related these floods to climate change. This current flooding in Venice is the second-highest tide in its recorded history, and several record-breaking floods that have taken place in the last two decades. Floodwaters overwhelmed the Venice regional council hall for the first time in fifty years almost immediately after the body rejected a series of amendments seeking to combat climate change. Landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica, the Correr Museum and Venice’s Music Conservatory have been seriously affected by the flooding, prompting widespread response and attempts to prevent the conditions from worsening. Although measures have been taken to mitigate some of the damage, it is unclear how the flooding will affect some of Venice’s most notable landmarks.