News Roundup: April 21

US Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, has announced he is not running for reelection in 2018. Chaffetz, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, has shocked Washington with this announcement, as well as floating the possibility of resigning his seat early. Rumors have already begun to circulate ranging from an extra-marital affair (both gay and straight), to the possibility to run for Governor of Utah in 2020, to possible blackmail by Russian operatives. There is nothing confirmed in these rumors, but as this is a highly unusual move by a politician who is considered a rising star.

Commentary: This is highly unusual. While I will hold off on inflaming the rumors further, the fact that Chaffetz is willingly walking away from a long career in the House, and possibly more, something is up. Chaffetz is not in danger of losing his seat, as he is in one of the reddest districts in the country, he is young, and while a move to Governor may be a decent move, his current position gives him a higher national standing, and more clout in politics. I don’t care what the media is saying about 2018 and a possible Democratic wave election, this is too early to jump ship, and further, to resign before people catch their breath? Mr. Chaffetz, what are you running from?
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Car Manufacturer General Motors has announced that the company’s plant in Venezuela has been seized illegally by the government. The move has lead the the closure of GM manufacturing operations in the country. Venezuela has been rocked by a series of violent protests stemming from the economic meltdown the country has faced over the last year. GM has stated that the building was seized causing “irreparable damage” to the facility. GM is the latest to pull out of the South American Country, with Bridgestone ending operations in the country after 6 decades.

Commentary:  Things are only going to get worse in Venezuela, the protests this week were coordinated by the opposition party, who is trying to stop the President from imposing stricter controls which is hurting the populace. The result was the government jailing several opposition leaders and troops were sent out into the streets. This is considered the worst situation in South America, though there are lots of protests and tensions all over the continent. Venezuela will continue to be in this economic freefall until oil prices rise enough to rebound the economy.
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China has launched its first Cargo ship into Space. The ship, carrying 6 tons of goods will dock with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory that will hopefully be the basis of a Chinese space station by 2022. The continues China’s push into space and its reinvigorated space program.
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And that is all for me on the news front. I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and I hope you have a great weekend.

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