With just under two weeks to go before the presidential election, it can seem as though there is nothing going on in the world outside of the latest sexual assault allegations against Republican Donald Trump and Wikileaks’ most recent release of embarrassing emails from top Democrats.
However, even as we focus ever inward on who will be sitting in the Oval Office a few short months from now, the world keeps on spinning. Here are some of the major stories you missed while reading about Trump’s latest accuser and the depths of John Podesta’s spam folder.
1. The assault on Mosul is making progress. Trump’s claims to the contrary aside, the concerted effort of Iraqi, Kurdish and allied forces to drive ISIS out of Iraq’s second largest city is moving forward, with some success. The long-planned operation to oust the terror group from its last major urban stronghold in Iraq was never expected to be either quick or smooth, but it has met expectations, so far at least. Troops have begun clearing out the villages surrounding the city. However, ISIS has responded by setting fire to oilfields and industrial plants and is rounding up civilians, probably to use as human shields during the final offensive against the city itself.
2. Obamacare is getting more expensive. The administration this week announced that premium payments for health insurance programs sold through the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act will be rising dramatically -- by as much as 25 percent -- next year. President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement is increasingly on the rocks, as insurers bolt from the exchanges and Republicans in Congress continue refusing to entertain any legislative remedies that fall short of complete and total repeal.
3. Brexit fears go all the way to the top. Now that Theresa May is Prime Minister of the UK, it’s up to her to manage the country’s withdrawal from the European Union, which voters endorsed in a referendum earlier this year. That became a little more awkward this week after the release of a recording of May warning of the potential damage such a move could do to the country’s economy. “If we were not in Europe, I think there would be firms and companies who would be looking to say, do they need to develop a mainland Europe presence rather than a UK presence?” she said to a Goldman Sachs conference in May.
4. Your house is worth more than it used to be. Interest rates are still near historic lows, and new housing stock has been slow to come to market. Those two factors have combined to drive housing prices sharply upward in recent months. The Case-Schiller index, which tracks housing prices across the country, showed a 12-month increase of 5.3 percent at the end of August, confirming that the rebound in the housing market appears both real and enduring.
5. Monsters are real. With Halloween coming up next week, most of us are buying bags of candy to hand out to smiling children. Then there are these people. Chocolate covered Brussels sprouts? Caramel-dipped onions? That’s scary.
It'll soon be Halloween so time to prepare some yummy treats for the neighbourhood kids. Try dipping Brussels sprouts in chocolate for them. pic.twitter.com/HFXGA9vFSV— Mark Sparrow (@MarkGSparrow) October 24, 2016
Click here for five more stories you may have missed because you were focused on this wild election.