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  April 6, 2016

The Real News of the Day: April 6, 2016

Cruz and Sanders Win, No Pfizer Merger/Inversion, Unity Government in Libya, Protests in France and Peru, Brazil VP Impeachment Process, Carbon Emissions and Growth Delinked

Cruz and Sanders Win Wisconsin Primaries

 Underdog candidates Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders earned double-digit victories in the Wisconsin primaries. Their successes indicate that both candidates remain compelling challengers to frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Cruz’s 13 point win over Trump raises the possibility that Trump might not secure enough delegates to win an absolute majority at the Republican convention. This could lead to a so-called contested convention in which no candidate has earned enough delegates to win the nomination outright.

Although Clinton’s lead in terms of delegates shrunk by a relatively small margin, it nonetheless comes as Sanders has now won seven out of the last eight states. In a victory speech, Sanders made reference to his string of victories.

"Momentum is starting this campaign about eleven months ago, and the media determining that we were a fringe candidacy. Momentum is starting a campaign sixty to seventy points behind secretary Clinton. Momentum is to have national polls of the past week that have us one point up or one point down. [applause] Momentum is, when you look at national and state-wide polls, we are defeating Donald Trump by very signficant numbers. [applause]

The next major primary contest is set for April 19 in New York. Sanders and Clinton will debate each other on April 14 in Brooklyn.

Pfizer Merger With Irish Company Cancelled After Tax Law Change

 The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it will abandon a 160 billion dollar merger with the Irish pharmaceutical company Allergan. The companies initially sought a merger that would result in a lower corporate tax through the relocation of the new company's headquarters to Ireland. The procedure, known as an "inversion," has long received criticism from Democratic politicians. The decision comes after Obama announced a rule change that makes it more difficult for inversions to reduce corporate taxes.

"When companies exploit loopholes like this, it makes it harder to invest in the things that are going to keep America's economy going strong for future generations. It sticks the rest of us with the tab and it makes hard-working Americans feel like the deck is stack against them."

Had the planned merger gone through, Pfizer would have saved up to thirty five billion dollars in taxes per year. Despite the Obama administration action, analysts say companies still have many opportunities to evade taxes due to many loopholes in tax law. One of the largest loopholes is the non-taxation of profits made outside of the US. Some estimates suggest the US has lost up to 700 billion in taxes last year due to 2.4 trillion in unrepatriated profits.

New Unity Government Takes Over in Libya

 The Libyan government in the capital Tripoli is stepping down, with a new UN-brokered unity government taking its place. In a statement released on Tuesday, the departing government said, QUOTE, "We put the interests of the nation above anything else, and stress that the bloodshed [should] stop and the nation be saved from division and fragmentation.” The Islamist government based in Tripoli was one of three rival governments in the country. Civil war continues to devastate Libya since the 2011 NATO bombing campaign which led to the overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. Two rival governments ruled the country since 2014, with one based in Tripoli, and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk, which continues to maintain its claim on the country.

Police and Protestors Clash in France Over Labor Law Reform

 French police arrested 130 protestors following street clashes in Paris. The mostly student protestors are angered by labor law reform introduced by socialist President Francois Hollande earlier this year. The cities of Marseille, Lille, Nantes, Rennes and Strasbourg also saw large protests. They began last week when hundreds of thousands took to the streets in combination with a nation-wide transportation strike. The reform makes it easier to fire workers and for employers to institute working hours exceeding the eight-hour working day and the 35-hour working week.

Protests in Peru Against Fujimori Dictatorship and His Daughter's Candidacy for President

 Major protests also took place in Peru's capital, Lima, where over ten thousand took to the streets to protest against presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori. The protest was timed to take place on the anniversary of the 1992 coup of Alberto Fujimori, Keiko's father, who is generally regarded as having governed as a dictator between 1992 and 2000. He is currently serving a 25-year term in prison for crimes he committed while president.

Presidential elections are scheduled to take place this coming Sunday, April 10. Keiko Fujimori is the front-runner according to most polls, with 35 to 40 percent support. Placing second in the polls is Veronica Mendoza, a leftist newcomer, who promises to steer the country away from the neoliberal policies of outgoing president Ollanta Humala. Mendoza is tied with Pedro Pablo Kucynski, a center-right candidate who previously served as a minister under President Toledo.

If no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote on Sunday, there will be a run-off election in June.

Brazilian Vice-President to Also Face Impeachment Proceeding

 Brazil's political situation got even more complicted yesterday when a Supreme Court judge ruled that the country's vice-president, Michel Temer, should face impeachment proceedings. A legislator from the governing workers party submitted a motion to impeach Temer with the argument that he violated the same rules for which President Dilma Rousseff is being impeached.

The new impeachment complicates the situation tremendously for the opposition, which had hoped to replace Rousseff with her more centrist vice-president. If Temer approved or participated in the same accounting irregularities that Rousseff is accused of, the country will either be left with no one to govern or the impeachment would have to be dropped.

Brazil has been undergoing tremendous political and economic turmoil for the past six months, due to a severe economic downturn and a massive corruption investigation that has been targeting members of the governing party. Former President Lula da Silva is planning to join Roussefsf's cabinet tomorrow, in the hope of turning the situaiton around.

World Resource Institute Says 21 Countries Decreased Carbon Emissions While Still Growing Economically

 Finally, carbon emissions and economic growth do not have to be linked, says a World Resources Institute Study published yesterday. Examining carbon emissions and economic growth in 21 countries, the study found that since the year 2000 the two factors have been decoupled. Historically economic growth and carbon emissions always coincided and in many countries they continue to do so. However, in most countries of Europe and in the US carbon emissions have leveled off or declined since 2000, while economic growth has continued to increase.

This is an important finding that contradicts an argument many conservative economists have made, that reducing greenhouse gases in order to limit climate change will lead to economic decline. However the study's authors note that this decoupling has happened mostly in wealthy countries of the North, where deindustrialization has set in and which increasingly rely on industrialized products manufactured in the developing world.

Well, that's all for today. My name is David Hebden and this was The Real News of the Day. Please don't forget to visit our website,, where you can find all of our in-depth coverage of these stories and much more. Thanks for joining us!

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