The Passing of a President, Stock Market Volatility, and More—In the News 12/10/18


In a fast-moving, ever-shifting world, news is continuously breaking. The Great Courses is here to help you understand the full story behind the soundbites. Here are a handful of stories from the week of December 10, 2018, and their accompanying lectures on The Great Courses Plus

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Remembering George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush, our 41st President, passed away on November 30, 2018, at the age of 94. In 1988, Bush won the Republican nomination for President and took office facing a dramatically changing world. Examine one of the Bush’s biggest challenges with his administration’s response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990: Operation Desert Storm and the controversial end to the conflict.

The Ups and Downs of the Market
The stock market has been on a wild roller coaster ride thanks to the evolving US-China trade war and other crucial factors. This isn’t new news. At any given moment, some market somewhere is making headlines because it’s either hitting record highs or crashing down to earth. Learn how to approach the uncertainty of financial markets with savvy and common sense.

Happy Hanukkah
Hanukkah is celebrated from December 2 to December 10. This eight-day Jewish celebration commemorates the rededication during the second century BC of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. Delve into the beliefs, practices, attitudes, and institutions of the Jewish faith through the ages, which demonstrates a striking diversity, yet can be traced to a common heritage.

Global Carbon Emissions
A report known as the Global Carbon Project found that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels appear to have increased by about 2.7 percent in 2018. This comes after a 1.6 percent increase in 2017, bringing us to an all-time high. Survey the history of the Earth’s climate from antiquity to the present, examine the evidence that recent human activity is accelerating climate change, and understand what challenges we will soon face.

Paris Protests
Paris gears up to face stronger riots and will be closing important tourist attractions, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The anti-government unrest began on Nov. 17, in reaction to a sharp increase in diesel taxes, and protestors are now pressing for a wider range of benefits from the government to help French workers, retirees, and students. This sort of crusading is not new to Paris. Rediscover the march to Versailles where thousands of women and National Guardsmen protested the price of bread, revealing the power of popular activism.

Food Dangers
Beef and lettuce recalls have raised new concerns about food safety, although the danger of food-borne illnesses date back to the Neolithic revolution. Look back at the growth of zoonotic diseases—diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites that spread between animals and humans—including Lyme disease, West Nile virus, malaria, salmonella, and E. coli.

The Re-connection of Korea
A South Korean train crossed the border into North Korea for the first time in a decade, in a prelude to the two Koreas rejoining their railways after being separated for more than half a century. Dive into the history of this nation, and examine how ancient values and ideas, which were firmly rooted in the environment, became the foundations of the culture and history of the Korean people.

The Executions of Tennessee
The execution of David Earl Miller Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 by electric chair is the third execution this year for the state. Miller was one of four death row inmates to file a suit claiming the available methods of capital punishment—lethal injection and electric chair—are unconstitutional and inhumane. Pore over the “cruel and unusual punishments” clause of the Eighth Amendment in search of why the Supreme Court has had so much trouble applying this provision to real-world criminal cases

Golden Globe Noms are In
Airing on Jan 6, 2019, the Golden Globe nominations include A Star is Born, Vice, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Black Panther. What does it take to create an award-winning story? The first question any writer must ask is: where do I want to take my audience? Learn how to reverse engineer scripts so you can pinpoint their cognitive effects and put those tools to use.

We will be diligently monitoring current events and sharing updates on a regular basis, linking the latest headlines to our courses, so you can get the context, history, background, deeper meaning, and—especially—the facts. Our goal is to help our lifelong learners apply the knowledge they gain from our courses to the real world and become better-informed citizen about the present-day issues that concern us all.