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Manic Monday Markup 1/4/16…

…And the World:

We begin today with Saudi Arabia which has cut diplomatic ties with Iran in an escalating back and forth that began with the kingdom’s execution of a Shiite cleric. Protesters in Iran responded by attacking the Saudi embassy. Following Saudia Arabia in cutting relations with the Islamic Republic were Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. The execution that started this breakdown hit right at the religious divisions between Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni majority Saudia Arabia.

The US is trying to keep the Saudi-Iran split from affecting the tepid progress made in ending the Syrian civil war.

In Britain, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has apparently started the process of reshuffling his cabinet, which could mean new shadow ministers for foreign affairs and defense. Both broke with Corbyn to support Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s motion to allow Britain to join its allies in bombing Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL, in Syria.

Amid a scandal involving another MP, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull led an effort to keep the press from identifying a female civil servant caught up in the imbroglio.

An affiliate of al-Qaeda has used images of Donald Trump’s fearmongering in a recruitment video. Elsewhere, perhaps Daesh’s latest video betrays its weakness and fear.

A Mexican mayor is murdered the day after she takes office.

New Chinese economic fears trigger a selloff worldwide.

Israel potpourri: In Haifa, liberal Palestinians are creating a cosmopolitan space free from the religious strictures that often define Arab Israeli society. Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the prime minister, was hauled in for questioning by police about her lavish spending in the official residence.

The Feds:

The standoff in Oregon between an armed “militia” that took over a federal wildlife refuge center continues. So far the federal, state and local officials have held back to avoid the violence confrontations that have ensued in the past. The Oregonian’s digital alter-ego shows that the militiamen are not winning social media.

In the presidential contest, Bernie Sanders is trying to assemble a political machine to match Hillary Clinton’s in Iowa, where the latest polls till have her leading.

Romney is not helping the ailing Jeb! Bush campaign by saying a Clinton-Bush matchup would be too easy for Democrats.

Longtime Seattle congressman James McDermott has announced his retirement. The indigo blue seat is likely to stay in Democratic hands. The potential candidate list is insanely long.

A new Northeast Corridor could have a huge impact on Connecticut. But the details are hazy.

The State of Things:

Mayors and Councils were sworn in across the commonwealth. Boston, Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield and Westfield are the highlights.

Staying in Boston, District City Councilor Matthew O’Malley abandoned his quest to become Council President and will support at-large councilor Michelle Wu’s candidacy. She was elected the Council’s first Asian-American leader and the third woman to hold the Council gavel.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo tells The Boston Globe not to expect any new fees or taxes in the budget beginning in July.

The Fourth Esatements:

A complete delivery SNAFU has ensnared The Globe. The paper and its distribution company have traded accusations, but the Boston region is now entering week 2 with the problems. To underscore the problem, Globe reporters and staff helped deliver the paper on Sunday to ensure subscribers got their copy.

City Slickers:

ICYMI: We posted our 2015 in review for the city of Springfield.

City officials were sworn in Springfield, including Mayor Domenic Sarno and city councilors. Michael Fenton was sworn in for another year as Council President in a brief Council meeting after the inauguration held at Old First Church.

Fenton also announced the hearings schedule for MGM, though demolitions will begin this month.

Now that the courts have had their say, the battle over biomass moves to the Public Health Council.

Twitter Chatter:

Another week and a new year, but already a great deal is afoot. The latest case of right-wing “constitutionalists,” however, deserves considerable attention. Not least because the media freak out, while proper in one sense, differs from how peaceful protests featuring black and brown faces. Still, the growing belligerence of the radical right in this country, if still a tiny minority of a largely peaceful but passionate conservative movement, requires attention. The arguments these individuals are making are simply absurd. And yet these people go forth armed with the worldview and with plenty of guns. Today we award the tweet prize to New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who succinctly described any sane person’s reaction to their argument. Of course, bewilderment must give way to determination to stare down to preserve the rule of law that underpins our free society.