Around the Globe

Elyse Ferris

U.S. forces help allies in new assault against ISIS

A new offensive against ISIS is underway near Raqqa, Syria, which has been occupied by ISIS since 2013. U.S.-backed Syrian forces are fighting to retake the Tabqa dam near Raqqa, a major power source for the country. A U.S. official said that the efforts around Raqqa appear to be working, but the city will not be the final battle against ISIS. The official also said that U.S. military advisers and marines are on the ground with the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian Arab Forces providing support, but the Pentagon and Marine Corps declined to confirm.

Future looks doubtful for Sears and Kmart

Sears Holdings (SHLD), the holding company for Sears and Kmart, warned investors on Tuesday in its annual report of the possibility of closure. With $4.2 billion in debt already, it is unclear if Sears can raise enough cash through debt financing to cover costs. The holding company has not turned a profit since 2010. It cannot depend on paying debts through the sale of assets, because many assets such as stores are needed for pension plans. Despite the grim report, CFO Jason Hollar said that Sears remains optimistic and plans to turn itself around.

Secretary of State says defeating ISIS is top priority in Middle East

In response to pressure on the Trump administration for a clear plan in the Middle East, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that defeating ISIS is a top priority. The Trump administration will follow precedent of the Obama administration’s approach in the region, which pursues military force, identifies foreign-born ISIS fighters, targets ISIS’s financing and propaganda, and promotes peace and stability after the group’s removal. Tillers also suggested that the U.S. will help establish safe zones for refugees.

Partisan divide widens in House investigation on Russia

The House Intelligence Committee held its first open hearing about Russia on Monday, prompting growing partisan tensions. FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers were questioned. Republicans pressed for details about the FBI investigation that was leaked to the press, while Democrats sought more information regarding President Trump’s ties to Russia on the campaign trail. With upcoming negotiations about future witnesses, the partisan divide will likely only grow deeper.