Outside a park where kids ate waffle cones and hundreds of people listened to a concert in the band shell, volunteers collected signatures in support of placing a measure on the November ballot that would amend the state’s constitution to safeguard abortion rights.

Amid all the volatility, every investor has the same question: When will things start to get better?

While none of us have a crystal ball that can accurately predict the future, the answer to that question will be directly connected to the issues that have caused the market’s decline so far this year. Let’s lay those out, and consider the potential catalysts that could cause it to rebound — or move even lower — in the second half.

Man in front of laptop with frustrated expression.

Why has the stock market fallen so steeply this year?

In a nutshell, we’ve had a perfect storm of negative catalysts. Let’s run through some of the biggest.

Inflation: After many central bankers and economists repeatedly assured us that any surges in inflation caused by the pandemic’s secondary effects would be “transitory,” we’ve all come to realize that’s not the case. U.S. inflation is at its highest level since the early 1980s, and the Federal Reserve is aggressively trying to get it back under control. This has led to fears that its fiscal tightening will trigger a recession.

Their task took on new urgency after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had legalized abortion nationwide and left the issue to individual states to regulate.

In Michigan, where opinion polls show the majority of people support abortion rights, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit to invalidate a 1931 state law that makes abortions a felony and establish a state constitutional right to abortion. A court has temporarily blocked that law from being enforced, but the Republicans who control the state legislature want to keep the ban on the books or enact a new one.

Political tensions in Michigan over the future of abortion could be a harbinger of what may play out in a handful of other U.S. states with a similar dynamic – an electorate that favors abortion rights governed by a legislature determined to restrict them.

On Capitol Hill, House Democratic leaders are discussing ways to force Republicans into uncomfortable positions on abortion, plotting potential votes designed to expose GOP opposition to some popular protections and underscore their own commitment to them, according to aides with knowledge of the plans.

At the White House, President Biden first encouraged outraged Americans to express themselves at the ballot box and then, days later, shifted to a more aggressive posture, urging a change to the Senate filibuster to enable Democrats to codify abortion rights. Administration officials are also studying what more can be accomplished via executive action.

And across the country, liberal governors on the West Coast banded together to create a multistate haven aimed at protecting out-of-state abortion seekers from legal consequences, while TV ads about abortion aimed at helping Democratic candidates are hitting the airwaves in battleground states from New Hampshire to Florida.

Whitmer has made protecting abortion rights a centerpiece of her re-election campaign this year, saying she can veto any attempt by the legislature to pass a new ban.

“This could very quickly go from a state where abortion is safe and legal to one that makes it illegal with no exceptions,” Whitmer said in an interview on Friday. “That’s a very real threat.”

Whitmer said she would promote the ballot measure if her own efforts to legalize abortion fail in the courts.

The coalition of abortion-rights and progressive groups behind the petition drive face a July 11 deadline to amass about 425,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. As she gathered signatures outside the park in St. Clair Shores last week, volunteer Deborah Karcher, 46, said direct action is the best way to save reproductive rights.

“This is the will of the people,” Karcher said. “Even if you don’t agree with this, let’s get it on the ballot. Let the people decide.”

It remains to be seen if participants at Sunday’s summit in Accra, the Ghanaian capital. will accept the proposal.

ECOWAS sanctioned Mali in January by shutting down most commerce with the country, along with its land and air borders with other countries in the bloc. The measures have crippled Mali’s economy.

The juntas in Guinea and Burkina Faso have proposed three-year transition periods, which ECOWAS rejected as too long a wait for elections.

The wave of military coups began in August 2020, when Col. Assimi Goita and other soldiers overthrew Mali’s democratically elected president. Nine months later, he carried out a second coup, dismissing the country’s civilian transitional leader and assuming the presidency himself.

Mutinous soldiers deposed Guinea’s president in September 2021, and Burkina Faso’s leader was ousted in a January coup.

The political upheaval came as many observers started to think that military power grabs were a thing of the past in West Africa.

Opponents of the ballot measure, including religious and anti-abortion groups, also have mobilized, saying the language of the amendment would open the door to late-term abortions and block parental notification when minors seek the procedure.

STATE FIGHTS

Outside Michigan, a voter backlash over abortion restrictions could figure in elections in other states including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which all have either a competitive governor’s or U.S. Senate race this year.

Louis Jacobson, a political analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said these states are “where the rubber will really hit the road on this issue.”

With President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party under fire from critics on matters such as inflation and crime, abortion “is the first potential issue that could boost the Democrats rather than hurt them,” Jacobson said.

Whitmer is counting on that. The governor’s first term was rocked by criticism from the right over the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and schools. But recent polls have shown that more voters approve of her performance in office than Biden’s.

Whitmer said she was raised by a Republican father who supported abortion rights, and she hopes to reach out to Republicans and independents who share those views.

“We know 70% of the people in our state support a woman being able to make her own healthcare decisions and abortion being an option,” Whitmer said. “That means it crosses party lines.”

Whitmer’s Republican challengers, who will square off in an Aug. 2 primary, all support a ban on abortion and oppose the ballot measure.

National Democrats have placed Michigan on the short list of states where they believe they can shift the balance of power in the state legislature as part of what the party calls its “States to Save Roe” campaign.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the arm of the party that supports candidates for state legislatures, has said it is raising money to provide strategic planning and voter data analysis to support races in states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Authorities said that Warragamba Dam in western Sydney began overflowing overnight and the peak spill would be comparable to devastating flooding in March last year.

Residents in a number of suburbs have been ordered to evacuate, but Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said people don’t need to wait to be told to leave.

“If you are feeling uncomfortable or unsure about your circumstances, and there is an opportunity for you to leave earlier, don’t necessarily wait for an evacuation order,” she said. “If you were safe in 2021 do not assume you will be safe tonight. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we could see areas impacted that we haven’t seen before.”

Emergency services said they conducted over 100 flood rescues and responded to over 3,000 requests for assistance in the past 24 hours. Evacuation centers have opened in several areas in western Sydney.

About 100 Australian Defense Force personnel were helping by putting up sandbags and knocking on doors to warn of flood threats.

The weather bureau’s hazards preparation and response manager Jane Golding said a coastal trough lingering since Friday deepened while an east coast low-pressure system formed off the Mid North Coast.

“That’s produced some extraordinary rainfall rates over the last 24 hours … many locations have seen up to 200 mm and some close to 300 mm,” she said. The volume of rainfall is almost half of Sydney’s annual average.

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Boris Johnson has been urged to abandon his attempt to override the Northern Ireland element of the Brexit deal in a forceful intervention by the German and Irish governments. The UK prime minister is pushing ahead with new legislation that cancels parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, in an attempt to persuade the Democratic Unionist party to rejoin the power-sharing agreement at Stormont, which has been in limbo since the May local elections. The changes address customs, regulation, subsidy control and governance, issues which have enraged some unionists in Northern Ireland. In a joint statement on Sunday, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney and his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, warned there was “no legal or political justification” for the move. UK foreign secretary Liz Truss wrote in the Financial Times last week that the protocol was undermining the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended three decades of sectarian violence. Truss argued that it was essential to use legislation to “fix the specific problems” in the protocol — while maintaining other elements — in a way that was “necessary and legal”. But the EU has signalled that Britain could end up locked in a trade war with the bloc if it does not deviate from the plan to rip up the agreement. In their riposte, Baerbock and Coveney said the British government had agreed to the protocol two years ago after “long and hard negotiations”. Under its terms, Northern Ireland remains in the EU single market for goods but checks are conducted on shipments entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Since then the EU had already given ground by bringing forward proposals to simplify the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and changed its own laws to address concerns around the supply of medicines. Baerbock and Coveney argued in an Observer newspaper opinion piece that the British government had chosen not to engage in good faith with the proposals. “Instead of the path of partnership and dialogue, it has chosen unilateralism,” they wrote. “There is no legal or political justification for unilaterally breaking an international agreement entered into only two years ago.” The tabling of the new legislation would not fix the challenges and instead would only create a new set of uncertainties, they warned.

A readout of the EU General Affairs Council from June 23, seen by the Financial Times, suggests that Germany was among several countries arguing that the UK’s actions were “clear and undisputable breaches of its international obligations”. Although Germany called for the European Commission to “remain calm and adopt a gradual approach”, it also underlined the need to prepare for “all potential scenarios” and keep all options on the table.

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