Top News Stories For Today – Dec 11, 2017
Nobel winners warn nuclear destruction
The winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize have a stark warning for the world’s nuclear powers: the planet’s destruction is “only one impulsive tantrum away.” Members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), while accepting the prize during a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, urged all countries that have nukes to get rid of them. Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and an ICAN member, said the world can’t “tolerate this insanity any longer.”
ICAN was awarded the Peace Prize for its work as the driving force behind the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted by 122 nations. Not among them are the nine countries known to have nuclear weapons: the US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. CNN
Saudi Arabia lifts ban on movie theaters
On Monday, one of world’s most conservative country, Saudi Arabia announced that it has lifted a ban imposed in the 1980s on commercial movie theaters. “As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the kingdom,” Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad, the minister of culture and information, said in a statement.
“We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018.” The opening of cinemas is the latest reform attributed to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, including allowing women to drive next year and permits for concerts and other types of entertainment. The move was apparently expected, with investors already having built theaters inside new developments. The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today
Trump’s accusers to demand investigation
On Monday morning, 16 women who have come forward and accused President Trump of sexual misconduct will hold a press conference, calling on Congress to open an investigation into their allegations. Before the 10:30 a.m. ET, press conference, three of the women — Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, and Rachel Crooks — are scheduled to appear on Megyn Kelly Today to share their stories. Trump has denied all the accusations.
On Sunday, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told CBS’s Face the Nation that women who accuse men of sexual misconduct should be heard, “and I think we heard from them prior to the election. … But, you know, women should always feel comfortable coming forward. And we should all be willing to listen to them.” BuzzFeed News, Politico, The Week
Erdogan calls Israel a child murderer state
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist” and “child-murderer state” in an address yesterday as he criticized President Donald Trump over his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response? “I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists.”
In Beirut, hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police near the US Embassy to protest Trump’s decision. And more than 300 people were injured Friday in protests across the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley defended the decision, calling it “the will of the American people.” (Here’s why recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is so controversial.) CNN
California wildfire grows to 230,000 acres
The Thomas Fire that started in Southern California’s Ventura County last Monday has burned over 230,000 acres, growing in size by more than 50,000 acres on Sunday and forcing more people to evacuate in Santa Barbara County.
The out-of-control fire crossed county lines on Saturday night, fueled by dry winds and air, and dropped from 15 to 10 percent contained. Officials say 88,000 people have had to flee their homes because of the fire, and estimate it has cost $25 million to fight it so far. There are 8,500 firefighters currently battling six fires burning across Southern California. Los Angeles Times, The Week
Iraq is fully liberated from ISIS
The Iraqi military has “fully liberated” all of Iraq’s territory of “ISIS terrorist gangs” and retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border, it said Saturday in a statement.
In 2014, ISIS captured huge swaths of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate there. The campaign to push out the terrorist group took three years and involved 25,000 coalition airstrikes. ISIS’ rise and the world’s military response has created a devastating crisis for civilians and led to the displacement of more than 3.2 million people, according to the UN. US has contributed nearly $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance and committed more than $265 million in stabilization assistance to Iraq since 2014. CNN
Alabama Senate race
President Trump embraced controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore even tighter over the weekend. The President recorded a robocall for Moore, saying his conservative agenda will be “stopped cold” if Democratic candidate Doug Jones wins tomorrow’s special election. (The Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate.) The robocall comes after the President essentially held a rally for Moore, across the state line in Pensacola, Florida.
The establishment wing of the GOP still has big time reservations about Moore after all the sexual misconduct allegations. Alabama’s other senator, Republican Richard Shelby, says he couldn’t vote for Moore. Jones will put out a robocall featuring Shelby’s criticisms today. CNN