Top News Stories For Today – Dec 8, 2017
Muslims protest Jerusalem decision
Muslims around the world took to the streets after midday prayers on Friday to protest President Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. America’s decision is highly controversial, because Palestinians seek eastern Jerusalem as their future capital, and the US recognition of Jerusalem comes across as taking Israel’s side.
Protests were as widespread as Jordan and Indonesia, although the heart of the demonstrations was across the West Bank. “In several cities and towns, angry protesters hurled stones at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets,” The Associated Press reports. “Smoke rose over Bethlehem.” Militant groups like Hamas and al-Qaida have called for violence, and the State Department issued warnings to US embassies around the world. The Associated Press, The Washington Post
Britain and EU agree on Brexit terms
British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced Friday morning in Brussels that the UK and EU had agreed on the general terms of their split, after six months of tense talks.
Along with settling how much Britain will pay the EU for outstanding obligations, the agreement guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens in the 27 EU countries, and ruled out reimposing a hard border between Northern Ireland — part of the UK — and the Republic of Ireland. The three million EU citizens “will be able to go on living as before” in Britain, their rights “enshrined in UK law and enforced by British courts,” May said. The New York Times, BBC News
US Senate passes spending bill
Shortly after the House passed a two-week spending bill on Thursday, the Senate followed with a vote of 81-14, averting a government shutdown on Friday. The stopgap measure will keep the federal government open through Dec. 22.
Republicans, who are trying to finish work on their tax bill, need the support of Democrats in order to put together a two-year budget deal that will pass. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday Democrats “will not leave here without a DACA fix,” meaning the budget must include deportation protection for undocumented young people who came to the US as children. Politico, The Week
Birth control linked to breast cancer
Women who rely on birth control pills or contraceptive devices that release hormones face a small but significant increase in the risk for breast cancer, according to a large study published on Wednesday.
The study, which followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than a decade, upends widely held assumptions about modern contraceptives for younger generations of women. Many women have believed that newer hormonal contraceptives are much safer than those taken by their mothers or grandmothers, which had higher doses of estrogen.
The new paper estimated that for every 100,000 women, hormone contraceptive use causes an additional 13 breast cancer cases a year. That is, for every 100,000 women using hormonal birth control, there are 68 cases of breast cancer annually, compared with 55 cases a year among nonusers. The New York Times
Alabama voters to decide key Senate race
A December 12 special election in the southern US state of Alabama has the whole country talking. Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are vying for a seat in the US Senate, in a race that has far-reaching consequences for the nation.
Whoever wins will not only go to Washington, but they could change the balance of power in the Senate. A win for Moore would mean Republicans would have a tighter grip. But if Jones wins, Democrats could feel emboldened… and pose a greater challenge for the administration of US President Donald Trump. VOA
Sexual harassment and US Congress
Two more members of Congress are leaving amid claims of sexual harassment. Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks put out a statement last night saying he’ll resign in January. Franks said he had talked with two female staffers about them possibly becoming surrogates who could bear children for him and his wife. He acknowledged this made them uncomfortable but denied any sexual contact with them. The House Ethics Committee was about to start investigating him. CNN’s Chris Cillizza says the whole thing is just plain bizarre.
Hours earlier, Al Franken had said he would leave the Senate amid claims he touched women inappropriately. But the Minnesota Democrat gave a defiant speech on the Senate floor, saying some allegations were not true. He also wondered why he had to lose his job while President Trump kept his and Roy Moore runs for the Senate in Alabama. That makes three members of Congress announcing their exits this week, including Rep. John Conyers. CNN
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