U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: November 24, 2016

KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Nikki Haley, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos offered Trump administration jobs
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday settled on three Cabinet picks that would diversify the top ranks of his administration, tapping billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos as education secretary, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as United Nations ambassador, and retired neurosurgeon and former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson as secretary of housing and urban development. DeVos has pushed hard for private school voucher programs, and could face strong opposition from public school advocates. Trump praised Haley, whose parents are Indian immigrants, as a “proven deal-maker,” but critics noted that she lacked foreign policy experience. Trump is expected to announce Carson’s selection Friday.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

2. New York boosts security for Thanksgiving parade
New York City police are stepping up security at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to protect the 3.5 million locals and tourists expected to attend. For the first time, the city will block off every cross street on Thursday’s parade route, using 82 sanitation trucks filled with sand, to prevent a terrorist attack like the one in July in Nice, France, in which a truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. The city is also deploying 3,000 police officers for the event. The increased counterterrorism effort came after an Islamic State online magazine called the parade “an excellent target.” “There’s been a lot of rhetoric and propaganda from [the Islamic State] and from al Qaeda recently,” said NYPD Chief James Waters, “and we don’t take any chances here in New York City.”

Source: NBC News, Voice of America

3. Trump calls for unity in Thanksgiving video message
President-elect Donald Trump, continuing to side-step national media, released a Thanksgiving video message on YouTube on Wednesday, urging Americans to “speak with one voice and one heart” and put the bitter election campaign in the past. “It is my prayer that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by a shared purpose and very, very common resolve,” he said. Trump is celebrating Thanksgiving and continuing his transition work at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Source: USA Today, NBC News

4. Trump appears to have won Michigan by just over 10,000 votes
Michigan officials announced Wednesday that certified unofficial county-by-county tallies showed President-elect Donald Trump beating his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes in Michigan, the last remaining uncalled state in the Nov. 8 presidential election. If Trump officially wins in Michigan, he will have won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232. The news came as Clinton’s lead in the national popular vote exceeded 2 million. Diehard Clinton supporters are calling for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, but a respected computer scientist who noted deviations from polls in the swing states said they were more likely due to pre-election polling errors than cyberattacks on voting machines.

Source: Reuters, The New York Times

5. Obama’s approval rating hits seven-year high
President Obama’s approval rating rose to 57 percent this month, the highest it’s been since hitting 58 percent in September 2009, according to a new CNN/ORC national poll released Wednesday. The rating roughly matches those of former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who were also quite popular when they left office. George W. Bush’s approval rating plummeted to 24 percent two months before the end of his presidency. The new survey, which was conducted after the election between Nov. 17 and 20, also found Obama with his highest favorability rating in seven years, at 59 percent. More than half of respondents viewed the Democratic and Republican parties unfavorably, and respondents were split 49 percent to 49 percent on whether President-elect Donald Trump can bring the change the country needs.

Source: CNN, New York Daily News

6. Dow and S&P 500 hit records for third straight day
The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 hit record highs for the third straight day Wednesday, extending a post-election rally for big U.S. stocks ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. two-year Treasury yields and the dollar also hit multi-year highs after strong economic data raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December. Newly released minutes from the Fed’s last meeting supported that view: “There was nothing in the minutes to suggest the Fed won’t move rates in December,” said Alan Ruskin, Deutsche Bank’s global co-head of foreign-exchange research.

Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

7. British politician Jo Cox’s killer sentenced to life
A U.K. judge sentenced Thomas Mair to life in prison for the June murder of Jo Cox, a British politician who was a prominent advocate of remaining in the European Union. Mair, a 53-year-old right-wing extremist, was found guilty of shooting and stabbing Cox, 41, in northern England a week before Britain’s referendum on exiting the EU. Mair reportedly shouted “Britain first” before killing Cox, a member of Parliament for the Labour Party. When he first appeared in court, Mair said, “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” The judge told Mair that he was “no patriot,” but Cox was.

Source: CNN, BBC News

8. Eli Lilly experimental Alzheimer’s drug fails in trial
Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s drug has failed in a large clinical trial, a significant setback in the effort to fight the disease. The drug, solanezumab, had shown potential promise in slowing thought and memory deterioration in Alzheimer’s patients by attacking amyloid plaques that are believed to build up in their brains and cause dementia. The latest failure supports previous research suggesting that by the time even mild dementia appears it is too late to halt or reverse the damage. “It’s not going to be disease-modifying therapy for mild patients, so that’s heartbreaking,” said incoming Eli Lilly president and CEO Dave Ricks.

Source: The New York Times

9. 67 construction workers die in China’s deadliest work-safety accident in 2 years
At least 67 people were killed Thursday when scaffolding holding about 70 workers collapsed at a construction site in eastern China in what appears to be the country’s worst workplace accident in more than two years. The workers were building a power plant cooling tower in the city of Fengcheng in Jiangxi province. About 500 rescue workers dug through the wreckage through the morning, some using their bare hands to pull away iron bars and wooden planks, but authorities said it appeared nearly everyone on the work platform died when it came crashing down.

Source: The Associated Press

10. Obama uncorks ‘corny-copia of dad jokes’ at his final turkey pardon
President Obama presided over his eighth and final traditional pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey Wednesday. The first seven times Obama observed the White House tradition, he was flanked by his daughters Sasha and Malia, but he said they couldn’t take another year of his “corny-copia of dad jokes about turkeys.” Instead, Obama was joined by his nephews, Austin and Aaron Robinson, as he granted clemency to two turkeys, Tater and Tot. “As I do,” he said, “I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom, who met their fate with courage and sacrifice, and proved that they weren’t chicken.”

Source: New York Daily News, The White House

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