U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: November 25, 2016

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Trump spends holiday lobbying to keep Carrier jobs in U.S.
President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday that he spent Thanksgiving at his Palm Beach estate working to persuade the makers of Carrier air conditioners to call off a planned move from Indianapolis to Mexico. Trump also continued sifting through potential cabinet picks, reportedly settling on billionaire investor Wilbur Ross Jr. as commerce secretary. Rival factions of Republicans are clashing over another key pick — secretary of state. Trump is considering Mitt Romney, who harshly criticized Trump during the campaign, but some Trump loyalists are pushing for former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime Trump ally.

Source: The Associated Press, The New York Times

2. Black Friday kicks off holiday shopping season
Shoppers lined up outside department stores across the nation on Thursday and Friday to snap up the Black Friday discounts that traditionally launch the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to rise by 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion this holiday season, just above the 3.4 percent seven-year average since the Great Recession. Crowds are expected to be slightly thinner than in previous years at brick-and-mortar stores, in part because many retailers launched holiday deals earlier in the month. Online sales also are continuing to rise, with Adobe Digital Insights predicting online shopping to total $2 billion on Thanksgiving Day, $3.05 billion on Black Friday, and $3.36 billion on Cyber Monday, which would make it the biggest online shopping day ever.

Source: NBC News, USA Today

3. Colombia signs new peace deal with FARC rebels
The Colombian government signed a new peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, on Thursday, seven weeks after voters narrowly rejected the first accord in a referendum. President Juan Manuel Santos, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after the vote for his efforts, said after the new deal was signed he invited all Colombians, “with an open mind and open heart, to give peace a chance.” FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño asked for forgiveness for crimes committed during the 52-year conflict, but former president Álvaro Uribe criticized the pact, saying it did not do enough to punish rebels. This time, Santos is asking lawmakers, not voters, for final approval.

Source: The New York Times, NBC News

4. Report: Russian propagandists fueled fake news explosion during campaign
A Russian propaganda campaign helped create and spread “fake news” that shook up this year’s presidential campaign, The Washington Postreported Thursday. Independent researchers who tracked the effort said Russia used thousands of botnets, paid internet trolls, social media accounts, and websites to hurt Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help now-President-elect Donald Trump, although it was impossible to say whether they actually influenced the vote. “They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,” said Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Complaints about the impact of fake news have prompted Facebook and Google to promise crackdowns on bogus posts.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

5. First U.S. service member killed in fight against ISIS in Syria
An American service member was killed by an improvised bomb in Syria on Thursday, marking the first U.S. soldier to be killed in combat fighting the Islamic State in the country. More than 300 U.S. Special Operations Forces are in Syria to train and advise Kurdish and Arab fighters trying to drive the Islamic State out of the city of Raqqa. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he was “deeply saddened by the news on this Thanksgiving Day,” adding that it was “a painful reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face around the world to keep us safe.”

Source: The New York Times, New York Daily News

6. ISIS truck bomb kills dozens in Iraq
A truck bomb exploded at a gas station in Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 80 people and injuring at least 50 more. Most of the victims were Iranian Shiite Muslims making a pilgrimage to honor Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, whose 7th century death led to the split between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. The Iraqi government is leading an offensive to drive ISIS out of Mosul, its last major stronghold in the country. ISIS said in a statement that “the flames of battles in Mosul will reach them in Baghdad, Karbala, and Najaf.”

Source: CNN, BBC News

7. Iran train crash kills 36
At least 36 people were killed Friday when two passenger trains collided in northern Iran, state media reported. Another 80 people were injured. One of the trains hit the other as it was stopped at a station in the city of Shahroud. Video footage distributed by state media showed four derailed cars. Two of the cars were engulfed in flames, with thick black smoke billowing out of them. About 100 passengers reportedly have been rescued, although it was not immediately clear how many people were aboard the trains. Iran’s rail network fell into disrepair under recently lifted international economic sanctions over the country’s nuclear program.

Source: Reuters

8. France says it thwarted imminent ISIS-ordered terror attacks
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Friday that five terror suspects detained this week were planning attacks on Dec. 1 under the direction of Islamic State operatives in Iraq and Syria. Investigators say the attacks were to target police and intelligence agency headquarters in Paris, as well as the Disneyland Paris theme park. “An imminent attack was thwarted,” Molins said. France remains under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, which killed 130 people. The news further heightened tensions ahead of a Sundayrunoff election to pick a center-right candidate for next year’s presidential election.

Source: The Associated Press, Reuters

9. Strong earthquake hits Central America
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit off of Central America’s Pacific coast on Thursday as late-season Hurricane Otto battered the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. There were no immediate reports of damage from the earthquake, even though its impact was magnified by its shallow depth of just 6.4 miles under the seabed. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared a state of emergency, and emergency response authorities in El Salvador urged people living on the Pacific coast to head inland.

Source: Reuters, CNN

10. Brady Bunch star Florence Henderson dies at 82
Florence Henderson, whose portrayal of the upbeat sitcom mom on The Brady Bunch made her a TV icon, died Thursday of heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital. She was 82. Henderson was already a Broadway star when she was asked to play Carol Brady in the show’s pilot. She would later host her own cooking show and talk show and make guest appearances on numerous sitcoms, but she was always best known for her role in The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969 to 1974 and was followed up with several short-lived spin-offs and two feature films. “It’s such a gentle, innocent, sweet show,” she said in 1999, “and I guess it proved there’s always an audience for that.”

Source: The Associated Press, WhiteHouse.gov

 

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