McConnell and White House counsel agree to coordinate impeachment trial plans

    Summary
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump's top lawyer sketched out a plan Thursday to coordinate closely for an impeachment trial but haven't reached agreement on a final strategy to defend Trump against charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

    Rapist on death row in India says he should be spared hanging since pollution is already killing him

    Summary
    One of six men convicted of brutally beating and raping a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 is asking the country's judiciary to spare him from the death penalty.

    McConnell and White House lawyer agree to close coordination, but not final strategy, on impeachment

    Summary

    New York state renews ban on flavored vaping liquids

    Summary
    New York state health officials have extended a ban on flavored liquids used in e-cigarette devices.

    Fourth teenager who escaped from a Nashville detention center is in custody

    Summary
    The last of four teenagers who escaped from a juvenile detention center in Nashville, Tennessee, nearly two weeks ago was captured on Thursday, authorities said.

    Andrew Scheer: Canadian Conservative leader resigns

    Summary
    Andrew Scheer is stepping down two months after his party's disappointing election loss.

    The place where dead eagles are given a new life

    Summary
    Colorado's National Eagle Repository is the only one of its kind in the world.

    Spain in drive to get women into special forces

    Summary
    More women are needed to help combat terrorism and insurgents, Spain's defence minister says.

    Pengsoo: The rude giant penguin that South Korea fell in love with

    Summary
    He was meant to be a children's character, but he's gained a huge fan base amongst millennials.

    Lebanon electricity crisis: Stealing power to survive

    Summary
    Protesters in Lebanon say its electricity crisis reflects everything that is wrong with the country.

    NZ volcano: Six bodies recovered from White Island

    Summary
    New Zealand authorities have recovered six more bodies after a team landed on White Island to begin a high-risk operation to bring back victims of Monday's volcanic eruption.

    Fraught with danger' Ex-MI6 man behind Russia dossier issues warning

    Summary
    Former intelligence officer Christopher Steele has warned about the danger of discussing sources.

    RAF joins search for missing Chile plane with 38 on board

    Summary
    The RAF is helping search for a missing Chilean air force plane that had 38 people on board, the Ministry of Defence has said.

    US and China 'agree terms' to avert trade war escalation

    Summary
    Stock markets have surged on reports a trade deal has been agreed in principle between the United States and China.

    World's oldest artwork? 44,000-year-old cave painting discovered

    Summary
    A cave painting discovered in Indonesia on the island of Sulawesi could be the oldest known artwork in the world, according to new research.

    Conservatives Headed for Commanding Majority in U.K. Vote: ‘Brexit Will Happen’

    Summary
    The strong showing is vindication for Boris Johnson, who now has a chance to put his personal stamp on Britain, beginning with Brexit.

    Help Wanted: Queen Elizabeth Seeks Social Media Director on LinkedIn

    Summary
    The job pays up to 50,000 pounds a year (about $67,000), with weekends off and free lunch, according to Buckingham Palace.

    Iran Says It Was Hit With ‘Very Big’ Cyberattack

    Summary
    The assertion came after details on 15 million Iranian bank accounts were published on social media. The breach followed nationwide protests crushed by the government.

    Senate Passes Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide, in Defiance of Trump

    Summary
    The legislation underscores an unyielding stream of bipartisan rage at Turkey.

    New Zealand Seeks Human Skin to Treat Volcano Burn Victims

    Summary
    The country’s need highlights a little-known type of organ donation.

    Sweden PM: Brexit will happen now, little time for trade deal

    Summary
    Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Friday that Britain's election results, according to exit polls, meant Brexit would now materialize and that time was short to seal a new relationship deal between the EU and Britain.

    Latest EU summit draft would leave Poland out of 2050 target - sources

    Summary
    The latest proposal for an EU summit decision on achieving climate neutrality by 2050 would leave Poland out of the target, according to two officials and a diplomat with the bloc who spoke under condition of anonymity.

    UK heads towards Brexit as Johnson on course for decisive win

    Summary
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party looks set for a resounding victory in Britain's election on Thursday, allowing him to deliver Brexit on Jan. 31 in what would be the country's most significant geopolitical move for 70 years.

    New Zealand to return soon for two bodies remaining on volcanic island: Australian minister

    Summary
    Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Friday New Zealand will return to White Island "as soon as possible" to retrieve two bodies still to be recovered after a deadly volcano eruption.

    Conservatives take first seat in northern England from Labour

    Summary
    Boris Johnson's Conservative party won its first seat from the opposition Labour party in Thursday's election, gaining a seat that had been held since it was formed in 1950.

    World must hit "peak meat" by 2030 to avoid climate crash

    Summary
    Livestock production accounts for nearly 15% of global carbon emissions — five times as much as air travel.

    Hotel guests are stealing luxury mattresses

    Summary
    Guests also steal tablet computers, hair dryers, TVs and coffee makers from top hotels in Europe.

    Forbes names the most powerful women of the year

    Summary
    "These trailblazers are not to be messed with," Forbes says.

    Scores killed as "many hundreds" of jihadists attack Niger army camp

    Summary
    It was the worst attack on the country's security forces since they became embroiled in a cross-border war with multiple Islamic extremist groups.

    U.K. general election voters flock to the polls

    Summary
    Britain is holding its third general election in less than five years, which could determine the future of Brexit. CBS News senior foreign correspondent Mark Phillips joined CBSN AM to discuss the importance of this election.

    Authorities shut down unlicensed cannabis dispensary in Palms

    Summary
    Officers with the state Department of Consumer Affairs and Los Angeles Police Department served a search warrant about 1:50 p.m. to Save Greens, 11221 Venice Blvd., according to preliminary information provided by LAPD and the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

    Two L.A. County sheriff's deputies accused of perjury and filing false reports

    Summary
    Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies are accused of perjury after stopping drivers for speeding but then citing them for not having proof of insurance, even though they did, officials said.

    Coastal Commission gives Santa Monica's Shore Hotel permits to stay open — with conditions

    Summary
    The swanky Shore Hotel in Santa Monica opened without proper permits after demolishing two moderately priced inns. It can stay open but must include 72 more-affordable rooms and pay $2.3 million in mitigation fees.

    LAPD officer accused of fondling dead woman's breasts is arrested and charged

    Summary
    LAPD officer accused of fondling dead woman's breasts arrested, charged

    Sweeping safety rules proposed in wake of Conception boat fire that killed 34 people

    Summary
    Boat fire: Sweeping safety rules proposed in wake of Conception boat fire that killed 34

    Say goodbye to those blue-and-yellow airport vans: SuperShuttle is going out of business

    Summary
    The shared ride airport vans have faced stiff competition from Uber, Lyft and other companies offering rides to and from the airport for less money.

    Donald Trump prepares to cancel new China tariffs amid signs trade agreement is closer

    Summary
    Donald Trump is preparing to cancel tariffs on Chinese goods set to take effect Sunday and roll back existing duties amid signs of a new trade deal.

    Anonymous donor drops $1,500 gold coin in Salvation Army kettle

    Summary
    Among the crumpled bills and pocket change, a Salvation Army bell ringer in Indiana recently found a shiny gold coin in his red kettle.

    6-year-old boy stole the hearts of the Disney princesses with his hugs and kisses

    Summary
    Six-year-old Jack Jack spreads his love, hugs and kisses to the Disney princesses at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

    FCC approves new three-digit number, 988, as US suicide prevention hotline

    Summary
    When the months-long process is completed, U.S. residents will be able to call 988 for help in a mental health emergency.

    Negotiators Announce Tentative Deal on Government-Wide Spending Bill to Avoid Federal Shutdown

    Summary
    (WASHINGTON) — Senior lawmakers announced a tentative agreement Thursday on an almost $1.4 trillion government-wide spending bill that would stave off a federal shutdown next weekend and split the differences on a number of contentious issues. The handshake agreement was announced by the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and other top members of Congress. “There’s a meeting of the minds,” Lowey said. Details of the agreement were not announced and processing the sweeping measure is sure to take a few days. But it would award President Donald Trump with about $1.4 billion in additional money for the U.S.-Mexico border wall while giving the Democrats who control the House a number of their priorities such as expanded Head Start and early childhood education. The measure is likely to pass the House next week just before the House votes on impeaching Trump. A Senate vote is expected before a temporary spending bill expires next Friday at midnight. “We decided that the decisions would be made today,” said Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas. “We said, ‘It’s time to get this thing done.'” At issue are 12 annual spending bill that fund the day-to-day operations of federal agencies. The appropriations package fills in the long-overdue details of this summer’s budget and debt pact, which offered boosts to both the Pentagon and domestic agencies instead of the sharp across-the-board spending cuts required under a now-defunct 2011 budget agreement. Trump’s top priority is to guarantee additional dollars for border fencing and other barriers. The White House has insisted that Trump retain authority so he can transfer money from Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon accounts to border barrier construction. That promises to ease the sting of seeing his $8 billion-plus border request cut way back. Liberal Democrats and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus probably will be disappointed in the split-the-differences outcome. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with the Hispanic lawmakers on Wednesday. “Our top concern is that the president doesn’t misappropriate funds to fund a wall and continue to fund ICE and CBP,” said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It was obvious to negotiators, however, that essentially maintaining the status quo on border issues was the common denominator option, given the current balance of power in Washington. The same held for several Democratic-drafted provisions related to abortion that were also dropped.

    Trump Signs Off on Trade Deal With China to Avert December Tariffs

    Summary
    President Donald Trump signed off on a so-called phase-one trade deal with China, averting the Dec. 15 introduction of a new wave of U.S. tariffs on about $160 billion of consumer goods from the Asian nation, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal presented to Trump by trade advisers Thursday included a promise by the Chinese to buy more U.S. agricultural goods, according to the people. Officials also discussed possible reductions of existing duties on Chinese products, they said. The terms have been agreed but the legal text has not yet been finalized, the people said. A White House spokesperson declined to comment. The administration has reached out to allies on Capitol Hill and in the business community to issue statements of support once the announcement is made, they said. U.S. stocks rose to records earlier Thursday as optimism grew that there would be a deal. Trump tweeted that the U.S. and China are “VERY close” to signing a “BIG” trade deal, also sending equities higher. “They want it, and so do we!” he tweeted five minutes after equity markets opened in New York, sending stocks to new records. Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2019 Trump has rejected deals with China before. Negotiators have been working on the terms of the phase-one deal for months after the president announced in October that the two nations had reached an agreement that could be put on paper within weeks. The U.S. has added a 25% duty on about $250 billion of Chinese products and a 15% levy on another $110 billion of its imports over the course of a roughly 20-month trade war. Discussions now are focused on reducing those rates by as much as half, as part of the interim agreement Trump announced almost nine weeks ago. In addition to a significant increase in Chinese agricultural purchases in exchange for tariff relief, officials have also said a phase-one pact would include Chinese commitments to do more to stop intellectual-property theft and an agreement by both sides not to manipulate their currencies. Put off for later discussions are knotty issues such as longstanding U.S. complaints over the vast web of subsidies ranging from cheap electricity to low-cost loans that China has used to build its industrial might. Officials from the world’s two biggest economies have been locked in negotiations on the phase-one deal since Trump announced it. The new duties, which were scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Washington time on Sunday unless the administration says otherwise, would hit consumer goods from China including smartphones and toys. Before today, Trump’s advisers have sent conflicting signals and stressed that he hadn’t made up his mind on the next steps. Advocates of delaying the tariff increase have argued that continued negotiations with Beijing will enable him to maintain a tough line with China without inflicting the economic damage that more import taxes might bring. The decision facing Trump highlights one dilemma he confronts going into the 2020 election: Whether to bet on an escalation of hostilities with China and the tariffs he is so fond of or to follow the advice of more market-oriented advisers and business leaders who argue a pause in the escalation would help a slowing U.S. economy bounce back in an election year. What Bloomberg’s Economists Say… “The outcome of U.S.-China trade talks will be a key determinant of the trajectory for 2020 growth. At one extreme, a deal that takes tariffs back to May 2019 levels, and provides certainty that the truce will hold, could deliver a 0.6% boost to global GDP. At the other, a breakdown in talks would mean the trade drag extends into the year ahead.” –Tom Orlik, chief economist For the full report, click here Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative leading the negotiations with China, is in a camp that sees progress in talks and wants them to continue without further escalation, according to people familiar with the discussions. That would set up a push to conclude the talks in January, possibly before a State of the Union address to Congress by Trump. –– With assistance from Justin Sink, Vince Golle and Jennifer Jacobs.

    MLB to Start Testing for Opioids and Cocaine, Removes Marijuana From Drug Abuse List

    Summary
    (SAN DIEGO) — Major League Baseball will start testing for opioids and cocaine, but only players who do not cooperate with their treatment plans will be subject to discipline. Marijuana will be removed from the list of drugs of abuse and will be treated the same as alcohol as part of changes announced Thursday to the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ association. In addition, suspensions for marijuana use will be dropped from the minor league drug program. Opioids are classified as a drug of abuse under the joint big league program, which began in late 2002 and until now has limited testing to performance-enhancing substances and banned stimulants. Talks to add testing for opioids began following the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1 before the start of a series against the Texas. A medical examiner’s office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body. “Players from our side of the equation recognize that there was an opportunity to take a leadership role here in this discussion,” union head Tony Clark said. “Players aren’t immune to issues that affect all of us, and so the situation this year only heightened that, brought it even closer to home.” Clark said the extent of opioids use among players is “difficult to gauge” and the union concluded there “wasn’t necessarily a need to take a census as much as there was taking a leadership role in the conversation.” “I’m just thankful that the players union and MLB were able to address a serious issue in our nation that doesn’t have any boundaries and crosses lines into sport and work together for the betterment of our players,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “It shows a lot of human touch on the powers that be and I’m thankful for it.” Under the changes, MLB will test for opioids, Fentanyl, cocaine, and synthetic Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Players who test positive will be referred to the treatment board established under the agreement. “It is our collective hope that this agreement will help raise public awareness on the risks and dangers of opioid medications,” deputy baseball commissioner Dan Halem said. Until now, big league players referred to the treatment board who failed to comply with their treatment plan for use or possession of marijuana, hashish or synthetic THC had been subject to fines of up to $35,000 per violation. Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related issues, and players generally referred to mandatory evaluation and voluntary treatment. Players and team staff will have to attend mandatory educational programs in 2020 and 2021 on the dangers of opioid pain medications and practical approaches to marijuana. Moves by some states to legalize marijuana use factored into the change. “It was a part of a larger conversation that was reflective of the attitudes changing in many parts of the country,” Clark said. Players subject to the minor league testing program, who are not on 40-man rosters and not covered by the union, were suspended until now for a second or subsequent positive marijuana test. Halem said the big league and minor league programs will treat marijuana use the same way going forward. “The minor league program obviously affects a number of our PA members every year because we have a number of guys who sign major league contracts, then wind up finding themselves removed from the 40-man roster during the course of the year,” Clark said. “So this was something that, again, as part of the discussion for the overarching baseball player community, was important.”

    Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party Is on Course For Landmark Victory In U.K. Election, Exit Poll Says

    Summary
    Boris Johnson is on course for an emphatic victory in the U.K. election held Thursday, after the BBC’s exit poll showed the Prime Minister’s Conservative Party would win 368 seats in Parliament, with a large majority of approximately 86, and a mandate to fulfil its campaign pledge of “Getting Brexit Done.” If borne out when votes are counted, the result would be the Conservative Party’s biggest majority since the days of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. The exit poll predicts a dismal result for the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, giving them just 191 seats compared to 262 in 2017, the opposition party’s worst result since 1935. The result, however, could change as votes are counted in 650 seats around the country as the night goes on. Most seats are expected to be confirmed by around 6 a.m. local time, or 1 a.m. eastern. The exit poll, commissioned this year by the BBC, ITV and Sky News, was released as the clock struck 10 p.m. local time, when polling stations close. It tends to give an accurate picture of the election result because it asks people how they actually voted after they have done so. The exit poll has predicted the correct result (though not always the correct exact seat count) in every U.K. election since 1992. The result of Thursday’s exit poll suggests the paralysis in British politics over Brexit is set to come to an end. It means Johnson is almost certainly going to be able to deliver on his pledge to take Britain out of the European Union by January 31 or sooner, and enter the next stage of Brexit negotiations, on trade, which would formalize the divorce. What are the results of the exit poll? The BBC exit poll shows: The Conservatives winning 368 seats The Labour Party winning 191 seats The Scottish National Party winning 55 seats The Liberal Democrats winning 13 seats The Brexit Party winning zero seats How many seats are needed for a majority? The number of seats needed to form a majority government is 320, according to the Institute for Government. (This is slightly less than half of the seats in Parliament, because some lawmakers never vote.) How are the results different from the last election? At the last election, in 2017, the Conservatives lost their majority but remained the largest party, with 318 seats. Labour came second with 262, having increased their seats by 30. If the 2019 exit poll is accurate, it would mean that the Conservatives have increased their seats by 50 to 368, winning them a long-coveted outright majority. And it would mean that Labour has decreased their tally by 71 seats, to 191, a historic defeat, lower than even the “wilderness years” for the party in the early 1980s. The result, if borne out by the actual vote count, means Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will likely come under huge pressure to step down very shortly. “If it is anywhere near this,” Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC after the exit poll was released, “this will be extremely disappointing for the party … I thought it would be closer.” “I think Brexit has dominated,” he said. “We thought other issues would cut through. But the evidence is, it clearly hasn’t.” The so-called “red wall,” a swath of ex-industrial, historically pro-Labour seats across the north of England and Wales that largely voted to leave the E.U. in 2016, appeared to have been punctured by the Conservatives, according to the exit poll. What do the results mean for Brexit? If the exit poll is correct and the Conservatives have a majority, it means that Johnson will find it much easier to get his Brexit deal ratified. (The deal was rejected four times by lawmakers in the 2017-2019 parliament, largely because the Conservatives lacked a majority.) The ratification will likely happen in January, clearing the way for the U.K. to leave the E.U. before Jan. 31, as promised by Johnson on the campaign trail. But Brexit won’t be over and done with. The U.K. and E.U. will then enter a “transition period” during which Britain will continue to abide by some E.U. rules until December 2020. In the meantime, representatives of each will enter another, more complex phase of negotiations over a future trade deal.

    It Appears the Perfect Snowy Holiday Decoration Scene Has Been Compromised By Mischievous Cat

    Summary
    For many children, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a daily search for the new hiding spot of their Elf on the Shelf. But mischievous pets can sometimes get in the way of parents’ best-laid Elf on the Shelf plans. In a post that has gone massively viral since it was shared on Twitter on Wednesday by user Siarra Swanson, a series of four photos shows how a curious cat transformed a snowy Elf on the Shelf scene into a floury disaster. “My mom set up my brothers elf on the shelf like they were playing in snow and the last three pictures is what we woke up to instead…,” Swanson tweeted, referencing the quick work the cat made of sending both the elf figurines and flour snow substitute flying. My mom set up my brothers elf on the shelf like they were playing in snow and the last three pictures is what we woke up to instead… pic.twitter.com/pxCNW4FtZn — Si🦋 (@isiarraswanson) December 11, 2019 The tweet has been liked over 143,000 times and retweeted nearly 30,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

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