It’s Wednesday December 6, 2017

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In an unprecedented move, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's official capital, an action that is already inflaming the Middle East and the Arab world. In a statement from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump said, "I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." Trump also directed the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In explaining the move, which breaks with Trump's predecessors, officials emphasized that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a "recognition of reality." They also admitted that the president fulfilled a promise that he made on the 2016 campaign trail. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump's decision as "historic". Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned of the dangerous consequences the decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security, and stability of the region and of the world. The Palestinian Authority called for three days of 'rage" against the United States. Israeli security forces have been placed on a "high alert". Officials said that it was not possible to move the embassy to Jerusalem immediately, however, and it could take "a matter of some years.

Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, reportedly foiled a plot by Islamist terrorists to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May. MI5 leaders reportedly revealed the plot to cabinet members on Tuesday. Two men — 20-year-old Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, and 21-year-old Mohammed Aqib Imran — are to appear in a London court Wednesday to face terror charges in the case. The suspects allegedly plotted to detonate a bomb outside the gates at the entrance to Downing Street, where the prime minister's residence is located, and stab May in the ensuing chaos. May's spokesman declined to discuss the details of the alleged plot. The suspects reportedly were arrested last week.

Six women filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday, claiming that the movie mogul’s actions to cover up assaults amounted to civil racketeering. The lawsuit was filed at a federal court in New York seeking to represent a class of “dozens, if not hundreds” of women who say they were assaulted by Weinstein. The lawsuit claims that a coalition of companies and people became part of the growing “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” and that they worked with Weinstein to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults. According to the lawsuit, actresses and other women in the film industry were lured to industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein’s home, office meetings or auditions under the pretense that they were to discuss a project. At least 75 women have come forward in the media to detail accounts of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Weinstein , who is being investigated by police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London

Sen. Al Franken’s support among his fellow Democrats was collapsing Wednesday as a group of female Democratic senators called upon him to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., called on Franken to step down. Some Democratic male senators joined them. Murray said, “I’m shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken’s behavior. It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It’s time for him to step aside.” Gillibrand said “it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.” With Franken’s position appearing untenable, his office issued a statement saying, “Senator Franken will be making an announcement tomorrow. More details to come.” The calls came as another woman accused Franken of sexual misconduct in an account provided to Politico. The Minnesota Democrat said in a statement that the allegation, reported by Politico, was “categorically not true.”

President Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia’s worst kept political secret on Wednesday, saying he would run for re-election in March 2018 - a contest he seems sure to win comfortably and extend his grip on power into a third decade. Putin, 65, has been in power, either as president or prime minister, since 2000, longer than veteran Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and outstripped only by dictator Josef Stalin. If he wins what would be a fourth presidential term, he will be eligible to serve another six years until 2024, when he turns 72. Backed by state TV, Putin regularly enjoys approval ratings of around 80 percent, and his decision to run for re-election -- which he announced at a car-making factory in the Volga river city of Nizhny Novgorod -- was widely expected. Allies laud Putin as a father-of-the-nation figure who has restored national pride and expanded Moscow’s global clout with interventions in Syria and Ukraine.

President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., returned to Congress on Wednesday to face questions from lawmakers about alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with Moscow by his father’s presidential campaign. Trump Jr. is expected to be questioned for several hours by members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, one of three main congressional committees investigating the matter. Trump Jr.’s appearance on Wednesday came amid mounting criticism of the Russia probes by some of his father’s fellow Republicans in Congress, who accuse investigators of bias against Trump. Lawmakers said they want to question him about a meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York at which he had said he hoped to get information about the “fitness, character and qualifications” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democrat his father defeated in last year’s race for the White House. Trump Jr., like his father, denies collusion with Russia.

Supreme Court justices asked questions suggesting a split along ideological lines on Tuesday during oral arguments in a dispute over a Colorado baker's refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. "Cake artist" Jack Phillips says making a cake celebrating gay marriage would violate his religious beliefs. The court's liberal justices asked whether he could refuse service to other groups or minorities if he could turn away a same-sex couple. Justices in the court's conservative majority appeared to give Phillips leeway to decide whether baking a cake for a gay wedding went against his religious and free speech rights. Swing Justice Anthony Kennedy asked pointed questions to both sides, saying denying service is "an affront to the gay community" but that Colorado officials had shown "hostility to religion" by cracking down on Phillips.

The International Olympic Committee barred Russia's Olympic team from competing in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as punishment after confirming Moscow's extensive state-backed doping program. Russian officials also were banned due to the government's role in cheating at the 2014 Sochi Games, where operatives of Russia's sports ministry tampered with more than 100 urine samples to hide star athletes' steroid use. Olympic officials have tossed out performances by more than two dozen athletes and rescinded numerous medals. Russian officials have called the penalties insulting and threatened to boycott the IOC. Some athletes cleared in an investigation will be allowed to compete wearing a neutral uniform.

The number of people caught crossing illegally from Mexico into the U.S. fell to the lowest level in 46 years in the last year, according to Homeland Security figures released Tuesday. Border agents made 310,531 arrests, down 24 percent from the previous year. The number of people being caught fell sharply immediately after President Trump's election, a possible reaction to his harsh rhetoric against undocumented immigrants. Arrests of people living in the U.S. illegally have surged. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained 110,568 undocumented people from Trump's inauguration to the end of September, a 42 percent increase over the same period last year.

The Senate confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen as the next homeland security secretary on Tuesday in a 62-37 vote. Nielsen served as deputy chief of staff at the department when John Kelly, now White House chief of staff, ran it. She has served as Kelly's deputy at the White House and is considered his loyal confidant. Nielsen, 45, is an attorney and cybersecurity expert, and she will be the first DHS secretary with previous experience working at the agency, which handles border patrol, immigration enforcement, domestic counterterrorism, and disaster response. Her confirmation gives President Trump a DHS chief familiar with his immigration enforcement policies. Democrats who voted against Nielsen said she lacked the leadership experience necessary to run the department free from White House interference.

The little blue pill that’s helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first generic competition next week. Pfizer will begin selling the white pill at half the $65-a-pill retail price on Monday, when its patent-protected monopoly ends. Generic maker Teva Pharmaceuticals can start selling its version then, but isn’t disclosing the price. Many more generics go on sale next summer, which will steadily slash the price of generics, possibly by 90 percent. Launched in 1998, Viagra was the first pill for impotence. It transformed a private frustration for many aging men into a publicly discussed medical condition with an easy treatment, far more appealing than options like penile injections and implants. Pfizer’s early TV ads for the little blue pill even coined the term erectile dysfunction, ED for short. Eli Lilly’s Cialis came out in 2003 and now dominates the U.S. market with on-demand pills and daily, low-dose ones. Viagra is a close second. Last year, more than 12 million prescriptions for Viagra and Cialis were filled in the U.S., generating a combined $3 billion in sales, according to health data.

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