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5 things for December 6: Jerusalem, Olympics, John Conyers, Roy Moore, wildfires
President Trump is expected to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel today. Then, the world will hold its breath. The expected announcement, which also would include moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, would upend 70 years of international consensus and, many argue, stop the Mideast peace process in its tracks.
This announcement is extremely important because if a peace deal were reached one day, the Palestinians -- and many in the international community -- see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. That becomes a lot tougher if Washington essentially recognizes Israel's sovereignty over the whole city. If Trump makes this move, the Palestine Liberation Organization says it might revoke its recognition of Israel. Arab nations (many of them US allies) are furious. Everyone is worried about a new round of violence gripping the region, and the State Department's security arm has been told to plan for potentially violent protests at US embassies and consulates.
But the White House says the move is a "recognition of reality" that Jerusalem has long been the seat of power in Israel. It also helps the President keep one of his biggest campaign promises, and it's being cheered by his political base here and by many Israelis, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Russia has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee made the decision after it determined that the Russians have engaged in state-sponsored doping. It's the harshest punishment the IOC's ever handed out to a participating nation. Individual Russian athletes can participate in the upcoming Games in South Korea, but they have to prove that they're clean, and they'll have to compete under the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia." If they win medals, it'll be the Olympic -- and not the Russian -- anthem that will play at the ceremony. Some Russian officials have called for a total boycott of the Games.
The longest currently serving member of Congress is stepping down. But Michigan Democrat John Conyers had no choice, really. The pressure on him to quit was intense as multiple claims of sexual harassment against him -- made by women who've worked for him -- began to stack up. Conyers, who has denied the claims, is retiring and wants his son to replace him in Washington. Michigan's governor will have to call a special election to fill the seat.
The special election to fill Alabama's Senate seat is less than a week away, and things are getting pretty intense. Steve Bannon came to town to campaign for GOP candidate Roy Moore, and he brought the fire against the whole GOP establishment. Democratic candidate Doug Jones (we'd almost forgotten there's another guy in this race) focused on the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Moore, saying men who do things like that deserve to be in jail, not the US Senate. And Jones got an unexpected boost from an unlikely ally, Sen. Jeff Flake. The Arizona Republican tweeted out a photo of a $100 check addressed to Jones with the caption "Country over Party."
Meantime, CNN's Poppy Harlow told Roy Moore spokeswoman Janet Porter to "leave my child out of this, after Porter brought up the news anchor's unborn child -- twice -- during an interview while talking about Moore's stand against abortion.
Santa Ana winds are expected to pick back up today, making it that much harder to fight the wildfires that are torching Southern California. More than 65,000 acres have burned this week, fueled by strong winds and dry conditions. There are at least five blazes burning right now, adding to a devastating year in California for wildfires. The largest blaze is the Thomas Fire, tearing through Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles. Almost 200,000 people have been evacuated across the region.
The number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh that will be moved to a remote, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal
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