5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Saudi Arabia vows retaliation against any sanctions

  • Republicans shift funding in House races, apparently conceding defeat

  • Trump talks climate change, Russia, Kavanaugh, staff changes on 60 Minutes

  • Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

  • Britain's royal family announces that Meghan Markle is pregnant

Saudi Arabia on Sunday threatened retaliation if President Trump follows through with a threat to inflict "severe punishment" on the kingdom if it is proven responsible for the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkey says it has evidence that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, when he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get a document he needed to get married. Saudi King Salman reportedly has ordered an internal investigation. Khashoggi's disappearance prompted a growing list of attendees and sponsors to drop out of this month's "Davos in the Desert" investor conference in Riyadh. The Saudi stock exchanged fell by 4 percent before bouncing back with a 2 percent rise on Monday. [The Associated Press]

Source: The Associated Press

"Republicans have begun to concede defeat in the evolving fight to preserve the House majority," The Associated Press reports. "And as they initiate a painful and strategic triage, the early Republican-on-Republican blame game has begun as well." According to the latest campaign finance filings, Republicans have cut off about a dozen incumbents, or about half the number of seats Democrats need to win to take control. Those House Republicans are blaming the NRCC for the loss of financial assistance. The main House GOP super PAC is complaining that the incumbents have been poor fundraisers. FiveThirtyEight forecasts that Democrats have a roughly 4 in 5 chance of flipping the House but Republicans have a 4 in 5 chance of keeping control of the Senate.

Source: The Associated Press, FiveThirtyEight

In a wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview broadcast Sunday, President Trump suggested Defense Secretary James Mattis — "I think he's sort of a Democrat" — might soon leave his post and said he doesn't think climate change is a "hoax" anymore but it may not be "manmade" and he thinks climate scientists "have a very big political agenda." Trump also conceded that Russian President Vladimir Putin "meddled" in the 2016 election and "probably" had critics murdered, and suggested Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would have have "won" if Trump hadn't mocked a woman accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford. When Lesley Stahl asked him if he believed Ford, Trump replied: "I'm not going to go into it because we won. It doesn't matter. We won."

Source: CBS News, Axios

Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Monday, after spending the weekend working with its lenders on a deal that will keep hundreds of stores open through Christmas. The parent company of Sears and Kmart will close 142 stores by about the end of the year, on top of 46 store closures already announced recently. Founded as Sears, Roebuck, and Co. in 1892, Sears has experienced several years of losses, and has a deadline of Monday to pay $134 million in debt. Sears employs about 70,000 people and operate 700 Sears and Kmart stores. It is unclear if Sears will come out of the Chapter 11 protection as a smaller chain, or if this will lead to a liquidation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who married in May, are expecting their first child, the royal family announced Monday. "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019," Kensington Palace said in a statement. "Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world" since their wedding. The royal couple arrived in Australia early Monday to start their first royal tour together. Harry's older brother Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton have three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and 6-month-old Prince Louis. [People]

Source: People
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