Tillerson avoids condemning Philippines dictator Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs as a human rights violation
Secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson hesitated to call the Philippines a human rights violator when asked for his opinion Wednesday at his Senate confirmation hearing. When pressed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the former ExxonMobil executive insisted he would need more information before he could assess whether the brutal crackdown on drugs led by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that has killed thousands could classify as a human rights abuse.
Rubio responded by pointing out that Tillerson actually already has access to the information, given that it was published in an article in the Los Angeles Times and that Duterte was quoted for the piece. Tillerson stuck to his defense, claiming he could not "rely solely on media reports." However, he did note that he knows the Philippines is a U.S. ally, and "we need to make sure they stay an ally."
Tillerson was similarly circumspect in answering Rubio's questions about human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. While his initial response to Rubio's question was again that he'd need "greater information," Rubio refused to believe Tillerson was unaware of what was going on in Saudi Arabia. "You're not familiar with the state of affairs for people in Saudi Arabia, what life is like for women? They can't drive," Rubio said. "They have people jailed and lashed. You are familiar with all of that?"
Catch a portion of the tense exchange below. Becca Stanek
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 11, 2017
Queens of the Stone Age frontman says he kicked photographer because he was 'lost' in his performance
Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme apologized on Sunday for kicking a concert photographer in the face during a concert Saturday night, saying he was "in a state of being lost in performance" when it happened.
The band played the first night of L.A. radio station KROQ's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas concert, in front of a sold-out crowd. Chelsea Lauren told Variety she was taking photos in the pit when Homme came by, smiling. "The next thing I know his foot connects with my camera and my camera connects with my face, really hard," she said. "He looked straight at me, swung his leg back pretty hard, and full-blown kicked me in the face." She said it was "obviously very intentional" and when she went to the hospital for treatment, she was encouraged to press charges by people who looked at video shot of the incident.
In a statement, Homme said he knew he kicked over "various lighting and equipment" on stage, but didn't know until Sunday that "this included a camera held by photographer Chelsea Lauren. I did not mean for that to happen and I am very sorry." Lauren said that after he kicked her, Homme took out a knife and cut his forehead, and blood dripped down his face the rest of the night. He also called the audience "retards," Variety reports, told them to take off their pants, and insulted the next band to come on stage, Muse. Catherine Garcia
The Thomas Fire that started in Southern California's Ventura County last Monday has burned over 200,000 acres, growing in size by more than 25,000 acres on Sunday and forcing more people to evacuate in Santa Barbara County.
The out-of-control fire crossed county lines on Saturday night, fueled by dry winds and air, and is only 15 percent contained. Officials say 88,000 people have had to flee their homes because of the fire, and estimate it has cost $25 million to fight it so far. There are 8,500 firefighters currently battling six fires burning across Southern California.
In Santa Barbara County, about 85,000 customers are without power, and several schools have already canceled classes on Monday. The Santa Barbara Zoo is outside of the evacuation area, but smoke is in the air and ash is falling on the property, forcing the zoo to put the animals in their night quarters. To keep them entertained, staffers are playing with the animals and giving them plenty of treats and toys. "The gorillas like music," director of marketing Dean Noble told the Los Angeles Times. Catherine Garcia
While accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, the director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) warned that "the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away."
During the ceremony in Oslo, Beatrice Fihn said the world has a choice to make — "the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us" — and the risk of using nuclear weapons is "greater now than during the Cold War." As North Korea continues to test missiles, including some believed to be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S., and the war of words between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un continues to escalate, a "moment of panic" could lead to "the destruction of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians," Fihn said. ICAN, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organizations, formed in 2007, and aims to ban all nuclear weapons. Catherine Garcia
Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are running to fill the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions — but don't forget, Alabama is already represented in the Senate by Sen. Richard Shelby (R), who told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday he does not want Moore as a colleague.
"I'd rather see the Republican win, but I'd rather see a Republican write-in. I couldn't vote for Roy Moore," Shelby said on State of the Union. "I didn't vote for Roy Moore, but I wrote in a distinguished Republican name, and I think a lot of people could do that. Will they do it, I'm not sure."
"I understand [Republicans] would like to retain that seat in the U.S. Senate," he continued, " but I tell you what, there's a time — we call it a tipping point. I think, so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip. When it got to the 14-year-old's story, that was enough for me. I said, 'I can't vote for Roy Moore.'"
— CNN (@CNN) December 10, 2017
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley maintained on CNN's State of the Union Sunday that President Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel this past week will not hinder the Israel-Palestine peace process.
"When it comes to those that are upset, we knew that was going to happen. But courage does cause that. When you make a decision, you're going to have some that see it negatively and you're going to have some that see it positively," she told host Jake Tapper. "But I strongly believe this is going to move the ball forward for the peace process."
Trump's controversial announcement sparked outrage among religious leaders and Arab League nations, as well as protests by Muslims worldwide, some of them violent. Watch an excerpt of Haley's comments below, or watch the full interview via CNN here. Bonnie Kristian
— CNN (@CNN) December 10, 2017
"Women who accuse anyone [of sexual misconduct] should be heard. They should be heard and they should be dealt with," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation. "And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up," she continued.
Asked whether the election means sexual misconduct accusations against President Trump are a "settled issue, " Haley said the public must make that call. "I know that he was elected," she said. "But, you know, women should always feel comfortable coming forward. And we should all be willing to listen to them."
Watch a clip of Haley's CBS appearance below. Bonnie Kristian
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 10, 2017
After coming under criticism for being too slow to address sexual misconduct allegations against media figures like producer Harvey Weinstein, Saturday Night Live has been making up for lost time. The latest episode sees the subject pop up in the cold open, a Weekend Update segment, and a sketch called "Sexual Harassment Charlie."
The scene is an office workplace, where two newly fired employees — James Franco's CFO Doug and Kenan Thompson's elderly front desk man, Charlie — are apologizing to their female coworkers for past sexual harassment. Doug apologizes for inappropriate nicknames and compliments, while Charlie is sorry for making comments like, "If I was 11 years younger, I'd put you in a large sack, throw you in the trunk of my Eldorado, drive you to my sister's house with a big old medical bed, crack open the windows, and show you a good old time for 28 minutes."
Where Doug's apologies are met with renewed disgust, the women wave away Charlie's vivid retelling of his far more serious misconduct as "Charlie being Charlie." The skit's interrogation of inconsistencies in how we respond to harassment ends with an unexpected twist. Watch the whole thing below. Bonnie Kristian