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10 things you need to know today: December 7, 2016

Time names Trump its Person of the Year, Obama cautions against changing counterterrorism strategy, and more


Trump named Time's Person of the Year

Time named Donald Trump as Person of the Year on Wednesday morning "for reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow's political culture by demolishing yesterday's." The president-elect beat out Hillary Clinton as well as Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, Russian President Vladimir Putin, musician Beyoncé Knowles, and others. Time annually aims to select the person or idea that has had the greatest impact on the news and world in the past year, a tradition it has followed since 1927. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was Time's Person of the Year in 2015 due to her leadership in the Syrian refugee crisis and the Europe debt crisis.


Trump introduces defense nominee Mattis at 2nd 'thank you' rally

President-elect Donald Trump held the second rally of his "thank you" tour on Tuesday, formally introducing his choice for defense secretary, Gen. James N. Mattis. "Under his leadership — such an important position — we will rebuild our military and alliances, destroy terrorists, face our enemies abroad, and make America safe again," said Trump in Fayetteville, home to the Army Special Operations Command and the 82nd Airborne Division. In his first "thank you" rally last week, Trump revived the brash tone of his campaign. In North Carolina he was more restrained, summing up his early priorities, such as replacing ObamaCare, stopping illegal immigration, and bringing back jobs companies have moved overseas.


Obama urges staying the course against terrorists

President Obama, in his last major national security speech before leaving office, said the U.S. is "breaking the backs" of the Islamic State and cautioned against a major strategy shift in fighting terrorism. Speaking at Florida's MacDill Air Force Base, Obama said the threat of terrorism "will endure," and the U.S. needs to "pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained." President-elect Donald Trump has criticized Obama's handling of security issues, vowing to take what he says will be a harder line against Islamist extremists. Obama said "upholding our values" in the fight is key. "The whole objective of these terrorists is to scare us into changing the nature of who we are and our democracy," he said.


Trump calls for canceling Boeing's Air Force One contract

President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday that Boeing's contract to build two replacement aircraft to serve as the new Air Force One should be scrapped. The "costs are out of control," Trump tweeted. "Cancel order!" Trump said the cost of the Air Force One program exceeded $4 billion. Boeing said its current contract is only worth $170 million "to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the president of the United States." Several experts said Trump had his facts wrong. Conservative Republican opinion expert Frank Luntz said the actual cost of building two new Air Force One aircraft is $825 million each.


Earthquake kills dozens in Indonesia

A 6.4-magnitude undersea earthquake struck Indonesia's Aceh province early on Wednesday, causing dozens of buildings to collapse and killing at least 97 people. Hundreds more reportedly were injured. Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the government has sent several thousand rescuers, including hundreds of soldiers, to the hardest hit areas in a frantic search for survivors.


Dole acknowledges role in Trump team contacts with Taiwan

Bob Dole, working as a lobbyist, helped establish contacts between Taiwan and President-elect Donald Trump's team that led to last week's phone call between Trump and Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen. The call was the first between a U.S. president and Taiwanese leader, breaking a nearly four-decade diplomatic tradition and risking a rift with China, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province. "It's fair to say that we may have had some influence," Dole, 93, told The Wall Street Journal.


Syrian rebels negotiate evacuation as army gains ground in Aleppo

Syrian rebels reportedly negotiated with U.S. diplomats about surrendering and evacuating Aleppo as Russia on Tuesday threatened the "elimination" of any anti-government forces remaining in the besieged, divided city. "Those who refuse to leave of their own accord will be wiped out," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow. "There is no other solution." Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, continued to make gains throughout the day in formerly rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo with reports of heavy civilian casualties. Monitoring groups said Wednesday that government forces had pushed rebels out of Aleppo's Old City.


Survivors honor shipmates on 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Four of the five remaining survivors of the USS Arizona will gather in Hawaii on Wednesday for a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which sank the Arizona and pulled the U.S. into World War II. There were 335 survivors from the Arizona; 1,177 of its officers and crew members were killed. In all, 2,403 Americans died in the attack, most of them on ships at the Pearl Harbor naval base. The Arizona survivors — Lauren Bruner, 96; Lou Conter, 95; Ken Potts, 95; Donald Stratton, 94; and Lonnie Cook, 96, who did not make the trip this year — will honor two of their shipmates who died this year, and whose remains will be interred on the sunken Arizona.


Trump fires national security adviser Michael Flynn's son

The Trump transition team on Tuesday fired Michael G. Flynn, the son of President-elect Donald Trump's top national security adviser, for backing fake news posts that inspired a shooting incident at Washington's Comet Ping Pong Pizza restaurant this week. Transition officials said Flynn, whose father is retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, was ousted partly for his social media posts on a bogus conspiracy accusing aides to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of running a child sex ring out of the pizza joint's back room. A North Carolina man armed with an assault rifle was arrested this week for allegedly firing at least two shots at the restaurant when he went to "self-investigate" the phony story. After the incident, the younger Flynn tweeted that "Pizzagate" would "remain a story" until "proven to be false."


Beyoncé tops Grammy nominations with nine

Beyoncé leads the 59th annual Grammy Awards nominations with nine nods for her critically acclaimed visual album, Lemonade. Drake and Rihanna follow, with eight nominations each. Singer Adele received five nominations. Beyoncé will compete directly against Adele, and her album 25, in three of the top categories. The nominees for Album of the Year include Drake's Views, Justin Bieber's Purpose, and country singer Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth. Record of the Year will pit Beyoncé's Formation against Adele's Hello, Rihanna's Work, Lukas Graham's 7 Years, and Twenty One Pilots' Stressed Out. The awards will be broadcast Feb. 12, 2017, on CBS.


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