Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 11, 2017

Republican senator says he voted against Roy Moore, Nobel laureate warns the world is one "tantrum" away from nuclear war, and more

1

GOP Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby says he voted against Roy Moore

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Sunday that he could not bring himself to vote for the GOP candidate, Roy Moore, in Alabama's Tuesday special election because of allegations Moore propositioned or molested several women when they were teenagers as young as 14 and he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Shelby, speaking on CNN's State of the Union, said he did not back Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, but had cast a write-in vote for a "distinguished Republican." "When it got to the 14-year-old's story, that was enough for me," Shelby said. His statement ran counter to the positions of President Trump, who has made a last-minute push to support Moore, and party leaders. Moore denied the allegations, calling them "ritual defamation." The election, pitting Moore against Jones, takes place Tuesday.

2

Nobel Peace Prize winner warns we're one 'tantrum' from nuclear war

While accepting the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons' Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, the group's executive director, Beatrice Fihn, warned that "the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away." Fihn said during the ceremony in Oslo that the world has a choice to make — "the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us." She added that 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.

3

Trump accusers to demand congressional investigation

Sixteen women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct plan to hold a press conference late Monday morning, calling on Congress to open an investigation into their allegations. The press conference will start shortly after three of the women — Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, and Rachel Crooks — are scheduled to share their stories on Megyn Kelly Today. Crooks told CNN in November it was tough to watch as men accused of sexual misconduct, like producer Harvey Weinstein, lose their jobs, but Trump is not affected. Trump has denied all of the accusations. Over the weekend, several Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Trump should follow the lead of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who resigned after several women accused him of improperly touching them, and step down.

4

Palestinian protests continue over Trump's Jerusalem move

Protests against President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital continued in Palestinian areas for a fourth day on Sunday. A 24-year-old Palestinian man was arrested and accused of stabbing and critically wounding a security guard at Jerusalem's main bus station. Someone fired on an armored bus in the West Bank near a Jewish settlement, but nobody was hurt. The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had treated 60 wounded people in the West Bank and Gaza following clashes between protesters and security forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel an "invader state" and a "terror state." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages" and "helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people."

5

Putin announces Syria troop drawdown in surprise visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday started a surprise visit to Syria with an announcement that his country was drawing down its troops in the war-torn country. The move came shortly after his administration declared victory in its intervention there. In his first visit to Russia's Khmeimim air base in Syria since Russian warplanes secretly flew there in late 2015, Putin said he had ordered the return of Russian troops to their home bases, although he said that Khmeimim and a Russian naval base would continue operating. Putin promised renewed strikes "if terrorists raise their head again" to try to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

6

Southern California wildfire rages into second week

The massive Thomas Fire in Southern California forced new evacuations as the wildfire, driven by powerful winds, threatened several coastal communities. Residents were ordered to leave parts of Carpinteria and Montecito early Sunday, and the fire pushed toward Santa Barbara on the scenic central California coast. Rugged terrain and Santa Ana winds have made it hard for firefighters to bring the fire and several other blazes under control. The Thomas Fire remained just 15 percent contained on Sunday. It has blackened more than 200,000 acres, making it the 10th largest fire on record in California since 1932.

7

Nikki Haley says accusers, even Trump's, 'should be heard'

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that women who come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct "should be heard." On CBS's Face the Nation, Haley was asked whether the election's result meant that accusations several women have made against President Trump were a "settled issue." "I know that he was elected," Haley said. "But, you know, women should always feel comfortable coming forward. And we should all be willing to listen to them." When asked about the "cultural shift" underway in the U.S., Haley said she was "incredibly proud of the women who have come forward ... I'm proud of their strength. I'm proud of their courage."

8

Bitcoin futures skyrocket in first hours of trading

Bitcoin futures soared after making their debut on Wall Street on Sunday night, with contracts expiring in January rising by 21 percent to go as high as $18,700 before falling to $17,600 early Monday, CBOE Global Markets said. The launch of bitcoin futures trading contributed to a surge in bitcoin prices last week as people interpreted the sale of bitcoin futures as a sign the cryptocurrency is gaining wider acceptance. Bitcoin started the year around $1,000, with its meteoric rise fueling both investor enthusiasm and warnings that bitcoin's prices were too high to justify. Grant Spencer, acting governor of the Reserve bank, said Sunday that bitcoin appeared to be a "classic case" of a bubble.

9

S.C. serial killer claims he told FBI about more victims

Todd Kohlhepp, a South Carolina man convicted of killing seven people, claims he told investigators that he had more victims who had not been discovered, the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, S.C., reported over the weekend. The newspaper said that in an eight-page letter Kohlhepp said the admission "was blown off" by investigators, and, "At this point, I really don't see reason to give numbers or locations." Don Wood, chief division counsel with the FBI's Columbia office, said the agency still has a pending investigation in the case. Kohlhepp pleaded guilty in May to seven counts of murder for killings over more than a decade. He was caught in 2016 after police rescued a woman chained at the neck in a storage container, and now faces life in prison.

10

Coco leads weekend box office for third straight week

The new Pixar hit Coco led the box office for the third straight weekend. Disney estimated on Sunday that the animated film brought in another $18.3 million, raising its domestic total to $135.5 million. The only movie making a debut in wide release, Morgan Freeman's Just Getting Started, made just $3.2 million. Most studios want to stay clear of directly competing with the next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, which is expected to trounce the competition when it opens Dec. 15.

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