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World News

    Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow is prepared to immediately extend a pivotal nuclear arms reduction pact with the United States. Speaking at Thursday’s meeting with military officials, Putin said that Russia has repeatedly offered the U.S. to extend the New START treaty that expires in 2021 but hasn’t heard back. He said that “Russia is ready to extend the New START treaty immediately, before the year’s end and without any preconditions.” The pact, which was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. Putin and other Russian officials have repeatedly voiced concern about Washington’s reluctance to discuss the treaty’s extension.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is bristling over a question about whether she “hates” President Donald Trump. Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference Thursday that as a Catholic, she resents the suggestion that she hates anyone. She fired back at the questioner: “Don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.” The reporter asked: “Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?” “I don't hate anybody,” Pelosi responded. Earlier, Pelosi announced that the House will draft articles of impeachment against Trump over his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats and political rival Joe Biden as Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine.
  • Slovakia’s police say they have charged former Prime Minister Robert Fico with racism for his comments about the embattled Roma minority. The investigators say Fico, a populist leader, publicly agreed with racist remarks about the Roma made by a far-right lawmaker who was convicted of racism by a court earlier this year. The 2016 radio remarks by the lawmaker, Milan Mazurek of the People's Party Our Slovakia, included pejorative words and accusations about the Roma population who he claimed 'have never done anything for the nation.' Mazurek became the first Slovak lawmaker to lose a seat following a criminal conviction. Fico said that almost the entire nation would agree with Mazurek’s words. Police said Thursday that Fico could face up to five years in prison if tried and convicted.
  • At least 28 people have died in landslides in Burundi and that toll could grow with many people missing, local authorities said Thursday, as East Africa continued to struggle with weeks of unusually heavy rains. A local official in Mugina commune, Desire Ndagijimana told The Associated Press that the bodies had been counted in the hilly areas of Rukombe and Nyempundu communities in Cibitoke province in the northwest. “Many other families, including husbands, wives and children, are still missing. We think they are under their houses’ ruins,” Ndagijimana said. Burundi’s security ministry in a Twitter post confirmed 26 people dead, with 10 missing and seven others injured. The chief of Nyamakarabo zone in Mugina commune, Renovat Ndayisenga, said local authorities and the Red Cross continued to search the hills for any survivors. Several countries in East Africa, including Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti, have reported deadly flooding and landslides in recent weeks of heavy rains, with more in the forecast for the region. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • Anti-government protesters say at least 15 people have suffered stab wounds in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of their movement, after political parties and Iran-backed militia groups briefly joined them, raising fears of infiltration by authorities. Lawmakers convened a parliament session Thursday to amend laws governing compensation to include victims of military operations, according to the session agenda seen by The Associated Press. There were over a dozen knife attacks by the late afternoon when protesters aligned with political parties and Iran-backed militias withdrew from Tahrir, three demonstrators and a witness said. There were no fatalities. Another protester who requested anonymity said the attacks, “might have been perpetrated by the parties or someone who wants to ignite problems with the parties.” Iraqi officials have repeatedly warned of infiltrators within the peaceful protesters seeking to coopt the movement.
  • Poland’s prime minister says the nation’s security services have foiled a $517 million (467 million euros) plan to smuggle Columbian cocaine to Europe. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Thursday that it was the biggest drug smuggling scheme thwarted in democratic Poland’s 30-year history. He said officers from the state police and tax authorities used the “latest technology” to track down and pre-empt a plan for trafficking about two tons of cocaine. Morawiecki said four Columbians, at least two Poles and an Iranian man were part of the trafficking ring. He did not reveal any other details about the bust. The head of Poland’s security services, Mariusz Kaminski, said the action has 'saved Europe from a huge wave of cocaine.”
  • Russia’s state-controlled nuclear fuel company said Thursday it has suspended a joint research project with Iran because of its move to resume uranium enrichment. The TVEL company said in a statement that Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at Fordo facility makes it impossible to convert the facility to produce radioactive isotopes for medical purposes. Iran agreed to stop uranium enrichment under a 2015 deal with world powers to prevent it from building a bomb, but it has resumed such activities after the U.S. pulled out of the pact last year and imposed new sanctions. TVEL’s suspension apparently reflects Moscow’s attempt to distance itself from Iranian nuclear activities that violate the 2015 agreement to avoid being accused of complicity. Russian officials have previously voiced concern about the Iranian decision to restart uranium enrichment but also described it as stemming from the U.S. decision to spike the deal and raise pressure on Tehran. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov insisted last month that the project at Fordo would continue despite the resumption of uranium enrichment, noting that the Iranian move is technologically reversible. But in its statement, TVEL argued that uranium enrichment is technologically incompatible with production of medical isotopes. It said that Iran would need to disassemble the centrifuges currently used to enrich uranium and decontaminate the room for the medical research project to continue. Iranian officials have said it could reverse its enrichment moves if Europe offers a way for it to avoid U.S. sanctions choking off its crude oil sales abroad. The Russian company, which makes nuclear fuel components, said it had informed Iran of its decision. There was no immediate reaction from Tehran. Last month, Iran announced that it was resuming uranium enrichment at Fordo, a heavily fortified facility inside a mountain ringed by anti-aircraft batteries that has over 1,000 centrifuges. Under the 2015 deal, Russia and Iran were supposed to work together to turn Fordo into a research center to produce radioactive isotopes of tellurium and xenon for medical use. It was monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog. The 2015 nuclear deal saw Iran limit its enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The West feared Iran could use its program to build a nuclear weapon; Iran insists the program is for peaceful purposes. The concern is that the more uranium Iran enriches, the sooner it will have enough material to make an atomic weapon. Analysts had put that lag time at a year if Iran abided by the 2015 deal's restrictions. Commenting last month on Iran’s decision to restart uranium enrichment at Fordo, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov voiced concern, noting that Russia wants to preserve Iran’s deal with nuclear powers. “Just as our partners, we want to preserve the agreement,” he said, noting that Iran’s move followed “unprecedented and illegitimate sanctions” imposed by the U.S.
  • A Kosovo court has sentenced a former ethnic Serb minister to two years in prison for inciting ethnic hatred. The Pristina court said Thursday that Ivan Todosijevic incited national, racial, religious and ethnic hatred when he denied a massacre of Kosovo civilians in Recak in 1999, which prompted NATO to step in and stop the war, and he called ethnic Albanian independence fighters 'terrorists.' Todosijevic was fired by outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj after the comments in March. NATO's 78-day bombing campaign ended the 1998-99 crackdown by Slobodan Milosevic on ethnic Albanian independence fighters in Kosovo, which was a province of Serbia at the time. Kosovo's independence in 2008 isn’t recognized by Serbia. Todosijevic hasn’t accepted the charges and may appeal the verdict.
  • The Latest on strikes in France (all times local): 3:45 p.m. Small groups of protesters are hurling flares, smashing store windows and setting fires in eastern Paris amid mass strikes over the government’s retirement reform. Associated Press reporters saw demonstrators destroy a bus shelter as masked activists ran and threw projectiles on the sidelines of a big, otherwise peaceful protest Thursday. A stoplight blazed after a garbage can below was set alight. Protesters also set fire to a construction trailer and started other blazes around the neighborhood around the Gare de l’Est train station where the march began. Paris deployed 6,000 police for the march but police held back as the violence began. Firefighters came to try to extinguish the fires. ___ 8:10 a.m. Most French trains are at a standstill, schools are closed and the Eiffel Tower is warning visitors to stay away as unions hold nationwide strikes and protests over the government’s retirement reform. Paris deployed 6,000 police for what’s expected to be a major demonstration Thursday through the capital, as subway stations across the city were shuttered, multiplying traffic jams. Public sector workers fear President Emmanuel Macron’s reform will force them to work longer and shrink their pensions. The transportation minister said he will meet with unions Thursday to try to defuse tensions. The SNCF railway said about nine out of 10 high-speed trains are canceled, as are about 30 percent of Air France’s domestic flights. Paris monuments also warned of strike disruptions, and many tourists canceled plans to visit.
  • A British judge has exonerated three black men who served time in prison 50 years ago based upon the testimony of a corrupt police officer. Judge Ian Burnett quashed the convictions of Winston Trew, Sterling Christie, both 69, and George Griffiths, 67, who were arrested after being swept up in a purse-snatching investigation. The men were arrested in 1972 at the Oval Underground station, together with another man another man, Constantine 'Omar' Boucher. The group, dubbed the “Oval Four,” served eight months in prison but sought to clear their names. Boucher could not be located to take part in the case that was decided Thursday. Christie's lawyer Steven Bird says it’s “a travesty” they waited 47 years to be exonerated. “Justice has now finally been done,” he said.

News

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will ask Thursday for the drafting of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. >> Read more trending news  Update 12 p.m. Dec. 5: President Donald Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday after she announced the House will move forward with articles of impeachment against him. “Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit,” Trump said. “She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and sooo much more.”  Pelosi told reporters Thursday that the president’s actions since being sworn into office left Democrats with “no choice but to act.” Pelosi previously declined to pursue articles of impeachment against Trump, but she said Thursday that the surfacing of a whistleblower complaint filed against Trump over the summer changed her mind. The whistleblower in August filed a complaint about concerns over Trump’s attempts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate one of his political rivals, former vice president and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Update 11:45 a.m. Dec. 5: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is speaking with reporters after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House will move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Update 11 a.m. EST Dec. 5: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is speaking with reporters after announcing earlier Thursday that the House plans to move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Counsels for Republicans and Democrats will present impeachment evidence Monday at a 9 a.m. hearing, according to Politico and Axios. The Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing to mark up the articles of impeachment, according to Axios. Update 9:50 a.m. EST Dec. 5: Officials with President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign slammed the decision announced Thursday morning by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to draft articles of impeachment against Trump. “The facts are uncontested,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday morning. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security.” Marc Lotter, director of strategic communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign, said in a tweet that Democrats decided to impeach the president “over ‘feels’ not ‘facts.'” Campaign manager Brad Parscale accused Democrats of trying to “take the decision of who should be president out of the hands of voters.” “Impeaching the President has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swap for what it is,” he said. “Speaker Pelosi, Chairman (Adam) Schiff, and Hunter Biden should testify, and then we can get back to the business of our country.” Democrats have been building a case for impeachment against Trump based on his decision to ask Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of several Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Update 9:30 a.m. EST Dec. 5: White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats “should be ashamed” after the California politician announced plans to move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.  “(Trump) has done nothing but lead our country - resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments,” Grisham wrote Thursday morning in a tweet. “We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate.” Pelosi said Thursday morning that Trump’s decision to ask Ukraine for an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, were “a profound violation of public’s trust.” “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of national security by withholding military aid and crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival,” she said. Update 9:20 a.m. EST Dec. 5: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday morning that the House will move forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. “The facts are uncontested,” she said at a news conference Thursday morning. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security.” The announcement came one day after House Democrats held a closed-door meeting on impeachment, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. The House Judiciary Committee also held its first hearing Wednesday on impeachment. “Our democracy is what is at stake,” Pelosi said Thursday. “The president leaves us no choice but to act.” The historic announcement came as Democrats push toward a vote, possibly by Christmas. Original report: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will give an update Thursday morning on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The California Democrat plans to make the announcement from the Speaker’s Balcony Hallway at 9 a.m. EST. On Wednesday, the impeachment inquiry moved to the House Judiciary Committee as three of four law professors considered experts in impeachment from across the country testified they believe Trump’s action toward Ukraine constitutes bribery. The three professors – Pamela Karlan, Noah Feldman and Michael Gerhardt – were called by the Democrats. The fourth professor testifying Wednesday, Jonathan Turley, called by Republicans, did not agree. House Democrats launched the inquiry in September to investigate whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter, and their connection to a Ukrainian energy company in exchange for an invitation to the White House and a military aid package. Read more here or here. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Disney has released the latest trailer for its series of remakes. This time “Mulan” is getting the live-action treatment. The film, which stars Yifei Liu in the title role, follows Mulan’s story as she takes the place of her father in the Chinese army, disguised as a man to fight to defend her country, CNET reported. >> Read more trending news  Watch the trailer below: The film, which will hit theaters on March 27, also stars Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jet Li as the emperor and Jason Scott Lee as Bori Khan.
  • A restaurant in Columbus, Indiana, is hoping to ease the issues for customers with dementia and their families. Amazing Joe’s has rolled out a new menu for Sunday afternoons called “Forget-Me-Not,” WISH reported. Nick Grams, the restaurant’s managing partner, had first-hand knowledge of the struggles dementia patients and their families have when going to restaurants. His mother died from the condition this year. >> Read more trending news  Grams said it was always a challenge between forgotten orders and loud noise. Once a month on Sunday afternoons, he will offer a quieter room with limited menus so dementia sufferers can enjoy dinner out, WISH reported. The menu has only seven items, many of them finger foods, The Tribune in Columbus reported. The staff has also received training on how to deal with their special customers. Grams told WISH that he hopes other restaurants follow his lead in Indiana. The town has also started an initiative that’s called Dementia Friends, The Tribune reported. The program was started by Thrive Alliance in an effort to help make the town more dementia-friendly. They’ve worked with first responders by training them on how to deal with someone with dementia during an emergency, the newspaper reported.
  • An Oklahoma man was arrested this week on two different felony charges after investigators say he knowingly transmitted HIV to at least two victims. >> Read more trending news  Court papers state Benjamin Whitney had consensual sex with the victims and didn’t tell them he had HIV. In one case, the victim reportedly said Whitney explicitly told him he was not infected with the virus. The victim didn’t know he had it until he started feeling ill shortly after their sexual encounter and was tested by the Tulsa County Health Department. In the second case, the victim reportedly didn’t know he had it until he was approached by others who told him he may want to get checked. Court papers state Whitney was diagnosed with HIV in 2014 and received counseling regarding his test results, so he was aware he had it. Whitney was charged in July and was arrested on Tuesday. Read more here.
  • College football's conference championships are set for this weekend, a day ahead of the announcement of the pairings of the upcoming bowl games. >> Read more trending news  Below is a list of championship games, what time the games start and on what channels. Friday, Dec. 6 · Pac-12 Championship: Utah vs. Oregon – 8 p.m. ET, ABC Saturday, Dec. 7 · Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma vs. Baylor – Noon ET, ABC · Sun Belt Championship: Appalachian State vs. Louisiana – Noon ET, ESPN · Mid-American Conference Championship: Miami of Ohio vs. Central Michigan – Noon ET, ESPN 2 · Conference-USA Championship: UAB vs. FAU – 1:30 p.m., CBSSN · American Athletic Championship: Memphis vs. Cincinnati – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC · Southeast Conference Championship: LSU vs. Georgia – 4 p.m. ET, CBS · Mountain West Conference Championship: Boise State vs. Hawaii – 4 p.m. ET ESPN · Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship: Southern vs. Alcorn State – 4 p.m. ET ESPNU · Big Ten Championship: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin – 8 p.m. ET Fox · Atlantic Coast Conference Championship: Clemson vs. Virginia – 8 p.m. ET ABC
  • Kids in Arizona may soon be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school. Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction) proposed a bill that would make the recitation of the pledge a daily requirement unless a parent informs the school that their child is not permitted to participate. The bill also would force schools to allow for at least a minute of each day for “quiet reflection and moral reasoning,” The Associated Press reported. >> Read more trending news  Arizona schools must currently give time to students to say the pledge if they want to, but participation is not mandated. The American Civil Liberties Union says Fillmore’s plan is unconstitutional, the AP reported. An ACLU spokesperson, citing West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, said the Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that forcing students to recite the pledge is unconstitutional, KTAR reported.