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American Headline News for 11 Dec 2017

Out-of-control fire inThe 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...
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Convicted serial killer ToddTodd Kohlhepp said in a letter he killed more than 7 people.
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South Korea imposes newSEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea says it has added several North Korean groups and individuals to its sanctions list as part of efforts to cut off funding for the North weapons programs. South... Korea’s government says the sanctions on 20 North Korean groups and 12 individuals took effect Monday. Seoul is among the first...
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Thousands of protesters marched on the U.S. Embassy in Honduras on two separate occasions over the weekend, calling for U.S. support amidst a deepening political crisis sweeping their country.... Protesters …
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Precision sacrificed for speedRepublicans are moving their tax bill toward final passage at stunning speed, blowing past Democrats before they've had time to fully mobilize against it but leaving the measure vulnerable to the type... of expensive problems already popping up in their massive and complex plan. Questionable special-interest...
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President Trump's JerusalemPresident Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has drawn wide international criticism and sparked violence across the region
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Officials see weapons threatFive months before North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006, U.S. intelligence officials sent a report to Congress warning that secret work also was underway on a biological weapon. The communist... regime, which had long ago acquired the pathogens that cause smallpox and anthrax, had assembled teams...
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Nobel Peace Prize winner: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...
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Turkey president calls IsraelTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdongan criticized President Trump’s decision of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and called the country a “terrorist” state” and a “killer of... children”. Veuer's Maria Mercedes Galuppo (@mairmagaluppo) has the story.        
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WATCH: Weather threats on bothWildfires continue to threaten California while Georgia reels from record-breaking snowfalls.
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Roy Moore once suggestedAlabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore once suggested getting rid of every amendment after the Tenth — saying “that would eliminate many problems.” The proposal came in June 2011 during an... interview on the “Aroostook Watchmen” radio show, which is hosted by a two conspiracy theorists from Maine. CNN’s KFile obtained audio from the appearance...
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Poll: Percentage of AmericansThe biggest dip is among white women, the Gallup survey found.
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As Venezuela Opposition ShunsVoter turnout in Venezuela's municipal elections was low as many considered the results a foregone conclusion: domination by President Nicolás Maduro and his party.
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Comedian Hannibal Buress WasA video that appears to show him being pushed into a cop car has been making the rounds on social media
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Bullied boy called 'ugly' hasKNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A Tennessee woman’s video of her tearful son recounting being bullied at middle school has prompted a wave of support from athletes and entertainers. Kimberly Jones said in a... Facebook post Friday she had just picked up her son, Keaton, from school because he was too afraid to go to lunch. In...
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The sad politicization of Christianity

The Week - 11 Dec 2017 13:00
The sad politicization ofReligion and politics have always comingled in America. Public officials have relied on their religious values and those of their constituents since the United States was founded, and for the most... part, those values were heavily influenced by Christianity. But if being a Christian was part of your political identity, it wasn't the whole loaf of bread. A Christian could be an FDR Democrat or a Reagan Republican, an anti-Prohibition hedonist or anti-evolution creationist, an anti-Masonic Whig or a pro-royalist Tory. Well, times change. Christianity in America has been hammered into a sort of political identity of its own. Of course, millions of Christians still regularly attend church and accept Jesus Christ as the son of God and their Lord and Savior, many of them striving for lives of...
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The GOP war on college

The Week - 11 Dec 2017 13:00
The GOP war on collegeSince 1980, conservatives have used their institutional power to smash one pillar of liberal power and influence at a time. Federalist Society legal automatons have waged a 30-year siege on the... federal court system, and are one Supreme Court retirement away from total conquest. The assault on organized labor launched by Ronald Reagan has cut the number of private-sector union members nearly in half since 1983, with Wisconsin's Scott Walker leading the war against public-sector unions. Now it is the university's turn. The execrable GOP tax bills that got jammed through the House and Senate should be thought of as an airstrike designed to soften up collegiate targets prior to the all-out ground assault. While it's not clear which education-smashing provisions will make it out of the...
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Confessions of a Star Wars nerd

The Week - 11 Dec 2017 12:55
Confessions of a Star WarsDoes the phrase "earth tones" inspire you to fits of childish and utterly inexplicable laughter? What about "Yub-Nub?" Do you consider the replacement of Elaine Baker, the woman who played the spooky... holographic Emperor in Empire, with Ian MacDiarmid one of the most egregious changes in the Special Editions? (Do you, in fact, refer regularly to the second Star Wars film as "Empire"?) How often have you complained to your wife or girlfriend, if you have one, about the absurdity of ret-conning "Darth" into a title, like "Sir"? Does the phrase "Zahn-era Expanded Universe canon" mean anything to you? Do you know how many novelistic accounts we have of Han Solo's marriage to Princess Leia, and do you prefer the one where C-3PO serves -- naturally -- as "Best Droid" or the one where Han kidnaps...
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Putin orders beginning of withdrawal from Syria

Al Jazeera English - 11 Dec 2017 12:52
In surprise visit to Russian air base in Syria, Putin orders his troops to start pulling out of the war-torn country.
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The Russian Olympic Committee says its athletes are overwhelmingly in favor of competing at the upcoming Pyeongchang Games        
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Republicans' Mueller freak-out

The Week - 11 Dec 2017 12:50
Republicans' Mueller freak-outIf you're a President Trump loyalist, you have to be paying close attention these days, particularly when it comes to matters having to do with Russia. You never know when on a moment's notice you'll... be instructed to cast aside what you've believed for a long time, maybe even all your life. Fortunately, there's a political movement and a media apparatus that are here to guide you through it. They will only occasionally ask you to make full 180-degree turns; more often, you'll have to take a step to the side of the position you held before, then wait until the next shift comes. So first you might say that the charge that anyone on the 2016 Trump campaign was in contact with Russia is ludicrous. Then you'll say that, sure, they were in contact with Russians, but the conversations were just...
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Vistas and vines inEach week, we spotlight a dream vacation recommended by some of the industry's top travel writers. This week's pick is Calchaquí Valley in Argentina. (Courtesy image) "Imagine if you shrank the... American West into a tiny ball so that the Grand Canyon and Napa Valley were next-door neighbors," said Mark Johanson at the Chicago Tribune. That's the joy of northwestern Argentina's Calchaquí Valley, where you can drink fine wine, feast on superb cuisine, then wander dramatic landscapes while still pleasantly tipsy. With Argentine photographer Ossian Lindholm as my guide, I recently took a road trip across Calchaquí -- Argentina's second leading wine region after Mendoza. I flew into Salta, an "instantly appealing" Spanish colonial city that's arguably home to South America's best empanadas....
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Preserving Today's Internet

Slate - 11 Dec 2017 12:50
You have a kid who goes on YouTube and looks at subway commutes, surfing his way through amateur footage of trains entering stations. Occasionally, he encounters an automatically generated... recommendation that's sketchy-looking. (You usually catch it before he can click.) His five- or 10-minute breakfast screen-time session may seem like an everyday event, but it's also totally unique: a singular interaction of a particular human with a particular permutation of the YouTube algorithm. To Clifford Lynch, normal 2017 experiences like these are something special--something that we should think about saving.
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North Korea's newestPyongyang's state media implies Kim Jong Un can control 'the nature.'        
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The devastating beauty ofGreenland is melting. (AP Photo/David Goldman) The autonomous Danish island, located in the Arctic, is 80 percent ice. Its massive sheet of frozen water -- about 660,000 square miles across (roughly... the size of Alaska) and two miles thick at its highest point -- is the second largest body of ice in the world, built up from snowfall dating back to the last ice age, some 115,000 years ago. It's so massive, in fact, that the ice sheet "creates its own weather," The New Yorker reports. "Its mass is so great that it deforms the Earth, pushing the bedrock several thousand feet into the mantle. Its gravitational tug affects the distribution of the oceans." But with rising global temperatures, the great Greenland ice sheet has been shrinking at an alarming rate. Since 2012, at least a trillion...
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