National News

5 things for December 12: Alabama election, New York blast, harassment, space, movies

Posted December 8, 2017 5:14 a.m. EST

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1. Alabama Senate race

After all the accusations and rancor, the voters will finally have their say today in Alabama's contentious Senate race. Embattled GOP candidate Roy Moore, who's been accused of pursuing sexual relationships with teen girls when he was in his 30s, unleashed his anger at the national media and Democrats last night during a rally, which also featured Trump political guru Steve Bannon.

Democratic candidate Doug Jones brought out basketball legend Charles Barkley, who told a crowd at a rally that Alabama has "got to stop looking like idiots to the nation." Jones, who needs an Obama-like African-American turnout to win, stressed that everyone needs to get out and vote. Here are five things to watch as the ballots roll in tonight.

2. New York explosion

Five people were hurt in what's being called an "attempted terror attack" in New York, but it could have been much worse. Police say Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi man, detonated a homemade device in a walkway under the bustling Port Authority Bus Terminal, which connects to two subway lines. Surveillance video shows passengers scurrying away as smoke fills the pedestrian tunnel after the blast. Ullah reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS and said he carried out the attack in response to Israeli actions in Gaza. The four NYC cops who detained Ullah are being hailed as heroes.

3. Sexual harassment

The #MeToo movement has reached President Trump. Women who have publicly accused the President of sexual harassment and assault provided details of being groped, fondled and forcibly kissed by Trump. The accusers include a former Miss North Carolina and a former receptionist. The women want Congress to investigate the President. And Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a leading voice in Congress for combating sexual assault in the military, said Trump should resign. The White House said the alleged acts date back years and that Trump already has denied all the claims. 

Two other high-profile men were accused of sexual misconduct. Celebrity chef Mario Batali is stepping away from his business and TV show after four women accused him of inappropriate touching. Batali said he "was wrong" and apologized. Meanwhile, Ryan Lizza, a correspondent for The New Yorker, was fired for what the magazine called "improper sexual conduct." He strongly denied the allegations. Lizza is also an CNN contributor, and he won't appear on the network pending a review.

4. Space exploration

Looks like we're headed back to the moon -- and beyond. President Trump signed a directive authorizing NASA to begin work on missions that will not only return US astronauts to the moon but also take them to Mars, eventually. The directive came after the National Space Council sent recommendations to Trump. Last year, then-President Barack Obama wrote an op-ed for CNN in which he also expressed a desire for humans to get to Mars.

5. Saudi Arabia

Next year, Saudis will get to enjoy a pastime everybody else takes for granted: going to the movies. The government there said that in 2018, movie theaters will be opened in the uber-conservative country for the first time in 35 years. This is part of an effort to spur economic growth in the country and move it past its heavy reliance on oil revenues. There aren't a lot of entertainment options in Saudi Arabia, and many Saudis leave the country for vacations and leisure activities. The government now wants to keep those entertainment dollars at home. The return of movies theaters also plays nicely with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform push, which seeks to destroy "extremist ideologies" and embrace a "more moderate" brand of Islam.


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