National News

5 things for November 15: California shootings, Zimbabwe, same-sex marriage

Posted November 15, 2017 5:38 a.m. EST

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1. California shootings

Four people were killed and at least 10 wounded in a series of shootings in Northern California, but it could have been worse than that.

Police say a man, possibly triggered by a dispute with a neighbor, went to seven different locations in Tehama County, firing on people at random.

One of those locations was an elementary school, where the man -- whose name has not yet been released -- walked onto school grounds and fired through windows and walls with a rifle. But the school was on lockdown and the doors were locked.  After six minutes, the gunman left. He was later killed by police.

2. Politics

Attorney General Jeff Sessions couldn't recall a lot of things during his contentious appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, as he again answered lawmakers' questions about possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

But he did say that, thanks to media reports, he now remembers a meeting with campaign aide George Papadopoulos that he had previously said he couldn't recall. However, Sessions doesn't remember what was said at the meeting, other than him telling Papadopoulos he wasn't authorized to speak to the Russians.

3. Zimbabwe

Is Robert Mugabe in control in Zimbabwe, or has the 93-year-old President been overthrown in a military coup?

Soldiers are patrolling the streets; a military spokesman said Mugabe and his family are "safe." Still, Mugabe's exact whereabouts remain unknown to the public.

Tensions in the country have been high ever since Mugabe dismissed his vice president, in a move seen by many as a way for Mugabe to appoint his wife to the position. That would put her in the driver's seat to succeed him as the country's leader.

4. Australia

Australians overwhelming OK'd a same-sex marriage measure, but the vote was nonbinding, so it's up to Australian lawmakers to turn that into law. Australians voted 61.6% to 38.4% to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. But it will take a change to the country's Marriage Act to make same-sex marriage the law of the land. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is pushing to make that happen by Christmas, but conservative lawmakers could stall the process, as they're expected to push for religious protections in the bill.

5. A letter to humanity

We've been warned. More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries penned a letter to humanity telling us to fix Earth's environmental problems before it's too late. The letter, published in the journal BioScience, says if we don't start making significant changes to our behavior, the planet will sustain "substantial and irreversible" harm. The letter runs down all the usual suspects: climate change, "dead zones" in the oceans, threats to fresh water and forests, the extinction of some animals and unsustainable population growth.


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