National News

5 things for November 29: North Korea, tax overhaul, Tampa, Conyers, automation

Posted November 28, 2017 5:56 a.m. EST

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1. North Korea

It feels like the crisis with North Korea has reached a dangerous new phase. The North says it successfully tested its most powerful missile yet. Defense Secretary James Mattis says the regime can now hit targets "everywhere in the world" (that would Hawaii, which is set to test nuke sirens for the first time since the Cold War). The Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile stayed in the air for almost an hour during the test-firing before splashing down off the coast of Japan.

President Trump was unusually muted in his response -- no "Rocket Man" insults this time -- saying only that "we will take care of it." CNN's Stephen Collinson says Trump's response reflects the fact that the President just doesn't have a lot of good options to deal with this crisis.

2. Tax overhaul

For the GOP's tax overhaul effort, one big hurdle has been crossed, but there are more obstacles ahead. The Senate version of the tax plan passed the Budget Committee on a party line vote of 12-11. Now the bill goes to the full Senate for a vote, which may happen this week. President Trump and GOP leaders are thrilled but, as CNN's Chris Cillizza notes, getting this thing through a committee isn't the same as getting it through the full Senate.

Concerns over how this tax plan might explode the deficit, how it might lead to higher health care premiums (because it would repeal Obamacare's individual mandate) and how it would affect small businesses could still lead to Republican "no" votes, and the GOP can only afford to lose two of those.

3. Tampa slayings

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in the killings of four people in Tampa, Florida's Seminole Heights neighborhood. Police say they will soon charge Howell Emanuel Donaldson III with four counts of first-degree murder. The neighborhood has been on edge for almost two months after four seemingly random shootings that killed people doing ordinary things, like crossing the street and waiting at a bus stop. A tip about a man with a gun in a bag at a McDonald's led to Donaldson's arrest, but police won't say much more than that right now.

4. Rep. John Conyers

There's a serious effort underway to get Rep. John Conyers to resign. Conyers, the House's longest-serving current member, faces allegations of sexual misconduct. Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- Conyers is a founding member -- are trying to ease his exit without trampling on his legacy, which includes his work in the civil rights movement. Conyers denies the allegations and vows not to resign, although he did step down from the House Judiciary Committee. The House Ethics Committee is investigating him. And another accuser came forward saying Conyers made three sexual advances towards her when she worked for him in his Detroit office.  

5. Automation

Attention workers: The machines are coming for your jobs. As many 375 million workers worldwide will have to switch career fields by 2030 because of automation, says a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute. If your job involves operating machinery, prepping fast food, collecting data or processing documents (like mortgage origination), you may need to start thinking about retraining in a different field. The report also says governments and companies need to help workers out during these transitions.


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"They are using old boats manned by the military, by people who have no knowledge about fishing"

An expert on North Korea explaining why he believes "ghost ships" carrying skeletons are washing up in Japan


Just (don't) add water

This guy, an ex-NASA engineer, created a liquid sand hot tub, because that's what smart guys do with their spare time. (Click to view.)