World News

Start your Monday smart: Winter storm, Cohen sentencing, Brexit vote, climate summit

Posted December 9, 2018 5:38 p.m. EST

— If you're in the Southeastern US, we hope you're warm and cozy as this major winter storm threatens to spread a blanket of snow far and wide. Here's what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.

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• Not all heroes wear capes. These teach English for free to new immigrants, feed the hungry, make beds for needy kids, teach creative writing to prisoners and fight back against violence. This year's Top 10 CNN Heroes make the world better. They'll be honored -- and the CNN Hero of the Year named -- at 8 p.m. ET in "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa. It's only on CNN.


• Some of the world's brightest minds take the stage when Nobel Prize winners receive their accolades in Norway. Honoring those whose work has "conferred the greatest benefit to humankind," the awards come with a medal, a beautiful diploma and about $1 million each. Laureates include the first woman honored in physics in 55 years and a half-dozen Americans.

• Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document starts with a line that, perhaps, we all should consult more often: "(T)he equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family (are) the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."


• The UK Parliament is due to vote on the monumental diplomatic split known as Brexit. The runup has been brutal for Prime Minister Theresa May. Lawmakers, furious that her government didn't publish the full legal advice that underpins its European Union departure plan, voted last week to give Parliament more say if May's deal fails. That could set up a "softer" Brexit, with the UK sticking closer to the EU's customs union and single market, or even prompt a second Brexit referendum. If you're still lost, here's our Brexit guide for non-Brits.

• Top Democrats in the Senate and House reportedly will meet with President Donald Trump to hash out a big dispute over spending. Congress last week approved a two-week extension for a key funding deadline, pushing to December 21 the decision that could trigger a partial government shutdown. Trump wants $5 billion for a border wall, while Democrats point to $1.6 billion for border security in a Senate spending bill.

• Time magazine is due to announce its Person of the Year. While Time journalists have the final word, readers who weighed in via an online poll want the honor to go to record-setting South Korean boy band BTS. Other contenders were the cave divers who rescued a Thai soccer team from a flooded tunnel and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, whom the CIA says was complicit in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


• Robert Mueller's investigation marks a major milestone when Trump's one-time attorney and "fixer," Michael Cohen, is due to be sentenced in two federal cases. Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in the Russia probe as well as to tax fraud and other charges related to hush-money payments to women alleging affairs with Trump, who denies the claims. Cohen faces about five years in prison but has asked for no time behind bars in return for his cooperation with multiple investigations.

• Top NFL officials gather in Irving, Texas, for a long-planned meeting. Reporters and fans are eager to learn whether league leaders will address recent police incidents involving players Kareem Hunt and Reuben Foster.


• Whatever happens with the Brexit vote, it's sure to be fodder for a two-day meeting of European heads of state. The conference, in Brussels, Belgium, is due to touch on the EU's single market, its migrant crisis and efforts to fight disinformation.

• Some of the nation's best college athletes start competing for national bragging in the NCAA's women's volleyball championship. The final is set for Saturday night in Minneapolis.


• World leaders wrap up the year's most important meeting on climate change. The two-week UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP24, in Poland, aims to create a rulebook to turn the 2015 Paris climate agreement into a workable reality. Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark deal, which aims to limit temperature rises this century to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


• It's a day for sleeping in, chilling out and celebrating -- your most fundamental American freedoms. It's Bill of Rights Day, marking the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution. These are the ones you had to memorize in school and that protect, among other things, your rights to free speech, religion, the press and protest, to bear arms, to due process, to a jury trial and from unreasonable search or seizure.

• College football bowl season kicks off, with matchups set from Orlando to New Orleans to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It all leads up to the College Football Playoff in a few weeks.

• The world's top cowboys and barrel racers vie for eight coveted titles -- plus prize money, a gold buckle and a trophy saddle -- in the National Finals Rodeo, which wraps up in Las Vegas.