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Curated top stories
- Doug Jones became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama since 1992 — a big upset in a solidly Republican state. Strong turnout among African American voters helped Jones defeat Republican Roy Moore, who had been controversially backed by President Trump despite facing allegations of sexual misconduct. The upset will trim the Republicans’ already narrow Senate majority to 51-49. Reuters reports that Jones’ win may endanger Trump’s agenda and open the door for Democrats to retake the chamber in next year’s congressional elections. Read WikiTribune‘s analysis of the result here.
- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea. Tillerson said that the offer comes without conditions, going against a demand that Pyongyang first accept giving up its nuclear arsenal would be part of any negotiations. Tillerson’s statement comes nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile that put the entire United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.
- U.S. President Donald Trump hit out at Senator Kristen Gillibrand on Twitter, saying she used to come to his office “begging” for campaign contributions and she “would do anything for them.” Gillibrand, a Democrat, had called for the president to resign (CNN) over sexual assault allegations. She responded by tweeting: “You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.” Three women restated those allegations on Monday and called for a congressional investigation (Al Jazeera) into Trump’s alleged misconduct before he became president.
- Around 50 world leaders gathered in Paris for the “One Planet” summit to ensure there is sufficient funding to counter global warming and help developing nations deal with its impact. Pledges made so far include: The World Bank will stop financing upstream oil and gas projects after 2019, ING bank will stop funding any utility that relies on coal for more than 5 percent of its energy by 2025, and the European Commission is looking at plans to boost investment in the green economy.
- Alabama voters take to the polls in a special election for U.S. senator between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Moore portrayed himself as the victim of unjust allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers on the final day of a bitter campaign. Meanwhile, Moore’s wife, Kayla, stirred up another ruckus while defending him against claims of anti-Semitism. (Guardian) “Well, one of our attorneys is a Jew,” she said (NBC News). “We have very close friends who are Jewish and rabbis.” (Read full WikiTribune coverage of the Senate race.)
- A U.S. army soldier (corrected from ‘officer’) who “downed a few beers” before crossing into North Korea in the 1960s to defect, has died. The BBC reports that Charles Jenkins, 77, lived in Japan where he settled with his family following his release in 2004. He was Pyongyang’s prisoner for more than four decades. Jenkins was among four U.S. soldiers who defected and later became North Korean film stars, but was the only one to be was released. The others reportedly died in North Korea, including James Dresnok who was said to have died of a stroke in 2016.
- The huge wildfire in Southern California exploded in size again as strong winds fanned the flames into well-heeled towns northwest of Los Angeles. In text, photos and graphics, the Los Angeles Times explains how the fire became so large and why it’s proven so difficult to stop. Firefighters used a lull in the winds to fight the blazes that have consumed hundreds of buildings in an area larger than New York City.
What we’re reading
- The BBC reveals the dreadful conditions Filipino domestic workers face in Brazil, where extreme working hours and abusive employers are commonplace. Since 2012, some 250 Filipinas have been employed in domestic work in South America’s largest nation. Despite having the highest number of domestic workers in the world – some six million people – Brazil only started introducing legislation in 2013 to give those employees the same right as other workers. – George Engels
- Facebook is having to get used to being criticized despite its mission to connect the world. Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya said the pervasive social network was “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” U.S. technology and lifestyle site The Verge reported his remarks to a Stanford Graduate School of Business audience in the heart of Silicon Valley. – Peter Bale
- Around 500,000 Syrians escaped a brutal civil war to reach Europe in 2015, according to UN figures. Two years later, a growing number of refugees, facing legal difficulties, discrimination and long-term family separation, are considering the dangerous return journey. Once again they’re putting themselves in the hands of smugglers and may face torture and conscription if they reach Syria. This Irish Times investigation looks into the underreported and growing phenomenon of reverse migration. – Ed Upright
What the WikiTribune community’s up to
- U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein appear to have shifted their positions between symbolic gestures in favor of Jerusalem being recognized as the capital of Israel and the reality of that decision taken recently by Donald Trump, says community member Yair Rand. Both were among 90 senators who voted in favor of Senate Resolution 176, which “reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104–45),” which said that Jerusalem should be recognized as Israel’s capital and the U.S. embassy should be moved there.