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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. “It felt like the whole world was burning down.”
That’s how our Los Angeles reporters describe the wind-driven wildfires that have scorched 116,000 acres across Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Schools are closed, roadways are shut and nearly 200,000 people have been told to evacuate. Winds are strengthening, and none of the fires are close to being contained. Here’s the latest.
This video examines how recent weather, climate change and rapid development have made California’s fire season so brutal this year. Our California Today newsletter will have detailed updates in the morning.
2. “I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”
Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, above, is resigning after a sixth woman accused him of an improper advance and his support among fellow Democrats crumbled. Here’s the video and transcript.
3. A wide range of well-organized, well-financed supporters are lining up behind the “Dreamers.”
Those 800,000 young undocumented immigrants are in limbo after President Trump announced that he would phase out the program — and urged Congress to find a legislative remedy to replace it.
Democrats want permanent legal status for the Dreamers as part of a spending bill. Congressional leaders were at the White House today to discuss the deal and how to avoid a government shutdown.
4. Australia’s Parliamentvoted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage, sparking celebrations and who knows how many proposals.
The vote overcame years of conservative resistance. The marriages should begin taking place on Jan. 9. The law also recognizes same-sex marriages from other countries.
5. Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza, as predictions of violence were realized a day after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Above, a Palestinian man was arrested outside the Old City there.
At the White House’s Hanukkah party tonight, the president can expect warm words from right-wing Jewish leaders who lobbied for years for such a move. But some American Jews say they are more worried than glad.
On “The Daily,” our Beirut bureau chief, Anne Barnard, explains why the Palestinians seem to no longer be at the top of the agenda for many Arab leaders. And our columnist Thomas Friedman discusses his much-discussed interview with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
6. The white police officer who was caught on video shooting and killing Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist in North Charleston, S.C., last year, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Although the sentence fell short of what prosecutors had sought, the fact that Michael Slager, above, was convicted of any crime at all in the case made it a milestone in the national debate about police conduct.
7. In a mystery that has stoked anxiety in Japan, “ghost ships” carrying dead fisherman are washing up on Japanese shores — bearing signs that they came from North Korea.
Some fishermen have survived, and the government plans to send them back to North Korea. Meanwhile, residents are questioning the motives of the fishermen and those who may have sent them.
8. Shifting dynamics are roiling the huge conglomerates that serve the global power industry.
In the latest shakeout, General Electric will cut 12,000 jobs in its power division worldwide, in a move executives called “painful but necessary.”
The company cited overcapacity, growth in renewable energy and the “softening” of traditional power markets.
9. The editors on our science desk took stock of 2017.
It’s impossible to say that any particular scientific development is the most important in a given year, of course. But they said if they had to choose, they’d opt for these unforgettable events and findings in astronomy, medicine and evolutionary biology.
Above, a groundbreaking surgical technique to treat spina bifida in a fetus.
10. Finally, an unlikely duo has stolen the hearts of Times readers.
Spencer Sleyon, a 22-year-old rapper from Harlem, and Rosalind Guttman, an 81-year-old retiree in Florida, above, met playing Words With Friends on their phones. After more than 300 games, he flew down to meet her in person. The story of their friendship was among the most-read on our site today.
Speaking of friends (and readers): We’re creating a Facebook group for our most dedicated readers to discuss our coverage and connect with our journalists. Click here to nominate yourself.
Have a great night.
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