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Inside Daily Brief (Nov 13th, 2017)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore "should step aside" following allegations that Moore had inappropriate contact with underage girls decades ago. The Washington Post published a report last week that said Moore, of Alabama, initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. Four other women accused Moore of inappropriate contact when they were teenagers. The fifth accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, appeared with attorney Gloria Allred in a press conference on Monday. According to TMZ, Nelson claims Moore touched her inappropriately and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him in 1977, when she was 16 years old. McConnell said that he and others are "looking at whether or not there is not someone who can mount a write-in campaign successfully" in the December special election for the Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions. Moore, who has called the accusations "garbage," threatened to sue the Post during a speech Sunday night. His senior campaign adviser said Moore "is not going anywhere." - NPR

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President Donald Trump said he will nominate Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, as secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. Azar stepped down in January as president of Lilly USA, an affiliate of Eli Lilly and Co. He served as general counsel and deputy secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. Azar “will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices,” Trump said in a tweet announcing the nomination on Monday morning. The Washington Post described Azar as “an establishment figure with a reputation as a conservative thinker and methodical lawyer.” Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned in September after Politico reports detailed his use of taxpayer-funded charter jets in place of cheaper commercial flights. - WAPO

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Amazon is reportedly working on a free, ad-supported video service. Citing people familiar with the plans, Advertising Age magazine reported that the company is in talks with TV networks and other media companies to offer programming for the platform, which would complement its paid Prime Video service. The company is "looking for back catalogs of children’s programming from TV and movie studios, as well as lifestyle, travel, cooking, and other shows that fit well within Amazon’s e-commerce ecosystem," Quartz reported. Also on Monday, Amazon announced that it has a multi-season commitment to produce a new "The Lord of the Rings" TV series. The company has acquired rights to "The Lord of the Rings," based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novels. The series will have new storylines as a prequel to Tolkien's book, "The Fellowship of the Ring." - ADAGE

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At least 43 people were killed in airstrikes Monday on a town in Syria’s northern Aleppo province. Syrian civil defense teams said the three strikes targeted a marketplace in Atarib, located in the “de-escalation zone” covering part of Aleppo and the nearby Idlib province. Sources said another 50 people were also injured and transferred to nearby hospitals. Pro-opposition civil defense teams, known as White Helmets, helped to rescue people trapped under debris from the attacks. Tens of thousands of displaced people have relocated to Atarib, which has been targeted in Syrian and Russian government airstrikes. The de-escalation agreement signed this year by Iran, Russia and Turkey is frequently violated, ABC reported. - BBC

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Qualcomm has rejected rival Broadcom’s takeover bid of $103 billion. Qualcomm's Presiding Director said that Broadcom’s offer “dramatically undervalues” the company and “comes with significant regulatory uncertainty.” According to Fortune magazine, analysts believe that Broadcom will increase the $70 per-share bid it made last week. "Broadcom will have to convince shareholders of its target to change management’s mind — or run a proxy fight that replaces at least some of Qualcomm’s directors," the New York Times reported. The deadline to nominate directors is December 8. - CNBC

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear challenges to a California law requiring crisis pregnancy centers to inform patients about state subsidies for abortions. The law states that the private facilities, which encourage options other than abortion, must post notices about the state's availability of low-cost or free contraception or abortions. Challengers contend that the law violates their constitutional right to free speech. “Information about abortion is just about everywhere, so the government doesn’t need to punish pro-life centers for declining to advertise for the very act they can’t promote,” said Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the challengers. California's Legislature found that the centers display “intentionally deceptive advertising" and offer "counseling practices that often confuse, misinform, and even intimidate women from making fully-informed, time-sensitive decisions about critical health care.” - LATIMES

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In 2016, the number of reported hate crimes rose by nearly 5 percent compared to 2015, a new FBI report shows. There were 6,121 hate crimes reported last year, an increase from 5,850 in 2015, according to the data, which is based on voluntary reporting from local law-enforcement agencies. The majority were "single-bias incidents," according to the FBI. Nearly 60 percent were motivated by bias against the victim's race, ethnicity or ancestry. Slightly more than 20 percent were religiously motivated, and another 18 percent were motivated by sexual orientation bias. The Washington Post also reported increases in the number of hate crimes aimed at Jews, Muslims and LGBT people, specifically. Critics have argued that the numbers are flawed, in part because of systemic under-reporting of such crimes. - WAPO

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In new anti-bullying guidance, the Church of England says children should be allowed to wear items, such as a tutu or tool belt, “without expectations or comment.” The church said elementary school children should be able to able to “play with the many cloaks of identity" in the classroom. “Childhood has a sacred place for creative self-imagining," the church said in its new directive “Valuing All God’s Children.” Three years ago, the state church unveiled rules to counter homophobic bullying. The guidance now covers bullying of students who are considered bisexual or transgender. “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby wrote in the directive's intro. About 1 million students attend the church’s 4,700 schools. - NYT

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Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says he hasn't ruled out a bid for president in 2020. "I honest to God haven't made up my mind about that,'' Biden said about a political run on NBC's "Today" show on Monday. "I'm not closing the door. I've been around too long." Biden, 74, said he is a "great respecter of fate" but doesn't know what the situation will be in a year-and-a-half. "I don't have any idea. I'm in good health now, I'm in good shape...but I just don't know." Biden said he wants to focus on his book, "Promise Me Dad," about the final year in the life of his son, Beau Biden, who died from brain cancer two years ago at age 46. The book is due out on Tuesday. - NBC

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GQ magazine has chosen Colin Kaepernick as its "Citizen of the Year." Kaepernick was one of four people featured on the cover of the magazine’s 22nd Men of the Year issue. The others included actress Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman of the Year”), late-night host Stephen Colbert (“Bad Hombre of the Year”), and Golden State Warriors player Kevin Durant (“Champion of the Year”). In its story, "Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced,” GQ called Kaepernick “indisputably, undeniably, flat-out better” than 70 of the roughly 90 quarterbacks in the NFL. “And yet he has been locked out of the game he loves—blackballed—because of one simple gesture: He knelt during the playing of our national anthem.” The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, now a free agent, declined to be quoted in the story, which said that Kaepernick has "grown wise to the power of his silence." - USAT

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