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Inside Daily Brief (Nov 20th, 2017)

President Trump plans to place North Korea back on a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. The Treasury Department will unveil new sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday, adding pressure to the regime over its nuclear program. North Korea joins Syria, Sudan and Iran on the State Department list. During a White House meeting Monday, Trump said the move "should have happened a long time ago." He also referenced the deaths of Kim Jong Un’s estranged half brother and U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who was arrested in North Korea for allegedly trying to take a propaganda poster. Warmbier was held in the country for 17 months and died shortly after returning to the U.S. in June. North Korea was declared a U.S. state sponsor of terror from 1988 until 2008. - CNN

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Nebraska regulators approved an alternate route for the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing a path for the $8 billion project supported by President Trump. In a 3-2 vote on Monday, Nebraska's Public Service Commission rejected TransCanada Corp.’s preferred route but approved a “mainline” route farther to the east that bypasses Nebraska’s ecologically fragile Sandhills region. TransCanada had depicted the alternative route as unfeasible for the project. Monday's decision is likely to face court challenges, reports said. TransCanada has sought approval on the 1,179-mile line for nearly a decade. After Barack Obama rejected the project in 2015, Trump supported it through an executive order and federal approvals. The pipeline would deliver 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. From there, it would link to an existing network of pipelines to refineries on the Gulf Coast. - WAPO

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Uber plans to buy up to 24,000 Volvo XC90 SUVs to create its own fleet of autonomous vehicles. In the first commercial purchase of vehicles by a ride-hailing service, Geely-owned Volvo agreed to provide Uber with the SUVs from 2019 to 2021. While financial terms were not disclosed, the non-exclusive deal builds upon an earlier agreement between the companies to develop autonomous vehicles. Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group is also developing a new self-driving system for the Volvo cars equipped with autonomous technology. “Everything we’re doing right now is about building autonomous vehicles at scale,” Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of automotive alliances, said. - REUTERS

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The New York Times has suspended a White House reporter after Vox published a report of his alleged sexual misconduct. Glenn Thrush began covering the Trump administration for the Times in January. Before that, he was a chief political correspondent for Politico. In an article for Vox, Former Politico editor Laura McGann described incidents of alleged unwanted kissing or contact by Thrush toward her and three other women. The women were in their 20s and relatively new in their careers compared to Thrush, she said. "Three young women I interviewed ... described to me a range of similar experiences, from unwanted groping and kissing to wet kisses out of nowhere to hazy sexual encounters that played out under the influence of alcohol," McGann wrote. At a bar five years ago, McGann said, Thrush placed his hand on her thigh and suddenly began to kiss her. In a statement, the Times said it intends to fully investigate the claims. “The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times,” the paper said. - VOX

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Former NFL wide receiver Terry Glenn died in a car accident near Dallas. Reports said Glenn was driving a car when it struck a concrete barrier shortly after midnight on Monday. Glenn was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the hospital. His fiancée suffered slight injuries in the crash. Glenn, an Ohio native, played with the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. In 1999, he played in the Pro Bowl after being drafted as a first-round pick by the Patriots in 1996. "Terry was a very smart individual, had obviously a lot of physical skill and talent, could do a lot of things on the football field very naturally," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. - ESPN

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President Donald Trump has called for the suspension of Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch. During Sunday's game against the Patriots in Mexico City, Lynch once again sat when the U.S. national anthem played, and stood during Mexico’s anthem. Trump tweeted about Lynch's behavior on Monday morning: “Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season.” According to ESPN, Lynch actually had stood during the first few bars of the US anthem on Sunday, and though he stood for the Mexican anthem, he was 'not completely at attention.' Lynch has sat all season during the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner," but has not said specifically why. Before an October 1 game against the Denver Broncos, Lynch wore a T-shirt that said "Everybody vs. Trump." - NYT

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"Touched By an Angel” star Della Reese has died at age 86. Reese was a prominent singer before landing the role as angel Tess on the CBS series from 1994 to 2003. Reese also starred in the films "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate” and "Harlem Nights.” As a singer, Reese gained renown with the release of her hit “Don’t You Know” in 1959. She earned four Grammy Award nominations during her musical career. Actress Roma Downey, Reese's co-star on "Touched," said Reese passed away at her California home on Sunday evening. "Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” Downey said in a statement. - PEOPLE

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A second woman claims to have been groped by Senator Al Franken. Lindsay Menz, of Frisco, Texas, told CNN that Franken grabbed her buttocks during a photo opp at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Franken "pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear," Menz, 33, said.In a statement to CNN, Franken said he takes many photos at the state fair and did not recall taking the photo with Menz. "I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected," he said. It the first allegation against Franken claimed to occur after he assumed office in 2009. Last week, Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles-based radio anchor, said that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her while on a USO tour in 2006. - NPR

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted about a special upgrade that could allow the new Roadster supercar "to fly short hops." Musk last week announced plans for the Roadster, touted as the fastest production car ever. The $250,000 electric car, due out in 2020, will have top speeds of more than 250 mph. In addition to the base model capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 kph in 1.9 seconds, "There will be a special option package that takes it to the next level," Musk tweeted on Sunday. He said that the package might enable the Roadster to "fly short hops." It is "Certainly possible," he tweeted. "Just a question of safety. Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities." - USAT

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The U.S. has ramped up its attacks against militants in Somalia. Between November 9 and 13, the U.S. conducted six airstrikes against al Qaeda-backed Shabab fighters outside Somali’s capital of Mogadishu, plus another strike against ISIS militants. Since the start of the year, the U.S. has carried out 28 drone strikes in Somalia, nearly double the number that occurred last year. The Trump administration transported more special operations forces to train and advise local forces. The 500 troops are the largest U.S. military presence in the east African country since the Black Hawk Down battle of 1993. “We had to put more small teams on the ground to partner in a regional way with the Somali government,” retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc said. Authorities have blamed Shabab for two attacks in Mogadishu last month, including a truck bombing that killed more than 350 people. - POLITICO

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