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Inside Daily Brief (Dec 1st, 2017)

Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. The charges stem from meetings that took place between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in late 2016. According to documents filed by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, they discussed sanctions imposed to Russia by the Obama administration and a resolution by the U.N. Security Council. As part of his plea, Flynn admitted that he was directed in his communication with Russian contacts by officials connected to Trump's transition team. Flynn resigned as President Trump's security adviser in February, following reports that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. The charges against Flynn carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. This story is developing. ABC

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The U.N. has urged Libya to put an end to its slave trade. In a statement, a panel of U.N. experts said there is evidence that slaves are being bought and sold in the African country. "The auctions are reminiscent of one of the darkest chapters in human history, when millions of Africans were uprooted, enslaved, trafficked and auctioned to the highest bidder," the statement said. The slaves are often migrants who are put up for sale by human traffickers. The panel urged the international community to ensure that Libya puts an end to the slave trade within its borders and releases people being held against their will. The statement follows a CNN investigation that shed light into slave auctions taking place outside Tripoli, Libya's capital. – CNN

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Playwright Israel Horovitz has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by nine women who considered him their mentor. The accusations include groping, forced kissing and rape. The women allege that the incidents took place between the early 1980s and last year. Horovitz, the author of 70 plays, responded saying that although he had a different recollection of his interactions with the accusers, he wanted to "apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions." After the New York Times released a story detailing the accusations against him, Horovitz, 78, resigned from the Gloucester Stage Company, a theater company that he founded in 1979. Horovitz’s son, Adam Horovitz – a.k.a. Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys – said: "I believe the allegations against my father are true, and I stand behind the women that made them." – NYT

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Tesla has switched on the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in Australia, after building it in under 100 days. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk had vowed to build the battery within 100 days or it would not charge South Australia for the device. The battery will help stabilize the state's energy grid after the region suffered a string of blackouts over 18 months. South Australia relies on wind energy for 40 percent of its electricity, and the battery is designed to supply additional power for when the wind dies down. – REUTERS

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A jury has acquitted the undocumented immigrant who killed Kate Steinle of murder and involuntary manslaughter. During the trial, prosecutors argued that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate fired into a crowd, killing Steinle while she walked with her father on a San Francisco pier in 2015. But the defense attorney argued that the shooting was accidental because the bullet ricocheted off the ground before hitting Steinle. The arrest of Garcia Zarate – a Mexican national who had been deported five times – sparked a debate about the protections granted to immigrants by so-called "sanctuary cities." President Trump on Friday referred to Garcia Zarate’s acquittal as "disgraceful." He said on Twitter: "The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL!" – CNN

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Japan’s Emperor Akihito will abdicate in April 2019. In doing so, Akihito, 83, will become the first Japanese monarch to step down from the throne in two centuries. Last year, after having heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, he complained that his frail health was undermining his work. He will be succeeded by 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito. Japan’s emperor lacks political power but is considered a "symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." Japanese law does not allow for abdication but Parliament passed a one-off measure in June to let Akihito step down. – REUTERS

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The 44 sailors aboard an Argentine submarine that went missing on Nov. 15 are presumed dead, the country’s Navy said. About 4,000 people from more than a dozen countries have taken part in a rescue mission for over two weeks, but it is thought that the vessel’s oxygen supply would only last for seven to ten days. "More than double the number of days have passed where it would have been possible to rescue the crew," a Navy spokesman said. The Navy will continue searching for the vessel on the seafloor, he said. – BBC

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The White House is considering a plan to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The decision would involve the U.S. moving its embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Some analysts believe the decision could undermine the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. According to sources, White House advisers are divided about the issue, but both President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence support the move. "The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if. The president is still considering options and we have nothing to announce," said a White House spokesman. The White House is expected to make a formal announcement next week. – POLITICO

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A pro-Trump group will spend $150,000 in ads to back Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. The Great American Alliance (GAA) has ties to Breitbart's chairman Steve Bannon. The ads attack Moore’s rival, Democrat Doug Jones, saying that he is weak on illegal immigration, and that he supports liberal judges, and "gruesome" late-term abortions. "Voters deserve to know the disturbing truth about his radical left-wing positions," said an adviser to Bannon and the GAA. Moore has been accused of molesting underage girls and of having sex with a teenager in the 1970s, when he was in his 30s. Although President Trump has noted that none of the accusations have been proven, he has not traveled to Alabama to support Moore on the campaign trail. The special election will take place on Dec. 5. – HILL

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Scientists in China have found 215 eggs from prehistoric flying reptiles. The pterosaurs were the first known flying vertebrates and lived between 225 million years ago and 66 million years ago. The eggs belong to a pterosaur species called Hamipterus tianshanensis, which had a wingspan of up to 13 feet. Scientists believe the eggs were laid by different animals at different times, but ended up at the same spot after being pushed by a current of some sort. The bounty includes 16 eggs containing fossilized embryos at different stages of development. The scientists studied the eggs using tomography scanning and published the results of their research in the journal Science. Their findings indicate that baby pterosaurs might have needed coaching before taking to the skies. "Newborns were likely to move around but were not able to fly, leading to the hypothesis that Hamipterus might have been less precocious than advocated for flying reptiles in general ... and probably needed some parental care," the paper says. – NPR

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ON LIFE AND LIVING: HOLIDAY STRESS

With the holidays in full swing, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the festivities of the season. That being said, it’s just as easy to be whisked away by all of the highs and lows as the year comes to an end.

How do you deal with your holiday stress? Whether it’s friends, family, or memories of the past that weigh heavily on you, there are a few ways you can relieve the pressure and survive the season.

1. Reach Out

The holidays can make people feel lonely, but there are many opportunities to reach out and avoid the feeling. Seek volunteer opportunities at your local food pantry or shelter to connect with your community. Engaging in social events can also raise your spirits.

2. Set Aside Differences

Setting aside differences with family and friends can ultimately make the holiday season go more smoothly. If you can’t agree on common ground, do your best to accept your loved ones for who they are. Being understanding and patient can go a long way during the holidays, and it may even relieve your friends and family of stress they are feeling.

3. Maintain Your Budget

Whether you’re throwing a holiday party or simply fretting over gift-giving, set a budget for yourself. Doing so can ensure you don’t overspend, giving you one less (financial) burden to carry throughout the season.

4. Make “Me” Time

Self-care is important during the holidays, even when our schedules are booked with celebrations. Make it a point to pencil in time for yourself and your hobbies to de-stress consistently. By blocking off a portion of time, you can ensure that you’re doing what you can to bring your best self forward for the rest of the year and beyond.

– @kavermes
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CLICK ROULETTE

THE GREAT ESCAPE

TGIF

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