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Inside Daily Brief (Dec 5th, 2017)

The Supreme Court says the White House can enforce a travel ban blocking nationals from eight countries from entering the U.S. The third version of the ban was announced in September and affects nationals from six Muslim countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen – as well as from Venezuela and North Korea. The decision means that the Federal Government can implement the ban while two challenges to the policy move through the lower courts. The Trump administration argues that the ban will help protect the U.S. from terrorists, but critics say it is discriminatory because it targets mainly citizens from Muslim countries. "President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret – he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter," said Omar Jadwat, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. Jadwat was referring to a string of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British group that were re-tweeted by President Trump. – CNN

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Deutsche Bank has provided President Trump's banking information to the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. The German bank has also submitted financial information about members of Trump’s family, including his son in law, Jared Kushner. The move suggests that Mueller is investigating whether Trump has financial ties with Russian interests, experts say. The German Bank has extended loans worth $300 million to Trump. This story is developing. GUARDIAN

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned U.S. President Trump that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would alienate Muslims. "Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims," Erdogan said in a televised speech. "We could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue," he added. The statement comes amid reports that the White House is considering moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move would antagonize Palestinians, who claim West Jerusalem as the seat of a future government. President Trump is expected to announce a decision this week. The international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and no countries have embassies in the city. – ALJAZEERA

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Britain’s Cineworld Group has agreed to buy American movie theater chain Regal for $3.6 billion. The acquisition comes amid a downturn in cinema ticket sales in the U.S., as people opt to watch movies at home instead of going to theaters. Big budget movies had a lackluster performance in recent months, and the summer season brought in the lowest box office revenue since 2006. But Cineworld aims to lure audiences by turning movie theaters into "top of the class" facilities that offer wider seats, bigger screens and better sound – as well as food and drinks. – BLOOMBERG

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Paul Manafort has been writing an editorial piece to influence public opinion while out on bail, prosecutors say. According to a court filing by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, the unpublished op-ed is a collaboration between Manafort and a long-time colleague with ties to a Russian intelligence service. Manafort has been under house arrest since pleading not guilty to 12 charges, including money laundering and making false statements, in late October. A judge later placed a gag order on his trial. Prosecutors argue that if it were to be published, the editorial piece would violate the judge’s order. They have asked a court to reconsider Manafort’s bail terms. "The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public's opinion of defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek its publication," prosecutors wrote. – ABC

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A wildfire has burned around 31,000 acres in southern California, destroying approximately 150 structures and forcing thousands to flee their homes. One person died in a car crash while trying to evacuate the area. Winds of up to 50mph are fueling the blaze in Ventura County. "The prospects for containment are not good," said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen. "Really, Mother Nature is going to decide." On Monday, the wind gusts forced firefighters to ground two choppers that were helping tackle the blaze. – LAT

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President Trump has offered his full support to Roy Moore despite sexual misconduct claims against the Republican Senate candidate. A spokesman for Moore’s campaign said that during a phone conversation: "President Trump called Judge Moore a 'fighter' and expressed his eagerness to have Judge Moore fighting for his agenda in Washington. The president wrapped up the call with a 'Go get 'em, Roy!'" A White House spokesman said that days before the Dec. 12 vote, Trump plans to attend a campaign-style rally in the Florida town of Pensacola, which is near the Alabama border. Several women have accused Moore of molesting them when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s. The Republican National Committee cut ties with Moore over the claims, but following Trump’s endorsement, it said that it will provide funding to Moore’s campaign. – GUARDIAN

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The FBI issued about 4,000 requests to seize guns from prohibited buyers in 2016, the highest number of such requests in a decade. It is not clear how many of those requests were executed by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), or how many weapons were confiscated. The requests targeted gun buyers who benefited from a loophole in the vetting system to acquire firearms. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) vets millions of gun buyers every year, but federal law states that if the NICS fails to run a background check on a gun buyer within 72 hours of the proposed purchase, the sale can go ahead. The ATF can later confiscate the guns if the FBI finds that criminal records, mental health issues or other problems disqualify buyers from owning guns. – USAT

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Former U.S. congresswoman Corrine Brown has been sentenced to five years in jail for embezzling funds from a charity. Brown, 71, was elected to the House in 1992 and went on to serve 12 terms. While serving as a representative, Brown and her chief of staff, Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, raised some $800,000 in funds for One Door for Education, a charity that purportedly gave funding to children in need. District Judge Timothy Corrigan found that almost all the money was used to pay for their personal expenses or was diverted to Brown’s bank account. Simmons has been sentenced to four years in jail, and Carla Wiley, the head of One Door for Education, to 21 months. "This was a crime born of entitlement and greed, committed to supporting a lifestyle that was beyond their means," Corrigan said. "Just think of the good that could have been done with that money if it would have been used for its intended purpose." – NPR  

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BULLETPROOF RECOMMENDATIONS

It’s been months in the making, and now the last installment of “Inspector George Gently” is finally here. The BBC crime drama, which has been on the air since 2007, culminates with two 90-minute episodes full of more questions than answers.

We catch up with Chief Inspector George Gently (Martin Shaw) as he is being pressured to retire from the force. Detective Inspector John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) is on edge as he searches for a purpose in both his personal life and career. The best of both men is brought out by Sergeant Rachel Coles (Lisa McGrillis), who often seems to be the only police officer with her head on her shoulders.

Par for the course, all three are pushed to their limits when they take on cases tackling the moral dilemmas of the day. The producers are also quick to remind us that the final series has transitioned from the 1960s to 1970, bringing about a whole new cultural wave of change.

But it isn’t the cases that leave both casual viewers and long-time fans yearning for more. Simply put, it isn’t easy to envision the series’ hero riding off into the sunset (or rather, into retirement). There has been too much of Gently reeling Bacchus in from the edge of disaster to feel comfortable with him leaving the force. And while Coles has repeatedly stepped up to the plate, one has to wonder about her somewhat strained relationship with Bacchus.

It’s these very questions that make “Inspector George Gently” a show that will be missed for quite some time. Viewers can’t help but wonder how the department will move on from the looming departure of such a prolific policeman, meaning the writers did their job – they crafted a character so strong and robust that followers can’t envision a [television] world without him. There will always be reruns, but there can only be one Inspector George Gently, brought to life by Martin Shaw. 

– @kavermes

THE BASICS

Title: Inspector George Gently Platforms: Amazon, Acorn Seasons: 8 Episode Length: 90 minutes

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