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Inside Daily Brief (Dec 6th, 2017)

At least seven female Democratic senators have asked Senator Al Franken to step down amid reports of his sexual misconduct toward women. Franken's office said the senator will make an announcement on Thursday about his plans. The senators are Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Patty Murray of Washington. Two male senators - Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania - have also asked for Franken to resign. On Facebook, Gillibrand wrote that Franken is "entitled" to allow the Ethics Committee to finish its review, but it would be better for the country "if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable." On Tuesday, a sixth woman accused Franken of making an unwanted advance toward her. The unidentified woman, a former Democratic congressional aide, told Politico that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006. She claims Franken told her, “It’s my right as an entertainer.” - CNBC

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Doctors have found brain abnormalities in the victims of mysterious attacks at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. Citing U.S. officials who asked to remain anonymous, the Associated Press reported that medical tests showed changes to the victims' white matter, which communicates information between brain cells. Officials are now avoiding the term "sonic attacks" to describe unexplained sounds that preceded ear ringing and hearing loss in the victims. The victims would at times wake up to hear chirping in the room, "the sound of scraping metal," or a low hum. Within a day of these events, the victims would experience symptoms such as nausea, vertigo and loss of sight or hearing. The officials did not say if the brain abnormalities were found in all 24 of the U.S. government officials and spouses who became sick starting last year. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he is "convinced these were targeted attacks." - AP

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Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, reportedly told a former associate that U.S. sanctions against Russia would be "ripped up." A whistleblower's account, revealed publicly on Wednesday, purports that Flynn sent a text to the former business associate during Trump's inauguration event in January. Flynn reportedly told the person that a plan to develop nuclear power plants in the Middle East - which involved Russian interests - was "good to go." To facilitate the plan, Flynn told the associate that U.S. sanctions against Russia would be “ripped up." The whistleblower, who was not named in reports, delivered the account to House Rep. Elijah E. Cummings. Cummings then outlined the accusations in a letter to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. - NYT

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The number of homeless people in the U.S. increased for the first time since 2010, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Newly released data from the department showed that 553,742 people were living in shelters or outdoors during a single-night tally in January - a 0.7 percent jump from the year prior. HUD officials said the rise is because of more homeless populations in Los Angeles, New York, and other cities where it is harder to find affordable housing. Many of the cities are on the West Coast, they said. "The commonality in these places is rapidly rising rents and not rapidly rising income," Housing Secretary Ben Carson said. There were 13 percent fewer homeless people reported nationwide than in 2010. - NPR

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Czech Republic billionaire Andrej Babiš was sworn in as the country’s prime minister. Babiš's party, Action for Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), earned nearly three times more votes than the runner-up in an October election. ANO has promised to make the government more efficient and fight migration. After his appointment on Wednesday, Babiš said the country "should be more active and propose to the member states and the European commission a solution to illegal migration." He said the solution "is a fight against human traffickers.” Babiš could face challenges in his attempts to form a government. He currently faces charges from Czech police in connection to a fraud case. - REUTERS

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said the government will not prevent Olympians from participating in the 2018 Pyeongchang games. Russia's decision not to boycott next year's winter Olympics came a day after the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from the games. The committee will invite athletes to participate as neutral Olympians, if they meet certain criteria. On Wednesday, Putin said Russia "will not prevent our Olympians from taking part [in the games], if one of them wants to take part in a personal capacity." Putin also expressed concern for the athletes, saying he considers many of them friends. "Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now," he said. Concerns of a Russian boycott developed after the committee's ruling, which will force any Russian Olympians to compete under the Olympic flag, without their national anthem playing in the background. - BBC

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Employers in the U.S. generated 190,000 new jobs in November, a sign of continued growth. The figures from payroll processor ADP came out before the Labor Department's expected release of the nonfarm payrolls count on Friday. The job totals from ADP were slightly below figures from October, which reflected jobs created as a result of hurricanes in the southern U.S. The largest gains last month were in the service-oriented sector, which added 155,000 jobs. The manufacturing industry counted 40,000 additions. "The job market is red hot, with broad-based job gains across industries and company sizes," a chief economist at Moody's said. - USNEWS

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An Atlanta mayoral candidate has called for a recount following an election on Tuesday that was decided by fewer than 800 votes. It would be the second recount in eight years of a mayoral election in Atlanta. Mary Norwood asked for the recount on Wednesday after returns showed 759 votes separated her and opponent Keisha Lance Bottoms. More than 92,000 ballots were counted in Tuesday's runoff election, leaving a narrow enough margin in the vote total that allows for a recount. Norwood also sought a recount for the office in 2009, when she ultimately lost to Kasim Reed by 714 votes. A spokeswoman for the county told CNN that the recount is tentatively set for Saturday. - CNN

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An infant who was mistakenly pronounced dead and woke up on the way to his funeral has passed away. The hospital in India where the baby was declared dead has fired two doctors and pledged to conduct an investigation into the matter. The New Delhi health minister also threatened to cancel the license of the Max Super Speciality Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi. The baby boy, part of a set of twins, was born prematurely. He was placed on life support before he passed away. - CNN

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Starbucks opened its largest store in the world on Tuesday. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is the company's first store outside the U.S. to offer consumers an "immersive" experience. Roughly 400 employees staff the 29,000-square-foot store, which has three coffee bars - one measuring 88 feet long - and an on-site bakery. It also features an augmented-reality tour. The first roastery is about half the size and opened in Seattle three years ago. Starbucks says that it opens a store in China every 15 hours. - NYT

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