5 things to know for December 4: Russia probe, Brexit, N. Carolina, Tumblr, Sri Lanka

If you're looking for a last-minute gift idea, Richard Branson says he's hoping Virgin Galactic ...

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 11:53 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 11:53 AM

If you're looking for a last-minute gift idea, Richard Branson says he's hoping Virgin Galactic will take people to space before Christmas. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Russia investigation 

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George Bush

Some of the mystery surrounding the Mueller investigation may finally be lifted this week. Some critical court filings focusing on Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, are due today, and documents related to his ex-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and attorney Michael Cohen are set to be released by the end of the week. The filings -- in the form of sentencing memos -- could offer some key new details about the investigation, and they could be damaging to President Trump. If you've been waiting for some serious clues about what the conclusion to this investigation may be -- and what the point of it all is -- experts say these filings could be the answer.

2. Brexit 

Brexit woes continue for the UK. Prime Minister Theresa May is facing serious backlash, even from within her own party, because of the rollout of her Brexit bill, which would solidify the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union. Critics argue she ignored a vote to publish the full legal advice on her bill, and others worry the bill's terms may not make for a clean break from the EU. May is due to address Parliament today to drum up support, but if the bill fails, her leadership could be in serious jeopardy. Meanwhile, a top EU legal adviser announced that the British government has the power to unilaterally stop the Brexit process, if it wants. If you still aren't keen on this whole Brexit thing, here's our guide for non-Brits.

3. North Carolina election

Possible evidence of voter fraud in a North Carolina House election is rocking the state. While investigating claims that absentee ballots were tampered with in a tight congressional race, North Carolina officials noticed many were signed by the same small group of people -- some of whom are connected to a longtime operative working for the GOP candidate's campaign. North Carolina requires witnesses, typically relatives or friends, to sign absentee ballots. But 161 absentee ballots shared the same small group of witnesses, many who apparently know each other. A common connection runs through Leslie McCrae Dowless, an operative who worked for the campaign of Mark Harris, the Republican who leads the race by 905 votes. Dowless reportedly has denied any wrongdoing.

4. Tumblr

Say good-bye to Tumblr as you know it. The popular blogging platform announced a serious crackdown on adult content, baffling devotees. Starting December 17, the platform will no longer allow any depictions of sex acts, even illustrated (if you know Tumblr, you know that's a big deal). It will also not allow any sexual depictions of "female-presenting nipples." (Rest assured, written erotica and fan fiction are still allowed). The crackdown comes after Tumblr admitted it had trouble identifying and removing content related to child sex abuse. Tumblr, like many social media platforms, has struggled with filtering and moderating content that toes the line of free speech, such as porn and hate speech. But many users of the platform, which attracts young, creative types and large media fandoms, think the most recent changes aren't a good fix.

5. Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka is in a constitutional crisis that has effectively left the South Asian country without a functioning government. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is refusing to step down even though he lost two no-confidence votes last month, and now the country's Court of Appeals has temporarily barred him and his Cabinet from carrying out official duties. Even though the decision puts the country's leadership in limbo, letting Rajapaksa continue to govern would cause "irreparable" damage to the country, one judge said. Rajapaksa is appealing the decision to the Supreme Court. The controversial Prime Minister was appointed in October in a decision that triggered nationwide protests.

HAPPENING LATER

Final good-byes 

President George H.W. Bush will lie in state again today at the US Capitol, and the public is again invited to pay its respects. President Trump will also meet privately with the Bush family. A funeral service will be held tomorrow at the Washington National Cathedral.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Here's how they train service dogs like George H.W. Bush's dog Sully

Save this for when you stop crying over that photo of him by Bush's casket.

Poll asks: What does it mean to be a 'real American'? 

And not ONE question about apple pie.

Passersby call 911 for a man clinging to life off the side of a house, but it turns out it was just a 'Christmas Vacation'- inspired decoration

If your Christmas decorations don't scare the neighbors, they're NOT FESTIVE ENOUGH.

Preschoolers get served Pine-Sol instead of apple juice 

We have a lot of questions and all of them are......HOW?!

The new 'Captain Marvel' trailer is here and people are verklempt

Save us, Carol Danvers! 

TODAY'S NUMBER

$5.3 million

The estimated cost of a new facility planned by the University of North Carolina that will house the Confederate monument, "Silent Sam." The monument has been the subject of controversy, but because of state laws, it can't be moved to a museum off campus.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all."

Eric Trump, in a tweet criticizing White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband. George Conway has been baldly critical of the Trump administration (yet not his wife).

AND FINALLY

Dashing through the sNO THANK YOU

These ducks are experiencing snow for the first ... and, er, preferably last time. (Click here to view.)

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Unassigned480
Rochester
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Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 24°
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Feels Like: 20°
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Hi: 45° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Austin
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30° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 21°
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Hi: 52° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 23°
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