5 things to know for December 17: White House, Brexit, Sri Lanka, China, Hungary

Time is running out to get in the holiday spirit, so let our top Christmas movie picks give you a boost. Her...

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 3:47 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2018 3:47 PM

Time is running out to get in the holiday spirit, so let our top Christmas movie picks give you a boost. 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. White House

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Donald Trump

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Political Figures - US

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White House

Eastern Europe

Hungary

South Asia

Sri Lanka

It's bound to be another exhausting week in Washington. Why? Let us count the ways: Over the weekend, President Trump lashed out at the ongoing Mueller investigation, calling it a "scam" and characterizing a raid of his former attorney Michael Cohen's office as a break-in. This of course comes among court filings and sentencing hearings regarding some of the high-level Trump associates implicated in the investigations. Next up? Tuesday's sentencing hearing for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who admitted lying to the FBI. Moving on, we could be looking at a partial government shutdown soon over funding for a border wall. Trump wants $5 billion, but Democrats are unwilling to agree to that and any spending bill needs bipartisan support to pass Congress. Also, the revolving door at the White House keeps revolving: News broke over the weekend that embattled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would be leaving his position, and on Friday Trump announced he would be replacing Chief of Staff John Kelly at the end of the year. So basically, your office may be quiet as everyone gets ready for the holidays, but the Oval Office sure isn't.

2. Brexit

Could the UK be heading for a second vote on whether or not to leave the European Union? What was once an unthinkable question is now, according to British political experts, a serious possibility. That's because UK Prime Minister Theresa May has, so far, failed to engineer a graceful, er, Brexit. Last week, both EU leaders and members of May's own party voiced their lack of support for her Brexit deal, which would negotiate the economic terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Without a deal, the UK would just crash out of the EU at the Brexit deadline which is, friendly reminder, rapidly approaching in March. Such a scenario would probably be catastrophic for the UK's economy. All of this chaos is what has fueled speculation about a second referendum. May denounced the possibility on Sunday, saying a second vote would  "do irreparable damage to the integrity our politics."

3. Sri Lanka

Let's head over to Sri Lanka for even more political turmoil: Two months ago, President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the country's Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. The decision created a constitutional crisis, with Wickremesinghe insisting he was still Prime Minister, leading to mass protests in the capital Colombo. Now, the President has reinstated Wickremesinghe in a surprising reversal. This comes after the country's Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Sirisena's firing of the Prime Minister violated the constitution. While the reversal may be an attempt to restore some political normalcy, the damage is already done -- aside from protests and nationwide anxiety over the decision, Sri Lanka's economy and global standing also faltered as a result.

4. China

One hundred Christians have been detained in China, raising concerns about the Chinese Communist Party's crackdown on religion. Among those detained is a prominent Chinese pastor and legal scholar, who was reportedly arrested on allegations of "inciting subversion of state power." Christians haven't been the only ones to experience serious pressure under China's government: China has also been accused of carrying out a systematic campaign of human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of Muslim Uyghurs in the far western region of Xinjiang. Rights advocates say this new move against religious freedom isn't about religion itself, per se, but about China's Communist Party exerting more control to make sure they stay in power.

5. Hungary

Ongoing protests in Hungary's capital city of Budapest took a violent turn on Sunday. Thousands gathered to protest new legislation they call a "slave law," because it would ask workers to take on up to 400 hours of overtime a year. The law was passed by Hungary's parliament last week. The government says the law would allow people to work and earn more, but critics say the policy, while voluntary, invites exploitation. There's been a lot of concern over recent political dealings in Hungary, namely over the ruling populist party's perceived crackdown on democratic institutions. Earlier this year, the European Parliament took the unprecedented step of launching Article 7 -- a disciplinary process -- against Hungary, a rare process designed to prevent members from breaching the EU's "core values."

TODAY'S QUOTE

"As I know too well, it's not easy when you stand up and put yourself in contention for a role that's only been sought by boys."

Hillary Clinton, in a letter to an 8-year-old girl who lost her election for class president

BREAKFAST BROWSE

2018's Miss Universe is Catriona Gray, from the Philippines

Why is it always someone from Earth, though? The rest of the universe wants to know.

Amazon newest "Go" stores are tiny and cashier-free

So it's basically like getting food from a closet.

California is dropping an idea to tax text messages. 

Brevity is the soul of wit, not telecommunications.

'Well-preserved' 4,400-year-old Egyptian tomb found

Imagine being a pharaoh thinking you're headed for the afterlife but you really just end up being poked by some 21st century archaeologist. Disappointment!

Dictionary.com's word of the year is: Misinformation

Drag us, Dictionary.com.

TODAY'S NUMBER

37.3%

The percentage of 12th graders (high school seniors) who reported vaping in the past year, according to a new study. Vaping has seen a huge increase among teens in recent years, but in general, drug and alcohol use among teens has decreased.

AND FINALLY

Pajama jammin'

Who else just wants to hang around in their PJs all day today? Bonus if your pajama party comes with goats. (Click here to view)

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 90942

Reported Deaths: 2021
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26054922
Ramsey10572318
Dakota7216125
Anoka5801132
Stearns381223
Washington361055
Scott245833
Olmsted231927
Nobles193616
Blue Earth16116
Wright15407
St. Louis140034
Carver13607
Rice13088
Mower12935
Clay128140
Sherburne110414
Kandiyohi9332
Winona85218
Lyon6524
Waseca5338
Freeborn5223
Steele5222
Benton5153
Watonwan5064
Nicollet50416
Todd4792
Chisago4581
McLeod4522
Le Sueur4454
Crow Wing43918
Otter Tail4004
Beltrami3795
Goodhue3329
Martin3299
Pine2840
Itasca28213
Polk2754
Isanti2650
Douglas2622
Becker2482
Carlton2451
Cottonwood2190
Pipestone2159
Unassigned21252
Morrison2081
Dodge2020
Chippewa1971
Sibley1843
Meeker1832
Brown1802
Wabasha1800
Yellow Medicine1622
Murray1572
Rock1550
Mille Lacs1503
Redwood1420
Renville1367
Jackson1341
Faribault1320
Cass1313
Swift1231
Roseau1170
Houston1140
Pennington1121
Fillmore1110
Koochiching1113
Kanabec1098
Lincoln1020
Stevens931
Pope890
Hubbard830
Aitkin731
Big Stone700
Wadena670
Grant594
Lake570
Wilkin563
Norman520
Marshall501
Lac qui Parle470
Mahnomen461
Red Lake390
Traverse300
Clearwater260
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 80698

Reported Deaths: 1275
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15366259
Woodbury504263
Johnson501127
Black Hawk437586
Linn3808108
Story331517
Dubuque282341
Scott281827
Dallas269838
Pottawattamie200238
Buena Vista195112
Marshall176234
Sioux13723
Wapello127157
Webster120214
Clinton107419
Muscatine106854
Plymouth105820
Crawford10145
Cerro Gordo100221
Warren9326
Jasper77232
Des Moines7407
Marion7265
Tama69431
Carroll6375
Henry6204
Lee5997
Wright5631
Dickinson4876
Boone4788
Bremer4687
Washington43211
Louisa42515
Mahaska34619
Delaware3423
Franklin34218
Hamilton3153
Jackson3043
Floyd3023
Winneshiek2995
Clay2963
Benton2871
Hardin2841
Winnebago27511
Butler2622
Lyon2603
Clarke2563
Emmet25210
Poweshiek2528
Buchanan2511
Allamakee2486
Jones2483
Shelby2441
Clayton2343
Guthrie2315
Kossuth2310
Cedar2231
Chickasaw2220
Sac2200
Grundy2062
Madison2062
Cherokee2042
Fayette2002
Iowa1921
Mitchell1830
Howard1826
Harrison1812
Humboldt1763
Hancock1742
Calhoun1722
Mills1691
Palo Alto1630
Pocahontas1542
Lucas1526
Monroe15010
Page1420
Monona1401
Cass1362
Jefferson1341
Osceola1300
Appanoose1253
Taylor1241
Union1223
Davis1164
Van Buren1111
Ida1030
Worth1030
Keokuk911
Fremont900
Greene890
Montgomery885
Wayne842
Audubon681
Adair671
Decatur600
Ringgold442
Adams290
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
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Mason City
Clear
56° wxIcon
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Albert Lea
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Austin
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61° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 61°
Charles City
Clear
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Feels Like: 55°
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