5 things to know for December 12: Politics, France, Baylor, Charlottesville, Arctic

Posted at 4:09 AM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 06:27:10-05

No, it’s not your imagination that “Bohemian Rhapsody” seems to be stuck in your head. After all, it’s the most-streamed song from the 20th century.

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. Politics

Well, that escalated quickly, didn’t it? America got a taste of what divided government might look like in the Trump era when the President clashed with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in front of TV cameras in the Oval Office. The three fought over Trump’s signature 2016 campaign promise — the border wall. (Vice President Mike Pence was there, too, but he was more like the “Elf on the Shelf.”) Trump wants $5 billion to fund construction of the wall. Pelosi and Schumer, the top House and Senate Democrats, told him the votes aren’t there to secure that level of funding.

OK, said the President, who seemed to revel in the reality TV-like meeting. He said he’ll shut the government down and be “proud” to do it over border security. A cascade of insults and interruptions followed. So, is there any chance of compromise in this funding dispute before the December 21 deadline? It seems unlikely right now, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s hoping for a Christmas miracle (aren’t we all). Just can’t get enough of this epic clash? Here it is in GIFs.

2. France

A huge manhunt is underway in France for a gunman who killed three people and injured 13 at a Christmas market in the city of Strasbourg. Authorities have secured the border and put a perimeter around the city. Hundreds of police and soldiers are involved in the search. In the shooting, the suspect entered the market area and started firing at passers-by who were shopping. The gunman then exchanged fire with police before hopping in a taxi and escaping. It’s believed the suspect was injured in the gunfire. France’s deputy interior minister wouldn’t confirm reports that the suspect has “terrorist motivations,” but the Paris prosecutor’s anti-terror division is in charge of the investigation.

3. Charlottesville murder trial

A Virginia jury said James Fields should spend the rest of his life in prison for running over counterprotesters and killing a woman with his car last year at a white nationalist rally. The jury also wants Fields, who was convicted of killing paralegal Heather Heyer, to receive 350 years for the aggravated malicious wounding of five people in the attack. A judge will formally sentence Fields on March 29, and he can go along with the jury’s wishes or overrule them. The jury recommendation comes down as the nation suffers a wave of suspected hate crimes, including a spate of five high-profile incidents over four days.

4. Baylor sex assault case

There’s outrage in Texas over a plea deal that will let a former Baylor University student, who was indicted on four counts of sexual assault, avoid prison. Jacob Walter Anderson pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of unlawful restraint. Anderson was accused of attacking a woman during a 2016 fraternity party, where the victim said she was raped, choked and left for dead. The plea agreement left her infuriated, and her attorney said he’d never seen “a sweetheart deal” like this. If Anderson completes probation, pays a fine and completes an alcohol and drug treatment plan, his criminal record will be wiped clean. He also won’t have to register as a sex offender.

5. Arctic warming

We all know the Arctic is getting warmer. But just how warm? A new report says the polar area is going through a multi-year stretch of unparalleled warmth “unlike any period on record.” Reductions in sea ice and losses in wildlife populations there are the result of climate change caused by humans, the peer-reviewed report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. And the warming of the Arctic affects a lot more than the ice caps. The report says less sea ice has changed the weather in the US and Europe because ice influences ocean currents and the jet stream. The report blames the severity of the nor’easters that hit the eastern US this year and the massive March cold snap that plagued Europe on a warming Arctic.


Fly me to the moon (lab)

NBA star Steph Curry doesn’t believe mankind’s been to the moon. NASA says: Hey, we’ve got this lab full of moon rocks to show you.

Best friends forever

After his best friend died this year, a sweet 12-year-old boy from Michigan raised $2,500 to pay for his headstone.

‘Dreaming of You’

Selena fans, get ready to binge. Netflix says it’s working on a new series based on the life of the beloved Tejano singer.

Diamond in the muck

She lost her wedding ring nine years ago when she accidentally flushed it down the toilet. Lucky for her, a public works employee had a sharp eye.

Homeless and on the ‘Street’

Meet Lily. She’s 7, bright pink and the first Muppet on “Sesame Street” to experience homelessness.

Brain fitness

If you like crosswords or puzzles, that’s fine. But don’t expect them to fend off the mental declines of old age. New research says they don’t help.


Lack of confidence

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a no-confidence vote today as the UK’s Brexit crisis deepens.

The ‘fixer’

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen could get a lengthy prison term when he’s sentenced today.


Shaken up

A pair of earthquakes shook parts of Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama and South Carolina early this morning.


$7.5 million

The bail set for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver this month in a case that’s stoking already-heightened tensions between the US and China


That’s how many pounds of Jimmy Dean sausage is being recalled because of reports of people finding metal pieces in the meat


Topple the tower

What’s more fun than building the largest domino tower in America? Tearing it down. (Click to view.)