The battle’s over. Democrat Doug Jones has won the hotly contested open Senate seat race in Alabama. All eyes were on the state’s special Senate election, as President Donald Trump threw his endorsement behind embattled Republican candidate Moore, who is accused of sexually preying on teenage girls. Polls showed the overwhelmingly red state’s voters split between right-wing firebrand Moore, who’s even been abandoned by Alabama’s senior GOP senator, and Jones, who’s tried to rally Black voters and disenchanted Republicans to his side. A Jones win shrinks Republicans’ Senate majority to just one vote.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“Fortunately, the bomb was very low-tech.” So said Gov. Andrew Cuomo of the device a would-be suicide attacker tried to detonate in a Manhattan subway tunnel Monday. The pipe bomb filled with match heads failed to blow apart, but injured several people and the suspected attacker, Akayed Ullah. The Bangladeshi immigrant told police he was inspired by ISIS. Four Port Authority officers who nabbed Ullah — who’s been charged with terrorism — are being hailed as heroes, and President Trump urged cancellation of the family visa program that allowed Ullah to immigrate in 2011.
He came, he saw, he backed away. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Syria Monday, where he ordered a “significant part” of the Kremlin’s military presence to begin withdrawing immediately. Putin, who recently declared he’ll seek another term in March’s presidential election, said Russian troops had succeeded in defeating ISIS and aiding Moscow ally Bashar Assad in Syria’s seemingly intractable and bloody civil war. The operation is credited with raising Moscow’s profile in the Middle East, where Putin says Russian military bases will remain in case “terrorists raise their heads again.”
They let it go. Comcast has given up on acquiring much of 21st Century Fox, leaving Walt Disney Co. the sole suitor for Rupert Murdoch’s multinational media assets. The likely $40 billion-plus acquisition includes Fox’s FX and National Geographic networks and its movie studios, but not Fox News or Fox Sports 1. It’ll need approval from U.S. antitrust regulators, who’ve recently sued to block AT&T’s $85 billion bid for CNN-owning Time Warner, but the Murdoch family reportedly doesn’t expect trouble, and the companies may announce a deal this week.
Know This: French President Emmanuel Macron, in a jab at his U.S. counterpart, has awarded research grants to 13 American climate scientists to work in France. Firefighters are still trying to control one of the largest wildfires in California history, but have been stymied by dry air and gusting wind. And Cold War-era defector Charles Jenkins, who deserted the U.S. Army and fled to North Korea in the 1960s, has died in Japan at age 77.
Consider This: “The longer the bill hangs out there, the more barnacles attach.” So said one analyst and former congressional staffer on the speed with which controversial U.S. tax overhaul packages were passed by the House and Senate, whose leaders must now reconcile the two and rush a unified bill to the president’s desk before the end of the year.
Talk to Us: Tell us how you really feel. Our electrifying TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is shelving the PC and whipping up debates. Each week we’re posting a provocative question, and we want you to weigh in. This week: Is foreign aid a waste of money? Why or why not? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, and we might feature your answer next week.
He “elevated the city to greater heights.” That’s what California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said of his successor as mayor of San Francisco. Lee, who died unexpectedly Tuesday at age 65, was the son of Chinese immigrants and the city’s first Asian-American mayor. In his seven years in office, Lee was a vocal advocate for the sanctuary city status that sheltered San Francisco’s undocumented immigrants and he presided over the city’s post-recession tech boom. London Breed, president of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, takes over as acting mayor.
They’re onto something. British researchers think they can stop incurable Huntington’s disease in its tracks. By injecting a synthetic molecule into patients’ spinal cords during a clinical trial, they targeted the Huntington’s gene and stopped it from producing the harmful protein that kills nerve cells. The breakthrough’s so promising that researchers battling other brain-wasting illnesses like Alzheimer’s are getting excited. And even if it’s far from clear whether the therapy amounts to a complete cure, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has already shelled out $45 million to license further studies.
Next stop, 1972. That’s the last time Americans stood on the moon, but Monday President Trump directed NASA to send new missions there to “not only plant our flag and leave our footprint” but lay the groundwork for an “eventual mission to Mars.” The directive lacks specifics — including where the money will come from — but it’s a shift from the Obama administration’s focus on reaching Mars first. Moon missions might create new opportunities for America’s private space industry, including Blue Origin, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, advocates establishing a lunar colony.
They bring digital freedom — and sometimes servitude. Smartphones and social media are helping migrants in unprecedented ways, from staying in touch with scattered family to finding jobs abroad. But they’re also used by human traffickers to extort cash from vulnerable victims searching for hope in foreign lands. Now communication apps, particularly platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Viber, are playing a more powerful role than ever in global migration patterns, shaping how people get to where they’re going — as well as what they do once they get there.
It’s a new reality. Monday’s Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominations were the first major awards announced since widespread sexual harassment allegations shook the industry. Christopher Plummer, who replaced Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World, got a supporting actor nod, while Jeffrey Tambor and Transparent were shut out. Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water earned the most nominations, and racially charged horror film Get Out was controversially nominated as a comedy and its director snubbed, leaving some to wonder if Tinseltown can’t get woke on two issues at once.
Call it none and done. NBA rookie Lonzo Ball’s two younger brothers — LaMelo and LiAngelo — have agreed to play for Lithuanian basketball club Prienu Vytautas. LiAngelo recently left UCLA while on indefinite suspension after being arrested for shoplifting in China. While analysts believe his prospects for the NBA are slim, 16-year-old LaMelo is thought to be a better bet. And short of racking up a minimum amount of college ball, playing overseas as pros for three seasons will make both eligible for the NBA draft.