UK, EU reach breakthrough Brexit agreement

The UK and the European Union reached a significant milestone in their pursuit of a Brexit deal, breaking a deadlock and allowing talks to move on to a crucial second phase.

Posted: Dec 8, 2017 6:09 AM

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1. Brexit

We haven't talked about Brexit in forever, probably because the negotiations have been a lot less interesting than last year's historic vote. But the UK's divorce from the European Union has crossed a major hurdle, with a deal reached on the issue of the Irish border. Ireland is staying in the EU, and there were fears that border checkpoints between Ireland (which remains in the EU) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK) would hurt both economies and lead to unrest in the North. But this morning, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May announced there would be no "hard" border controls between the two. Now, Brexit talks move on to the truly hard work: hammering out a trade agreement.

2. Russia investigation

The British publicist who arranged the June 2016 meeting with Russians and Donald Trump Jr. sent multiple emails to a Russian participant and a member of Donald Trump's inner circle later that summer, multiple sources told CNN, the first indication there was any follow-up after the meeting.

The emails raise new questions for congressional investigators about what was discussed at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. has for months contended that after being promised he would get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the brief meeting focused almost exclusively on the issue of Russian adoptions, saying there was no discussion with the participants after that session.

3. Sexual harassment and Congress

Two more members of Congress are leaving amid claims of sexual harassment. Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks put out a statement last night saying he'll resign in January. Franks said he had talked with two female staffers about them possibly becoming surrogates who could bear children for him and his wife. He acknowledged this made them uncomfortable but denied any sexual contact with them. The House Ethics Committee was about to start investigating him. CNN's Chris Cillizza says the whole thing is just plain bizarre.

Hours earlier, Al Franken had said he would leave the Senate amid claims he touched women inappropriately. But the Minnesota Democrat gave a defiant speech on the Senate floor, saying some allegations were not true. He also wondered why he had to lose his job while President Trump kept his and Roy Moore runs for the Senate in Alabama. That makes three members of Congress announcing their exits this week, including Rep. John Conyers.

4. California wildfires

The entire Los Angeles area is at risk as six large wildfires are now burning through Southern California. The newest fires -- the Lilac Fire, which has burned three people, and the Liberty Fire -- are north of San Diego. But the biggest blaze is still the massive Thomas Fire north of LA, which may go down as one of the most destructive fires in California history. In addition to burning homes and businesses, it's threatened the Getty Museum and killed several horses. Together, the six fires have burned more than 141,000 acres and forced 190,000 people from their homes. Here's how you can help those affected.

5. School shooting

Two students were killed in a shooting at a high school in New Mexico. The shooter, who also was killed, was male, but officials haven't said if he was a student. The shooting happened right around 8 a.m. at Aztec High School in Aztec, a small town about three hours from Albuquerque. Students talked of hearing gunshots and hiding in their classrooms.

NUMBERS OF THE DAY

20 years

That's the prison sentence given to ex-South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, who killed Walter Scott in April 2015. Scott's slaying reignited "Black Lives Matter" protests.

12,000

The number of jobs General Electric is cutting, as CEO John Flannery tries to slash costs. GE is the Dow's worst-performing stock this year, down 44%.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

Mirror, mirror

Yeah, we like augmented reality and games, but the list of the year's most downloaded iOS apps shows we really like apps that help us look at ourselves.

'Star Wars' island

You saw it at the end of "The Force Awakens." Now, take a closer look at Ireland's rustic Skellig Islands before "The Last Jedi" blasts into theaters.

Trip to tomorrow

Cars of the future may not be able to fly us to our destination, but at least they'll take care of parking for us.

Kind of blue

Don't freak out when you step into the bathroom at this Sheetz gas station in Pennsylvania. The blue lights are a way to fight the opioid epidemic.

WHAT'S FOR LUNCH

Rally time

President Trump will hold a rally tonight in Pensacola, Florida, not far from the Alabama border and that state's contentious Senate race.

QUIZ TIME

Which city did President Trump declare the capital of Israel? Was it Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Haifa or Jerusalem? Take CNN's weekly news quiz -- Total Recall -- to find out the answer.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"A Texas Christmas Miracle!!!"

The social media reaction Thursday by a resident of the southern part of the Lone Star State as big and fluffy snowflakes fell.

AND FINALLY ...

Rock on

Watch this guy rock out on a $1 guitar he bought at Dollar Tree. (Click to view.)

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
Bartholomew50034
Clark49241
LaPorte42423
Howard39526
Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
Delaware37736
Shelby36822
Hancock32728
Floyd31839
Boone30935
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2652
Montgomery23517
White2318
Decatur22431
Clinton2231
Noble21121
Grant20621
Harrison19221
Dubois1923
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Dearborn16621
Vigo1648
Lawrence15423
Miami1411
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Orange12522
Scott1193
Kosciusko1111
Franklin1098
Ripley1086
Carroll922
Marshall901
Daviess8516
Steuben812
Newton7710
Wayne776
Fayette767
Wabash762
LaGrange712
Jasper651
Washington521
Jay500
Fulton481
Clay471
Rush462
Randolph463
Pulaski460
Jefferson431
Whitley393
Starke363
Sullivan341
Owen341
Brown331
DeKalb331
Perry310
Benton300
Knox290
Wells280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Blackford242
Fountain202
Switzerland200
Spencer191
Parke170
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 117455

Reported Deaths: 5270
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook762663570
Lake8063287
DuPage7543362
Kane6188170
Will5442269
Winnebago215654
McHenry151471
St. Clair109179
Kankakee87144
Kendall76919
Rock Island64624
Champaign6177
Madison56558
Boone42817
DeKalb3924
Sangamon34629
Jackson26810
Randolph2674
McLean21713
Peoria2128
Ogle2023
Stephenson1992
Macon19519
Clinton18117
Union1519
LaSalle14713
Whiteside13512
Iroquois1314
Coles12514
Unassigned1250
Out of IL1191
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox970
Grundy952
Monroe9411
McDonough878
Lee791
Cass710
Tazewell714
Henry680
Williamson642
Pulaski510
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry420
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan351
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Menard210
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Woodford192
Mason180
Washington180
Mercer170
Hancock160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Moultrie110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
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A wonderful Saturday with sunshine expected!
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