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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Mueller denies report that Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress

  • Second Trump-Kim summit slated for February

  • Pentagon warns of harmful effects of climate change on military bases

  • Winter snowstorm to wallop Midwest, Northeast

  • A Star Is Born and Roma expected to lead 2019 Oscar nominations

Special Counsel Robert Mueller denied Friday night a sensational Buzzfeed News report alleging his investigation had compiled evidence that President Trump directed Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project. "BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate," said Mueller spokesman Peter Carr. It was the first such denial the special counsel's office has offered since it was established in 2017, suggesting "it would have been taken only if the special counsel’s office viewed the story as almost entirely incorrect," The Washington Post reports. Buzzfeed News Editor Ben Smith said the site stood by its reporting and called on Mueller to clarify "what he's disputing."

Source: The Washington Post

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet for a second summit in February, the White House said Friday. Trump seemingly arranged the summit while North Korean negotiator Kim Yong Chol was visiting Washington, D.C. on Friday. Trump and Kim Yong Chol talked about denuclearization, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said — a goal that has seen little public progress since Kim and Trump first met last June in Singapore. Kim Yong Chol is close with the North Korean leader, and was expected to deliver a letter from Kim to Trump like he did before June's summit. He was also expected to try to arrange a second meeting. No location is set for the second summit.

Source: BBC, Al Jazeera

About two-thirds of the U.S. military's priority installations are vulnerable to current or future effects of climate change, a report from the Department of Defense found. The report warned about rising sea levels flooding coastal bases and the dangers of drought-fueled wildfires spreading to bases inland. Coastal bases on the East Coast and in Hawaii are in the most jeopardy, but drought vulnerabilities are widespread across the U.S., per the report. The Pentagon's findings contradict President Trump's previous denial of climate change's devastating effects. The report says the Pentagon now plans on incorporating climate resilience in all future decision-making processes regarding resources, rather than making climate a separate program.

Source: Bloomberg

Meteorologists predict a weekend full of snow and brutally cold temperatures across the Midwest and Northeast. Freezing winds and heavy snow could immobilize Chicago, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh, where temperatures are expected to feel far below zero degrees, factoring in windchill and precipitation. Experts say roads could be too icy for travel, and airports may experience delays and cancellations until the winter storm passes. "Any schools or businesses open on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day may remain closed due to the dangerously frigid weather and travel conditions," Accuweather said of the Northeast, also predicting possible power outages during the cold snap.

Source: Accuweather

Critics expect A Star Is Born and Roma to lead the 2019 Oscar nominations, which will be announced Tuesday. The musical, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, is on pace to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Original Song among other awards, while the Alfonso Cuarón Netflix drama will likely be recognized in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, and more. These are considered the two main frontrunners for Best Picture, a category almost certain to also include Green Book, The Favourite, BlackKklansman, Vice, and Black Panther, as well as potentially Bohemian Rhapsody and If Beale Street Could Talk. Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani will announce the nominations on Jan. 22 at 8:20 a.m. EST.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety
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