Sexual assault and harassment allegations and U.S. foreign policy headlines dominated the news cycle during the final week of the Fall Semester. A democratic party leader resigned his seat in the Senate, and President Donald Trump made an important decision regarding Israel. Meanwhile, intense wildfires in California forced thousands to evacuate, and the International Olympic Committee announced the suspension of a dominant team for the upcoming 2018 winter games.

Here’s more information on the top stories from the week.

Democratic Senator Al Franken to resign

Minnesota Senator Al Franken is resigning in the coming weeks amid sexual harassment allegations. He announced his intentions Thursday on the Senate floor.

During his speech, Franken denied some of the allegations and said an investigation from the Senate Select Committee on Ethics would be “the right venue for these allegations.”

“I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confidant that the ethics committee would agree,” Franken said.

Dozens of democratic senators, including Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, called for Franken’s resignation Wednesday following a report from Politico alleging an unwanted sexual advance.

The allegations against Franken began in November when a photo surfaced showing the senator groping the breasts of colleague Leeann Tweeden in 2006. At the time, Franken was performing a USO comedy tour in the Middle East.

Franken was speculated as a possible democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election. 

Trump moves officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli capital, will move U.S. embassy

President Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump said past administrations’ attempts to reconcile peace between Israel and the Palestinians yielded little to no progress, and acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “marks a new approach to conflict.”

“It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result,” Trump said. “Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Trump will direct the State Department to relocate the American Embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The process, according to White House aides, will take approximately 3 to 4 years.

While Trump’s decision was praised and discouraged by many American Jewish organizations and Israeli citizens. Arab countries neighboring Israel were outraged by the announcement.

Despite outcry from Arab nations in the middle east, Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the U.S. and Trump.

“The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful,” Netanyahu said.

Russia will not compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

The International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee after an investigation revealed a “systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system,” according to ESPN.

A report from the IOC contained evidence from the World Anti-Doping Agency that Russia engaged in widespread institutional doping for years, climaxing during the 2014 Olympic Games held in Sochi, Russia.

"There were no perfect options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again,” Scott Blackmun, CEO of the United States Olympic Committee, said in a statement. "Now it is time to look ahead to Pyeongchang."

The Russian team was partially suspended from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro after an investigation the World Anti-Doping Agency. Approximately 30 percent of Russian athletes, including most of the country’s track and field team, were suspended for the 2016 games, according to ABC News.

The International Olympic Committee said certain Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in the upcoming games under the Olympic flag.

Wildfires scorch southern California

Intense wildfires have forced more than 200,000 people to evacuate their homes in Southern California, and firefighters are struggling to contain the blaze.

Heavy winds in the Los Angeles area are preventing firefighters from subduing the flames, according to Ken Pimlott, director fo the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event,” Pimlott, told the Los Angeles Times. “There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds.”

While no fatalities have been reported, the fires have destroyed nearly 200 mansions in Bel Air, according to Fox News.

“These are days that break your heart,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference. “These are also days that show the resilience of our city.”


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