Wildfires Rage in Southern California.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Southern California as severe wildfires raged outside Los Angeles. Multiple blazes (see map) have already burned through nearly 65,000 acres and forced close to 30,000 people to evacuate. Forecasters issued an 'extreme fire risk' due to dry and windy conditions expected to last at least through Thursday. The fires come at the end of what was already one of the worst years for fire damage in the state's history. Check out photos here - including a NASA satellite image that captures the massive smoke plumes from space

US to Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital.
President Trump reportedly told Arab leaders that the US will officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will relocate the American Embassy from Tel Aviv. The move is largely symbolic, but politically contentious - while Israel controls the whole city, Palestine claims East Jerusalem as its capital. Most of the international community recognizes Israel's sovereignty over only West Jerusalem, and, to avoid picking sides, have their embassies in Tel Aviv. The decision puts Middle East peace plans - currently led by the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner - in peril, with Palestinians saying the decision would be a non-starter

Lebanese PM Reverses Decision to Resign.
In a new twist to a strange story, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has reversed his decision to step down. Hariri announced his resignation one month ago while in Saudi Arabia, with many questioning whether he was coerced by the country's young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. If true, it would be viewed as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to weaken the government of a key ally of Iran - the main rival to the Saudis in the region (the two are also fighting a proxy war in Yemen). The change in decision came after French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly inserted himself in the process and backed Hariri - Lebanon used to be a French colony and the two continue to be strategic partners.

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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> Russia banned from competing in 2018 Winter Olympics due to widespread doping charges (More)
> Houston Texans' J.J. Watt, Houston Astros' Jose Altuve honored with Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year award for hurricane relief efforts (More)
> Oklahoma running back and leading rusher Rodney Anderson accused of rape, hearing set for Dec. 18th (More)

Science & Technology.

> Researchers demonstrate quantum entanglement in biological systems for first time (More) | Entanglement 101 (More
> Apple Cash officially rolls out to everyone with iOS 11.2 and above (More)
> IBM designs new 'Power9' processor specifically for AI and machine learning (More)

Business & Markets.

> US trade gap increases in October, on track to exceed 2016 levels (More)
> Cineworld purchases TN-based Regal Entertainment Group for $5.8B, creates second largest movie theater operator (More)
> Ridesharing biz Lyft closes another $500M financing, now valued at $11.5B (More)

Politics & World Affairs.

> 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear arguments for Hawaii's case against White House travel ban today (More)
> Rep. John Conyers (D, MI-13), longest serving House member, retires amid sexual harassment allegations (More)
> Border arrests down, immigration arrests up since Trump took office (More)
Cybersecurity data suggest hackers are increasingly targeting people, not systems.

A new measure shows how effective your school district is (NYT paywall).

One of the greatest diving fails of all time generates 100,000 retweets - and support.

Speaking of tweets, the most retweeted tweets of 2017.

Check out the NHL's most valuable teams

USPS is back with its "Operation Santa", where the public can volunteer to write responses to children who send letters to St. Nick

See Spotify’s most streamed artists and songs of 2017. 

Eater's 2017 restaurant awards.  

How many deaths make a natural disaster newsworthy?

Historybook: HBD Max Muller (1823);13th Amendment ratified, slavery abolished (1865); The Washington Monument is completed (1884); Jefferson Davis dies (1889); NASA releases photo suggesting water on Mars (2006).
-Max Muller ("u" with an umlaut)
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