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Defeated US Senate Candidate Launches Legal Challenge Against Election Result

More than two weeks after losing a special election to the U.S. Senate, Alabama Republican Roy Moore has filed a last-minute court challenge to prevent state election officials from certifying his Democratic opponent’s victory.

Moore filed a complaint in a state courthouse late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Doug Jones is set to be officially declared the winner of the December 12 election, which Jones won by just over 20,000 votes.

The complaint alleges Moore lost due to “systematic voter fraud,” citing higher than expected turnout in Jefferson County, the state’s most populous area, along with irregularities in 20 voting precincts in the county.

Moore’s lawyers are demanding an investigation into their claims, and for the state to hold a new election. Moore has rejected calls to concede the race to Jones.

John Merrill, Alabama’s secretary of state, says he has not uncovered any evidence of voter fraud. If Jones’s victory is certified Thursday, he will be sworn in sometime next week to succeed Jeff Sessions, who became attorney general in President Donald Trump’s cabinet earlier this year.

Jones is the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from the heavily Republican state in 25 years.

Moore is a former Alabama state supreme court judge known for his staunch religious views. His campaign was derailed when The Washington Post published allegations made by several women of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers, and Jones was a grown man in his 30s.


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Trump, GOP Leaders to Meet at Camp David, Plot Agenda

Eager for more legislative achievements before Washington’s focus shifts to the midterm elections, President Donald Trump plans to start the new year by meeting with Republican congressional leaders to plot the 2018 legislative agenda, the White House said.

After returning to Washington from Florida, where he is spending the holidays, Trump will host House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky at the rustic Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland during the weekend of Jan. 6-7.

Spokesmen for Ryan and McConnell have confirmed they will attend.

The powwow will follow the recent enactment of legislation to cut taxes, beginning next year, for corporations and individuals at an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion added to the national debt over 10 years.

The bill marked the first big legislative achievement for Trump and congressional Republicans, who made cutting taxes a must-do this year after the Senate failed to close the deal on another top GOP promise: to repeal and replace the Obama health care law.

While the tax bill ends the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act, it leaves intact other features of the health care law. No Democrats voted for the tax bill, which Trump signed during a hastily arranged White House ceremony, without any lawmakers present, before he flew to Florida last Friday.

Lengthy agenda

Trump predicted in a tweet earlier this week that Democrats and Republicans will “eventually come together” to develop a new health care plan. The president is also forecasting unity between the parties on spending to upgrade aging roads, bridges and other transportation. The White House has said Trump will unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan in January.

Ryan, meanwhile, has talked about overhauling Medicaid and Medicare and other welfare programs, but McConnell has signaled an unwillingness to go that route unless there’s Democratic support for any changes. Trump has also said he wants to pursue “welfare reform” next year because “people are taking advantage of the system.”

Backlog from 2017

Congress, meanwhile, will open the year facing a backlog from 2017.

The list includes agreeing by Jan. 19 on a government funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown and to boost Pentagon spending. Lawmakers also must agree on billions in additional aid to help hurricane victims, lifting the debt ceiling so the United States can pay its bills, extending a children’s health insurance program and drafting protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Trump tweeted earlier in the year that he was ending the program for the immigrants. He gave lawmakers until March 5 to come up with a legislative solution, or the individuals will begin to face the risk of being deported.

Much of the work will need to be done before Republicans shift their focus to retaining their House and Senate majorities in midterm elections taking place in November 2018. The GOP’s slim Senate majority will get even slimmer come January, when Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama is sworn in, leaving Republicans with a 51-49 edge in the chamber.

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Poll: Obama, Clinton Retain Status as World’s Most Admired Man, Woman

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton remain the world’s most admired man and woman among Americans, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll found Obama and Clinton have retained their most admired status as they have for the past 10 years, but by much narrower margins compared to past yearly surveys.

Seventeen percent of those questioned said Obama was the world’s most admired man, compared to 14 percent for President Donald Trump who came in second.

Clinton, also a former secretary of state, edged out former first lady Michelle Obama, 9 percent to 7 percent, respectively.

This is the 16th straight year the poll showed Clinton was the most admired woman.

It was the 22nd time Clinton was perceived as such, more than anyone else, with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt coming in second with 13 wins.

Obama has earned the distinction as the most admired man 10 times, coming in second to 12-time winner former President Dwight Eisenhower.

Clinton’s and Obama’s latest standings, however, are not as robust as they were in previous years. Clinton’s 9 percent rating is the lowest she has received since 2002, when 7 percent of the respondents gave her another narrow first-place finish. Obama’s 17 percent showing is lower than last year’s 22 percent mark but more consistent with the support he received in several previous polls.

Rounding out the top five most admired men were Pope Francis, 3 percent; the Reverend Billy Graham, 2 percent, and Senator John McCain, 2 percent.

Oprah Winfrey came in third as the most admired woman with 4 percent, followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, 3 percent, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with 2 percent.

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Obama Misses ‘Fascinating’ Work of Presidency, Warns of ‘Different Realities’ Online

U.S. President Barack Obama told Britain’s Prince Harry one danger of the internet is “that people can have entirely different realities” and surround themselves in information that “reinforces their current biases.”

Harry interviewed Obama in September for Wednesday’s broadcast on BBC Radio.

The former U.S. leader, who left office in January after serving eight years, said it is important that online communities move offline and allow people to get to know each other.

“On the internet everything is amplified, and when you meet people face-to-face it turns out they’re complicated,” Obama said. “You find areas of common ground because you see that things are not as simple as have been portrayed in whatever chat room you’ve been in.”

He added that in person it is more difficult to be “as obnoxious and cruel” as people can be online.

Obama said he missed the work of the president, “because it was fascinating,” but that he had a sense of “serenity” in leaving the office and now has the ability to focus his efforts on long-term problems in a way he could not while in the White House.

“It allows me to focus on how do I transmit whatever knowledge or experience that I’ve gained to others to help them become more effective and more powerful,” he said. “And I’m really obsessed now with training the next generation of leaders to be able to make their mark in the world.”

He pointed to the example of recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, saying as president his primary job would have been to make sure the people in those areas got help.

“Today those aren’t my direct responsibilities, but I can focus over the next 20 years on making sure we don’t have more hurricanes and natural disasters that are accelerated as a consequence of climate change,” Obama said.

He also spoke about the importance of empowering young people to make decisions and said there is an “energy and spirit” to the younger generation that cannot be matched by someone his age.

“There is a freshness to what young people perceive as possible,” he said.

Obama also talked about leadership, saying that he does not believe someone in a position of power can do their job well if they lack “the capacity to feel deeply about the people they are serving.”

“If you don’t understand that what you do every day has a profound impact on somebody else, then you shouldn’t be there.”

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US ‘Maximum Pressure’ N. Korea Policy Yielded Mixed Results in 2017

With a tweet in early January saying, “It won’t happen!” Donald Trump, who had not yet been inaugurated president of the United States, set upon a confrontational course to stop North Korea from developing a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. 

During the presidential campaign, Trump unnerved allies in Asia with his “America First” threats to withdraw U.S. forces from South Korea and Japan unless they significantly increased defense-sharing payments, and his expressed willingness to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over hamburgers.

But after taking office Trump made ending the North Korean nuclear threat a top national security priority, and he embraced a “maximum pressure” strategy of imposing crippling sanctions on the Kim government, backed by the credible threat of military force.

“He has raised all kinds of expectations about what he’s going to do about North Korea. And if he doesn’t do those things, then it seriously threatens his identity, it undermines him, it undercuts him,” said North Korea analyst John Delury with Yonsei University in Seoul. 

Japan’s support

Meeting with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, Trump found strong support for his hard-line North Korea policy from a key Asian ally.

In February, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis traveled to Tokyo and Seoul to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to maintaining a strong military presence in the region, while downplaying the president’s past criticisms of defense costs.

In April, on the same day Trump dined at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he ordered a unilateral missile strike on Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons against civilians.

Trump’s demonstration of military force, his supporters said, sent a message to Xi that if China did not act to curtail North Korean provocations, the U.S. would.

Both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence also went to the region, warning that the U.S. would not rule out preemptive military action to eliminate the growing North Korean nuclear threat to the U.S. mainland.

However, South Korea, after the impeachment of conservative President Park Geun-hye, elected the liberal Moon Jae-in, who strongly opposes the use of offensive military force on the Korean Peninsula.

“President Moon has been quite clear that he believes that war on the Korean Peninsula should never be considered an option, unless the North Koreans start it first, of course,” said David Straub, a North Korea analyst with the Sejong Institute.

Moon, though, has also aligned closely with the U.S. on deterrence and sanctions as his efforts to reduce regional tensions through engagement and dialogue have been rejected by the North.

​Strategic confusion

Proponents of military intervention, like Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, argue that it would be justifiable to use force to prevent a North Korean nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland. But even Mattis acknowledged a military conflict with North Korea would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale” and most likely trigger attacks against South Korea or Japan that could quickly escalate into widespread war.

During the year, Tillerson seemed to soften his hard-line position, moving to support unconditional talks with leaders in Pyongyang and dropping any demand that they first agree to give up their nuclear program.

“We have said, from the diplomatic side, we are ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions.” Tillerson said in December.

But Trump has repeatedly rebuked his top diplomat, publicly tweeting in October that Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to restart talks with North Korea.

Tillerson later clarified that North Korea must earn its way to the negotiations table by suspending further missile and nuclear tests.

Trump’s critics have dubbed the mixed messages coming from the White House as a policy of “strategic confusion.”

Brutal nature

Undeterred by Washington’s threats and increasing economic sanctions, Pyongyang continued to test ballistic missiles throughout the year, steadily improving their range and technical capability.

In February, the brutal nature of the repressive regime was again exposed when alleged North Korean agents using poison were charged with assassinating Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of leader Kim Jong Un, at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia.

And in June, Americans reacted with outrage when North Korea released American student Otto Warmbier in comatose state. Warmbier was arrested in 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel and soon fell into a coma from which he never awoke. He died soon after returning home.

In response, Congress passed a bill banning most U.S. travel to North Korea.

War of words

In August, tensions escalated to the brink of conflict when Trump warned that North Korea would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the U.S. Pyongyang responded by saying it was considering test-firing an ICBM into waters near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Pyongyang would back down from this threat, but soon launched two long-range missiles over Japan, and in September it conducted its sixth nuclear test.

The U.S. and its allies did not respond with military strikes, but did persuade China and Russia to support stronger international sanctions that banned the North’s lucrative coal and mineral exports and cut off one-third of oil imports.

Trump escalated a war of words with Kim during his address to the Untied Nations in September. The president referred to the North Korean leader as a “Rocket Man” on a suicide mission.

Kim responded in a statement calling Trump a “dotard” — an old person, especially one who might be weak or senile — and described his behavior as “mentally deranged.”

​Provocation pause

After conducting a successful test in November of a long-range Hwasong-15 missile that has the potential to reach the U.S. mainland, North Korea announced it had reached its goal of developing operational ICBM capability. Some U.S. and South Korean experts said the North was still a year or so away from having an “operational” ICBM armed with a miniaturized nuclear weapon.

Few expect diplomatic breakthroughs anytime soon, but with South Korea hosting the upcoming Winter Olympics, there may be a new opportunity to reduce the potential for conflict in the region. Seoul is encouraging North Korea to participate in the Olympics, and there is talk that the U.S. and South Korea may postpone joint military exercises until after the games. These developments could bring a needed pause to the provocations.

Youmi Kim in Seoul contributed to this report.

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Activists: Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Theme Used to Limit Global Press Freedom

With the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide at an all-time high, press freedom groups are drawing a direct line between President Donald Trump’s verbal slugfest with some of America’s most venerable news institutions and the adoption of his “fake news” mantra by autocrats and dictators around the world.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented attack on both the institution of journalism and the media, as well as very personal attacks on individual journalists and individual media outlets,” says Courtney Radsch, advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists.  “And what this does is it creates an environment in which journalists operate less safely.”


The CPJ’s 2017 press freedom survey shows 262 journalists are behind bars worldwide, slightly higher than the number a year ago.  More than half the total are in Turkey, China, and Egypt.


“We saw the term ‘fake news’ being used in the Philippines, in Russia, in China, in Egypt to justify their own oppression of the media in attempts to delegitimize journalists” Radsch told VOA.  “We’ve also seen China saying, ‘Hey the U.S. is finally waking up to what we’ve been saying the whole time about the media being problematic,’ and that’s not what we want to see around the world.”


An opinion piece in China’s Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper this month said, “If the president of the United States calls leading media outlets a stain on America, then negative news about China and other countries should be taken with a grain of salt, since it is likely that bias and political agendas are distorting the real picture.”


British scholar Hisham Hellyer, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, says fallout from Trump’s “fake news” charges is serious and should not be underestimated.


“When Trump uses his own freedom of expression to denigrate the media’s ability to report the facts, and often puts forward his own ‘fake news’, it has the effect of empowering others who would like to do the same,” Hellyer said.

Trump has hammered at the “fake news” theme in hundreds of Twitter posts, public comments and speeches, singling out media powerhouses like CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times for special criticism.


He once called CNN, “the enemy of the people.”

The president’s tactics have fueled a polarizing national debate about what Trump defenders call persistent media bias, and critics describe as hard-nosed reporting.

Studies show coverage of Trump has tilted heavily negative.  An analysis by the nonprofit Pew Research Center showed reporting about the first months of the Trump presidency was 62 percent negative and 5 percent positive.

Coverage for the same period of President Barack Obama’s presidency was 42 percent positive and 20 percent negative, according to Pew.  The leader of the Pew Journalism Project cautioned the result is not evidence of media bias.

Trump’s critics see nothing exceptional in those figures given the volume of missteps and misstatements coming from the White House, but the president and his supporters cite them as evidence of the media’s malign intent.

Stung by Trump’s criticisms and polls showing low public trust in the media, CNN and the big newspapers have fought back with ad campaigns and fresh slogans emphasizing their accuracy and objectivity.


But a series of recent high-profile reporting blunders in stories about the White House has damaged the media’s reputation for trustworthiness, and given Trump fresh ammunition.

Earlier this month, CNN erroneously reported that the Trump campaign had been offered the contents of hacked emails from the campaign of his Democratic Party competitor, Hillary Clinton, before they were released by Wikileaks last year. The Washington Post later reported accurately that the offer came days after Wikileaks published the emails.

Now, some of the world’s worst violators of media freedom are using Trump’s “fake news” refrain to justify press restrictions.


Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, asked about an Amnesty International report on systematic killings in Syrian prison, replied, “We’re living in a fake news era, as you know.  Everybody knows it.”


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro complained international media are spreading lies about him, saying, “This is what we call fake news, isn’t it?”

Cambodia’s Hun Sen, who regularly quotes Trump’s “fake news” rhetoric, has ordered more than a dozen radio stations to close or stop broadcasting programming from the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, and shut down a leading independent newspaper.

Libyan media used the term in trying to discredit a CNN report on slavery among migrants, and Russia’s foreign ministry has begun posting stories it considers false on its website covered by the words “FAKE NEWS” in big red letters.

China’s top cyber security official cited “fake news” about a report ranking China last in the world in internet freedom.  

Trump has welcomed several known foes of free media to the White House.  He hailed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a friend, despite that country’s reputation as the world’s leading jailer of journalists.


With Trump at his side during a recent ASEAN summit, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte called reporters “spies.”

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak have raised the issue of “fake news.”


“It’s hard enough to be a journalist in dictatorships like Cambodia when the United States is setting a good example,” Tom Malinowski, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Labor, told VOA.


“Now every dictator who wants to ban media he doesn’t like can say, ‘Trump does it so why can’t I?'” said Malinowski, who served under President Obama.

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America First? Trump Struggles to Implement Campaign Promises on Military

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised a radically different approach to foreign intervention than that of his predecessors.

At campaign events, Trump railed against U.S. military intervention so frequently that it eventually became a part of his stump speech.

“We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East,” Trump repeatedly lamented. “We could have rebuilt our country twice.”

In his first year as president, Pentagon data suggests Trump has struggled to carry out his “America First” approach to the world, at least when it comes to the use of force.

Instead, Trump has sent more U.S. troops to conflict zones in the Middle East and South Asia. He’s dropped more bombs on Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. And he’s expanded a global campaign of targeted drone killings.

Add it all up, and it’s hard to see how Trump’s foreign policy is any less interventionist than his predecessors. If anything, Trump’s policies are a little more hawkish than those of Barack Obama, says Christopher Preble, with the CATO Institute.

“He’s largely continued what he’s inherited, with some additional increment of the use of force,” says Preble.

Doubling down in Afghanistan

Perhaps no conflict exemplifies Trump’s approach more than Afghanistan, where the U.S. has been fighting Taliban insurgents for 16 years.

Before becoming president, Trump was a regular critic of the war, calling it a waste of lives and money and demanding an immediate withdrawal.

But six months into his presidency, Trump reversed his position, instead deciding to indefinitely extend the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan.

Under Trump’s plan, 3,000 more U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan, backed by an expanded U.S.-led bombing campaign.

According to U.S. military figures, the NATO coalition is on pace to triple the number of bombs dropped on Afghanistan in 2017 compared to the previous year.

The bombing could continue to expand in 2018, in part because of the relaxed rules of engagement that allow the U.S. military to go after insurgent targets.

More bombs, more troops

It’s part of a larger pattern of a bigger Pentagon footprint across the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

Since Trump took office, there has been a 31 percent increase in the number of U.S. troops and civilians working for the Pentagon in the Middle East and North Africa, according to Pentagon data.

That includes increases not only in well-known conflict areas, such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but also in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

The U.S. military also recently acknowledged it has about 2,000 troops in Syria – four times as many as Pentagon officials previously said. According to a recent report, the U.S. forces will stay in Syria indefinitely.

Under Trump, the U.S. is also dropping more bombs.

The international coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria is on pace to drop 30 percent more bombs in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to official figures, though that campaign appears to be winding down as the Islamist group is forced out of its so-called caliphate.

Drone war expanded

Drone strikes have also continued in non-battlefield settings, including Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and Libya – a continuation of President Barack Obama’s global campaign of targeted killings.

“If Obama expanded the U.S. drone program, Trump has expanded it even more, both in terms of geography and frequency,” says Rachel Stohl, who specializes in drones at the Stimson Center, a research group.

In Yemen, U.S. airstrikes have tripled, and in Somalia they have doubled this year compared to last, according to Jessica Purkiss with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks U.S. drone and other airstrikes.

“The uptick in strikes in these countries is largely because parts of both these countries were declared areas of active hostilities, which effectively means the U.S. can launch strikes with fewer constraints,” Purkiss says.

The U.S. military could also soon conduct drone strikes in Niger, after the African country last month granted the U.S. permission to conduct armed drone flights.

Not surprising?

Trump’s hawkish tendencies aren’t surprising to some analysts, such as the CATO Institute’s Preble. “The totality of Donald Trump’s statements as a candidate, and even before, did tend to be fairly hawkish,” he says.

As a candidate, Trump did, after all, vow to “bomb the s**t” out of Islamic State. He also consistently threatened to “take the oil” as compensation for U.S. military intervention in countries such as Iraq and Libya. And he pledged to make the U.S. military more powerful than ever.

“That’s not exactly an argument for not fighting wars that he didn’t like,” concedes Preble.

Trump isn’t the only president who has struggled to fulfill his campaign promises on foreign policy. President Obama, for instance, campaigned on bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq. And he did, before eventually sending them back to fight Islamic State.

It’s perhaps a reminder that presidential candidates promise a lot when it comes to foreign policy. But they can’t always deliver.


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2017 Marked a Sea Change in Attitudes Toward Sexual Misconduct

Doug Jones was a little speechless at first. Then he thanked the various voters who elected him the first Democratic senator from Alabama in 25 years.

“I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than to divide us.” His stunning victory was a fallout from a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that shook the country in late 2017.

His Republican opponent, Roy Moore, campaigned while denying at least nine allegations of sexual misconduct, some involving women when they were teenagers. Accuser Beverly Young says she was terrified at the time.

“I thought he was going to rape me,” she said.

Despite an endorsement from President Donald Trump, and Moore’s insistence that the “allegations are completely false … malicious,” Moore lost.

​Opening the floodgates

By the end of 2017, more than 60 prominent men were suspended, fired or forced to resign from their highly visible jobs because of allegations of sexual harassment and even assault against women, some occurring years ago. More than 100 stand accused of sexual harassment or misconduct. The trend began in October when movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, was exposed as an alleged serial predator of young actresses who wanted to be stars.

Louisette Geiss says her heart raced as he told her “he could get me a three-picture deal, but that I had to watch him masturbate.” By December, more than 80 women had accused Weinstein of sexual harassment.

He admitted, “I got to get help, guys,” as he left for an Arizona rehabilitation facility. He stayed for a week. His business, the Weinstein Company, co-founded with his brother, is in jeopardy, plagued by lawsuits from women who claim the company knew about and hid his harassment.

WATCH: Dozens Shamed in Sexual Harassment Charges in 2017

The Weinstein effect

The public accusations against Harvey Weinstein emboldened other women to tell their stories. Suddenly, other high-profile men began to fall in what would be known as the “Weinstein Effect.”

Melissa Silverstein writes the blog “Women and Hollywood.” She says the outpouring of accusations proves that women are “reacting that our rights are being rolled back and we are tired of it.”

The “Weinstein Effect” hit others in Hollywood, including House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, accused of sexual harassment of a teenaged boy. Netflix suspended its filming of the show’s last season, then announced it would resume without Spacey as the main character.

In other media, NBC fired its Today show host of 20 years, Matt Lauer, after accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior on the job. CBS suspended its morning anchor, Charlie Rose, for similar allegations.

Comedian Louis C.K. is accused by five women of sexual misconduct for actions including stripping and masturbating in front of them. Louisiana Celebrity Chef John Besh, who’s known for the country’s southern food trend, stepped down after several dozen women claimed harassment and that his restaurant atmosphere allowed it to thrive.

In music, Russell Simmons, co-founder of the hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings, and James Levine, the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, face sexual assault allegations.

​More political fallout

Moore was not the only politician accused of improper behavior. A radio news anchor accused U.S. Senator Al Franken of groping her while she slept on a military plane headed home from a USO tour. Leeann Tweeden posted the photo as part of an essay she wrote about the 2006 incident. Tweeden also accused Franken of forcibly kissing her. 

“He just smashed his lips against my face,” she said in the news conference, “and he stuck his tongue in my mouth so fast.”

More complaints would come forward, and Franken announced in December he would step down: “I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.” Franken’s last day in office will be Jan. 2.

In late December, a group of Democratic senators used Franken’s resignation as a reason to demand President Donald Trump resign. They cited at least 15 women who have accused the president of improper conduct. Trump was elected U.S. president more than a year ago, despite the public accusations.

​#MeToo rally, Time award

The shift in attitudes against sexual harassment triggered a social media campaign. #MeToo became the rallying cry for women worldwide. Women posted the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook to acknowledge publicly their experiences and to demonstrate the extent of the problem.

Time magazine named “The Silence Breakers” as its “Person of the Year” for 2017. The issue is dedicated to those who have accused powerful figures of sexual misconduct, calling them the “voices that launched a movement.”

A Time magazine survey shows that 82 percent think women are more likely to speak out about harassment since the Weinstein allegations.

By the end of 2017, the movement changed the nation’s mores, as men and women better understood the definition of sexual harassment and no longer ignored it.

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