Happening Today: Al Franken, Same-Sex Marriage, Air Pollution, Viagra, Harvey Weinstein - NBC New York

Happening Today: Al Franken, Same-Sex Marriage, Air Pollution, Viagra, Harvey Weinstein

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dave Price's weather forecast for Thursday, Dec. 7. (Published Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017)

    What to Know

    • The Australian Parliament voted to allow same-sex marriage across the nation, following a bitter and divisive debate

    • Air pollution can hinder the effects of exercise in the body, a new British study suggests

    • Six women filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, claiming the movie mogul's actions to cover up assaults amounted to civil racketeering

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    Franken Weighs His Future as He Faces Fresh Accusations

    Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, facing fresh allegations of sexual misconduct and vanishing support from fellow Democrats, appears to be on the brink of resigning from the Senate. Franken scheduled an announcement for Thursday, though his office tweeted he had not made "a final decision" on resigning. But a majority of the Senate's Democrats called on the two-term lawmaker to quit after a woman emerged saying he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006. Hours later, another woman said Franken inappropriately squeezed "a handful of flesh" on her waist while posing for a photo with her in 2009. That brought the number of women alleging misconduct by Franken to at least eight. Franken, the former comedian, faces a chorus of calls to step aside, and Democratic senators said they expected their liberal colleague to resign.

    Australian Parliament Allows Same-Sex Marriages

    The Australian Parliament voted to allow same-sex marriage across the nation, following a bitter and divisive debate settled by the government polling voters in a much-criticized ballot survey that strongly endorsed change. The public gallery of the House of Representatives erupted with applause when the bill passed to change the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to "a union of two people" excluding all others. The legislation passed with a majority that wasn't challenged, although five lawmakers registered their opposition to the bill. The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12. After royal assent and other formalities, the law will likely take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a month later.

    North Korea Says War is Inevitable as Allies Continue War Games

    North Korea says a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula has become a matter of when, not if, as it continued to lash out at a massive joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea involving hundreds of advanced warplanes. In comments attributed to an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman, North Korea also claimed high-ranked U.S. officials, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, have further confirmed American intent for war with a series of "bellicose remarks." Pompeo said U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn't have a good idea about how tenuous his situation is domestically and internationally. The North's spokesman said Pompeo provoked the country by "impudently criticizing our supreme leadership which is the heart of our people." The comments were carried by the official Korean Central News Agency hours after the United States flew a B-1B supersonic bomber over South Korea as part of a massive combined aerial exercise involving hundreds of warplanes.

    California Wind and Fire Danger Hits Unprecedented High

    Southern California has felt yellow wind, orange wind, and red wind. But never purple wind. Until now. The color-coded system showing the expected strength of the winds driving the region's fierce wildfires has reached uncharted territory, pushing past red, which means "high" into the color that means "extreme." "The forecast for tomorrow is purple," said Ken Pimlott, director at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "We've never used purple before." Southern California has already been hit hard by three major fires that have put tens of thousands of people under evacuation orders and destroyed at nearly 200 homes and buildings, a figure that is almost certain to grow.

    Pollution Can Counteract Exercise Benefits, Study Suggests

    Air pollution can hinder the effects of exercise in the body, a new British study suggests. As NBC News reported, researchers from Imperial College London studied 120 people, aged 60 or older, who walked in lush Hyde Park or along traffic-clogged Oxford Street. Eighty participants had mild heart or lung disease. Those who walked through Hyde Park experienced increased lung function, as well as a decrease in pulse wave velocity — a measure of stiffened arteries. The benefits lasted a full day. "By contrast, these beneficial responses were attenuated after walking on Oxford Street," Rudy Sinharay and colleagues wrote. "Our findings suggest that healthy people, as well as those with chronic cardiorespiratory disorders, should minimize walking on streets with high levels of pollution because this curtails or even reverses the cardiorespiratory benefits of exercise," the researchers wrote.

    Viagra Goes Generic: Pfizer to Launch Own Little White Pill

    The little blue pill that's helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first generic competition next week. Pfizer Inc. will begin selling the white pill at half the $65-a-pill retail price on Monday, when its patent-protected monopoly ends. Generic maker Teva Pharmaceuticals can start selling its version then, but isn't disclosing the price. Many more generics go on sale next summer, which will steadily slash the price of generics, possibly by 90 percent. Launched in 1998, Viagra was the first pill for impotence.

    Six Women Claim Weinstein Cover Up Amounted to Racketeering in New Lawsuit

    Six women filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, claiming themovie mogul's actions to cover up assaults amounted to civil racketeering. The lawsuit was filed at a federal court in New York seeking to represent a class of "dozens, if not hundreds" of women who say they were assaulted by Weinstein. The lawsuit claims that a coalition of companies and people became part of the growing "Weinstein Sexual Enterprise" and that they worked with Weinstein to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults. A lawyer for Weinstein declined comment. According to the lawsuit, actresses and other women in the film industry were lured to industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein's home, office meetings or auditions under the pretense that they were to discuss a project. At least 75 women have come forward in the media to detail accounts of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Weinstein.

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