It’s not December yet, but it’s not too early to start a best-of-the-year list. Here are our fave travel photos of the year (so far). And here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Russia investigation
President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
One source described the President’s answers without providing any direct quotes and said the President made clear he was answering to the best of his recollection. This is the first insight into how the President responded to the Mueller team’s written questions — a key unknown as Mueller aims to wrap up his investigation and prepare his final report.
The Fed indicated it might slow down its interest rate hikes. Wall Street loves that kind of talk. The Dow surged 618 points after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed wouldn’t risk cooling down the red-hot economy with aggressive interest rate hikes next year. Powell said rates remain relatively low and are just below what many economists consider “neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth.” Despite the cheery financial news, there are three lights blinking red about the economy that we need to pay attention to: borrowing, housing and unemployment.
3. Murder confessions
Serial killers have been known to inflate the number of people they say they’ve killed, for the notoriety. Samuel Little, a 78-year-old imprisoned killer, has been telling the FBI similar things recently. But the FBI believes him. Little claims to have killed about 90 people between 1970 and 2005. If that’s accurate, Little would be the most prolific serial killer in US history. Investigators have already confirmed 34 killings — all over the country. They say Little targeted marginalized and vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution or addicted to drugs and that he remembered great detail about the killings.
4. Life expectancy
From 2016 to 2017, life expectancy in the US ticked down again. The leading causes, once again, are more deaths from drug overdoses and suicides. The estimate of how long a person born in 2017 can expect to live in the United States is 78.6 years, a decrease of 0.1 year from 2016, a trio of new government reports say. The troubling stats should be “a wake-up call” for the nation, says CDC Director Robert Redfield. Overdose deaths hit a new high last year, topping 70,000, while the suicide rate increased by 3.7%, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports.
So, maybe dogs aren’t as smart as we thought they were. Hey, don’t get mad at us: Blame this story.
Best of the blue
We told you about a North Carolina trooper who helped deliver a baby. Today, it’s an Indiana cop who turned a traffic stop into the best Christmas gift ever.
On the road again
President Trump leaves later today for Argentina to attend the G20 summit, the kind of meeting of global leaders that he loves to hate. While there, he is due to meet up with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A SHADOW OVER EUROPE
Construction on an $18 million Holocaust museum in Budapest was completed three years ago. But it’s never opened. Hungarian Jews and international scholars fear Hungary’s right-wing government is to blame. They think the government is trying to whitewash the country’s role in the Holocaust.
That’s how much India and billionaire Richard Branson are offering to reinvent air conditioning. Air conditioners are bad for the environment, yet their use is predicted to explode over the next few decades.
“I know I am not completely well …”
Bruce Springsteen, opening up to Esquire about his battles with depression
Why would you just make a paper airplane when you can make a fighter jet? (Click to view.)