Summit for Democracy, Bob Dole memorial, ‘West Side Story’: 5 things to know Thursday

Summit for Democracy starts Thursday

President Joe Biden’s two-day Summit for Democracy is set to begin Thursday with 111 countries in attendance. Biden organized the virtual summit to rally nations against authoritarianism. Its stated mission is to “set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal” and to tackle threats against democracies “through collective action.” But the invitation list has raised questions – both in Congress and abroad. Countries like Iraq and the Republic of Congo, with questionable human rights records, were invited while Hungary, a member of the European Union, and Turkey, a NATO member, were not invited to participate. 


Biden warned Putin of ‘severe consequences’ in call

President Joe Biden says he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow will face “severe consequences” and economic pain “like nothing he’s ever seen” if it tries to attack Ukraine. Biden says he’s “confident” Russia got the message. (Dec. 8)


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The late Sen. Bob Dole to lie in state in the US Capitol

Memorial events celebrating the late Sen. Bob Dole start Thursday in Washington and end over the weekend in his home state of Kansas. Dole died Sunday morning in his sleep at the age of 98, prompting an outpouring of support and memories from political figures across the country. The former presidential candidate will lie in state Thursday in the U.S. Capitol. President Joe Biden will join Dole’s widow, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and daughter, Robin, along with congressional leaders at a private ceremony that starts at 10 a.m. ET in the Rotunda. Dole’s casket will arrive at the Capitol just before the ceremony and will remain for 24 hours. The Capitol will not be open for public viewing. A funeral service takes place Friday at Washington National Cathedral, with Biden and former presidents expected to attend.


Bob Dole: Soldier to senator, eight decades of American service

Bob Dole dedicated his life to this country. He was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer at age 98.

Staff video, Wochit

Trial of Kim Potter for death of Daunte Wright to resume in Minneapolis

The manslaughter trial of former Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter will continue Thursday. Jurors heard opening statements from prosecutors and Potter’s defense team Wednesday. Prosecutors say Potter committed first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright. “This case is about the defendant, Kim Potter, betraying her oath, betraying her badge, and betraying her trust,” Prosecutor Erin Eldridge said. Defense attorneys say the shooting was an “accidental and mistaken discharge,” according to court filings. “She made a mistake. This was an accident. She’s a human being. And she had to do what she had to do to prevent a death of a fellow officer,” Potter’s defense attorney Paul Engh told jurors.


Minnesota ex-cop trial: Opening statements from prosecution, defense

Former Brooklyn Center, Minn. police officer Kimberly Potter is on trial for the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

Staff Video, USA TODAY

Cross-country winter snowstorm hits central and western US

A swath of central and western U.S. could see up to 12 inches of snow on Thursday and into Friday, bringing an end to snow dry spells and disrupting travel plans. Parts of Nebraska, Iowa, New Mexico, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Colorado are under winter storm watches and warnings. The cross-country storm isn’t likely to evolve into a bomb cyclone as others have earlier this year, Accuweather reported, but it’ll likely be strong enough to bring the first significant snow of the season to western mountain ranges like the Colorado Rockies. For some states, especially those with thriving ski industries, the arrival of snow is highly anticipated and sorely needed.


COVID-19: Stay safe at ski resorts

If you’re planning a ski trip, follow these six tips to stay safe.

ProblemSolved, USA TODAY

New ‘West Side Story’ makes its first appearance in theaters

The second film adaptation of the classic “Romeo & Juliet”-inspired Broadway musical “West Side Story” arrives in theaters for its first showings Thursday night before going wide across the nation Friday. In New York City circa 1957, the white Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks are rival street gangs fighting for what’s left of their diminishing turf as slums are cleared and Manhattan’s West Side is built up. When ex-Jet Tony (Ansel Elgort) meets and falls in love with Maria (newcomer Rachel Zegler), the sister of the leader of the Sharks, the two meet wherever they can to keep their relationship a secret. In his ★★★½ out of four review, critic Brian Truitt says that Steven Spielberg, the legendary Oscar-winning director, puts his stamp on the movie musical and Tony winner Tony Kushner’s new screenplay brings more life to the cast of personalities outside of its young lovers. Truitt adds that Spielberg’s take “doesn’t stray too far from the original … but is rather a more authentic, dynamic and thoughtful revamp.”


Rachel Zegler reveals advice Stephen Sondheim gave her

Rachel Zegler chats with USA TODAY’s Patrick Ryan about her role in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” and her upcoming “Snow White” role.


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