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Dow rises more than 150 on trade-deal hopes

(CNBC) — Stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investors digested news related to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 160 points, led by gains in Caterpillar. The S&P 500 climbed 0.6 percent as the consumer discretionary sector outperformed. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1 percent as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet rose.

The major averages came off their highs in afternoon trading. The Dow had risen as much as 458.05 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.85 percent at its session high. The Nasdaq rose as much as 2.35 percent.

Actor sues airlines after pinky caught in armrest

(FOX) — Actor Stephen Keys is suing American Airlines and SkyWest, a regional airline that contracts with American, for severe emotional distress and weeks of physical pain after he got his pinky finger stuck in a plane’s armrest.

According to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against both American Airlines and SkyWest, the actor, who appeared in “Soul Plane,” was on a SkyWest flight from Reno, Nev., to Los Angeles when his pinky became lodged into a small hole under the right armrest.

Keys was allegedly raising the armrest to get the seat belt when his hand became caught on a mechanism.

Christine Blasey Ford returns to public scene

(BREITBART) — Sports Illustrated dove straight into controversial political waters this week, by tapping Christine Blasey Ford to introduce its 2018 Inspiration of the Year Award.

The magazine awarded its 2018 honor to Rachael Denhollander, a gymnast who became the first woman to step forward to accuse USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

Curiously, the magazine chose Christine Blasey Ford to deliver the news of its choice of Denhollander — a proven victim of assault — for its 2018 Inspiration of the Year honoree.

CBS settles with Charlie Rose 'groping' accusers

(PAGE SIX) — CBS News settled a lawsuit with three women who claim disgraced television journalist Charlie Rose groped them and demanded that they give him kisses, court records show.

A lawyer for the women — Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Chelsea Wei — quietly filed paperwork in Manhattan Supreme Court on Dec. 7 dropping the case against the broadcaster.

A CBS News spokeswoman said Wednesday that “the matter has been resolved.”

Don't LOL: California may tax text messages

(SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS) — Texting your sweetheart that you’re on your way home? California may soon charge you for that.

This is no LOL matter, critics say.

State regulators have been ginning up a scheme to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor. The wireless industry and business groups have been working to defeat the proposal, now scheduled for a vote next month by the California Public Utilities Commission.

'Deception from the Evil One'

Peter Vlaming (West Point Public Schools)

Peter Vlaming (West Point Public Schools)

Evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of the late Billy Graham, is supporting a Virginia high-school teacher who was fired for refusing to call a transgender student by a preferred pronoun.

The board at West Point High School voted unanimously to terminate French teacher Peter Vlaming last Thursday, as CBN News reported.

“Transgender policies are causing chaos, confusion, stealing privacy, and compelling speech. Deception from the Evil One,” Graham wrote in a post on Facebook.

Vlaming was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 31 after the school’s principal said he did not obey an order to use the preferred identity pronouns for a 9th grade student who was trying to “transition from female to male.”

The student asked to be called by the male pronouns “he” and “him.”

Vlaming insists the incident that got him fired amounted to a slip of the tongue, CBN News reported.

He was teaching a virtual reality exercise in his class when he called out, referencing the transgender student, “Don’t let her walk into the wall.”

Vlaming said, however, that while he would address the student by the new name, his Christian faith would not allow him to address a female as a male.

His solution was to use the student’s name and avoid using any pronouns.

“I’m happy to avoid female pronouns not to offend because I’m not here to provoke,” he told WBBT-TV in Richmond, “but I can’t refer to a female as a male, and a male as a female in good conscience and faith.”

Vlaming’s attorney, Shawn Voyles, argued tolerance “is a two-way street.”

“My client respects this student’s rights; he is simply asking that his rights be respected as well,” he said.

“The student is absolutely free to identify as the student pleases. The school board has one viewpoint and required Mr. Vlaming, at the cost of his job, to repeat that ideology, repeat that viewpoint. That’s where it’s compelled speech. That’s where it violates his First Amendment right he still retains as a public employee.”

Tolerance not a two-way street?

In his Facebook post, Graham said the lawyer “is right to ask where are the teacher’s First Amendment rights in all of this? Why is tolerance never a two-way street?”

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham

Graham observed that such cases are more frequent.

“Just ten years ago we wouldn’t have thought this would even be possible,” he wrote. “Where is this coming from? The school boards and teachers’ unions are allowing this to happen.”

He urged Christians to run for school boards and “be involved, and let your voice be heard.”

CBN News said Vlaming, who has the support of a group of students who staged a walkout, plans to fight the school board’s ruling.