World briefing

View of the New York state Capitol after an overnight snowfall, in Albany, N.Y., on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. 

New abuse suits could cost church over $4B

Across the country, attorneys are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades. Associated Press reporting found the deluge of suits could surpass anything the nation’s clergy sexual abuse crisis has seen before, with potentially more than 5,000 new cases and payouts topping $4 billion.

That has lawyers fighting for clients with TV ads and billboards asking, “Were you abused by the church?” And Catholic dioceses, while worrying about the difficulty of defending such old claims, are considering bankruptcy, victim compensation funds and even tapping valuable real estate to stay afloat.

U.S. releases military aid

The Trump administration has quietly released more than $100 million in military assistance to Lebanon after months of unexplained delay that led some lawmakers to compare it to the aid for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry. The $105 million in Foreign Military Financing funds for the Lebanese Armed Forces was released just before the Thanksgiving holiday and lawmakers were notified of the step on Monday, according to two congressional staffers and an administration official.

All three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly to the matter.

Lawmaker to plead guilty to corruption

California Rep. Duncan Hunter said he plans to plead guilty to misusing campaign funds and is prepared to go to jail, a stunning turn of events for the six-term Republican who had steadfastly denied wrongdoing.

Hunter had pleaded not guilty, but in an interview that aired Monday said he will change his plea at a federal court hearing Tuesday in San Diego. He said his motivation is protect his three children from going through a trial, which was set to begin Jan. 22.

Storm clobbers U.S. East

A seemingly endless winter storm that hindered travel across most of the country over the long holiday weekend is delivering a last wallop as it swoops through the Northeast, dumping heavy snow, shuttering hundreds of schools and bedeviling commuters in the region Monday.

The storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of the region late Sunday and Monday and could bring 10 to 20 inches total by Tuesday morning from Pennsylvania to Maine, forecasters said. Heavy snow was also expected in the Appalachian Mountains down to Tennessee and North Carolina.

The same storm has pummeled the U.S. for days as it moved cross country, dumping heavy snow from California to the Midwest and inundating other areas with rain.

Bloomberg News will not get press credentials

President Donald Trump’s campaign said Monday it will no longer give credentials to Bloomberg News reporters to cover campaign events because of coverage “biases,” an accusation that the news organization rejects. The decision comes a week after the news service’s founder, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, announced he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president. In response, Bloomberg News said it would cover but not investigate its boss, the former New York City mayor, and his Democratic rivals. But Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said reporters would continue to investigate the Trump administration, as the sitting government.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale called it a troubling decision to “formalize preferential reporting policies.”

— Bulletin wire reports

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