North Dakota Still in Turmoil, Pope Addresses Abortion, Hamilton Responds to Trump

A hazy image sets the scene in North Dakota.
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NBC News

Donald Trump is resuming meetings with potential administration candidates this week. Yesterday, he met with Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, former U.S. Secretary Elaine Chao and former Senator Scott Brown. The meetings took place in New York, after Trump spent the weekend conducting even more meetings at his golf club in New Jersey. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and now adviser, says that not all of Trump’s meetings have been regarding Cabinet member spots. Instead, some are simply there for Trump to seek advice and show a transparency in his dealings.

Over the weekend, tension escalated in North Dakota again, when police blasted Dakota Access oil pipeline protestors with water cannons. The standoff lasted into the late hours Sunday night, with law enforcement in armored vehicles also using concussion grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas. About 400 protestors were present, braving the 20-degree weather to attempt to remove blockades placed in front of a bridge which led to construction sites for the pipeline project. Now, the police are installing wire and concrete barriers to re-block the bridge and prevent protestors from reaching where the pipeline developer will be working. Protestors say the attempt to remove the blockades were due to their preventing emergency personnel and ambulances from reaching the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Law enforcement report that the protestors are very aggressive and riotous, starting fires and attempting to attack police officers. Later, protestors interviewed said the fires were not meant to be threatening, but rather to warm those who had been blasted by law enforcement water cannons.

Those traveling after the holiday weekend may run into a bit of trouble in Chicago. Employees at Chicago O’Hare International Airport have announced a strike starting Tuesday, Nov. 29. About 500 workers will walk off the job, including baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and janitors. The employees want union rights and a $15-per-hour wage. While the Chicago Department of Aviation is saying that it does not anticipate service disruption, the airport has been known for its holiday delays, being the fourth-worst in the country last year, after Dallas (DAL), Denver (DEN) and Oakland (OAK).

Pope Francis is extending the power of Catholic priests to forgive abortions, a move which was announced yesterday and comes at a time when many are wondering how Trump’s new presidency will affect a woman’s right to choose. The Pope wrote, “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father….May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation. I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”

The actors of “Hamilton” have responded to Trump’s demands for an apology after Vice President-elect Pence was called out by the cast during a show last week. The cast sees no need for an apology and that “conversation is not harassment.” They have made it clear that both Pence and Trump are welcome to return to the theater to see the musical and further discuss their feelings backstage.

Another individual who had a response to Trump’s apology demands was Republican Representative Mark Sanford from South Carolina. He wrote on Facebook Sunday evening that Trump’s demands were unnecessary. “When someone does exercise their right, demands to recant words are counterproductive. Doing so will only invite more on which to demand apology. Mr. Trump has far more important things on his plate than trying to pry words out of someone exercising the very American right that was created at the time of Hamilton, Jefferson, Washington, and others who believed freedom to say what we liked - and do not like - was part and parcel to liberty.”

In other news, after announcing his love for Trump and receiving quite a lot of criticism, and also walking off stage during a few of his concerts, following political rants, Kanye West has announced he will be canceling the remainder of his Saint Pablo Tour. The rapper says exhaustion is to blame.

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