GOP tax plan on shaky ground: Rubio announces he’s a no

The tax bill compromise reached by House and Senate negotiators now won’t be unveiled until Monday. And at least one new Republican defector may make it difficult for Congressional Republicans to get the measure to President Donald Trump‘s desk before his Christmas deadline.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tells ABC News that he is a “no,” unless the bill is changed to include a larger expansion of the child tax credit. It’s currently set at $2,000 per child but only refundable up to $1,100.

“Unless they figure out a way to increase the refundable part, higher than $1,100, the way they figured out a way to give corporations an extra year of cuts, the way they figured out a way to lower the top rate for a family making a million dollars a year…Unless they figure out a way to add to the $1,100 figure, I won’t support the bill,” Rubio said.

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah also has serious concerns about the bill for the same reason, his office confirms.

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn. also opposes the plan. He was the lone Republican to oppose the original Senate bill, and he says his “deficit concerns have not been alleviated.”

Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes and pass the measure along party-lines. Three “no” votes will sink the effort.

The potential absence of Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., could further complicate the bill’s chances. McCain, who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, was not at work Thursday in the U.S. Senate. His office reported that he is “receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that considerations of absences in the Senate could impact which chamber takes the first votes.

“There is discussion about this,” Ryan said. “It’s all about timing and managing absences in the Senate.”

GOP leaders, however, are still optimistic that they will get this done.

Asked if he’s confident this will pass, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, responded with just one word: “yes.”

PHOTO: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), listened as former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, June 8, 2017. Cheriss May/Getty Images
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), listened as former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, June 8, 2017.more +

The final conference report with full details is expected to be unveiled by Republican negotiators Monday–teeing the measure up for a vote in both chambers next week.

Here is what ABC News has learned will be included in that bill:

FOR BUSINESSES — Corporate rate will be cut to 21 percent, down from 35 percent under current law. This is expected to take effect in 2018.

— Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax will be “rolled back” according to Sen. John Cornyn – but not repealed.

FOR THE WEALTHY

— Top individual rate will be cut to 37 percent, down from 39.6 percent under current law.

— Individual Alternative Minimum Tax exemption will be increased to $500k for individuals, $1 million for couples filing jointly. That’s up from $54,300 for individuals, and $84,500 for couples filing jointly under 2017 law.

FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

— Standard deduction will be increased from $12,700 to $24,400 for joint returns and from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals. According to the Tax Policy Center, more than two-thirds of Americans take the standard deduction when filing taxes.

— Repeal of the individual mandate requiring health insurance. According to CBO, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate insurance could lead to 13 million more Americans without health insurance, while saving the government $338 billion in federal health insurance subsidy payments over the next decade.

FOR THOSE WHO ITEMIZE

— State and local tax deductions will be capped at $10,000 combined from any/all categories (property/income/sales taxes). Current law caps property tax deduction at $1 million. There are no current caps on state/local income tax deduction.

— Mortgage interest deduction will be capped at $750,000, down from $1 million under current law.

— Graduate school stipend deduction (tax-free tuition waivers) will be preserved.

— Student loan interest deduction will be preserved.

— Medical expense deduction is preserved. It allows Americans to deduct medical expenses not covered by insurance that exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income.

— Child Tax Credit preserved. That’s currently set at $2,000 per child but only refundable up to $1,100. It remains to be seen whether Rubio’s push to increase that will be reflected in the final bill.

The tax overhaul process has moved at a breakneck pace as Republicans try to pass a massive tax cut for businesses and many American families before Christmas and the end of the year. Many lawmakers and their staffs have been scrambling to digest drafts of the bill and what it means for everyday Americans.

The cost of the measure remains another lingering question. The negotiators still need to work with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to secure a final score on the bill’s cost.

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Roy Moore refusing to concede Alabama Senate race, says ‘battle rages on’

Twenty-four hours after Democrat Doug Jones claimed an upset victory in Alabama’s senatorial election, controversial candidate Roy Moore is refusing to concede the race.

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Moore released a video on Wednesday night, saying “the battle rages on,” and vowing every ballot should be counted.

“In this race, we have not received the final count to include military and provisional ballots,” Moore said in the video. “This has been a very close race — and we are awaiting certification by the secretary of state.”

Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill stood by comments he made election night in an interview with ABC News’ Tom Llamas on Wednesday, saying an automatic recount is “highly unlikely.” Merrill believes Jones’ margin of victory will not dip below 0.5 percent, which would trigger an automatic recount. A spokesperson for Merrill said the state had a “free, fair and safe elections process,” even calling it “perfect and seamless.”

Jones spoke to reporters in Birmingham on Wednesday afternoon and said he’d leave it up to Moore to choose to concede.

“I’m going to leave that to him,” Jones said. “I think that as most people, including the president, believe that the people of Alabama spoke, and after elections it’s a time for healing, it’s a time for reaching out.”

Jones also told Moore to “do the right thing” in regard to conceding later in the press conference.

The Moore statement, filmed in front of an American flag and Christmas tree, runs just under five minutes long. It touches on many of the topics Moore made a hallmark of his conservative campaign — religion, abortion, immigration, the Constitution and the definition of marriage.

Moore also briefly alludes to the allegations of sexual misconduct against him made by multiple women, though not explicitly, saying the claims against him have been a sign of “immorality.”

“Immorality sweeps over our land — even our political process has been affected with baseless and false allegations which have become more relevant than the true issues which affect our country,” Moore says. “This election was tainted by over $50 million from outside groups who want to retain power and their own corrupt ideology.”

Moore faces allegations from eight women who have accused him of sexual misconduct when he was in his 30s and, in some cases, the women were in their teens. He has denied the allegations throughout the race.

PHOTO: Senate candidate Doug Jones greets supporters during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on Dec. 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Ala.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Senate candidate Doug Jones greets supporters during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on Dec. 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Ala.more +

Absentee ballots are still being counted, as Moore notes, but with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jones led Moore by nearly 21,000 votes, according to the Alabama secretary of state’s office.

While Moore vows to fight on, it doesn’t appear as though the rest of the political establishment is in agreement.

The Republican National Committee, Alabama’s Republican Party and even President Donald Trump, who endorsed Moore, have all made statements indicating they are moving on. Trump tweeted three times about Moore losing in the 24 hours since Jones declared victory.

Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!

Jones said he also received a congratulatory call from Trump, referring to it as “gracious” and “very much appreciated.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and sitting Alabama Republican Sens. Richard Shelby and Luther Strange also called him.

ABC News’ Tom Llamas and John Verhovek contributed to this report.

Geminid Meteor Shower

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    The Geminids meteor shower , dubbed “the King of Meteor Showers” by some experts and the “best” and “most reliable” annual meteor shower by NASA , is expected to peak this weekend. Up to 120 meteors per hour are expected to flash across the skies as the Geminids peak on Sunday night into Monday

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    The discovery of an ever-changing, lopsided lunar cloud of dust could have implications for future manned missions in space. A cloud of dust around the moon was discovered using data from a detection tool on board NASA ‘s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. A paper detailing the

  3. Geminid Meteor Shower Streaks Across Night Sky

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    Time now for the instant index. What is trending on a Sunday night and a spectacular night for sky watching. People around the globe catching these images of what looks like shooting stars streaking across the sky. They are bits of rock from a dying comet that is orbiting the sun. A good reason to

  4. 5 Things You May Have Missed This Weekend

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    The “Justice for All” march in Washington D.C., where the families of slain African-Americans called for social justice, dominated the headlines this weekend. Here are 5 other things that happened this weekend. 1. Jeb Bush Releasing Giant Batch of E-Mails From His Years as Florida Governor Jeb Bush

  5. Geminids Meteor Shower Lights Up Skies

    Sun, 14 Dec 2014

    The Geminids meteor shower was on full display early this morning as some lucky stargazers caught the meteors streaking through the sky. The shower happens every December when Earth glides into a stream of space debris left over from an extinct comet called 3200 Phaethon. The meteor shower gets its

  6. Geminids Meteor Shower on Display Saturday Night

    Sat, 13 Dec 2014

    It’s that time of year again, when streaks of bright light and fireballs fly through the sky for the annual Geminids meteor shower . Star enthusiasts can catch the show Saturday night and into Sunday morning, when the meteor shower reaches its peak. The show will be visible, as long as you’re far

  7. Geminid Meteor Shower 2012: Shooting Stars Peak Thursday

    Thu, 13 Dec 2012

    “Button up your overcoat Get to bed by three. Take good care of yourself. You belong to me.” With apologies to Helen Kane, who made the song famous in 1929, you may want to stay up late tonight or get up early tomorrow morning, even as winter approaches. The Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight —

  8. Leonid Meteor Shower 2012: Shooting Stars Saturday Morning

    Fri, 16 Nov 2012

    Don’t look now, but the sky is falling. Or maybe you do want to look; it’s harmless and pleasant. Every year at this time, the Leonid meteor shower briefly brightens the sky. The peak comes this weekend, in the hours before dawn on Saturday. If the weather is clear and you have an appetite, you may

  9. Meteor Shower Lights Skies; More Coming Saturday Night

    Thu, 18 Oct 2012

    Yes, that was the sky falling over the San Francisco Bay area Wednesday night, and yes, there will be more of it this weekend. But, no, astronomers say, it is not something to worry about — more likely, if you’re so inclined, a sight to be savored. Hundreds of people from San Francisco, Oakland

Roy Moore, Doug Jones are set to face off in Alabama Senate election

Image result for images of doug jones

Alabama voters head to the polls Tuesday to elect a U.S. Senator in a race thrust into the national spotlight after allegations of sexual misconduct against the Republican nominee, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore

The state has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992, but Moore is locked in a tight race with his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney.

Moore faces allegations from eight women who have accused him of sexual misconduct toward them when he was in his 30s and, in some cases, when the women were in their teens. Moore has denied the allegations.

Prior to the allegations surfacing last month, Moore already had a long-standing reputation as a fierce defender of Christianity in the public sphere, and was twice removed from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for violating judicial orders.

The race has created a wedge between many Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have maintained that Moore should step aside, and President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Moore.

While he has not campaigned in Alabama, Trump urged Alabama voters to support Moore at a weekend rally in Pensacola, Florida, roughly 20 miles from the Alabama state line and close enough to be seen in the Alabama media market.

The president also recorded a robocall over the weekend urging Alabama voters to back Moore.

“Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our ‘Make America Great Again’ agenda,” Trump said on the call. “Roy is a conservative who will help me steer this country back on track after eight years of the Obama disaster. Get out and vote for Roy Moore,” Trump said.

Trump also has argued that Moore has consistently denied the allegations as part of his rationale for endorsing him.

National Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have called on Moore to step aside in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations, but Moore has remained defiant. Republican senators from Jeff Flake of Arizona to Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have maintained that Moore is not fit to serve in the U.S. Senate, and Flake went as far as donating $100 to the Jones campaign.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has maintained that even if Moore should win the election he should be expelled from the United States Senate.

Alabama’s senior senator, Republican Richard Shelby, has been particularly outspoken about not backing Moore.

“I wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I think the Republican Party can do better,” Shelby said Sunday on CNN.

But despite the allegations and widespread backlash against Moore, Jones still faces an uphill battle in a state that President Trump won by over 20 points in 2016.

Moore has strongly embraced President Trump, and has tried to paint Jones, who was appointed as a U.S. attorney by Bill Clinton in 1997, as too liberal on issues such as illegal immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage.

Jones has pitched himself as someone who can reach across party lines, and has run a campaign focused on turning out African-American voters as well as Alabama Republicans skeptical of Moore both before and after the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

This past weekend Jones campaigned across the state with numerous high-profile African-American politicians, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Alabama’s only Democrat in the House, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.

Jones also has also saved his fiercest attacks on Moore for the final weeks of the campaign.

“I damn sure believe that I have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail and not the U.S. Senate,” Jones said at a campaign rally in Birmingham last week.

While the makeup of the electorate is uncertain, some recent polling suggests Jones has a chance at pulling off an upset. A Fox News poll released Monday shows Jones leading by 10 points. A Washington Post/George Mason University poll released earlier this month had Jones with a 3 point lead.

Prince Harry and girlfriend Meghan Markle

The question after Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s public appearance at the 2017 Invictus Games is not if but when the couple will announce the next step in their relationship.

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Reports surfaced last week in British newspapers that Markle, 36, flew to London to join Harry, 33, for tea with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

PHOTO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the wheelchair tennis event at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Sept. 25, 2017Stephen Lock/i-Images via Polaris
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the wheelchair tennis event at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Sept. 25, 2017
PHOTO: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are seen at the Closing Ceremony on day 8 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 at the Air Canada Centre, Sept. 30, 2017, in Toronto, Canada. Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are seen at the Closing Ceremony on day 8 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 at the Air Canada Centre, Sept. 30, 2017, in Toronto, Canada.more +

The first six people in the line of succession to the British throne are required to ask the monarch for permission to marry under the Succession to the Crown Act.

Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne.

Vacation in Africa

When Markle and Harry visited Botswana and Victoria Falls in August for Markle’s 36th birthday, speculation swirled an engagement was imminent.

Tomorrow’s front page: Besotted Prince Harry wraps an arm around girlfriend Meghan Markle on romantic holiday for her 36th birthday

Harry has described Africa as his “second home.”

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PHOTO:
SLIDESHOW: 33 times Prince Harry stole our hearts

“This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world,” he said earlier this year. “I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here.”

Harry’s brother, Prince William, proposed to Kate Middleton atop Mount Kenya in 2010 after a long courtship.

William and Kate lived together for several years before announcing their engagement.

Markle is expected to relocate to London after wrapping her shooting schedule for “Suits.” She is expected to move into Harry’s Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.

PHOTO: Royal couple Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle were spotted attending a friends wedding in Jamaica, March 3, 2017.SBMF/MiamiPIXX/Fameflynet Picture
Royal couple Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle were spotted attending a friend’s wedding in Jamaica, March 3, 2017.

Engagement announcement

If Markle and Harry do get engaged, Kensington Palace will make a formal announcement, which will be followed by a public appearance of the couple.

William and Kate appeared before the press after their engagement was announced by Clarence House in 2010.

PHOTO: Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.

Clarence House also announced the engagement of William’s and Harry’s father, Prince Charles, to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, but not before a British newspaper broke the news. The couple appeared in a photo op after the announcement.

Harry and William’s parents, Charles and then-Lady Diana Spencer, also made a formal announcement of their engagement in 1981 and later spoke to the press.

PHOTO: Lady Diana Spencer (later to become Princess of Wales) reveals her sapphire and diamond engagement ring alongside Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement.Tim Graham/Getty Images
Lady Diana Spencer (later to become Princess of Wales) reveals her sapphire and diamond engagement ring alongside Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement.more +

Wedding timing

Royal engagements typically last no longer than five to six months.

William and Kate’s third child is due next April, leading royal watchers to believe that if Harry and Markle wed, it would take place after April 2018.

PHOTO: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the Coach Core graduation ceremony for more than 150 Coach Core apprentices at The London Stadium, Oct. 18, 2017, in London.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the Coach Core graduation ceremony for more than 150 Coach Core apprentices at The London Stadium, Oct. 18, 2017, in London.more +

Markle’s divorce not an impediment

Markle’s status as a divorcée — she was married to Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013 — would not be an impediment to marrying Harry.

PHOTO: Actress Meghan Markle (R) and her husband Trevor Engelson arrive at the Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton, on Oct. 11, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Actress Meghan Markle (R) and her husband Trevor Engelson arrive at the Anti-Defamation League Entertainment Industry Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton, on Oct. 11, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.more +

Charles married Camilla, a divorcée, in 2005.

PHOTO: Prince Charles, and Camilla leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle, April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England. Tim Graham/Getty Images
Prince Charles, and Camilla leave the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle, April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England.more +

The royal family has evolved since the 1936 abdication crisis, when Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry divorced American Wallis Simpson and the 1950s when Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s sister, announced she would not marry Group Capt. Peter Townsend, who was divorced.

Earlier this year, a Westminster Abbey spokesman said the church, “follows the General Synod ruling of 2002. Since then, it has been possible for divorced people to be married in the Church of England.”

Wedding location

Where Harry’s and Markle’s hypothetical wedding ceremony would take place appears to still be an open question.

William and Kate were married at Westminster Abbey in 2011.

PHOTO:Prince William speaks to his bride, Catherine Middleton as she holds the hand of her father Michael Middleton at Westminster Abbey, April 29, 2011, in London. Getty Images
PHOTO:Prince William speaks to his bride, Catherine Middleton as she holds the hand of her father Michael Middleton at Westminster Abbey, April 29, 2011, in London.more +

Queen Elizabeth might prefer that Harry and Markle follow in Charles’s and Camilla’s path and have a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle followed by a less formal blessing and service in the castle’s chapel, St. George’s Chapel.

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, with Prince Harry, and Prince Andrew,Duke of York, attend the first day of The Royal Ascot race meeting, June 14, 2016, in Ascot, England.UK Press via Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, with Prince Harry, and Prince Andrew,Duke of York, attend the first day of The Royal Ascot race meeting, June 14, 2016, in Ascot, England.more +

Engagement ring

William proposed to Kate with the 12-carat sapphire and 14-diamond ring Diana received from Charles.

PHOTO: A close up of Kate Middletons engagement ring as she poses for photographs in the State Apartments with her fiance Prince William of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.Getty Images
A close up of Kate Middleton’s engagement ring as she poses for photographs in the State Apartments with her fiance Prince William of St James Palace, Nov. 16, 2010, in London.more +

Harry could select a piece of jewelry from his mother’s collection — which he and William inherited after her 1997 death — or he could opt for an entirely new design.

Royal title

PHOTO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games, on Sept. 25, 2017, in Toronto.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games, on Sept. 25, 2017, in Toronto.

If they do get married, whether Harry and Markle receive a title is at the discretion of Queen Elizabeth.

Harry and Markle could potentially take the title of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex or the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham upon marriage.

George Papadopoulos

PHOTO: George Papadopoulos poses with his fiancee, Simona Mangiante.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and has agreed to cooperate with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. He is due to be sentenced in January.

Mangiante said she decided to speak publicly to counter claims from President Donald Trump and his aides that Papadopoulos was, as Trump tweeted, a “young, low level volunteer.” Or in the words of campaign adviser Michael Caputo, a “coffee boy.”

Mangiante said he was far from a bit player in the historic Republican campaign.

“First of all, I would love George to learn how to make a coffee, because it’s absolutely out of his skills,” she joked. “George is a remarkable young man with incredible experience in the field of energy and oil policies. This experience led him to get into the campaign and to advise the president at only 28 years old.”

PHOTO: Photo posted to Donald Trumps Instagram account showing George Papadopoulos, circled in red.

Mangiante said Papadopoulos “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for senior campaign officials. He was “constantly in touch with high-level officials in the campaign,” she added. That included direct communication with now-former senior Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, Mangiante said, adding that she had seen correspondence supporting the assertion.

Neither Bannon nor an attorney for Flynn responded to a request for comment Thursday.

PHOTO: George Papadopoulos in a photo posted to his Facebook page.How close Papadopoulos got to the upper ranks of the campaign remains unclear. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has said previously that his role was “extremely limited.”

“It was a volunteer position”, she said in October.

Mangiante said that while she is eager to offer proof that Papadopoulos was a campaign insider, she has been instructed by attorneys to not provide emails or other possible evidence to reporters.

“He never took any initiative, as far as I know, [that was] unauthorized. All the initiatives had [the] blessing of the campaign,” she said.

PHOTO: George Papadopoulos poses with his fiancee, Simona Mangiante.

Houston Today

10:30 AM
<i>Rock Nativity</i>

A.D. Players presents Rock NativityA.D. Players will present Rock Nativity by David Wood, a rock-styled musical retelling of the traditional Christmas story told in Luke’s gospel. In this Children’s Theatre classic …

2:00 PM
Stages Repertory Theatre logo

Stages Repertory Theatre presents Panto CinderellaPanto’s madcap storytelling style breathes new life into the familiar tale of humble Cinderella, her fairy godmother, her charming prince and her hideous (and hilarious) stepsisters. Come ready to …

5:00 PM
Discovery Green presents Frostival and The Ice

Discovery Green presents The IceThe ICE is the largest outdoor ice skating surface in the Southwest. Discovery Green uses water from Kinder Lake to freeze the ice, and all equipment runs on renewable energy …

5:00 PM
Luxington Boutique presents Pop.Fizz.Shop

Luxington Boutique presents Pop.Fizz.ShopLuxington Boutique is launching Pop.Fizz.Shop.m where ladies are invited to pop in for a glass of bubbly and 20 percent off their entire purchase. The thoughtfully decorated …

6:00 PM
Spirit & Sparkle Hayride

Woodforest presents Spirit & Sparkle HayrideWoodforest will glow with thousands of lights and holiday cheer during the Spirit & Sparkle Hayride. The free tour of lavishly lit up neighborhoods takes place via hayrides, which can be …

7:00 PM
<i>Jane</i>

14 Pews presents JaneDrawing from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage that has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for over 50 years, award-winning director Brett Morgen tells the story of …

7:30 PM
Reza Aslan

Brazos Bookstore presents Reza Aslan: GodBrazos Bookstore presents Reza Aslan, who will read from his book, God. Aslan is an internationally renowned writer, commentator, professor, producer, and scholar of religions. His books, including his No …

8:30 PM
Timothy B. Schmit

Timothy B. Schmit in concertTimothy B. Schmit, the groundbreaking vocalist, songwriter and bass player of the legendary rock groups Eagles and Poco, comes to Houston in support of his album, Leap of Faith.

Sugar Land Holiday Lights and Magical Winter Lights

Constellation Field, home of the Skeeters during baseball season, is filled with more than two and a half million lights for the festive and colorful Sugar Land Holiday Lights.Eight themed areas crowd the field and cover even some of the seating area. Basically, it’s lights everywhere. “It’s gorgeous,” says Samantha Ferriera, events sales manager. “We’ve got different holiday music playing during the stadium; sometimes the lights dance to the music.”

The displays present most of the season’s holidays. There’s a new Texas Cowboy area and a giant Texas flag. And there’s a special salute to the military services.

Other attractions include a children’s workshop for letters to Santa and coloring pages. “We’ve got a mailbox that goes right to the North Pole,” says Ferriera. Kids can make ornaments and either take them home, or hang them on the tree. There’s also an opportunity for pictures with Santa Claus. “Santa’s here every night through December 23, and then he’s got to go back [to the North Pole].”

6 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and December 24 and 31. Through January 3. One Stadium Drive, Sugar Land. For information, visit sugarlandholidaylights.com. $14.

ORGANIZER DESCRIPTION: unique event, located just 20 minutes south of Houston, SUGAR LAND SKEETERS PRESENT 2ND ANNUAL HOLIDAY LIGHTS is like nothing you have seen before. Your night will be filled with holiday lights, meeting Santa, visiting with vendors, and enjoying festive foods at this great event! Sugar Land Holiday Lights will have 8 all new themed areas featuring over 2.5 million lights that you and your family can walk through. It will be a great, memorable time for the entire family!

 

 

The 2017 Magical Winter Lights, founded and produced by People Generation, Inc. and Sichuan PG Salient Cultural Trade Company (China), will return to Houston for its third year to Gulf Greyhound Park this winter from November 10, 2017 to January 2, 2018 including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. The 50-day festival is one of the largest holiday lighting events in Houston, and the largest lantern festival of its kind to take place again in the U.S. Magical Winter Lights will showcase more impressive and creative lantern sets than its previous years. The 2017 festival will feature seven fascinating themed sections including Magical Wonderland, Mystical Forest, Santa’s Christmas Village, Mystery of the East, Dinosaur Land, Landmarks of the World and the festival’s newest section: The Lone Star State. The Lonestar State section will feature a few of Texas staples including a 36-foot tall cowboy lantern and a maze leading to eight Texas icons and buildings. The festival will also include a Holiday Market Square where guests will have a chance to explore the festival food court and shopping areas. Guests will have plenty of photo opportunities with appearances by the Ice Sisters and Santa Claus. There will be nightly acrobatic performances, authentic arts and crafts created by skilled Chinese artisans, amusement rides and games, live entertainment, and an expanded dinosaur exhibit complete with dinosaur rides. The Gulf Greyhound Park is located in La Marque, TX, right off state highway 45 south, and approximately 35 minutes from downtown Houston. It has neighboring cities including League City, Clear Lake, Dickinson, Texas City, and about 20 minutes north of Galveston. Tickets are available  at www.magicalwinterlights.com, Walgreens, and The Magical Winter Lights.

Honduras‘ electoral court has finished counting nearly 95 percent of the vote boxes from last Sunday’s presidential election and said Friday it would conduct a hand count of 1,031 other boxes that presented “inconsistencies.”

Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez held a lead of more than 46,000 votes over challenger Salvador Nasralla before the last-stage count. It was not immediately clear how many votes could be at play in the uncounted boxes.

As Honduras’ election crisis grew and street protests spread, the government said late Friday that it would give the police and army more powers to quell the unrest.

In a decree read out on radio and television, the government’s Cabinet chief Jorge Hernandez said some constitutional guarantees would be suspended for 10 days to allow security forces to control the situation. The government declared a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. across the country.

“The curfew is to safeguard the security of the country,” Hernandez said as he left a hotel in the capital after meeting with observers from the Organization of American States and the European Union. “This is the time for the people to feel supported by their armed forces and their police because it cannot be that somebody decides to loot or rob.”

Earlier, electoral court president David Matamoros said that representatives of the political parties would be present for the vote counts and that no announcements would be made until there is a final result.

After speaking with representatives of the opposition alliance and the National Party, Matamoros said Friday that each party would be able to accredit 60 people to participate in the afternoon count alongside international observers. He estimated it could take six hours.

But the opposition published a list of demands that included a broader review of votes in three jurisdictions where it alleges voter turnout was unusually high and said the number of ballot boxes that presented issues was far larger. It was unclear if its demands would be met.

The count had still not begun Friday night because no representatives for Nasralla had arrived: “The wait continues,” said court spokeswoman Lourdes Rosales.

In a statement, the court also said any suggestion of wrongdoing in its operations is false and it lamented the increasing violence in the streets.

Heide Fulton, charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras, said via Twitter Friday that Honduras was beginning an “unprecedented phase in the electoral process.” She called for calm during the count.

National Police spokesman Jair Meza said 12 people had been wounded in clashes between police and protesters. As the wait for election results has dragged on rock-wielding protesters have increasingly taken to the streets against riot police armed with tear gas, batons and water cannons.

Miguel Osorio, spokesman for the University School Hospital in Tegucigalpa, said Friday that doctors there had treated 10 people for gunshot wounds since protests began. Four had already been released.

Meza, the police spokesman, said numerous businesses were also damaged and looted in the capital and in San Pedro Sula. Local press reported that protesters set a bank branch on fire and looted several other businesses along a street in San Pedro Sula.

Groups of demonstrators also continued blocking highways with burning tires and other debris, in some cases forcing parents to carry their children through the smoking barriers.

Mey Heung, manager of Walmart in Mexico and Central America, as well as president of the Honduran-American Chamber of Commerce, said in a news conference that the situation was unfortunate.

“This political crisis has become a scene of vandalism,” she said.

Both Nasralla and Hernandez have declared themselves the winner of the election and their parties have urged their supporters to defend the vote in the street.

In the past day, Nasralla and Hernandez have urged calm and warned their supporters to not be provoked into violence.

In an audio message sent to supporters, Hernandez said “the way we’re going, I know that we are going very well.”

Rodolfo Cortes, a Nasralla supporter, said “what’s happening in Honduras is a small demonstration that Hondurans don’t accept the impositions of Hernandez.”

Retired Gen. Romeo Vazquez, who led the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, blamed the unrest on the electoral tribunal’s delay in returning results.

“The crisis has already begun in Honduras,” he said. Things will not settle down once the results are released either, because people are convinced the vote processing was manipulated. “The electoral court is not doing things correctly and things have gotten out of control. The people believe there was fraud because the court did not make the election results immediately known.”

Supporters of presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla gather around a barricade as they protest what they call electoral fraud in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. The opposition candidate says he will not recognize an official vote count

Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons

HBO said Thursday it will go ahead with Friday’s airing of “All Def Comedy” but will edit out any link to Simmons in the wake of allegations by screenwriter Jenny Lumet who claims that he had sex with her more than two decades ago despite her repeated demands that he stop.

“Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward,” read a statement by HBO, which had previously been home to the Simmons’ pioneering “Def Comedy Jam.” ”We have no other projects with Russell Simmons.”

HBO has previously proved willing to sever ties with starry names amid allegations of sexual misconduct. After Louis C.K. was accused of harassment, HBO removed the comedian from its “Night of Too Many Stars” special and took down his previous standup specials and series from its on-demand services.

The latest allegations facing Simmons comes from Lumet, who co-wrote “The Mummy” in 2017 and “Rachel Getting Married” in 2008, wrote an essay for The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday in which she recalled Simmons sexually violating her in 1991, when she was 24.

“I desperately wanted to keep the situation from escalating. I wanted you to feel that I was not going to be difficult. I wanted to stay as contained as I could,” wrote Lumet, the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet.

Simmons said in a statement released after the essay’s publication that Lumet’s memory of the night is “very different” from his, but it’s clear to him “that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real.” He apologized for being “thoughtless and insensitive” in some of his relationships. He said he would resign from his businesses because, “I don’t want to be a distraction.”

Lumet wrote that she never told anyone about that night until last month after allegations lodged against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein unleashed a torrent of stories about sexual misbehavior in multiple fields.

Lumet said she went public after model Keri Claussen Khalighi said Simmons coerced her to perform a sex act and later penetrated her without her consent in his New York apartment in 1991.

Simmons, 60, denied those allegations, saying everything that occurred between himself and Khalighi was completely consensual and with her “full participation.” He suggested that Khalighi’s accusation came from feeling shame.

“I’m deeply saddened and truly shocked to learn of Keri’s assertions as to what happened over the course of that weekend,” Simmons said in the statement. He later wrote that he “never committed any acts of aggression or violence in my life” or would “never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone.”

Hollywood figures including Debra Messing and Ron Perlman praised Lumet for coming forward. Messing on Twitter thanks Lumet for “bravely sharing your harrowing experience” and Perlman said: “Every man or woman having trouble understanding the ripples of this abhorrent behavior should read Ms. Lumet’s words.”

Def Jam Recordings was founded in 1984 by Simmons and Rick Rubin, making stars of such hip-hop artists as LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Its roster currently includes Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Frank Ocean, Alessia Cara, Jeremih, Jeezy, Iggy Azalea, Big Sean, Nas and 2 Chainz.

Simmons’ empire includes the Argyleculture clothing line, Rush Communications, yoga studio Tantris, the energy drink Celsius and the film and television production company Def Pictures, along with several other philanthropic efforts like the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and the Diamond Empowerment Fund.

He was married to TV personality and designer Kimora Lee Simmons from 1998-2009 and they had two daughters. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Simmons is the latest figure in the entertainment world to have his career derailed by accusations of misconduct. The accused include Pixar and Disney Animation chief John Lasseter, actors Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor, writer-director James Toback and TV anchors Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose.