The VICE Morning Bulletin

Lawmaker accused of molesting teen girl dead from apparent suicide, House and Senate have tentative deal on tax bill, Russell Simmons accused of rape by several women, and more.

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Dec 14 2017, 4:13pm

Photo by Timothy D. Easley / AP / File

Everything you need to know about the world this morning, curated by VICE.

US News

Lawmaker Dies in Apparent Suicide After Sexual Assault Accusation
A Kentucky state representative, Dan Johnson, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound on a Mount Washington bridge Wednesday, according to police in Bullitt County. Earlier this week, Johnson was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in a local investigative report, but denied the allegation. Shortly before his death, he posted a Facebook message saying he suffered from PTSD. “I cannot handle it any longer,” he wrote.—VICE News

House and Senate Inch Closer to Passing Huge Bill
Republicans in both houses have reached a provisional deal to overhaul the nation’s tax code. The latest changes include bringing the top tax rate for the wealthiest Americans down to 37 percent. A new VICE News/SurveyMonkey online poll found 56 percent of Americans opposed the GOP’s tax plan, and only 22 percent believed it would lower their taxes.—CNN/VICE News

Russell Simmons Hit with Multiple Rape Allegations
At least four women came forward to accuse the music industry mogul of rape, according to two separate reports published on Wednesday. In addition, three women claimed Simmons sexually assaulted them, and two others claimed he sexually harassed them. Simmons denied all the allegations, which followed at least two previous allegations of sexual assault. “These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core,” he said.—VICE News

John McCain Hospitalized to Recover from Chemo
The Arizona senator was in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after undergoing more chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat his brain cancer. His office explained he was receiving care for “normal side effects.” Earlier on Wednesday, former VP Joe Biden—whose son died of the same form of cancer afflicting his former Senate colleague—encouraged McCain’s visibly upset daughter Meghan on the ABC show The View.—The Washington Post/AP

International News

Thousands of Rohingya Deaths Went Unreported, NGO Reports
Doctors without Borders concluded 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in a four-week period following an outbreak of violence in Myanmar this fall. The aid organization estimated at least 730 children under the age of five were among those killed between August 25 and September 24. Myanmar's official death count for the same time frame is 400.—NPR News

Vladimir Putin Attacks ‘Invented’ Election Meddling Stories
The Russian president insisted US investigations into Moscow-sanctioned election interference are based on claims “invented by those in opposition to Trump to make his work seem illegitimate.” Speaking at an annual press conference, Putin said Trump had made “quite serious achievements,” but added that “there are many things we can do more effectively.”—BBC News

Bomb Attack in Somalia Kills at Least 18
At least 18 cops died when a suicide bomber dressed as a member of the force detonated explosives inside a training facility in Mogadishu Thursday morning. Another 15 people were wounded, according to a police official. The Islamist militant group al Shabaab claimed it was behind the attack.—Reuters

Ecuadorian Vice President Faces Six-Year Prison Sentence
Ecuador’s highest court found Jorge Glas guilty of corruption in a case involving the Brazilian company Odebrecht. Glas was convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for government infrastructure contacts through intermediaries. Glas’s uncle Ricardo Rivera was also slapped with a potential six-year sentence for his role in the scheme.—Bloomberg

Everything Else

Harvey Weinstein Denies New, Excruciating Salma Hayek Account
The actress accused the disgraced Hollywood mogul of persistent sexual harassment and of even threatening to kill her in an op-ed. A Weinstein spokeswoman responded: “All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate.”—The New York Times/BBC News

Oprah to Get Cecil B. DeMille Prize
Winfrey will receive the award at next month’s Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's president said the actress and broadcaster was “one of the most influential women of our time.”—The Hollywood Reporter

Morgan Spurlock Admits to Sexual Misconduct
The filmmaker revealed that a woman with whom he had a “one night stand” cried during their sexual encounter. “She believed she was raped,” Spurlock wrote on social media. He added: “I am part of the problem… But I am also part of the solution.”—Entertainment Weekly

N.E.R.D. Drops Kendrick Lamar Collaboration
The group shared “Don’t Don’t Do It!"—the third single from the upcoming album No_One Ever Really Dies—on Beats 1. Pharrell Williams said the song’s political theme was perfect for Lamar, whom he described as “a jazz artist reincarnated.”—Noisey

Michael Che Becomes SNL’s First Black Co-Head Writer
Che was promoted alongside “Weekend Update” co-host Colin Jost, with the pair set to work with existing head writers Bryan Tucker and Kent Sublette. Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider left the writing team despite last season’s good ratings.—VICE

Miami Beach Considers Mandatory Panic Buttons in Hotels
The city commissioner, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, has proposed a city ordinance to have panic buttons installed in all hotels to help protect staff from sexual assault. Several other US cities have introduced similar measures.—VICE News

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