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The VICE Morning Bulletin

The Electoral College confirms Trump as president-elect, German police approach truck crash as terrorist attack, President Obama grants record number of prisoners clemency, and more.

by VICE Staff
Dec 20 2016, 3:40pm

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

US News

Electoral College Confirms Trump as President-Elect
Donald Trump received more than the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to confirm his status as the incoming US president on Monday. Oddly, four of Washington state's electors refused to confirm Hillary Clinton despite her strength there, with three opting for Colin Powell and one choosing Dakota Access pipeline activist Faith Spotted Eagle. And two electors in Texas refused to vote for the state's popular vote winner, Trump, going for Ron Paul and John Kasich instead.—The Washington Post

US Underwater Drone Handed Back by China
The Pentagon says China has returned an unmanned, underwater US drone plucked from international waters by the Chinese Navy last week. The USS Mustin accepted the drone back from the Chinese Navy off the coast of the Philippines after what Beijing described as "friendly consultations." The drone was apparently handled by contractors gathering unclassified data.—AP

North Carolina May Repeal Bathroom Bill
Lawmakers in North Carolina are expected to hold a special session today to broach repealing the state's "bathroom bill," which requires that transgender people use public bathrooms corresponding with their gender at birth. On Monday, the Charlotte City Council unanimously repealed a local non-discrimination ordinance that was cited as motivation for the controversial state law, known as HB2, that has sapped the state's reputation.—USA Today

President Obama Grants Record Number of Prisoners Clemency
Barack Obama granted petitions for clemency of 231 federal prison inmates on Monday, a record for the most prisoners given such a break in a single day. Michael Holmes, who will leave prison after serving 18 years of a life sentence for drug crimes, is one of hundreds of inmates whose life sentences have been commuted during Obama's presidency.—VICE News

International News

German Police Treat Truck Crash as Terrorist Attack
The truck that swerved into a crowd of Christmas market shoppers in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more, is being investigated as a "probable" terrorist attack by German police. The man believed to be the driver, who was detained by police after fleeing on foot, is reportedly Pakistani and is said to have sought asylum in Germany. He denies carrying out the attack.—BBC News

Killer of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Identified
The man who shot and killed Russia's ambassador to Turkey on Monday, Andrey Karlov, has been identified as Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer. The ambassador was speaking at an exhibition when he was shot by Altintas, who shouted, "Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria" before being killed in a shootout with police. Three others were injured.—VICE News

Zurich Mosque Gunman Discovered Dead
Swiss police say a man who burst into the prayer hall of a mosque in Zurich and opened fire Monday, injuring three people, has been found dead nearby. Two of the victims were seriously injured, while the injuries of a third were said to be less serious.—Reuters

Saudi Coalition Promises to Stop Dropping British Cluster Bombs in Yemen  
Saudi Arabia's government says its Arab coalition fighting in Yemen will stop using UK-made cluster bombs. The statement followed an announcement by UK defense minister Michael Fallon, who said the coalition had dropped a "limited number" of BL-755 munitions, banned under an international convention signed by the UK.—Al Jazeera

Everything Else

Report: Trump's Sons Selling Access to President-Elect
Donald Trump's sons Eric and Donald Jr. are reportedly offering a private audience with the president-elect in exchange for donations to their charity, the Opening Day Foundation. Donations requested for a January 21, post-inauguration event range from $25,000 to $1 million.—Center for Public Integrity

Velvet Underground to Get Lifetime Grammy Award
The Velvet Underground, Nina Simone, and Sly Stone will receive lifetime achievement awards at the 2017 Grammys. The Recording Academy described the Velvet Underground as "the benchmark for countless modern-rock movements over the past 50 years."—Rolling Stone

Pagan Priest Allowed Goat Horns on Driver's License
A pagan priest in Maine has been granted the right to wear goat horns in his driver's license photograph. Phelan Moonsong made the case for wearing the "headdress," which he wears permanently in public, on religious grounds.—AP

Founding Member Quits Fifth Harmony
Founding member Camila Cabello has left pop group Fifth Harmony following her Billboard top ten solo hit with Machine Gun Kelly. Fifth Harmony tweeted that it will carry on as a four-piece for now.—Noisey

DEA Makes CBD Marijuana Extract Illegal
The DEA has announced that synthetic CBD oil, a marijuana extract, will be treated as a Schedule I illegal drug. Lawyers have argued the DEA's new code is an overreach since CBD products extracted from marijuana are legal in many states.—Motherboard

Corporate Canada is Looking Forward to Trump Era
A majority of corporate executives in Canada are excited about Donald Trump becoming US president, according to a survey by The Gandalf Group, which found that 85 percent of executives at the largest 1,000 companies in Canada believe Trump will have a positive impact on the American economy. – VICE News