In our news wrap Friday, Sudan moved to normalize relations with Israel, becoming the third country in recent months to do so. President Trump announced the news at the White House with the leaders of both countries on the phone. Also, rival factions in Libya signed a permanent cease-fire after years of fighting. The United Nations brokered the deal, which became official during a Geneva ceremony.
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In the day's other news: The World Health Organization warned that the Northern Hemisphere faces a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency reported 445,000 new cases worldwide just in the last 24 hours, nearly half of them in Europe. Across the United States, the number of hospitalizations has hit a two-month high.
Sudan moved today to normalize relations with Israel, the third country in recent months to do so. President Trump announced it at the White House with the leaders of both countries on the phone.
He claimed that still more Arab states will join him.
President Donald Trump:
We will have them, along with some other countries that you will be hearing about coming, probably simultaneously.
And then, ultimately, we're going to have a big reunion at the end, where everybody's here and everybody's going to be signed.
Earlier, Sudan said it is compensating U.S. victims of al-Qaida attacks carried out while Osama bin Laden was living there. And the U.S. removed Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terror.
The Trump administration is also intervening to try to bring peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The two sides have been fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. And there was heavy new combat today.
But, in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts for talks. Russian efforts to mediate peace have so far failed.
Rival factions in Libya signed a permanent cease-fire today after years of fighting. The United Nations brokered the deal, and it became official during a ceremony in Geneva. There were no details on how it will be enforced. Libya's conflict erupted after dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011.
In Nigeria, major cities were relatively calm after days of protests over police brutality. But, in Lagos, men armed with metal bars and sticks blocked main roads. And many criticized the president for failing to condemn the killing of protesters by soldiers.
Back in this country, the U.S. Senate formally took up the nomination of federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. The vote to begin debate was 51-46, almost entirely down party lines. The Republican majority is expected to confirm Barrett on Monday.
Hundreds of people in Colorado are under evacuation orders after a new wildfire ignited this week. The East Troublesome Fire has joined the nearby Cameron Peak Fire as the largest in state history, burning vast acreage and an unknown number of homes.
Officials are struggling to keep up.
An area we thought was good the other day, we're now seeing fire in, and so fires close to houses, fires close to our roadways.
I really want to make that message — really, the primary message to our community is that we're not withholding information. We're not trying to delay information getting out there. We don't know.
Fire crews say they hope that snow and colder weather expected this weekend will help slow the fires.
Wall Street finished this Friday with mixed results. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 28 points to close at 28335. The Nasdaq rose 42 points, and the S&P 500 added about 12.
And one absentee ballot in the November election is making an interstellar journey. Astronaut Kate Rubins cast her ballot from the International Space Station on Thursday. Many American astronauts live in Houston, and Texas law allows them vote from orbit using a secure electronic ballot.
Any way you can get it done.