California Shooting, Elections, Matthew Whitaker: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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CreditMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

1. Investigators were searching for clues to why a former Marine armed with a .45-caliber handgun opened fire at a crowded California dance hall on Wednesday night, killing 12 people.

He was identified as Ian David Long, 28. He died after being confronted by police officers, including one who became his victim, a 29-year veteran of the local sheriff’s office, Sgt. Ron Helus. Above, an investigator interviewing a witness.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene at the club, which was filled with hundreds of people, many of them college students. Patrons rushed toward the exits and broke windows to escape.

Eerily, several said they had survived the mass shooting at a country music festival last year in Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed.

CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

2. Some races in Tuesday’s elections are still too close to call.

In Georgia, Brian Kemp, the Republican who has claimed victory in the governor’s race, resigned as secretary of state, removing himself from the process of determining whether he had in fact been elected. Above, counting votes in Gwinnett County, Ga.

His Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, has not conceded. She has nearly enough votes to force a runoff, and some ballots remain uncounted.

And the Florida Senate race may be moving toward a recount. The vote gap between Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and Senator Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, has narrowed as provisional and mail-in ballots are counted.

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CreditCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press
CreditMichael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

4. The Trump administration enacted broad new rules immigration rules that invoke national security powers to prevent those who enter the U.S. illegally from seeking asylum.

The strategy appears to be aimed at preventing members of a Central American caravan from entering the U.S.

The president will use the same authority that he relied upon to ban travel from mostly Muslim countries just days after he was inaugurated last year, officials told us.

And a federal appeals court upheld a nationwide injunction against the administration’s attempt to end DACA, the program that allows nearly 700,000 young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country. The move brings DACA closer to a review by the Supreme Court. Above, a protest outside the court.

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CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times
CreditTesla Inc., via Associated Press

6. Tesla named Robyn Denholm, a technology and telecommunications executive, as its chairwoman just days before the deadline set by U.S. securities regulators.

They insisted that Tesla’s mercurial co-founder, Elon Musk, step down as chairman after he tweeted in September that he had secured funding for a private buyout of Tesla — a claim that caused its shares to jump, but that quickly fell into doubt. Mr. Musk remains chief executive.

Ms. Denholm, who has been on Tesla’s board since 2014, will step down within months from her role as chief financial officer of Telstra, an Australian telecom firm.

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CreditJonathan Ernst/Reuters

7. There is more than one version of a video showing the testy confrontation between Jim Acosta of CNN and President Trump.

Mr. Acosta’s White House access was revoked after the heated exchange, in which Mr. Acosta, who was questioning the president about his denunciations of a migrant caravan in Mexico, held firm to a microphone as a White House intern, above, attempted to take it.

CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

8. Google has a new sexual misconduct policy.

The technology giant said it would end forced arbitration for sexual harassment or assault claims, days after more than 20,000 of its employees around the world walked out in protest of big exit packages for accused men. Above, at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

“I’m committed to making the changes we need to improve,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, wrote in an email to employees. Earlier, Mr. Pichai discussed the challenges of steering the company through its most turbulent period with our Corner Office columnist.

CreditAndré Strauss

9. Why is DNA recovered from an ancient skeleton in Montana closely related to that found in bones in Brazil?

Recent DNA research turned up surprising signs of dramatic, long-range movements among our ancient ancestors that help explain, among other things, the peopling of the Americas. Above, a skeleton from approximately 9,600 years ago that was found in Lapa do Santo, Brazil.

“Holy cow, this is awesome,” said an archaeologist who reviewed the findings.

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10. Finally, The Times is raising the curtain on a new feature: Meanwhile.

Each week, Wendy MacNaughton, a graphic journalist based in San Francisco, will explore the story behind an everyday object, familiar place or uncelebrated person — and the effect on our lives, the economy, the environment and more.

The first installment looks at the curious rise (and huge sales) of tallboy beer cans.

Have an effervescent evening.

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