Here are today’s top stories.

Trump sends scorching letter to Pelosi ahead of House impeachment vote

President Donald Trump, on the verge of becoming the third US president to be impeached, sent an extraordinary letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, excoriating House Democrats and casting himself as a victim of an attempted coup.

Donald Trump told the ‘lie of the year’

Every year, the fact-checking service PolitiFact picks the biggest whopper told by a politician. This isn’t the standard-issue deception or misleading statement; this is a lie that has implications well beyond just the lack of truth. This is a lie for the ages. As PolitiFact puts it:

China’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier officially enters service

China has officially commissioned its first domestically-built aircraft carrier, the Shandong, a significant step forward in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitions for the country to field a world-class navy.

Pope lifts secrecy rules for sex abuse cases

Pope Francis has lifted Vatican secrecy rules governing sexual abuse cases, the Vatican announced on Tuesday. The move will allow the Catholic Church to hand over documents related to those cases to civil authorities.

Stone Age chewing gum holds clues to the life of a young girl who lived 5,700 years ago

Lola, a young girl who lived in Denmark 5,700 years ago, had blue eyes, dark skin and dark hair. Her last meal included hazelnuts and mallard duck. And the reason we know any of this is because she chewed on birch pitch, a material that functioned a bit like an ancient chewing gum.

‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ actor Brian Tarantina died from effects of multiple drugs, medical examiner says

Brian Tarantina — who recently played Jackie in Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — died of “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, heroin, diazepam and cocaine,” the New York City Medical Examiner’s office said.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla are sued over alleged child labor in Congo

An international advocacy group has accused Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla of “knowingly benefiting from” the use of young children to mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is how much money Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is raking in

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” still brings in millions of dollars.

Google’s answer to iMessage is finally here

Google’s version of iMessage is now available to Android owners in the United States.

Apple Arcade just got a lot cheaper, if you’re willing to pay for a whole year

Apple is slashing the annual price of Apple Arcade, its fledgling video game subscription service. The catch is you have to subscribe for 12 months to get the reduced price.

Africa Live: Controversial Ugandan activist gets payout – BBC News

The Central African Republic’s (CAR) former President François Bozizé has returned to the country after six years in exile, raising questions about his motivations. Mr Bozizé’s return was announced on Monday by his Kwa Na Kwa party, leading observers to speculate that they could be preparing for his candidature in next year’s election.

World first ‘may make chemotherapy more effective’

Doctors at the Royal Marsden are trialling a targeted treatment which they hope will also mean fewer side effects for cancer patients.

Man City manager expects ‘quick’ decision on Mikel Arteta after holding Arsenal talks

Pep Guardiola expects a quick decision on whether Mikel Arteta will become Arsenal’s new manager and says he cannot make an argument for the former Gunner not taking the job. Manchester City expect to have Arteta in the dug-out for the Carabao Cup quarter-final at Oxford on Wednesday.

The new age of plastic surgery – BBC Reel

Cosmetic surgery apps are redefining beauty standards and access to plastic surgery in China. In a country where cosmetic surgery is still often considered taboo, such apps are gaining traction as the new social networks among China’s youth. Video by Runze Yu

Charlize Theron opens up about her mum killing her dad

Charlize Theron says she’s “not ashamed” to talk about the moment her mum shot and killed her dad in self-defence. The actress was 15 when her alcoholic dad shot through the door of the room where she was hiding with her mum. “None of those bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle.

The man who changed the face of Christianity in Africa

German-born evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, who attracted massive crowds in Africa during decades of preaching, is being mourned by millions of Christians across the continent following his death aged 79. Kenyan writer Jesse Masai looks back at his influence.

Lab test results stolen in hack of 15 million patients’ records

An open letter from a medical testing company is never a good thing. A Canadian company specializing in administering laboratory tests, LifeLabs, announced on Dec. 17 that it had been the victim of a data breach affecting up to 15 million customers.

Peter Thiel told Mark Zuckerberg not to change political ad rules, report says

We now have an explanation for Facebook’s bizarre indecision on political ads: Peter Thiel. Despite months of reports – usually attributed to unnamed company sources – that Facebook is considering some kind of pullback from its controversial rules that allow politicians to lie in paid ads, the reason the company hasn’t actually moved on the issue is because Peter Thiel doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

Jack Dorsey just unfollowed Mark Zuckerberg on Twitter in spectacular fashion

When you’re going to snub your corporate and philosophical rival, you might as well do it with a little flair. That seems to be the thinking of Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who, on Dec. 17, not only unfollowed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter account, but also threw in a little hidden easter egg just to make sure we all got the fuck you message.

Jason Derulo says his penis was edited out of ‘Cats’

We’re less than a month from the end of the year, yet 2019 has still not tired of plying us with horrors. In an interview on Andy Cohen Live, Jason Derulo confirmed the host’s speculation that his significant phallus was edited out of upcoming nightmare fodder Cats.

‘How is that OK?’: Stephen Colbert rips Republicans’ promise to side with Trump in impeachment trial

Apparently emboldened by just how much Trump keeps getting away with, senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have plainly declared they’ll do all they can to ensure the impeachment trial is decided in his favor. Which, Late Show host Stephen Colbert pointed out on Monday, is a complete violation of their constitutional duty to be impartial.

Greta Thunberg celebrates returning home to Sweden with pic of her lovely doggos

Greta Thunberg has officially made it home to Stockholm, Sweden, after sailing across the Atlantic ocean and journeying through Europe for the U.N. Climate Summit. To celebrate, the 16-year-old climate activist snapped a pic with her dogs, who looked very happy indeed to see her at long last.