The Starting 5: 'Star Wars,' 'Cats,' Border Wall, Asylum Seeker Fees and an Australian Heatwave

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Strap yourself in, this is going to be one big, wild week. Democratic presidential hopefuls will take the stage for the year's final debate, D.C. power brokers will try to agree on a spending bill to avert a government shutdown just days before Christmas and the House of Representatives will vote on whether to impeach President Donald Trump. Watch out for key players, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will be instrumental in the latter two issues.

Here's what else you need to know this week:

Up Against the Wall

The Trump administration is headed to court today to try to dismiss lawsuits from environmental groups challenging the legality of funding for the president's border wall. The groups argue that the president didn't have the authority to appropriate funding and invoke the National Emergencies Act to get the wall built. Some of the groups took a previous case challenging the wall on environmental grounds to the Supreme Court last year but were rebuffed.

Border wall
Junior Hernandez, a migrant from Guatemala, runs next to the border fence where he and members of the Coalicion Pro Defensa del Migrante (Pro Defense of the Migrant Coalition) painted a graph showing statistics of dead migrants, on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on November 2, 2019. GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

Penny For Your Thoughts

Last month, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency announced its plans to hike its fees and today is the last day to submit public comment. USCIS proposed raising citizenship fees by 60% to $1,170. Asylum seekers lodging applications would also be hit with a $50 fee—a potentially significant burden for those fleeing low-income countries. If the changes go ahead, the U.S. would become one of the few countries that charge asylum seekers application fees.

Migrants in Mexico
Tents are piled up in a hangar at Juventud 2000 migrant shelter in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico on July 13, 2019. EDUARDO JARAMILLO CASTRO/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

May the Force Be With Fans

It's been 42 years since Han Solo first appeared on screen, and tonight Episode 9 is finally unveiled. The final chapter of the sequel trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was directed by J.J. Abrams and will premiere in Los Angeles. Die-hard fans can watch the red carpet interviews from 5.30 p.m. PT on the Star Wars site. Be prepared for reviews to pour out on Wednesday, ahead of its Friday release.

Star Wars Anthony Daniels
Anthony Daniels with Stormtroopers attend the special fan event for 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' at Roppongi Hills on December 11, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Christopher Jue/Getty Images for Disney/Getty

Nine Lives

Another big movie moment will be happening tonight, this time on the East Coast. Cats, the adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running musical, will premiere in New York. Thought originally to be an awards darling, the musical film garnered only a single Golden Globes nomination, for an original song by Lloyd Weber and Taylor Swift. The film hits cinemas Friday, with a star-studded cast including Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Idris Elba, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen. Here's what social media has had to say about the movie: Why do the cats have breasts?

Cats movie
Laurie Davidson, Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, Sir Ian McKellen, Francesca Hayward, Jason Derulo and Robbie Fairchild attend the "Cats" photocall at The Corinthia Hotel on December 13, 2019 in London, England. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images/Getty

Catch Heat

Australia has withstood months of bushfires and this week's weather conditions will not help. The Bureau of Meteorology has forecasted heatwaves for much of the country in coming days, increasing in intensity and nearly covering the whole nation by the end of the week. The record for the country's highest ever recorded temperature, 123degrees Fahrenheit, could be broken. A heatwave is likely the last thing Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs right now, after being widely criticized for not providing more resources to volunteer firefighting crews and for dancing around the growing threat of climate change.

Australia protests
Activists rally for climate action at Sydney Town Hall on December 11, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Activists are calling for action on climate and health and services related provisions as New South Wales is battling over 80 bushfires, and hazardous air quality. Mark Evans/Getty Images/Getty