North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Tuesday he hopes to extend his high-stakes nuclear summitry with President Donald Trump into 2019, but also warns Washington not to test North Koreans' patience with sanctions and pressure. During his televised New Year's speech, Kim said he's ready to meet with Trump at any time to produce an outcome "welcomed by the international community." However, he said the North will be forced to take a different path if the United States "continues to break its promises and misjudges the patience of our people by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure." Baltimore Sun
VOA VIEW: Un is making remarks that may cause an end to peace - Trump must not waver.
The NASA spacecraft that yielded the first close-up views of Pluto hurtled toward a New Year's Day rendezvous with a tiny, icy world a billion miles farther out, in what would make it the most distant cosmic body ever explored by humankind. New Horizons was on course to fly past the mysterious, ancient object nicknamed Ultima Thule at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday. The close encounter comes 3½ years after the spacecraft swung past Pluto. Baltimore Sun
The latest plunge in oil prices has dealt a heavy blow to Iraq's stagnating economy, threatening the new government's ability to rebuild after the war with the Islamic State group and provide basic services to areas roiled by recent protests. Brent crude oil, used to price international purchases, briefly rose above $85 a barrel in October but has since plummeted to less than $55 — a nightmare for a country like Iraq that derives 95 percent of its revenue from oil exports. Las Vegas Sun


Federal judges sometimes have to decide cases involving sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. In the past year, however, the court system has had to look inward at an equally wrenching problem: powerful judges who harass and abuse law clerks and other employees in the privacy of chambers. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. devoted his year-end report on the judiciary to describing how the nation’s top judges had investigated the problem of workplace abuse and adopted policies to prevent it. LA Times
For decades, China had no closer American friend than Dianne Feinstein. As San Francisco mayor in the 1970s, she forged a sister-city relationship with Shanghai, the first between American and Chinese communities. As U.S. senator, she dined with Chinese leaders at Mao Tse-tung’s old Beijing residence. And in the 1990s, she championed a trade policy change that opened a floodgate of Western investment into China. LA Times
VOA VIEW: China does not want confrontation with the US.
Yemen's Houthi rebels are denying accusations by the United Nations food agency that they are stealing "from the mouths of hungry people" and diverting food deliveries. Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Supreme Revolutionary Council, says in a statement Tuesday the rebels were "surprised" by World Food Program allegations. He says WFP "did not communicate officially" with the rebels regarding the alleged theft of aid. Miami Herald
The United States and Israel officially quit of the U.N.’s educational, scientific and cultural agency at the stroke of midnight, the culmination of a process triggered more than a year ago amid concerns that the organization fosters anti-Israel bias. The withdrawal is mainly procedural yet serves a new blow to UNESCO, co-founded by the U.S. after World War II to foster peace. New York Post
When parts of the government shut down nearly two weeks ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenged members of Congress to have some “integrity” and not accept their salaries while federal workers were being stiffed. But she’s not ready to say whether she practices what she preaches. Ocasio-Cortez first urged that lawmakers work for free on Dec. 22, the first day of the shutdown. New York Post
VOA VIEW: The liberal media is making Cortez a celebrity.
Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, has asserted that Democrats would not cave on the issue of wall funding. House Democrats are putting forward a proposal to reopen the federal government by severing funding for the Department of Homeland Security and border security from other spending bills that enjoy bipartisan support — a gambit aimed at forcing President Trump to negotiate or to shoulder the blame for a protracted shutdown. The Democrats’ plan, which will come up for a vote on Thursday when they take control of the House, consists of two bills. New York Times
VOA VIEW: Pelosi will fail against Trump.


Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in Reno in June. She announced Monday that she was entering the 2020 presidential race.. New York Times
Afghanistan's neighbors, caught off-guard by reports of U.S. plans to withdraw thousands of troops, have begun preparing for the risk that a pullout could send hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing across their borders, diplomats say. Rueters
New York's Times Square erupted with fireworks and cheers at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday as thousands of hardy merrymakers braved pouring rain and watched the glowing New Year's Eve ball complete its midnight descent to mark the start of 2019. Rueters
Mexico’s new, left-wing populist president is ringing in the new year with a dramatic economic plan for border communities aimed at attracting new investments and creating jobs that could potentially curb the influx of migrants into the United States. Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced last Saturday what is called the Tax Incentive Decree for the Northern Border Region that will create a “free zone” along the border with the U.S that is 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) wide. It encompasses nearly 2,000 miles, all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific coast. San Diego Tribune

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The government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s ask for border wall funding is likely increasing the immigration court backlog. While cases for people in detention centers are going ahead as scheduled, those for people on the non-detained docket will be reset for new dates after the government is funded again. That means many hearings are being postponed in a system that is already clogged by more than 800,000 pending cases, according to the latest data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse out of Syracuse University. San Diego Tribune
Here are the cheapest days to fly in 2019, whether you're staying in the U.S. or traveling internationally. This 2019 list is the result of analyzing a vast amount of airfare data, almost 300 million unique flight combinations for every origin and destination around the world. These daily prices were then reduced to average “cheapest fares” for the world and various regions. Again, these are daily averages, so there may be some slight variation (perhaps a day or two) for a particular route’s very cheapest date. USA Today
The jackpot rose to $425 million from $415 million for the New Year's Day drawing. The jackpot is now the eighth largest in Mega Millions history.         USA Today


Trump said his plan to build an "all concrete wall" was never abandoned. President Donald Trump defended his promise to build a solid border wall all along the U.S.-Mexico early Monday, one day after outgoing chief of staff John Kelly said in an interview that erecting a concrete wall along the entire border was already off the table. The president tweeted Monday morning that the concrete wall was "NEVER ABANDONED." ABC
VOA VIEW: Trump is holding the line.
American citizen Paul Whelan was detained in Russia on Friday. Russian authorities have detained an American citizen over accusations of spying, according to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). "On December 28, 2018, agents of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation in Moscow arrested the U.S. citizen Paul Whelan in the course of committing spy activity," Interfax's message reads. ". ABC
Incoming House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer unveiled the outline of a bill to end the partial government shutdown as Democrats take control of the House this week. But the bill includes only $1.3 billion for border security, and since President Trump wants $5 billion for a border wall, the White House said Monday he will reject it. With no deal, one quarter of the federal government will remain closed and 800,000 employees will either stay home or work without pay. CBS
VOA VIEW: Pelosi said know wall - she will eat her words.
Defense Secretary James Mattis is signing off at midnight Monday, as he hands the reins over to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Mattis is leaving his post earlier than first announced, after Mr. Trump moved up his departure date. Mattis had opposed a quick withdrawal from Syria, and his resignation letter stirred concern about national security even among the president's staunchest allies, like Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. Mattis' replacement is a former defense contractor with no military experience. CBS
As crowds gather in Times Square for New Year's Eve, New York City police said an additional 1,000 officers will be on patrol compared to years past. Tony Dokoupil reports. CBS

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Microsoft has not had a tremendous quarter. But it has still succeeded in regaining a coveted title: most valuable public U.S. company by market cap. And even though Microsoft's product announcements still might not rivet the public like Apple's keynotes, the company has moved forward in measurable ways in 2018, following years of transition under CEO Satya Nadella. CNBC
After a year of privacy scandals, Facebook's stock ended the year lower than the previous one for the first time since its debut on the public market in 2012. Facebook is bidding farewell to a year plagued by privacy scandals and internal turmoil. On the last trading day of 2018, the stock closed at $131.09 per share, down 25.7 percent for the year. The stock ended the year lower than the previous one for the first time since its debut on the public market in 2012. In 2018, a series of events soured public opinion on a company that has long prided itself on connecting people to one another. CNBC
VOA VIEW: Hopefully, 2019 will be worse.
President Trump responds to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) after she launched an exploratory committee ahead of a likely 2020 presidential run. CNN

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U.S. immigration authorities confirmed they had no contact with a Mexican national suspected of killing a California police officer until the man was arrested last week. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement emailed a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday saying it had placed its first immigration detainer on suspect Gustavo Perez Arriaga after the Dec. 26 killing. FOX News
Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White is leaving her post, a move that coincides with Secretary of Defense James Mattis stepping down but also comes amid an internal Defense Department investigation into her conduct. Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White is leaving her post, a move that coincides with Secretary of Defense James Mattis stepping down but also comes amid an internal Defense Department investigation into her conduct. CNN
US president uses Fox News interview to blame Democrats for impasse as partial closure stretches into New Year’s EveDonald Trump is “ready, willing and able” to negotiate an end to the partial government shutdown that stretched into its 10th day on New Year’s Eve. Guardian
VOA VIEW: It will be under Trumps terms - a wall.
The Islamic State still has hundreds of battle-hardened fighters and supporters operating freely in Northern Syria. Jerusalem Post
Many of the objects were illegally excavated using tools and methods that have caused irreversible damage to archaeological sites of enormous local historical significance. Jerusalem Post
History shows that cooperation is the best choice for both China and the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Donald Trump in a congratulatory message on Tuesday to mark 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Reuters
Shuttered U.S. government agencies remained closed on Monday as Democrats in the House of Representatives readied legislation intended to reopen the government that would not meet President Donald Trump's demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall. Funding for about a quarter of the federal government came to an end on Dec. 22, with Trump and Democrats far apart on a solution. On Thursday, after they take the majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats intend to vote on a two-part package to end the shutdown. Its prospects in the Senate and with Trump were uncertain. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Dems will lose the wall battle.
Emmanuel Macron last night delivered a combative New Year's address, vowing to push forward with economic reforms despite two-month long protests from what he termed a "hateful mob". The French President, whose televised address was broadcast form the Elysee Palace, acknowledged that "anger over injustices" lay behind the yellow vest movement that has scarred his second-year in office. Telegraph
The United Nations said on Monday that it is aware of violent incidents and reports of irregularities in Sunday’s general elections in Bangladesh. “We regret the loss of life and injuries sustained by candidates and voters during the electoral campaign and on election-day,” said the UN Spokesperson’s office in a statement, which also welcomed the opposition’s participation “for the first time in 10 years.” UN News
Despite posting gains to close out the year Monday the stock markets experienced their worst annual loss in 10 years.The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 265.06 points, or 1.15 percent, at the end of trading Monday, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both rose 0.85 percent, but all three indexes were down for 2018. UPI
Poultry and sausage products made by R.L. Zeigler Co. have been recalled for possible metal contamination, the U.S. Agriculture Department said. Poultry and sausage products made by R.L. Zeigler Co. have been recalled for possible metal contamination, the U.S. Agriculture Department said. UPI

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