NEWS - FRIDAY, JANUARY 04, 2019 - NEWS
Khadra Mohamud stood in Rep. Ilhan Omar's brand-new congressional office Thursday, taking in a new scene in American politics - a crowd of supporters, the majority of them women, many of them in hijabs, celebrating the swearing-in of a Muslim woman as a member of Congress. Baltimore Sun
VOA VIEW: A losing group with Pelosi.
House Democrats on Thursday kicked off plans to scrutinize President Donald Trump, his finances and his administration's policies with a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign's alleged Russia ties, by giving him recourse if Trump tries to fire him. Baltimore Sun
A trio of nationally known “paranormal investigators” intends to spend part of Saturday night aboard the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, in hope of proving the 80-year-old battleship is home. Charlotte Observer
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Big tax changes are on the way, and tax professionals say that everyone will be affected in some way. During the 2019 tax season, Americans will finally feel the effects of the massive federal tax overhaul passed by Congress in December 2017. But with so much time between the reform and the filing of 2018 tax returns, many taxpayers are a little foggy on the details as they dig up their W-2s.
Questions about the role the partial government shutdown will play also linger, making an already confusing process even more frustrating.
The Dow fell 660 points after Apple lowered its quarterly revenue outlook due to slowing iPhone sales in China, spooking stock market investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is coming off its worst year since 2008, closed down 660 points, or 2.8 percent, to 22,686. The daily point loss, which dragged the blue chip stock gauge down 15.4 percent since its October peak, was bigger than the scary plunge on Christmas Eve and the biggest since Dec. 4. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 stock index closed 2.5 percent lower, extending its loss from its September all-time high to 16.5 percent. IndyStar
"If he gives in now, that's the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president. That's probably the end of his presidency," Graham said. Sen. Lindsey Graham wants President Donald Trump to stick to his guns in the fight over funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and warned that giving in to Democrats' demands could be "the end of his presidency." With a partial government shutdown – sparked by the fight over funding for the wall – in its second week, the South Carolina Republican on Wednesday told Fox News host Sean Hannity that GOP lawmakers won't back down "until we get the money."
VOA VIEW: Trump has to hold the line.
Trash cans and restrooms are overflowing, and human waste is piling up as people find other places to go when nature calls. Welcome to America’s national parks, Donald Trump-style. Las Vegas Sun
It will be a year of divided government and unprecedented partisan conflict. It will be a year in which President Donald Trump is isolated and unrestrained as never before. And it will be in this atmosphere that indictments will fall, provoking not just a political crisis but a constitutional one. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Trump will be the toughest wolf.
Even before they are sworn in today, the 100 newly elected House members are promising to be one of the most independent — and difficult to control — freshman classes in years. They are far younger and more diverse than their predecessors. It’s the largest freshman class in nearly 50 years. LA Times
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Just two weeks after recalling two lots of its version of Losartan Potassium USP tablets that have NDEA, Torrent Pharmaceuticals expanded the recall to 10 lots. Miami Herald
On their first day in the majority, House Democrats on Thursday night passed a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump's promised border wall. Miami Herald
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, announcing this week that she had formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential run. Her economic program favors "pre-distribution" through fairer pay and a greater say by employees in their companies. New York Times
When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un used his New Year speech to highlight coal as a "primary front" in developing the economy, he was making a case for what analysts see as a flawed but key resource on which his country increasingly relies. Rueters
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A San Diego-based Navy SEAL accused of committing war crimes during a 2017 deployment to Iraq is heading for court martial, the Navy said Wednesday. Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward R. Gallagher is scheduled to be arraigned in a San Diego military courtroom Friday, said Brian O’rourke, a spokesman. San Diego Tribune
In one of the last actions of the 115th Congress late Wednesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed dozens of pending Trump nominees, including San Diego’s newest U.S. attorney, Robert Brewer. It’s unclear when Brewer will be sworn in and officially take office. The President must sign a commission first. San Diego Tribune
Official figures show that falling oil prices reduced inflation in the 19-country eurozone in December to its lowest in eight months. Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said consumer prices were up 1.6 percent in the year to December, down from the previous month’s 1.9 percent and the lowest since April. Seattle Times
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Half of the NFC playoff field is back from last year, including the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles , who wobbled and hobbled into the postseason party as the sixth and final seed after a season-long slog. The Saints earned the No. 1 seed for the first time since 2009, when they beat Peyton Manning. Seattle Times
House Democrats put their new political muscle to the test by passing bills to fund the government, but the White House threatened a presidential veto. The newly minted House Democratic majority pushed through a series of spending bills on Thursday to reopen the federal government, but congressional Republicans dismissed the effort as pointless political theater and the White House threatened a presidential veto as a partial government shutdown neared its third week. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Dems are wasting time for show.
Low-income families using federal housing vouchers remain concentrated in high-poverty, racially segregated neighborhoods with little opportunity -- even when affordable apartments are available in higher-income neighborhoods. Washington Post
The Defense Logistics Agency has suspended Dubai-based Anham FZCO following allegations that it defrauded the military on an $8 billion troop supply contract. Washington Post
Multiple agencies are re-examining use of “disparate impact” analysis in civil rights cases. Washington Post
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North Korea's top diplomat to Italy, who South Korea's spy agency says has gone into hiding along with his wife, appears to be the latest member of the North's elite to abandon the secretive totalitarian state. Many of them have expressed frustration over what they plans to plead not guilty to all the charges Friday during an arraignment hearing at Naval Base San Diego, his attorney Phil Stackhouse said. Washington Times
Votes are scheduled on a package of bills to end the shutdown and give Congress and the White House more time to reach a deal on border wall funding. House Democrats will immediately put their new political power to the test on Thursday by moving to reopen the federal government, setting up a confrontation with President Donald Trump as a partial government shutdown enters its 13th day.
VOA VIEW: Dems act like fools.
Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow on Dec. 28 and accused of espionage. The Russian lawyer of an American man arrested in Russia for alleged spying said his client is in good spirits and intends to contest the charges against him.
The lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told ABC News on Thursday that he had seen Paul Whelan in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, where the former Marine has been held since he was arrested on espionage charges last week. "He feels entirely fine, he is holding himself with dignity, with confidence, he is acting correctly in relation to the participants in the case, and even with a some humor," Zherebenkov told ABC News.
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Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar first landed in Washington as a Somali refugee 23 years ago. Now she's here to be the first Somali-American member of the House of Representatives. Their names have circulated for months, but most hit the headlines on Election Day 2018. That's when American voters ushered in a new class of lawmakers who are changing the face of the House of Representatives to become more female and more racially diverse than ever.
Exclusive footage shows the battle to push the Islamic State group out of the Syrian town of Hajin. US President Donald Trump has described Syria as just "sand and death", as he defended his decision to withdraw American troops from the conflict. But the Kurdish militia and Arab tribes who are battling the Islamic State group in the country are warning that his decision could result in disaster. The Syrian Democratic Forces say the move could lead to a resurgence of the extremist Islamist group, even though it has lost nearly all of the territory it once controlled. Islamic State fighters are clinging on near the town of Hajin in the east of Syria.
VOA VIEW: Time will tell.
The VA has come under harsh scrutiny by members of Congress and veterans groups for its botched implementation of a new payment system. President Trump on Thursday signed into law the second of two bills meant to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for an IT failure that delayed payments to thousands of veterans under the Forever GI Bill. The White House said the president signed the Forever GI Bill Housing Payment Fulfillment Act into law on Thursday, establishing a team to audit housing payments made to veterans and identify those affected by the delay. .
President Trump took no questions, touting the importance of building a border wall. President Trump made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room Thursday — his first time at the briefing room podium as president — to air his talking points as the shutdown standoff over his border wall continues, taking no questions from reporters. Mr. Trump offered little new information in his first public comments since Democrats and Nancy Pelosi took control of the House, making his case for the need for a border wall and inviting border patrol union representatives to the podium to do the same. The president said of the wall he wants to fund, "You can call it a wall, you can call it a barrier, whatever you want," but people want it. CBS
VOA VIEW: A smart and needed move - those on the line speak out.
J.P. Morgan's top strategist who told his clients to expect a year-end rally said Thursday that "the month of December proved us wrong." The top J.P. Morgan Chase strategist who told his clients to expect a year-end rally in 2018 acknowledged Thursday that "the month of December proved us wrong," but added that he still sees reason for buying stocks early in the new year. "Our call for a year-end recovery was based on near-record low equity positioning, near five-year low in valuations, positive seasonality, and two positive catalysts (G20 and the Fed's dovish pivot). All of this was 'too little, too late,'" wrote Marko Kolanovic, global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy at J.P. Morgan.
A NASA spacecraft 4 billion miles from Earth yielded its first close-up pictures Wednesday of the most distant celestial object ever explored, depicting what looks like a reddish snowman. Ultima Thule, as the small, icy object has been dubbed, was found to consist of two fused-together spheres. Baltimore Sun
Apple's sales shortfall in China and a slip in the U.S. manufacturing economy are the latest signs that Trump's trade war is hitting home. Apple's sales shortfall in China and a sudden slip in the U.S. manufacturing economy are the latest signs that the Trump administration's trade war with China is hitting home and that could help bring it to an end, some economists and analysts said.
CNN's Brianna Keilar called President Donald Trump's appearance in the White House briefing room a "stunt" after the White House alerted the press that there would be a briefing and the president didn't take any questions from reporters. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN usual liberal and ignorant propaganda.
The Trump administration is scouting locations for a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite the fact that talks between North Korea and the United States appear to be at a stalemate, according to two sources familiar with the planning process. On Wednesday, Trump struck an upbeat tone as he waved what he called a "great letter" from Kim in front of reporters and his Cabinet in the Oval Office. CNN
Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. rose slightly in 2018, defying predictions and highlighting a strong economy. Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. rose slightly in 2018, defying predictions and highlighting a strong economy. Automakers reported an increase of 0.3 percent over a year ago to 17.27 million vehicles. The increase came despite rising interest rates, a volatile stock market, and rising car and truck prices that pushed some buyers out of the new-vehicle market.
Police in Las Vegas say they have finished releasing audio, video and written records about the investigation of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The department said that after 34 releases of material since May, officials believe they have complied with a court order in a public records lawsuit about the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting. Plaintiffs included The Associated Press. "We don't expect any further major releases of either video or documents," the department said in a statement.
Paul Whelan revealed to be dual national after being arrested in Moscow for ‘act of espionage’The former US marine who is being held in Moscow on charges of spying is a British citizen, it has emerged.Paul Whelan, who is thought to be facing 20 years in a Russian prison if convicted, was initially thought to be American, but was revealed to be a dual national on Thursday evening. Guardian
Pelosi won with 220 votes as Democrats plan to test power by passing legislation to end the government shutdownFollow the latest in US politics liveDemocrats reclaimed power in the House on Thursday and officially elected Nancy Pelosi to be the next speaker, returning her to a position for which she made history as the first woman elected to the office.The California Democrat earned 220 votes from a total of 430 members present, while Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, won 192. Guardian
VOA VIEW: A den of fools are in charge.
In an unusually candid discussion, Trump said that the US was searching to do “something that was right” in Afghanistan. Jerusalem Post
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday declined to rule out the possibility that President Donald Trump could be indicted while in office, saying there is "an open discussion" on whether such an indictment would be legal even though Justice Department guidance states it would not be. In an interview on NBC’s “Today" show, Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledged the long-standing precedent but noted that "it's not the law.”
VOA VIEW: Pelosi is a fool and a dancing idiot.
U.S. stocks plunged on Thursday and 2-year U.S. Treasury yields dropped below the Federal Reserve's policy rate for the first time in more than a decade, delivering a signal the U.S. central bank could begin reversing its tightening regime before long. Reuters
China poses the single biggest threat to Britain’s position as one of the great super-powers, according to a new analysis of the world’s wealthiest countries. The annual audit found Britain had maintained its place as the world’s second most powerful nation, behind the US. The rankings - based on a series of factors including economic performance, technological expertise, military might and diplomatic leverage - placed China in third above France, Germany and Japan.
It might be a good idea not to do very much at all this Sunday. In fact you might just want to stay in bed. You certainly shouldn't attempt anything too strenuous or risky, and going outside is perhaps best avoided at all costs. Because this Sunday is the day that happens to have the highest number of deaths in the year. It may seem like a rather macabre subject, but figures show that January 6 has an average of 25 per cent more deaths than the daily average.
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The United Nations Security Council has condemned “in the strongest terms” a series of coordinated attacks aimed at security checkpoints in northern Afghanistan which took place on Monday night, killing at least 27 and wounding dozens of others. UN News
Somali Government efforts to build a lasting peace through political reform and transformation have progressed along a “positive trajectory” but everyone involved in the process needs to “pull in the same direction”, the UN Special Representative in the country told the Security Council on Thursday. UN News
At the close of 2018, the U.S. national debt was more than $2 trillion higher than when President Donald Trump took office. At the close of 2018, the U.S. national debt was more than $2 trillion higher than when President Donald Trump took office, data released Thursday by the Treasury Department indicates. The national debt reached $21.974 trillion as of Dec. 31. The increase in debt came a little more than a year after Trump signed a tax reform bill and a lower corporate tax rate lowered Treasury revenues.
A group of 17 attorneys general lodged an appeal against a Texas federal judge's ruling last month declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The coalition of Democrats appealed the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans.