Dec. 18, 2018

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday further sought to pressure the Federal Reserve as the central bank prepared to start its two-day policy meeting, warning the Fed's board not to "make yet another mistake" ahead of an expected interest rate hike.

U.S. Border Patrol agents who detained a 7-year-old Guatemalan migrant girl who later died in federal custody will not speak with U.S. lawmakers investigating her death, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Monday, citing their union membership.

Six men were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in a Colombian area known for cocaine trafficking, in an apparent confrontation between groups dedicated to the illegal drugs trade.

U.S. and Taliban officials have discussed proposals for a six-month ceasefire in Afghanistan and a future withdrawal of foreign troops as talks aimed at setting up peace negotiations went into a second day, Taliban sources said.

Doctors in Sierra Leone returned to work on Tuesday, ending a 13-day strike over pay and conditions that paralyzed hospitals nationwide, the country's junior doctors' association said.

Myanmar's leaders are promising to bring home hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a brutal military crackdown. But the government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is taking steps that make their return increasingly unlikely.

A toxic pesticide that a U.N. agency wanted India to ban a decade ago contaminated food that killed at least 15 people at a temple last week, police said on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for the unswerving implementation of reforms on Beijing's terms, saying no one could boss it around, but offered no new measures in a speech marking 40 years of market liberalization.

U.S. homebuilding rebounded in November, driven by a surge in multi-family housing projects, but construction of single-family homes fell to a 1-1/2-year low, pointing to deepening housing market weakness that could spill over to the broader economy.

U.S. supermarket chain Kroger Co said on Tuesday it has started using unmanned autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries Scottsdale, Arizona in partnership with Silicon Valley startup Nuro.

Japan will accelerate spending on advanced stealth fighters, long-range missiles and other equipment over the next five years to support U.S. forces facing China's military in the Western Pacific, two new government defense papers said.

AP Top Stories

A Florida man is facing charges of posting detailed bomb-making instructions to online sites frequented by extremists such as supporters of the Islamic State group, according to an FBI complaint unsealed Monday.

Yemen's flashpoint city of Hodeida was calm on Tuesday following heavy clashes that erupted after the UN-brokered ceasefire started at midnight, pro-government sources and residents said.

Ukrainian Orthodox Christian priests selected a 39-year-old bishop to lead their newly independent church, cementing a split from the previous Russian hierarchy in a step that's further straining relations between the two former allies.

Germany will pay survivors who escaped Nazi Germany as children 2,500 euros, or $2,800.

U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon said Monday that two of the four tunnels discovered by Israel and allegedly dug by the Hezbollah militant group cross the border in violation of the cease-fire agreement that ended the 2006 war.

BBC

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that his country will not develop at the expense of other nations, in a speech marking 40 years since China introduced major economic reforms. However, he also said that the global superpower would not be told what to do by anyone.

Two Scandinavian women tourists have been found dead in Morocco with cuts to their necks, the country's interior ministry said. A suspect has been arrested in the city of Marrakesh on suspicion of murder, according to Moroccan authorities.

A former NASA engineer spent six months building a glitter bomb trap to trick thieves after some parcels were stolen from his doorstep.

A Canadian mine says it has broken its own record for the largest diamond ever found in North America. Dominion Diamond Mines has announced the "unexpected" discovery of a 552-carat yellow gemstone.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that his government will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, he said Australia's embassy would not move from Tel Aviv, until a peace settlement was achieved.

A Rwandan woman who saved the lives of more than 100 people during the 1994 genocide has died. Zura Karuhimbi was reported to be 93, although some suggest she was more than 100 years old.

A recent surge of police action against churches in China has raised concerns the government is getting even tougher on unsanctioned Christian activity. Among those arrested are a prominent pastor and his wife, of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan. Both have been charged with state subversion.

WND

Self-identified New Age practitioners outnumber members of the Presbyterian Church USA, a mainline denomination that has lost congregations and members to conservative denominations in recent years. According to the Pew Research Center, as many as 1.5 million Americans practice some form of New Age spirituality, which includes neo-Paganism, Wicca, Native American religions and Eastern mysticism, the Daily Caller reported.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez needs a break. The Bronx-bred democratic socialist heading into her freshman term in the House of Representatives announced Monday she's taking some time off to take care of herself before she officially starts her new job - and she's taking her supporters along for the ride.

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