Dec 23, 2019

REUTERS

President Donald Trump will deliver his annual State of the Union speech on Feb. 4 after accepting an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday.

President Donald Trump signed a $1.4 trillion budget package for the fiscal year 2020 into law on Friday to avert a government shutdown, White House spokesman Judd Deere told journalists traveling with the president on Air Force One.

U.S. lawmakers who control the fate of President Donald Trump left Washington for a holiday break on Friday with no agreement over how they will handle the Senate trial to consider his impeachment charges in January.

President Donald Trump on Saturday criticized House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding off on sending the articles of impeachment against him to the Senate.

Iran unveiled a redevelopment of part of its Arak heavy water reactor on Monday - a move that did not breach international restrictions on its nuclear work but showed it is developing the sector in the face of U.S. pressure.

Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced five people to death and three more to jail over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year and said the killing was not premeditated, a verdict criticized by a U.N. investigator as a "mockery" of justice.

An international working group on the conflict in eastern Ukraine has agreed terms for a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, Boris Gryzlov, Russia's envoy to the group, was cited by the RIA news agency as saying on Monday.

At least 11 people have been killed and more than 300 treated in hospital after drinking coconut wine in the Philippines, including some who were celebrating at a Christmas party, health and local authorities said on Monday.

The S&P 500 opened at another record high on Monday as President Donald Trump said an initial U.S.-China trade pact would be signed "very shortly", while Boeing rose 3% after it fired Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg.

South Korean and U.S. Special Forces troops recently conducted drills simulating the infiltration of an enemy facility, U.S. military photos seen by Reuters on Monday show, as tensions with North Korea ratchet up ahead of a year-end deadline.

AP Top Stories

An unmarried Chinese woman filed a suit against a hospital on Monday for rejecting her request to undergo a medical procedure to freeze her eggs due to her marital status, in China's first legal challenge of a woman fighting for her reproductive rights.

Pyongyang's state news agency, KCNA, issued a statement attributed to a foreign ministry spokesman warning the United States in response to Washington's recent decision to join several other states in condemning North Korea's human rights abuses in an annual United Nations General Assembly resolution Wednesday. The KCNA statement said if the U.S. continued to call out North Korea's human rights problems, Washington would "pay dearly."

At least 36 people were killed in weekend clashes in Honduran prisons as the military and police try to regain control after a spate of murders linked to the criminal gangs plaguing the country.

Syrian air defenses opened fire Sunday night on missiles fired from inside Israel, state media reported. Syrian state TV gave no further details but residents of Damascus said explosions could be heard near the capital. State TV said one of the Israeli missiles was shot down near the Damascus suburb of Aqraba.

Beijing warned Monday that the US was turning the cosmos into a "battlefield", after Washington announced a new military arm called the Space Force.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development released Friday its estimate of annual homelessness in the United States, concluding that the number of homeless people in the country increased 2.7 percent over the last year. The jump is reportedly strongly tied to California's housing crisis, especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco. California alone experienced an estimated 16.4 percent increase in homelessness, despite the state's efforts to counter the issue.

France's armed forces said Monday it had carried out a drone strike for the first time, during operations in Mali at the weekend in which it said 40 "terrorists" were killed.

BBC

The amount of food needed to feed the world's population by the end of the century could increase by almost 80%, a study has suggested. Researchers from Germany said a trend of increasing Body Mass Index (BMI) is resulting in individuals requiring more calories.

At least 60 children were abused by Marcial Maciel, founder of the ultra-conservative Catholic order Legionaries of Christ, an investigation has found. The report, published by the Roman Catholic group, said 33 priests in the order abused at least 175 minors since it was founded in 1941.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has appointed the country's first prime minister in more than 40 years - the tourism minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz. The post of prime minister was scrapped in 1976 by the then revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

WND

A coalition of privacy groups led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center has launched a website about the Amazon Ring product, a combination doorbell, camera and intercom, warning it is not safe and secure.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling for men's restrooms to include tampons in order to prevent discrimination against "every person who menstruates."

U.S. regulators have approved a vaccine to protect against the deadly Ebola virus, a crucial step in the battle against an infection that's considered one of the world's deadliest killers. The vaccine, developed and made by Kenilworth, New Jersey-based Merck & Co., was found to be 100% effective when given at least 10 days in advance of potential exposure.

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