Dec 24, 2019 - Have a Merry Christmas and back on Thursday.

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday brushed off North Korean leader Kim Jong UN's warning of a "Christmas gift", saying the United States would "deal with it very successfully" and that perhaps it would be a "nice present".

U.S. senators on Monday sparred over the shape of an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, with Republican leader Mitch McConnell saying he has not ruled out hearing from witnesses as Democrats have demanded.

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday outlined the kinds of documents he would like to have introduced as evidence in the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, including emails and other communications held by the White House and State Department.

Hong Kong riot police fired rounds of tear gas at thousands of protesters, many wearing masks and reindeer horns, after scuffles in shopping malls and in a prime tourist district as anti-government rallies escalated into chaos on Christmas Eve.

Indian authorities stepped up security and shut down the internet in various places on Tuesday while members of the ruling party planned marches backing a new citizenship law even though nationwide protests against it are escalating.

India's federal cabinet approved funds on Tuesday for a census and population survey to be conducted next year, amid fears that the database could be used to build a controversial citizens register, against which there have been widespread protests.

A Chinese malware broker who was sentenced in the United States this year for dealing in malicious software linked to major hacks is back at his old workplace: teaching high-school computer courses, including one on internet security.

The United States has withdrawn its ambassador to Zambia following a row with authorities in the southern African nation after he criticized the jailing of a gay couple, embassy sources said on Monday.

AP Top Stories

Officials in the U.S., Japan and South Korea are on high alert since North Korea threatened a "Christmas gift" that analysts suspect could be a long-range missile test.

The Taliban said their fighters killed a U.S. service member in Afghanistan on Monday and posted photographs of a blood-soaked backpack and the identity card of an American soldier to prove it.

The Trump administration awarded billions of dollars in contracts for private companies to operate immigration detention centers in California -- less than two weeks before a new state law takes effect to prohibit them. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in October to ban contracts for for-profit prisons starting Jan. 1. Supporters hoped the law would force U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to look elsewhere after current contracts expire.

The Pentagon is advising members of the military not to use consumer DNA kits, saying the information collected by private companies could pose a security risk, according to a memo co-signed by the Defense Department's top intelligence official.

Several thousand Muslims across Ethiopia in recent days have protested the burning of four mosques in the Amhara region. The Dec. 20 attacks in Motta town also targeted Muslim-owned businesses. Muslims have called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

The Pentagon fired-off a new prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched ballistic missile as part of a broader effort to increase medium-range attack options and further fortify deterrence efforts.

Thousands of people in typhoon-prone central Philippines have had their Christmas plans ruined after they were told to leave their homes as a severe tropical storm approaches.

The number of Syrians fleeing attacks in the country's northwestern Idlib province and heading toward Turkey has reached 120,000, a Turkish aid group said on Monday, adding it was setting up a camp for some of those uprooted.

Fewer than half of Christians from Gaza who sought Israeli permits to visit holy cities such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem at Christmas have so far had their applications granted, members of the small community and Palestinian officials said on Tuesday.

Israel announced on Sunday that it will allow Christians in the Gaza Strip to travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank for Christmas.

BBC

Russia has successfully tested a country-wide alternative to the global internet, its government has announced. Details of what the test involved were vague but, according to the Ministry of Communications, ordinary users did not notice any changes.

The Royal Navy says it has seized 11 "mailbag-sized" sacks of crystal meth in the Middle East, worth an estimated $4.2m. HMS Defender spotted the "suspicious" ship while patrolling the Arabian Sea for smugglers and traffickers.

WND

Tabatha Adams of Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of those people who rounded up some friends to make one woman's Christmas extra cheery. "I don't know if you have seen Shock and Clause". "What is 'Shock and Clause'? We meet for breakfast, you must bring a $100 Bill, we eat and pay the bill and the rest is a tip." "So if 10 go, that is a $1,000 and the bill is $150, the tip is $850. We trust the Universe to take us to the right person to be blessed."

Three former executives of a French telecommunications giant have been found guilty of creating a corporate culture so toxic that 35 of their employees were driven to suicide in the mid-2000s. The charge in the historic case: "harcelement moral institutionnel" or "institutional moral harassment".

As of Wednesday, the Seattle Times, the Pacific Northwest's paper of record, announced it would be capitalizing "Black" as it refers to a person of color. The change, they say, came out of shifting mores around race in America.

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