Dec. 28, 2018

REUTERS

President Trump threatened to close the U.S. southern border if Congress does not agree to provide $5 billion in taxpayer funds for his promised wall along the border with Mexico.

More Americans blame President Donald Trump than congressional Democrats for the partial U.S. government shutdown, as the closure stretched into its sixth day with no end in sight.

Both chambers of the U.S. Congress convened for only a few minutes late on Thursday, but took no steps to end a partial federal government shutdown before adjourning until next week.

As a partial shutdown of the U.S. government stretched into its sixth day, the agency that oversees the federal workforce offered advice on staving off creditors to the estimated 800,000 employees who could be affected by a lapse in pay.

The Trump administration has decided it cannot authorize new flood insurance policies, citing the partial shutdown of the federal government due to a budget impasse in Congress and potentially putting thousands of home sales in limbo.

As moves toward peace pick up in Afghanistan, the Taliban are trying to show they have changed since the brutal days of the 1990s when they banned music and girls' education and carried out public executions in Kabul's football stadium.

Islamist militants and Nigerian troops have been fighting around a fishing town on Lake Chad as the insurgents step up attacks in the run-up to a presidential election in which security is a campaign issue, the army and residents said.

Moscow and London have reached an agreement to return some staff to their respective embassies after they expelled dozens of diplomats early this year.

President Trump's declaration in a phone call with Tayyip Erdogan that he was pulling U.S. troops from Syria has stunned Turkey and left it scrambling to respond to the changing battlefield on its southern border.

Contracts to buy previously owned homes fell unexpectedly in November, the National Association of Realtors said on Friday, the latest sign of weakness in the U.S. housing market.

China has opened the door to imports of rice from the United States for the first time ever in what analysts took to signal a warming of relations between the world's two biggest economies after a frosty year marked by tensions and tit-for-tat tariffs.

The personal information of nearly 1,000 North Koreans who defected to South Korea has been leaked after unknown hackers got access to a resettlement agency's database, the South Korean Unification Ministry said on Friday.

AP Top Stories

According to a new study, 10.7 million undocumented immigrants lived in the U.S. as of 2016. That's a 13 percent drop from the peak in 2007. Of all undocumented immigrants, more than a million have temporary protection from deportation under two programs that may soon be rescinded. Nearly 700,000 are DACA recipients. And over 300,000 have Temporary Protected Status, given to visitors from countries where natural disaster or violence makes it difficult to return.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron demanded on Friday that Russia release Ukrainian sailors who were seized along with their ships last month.

The number of people evacuated after Indonesia's deadly tsunami has nearly doubled to some 40,000 while more than 7,000 were injured in the disaster, officials said Friday, as they trimmed the official death toll. Authorities said 426 people had been killed -- down from a previous tally of 430 -- with double-counting by different districts blamed for the change. Two dozen people remain missing almost a week after the disaster.

Bosnian prosecutors on Friday charged 13 former fighters in two separate cases of war crimes against Serb civilians and prisoners during the country's 1992-95 ethnic war.

The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus Thursday, the latest sign of efforts to bring the Syrian government back into the Arab fold.

It is extremely likely that Iran and North Korea will acquire hypersonic missiles, according to a senior U.S. general.

The Trump administration said Wednesday it will keep open through early 2019 a tent city in Texas that now holds more than 2,000 migrant teenagers, and also will increase the number of beds at another temporary detention center for children in Florida.

BBC

Syrian pro-government forces have entered the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years, an army spokesman has said. A Kurdish militia controlling the area withdrew and invited Syrian forces to retake the city amid fears that Turkish troops would launch a new offensive.

The rarest bird in the world - a species of duck called the Madagascar pochard - has been given a new home in time for the New Year. An international team of researchers released 21 of the birds at a lake in the north of Madagascar.

Russia has finished building a high-tech security fence more than 37 miles long, along annexed Crimea's border with mainland Ukraine.

WND

The Trump White House finds itself under scrutiny for the death of a seven-year-old Guatemalan migrant girl who was taken into custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but 18 previous migrant deaths during the Obama years went nearly ignored by the administration's critics in Congress.

A newly elected member of Congress, Rashida Tlaib of an urban district in Minnesota, reportedly has revealed that she has chosen to be sworn in as a member on an English translation of the Quran that once was owned by Thomas Jefferson, the third president.

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