Jan. 17, 2019

REUTERS

The U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump's call for Congress to fund a wall he promised to build on the U.S.- Mexican border is threatening another campaign pledge to make rules easier to navigate for banks and corporations.

Democrats in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday were moving ahead with legislation to prevent the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, following a court decision this week blocking inclusion of such information.

Zimbabwean police plan to charge activist pastor Evan Mawarire with subverting the government, a crime which carries up to 20 years in jail on conviction, after violent protests this week in which three people were killed and scores injured, lawyers said.

The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should continue to underpin the economy. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 213,000 for the week ended Jan. 12.

AP Top Stories

With the U.S. government shutdown now in its fourth week, states have begun taking steps to cushion the blow for federal workers who have been tossed out of work or forced to work without pay. Measures range from special arrangements for accessing unemployment benefits to an interest-free loan backstopped by state coffers.

According to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than $13 billion in duties imposed by the Trump administration were assessed on imported goods as of Dec. 18. Actual collections could lag and be lower because of refunds and other factors, but Treasury Department reports show receipts from all customs duties have risen sharply since the tariffs took effect.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani thanked Pakistan on Thursday for its help in pushing forward peace talks with the Taliban as diplomatic efforts continued to keep the process on track, Pakistani officials said.

An American teacher captured by Kurdish-led forces in Syria acknowledged in an interview aired Tuesday that he was drawn to the Islamic State movement but said he did not fight.

A US citizen was among those killed in a powerful truck bomb attack against a heavily fortified foreign compound in Kabul this week, officials said Wednesday, as the government continued investigating the blast site. The Taliban have claimed responsibility after the bomb detonated near the Green Village compound in east Kabul on Monday. Afghan authorities have said at least four people were killed and 113 wounded.

Disgraced former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick is almost certain to be defrocked in the next few weeks over allegations against him, including sexual abuse of minors, two Vatican sources said. Last July, McCarrick became the first Catholic prelate in nearly 100 years to lose the title of cardinal.

One of the world's most successful brands committed ideological hara-kiri this week. Recognized around the world as a symbol of manly civility for more than a century, Gillette will now be remembered as the company that did itself in by sacrificing a massive consumer base at the altar of progressivism.

Newly obtained documents reveal that the United States has been training coalition military personnel from the United Arab Emirates for the air war in Yemen.

Representatives Steven Palazzo of Mississippi and Andy Harris of Maryland, both members of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the Border Bonds for America Act of 2019 -- a law that would allow Americans to buy such securities from the U.S. The money would be put in a trust fund and used just to build a wall along the nearly 2,000 mile border.

The U.S. is stepping up its involvement in the debate over reforming the World Trade Organization and questioned the Geneva-based body's policies that allow China to benefit from rules meant to bolster poorer nations.

Qatar donated 68 armored vehicles to Somalia on Thursday, Qatar's defense ministry said, a sign that Doha is pushing for influence in the country with the role of its Gulf rival, the United Arab Emirates, under strain.

U.S. Border Patrol agents in New Mexico say a group of nearly 250 immigrants are in custody after turning themselves in to authorities at the Antelope Wells Port of Entry.

BBC

One of North Korea's top negotiators is on his way to Washington to meet US officials ahead of a possible second summit between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. South Korean reports say that Kim Yong-chol, flying from Beijing, is carrying another letter from Mr. Kim to Mr. Trump.

A 21-year-old man from the US state of Georgia has been arrested over an alleged terror plot to attack the White House and Statue of Liberty.

Second Lady Karen Pence, the wife of the US vice-president, will return to teaching art at a school that requires employees to oppose LGBT lifestyles. The school in Springfield, Virginia, bars teachers from engaging in or condoning "homosexual or lesbian sexual activity" and "transgender identity".

WND

There are approximately 1,800 campaigns to raise money for those affected by the stalemate on the fundraising website GoFundMe, according to GoFundMe spokesperson Katherine Cichy. The campaigns have raised over $400,000 total, Cichy said.

A new poll released on the eve of the annual March for Life protest finds that 41 percent of millennials, the largest group of American voters, are not in lock step with Democrats on abortion and their support for the landmark Roe vs. Wade case legalizing abortion.

Christians around the world suffered a huge increase in persecution last year - with around 30 million more people being targeted than in the previous year.

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