Today's Intel

Dec. 17, 2018

REUTERS

President Donald Trump early on Monday again criticized the Federal Reserve for its current series of interest-rate increases, days before the U.S. central bank is expected to push up interest rates again.

President Donald Trump and Congress, embroiled in a feud over his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, have only five days to reach a deal before a partial government shutdown could leave about a quarter of the federal workforce without paychecks.

A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was unconstitutional based on its mandate requiring that people buy health insurance, a decision in a case that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump on Saturday hailed a court decision against Obamacare as "a great ruling for our country," while a U.S. government official said the decision by a Texas judge would have no immediate impact on health coverage.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has aggressively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections, will be leaving his post at the end of the year, President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday, the latest high-profile departure from his administration.

Turkey may start a new military operation in Syria at any moment, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, adding that the White House has responded positively to Ankara's plans to push into territory where its forces have not previously operated.

The United States came under fire from China and the European Union on Monday, accused by both major trading partners of taking protectionist measures and bringing the WTO to its knees.

Alphabet's, Google is investing more than $1 billion on a new campus in New York, becoming the second major technology company after Amazon to pick America's financial capital to expand and create thousands of jobs.

As U.S. bank stocks tanked this month over fears of an impending recession, industry executives downplayed concerns arguing that the economy is in great shape.

AP Top Stories

Several thousand people marched through Hungary's capital Sunday in a fourth day of demonstrations against new laws that critics say restrict workers' rights and undermine democracy.

Nicaraguan police have raided the offices of an opposition daily and then stripped human rights and activist groups' permission to operate, those targeted said Saturday.

A historic council of Orthodox bishops in Kiev has created a new Ukrainian church independent from Russia, President Petro Poroshenko announced on Saturday.

In Marrakech this month more than 180 countries will affirm the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. What began with great optimism as an open, transparent, and inclusive process that would include all of the world's states has been clouded by global political controversy over the compact and a series of last-minute withdrawals.

The Taliban say they are holding "another" meeting on Monday with U.S. officials, this time in the United Arab Emirates and also involving Saudi, Pakistani and Emirati representatives in the latest attempt to bring a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 17-year war.

A car bomb killed at least nine people including five civilians near a pro-Turkey rebel post in the northern Syrian city of Afrin on Sunday, a British-based war monitor said.

A drive to impose more sanctions on Russia for its capture of Ukrainian navy vessels in November seems to be gaining traction, the United States envoy to the Ukraine conflict, Kurt Volker, told an online briefing on Monday.

Law enforcement officials from up to 45 states have sought assistance from Pennsylvania authorities in pursuit of alleged misconduct by Catholic priests and related efforts to conceal that abuse by the church, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

Democratic Republic of Congo goes to the polls this week in elections which could see the country emerge from 17 years of conflict-ridden rule under controversial President Joseph Kabila. Twenty-one candidates are running to replace Kabila.

The US military said it had carried out six air strikes in Somalia which killed a total of 62 al-Shabab extremists.

BBC

The use of electronic cigarettes by US teenagers has dramatically risen this year, a new report says. The percentage of 12th grade students, typically aged 17-18, who reported vaping nicotine rose to 21% from 11% in 2017, a survey by the University of Michigan said. Researchers say the trend is reversing declines in the number of adolescents who use nicotine.

Russia allegedly used every major social media platform to influence the 2016 US election, a report claims. Research is expected to say YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and PayPal - as well as Facebook and Twitter - were leveraged to spread propaganda.

Cambodia has seized more than 3.2 tonnes of African ivory hidden in a storage container from Mozambique, a customs official has said.

A gay Singaporean man has won a landmark court case which will allow him to adopt a child he fathered through a surrogate.

WND

The US Navy has acknowledged that its longstanding operations in Haifa may change once a Chinese firm takes over the civilian port in 2021, prompting Israel's national security cabinet to revisit the arrangement.

A recent study from Merrill Lynch found that 79 percent of parents continue to serve as the "family bank" for their grown-up children, paying for big-ticket items like college and weddings, but also for smaller, everyday expenses. Parents of adult children contribute $500 billion annually - twice the amount that they invest in their own retirement accounts.

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