Shutdown will extend through Christmas
The partial government shutdown could go on for many more days – perhaps weeks – but the White House indicated Sunday it had backed down on its main sticking point: It was requesting less than $5 billion for border wall funding. Still, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney didn’t indicate what that number was. “There’s a chance this could go into the next Congress” beginning Jan. 3, Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday. But parties couldn’t vote on a new deal even if they were inclined. The Senate adjourned Saturday for the holidays with no plans to return until Thursday, ensuring the shutdown will drag on for several more days (at least).
Parts of the federal government shut down Saturday – for the third time this year – with nine federal departments and several smaller agencies putting more than 380,000 federal workers on furlough and forcing another 420,000 employees to work without pay.
Top envoy fighting ISIS quits over Trump’s Syria move
President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria drew the resignation of Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy fighting ISIS, news reports Saturday said. McGurk’s decision Friday came one day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned over Trump’s abrupt decision to remove special operations troops training local forces to fight ISIS. McGurk, appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, had been expected to retire in February, the Associated Press and CBS reported. The departure of Mattis further ruptured Trump’s bromance with military brass and may scare off qualified successors, former senior officials and military experts said.
Hundreds die as tsunami rocks Indonesian coast
The death toll surpassed 200 and was rising Sunday after a tsunami rocked a coastal area of Indonesia, sweeping away hundreds of homes and hotels. The tsunami was likely triggered by an eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait, scientists said. The hardest hit area, the Pandeglang District on the island of Java, is a tourist mecca, and many of the dead were visiting area beaches for the holidays. Also killed were some members of a local rock band who were performing at an outdoor concert. Footage posted on social media showed the band’s stage collapsing as the tsunami hit.
Parkland survivor mocked by Fox host finds Ivy League comeback
David Hogg, the gun control activist and Parkland high school massacre survivor who was razzed by Fox News host Laura Ingraham after being rejected by several colleges, has found the perfect comeback: He’s going to Harvard. Hogg, a founding member of Never Again MSD, a gun control advocacy group, announced his plans Saturday on Twitter. “Thank you all for the well wishes, I’ll be attending Harvard in the fall with a planned major in Political Science,” Hogg tweeted. Hogg, 18, rose to prominence with his steely account of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where a former student killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day.
18-year-old fatally shot by LSU football player during robbery
Two Louisiana State University football players were attempting to sell electronics in Baton Rouge when one of them apparently shot and killed an 18-year-old as he attempted an armed robbery, police said Sunday morning. Kobe Johnson, the 18-year-old who died at the scene Saturday afternoon, “pulled out a weapon and demanded their belongings” while in a truck in which LSU players Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jared Small also sat, according to a statement from Baton Rouge Police. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva expressed concern for the athletes. “They have been involved in a traumatic incident,” he said in a statement.