2018-12-31

Headlines:

From Al Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC News, Reuters, The Globe and Mail, New York Times, and Wired

China factory activity shrinks for the first time in 2 years – (Associated Press)
BEIJING (AP) — China’s factory activity shrank in December for the first time in more than two years, an official survey showed Monday, intensifying pressure on Beijing to reverse an economic slowdown as it enters trade talks with the Trump administration. Th…

Outgoing defense secretary urges employees to “hold fast” – (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — On his final day as secretary of defense, Jim Mattis on Monday urged all Pentagon employees, military and civilian, to “hold fast” in defense of the country. Mattis, who submitted his resignation on Dec. 20 and was in effect fired by Preside…

Putin tells Trump that Moscow is open for dialogue – (Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in a New Year letter on Sunday that Moscow was ready for dialogue on a “wide-ranging agenda”, the Kremlin said following a series of failed attempts to hold a new summit.

Police fire teargas, live ammunition at protesters in Khartoum – (Al Jazeera English)
Omar al-Bashir due to address the nation to mark independence day, as protesters continue to call for his resignation.

Trump insists an ‘all concrete Wall’ was never abandoned – (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite public equivocations by three confidants, President Donald Trump is insisting he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED,” tweeted Trump, whose demand for congressional funding to…

Israel protests after Jordanian spokeswoman steps on its flag – (Reuters)
Israel protested to Jordan on Sunday after the spokeswoman for the government in Amman was photographed stepping on the Israeli flag during a meeting with trade unionists.

Revelers say hello to 2019, goodbye to an unsettling year – (Associated Press)
Revelers around the globe are bidding a weary farewell Monday to an unsettling year filled with challenges to many of the world’s most basic institutions, including politics, trade, alliances and religion. Here’s a look at how people are ushering in the new y…

Houthis stole food ‘from the mouths’ of hungry Yemenis: UN – (Al Jazeera English)
World Food Program says food and aid meant for starving Yemenis has been ‘diverted’ and sold on black market.

Mayweather blitzes Tenshin in Japanese boxing exhibition – (Reuters)
Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement briefly to score a lucrative victory in an exhibition boxing match in Japan over kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa that will do more for his bank balance than it did for the reputation of combat sports.

NASA spacecraft hurtles toward tiny, icy world beyond Pluto – (Associated Press)
LAUREL, Md. (AP) — A tiny, icy world a billion miles beyond Pluto is getting a New Year’s Day visitor. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to fly past a mysterious object nicknamed Ultima Thule (TOO-lee) at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday. It will become the most distan…

Turkish TV shows purported transfer of Khashoggi remains – (Reuters)
A Turkish pro-government television channel has broadcast video showing men carrying suitcases purportedly containing the remains of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi into the residence of his country’s consul general in Istanbul.

Trump laments he’s getting bad press for US exit from Syria – (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump complained on Monday that he’s getting “bad press” for his decision to pull American troops out of Syria, saying he’s making good on his campaign promise against U.S. involvement in “never ending wars.” Earlier this mo…

Democratic Sen. Warren takes step to challenge Trump in 2020 – (Reuters)
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a liberal firebrand and Wall Street antagonist, took the first step toward a 2020 White House run on Monday, becoming the most prominent Democrat to announce a challenge to Republican President Donald Trump.

Republican Senator Graham says Trump receptive to shutdown deal idea – (Reuters)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday he was optimistic that Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump could reach a deal to end a government shutdown that includes border wall funding and legal status for some illegal immigrants.

Trade progress boosts Wall Street at end of rough year – (Reuters)
U.S. stock indexes jumped on Monday in a broad-based rally driven by growth sectors, as signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute set up Wall Street to end its worst year in a decade on an upbeat note.

Russia detains U.S. citizen in Moscow for suspected spying – (Reuters)
Russia’s FSB state security service said on Monday it had detained an American citizen suspected of spying in Moscow and had opened a criminal case against him.

Corruption robs Yemenis of food as country nears famine – (Associated Press)
TAIZ, Yemen (AP) — Day after day Nabil al-Hakimi, a humanitarian official in Taiz, one of Yemen’s largest cities, went to work feeling he had a “mountain” on his shoulders. Billions of dollars in food and other foreign aid was coming into his war-ravaged home…

Trump slows down Syria troop withdrawal – (BBC News)
The US president confirms reports that the withdrawal of US forces will be slower than he promised.

Sydney kicks off global 2019 parties with dazzling spectacle – (Al Jazeera English)
Party atmosphere sweeps across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the clock ticks past midnight.

Four dead, dozens trapped under rubble after Russian gas blast: agencies – (Reuters)
As many as 40 people could still be trapped in the rubble of a Russian apartment block that partially collapsed in an explosion on Monday, killing at least four people, news agencies reported.

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From various sources

Belgium region’s kosher slaughter ban goes into effect – (The Jerusalem Post)
The ban should serve as “a wake-up call” to Jewish communities across Europe to the necessity of building ties with national governments, a senior European rabbi said.

Fatah: Hamas has arrested 500 of our men in Gaza – (The Jerusalem Post)
Fatah officials in the West Bank on Monday accused supporters of deposed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan of helping Hamas in its crackdown on their members.

Diplomatic source: Operation against Hezbollah prevented war in Lebanon – (The Jerusalem Post)
“Israel will continue to oppose the Iranian presence in Syria,” the source said.

NFL News, Videos, Scores, Teams, Standings, Stats – (Fox Sports)
Find live NFL scores, pro football player & team news, NFL videos, rumors, stats, standings, team schedules & fantasy football games on FOX Sports.

– (Fox Sports)

Elizabeth Warren Announces She’s Officially Thinking About Running For President – (Buzzfeed)
Warren is the first Democrat with a national profile to take concrete steps toward a run, and announced an exploratory committee early Monday.

House Dems plan to bring up five-week funding bill to end shutdown – (The Hill)
House Democrats plan to bring up legislation to end the partial government shutdown that would extend current spending levels for border security through February 8, a senior Democratic aide said Monday.

Sausage fans, beware: Close to 12,000 pounds recalled due to possible metal bits inside – (USA Today)
R. L. Zeigler Co. of Selma, Alabama, is recalling some packages of its ready-to-eat Red Hot chicken and pork sausages.

China factory activity shrinks for the first time in 2 years – (Associated Press)
BEIJING (AP) — China’s factory activity shrank in December for the first time in more than two years, an official survey showed Monday, intensifying pressure on Beijing to reverse an economic slowdown as it enters trade talks with the Trump administration. Th…

SpaceX Starship Assembled Body Within Days As Teased by Elon Musk – (Next Big Future)
Elon Musk indicated there would be cool pictures of the demo Starship in around 4 weeks of a December 8th twee

NFL coach firings: With six more moves since Sunday, a quarter of NFL teams are looking for a coach – (USA Today)
A number of NFL coaches were fired either Sunday night or Monday morning and now a quarter of NFL teams will be looking for a new coach in 2019.

Louis C.K. mocks Parkland survivors, trans pronouns in leaked stand-up audio – (Entertainment Weekly)
“You’re not interesting because you went to a school where kids got shot,” the comedian can be heard saying.

Ozil among Arsenal quartet to be assessed for Fulham clash – (FourFourTwo)
After missing the heavy defeat to Liverpool, Mesut Ozil will be assessed for Arsenal’s home game with Fulham.

Real Madrid’s Mariano likely to miss Villarreal trip with back injury – (FourFourTwo)
Real Madrid look likely to be without Mariano Diaz again at Villarreal on Thursday after he suffered “irritation of the sciatic nerve”.

Trump attacks critics of his Syria policy as ‘failed generals,’ says moving ‘slowly’ on pullout – (USA Today)
Critics say Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Syria will give ISIS terrorists a chance to regroup.

The Verge 2018 tech report card: Headphones – (The Verge)
Headphones continue to be one of the fastest improving category of technology, which can be a blessing and a curse for consumers.

How to get your Instagram Best Nine – the top posts you’ve done this year – (Mirror)
Instagram Best Nine time is here where the Top Nine app lets you see which of your posts garnered the most attention

Outgoing defense secretary urges employees to “hold fast” – (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — On his final day as secretary of defense, Jim Mattis on Monday urged all Pentagon employees, military and civilian, to “hold fast” in defense of the country. Mattis, who submitted his resignation on Dec. 20 and was in effect fired by Preside…

Jimmy Osmond diagnosed with stroke after panto performance – (The Guardian (UK))
US singer was taken to hospital after performing in Peter Pan in Birmingham last week

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All about Trump

China factory activity shrinks for the first time in 2 years – (Associated Press)
BEIJING (AP) — China’s factory activity shrank in December for the first time in more than two years, an official survey showed Monday, intensifying pressure on Beijing to reverse an economic slowdown as it enters trade talks with the Trump administration. Th…

Trump attacks critics of his Syria policy as ‘failed generals,’ says moving ‘slowly’ on pullout – (USA Today)
Critics say Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Syria will give ISIS terrorists a chance to regroup.

Putin tells Trump that Moscow is open for dialogue – (Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in a New Year letter on Sunday that Moscow was ready for dialogue on a “wide-ranging agenda”, the Kremlin said following a series of failed attempts to hold a new summit.

Trump insists an ‘all concrete Wall’ was never abandoned – (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite public equivocations by three confidants, President Donald Trump is insisting he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED,” tweeted Trump, whose demand for congressional funding to…

Conway reacts to John Kelly’s ‘it’s not a wall’ remark – CNN Video – (CNN)
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defends President Trump’s border security measures after former White House chief of staff John Kelly contradicted Trump’s wall demands in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Fox News stars Kennedy, Pete Hegseth to host ‘All-American New Year’ with exclusive President Trump interview – (Fox News)
Fox News Channel’s “All-American New Year” will be co-hosted by Kennedy and Pete Hegseth on Monday night live from Times Square in New York City. FNC’s Griff Jenkins and Carley Shimkus will kick off the festivities at 8 p.m. ET with a two-hour special, “Count…

MPs blast hope for ‘misogynist egomaniac’ Trump to visit UK weeks after Brexit – (Mirror)
Donald Trump is “not worthy to walk in the footsteps” of previous Presidents, furious MPs have said

‘Hold fast’: Mattis bids farewell to the Pentagon – (RTE)
Former US defence secretary Jim Mattis bade farewell to the Pentagon, telling the US military to “hold fast” after he quit over a series of fundamental differences with President Donald Trump.

Trump laments he’s getting bad press for US exit from Syria – (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump complained on Monday that he’s getting “bad press” for his decision to pull American troops out of Syria, saying he’s making good on his campaign promise against U.S. involvement in “never ending wars.” Earlier this mo…

Annual list of words to ban wants to get rid of Trump’s favorite word in 2019 – (Mashable)
Who among us has not used one or more of these words?

Democratic Sen. Warren takes step to challenge Trump in 2020 – (Reuters)
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a liberal firebrand and Wall Street antagonist, took the first step toward a 2020 White House run on Monday, becoming the most prominent Democrat to announce a challenge to Republican President Donald Trump.

Analysis | Lindsey Graham’s description of Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan sounds suspiciously like a plan to stay in Syria – (The Washington Post)
In the Republican senator’s retelling, the president’s new Syria plan seems a lot like the old plans.

Republican Senator Graham says Trump receptive to shutdown deal idea – (Reuters)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday he was optimistic that Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump could reach a deal to end a government shutdown that includes border wall funding and legal status for some illegal immigrants.

Trump slows Syria pullout but claims ‘hero’ status – (The Guardian (UK))
Troops ‘fighting Isis remnants’ and ‘slowly’ being sent home, tweets US president

Melania Trump in 2018: Battling affair reports, embracing politics and declining popularity – (Newsweek)
“When Melania Trump speaks with her own independent voice, the public rallies to her side,” said an expert on first ladies, Lauren Wright. “And when her remarks start to sound politicized or more like the party line, support for her wanes.”

Jim Mattis Implores Defense Department To Defend The Constitution In Farewell Memo – (The Huffington Post)
Mattis was forced out of his job early after his resignation letter angered President Donald Trump.

Senator Elizabeth Warren plans run for US presidency in 2020 – (The Irish Times)
Massachusetts Democrat is first major candidate to confirm plan to challenge Trump

Trump compares border wall to ‘Wall around’ Obama home – (NBC News)
In a tweet, President Donald Trump compares border wall to a barrier around the Washington home of former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama.

Trump to appear on Fox News for New Year’s Eve special – (The Hill)
Fox News announced Monday its plans to present an exclusive interview with President Trump during the network’s New Year’s Eve special, with “Fox & Friends Weekend” host Pete Hegseth conducting the discussion.

Opinion | Democrats must wage war against Trump’s lies. Here’s what they can do. – (The Washington Post)
Here’s how Democrats can use their new House majority to expose Trump’s lies and beat back his war on truth.

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