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10 things you need to know today !

1. Trump invites lawmakers to White House meeting as shutdown continues

Hasil gambar untuk Donald Trump rejects Democratic funding plan, wishes Happy New Year to 'haters'

President Trump on Tuesday denounced a proposal by House Democrats to end the partial government shutdown without allocating the $5 billion he is demanding for a wall on the Mexican border. “The problem is, without a Wall there can be no real Border Security,” Trump tweeted, “and our Country must finally have a Strong and Secure Southern Border!” Trump invited a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the White House to discuss border security, tweeting, “Let’s make a deal!” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the impasse gave Democrats, who take control of the House in the new Congress this week, “a great opportunity to show how we will govern responsibly & quickly pass our plan to end the irresponsible #TrumpShutdown.”– just the first sign of things to come in our new Democratic Majority committed to working #ForThePeople,” Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted in promoting her plan.

Arguing that President Donald Trump must “come to his senses,”House Democrats offered a plan Monday to end the government shutdown and give Congress more time to negotiate a deal with the White House over border funding.

The plan includes full-year funding for shuttered departments except for the Department of Homeland Security. It also calls for temporary funding for DHS through Feb. 8, putting off for several weeks the major sticking point that caused the shutdown.

From the White House, Trump issued mocking season’s greetings to his critics.



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Later in the day, Trump issued a more sedate tweet: “Happy New Year!”

Trump taunted Pelosi, who is likely to be elected House speaker for the new Democratic majority. “Border Security and the Wall ‘thing’ and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker!” Trump tweeted. “Let’s make a deal?”

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The Trump administration invited congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on border security, including plans for the wall.

Pelosi and the Democrats said they already have a plan and will pass it when they take charge of the House of Representatives after it convenes Thursday.

The proposal includes full-year funding for shuttered departments except for the Department of Homeland Security, which handles immigration and border security.

The Democrats called for temporary funding of the DHS through Feb. 8 as Trump and Congress negotiate a long-term plan, though many Democrats oppose any federal funding for the wall.

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“The President is using the #TrumpShutdown to try to force an expensive & ineffective wall upon the American people, but Democrats have offered two bills which separate the arguments over the wall from the government shutdown,” Pelosi tweeted.

Though White House officials said they would not comment on any plan until Congress sends them one, Trump has said in tweets he would oppose any plan that lacks money for a wall.

Monday, the president tweeted that “the Democrats will probably submit a Bill, being cute as always, which gives everything away but gives NOTHING to Border Security, namely the Wall. You see, without the Wall there can be no Border Security.”

Though Democrats will have the votes in the House to pass their plan, its fate in the Republican-run Senate is uncertain at best.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the GOP Senate “is not going to send something to the president that he won’t sign.”

[USA Today, NPR]

2. Border agents fire tear gas at migrants trying to breach border

U.S. border agents fired tear gas across a border fence into Tijuana, Mexico, early Tuesday to drive back about 150 migrants trying to illegally cross into America. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the gas was aimed at people throwing rocks. One official said the gas targeted a “violent mob.” “No agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away,” the agency said in a statement. An Associated Press photographer saw several rounds of gas affecting migrants in Mexico near Tijuana’s beach, some of them women and children. The AP said nobody threw rocks until after the U.S. agents fired tear gas.

The agency said agents saw “toddler sized children” being passed over concertina wire with difficulty. It said its agents could not assist the children because of the rocks being thrown. Agents responded with smoke, pepper spray and tear gas, it said. The AP journalist also saw plastic pellets fired by U.S. agents.

The agency said 25 migrants were detained while others crawled back into Mexico through a hole under the fence. Customs and Border Protection said that under its use of force policy the incident would be reviewed by its Office of Professional Responsibility.

Migrants who spoke with AP said they arrived in Tijuana last month with the caravan from Honduras. The caravan, which left Honduras in mid-October, grew to more than 6,000 members during its month-and-a-half trek north. It has been a constant target of President Donald Trump, who referred to it frequently in the run-up to U.S. mid-term elections in November.

Many of the migrants are waiting in Tijuana for a chance to apply for asylum in the U.S., but there was a backlog before the caravan’s arrival and the wait is expected to be many months. Others have found jobs in Mexico and tried to settle there.

In a previous incident, U.S. agents launched tear gas across the border after some migrants tried to breach the border following a peaceful march in Tijuana on Nov. 26. Hundreds of migrants who were downwind of the gas were affected.

Trump is currently locked in a fight with congressional Democrats over funding for the border wall that he wants to build. The stalemate has led to a partial government shutdown.

[The Associated Press, Reuters]

3. Romney slams Trump’s leadership, character in op-ed

Hasil gambar untuk Mitt Romney: The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, will be sworn in as the junior senator from Utah on Thursday, but he made an early mark with a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday night criticizing President Trump’s leadership, especially in the “qualities of character” department and on the world stage. Romney said he will support some of Trump’s policies and oppose others. He said he wouldn’t “comment on every tweet or fault,” but vowed to “speak out” against “significant statements or actions” he perceives to be “divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest, or destructive to democratic institutions.” Recent polling shows a large majority of Utah voters want Sen. Romney to stand up to Trump.

The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. The departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down.

It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choicefor the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.

It is not that all of the president’s policies have been misguided. He was right to align U.S. corporate taxeswith those of global competitors, to strip out excessive regulations, to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices, to reform criminal justice and to appoint conservative judges. These are policies mainstream Republicans have promoted for years. But policies and appointments are only a part of a presidency.

To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.

The world is also watching. America has long been looked to for leadership. Our economic and military strength was part of that, of course, but our enduring commitment to principled conduct in foreign relations, and to the rights of all people to freedom and equal justice, was even more esteemed. Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world. In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent.

This comes at a very unfortunate time. Several allies in Europe are experiencing political upheaval. Several former Soviet satellite states are rethinking their commitment to democracy. Some Asian nations, such as the Philippines, lean increasingly toward China, which advances to rival our economy and our military. The alternative to U.S. world leadership offered by China and Russia is autocratic, corrupt and brutal.

The world needs American leadership, and it is in America’s interest to provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world — and an America — with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace.

To reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home. That project begins, of course, with the highest office once again acting to inspire and unite us. It includes political parties promoting policies that strengthen us rather than promote tribalism by exploiting fear and resentment. Our leaders must defend our vital institutions despite their inevitable failings: a free press, the rule of law, strong churches, and responsible corporations and unions.

[The Washington Post, The Atlantic]

4. Trump attacks McChrystal in response to retired general’s criticism

Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he believes President Donald Trump is "immoral" and doesn't "tell the truth" in an ABC interview on Dec. 30, 2018.

President Trump on Tuesday fired back against harsh criticism from retired four-star Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, tweeting that the former U.S. commander in Afghanistan was “fired like a dog by Obama” and was “known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!” The remarks, which came in one of Trump’s first tweets of 2019, came after McChrystal said on ABC News’ This Week that he believed Trump was dishonest and immoral. McChrystal told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that “it’s important for me to work for people who I think are basically honest, who tell the truth as best they know it.” Raddatz asked whether McChrystal thinks Trump is a liar, and he replied: “I don’t think he tells the truth.” Raddatz asked whether McChrystal believes Trump is “immoral,” and he said he thinks he is.

“What I would ask every American to do is, again, stand in front of that mirror and say, what are we about?” McChrystal continued. “Am I really willing to throw away or ignore some of the things that people do that are pretty unacceptable normally just because they accomplish certain other things that we might like. If we want to be governed by someone we wouldn’t do a business deal with because their background is so shady, if we’re willing to do that then that’s in conflict with who I think we are.””And so I think it’s necessary in those times to take a stand,” he said.

McChrystal also criticized Trump in November for his attacks on retired Adm. William McRaven, the leader of the Navy Seal unit that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, who also has leveled sharp criticism at the President. Trump called the four-star admiral “a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer” and said it would “have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that.”

“The President is simply wrong,” McChrystal told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “Newsroom.” “He’s uninformed, and he is pushing an idea that I think is not helpful. But I really think it’s symptomatic of the crisis in leadership that we have in the nation today.”

McChrystal wrote in a November column for CNN that “America is facing a leadership crisis,” calling Trump “just the most bombastic example of this phenomenon, which has been playing out for decades.”

McRaven responded to Trump’s attack on McChrystal with a statement to CNN on Tuesday.”Stan McChrystal is one of the great generals of this generation and the finest officer I ever served with,” McRaven said. “He is a deep strategic thinker, tactically brilliant, with unparalleled personal courage. His leadership of special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan unquestionably saved the lives of thousands of American and allied troops, as well as countless civilians. No general I know has given more in the service of this country.”

In his Sunday interview, McChrystal also reacted to James Mattis’ resignation from the Trump administration as secretary of defense earlier this month. Mattis wrote in his resignation letter that Trump had the right to have a defense secretary whose views “better aligned” with the President’s.”If we have someone who is as selfless and as committed as Jim Mattis, resigns his position walking away from all the responsibility he feels for every service member in our forces, and he does so in a public way like that, we ought to stop and say, okay, why did he do it?” McChrystal said. “We ought to ask what kind of commander in chief he had that Jim Mattis, that the good Marine, felt he had to walk away.”

McChrystal led US forces in Afghanistan under President Barack Obama, but resigned in 2010 over comments he and his top officers made in a Rolling Stone article that belittled other administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. Obama replaced him with Army Gen. David Petraeus.

Obama agreed to waive a Pentagon rule and let McChrystal retire at his full four-star rank. At the time, McChrystal was short of the time needed to retire at his pay grade.

[CNN, USA Today]

5. Top Pentagon spokeswoman resigns after facing months-long investigation

Hasil gambar untuk Top Pentagon spokeswoman resigns amid internal investigation

Top Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White has abruptly resigned after being investigated for months over allegations she mistreated employees, a department spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. White announced she was stepping down within hours of the departure of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who decided to leave shortly after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria and a sharp reduction of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me by this administration to serve alongside Secretary Mattis, our service members, and all the civilians who support them,” White tweeted. “It has been my honor and privilege. Stay safe and God bless.”

A Defense Department spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed White had resigned from her position as assistant to the Secretary of Defense for public affairs. Charles E. Summers, Jr., replaced White, becoming “acting” assistant to the defense secretary, according to the Pentagon.

Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive and the No. 2 man at the Pentagon, became acting secretary Monday night, replacing Mattis who resigned after disagreements with President Trump.

It is not clear whether White’s departure was related to reports of the probe by the inspector general to determine whether she mistreated staff members or retaliated against them after they raised concerns.

The Pentagon’s media operations office Tuesday did not respond to emailed questions about the status of the investigation.

Six current and former Pentagon officials had said at least two complaints were filed against White. The probe focused in part on how staff members carried out personal tasks for her, such as retrieving her dry cleaning, getting her lunch and driving her to work during a snowstorm.

At least five staff members had been abruptly transferred or removed from their jobs since White, a Trump Administration political appointee, took over in April 2017.

Others said they had questions about the moves but kept quiet for fear of becoming a target themselves. They spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, citing those concerns.

White also sent a farewell message to Defense Department public affairs personnel Monday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have submitted my letter of resignation to Secretary Mattis. I am grateful to the administration for giving me the opportunity to serve alongside Secretary Mattis, the brave men and women in uniform, and all of the civilians who support them,” the message read.Mattis departed Monday night with none of the pageantry typically associated with the position. In a short message to U.S. troops, he said: “Hold fast.”

[The Washington Post]

6. China’s Xi says force still an option to resolve Taiwan issue

Hasil gambar untuk President Xi Jinping of China spoke about unification with Taiwan

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Wednesday that his country reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control. Xi, in his first major speech about the contested island democracy Beijing views as a breakaway province, said that peaceful “reunification” must remain the goal in addressing what China’s Communist Party calls the “Taiwan issue.” Xi has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016. Xi says the best way to resolve the issue would be to require the acceptance of Taiwan as part of China under the “one country, two systems” model of autonomy China now observes in Hong Kong.

China translates the word “tong yi” as “reunification”, but it can also be translated as “unification”, a term in English preferred by supporters of Taiwan independence who point out the Communist government has never ruled Taiwan and so it cannot be “reunified”.

The vast majority of Taiwan’s people are clearly aware that Taiwan independence would lead to a “grave disaster”, Xi told an audience that included Taiwan business people and senior party officials.

“Chinese people don’t attack other Chinese people. We are willing to use the greatest sincerity and expend the greatest hard work to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification,” Xi said.

“We do not promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option to use all necessary measures” to achieve this goal and prevent Taiwan independence, he said. This, though, was aimed at foreign forces who sought to interfere and the tiny minority of Taiwan independence forces and their activities, Xi said without elaborating in what was likely a reference to the United States, Taiwan’s strongest backer.

Speaking to reporters, Tsai said Taiwan would never accept “one country, two systems” and was proud of its democratic way of life.

“The vast majority in Taiwan resolutely oppose ‘one country, two systems’, This is the ‘Taiwan consensus’,” she said. “We call on China to bravely step forward for democracy, for only by doing so can it truly understand the people of Taiwan’s thinking and insistence.”

Xi reiterated that China was willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push the political process – stalled by China since Tsai took office – as long as they accept the “one China” principle.

Underscoring China’s nervousness about U.S. support in particular for Taiwan, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Taiwan, including arms sales.

[Reuters, The New York Times]

7. Death toll from Philippines landslides and flooding rises to 85

General view of a flooded area in the town of Baao in Camarines Sur province on December 30, 2018.

The death toll from landslides and floods in the central Philippines rose to 85 as rescuers slowly reached isolated communities, authorities said Wednesday. Most of the victims died when their homes were destroyed by landslides cause by several days of heavy rain. Another 20 people were still unaccounted for in the flooding, which was triggered by a tropical depression that weakened into a low-pressure system before leaving the Philippines on Sunday. Officials declared three provinces to be under a “state of calamity” due to the storm’s heavy rains. The designation gave them access to emergency funds to deal with the aftermath.

Officials put three provinces under a “state of calamity” to give them access to emergency funds.

Bicol, with a population of 5.8 million, was the hardest hit, with 68 killed in intense rains and landslides. Damage to agriculture in Bicol, which produces rice and corn, was estimated at 342 million pesos ($6.5 million).

Rescuers, including the police and military, used heavy-lifting equipment to clear roads leading to landslide sites and entered flooded communities using rubber boats.

“The sun is already out, with occasional light rains. We hope floods will subside,” Ronna Monzon, a member of the operations personnel at the disaster agency in Bicol, told Reuters.

About 20 tropical cyclones hit the Philippines every year, with destroyed crops and infrastructure taking a toll on human lives and weighing down one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.


8. Washington bans assault rifle sales to anyone under 21

Image: Semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Washington, on Oct. 2, 2018.

In an effort to curb gun violence, Washington on Tuesday became the latest state to ban anyone under age 21 from buying a semi-automatic assault-style rifle. The state’s voters passed the rule as part of a sweeping firearms measure in November. Gun-rights advocates already are challenging the ballot initiative’s restrictions in court. The initiative also tightens background checks. The age restriction took effect on Jan. 1, but the rest of the initiative becomes law on July 1. Kristen Ellingboe, a spokeswoman for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said the initiative was a response to mass shootings. “We’ve seen that assault rifles are the weapon of choice for mass shootings, and when they’re used, more people are killed and injured,” Ellingboe said.

The federal lawsuit says the measure violates the Second and 14th amendments of the Constitution as well as gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are firearms dealers in Spokane and Vancouver, a 19-year-old competitive shooter, a 19-year-old in the Army Reserves, a 20-year-old recreational shooter, the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he “looks forward to representing the people of the state of Washington in court against the NRA.”

“The gun lobby is trying to thwart the will of nearly 60 percent of Washingtonian voters who supported common sense gun reform in our state,” he said in an email.

The full measure, when it goes into effect later this year, will expand the background check process to ensure that vetting for rifle purchases is the same as for buying pistols.

Now, people in Washington who buy long guns are run through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Background checks for handgun sales are done by local law enforcement agencies that can access NICS as well as more detailed records that might expose mental health issues or harder-to-find criminal records. And you must be 21 to purchase a pistol.

“This will update Washington state law so the requirements to purchase semi-automatic assault rifle will match handguns,” Ellingboe said.

In most states, including over the border in Idaho and Oregon, you must be 18 to buy an assault rifle. But Republican-dominant Florida passed a law after a school shooting to increase the age limit to 21.

Nikolas Cruz was 18 when he legally bought the assault rifle he used to kill 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last February.

Four other states — Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and New York — also prohibit anyone under 21 from buying all firearms.

Workman of Second Amendment Foundation says Washington’s measure will take away firearms from law-abiding residents who can easily pass multiple background checks. It will impair public safety and embolden criminals while placing restrictions on people who already legally own semi-automatic rifles, Workman said.

[The Associated Press]

9. Netflix pulls comedy show episode in Saudi Arabia after complaint

Hasil gambar untuk Netflix removes Hasan Minhaj comedy episode after Saudi demand

Netflix confirmed Wednesday that it has pulled the second episode of Daily Show alumnus Hasan Minhaj’s new topical comedy show, Patriot Act, from its streaming service in Saudi Arabia following complaints from the kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission. “We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law,” Netflix said in a statement, referring to Saudi Arabia’s cyber-crime statute. In the episode, Minhaj criticizes Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, among other things. The episode is still available on YouTube in Saudi Arabia.

The Netflix spokesperson added that the Saudi government had not asked the company to remove the clips from YouTube, and it had not done so.

“The authorities have previously used anti cyber-crime laws to silence dissidents, creating an environment of fear for those who dare to speak up in Saudi Arabia,” Amnesty’s Middle East director of campaigns Samah Hadid said.

“By bowing to the Saudi Arabian authorities’ demands, Netflix is in danger of facilitating the Kingdom’s zero-tolerance policy on freedom of expression and assisting the authorities in denying people’s right to freely access information,” Hadid said in a statement.

[BBC News, Reuters]

10. Roger Federer and Serena Williams meet on court for first time

Tennis greats Roger Federer and Serena Williams faced off for the first time Tuesday, with Federer coming out on top in Switzerland’s 4-2, 4-3 (3) win against Williams’ U.S. team in a mixed doubles decider at the Hopman Cup. “I was nervous returning (Williams’ serve).

People talk about her serve so much and I see why it is such a wonderful serve because you just can’t read it,” Federer said. “It was so fun,” said Williams. “This is super cool that we get to do it at such a pinnacle point of our careers.” The two tennis stars, both 37, have a combined 43 Grand Slam singles titles.

Defending champion Switzerland will qualify for Saturday’s final if it beats Greece on Thursday in Group B. The United States, which lost to Greece on Monday, can’t now advance.

Serena Williams

The much-hyped contest quickly lived up to its billing with Federer almost running down Williams’ smash into the open court. Williams and Federer served strongly and were unable to return any of each other’s serves in the first set.

Federer’s sublime touch at the net proved decisive as he moved closer to a record third Hopman Cup title. Williams grabbed at her right shoulder on several occasions late in the second set but played down any injury concern. “It was such a quick turnaround, I didn’t have enough time to reload the cannon. It’s totally normal,” she said. Earlier, Federer beat Tiafoe 6-4, 6-1 in the men’s singles before Williams’ 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Bencic.

Williams started fast in the women’s singles against Bencic — with an early break to storm to a 3-0 lead — before an error-strewn performance ensued as Bencic recovered to win the opener.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion fought back in a tight second set and captured the pivotal break in the 10th game. A flustered Bencic slammed her racket on the court as the match leveled and she never seriously threatened in the decider.

Roger Federer

Federer was made to work during a tough first set before overwhelming the 20-year-old Tiafoe and taking control by winning seven straight games.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion needed just 57 minutes to claim his fourth straight victory over the rising American player.

Switzerland swept Britain in its opener when Federer had a masterclass win over British player Cameron Norrie in his opening match. Federer has lost just seven games in his first two matches of the round-robin tournament.

Federer’s appearances at the past two Hopman Cups laid the groundwork for successful Australian Open campaigns.

[The Associated Press, The New York Times]

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