US says 2nd Guatemalan child dies in immigration custody
HOUSTON (AP) — An 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died in government custody in New Mexico early Tuesday, U.S. immigration authorities said, marking the second death of an immigrant child in detention this month.
The death came during an ongoing dispute over border security and with a partial government shutdown underway over President Donald Trump’s request for border wall funding.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the boy — identified by the Guatemalan consul in Phoenix as Felipe Gómez Alonzo — had shown “signs of potential illness” on Monday and was taken with his father to a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He was diagnosed with a cold and a fever, prescribed amoxicillin and ibuprofen, and released Monday afternoon after being held 90 minutes for observation, the agency said.
The boy was returned to the hospital Monday evening with nausea and vomiting and died there just after midnight, CBP said.
CBP has not yet confirmed when or where the father and son entered the United States or how long they were detained, saying only in its statement that the boy had been “previously apprehended” by its agents.
Indonesia asks people to avoid coast near erupting volcano
SUMUR, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities asked people near an island volcano to avoid the coast while eruptions and weather and sea conditions were being monitored for tsunami risks.
A tsunami that followed an eruption of Anak Krakatoa hit communities along the Sunda Strait on Saturday night, killing more than 420 people and displacing thousands. The eruption is believed to have set off a landslide on the volcano’s slopes, displacing the water that then slammed into Java and Sumatra islands.
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency asked people late Tuesday to stay at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the Sunda Strait coastline.
Agency’s head Dwikorita Karnawati said government agencies were monitoring Anak Krakatoa’s eruptions and that high waves and heavy rain were possible Wednesday.
“All these conditions could potentially cause landslides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trigger a tsunami,” she said at a news conference. She asked that communities remain vigilant but not panic.
7-year-old who spoke to Trump about Santa still believes
WASHINGTON (AP) — A 7-year-old girl who talked to President Donald Trump on Christmas Eve still left out milk and cookies for Santa despite the president telling her it was “marginal” for a child of her age to still believe in the jolly old elf.
Then again, Collman Lloyd of Lexington, South Carolina, says she had never heard the word “marginal” before.
Collman had called the NORAD Tracks Santa program Monday night to check on Santa’s journey delivering toys. In an interview with the Post and Courier of Charleston, she said the scientist who answered the NORAD phone asked her if she would like to speak to the president.
Six minutes later, Trump was on the line. “Are you still a believer in Santa?” Trump asked. When she responded, “Yes, sir,” the president added, “Because at 7, that’s marginal, right?”
Collman didn’t know what “marginal” meant and simply answered, “Yes, sir.” Trump closed by saying, “Well, you just enjoy yourself.”
Trump: ‘I can’t tell you when’ government will reopen
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that parts of the federal government will stay closed until Democrats agree to put up more walls along the U.S.-Mexico border to deter criminal elements. He said he’s open to calling the wall something else as long as he ends up with an actual wall.
In a Christmas Day appearance in the Oval Office, Trump issued a lengthy defense of his desire for a wall, saying it’s the only way to stop drugs and human traffickers from entering the country. In a nod to the political stakes he’s facing, Trump said he wants the wall by “election time” in 2020.
The promise of a border wall was a central component of Trump’s presidential campaign.
“I can’t tell you when the government’s going to be open. I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they’d like to call it,” Trump said, referring to Democrats who staunchly oppose walling off the border.
“I’ll call it whatever they want, but it’s all the same thing,” he told reporters after participating in a holiday video conference with representatives from all five branches of the military stationed in Alaska, Bahrain, Guam and Qatar.
Koreas hold groundbreaking ceremony for railway project
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for an aspirational project to modernize North Korean railways and roads and connect them with the South.
The ceremony at the North Korean border town of Kaesong came weeks after the Koreas conducted a joint survey on the northern railway sections they hope to someday link with the South.
The ambitious project is among a variety of peace gestures agreed between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in as they push ahead with engagement amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.
But beyond on-site reviews and ceremonies, the Koreas cannot move the project much further along without the removal of U.S.-led sanctions against the North.
During his three summits with Moon and a meeting with President Donald Trump in June, Kim signed vague statements pledging a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing how and when it would occur. But followup nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for months over the sequencing of the denuclearization that Washington wants and the removal of international sanctions desired by Pyongyang.
AP FACT CHECK: Trump confuses with claims of new border wall
HOUSTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s claims over Christmas that he had awarded 115 miles of new border wall construction in Texas appear to confuse work that’s already funded and underway.
Trump tweeted on Monday, “I am in the Oval Office & just gave out a 115 mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas.”
He reiterated on Tuesday that he’s moving forward on construction, even as the government remains partially shutdown over his insistence that Congress approve more money for a border wall.
Neither the White House nor the Department of Homeland Security responded to follow-up questions on Monday or Tuesday, but here’s what’s known about contracts and construction of the wall.
GoFundMe says donors in alleged homeless scam refunded
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — GoFundMe says it has refunded everyone who contributed to a campaign involving a homeless veteran from Philadelphia who prosecutors allege schemed with a New Jersey couple to scam donors out of more than $400,000.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Tuesday that “all donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded” and the organization is cooperating fully with law enforcement.
Burlington County prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that Johnny Bobbitt conspired with Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend at the time, Mark D’Amico, to concoct a feel-good story about Bobbitt giving McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of gas. They raised $400,000, which authorities say was spent on luxury items and casino trips.
Whithorne said campaigns involving misuse “make up less than one tenth of one percent” of all GoFundMe campaigns, but such behavior “is unacceptable” and “has consequences.”
“We have a zero tolerance policy for fraudulent behavior,” he said. “If fraud occurs, donors get refunded and we work with law enforcement officials to recover the money.”
Pope’s Christmas wish: World fraternity despite differences
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis offered a Christmas wish for fraternity among people of different nations, cultures, faiths, races or ideas, describing the world’s differences as a richness, not a danger, and championing the rights of religious minorities.
His plea Tuesday for stronger bonds among peoples came as nationalism and a suspicion of migrants are gaining traction across much of the globe.
The long war in Syria, famine amid warfare in Yemen, social strife in Venezuela and Nicaragua, conflicts in Ukraine and tensions on the Korean Peninsula were among the pope’s concerns in his Christmas Day message, which he read from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Addressing some 50,000 tourists, pilgrims and Romans who flocked to St. Peter’s Square on a mild, sunny day, Francis said the universal message of Christmas is that “God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.”
“This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity,” Francis said in the traditional papal “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message. Without fraternity, he said, “even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.” He called for that spirit among individuals of “every nation and culture” as well as among people “with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another.”
The half-dozen times sports made you smile in 2018
Sports contributed plenty of the same old agita this year — bad bets, empty boasts, taunts, tiffs and scuffles, plus the occasional riot — but its fair share of wry smiles, too.
There were courageous losers, random acts of kindness and a handful of wins handled with such grace it made you want to get up and dance.
Whoever called March mad never dreamed a 98-year-old nun would steal the show at the Final Four. In Mississippi, a homecoming queen swapped her tiara for a helmet and wound up kicking the game-winner for her high school team. In Akron, Ohio, LeBron James went back to the future and unveiled a state-of-the-art school for at-risk kids, promising the kind of support he yearned for in the same town as a youngster himself.
And as feel-good moments go, this might have been the most hopeful development of all: teddy-bear throwing became “a thing,” stretching from the west side of Canada to the heart of Europe.
Here are six of the most heartwarming moments of 2018:
Queen Elizabeth II riffs on wisdom, family’s busy year
SANDRINGHAM, England (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II wove personal reflections into the latest edition of her annual Christmas message, saying she hoped her long life brought a measure of wisdom and noting her grandchildren’s contributions to Britain’s royal family.
The 92-year-old queen, the world’s longest-reigning living monarch, also included the customary tribute to military personnel and wishes for world peace in the message, which was pre-recorded at Buckingham Palace and televised Tuesday.
“Some cultures believe a long life brings wisdom,” Elizabeth said in the recording. “I’d like to think so. Perhaps part of that wisdom is to recognize some of life’s baffling paradoxes, such as the way human beings have a huge propensity for good and yet a capacity for evil.”
On a lighter note, the queen listed the House of Windsor’s 2018 milestones with the same unabashed pride of someone writing their yearly Christmas letter for friends and far-flung relatives.
“It’s been a busy year for my family, with two weddings and two babies, and another child expected soon. It helps to keep a grandmother well occupied,” Elizabeth said, not forgetting to mention her own firstborn,
Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.