TRUMP-CHRISTMAS-THE LATEST The Latest: Trumps attend services at National Cathedral WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is attending worship services on Christmas Eve. Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, arrived at Washington National…
The Latest: Trumps attend services at National Cathedral
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is attending worship services on Christmas Eve.
Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, arrived at Washington National Cathedral for a late service on Monday night.
Trump most likely would have been attending Christmas services at church near his estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
But he scrapped plans to head to Florida for the holidays after parts of the government were forced to shut down indefinitely in a stalemate with Congress.
Trump wants $5.7 billion for a southern border wall. Democrats and some Republicans are opposed.
An icon of Christmas cheer went dark, some parks close
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Christmas with a partial government shutdown is having a limited but noticeable impact.
In Washington, the site of the national Christmas tree was locked off and the lights went out on the weekend, until they were restored as darkness fell on Christmas Eve. Across the country, some national parks are shut while others remain accessible with limited or no facilities.
Monday and Tuesday are federal holidays. After that, the effects of the shutdown are bound to be more deeply felt across the country.
VATICAN-CHRISTMAS EVE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Pope: Choose simplicity over Christmas greed
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is urging Christians to forgo the greed, hoarding and materialism of Christmas and to focus instead on its message of simplicity, charity and love.
Francis celebrated a Christmas Eve Mass on Monday night in St. Peter’s Basilica, opening a busy week for the pope that includes a Christmas Day message and blessing, a Dec. 26 prayer, New Year’s Eve vespers and a Jan. 1 Mass.
During his homily, Francis lamented that many people find meaning in possessions. He said: “An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when paradoxically a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive.”
Francis’ has focused on the world’s poor and downtrodden during his five-year papacy. The Catholic Church’s first Latin American pope has denounced the global financial system that he says make the rich richer at the expense of the poor.
NORTH KOREA-DETAINEE DEATH
US judge orders North Korea to pay $500M in student’s death
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ordered North Korea to pay more than $500 million in a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died shortly after being released from that country.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington ordered the payment on Monday.
Warmbier was a University of Virginia student who was visiting North Korea with a tour group when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 on suspicion of stealing a propaganda poster. He died in June 2017, shortly after he returned to the U.S. in a coma. His parents say he was tortured.
The judgment is largely a symbolic victory for now since there is no mechanism to force North Korea to pay.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-KEVIN SPACEY
Spacey posts bizarre video as assault charge is announced
BOSTON (AP) — Kevin Spacey has posted a video online in character as his “House of Cards” role in which he says “I’m not going to pay the price for things I didn’t do.”
The actor made the bizarre post Monday to YouTube and tweeted it shortly after a Massachusetts prosecutor announced he would face a charge in an alleged sexual assault in 2016.
It is unclear if Spacey is referring to the charge he faces in the three-minute monologue delivered in the voice of Frank Underwood, the character killed off in the Netflix series after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced.
Spacey is scheduled to be arraigned next month on a charge of indecent assault and battery on allegations he sexually assaulted the teenage son of a Boston television anchor in a Nantucket restaurant in July 2016.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe says Spacey is due in court Jan. 7.
Judge: Honduran mother can’t be deported without daughter
HOUSTON (AP) — A judge has ordered the U.S. government not to deport a Honduran woman without her 15-year-old daughter.
The two have been detained together for six months and fear being attacked if forced to return to Central America.
U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss issued the order Monday.
The mother and daughter are detained together in Dilley, Texas. While the teenager has a case for asylum pending, an immigration judge on Friday denied the mother’s request to reopen her immigration case.
The woman and teen say they came to the U.S. two years ago after gang members in Honduras held them at gunpoint and demanded they pay protection money.
Shalyn Fluharty, a lawyer for the two, says the teen has tried to take her own life at least once in detention.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman declined comment.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican officials say a husband-and-wife political power couple who were the current and ex-governors of Puebla state have died in what local media report was an aircraft crash on Christmas Eve.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has expressed his “deepest condolences” via Twitter to the family of Puebla Gov. Martha Erika Alonso and ex-Gov. Rafael Moreno Valle.
National Action Party president Marko Cortes tweets that he deeply regrets Monday’s accident in which they died. Both belonged to National Action.
Alonso took office as governor less than two weeks ago. Moreno Valle governed the central state from 2011 to 2017 and was currently a federal senator.
The Reforma newspaper reported that the small aircraft took off from Puebla’s eponymous capital city and crashed in Huejotzingo, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) away.
Somber Christmas, prayers in tsunami-hit Indonesian region
TANJUNG LESUNG, Indonesia (AP) — The Christmas holiday was somber with prayers for tsunami victims in the Indonesian region hit by waves that struck without warning Saturday night.
Markus Taekz said the Rahmat Pentecostal Church in the hard-hit area of Carita did not celebrate with joyous music.
Instead, he said only about 100 people showed up for the Christmas Eve service, usually attended by double that number, because many people had left the area for the capital, Jakarta, or other areas away from the disaster zone.
Noting the disaster that killed hundreds, he said, “Our celebration is full of grief.”
Indonesia is mostly Muslim with Christians, Hindus and other religions as well. Church leaders called on Christians to pray for victims of the tsunami.
Stealth Indonesia tsunami turns perfect night into nightmare
TANJUNG LESUNG, Indonesia (AP) — The tsunami that roared ashore in Indonesia, killing more than 370 people and injuring over 1,400, was particularly cruel.
It hit on a busy holiday weekend when many were enjoying the warm night breeze on the beach under a full moon. And unlike most big waves, which are typically portended by an earthquake’s violent shaking, this was a stealth attack.
There were no major ground convulsions, no sirens, no text messages.
A volcanic island rumbled as it has been doing for months before a giant chunk of it apparently broke free like a rock falling into a tub, silently unleashing a disaster.
Even in a disaster-prone country like Indonesia, survivors of Saturday’s tsunami said it seemed extra menacing because everything seemed perfect until it hit.