CHILD DEAD-BORDER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Guatemalan official identifies boy, 8, who died
HOUSTON (AP) — A Guatemalan official says he was told by the father of an 8-year-old boy who died in U.S. custody that the two had been traveling from their home in the Central American country to Tennessee, and that his son had been in “perfect health.”
Oscar Padilla, the Guatemalan consul in Phoenix, also confirmed Tuesday that the boy’s name was Felipe Gomez Alonzo.
The consul says he interviewed the father, 47-year-old Agustin Gomez, by telephone.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the boy died shortly after midnight on Christmas.
CBP says the boy was taken Monday with his father to a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he was diagnosed with a cold and a fever, and released.
The agency says the boy was returned to the hospital Monday evening with nausea and vomiting. He died hours later.
This story has been corrected to show that the first name of the boy who died is Felipe, not Felix.
Indonesia asks people to avoid coast near erupting volcano
SUMUR, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities are asking people near an island volcano to avoid the coast while eruptions and weather and sea conditions are 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 Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency asked people to stay at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the Sunda Strait coastline.
Agency’s head Dwikorita Karnawati said high waves and heavy rains are possible Wednesday and the wall of the volcano’s crater is prone to collapse.
At a news conference late Tuesday, she said weather and continuing eruptions “could potentially cause landslides at the cliffs of the crater into the sea, and we fear that that could trigger a tsunami.”
The Latest: Girl who talked to Trump still believes in Santa
WASHINGTON (AP) — A 7-year-old who talked to President Donald Trump still left out milk and cookies for Santa. That’s after Trump told her it was “marginal” for someone her age to still believe.
Then again, Collman Lloyd of Lexington, South Carolina, told the Post and Courier of Charleston that she’d never heard the word “marginal” before.
Collman had called the NORAD Tracks Santa program on Christmas Eve. Six minutes later, Trump was on the line. His chat with Collman was initially reported as being with a boy named Coleman.
Trump asked, “Are you still a believer in Santa?” She responded, “Yes, sir,” and Trump added, “Because at 7, that’s marginal, right?” She replied, “Yes sir.”
Marginal or not, the next morning the food was gone and presents were under the tree.
Trump: ‘Nothing new’ on shutdown, ‘need border security’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Both sides in the fight over President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico have given a little on the money. What they can’t seem to agree on is what it should be spent on.
And until Trump and Democrats who oppose building a wall can figure that out, parts of the government will stay closed.
Christmas marked the fourth day of the partial government shutdown with no end in sight.
Most lawmakers fled the capital over the weekend to be with family. Trump remained at the White House after scrapping plans to spend Christmas at his Florida estate.
Asked for a shutdown update during an appearance at the White House on Monday, Trump said: “Nothing new. Nothing new on the shutdown. Nothing new, except we need border security.”
Koreas hold groundbreaking ceremony for railway project
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean officials have traveled to North Korea by train to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for an aspirational project to modernize North Korean railways and roads and connect them with the South.
Wednesday’s ceremony at the North Korean border town of Kaesong comes 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 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.
HELPFUL HOMELESS MAN
GoFundMe says donors to homeless man refunded
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — GoFundMe says it has issued refunds to 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 $400,000.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Tuesday that “all donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded.” He said the organization is cooperating fully with law enforcement.
Burlington County prosecutors allege that Johnny Bobbitt conspired with Katelyn McClure and her boyfriend at the time, Mark D’Amico, to concoct a feel-good story about Bobbitt’s giving McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of gas. Prosecutors say the couple actually spent the money on luxury items and casino trips. McClure has alleged she was duped by D’Amico, whose lawyer denied the allegations.
The Latest: Pope’s Christmas wish is “fraternity”
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has offered his Christmas wish for fraternity among people of different faiths, races or ideas, urging the world to put aside “partisan interests” to find a political solution to wars in Syria and Yemen and conflicts in Ukraine and on the Korean peninsula.
Addressing tens of thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Romans in St. Peter’s Square, Francis says Tuesday that the universal message of Christmas is that “God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.”
Without fraternity, the pope says “even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.” He adds that “our differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness.”
Francis made his appeal as trends toward nationalism, fueling suspicion of migrants and refugees, have gained traction in much of the developed world.
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates Christmas before annual speech
SANDRINGHAM, England (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II was cheered by onlookers when she and other senior royals arrived at a Christmas church service on the grounds of one of her country estates.
The 92-year-old queen arrived by car Tuesday morning while younger royals walked from her grand country house in Sandringham to nearby St. Mary Magdalene Church.
Prince Charles led the way, followed by his sons: Prince William and his wife Catherine and Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who is expecting their first child in the spring.
Many other members of the royal family were also in attendance. Britain’s royals usually exchange gifts on Christmas Eve and mark Christmas day with the church service and a traditional lunch.
The queen’s pre-recorded annual message to Britain and the Commonwealth will be broadcast in the afternoon.
Japan says it will leave IWC to resume commercial whaling
TOKYO (AP) — Japan says it is leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial hunts but says it will no longer go to the Antarctic to hunt.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that Japan’s commercial whaling will be limited to its territorial and economic waters.
The IWC imposed a commercial moratorium in the 1980s due to a dwindling whale population. Japan switched to what it calls research whaling and says stocks have recovered enough to resume commercial hunt. The research program was criticized as a cover for commercial hunting as the meat is sold on the market at home.
Japan has said the IWC has become more like an opponent of whaling than an organization aiming for sustainability.
Japan has cut back on its catch as Japanese consume less whale meat.
Amnesty says 37 killed in Sudan’s anti-government protests
CAIRO (AP) — Amnesty International says it has “credible reports” that Sudanese police have killed 37 protesters in clashes during anti-government demonstrations that erupted last week across much of the country.
In a statement late Monday, the London-based rights group said the use of lethal force by security forces against unarmed protesters was “extremely troubling” given that more protests were planned Tuesday.
A coalition of independent professional unions has called for a march on the presidential palace in Khartoum later Tuesday to submit a petition demanding that longtime autocrat Omar Bashir step down. Two of Sudan’s largest political parties called on their supporters to take part.
The protests began last Wednesday, initially over rising prices and shortages of food and fuel, but later escalated into calls for Bashir to go.
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