The Latest: Trump greets US troops in Germany
AL-ASAD AIRBASE, Iraq (AP) — President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, have greeted U.S. troops in Germany. It was the president’s second visit to U.S. troops abroad in the last day. He stopped at Ramstein Air Force Base on his way back from Iraq.
Trump slowly made his way down a rope line at the Ramstein base, shaking hands, chatting and posing for photos. Some service members held up “Make America Great Again” caps for Trump to sign.
The president’s earlier visit to a base in western Iraq was his first to U.S. forces in harm’s way overseas. Both visits were unannounced.
The Latest: Dim prospect for ending shutdown soon
WASHINGTON (AP) — The partial government shutdown appears no closer to resolution.
Lawmakers are away from Washington for the holidays and have been told they will get 24 hours’ notice before having to return for a vote. And although the Senate is slated to come into session Thursday afternoon, few senators are expected to be around for it. After a weekend and two holiday days for federal employees, Wednesday was the first regularly scheduled workday affected by the shutdown.
The federal budget impasse is over President Donald Trump’s push for money to build a border wall. The standoff with Democrats has been hardening and threatens to carry on into January.
American man first to solo across Antarctica unaided
An Oregon man has become the first person to traverse Antarctica alone without any assistance.
Colin O’Brady, of Portland, finished the 932-mile (1,500-kilometer) journey across the continent in 54 days, lugging his supplies on a sled as he skied in bone-chilling temperatures.
O’Brady documented the entire journey on his Instagram page , and says it came to an end Wednesday after he covered the last 77 miles (124 kilometers) in one big push to the finish line.
His wife, Jenna Besaw, says she and O’Brady’s family stayed up all night watching his progress using an online tracker and that he called as soon as he finished to tell them “I did it!”
Though others have traversed Antarctica, they either had assistance with reinforced supplies or kites that helped propel them forward.
IMMIGRATION-TEEN DETENTION CAMP
AP Exclusive: Migrant teen tent city staying open into 2019
The Trump administration says it will keep a tent city holding more than 2,000 migrant teenagers open through early 2019.
The announcement was made Wednesday about the Tornillo facility, which opened in June in an isolated corner of the Texas desert for up to 360 children.
It later expanded into a guarded detention camp that on Christmas held some 2,300 largely Central American boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in more than 150 canvas tents.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Mark Weber says Tornillo has stopped receiving new referrals of migrant youth.
Originally scheduled to close Dec. 31, Weber says Tornillo will now shut down after the new year. The government also plans to house more teens at another temporary shelter in Florida.
The Latest: Israeli official says Israel carried out strike
JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli security official has confirmed that Israel carried out an overnight airstrike in Syria, saying a series of Iranian targets were hit.
The official says the airstrike hit Iranian storage and logistic targets being used to transfer weapons to the Hezbollah militant group. The official said Israel also took out a Syrian anti-aircraft battery near Damascus that fired at the Israeli warplanes.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity under standard security protocols. The Israeli military has not commented on the incident.
Earlier Wednesday, Russia criticized the airstrikes, saying they had endangered civilian flights. The Israeli official said, however, that Israel alerted Russia about the airstrikes ahead of time.
Israel has previously confirmed carrying out scores of airstrikes in Syria, mostly believed to be aimed at suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah.
-By Josef Federman
Indonesia widens exclusion zone around island volcano
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia has widened the no-go zone around an island volcano that triggered a tsunami on the weekend, killing at least 430 people in Sumatra and Java.
The country’s volcanology agency said Thursday that the Anak Krakatau volcano’s alert status had been raised to the second highest level and the exclusion zone more than doubled to a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius.
The eruption on Saturday evening caused part of the island in the Sunda Strait to collapse into the sea, apparently generating tsunami waves of more than 2 meters (6 1/2 feet).
The government has warned Sunda Strait communities to stay a kilometer (less than a mile) away from the coastline because of the risk of another tsunami.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Serena voted AP Female Athlete of the Year for 5th time
Serena Williams has been voted The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time.
Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after a remarkable return to tennis. That followed four surgeries she needed after developing blood clots following the birth of her daughter on Sept. 1, 2017.
Williams is one AP honor away from six-time winner Babe Didrikson Zaharias, whose honors included one for track and five for golf.
Williams received 93 points in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors announced Wednesday, while gymnast Simone Biles was second with 68. Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale was third, while Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and swimmer Katie Ledecky, the 2017 winner, rounded out the top five.
All of those players won a title or titles in 2018, while Williams had to settle for just coming close a couple of times.
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