GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-THE LATEST
The Latest: Democrats seek equal airtime after Trump speech
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say Democrats should be given equal airtime after TV networks air President Donald Trump’s scheduled address to the nation Tuesday night.
The Democratic leaders released a joint statement Monday, a day before Trump plans to brief the nation on his plans for a U.S.-Mexico wall and the status of the partial government shutdown, now in its 17th day. He plans to argue Tuesday that the “crisis” at the border requires the border wall he’s demanding to end the shutdown.
Pelosi and Schumer say if Trump’s past statements are an indicator, his address will be “full of malice and misinformation.”
Trump is seeking $5.6 billion for the border wall, which he had insisted Mexico would pay for.
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-TAX REFUNDS
Trump official says tax refunds will go out on time
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Trump administration official says that tax refunds will go out on time during the partial government shutdown.
With the shutdown in its third week there had been mounting concerns over an IRS delay in sending refunds.
But Russell Vought, acting director of the White House budget office, says customary rules will be changed to make funding available to pay them. He told reporters Monday that refunds will go out as normal.
The IRS might recall a large number of furloughed employees to process returns — probably without pay.
Concern has been growing that hundreds of billions of dollars in refunds would be delayed until the shutdown ends because funding for them wouldn’t be available. Vought said, however, that an “indefinite appropriation” was available to pay the refunds.
The Latest: NKorea leader’s motorcade leaves Beijing station
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A long motorcade including motorcycle outrides reserved for state leaders has left a Beijing train station shortly after the arrival of a train believed to be carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim’s his arrival Tuesday had been openly announced by both sides.
The train consisting of 20 to 25 cars — most of whose windows were blacked-out — pulled by two locomotives arrived in Beijing’s North Station along tracks lined by police and paramilitary troops. That followed the arrival of a three-car advance North Korean train.
Kim’s trip comes after U.S. and North Korean officials are believed to have met in Vietnam to discuss the location of a second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.
AMAZON ECLIPSES MICROSOFT
Amazon emerges as most valuable US firm amid market turmoil
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Amazon has eclipsed Microsoft as the most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S. as a see-sawing stock market continues to reshuffle corporate America’s pecking order.
The shift occurred Monday after Amazon’s shares rose 3 percent to close at $1,629.51 and lifted the e-commerce leader’s market value to $797 billion. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s stock edged up by less than 1 percent to finish at $102.06, leaving the computer software maker’s value at $784 billion.
The Latest: Nissan’s Ghosn to tell Japan court he’s innocent
TOKYO (AP) — By Yuri Kageyama
The former chairman of Japan’s Nissan Carlos Ghosn will assert his innocence in a Tokyo courtroom Tuesday, according to his prepared statement that addresses each of the allegations that led to his Nov. 19 arrest.
The statement, which was to be delivered by Ghosn at his hearing, was released to The Associated Press through a person close to Ghosn and his family. They shared the information on condition anonymity due to its confidential nature.
In the statement Ghosn said the investment losses he was being accused of stemmed from his having to be paid in yen and he had asked Nissan to temporarily take on the collateral, and the company suffered no losses.
Ghosn stressed he had dedicated himself to Nissan.
Haslam grants clemency to woman convicted as teen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has granted clemency to a woman serving a life sentence for murder who says she was a victim of sex trafficking.
Haslam said Monday that he would show mercy to the now 30-year-old Cyntoia Brown by releasing her Aug. 7. She will remain on parole for 10 years.
Brown said in a statement that she will do everything to justify Haslam’s faith in her and thanked her family for their support.
Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, and other celebrities rallied for Brown as she fought her life sentence for the 2004 murder of a man who had picked her up for sex. She was 16 years old at the time. Her lawyers say she was a sex-trafficking victim and feared for her life.
KALAMAZOO SHOOTINGS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Gunman’s family laments ‘senseless tragedy’
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Relatives of a man who pleaded guilty to killing six people in southwestern Michigan say their “hearts are broken” by the suffering of his victims.
Jason Dalton’s family and former wife released a statement Monday, expressing condolences to the victims and their families. Dalton’s family says “nothing that we can say is adequate.”
Dalton pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder, suddenly ending jury selection at his trial in Kalamazoo. He randomly shot eight people while driving around for Uber in February 2016. Two people survived.
Dalton faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison on Feb. 5. His family calls the case a “senseless tragedy.”
Ginsburg missing Supreme Court arguments for 1st time
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments for the first time in more than 25 years as she recuperates from cancer surgery last month.
Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said Monday the 85-year-old Ginsburg is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung odn Dec. 21.
Ginsburg was discharged from a New York hospital on Dec. 25.
Ginsburg had two earlier cancer surgeries in 1999 and 2009 that did not cause her to miss court sessions. She also has broken ribs on at least two occasions.
The court said doctors found the growths on Ginsburg’s lung when she was being treated for fractured ribs she suffered in a fall at her office on Nov. 7.
CFP-NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-THE LATEST
The Latest: Clemson takes 44-16 lead over Tide into fourth
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence threw his third touchdown pass of the game to give Clemson a 44-16 lead going into the fourth quarter of the national championship game.
The Tigers scored 30 straight points after falling behind 16-14 and are one quarter away from winning their second national title in the past three seasons under coach Dabo Swinney.
Lawrence has thrown for 347 yards, with 153 of them going to fellow freshman Justyn Ross. Ross has 301 yards receiving in two playoff games, including a spectacular one-handed grab that helped set up the latest touchdown.
Alabama has never lost a game by more than 14 points since coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007.
BC-SAUDI-RUNAWAY WOMAN-THE LATEST
The Latest: Saudi woman leaves Bangkok airport hotel room
BANGKOK (AP) — An 18-year-old Saudi woman who was stopped in Bangkok as she was trying to travel to Australia for asylum to escape alleged abuse by her family has left her airport hotel room for temporary admission into Thailand.
The head of Thailand’s immigration police said Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was allowed to temporarily enter Thailand on Monday under the protection of the U.N. refugee agency, which was expected to take at least five to seven days to evaluate her case and claims for asylum status.
Immigration police released photos of Alqunun after she left the hotel room where she had been holed up. Where she would stay in the Thai capital was not announced.
Alqunun had stayed in the room while sending out desperate pleas for help over social media. She began posting on Twitter late Saturday after her passport was taken away when she arrived in Bangkok on a flight from Kuwait.
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