President Donald Trump is battling on multiple fronts with major developments on US foreign policy in Syria, the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, a falling stock market, and a government shutdown.
- source Win McNamee/Getty Images
- The biggest news this weekend was about the partial US government shutdown.
- President Donald Trump also announced Defense Secretary James Mattis will leave his position by New Year’s.
- Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin called top bankers on Sunday following a tumultuous month for US markets.
- A tsunami hit Indonesia, killing over 200 people and injuring at least 800.
- Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg announced he’s going to Harvard University next year.
The weekend before Christmas was eventful in Washington, with the US government entering a partial shutdown after President Donald Trump couldn’t reach a deal with Congress to pass a spending bill. He demanded billions to fund the wall he wants along the US-Mexico border.
Here are the news stories you may have missed this weekend, December 22-23.
The US government shut down at midnight EST on Friday.
The US Capitol during the 2013 government shutdown.
- source Jewel Samad/Getty Images
- Trump says he’s working with Democrats during the government shutdown, but his border security meeting only included Republicans.
- Trump’s incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says Mexico won’t “technically” pay for a border wall: “You and I both know that it cannot work exactly like that.”
- Mulvaney also said it’s “possible” that the shutdown would stretch into 2019, and accused Congressional Democrats of dragging their feet on the government shutdown.
- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina praised Trump’s refusal to compromise over border wall funding: “Mr. President, dig in.”
- Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie compared Trump to “a 72-year-old relative” who always thinks they’re right, advising Mulvaney keep his expectations in check as he takes over as chief of staff.
- Luckily, kids can still track Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve using the US military’s NORAD Santa Tracker despite the shutdown.
After Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced he was resigning, Trump fast-tracked his end date.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and President Donald Trump meet with military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on October 23, 2018.
- source Win McNamee/Getty Images
- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ last day in the White House has been bumped up from February 28 to January 1, Trump tweeted Sunday.
- Patrick Shanahan, Mattis’ deputy, will take over as the acting defense chief. The former Boeing executive is nicknamed “Mr. Fix-It”.
- And after an incredible career of service, people who served alongside him shared what Mattis is really like.
Top US official leading fight against ISIS resigns with scathing letter calling Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal a “complete reversal” of US policy.
Brett McGurk has stepped down in response to the president’s new and controversial about turn in regions of the Middle East.
- source Getty
- Brett McGurk, the top US official leading the coalition fight against ISIS, resigned on Friday in protest of Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria.
- McGurk told staff in an email that Trump’s move came as a “shock” and a “complete reversal” of US policy.
- “It left our coalition partners confused and our fighting partners bewildered,” McGurk wrote in the email, which The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi reported brought some staffers to tears.
- McGurk, the special presidential envoy, was planning to retire in February, but sped up his departure as a result of the president’s controversial and unexpected decision to pull all 2,000 US troops out of the war-torn Middle Eastern nation, CBS News reported on Saturday.
Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin called top bankers on Sunday following a tumultuous month for US markets.
- The US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin said he spoke on the phone Sunday with top US bankers in a move seen to ease the wracked nerves of increasingly anxious financial markets.
- “Today I convened individual calls with the CEOs of the nation’s six largest banks,” he tweeted.
- Mnuchin says the CEOs indicated that they’re in good condition to maintain the markets and their everyday functioning.
- As stocks hurtle toward a crash, one area of the market has stayed reassuringly strong – and it may end up be a saving grace for investors: emerging-market equities.
A tsunami hit Indonesia, killing over 200 people and injuring at least 800.
Residents sit inside a mosque as they evacuated following high waves and the eruption of Anak Krakatau volcano at Labuan district in Pandeglang regency, Banten province, Indonesia, December 22, 2018.
- source Antara Foto/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas via Reuters
- At least 280 people have been killed and 843 injured in Indonesia after a tsunami struck coastal areas along the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra on Saturday night, according to the country’s National Agency for Disaster Management.
- Many more people are missing, and Indonesian officials warned the death toll is likely to rise as the tsunami hit without warning.
- The tsunami was reportedly caused by volcanic activity on the island of Anak Krakatau.
- A wall of water up to 5 meters high inundated populated coastlines around 9:30 p.m. local time as resorts and towns welcomed regional holiday makers, leaving scenes of devastation along both the western coast of Java and the southern coast of Sumatra, Reuters reported.
- Shocking footage also shows the moment when Indonesia’s tsunami hit a rock concert and swept away the band and audience.
Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg announced he’s going to Harvard University next year.
- The Parkland school shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg has been accepted into Harvard University.
- Hogg, whose activism has made him a lightning rod for criticism from the political right, received a score of 1270 out of 1600 on the SAT, according to TMZ.
- The bottom 25% of students admitted had an average score of 1460, so his reported score has sparked a debate over whether Harvard should have let him in, and how useful SAT scores are.
- Hogg took a gap year after graduating high school in June to focus on March For Our Lives instead of going directly to college.
Facebook suspended five accounts for spreading misleading information during the special election in Alabama last year.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc.
- source Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images
- The suspensions included the account of Jonathon Morgan, CEO of social media research firm New Knowledge, which helped the US government discover how Russian agents used social media to share fake news during the 2016 election.
- The Wall Street Journal also reported that Facebook shelved a project called “Common Ground” that would have aimed to encourage healthier political discourse on the platform.
- Part of the reason why: Joel Kaplan, the company’s policy chief, thought it would spark fears of anti-conservative bias – something Facebook has sought to avoid.
Elon Musk says Tesla will pay customers if late deliveries cause a decreased electric vehicle tax credit.
Reuters / Kyle Grillot
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the car company will pay customers who may miss out on money from an electric vehicle tax credit due to delayed deliveries.
The $7,500 tax credit drops to $3,750 after Jan. 1, 2019.
Mother of jailed NSA contractor Reality Winner railed against Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen.
Reality Winner’s mother wrote an op-ed in The Intercept describing the “maddening” experience of watching her daughter “languish” in prison.
She said major figures connected to the Trump-Russia investigation, including Paul Manafort, received what she calls preferential treatment.
“Aquaman” won the weekend box office, beating out “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee.”
- source Warner Bros.
The new Banksy mural is under guard after being attacked by a “drunk halfwit.”
People gather around fences that have been erected to protect the latest piece of artwork by the underground guerrilla artist Banksy on December 20, 2018 in Port Talbot, Wales.
- source Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Guerilla artist Banksy’s new mural in Wales, has only been up for five days but is under 24-hour guard and has already been the subject of some equally guerilla attention.
LuLaRoe founder calls critics “trolls” and orders her followers to “snip” them out and “protect” her.
- source LuLaRoe
The LuLa Roe founder has come out swinging against ‘Troll’s and put out a direct order for her followers to take action, Hayley Peterson reports.
Some of the people Stidham refers to as “trolls” appear to be current and former LuLaRoe consultants who have been reaching out directly to her about various problems with the business, according to hundreds of comments reviewed by Business Insider on Stidham’s Instagram feed.
Investigators say an “unrepentant” Larry Nassar doesn’t believe his abuse was criminal.
A new report from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office says disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar believes the decades of abuse he perpetrated was not criminal.
The New Jersey Civil Rights Division will investigate a white referee who forced a high school wrestler to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match.
Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson getting his hair cut.
- source SNJ Today
The New Jersey Civil Rights Division announced Saturday it will investigate a viral incident in which a white referee forced a black high school wrestler to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match.
The referee, Alan Maloney, will not oversee any sporting events until the state’s investigation and a separate investigation by the athletic association are complete.
Google search now has a very ‘Seinfeld’ holiday surprise to celebrate Festivus.
- source NBC via YouTube screengrab
“Seinfeld” has infiltrated Google, with Festivus.
Festivus is a non-denominational holiday – as in “Festivus, for the rest of us” – popularized by the classic sitcom “Seinfeld.”
Now when you Google “Festivus”, a Festivus pole appears on the page.