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    Federal authorities on Wednesday announced a terrorist case against a metro Atlanta resident accused of plotting to destroy the White House and other Washington D.C. government buildings. >> Read more trending news Hasher Jallal Taheb of Cumming, Georgia, was arrested in Gwinnett County and appeared briefly in court in downtown Atlanta in the case brought the FBI. Authorities said all threats have been neutralized and the suspect was believed to have been acting alone.  Taheb spoke of traveling to territory controlled by the Islamic State, prosecutors said. Please check back for updates.
  • An Arizona care facility where a woman in a vegetative state was raped and then gave birth must relinquish control to an outside party. Hacienda HealthCare officials say state regulators ordered them Wednesday to hire an independent management team to run the Phoenix facility. In a statement, Hacienda's board of directors says it is taking the matter under advisement. Police have been investigating since a comatose patient gave birth Dec. 29 to the shock of staff, who did not know she was pregnant. The incident led to the provider's CEO resigning. Hacienda, meanwhile, has hired a former Phoenix county attorney to lead a separate probe of patient-security. The facility serves infants, children and young adults who are 'medically fragile' or have developmental disabilities, according to its website.
  • A very unusual and impressive sight took shape in a Maine river this week. >> Read more trending news  A nearly perfect disc of ice formed in the Presumpscot River. The massive ice disc drew curious onlookers to the banks of the river. It's not clear exactly how or when it formed. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why these spinning ice discs form, either, although some believe the temperature of the water has something to do with it. The discs have been recorded across North America and Europe over the past 100 years. According to an official with the city of Westbrook, the disc is roughly 100 yards across and is spinning in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Sears will live on — at least for now. Its chairman and biggest shareholder, Eddie Lampert, won tentative approval for a $5 billion plan to keep the ailing, 132-year-old department-store chain in business, fending off demands from creditors that it throw in the towel, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday. Lampert, the hedge fund owner who steered Sears into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, is aiming to keep open roughly 400 stores and preserve tens of thousands of jobs. But how long Sears can survive under the 56-year-old billionaire, who has tried and failed to turn it around many times before, remains an open question. The company that was once the Amazon of its day, selling everything from girdles to snow tires, still faces cutthroat competition from the likes of Amazon, Target and Walmart. Its stores are looking drab and old. And Lampert has yet to spell out how he plans to change the company's fortunes. 'While there's no doubt that a shrunken Sears will be more viable than the larger entity, which struggled to turn a profit, we remain extremely pessimistic about the chain's future,' said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. 'In our view, Sears exits this process with almost as many problems as it had when it entered bankruptcy protection. In essence, its hand has not changed, and the cards it holds are not winning ones.' Sears' corporate parent, which also owns Kmart, had 687 stores and 68,000 employees at the time of its bankruptcy filing. At its peak in 2012, its stores numbered 4,000. The company was hammered during the recession and outmatched in its aftermath by shifting consumer trends and strong rivals. It hasn't had a profitable year since 2010 and has suffered 11 straight years of declining sales. At a bankruptcy auction held this week in New York, Lampert won the OK from a subcommittee of the Sears board for a rescue plan financed through an affiliate of his hedge fund ESL. Many of Sears' unsecured creditors, who rank at the bottom of the list to be paid and include merchandise suppliers and landlords, had pressed for liquidation, contending the business was worth more dead than alive. They also questioned the propriety of certain deals Lampert has done while at Sears. Lampert's rescue plan still needs approval from a bankruptcy judge in White Plains, New York. A hearing is set for Feb. 1. Creditors will have the opportunity to object before then. The specific terms of the bid haven't been made public. Lampert personally owns 31 percent of the Sears' outstanding stock, and his hedge fund has an 18.5 percent stake, according to FactSet. Lampert, who stepped down as CEO in October after being in that role since 2013, pledged years ago to return Sears to greatness, but that never happened. He has been criticized for not investing in the stores. Under Lampert, Sears has survived in part by spinning off stores and selling well-known brands like Craftsman tools, and he has also lent some of his own money, though critics say his real aim was benefiting his hedge fund. If his bid to save Sears gets final approval, he will need to reinvent the business. That means revitalizing the stores and focusing on the major appliances and tools that were once Sears' proudest products, industry analysts say. Sears will also need to convince shoppers like Sanjay Singh they should come back. Singh was recently shopping with his wife at the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, New Jersey, and stopped by a Sears to look for a swimsuit for his 11-year-old daughter. He said he usually shops at places like Macy's and J.C. Penney because they have a better assortment of merchandise and the quality is also better. 'Sears is usually my last option,' he said. ____ Follow Anne D'Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio
  • The partial government shutdown is a double-whammy for Cara and Philip Mangone, a married couple from Philadelphia. Both are agents with the Transportation Safety Administration, both working full time at the Philadelphia airport. Neither knows when they might again start drawing their paychecks. Part-time jobs are out of the question — they work opposite shifts timed to make sure one of them is always home with their kids, ages 2 and 5. So donations of food and diapers have been a real help as savings are being stretched thin. 'Every penny that we don't have to spend is helpful,' Cara Mangone said Wednesday as she picked up donated goods being distributed at the airport by fellow members of the American Federation of Government Employees. The shutdown has brought an outpouring of generosity to TSA agents and other federal employees who are working without pay. Food, financial help, haircuts and toiletries are among the donated goods and services. TSA screeners start at about $24,000 a year, and most make between $26,000 and $35,000, less than many other government employees, although some earn more because of seniority, overtime or level of management responsibility. On Wednesday, donations of diapers, juice, garbage bags, canned soup and boxes of Ramen noodles were being unloaded onto luggage carts at the valet drop-off curb at Orlando International Airport, to be distributed to TSA workers there the next day. 'I just wanted to support the federal workers who are furloughed because of the inaction of our government leaders,' said Brian Couch, wearing a Kansas City Chiefs ball cap as he dropped off his donation. The airport in Pittsburgh provided a free lunch to TSA workers on what should have been their payday last Friday. 'Our Operation Thank You free lunch program initially was only Fridays but because we're hearing from several food vendors who want to donate, it's possible it will be increased to more days,' airport spokesman Bob Kerlik said in an email. At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, spokeswoman Elise Durham said some concession operators there were also donating free lunches to TSA workers and the airport was providing complimentary parking for those workers who need it. Some travelers wanted to get in on the act, but TSA rules don't allow that. 'There are people trying to donate gift cards to us at the checkpoints,' Cara Mangone said. 'We can't accept it.' Businesses large and small are trying to help. The Ruby Slipper, a New Orleans-based restaurant chain with several locations in the city and on the Gulf Coast, said on its Facebook page that it has served some 3,000 free meals since offering help to unpaid federal employees more than two weeks ago. At The Top Knot Beauty Company in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, owner Jennifer Delage has been offering free haircuts to federal employees. She said other businesses have followed suit with free or discounted services. 'That was the main goal,' Delage said. 'To inspire others to pay it forward.' Such sentiments are evident all over the country — and beyond. A LIFELINE FOR THE COASTGUARD Unlike other military services, the U.S. Coast Guard, part of the Department of Homeland Security, isn't funded during the shutdown. In a letter posted on social media, the guard's commandant, Adm. Karl Schultz, said USAA, a company that provides banking and investment services to current and former military members and their families, made a $15 million donation to support those in need, to be distributed with assistance from the American Red Cross. In another gesture, Roger Williams University invited active-duty Coast Guard members in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and their families to its Bristol, Rhode Island, campus for a free dinner Tuesday night. About 75 people showed up. PIZZAS ACROSS THE BORDER Canadian air traffic controllers have been taking up donations to have pizzas delivered to their American counterparts at locations around the U.S.  Pizzas have been bought for controllers at 84 U.S. facilities. 'We've stopped tracking the number of pizzas,' said Tania Calverley, director of communications for the Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Association. 'We're certainly well over 400.' FREE RIDES The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority has announced that all federal employees will be able to ride public transit for free by showing their government IDs. 'We want to ... assist those who are hurting by taking a little weight off of their shoulders during this time,' Robbie Makinen, CEO and President of the authority, said in a news release about the program, which began Tuesday. BRIDGE LOANS Some financial institutions are offering low-interest, or even no-interest loans, to unpaid workers. Webster Bank in Connecticut said it would offer no-interest loans to any federal workers who are working and not being paid during the shutdown. In announcing the assistance program on Tuesday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he hopes other banks will offer similar programs. The loans are to be repaid after the workers receive back pay. In addition to its donation to help Coast Guard personnel, USAA has announced low-interest loan offers to active Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps and Public Health Service Corps personnel whose pay is disrupted. ___ McGill reported from New Orleans. Associated Press reporters John Raoux in Orlando, Jennifer McDermott in Bristol, Rhode Island, and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.
  • An alleged peeping Tom in Florida was left with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket after he looked inside the bedroom window of a girl whose father is a former NFL player. >> Read more trending news Geoffrey Cassidy, 48, was arrested Monday on a charge of lewd and lascivious exhibition. His mugshot shows him with a black eye and cut lip. Tony Beckham, a 40-year-old former NFL player, told WPBF-TV he was leaving his Wellington home Monday morning when he thought he saw movement near the house. “I waited for a second and I looked again,” Beckham said. “And I see a white male and he’s standing by my window and he’s trying to get a better position.” The man, later identified as Cassidy, was looking into the bedroom of Beckham’s 14-year-old daughter. Beckham yelled at Cassidy, who began to run away. Beckham then chased Cassidy while a neighbor called 911, the Miami Herald reported. Beckham caught up with Cassidy and allegedly tackled him. When a deputy arrived, Beckham and Cassidy were fighting. Cassidy reportedly told police his car had broken down, and he was by the house to allow the car to cool down, the Miami Herald reported, citing an arrest affidavit. He couldn’t tell police where the car was or provide them with a phone number, according to the affidavit. Cassidy was arrested and taken to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket. He was then taken to the West Detention Center. “I’m sorry that it happened to me. I’m sorry that it happened to him,” Beckham said. “Because he’s never going to do that again on this side of town.” Beckham is a former cornerback who played with the Tennessee Titans and the Detroit Lions.
  • The partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 continues as a stalemate between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders over his demand for more than $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. >> Read more trending news Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 16: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that despite the partial government shutdown, federal officials are prepared to deal with issues that might arise when Trump delivers his State of the Union address later this month. “The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Nielsen said in a statement posted on Twitter. Her comments came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the president to delay the address, scheduled January 29, due to security concerns as the shutdown dragged into its 26th day. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: TSA: “Financial limitations” causing airport screeners not to show up for work Update 10:25 a.m. EST Jan. 16: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asked Trump to delay his State of the Union address, which is expected later this month, as the partial government shutdown continues. >> Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union amid shutdown “Given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi said in a letter sent Wednesday. Update 1:41 p.m. EST Jan. 15: A federal judge has denied a request from unionized federal employees who filed a lawsuit requiring the government pay air traffic controllers who are working without pay during the shutdown, CNN reported. >> FDA restarts inspections during shutdown, inspectors working without pay Update 1:45 p.m. EST Jan. 14: A group of federal employees who was ordered to work without pay amid the ongoing shutdown filed suit last week against the government, comparing their situations to involuntary servitude and accusing Trump and other officials of violating the 13th Amendment, according to The Washington Post. In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday by four federal workers from Texas and West Virginia who are employed by the departments of Justice, Agriculture and Transportation, attorneys said the workers could face discipline or removal if they failed to continue working despite the fact that they were not getting paid during the shutdown. The Post reported the lawsuit also accused officials of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. >> Atlanta airport security lines more than an hour long amid federal shutdown “Our plaintiffs find themselves in the exact same boat as virtually every other furloughed federal employee: bills to pay and no income to pay them,” the workers' attorney, Michael Kator, told the Post. “As this drags on, their situation will become more and more dire.” The partial government shutdown entered its 24th day Monday, making it the longest in history. The second-longest government shutdown lasted 21 days in the mid-90s, during President Bill Clinton's time in office. Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 14: Trump railed against Democrats on Monday morning as the partial government shutdown entered its 24th day. 'I've been waiting all weekend,' Trump wrote Monday in a tweet. 'Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!' The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed six bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this month that he would not bring funding bills passed by the House before the Senate, as the president has signaled several times that he would not sign a spending bill that failed to fund his border wall. 'The package presented yesterday by Democratic leaders can only be seen as a time wasting act,' he said on Jan. 3. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump said Friday that it would be easy for him to declare a national emergency to get a wall along the country’s southern border built, but that he has no plans to do so. “I’m not going to do it so fast,” the president said during a discussion about border security with state, local and community leaders at the White House. “This is something that Congress can do.” Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, will miss their first paycheck on Friday, and Washington is close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Update 1:25 p.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump said Thursday he will not travel later this month to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum amid the ongoing partial government shutdown. The president was scheduled to leave for the trip Jan. 21. “Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump wrote Thursday afternoon on Twitter. “My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!”  Last year, a brief government shutdown threatened to derail his trip to Davos, where he asserted that his 'America First' agenda can go hand-in-hand with global cooperation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading the U.S. delegation to the annual Davos event, which courts high-profile businesspeople and political figures and other elites. Other members of the Cabinet are scheduled to attend as well as Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump will travel Thursday to Texas to visit the southern border after negotiations to end the partial government shut down crumbled. The president walked out of discussions Wednesday with Congressional leaders after Democrats again refused to approve of $5.7 billion of funding for his border wall. “The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give ‘Trump’ another one of many wins!” Trump wrote Thursday on Twitter. The president is set to travel to McAllen on Thursday, where he plans to visit a border patrol station for a roundtable on immigration and border security. Update 3:40 p.m. EST Jan. 9: The president walked out of discussions with leaders in the House and Senate on Wednesday amid the ongoing government shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whether she would agree to fund his border wall and that he walked out of the meeting when she answered in the negative. “He said, ‘If I open up the government, you won’t do what I want,’” Schumer said. The president wrote on Twitter that the meeting was “a total waste of time.” “I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier?” he wrote. “Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are standing beside the president Wednesday as the debate over border wall funding continues. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans for their party lunch Wednesday afternoon. “The Republicans are unified,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “We want border security. We want safety for our country.” The president accused Democrats of blocking funding for the wall, “because I won the presidency and they think they can try and hurt us.” Democrats have called the proposed wall costly, ineffective and 'immoral' and say Trump's 'manufacturing a crisis.' Trump and Pence are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House. Update 1:30 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Trump said Wednesday that his border wall has 'tremendous Republican support” ahead of a meeting with GOP lawmakers as the shutdown drags into its 19th day. 'I think we're going to win,” Trump said. “We need border security, very simple.” In response to a reporter’s question about how long the president would be willing to let the shutdown last in order to secure funding for the wall, Trump said, “whatever it takes.” Update 12:50 p.m. EST Jan. 9: During a bill signing at the White House on Wednesday, the president pushed again for funding of his border wall, arguing that human trafficking can’t be stopped without it. 'As long as we have a border that is not secure, we're going to suffer the consequences of that,' Trump said. The president brushed off critics who have said a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be ineffective to address immigration issues. “They say a wall is a medieval solution, that’s true,” Trump said. “It worked then, it works even better now” Democrats have called Trump's promised wall costly, ineffective and 'immoral' and say he's 'manufacturing a crisis.' The bill Trump signed is designed to enhance an annual State Department report that measures global efforts to eliminate human trafficking. Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan. 9: Officials will hold a series of meetings Wednesday in an attempt to end the government shutdown that began 19 days ago, according to Politico. The president, Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will meet Wednesday afternoon with Senate Republicans for their party lunch, the news site reported. Then, at 3 p.m., the president will meet with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House, Poliltico reported, noting it will mark “the third such bipartisan meeting in a week’s time.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning that Trump is still considering the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built. '(It's) something we're still looking at, something that's certainly still on the table,' she said, according to Bloomberg News. 'The best solution is to be able to work with Congress to get this done.' The president did not mention the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built Tuesday night, during his first address from the Oval Office. He wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter, “we MUST fix our Southern Border!” Trump is scheduled to visit the border Thursday. Update 10:50 p.m. EST Jan. 8: In his first ever televised Oval Office address, President Donald Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his border wall Tuesday night, blaming illegal immigration for the scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S.  Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to “fear, not facts” and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain. He argued for spending some $5.7 billion for a border wall on both security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid the extended shutdown. He will visit the Mexican border in person on Thursday. Update 8:07 p.m. EST Jan. 8: The New York Times is reporting that Trump will not declare a national emergency this evening in order to circumvent Congress to get funds to build the wall. According to the times, “administration officials who had seen a draft copy of his speech said the president was not preparing to do so.” Update 10:45 a.m. EST Jan. 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will deliver the Democratic response to Trump's planned prime time address, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. Update 1:50 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump said he plans to address the nation Tuesday night as Democrats continue to stand firm on their refusal to fund the president’s border wall. “I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security  crisis on our Southern Border Tuesday night at 9 P.M. Eastern,” Trump said Monday afternoon in a tweet. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Trump to visit Mexican border as White House pushes for security funding The announcement came after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump plans to visit the southern border on Thursday. Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump on Thursday will visit the southern border amid the ongoing shutdown impasse, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Update 9:10 a.m. EST Jan. 7: The partial government shutdown entered its 17th day Monday with no end in sight despite meetings over the weekend meant to help bring the shutdown to a close, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. Update 3:30 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump said Friday that he’s considering using his executive authority to get a wall built on the U.S.-Mexico border. “We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely,” Trump said. “I haven’t done it. I may do it.” The president spoke with reporters Friday after meeting with congressional leaders amid the ongoing budget impasse. He said he’s designated a team to meet over the weekend with lawmakers to resolve the standoff.  Update 2:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: At a news conference Friday, Trump confirmed he told congressional leaders that he would be willing to allow the government shut down to continue for months or years if Democrats refuse to fund his border wall. “I don’t think (the government will remain closed that long) but I am prepared,” Trump said. “I hope it doesn’t go on even beyond a few more days.” Trump met with top leaders from the House and Senate on Friday morning to discuss the ongoing partial government shutdown and his demand for $5.6 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump: Shutdown could go ‘months or even years’ in border wall dispute The president said Friday’s meeting was “very, very productive,” though top Democrats told reporters after the meeting that little was accomplished. “How do you define progress in a meeting?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked reporters after the meeting. “When you have a better understanding of each other’s position? When you eliminate some possibilities? If that’s the judgement, we made some progress.” Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Top Democrats said a meeting with Trump aimed at bringing the ongoing partial government shutdown to an end was contentious on Friday, with neither side willing to budge in the ongoing battle over funding for a border wall. “We told the president we needed the government open,' Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the meeting. 'He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time -- months or even years.' Update 9:20 a.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump is set to meet Friday morning with congressional leaders, though it was not clear whether the meeting would help bring to an end the partial government shutdown that began nearly two weeks ago. The meeting, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m., will include newly sworn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top leaders from the House and Senate, NPR reported.  House Democrats approved of a spending bill Thursday to re-open the government, prompting a veto threat from Trump. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump threatens vetoes as House passes bills to end partial shutdown “If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House said in a veto threat against the plans passed by House Democrats in the opening hours of the 116th Congress, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. Update 11:45 p.m. EST Jan. 3: House Democrats have approved a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.  The largely party-line votes by the new Democratic majority came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room to pledge a continued fight for his signature campaign promise.  The Democratic package to end the shutdown includes a bill to temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Feb. 8 as bipartisan talks continue.  It was approved, 239-192. Update 11:15 p.m. EST Jan. 2: President Donald Trump said he remains “ready and willing” to work with Democrats to pass a government spending bill even as he refuses to budge over funding for his long-promised border wall.  Trump tweeted “Let’s get it done!” as the partial government shutdown continues with no end in sight. Trump has invited the group back for a follow-up session Friday, the day after Nancy Pelosi is expected to become speaker of the House. Earlier, they met Trump at the White House Wednesday for a briefing on border security. The session did not yield any breakthroughs according to The Associated Press, and Democrats said they remained committed to introducing the legislation Thursday. The administration has so far rejected the plan, which does not include funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Schumer said Trump could not provide a “good answer” for opposing the bills. He added that Trump and Republicans “are now feeling the heat.” Update 9:30 a.m. EST Jan. 2: Congressional leaders are expected to attend a briefing on border security Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown continues, The Associated Press reported. Among the lawmakers expected to attend the meeting are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to the AP. Top incoming House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, are also expected to attend. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m., The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper noted that few, if any, compromises are likely to be offered at the session, which comes one day before Democrats take control of the House of Representatives. Update 5 p.m. EST Jan. 1: Trump has invited congressional leaders to a border security briefing scheduled for Wednesday. The Associated Press reported the top two Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate have been invited. Other possible attendees and agenda have not been released. The White House has not commented on the apparent invitations, the AP reported. Update 12:35 p.m. EST Dec. 28: Trump threatened Friday to close the southern U.S. border if Democrats continued to refuse to fund his border wall. “We build a Wall or we close the Southern Border,” he said in a series of tweets Friday morning. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News on Friday that Trump had canceled his plans for New Year’s Eve in light of the ongoing shutdown. Still, Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, told The Associated Press on Friday that Democrats won’t fund the president’s “immoral, ineffective expensive wall.” “While we await the President’s public proposal, Democrats have made it clear that, under a House Democratic Majority, we will vote swiftly to re-open government on Day One,” Hammill said. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 27: The partial government shutdown that started Saturday is expected to last into the new year.  House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement obtained Thursday by C-SPAN that no votes were expected in the U.S. House of Representatives this week as the shutdown continues. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday showed 47 percent of Americans hold Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown, despite the president’s assertion that Democrats are at fault. The poll found 33 percent of adults blame Democrats in Congress. In a pair of tweet Thursday, the president accused Democrats of “obstruction of the needed Wall.” Update: 3:35 p.m. EST Dec. 25: President Trump spoke to members of the five branches of the U.S. military via video conference Tuesday, sending them his well-wishes before discussing the partial government shutdown and the country's need for a wall:  “I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it.' Update 3:50 p.m. EST Dec. 23: Incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” that the shutdown could continue into the next year. “It is very possible that the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mulvaney said. Update 3:55 p.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate does not estimate a vote on a deal to end the partial government shutdown until next Thursday at the earliest, tweeted Jamie Dupree, Cox Media Group Washington correspondent. The Senate Cloakroom, a Twitter account for the Republican side of the Senate floor, tweeted the following schedule for the Senate: “Following today’s session, the Senate will convene on Monday, December 24th at 11:00 am for a Pro Forma Session. Following the Pro Forma Session, we will next convene at 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 27th and consider business if a deal has been reached on government funding” President Trump has been active on Twitter today, saying he’s in the White House today “working hard,” and reaffirming his support for tough border security. “I won an election, said to be one of the greatest of all time, based on getting out of endless & costly foreign wars & also based on Strong Borders which will keep our Country safe. We fight for the borders of other countries, but we won’t fight for the borders of our own!” the President tweeted. Update 3:00 p.m. EST Dec. 22: White House officials are warning that the government shutdown will last through the holidays, as Trump is not relenting on his demand, tweeted New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers. 'We have continued to put forth what we think is an important expectation ... which is $5 billion in border security,' a senior White House official told reporters, according to Rogers’ tweet. Update 12:30 p.m. EST Dec. 22: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an update on government funding negotiations. He said a procedural agreement was made to “create space” to allow discussions between Senate Democrats and White House. There will be no votes until Trump and Senate Democrats reach an agreement. Update 9:06 a.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate is expected to meet today at noon to see if they can hammer out an agreement that President Trump will sign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told press Friday night that “constructive talks are underway,' for such an agreement, reported CNN. If any new deal is announced, lawmakers would be given 24 hours notice to return to Washington for a vote. Update 1:31 a.m. EST Dec. 22: In a joint statement released shortly after the partial government shutdown went into effect, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y,) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were critical of President Donald Trump and called the government closures the “Trump shutdown.” 'President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted,' Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement. “Democrats have offered Republicans multiple proposals to keep the government open, including one that already passed the Senate unanimously, and all of which include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security -- not the president’s ineffective and expensive wall. “If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January.” Update 10:45 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With a partial government shutdown expected at midnight, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney instructed agencies to plan for a shutdown. Mulvaney says in a memo for government executives that “we are hopeful that this lapse in appropriations will be of short duration” but that employees should report to work when scheduled to “undertake orderly shutdown activities.” Update 8:19 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The Senate adjourned without a deal on spending, just after 8 p.m. Friday evening ensuring a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday. Senators expect to return at noon Saturday as talks continue. Update 7:09 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The House adjourned Friday evening and will return Saturday at noon which will likely trigger a partial shutdown. Update 5:55 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With just over 6 hours left until the midnight deadline, Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote advanced the 47-47 tally after a marathon, five-hour voting session in the Senate that dragged on as senators rushed back to Washington. The move doesn’t immediately end the threat of a partial federal shutdown, but it kick-starts negotiations as Congress tries to find a resolution to Trump’s demand for the wall. Senators say they won’t vote on a final bill to fund the government until Trump and congressional leaders all agree to a deal. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 21: Trump spoke with reporters before signing a criminal justice reform bill Friday.  'It's possible that we'll have a shutdown,” the president said. “I think the chances are probably very good because I don't think Democrats care so much about maybe this issue, but this is a very big issue” The Republican-led House approved funding Thursday for Trump's border wall and sent the bill to the Senate. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: With impasse over wall funding, federal workers gear up for shutdown Senators are holding a procedural vote Thursday afternoon to determine whether to move forward with the bill. During a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer last week, Trump said he’d shut down the government if lawmakers failed to secure $5 billion in funding for a wall to span the U.S.-Mexico border. “If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government,” Trump said. “I’m going to shut it down for border security.” >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 21: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the officials plan to discuss “the funding bill and the importance of border security” at 10:30 a.m. The president insisted on Twitter Friday morning that, “The Democrats now own the shutdown!” Ten days earlier, Trump said during a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.” >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown Original report: A potential government shutdown looms and President Donald Trump is tweeting, saying that if a spending plan isn’t passed and signed by midnight, it will be the Democrats fault when the government closes. On Thursday night, after a meeting between House Republicans and the president, the House passed a spending bill that included $5 billion for Trump’s border wall.  >>From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: With Friday night deadline, funding fight shifts to Senate The vote was 217-185, CNN reported. The bill is in the hands of the Senate whose members have to act on it before the midnight deadline or the government closes.  >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Shutdown chances jump as Trump demands money for his border wall Washington watchers believe the bill will not pass because of the money earmarked for the wall, CNN reported.  Democrats have said they will not support the money for the border and both sides of the Senate aisle are needed if the spending plan is to pass. >> Government shutdown: What will close; will you get your Social Security check, SNAP, WIC? In a series of morning tweets by the President, he placed the blame on Democrats if the government shuts down. The president said he would not sign the Senate-backed spending bill that does not include money for the border wall. The Senate plan would grant funding to keep the government operating until Feb. 8, The Washington Post reported.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A Mexican man who touched off a fierce immigration debate over his role in the shooting death of a woman walking on a San Francisco pier is seeking to overturn his felony gun possession conviction. It was the only charge he was found guilty of after a jury acquitted him of murder. Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate had been deported five times at the time of the shooting and was wanted for a sixth deportation proceeding. Lawyers for Garcia-Zarate filed the expected appeal last week in state court. He contends he didn't know a gun was in his hands because it was wrapped in a T-shirt when it fired and he dropped it almost immediately after picking it up. He argues in court papers that he can't be convicted of illegal gun possession. Garcia-Zarate was charged with murder and illegal gun possession for the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle in July 2015. Steinle was shot in the back was she walked with her father on a city pier crowded with tourists taking in the sights. Garcia-Zarate had been recently released from jail after prosecutors dropped a 20-year-old marijuana possession charge. He had been transferred to San Francisco's jail after serving nearly four years in federal prison for illegal re-entry into the United States. The San Francisco sheriff released Garcia-Zarate from jail despite a request from federal immigration officials to detain him until they could pick him up for deportation proceedings. San Francisco's so-called sanctuary city policy bars local law enforcement officials from cooperating with most federal immigration investigations. The shooting and the city's sanctuary policy turned into a major campaign issue in multiple national and local races across the country. President Donald Trump repeatedly referred to the shooting during his 2016 campaign to bolster his argument for tougher immigration policies and his opposition to sanctuary cities. The gun used in the shooting belonged to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger who reported it stolen from his car parked in San Francisco. A San Francisco jury in 2017 acquitted Garcia-Zarate of murder but found him guilty of illegal gun possession and he was sentenced to the time he spent in jail awaiting trial. Trump called the verdict in a Tweet 'disgraceful' and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions blamed San Francisco's sanctuary city policy for Steinle's death. The U.S. Attorney in San Francisco then filed federal charges of illegal gun possession and he was transferred to federal custody. That case has been on hold pending the outcome of a closely watched U.S. Supreme Court case challenging federal prosecutors' authority to duplicate state court charges in federal court. If the Supreme Court finds the practice unconstitutional double jeopardy, a federal judge said he would dismiss Garcia-Zarate's federal gun case.
  • The partial government could have an unintended or unrealized consequence when you’re watching the Super Bowl next month. Since the Federal Communications Commission has suspended most of its operations earlier this month due to the shutdown, companies can’t get products approved right now.  >> Read more trending news  If the shutdown isn’t ended soon, the new devices that would have been advertised during the big game will not be hitting the market.  The FCC cannot approve new smartphones, tablets and routers, legal news website Law360 and CNBC reported. This could affect companies who plan to introduce new tech in the first quarter of the year, according to CNBC. Last year, companies like Verizon, T-Mobile, Netflix and Sprint paid millions of dollars for advertising time during the football championship game, CNBC reported. As the shutdown affects filings for new technology, the work stoppage may also affect travel plans for those trying to get to Atlanta if the shutdown stretches into February.  Crowds are expected to swell to 100,000 to 115,000 people passing through TSA checkpoints the day after the game at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The TSA officials said there will be an additional 120 officers and 12 extra K-9 teams working at the airport. Atlanta’s mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called the combination of the shutdown and the Super Bowl “uncharted territory,” The Associated Press reported. Bottoms said that the city is “preparing as best we can from our vantage point.” She continues to encourage travelers to give themselves extra time to get through security and deal with long lines as TSA agents call off sick. They have been calling off almost double the rate compared to non-shutdown periods, the AP reported. >>From our Washington Insider, Jamie Dupree: TSA: “Financial limitations” causing airport screeners not to show up for work The TSA had 7 percent of its workforce off sick Monday compared to 2.5 percent this time last year, according to the AP. >>Read: Atlanta airport security lines more than an hour long amid federal shutdown Monday was the first day after workers did not receive a paycheck since the shutdown happened. Some security lines were closed due to lack of staffing and travelers waited more than an hour to get through security, the AJC reported. Some travelers missed flights due to the long line, the newspaper reported. “Certainly there are factors that we don’t control such as what’s happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,” Bottoms said. “We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.” CNN reported Wednesday that there was such a backlog for travelers at security checkpoints that TSA officers from other locations had to be flown to Atlanta to fill staffing positions.
  • Franklin firefighters rescued a puppy from an icy pond in Franklin Township, Ohio Wednesday morning. >> Read more trending news  Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf said firefighters were dispatched after 10 a.m. to rescue the puppy named Maggie, which had wandered onto a frozen pond in the 3200 block of Beal Road attempting to retrieve a duck decoy and fell through the ice, WHIO-TV reported. Westendorf said the puppy belongs to a nearby neighbor. Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician Kyle Keeler and Firefighter/Medic Blake Olsen successfully rescued the very cold and wet puppy from the pond. They were assisted by JEMS medics. Westendorf said the firefighters pulled the decoy out of the pond to prevent something like this from happening again.