Trump blames child border deaths on Democrats, but pediatricians question centers
President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed Democrats for the high-profile deaths of two Guatemalan children held in U.S. custody. Trump claimed “Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies” inspired migrants to undertake dangerous treks. “If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!” he said on Twitter. His words came after an 8-year-old boy died on Christmas Eve while in government custody, the second immigrant child to die in detention this month. The risk of illness for migrant children in custody has been obvious to many who observe the system. “As pediatricians, we say these detention centers are bad,” said Dr. Colleen Kraft, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who steps down Wednesday, said the controversial “zero tolerance” policy that led officials to separate migrant children from their parents was the brainchild of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection ordered medical checks on every child in its custody Tuesday after an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died in New Mexico, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency’s care this month. (Dec. 26)
Amid shutdown over wall, Trump moves to freeze worker pay
With no end in sight to the partial government shutdown, Trump late Friday signed an executive order to freeze pay for federal workers in 2019. The move was consistent with Trump’s budget proposal and a notice to Congress in August, when he cited “serious economic conditions” to support the move. But with some federal workers not getting paid during the shutdown, the freeze was seen by some as another jab at the federal workforce. “This is just pouring salt into the wound,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments. The military would not be affected by the freeze.
On Sunday, Trump’s aides and congressional Democrats assailed each other over the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall that triggered a partial government shutdown — now in its ninth day.
President Donald Trump says that most people not being paid as a result of the government shutdown are Democrats.
Stocks claw back ahead of last full day of trading
Investors tested by a down year for stocks will have one more full day of trading on New Year’s Eve Monday before closing the books on 2018. The good news? Traders and 401(k) investors will get a day off on Tuesday, Jan. 1, as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will both be closed for New Year’s Day. A small loss Friday for the Dow followed a massive two-day rebound. Trading on Wall Street has become volatile in recent weeks, as investors navigate a possible recession, discord in Washington and fears around the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Financial pros expect the volatility to continue.
Strong holiday sales and oil prices helped boost the stock market following a rout two days earlier.
NFL team unveils less-revealing cheerleader uniforms for 2019
The Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders unveiled a new, less-revealing uniform this week that the team says breaks “traditional stereotypes” of cheer attire and is more conducive to dancing. The uniforms are one-piece dresses, longer than the squad’s traditional skirts, and show less skin, including no bare midriffs. The squad will start wearing the new look for the 2019 season.
Deja vu all over again? Alabama, Clemson to play for football title
For the third time in four years, Alabama will face Clemson for college football’s national championship. That’s the result following Clemson’s 30-3 demolition of Notre Dame and the Crimson Tide’s 45-34 steamrolling over Oklahoma in Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinals. The two blowouts had some questioning the playoff series format, which has been short of drama recently. And the Alabama-Clemson championship matchup comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, given the two programs’ dominance all season.
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