The Democrats hope to pass legislation which would fund most government agencies without money for a wall between Mexico and the United States. President Trump insists he will not sign any bill to pay for shuttered government operations without money to complete the wall. The move is the latest maneuver between the President and Democrats to reopen closed federal agencies. The partial shutdown has interrupted some services and put many workers out of jobs without pay. According to The New York Times, “House Democrats are putting forward a proposal to reopen the federal government by severing funding for the Department of Homeland Security and border security from other spending bills that enjoy bipartisan support — a gambit aimed at forcing President Trump to negotiate or to shoulder the blame for a protracted shutdown. The Democrats’ plan, which will come up for a vote on Thursday when they take control of the House, consists of two bills. The first includes six bipartisan spending measures that would fully fund agencies like the Interior Department and the Internal Revenue Service through the end of the fiscal year in September.”
A sharp drop in the stock market in 2018 made it the worst year for most indices since 2008, at the depths of the Great Recession. Most of the sell-off came late in the year. According to CNBC, “This volatile market year was full of historical milestones and the end of the year will be no different for a key stock index. For the first time ever, the S&P 500 will end the year with a loss after being positive for the first three quarters. The benchmark index was up 9 percent through the first three quarters of the year. Then the October sell-off began. The S&P 500 fell 7 percent in October and accelerated those losses this month, in what is likely to be the index’s worst December performance since the Great Depression.”
Gas prices reached their lowest level in several years. The primary cause of the drop was a historic plunge in oil prices, which left them down 25% during 2018. The reason for the decline in oil prices was a rise in shale production in the U.S., a decision by OPEC and its allies not to slash production sharply, and an increase in supply which some experts have marked up to a slowing world economy. According to USA Today, “Motorists have something to look forward to in 2019 – cheaper gas. For the first time in three years, annual prices at the pump are expected to decrease from the year before, saving Americans billions of dollars. The price of a gallon of self-serve regular gas will average $2.70 nationally, according to a GasBuddy.com forecast provided exclusively to USA TODAY. That’s 3 cents less than 2018’s average of $2.73.”
After the death of two children at the Mexican border, some experts say that the number of ill children there has risen steadily. According to The Washinton Post, “A growing number of families and children apprehended at the U.S. border with Mexico are requiring medical treatment after a rigorous journey north in very crowded conditions, the head of Border Patrol said Monday. At the close of a month in which two young Guatemalan children died in federal custody, six children were among 17 migrants hospitalized with illnesses, said Kevin K. McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. On a typical day, he said, 50 people are referred to medical providers for checkups and treatment, though one day alone the authorities sent more than 80 to be treated. In recent days, he said, two pregnant women were rushed to hospitals immediately after they were taken into custody, as they were about to give birth.”
Times Square, one of the most famous locations for ringing in the New Year offered the crows of over 100,000 a special challenge. Heavy rain fell, and temperatures which were weather was relatively warm. According to The AP, Rain drops fell along with confetti as revelers rang in 2019 in New York’s Times Square, capping a soggy New Year’s celebration that included singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha’s stirring rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” just before midnight. Crews used squeegees to sweep puddles from the performance stages, but Monday night’s wet weather was still evident as boy band New Kids On The Block splashed up puddles while performing their hit “Step by Step” on a giant set of steps. At midnight, as fireworks erupted over Times Square, couples kissed, families hugged and “Auld Lang Syne” played over loud speakers.
A list of the movie stars and celebrities who died in 2018, provided by The Wrap
Shows which might be canceled this year from TVLine
The odds that each team in the playoffs will win the Superbowl from The Sporting News
A list of the open head coach jobs in the NFL from USA Today Sports
Lovemoney answers the question of the best countries to go for retirement in 2019.
A California utility may have broken the law when its equipment allegedly started one of the California wildfires according to the AP.
Price Harry has given up alcohol, tea, and coffee for the period that his wife, the former Megan Markle, is pregnant.