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'SNL' takes on government shutdown with 'Deal or No Deal' parody

The government shutdown got the game show treatment as "Saturday Night Live" returned to TV screens this weekend.

>> Government shutdown: Senate to take up Trump plan this week

Saturday's episode, hosted by actress Rachel Brosnahan, didn't waste any time tackling the issue, pitting Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump against parodies of Democratic leaders in a "Deal or No Deal" spoof.

>> Watch the sketch here

"We decided to do this in the only format you can understand – a TV game show with women holding briefcases," Kenan Thompson, playing Steve Harvey, told Baldwin's Trump as the game began. 

>> Trump offers deal to end shutdown in Saturday speech

The fake Trump opened with an offer to extend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and "release the kids from cages so they can be free-range kids" in exchange for $5 billion toward a border wall. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Kate McKinnon) wasn't having it.

"OK, $1 billion and you say, 'Nancy's my mommy,'" she countered, opening a briefcase bearing the same words. 

Baldwin's Trump refused, then called on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat).

>> Read more trending news 

"My offer is whatever you want," Moffat's Schumer said before changing his offer to, "$15 and a pastrami on rye."

Baldwin's Trump also turned to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Beck Bennett) and Democratic U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters (Leslie Jones) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Melissa Villaseñor) before accepting a deal from a Clemson football player (Pete Davidson) with a box of fast food.

"Hamberders," it read – a reference to a spelling mistake in one of Trump's tweets.

Read more here.

Meat, poultry recalls nearly double since 2013, study finds

Recalls of food and poultry products have increased significantly since the nation’s last major food safety law, the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011.

>> Read more trending news 

Recent high-profile recalls — from romaine lettuce to eggs to beef — reveal how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013, a new report from the Public Interest Research Groups found.

>> On AJC.com: Perdue recalls 68,000 pounds of chicken nuggets after wood found in them

According to PIRG, overall recalls since 2013 increased 10 percent, but recalls of the most hazardous meat and poultry products rose 83 percent during the same time frame.

A report from the PIRG Education Fund, based on the study, says new technology might have contributed to the increase, but the reports reveals that element is inconsequential.

>> On AJC.com: Massive beef recall expands; 12 million pounds of meat affected

“Americans should be confident that our food is safe and uncontaminated from dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella,” it states.

>> On AJC.com: FDA issues recalls for dry dog food

Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • An 83 percent increase in meat and poultry recalls that can cause serious health problems: USDA Class 1 recalls “involve a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.” This includes recalls of beef for E. coli, poultry for Salmonella and others.
  • Food recalls overall increased by 10 percent between 2013-2018From crackers to children’s cereal to lettuce to meat, we’ve seen the total number of food recalls increase over the last six years.
  • Archaic laws allow meat producers to sell contaminated products: It is currently legal to sell meat that tests positive for dangerous strains of Salmonella. A case study of the recent recall of 12 million pounds of beef sold by JBS could likely have been prevented if it this policy was changed.
  • Bacteria-contaminated water used on vegetables and produce: A case study helps demonstrate how irrigation water polluted by fecal matter from a nearby cattle feedlot likely contaminated romaine lettuce with E. coli in the spring of 2018.

Why Martin Luther King Jr.'s father changed their names

When he was born Jan. 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr.’s name was Michael. It’s the name originally on his birth certificate.

He was named after his father, the Rev. Michael King, who was senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

>> On AJC.com: Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 90 this year — A brief timeline of the origins of MLK Day

In 1934, Ebenezer sent “Daddy King” to Europe for a Baptist World Alliance meeting. Although the meeting was in Berlin, King “traveled to Rome, Tunisia, Egypt, Jerusalem and Bethlehem” first, the Washington Post reported.

While in Berlin, the senior King witnessed the beginnings of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler had become chancellor the year before King’s arrival. 

“This Congress deplores and condemns as a violation of the law of God the Heavenly Father, all racial animosity, and every form of oppression or unfair discrimination toward the Jews, toward coloured people, or toward subject races in any part of the world,” the Baptists responded.

>> On AJC.com: 5 things you didn't know about Martin Luther King Jr.

King toured much of Germany, the country that is the birthplace of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, which lead to a split with the Catholic Church.

When he returned to Atlanta, the senior King decided to change his name and his son’s from Michael to Martin Luther, after the German Protestant leader, according to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford.

>> Read more trending news 

"Thus we can see that Berlin was partly responsible for Martin Luther King, Jr., becoming the man we celebrate today," King Institute director Clayborne Carson said.

That is why King Jr.’s birth certificate — filed with the Georgia Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics — was altered on July 23, 1957, when he was 28. “Michael” is crossed out, and “Martin Luther Jr.” is printed next to it.

1 egg a day may help keep Type 2 diabetes away, new study says

One day they’re bad for you. The next day they’re “incredible.” Eggs have long been a contentious food.

>> Read more trending news 

The benefits of eating eggs have been winning in the past few years, however. In fact, Healthline.com states, “eggs are pretty much the perfect food. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.”

new study out of Finland suggests another reason to enjoy an egg: It might stave off Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 — or adult onset — is the more common form of diabetes.

>> On AJC.com: Eat this popular breakfast food daily to avoid heart attacks, strokes

>> On AJC.com: The best way to crack an egg

Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland found that subjects who ate an egg every day had a blood metabolite profile related to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. A metabolite is a product of metabolism.

Eggs have long been a controversial food. Their high cholesterol content caused many people to avoid them. But the Cleveland Clinic says eating eggs in moderation is not only fine, but also beneficial.

>> On AJC.com: Most countries don’t refrigerate their eggs — why do Americans? 

Citing a 2012 study in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, it found that people who ate moderate amounts of eggs did not show increases in cholesterol when compared to those who cut eggs out of their diets completely.

Similar studies have found the antioxidants in eggs reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and even helped to lower blood pressure.

>> On AJC.com: Noisy workplaces linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, study finds

“Although it is too early to draw any causal conclusions, we now have some hints about certain egg-related compounds that may have a role in type 2 diabetes development,” said Stefania Noerman, early stage researcher and lead author of the study. “Further detailed investigations with both cell models and intervention studies in humans ... are needed to understand the mechanisms behind physiological effects of egg intake.”

New Jurassic Park roller coaster headed to Universal Orlando, documents show

Universal Orlando appears to be making way for a new roller coaster in the "Jurassic Park" section of Islands of Adventure, according to documents reviewed by WFTV.

>> Read more trending news

Earlier this week, carnival games and vendor kiosks were removed, and construction walls went up around a portion of the old Triceratops Encounter area, which has been defunct for almost a decade. 

That matches work described on a demolition permit filed with the city of Orlando in May for Project 791 in that 1.36-acre area. Contractor documents indicate the project includes construction of “a new attraction” and estimates that demolition and construction will take 1 1/2 years. 

A document reviewed by WFTV shows a roller coaster track layout for that area. The document shows the queue starting on the southern edge of the waterfront by the Discovery Center. 

Records indicate the Raptor Encounter attraction currently in that area will be relocated as part of the construction. 

The demolition permit for the area is in the final stages of approval, according to the city website. 

Permits to construct the actual coaster have not yet been filed, city records show. 

Universal spokesperson Tom Schroder declined to comment for this story. 

In a tweet last week, Universal said in response to a question about the Jurassic Park section, "We've got some exciting plans and look forward to more exciting details to come!"

Detectives turn to Instagram to build case in alleged killing over stolen PlayStation

The Sheriff's Office in Seminole County, Florida, said Friday that it has asked Facebook to provide access to Instagram Direct messages sent between two men and their former roommate, whom they are accused of killing over a stolen PlayStation.

Investigators said Jake Bilotta and Ian McClurg contacted Josh Barnes through Instagram to try to lure him to their home in the Fern Creek neighborhood so they could kill him.

The Sheriff's Office said in a search warrant filed last week that it wants Instagram to turn over records, including posts, metadata, direct messages, photographs and videos from Bilotta and McClurg's accounts.

McClurg said Bilotta baited Barnes on Nov. 26, 2018, by inviting him to their South Boulevard home prior to a party, deputies said.

Detectives said McClurg told them several times that Bilotta said he was going to kill Barnes.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said it could take some time for Instagram to compile the data investigators seek, but it will be sent.

"Instagram will respond to a valid federal or state warrant seeking information, including content that they will have in their possession," he said.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Kealing said digital footprints can provide critical evidence for investigations.

"Those electronic trails often fill in some of the very important holes in cases," he said. "It's such an important tool in our toolbox, and it's something we use all the time."

The warrant said Bilotta fled the home, but he was captured nearby with a bloodstained shirt and hands.

"I had to do it. I shouldn't have run," he is alleged to have said.

Bilotta and McClurg have court dates scheduled for March.

UPS driver saves dog from icy pond, then finishes route

A United Parcel Service driver stopped in the middle of his route to save a dog trapped in an icy pond. 

Ryan Arens was on his route around Christmas when he heard the dog screaming and yelling in distress, the Great Falls Tribune reported

>> Read more trending news 

"I could see the dog trapped about 10 to 15 feet off of shore, with ice all around it," he told the Tribune.

A man in a rowboat was on the pond, chipping at the ice in an attempt to reach the dog. Arens, who has his own dog and a weakness for animals, ran out to help. 

"I stripped to my boxers and got the guy out of the boat. Then I slid the boat out onto the ice, using it to distribute my weight," Arens told the Tribune. "I shimmed out to where the ice was thin."

Then he crashed through the ice and swam to the dog, which had started to go under the water. He grabbed the dog by the collar and slid her across the ice to the shore. 

"We took the dog inside the older guy's house and got in the shower together to warm up," he said. 

Animal control took the dog, and Arens, who still had 20 packages to deliver, finished his route. 

After the incident, Arens found the dog’s owner and incidentally had a package to deliver to him. 

He found out her name is Sadie and she is a 2-year-old wirehaired pointing griffon. 

"She was freaking out, and when he let her out, she ran to me," Arens told the Tribune. "She must have remembered me. It sure made me feel good."

Police: Wendy's cashier caught stealing customers' info

Police in Atlanta are investigating after they say a Wendy's employee stole several customers' credit card information earlier this week.

>> Read more trending news

The cashier, who works at a Wendy's in northwest Atlanta, is accused of taking a picture of a man's debit card Monday afternoon as the man went through the drive-thru to place an order.

The victim, identified as Angelo Marrero, said he knew something wasn't right when he caught the woman staring at the security code on his card.

"I noticed that when she gave it back to me, she gave it back to me on the reverse side, and she was looking at the security code," Marrero said.

He rushed back to work and forgot about it – until his bank called him about two hours later.

"They tell me a charge was attempted for a women’s clothing store," Marrero said.

He requested a copy of the receipt and noticed that the address on it was in the same neighborhood as the Wendy’s restaurant.

"I put two and two together and then I said, 'It has to be her because, for one, I saw her looking at the security code, and two, the address on this receipt is 2 or 3 miles away," Marrero said.

He said he called police and headed back to the restaurant.

Marrero said when police went to review surveillance video after he filed a report, the cashier took off running through the back door. 

"She walks out the door and she dashes across the parking lot," Marrero said.

Officials said they are gathering information to file charges and warned there could be more victims. 

"It's an eye-opening experience," Marrero said. "If she did it to me, she did it to the customer before me. You don’t know how many people she’s done this to."

The general manager at the Wendy's said the employee, who had only been working for less than a week, managed to steal customer information eight times -- and it's all on camera. 

The manager said he terminated her and wants everyone to know he had no idea the former worker was stealing information.

Managers at the Wendy's hope the woman is arrested soon. They believe she might be going from job to job, stealing credit card information.

Pastor who bought $200K Lamborghini for wife lives in $1.8M house paid for by church

A pastor who said he did not use church money when he bought his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini as an anniversary gift lives in a $1.8 million house paid for by the church. 

>> Read more trending news 

Pastor John Gray, who leads megachurch Relentless Church and is an associate pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, was widely criticized in December after spending $200,000 on a Lamborghini for his wife as an anniversary gift. 

He defended the lavish purchase, saying he bought it as a husband, not a pastor. At the same time, Gray was living in a $1.8 million house purchased by the church in October, the Greenville News reported

>>Read Megachurch pastor John Gray defends $200K Lamborghini purchase for wife

"This is not anything new," Travis Hayes, chief financial officer for Relentless, told the Greenville News. "This is a practice that is done with every denomination in the nation. That’s what this is. This is an asset that belongs to the church."

Gray did not comment to the Greenville News.

Man seeking owner of class ring found more than 15 years ago in Japan

A man is looking for the owner of a class ring he found more than 15 years ago in Japan.

Jonathan Beaston knows what it’s like to lose a class ring. He lost his in 1976 while serving in the military.

>> Read more trending news 

That’s why, when he found a class ring in 2002 while stationed at a naval base in Japan, it set off a more than 15-year search for the owner, which still continues. 

The 1978 women’s-style class ring has the words Cheyenne East High and the initials DPS or DRS. 

“This girl, she might have been a merchant marine, or else she could have been a visiting U.S. Navy ship,” Beaston told KGWN. “I know that this person that lost their ring is probably wishing they had their ring back.”

Government shutdown: Senate to take up Trump plan this week

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 5 p.m. EST Jan. 19: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans Senate action this week on President Donald Trump’s proposal to end the partial government shutdown.

Democrats, who control the House, said they find the president’s offer unacceptable.

The plan faces an uphill path in the Senate and virtually no chance of survival in the Democratic-controlled House, according to The Associated Press.

Update 3 p.m. EST Jan. 19: President Donald Trump announced a proposal for Democrats in a televised speech Saturday afternoon to end the the 29-day partial government shutdown.

In his speech, he said he wants to trade temporary protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants for money to build his wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Trump’s proposal as a “nonstarter” moments before for the announcement.

Democrats want the protections to be permanent and want him to reopen government before negotiating on border security.

Update 6 p.m. EST Jan. 18: President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he will make a major announcement on the government shutdown and the southern border on Saturday afternoon from the White House.

Saturday will mark the 28th day of the partial government shutdown, the longest in US history.

Update 2:10 p.m. EST Jan. 18: The Office of Management and Budget released a memo Friday barring Congressional delegations from using aircraft paid for with taxpayer money amid the ongoing shutdown.

The memo, from Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought, was released one day after Trump abruptly pulled military air support for a planned Congressional delegation that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff,” Vought said in the memo. “Nor will any funds be appropriated to the Executive Branch be used for any Congressional delegation travel expenses without his express written approval.”

Pelosi told reporters Friday that lawmakers had planned to continue their planned trip to Afghanistan after it was scrapped by Trump’s announcement.

"We had the prerogative to travel commercially and we made plans to do that until the administration then leaked that we were traveling commercially and that endangers us,” she said.

Update 11:50 a.m. EST Jan. 18: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she canceled plans to travel to Afghanistan after Trump pulled military travel support for the trip one day earlier and shared that she planned to visit a war zone.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said Thursday that the House speaker planned to travel with a Congressional delegation to Belgium and then Afghanistan to visit troops on the front lines. Trump pulled military air support for the trip one day after Pelosi asked him to postponed his State of the Union address, scheduled to take place on Jan. 29, in light of the ongoing shutdown. The president also cited the shutdown and suggested that lawmakers could make the trip on a commercial airline. 

Hammill said Friday that Pelosi and the rest of the delegation were prepared to fly commercially but he said the plan was axed after the Trump administration “leaked the commercial travel plans.” 

“In light of the grave threats caused by the President’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights,” Hammill said.

Update 10:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: President Donald Trump has canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that out of consideration for the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, the president has nixed his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum. Trump had earlier pulled out of attending the forum because of the shutdown.

Update 3:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17:  An overseas trip that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set leave for on Thursday, before Trump abruptly announced he had pulled military travel support for the trip, was intended to show appreciation for American troops abroad, Pelosi’s spokesman said.

In a letter sent Thursday to Pelosi’s office, the president said a Congressional Delegation, or CODEL, that Pelosi had planned was canceled amid the ongoing government shutdown. Trump said the CODEL intended to make stops in Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the speaker planned to stop in Brussels, as required to give the pilot time to rest, and meet with top NATO commanders before continuing on to Afghanistan. He said the trip did not include any stops in Egypt.

“The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation and thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service and dedication, and to obtain critical national security briefings from those front lines,” Hammill said. “The president traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL (Congressional Deligation) led by Rep. (Lee) Zeldin.”

Update 2:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump on Thursday pulled military travel support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of a planned trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

Pelosi had planned to leave for a bipartisan Congressional Delegation trip, also known as a CODEL, later Thursday, CNN reported.

According to the news network, Trump has “the authority to direct the Department of Defense to not use military assets to support a congressional delegation to military theaters.”

However, CNN noted that it was not immediately clear whether the Defense Department was notified of the cancellation ahead of time.

The cancellation came one day after Pelosi asked Trump to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown.

Update 2:25 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump said Thursday that he's postponing a trip planned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

>> From Cox Media Group’s National Content Desk: In escalating shutdown fight, Trump cancels plane for Pelosi overseas trip

"It would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown," the president said. "Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative."

Trump addressed the letter to Pelosi’s office one day after she asked him to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown.

The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed several bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Senate 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.

Update 1:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: The State Department ordered U.S. diplomats in Washington and at embassies around the world to return to work starting next week, saying in a message to employees that they will be paid despite the shutdown.

It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it had taken steps to "make available additional funds to pay the salaries of its employees, including those affected by the current lapse."

“Employees will  be paid for work performed beginning on or after January 20,” the notice, from Deputy Under Secretary for Management Bill Todd, said. “Beyond (that pay period), we will review balances and available legal authorities to try to cover future pay periods.”

Officials noted that employees would not be paid for work done between Dec. 22, when the partial government shutdown started, and Jan. 20 until after the shutdown ends.

Department officials said they were taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming efforts "to address the myriad critical issues requiring U.S. leadership around the globe and to fulfill our commitments to the American people." 

Officials added that the department's leadership was "deeply concerned" about the financial hardships employees are facing.

Update 12:45 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump signed a bill Wednesday that requires the government to compensate federal workers affected by the ongoing shutdown for wages lost, work performed or leave used during the shutdown.

The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 passed in the House last week. It requires that employees be compensated “on the earliest date possible after the lapse ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.”

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.

How to keep your kids entertained when stuck at home by severe weather

When severe weather keeps you inside your home with your children, there are things you can do to keep kids entertained while you keep your sanity.

>> Read more trending news

If you're home for the day, or a few days, here are a few things you can do to stay entertained without going crazy or running up your data plans.

If you still have power:

Do some family-friendly baking:

One way to keep kids occupied is with a slew of simple cooking tasks (cracking eggs, manning the mixing bowl) and the promise of sweets.

Cooking Light has a roundup of “kid-friendly desserts,” including gluten-free s'more bars, chewy caramel apple cookies and more. If you run through that list, the Food Network has another.

And not having kids is no reason not to bake in bad weather: for company, just sub in the closet available roommates, family, friends or pets. (This advice applies to the rest of the list.)

Check out these party games:

Jackbox's Drawful is a bizarre twist on Pictionary: players score points not just for drawing the best possible version of, say, "angry ants"; but also for getting other players to guess their answer for a given drawing instead of the correct one.

Drawful comes packaged as part of the Jackbox Party Pack and is available to buy and download here, and is compatible with the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Amazon Fire TV and others. All you need to play is a phone, tablet or controller. 

But if you're feeling more competitive and less artistic, consider QuizUp. Available for both iPhone and Android. This competitive trivia app pits two players against each other in seven rounds of questions in one of several hundred different categories, including pop culture and academia. And it's free. 

Get crafty:

Create a crafting area in your home. Fill it with crafting materials like tape, paper and boxes. When inspiration strikes your child, they can create fun things in their own “workshop.”

Without power:

Get clever:

When the house goes dark, kids’ imaginations light up. A trip to the bathroom with a flashlight can become an adventure, and reading stories by candlelight will stick with them more than just another movie night. 

Get ahead of a power outage:

Stock up on glow sticks. Kids can really have fun with these simple light sticks. Once you crack them, they provide a bright light for up to 12 hours and a dim light for as long as 36 hours. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors, and can provide hours of fun for children.

Build a fort:

Kids love building forts just for fun anyway. So if you find yourself in the dark without power, gather up pillows and blankets, and plan on moving some furniture around to help your little ones build the perfect fortress. You can even make it more like an adventure. Plan to snuggle in for the night, and maybe tell a few ghost stories, too.

Hate group plans protest in Atlanta for Super Bowl

On Super Bowl Sunday, members of Westboro Baptist Church — the Kansas-based hate group infamous for picketing everything from gay pride parades to the funerals of slain soldiers — intend to hold protests at several North Georgia churches and outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

>> Read more trending news 

All six of the churches the group plans to picket on the morning of Feb. 3 are in Gainesville, the Hall County city about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, where the 2019 Super Bowl will kick off inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium around 6:30 p.m. the same day.

According to a “picketing schedule” on Westboro Baptist Church’s website, the group plans to be outside of the stadium between 3 and 5 p.m. No further details were immediately available.

Protesters from the church, which is comprised largely of family members of late founder Fred Phelps, have visited the sites of many previous Super Bowls and other large sporting events. Church members planned protests at the college basketball Final Four in Atlanta in 2013.

Atlanta Police Department spokesman Carlos Campos said his agency was aware of Westboro’s plans. 

“Part of our security plan includes preparation for demonstrations and protests,” Campos said. 

Atlanta officials have spent months — and millions of dollars — preparing to host the Super Bowl, which is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.

The preparations for Westboro’s planned visit are on a much smaller scale in Gainesville, the city of about 40,000 that lies well outside of the Super Bowl’s sphere of influence. 

But city officials there said they’ll be ready, too.

In half-hour intervals between 8 and 11 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Westboro said it plans to visit each of the following churches: First Baptist Church of Gainesville; St. John Baptist Church; First Presbyterian Church Gainesville; St. Michael Roman Catholic Church; Grace Episcopal Church; and Good Shepherd Church. 

The Times of Gainesville, which first reported on Westboro’s plans there, wrote that the church explained its motives in a Jan. 15 letter to Gainesville police Chief Carol Martin. A representative from the church reportedly wrote that the visit will be “for public demonstration/outdoor religious services regarding the judgment of God with respect to the dangers of promoting homosexuality, same-sex marriage, the filthy manner of life and idol-worshipping of this nation.”

Officials from Gainesville did not immediately respond to inquiries from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. Gainesville police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Holbrook told The Times that the agency was “working with the organizers to ensure the short lived schedule of events are safe for all parties involved.”

The churches on Westboro’s picket list were making preparations, too.

In a video posted on YouTube, the Rev. Stuart Higginbotham, from Grace Episcopal Church, encouraged members to attend services that day and to bring friends — and not to engage with protesters. 

Higginbotham said he planned to have the church’s bells ring continuously during the 30 minutes Westboro members are expected to be outside. 

“I will peal them for the entire time that they are here,” Higginbotham said. “For the sound of those bells, which is a symbol of God’s love, drowns out the hate.”

Report: Detainees coerced to work or go without toiletries, adequate food in private ICE facilities

A new report from Reuters says detainees in private immigration detention centers must work for meager pay in order to afford marked-up toiletries and food, or go without those essentials -- claims prison officials refute.

>> Read more trending news 

Immigrants and activists say the facilities deliberately skimp on essentials, even food, to coerce detainees to labor for pennies an hour to supplement meager rations, Reuters reported.

For example, 25-year-old detainee Duglas Cruz, housed at the privately run Adelanto Detention Facility in Adelanto, California, works for a $1 per day wage in order to supplement a jailhouse diet that he told Reuters leaves him perpetually hungry. With his kitchen job, Cruz can save for a $3.25 can of tuna, which Reuters reported is four times the price of tuna at a nearby Target store.

In a lawsuit filed last year by the Southern Poverty Law Center against Nashville-based private prison company CoreCivic Inc., 67-year-old detainee Wilhen Hill Barrientos said detainees “either work for a few cents an hour or live without basic things like soap, shampoo, deodorant and food.”

But Pablo Paez, a spokesman for Geo Group Inc. -- the largest private prison company in the U.S., which owns the Adelanto facility -- says allegations of wrongdoing are “completely false.” He told Reuters that detainees are given meals approved by dieticians, the labor program is strictly voluntary and wage rates are federally mandated.

In addition to the lawsuit filed by the SPLC, immigrants' rights groups have filed similar lawsuits against Geo Group and CoreCivic in California, Colorado, Texas and Washington.

Lawmakers are also taking notice. In November, 11 U.S. senators sent letters to Geo Group and CoreCivic criticizing the “perverse profit incentive at the core of the private prison business,” which has benefited from a crackdown on illegal immigrants under President Donald Trump, Reuters reported.

Paez told Reuters that Geo Group is preparing a detailed, comprehensive response to the senators, conceding that the company “fell short” in some areas of providing detainees care.

CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist told Reuters the company disagrees with the senators’ assertions and that it provides “all daily needs” of detainees.

Trump offers deal to end shutdown in Saturday speech

President Donald Trump announced a proposal for Democrats in a televised speech Saturday afternoon to end the the 29-day partial government shutdown.

>> Read more trending news

In his speech, he said he wants to trade temporary protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants for money to build his wall.

>> More from Jamie Dupree: President’s plan, with details, reaction

His plan included $800 million in humanitarian assistance as well as $805 million for drug-detection technology. The proposal would also add 2,750 border agents and law enforcement officials.

The proposal included $5.7 billion for the deployment of a physical barrier or wall. That wall, he said, would not be a 2,000-mile concrete structure, but steel in high priority areas.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Trump’s proposal as a “nonstarter” moments before the announcement.

Democrats want the protections to be permanent and want him to reopen government before negotiating on border security.

The shutdown began Dec. 22, 2018 over a stalemate between Trump and congressional leaders over his demand for more than $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

Teen wearing red MAGA hat taunts drum-beating Native American during Indigenous Peoples March

A grinning teen wearing a red Make America Great Again hat stood inches from a Native American who was chanting and playing a ceremonial drum during an Indigenous Peoples March. 

>> Read more trending news 

Video of the intense interaction Friday shows supporters in the crowd who appear to be wearing clothing with the insignia of Covington Catholic High School, an all-boys private parochial school in Kentucky, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

"We are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place,” Laura Keener, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, told the Enquirer. “We are looking into it." 

The school’s social media channels were switched to private.

Later Saturday, the school and the Diocese of Covington issued a joint apology. 

“We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general. ... We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person,” the statement said, the Enquirer reported. "The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion." 

Students from the school participated in a March for Life event in Washington the same day as the Indigenous Peoples March, according to the school’s website.

Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance, is the man beating the drum and chanting the AIM Song, Indian Country Today reported

Phillips said he heard the group chanting, “Build that wall, build that wall!”

“I wish I could see that energy of that young mass of young men to put that energy into making this country really great,” Phillips said in an interview posted to social media. 

This is not the first time Phillips has been ridiculed. 

In 2015, a group of students from Eastern Michigan University having an “American Indian” theme party yelled racial epithets and threw a beer can at Phillips, WJBK reported.

'Unsolved Mysteries' reboot planned for Netflix

The producers of "Stranger Things" are planning to rebootUnsolved Mysteries” for Netflix.

“Stranger Things” producers Shawn Levy and Josh Barry are joining the creators of the original series, Terry Dunn Meurer and John Cosgrove for the latest incarnation.

The series is expected to follow the original format, but only focus on a single case in each of the 12 episodes.

>> Read more trending news 

“This modern take on the classic series will maintain the chilling feeling viewers loved about the original, while also telling the stories through the lens of a premium Netflix documentary series,” officials with the streaming video service said. “Each episode will focus on one mystery and once again will look to viewers to help aid investigators in closing the book on long outstanding cases.”

Netflix has not announced who will host the reboot. The original series’ Robert Stack died in 2003. Dennis Farina, who died in 2013, also hosted a reboot on Spike in 2008.

The original “Unsolved Mysteries,” ran for 11 seasons and 260 episodes and received six Emmy nominations.

Texas high schooler says he was punched while defending girl

A Texas high schooler said he was trying to defend a female classmate when another student punched him, and now his mother is questioning why teachers didn’t intervene.

>> Read more trending news

Bisade Afolabi, a 17-year-old senior at Summit High School in Mansfield, told WFAA-TV the fight started when a boy he didn’t know threatened a girl he was sitting with in the school’s auditorium.

“I said, ‘Hold up. You don’t disrespect a woman like that. That’s wrong,’” Afolabi said. “And then he said, ‘Who are you? I’m going to punch you.’”

Several classmates sitting nearby took video, which appears to show the other boy throwing punches at Afolabi as he remains seated. Eventually, Afolabi stands and appears to attempt to grab the boy to try and stop the fight, the news station reported.

Afolabi, who is a boxer and football player, says he held back because he didn’t want to threaten his eligibility to play sports or his legal status. The high schooler and his family are permanent residents from Nigeria. He told WFAA he threw one punch, but isn’t sure if it hit the other student.

Afolabi said he hasn’t faced discipline for the assault.

Afolabi’s mother, Bola Afolabi, wants to press charges against the boy who punched her son. Bisade Afolabi said teachers jumped in to end the fight after it broke out, but his mother wants to know why teachers didn’t respond sooner.

“Why did it take them so long?” she said, “Because I can see the fight does not start immediately.”

The Mansfield Independent School District released a statement to WFAA, saying staff rushed to get the situation under control and added that appropriate disciplinary actions have been taken.

Bisade Afolabi said he’s been benched from all sports until he’s cleared by a doctor, but told WFAA he believes he did the right thing.

Boo, World's Cutest Dog, has died

Boo, once named the World's Cutest Dog, has died of a broken heart.

Boo's owners posted Friday on Facebook that the Pomeranian started experiencing heart problems shortly after their other dog, Buddy, died and they think "his heart literally broke."

>> Read more trending news 

The post reads:

"With deepest sadness I wanted to share that Boo passed away in his sleep early this morning and has left us to join his best friend, Buddy. Our family is heartbroken, but we find comfort knowing that he is no longer in any pain or discomfort. We know that Buddy was the first to greet him on the other side of that rainbow bridge, and this is likely the most excited either of them have been in a long time."

Boo had accomplished a lot in his life. In addition to his title and social media presence, Boo became Virgin America’s Official Pet Liaison in 2012 and appeared in several books, CNN reported.

Attorney general: Alleged predator used ‘Fortnite’ to contact victim

Florida authorities say a man used the video game "Fortnite" to solicit a child for pornographic images.

>> Read more trending news 

Anthony Gene Thomas, 41, of Broward County, Florida, faces several charges, including 22 counts of child pornography and unlawful sexual activity with a minor, according to a statement from Florida Attorney General Ashley Mason,which says, in part:

“This case is disturbing not only because it involves child pornography, but also because a popular online game was used to communicate with the victim,” Mason said. “We have reason to believe there could be additional victims, and I am asking anyone with information about the recruiting of minors for child pornography, or any other type of sexual exploitation, to call law enforcement immediately.”

An investigation found that a co-conspirator contacted the victim, who lives in Brevard County, Florida, through the online video game "Fortnite," the statement said. The co-conspirator allegedly connected the victim to Thomas. Authorities said the victim confided in Thomas about hardships that were happening at home, and Thomas responded by manipulating the victim with gifts, including credit cards and a cellphone so they could be in direct contact with each other.

On Aug. 25, 2018, Thomas and the co-conspirator allegedly picked up the victim and brought them to Thomas’s Broward County home. The victim’s parents called the police, who found the victim and brought them back home Aug. 26. Thomas and the victim remained in contact, the statement said.

Law enforcementofficers served a search warrant Oct. 11 and allegedly found pornographic images and video of the victim on Thomas’s phone. He was arrested and charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computers, traveling to meet a minor for unlawful sexual activity, possession with intention to promote sexual performance of a child, 22 counts of child pornography and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Authorities believe Thomas could have as many as 20 additional victims, the statement said.

Mason stressed in the statement that parents should monitor who their child talks to online, and should talk with their child about sexual predators.

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