Japan Shares Drop, Yen Gains in Holiday Trading: Markets Wrap

Japanese shares fell as the yen gained against the dollar, while Korean equities fluctuated on a day when many major global markets are closed for a holiday. The Topix index slipped in Tokyo, extending its decline for the year, while Korea's Kospi index swung between gains and losses. Trading volumes were more than 30 percent below the 30-day average. The yen advanced for a fourth day against the dollar and the won strengthened for the first time in nine days.

A Christmas tree story from Communist Romania

It was Christmas week 1989, and the old Soviet bloc was falling apart and undergoing a birth of freedom. In Romania, a communist dictatorship collapsed this week : The end of 42 years of communist rule came three days after Ceausescu's security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Timisoara.

Tillerson might help Alaska’s gas project despite brittle relations with governor

Alaska could benefit if Congress confirms ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson as the next secretary of state despite Tillerson's tense relations with Gov. Bill Walker over Alaska's gas line project, some Alaskans believe. That's because the Alaskans hope that Tillerson, regarded as a no-nonsense deal-maker, will shift his focus away from the interests of ExxonMobil's shareholders to national needs that include energy security, presenting an opportunity for hydrocarbon-rich Alaska.

Obamas play Christmas Eve escape game; Trumps attend late night mass

US President-elect Donald Trump exits Mar-a-Lago to attend a church service on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. - AFP WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama and his daughters spent part of the Christmas weekend playing an "escape room" game, while White House successor Donald Trump ushered in the holiday overnight with a visit to church.

Tillerson’s the man for Trump’s approach of trade over politics

Jesse Friedlander says the seasoned businessman appears set to be a formidable negotiator who will shake up the Washington establishment, with his close ties to Putin and a focus on economics and trade over politics US President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation, to lead US foreign relations as secretary of state. In the modern era, every secretary of state has been part of the Washington political and/or military establishment.

Israeli Jews on Obama: His Final Act a “Last Sting” and…

Too many American Jews continue to exist in a state of ignorant bliss when it comes to President Obama's support for the only Jewish state on the planet, but the Jews who suffer the most under Obama's hostility have begun to catch on. Times of Israel reports on Israeli reaction to Obama's support for the UN's condemning of Jews: The US's abstention in Friday's vote "is the last sting of President Obama.

New York rapper shot, wounded sitting in car at intersection

George Michael, the British pop superstar who reached early fame with WHAM! and went on to a solo career lined with controversies and chart-topping hits that blended soul and dance music with social commentary, has... George Michael, the British pop superstar who reached early fame with WHAM! and went on to a solo career lined with controversies and chart-topping hits that blended soul and dance music with daring social and personal... It'll be a white Christmas for the northern Plains and some Western states, but it's likely to cause troublesome travel. The son of President-elect Donald Trump's New York campaign co-chairman has denounced his father's comments about President Barack Obama and his wife.

Israel: humbled Netanyahu places hopes in Trump

In this Dec. 11, 2016, file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. Netanyahu lashed out at President Barack Obama on Saturday, Dec. 24, accusing him of a "shameful ambush" at the United Nations over West Bank settlements and saying he is looking forward to working with his "friend" President-elect Donald Trump.

In defense of the Electoral College

"Electors cast their ballots for Donald Trump this week, but that has not ended calls to revamp or replace the Electoral College. While the disconnect between the electoral and popular votes may be cause for alarm, however, abolishing the Electoral College poses even greater dangers, particularly for liberals.

Fox’s Kurtz: Media Obsessed Over ‘GOP Civil War,’ Not So Much the Current Democratic One

On Fox's MediaBuzz today, Howard Kurtz observed that there may not be as great an "in-depth examination of why the Democrats really lost" as opposed to when, say, Republicans were in the midst of "civil war." Washington Examiner chief congressional correspondent Susan Ferrechio said that while Democrats make noise about everything from Russia to the FBI, "what's being drowned out" is why they didn't connect with the rust belt.

Bernie Sanders Says Donald Trump’s ‘Dangerous’ Nuclear Arms Race Talk Must Be Challenged


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Sen. Bernie Sanders has made it known that Donald Trump should not go unchallenged by his congressional colleagues as troubling comments by the President-elect about nuclear weapons this week sparked alarm across the United States and the world. Following an initial out-of-the-blue tweet Thursday saying the U.S. should "expand" its nuclear arsenal followed by "clarifying" remarks Friday to MSNBC in which Trump said, " Let it be an arms race ," Sanders responded: "It's a miracle a nuclear weapon hasn't been used in war since 1945.

La La Land

Whenever I do a music thread or movie thread or something like that, lots of people in the comments say they'd like to see more such threads because it's such a depressing time politically. I thought I'd do one on movie musicals.

More

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Roy Cooper speaks with supporters at the Guilford County Democratic Party headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. Cooper, No... RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina's next Democratic governor has seen a deal he helped broker to repeal the state's law limiting LGBT protections fall apart and had several of his powers stripped away by the state's Republican-dominated legislature. And he hasn't even been sworn in yet.

300 Coast Guard recruits spending Christmas with NJ families

More than 300 U.S. Coast Guard recruits are being placed with dozens of families in New Jersey as part of an annual tradition known as Operation Fireside. The American Red Cross for 33 years has united host families with the recruits at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May on Christmas and Thanksgiving.

CBB star Heavy D, 43, SPLITS from his fiancee Bryony Ann Harris,…

Melania Trump wears a VERY short dress to church for midnight mass in Florida - as the congregation goes wild for The Donald It's a white-out! Winter Storm Europa brings blizzards, ice storms and freezing rain as it moves across the central states on Christmas Day - making travel by road and rail 'dangerous if not impossible' Pictured: The bloodied ear of flight attendant who was BITTEN by passenger en route to San Francisco when he was asked to stop smoking Look who got candy canes for Christmas! Prince George and Princess Charlotte enjoy their sweet treat as their parents take them to the church in Kate's home village - where Pippa is getting married in May The Queen misses traditional Christmas day church service at Sandringham for the first time in 30 years as she is 'recovering from a heavy cold' but the rest of the Royal family attend Checking out the venue, Pippa? Bride-to-be and ... (more)

Reid has protected environment well

I would like to take the time to thank Sen. Harry Reid for all that he has done for our environment. The League of Conservation Voters has rated Reid with an 81 percent lifetime score in advocating for environmental issues.

Israel summons US ambassador as Netanyahu hits out at Obama

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a scathing attack Sunday on the Obama administration and summoned the US ambassador after its refusal to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's settlements in the West Bank. The United States abstained on the resolution, allowing it to pass, rather than vetoing it - as it usually does with resolutions it sees as overly critical of Israel, leading to US ambassador Daniel Shapiro being summoned, an Israeli official told CNN Sunday.

Netanyahu Lashes Out at Obama Over Un Vote Acusses Onama of Ambush

AP reports Israel's prime minister lashed out at President Barack Obama on Saturday, accusing him of a "shameful ambush" at the United Nations over West Bank settlements and saying he is looking forward to working with his "friend" President-elect Donald Trump. Benjamin Netanyahu's comments came a day after the United States broke with past practice and allowed the U.N. Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a "flagrant violation" of international law.

Failed deal to undo LGBT law marks rocky start for governor

North Carolina's Democratic Governor-elect fights an uphill battle against GOP majority after efforts to repeal the state's 'bathroom bill' fall through The deeply divided state voted Republican in the presidential and senate races, but elected a Democratic governor, making Cooper's job very difficult House Bill 2, commonly known as the 'bathroom bill' has been blamed for job losses, canceled events, and staining North Carolina's reputation He hasn't even been sworn in yet, but several of his powers have already been stripped away by the state's Republican-dominated legislature North Carolina's next Democratic governor faces a tough uphill battle in a state that voted Republican in the presidential and senate races.

PM calls in US envoy for ‘clarifications’ after US failed to veto anti-settlement UN vote

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday summoned US Ambassador Dan Shapiro for "clarifications," after the US abstained in Friday's United Nations Security Council vote demanding a halt to all Israeli settlement activity, enabling the resolution to pass. Netanyahu, who has publicly accused US President Barack Obama of "ambushing" Israel at the UN with the "shameful" resolution, reportedly told colleagues earlier Sunday that the diplomatic tussle was not yet over.

Donald Trump says his decision to shut down his charity foundation…

Melania Trump wears a VERY short dress to church for midnight mass in Florida - as the congregation goes wild for The Donald 'Congratulations to the baby daddy!': Trump's married communications director quits just two days after being appointed as female staffer hints in series of tweets that he has been involved in a 'John Edwards' style sex scandal Donald Trump says his decision to shut down his charity foundation is to avoid 'any conflict with the role of president' - but he won't be able to legally end it while it remains under investigation What the Democrats don't want you to know: Party lost more than 1,030 seats in state legislatures, governor's mansions and Congress during Barack Obama's presidency Look who got candy canes for Christmas! Prince George and Princess Charlotte enjoy their sweet treat as their parents take them to the church in Kate's home village - where Pippa is ... (more)

Assessing the GOP’s tax system overhaul

Congressional Republicans are planning a massive overhaul of the nation's tax system next year, a heavy political lift that could ultimately affect families at every income level and businesses of every size. Their goal is to simplify a complicated tax code that rewards wealthy people with smart accountants, and corporations that can easily shift profits - and jobs - overseas.

Assange: Clinton win would have been a ‘consolidation of power’ in the U.S.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Assange: Clinton win would have been 'consolidation of power' Assange praises Trump for bringing 'opportunities for change' America's Jews are at war MORE in a new interview, denying that any documents he released during the presidential campaign were damaging to the former Democratic nominee. Assange said he has been publishing documents on Clinton "for years" and that the leaks during the campaign were no different, he told Italian newspaper la Repubblica in an interview first published by The Guardian.

Newt Gingrich: Donald Trump’s Twitter Foreign Policy Is ‘Brilliant’

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal adviser to Donald Trump, spoke approvingly of the president-elect's apparent desire to restart a nuclear arms race. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised the style and substance of Donald Trump 's suggestion for a new nuclear arms race , calling the president-elect's use of Twitter to make major policy pronouncements "brilliant."

Top story of 2016 in Maine: Legalized marijuana

In this Dec. 19, 2016 file photo, Lorry Fleming, center, of Bath, Maine, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, shouts at Donald Trump supporter Tom Thompson, left, of Topsham, Maine, outside the State House in Augusta, Maine, where the electoral college was meeting to elect the president. The split of Maine's presidential electoral votes for the first time was among the state's top stories in 2016.

Trump adopting same behavior he criticized Clinton for

In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center in West Allis, Wis. Trump is embracing some of his top attacks on Hillary Clinton as he forms his new administration, engaging in some of the same behavior he used against his rival during the presidential campaign.

Trump to Dissolve Foundation

President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday he will dissolve his charitable foundation amid efforts to eliminate any conflicts of interest before he takes office next month. The revelation comes as the New York attorney general's office investigates the foundation following media reports that foundation spending went to benefit Trump's campaign.

US Sen. Klobuchar to run for re-election, not governor

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Gingrich: Trump ‘Brilliant’ With ‘140 Characters’ Foreign Policy

President-elect Donald Trump's U.S. foreign policy pivot from the "failed" Obama administration that has "weakened" America internationally - even as it comes via Twitter - will serve "notice" to Russia and the world "we can outproduce everybody." "This is the same Donald Trump the liberals were terrified was going sell out to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, who's now pivoted and said, 'Look - to quote Gen.

Trump exhibiting Clinton-like behavior as president-elect

From installing Wall Street executives in his Cabinet to avoiding news conferences, the president-elect is adopting some of the same behavior for which he criticized Clinton during their fiery presidential campaign. Then : "I know the guys at Goldman Sachs," Trump said at a South Carolina rally in February, when he was locked in a fierce primary battle with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

E-cigarette explodes in man’s pocket

A man was hospitalized on Wednesday after his e-cigarette ignited in his pocket while riding a bus in Fresno, California, according to multiple local media outlets. KSFN-TV reported that the man was told by the bus driver to put his e-cigarette away.

Top Five ways Jesus was not White

Given the alarming rise of white nationalism in the United States and the ways in which it is often entangled with Christian nationalism, it is worthwhile remembering whose birth, exactly, is being commemorated today. The association of Christianity with whiteness is relatively new in history, as is the whole idea of a "white" race identified with Europe.

Smerconish: Rights, wrongs, and a few surprises in ’16

A Philadelphia lawyer turned political commentator, Michael Smerconish is a nationally syndicated radio host, best-selling author and weekly contributing columnist to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Sunday Currents section. The Michael Smerconish Program is heard exclusively on SiriusXM - POTUS Channel 124 from 9a12p ET - reairing again 6-9p ET.

Queen Elizabeth II to miss Christmas service due to illness

President-elect Donald Trump says he will dissolve his charitable foundation before taking office to avoid conflicts of interest. The Democratic Party says that's not enough and is calling for the billionaire... President-elect Donald Trump says he will dissolve his charitable foundation before taking office to avoid conflicts of interest.

Center combats terror recruitment

In a busy office in the heart of Minneapolis' largest Somali neighborhood, about a dozen young men and women lined up at computers to work on resumes or apply for jobs. A few feet away stood a photo station, ready to create employee badges for those lucky enough to get hired on the spot.

Inspiration part of first lady’s legacy

The initiatives of first lady Michelle Obama have served as both inspiration and eight years of teaching moments for many families -- especially girls. "I think she stands for kindness in America," said Alexis Shenkiryk, a 12-year-old in Del Mar, Calif.

Japan’s Abe to visit Pearl Harbor memorial

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will fly to Hawaii this week for the express purpose of visiting the site of the surprise attack on a U.S. naval base 75 years ago that killed 2,400 Americans and drew the country into World War II. The visit is a sign of how far public opinion in Japan has moved that Abe can make the trip to the memorial, accompanied by President Barack Obama, to offer condolences to the victims.

Netanyahu: Since Carter, Obama worst for Israelis

In a speech Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked President Barack Obama and the United Nations for the passage a day before of a resolution that criticized Israel's settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Netanyahu said the resolution was part of the "swan song of old world bias against Israel," and he compared Obama to former President Jimmy Carter, whom the prime minister called the worst president for Israel and the last to break with a traditional U.S. commitment to support Israel.

U.S. executions in ’16 fewest in 25 years

A year that began with the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the death penalty in Florida ended with the country reaching modern lows in executions and death sentences. Still, even as capital punishment has declined in both sentencing and practice, there were also signs this year of its support among lawmakers, judges and the public.

Trump inaugural puts artists in quandary

Several months ago, before the presidential election, San Francisco poet and author Dean Rader found himself engaged in a philosophical debate with some of his fellow poets: If Donald Trump were to win the presidency, and if he asked one of them to compose a poem to be read at the inauguration, would they do it? On the one hand, none of them supported Trump for the presidency. Rader didn't know many politically conservative poets, in general, and his friends found the prospect of Trump's election to be "terrifying" and offensive.

Stars Celebrate Holidays With New Baby

Actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds attend the 2016 amfAR New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street, on Feb. 10, 2016, in New York City Model Behati Prinsloo and musician Adam Levine arrive at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, on Feb. 22, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California. There is nothing like baby's first Christmas , even if it's the parents who will remember it more than the kids.

Christmas 2016


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And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

25 congressional members question plant-based “milk” label

Got milk? Twenty-five bipartisan members of Congress said if it's from soybeans, almond or rice, it should not be labeled as milk. Democratic Vermont Rep. Peter Welch and Republican Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson, leading the charge against "fake milk," signed a letter along with other Congressional members, asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate and take action against manufacturers of "milk" that doesn't come from cows.

The Latest: Doctor taking meds to Syria among crash victims

President-elect Donald Trump says he will dissolve his charitable foundation before taking office to avoid conflicts of interest. The Democratic Party says that's not enough and is calling for the billionaire... It'll be a white Christmas for the northern Plains and some Western states, but it's likely to cause troublesome travel.

Capitol Facts

Question the timing all you want, but last week's legal filing by Attorney General Lisa Madigan to stop paying state employee wages without an official appropriation is long overdue and is completely consistent with a 2016 Illinois Supreme Court ruling and with her opposition to a similar lawsuit brought by social service providers. Monday, January 30, 2017 On a fairly regular basis back in the day, state Sen. Barack Obama would walk up to the Senate press box and bum cigarettes off me.

Israel pulls back from approving new East Jerusalem homes ahead of Kerry speech


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Jerusalem's city hall canceled a vote on Wednesday on applications to build nearly 500 new homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem, a municipal official said, plans that had drawn U.S. criticism in a raging dispute over settlements. The proposed settlement is part of building activity that the U.N. Security Council demanded an end to on Friday, a resolution that a U.S. abstention made possible.

Trump Advisor A.J. Delgado Hints at Comms Director Jason Miller Sex…

Jason Miller backs out of Trump White House job - Jason Miller, who was tapped only two days ago to be White House communications director, announced Saturday that he will not join Donald Trump's administration. - In a statement to POLITICO, Miller said the decision to back out of the job stemmed Jason Miller quits as newly named White House communications director after Trump staffer hints at sex scandal - Donald Trump's inner circle was thrown into turmoil Saturday when his newly-named White House communications director resigned after a transition team staffer posted cryptic tweets suggesting he's a philanderer.

The Latest: President Obama wishes crowd Merry Christmas

President Barack Obama greets people waiting for him outside Island Snow Hawaii in Kailua, Hawaii, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, after the president, joined by family and friends, had shave ice during the first family's annual vacation. less President Barack Obama greets people waiting for him outside Island Snow Hawaii in Kailua, Hawaii, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, after the president, joined by family and friends, had shave ice during the first ... more President Barack Obama greets people waiting for him outside Island Snow Hawaii in Kailua, Hawaii, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, after the president, joined by family and friends, had shave ice during the first family's annual vacation.

Thanassis Cambanis: Moscow is ready to rumble

It should come as no surprise that many Russians will mourn this month, a quarter century after Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union and overnight, one of the great world empires simply dissolved. Today a tense realignment is underway, as a resurgent Russia jostles to the table and upends American nostrums about the post-Cold War order.

Analysis: Obama’s chosen legacy is settlement obsession

This is the legacy he wanted to leave - that he changed the more than 35-year-old US policy of protecting Israel at the UN. When US President Barack Obama took over the White House in 2009, one of the first actions he took was to ambush Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and call for a complete and total settlement freeze everywhere, including in east Jerusalem.

Russian Tu-154 Disappears From Radar

The BBC , and several other news agencies, are reporting that a Russian Tu-154 has disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff from Sochi on the Black Sea. The military jet, believed to be carrying around 100 people, was supposedly bound for Russia's air field in Latakia Province, Syria.

Trump to shut down questionable charity

President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday he will dissolve his charitable foundation amid efforts to eliminate any conflicts of interest before he takes office next month. The revelation comes as the New York attorney general's office investigates the foundation following media reports that foundation spending went to benefit Trump's campaign.

Registraton open for drone user ground school in Akron


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The Federal Aviation Administration recently shared data showing that nearly 23,000 people in the United States are now certified to operate small unmanned aircraft systems -- more commonly known as "drones" -- for non-recreational use. An average of 300 commercial certifications have been issued each weekday since the FAA issued new regulations in August 2016.

Comey’s year of unintended consequences

At the start of 2016, the FBI director enjoyed a reputation as a public servant of high integrity, earning bipartisan acclaim for his stewardship of the nation's preeminent law enforcement agency. A year later, the FBI, after a series of blows to its credibility, seems increasingly partisan.

Trump Spokesman Jason Miller Not Taking White House Job

Jason Miller, President-elect Donald Trump's spokesman, has decided he will not take the job of White House communications director he was tapped for just two days earlier. Citing family reasons, Miller announced he will not continue on to the White House and will hand off his responsibilities as communications director to Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee communications director who was announced this week as the incoming White House press secretary - a position he will also retain.

Confirmation hearings to give Democrats a platform

In this Nov. 29, 2016 photo, Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is shown while meeting with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A failed voting fraud prosecution from more than 30 years ago is likely to re-emerge as a contentious issue during Jeff SessionsA' confirmation hearing for attorney general.

In US heartland, a house is made a home for Syrian refugees at Christmas

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Obama and Kerry’s Hypocrisy Burns Brightly

Yesterday, US President Barack Obama wished Jews around the world a Happy Hanukkah and released a statement about his not one, but two, Hanukka celebrations. "I want to say how much Michelle and I appreciate the opportunities to have celebrated so many Hanukkahs with you in the White House As many of you know, the name "Hanukkah" comes from the Hebrew word for "dedication."

a Netanyahu’s Chanukah Speech Blasts Obama, Salutes Soldiers

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks on the first night of Chanukah this evening at an event in salute of wounded IDF and security forces veterans and victims of terrorism: "Citizens of Israel, I would like to reassure you. The resolution that was adopted yesterday at the United Nations is distorted and shameful but we will overcome it.