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President Obama Thursday ordered 35 Russian intelligence operatives and their families to leave the country within 72 hours- part of the US response to Russia’s hacking during the election. The administration is sanctioning nine Russian agencies and individuals, including Russian intelligence agencies GRU and FSB, four of the GRU’s officers, and three companies who provided material support to the GRU.  Two Russian compounds, one in Maryland and one in New York, have been ordered shut down. In a paper statement, the President said this is not all there is to the US response.
--In a written statement, President-elect Donald Trump said he will meet with intelligence community leaders next week to be updated on the situation. House Speaker Paul Ryan called the move “overdue.” 
--The Russian foreign minister is recommending that 31 US diplomats at the US Embassy in Moscow and 4 working at the US Consulate in St. Petersburg be expelled. Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that he doubts a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama is possible anytime soon. "I do not think there should be any haste," Peskov told the press


The President-elect’s spokesman promised a news conference in January and suggested White House briefings may not be as regular as in the past. We’re told he spent Thursday meeting with senior staff on national security and working on his inaugural address with campaign speech writer Stephen Miller.

Thousands of police officers will join the hundreds of thousands celebrating Times Square, in an area blocked off by a fleet of sanitation and other trucks, all there to prevent a Nice- or Berlin-style attack.  On Friday, the folks behind the celebration will test the ball to see if it will drop at One Times Square.

The Northeast storm that hit on Thursday dumped the heaviest snow in upstate New York, western Massachusetts and all of northern New England. Aside from the heavy snow, strong wind gusts to 50mph could also cause damage and blowing snow with low visibility with treacherous travel expected in New England.   The ABC News Weather Team says snow will stop falling in Massachusetts and New Hampshire by midnight Friday and then stop in Maine on Friday morning. 

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently searching for a missing plane that took off from Burke Lakefront Airport Thursday night. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, they received a report around midnight from air traffic control at Burke Lakefront Airport after they lost connection with the plane. The Cessna 525 went missing 2 miles north of downtown Cleveland with six people, three adults and three children, believed to be on board according to an airport official.

A mother died Thursday morning when she and her two children toppled from a Colorado ski lift, the first fatal accident since 2002.   Emergency crews say they were on scene immediately after the fall at Granby Ranch, rushing the 40-year-old mother and her 9- and 12-year-old children to a local hospital.   One of the children has since been flown to Children's Hospital in Denver, but both are in stable condition.  Medical professionals pronounced the mother dead, but have not yet identified the woman

A cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey went into effect in war-ravaged Syria at midnight Thursday, a potential breakthrough in the six years of fighting that have left more than a quarter-million people dead and triggered a refugee crisis across Europe.  If it holds, the truce between the Syrian government and the country's mainstream rebel forces will be followed by peace talks next month in Kazakhstan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in announcing the agreement.  He described it, however, as "quite fragile" and requiring "special attention and patience."

The family of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds may be planning a public memorial to the two deceased Hollywood stars.  Mourners have already flooded Reynolds star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with flowers. 

Honda is recalling some 634,000 of its best selling Odyssey minivan.  It's due to a defect that may cause the second row seating to shift during an accident.  Models years in the recall range from 2011-2016. 

Are delivery truck drivers being targeted?  A rash of robberies involving FedEx and UPS drivers have been reported nationwide.  In Chicago six drivers or trucks have been robbed this holiday season.  In two cases this week a gunman approached the driver taking packages. 

On December 30, 2006, the U.S. authorities gave Saddam Hussein to the Iraqi people to carry out his death sentence. He was then hanged. His death marked the end of an epilogue which started in 2003 with the symbolic fall of the dictator’s statue on Bagdad’s Firdos Square.

Ronda Rousey return's to the ring - or Octagon - for the first time since her stunning November 2015 defeat.  The former UFC women's champion will challenge the current champion Amanda Nunes of Brazil Friday night in Las Vegas.

Former Charles Manson follower and killer Patricia Krenwinkel -  the longest-serving female inmate in California - appeared again Thursday before a parole board some 47 years after she helped kill pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people. The 69 year-old has been denied parole 13 times since her conviction in the 1969 killings. 


The Obama administration set to announce measures, including sanctions, aimed at Russia for its alleged interference in the US elections. President Obama has ordered a full intelligence review of cyberattacks aimed at the election process. American intelligence agencies believe that state-backed Russian hackers worked to undermine the US elections possibly in an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton's chance or boost Donald Trump's.

A day after her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher passed away, her mother Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds was hospitalized and then died as well. Reynolds breakout roll was in Singin' In The Rain and quickly became a staple among Hollywood royalty. She famously divorced Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher's father, after his 1959 affair with Elizabeth Taylor.

President-elect Donald Trump remains at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on vacation. He took responsibility for 8,000 new telecom jobs, including at Spring Wednesday, but the company says those were part of the 50,000 jobs announced in an earlier deal announced at Trump Tower.

In a blistering speech Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration's decision to abstain from voting at the UN Security Council last week ... which allowed the passage of a resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Kerry says the U.S. has not changed its views on a two-state solution in the Middle East, but criticized Israel for expanding its settlements and said that if Israel pushed for a one-state solution, it quote "can either be Jewish or Democratic, it can not be both." Israel was quick to counter these statements. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issuing a statement saying the "Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders." and said he's looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump and the new administration to "mitigate" and eventually overturn the UN resolution. Trump tweeted: "We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!"  

NYPD and Mayor de Blasio will hold a news conference in Times Square to discuss security preparations for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square. 555 new recruits graduated Wednesday and nearly all will be on duty during New Year’s Eve.

A storm system that moved through the Pacific Northwest yesterday and overnight is now pushing east and will combine with a southern system to bring rain and snow to the Northeast Thursday. This will be a rain event for DC, Philly, NYC and Boston and even for coastal Maine. The heavy snow will be in the mountains of Vermont, NH and Maine.

A Delta flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles was re-routed back to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after a couple were being disruptive Wednesday night. An airport official says the flight took off at 6:20 p.m., but arrived back at MSP Airport at 7:35 p.m. The man and woman allegedly refused to follow flight crew instructions, and were removed from the plane in Minneapolis by several police officers.

The older brother of JonBenet Ramsey is suing CBS and others for $750 million, saying his reputation was ruined after a television series that concluded he killed his 6-year-old sister two decades ago.  In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Burke Ramsey claims that the network, its production company and the experts interviewed in the series on the unsolved murder conspired to defame him for publicity and profit.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama laid wreaths, tossed flower pedals into the water and spoke about how adversaries become allies in the first-ever joint visit to Pearl Harbor by American and Japanese heads of state. PM Abe offered condolences for the victims' of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that drew the US into World War Two, but no apologies. Both leaders focused on moments of reconciliation that have strengthened the friendship between the US and Japan.

The Obama administration is reportedly set to announce measures, including sanctions, aimed at Russia for its alleged interference in the US elections. The Washington Post is reporting the announcement could come as early as this week.  President Obama has ordered a full intelligence review of cyberattacks aimed at the election process. American intelligence agencies believe that state-backed Russian hackers worked to undermine the US elections possibly in an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton's chance or boost Donald Trump's.

Turkey and Russia have reportedly reached an agreement on a cease-fire plan across Syria. The two countries will work to ensure that it comes into effect at midnight Wednesday night, Turkey's state-run news agency reported Wednesday.

Actress Carrie Fisher died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, age 60. The actress, most famous for her role as Princess Leia, was rushed to the hospital Friday after going into cardiac arrest on a plane headed for L-A. 

Tributes continue pouring in for pop icon George Michael, who died on Christmas Day at age 53.

President-elect Donald Trump remains at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on vacation. His transition team announced Tuesday that Bush administration veteran Thomas Bossert will serve as a White House advisor on security and counterterrorism issues. Trump's not taking a vacation from Twitter, taking jabs at President Obama and the UN, and defending his charities. 

--Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss the Obama administration’s vision of a final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in a speech Wednesday.
--The State Department is defending the Obama Administration's decision to abstain from a UN Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but the move has riled up Republicans. President-elect Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the United Nations, annd is now writing on Twitter that the UN has become "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time." Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton is saying US should reconsider its membership in the UN. He said Congress could withhold all US funds from the UN until its resolution over Israeli settlements is rescinded.

A storm system that moved through the Pacific Northwest yesterday and overnight is now pushing east and will combine with a southern system to bring rain and snow to the Northeast Thursday. This will be a rain event for DC, Philly, NYC and Boston and even for coastal Maine. The heavy snow will be in the mountains of Vermont, NH and Maine.

A federal appeals court ruled the State Department and the National Archives could have done more to make sure all of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails from her private server were recovered and preserved. Both agencies took steps to recover emails but Judicial Watch and Cause of Action Institute sued to force them to get the Attorney General involved. The federal appeals court said those lawsuits "were not moot." The court said the State Department "has not explained why shaking the tree harder" might not "shake loose a few more emails."

United Airlines has agreed to settle a Labor Department lawsuit that said the baggage operation at Newark Airport was deficient. Years of bending over posts to reach conveyor belts or manually loading and unloading gate-checked bags led to more than 600 musculoskeletal injuries among workers there. The airline has two years to make improvements meant to reduce injuries.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday begins an historic visit with President Obama to Pearl Harbor, site of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that drew the US into World War Two.  Abe becomes the first Japanese prime minister to visit the USS Arizona memorial site together with a sitting US president.  Monday the Prime Minister placed a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Some folks clearly on edge after the holiday weekend. People hit the malls the day after Christmas...some hit each other. Fights and skirmishes reported at malls in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Colorado and elsewhere.....Shoppers fled the Beachwood Place mall in Beachwood, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb after a fight broke out.

Christmas weekend in Chicago was more violent than the entire weekend last year. 12 people have been killed and more than 40 others have been wounded in shootings across the city since Friday evening, according to Chicago police.  Last year, a total of 30 people were shot in Chicago over the holiday weekend, leaving six dead.  Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called the violence "unacceptable."

--More than half of all Americans say they think President Obama is doing a good job ... whereas President-elect Donald Trump's favorability ratings are at just 43 percent. President Obama told a podcast he thinks he would have beaten Trump in the election. Trump tweeted in response "I say NO WAY! - jobs leaving, ISIS, Obamacare."
--Trump has made clear he's not pleased with the UN's recent decision to pass a measure condemning Israel. Now on Twitter, he's slamming the UN directly, saying it has "such great potential, but right now it's just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time."

Travel misery for many. Dangerous winter weather over the weekend ... from the Midwest to the East Coast ... is moving north. A deep freeze and blizzard conditions led to road accidents and thousands of flight delays and cancellations.

Five of six escapees from the jail in Cocke County, Tennessee are back in custody, after a Christmas morning jailbreak through a hole behind a toilet.

No change announced in the condition of actress Carrie Fisher... Fisher was rushed to the hospital Friday after going into cardiac arrest on a plane headed for Los Angeles. A short statement Sunday from her mother Debbie Reynolds reads "My daughter, Carrie Fisher, is in stable condition. If there is any change, the family will share the information at that time."

Tributes continue pouring in for pop icon George Michael, who died on Christmas Day at age 53.

A routine stop by Italian police in Milan resulted in the death of the man wanted for the deadly truck attack in Berlin. Authorities in Italy say police on patrol encountered Anis Amri and asked for his papers and he pulled a gun on the officers, a shootout occurred and Amri was killed.
--We're learning Amri was able to make his way from Berlin into France then Italy.
--Police in Western Germany say they've thwarted an planned terror attack on a mall. Two people have been detained.

Australian authorities say they've foiled a terror plot to explode devices on or around Christmas Day in Melbourne. Police say they've detained seven suspects, allegedly inspired by ISIS. They're accused of planning "multi-mode" attacks on a train station, a public square and St. Paul's Cathedral.

--President-elect Donald Trump tweets: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”  A spokesman later walked Trump’s comments back, saying U-S capabilities should be “improved” and “modernized.”.
--Trump is putting the nation’s biggest defense contractor on alert, tweeting a warning to Lockheed Martin: he’s shopping around for a replacement to the F-35 fighter jet.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola confirms to ABC News that a suspect in the road rage shooting death of 3-year-old Acen King was turned into authorities by relatives Thursday night. The suspect Gary Holmes has been arrested for the shooting death of Acen King. Lt. Cody Burk with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office confirms Holmes is being held at the Pulaski County Detention Center.

Four firefighters were among 24 people hurt in a high-rise apartment building fire on Manhattan's Upper West Side Thursday afternoon.

The First Family continue their holiday vacation in Hawaii.

There were protests Thursday night against the Fort Worth Police, over the viral video of a confrontation between an officer and a family. 46-year-old Jacqueline Craig, through her lawyer, is calling for charges against her to be dropped, and is demanding the officer be fired.

Some holiday travelers at the nation's airports are experiencing delays...some more than others. Bad weather and construction at LAX backed up flights all day Thursday.

Back to back storms my complicate holiday travel, and holiday shipping. Heavy volume and bad weather put twin stresses on companies like Fed Ex.

As the holiday shopping options diminish, gift cards may start to look pretty for you procrastinators.

One victim hurt in Tuesday's fireworks explosion in Mexico is being treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston, Texas.  The facility specializes in pediatric burn patients.  The chief of staff says the hospital is expecting 3-to-4 more patients over the next few days.

A Los Angeles man is under arrest, accused of trying to smuggle heroin wrapped as Christmas presents through Los Angeles International Airport.

No deal in North Carolina. State lawmakers adjourned a special session...taking no action to repeal the law requiring people use public restrooms of their birth gender. There was supposed to have been a which the legislature would act after the city of Charlotte repealed its anti-discrimination law. The controversial state law triggered boycotts from businesses, performers and sports leagues, and is blamed for costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars. A statement from Charlotte says "..we are disappointed by this unfortunate outcome."

The suspect in Monday's deadly truck rampage in Berlin is a Tunisian who has been on Germany's anti-terror radar. The search is on for Anis Amri...Officials say he has multiple aliases and a criminal record.

A million people are expected to pack New York City's Times Square this New Year's Eve for the Big Apple's time-honored annual celebration -  the feds have issued a security bulletin - and while they say there's been no specific or credible threat -  officials are worried about the possibility of lone wolves.
--Officials all across Europe are stepping up security measures following Monday's deadly attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

Holiday travel this year is expected to reach "the highest level on record," with 103 million Americans on the move for year-end holidays, according to AAA. Most will drive, but air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent, with more than 6 million Americans flying.  With Christmas Day falling on Sunday and all, as many folks as possible appear to be extending their weekends as long as possible, and it appears that Thursday will be nearly as strong a get-away day as Friday.

--President-elect Trump calls the deadly truck attack in Berlin "an attack on humanity."  He seems to double down on his view on an immigration ban on Muslims from known terrorist areas.
--Trump met with top military brass, as well as Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg at Mar-a-Lago, later saying he was  doing a bit of a negotiation 'dance' .. to cut costs.. on new planes. 

The First Family continue their holiday vacation in Hawaii.

The death toll stands at 32 with about 46 others still hospitalized after Tuesday's fireworks market deadly chain-reaction explosion outside Mexico City.  As relatives continue to search for loved ones, attention is turning to apparent lax security that allowed vendors to display their dangerous wares in the passageways between stalls.

A spokesperson for Queen Elizabeth says the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have “heavy colds” and have delayed Christmas travel plans to Sandringham.   The couple had plan to travel on Wednesday.

Homeowners and business people in Oklahoma head into 2017 with a new plan in place meant to protect property from damaging earthquakes. The state agency that regulates the oil and natural gas industries has created a response protocol based on the intensity of any quakes. The document moves those regulators closer to a recognition that oil and gas exploration and the associated wastewater disposal may be responsible for at least some of the Sooner State’s shaking.

Self-driving Uber cars are being pulled off the road in California. The ride-sharing company says state transportation regulators revoked registrations for the vehicles until Uber gets a special testing permit to run on public roads.

A judge agreed to appoint a "special master" to review evidence in the murder trial of real estate heir and former fugitive Robert Durst Wednesday.    Durst appeared at the hearing in Los Angeles and sat in a wheelchair. The 73-year-old faces one count of first-degree murder in the 2000 execution-style killing of his friend, Susan Berman.  

Prominent Atlanta attorney Claud "Tex" McIver, who is accused of shooting his wife near Piedmont Park, has turned himself into Fulton County jail, according to Atlanta police.  Atlanta police issued the warrants for involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct Wednesday morning. Diane McIver, 63, was a prominent businesswoman.  Atlanta police have been investigating the case since September, when the husband claimed that he fell asleep with a gun on his lap while riding in the back seat of a car and accidentally shot his wife through the seat. 

Famed "Growing Pains" actor Alan Thicke died of a ruptured aorta, the Los Angeles county coroner said Wednesday. Thicke star died last week, and at the time, his son Robin Thicke's publicist said that the actor suffered a heart attack. Thicke, who was 69 at the time of his death, was laid to rest on Tuesday. 

December 21--  Here are some of the stories you'll hear today on NewsTalk WVOP, AM 970 and FM 105.3 in Vidalia.

Twenty-nine people were killed and more than 70 injured after an explosion at a fireworks market outside of Mexico City Tuesday, according to the governor of the state of Mexico. The explosion in Tultepec was confirmed in an earlier tweet by Luis Felipe Puente, the National Coordinator for Civil Protection. Dramatic video posted to Facebook shows clouds of thick smoke billowing from the market as several fireworks appear to go off at once. The Federal Prosecutor will lead an investigation to determine the cause of the accident as they are not ruling anything out. 

Berlin police say they have received more than 500 tips relating to Monday's deadly truck crash into a Christmas market; they deem 80 of those tips "serious." ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the State Department says it does not have info that backs up the claim.  German prosecutors released a Pakistani man that they had thought was driving the truck.

A beefed up police presence at Christmas shopping markets in the U-S. But no word yet of any specific terror threats targeting the United States, following the deadly truck attack in Berlin.

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is distancing the Trump family from a fundraiser scheduled for Inauguration Weekend organized by a nonprofit appearing to offer access to the president in exchange for donations. The Jan. 21 conservation fundraiser, of which Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are honorary co-chairmen, was planning to offer private receptions with Trump in exchange for $1 million contributions to the nonprofit Opening Day Foundation, according to an initial brochure first reported by TMZ and confirmed by ABC News. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks issued a statement Tuesday distancing the family from the even.

An extraordinary rally on Wall Street should help your 401k. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closing Tuesday within 26 points of the 20-thousand mark, less than a month after the Dow hit 19-thousand for the first time ever.

A deal to repeal North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill" comes up in a special session Wednesday for state lawmakers. Nixing the statewide law hinged on Charlotte undoing a local anti-discrimination measure.

--In an effort to provide long-lasting protection to fragile Arctic ecosystems, President Obama has enacted an expansive, permanent ban on oil and gas leasing in several Arctic and Atlantic Ocean areas. The president has designated a large portion of the U.S. Chukchi Sea and the vast majority of the U.S. Beaufort Sea as permanently off-limits to drilling leases, saying the risks far outweigh any possible, distant-future benefits. 
--On Tuesday, the Obama family went to Hawaii's Bellows Air Force station to visit the beach with friends. It is a favorite beach spot for the first family; last year, the first family visited the beach three times, and in 2014 made it there five times. The visit came after Obama announced in a statement earlier in the day what he characterized as a permanent ban on drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic.

A Wednesday night vigil is planned for the three-year-old killed in a road rage incident in Arkansas.  The little boy's grandmother says a man driving a 2003 to 2005 black Chevy Impala opened fired after she and the suspect exchanged car honks Saturday evening. The woman told police she didn't realize the boy had been struck until about 15 minutes later. Police say they've gotten dozens of tips, and a reward for info has grown to 40-thousand dollars.

The rate of uninsured Americans has hit a 50-Year Low.  Before Obamacare in 2013, 45 million people (17% of the population) under age 65 were without health insurance in the U.S. Now researchers examine uninsured rates within the two-year period before/after the Affordable Care Act came into full effect in 2014. In every state except Massachusetts and South Dakota, uninsured rates declined each year. 

The brutal assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey during a televised event at the Museum of Modern Art in Ankara on Monday left observers shocked and appalled, but also asking difficult questions about the relationship between Turkey and Russia.

Canada called Monday for the unconditional release of a Canadian man and his American wife after a new video appeared to show them begging their governments to intervene on their behalf with their Afghan captors.

The man accused of planting bombs in New Jersey and New York City and then engaging cops in a shootout pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the alleged attack on several Linden, New Jersey, police officers. A public defender entered a not guilty plea on the attempted murder charges on behalf of Ahmad Khan Rahimi as Rahimi made a brief appearance in a New Jersey courtroom, where a high police presence surrounded him. Rahimi is charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

The case of a missing former reality show contestant is now a homicide investigation, LAPD said on Tuesday, adding that a male nursing student will be booked on suspicion of murder. Lisa Marie Naegle, 36, attended a friend's 40th birthday party in Alpine Village in Torrance late Saturday night.  Naegle's husband said he received a text message from her around 2:45 a.m., telling him she would be getting food and then coming home. But the registered nurse never returned home. Tuesday afternoon, LAPD said information provided to them by that nursing student, 34-year-old Jackie Jerome Rogers, led investigators to believe that Naegle was murdered, and her body is likely at Rogers' Lennox residence.  Naegle was a contestant on the E! network show "Bridalplasty" in 2010. 

The first official day of winter starts at 5:44am EST Wednesday morning.


Electoral College electors meet in their states to formally elect the new president, confirming the results of the 2016 election.  Electors in all 50 states will gather in their respective capitals to vote. Times will vary state by state. All voting will be open to the press. Trump is expected to hit 270 around 3pm ET.   Texas is the only state with a publicly declared rogue elector - Republican Chris Suprun.
The Electoral College's usually ceremonial role has come under focus in the aftermath of this election due to a number of factors -- including Democrat Hillary Clinton's winning the popular vote by a significant margin, and the CIA/FBI finding that Russia used hacking to try to influence the election.  GOP electors have been inundated with emails, phone calls and letters urging them to vote against Trump and protests are planned across the country in state capitals where electors will meet.

In a new letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. Schumer, Reed, Graham and McCain redouble their call for a bipartisan investigation into Russian election interference. Now, they're calling for a new select committee to focus on cyber security that would also develop legislation to address gaps in the current system. McConnell - along with House GOP leaders - have said the existing House and Senate Intelligence Committees should continue their unilateral investigations, which are largely being conducted in private.

Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday said the President-elect isn't ready to accept the finding by intelligence officials that Moscow hacked Democratic emails in a bid to elevate Trump. Even if it's true, they said, Trump still won the White House fair and square. Trump is lashing out on Twitter in advance of the Electoral College vote, saying: "If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned & called terrible names!"   At his last “Thank You” tour stop before heading to Florida for a break, Trump said "I never appreciated it until now, how genius it was, what they had in mind, because at the time they didn't want everybody going to Boston and New York and everything else would be forgotten," the President-elect said. "It's genius, I'm telling you, it's genius."

The First Family continues a vacation in Hawaii. More of a wide-ranging NPR interview with Mr Obama is released. The Thursday interview touched on many topics in addition to Vladimir Putin. The President seemed to agree with Donald Trump that political correctness has gone too far,  discussed "new rules" for cyber-espionage, getting "make america great again" letters and how he responds, Trump's future use of executive action and more. 

Police in Arkansas are searching for a driver who fatally shot a 3-year-old boy at a stop sign in Little Rock over the weekend. The motorist was apparently upset the boy's grandmother wasn't driving fast enough.  A 20-thousand dollar reward is on offer. This is the second incident where a small child was gunned down inside a car in Little Rock - last month, a two-year-old was killed.

After nearly four days, Corpus Christi residents can drink the water -  officials ending the ban on tap water use after test results showed no contamination from a corrosive chemical leak last Wednesday. The mayor says testing will continue.

More than 13-hundred international/domestic US flights were cancelled Sunday. Frontier Airline passengers waited for hours on icy tarmac in Denver before being allowed to get off plane.

Evacuations from eastern Aleppo have resumed. A compromise agreement is expected to be approved Monday morning at the United Nations.  France struck a compromise with Russia Sunday on resolution it said would prevent "mass atrocities" in besieged areas of Aleppo, where thousands of trapped civilians and rebel fighters await evacuation in freezing temperatures. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, says the resolution would quickly put more than 100 U.N. personnel on the ground to monitor evacuations.  The Aleppo deal is complex – it includes the stipulation that wounded also be evacuated out of two Shiite, rebel-besieged pro-regime towns.

There's a pretrial conference in New York today for Ahmad Khan Rahimi, charged with setting off bombs in New Jersey and New York on September 17th, injuring 30 people. Charges include using a weapon of mass destruction.  Rahimi is accused of planting two improvised devices in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, one of which exploded. The second device failed to detonate and was located by law enforcement.  Rahimi faces separate charges in New Jersey in relation to a pipe bomb along a Marine Corps Charity race in Seaside Park, NJ on the same day.

If you're heading to the Post Office today to ship holiday cards and letters, you'll have company.  The U.S. Postal Service expects today will be the busiest shipping day of the season.  USPS wants those packages by Tuesday at the latest to get first class mail to their destinations in time for Christmas.  FedEx also anticipates receiving about 25 million packages Monday, about double a normal day.  Thursday is expected to be the busiest DELIVERY day. There is also a snag this holiday season:  A pilots union that ships for Amazon Prime Air warns poor working conditions may cause packages to arrive late. But  Amazon says there will be no disruption.

The Hungarian-born actress/socialite - one of the first to be famous for being famous -  died in Los Angeles on Sunday. She was 99.The former Miss Hungary began appearing in films in the 1950s. Gabor was married nine times. In her later years, she suffered a series of health problems, including a car accident which left her partially paralyzed and a stroke at age 89. 

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" tops the weekend box office. The prequel opened to a massive estimated 155 million bucks - only the second film to open to more than 100 million in December. "Rogue One" added another 135 million worldwide, just shy of 300 million in its first weekend, after costing a reported 200 million to make. Will Smith's drama "Collateral Beauty" had the WORST wide opening of his career - 7 million. It opened in fourth - "Moana" in second place, "Office Christmas Party" in third.

Before heading to Hawaii for the First Family’s annual holiday, President Obama will hold a news conference Friday where Russia’s alleged interference in the elections is bound to be a topic.  The President in an interview airing Friday on NPR's Morning Editions says the U.S. will take action against Russia and President Vladimir Putin is aware.

President-elect Donald Trump contines to dispute Russia's involvement.  Mr. Trump continued his “Thank You” tour with a stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania Thursday night, spending most of the time rehashing the election and how the pollsters were wrong.  

Local officials say there will be a partial lifting of Corpus Christi's ban on tap water. City officials will be lifting water restrictions for 3 areas within the Texas city.  The mayor blames a third party for introducing the industrial chemical identified as Indulin AA-86, an asphalt emulsifier into the water supply. Residents in all other zones are being told not to use the city's tap water until further notice.

--100 Million Americans are feeling below zero wind chills or heavy snow through Friday.  Winter Weather Alerts are posted for 30 states coast to coast from California to Maine.  It’s some of the coldest December air in decades for parts of the Midwest and the Northeast through Friday. 
--A new storm has rain is falling across much of California, even as far south as Los Angeles could get 1-2” of rain; flash flooding, debris flow, and mudslides are all possible. 

The International Committee for the Red Cross says the evacuation of rebels and civilians from the Syrian city of Aleppo is likely to take several days. 

Dylann Roof has been found guilty on all 33 counts in the federal trial in connection with the June 2015 shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church.   He showed no emotion as the verdict was read.   Roof, who is white, was accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners during a Bible study at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015. According to the federal indictment against him, Roof, 22, entered the church armed and "with the intent of killing African-Americans engaged in the exercise of their religious beliefs." The 33 federal counts against Roof included hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death.  His sentencing will begin on January 3, when Roof intends to represent himself. 

The first stand alone movie in the Star Wars saga opened in theaters across the country Thursday night.  "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is one of the most anticipated films of the year and expected to top the weekend box office.

The NBA remembered TNT broadcaster Craig Sager Thursday night at basketball arenas across the country.  Sager, 65, succumbed to his long battle with cancer.

One of the largest consumer product safety recalls is being plagued by delays and insufficient actions.  Over the summer, Ikea voluntary recalled about 29 million chests and dressers after six children were crushed to death when they toppled over. Since then, Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, says only a tiny fraction of Ikea customers have received refunds or repair kits, and the company has only distributed a few hundred thousand kits. 

A monumental data breach...Yahoo discloses that hackers stole around one billion accounts in August 2013. The company had announced a separate data breach in September of this year impacting 500-million users.

Thursday an alleged hacker of over 100-million bank and brokerage accounts is to appear before a federal judge. The US attorney in New York calls it "the single largest theft of customer data from a U.S. financial institution ever."  32-year-old Joshua Aaron, a US citizen living in Moscow, flew to the US and surrendered Wednesday to face a 22-count indictment.

"Deeply concerned" over the "intransigence" of the intelligance community...That's the reaction from the Chair of the of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, after the committee got a "no" to a request for a Thursday briefing on cyber attacks during the presidential campaign.

--President-elect Trump, who had said he didn't need daily intelligence briefings, is now getting more of them...three a week.
--Trump hosted some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley at a "tech summit."  The President-elect signaled the White House doors would be wide open to them, saying "There's no formal chain of command here."
--The White House says it's in "wait and see" mode ... about  Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson ... currently the chairman and CEO of the biggest oil company in the US, Exxon Mobil. Tillerson has negotiated corporate deals all over the world ... including with Russian President Vladimi Putin

Uber launched self driving cars in San Francisco on Wednesday and they've already been ordered off the roads, after reports came in of one car blowing a red light and another almost crashing into another vehicle. The California DMV sent a letter saying that the service was illegal until Uber got a permit for putting "autonomous vehicles" on public roads.

--(Embargoed til 12/15 11am ET): 
The CDC releases its most complete picture of the risk to developing fetuses among women infected with Zika during pregnancy and who delivered in the US.  Overall risk of having a baby with a birth defect related to Zika is 6%. Risk is 11%  if infection occurred during first trimester.
--The CDC has issued Zika-related travel and testing guidance for Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas, following reports from Texas public health officials of five cases spread locally by mosquitoes.

Syrian rebels claim a ceasefire that fell apart in the battered city of Aleppo is back on again. Human Rights Watch says forces battling for control of the city are plunging residents into hell. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says "There is not a military solution that can be imposed by the United States.

A bitter blast of Arctic cold will put a big chunk of the US into a deep freeze. Below zero temps and wind chills will sweep from the upper Midwest to the East

The fed raises interest rates a quarter point, and anticipates three more hikes in the coming year

Closing arguments are set for Thursday in the hate crimes trial of Dylann Roof. The defense rested after calling no witnesses Wednesday. Roof has admitted opening fire at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing 9 African American parishioners.

The Department of Justice Thursday plans to announce a review of the St. Anthony Minnesota Police Department. The July 6th police shooting of Philando Castile live streamed by his girlfriend went viral.

-- President-elect Donald Trump will officially announce his Secretary of State pick Tuesday morning.  Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is expected to get the nod after it was learned Mitt Romney was no longer in the running Monday night.
--Trump also tweeted he'll hand off his businesses to his two eldest sons and a handful of executives, effective before January 20th.   He had promised to hold a news conference this coming Thursday to explain how he would remove himself from potential conflicts of interest with his business empire.  Transition officials tell us that's been postponed until January. They say the president elect has been too busy filing out his cabinet. Trump still has not held a formal news conference since the election.
--Donald Trump celebrates the recount in Wisconsin, noting he "picked up 131 votes."
"The Dems and Green Party can now rest. Scam! "

The Russians are not our friends," says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who confirms that the Senate intelligence panel will be conducting an inquiry into Russia's hacking of political emails.  
--House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes is now calling on the director of national intelligence James Clapper to clear up the “divergent messages” regarding Russia and the election.
--There's also a small group of Electoral College members asking for more information about those hackings led by Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's daughter, Christine Pelosi, a California elector.
--President Obama also brought up the potential Russian hackings during an appearance on The Daily Show Monday night.

The major winter storm that brought snow and treacherous travel from the Midwest to the Northeast this weekend has moved out.  Now, the most brutal cold blast of the season moves in Wednesday-Friday.  Wind chills will be below zero for millions from Minneapolis to Chicago to NYC to Boston.  The snowstorm dropped a daily record amount in Detroit – 10.6 inches.  The ABC News Weather Team says Thursday morning is the coldest for the Midwest with places like Minneapolis, Chicago, and Green Bay feeling 20+ degrees below zero.  Friday morning is the coldest for the Northeast where it will feel below zero from Philly to NYC to Boston.

In Syria, east Aleppo is on the brink of falling.  The Syrian government has taken control of at least 97 percent of east Aleppo after intense bombardments overnight and today, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group. Seizing the remaining territories would grant President Bashar al-Assad a strategic victory, returning all urban centers in the country to his control.

Lufthansa Flight # 441 from Houston to Frankfurt was diverted to JFK Monday night after a "threat" received by phone. The plane was in a remote area of JFK International Airport. Passengers deplaned as the plane was searched.

For a third time in two weeks, two police officers have been shot in Georgia.   Investigators say Monday night's shooting incident began when two Lavonia Officers initiated a traffic stop. During the stop, the occupant fired upon the officers, striking both.  The officers received non-life threatening injuries and were both transported to an area hospital for treatment. 
The suspect fled on foot and remains at large.

Most analysts expect the Federal Reserve will announce a hike in interest rates after its two-day meeting that beings Tuesday. It would be the first rise in rates this year.

Jurors have seen the rudimentary website Dylann Roof created to store images of himself and a manifesto of his beliefs on white supremacy and nationalism.   FBI Special Agent Tracy Sicks told jurors he was called in three days after the shooting at Emanuel AME Church to save all the information on a website because it is linked to the Roof investigation.  Roof's manifesto espouses his white supremacy beliefs that were also reiterated in his interview with the FBI and in the handwritten journal found in his car. It had been last accessed the afternoon of the shooting at Emanuel.   Jurors also heard in Roof’s confession that he had considered other targets, where African-Americans congregated.  

First responders at the scene of Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire paid tribute to the 36 lives lost to the smoke and flames.  Federal investigators have now left the scene of the deadly fire and hope to learn more about a possible cause.

French police say they are hunting for four men suspected of stealing gold dust worth nearly $1.6 million dollars from an armored truck Monday before setting cars ablaze near a major highway and fleeing.  The suspects, operating in multiple cars, surrounded the armored truck and forced it off the highway between Paris and Lyon.

Closing arguments began Monday afternoon in the murder-for-hire retrial of a Boynton Beach, Florida  woman accused of hiring an undercover police officer to kill her husband.  Dalia Dippolito is accused of paying an undercover police officer, who was posing as a hit man, to kill her husband in 2009.

The surge of Central American children and families seeking asylum at the U-S/Mexico border is only growing, according to the Customs and Border Protection commissioner who toured a temporary holding facility in South Texas last week. The new, 40-thousand-square-foot white canopy tent is designed to process as many as 500 people a day and to do so more quickly.

Members of Congress from both parties are calling for an investigation into the intelligence community's finding that Russia tried to influence November's election by hacking and releasing Democratic campaign emails. President-Elect Trump calls the CIA's conclusion "ridiculous." 

Calling it a "no brainer," NY Senator Chuck Schumer says he thinks workers on the nation's railways should be  subject to the same screening standards as pilots and airline employees.

--President-elect Trump thinking of choosing Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Trump tweets "Whether I choose  him or not," Tillerson "is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!"
--Trump tells Fox News he doesn't need daily intelligence briefings.  "I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day.”

Wintry weather forces the cancellation of more than 18-hundred flights around the US, most at Chicago's airports. At Detroit Metro Airport, a Delta flight slipped off the snowy taxiway and into the grass, forcing passengers to leave out the rear hatch. No injuries. A system moving east from the midwest brings a wet, snowy, icy mess for many.

Early Monday survivors, family members and staff of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando gather outside the club to mark six months since the shooting rampage. A moment of silence is planned for 2:02am, the time gunman Omar Mateen started shooting inside the club.

Monday Connecticut's Supreme Court hears arguments over whether cellphone tower evidence is reliable enough to use in criminal trials.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter made an unannounced trip to Iraq Sunday, visiting a military base. The top US commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend, says there are still 3- to 5-thousand Islamic State fighters defending Mosul, but coalition forces have killed or wounded more than 2-thousand fighters since October.

--Monday stock trading begins after a stellar Friday. The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq all finished at record highs.
--Most analysts expect the Federal Reserve will announce a hike in interest rates after its two-day meeting ends Wednesday. It would be the first rise in rates this year.

Egypt has declared three days of mourning after a Sunday bombing at a chapel next to the Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo, that killed 25 people, and injured dozens more.

A jury begins deliberating to decide the fate of Cardell Hayes, the man accused of murdering former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith and attempting to murder Smith's wife last April.  The jury got the case after a four-hour closing argument from defense lawyers for 29-year-old Hayes, who claims self-defense.

Disney's animated musical "Moana" was tops at the box office for a 3rd weekend, pulling in 18.8-million dollars.

-- President-elect Donald Trump has been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Trump calling it quote "a tremendous honor".
--  Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General and Environmental Protection Agency critic Scott Pruitt as his pick to run the EPA. The pick has been blasted by Democrats and environmental groups, with one group saying quote, "putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop."
-- Trump named former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon as his pick to lead the Small Business Administration. McMahon, who met with the president-elect at Trump Tower last week, was the co-founder and former chief executive officer of the WWE franchise. She unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut in 2010 and 2012.

One police officer is dead, and another officer is in critical condition after a shooting near Georgia Southwestern State University Wednesday. The officers — one with the local police department and one with the school — were called to a domestic dispute off campus when they encountered the suspect, said Americus Police Chief Mark Scott. Americus Police Officer Nicholas Smarr, 25, was dispatched  to the apartment complex -- at the same time Georgia Southwestern State University Officer Jodi Smith, who responded as backup. Gunshots were exchanged between the officers and the suspect, 32-year-old Minguel Kennedy Lembrick, and both officers were shot. Smarr died from his injuries, while Smith was taken to the hospital in very critical condition. Lembrick is still on the loose and is considered to be armed and dangerous.

A deputy police chief says a female officer has been stabbed inside a Walmart store in Columbia, South Carolina, while responding to a shoplifting call.  Authorities say an escaped inmate, 47-year-old Michael Allen Williamson, is the suspect. State Department of Corrections spokesman Dexter Lee told ABC News ,"It's a strong belief in law enforcement that it's the same person. Of course that part of the investigation continues as well but it's the belief at this point that it is him." Williamson was a serving a life sentence for armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill before he escaped prison in McCormick.

Authorities on Wednesday charged two juveniles in an East Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,700 buildings in an iconic tourism spot at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Officials offered few other specifics about how they think the two started a fire that leveled buildings into charred scraps, carving a deadly path through the Gatlinburg area. 

Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old accused of killing nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church, stood over his victims, shooting them over and over again, the prosecution argued on day one of Roof's federal trial. The prosecution's opening statement saying  Roof "wrote a manifesto that he wanted to be read around the world," that Roof "claimed white superiority... His manifesto was a call to arms. A belief that it was not too late take this country back from black Americans."

The rigorous search for bodies in the rubble of a fatal warehouse fire in Oakland, California, concluded Wednesday, with the death toll remaining at 36, police said. Authorities will begin reopening the street on which the charred structure is located around 3:30 p.m. local time, according to the Oakland Police Department. Although crews have finished their search for victims, investigators are still working to find the cause of the blaze an official briefed on the investigation told ABC News that a refrigerator is being eyed as the "possible" point of origin.

Residents in North Dakota are still digging themselves out of their homes after a severe blizzard swept through the state earlier this week. Authorities in Minot, North Dakota, issued a travel advisory to community members because of the treacherous weather conditions. The Minot International Airport reopened this morning after closing for nearly 12 hours because of snow and strong winds.

The historic old city of Aleppo has been re-taken by Syrian forces, according to the government and a watchdog group. The Old City is a UNESCO world heritage site that contains the ancient souk and the famous Citadel. Syrian soldiers battling rebels in the eastern part of the city have taken back 75% of the territory they once controlled in this vital city. The rebels have called for a humanitarian ceasefire which has so far been rejected. 

A dozen lanes of traffic and the Gold-Line light rail was closed for more than an hour because of a suspicious package on the 210 Freeway through Pasadena. LA County Sheriff department's bomb squad sent a robot to investigate the package which turned out to be a jacket. nerves are high in LA a day after a threat to attack the city's subway put public safety officials on high alert. 

A refrigerator is being eyed as the "possible" point of origin in an Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people Friday night, an official briefed on the probe told ABC News. The death toll in Friday night's warehouse fire in Oakland, California, is remains at 36, with 90 percent of the building site now cleared. Officials are now knocking down walls and removing debris from the area, they believe to be done searching the area the building by Wednesday. Some victims were found in the wreckage holding each other as they waited to die. Sergeant Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office says a number of victims sent text messages to family telling them they were about to die and that they loved them.

--President-elect Donald Trump continued his post-election thank-you tour, stopping in Fayetteville, North Carolina Tuesday. Where he officially announced his nomination of retired Marine General James Mattis to be Secretary of Defense.
-- Trump takes on Boeing, tweeting Tuesday that the government should cancel its order with Boeing for a new Air Force One, citing costs of the project, but there may be political factors in play as well. 
--Trump announced that Japanese telecom and internet company SoftBank will invest $50 billion in the United States, which the company says will create 50,000 jobs. 
--The NYPD has been providing additional security for Donald Trump in New York since Election Day, to the tune of about $500,000 day — and New York Democrats are pushing for the federal government to pay for it.

The city of Los Angeles upped its security presence at transit stations after receiving a terror threat on Monday, officials said. Law enforcement officials say the threat came from an English speaking male in a foreign country who called into a foreign “public safety hotline” and was deemed credible enough by U.S. foreign partners to be relayed to the FBI.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy & Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on "Examining the Competitive Impact of the AT&T-Time Warner Transaction." Among the witnesses will be AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes and AXS TV Chairman Mark Cuban.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand defended his department's four-day delay in arresting Ronald Gasser, the man accused of shooting and killing former NFL player Joe McKnight in an apparent road rage incident. Members of the community, outside of New Orleans, are angry it took four days for authorities to arrest the shooter, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, who initially was released without charges. In Louisiana, Sheriff Normand said, there are "very forward-leaning, stand-your-ground, self-defense, justifiable homicide laws" that, he said, create for “us an obligation to make sure that we get it right.”

Just 24 house after Syria and its ally Russia rejected a cease-fire for the battle-scarred city of Aleppo. Syrian Forces moving to take the city back. Some families deciding to move back into the war-torn city despite the danger. 

75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese Air Force during World War II, with 350 aircraft flying from six aircraft carriers and destroying a large part of the U.S. Pacific fleet and killing nearly 2,500 people. The following day, both the U.S and the UK declared war on Japan

Up to 13” of snow fell in Grand Forks, ND in the last 24 hours with winds gusting over 50mph. Wind chills this morning are near -20 degrees. Bismarck got about 7” of snow in the last 2 days. Additional snow is possible today in eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, but overall the blizzard is winding down. In Denver and Boulder, CO 1 to 3” of snow fell overnight, causing accidents and spinouts with temps in the teens and wind chills below zero. Today Lake Effect snow will produce 2-3 feet in western New York. Right now 19 states from California to New York are under snow warnings, watches and wind chill advisories.

President Obama delivered his final national security address to troops at Florida's MacDill Air Force Base, saying the U-S is "breaking the back of ISIL" and has diminished the profile of terrorists, calling them "thugs" and "murderers." The President also touted his national security record saying, "no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland. And it's not because they didn't try."

Hundreds of people protested a white nationalist's speaking engagement at the Texas A&M University campus. Several groups protested outside of the student center Tuesday night during and before the appearance by Richard Spencer, who leads a white nationalist organization. Some silently held placards while others loudly chanted slogans. A&M police say two non-students were arrested but gave no details. Hundreds gathered at nearby Kyle Field to hear music and speeches highlighting diversity and unity as a counter to Spencer.

As Congress wraps up for the year, members leaving the Senate will be giving their farewell speeches. Vice President Biden will also be honored by his former colleagues in the Senate with remarks from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority leader Harry Ried. 

As part of the Joining Forces initiative, the First Lady will visit Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, where she will give brief remarks and deliver toys and gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign. Mrs. Obama will be joined by stars from across Disney Channels Worldwide, including "Descendants 2" stars Sofia Carson and Cameron Boyce; "Bizaardvark" stars Madison Hu and Olivia Rodrigo; Radio Disney's Alex Aiono and a special appearance by Doc McStuffins.

The 2016 Person of the Year will be unveiled on Wednesday morning, when the news will also be shared on The 11 candidates chosen by TIME are Simone Biles, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Beyoncé, Narendra Modi, The Flint Whistleblowers, Mark Zuckerberg, CRISPR Scientists, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Nigel Farage.


Authorities are increasing security at transit stations in Los Angeles as a precaution after receiving a terror threat that has not yet been corroborated. The threat was about something that would happen on Tuesday at the Universal City Red Line station, according to the FBI. The threat was telephoned to an anonymous law-enforcement line in a foreign country."This could be real, it could be a hoax," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

The death toll in Friday night's warehouse fire in Oakland, California, is now up to 36, with 75 percent of the building site now cleared. Officials say they don't expect to find many more bodies under the charred remains. The district attorney says they will be doing a thorough investigation, and there could be murder or involuntary manslaughter charges filed, but they are not saying against whom. Authorities say the warehouse was illegally converted into housing and an artist studio. Neighbors and employees complain the building's owner routinely skirted the fire codes. The building had just one open exit, and officials say they found no evidence of sprinklers.

-- President-elect Donald Trump named former rival Ben Carson as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He would be the first African-American nominated to be in his administration.
-- Trump met Monday with former Vice President Al Gore in Trump Tower to discuss climate policy.
-- He's expanded his search for a secretary of State. New contenders include John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN under President George W. Bush; Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and US ambassador to China under President Obama; disgraced former general David Petraeus; Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobile; and Admiral Stavridis, a man with a lot of NATO experience.

For the first time ever, a Japanese prime minister will visit Pearl Harbor. Shinzo Abe will join President Obama at the site later this month to commemorate 75 years since the Japanese attack. The historic meeting comes on the heels of President’s Obama symbolic visit to Hiroshima earlier this year. Abe told reporters that “we must never repeat the tragedy of the war.' It was a refrain President Obama also repeated during his historic trip to Hiroshima earlier this year.  The symbolic visit between the two leaders will happen at the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.  Abe's visit to Hawaii is planned for December 27th.  The actual 75th anniversary of the attack is Wednesday.

Russia's military has said Syrian government troops have seized more than 52 percent of the opposition-held east of Aleppo as they continue a relentless offensive that is steadily shrinking the area defended by rebel groups in the city as the government made major gains in the past week.

Iran's President says his country will not allow President-elect Trump to rip-up the nuclear deal when he takes office. Hassan Rouhani...says Iran will not allow the agreement to be abandoned. The nuclear deal between Iran and the U-S, and five other world powers - lifted 'international sanctions' in exchange for 'limitations on Tehran's nuclear program.

Reports of multiple gunshots Monday evening in North Carolina brought an early and abrupt halt to the Lee County town's Christmas Parade. Initial reports said it happened in front of Perry Brothers Tires Service on Wicker Street shortly before 8 p.m. Reports later said it happened as many as five blocks away from that location. Two people were shot. One is in serious condition while the other has a non-life threatening injury. One suspect is in custody.

A Charleston judge declared a mistrial in the murder trial against former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, after a jury failed to come to a unanimous decision. Prosecutors say they will reopen the case against Slager, a white officer who was videotaped shooting an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in the back. Strong reactions from some jurors, who cried, and members of the Scott family, who called for peaceful protests.

Republicans, the American Petroleum Institute, and the operator of the Dakota Access pipeline all slammed the Army Corps of Engineers' decision Sunday to halting construction under a dammed portion of the Missouri River to determine if an alternate route is possible. Native American and environmental protesters hail the decision as a victory. They have been camped near the construction sight in North Dakota for months. Dozens of protesters have been arrested since the summer. The Army Corps wants to conduct a full environmental impact study with public input. 

Officials in Washington, D.C., say a fake news story drove a man armed with an assault rifle to takes hostages Sunday in a local pizzeria. Shots were fired inside the establishment but authorities say they got the man, described in his 20s, to surrender safely and took him into custody. Nobody was killed or injured. A fake news story surfaced during the presidential election alleging Comet Ping Pong Pizza was trafficking minors for sex involving Hillary Clinton and her campaign chair, John Podesta. 

10 states from Washington to Colorado and up to Minnesota are under some sort of Winter Weather Warning or Advisory today, including a blizzard warning for the Dakotas. On Monday snow fell in the Seattle metro area, where usually it's mild enough for rain in the winter. Tuesday and Wednesday the arctic blast will be in the Rockies and start moving into the Midwest. The coldest morning in the Midwest will be Thursday, when wind chills will be -10 and -20. By Friday the arctic blast will move into the Northeast and modify.

The Recording Academy will announce the nominees for the 2017 Grammy Awards Tuesday morning. Among the top contenders, Adele and Beyonce. The awards ceremony will be held in February.


The search continues for victims inside a warehouse that caught fire during a rave Friday night in Oakland, California, as a criminal investigation gets underway. At least 33 bodies have been found, though officials expect that number to rise. They're asking family members to preserve DNA. The youngest victim discovered in the rubble was just 17-years-old. Authorities say the warehouse was illegally converted into housing and an artist studio. Neighbors and employees complain the building's owner routinely skirted the fire codes. The building had just one open exit, and officials say they found no evidence of sprinklers.

-- Transition officials say President-elect Donald Trump has expanded his search for a secretary of State. New contenders include John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN under President George W. Bush; Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and US ambassador to China under President Obama; disgraced former general David Patraeus; and Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobile.
-- Mr. Trump released a string of Tweets Sunday criticizing China and repeating his threat to slap a 35-percent import tax on companies that export jobs out of the United States. Such a tax requires Congressional approval and it's unclear if free market Republicans will support the move. Some Republicans, including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, have compared Mr. Trump's deal to save jobs at Carrier to crony capitalism. Mr. Trump tweets come after China complained about his phone call with Taiwan's president.
-- In rare public remarks about the president-elect, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Donald Trump a "smart man" while warning him to be more accepting of Moscow's views. The Russians apparently are concerned Mr. Trump could appoint a secretary of State who will take a hard line against the Putin regime, such as Mitt Romney.

Republicans, the American Petroleum Institute, and the operator of the Dakota Access pipeline all slammed the Army Corps of Engineers' decision Sunday to halting construction under a dammed portion of the Missouri River to determine if an alternate route is possible. Native American and environmental protesters hail the decision as a victory. They have been camped near the construction sight in North Dakota for months. Dozens of protesters have been arrested since the summer. The Army Corps wants to conduct a full environmental impact study with public input.

Officials in Washington, D.C., say a fake news story drove a man armed with an assault rifle to takes hostages Sunday in a local pizzeria. Shots were fired inside the establishment but authorities say they got the man, described in his 20s, to surrender safely and took him into custody. Nobody was killed or injured. A fake news story surfaced during the presidential election alleging Comet Ping Pong Pizza was trafficking minors for sex involving Hillary Clinton and her campaign chair, John Podesta. 

The investigation continues into the shooting death of former NFL player Joe McKnight last week in suburban New Orleans. The man who killed McKnight in an alleged road rage dispute was questioned and released without charges. McKnight was black and his shooter a white man, raising criticism from protesters who say McKnight's killer is getting special treatment. Police say the man fired at McKnight from inside his vehicle. Meanwhile, the murder trial for Cardell Hayes begins Monday in New Orleans. Hayes shot and killed ex-NFL player Will Smith also in a road rage incident. Hayes, who is black, was quickly arrested and charged with murder. He remains behind bars.

TX Plane
A Southwest flight operating as a United Express flight from Chicago to Monterrey, Mexico was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday evening in San Antonio, Texas. Officials say the plane radioed in the emergency to tower officials in Monterrey but hit a language barrier. The plane was forced to turn back to the US and land in San Antonio. Making matters worse, the plane's landing gear collapsed during landing, causing the plane to slide to a halt. The emergency chutes were deployed. All 51 passengers and four crew members got off safe.

World markets are feeling the effects of a failed referendum that cost another European leader his job. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is expected to resign on Monday after voters there widely rejected his pitch to change the country's constitution. Renzi said the changes would streamline government, but the people were unmoved. The failed referendum makes it more difficult for Italy's government to assist cash-strapped banks in one of the world's largest economies.

Authorities in New York City are investigating the murder of a city corrections officer. Police describe the victim as a 25-year-old woman who recently started at Rikers Island. She was shot five times Sunday night while sitting in her car in Brooklyn. So far no suspects or motive.

A high school reopens Monday morning in Gatlinburg, Tennessee after last week's wildfires destroyed much of the town. At least 14 people were killed in the disaster. Many people remain displaced.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says he looks forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump as the alliance finds new ways to adapt to changing threats. During the campaign, Mr. Trump threatened to pull the United States out of NATO, calling the alliance unfair.