Unpaid bills, leftovers, downtime: Workers cope in shutdown

PHILADELPHIA — As the government’s partial shutdown pushed toward a third week, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are feeling the financial pinch. They’re calling mortgage companies, hoping for a break, and weighing the risks of letting other bills go unpaid. They’re reheating leftovers and turning down the thermostat to save a few bucks. They’re looking into applying for loans or unemployment insurance. Their worries go beyond household budgets. Some are stressed about the unfinished work piling up in their absence while President Donald Trump and Congress clash over a plan for reopening the government. For many furloughed federal employees, the worst part is the uncertainty over how long the… Read More

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Wall debate obscures other struggles at the border

SAN DIEGO — In Washington, it’s all about the wall. At the border, it’s only part of the story. Border authorities are struggling with outdated facilities ill-equipped to handle the growing increase in family migrants, resulting in immigrants being released onto the streets every day. The immigration court system is so clogged that some wait years for their cases to be resolved, and lacks funding to pay for basic things like in-person translators. An increase in sick children arriving at the border is putting a strain on medical resources. But the Washington debate has focused almost exclusively on the $5 billion in wall spending that President Donald Trump wants. Other… Read More

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Powell says he would reject any Trump request to resign

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that he will not resign if asked to do so by President Donald Trump, and that he is prepared to be patient in deciding when to raise interest rates again. Both of those messages cheered stock market investors who had been worried about Trump’s repeated attacks on his hand-picked choice to lead the nation’s central bank and also the Fed’s seemingly inexorable march to higher rates. “There is no pre-set path for policy,” Powell said during an appearance at a conference of economists in Atlanta. “With the muted inflation readings we have seen coming in, we will be patient as we… Read More

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Outgoing US Interior secretary defends legacy as he leaves

BILLINGS, Mont. — As former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke exits Washington chased by ethics investigations and criticism of his actions favoring industry, he told The Associated Press he’s lived up to the conservation ideals of Teddy Roosevelt and insisted the myriad allegations against him will be proven untrue. The former Montana congressman also said he quit President Donald Trump’s cabinet on his own terms, despite indications he was pressured by the White House to resign effective Wednesday. During almost two years overseeing an agency responsible for managing 500 million acres of public lands, Zinke’s broad rollbacks of restrictions on oil and gas drilling were cheered by industry. But they… Read More

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There’s a ‘super blood wolf moon eclipse’ this month. Here’s how to see it

SALT LAKE CITY — A “super blood wolf moon eclipse” is coming. What’s going on: That may sound like something out of a supernatural science fiction novel or a “Twilight” reboot, but the moon is the result of a unique set of events that will begin Sunday, Jan. 20, and finish on Monday, Jan. 21, USA Today reports. “This type of eclipse happens when the moon passes fully into the shadow of Earth,” according to USA Today. “Beyond that, despite all the hullabaloo over the various names, there’s still only one moon. There’s no separate super, blood, wolf or anything else moon.” So what’s the deal?: You’ll need to be… Read More

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Mitt Romney says Trump should ‘up his game;’ a look at 2019 transgender rights; 3 religious question for Congress

SALT LAKE CITY — Here’s a look at the news for Jan. 4. Mitt Romney says President Donald Trump should “up his game” as he and Rep. Ben McAdams are sworn in. . We found 78 people were killed in Utah in 2018. These are their stories. “La La Land” composer and 2019 Golden Globe nominee spoke with us about creating music for “First Man.” . Police say an intoxicated and unruly JetBlue passenger was arrested in Salt Lake City. . The wife of the mayor killed in Afghanistan asks anyone “moved by our story” to donate to a veterans charity. . Can those pushing for transgender rights find common… Read More

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House Democrats urge sweeping reforms to boost voting access

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are unveiling a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package that targets what they call a “culture of corruption in Washington” and aims to reduce the role of money in politics. The bill, among the first to be considered as Democrats take control of the House after eight years, would make it easier for citizens to register and vote, tighten election security and require presidents to disclose their tax returns. Dubbed the “For the People Act,” the legislation marks an effort by Democrats to set a tone of good government as they take the majority following historic gains in the midterm elections. Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland… Read More

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Netflix’s ‘Bird Box’ success gets Hollywood clucking

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix said 45 million subscriber accounts worldwide watched the Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box” during its first seven days on the service, the biggest first-week success of any movie made for the company’s nearly 12-year-old streaming service. Netflix, which typically refuses to provide viewership numbers, made the rare disclosure in a recent tweet as movie producers, writers, actors and investors continue to size up a company that has already reshaped the way the world watches video. The first-week audience means nearly one-third of Netflix’s 137 million subscribers watched the movie from Dec. 21 through Dec. 27 — a holiday-season stretch when many people aren’t working and have… Read More

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It’s officially Girl Scout cookie season, and there’s a new flavor

SALT LAKE CITY — Girl Scout cookie season has begun, and there’s already a new cookie flavor. What’s going on: The Girl Scouts have finally released a new Caramel Chocolate Chip-flavored cookie, which includes semi-sweet chocolate chips, caramel and sea salt, USA Today reports. The cookie has been deemed gluten-free. Facts: A single serving, which includes three cookies, has 170 calories, 12 grams of sugar and eight grams of fat. Flashback: As I reported, the Girl Scouts announced the cookie back in August. The Girl Scouts previously added a S’more-flavored cookie in 2017. Find cookies: There’s a new Cookie Finder app, which allows you to locate a seller in your… Read More

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Hershey’s rolls out new Lava Cake Kisses

SALT LAKE CITY — Hershey’s rollout of new flavors continues with Lava Cake flavor. What’s going on: The newest Hershey’s Kisses flavor will arrive ahead of the Valentine’s Day season. The candy has been described as “the perfect indulgent treat for your partner, best friend, and even yourself! Featuring a smooth melted cocoa center surrounded by a decadent dark chocolate plume, each bite tastes like this season’s most popular dessert,” according to Delish.com. The Kisses will taste like “dark chocolate with a gooey chocolate center.” The candy was released in December, according to Popsugar. It’ll likely last until the end of February. The new candy will cost $4. Appearance: According… Read More

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