theNewsWorthy: Friday, December 28th, 2018


(in less than 10 minutes!)

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All the news stories mentioned in today's episode are listed with links below, so you can spend as much -- or as little -- time as you want perusing the latest happenings...

Shutdown Standstill:  It's day 7 now of the partial government shutdown, and there’s no end in sight. Lawmakers say to expect the shutdown to stretch into the new year. President Trump is sticking to his demand for funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are affected: some considered “essential” have to work without pay, while others are forced to take unpaid leave. To be continued...
Read more: Wall Street Journal, The Hill, NBC News

Stock Swings:  We’ve seen some big swings in the stock market over the last few days: the worst Christmas Eve session ever, followed by the Dow’s biggest daily point gain in history (more than 1,000 point gain on Wednesday). Then, yesterday, it fell again before closing out the day up again. Rising interest rates, uncertainty in Washington and trade tensions with China contribute to investors’ worries.
Read more: Wall Street Journal, CNN

Trump Visits Troops:  President Trump and the First Lady are back in the U.S. following a surprise visit to troops in Iraq. The trip was Trump’s first stop in a war zone as President. He took the opportunity to thank the troops and military leaders, take selfies with them and defend his decision to pull out of Syria.
Read more: FOX News, NYT

Mattis Replacement:  Last week’s Syria decision came with plenty of backlash, including the resignation of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. Trump plans to replace Mattis with Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan as of January 1 until a permanent replacement is chosen.
Read more: USA Today

SpaceX Launch:  SpaceX has launched the most powerful GPS satellite ever built by the U.S. Air Force. Reports indicate this satellite could be three times more accurate than previous versions. This was the first national security space mission to involve Elon Musk’s company.
Read more: AP, Space.comBusiness Journal
Drone Delivery:  Drone deliveries are underway down under. Wing (a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet) has developed one of the world’s most advanced drone delivery projects and is running tests in an Australian suburb. Neighbors in the test area are divided about them: some tout the drones as convenient, cheap, quick and easy, but others say the drones are loud and annoying. Wing is working to make the drones quieter and more accurate with their deliveries and plans to expand next year.
Read more: Wall Street Journal
Solo Trip Across Antarctica:  An Oregon man became the first person to cross Antarctica, coast to coast, and with no extra help. It took Colin O’Brady 54 days to make the 930-mile journey. It’s a feat many thought impossible: at least one other person has died trying. Others have crossed with help, like picking up supplies or using devices that propelled them forward.
Read more: AP, USA Today
Whisky Fakes:  More than a third of the rare high-priced bottles of vintage whisky tested by the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center were found to be fake. Of 55 randomly sampled bottles of scotch, 21 were either not distilled in the year claimed or were outright fakes. Apparently, those claiming to be more than a century old were more likely to be scams.
Read more: BBC
Holiday Sales:  This year’s holiday sales topped $850 billion, up more than 5 percent from last year and the highest in six years. Amazon had a record-breaking year. Though the stock market is all over the place, shoppers were encouraged by a pretty good economy and early discounts.
Read more: Reuters
Box Office:  Aquaman was the holiday box office winner: over the five-day weekend it brought in nearly $106 million in North America. Mary Poppins Returns came in second, and Bumblebee came in third.
Read more: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety
Black Mirror “Movie”:  Netflix is calling today’s premiere of Black Mirror an “event.” It’s not a normal season; instead, it’s a stand-alone movie which may have multiple endings where you choose what happens.
Read more: Ars Technica, Deadline, Business Insider
Mariah Carey Christmas Classic:  Though it was released in 1994, it’s still setting records. Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” was streamed 10.8 million times on Christmas Eve, setting a new one-day record on Spotify.
Read more: AP