theNewsWorthy: Monday, December 31st, 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 Week 2:  As expected, the partial government shutdown will continue into the new year. Now in its second week, lawmakers say negotiations are going nowhere. President Trump threatened to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border if he doesn’t see a spending bill that includes funds for a border wall, but it's not clear if he could legally do it. Remember: the shutdown means hundreds of thousands of federal employees have to work without pay or take unpaid leave. Some now say they’re concerned about paying their bills.
Read more: CBS NewsABC NewsThe Washington Post

Freezing Federal Pay: At the same time many federal workers are furloughed due to the government shutdown, President Trump issued an executive order to freeze federal workers’ pay throughout 2019, saying the budget can’t sustain pay raises. The workers' union is calling on Congress to reverse it. 
Read more: The Hill

China Trade Talks:  President Trump tweeted he and China’s President Xi Jinping talked over the phone and have made “big progress.” However, experts worry that it may be an overstatement. Negotiations are supposed to wrap up by March 1. On March 2, increased tariffs on Chinese goods are set to go into effect. This could impact electronics, furniture and other goods, as well as global stock markets.
Read more: Wall Street JournalReuters

Newspaper Cyber-Attack:  A suspected cyber-attack hit several major newspapers this weekend, including the LA Times and Chicago Tribune. The virus affected papers connected to Tribune Publishing, impacting delivery deadlines and the ability to finalize print editions. The newspapers’ websites, mobile apps and subscriber details were not compromised.
Read more: TIMELA TimesThe Hill

Wells Fargo Settlement:  Wells Fargo will pay $575 million to all 50 states and Washington D.C. to settle claims that the bank created fake accounts and other customer abuses. Wells Fargo will also launch a new program to review and respond to new customer complaints. The scandal first went public in 2015, and there are still other ongoing investigations and legal battles.
Read more: ReutersCNBC
Minimum Wage Increases:  The new year means a new minimum wage for 21 states and Washington D.C. Right now, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, and that hasn’t changed in nearly a decade. Pay increases are happening for two reasons: voter mandates meant to help low-income workers and regularly-scheduled cost-of-living adjustments. Many cities and counties have also pushed for new minimum wages. New York and California are working toward $15.00 per hour; Colorado, Arizona and Missouri are taking steps toward $12.00 per hour.
Read more: USA TodayBusiness InsiderEPI
Farthest Flyby:  NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make history just after you ring in the new year. The craft will capture images of a mysterious space rock called Ultima Thule, a cool 4 billion miles from the sun. It’s the farthest object ever visited. New Horizons is the same spacecraft that photographed Pluto in 2015. Though the flyby is planned for tomorrow, it will take some time for the images to be sent back to Earth, so keep an eye out later this week.
Read more: NASAThe VergeNew York TimesAxios
New Year’s Eve in Times Square:  More than a million people are expected to celebrate the new year in Times Square tonight under 3,000 pounds of biodegradable recycled confetti. The ball that’s dropped at midnight weighs nearly six tons and is covered in Waterford crystal triangles. This year’s ceremony is dedicated to protecting press freedom and celebrating the importance of journalism. ABC, NBC and FOX will host programs with live performers including Christina Aguilera, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Sting and more. No TV? You can stream it online here.
Read more: New York TimesABC NewsRolling 

Have a Happy New Year!