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Daily News Digest – December 27, 2018

Good morning! Looks like the rain is coming back for a few days.
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, December 27.

1. Surprise visit.

  • President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Iraq Wednesday visiting troops stationed there.
  • Speaking to the troops, he staunchly defended his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from neighboring Syria.
  • Trump said it showed America’s renewed stature on the world stage and his quest to put “America first.”
  • “We’re no longer the suckers, folks… We’re respected again as a nation.
  • “We can use this as a base if we wanted to do something in Syria.. If we see something happening with ISIS that we don’t like, we can hit them so fast and so hard they really won’t know what the hell happened.”
  • Read that full story and watch the video HERE.


2. Report shows long-term benefits of First Class Pre-K.

  • New research shows Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program benefits students over the long term with no signs of “fade out” over time.
  • In a recently-completed study, students who attended First Class Pre-K were significantly more proficient in Math and Reading in 3rd through 7th grade than students who did not. The results of the study also showed that these long-term results held true even after controlling for factors that have been shown to impact students outcomes, including poverty, ethnicity, and time.
  • The news comes as the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education has made grant applications for First Class Pre-K available for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Alabama boasts the nation’s highest rated Pre-K program for quality, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research.
  • The state has maintained that high quality rating while trying to grow access to the program. Recent funding investments have expanded First Class to 1,045 classrooms serving almost 19,000 students statewide, or 32 percent of the eligible population.
  • In a letter to educators, Secretary of Early Childhood Education Jeana Ross invited those interested to apply for First Class grants.
  • “First Class Pre-K is offered in a variety of settings across the state. Diverse delivery programs in all 67 counties are encouraged to apply: childcare centers; public school systems; faith-based centers; college and university lab schools; private schools; community organizations; military childcare centers; and other providers of preschool,” Ross wrote.
  • Read that full story with links to the report and the grant applications from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.


3. Stock surge.

  • The Dow closed up more than 1,000 points Wednesday in the best day for Wall Street in 10 years.
  • It came not a moment too soon as stocks rallied back from a Christmas Eve beating.
  • One big reason: consumer confidence. Mastercard says retail sales rose 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year ago. SpendingPulse, which tracks spending online and in stores across all payment types, says total sales topped $850 billion this year, and that online sales continue to grow, up more than 19 percent from a year ago.
  • Also helpful: China’s government confirmed January plans for talks aimed at ending a tariff battle that threatens to depress global trade.
  • The two sides have “made specific arrangements for face-to-face meetings” and are talking by phone, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman,
  • Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 to postpone more tariff hikes for 90 days while their governments negotiate over U.S. complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
  • Companies and investors worry the dispute might depress global trade at a time of rising anxiety about signs economic growth might be slowing.
  • The two sides are maintaining “close communication.”


4. Ivey issues housing grants.

  • Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants to help homeless Alabamians find immediate housing and to assist others who are in danger of becoming homeless.
  • The funds from the Emergency Solutions Grant program will support organizations across the state that provide shelter, legal and health services and financial education for families and individuals without a residence. The grant program also can assist these families with moving costs, including rental and utility deposits.
  • “While many of us gather with family and friends this time of year, it’s important to remember that there are some Alabamians currently struggling to keep a roof over their heads and others who don’t have a home at all,” Ivey said. “I am pleased to award this funding to provide important aid to many families at a critical moment in their lives.”
  • The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Read more HERE.


5. Hep A outbreak?

  • Public health officials are investigating a spike in Hepatitis A cases in north Alabama.
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that it is investigating an increase in hepatitis A cases in Jackson County. Health officials say the outbreak may have spread to surrounding counties.
  • Public health officials urged people at highest risk, including those who use illegal drugs and the homeless, to be vaccinated against the disease.
  • Hepatitis A is transmitted by oral contact with fecal matter. It attacks the liver and causes symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and jaundice.
  • Health officials said Hepatitis A can spread easily if good hand-washing practices are not observed.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – New study shows long-term benefits of First Class Pre-K
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey awards $2.5 million in housing grants
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Man convicted of killing infant dies on death row
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Health officials investigate Hepatitis A outbreak
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Legal marijuana industry had banner year in 2018
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – FBI steps up efforts against ‘money mules’ online fraud
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump makes surprise visit to US troops in harm’s way
AL.COM – After millionaire paid Jews to move to Alabama, couple struggles with new home
AL.COM – Man accused of shooting woman, himself in Montgomery
AL.COM – ‘Oatsie’ Charles, socialite, Alabama native, dies at 99
AL.COM – Judge reschedules trial in Spencer Collier lawsuit against Robert Bentley
AL.COM – North Alabama Hepatitis A outbreak under investigation
AL.COM – Bradley Byrne: Democrats have political incentive to end government shutdown
AL.COM – Fairfield residents pray for Larry Langford’s release
AL.COM – Billionaire Reid Hoffman apologizes for disinformation in Alabama senate race
AL.COM – Terri Sewell urges Trump administration to ‘show compassion,’ release Larry Langford
AL.COM – Contributor John Meredith:  All Republicans are now RINOs
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Montgomery man dies in Christmas morning car crash
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Rep. Sewell urges release of ailing former Birmingham mayor
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Family seeks closure a year after missing Montgomery rapper, promoter slain
DOTHAN EAGLE – Patience pays off; Fazoli’s will open in former Ruby Tuesday building Feb. 12
DOTHAN EAGLE – Changes coming to Houston County satellite tag offices
DOTHAN EAGLE – Top 10 of 2018: Deceased infant found in Dothan hotel freezer
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – California billionaire apologizes for funding ‘Russian tactics’ in Alabama election, welcomes federal investigation
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Five-year-old Alabama boy named one of 2018’s five most influential people
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Athens police officers deliver gifts to children on Christmas Day
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Tuscaloosa man convicted in son’s killing dies on death row
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Health officials investigate Hepatitis A outbreak
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – Sermon preaches toughness of Oklahoma offense
DECATUR DAILY – Volunteer of the Year: Only 14, Mary-Peyton Propst on path of helping others
DECATUR DAILY – Police: Man hit woman in head with baseball bat
DECATUR DAILY – Entrepreneurial program coming for Decatur area students
TIMES DAILY – Tuscumbia approves fiscal 2019 budget
TIMES DAILY – Blotter Briefs 12-27-18
TIMES DAILY – Nominations accepted for manufacturer of the year
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Rainy, rainy week ahead
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Girl Scout cookies sales under way
ANDALUSIA STAR NEWS – Volunteers feed 543 on Christmas
TROY MESSENGER – GOING STRONG: Turkeys from Heaven exceeds goal
TROY MESSENGER – Walking miracle: Spitulski continues recovery
TROY MESSENGER – $4.5 million collected for construction of new jail
THE ANNISTON STAR – Several picked up for alcohol-related offenses over holiday
THE ANNISTON STAR – Cleburne undefeated: Junior high girls team hasn’t lost a game in two years
THE ANNISTON STAR – Look Back …. to the top state news of 1993
GADSDEN TIMES – Christmas Classic finally brings whole county together
GADSDEN TIMES – Sardis advances to face Gadsden City tonight
GADSDEN TIMES – No end in sight to partial government shutdown
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Community members fill stockings for first responders
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Community members fill stockings for first responders
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – No winter break for campus construction at Auburn University
CULLMAN TIMES – Arrests, incidents reports for Dec. 21-25, 2018
CULLMAN TIMES – US stocks rebound as traders return from Christmas holiday
CULLMAN TIMES – Deputies help mother in need buy Christmas gifts with Walmart shopping spree
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Briarwood names new head football coach
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Beautification board awards Helena’s best decorated Christmas homes
SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER – Alabaster housing, commercial market slightly behind last year
THE MADISON RECORD – Madison County students honor local heroes at Super Citizen Celebration
THE MADISON RECORD – Kerryon Johnson’s NFL Rookie Season Comes To An End
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Cordova teen sings anthem at Birmingham Bowl
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Walker County BOE hires new CSFO
DAILY MOUNTAIN EAGLE – Unemployment in Walker, Winston down to 3.7%
NEW YORK TIMES – As Shutdown Continues, Resolution May Depend on Definition of ‘Wall’
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump Makes Surprise Visit to American Troops in Iraq
NEW YORK TIMES – Asia Markets Follow Wall Street’s Rise, but Europe Is More Cautious
WASHINGTON POST – Trump visits U.S. troops in Iraq for first trip to a conflict zone
WASHINGTON POST – In the Twin Cities, Asian chefs feel the sting of Andrew Zimmern’s insults. They say his apology isn’t enough.
WASHINGTON POST – Russia is poised to add a new hypersonic nuclear warhead to its arsenal
USA TODAY – Trade deal with Canada, Mexico could delay arrival of cheaper generic drugs, critics warn
USA TODAY – Trade deal with Canada, Mexico could delay arrival of cheaper generic drugs, critics warn
USA TODAY – Ocasio-Cortez’s rise leaves outgoing Democrat Claire McCaskill ‘confused,’ report says
POLITICO – Nielsen deflects blame for boy’s death in Border Patrol custody
POLITICO – O’Rourke and Castro on collision course in Texas
POLITICO – Trump says he will do ‘whatever it takes’ to secure funding for border wall

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