World News

5 things to know for December 31: US-Syria, migrant children, California wildfires

Posted December 31, 2018 6:15 a.m. EST

— Not going to make it to Times Square for New Year's Eve? Keep your party hat on. Here are 19 quirky events across the country where you can ring in the new year. And here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. US and Syria

The US might be hitting the pause button on that planned withdrawal of troops from Syria. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said President Trump now has a better understanding of the possible consequences of pulling all US troops out of the country and will re-evaluate his decision. Graham talked about Syria with Trump yesterday, when the two had lunch at the White House. Graham, who blasted the President's decision when it was first announced earlier this month, stressed that Trump wasn't changing his mind on the troop withdrawal, only slowing things down. The White House, though, didn't clarify whether the President had changed his thinking on the withdrawal plans.

2. Lion attack

A worker at a zoological park in North Carolina was killed by a lion that escaped its locked enclosure during a cleaning. The victim, 22-year-old Alexandra Black, was part of a team at the Conservators Center in Burlington that was cleaning the animal's area when it somehow escaped the space in which it had been locked. The lion "entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person," the center said. The lion was euthanized. Black, who had been an intern at the center for just two weeks, loved animals and died "following her passion," her family said.

3. Migrant children

The videos are shocking and disturbing. They show migrant children being pushed and dragged by staffers in a shelter. The Arizona Republic first reported on the surveillance videos, which show a male staffer dragging a young child into a room and pushing him against the wall. Another video shows a female staff member pulling a child through a room. The incidents reportedly occurred back in September at the Hacienda Del Sol shelter in Youngtown, Arizona. Two staffers were fired and several others were disciplined, a source tells CNN. The shelter, operated by Southwest Key, has since been closed. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will refer the case to the county attorney's office for review and the possible filing of criminal charges.

4. California wildfires

Could California's largest utility be hit with murder or manslaughter charges? It's possible, according to court documents filed by the state attorney general. PG&E could face such charges if it's found to be responsible for causing any of the state's recent spate of deadly wildfires, including the horrific Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history. The charges could range from minor misdemeanors up to "homicide offenses like implied-malice murder and involuntary manslaughter," if it's proven that the wildfires broke out as a result of PG&E failing to properly operate and maintain power lines, a brief filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says. The utility said it's doing all it can to reduce wildfire risks.

5. Newspaper cyberattacks 

Some of America's best-known newspapers may have been the victims of a cyberattack over the weekend. Several papers that use software from Tribune Publishing -- such as the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and Baltimore Sun -- suffered printing and distribution delays. And distribution of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in Southern California was also delayed because those papers use the same systems for printing. Tribune Publishing says malware was discovered on its computer servers, and a source told the L.A. Times the cyberattack seems to have come from "outside the United States."


Russia says it has detained a US citizen suspected of spying. Paul Whelan was arrested Friday in Moscow "while carrying out an act of espionage," the Russian Federal Security Service says.


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