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What time do stores open for after-Christmas sales?

If you were lucky enough to get a gift card for Christmas, and it is currently burning a hole in your pocket, fear not. Just hours from now, retail stores will open again.

If you are looking for new clothes, after-Christmas deals will be easy to find, with sweaters and outerwear still on the sale racks.

You will be able to find toys, holiday decorations and fitness gear, as well.

If you are planning to head out shopping on Tuesday, below is a list of store opening times for major retailers. Times can vary in some locations, so be sure to contact your local store to verify opening times.

Academy Sports + OutdoorsAcademy Sports + Outdoors

Stores open at 8 a.m.

Bass Pro Shops

Stores open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Best Buy

Stores open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Big Lots

Stores open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Dick's Sporting Goods

Stores open 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Dillard's

Stores open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

JCPenney

Stores open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Kohl's

Stores open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Lowe's

Stores open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Macy's

Most Macy's stores open at 7 a.m.

Michaels Stores

Stores open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Neiman Marcus

Stores open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Old Navy

Stores open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Pier 1 Imports

Stores open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Pottery Barn

Stores are open at 10 a.m.

Ross

Stores open at 8 a.m.

Saks

Stores open at 8 a.m.

Sears

Stores open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.Target Stores open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Toys 'R Us

Most Toys 'T Us stores open at 9 a.m.

Wal-Mart

Stores open at 5 a.m. (6 a.m. at some locations)

Super Saturday 2017: Store hours for one of the busiest shopping days of the year

It’s known as Super Saturday, but some also call it Panic Saturday. It’s the last Saturday before Christmas and is, for obvious reasons, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. 

Saturday will see upwards of 125 million people out shopping – they will all seem to be in front of you in line – trying

to finish their Christmas gift buying, according to the National Retail Federation

Only 12 percent of consumers had finished their holiday shopping as of Dec.12, according to the NRF. Six percent of those surveyed said they believe they will still be shopping on Christmas Eve. Super Saturday will see shoppers mainly in brick and mortar stores looking for bargains.

Here’s a list of Super Saturday store hours. Hours can vary by location. Check with your local store to confirm the hours. 

Super Saturday hours

Hours can vary by location. Confirm store hours by checking retailer websites or calling your closest location.

Apple: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Barnes & Noble: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Bass Pro Shops: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Bealls Florida: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Bed Bath & Beyond: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Belk: 8 a.m. to midnight

Best Buy: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Big Lots: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

BJ's Wholesale Club: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Burlington: 7 a.m. to midnight

Costco: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Dick's Sporting Goods: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Dillard's: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Dollar General: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

DSW: 9 to 9 p.m.

Five Below: 7 a.m. to midnight

GameStop: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Home Depot: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

HomeGoods: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

J.C. Penney: 7 a.m. to midnight

Kohl’s: Most stores open 24 hours a day through 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Kmart: 8 a.m. to midnight

Lowe's: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Macy’s: Most stores open 7 a.m. to midnight.

Marshalls: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Michaels: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Microsoft: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Nordstrom: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Old Navy: Hours vary by location. Click here for hours.

Office Depot: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Petco: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

PetSmart: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Ross: 8 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Sunday

Saks Fifth Avenue: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sam's Club: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sears: 9 a.m. to midnight

Staples: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Target: 7 a.m. to midnight

TJ Maxx: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Toys R Us: Open around the clock through 9 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Ulta: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Walmart: Regular hours 

Christmas 2017: Here are some last-minute gift ideas

It’s down to hours now. 

Since holiday sales have been in full swing since Thanksgiving, you should be near the end of your shopping list, right? You should be looking for the wrapping paper and tape about now, and getting those gifts under the tree. 

You should be doing those things.

If you happen not to be at that exact moment in your Christmas gift shopping journey and are scrambling for ideas, help is here.

There are great buys still to be had. Check out the suggestions below to help you make it to the gift purchasing finish line.

Target

Target has storewide deals, as do other retailers They have deals on the top toys, plus 20 percent off games.

Kohls

Macy’s 

Macy’s has an extra 15 percent to 20 percent off on select items when you use the promo code GIFT.

Best Buy

Walmart

Last-minute gifts ordered by 4 p.m. on Dec. 23 are available for free store pickup on Christmas Eve

Amazon

Order by Dec. 23 and get it by Christmas if you are a Prime member. If not, you can sign up for Amazon Prime and get a free 30-day membership. 

Subscriptions

A quick way to pull together a gift is to give that special someone a subscription to something they love. Maybe it’s cosmetics, or apples, shaving kits or dog treats. There is something for most everyone that keeps gifts coming each month.

Here are a few ideas:

  • barkbox.com – Get boxes of dog food samples, treats, shampoos, leashes, etc. The company donates 10 percent of each sale to local animal rescues. The cost is $29 per box.
  • Birchbox – Get a box of beauty product samples. The cost is $10 per month.
  • bookofthemonth.com – Select one of five curated options from the Book of the Month Club. The cost is $45 per quarter.
  • EBY – From Sofia Vergara and Renata Black, get seamless underwear in the styles you select. The cost is $48 for three pairs. Product ships quarterly.
  • FabFitFun Box – Get a box of health and wellness products. The cost is $49. Box ships quarterly.
  • lovewithfood.com – The box brings hard-to-find gourmet food in themed sets. Every Love With Food box purchase buys one meal donation through the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. The cost is $10 per box.
  • mantry.com – You get ingredients and recipes that help teach someone how to cook. The cost is $59. Product ships every two months.
  • Monti Kids – Get toys for kids based on the Montessori teaching method. The cost is $297 per quarter.
  • mouth.com – Have a pickle lover in your life? This is for them. The cost is $60 per month for three or four pickled products.
  • quarterlanekids.com – Get a box of fiction books for ages 6 to 12. Boxes ship the second week of March, June, September and December. The cost is $49 per quarter.
  • Quirky Crate – Get some different accessories and purses. The cost is $35 per month.
  • Saloon Box DIY Cocktail Kit – The box comes with measured ingredients for creative cocktails. The cost is $37 per month.
  • The Zoe Report Box of Style – From Rachel Zoe, get a box containing fashion, beauty and lifestyle products. The cost is $99 per box. Box ships quarterly.
  • welcomeandwishes.com – Get gifts for the traveler in your life. The cost is $145 for one curated box.
  • Winc – For the wine lover, get a wine recommendation each month. Wines start at $13 per bottle.

When do stores close on Christmas Eve? Here is a list

If you have put off finishing your Christmas shopping and are now racing the clock to get it done, you’re not alone. 

But since Christmas presents won’t buy themselves, and time is running out, a plan of action is probably in order. 

>>Santa Tracker 2017: Where is Santa right now; when will he get to your house?

Below is a list of Christmas Eve store closing hours so you know just how long you can linger and still get the gifts.

>>Which restaurants are open on Christmas, Christmas Eve 2017?

Note: Some of the hours of individual locations will vary. Call your local store to check on closing times before you head out.

7-Eleven: Open 24 hours

Apple Stores: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Babies ”R” Us: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Barnes & Noble: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bed, Bath & Beyond: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Best Buy: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Big Lots: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Dick’s Sporting Goods: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dillard’s: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dollar General: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Dollar Tree: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Gap: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

IKEA: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

JC Penney: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closing times vary)

Kmart: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Kohls: The chain has been open 24 hours for a few days; they close at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve

Macy’s: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Marshalls: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Meijer: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for most stores

Michaels: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Nordstrom: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in some places; noon to 6 p.m. in other places

Old Navy: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sears: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in some places (opening and closing times vary)

Staples: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Target: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

TJX: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

BJ’s Wholesale: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Costco: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

GameStop: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Hobby Lobby: closed

Kohl’s: 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Toys ”R” Us: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Walmart: Stores close at 6 p.m.

How old is Santa? Can I call him? Where do I write him? Some questions about Santa answered

There are plenty of mysteries surrounding Santa Claus and just how he manages to make that round-the-world trip in one night. 

While part of the joy of Christmas is believing in the magic an act of kindness can bring, that doesn’t stop millions from asking the tough questions about Claus, those reindeer and how he gets down a chimney when he, shall we say, is carrying a little bit of extra weight.

Here are a few of the most asked questions about Santa and the answers you can find online. 

How old is Santa?

Saint Nicholas was born in 270 AD. That would make him 1,747 years old.

Where is Santa?

Santa is getting ready for his round-the-world trip. He’s at the North Pole. On Christmas Eve, Google and NORAD both track Santa’s trip around the world. Click here to follow along.

How many reindeer does Santa have?

According to legend, Santa has eight reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem. The names Dunder and Blixem are derive from Dutch words for thunder and lightning. They were later changed to Donner and Blitzen.

The names and the number of reindeer came from the 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas.” A ninth reindeer, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was added to the list as the popularity of the 1939 story “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” published by the Montgomery Ward Co. grew.

How does Santa get down the chimney?

Well, we’re guessing it’s a very special magic that allows Santa to make it down chimneys to leave toys. One clue on how he does it may come from the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas." The poem mentions “a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.” Does that mean Santa can miniaturize his sleigh, his reindeer, the toys and himself? It would explain a lot.

How do you draw Santa?

Want to learn to sketch old St. Nick? Here’s a tutorial.

How can you call Santa?

Want to get a call from Santa? Here’s a few ways to do that.

You can use Dial My Calls to get calls personalize in several different ways.

You can have Santa talk to your child by using his or her name, or, if you can’t find the name on the list, you can choose one of seven other ways to have it directed toward you child. 

You can choose from:

Santa's Greeting #1: A phone call for older kids who may not believe in Santa.

Santa's Greeting #2: A message for a child who's been doing well in school.

Santa's Greeting #3: A message with a bible verse.

Santa's Greeting #4: A general message from Santa and the reindeer.

Santa's Greeting #5: A message encouraging your child to work on his or her behavior.

Santa's Greeting #6: A response to a letter sent to Santa.

Santa's Greeting #7: Praise for a child who's been doing well this year.

You can also use Christmas DialerThe Santa Phone Project or download the free app Santa's Magic Phone

How can you write a letter to Santa? 

It’s never too late to write Santa. Click here for a tutorial from wikiHow that shows you step-by-step how to do it.  

Which grocery stores are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas 2017?

Looking for something to snack on on Christmas Eve, or maybe you still need to get that forgotten ingredient for Christmas dinner?Don’t despair, there’s a good chance your local grocery store is open on Christmas Eve, and a few will be open on Christmas, too.

Here’s a list of holiday hours for some grocery store chains. Some stores may have different hours, so be sure to check with your local store to confirm they're open before you head out.

  • 7-Eleven: Most locations are open 24 hours. Find your location here.
  • Albertsons: Open on Christmas Eve from 6 a.m.- 9 pm. and on Christmas from 6 a.m. until noon.
  • Aldi: Limited hours on Christmas Eve, check here; closed on Christmas.
  • BJ’s: Stores close at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Bristol Farms: Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Costco: Costco will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and will be closed on Christmas.
  • Giant: Stores close at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve; most will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Christmas.
  • H-E-B: All H-E-B locations will be open 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Harris Teeter: Stores close at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Ingles: Stores close at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Kmart: Stores open until 8 p.m. Christmas Eve. Find your store here. Closed on Christmas.
  • Kroger: Kroger is open on Christmas Eve regular hours until 7 p.m. The stores are closed on Christmas.
  • Meijer: Most Meijer's will close at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Publix: Publix will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The stores are closed on Christmas.
  • Rite Aid: Some locations open 24 hours. Find your location here.
  • Safeway: Stores close at 8 p.m. Christmas Eve; some open on Christmas – check here.
  • Sam's Club: Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Target: Some store locations will close at 10 p.m. Christmas Eve, some at 11 p.m. Find your store here; closed on Christmas.
  • Trader Joe's: All Trader Joe's stores will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas.
  • Vons: Open Christmas Eve from 6 a.m.-11 p.m.; open Christmas from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Walgreens: Some locations will be open 24 hours. Find your location here.
  • Walmart: Stores close at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and are closed on Christmas.
  • Wegmans: Stores close at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Whole Foods: Whole Foods will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.
  • Winn-Dixie: Stores will be open 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve; closed on Christmas.

Tax reform bill passes House and Senate: What to expect from the new legislation

The House and Senate voted Tuesday and early Wednesday, to pass the largest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years. The bill passed on a 227-203 vote. No Democrats voted for the new legislation. 

In the Senate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed on a 51-48 vote at 12:40 a.m. ET on Wednesday. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation before Christmas.

The House will vote again on the bill on Wednesday because of technical issues with the first vote.

Here are a few takeaways from the new law. 

  • The corporate tax rate has been cut from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.
  • The 20 percent corporate alternative minimum tax has been repealed.
  • The legislation creates a 20 percent deduction for the first $315,000 on pass-throughs, or businesses such as partnerships. The deduction is for qualified business income for joint filers.
  • The law imposes a one-time mandatory tax of 8 percent on illiquid assets, assets not easily converted into cash, and 15.5 percent on cash and cash equivalents for U.S. business profits held overseas. The more than $2 billion held now in overseas banks is a product of a rule that made foreign profits tax-deferred if they are not brought into the United States, or repatriated.  
  • Businesses may now write off the full value of investments in new plant and equipment for five years. Beginning in year six, the 100 percent expensing of a new plant and equipment is eliminated.
  • The bill provides tax credits for producing electricity by using geothermal, solar, municipal waste, hydropower, biomass and wind.
  • For individuals, the current seven tax brackets remain, but income levels and rates have been changed.
  • For homes purchased from Jan.1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2025, the bill caps the deduction for mortgage interest at $750,000 in home loan value. After Dec. 31, 2025, the cap is $1 million in loan value. The bill also suspends the deduction for interest on home equity loans until 2026.
  • The standard deduction has been increased to $12,000 from $6,350 for individuals, and to $24,000 from $12,700 for married couples filing jointly..
  • The child tax credit has doubled to $2,000 per dependent child under age 17. There is a refundable portion of $1,400.  
  • The personal exemption of $4,050 is eliminated. The personal exemption is a fixed exemption some could take off their adjusted gross income.
  • The exemption for estate and gift taxes is increased to $10 million from $5 million per person.  
  • Beginning in 2019, the new legislation eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. 
  • Families can deduct up to a total of $10,000 in local property and state and local income taxes.
  • Below are the changes in income tax rates for married couples filing jointly and for singles. The changes take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

10 percent up to $19,050, versus 10 percent up to $18,650 under existing law;

12 percent on $19,051 to $77,400, versus 15 percent on$18,651 to $75,900;

22 percent on $77,401 to $165,000, versus 25 percent on $75,901 to $153,100;

24 percent on $165,001 to $315,000, versus 28 percent on $153,101 to $233,350;

32 percent on $315,001 to $400,000, versus 33 percent on $233,351 to $416,700;

35 percent on $400,001 to $600,000, versus 35 percent on $416,701 to $470,700

37 percent above $600,000, versus 39.6 percent above$470,700.

For single individuals, effective Jan. 1, 2018 and ending in 2026, income tax would be:

10 percent up to $9,525, versus 10 percent up to $9,325 under existing law;

12 percent from $9,526 to $38,700, versus 15 percent on $9,326 to $37,950;

22 percent on $38,701 to $82,500, versus 25 percent on $37,951 to $91,900;

24 percent on $82,501 to $157,500, versus 28 percent on $91,901 to $191,650;

32 percent on $157,501 to $200,000, versus 33 percent on $191,651 to $416,700;

35 percent on $200,001 to $500,000, versus 35 percent on $416,701 to $418,400;

37 percent above $500,000, versus 39.6 percent above $418,400.

These brackets would expire after 2025.

  • The bill also allows drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

What is Positive Train Control, and would it have prevented the Amtrak wreck?

The Amtrak train that derailed Monday in Washington state was not using a safety technology system that Congress mandated nearly 10 years ago.

The system, called Positive Train Control, possibly could have prevented the crash that killed at least three people and sent more than 100 to the hospital. According to National Transportation Safety Board officials, the train was traveling at 80 miles per hour along a section of track that calls for a 30 mph speed limit. PTC is a system designed to slow or stop trains that are moving too fast.

The president of Amtrak, Richard Anderson, said Monday that the PTC system was not in use on the stretch of track where the train derailed.

What is PTC and could it have prevented Monday’s crash? Here’s how it works. 

A head-on crash between a freight and passenger train near Los Angeles in 2008 that left 25 dead spurred Congress to enact the Rail Safety Improvement Act. The act required all major U.S. rail lines to implement the PTC system. That process – installing the system on trains and rail lines – was to be completed by the end of 2015.

What Congress did not address at the time was the cost for the system. The Association of American Railroads estimated the cost of the PTC system at $22.5 billion over 20 years – making the requirement the costliest regulatory expenditure ever imposed on rail systems.

Congress was persuaded to extend the deadline by three years for most companies (some by five years if certain measures were met), giving rail companies until Dec. 31, 2018, to have the systems in place.

PTC has been fully implemented on only 456 miles of rail tracks.

What is positive train control and how does it work?

The system, using GPS to monitor a train’s location as it moves along its route, is designed to slow down or stop a train to avoid a collision with another train or a derailment if the train is going too fast for the area or conditions.

The system uses a connection between a train's onboard computer, 'ping' points along a rail route and dispatch stations. Before leaving on its trip, the train’s computer system downloads information about speed limits, construction areas or any other possible hazards along its route. 

As the train travels along its route, the “ping” points along the rails keep the train’s computer in contact with a dispatcher. The system transmits information about the train such as its speed and any problems or conditions that would require the train to slow down.

If there is a problem, the train’s conductor is alerted. If for some reason the conductor does not or cannot respond, the train can be slowed or stopped by the system via the onboard computer. 

Why wasn’t it in use to prevent Monday’s Amtrak derailment?

Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick told CNN that while PTC was in place on segments of the track that the Amtrak train was using, the system was not fully implemented. Sound Transit, which owns the track where the train derailed, said the target date for full implementation of its PTC system – tracks and trains -- is the second quarter of 2018. 

How many trains and how much track does has Amtrak have equipped with PTC?

As of the second quarter of 2017, Amtrak has equipped 49 percent of its locomotives and 67 percent of its tracks equipped with PTC. The PTC safety plan submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration for approval has been conditionally certified.

As of March 2017, freight railroads had spent $8 billion on PTC systems and passenger lines had spent $3.5 billion on the system. 

Here, from the AAR, is a list of the complexities involved with implementing the PTC system:

Developing PTC Technology: Much of the technology PTC requires did not exist when the mandate became law in 2008. Railroads had to develop the required technology for locomotives, wayside interface units and back office systems from scratch. 

Deploying hundreds of thousands of technology pieces: PTC involves the deployment of hundreds of thousands of technology pieces — from onboard locomotive systems to switch position monitor — across the nationwide rail network.

Geo-mapping 60,000 miles: The approximately 60,000 miles of railroad right-of-way on which PTC technology will be installed and 486,000 field assets (i.e. mileposts, curves, grade crossings, switches, signals, etc.) must be precisely geo-mapped for PTC technology to work correctly. This mapping forms the basis for the system’s track database used by the back office server.

Interoperability is essential: To function properly, PTC systems must be interoperable so that any train operating on another railroad’s network can communicate with the host railroad’s PTC system. 

Equipping 1,900 “dark territory” switches with power: Some long stretches of track in remote areas use only one main line without any signalization. To make these areas PTC compatible, railroad switches must be upgraded and electrical power must be brought to the site.

Phased rollout is critical for safety: Implementation of PTC must occur in phases and location by location, starting with less complex areas and proceeding to the more operationally complex areas with lessons learned incorporated at each step to ensure that the system functions safely.

Required testing software is not available: Once all testing of individual PTC components is complete and those components have been installed, testing of the entire system as a whole can begin.

Training cannot be completed until the PTC system is operational: PTC requires rigorous training for 125,000 Class I railroad and commuter rail employees, which will be completed in parallel with installation and deployment. Training will happen before the system is turned on.

Here’s what the Amtrak engineer said in his call for help after the Washington derailment

CNN has obtained a short audio exchange between the engineer of the Amtrak train that crashed Monday morning near Dupont, Wash., and the Amtrak dispatcher.

Here’s part of the emergency radio transmissions between the two: 

Crew of the train: 'Amtrak 501 emergency, emergency, emergency... we are on the ground (inaudible) We are on the bridge (inaudible) ...on the freeway.'

'We need EMS ASAP. Looks like they are already starting to show up.

Dispatcher: 'Hey guys what happened?'

Crew of the train: 'We were coming round the corner to take the bridge on the I5 and right there on the Nissqually we were on the ground.'

Dispatcher: 'Are you... is everybody okay?'

Crew of the train: 'I am still figuring that out... we've got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.'

Here is the audio obtained by CNN.

A history of some of Amtrak's deadliest derailments

A high-speed Amtrak train derailed in Washington state Monday morning in what law enforcement is calling a “mass casualty” event.

According to officials, the train left Tacoma, Washington, Monday morning heading southbound. At least three cars derailed from an overpass above Interstate 5 near Dupont, Washington, around 7:40 a.m. local time.

One witness told CNN that a passenger train car had “crushed” vehicles on the road below, and that railcars had fallen off both sides of the track. According to law enforcement, no one on the ground was killed. “Multiple people” riding in the train were killed, according to officials.

The train is believed to have been on its maiden run of a new high-speed service on the route. It was headed south to Portland, Oregon.

Facts about Amtrak

Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970 to take over the intercity passenger rail services previously operated by private railroad companies in the United States. Operations began on May 1, 1971. 

The name "Amtrak" results from the blending of the words "America" and "track." The railroad is officially known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. 

In 2016, 31.3 million customers used Amtrak. On an average day, nearly 85,700 passengers ride more than 300 Amtrak trains.

Amtrak is a federally chartered corporation, with the federal government as majority stockholder. The board is appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Amtrak is operated as a for-profit company, rather than a public authority.

Amtrak is the only railroad in North America to maintain right-of-way for service at speeds in excess of 125 mph (201 kph), and its engineering forces maintain more than 350 miles of track for 100+ mph (160+ kph) service.

From National Transportation Safety Board records, here's a look at what happened in some of the worst Amtrak train crash incidents in the company’s history:

April 3, 2016: (Chester, Pa.)Two maintenance workers were struck and killed by an Amtrak train going more than 100 mph in Chester, Pennsylvania. The lead engine of the train derailed.March 14, 2016 (Kansas)An Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed in southwest Kansas, sending five cars off the tracks and injuring at least 32 people. Investigators concluded that a cattle feed delivery truck hit the track and shifted it at least a foot before the derailment.Oct. 5, 2015 (Vermont)A passenger train headed from Vermont to Washington, D.C., derailed when it hit rocks that had fallen onto the track from a ledge. The locomotive and a passenger car spilled down an embankment, derailing three other cars and injuring seven people.May 12, 2015 (Philadelphia)An eastbound Amtrak passenger train derailed after taking a curve at 100 mph, where the speed limit of that second of track is 50 mph. Eight people were killed, and more than 200 injured. High speed and human error were determined to be the cause.March 9, 2015 (Halifax, N.C.)At least 55 people were injured when an Amtrak train traveling from North Carolina to New Jersey derailed after colliding with an oversized tractor-trailer that was stuck on the tracks in Halifax.June 23, 2014 (Massachusetts)An Amtrak train hit a vehicle that was apparently driving on train tracks in Massachusetts, killing three people in the vehicle and derailing the train just before midnight in a remote area about 24 miles southwest of Boston. None of the 180 people on board the train was injured.Oct. 21, 2012 (Niles, Mich.)About a dozen passengers and crew members on an Amtrak train from Chicago to Pontiac, Michigan, were injured when two locomotives and one or more coaches derailed after the train lost contact with the track near Niles, Michigan.June 24, 2011 (Nevada)A truck slammed into the side of an Amtrak California Zephyr train at a rural crossing 70 miles east of Reno, Nevada, killing six people and injuring dozens. The train was traveling from Chicago to California.April 18, 2002 (Crescent City, Fla.)An Amtrak Auto Train derailed because of a heat-induced track buckle. Four people were killed and more than 140 injured.February 16, 1996 (Silver Spring, Md.)An Amtrak passenger train was hit by a Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) train after the MARC train failed to stop at a junction. Eleven were killed and 26 injured. Human error was determined to be the cause of the crash.September 22, 1993 (Mobile, Ala.)An Amtrak train derailed into a bayou outside of Mobile, Ala., killing 47 and injuring 103. The derailment happened when a barge bumped into a railroad bridge in heavy fog, displacing it minutes before the train arrived.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Which restaurants are open on Christmas, Christmas Eve 2017?

Sometimes the rush of the season leaves little time to get a holiday meal together. 

If you are not finding the hours in your schedule to shop, chop, cook and serve, or, if you just want to go stress-free and enjoy a meal someone else cooks, you may want to go out to eat on Christmas Eve or Christmas.

Here is a list of a few restaurants scheduled to be open on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas. 

Special note: Whether a restaurant is open or not varies depending on individual location or franchise. You should call your local restaurant to verify the hours they will be open, or if they will be open at all. 

Below are links to the restaurants’ location pages. You can find the phone number for your local restaurants on these pages. Before you go, check to see if the location near you will be participating in the chain’s holiday hours of operation.

  • Bakers Square – Most locations are open Christmas Eve and Christmas.
  • Benihana – Restaurants will be open Christmas.
  • Bob Evans – Open for Christmas Eve, most closed on Christmas Day.
  • Boston Market – Select locations will be open to serving a traditional Christmas meal.
  • Buca di Beppo – Open at 11 a.m. on Christmas.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings – Most locations will be open for Christmas. Check with your local location for hours.
  • Chart House – Chart House will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas.
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise – Some locations will be open Christmas Eve 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Christmas 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 
  • Chuck E Cheese – Some locations will be open for Christmas from noon to 6 p.m. Check your local franchise for its hours.
  • Country Buffet – Locations will close at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas.
  • Denny’s – Denny’s is open 24 hours, including Christmas.
  • Fogo de Chao – Open on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on Christmas from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Hard Rock Cafe – Open limited hours on Christmas. Check local restaurant for hours.
  • HomeTown Buffet – Restaurants will be open until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas.
  • Huddle House – Huddle House is open 24 hours, including Christmas.
  • IHOP – IHOP 24-hour locations will be open on Christmas.
  • Legal Sea Foods – Some locations open Christmas; hours vary. 
  • Luby’s – Luby’s will be open for Christmas at some locations. Most participating locations will close at 5 p.m. Christmas.
  • McDonald’s – Participating locations are open Christmas, but hours vary by franchise.
  • Macaroni Grill – Participating locations will be open noon to 8 p.m. on Christmas.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s – Open Christmas Eve and Christmas.
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse – Open Christmas Eve and Christmas. 
  • Old Country Buffet – Old Country Buffet will be open on Christmas Eve until 3 p.m. Locations will open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas.
  • Panda Express – Some Panda Express locations will open on Christmas, depending on the franchise.
  • Perkins Restaurant & Bakery – Many Perkins will be open on Christmas, depending on the franchise.
  • Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse – Participating Ruth’s Chris will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
  • Ryan’s – Open Christmas Eve until 3 p.m. and Christmas from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Shoney’s – Shoney’s is open on Christmas.
  • Sizzler: Some Sizzler locations will be open on Christmas. 
  • Starbucks – Participating Starbucks will be open for Christmas.
  • Village Inn – Some locations open on Christmas; hours will vary by location, but many are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Waffle House – Waffle House is open 24 hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Live updates:  Where is Santa right now; when will he get to your house?

On the lookout for Santa?

It’s never too early to keep up with the jolly old elf, and there are a couple of apps that can help.

Both the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Google have their radars powered up, ready for the annual one-night, round-the-world-flight of a certain resident of the North Pole.

For more than 60 years, NORAD has turned all of its tracking capabilities toward following the progress of Santa Claus and his reindeer as he takes flight on Christmas Eve. For the hardcore Santa follower, NORAD’s website does not disappoint.

In the run-up to the big day, visitors can head to the website to watch a movie, play some games, hear some music and learn about St. Nicholas, his elves and his sleigh. NORAD also has a presence at the North Pole.

NORAD, as it has done for decades, provides updates by phone -- call 877-HI-NORAD on Christmas Eve, a live person will give you an update). Times being what they are, you can, of course, follow Santa on Facebook, Twitter and even shoot him an email (noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.) NORAD's Santa operations center opens at 9 a.m. Dec. 24You can go to NORAD’s tracking site here. 

Over at Google, it’s been only 13 years since Santa has been on their radar, literally, and they have pulled out all the Christmas stops this year.

Google’s Santa Tracker includes Santa’s Village. There is a countdown clock there, too, and as we move toward Dec. 24, the village unlocks new games and experiences for visitors. 

Google also reminds users that you can search for Santa directly in Google Maps and google.com in addition to using the Santa Tracker. You can even go into Street View to look at the cities he is visiting as he makes his trip to deliver toys.

For those who want to speak Santa into existence – at least his location on Christmas Eve – you can ask Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant, or Google Home the question, “Where is Santa?” and get an answer.

Of course, the burning question is “When will Santa arrive at my house?” While Santa has his own schedule, he generally makes it to most homes between 9 a.m. and midnight (local time).

As Santa has made clear for centuries if the kids are not asleep in a given home, he’s moving on to the next house.

2017 Christmas shipping deadlines for Amazon, Walmart, FedEx, UPS and more

With Christmas two weeks away, the deadline to ship gifts so they make it by the 25th is fast approach. 

Here, from BestBlackFriday.com, is a list of some of the holiday shipping deadlines from department stores, online shopping sites, FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service. 

Click here for the complete list of 2017 holiday shipping deadlines for more than 55 stores. 

2017 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for Major Stores

Amazon

Dec. 15 - Free Shipping ($25 min.)

Dec. 18 - Standard Shipping

Dec. 22 - Two-Day Shipping (Free with Prime)

Dec. 23 - One-Day Shipping (In select cities)

Dec. 24, 9:30 a.m. local time or earlier - Same-Day Delivery (In select cities)

Dec. 24, 9:45 p.m. local time or earlier - Two-Hour Delivery (In select cities)

Bloomingdale’s

Dec. 20 by 5 p.m. ET – Standard

Dec. 22 by 12 p.m. ET - Express Delivery

Cabela's

Dec. 19 by 5 PM EST - Standard Express

Dec. 20 by 5 PM EST - Guaranteed Express

Dec. 21 by 3 PM EST - Overnight Air Express

Dell

Dec. 15 by 3 p.m. EST - Standard Dec. 20 by 3 p.m. EST - Expedited Dec. 21 by 3 p.m. EST - Express

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dec. 18 by 11:59 p.m. PT - Free Standard Dec. 19 by 11:59 p.m. PT - Expedited Dec. 20 by 9 a.m. PT - Express

GameStop

Dec. 13 - Value Saver

Dec. 17 - Ground

Dec. 18 - Two-Day Expedited

Dec. 19 - One-Day Shipping

JCPenney

Dec. 20

Kmart

Dec. 17 by 11:59 p.m. CST - Free Shipping Dec. 19 by 4 p.m. CST -Standard Shipping Dec. 21 by 4 p.m. CST -Premium Shipping Dec. 24 for In-Store Pickup

Kohl’s

Dec. 18 by 11 p.m. (CST) - Standard Dec. 19 by 1 p.m. (CST) - 2-Day Shipping Dec. 20 by 1 p.m. (CST) - 1-Day Shipping

Lowe's

Dec. 15 by 12 p.m. EST - Standard Parcel

Dec. 20 by 12 p.m. EST - 2-Day Business

Dec. 21 by 12 p.m. EST - Next-Day Business

Macy’s

Dec. 20 by 5 p.m. ET - Free Standard Shipping (min. $99) Dec. 20 by 5 p.m. ET - Premium Dec. 21 by 12 p.m. ET - Express Dec. 24 by 10 a.m. ET - In-Store Pickup Dec. 24 by 10 a.m. ET - Same-Day Delivery

Nordstrom

Dec. 20 by 12 p.m. ET - Two-Business Day Shipping Dec. 21 by 12 p.m. ET - Free Standard Shipping Dec. 22 by 12 p.m. ET - Saturday Delivery ($10)

Sam’s Club

Dec. 11 - Freight Dec. 16 - Standard Dec. 20 - Express

Sears

Dec. 17 by 11:59 p.m. CST - Free Shipping Dec. 19 by 4 p.m. CST -Standard Shipping Dec. 21 by 4 p.m. CST -Premium Shipping Dec. 24 for In-Store Pickup

Target

Varies by Item - Free Standard Shipping

Dec. 19 by 12p.m. - Premium 2-Day Shipping

Dec. 22 by 12 p.m. - Express 1-Day Shipping

Dec. 22 by 7 p.m. - Restock

Toys R Us

Dec. 18 by 11:59 p.m. ET - Free Shipping Dec. 20 by 3 p.m. ET - Expedited Dec. 20 by 11:59 p.m. ET - Express Dec. 24 by Noon ET - In-Store Pickup

Walmart

Dec. 13 - Freight Dec. 19 - Standard Dec. 21 - Rush

2017 holiday shipping deadlines for delivery companies

FedEx

Dec. 11 - FedEx Smartpost Dec. 15 - Ground

Dec. 18 - FedEx Home Delivery Dec. 19 - Express Saver Dec. 20 - FedEx 2-Day and 2-Day a.m. Dec. 21 - FedEx Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, and First Overnight

Dec. 25 - FedEx SameDay and SameDay City (Priority & Standard)

UPS

Dec. 18 - UPS 3 Day Select Dec. 20 - UPS 2nd Day Air Dec. 21 - UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air (Saturday Option) Dec. 22 - UPS Next Day Air (Saturday Option)

USPS

Dec. 14 - USPS Retail Ground

Dec. 19 - First-Class Mail Service

Dec. 20 - Priority Mail Service

Dec. 22 - Priority Mail Express Service

 

Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore

MOBILE, Alabama – Democrat Doug Jones won election to the U.S. Senate from Alabama in a sharp blow to President Trump that narrows the GOP’s majority in the Senate to two. He beat Roy Moore, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court who had been accused of sexual misconduct.

As Alabama’s special election neared the finish line on Monday, Moore, with the help of former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, renewed his call for voters to help him “clean the swamp.” 

Moore’s opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, on Monday campaigned with NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. Barkley told supporters that Alabama has, “got to stop looking like idiots to the nation.” 

>>Trump tweets support for Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race

The race, a special election being held to fill the Senate term of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has garnered national attention as allegations of sexual misconduct by Moore surfaced. 

Eight women have come forward to say Moore acted inappropriately toward them when they were in their teens and he in his 30s. He has denied the allegations.

Before his run for the Senate seat, Moore gained national attention when he was twice removed from his position as Alabama’s chief justice for violating judicial orders. 

Jones is the first Democrat to win an Alabama Senate seat in 20 years.

 Live updates

The Heisman Trophy ceremony 2017: What time, what channel, who is likely to win?

The finalists for the Heisman Trophy have been named, and the ceremony is set for Saturday night in New York City.

Here’s how to watch it and who the finalists are.

What time: The ceremony is set for 8 p.m. ET.

Where: PlayStation Theater in New York City.

What channel: ESPN will air the ceremony.

Live stream: You can watch the ceremony on Watch ESPN.

Who is nominated: The three top nominees are:

Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma

Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville

Bryce Love, running back, Stanford

Who is the favorite to win: Mayfield, according to Odds Shark, is the overwhelming favorite to take home the trophy. The Oklahoma quarterback has 4,430 yards passing, 41 touchdowns and a 71 percent completion percentage.

Jackson was last year’s Heisman Trophy winner.

Trump’s slurred speech: Is it loose-fitting dentures, dry mouth or something else?

Concerns over the health of President Donald Trump were dismissed Thursday by the White House, a day after he slurred his words while announcing a policy shift concerning Israel.

Trump’s trouble with a some phrases came during the announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters who questioned Trump’s health immediately after the announcement that Trump’s “throat was dry. There's nothing to it.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday told reporters the same thing – that he was suffering from dry mouth – and that their questions about his health were “frankly, pretty ridiculous.”

The notably slurred speech came as he was ending his comments, and was so pronounced it launched speculation that he was suffering from a more serious condition than dry mouth.

Sanders did acknowledge that the president would undergo a physical exam early next year at Walter Reed Hospital, a routine exam that sitting presidents often do, and that the results of that examination will be released by his doctors. 

It is not the first time Trump has had some trouble during a speech. In November during a televised speech about his trip to Asia, Trump appeared to have trouble breathing. He stopped his speech to drink water from a bottle.

During the presidential campaign, social media was quick to weigh in when Trump continually sniffed and seemed to breathe heavily during the second debate with Hillary Clinton. He later denied having any respiratory issues.

When questions about Trump’s health were raised during the campaign, his physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, released a letter that said, in part: "Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." Trump, at 70 when he won the election in November 2016, was the oldest person ever elected president of the United States.

Social media users have speculated that Trump wears false teeth and that his dentures may be slipping, causing slurred speech. The hashtag #DentureDonald was trending on Twitter for a while on Wednesday.

Ill-fitting dentures are likely a good bet for the slurred speech, according to a story from CNN. Speech-language pathologist Michael de Riesthal said it appeared Trump’s problems were the result of "having a denture fall or some other alternative explanation" related to dental devices.

According to WebMD, there are at least 46 conditions that can lead to slurred speech and confusion. Among them, stroke, hypoglycemia, dehydration, low blood sugar, transient ischemic attack (or a “mini stroke”), B12 deficiency and Alzheimer’s disease. 

The president’s father, Frank Trump, had Alzheimer’s disease. 

Trump’s speech was fodder for late-night comedians made light of the mispronounced words. 

 

Al Franken: What happens to his Senate seat if he resigns?

Sen. Al Franken, (D-Minn.), will make an announcement on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday as to whether he will resign his seat amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Franken is expected to speak at 11:45 a.m. ET.

Franken has been accused of inappropriate conduct by several women. On Wednesday, more than 20 fellow senators called for Franken to resign.

What happens to his seat if he does? Here’s a look at the process of filling the seat.

Requirements:

A person who would be a senator from Minnesota must:

Be at least 30 years old

Be a resident of Minnesota

Be a U.S. citizen for at least nine years

Who makes the decision on a replacement?

According to state law, Minnesota’s governor is authorized to fill the vacancy if a senator resigns. The governor, Democrat Mark Dayton, can make temporary appointments to fill Senate vacancies, but a special election must be held to fill the seat until the next scheduled election of that seat is held.

When would a special election be held in this case?

In Minnesota, if the seat is vacated at least 11 weeks before a scheduled primary, then a special election must be held the following November. There is a primary set for Aug. 14, 2018, in Minnesota, so that would mean that a special election would have to be held in November 2018 if Franken resigns before May 29, 2018. Minnesota’s other senator, Amy Klobuchar, (D), is up for re-election in that election. 

The winner of the special election would serve out Franken’s term, which ends in January 2021. If that person wants to stay in the seat for the six-year term that begins in January 2021, he or she would have to face re-election in November 2020. 

Why is Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move the U.S. embassy to that city in the near future.

Trump’s decision is likely to incite unrest in the region where for more than 70 years most countries have stayed out of the dispute over who owns one of the most significant religious areas in the world.

Why are some saying the move will cause chaos in the region? Here’s a look at what the decision could mean.

What happened Wednesday?

The president declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and announced plans to move the US embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The move will not take place immediately.

In addition, Trump reasserted his commitment to supporting a two-state solution if Israel and Palestine can come to that agreement. 

Why is that causing so much commotion?

Jerusalem is the center of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Israel has called Jerusalem its undivided capital, while Palestine claims the eastern half of the city as its capital.

In 1947, the United Nations worked to create a homeland for Jews in the Middle East with the idea that Jerusalem would be a separate “international city.” However, the war to establish an Israeli state led to the city being divided.

In 1949, the “Green Line” (a border created through negotiations at the end of the war) was established, giving Israel the western half of Jerusalem and Jordan the eastern half.

That arrangement lasted for nearly 20 years until the Six-Day War in 1967 at which time Israel occupied East Jerusalem and has kept it since then. 

In 1980, Israel passed a law stating Jerusalem was the united capital of Israel.

While Israel claims Jerusalem, the rest of the world has refrained from assigning capital status to either side until and unless Israel and Palestine can come to an agreement on who owns what. Resolving that issue is perhaps the most difficult part of finding a peaceful end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The United States keeps its embassy in Tel Aviv, like most other countries. Also, like other countries, the U.S. has a consulate in Jerusalem.

If the United States declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel, it will be the first country to officially do so since the country’s inception in 1948. Compounding the issue is that Jerusalem is home to key sacred sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Why hasn’t the embassy moved before?

The United States has not moved the embassy to Jerusalem because for 70 years countries around the world have stayed out of the conflict over who owns the city.

In 1989, however, the U.S. began leasing a plot of land in Jerusalem that was to be the spot where a new embassy was to be built. The 99-year lease costs the United States $1 a year. The land remains undeveloped. There is a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

In 1995, Congress passed a law that required the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, saying if Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, then the U.S. should respect that.

Since that law passed, every U.S. president, citing security concerns, has declined to move the embassy and has signed a presidential waiver to keep it in Tel Aviv.

Who would be in favor of the move?

Israel would welcome a declaration from the United States saying Jerusalem belongs to Israel. 

Who would be against it?

Palestine would have the most to lose if Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In May 2017, the Palestinian group Hamas proposed the formation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. 

The announcement would anger the rest of the Arab world as well. Saudi Arabia has called the idea a “flagrant provocation to Muslims.” 

A senior Palestinian official said Wednesday that the decision means “the peace process is finished” because Washington “has already pre-empted the outcome,” The Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, US personnel and their families were ordered to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank. Palestinian factions have called for a “day of rage” over the announcement.

What is the reaction from the rest of the world?

Here is the reaction from some world leaders to Trump’s expected announcement. (From the Associated Press)

  • Speaking to reporters in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the “the situation is not easy.” He said Putin discussed the issue with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late on Tuesday and expressed his concern about “a possible deterioration.” Peskov said, however, that the Kremlin would refrain from commenting a decision that has not been announced yet.
  • British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is calling on the U.S. administration to present a Mideast peace plan because the decision clearly “makes it more important than ever that the long-awaited American proposals on the Middle East peace process are now brought forward.”
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned Trump’s imminent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The state TV’s website quotes Khamenei as saying that “when they (U.S.) claim that they want to declare Jerusalem as the capital of occupied Palestine, it shows their inability. ”
  • China has expressed concerns over “possible aggravation of regional tensions” in response to the expected U.S. announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Geng Shuang, a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday the China would monitor developments on the issue.
  • Syria’s Foreign Ministry says Trump’s expected announcement to recognize of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a “dangerous step” that will fuel global conflict. The ministry in Damascus issued a statement on Wednesday calling Trump’s imminent move the “culmination of the crime of the seizing of Palestine and the displacement of the Palestinian people.”
  • Two leading Lebanese newspapers have issued front page rebukes to Trump over his expected announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The An-Nahar compares the U.S. president to the late British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who a hundred years ago famously promised Palestine as a national home to the Jewish People, in what is known as the Balfour Declaration. The paper’s Wednesday headline reads: “Trump, Balfour of the century, gifts Jerusalem to Israel.”
  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the “whole world is against” Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and eventually move the U.S. Embassy there. He says that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a “grave mistake.”
  • Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, writing as head of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Al-Quds Committee, also expressed his “deep personal concern” and “the great concern felt by Arab and Muslim states and peoples” over the moves in a letter to Trump Tuesday. “The current step is likely to negatively impact the prospects of a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the letter said.
  • Pope Francis is calling for the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and for “wisdom and prudence” to prevail to avoid further conflict. “I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts.”

Sources: The Associated Press; The BBC; Reuters; history.com

Report: Mike Pence, Reince Priebus talked of replacing Trump after the 'Access Hollywood' tape

Mike Pence’s press secretary denounced a profile The Atlantic magazine posted Tuesday that said the vice president told GOP officials he would step up to replace then-candidate Donald Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tape became public weeks before the 2016 election.

Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, tweeted Tuesday, “Regarding The Atlantic’s tired, false claim about the VP during the campaign — we denied this in the article and deny it again today. Didn’t happen.”

According to the piece, Pence contacted then-Republican Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and offered to be the party's nominee if Trump were to somehow be removed by the RNC. According to the story, the RNC was considering buying Trump off or finding other ways to dump him from the party’s presidential ticket.

The story claims that some in the GOP suggested that Pence be the party’s presidential nominee with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the vice presidential slot.

The story also said that Pence’s wife, Karen, was “disgusted” by the “Access Hollywood” video that captured Trump saying he could assault women because he was famous.

“She (Karen Pence) finds him reprehensible — just totally vile,” The Atlantic quoted an unnamed former campaign aide as saying.Click here to read the full story.

Apple Pay Cash now allows U.S. users to send money via iMessages 

Apple Pay Cash is now live for U.S. users, allowing iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad owners to transfer money to virtual Pay Cash cards.

The app requires iOS 11.2, and works with iPhone 6 or later, iPhone SE, the 5th generation of iPads, iPad pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 or later and the Apple Watch.

Apple Pay Cash allows users to send and receive money through iMessage conversations using the Messages app. Cash is sent from a linked debit or credit card, according to Apple. If you are receiving cash, it is stored in an Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app. That cash can be used for purchases or it can be transferred to a bank account.  According to Apple, you will have to have two-factor authentication turned on to use the app.

The app is being rolled out to the latest iOS beta first, so it may not be available immediately to some.

There are limits on the amount of money that you can send and received per day and per transaction. If you are adding cash, there is a minimum of $10 per transaction. You cannot add more than $3,000 per day. You cannot add more than $10,000 over a 7-day period. 

If you are sending or receiving cash, there is a $1 minimum and a $3,000 maximum. You can send or receive up to $10,000 over a 7-day period. 

According to Apple, here’s what you need to use Apple Pay Cash:

Here’s how to set up Apple Pay Cash:

  • Open the Wallet app.
  • Tap on the Apple Pay Cash card that appears there.
  • Apple will walk you through the setup process, and ask if you want to enable Apple Pay.
  • You'll be directed to the Settings app to confirm your information. From there, Apple Pay Cash will take a few seconds to activate.
  • Once activated, an Apple Pay Cash card will appear in Wallet and you'll be able to access Apple Pay Cash in the Wallet app.
  • Alternatively, you can also use the Settings app to enable Apple Pay Cash. Go to Settings > Wallet > Apple Pay > Apple Pay Cash and tap the button to toggle it on. Sometimes this option won't show up until it's been activated through the Wallet app, though. 

Click here to see the places where you can use Apple Pay.

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