What to Know
- President Trump traveled to Iraq Christmas night, according to the White House, his first visit to U.S. troops in a war zone
- The NJ Department of Health says more than 3,000 patients at a surgery center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth appear to have tied the knot amid reports the couple got married in a secret wedding ceremony
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Trump Makes Surprise Visit to Troops in Iraq, Germany
President Trump traveled to Iraq Christmas night, according to the White House, his first visit to U.S. troops in a war zone and a day after facing criticism for failing to spend time with any military personnel on Christmas Day. Trump, who was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, had been derided by his critics for not visiting troops in a combat zone, particularly after he canceled a trip to an American military burial ground outside of Paris because of bad weather. Two days later, he skipped a Veterans Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Trump defended his decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. forces from neighboring Syria despite a drumbeat of criticism from military officials and allies who don't think the job fighting Islamic State militants there is over. "We're no longer the suckers, folks," Trump told American servicemen and women at a base in western Iraq, according to The Associated Press. "We're respected again as a nation."
White House, Congress See No Deal on Government Shutdown
Chances look slim for ending the partial government shutdown any time soon. Lawmakers are away from Washington for the holidays and have been told they will get 24 hours' notice before having to return for a vote. And although the Senate is slated to come into session, few senators were expected to be around for it. After a weekend and two holiday days for federal employees, Wednesday was the first regularly scheduled workday affected by the closure of a variety of federal services. Trump vowed to hold the line on his budget demand, telling reporters during his visit to Iraq Wednesday that he'll do "whatever it takes" to get money for border security. He declined to say how much he would accept in a deal to end the shutdown.
3,000+ NJ Patients Possibly Exposed to HIV, Hepatitis
The New Jersey Department of Health says more than 3,000 patients at a surgery center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Officials say patients who had procedures done at the HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook between January 2018 and Sept. 7, 2018 may have been exposed. Surgery center administrator Betty McCabe says the exposure was due to "deficiencies in infection control" involving the cleaning of instruments and injection of medications. McCabe says 3,778 patients are being urged to get their blood tested. The health department says the risk of infection is low, and no illnesses have been reported. The department called it "an abundance of caution" to suggest that people be tested. McCabe says the center is offering to pay medical costs associated with testing.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Reportedly Got Married
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth appear to have tied the knot amid reports the couple got married in a secret wedding ceremony. Cyrus posted three black-and-white photos of her and Hemsworth on the singer's Instagram and Twitter accounts. She captioned her photos writing "10 years later ..." and "12.23.18," possibly indicating the day they exchanged vows. The 26-year-old Cyrus shared another photo of her and Hemsworth kissing. He also posted a photo of them with words "My love." In each picture, Cyrus is dressed in all-white while the 28-year-old actor is wearing a tuxedo with white shoes. Cyrus and Hemsworth's representatives did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Mariah Carey's Christmas Classic Sets New Record on Spotify
Mariah Carey's 24-year-old Christmas classic is so popular it set a new one-day streaming record on Spotify on Christmas Eve. Chart Data reported that "All I Want for Christmas Is You," released in 1994, was played 10.8 million times on Spotify on Monday. The song bested the record set by rapper-singer XXXTentacion, who logged 10.4 million streams with "SAD!" a day after his death in June. Spotify wouldn't comment on the news when reached by The Associated Press. Carey called the new feat "such an amazing Christmas gift" in an Instagram post. Every holiday season "All I Want for Christmas Is You" begins to climb the Billboard charts as its popularity resurfaces. This year the song reached its highest peak — No. 6 — on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; it's currently No. 7 on the chart.