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As the shutdown drags on, federal workers are put in precarious positions
We are now in the third week of the partial government shutdown, which is affecting approximately 800,000 federal workers.
As negotiations between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats make no progress, the employees affected are in two groups: The first is the 420,000 federal employees who are being asked to continue working without any indication of when their next paycheck will arrive.
The second is the estimated 380,000 federal workers who have been furloughed and are not being paid either.
We talked to workers who have to keep showing up for work — without being allowed to even talk about striking. One told us, “They’re able to do whatever they want to do to us but there’s no way for us to fight.”
You should also know: Federal workers are suing over the shutdown, but the government hasn’t even figured how much it owes from the shutdown in 2013.
The 8-year-old who died in Border Patrol custody was healthy when he left Mexico, shelter says
Felipe Alonzo Gomez died on Christmas Eve while sick with influenza, after being held in Customs and Border Protection custody for a week.
But the Guatemalan boy wasn’t sick when he and his father left an immigrant shelter in Juarez, Mexico, shortly before being detained, according to a shelter official.
“Felipe was here. He was in perfect health condition,” the manager of the shelter told us. She added that not only does the shelter have doctors on call to screen immigrants who come to the shelter, but “we won’t let them leave if they’re sick.”
A drug-smuggling former Israeli cabinet minister will be jailed for 11 years for spying for Iran. Gonen Segev is believed to be the highest-ranking Israeli official to publicly admit to spying for Iran, which does not recognize Israel’s legitimacy as a state.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are getting a divorce. The couple announced the split on Twitter after 25 years of marriage. Bezos is the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $137 billion. The announcement came as the National Enquirer said it plans to publish salacious details of his alleged involvement with a former TV anchor.
A man allegedly killed his brother with a 4-foot sword because he thought he was a lizard person. “God told me he was a lizard,” Buckey Wolfe told 911 dispatchers. Wolfe, 26, was charged with the second-degree murder of his brother James and ordered held without bail after prosecutors argued he was “severely mentally ill.”
A transgender woman was assaulted in a North Carolina women’s bathroom. Police charged Jessica Fowler, 31, and Amber Nicole Harrell, 38, with kidnapping and sexual battery after they allegedly sexually assaulted a transgender woman. The pair allegedly exposed themselves, groped the woman, and verbally abused her.
Lady Gaga just apologized for working with alleged predator R. Kelly. The pair worked together on a 2013 song, “Do What U Want.” Gaga apologized for working with Kelly, stating she stands “by anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault.” There are currently multiple investigations ongoing into the abuse allegations against Kelly.
Scammers are tricking people into buying puppies that don’t exist
Much like other searches, the search for a pet usually begins online. But what used to be a wholesome exercise in finding a little companion is now a potential opportunity for scammers to prey on victims.
How did we get here? Steven Baker from the Better Business Bureau told us, “I think anybody that goes looking online for a puppy, if you look at more than one or two places, you’re going to run across a fraud site. It’s that bad.”
The stats are alarming. The BBB received over 10,000 complaints about puppy scams over the last three years — and in 59% of cases, no dog was ever received.
The scams are elaborate — beyond stolen photos, there has been a spike in scammers recording their own voiceovers for stolen videos to help dupe potential victims.
Read Jane Lytvenenko’s dive into the world of puppy scams so you don’t fall for them.
These comics perfectly capture what it’s like to live with anxiety
Illustrator Maureen “Marzi” Williams has a new book coming out called Kind of Coping. The illustrations explore what daily life is like when you have anxiety.
Quite a few people found these comics resonant — I really loved this one: