In our news wrap Friday, authorities in Puerto Rico say power has been restored to 55 percent of the island's customers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will be May before everyone has power back. Also, a gunman opened fire outside a coptic Christian church in Egypt that sparked a shootout with police. At least nine4 people died, including the attacker.
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In the day’s other news, authorities in Puerto Rico now say power has been restored to 55 percent of the island’s customers since Hurricane Maria struck in September. The rest of the 1.5 million customers are still waiting. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will be May before all have power back.
A gunman in Egypt opened fire outside a Coptic Christian church, sparking a shoot-out with police. At least nine people died, including the attacker. Officials say some 350 worshipers were attending the church in a Cairo suburb. Police had tightened security at the site during the holidays. It was the latest attack targeting Egypt’s Christian minority. An Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility.
For the fourth consecutive Friday, thousands of Palestinians turned out in Gaza and the West Bank. They protested President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters. The military said it also used live fire against instigators. Palestinian health officials say dozens of protesters were injured.
Militants in Gaza also fired several rockets, and the Israelis answered with tank and aircraft fire. There were no reports of injuries.
China today denied that it is violating U.N. sanctions and allowing oil to reach North Korea. South Korean reports say Chinese ships have transferred oil to North Korean vessels at sea 30 times since October. And the U.S. Treasury says satellite images show one of the transfers. But in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry rejected the reports, and President Trump’s claim that China had been caught red-handed.
(Through interpreter) The vessel involved has not docked at any port in China since August. There is no record of its entry or exit at Chinese ports. We have no knowledge of whether it visited any port in other countries. Therefore, the series of recent reports do not accord with the facts.
Meanwhile, South Korea announced it has seized a ship from Hong Kong that is suspected of off-loading oil to a North Korean ship.
President Trump says he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller is going to be fair in his probe of Russian meddling in last year’s election. He spoke to The New York Times and insisted again there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia. He didn’t call for an end to Mueller’s investigation, but he did say, “it makes the country look very bad. So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is.”
The people of Liberia have chosen a new president. Former soccer star George Weah was formally declared the winner today of a runoff election. Supporters anticipated the victory, and began celebrating yesterday and on into the night. Weah ran on promises to fight corruption and revive the economy. In January, he will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power since 1944.
Back in this country, Wall Street closed out the year on a down note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 118 points to close at 24719. The Nasdaq fell 46 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 14. Overall, the market had its best year since 2013. The Dow was up 25 percent, the Nasdaq gained 28 percent, and the S&P was up 19 percent.
And lifelong entertainer Rose Marie died Thursday at her home in the Los Angeles area. She was best known for her role “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in the 1960s. Rose Marie played the wise-cracking Sally Rogers on the sitcom. She said later it was a rare role at the time, a woman who wasn’t a wife, mother or housekeeper.
She’d begun as a child singing star in the 1920s, and appeared on Broadway as well. Rose Marie was 94 years old.