In our news wrap Monday, Pope Francis used his Christmas remarks to call for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an end to confrontation in the world's hot spots. Also, Guatemala is the first nation to follow President Trump's lead in announcing a plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
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Good evening. I’m Hari Sreenivasan. Judy Woodruff is away.
On the “NewsHour” tonight, On this Christmas Day, an examination of President Trump’s claim that he’s ended the so-called war on Christmas.
Then, Young Rohingya refugees finding a new home in Chicago.
It’s Monday, which means Amy Walter and Tamara Keith are here to talk about politics, why the president is taking to Twitter to denounce the deputy FBI director.
And from the members of the armed services, a special rendition of “Carol of the Bells.”
All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
Messages of peace marked Christmas celebrations around the world today, from the U.S. to the U.K. to the Vatican.
Pope Francis used his Christmas remarks to call for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Speaking to a crowd of thousands, he also urged an end to confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, as well as in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.
Pope Francis (through interpreter):
Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the child. We see Jesus in the children worldwide wherever peace and security are threatened by the danger of tensions and new conflicts.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth used her Christmas address to remember the victims of terror attacks in London and Manchester.
President Trump sent his Christmas greetings today as well. In a White House video with the first lady, Mr. Trump urged Americans to — quote — “renew the bonds of love and goodwill between our citizens.”
Mr. Trump is spending his first Christmas in office with his family at his estate and private club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Elsewhere, it was a white, cold Christmas for millions of Americans in the Northeast and Great Plains. Forecasts called for up to eight inches of snow in parts of New England, while areas in the Midwest saw windchill temperatures well below zero.
Meanwhile, NATO soldiers in Kabul today donned Santa hats and celebrated the holiday with a roast turkey dinner.
In the day’s other news, Israel’s prime minister praised Guatemala’s plan to move its embassy in the country to Jerusalem. The Central American nation is the first to follow President Trump’s lead on the change. Guatemala was among a small handful of countries that voted against a United Nations resolution denouncing Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The U.S. says it’s negotiated a significant cut in the U.N.’s budget. The U.S. mission to the U.N. said the body’s 2018-2019 budget would be slashed by more than $285 million. It wasn’t immediately clear how the change would impact the U.S. contribution. But Ambassador Nikki Haley said she wouldn’t let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of.
Election officials in Russia have banned opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running for president. Navalny had been convicted in a fraud case, which was seen by outside observers as a way to sideline him. After the decision, Navalny called for a boycott of the election in March.
Alexei Navalny (through interpreter):
I am saying with absolute certainty that the decision of the Central Election Commission to bar me from the election will exclude millions of people from this election. It will exclude millions from the political system itself, because it won’t allow them to take part in the election in any way.
Navalny is seen as the most serious challenger President Vladimir Putin has faced, but Putin is expected to easily win a fourth term in the March election.
Authorities in Vietnam are bracing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Tembin. It claimed some 200 lives in the Philippines. About a million people are being evacuated from Vietnam’s southern areas, where Tembin’s winds and rain could start hitting tonight. The government says thousands of fishing boats shouldn’t go out to sea.
At least six people are dead after a suicide bombing in Afghanistan’s capital. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. The suicide bomber struck near the Afghan National Intelligence Agency in Kabul. At least three others were wounded.
The former authoritarian leader of Peru has received a medical pardon. Alberto Fujimori was serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses, corruption and the sanctioning of death squads. The 79-year-old was in power in the 1990s. Demonstrators took to the streets in Lima protesting the current president’s decision to pardon Fujimori. They called the move a political deal.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”, President Trump’s promise to end what’s been called the war on Christmas; Rohingya refugees living and attending school in Chicago, it’s Politics Monday — we explain why the president is lambasting the deputy FBI director, and much more.