December 27, 2018

VOA news. I'm David Byrd in Washington.

President Donald Trump made an unannounced trip to Iraq, his first to American troops in harm's way.

AP Washington correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon.

The president and first lady few overnight to Iraq. Fighter jets escorting Air Force One as it arrived at a base west of Baghdad.

There the president defended the Syria pullout, telling troops at Al Asad Air Base military gains made it possible. He says he has no plans to withdraw the roughly 5,000 troops from Iraq, which he says can be used as a base to attack Islamic State militants in Syria if needed.

It's the president's first trip to see American troops in harm's way. He'd been criticized for not doing it in nearly two year's in office.

The president told AP two months ago he did not see a conflict zone trip as overly necessary.

Sagar Meghani, at the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, a partial government shutdown ground through its fifth day Wednesday with no resolution in sight.

President Trump speaking in Iraq said he was willing to wait as long as it takes to get the $5 billion he wants for a border wall with Mexico.

" ... we have some drones and we have technology. Technology is thousands of whistles. You have to have a wall, you have to have protection."

Trump, who two weeks ago said he would gladly take the responsibility for the shutdown, said California Democrat Nancy Pelosi is calling the shuts. Pelosi is widely expected to take over a speaker of the House next week.

She and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in the Senate have said Trump will not get the money that he is asking for.

The shutdown affects nearly 800,000 federal employees, with roughly half furloughed and the rest working without pay until the shutdown ends.

For more on these stories, visit our website voanews.com. This is VOA news.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has ordered a number of changes when caring for children under the age of ten [in the ... ] in the wake, that is, of the death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy in U.S. custody.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told CBS This Morning Wednesday that his officers are double checking the health of all children in their care.

"We responded by doing secondary medical checks. That means paramedics who are also border patrol agents checking each child in our custody to determine their health status again, in addition to the original processing."

The move comes after Felipe Gomez Alonzo died shortly before midnight on December 24, just hours before the funeral of a 7-year-old girl who died earlier this month in border protection custody.

DHS officials said that they have asked for help from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They did not say how many children are in CBP's custody.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who underwent surgery to remove cancerous tumors from her left lung, has been released from the hospital.

We get the details on the 85-year-old justice from Matt Small.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been discharged from the hospital following cancer surgery.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court says the 85-year-old is now "recuperating at home" after leaving New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center yesterday.

She had surgery Friday to remove a pair of malignant growths in her left lung and doctors say there is no evidence of any remaining disease.

Ginsburg has been treated for cancer two other times. Last month, she cracked three ribs after falling at the court but spilled her problems, she's never missed arguments.

The court meets again on January 7.

Matt Mall, Washington.

On Wall Street, stocks rebounded from the Christmas Eve's selloff, with all three major indices making large gains.

AP's Warren Levinson has details.

After a week of relentless declines, stock markets rebounded sharply in light post-holiday trading.

The Dow Jones Industrials soared 5 percent, gaining 1,086 points. The market posted its biggest one-day gain in nine years. The Standard & Poor's 500, which had sank to bear market levels, rose 5 percent. The NASDAQ Composite added almost 6.

Traders paused to consider that maybe the selloff had been overdone in the face of a still strong economy and robust Christmas retail sales. They also took comfort from White House reassurances that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's job is safe.

Warren Levinson, New York.

Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say elections scheduled for Sunday have been postponed in the cities of Beni and Butembo in North Kivu province and Yumbi in western Mai-Ndombe province.

Sunday's vote will take place as scheduled across the rest of the DRC.

For more, log on to our website voanews.com. I'm David Byrd, VOA news.