Democrats seek Bolton, Mulvaney for impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats are proposing a weekslong Senate impeachment trial seeking testimony from four new witnesses including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney over President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, according to a detailed outline released Sunday.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York proposed the structure for a “fair and honest’’ trial in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, an attempt to launch negotiations ahead of House voting this week that is all but certain to result in the president being impeached.

Comey: ‘Real sloppiness’ in Russia probe but no misconduct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged Sunday that a Justice Department inspector general report identified “real sloppiness” in the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide and said he was wrong to have been “overconfident” about how the Russia investigation was handled.

Five aides to party-switching House lawmaker resign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five aides to a House Democrat who plans to become a Republican are resigning, saying his party switch “does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office.”

The staffers wrote the letter on Sunday, a day after a Republican official said GOP House leaders had been informed that New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew was planning the switch. Van Drew, a freshman, has said he will vote “no” this week when the House decides whether to impeach President Donald Trump, a decision that puts him at odds with nearly every other Democrat.

Thousands of Ohio absentee applications denied

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Thousands of Ohio voters were held up or stymied in their efforts to get absentee ballots for last year’s general election because of missing or mismatched signatures on their ballot applications, an Associated Press review has found.

The signature requirement on such applications is a largely overlooked and spottily tracked step in Ohio’s voting process, which has shifted increasingly to mail-in ballots since early, no-fault absentee voting was instituted in 2005.

Mexican, U.S. trade officials to discuss labor enforcement provision in USMCA: media

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A top Mexican trade negotiator flew to Washington on Sunday for urgent talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to express Mexico's opposition to a labor enforcement provision in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), U.S. media reported.

Jesus Seade, undersecretary for North America of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused the United States of blindsiding Mexico by deciding to send up to five U.S. attaches to monitor labor conditions as part of the revised USMCA, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Israel bans Christians in Gaza from reaching West Bank, Jerusalem for Christmas

GAZA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel has banned the Christian minority who live in the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas from visiting Christian holy sites and churches in the West Bank and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas, a spokesman for the Christian community said Sunday.

Israeli media reported on Saturday that Israel bans 500 Christians in the Gaza Strip from travelling to the West Bank for Christmas and New Year holidays.

Meanwhile, the Israeli daily said the Israeli security only agreed to allow 100 Christians from the Gaza Strip to travel to Jordan only for Christmas.

Report: Boeing considers cutting production of 737 Max

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing may cut production of the grounded 737 Max jet or temporarily stop making it after being told that its timetable for a return to the skies was not realistic, according to a published report Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing’s board would consider the moves at a meeting that began Sunday and would run into Monday. The newspaper, citing people it did not identify, said management is increasingly seeing production cuts as a viable option.

S.Korea posts trade surplus for 94 months

SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- South Korea posted trade surplus for 94 straight months through November despite the continued fall in export, customs office data showed Monday.

The revised figure for trade surplus reached 3.3 billion U.S. dollars in November, staying in the black for 94 months since February 2012, according to Korea Customs Service.

Export, which takes up about half of the export-driven economy, declined 14.4 percent over the year to 44.1 billion U.S. dollars last month, while import dived 13.0 percent to 40.7 billion U.S. dollars.

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