Donald Trump has visited the US-Mexico border in an effort to boost his case for a proposed wall after threatening to declare a national emergency over his failure to secure funding.
The president flew south aboard Air Force One to the town of McAllen in Texas on Thursday, some 24 hours after talks with senior Democrats aimed at ending an ongoing government shutdown concluded in acrimony.
Mr Trump denied throwing a “temper tantrum” after House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer again said they would not fund his wall – a dispute that has seen the government in partial shutdown for 20 days.
On Thursday afternoon the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed bills that would re-open agriculture and transportation agencies – though the bills are likely to be vetoed by Mr Trump.
As hundreds of federal workers protested in Washington demanding they be allowed to go back to work, Mr Trump went to a border patrol station as he sought to make his case for why a $5.7bn wall needed to be built.
He told workers there: “It’s tough stuff here but it could be a lot easier for you if we had the wall, so we’ll get it.
“I think we’re winning the battle in a big way.”
He repeated his claim that Mexico would end up paying for its construction, albeit via a trade deal rather than a cheque for millions of dollars – something he had promised voters on the campaign trail before the 2016 election.
And after Ms Pelosi told reporters at an earlier news conference in Washington that a wall was “not the best way to protect our borders”, the president looked – unconvincingly – to history for evidence of its effectiveness.
“They say a wall is medieval – well so is a wheel, a wheel is older than a wall,” he said.
“I looked outside and every single car out there – even the really expensive ones that the secret service use, and believe me they’re expensive – they all still have wheels.
“The wheel is older than the wall, you know that? And there are some things that work. You know, a wheel works and a wall works.”
Despite his assertion that he was “winning the battle” over the wall, Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer have continued to insist that the Democrats will not agree to fund it.
But Mr Trump does not appear to be ready to compromise and reopen the government, announcing on Twitter that he was pulling out of a World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next week because of the shutdown.
Just hours before, he said he would be willing to declare a national emergency.
By law, that could give him authority to use some military money for construction projects for the wall.
As he left the White House for Texas, he said: “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. If I have to, I will. I have no doubt about it.”
Sky’s US correspondent Greg Milam said people in McAllen were more in favour of improving security in other ways.
He explained: “This is the place that has more illegal crossings than anywhere along the US-Mexico border and there are people who live here and understand it very well.
“They say that money would be better spent on improving security and technology at the legal border crossings because that’s where they say the drugs and the human trafficking issues that Donald Trump talks about are very real.
“They’re not in the unprotected areas of the border.
“But that detail is getting lost in what is very much now about two ideologies. A president who says he wants this wall and won’t back down, and the Democrats in Washington who have said a very definite no to that.”
Mr Trump can at least look to Montana and South Dakota for some support, with Republican state senators in both suggesting that they contribute to the funding of the wall.
Senator Scott Sales said Montana should give a “small token” of $8m to help build the wall even though the state borders Canada to the north, and the idea was quickly derided by Democrat governor Steve Bullock.
The visit to the border by Mr Trump came as his former lawyer Michael Cohen announced he would testify publicly before a House committee next month.
Mr Cohen – a pivotal figure in investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump election campaign – will testify before the house oversight and reform committee on 7 February.
Man jailed for sharing footage of Christchurch mosque shooting | World News
A man has been jailed in New Zealand for sharing footage of the al Noor Mosque attack.
Christchurch businessman Philip Neville Arps had admitted two charges of distributing an objectionable publication after the shootings.
On Tuesday he was jailed for 21 months, with a judge saying he had “glorified” the shootings.
Fifty-one Muslims died after being shot as they attended Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in March.
The al Noor shooting was streamed on Facebook.
Arps, among 13 people charged regarding the attack material, distributed the video to approximately 30 people on the social networking site, the court heard.
The second charge related to him asking another person to add crosshairs and a “kill count” to the video, intending to use this as a meme.
He was arrested days after the shootings and has been kept in solitary confinement since then.
In comments reported by the NZ Herald, Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said on Tuesday that Arps, 44, had “strong and unrepentant views towards the Muslim community”.
The court heard that Arps, who runs what was described as an insulation company that has used neo-Nazi imagery, showed “particular cruelty” in sharing the footage the day after the attack.
A pre-sentence report said Arps showed no remorse or empathy for any of those affected.
Judge O’Driscoll said some parts of the pre-sentence report were concerning but he did not mention them publicly, wary of Arps considering them a “badge of honour”.
The judge did, however, say that Arps had once compared himself to Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess and that the report said he was a high risk of re-offending.
According to TVNZ, Arps faces six months of strict conditions after he completes his sentence.
These include psychiatric assessments, drug and alcohol treatment and a ban on using the internet.
Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, has been criticised for being slow to take down footage of the attacks, which was deemed objectionable by New Zealand’s Chief Censor.
Along with other social media, Facebook has long been under pressure to do more about hateful and abusive posts.
Toronto Raptors: Two injured in shooting at victory parade for NBA champions | World News
Two people have been injured in a shooting at a victory parade for the Toronto Raptors basketball team, police have said.
Tweets from people attending the parade at Nathan Philips Square said they heard several gunshots, which sparked a stampede from the crowd.
Canadian journalist Diana Weeks said she heard four shots in total, but “thought they were fireworks”.
She added: “I don’t even know what to say right now.”
“Started running for our lives. This is not Toronto. Children crying… ppl running.”
Videos of the incident showed people running to exit the square as the incident unfolded.
Toronto police said the victims’ injuries were “serious but not life threatening”, and that two people had been arrested.
Two firearms have also been recovered.
More than a million people had lined the streets on Monday to celebrate the Raptors’ – and Canada’s – first ever NBA championship win.
The team was paraded aboard five double-decker buses through the city, before coming to an end at the square.
Several public figures delivered speeches, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mr Trudeau, Toronto’s mayor and Raptors player Kawhi Leonard remained on stage as the incident unfolded, and resumed celebrations shortly after.
Teenager survives after 10in blade narrowly misses his brain | World News
Surgeons have told a 15-year-old Kansas boy who got a 10in knife embedded in his skull when he fell on it that he was within millimetres of death.
The knife narrowly missed Eli Gregg’s brain with the tip pushing against his carotid artery, which supplies the brain with blood.
Dr Koji Ebersole, who oversaw the removal, said: “It could not have had a pound more force on it and him survive that event.
“I don’t think he would have survived it.”
Eli’s mum Russell said her son was playing in the garden on Thursday when she heard him scream.
She found him with the large knife jutting out from just below his eye.
“It looked pretty grim, it was scary,” she said.
Within 24 hours of the surgery, Eli was able to talk and make light of the situation.
His mum added: “He says he is going to stay away from sharp objects.”
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