Trump talks shutdown during surprise Iraq trip

President Donald Trump and the first lady quietly swept into Iraq to pay a holiday visit to US troops, at last making good on the President's promise to travel to one of the war zones he has derided as costly blunders. CNN's Abby Phillip reports.

Posted: Dec 28, 2018 8:53 AM
Updated: Dec 28, 2018 8:56 AM

Still planning your vacation for 2019? Borrow some ideas from CNN Travel editors, who run down their best trips of 2018. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. President Trump

When the President's Twitter feed fell silent Wednesday, he wasn't taking a sudden social media sabbatical -- he was on his way to Iraq. The commander in chief, along with the first lady, surprised US troops with a holiday visit, his first to a war zone. After making the secret overnight flight from Washington and touching down onto a pitch-black airstrip (because of security concerns), Trump stayed on the ground for three hours. He took endless selfies with enthusiastic servicemen and women in a dining hall. Later, during a speech at an air base near Baghdad, he reinforced his skeptical view of wading into foreign conflicts and defended his decision to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. The Trumps landed back in Washington early this morning.

2. Financial markets

Consider it a post-Christmas miracle. After suffering its worst Christmas Eve session ever, the Dow roared back Wednesday with its biggest daily point gain in history. The Dow rose 1,086 points -- a 5% gain. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up big, too. It was the biggest percentage gain for all three indices in almost a decade. Keep in mind though, thin trading and a lack of big news often send stocks higher in the last week of the year. Will this miraculous rally keep going today? That's anybody's guess in this current environment. But Asian stocks are up this morning, so there's that.

3. Russia

A nuclear missile that's impossible to stop? Russian President Vladimir Putin claims his country has just that. Putin says Russia's new hypersonic missile system is "invulnerable" to US defenses and will be put into service next year. The missile system underwent a test Wednesday at an air base in southwest Russia. The missile, called the Avangard, has intercontinental range and can reportedly fly as fast as 15,000 mph. The Russians also claim it can adjust both altitude and direction and fly low enough to avoid most missile defense systems. A US official told CNN earlier this year that the weapons system is not close to being operational, and analysts caution that Russian boasts of new military capabilities are often overblown.

4. Indonesia

The alert level for the volcano that triggered last weekend's deadly tsunami in Indonesia has been raised. That's prompted the evacuation of thousands of people and caused flights to be rerouted. Indonesian officials raised the warning for the Anak Krakatau volcano to 3, which is the second-highest level. Activity and eruptions continue at the volcano, which had seemed to be calming down following Saturday's eruption, which caused the wave that swept through parts of the country, killing more than 430 people.

5. Australia heatwave

It's been a hot time Down Under this week. A brutal heat wave is punishing parts of Australia, with the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia all hitting above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) for four days in a row. Temperatures are averaging about 24 degrees F higher than average for this time of year. Now extreme and severe fire warnings are being issued. CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller says part of the problem is that El Niño conditions appear to be forming over the Pacific Ocean and affecting the country's weather. January is typically the hottest month of Australia's summer, and many fear the early heatwave may be the prelude to even more extreme weather in early 2019.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Whatever it takes. I mean, we're gonna have a wall."

President Donald Trump, reiterating that the partial government shutdown shouldn't end until he gets funding for a wall on the border with Mexico. Lawmakers are back in Washington today, but talks to end the shutdown are at a standstill.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

Dreams do come true
What happened when an 8-year-old girl attached her Christmas wish list to a balloon and released it? A Christmas miracle, that's what.

Congratulations

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are more than just a couple. The singer and the actor are now husband and wife after tying the knot over the weekend.

Meaningful meals
Christmas might be over, but somebody in Georgia still has the spirit. An anonymous donor is providing free lunches to kids during the holiday break.

Just let it go
Raise your hand if 2018 stressed you out. It's OK. Now is the perfect time to plan trips to visit 16 of the world's most relaxing places.

AND FINALLY ...

Pillow talk
Somebody threw a cat pillow on the couch, and the dogs are not having it. (Click to view.)

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1474289

Reported Deaths: 20385
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2021122504
Lake996361476
Allen909861007
Hamilton71271540
St. Joseph63433750
Elkhart48401623
Vanderburgh46765523
Tippecanoe42550330
Johnson37591519
Hendricks35518458
Porter34097464
Madison28261531
Clark25349321
Vigo25076343
LaPorte23079307
Monroe22397244
Howard21556372
Delaware21108365
Hancock18494218
Bartholomew17598212
Kosciusko17580201
Warrick16259212
Wayne15851300
Floyd15521252
Grant14992296
Morgan14070230
Boone13268136
Noble11509140
Dearborn11468112
Henry11427201
Shelby11276150
Marshall11115167
Dubois10954152
Jackson10280104
Cass10012142
DeKalb10005129
Lawrence9973220
Huntington9893139
Gibson9236125
Montgomery9105140
Knox8839124
Harrison8754111
Whitley850471
Steuben8403103
Jasper8125114
Putnam800497
Clinton800194
Miami7961133
Jefferson7663124
Wabash7651139
Ripley7053111
Adams6555101
Daviess6332127
Scott632686
White606581
Greene5958111
Clay592773
Decatur5843118
Wells5831120
Jennings578976
Fayette5687121
Posey535146
LaGrange517096
Randolph4972129
Washington487068
Owen484998
Fountain469079
Spencer441856
Starke435686
Sullivan433465
Fulton428290
Orange415182
Jay406464
Rush398737
Carroll374749
Franklin371250
Perry368755
Vermillion348762
Pike311345
Tipton309974
Parke308938
Pulaski269173
Blackford269055
Newton229559
Brown223654
Benton214821
Crawford213031
Switzerland192414
Martin184622
Warren170820
Union164419
Ohio120616
Unassigned0742

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2418722

Reported Deaths: 31245
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2613932065
Cuyahoga2576953018
Hamilton1679311714
Montgomery1114691604
Summit1070311391
Lucas899971160
Butler79406942
Stark750951400
Lorain63061792
Warren50411475
Mahoning49909915
Lake46923605
Clermont44079429
Delaware39138212
Trumbull38726755
Medina37708419
Licking37221408
Fairfield34115334
Greene32452422
Portage31473360
Clark30496445
Richland28493423
Wood27867297
Allen24603395
Miami23075395
Muskingum22525245
Columbiana22202403
Wayne21380356
Tuscarawas18940427
Erie18137222
Ashtabula17989342
Marion17633232
Scioto16712207
Ross16314252
Pickaway15631178
Hancock15407228
Geauga15281223
Lawrence13931186
Huron13460182
Union1340984
Belmont13369247
Jefferson12969258
Sandusky12862199
Athens11991106
Knox11595198
Seneca11540200
Ashland10830178
Darke10786198
Washington10644168
Auglaize10247142
Crawford9949175
Shelby9839157
Brown9507140
Fulton9310150
Guernsey9179117
Defiance9116135
Highland9100148
Logan9035142
Clinton8810127
Mercer8709111
Madison8654106
Preble8069162
Williams7937135
Putnam7780135
Ottawa7675121
Champaign7606112
Jackson7409117
Perry720798
Coshocton7076136
Morrow700182
Fayette670987
Hardin6251128
Pike621786
Gallia598191
Adams5844124
Van Wert5824121
Henry570793
Hocking5568104
Carroll4853100
Wyandot485290
Holmes4760161
Paulding404464
Meigs377473
Monroe300268
Noble281551
Harrison281361
Morgan278148
Vinton240845
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 29°
Angola
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 25°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 27°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 33°
A gusty northwest wind ushers in another round of Arctic air which lingers for the rest of the workweek.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events