Federal Workers Tell Us How It Feels To Be Shut Down (HBO)

The president’s chief economic adviser is trying to spin the government shutdown as a kind of extended Christmas vacation for federal workers.

“Huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say between Christmas and New Year’s. And then we have a shutdown and so they can’t go to work, and so then they have the vacation. But they don’t have to use their vacation days,” Kevin Hassett said in a January 10th interview with PBS NewsHour. “And then they come back. And they get their back pay. Then they’re, in some sense, they’re better off.”

But not all government employees are home on furloughs. Many are still in the office, working without pay. Some expect to receive back pay when the government reopens. But many government workers, like contractors, don’t expect back pay.

Charities in the U.S. are now organizing food donations specifically for people impacted by the shutdown.

On January 12th in the Washington, D.C. area, Capitol Area Food Bank set up five locations where government workers could collect food boxes and produce. At one location, more than four hundred people lined up to pick up food.

VICE News asked some of them to what it feels like to be shut down.

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Xmas trees gifted to animals at Moscow zoo

Because Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas two weeks after December 25, Russians usually keep their decorations around a bit longer than Western Europeans. But now, as these festivities come to a close, people in Moscow are hurrying to get rid of their trees. With some being gifted to the elephants, monkeys, bears and other animals of Moscow zoo, that enjoy playing with or simply eating them.

Ethiopians undertake mass pilgrimage to celebrate Christmas

Every year, tens of thousands of Ethiopian pilgrims from across the country come to Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas lunch, gifts, for Moscow’s poor and homeless

The Community of Sant’Egidio, an international Christian organisation particularly committed to helping people in difficulty, organises Christmas lunch in an Orthodox Church in downtown Moscow. Dozens of volunteers, mostly students, sit for a festive meal with Moscow’s poor and homeless.

Putin fires howitzer on Russian Orthodox Christmas

(7 Jan 2019) For Christmas, Russian President Vladimir Putin got to do something that many children dream of: fire a really big gun. (Jan. 7)

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Patriarch Kirill delivers Orthodox Christmas message

Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, delivers Christmas message to all Orthodox Christians.

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Orthodox Christmas mass in Moscow

#Orthodox #Christmas mass held in #Moscow, Russia

What future for Russia, Ukraine and the West, after the Orthodox Church split yesterday following talks with US Secretary of State Pompeo. Tweet @DanB_RT, who will read yr comments+Qs during the Christmas service at Moscow’s spectacular Christ the Savior Cathedral. Watch 8pm GMT

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Historic split sees Ukraine church granted independence from Russia

Just one day before #Orthodox Christmas, an official decree marking the independence of #Ukraine’s new #church was granted by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to the head of the Kiev-established entity. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9ltu

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Christmas tree feast for animals at Berlin zoo

Like every year, the caretakers of one of Berlin’s zoos give unsold Christmas trees to Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants and Barbary macaques : a feast for some and an unexpected distraction for the others.

AP Top Stories January 4 P

(4 Jan 2019) Here’s the latest for Friday, January 4th: Democrats, Trump set weekend shutdown talks; US employers went on a hiring spree in December; Powell says he would reject any Trump request to resign; Berlin’s unwanted Christmas trees are a snack for zoo animals.

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