U.S. aid to Palestinians — Acknowledging his push to broker peace in the Middle East has stalled, President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to threaten to cut off U.S. aid money to the Palestinian Authority, asking why the U.S. should make “any of these massive future payments” when the Palestinians are “no longer willing to talk peace.” Trump, in a pair of tweets, said the U.S. pays “the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.” “They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue … peace treaty with Israel,” he wrote.
Plus: Pakistan — Pakistan has dismissed as “incomprehensible” and of “no importance” a tweet by President Donald Trump saying that it had accepted billions of dollars in aid from the United States while failing to act against terrorist networks. Trump, in a tweet Monday, accused Pakistan of deceit and lies and said that Pakistan gives “safe haven to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.” Pakistan’s foreign affairs minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, dismissed Trump’s Twitter outburst as having “no importance.” Privately, Pakistani officials say that the United States has failed in Afghanistan and is looking to blame Pakistan for that failure.
Government shutdown looms — The Senate returns on Wednesday with its Republican majority down to one seat and buoyed Democrats issuing a full list of demands — such as funding children’s health care and protecting young unauthorized immigrants — just weeks before another possible government shutdown. Republican and Democratic leaders will meet on Wednesday with White House officials to try to come to terms on a deal to raise strict limits on military and domestic spending before Jan. 19. If negotiations break down, the government could run out of money — just as President Donald Trump marks his first year in office.
Pathway to citizenship — The Trump administration would consider immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people, the U.S. Homeland Security secretary said Tuesday, while emphasizing no decision on that issue has been made and a border wall remains the priority. Congress is considering three options, including citizenship or permanent legal status for people who were temporarily shielded from deportation, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in an interview. Details on qualifying for citizenship, including on how many years to wait and other requirements, would have to be addressed.
California marijuana tracking — California’s legal pot economy was supposed to operate under the umbrella of a vast computerized system to track marijuana from seed to storefronts, ensuring that plants are followed throughout the supply chain and don’t drift into the black market. But recreational cannabis sales began this week without the computer system in use for pot businesses. Instead, they are being asked to document sales and transfers of pot manually, using paper invoices or shipping manifests. That raises the potential that an unknown amount of weed will continue slipping into the illicit market, as it has for years. For the moment, “you are looking at pieces of paper and self-reporting. A lot of these regulations are not being enforced right now,” said Jerred Kiloh, a Los Angeles dispensary owner who heads the United Cannabis Business Association, an industry group.
Ex-hostage charged — Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American wife and their children endured a long captivity in Afghanistan before being rescued last fall and returned to Canada. Now he’s facing 15 charges including sexual assault, forcible confinement and administering a noxious drug. Boyle, his wife and three children were freed in October in Pakistan, five years after the couple was abducted by a Taliban-linked militant group while on a backpacking trip in neighboring Afghanistan. The children were born in captivity. The purported acts allegedly occurred between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30 after the family returned to Canada. A publication ban bars reporting any information that could identify the alleged victims.
Moving trends — Tracking statistics from the moving company United Van Lines indicate that Americans are still heading west, while parts of the Northeast and Midwest are losing people. The suburban St. Louis-based moving company on Tuesday released its 41st annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns. Three of the top four destination states are in the West: Oregon, Idaho and Nevada. The outlier is Vermont, a Northeast state that had the highest percentage of inbound migration in 2017. About 68 percent of state-to-state moves in Vermont were inbound last year. At the other end of the spectrum is Illinois, which had the highest percent of outbound moves, followed by New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Kansas.