The Wider World

Wall or fence? The standoff continues

THE PARTIAL shutdown of the federal government is tied to a standoff in Washington over President Trump’s plan for a concrete wall – or steel fence – on the nation’s southern border.

The standoff over a proposed new border barrier and the partial government shutdown which created it continued on Monday.

President Donald Trump will make a prime-time national television address on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Pacific time, and plans to visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday.

Trump offered to change the proposed barrier – estimated to cost $5 billion – with a steel fence, but Congressional Democrats were not moved in their opposition. The administration claims the wall is necessary to solve problems with illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Opponents say the wall would be expensive and ineffective.

The shutdown is now 17 days old. About 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or are working without a paycheck. 

Wall Street stocks finish with gains

The battered American stock market continued to recover on Monday, with gains in three major indicators of the vitality of Wall Street.

Up 255 points at one juncture, the Dow Jones Average settled on a more modest 98-point advance. The Standard and Poor’s 500 was up 0.7 and Nasdaq showed a 1.3 percent gain.

After the month of December in which stock prices had the worst plunge since the Great Depression, the Dow Jones average rose by 1,750 points (8.7 percent) since Christmas Eve.

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