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Wednesday morning news: December 27, 2023

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WORLD Radio - Wednesday morning news: December 27, 2023

News of the day, including the United States responds to Hezbollah attack in Iraq with a retaliatory strike and U.S. officials travel to Mexico to discuss ways to address surges in illegal border crossing


The coffin of a Hezbollah fighter killed in a U.S. airstrike. Associated Press photo by Hadi Mizban

U.S. strikes Hezbollah » The U.S. military has carried out strikes against Iran-backed Hezbollah forces in retaliation for a drone attack that wounded three U.S. service members in Iraq.

Iraqi officials said the U.S. strikes killed one militant.

But many Republicans question the Biden administration's response to this — and other recent attacks.

Congressman Cory Mills:

MILLS: This type of attack where you’re one-off, two-off non-militia leaders isn’t going to do much when you talk about 103 attacks that have already occurred on American bases.

Many GOP lawmakers are calling for stronger action against Iran … as its proxies continue to attack American troops in the Middle East.

But the Biden administration says it wants to avoid escalating hostilities in the region … amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Iran nuclear » Meantime, Iran is again ramping up its nuclear program. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN: The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency says Tehran is accelerating its output of near weapons-grade uranium. In a new report, the IAEA says Iran is now enriching uranium at 60 percent purity.

That means it is just a close step away from a weapons-grade 90 percent level.

And it’s unclear if Iran may be even closer to a nuclear weapon than the agency realizes after a series of moves by Tehran to limit inspections and monitoring.

For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Israel » In the Gaza Strip

SOUND: [Gaza war]

Israeli forces have intensified their ground offensive into central Gaza's urban refugee camps, following evacuation orders.

HALEVI: [Speaking Hebrew]

The Israeli Defense Forces’ top general, Herzi Halevi, says IDF troops are close to dismantling Hamas battalions in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. And he added that his forces are now concentrating efforts in southern Gaza.

Mexico/border talks » Top U.S. officials are expected to meet face-to-face with leaders in Mexico City today about the ongoing crisis at the U.S. southern border.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby:

KIRBY: President Biden has asked Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and White House Homeland Security advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall to meet with President Lopez-Obrador and his team.

They’re expected to press Mexico to do more to stem the flow of migrants to the border.

But Republicans say it will be little more than a photo op.

Congressman Jeff Van Drew:

DREW: A few more months — since Biden has been president — the number of illegal immigrants into this country will be pretty much the equivalent of a high-population state like New Jersey or the city of New York.

President Biden says that in Mexico City, US officials will ask Mexico to make it tougher for migrants to travel across the country by train or in trucks or buses.

In exchange, he wants the United States to send more development aid to migrants’ home countries, and to reduce or eliminate sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela.

Weather » While some may have been dreaming of a white Christmas, few wanted a blizzard.

A winter front has dropped more than a foot of snow in parts of the Great Plains, while ice forming on power lines has knocked out power to thousands.

David Roth with the National Weather Service said Tuesday

ROTH: We still have blizzard conditions for portions of the northern and central plains. For portions of the Dakotas, it may wind up being as much of an ice storm as a blizzard.

The same storm is expected to bring some combination of snow, ice, and rain from the northern Plains to New York City all the way to Georgia.

Gift Cards » A hefty chunk of the billions Americans have spent this holiday season were spent on gift cards, an estimated $30 billion dollars. But a shocking amount of that gift card cash will never be spent.

Consumer finance company Bankright found that 47 percent of Americans have unused gift cards with a total value of about $23 billion dollars.

Ted Rossman with Bankrate.com says if you received a gift card for Christmas, you should make a plan to use it sooner rather than later.

ROSSMAN: If it goes in the junk drawer or the bottom of your purse or wallet, that’s when you might end up losing out.

Consumer experts also note that Americans can resell unwanted gift cards through online exchanges.

I'm Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Big stories from 2023 on Washington Wednesday. Plus, remembering Christian pastors, musicians and evangelists who died this year.

This is The World and Everything in It.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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