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Trump Government Shutdown


4:30 pm

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump proposed an immigration deal on Saturday in a bid to end a 29-day partial government shutdown, including temporary protections for "Dreamers" and other immigrants, but Democrats immediately dismissed it.

Insisting on his demand for $5.7 billion to fund a US-Mexico border barrier as part of any bill to fully reopen the government, Trump sought to pile pressure on Democrats by appealing to immigrants they have tried to help.

In a speech from the White House, Trump offered three years of protections for young undocumented immigrants known as "Dreamers," as well as for holders of temporary protected status (TPS), another class of immigrants.

Decrying what he called a "badly broken" U.S. immigration system, Trump said, "I am here today to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis along the southern border."

But the protections he proposed fell far short of the path to citizenship for Dreamers that Democrats and some Republicans in Congress have been urging for years.

In a statement after Trump's speech, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the plan a "bold solution to reopen the government, secure the border, and take bipartisan steps toward addressing current immigration issues."

A spokesman for McConnell said he would seek Senate passage of the proposal next week.

Democrats insisted talks on border security occur only after the government is reopened. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, "It was the president who singled-handedly took away DACA and TPS protections in the first place. Offering some protections back in exchange for the wall is not a compromise but more hostage taking."

Even before Trump spoke, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said his offer as reported in advance was "unacceptable," did not "represent a good-faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives," and was unlikely to gain the votes needed to pass the House or the Senate.

About a quarter of the U.S. government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22, as funding has expired for reasons mostly unrelated to the border or immigration.


Some 800,000 federal workers have been staying home on furlough or working without pay.

Trump has refused to consider legislation needed to fully reopen the government unless it includes $5.7 billion to help pay for a border wall or other barrier, which he says is needed to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs.

The full cost of such a barrier could eventually top $24 billion, according to some government estimates.

Trump also asked Congress for $782 million to hire an additional 2,750 border agents, law enforcement officers and staff, and another $563 million to hire 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce a backlog in immigration courts.

Bar Council to open membership to chambers


10:00 am

The Bar Council has for the first time made membership available to chambers as well as individuals in a move reflecting the changing shape of the profession. The representative body said it made the move after feedback revealed that chambers staff, including clerks and managers, wanted to take part in training courses and events previously open only to barristers.

The Bar Council said it hopes the annual chambers membership launched today will encourage greater take-up of the specialist courses it puts together, for example on data protection law. The membership package also includes training on anti-money laundering, equality and diversity, practice management and direct access work. Prices range from £3,000 for a standard membership to £5,950 for a gold membership.

Council chief executive Malcolm Cree said the move is part of the Bar Council’s drive to work more closely with chambers to 'strengthen and better support and promote the profession'.

The membership package was developed in collaboration with members of the Legal Professionals Management Association (LPMA). LPMA co-chairs Catherine Calder and Robin Jackson said: ‘The LPMA is pleased to see this initiative being put into place: it has been developed through close consultation with the profession and brings greater currency and relevance to the services offered to individual barristers and now, importantly, to the chambers in which they practice.’

PSNI appeal over cross-border burglary wave


11:30 am

Police have appealed for witnesses following a cross-border wave of burglaries on Thursday night.

Four crimes were reported in County Fermanagh between 18:30 GMT and 21:15.

Det Insp Trevor Stevenson said police believed these crimes were linked to other burglaries of a similar type across the border in Counties Cavan and Monaghan on the same night.

He said police were keen to trace the movement of a black Audi A3 and a white Transit-style van.

Rooms ransacked

"The first report was made at just after 6.30pm in the Graffy Road area of Enniskillen where entry was gained to a property, several rooms ransacked and a number of items stolen," he said.

Rooms were ransacked in a property in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh at about 20:00 and a number of items of jewellery were taken.

"The third incident was reported to us just before 21:00 on the same road in Lisnaskea. At this time, it is not clear what, if anything was taken," Det Insp Stevenson added.

A fourth burglary was reported to police in the Crom Road area of Enniskillen at about 21:15, where a number of rooms were ransacked.

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