US Congress kicks off new year session with 'plates full' Jan 04, 2018 0 307 12345 AFPWashingtonCongress hit the ground running for 2018 on Wednesday, with US President Donald Trump facing a two-week deadline to forge a compromise between Republicans and Democrats that avoids a government shutdown and prevents mass deportations.The new year's session kicks off with two Democrats being sworn in as new members of the US Senate, narrowing the chamber's already slim Republican majority just as negotiations over crunch issues intensify.At the top of the agenda is funding the federal government by a January 19 deadline, after lawmakers were unable to strike a long-term budget deal in December.Failure to do so would trigger a government shutdown, a potentially costly political outcome for Republicans -- who control both chambers of Congress and the White House -- just months before November's mid-term elections.Democrats showed in 2017 that their grassroots activism was getting results in swing states and traditionally Republican territory.And with Trump's poor approval ratings, they see 2018 as a prime opportunity to reclaim the majority in either the Senate or the House of Representatives -- or both.With the budget deadline fast approaching, the top four leaders in Congress, two Democrats and two Republicans, will huddle with White House staff Wednesday in the US Capitol in a bid to set budget caps for military and domestic spending for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.In a note to fellow Democrats on Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer would seek to avoid a"catastrophic shutdown" of the government. POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Bannon slams Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer Jan 04, 2018 0 719 Cosmic dust, not 'alien megastructure,' veils mysterious star Jan 04, 2018 0 422 Washington sets example as most sustainable city Jan 04, 2018 0 484 Two Senate Democrats sworn in, GOP margin cut NYT WASHINGTON Two new senators ” Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Tina Smith, D-Minn. ” were sworn in Wednesday, in a history-laden ceremony attended by three current and former vice presidents. Vice President Mike Pence, in his .. Ecuador's jailed VP stripped of office AFP Quito Ecuador's Vice President Jorge Glas lost his title late Tuesday because he has been absent for more than three months -- locked up in prison on a six-year sentence for corruption. Glas, 48, is the .. Rare Arctic storm hits US Southeast REUTERS CHARLESTON A rare winter storm hit the US Southeast on Wednesday, bringing Florida's capital its first snow in three decades and snarling travel, while New England braced for a"bombogenesis" whopper .. Death toll from Peru bus crash rises to 48 LIMA At least 48 people were killed in Peru when a bus collided with a truck and careened off a cliff along a sharply curving highway north of the capital Lima, emergency services officials said. The accident on Tuesday took .. 16 missing after Peru bridge collapses Lima Peruvian rescue workers were combing a river Wednesday for 16 people missing after the bridge they were on collapsed in a valley northwest of the mountain-top ruins of Machu Picchu, officials said. The bridge, close .. Top US refugee official to retire this month REUTERS WASHINGTON One of the top US government officials working on refugee issues announced her impending retirement on Tuesday, and refugee advocates expressed concern about the fate of the country's .. Bannon has 'lost his mind': Trump WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump broke with his former close campaign aide and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon on Wednesday after the far-right populist lambasted the president's son and son-in-law .. First Florida snow in 29 years Miami It's called snow, something residents of North Florida hadn't seen in almost three decades until Wednesday, and it is part of a deep-freeze striking the entire US East Coast. The US National Weather ..