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The Inquisitr offers a constantly updated mix of the latest stories to hit the web, covering news, entertainment, technology, news, sport, health and everything else.

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    Police officers at a gun buyback event

    The Baltimore police department held a gun buyback event in an effort to get illegal guns off the streets. That now includes one rocket launcher.

    Police say someone turned in the rocket launcher at one of the events, getting $500 in return for it. As the Associated Press reported, police accepted the trade-in and then sent the rocket launcher to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help trace its origin.

    Though the trade-in may have been unusual, officials in Baltimore are happy to have the weapon off the streets and to cut down on the potential for violence. City officials have struggled with high crime rates, and in particular, crimes that are committed with illegal guns. Though Maryland has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, the state’s largest city is still among the most violent in the nation.

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    An ICE agent stands at the U.S. Border

    A second Guatemalan child has died in U.S. custody, an 8-year-old who reportedly died of an illness on Christmas Day.

    As the Associated Press reported, the boy died just after midnight on Tuesday after being taken to a New Mexico hospital with signs of illness. Doctors said the boy had a cold and a fever, giving him prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen before releasing the boy late on Christmas Eve.

    But the boy’s condition worsened and he died just after midnight, the report noted.

    The boy’s death came less than three weeks after another child immigrant from Guatemala died in U.S. custody. On December 8, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal died within hours of being picked up by Border Patrol after she and her father crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico. The girl reportedly fell ill shortly after being taken into custody.

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    Image of police tape in front of a crime scene

    Prior to Lauren McCluskey’s death on October 22, she was both aware of her harasser and frustrated with police for their lack of help regarding him.

    According to CNN, Lauren had called the Salt Lake City Police on October 19 and asked for help regarding her harasser. Prior to that, she had also contacted the police at the University of Utah, where she was enrolled as a student. When the campus police were unable to assist, she then turned to 911.

    “I’m worried because I’ve been working with the campus police at the U, and last Saturday I reported and I haven’t gotten an update,” Lauren told the Salt Lake City Police dispatch.

    “They haven’t updated or done anything.”

    The dispatcher instructed Lauren to talk to the University of Utah police.

    “I’ve contacted them already, I just wanted to talk to you as well,” McCluskey said in the released phone conversation.

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    Lights shining on the top of a police car

    Detective Deidre Mengedoht of the Louisville Metro Police Department was killed on Monday night during a routine traffic stop.

    The 32-year-old detective had pulled over a pickup truck in Louisville on Christmas Eve, and before she was able to get out of her police car, another semi-truck hit her vehicle from behind, and the force sent the car into the back of the truck she had stopped, ABC News reported.

    “The semi pushed the police car into the truck she had stopped,” Louisville police chief Steve Conrad said in a news conference Monday. “There were four people in the pickup truck. None of them were seriously injured. Unfortunately the detective’s car caught fire. The damage to her vehicle was catastrophic.”

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    Laurel County Sheriff's Office image of David D. Brannon

    For those who always laugh about the inevitable argument between family members on Christmas Day, bear a thought for the family whose argument spiraled downhill into a massive food fight — and this wasn’t even on Christmas Day!

    Everyone has heard the stories about massive family fights on Christmas Day. Considering how stressful the lead up to Christmas day can be, it’s no surprise. Added into the mix is the fact that some family gatherings might also include relatives that don’t get along, it is no surprise that there are so many blow ups on Christmas day.

    However, for a family in Kentucky, this Christmas would have likely been a solemn affair after a fight broke out in the lead up to Christmas and a man was arrested for throwing food — including a Christmas ham — at a woman.

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    A sign for a dog park

    A Connecticut man shot and killed his own dog at a park after it attacked and seriously wounded another dog.

    The man, who was not identified, told police he feared that his pit bull would attack children who were with the wounded dog, so he pulled out a handgun and fatally shot his animal. As the Associated Press reported, the incident happened last week in the town of Hamden.

    Police Captain Roland Smith said that the dog owner was walking his unleashed dog when it attacked another dog that was on a leash, leaving it with serious injuries. The other dog was with a family that included small children, leading the pit bull’s owner to make the fatal decision to shoot his own animal.

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    President Donald Trump speaks during a signing of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act in the Oval Office of the White House on November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. The President also took questions from reporters.

    As he notably recalled in a 2016 interview, President Donald Trump was medically exempted from serving in the Vietnam War due to bone spurs in his heels. While the president had also admitted that he no longer remembers who made the diagnosis, a new report from the New York Times suggests that the “mystery” of the “timely” medical exemption might have been explained by the daughters of a Queens-based podiatrist who rented office space from Trump’s father, real estate developer Fred C. Trump.

    According to a report published by the New York Times on Wednesday, the foot doctor in question, Dr. Larry Braunstein, passed away in 2007. However, his daughters claimed to the publication that their father offered a courtesy to the elder Trump by assisting his son Donald with his medical exemption from the Vietnam War draft.

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    A close-up of a bouquet of flowers for a wedding being held against a white bridal gown.

    The ongoing government shutdown continues to have unexpected consequences, as one couple learned all too well. According to Business Insider, Amanda McLearn-Montz and Ian Butcha were forced to relocate their dream wedding at Cabrillo National Monument Park, which was scheduled to take place on December 29, as the government shutdown carries on.

    The shutdown began on December 22, when Donald Trump rejected Congress’ bill to fund the government for another year. Since then, the national parks have all been shut down as well — including the one where McLearn-Montz and Butcha were preparing to wed.

    “During all of this, I’ve felt stressed and disappointed,” McLearn-Montz said in an email to Business Insider. “I’m still disappointed we will not exchange vows at Cabrillo. Cabrillo is a beautiful place; its gorgeous cliffs and wildlife fit my fiancé and me so well and would have been the perfect setting to make our promises to each other. But we’re making the most of it.”

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    Passengers try to catch flights out of O'Hare International Airport after an early winter snowstorm caused the delay and cancellation of hundreds of flights at the airport on November 26, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

    As many as 112.5 million holiday travelers in the United States could find their post-holiday travel plans threatened by Winter Storm Eboni as snow and rain sweeps across the country. People reports that wet snow and heavy winds are moving from California, across the Great Plains, and up to New England, potentially grounding planes and impacting roadways as it does.

    A low-pressure system that is now known as Winter Storm Eboni started on the California-Oregon coast on Christmas Eve, bringing rain and snow to the area. Eboni dumped over a foot of snow in the Sierra mountains on Christmas Eve before moving across the southern Rockies, where it left behind snow and rain. Some areas, like Mount Rose in Nevada, saw 15 inches of snow accumulation.

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    : Border Patrol SUV parked on the side of the road in downtown Prescot for the 4th of July Events on June 30, 2018

    Further investigation shows that the 8-year-old Guatemalan boy that died in United States’ custody had been detained for almost a week, breaking Border Patrol policy, Business Insider is reporting. Felipe Gomez Alonzo was arrested with his father, Agustin Gomez, on December 18. Alonzo passed away late on Christmas Eve after being transferred between three different holding facilities and a hospital. According to Customs and Border Protection rules, “detainees should generally not be held for longer than 72 hours in CBP hold rooms or holding facilities,” and “every effort must be made to hold detainees for the least amount of time required for their processing, transfer, release, or repatriation as appropriate and as operationally feasible.”

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    The White House is shown during a partial shutdown of the federal government on December 24, 2018 in Washington, DC.

    The U.S. government shut down with no quick end in sight, and it’s affecting many federal employees throughout the country. During the holiday, many people took to Twitter to explain how hard it is to go without a paycheck at this time of the year.

    According to a Business Insider report, federal employees remain concerned about how they will pay their bills in the midst of the shutdown with no paychecks. Almost 800,000 workers do not know when their next payday is coming. The shutdown comes as a result of simmering tensions between Republicans and Democrats. Donald Trump has remained firm that the government will remain shut until the planned border wall is funded. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, by contrast, refuse to offer funding towards Trump’s planned barrier.

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    Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker

    Donald Trump chose Matthew Whitaker to serve as “acting” United States attorney general in November after firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions due to Sessions’ recusal from the investigation into Trump’s Russia connections, according to the Washington Post. But Whitaker was immediately at the center of controversy on several fronts. On Wednesday, a new scandal hit the 49-year-old acting AG when a published report alleged that Whitaker has twice lied on his resume as he sought career advancement, including once when he applied to be a judge in Iowa.

    According to an investigative report published on Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal, Whitaker claimed on resumes in 2010 and 2014, as well as on the website of a law firm where he was employed, that he was named an “Academic All-American” in 1992, while he was a varsity football player at the University of Iowa.

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    Walmart storefront.

    Georgia man Elwyn Crocker Sr. was one of four people arrested last week after law enforcement officials discovered the bodies of his two children buried in his backyard in the small farming town of Guyton.

    As reported by People, the two bodies found on Thursday belonged to Elwyn Crocker Jr., who was last seen in November of 2016, and Mary Crocker, who disappeared in October. A statement from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook on Thursday noted that authorities acted on the matter after receiving a tip that Mary was “missing and feared dead.” Both children were 14 years old at the time of their disappearance, and neither was officially reported missing. Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Crocker Sr. initially told investigators that Mary was with her mother in South Carolina.

    “I’ve been doing this 41 years, and a while ago I almost broke down in tears,” Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie remarked, as quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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    Donald Trump

    Less than 24 hours after the terror group ISIS set off a car bomb in Iraq that killed two people and wounded 11, according to the Al-Arabiya news service, Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to United States troops there and promised swift action against ISIS if the terror group — which Trump last week claimed had been “defeated” — does something “we don’t like.”

    As Inquisitr reported, the visit to troops at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq was Trump’s first visit to U.S. troops stationed abroad since his January 20, 2017, inauguration more than 23 months ago.

    Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, made his first visit to U.S. troops in Iraq in April of 2009, less than three months after his own inauguration in January of that year, according to the Military Times. The previous president, George W. Bush — who ordered U.S. troops to invade Iraq in March of 2003 — visited troops there about eight months later, in November of 2003.

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    A puppy with a ribbon on its head inside a Christmas gift box

    Year after year, animal shelters, rescue groups, and veterinarians urge people to reconsider buying their loved ones pets as Christmas gifts. A pet is a big commitment, and one that is for years, not just on a special holiday. But it seems that the number of people bringing home animals for under the Christmas tree is on the rise, despite these pleas.

    One particular animal welfare charity in the U.K., Dogs Trust, is expecting to get over 5,000 calls within the next few weeks from people hoping to get rid of puppies they received over the festive season as presents. As reported by Unilad, at the beginning of 2018, in the weeks after Christmas 2017, the organization received a total of 4,827 calls from people who wanted to turn their dogs over to the charity.

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    packages

    Colorado homeowner Renee Weber Abeyta had heard about porch pirates swiping packages off of people’s property while they were away, but she never expected it to happen to her.

    Abeyta was busy doing housework at her Lakewood, Colorado, home when her home security app notified her that someone was outside her front door. She went to check, there was no one there, nor was there a package. She had been waiting for a new Crock Pot cover to be delivered, PEOPLE reported.

    “I looked at my Ring videos, and I saw what happened,” Abeyta said on Good Morning America. “I thought, ‘No way is this happening to me.'”

    She was not about to be a victim. And no one was going to get ahold of her replacement cover.

    “I would have ran for as many miles as I had to to get my package,” she said.

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    SOUTHERN CHARM -- "Ho, Ho, Ho" Episode 514 -- Pictured: (l-r) Whitney Sudler-Smith, Patricia Altschul --

    Just before Christmas Eve, a former friend of the Southern Charm cast, J.D. Madison, was arrested and charged with writing a fraudulent check. A TMZ video caught Charleston police putting Madison in a squad car and taking him to the Charleston Detention Center where he awaited a bail hearing and a trial date.

    Southern Charm‘s cast matriarch reacted on Twitter to posts of Thomas Ravenel and J.D. Madison’s mugshots by throwing some shade in the direction of the men who purported to be pillars of society.

    “Our southern ‘gentleman’ are dropping like flies.”

    Reality Blurb says that over 1,000 of Altschul’s Twitter followers liked the observation, while many others shared it on their accounts.

    So far we know that an arrest warrant was issued for Madison for a check he wrote in September on an account which was closed before the check for “more than $500 and less than $1000 dollars” was presented to a Charleston fresh juice company called Harvest Fresh.

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    Police tape outside of a crime scene

    New Jersey firefighter Natalie Dempsey was killed on Christmas Day when she was driving to a fire call and lost control of her car, crashing into a guardrail, officials said.

    The volunteer firefighter was driving in Hamilton Township at close to 6:20 a.m. while responding to a call for a house fire. As Fox News reported, the 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

    In the hours after her death, the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company posted a message on Facebook announcing her death. They noted that Dempsey was the vice president of the fire squad and was remembered as a dedicated public servant.

    “At this time the Mizpah Fire Company has to announce the passing of Firefighter/Vice President Natalie Dempsey. Please keep her family in your prayers. We will keep you all updated on any funeral arrangements. This will be a funeral with full honors due to it being a line of duty passing,” the department wrote in the post.

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    Prostitute lounging on bed with wallet on the nightstand

    As the cost to attend universities rises, more and more college students turn to sex work to pay the exorbitant price to get an education and avoid graduating drowning in debt. What’s worse is, the institutions have ignored the issue.

    According to a report from the Independent, experts, as well as students, believe that colleges are “burying their heads in the sand” when it comes to how widespread the situation is, especially since so much of it happens online through webcams and apps. As many as 10 percent of young people seeking a degree have turned to this type of job to pay. However, instead of attempting to provide support, in some cases, universities actually block groups that try to help students who’ve turned to prostitution to pay for college. In some instances, the institutions even threaten to take action against students working in this manner because of the moral implications involved in such professions.

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    Skates lined up in a skating rink

    A 200-person brawl was reportedly sparked inside a Virginia skating rink when the wrong song came on.

    The incident took place in Roanoke, where authorities said the Star City Skate Center was filled with hundreds of teenagers for a pre-Christmas party over the weekend. As VirginiaFirst reported, the crowd was made up of many rival gang members, and the tensions spilled over when a certain song started to play.

    Witnesses told the newspaper that many of the teenagers began to flash gang signs during the song, which led to fights breaking out. The situation finally started to calm and the teens made their way into the parking lot, but the report noted that a number of smaller fights started to break out in the lot.

    Witness Nicholas Gilliam Jr. said someone in the crowd flashed a gun, and though he said it was not fired, it led to some very scary moments.

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