Monday morning news: December 23, 2019

GOP blasts Pelosi for withholding impeachment charges » Senate Republicans lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend for not handing over the articles of impeachment. 

Senator Lindsey Graham said Pelosi is now committing one of the offenses Democrats accuse President Trump of committing. 

GRAHAM: She’s trampling on the separation of powers. It’s the Senate’s job to dispose of impeachment articles. It’s not Nancy Pelosi’s job. When it comes to Trump, the rules don’t matter to Democrats, and that’s dangerous and sad. 

Pelosi said she’s holding onto the charges until she learns more about the process the Senate plans to use in its impeachment trial. GOP leaders say that is an unconstitutional power play. 

But presidential candidate and Democratic Senator Cory Booker defended Pelosi on NBC’s Meet the Press. 

BOOKER: Those articles will come over. I talked to Chuck Schumer this week. We all know they will. I think what she’s just trying to do is to make sure the best possible case for a fair trial happens. 

Democrats are demanding to see new documents and hear from new witnesses in the Senate trial. 

Wildfires rage in Australia » Wildfires continue to rage in Australia.

New South Wales is in a week-long state of emergency, with around 2,000 firefighters battling 100 different blazes. They’ve been struggling against extreme heat, and what one official called “catastrophic” fire conditions.

In the state of South Australia at least 72 homes have burned to the ground. And farther to the east, the flames have devastated the town of Balmoral, about 50 miles southwest of Sidney. The premier of New South Wales said there was “not much left” of the town. 

One Balmoral resident said she narrowly escaped disaster.  

AUDIO: It just rushed to the front of the property. It just took over all the trees. It crowned all the trees, and then it went across the road, the railway line. It all lit up like napalm. 

At least three more people died last week in the fires, including two firefighters. Australia’s bushfire emergency has now claimed nine lives since September. 

Boeing spacecraft lands safely in New Mexico desert » Boeing safely landed its crew capsule in the New Mexico desert Sunday.

NASA: An historic landing in White Sands, New Mexico, concludes the first flight test of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, the first time an American-made human-rated capsule has landed on land. 

The touchdown heard there on NASA TV. The Starliner descended into the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in the predawn darkness. The capsule scored a bullseye landing after a trio of red, white and blue parachutes popped open. Airbags also inflated around the spacecraft to ease the impact. 

That ended a two-day demo that was supposed to last more than a week. It touched down after an aborted flight to the International Space Station that threatened to set back the company’s effort to launch astronauts for NASA next year.

The space station docking was canceled because of an improperly set clock on the capsule. But Boeing employees were relieved to get the Starliner back undamaged.

A test dummy rode in the commander’s seat. Also returning, unfortunately, were holiday presents, clothes and food meant for the space station crew.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker tops box office » And speaking of space…  

TRAILER: It’s an instinct, a feeling—the force brought us together.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was quite a force at the weekend box office. The final installment of the Skywalker saga opened with $176 million in the U.S. and almost $400 million worldwide. 

Jumanji: The Next Level finished second with another $26 million. 

You can read WORLD’s review of The Rise of Skywalker and other current films, along with ratings and content information, at

(Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images via AP) In this Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, photo, NSW Rural Fire Service crew fight the Gospers Mountain Fire as it impacts a property at Bilpin, New South Wales state, Australia. 

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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