AMNA NAWAZ: Wall Street extended its year-end
rally for another day. All three of the major indexes notched new record closing highs today,
thanks to a boost from retail and technology companies. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 106
points to close at 28621. The Nasdaq rose 69 points, to cross the 9000-point mark for
the first time, and the S&P 500 added 16. Businesses in parts of Hong Kong were brought
to a standstill today, as anti-government protesters targeted shopping malls for a third
day in a row. Riot police stepped up their presence, at times confronting crowds and
escorting several people out of the buildings. The unrest is part of a months-long campaign
for more democracy in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. At least 20 people are dead, after a powerful
typhoon barreled through the Philippines, bringing misery to Christmas Day celebrations.
The storm made several landfalls across the country’s central region yesterday, with high
winds and pounding rains that forced thousands to flee their homes. Residents woke up today to see swollen rivers
had inundated entire villages. They waded through flooded streets and sorted through
piles of debris. Services were held across Indonesia and Thailand
today to mark the 15th anniversary of a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean. It claimed the
lives of some 230,000 people, making it one of modern history’s worst natural disasters.
Hundreds participated in mass prayers in Indonesia’s Aceh province, one of the hardest-hit areas. In Thailand, survivors visited memorials to
lay wreaths and flowers for their loved ones, and recalled the terror of that tragic day. SUWANNEE MALIWAN, Tsunami Survivor (through
translator): I am still scared, very scared. I want to go to live somewhere else, but it’s
not possible. Sometimes, I dream that a wave is coming. It’s an image that still haunts
me of when the wave was coming. I can still remember it. AMNA NAWAZ: A 9.1-magnitude earthquake off
Sumatra Island triggered that deadly tsunami. A dozen countries from Indonesia to East Africa
were hit. To this day, thousands of people are believed to still be unaccounted for. In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu faced his first
major challenge to his decade-long rule as prime minister today. Voters cast their ballots
in a primary election to pick the leader of his conservative Likud Party. His main party
rival, veteran politician Gideon Saar, hoped to capitalize on a late surge in the run-up
to the vote. Netanyahu is widely expected to win, despite
facing corruption indictments and failing to form a coalition government twice this
year. He declared victory tonight, even though the official results won’t be announced until
tomorrow. And back in this country, Pennsylvania’s Roman
Catholic diocese have paid nearly $84 million to 564 victims of sexual abuse by clergy.
That is according to a new Associated Press review. Seven of the state’s eight dioceses
launched victims compensation funds after a Pennsylvania grand jury report on the abuse
and the church’s efforts to cover it up. The jury found that more than 300 priests
had molested over 1,000 children in the state since the 1940s. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: civil unrest
continues in Iraq, as protesters and the president reject the nominee for prime minister; FEMA’s
long-term disaster funding for U.S. territories lags far behind money for the mainland; Zimbabwe
faces famine after decades of financial and agricultural decline; and much more.