//Start Here: Border, shutdown and Ebola. What you need to know to start your day.

Start Here: Border, shutdown and Ebola. What you need to know to start your day.

It’s Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. Here’s what you need to start your day:

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1. Government shutdown rolls on as negotiations stall

As the partial federal government shutdown stretches into its second week, negotiations between Democrats and the White House have stalled.

“Everything is completely stalled and nothing is in the works,” a White House official told ABC News Sunday afternoon.

ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl says incoming Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is a key player in the talks.

Then, ABC News’ Anne Flaherty tells us the stories of some of the federal workers directly affected by the shutdown.

2. DHS chief defends department after deaths of migrant children

At the heart of the entire shutdown debate is the idea of using American tax dollars to fund a border wall, which the president promised on the campaign trail would be financed by Mexico.

In recent days, the president has since floated the idea of completely shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border and blamed Democrats, without evidence, for the death of two migrant children in US custody in recent weeks.

ABC News contributor and former Department of Homeland Security Acting Undersecretary in the Obama administration John Cohen says border officials seem to have been caught off guard by the influx of migrants, despite warnings from the president himself that many were on the way.

PHOTO: Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Dec. 11, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Dec. 11, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

3. American to be held after potential Ebola exposure in Congo

In Nebraska, an American who was giving medical assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been placed in a secure area of a hospital due to their potential exposure to the Ebola virus.

While a spokesperson at University of Nebraska Medical Center said the person has yet to display any symptoms, their identity is being kept secret as some nervously weigh the risks of the disease spreading in the U.S.

PHOTO: An Ebola virus virion is pictured in this undated colorized transmission electron micrograph file image made available by the CDC.Frederick Murphy/CDC via AP, FILE
An Ebola virus virion is pictured in this undated colorized transmission electron micrograph file image made available by the CDC.

In other news:

Tragic animal attack: Woman, 22, killed by lion that escaped enclosure at animal center: A 22-year-old woman looking to start a career working with animals was attacked and killed by a lion after it escaped a locked space at a North Carolina animal center on Sunday, officials said. A “husbandry team, led by a professionally trained animal keeper, was carrying out a routine enclosure cleaning” at the Conservators Center in Burlington when a lion left the locked space, went into the area where the humans were and killed Alexandra Black, the Caswell County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Close call: Armed man arrested while heading to church to fulfill ‘a prophecy,’ police say: Police arrested an armed Texas man on Sunday who allegedly said he was on his way to a nearby church to fulfill “a prophecy,” authorities said. Tony Albert, 33, was arrested in Seguin, Texas, about 40 miles northeast of San Antonio, at around 7 a.m., when a woman called to report an armed man wearing a surgical face mask and tactical-style clothing, according to the town’s police department.

‘So senseless’: 7-year-old girl shot dead while in car with her mom; gunman at large: Authorities are searching for a gunman after a 7-year-old girl was shot dead in a Walmart parking lot in Houston on Sunday as the girl sat in her car with her mother and three other children. Jazmine Barnes was killed when the unknown suspect pulled up next to her mother’s car at about 7 a.m. and began shooting into the car for an unknown reason, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted.

Firefighter funeral: Firefighter killed in Christmas car crash while responding to call laid to rest: A firefighter who was killed in a Christmas Day car crash while heading to an emergency call was laid to rest Sunday. Natalie Dempsey, a 21-year-old volunteer firefighter at the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company in New Jersey, was responding to a call just after 6 a.m. in Hamilton Township when she veered off the road and hit a guardrail, according to ABC New York station WABC.

Firing back: Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal: President Donald Trump immoral, doesn’t tell the truth: The former top commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, retired four-star Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, criticized President Donald Trump’s behavior and handling of the presidency, saying the commander-in-chief is dishonest and immoral. “I don’t think he tells the truth,” McChrystal said in an exclusive interview on “This Week” when asked by Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz if he believes the president is a liar.

From our partners at FiveThirtyEight:

How To Make Good New Year’s Resolutions

Last ‘Nightline’:

Audio recording of Kevin Spacey court hearing provides insight on actor’s defense: The “House of Cards” actor is accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket bar in 2016, allegations that Spacey’s attorneys say he “absolutely denies.”

VIDEO: Audio recording of Kevin Spacey court hearing provides insight on actors defensePlay
Audio recording of Kevin Spacey court hearing provides insight on actor’s defense

The legacy of Alvin Ailey, celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary: In 1958, dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey created a home for dancers to explore identity and self-expression through their art and the dance theater remains a culture institution.

VIDEO: The legacy of Alvin Ailey, celebrating the companys 60th anniversaryPlay
The legacy of Alvin Ailey, celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary

Today’s must-see photo:

People attend a funeral for Natalie Dempsey, a 21-year-old volunteer firefighter at the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company in New Jersey. (Photo credit: Bob Brooks/ABC News)

PHOTO: People attend a funeral for Natalie Dempsey, a 21-year-old volunteer firefighter at the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company in New Jersey, Dec. 30, 2018.Bob Brooks/ABC News
People attend a funeral for Natalie Dempsey, a 21-year-old volunteer firefighter at the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company in New Jersey, Dec. 30, 2018.

For more great photos from around the world click HERE.

What’s hot on social:

Six people were injured when a jet bridge failed while medical personnel were assisting someone on a flight from the Dominican Republic to Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

VIDEO: 6 people injured in jetway failure at Baltimore airportPlay
6 people injured in jetway failure at Baltimore airport

All right, you’re off and running. You can always get the latest news on ABCNews.com and on the ABC News app. Details on how to subscribe to the “Start Here” podcast are below. See you tomorrow!

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