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Power returns to Northern California; firefighters gain on wildfires in SoCal 14 Oct 2019, 4:46 am

Power returns to Northern California; firefighters gain on wildfires in SoCalThe lights were back on for more than 2 million Northern Californians after strong winds fueling wildfire concerns prompted a preemptive outage.


Pennsylvania middle school teacher placed on leave after racist rant in school parking lot 14 Oct 2019, 4:39 am

Pennsylvania middle school teacher placed on leave after racist rant in school parking lotA teacher at Drexel Hill Middle School in Pennsylvania has been placed on administrative leave after she used racial slurs in a viral Facebook video.


Police: No evidence of shooting after Florida mall lockdown 14 Oct 2019, 3:54 am

Police: No evidence of shooting after Florida mall lockdownReports of possible shots at an upscale Florida mall sent panicked people running and triggered a lockdown for several hours Sunday, but a SWAT team's search found no evidence of any shooting and police issued an all-clear after nightfall. One person was injured, apparently leaving the mall in Boca Raton, police said. Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said Sunday evening that authorities conducted a sweeping search but found no evidence to confirm the initial reports.


Hong Kong Police Officer Slashed in Neck as Violence Continues 14 Oct 2019, 3:28 am

Hong Kong Police Officer Slashed in Neck as Violence Continues(Bloomberg) -- A Hong Kong police officer was slashed in the neck during a confrontation with protesters, as violent clashes continued following an escalation of violence earlier this month in demonstrations that began in June.Demonstrators spread out in 18 districts on Sunday in scattered, pop-up protests to pressure the government to meet their remaining demands, including the right to choose and elect their own leaders. Police said the officer suffered a neck wound after being attacked with a “sharp-edged” object in a subway station, adding that authorities fired tear gas in several places to disperse crowds who were vandalizing shops and public facilities.Due to “serious vandalism,” the city’s rail operator MTR Corp. said on Monday all main subway lines, MTR buses and light rail would shut down early at 10 p.m. The Airport Express route was not affected, the company said, adding that it made the decision after reviewing ongoing repairs and conducting a “joint risk assessment” with the government.Overall the disruption wasn’t as bad as earlier this month, when the subway system was completely shut down due to widespread violence after leader Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers last used more than half a century ago to impose a ban face masks. Prior to this weekend, some activists had urged others to scale back the vandalism that has shut shops, banks and train stations over concerns it could sap support for the movement.Several events later this week could add fuel to the protests: Lam is due to give her annual economic-policy address, and U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives may vote on a bill that would require annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special trading status and potentially sanction some Chinese officials. Protesters plan to hold a rally in support of the bill in Central starting at 7 p.m. on Monday.“The protesters and the people in Hong Kong certainly would like to have more international attention, would like to secure international sympathy,” Joseph Cheng, a retired political science professor and pro-democracy activist, said Sunday. “The concern obviously is that violent activities may lose international support. There is a definite awareness.”Protesters are also concerned that violence may give the government an excuse to delay local elections next month, particularly as demonstrators are still enjoying popular support. Lam’s approval rating has been stuck near record lows for months.U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to endorse the notion that the protests were waning in a meeting in Washington with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. The two sides agreed to “phase one” of a trade deal that reduced tensions between the world’s biggest economies, even as thorny issues remain.“We discussed Hong Kong and I think great progress has been made by China in Hong Kong,” Trump said. “And I’ve been watching and I actually told the vice premier it really has toned down a lot from the initial days of a number of months ago when I saw a lot of people, and I see far fewer now.”The issue jumped into the forefront of debate in the U.S. over the past week after the general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team tweeted support for the anti-Beijing protesters. The tweet was quickly deleted, but it triggered a backlash from Chinese companies and fans, leading to an exhibition game on Thursday in Shanghai not being aired or streamed in China.While he didn’t refer directly to Hong Kong, China President Xi Jinping told Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli that those attempting to split China will be crushed, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday. Xi said any external force backing the split of China will be considered as delusional by the Chinese people, the report said.The ongoing unrest was sparked by the Hong Kong government’s plan to introduce now-withdrawn legislation that would’ve allowed extradition to mainland China. Protester demands have since broadened to include an independent commission of inquiry into police brutality and greater democracy. Lam’s use of the emergency law raised the ire of protesters and paralyzed large parts of the city.About 100 restaurants have closed because of the unrest, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in a blog post Sunday. Around 2,000 employees have been affected as a result of the closures, Chan said, citing the catering industry.Since protests erupted on China’s National Day on Oct. 1, police have arrested about 500 people, including 77 for violating the mask ban, and fired almost 2,000 rounds of tear gas. Dozens of people have have been injured, including two teenage protesters who were shot during fights with police.Lam has refused to rule out further emergency measures, or even requesting Chinese military intervention to halt the unrest. “If the situation becomes so bad, then no option should be ruled out, if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance,” she told reporters Tuesday.(Updates with early subway closures in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Stanley James.To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at amcnicholas2@bloomberg.net;Eric Lam in Hong Kong at elam87@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Can The U.S. Army's Latest Air Defense System Handle 21st Century Warfare? 13 Oct 2019, 10:37 pm

Can The U.S. Army's Latest Air Defense System Handle 21st Century Warfare?A demonstration might give us hints.


Family ends search for missing CEO after a body is found 13 Oct 2019, 10:13 pm

Family ends search for missing CEO after a body is foundThe family of a missing Utah tech executive has called off a search for her after police reported that a body was found inside a parked car in the San Francisco Bay Area. Police in San Jose said the body was discovered Saturday in an area where Erin Valenti's family had been searching. "While we were praying for a different outcome, we are so appreciative for the help and support you have given," according to a Facebook post by the group Help Find Erin Valenti.


Kurds announce deal with Damascus as Turkey pushes deep into Syria 13 Oct 2019, 10:13 pm

Kurds announce deal with Damascus as Turkey pushes deep into SyriaSyria's Kurds on Sunday announced a groundbreaking deal with Damascus on a Syrian troop deployment near the border with Turkey, as Ankara pressed a deadly cross-border offensive that has sparked an international outcry. The announcement came as the United States ordered the withdrawal of almost its entire ground force in Syria. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the move to withdraw 1,000 US troops came after Washington learned that Turkey was pressing further into Syria than had been expected.


Canadian Snowbird plane crashes during Atlanta air show 13 Oct 2019, 9:54 pm

Canadian Snowbird plane crashes during Atlanta air showThe remaining festivities associated with the annual air show were cancelled following the crash


Serial killer's victim portraits could help crack cold cases 13 Oct 2019, 8:37 pm

Serial killer's victim portraits could help crack cold casesMost of the women in Samuel Little's hand-drawn portraits seem to be frowning. Little, whom the FBI identified this month as the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, produced startlingly detailed likenesses of dozens of women he says he strangled over the course of more than three decades. Now the FBI is publicizing his portraits — hoping that someone, somewhere, will recognize the face of a long-lost loved one in an image drawn by the killer himself.


EU Seeks to Halt U.S. Tariffs Over Airbus Aid in Last-Gasp Plea 13 Oct 2019, 8:17 pm

EU Seeks to Halt U.S. Tariffs Over Airbus Aid in Last-Gasp Plea(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The European Union made a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. to refrain from triggering retaliatory tariffs over illegal subsidies to Airbus SE, warning of economic harm to both sides and repeating a call for a negotiated solution.European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told her U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, that his plan to hit $7.5 billion of EU goods ranging from planes to whiskey with duties would compel the EU to apply countermeasures in a parallel lawsuit over market-distorting aid to Boeing Co. U.S. levies would make a negotiated settlement harder to reach, she said.“I strongly believe that imposing additional tariffs in the two aircraft cases is not a solution,” Malmstrom said in an Oct. 11 letter to Lighthizer seen by Bloomberg News. “It would only inflict damage on businesses and put at risk jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, harm global trade and the broader aviation industry at a sensitive time.”The World Trade Organization is due to give final approval for U.S. retaliation in the Airbus case on Monday, allowing tariffs to kick in as planned on Friday.The trans-Atlantic dispute over aircraft aid risks fraying a trade truce struck between the U.S. and EU in July 2018. At the time, both sides pledged to try to scale back commercial barriers and avoid a repeat of tit-for-tat tariffs that began with President Donald Trump’s duties on European steel and aluminum on U.S. national-security grounds.The WTO cases over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing are 15 years old. Because of the calendar, the U.S. is entitled to strike first and the EU would follow suit sometime in 2020.Malmstrom gave no sign in her letter to Lighthizer that an idea floated in some EU circles for quicker European retaliation is gaining ground. The idea weighed was to hit back by invoking an unrelated, older WTO case against a now-defunct U.S. tax break given to companies, including Boeing, via subsidiaries known as foreign sales corporations.Instead, Malmstrom said the EU’s planned countermeasures of $12 billion would be applied “when the time comes on the parallel Boeing case.”Aside from causing economic harm, hastier European retaliation could undermine the EU’s claim to be working to uphold the WTO system that Trump’s protectionism is shaking.“We are ready to negotiate a settlement for both the Airbus and the Boeing case addressing remaining compliance obligations on both sides, putting these cases behind us,” Malmstrom said.To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Tony Czuczka, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Disney World retesting Skyliner after malfunction grounds cable cars, reports say 13 Oct 2019, 7:54 pm

Disney World retesting Skyliner after malfunction grounds cable cars, reports sayDisney World's Skyliner system is back up and running, but without passengers, as the park begins testing the system before reopening to guests.


Schiff Says Secret Testimony Aimed at Keeping Trump in the Dark 13 Oct 2019, 6:51 pm

Schiff Says Secret Testimony Aimed at Keeping Trump in the Dark(Bloomberg) -- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff defended holding testimony behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry he’s heading up against President Donald Trump, likening this phase of the investigation to a “grand jury.”“We want to make sure that we meet the needs of the investigation and not give the president or his legal minions the opportunity to tailor their testimony and in some cases fabricate testimony to suit their interests,” the California Democrat said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”Schiff said they may call some or all of the witnesses to return to testify in public later, though that might not include the whistle-blower who triggered the impeachment fight in the first place.While Trump and some of his Republican allies have hoped to unmask the official and question him or her, Schiff said his priority now is to protect the whistle-blower and said they don’t need the person’s testimony to find out what happened on the phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.“We’re keeping our focus right now on the president’s coercion of an ally, that is Ukraine, to create these sham investigations into his political opponent,” Schiff said.Biden DirtSchiff said investigators have already seen strong evidence that Trump abused his office by conditioning a meeting Zelenskiy wanted with Trump on Ukraine “digging up dirt on the Bidens.”“That is a terrible abuse of the president’s power,” Schiff said.“Here we have a president of the United States abusing his power to the detriment of our national security and doing so to get yet another foreign country to intervene in our election. It’s hard to imagine more of a corruption of his office than that.”Schiff also said the committee continues to investigate whether the president decided to hold up military aid to Ukraine as leverage, saying there’s already strong indications that is true “and we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, ripped the closed sessions. “Democrats know they can’t win on the facts, so they’re having to move it behind closed doors,” he said on Fox News. “I believe that sunshine is the best disinfectant.”McConnell’s MoveVermont Senator Bernie Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that while he expects the Democratic-controlled House will vote to impeach Trump, he’s “nervous” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “will put party in front of country” and not hold a full trial.McConnell has said the Senate will have to take up the impeachment, but it’s not clear how long the proceedings would last.Schiff also tried to clear up his earlier statements that his committee hadn’t heard from the whistle-blower.“I was referring to the fact that when the whistle-blower filed the complaint, we had not heard from the whistleblower,” Schiff said. “We wanted to bring the whistle-blower in at that time, but I should have been much more clear about that.”Separately, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended the president.In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Mnuchin wouldn’t comment on whether Trump’s public request to China to investigate the Bidens earlier this month was serious or not, but said it had not come up in the context of trade talks with Beijing.“And in the Oval Office, when the president was asked about this in front of the vice premier, the president made very clear, they can do what they want,” Mnuchin said. “So, again, people who are trying to imply that the president is asking for things or quid pro quos, I think this is ridiculous.”\--With assistance from Hailey Waller.To contact the reporter on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at sdennis17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Water Finds Its Level as Fox News Hires Dictator-Loving, Deep State-Loathing John Solomon 13 Oct 2019, 6:45 pm

Water Finds Its Level as Fox News Hires Dictator-Loving, Deep State-Loathing John SolomonPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyOver the weekend, Fox News announced that it had made a new hire: John Solomon, the self-proclaimed journalist at the heart of the unfolding scandal involving Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani, and the impending impeachment of Donald Trump. It’s not hard to see why Fox executives may have wanted to bring him aboard. Solomon’s work has underpinned the entire cascade of lies the White House and Trump in particular have pushed over the past few weeks. Solomon’s writings—including those most recently at The Hill, where he worked until last month—are drenched in innuendo and mischaracterizations, all in service of attacking Trump’s political opponents. Solomon is already a regular Fox News fixture. He appeared on Fox News’s The Story show last week to claim that he was being victimized by “McCarthy-like” attacks. As Mother Jones noted on Solomon’s hiring—which coincided with Giuliani claiming that the man deserves a Pulitzer—Solomon’s “alliance with pro-Trump forces” is now “official.”Leaked Memo: Colleagues Unload on John Solomon, the Journo Who Kicked Off Trump’s Ukraine ConspiracyFor many, Solomon remains far from a household name: a relatively obscure journalist who worked until recently at a relatively obscure outlet pushing relatively obscure stories about relatively obscure countries. But for those who’ve followed his work (which includes a long-ago stint at Newsweek and The Daily Beast), his role in the entire unfolding national nightmare—and the fact that he provided a willing platform to lies and half-truths coming out of Ukraine—wasn’t a surprise. This is a man, after all, about whom the Columbia Journalism Review wrote not one, not two, but three separate takedowns. (One headline: “John Solomon Gives Us Less Than Meets the Eye — Again”). The most recent topped out at nearly 5,000 words, highlighting Solomon’s “history of bending the truth to his storyline,” as well as his “hyping [of] petty stories” and his outsized habit of “massaging facts to conjure phantom scandals.” Complaints from colleagues tailed Solomon wherever he went; as one former co-worker said about Solomon’s work, “Facts be damned.” Small wonder that, as The Daily Beast reported last week, staffers at The Hill were “enraged” by his presence at the publication. But there was one kind of friend on whom Solomon could always count, and who could always count on Solomon’s support in return: post-Soviet officials, oligarchs, and lobbyists looking to launder their image and spin their narrative. We’ve seen this most clearly over the past few months, as Solomon’s coverage of Ukraine has gained a national audience—and completely fallen apart under the most basic scrutiny. To take one example, Solomon’s writing lent credence to the notion that the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, had given a Ukrainian prosecutor a “do-not-prosecute” list. One problem: there’s no evidence the list ever existed, and the prosecutor himself eventually walked back the claim entirely.But the damage was already done: The White House this year canned the ambassador, who’s since been personally targeted by Trump as some kind of henchman in former Vice President Joe Biden’s machinations. (For good measure, Solomon this weekend described Ukraine’s successful 2014 revolution to oust corrupt strongman Viktor Yanukovych as a “coup.”) But Ukraine was far from the only post-Soviet state where crooked actors and dirty money looked for, and found, help from Solomon. A couple years ago, while I was a graduate student at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, focusing on post-Soviet affairs, I patched together a Master’s thesis on how post-Soviet kleptocrats whitewash their reputations for American audiences. And there, in the middle of a lobbyist-led campaign to clean up the image of Azerbaijan—one of the most heinous, most kleptocratic governments in the world—sat none other than John Solomon. In 2015, Solomon was an editor at The Washington Times. His tenure there just so happened to coincide with the paper becoming one of the go-to outlets for Azerbaijan’s lobbyists to lie about the brutal Azeri regime’s supposed graces—including pieces that failed to disclose that the authors were on the Azeri dole, like one column by former GOP Congressman Dan Burton, written while he was lobbying for Azerbaijan. Solomon took some responsibility in that case when contacted by The Washington Post, claiming the lack of disclosure was just an oversight. And when I spoke with Solomon in the context of my research, telling him that one of the pieces—which claimed that “few places in the world… are as welcoming to Americans as Azerbaijan”—still didn’t note it was written by a pro-Azeri lobbyist, he told me that he’d add the disclaimer in. But four years later, the article remains unchanged—and anyone reading it would think the author was simply interested in the pleasures and pastimes of Azerbaijan, and not that he was a paid-off hack. In the years since, I—like many familiar with his work—have looked askance at anything that Solomon has published, never taking it at face value. And rightfully so, as we’ve recently seen out of Ukraine. Solomon is still massaging facts, and he’s still conjuring phantom scandals. And now he’s been hired by Fox News for his efforts. And federal filings may provide a hint of who Solomon might help whitewash next. According to documents filed with the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) database, Solomon’s 2015 push to include a raft of pro-Azeri material in The Washington Times just so happened to coincide with his meetings with Azeri lobbyists. (The subject of those 2015 meetings: “Azerbaijan public relations.”) Fast-forward to 2019, and as FARA further outlines, Solomon was also in contact with Lanny Davis—a man who, until recently, was working on behalf of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Accused by American authorities of massive bribery and described by the DOJ as an alleged “upper-echelon [associate] of Russian organized crime,” Firtash is currently fighting extradition from Austria to the United States. For help, Firtash recently hired conspiratorial pro-Trump lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova – both of whom have joined Rudy Giuliani in working to dig up Ukrainian dirt on Biden. (Firtash also just so happens to publicly loathe Biden.)There are no FARA filings yet listed on any communications between Toensing, diGenova, and Solomon. But we already know that Solomon was emailing at least some of his stories before publication at The Hill to Toensing and diGenova—as well as to Lev Parnas, the now-arrested bagman and associate of Giuliani, who also happens to be working for Firtash. So if you see Solomon, whom Politico recently described as an “all[y]” of the two lawyers, beginning to spin Firtash as some kind of wronged businessman—someone unfairly targeted by the Obama administration, perhaps—don’t be surprised. After all, something like that would fit squarely within Solomon’s track record as a kleptocrat’s favorite spin-man, no matter the cost—and no matter the consequences. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police say 13 Oct 2019, 5:40 pm

Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police sayCity’s antifascist group says death of Sean D Kealiher, 23, was not ‘related to fascist activity’ and police did not specify a motiveThe Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/ReutersA Portland antifascist activist was killed in the early hours of Saturday in an apparent hit-and-run near Cider Riot, a cidery and taproom popular with the city’s anarchist left that has been the scene of conflict with rightwing groups. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the car involved was fired upon and crashed into a nearby building. Its occupants fled the scene. Police said in a statement that the 23-year-old victim, Sean D Kealiher, was taken to a local hospital by associates. The Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Police said homicide squad detectives would investigate and called on witnesses to come forward. Kealiher was a prominent participant in antifascist and anti-Trump protests in Portland, speaking and marching in opposition to events held by rightwing groups. His activities occasionally attracted the attention of rightwing bloggers and social media personalities. Rose City Antifa, the city’s longest-standing antifascist group, said in a tweet addressing Kealiher’s death that it “was not related to fascist activity”. Police did not specify a motive. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and the Oregon Democratic party, outside whose building the incident happened, expressed condolences on Twitter. Memorial tributes were laid at the site. Six men, including Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, are awaiting trial on charges arising from a violent incident at Cider Riot on 1 May. In an affidavit in support of Gibson’s arrest warrant, police officer Brad Kalbaugh described the group approaching Cider Riot “in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation”. Multiple videos of that incident show punches, thrown drinks and pepper spray being exchanged. One of the men awaiting trial, Ian Kramer, is alleged to have struck a woman with a baton, fracturing her vertebra. More video appears to show members of the group planning violence ahead of the brawl. Gibson and the other men are charged with riot. Some face felony assault charges.Cider Riot’s owner, Abram Goldman-Armstrong, has commenced a $1m lawsuit against Gibson and several others. Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyer, Juan Chavez, says his client has been subject to “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment since the suit was filed.


U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into Region 13 Oct 2019, 5:18 pm

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into RegionKhalil Ashawi/ReutersAmid a Turkish assault, the Kurds, or Syrian Democratic Forces, have struck a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that will bring forces loyal to Assad back into areas that have been under Kurdish control for years.“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government—whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty—for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression [by Turkey],” the Kurds said in a statement.Once the agreement was made Sunday night, Syrian Assad troops began moving into towns near the border with Turkey where Turkish forces have been encroaching since President Trump announced that he was withdrawing American forces from the region earlier this week.The agreement appears to undermine any expectation that United States might continue to assist the Kurds—Washington’s allies against ISIS—as they are attacked by Turkey. In the aftermath of Trump’s announcement, with a Turkish invasion carried out just days later, American forces were unable to carry out a move of about 60 “high value” ISIS detainees out of wartime prisons run by the Kurds, The New York Times reports. The chaos also made way for hundreds of ISIS prisoners on Sunday to escape from a low-security detention camp in the area.In the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday that the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria but refused to say how long it will take.“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.” Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat farther away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.Esper said Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces had been trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody, and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.” The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control. Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back from—not completely out of—northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS fighters. Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.” Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path—passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that such a possibility did not concern him. “Well they’re going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN, which reported that at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders on the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When moderator Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.” The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside U.S. troops. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks, and months of terrible things like this.”Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former secretary of defense James Mattis warned that ISIS could see a revival in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the terror group in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next. That is what the commander-in-chief is doing right now.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Kellyanne Conway: Joe Biden is now seen in the news as Hunter Biden's father, not Obama's vice president 13 Oct 2019, 5:00 pm

Kellyanne Conway: Joe Biden is now seen in the news as Hunter Biden's father, not Obama's vice presidentCounselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, weighs in on Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings, the Democrats impeachment push and Trump's phase one deal with China.


German police investigate bitcoin transfer to synagogue killer 13 Oct 2019, 4:12 pm

German police investigate bitcoin transfer to synagogue killerGerman police are investigating a bitcoin transfer made to the far-Right extremist behind Wednesday’s terror attack in Halle to determine if the man possessed a broader support network. German media outlet Spiegel reports that a transfer of 0.1 bitcoin – approximately €750 (£660) – was made to alleged attacker Stephan Balliet in the lead up to the attack. Police said the transfer came from an unknown source. Balliet told police interrogators that he had received the money from someone whom he had communicated with on the internet, but that he did not know who they were. Questions were raised as to how Balliet, who had been unemployed for a significant period of time in the lead up to the attack, was able to fund the attack, including buying the materials for his home-made weapons. As reported by Spiegel, the man told investigators that the weapons were cheap to manufacture, primarily as he constructed them from basic raw materials. He told police he bought steel worth €50, cartridge cases for €25 and a telescope for €20 to manufacture the weapons, which he based on designs released online by British pro-gun activist Philip Luty "The further investigations will deal in particular with the question of whether other persons were involved in the act or its preparation alongside Stephan Balliet", said a spokesman for the Federal Criminal Police Office. The 27-year-old Balliet was active in far-Right chatrooms, with police suspecting he was radicalised online. Balliet uploaded a manifesto outlining his motives, details of his weapons and indications as to the nature of his plans in the lead up to the attack.


Mattis: Trump's troop pullout will lead to 'disarray' in Syria and Isis resurgence 13 Oct 2019, 3:44 pm

Mattis: Trump's troop pullout will lead to 'disarray' in Syria and Isis resurgence* Ex-defense secretary calls resurgence of Isis ‘a given’ * Kurds say 785 Isis affiliates escape camp after Turkish shellingJames Mattis declined the opportunity to directly criticise his former boss, Donald Trump. Photograph: Leah Millis/ReutersThe former defense secretary James Mattis has said Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border has increased the chances of a resurgence of Islamic State. But the retired general passed up an opportunity to directly criticise the president.“If we don’t keep the pressure on,” Mattis told NBC’s Meet the Press, “then Isis will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”After Mattis’s remarks were released, the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said 785 foreign individuals affiliated with Isis had escaped the camp where they were being held, following heavy Turkish shelling.Trump announced the US withdrawal on Monday after a call with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The surprise announcement prompted widespread accusations of a betrayal of Kurds allied to the US in war-torn Syria. Turkey, which regards some Kurdish groups as terrorists, swiftly attacked. The president also said Erdoğan would visit the White House.Trump faced stringent attacks from both sides of the aisle. In Washington on Saturday night he held his ground, telling the conservative Values Voter Summit he was “an island of one”.“We have to bring our great heroes, our great soldiers, we have to bring them home,” he insisted. “It’s time. It’s time.”> If we don’t keep the pressure on, then Isis will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back> > James MattisOn Sunday morning, Trump warmed to his theme. The president said it was “very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish border, for a change”, amid a stream of tweets that included a startling statement: “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them!”In more measured tones, defense secretary Mike Esper told CBS’ Face the Nation “it’s a very terrible situation over there” but insisted roughly 1,000 US troops would be evacuated in a “deliberate withdrawal”.US forces are not yet out of harm’s way. The Washington Post reported that Turkish forces which shelled an area where US special forces troops remained on Friday had known for months they were there.Brett McGurk, the former US envoy to the global coalition against Isis who resigned over Trump’s attempts to withdraw from Syria, told the Post: “Turkey wants us off the entire border region to a depth of 30km [20 miles]. Based on all the facts available, these were warning fires on a known location, not inadvertent rounds.”Turkey is facing threats of US sanctions – reiterated by Trump in his speech on Saturday night – unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its Nato allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports and the Arab League has denounced the operation.But airstrikes and shelling continue in Kurdish areas and harrowing scenes among panicked and grieving refugees are being reported worldwide. More than 130,000 people have been displaced from rural areas around Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain as a result of the fighting, the United Nations said. Turkish forces and their Syrian allies seized large parts of the town of Suluk, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday, the fifth day of the offensive.On Saturday, CNN reported that earlier this week Gen Mazloum Kobani Abdi, head of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, told a senior US diplomat: “You have given up on us. You are leaving us to be slaughtered.”Also on Saturday, another SDF commander told a press conference: “The protection of Isis prisons will not remain our priority. The defence of our soil will be prioritised if [the] Turkish military continues its attacks.”On Sunday, the Kurds said some Isis prisoners had escaped. In an apparent reference to Turkish-backed Syrian insurgents, the Kurds said mercenaries attacked a camp where Isis “elements” attacked guards and opened the gates.“The brutal military assault led by Turkey and its mercenaries is now taking place near a camp in Ain Issa, where there are thousands from families of Isis,” the Kurds said, adding “some were able to escape after bombardments that targeted” the camp.Mattis discussed the threat of an Isis resurgence on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, in an interview to be broadcast in full on Sunday.“It’s in a situation of disarray right now,” he said in excerpts released by the broadcaster. “Obviously, the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks. And we’ll have to see if they’re able to maintain the fight against Isis. It’s going to have an impact. The question is, how much?”Asked if the US would regret Trump’s decision, Mattis said: “We have got to keep the pressure on Isis so they don’t recover.“We may want a war over. We may even declare it over. You can pull your troops out as President Obama learned the hard way out of Iraq, but the ‘enemy gets the vote’, we say in the military. And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on, then Isis will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”Trump said this week any militant prisoners escaping from camps guarded by Kurds “will be escaping to Europe”. He also said the Kurds “didn’t help us in the second world war, they didn’t help us in Normandy, for example”.Mattis’s apparent disinclination to directly criticise the president, even as Syria spirals into ever worse chaos as a result of US actions, is in keeping with his approach since resigning in December 2018.The retired US Marine Corps general has said he has a “duty of silence” regarding the president he served. That commitment has held despite Mattis having resigned, like McGurk, in response to an earlier attempt by Trump to pull US troops from Syria and in protest at his treatment of America’s allies.In September, Mattis published a memoir, Call Sign Chaos. The book skirted his service to Trump, focusing instead on his career in the US armed forces.


Mortar bombs strike Somalia's Mogadishu airport, six injured: source 13 Oct 2019, 2:32 pm

Mortar bombs strike Somalia's Mogadishu airport, six injured: sourceAt least three mortar bombs were fired on Sunday at Mogadishu’s international airport, injuring at least six people in the compound where several embassies are located, a diplomatic source said. The missions of the United Nations and African Union, as well as several embassies, are based inside the perimeter fence. Al Qaeda-aligned Al Shabaab, which seeks to topple the U.N.-backed government, often launches attacks in Mogadishu and across the country.


A Real Threat: Why Russia's Air Force Should Be Taken Seriously 13 Oct 2019, 2:00 pm

A Real Threat: Why Russia's Air Force Should Be Taken SeriouslyAnd why countries love to buy them.


Nepal pushes to end dependency on India with China rail, tunnel deals 13 Oct 2019, 1:40 pm

Nepal pushes to end dependency on India with China rail, tunnel dealsChinese President Xi Jinping wound up two days of meetings in Nepal on Sunday with separate deals for a rail link to Tibet and a tunnel, an official said, as the Himalayan nation seeks to end an Indian dominance over its trade routes by increasing connectivity with Beijing. The 70-km (42-mile) rail link will connect Gyiron in Tibet with Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu, making it one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country. A Chinese team has already conducted a preliminary study for the project, which will be part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Xi's signature diplomatic and trade push that is attempting to recreate the old Silk Road joining China with Asia and Europe.


Tropical systems may brew in Atlantic, East Pacific basins this week 13 Oct 2019, 11:33 am

Tropical systems may brew in Atlantic, East Pacific basins this weekIn the wake of Melissa, zones near Africa and Central America will be the focus of attention for potential tropical development this week.After forming off the Northeast coast this past Friday morning, Tropical Storm Melissa will continue to weaken as it tracks eastward over the North Atlantic into midweek.Melissa will only be of concern to shipping interests over the next few days as it remains well away from land. However, the storm may approach the Azores in a very weak and non-tropical state by Wednesday.AccuWeather meteorologists are now turning their attention to areas farther south for tropical development this week.A tropical wave about to emerge off the west coast of Africa is the first area of interest. This satellite image shows the Atlantic basin on Sunday morning, Oct. 13, 2019. (NOAA/GOES-EAST) "There is a chance this system could attempt to become an organized tropical system this week," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.This system will track to the west-northwest toward the Cabo Verde Islands early this week, bringing an uptick in gusty squalls and rough surf.However, by midweek this system is likely to meet its demise as it encounters strong wind shear to the north of the islands.Meanwhile, over the southwestern Caribbean, an area of low pressure has formed amid a broad counter-clockwise wind pattern, known as a gyre. "This area of low pressure will track into or along the north coast of Central America early this week," Kottlowski said.If the system's circulation remains over the warm waters of the Gulf of Honduras for a time, there will be a better chance for it to become an organized tropical system.Drenching showers and thunderstorms are likely over portions of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan Peninsula into Tuesday, even if an organized tropical system fails to form.This disturbance is expected to cross the Yucatan Peninsula and emerge in the Bay of Campeche by midweek. Here, there may be another opportunity for it to organize.Regardless, drenching flooding rainfall will be possible in portions of eastern Mexico during the second half of the week. Some of this rain could be drawn northward into the western Gulf Coast.Hurricane season continues until the end of November, and Kottlowski believes there will be another named system or two over the Atlantic Ocean before the season comes to a close.The next names on the list for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season are Nestor and Olga.Forecasters are also keeping an eye on the East Pacific basin this week.The window will soon close for a disorganized cluster of showers and thunderstorms south of the Baja California peninsula to develop into a tropical depression or storm.Of greater concern may be another area of disturbed weather located a couple hundred miles west of the coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This satellite image shows clusters of showers and thunderstorms off the west coast of Central America on Sunday morning, Oct. 13, 2019. (NOAA/GOES-EAST) This feature may become a tropical depression or storm as it parallels the southern coast of Mexico this week."This tropical threat may bring the risks of flooding and damaging winds to parts of southern and western Mexico," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Eric Leister said.The next names on the list for the 2019 East Pacific hurricane season are Octave and Priscilla. Download the free AccuWeather app to see the latest track maps and advisories for tropical systems all across the globe. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.


Mayor who led America after 9/11 has lost his way: Rudy Giuliani's fall from grace 13 Oct 2019, 11:00 am

Mayor who led America after 9/11 has lost his way: Rudy Giuliani's fall from graceRudy Giuliani, who did and said all the right things after 9/11, seems now to have lost his way. How did it happen?


Rakhine rebels abduct dozens after storming Myanmar bus: army 13 Oct 2019, 9:50 am

Rakhine rebels abduct dozens after storming Myanmar bus: armySuspected ethnic Rakhine rebels disguised as a sports team stormed a bus in rural Myanmar and took 31 hostages -- mostly off-duty firefighters and construction workers -- authorities said Sunday. The state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar said the bus -- travelling to the Rakhine state capital of Sittwe -- was flagged down by a man dressed in civilian attire before 18 rebels in sportswear emerged from the forest and ordered the passengers off at gunpoint. The Arakan Army, which is fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, could not immediately be reached for comment.


The USS Enterprise: How One Aircraft Carrier Changed Naval History 13 Oct 2019, 6:00 am

The USS Enterprise: How One Aircraft Carrier Changed Naval HistoryWhat was really remarkable about the Enterprise was that it marked the debut of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, which are the backbone of U.S. naval power.


Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action 13 Oct 2019, 3:51 am

Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate actionIn a joint declaration, climate scientists, physicists, biologists, engineers and others from at least 20 countries broke with the caution traditionally associated with academia to side with peaceful protesters courting arrest from Amsterdam to Melbourne. Wearing white laboratory coats to symbolise their research credentials, a group of about 20 of the signatories gathered on Saturday to read out the text outside London's century-old Science Museum in the city's upmarket Kensington district. "We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law," said Emily Grossman, a science broadcaster with a PhD in molecular biology, who read the declaration on behalf of the group.


The Latest: Powerful typhoon reaches greater Tokyo area 13 Oct 2019, 3:26 am

The Latest: Powerful typhoon reaches greater Tokyo areaHelicopters are plucking people from their flooded homes as rescue efforts went into full force in wide areas of Japan, including Tokyo, after a powerful typhoon unleashed heavy rainfall, leaving at least four dead and 17 missing. Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo Saturday and moved northward. Several train service in the Tokyo area resumed early morning.


The Latest: Man charged in New Hampshire church shooting 13 Oct 2019, 1:44 am

The Latest: Man charged in New Hampshire church shootingThe New Hampshire attorney general's office says a man has been charged in a shooting that took place during a wedding ceremony. Thirty-seven-year-old Dale Holloway has been charged on Saturday with purposely and knowingly causing bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon for shooting 75-year-old Stanley Choate in the chest. A third person, Mark Castiglione, 60, was struck in the head by an object.


One killed as hotel under construction collapses in New Orleans 13 Oct 2019, 1:39 am

One killed as hotel under construction collapses in New OrleansVideo of the collapse was widely shared on social media and the fire department posted photos of the aftermath showing crumpled floors and tangles of broken construction materials. Local media said three people were missing and emergency services were using rescue dogs and drones to search for any more victims. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards urged residents and visitors alike to avoid the area.


Pro-Turkey rebels 'execute' 9 civilians in Syria: monitor 13 Oct 2019, 12:06 am

Pro-Turkey rebels 'execute' 9 civilians in Syria: monitorPro-Ankara fighters taking part in a Turkish offensive on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria "executed" at least nine civilians including a female politician on Saturday, a monitor said. "The nine civilians were executed at different moments south of the town of Tal Abyad," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Kurds said a Kurdish political leader Hevrin Khalaf and her driver were among those killed.


Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens charged 12 Oct 2019, 11:46 pm

Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens chargedOhio investigators say the six-foot log was pushed or thrown off the cliff in the Hocking Hills State Park. Two teens have been charged.


Brexit Deal in Sight as Negotiators Wrestle With the Details 12 Oct 2019, 11:00 pm

Brexit Deal in Sight as Negotiators Wrestle With the Details(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. The U.K. and European Union signaled a Brexit deal is in sight, with negotiators heading into intensive talks in Brussels as a potential compromise over the Irish border starts to emerge.With EU officials saying Boris Johnson had indicated a possible path to detailed talks, the U.K. prime minister planned to update his Cabinet on Sunday on progress toward a Brexit deal. Speculation that Britain will avoid dropping out of the EU without a divorce accord lifted the pound last week to its biggest two-day gain in a decade, though both sides cautioned that much work remains to be done for Britain to leave by Johnson’s Oct. 31 deadline.At issue are the prime minister’s plans to take Northern Ireland out of Europe’s customs union and give Stormont, its power-sharing assembly, a veto over the arrangement. The first would trigger the return of checks on goods crossing the frontier, something the Irish government and the EU oppose. The second would hand Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party an effective veto over the deal, something unacceptable south of the border.DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds rejected any weakening of Northern Ireland’s custom ties with the U.K. and said his party is awaiting the outcome of the talks in Brussels, Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview.A possible compromise is a British idea for Northern Ireland to technically leave Europe’s customs union but for the province to adhere to EU customs rules and tariffs, according to two officials. This would have the twin benefit of preventing a border on the island of Ireland and enabling the U.K. to strike trade deals around the world.It’s similar to a “customs partnership” plan the EU rejected in 2018, and would leave Northern Ireland with a different customs regime to the rest of the U.K. British authorities would have to collect tariffs on behalf of the bloc on goods crossing the Irish Sea. EU officials said the proposal is extremely complicated and needs work before it could be considered to be a solution, but didn’t rule out that it could emerge as the compromise.“Getting Brexit done by 31 October is absolutely crucial, and we are continuing to work on an exit deal so we can move on to negotiating a future relationship based on free trade and friendly cooperation with our European friends,” Johnson said in a statement.BackstopEU officials view the only sure-fire solution as an arrangement that keeps Northern Ireland in the customs union, the so-called backstop. While there’s no discussion yet of putting a time limit on that arrangement, something the EU has previously rejected, one EU official said that it could yet be considered.Any agreement would have to be backed by Parliament in London, where Johnson is reliant on the DUP. The party staunchly opposes subjecting Northern Ireland to different customs rules than the rest of the U.K.After EU officials said Johnson indicated he was prepared to make sufficient concessions to allow detailed talks to begin, teams from both sides started work Saturday to explore whether they can arrive at the basis of an accord ahead of a summit of EU leaders that begins Thursday.Can Johnson Get a Deal Through Parliament? Silence Is GoldenIn a meeting with envoys of the bloc’s remaining 27 countries on Friday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, suggested that Johnson is softening his stance on both customs and Stormont’s consent. In what would potentially be a significant climb-down, Johnson acknowledged there should be no customs border on the island of Ireland, two officials said. When asked in a pooled interview for British television, Johnson declined to say whether Northern Ireland will leave the EU’s customs union.“There is a joint feeling that there is a way forward, that we can see a pathway to a deal,” he said. “That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. There’s work to be done.”Ship of StateIn an article for the Sunday Telegraph, Jacob Rees-Mogg -- whose hardcore anti-EU stance has peppered the airwaves since the 2016 referendum -- suggested that some Brexiteers will have to come around to accepting Johnson’s compromises.“As a Leaver, Boris can be trusted,” Rees-Mogg wrote. “If he thinks the ship of state is worth an extra ha’porth of tar, he deserves support.”While negotiations are heading into a new intensive phase, they aren’t headed into the full “tunnel,” the formal Brussels process by which the actual legal text of an agreement is thrashed out in secret.This suggests that the EU still has reservations about the chances of getting a deal done, and that member states are unwilling to outsource the process entirely to Barnier and his team.The European Commission will update the EU’s national envoys Sunday, with the aim of having something concrete for EU affairs ministers to look at when they meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday to prepare for the summit.sDUP Leader Arlene Foster fired a warning shot against trying to keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union, though she stopped short of explicitly withholding support from the prime minister.“Those who know anything about Northern Ireland will appreciate that these issues will only work with the support of the unionist as well as the nationalist community,” she said in a statement.For all the optimism, there’s still a long way to go.European Council President Donald Tusk said the U.K. hadn’t yet “come forward with a workable, realistic proposal.”But there are “promising signals,” he said.(Updates with DUP leader’s comments in fourth paragraph, Johnson comments in seventh)\--With assistance from Dara Doyle, Nikos Chrysoloras and Alexander Weber.To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Trump defends Giuliani, said to be under investigation 12 Oct 2019, 10:08 pm

Trump defends Giuliani, said to be under investigationPresident Trump on Saturday defended his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who is reportedly under federal investigation over his dealings with Ukraine on Trump's behalf.


4 dead in shooting at illegal gambling site in Brooklyn 12 Oct 2019, 9:47 pm

4 dead in shooting at illegal gambling site in BrooklynGunfire broke out inside an illegal gambling club in Brooklyn early Saturday, police said, leaving four people dead, three wounded, and investigators trying to piece together what prompted the bloodshed. The shooting inside the small, nondescript club started just before 7 a.m. as around 15 people were gambling with dice and cards, police said. At a news conference hours later, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said investigators were trying to determine if a gambling dispute, a robbery, or something else was to blame for the violence.


Canada's Trudeau dons bulletproof vest for campaign event, CBC cites threat 12 Oct 2019, 9:45 pm

Canada's Trudeau dons bulletproof vest for campaign event, CBC cites threatCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau donned a bulletproof vest for an election campaign rally on Saturday, a Reuters eyewitness said, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. cited sources saying a security threat had been received. Pictures taken by Reuters photographer Stephane Mahe at the event in the Ontario city of Mississauga outside Toronto showed Trudeau wearing bulky protection under his shirt. Police wearing backpacks surrounded Trudeau on stage for the first time since the start of a six-week election campaign leading up to what polls suggest will be a closely contested vote on Oct. 21.


Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wall 12 Oct 2019, 8:35 pm

Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wallAn 18-foot replica of President Trump’s border wall has been climbed in a matter of seconds by an 8-year-old girl and a man who returned for another attempt while juggling with one hand.


Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stops 12 Oct 2019, 8:31 pm

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stopsNorwegian Cruise Line passengers voiced their anger after disembarking from the ship Friday after several port stops were canceled due to weather.


16 killed in Burkina Faso mosque attack: security sources 12 Oct 2019, 6:53 pm

16 killed in Burkina Faso mosque attack: security sourcesSixteen people died and two were seriously injured in an attack on a mosque in Burkina Faso's volatile north, security sources said Saturday. Armed men attacked the Grand Mosque in Salmossi on Friday evening, a source told AFP, adding that 13 died on the spot and three succumbed to their injuries later. Although hit by jihadist violence, many Burkinabes oppose the presence of foreign troops -- notably from former colonial ruler France -- on their territory.


Mother to sue over 'wrongful removal' of children by Dutch social services 12 Oct 2019, 6:28 pm

Mother to sue over 'wrongful removal' of children by Dutch social servicesA mother who says her two children were wrongfully taken into care shortly after their ninth birthday by Dutch social services intends to launch legal action against the authorities who handled the case. On March 23, 2012, Nikolai and Anastasia Antonova were removed from their mother’s care. Among the reasons cited for their removal was that the children spoke their mother Jelena’s native language Russian at home, not Dutch. Social workers also claimed their mother might flee with them to Latvia to escape the children’s estranged father. The children had “severely conflicting loyalties” to their parents, social workers who were working closely with their father said. The children had previously said they were frightened of their father and did not want to see him again. The original care order was instituted for a year but was subsequently extended on several occasions. Ms Antonova alleges that the children were held without the right legal permission. The Dutch Court of Appeal made repeated rulings that the children should be reunited with their mother but these were overturned when the child protection board, part of the justice ministry, sought the extension of the care order in a lower family court. The family’s case was first highlighted by the late Christopher Booker in a series of columns for The Sunday Telegraph. The case was also raised in the European parliament in March 2014. MEPs were shown a video of the children being taken away from their home, captured by their brother Ilja Antonovs.   The children were eventually permanently reunited with their mother in November 2014 after two years and eight months when a judge ruled that they should never have been removed from their mother’s care. The order followed a report from a family psychologist Dr De Jong who concluded that Ms Antonova was not guilty of neglect. Jelena Antonova was subsequently granted permission to question, under oath, social workers who handled the case and officials from two different authorities connected to the children’s care. On June 18 and September 2 Ms Antonova questioned social workers and is now preparing to sue three parties linked to the ordeal; Salvation Army Youth Protection, the Ministry of Justice and Security and the youth protection service of Gelderland province. During the questioning, a number of flaws in the conduct of youth care emerged, the family claims.  They are now suing the three parties for the “unlawful and careless removal of the children”, claiming they are liable “for the damage suffered and to be suffered” by the family. Youth Protection said it is prohibited from commenting on individual cases. The Netherlands Salvation Army said it does not respond to individual cases but pointed out that Salvation Army Youth Protection always acts under the instruction of the Dutch legal authorities. The Ministry of Justice and Security and Gelderland youth protection did not respond to repeated requests for comment this week.


Canada Has Winter-Tire Appointment Week, and Maybe We Should, Too 12 Oct 2019, 6:01 pm

Canada Has Winter-Tire Appointment Week, and Maybe We Should, TooWith snow making its first appearance, U.S. drivers in northern areas should consider switching to winter tires.


Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign Office 12 Oct 2019, 4:54 pm

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign OfficeThe US diplomat’s wife allegedly involved in a crash which killed a teenager does not have diplomatic immunity, the Foreign Office has said.A letter, that appears to have been sent by foreign secretary Dominic Raab to Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, says: “The question remains when such immunity comes to an end, regardless of any waiver.


Another storm to keep chilly air in place across northern Plains through midweek 12 Oct 2019, 4:49 pm

Another storm to keep chilly air in place across northern Plains through midweekFollowing the potent snowstorm and blizzard conditions just a few days ago, another storm will keep the November-like chill in the region into Wednesday.The last storm brought more than two feet of snow across parts of the Dakotas, and caused chaos for travelers by air and along interstates 90 and 15.This same storm will stall north of the Great Lakes, helping to funnel in chilly Canadian air into much of the region through Sunday. Snow showers will linger in Minnesota and the northern half of Wisconsin.The cool conditions will hold for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday as well, with wet weather staying to the north and east. The storm will gradually weaken and move northward into Canada through Monday, allowing for a brief rise in temperatures for some in the Plains.By being further removed from the storm and on the southern side of the jet stream, cities like Rapid City, South Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; and Des Moines, Iowa, will all warm up noticeably on Monday.After being stuck in the 40s, afternoon highs on Monday in these cities will reach into the middle and upper 50s, which is still 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the middle of October.The next storm looks to take shape in western Canada on Sunday, which will trek through the northern Plains and Upper Midwest on Monday night and Tuesday.Unlike the last storm, significant snow accumulation is not expected, although there could be a little light snow for some. "A cold rain, gusty winds and even some wet snowflakes will be in store for portions of the Upper Midwest on Tuesday, lingering into early on Wednesday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.Snowflakes will be most likely to mix in across northern Minnesota during the day on Tuesday, but there could be some snowflakes mixing in across northern Michigan and Wisconsin Tuesday night."In what has been a difficult year already for farmers across the Midwest, early season snow and well below-average temperatures aren't providing much help during the harvest," said Buckingham.The cold air filtering in along with the storm could cause any wet areas to rapidly freeze up, leading to areas of black ice. Motorists and those on foot should be on the look out for these slippery spots, even if it only rained in their area.Farther east, temperatures are likely to peak on Tuesday before the chilly air moves in Wednesday."Temperatures will rebound briefly to around 60 Tuesday for places like Chicago and Detroit, but the warmer temperatures will be accompanied by showery weather," Buckingham added.By Wednesday, the wet weather will shift to the Northeast, but leave behind November-like temperatures for the Great Lakes region.The late-autumn weather is likely to hold through the middle of the week, before a high pressure pushes a different air mass into the area late this week."This should bring more seasonable conditions by late in the week," said Buckingham. Download the free AccuWeather app to see the exact forecast for your area. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.


Denver experiences 70-degree temperature drop 12 Oct 2019, 2:20 pm

Denver experiences 70-degree temperature dropThe 70-degree difference in temperatures was one of the largest drops in history


Missing dog reunited with owner 12 years later 12 Oct 2019, 1:51 pm

Missing dog reunited with owner 12 years later"I'm just so happy to have her back. I cried so many nights without her," Dutchess's owner, Katheryn Strang, said


HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senator 12 Oct 2019, 12:53 pm

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senatorHong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.


Ellen DeGeneres-George W. Bush friendship isn't as simple as 'be kind to everyone' seems 12 Oct 2019, 11:00 am

Ellen DeGeneres-George W. Bush friendship isn't as simple as 'be kind to everyone' seemsIt's a trans-partisan habit to honor our preferred politicians as statesmen and patriots, even if they should arguably be tried for war crimes.


Russia's New Nuclear Weapon Is A Real Doomsday Device (And Aimed At America) 12 Oct 2019, 8:00 am

Russia's New Nuclear Weapon Is A Real Doomsday Device (And Aimed At America)If you can't beat them, destroy them.


Deadly protests set stage for Iran, US tug-of-war over Iraq 12 Oct 2019, 6:06 am

Deadly protests set stage for Iran, US tug-of-war over IraqIraq's deadliest wave of protests since the 2003 ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein has made the country vulnerable to a battle for influence between its two main competing allies, the United States and Iran, analysts say. The anti-government protests that erupted on October 1 echoed the demands that young Iraqis have made over recent years. "Without this context, Iran would not have intervened," Iraqi political analyst Munqith Dagher said.


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