NEWS     WEDNESDAY,  OCTOBER 3, 2018    NEWS
GOP says FBI report will be secret; Dems say issue now is Kavanaugh credibility
GOP Senate leaders brushed aside Democrats’ demands for a 24-hour delay between the production of a new FBI background report and the vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer had made the 24-hour demand in a letter to the top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell, saying lawmakers should have a chance to digest and talk about the report before they have to decide on the judge’s fate. Mr. McConnell said the updated report will only be available to senators, as has been the practice for previous nominees. He said he expects senators to hurry over to the Judiciary Committee to read it once it’s done. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: It's time to move on, one way or another.

Rachel Mitchell memo boosts Republicans in Kavanaugh battle
Bolstered by a new memo questioning the reliability of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s chief accuser, Republican leaders on Monday set a firm deadline for the FBI to finish its investigation and for the Senate to vote this week on elevating Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The memo, written by the sex-crimes prosecutor Republicans hired to question Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh at last week’s dramatic hearing, points to numerous inconsistencies and lack of corroboration for Ms. Blasey Ford’s account of the sexual assault she says she suffered when they were in high school 36 years ago. Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor, said not only wouldn’t she bring a criminal case based on Ms. Blasey Ford’s account, but she also doubts it would even be a winning case in a civil suit, where the standards of proof are lower. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Dems hate the truth.

Tax fraud allegations against Trump family to get New York review
New York's tax regulators are reviewing possibly fraudulent tax activities involving President Donald Trump and his family that were detailed Tuesday by The New York Times, according to the state. The Times published a lengthy investigation into Trump, his siblings and their father and the various methods they used to lessen the tax burden on the fortune the children received from their father, including actions the paper suggested were fraudulent. A spokesman for the state Department of Taxation and Finance said the agency was aware of the allegations and vowed to pursue any investigations necessary. "The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation," agency spokesman James Gazzale said in a statement. USA Today
VOA VIEW: NYT liberal bias.

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Jason Kander, a star for Democrats, drops out of Kansas City mayoral race to treat PTSD
Jason Kander, a rising star of the Democratic party, will end his run for mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, to seek treatment for PTSD, he said Tuesday. Kander, an Army veteran once expected to run for president in 2020, revealed he's struggled with depression since returning from Afghanistan 11 years ago. In a note published to Medium, Kander described himself "on the phone with the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line, tearfully conceding that, yes, I have had suicidal thoughts. And it wasn’t the first time." Kander, a former Missouri secretary of state and 2016 Senate candidate, is also founder of Let America Vote, the political engagement group he will step away from during his treatment process. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Dems hate to face the truth.

Pentagon: Letters to Mattis, Navy chief tested positive for ricin
Two letters addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and another military official tested positive for the toxin ricin at a Pentagon mail sorting facility, the U.S. Defense Department said Tuesday. A Pentagon spokesman said tests for two suspicious letters addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and John Richardson, chief of naval operations, were positive for ricin. The department said the letters did not enter the Pentagon building, but rather the mail sorting facility on the Pentagon campus but away from the main building. Officials said all incoming mail to the facility was being quarantined. UPI

Firearms company donates AR-15s to school resource officers
A firearms dealer this week donated nine AR-15 rifles to a North Dakota police department to protect public schools. The weapons, donated to police in Bismarck by the Iowa-based company Brownells, will be kept in safes in area schools for school resource officers to access in the event of an active shooter. "Brownells has long supported law enforcement agencies and military groups -- and related charities," Brownells spokesman Ryan Repp said in an email. "When we learned that the Bismarck Police Department wished to enhance their protection of their schools, we elected to assist." The Bismarck Police Department and Bismarck Public Schools announced their plan to purchase the AR-15s, along with safes and bleeding control kits, this summer. They were waiting for the city to approve funding when Brownells offered to donate the weapons. UPI

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Anti-Kavanaugh protesters accosting senators have ties to Soros
When Sen. Jeff Flake was accosted by two women in an elevator on Capitol Hill, it was seen as one of the most striking moments of last week’s Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination battle. In the morning, Flake put out a statement indicating his support for Kavanaugh, but following the elevator incident, he made a dramatic call in the committee room for a one week delay so an FBI investigation could investigate sexual abuse allegations against the nominee. Flake admitted afterwards that the elevator moment “certainly struck a chord” with him. Fox
VOA VIEW: Liberals should all be defeated.

Trump-Mueller interview negotiations stall as 2 more prosecutors leave Russia probe
Discussions between Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office and President Trump's legal team over the conditions of a possible presidential interview are ongoing, but have "not terribly advanced" from where they were a couple of weeks ago, a source familiar with the talks told Fox News Tuesday. Also, The Associated Press reported that two prosecutors detailed to the Russia investigation for the past year are returning to their duties in other parts of the Justice Department. They join two other attorneys who left the team, assigned to investigate potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, over the summer. Fox News' source said negotiations hit a snag when The New York Times reported on Sept. 21 that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had discussed secretly recording Trump and enlisting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. Fox
VOA VIEW: Mueller is wasting American time and money.

One is ‘confused,’ one ‘can’t tell the truth’: Nelson, Scott savage each other in debate
Voters hoping to find clarity by watching the first debate between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will need a political road map to navigate the litany of allegations the men threw at each other Tuesday. But this much will be abundantly clear when the taped event airs: The most expensive U.S. Senate race in the country may also be the nastiest. In a debate that will be translated into Spanish across five media markets — reaching a significant segment of the state’s 2.3 million Hispanic voters — Nelson and Scott spit accusations at each other for an hour at the Miramar studios of Telemundo 51. Nelson called Scott a “walking conflict of interest” and serial liar, and the governor characterized the senator as a feckless career bureaucrat who bowed to communists in Cuba. Miami Herald

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Brett Kavanaugh faced police questioning over 1985 bar brawl – report
The embattled supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was questioned by police more than three decades ago following an altercation at a bar, according to reports. The incident took place in September 1985 when Kavanaugh was a student at Yale University, according to a police report obtained by the New York Times on Monday. It is being made public at a time when Kavanaugh’s past behavior, particularly his drinking habits, have come under scrutiny amid allegations of sexual misconduct. According to the police report, Kavanaugh was accused of throwing ice at a another patron at a bar in New Haven, Connecticut, after attending a UB40 concert with his friends. A Yale classmate who released a statement describing the incident, Charles Ludington, said the group had been staring at the man, believing he looked like the band’s singer; he responded by swearing at them. Guardian
VOA VIEW: The NYT likes to twist the truth and make something out of nothing.

Trump mocks Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford at campaign rally
President Donald Trump on Tuesday repeatedly mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, despite having said just days ago that he found her Senate testimony last week "very credible." In a one-man re-enactment of her appearance before the Judiciary Committee, with his voice alternating between inquisitor and an impression of Ford, Trump challenged the veracity of the testimony that has paused Kavanaugh's confirmation. The extended ridicule of Ford, delivered at the Landers Arena here in deeply conservative DeSoto County, is in stark contrast to the respectful way in which Trump and his aides had previously treated her testimony, even as they have stood by Kavanaugh and his assertion that he never assaulted her or anyone else. NBC
VOA VIEW: Move on.

U.S. arrests four men in connection to 2017 Charlottesville rally
Four men linked to a white supremacist group were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the white nationalist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, authorities said. Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, Michael Paul Miselis, 29, Thomas Walter Gillen, 34, and Cole Evan White, 24, were arrested in California and were to be transported to Charlottesville after making initial appearances in federal courts in California on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said at a news conference. They were each charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the federal riots statute and one count of violating the federal riots statute. Reuters

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US confidence in Pope Francis plummets amid sexual abuse scandal
Confidence in Pope Francis’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Catholic church this year has fallen sharply among the faithful in the US, a new survey shows. Francis, once seen as a charismatic and popular leader who drew huge crowds of Catholics and non-Catholics when he visited the US in September 2015, has also seen his personal ratings plummet. More than a third of Catholics now say the pope is doing a “poor” job on the issue of sexual abuse – three times the number who delivered the same verdict in 2015, according to research by the Pew Research Center. Overall, six out of 10 Catholics give him a “fair” or “poor” rating, while just three out of 10 say his handling of abuse has been “excellent” or “good”. Guardian

Envelope believed to contain ricin sent to Trump
An envelope containing what appeared to be the deadly poison ricin was sent to President Trump, but never made it to The White House, a report said Tuesday. The piece of mail sent to Trump appeared to be connected to two other letters which were sent to the Pentagon, according to CNN. A Secret Service spokesperson confirmed the receipt of a suspicious envelope addressed to the president on Oct. 1, CNN said. “The envelope was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the White House,” the spokesman said. Earlier on Tuesday it was revealed that two envelopes addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson initially tested positive for ricin at the Pentagon’s mail facility. New York Post

The US is about to break its own record for kids who've died in hot cars within a year
The United States is on the verge of breaking its record for the number of children who've died in hot cars within one year, the National Safety Council warned on Tuesday. Forty-eight children have died in hot cars this year — one less than the all-time high of 49 deaths, set in 2010, the organization said. The National Safety Council said it's "deeply concerned that — despite increased public awareness — we are just a single tragedy away from a level we hoped never to reach again." Among this year's victims are a 10-month-old boy in Mississippi, a 1-year-old girl in Tennessee and a 2-year-old boy in California. ABC
VOA VIEW: The parents or those who leave kids in hot cars should go to jail.

Amid Kavanaugh questions, Trump says it's not 'acceptable' to lie to Congress
President Donald Trump said Tuesday his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is "doing very well" but said his fate will depend on an ongoing FBI investigation. Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn, Trump also drew a line on lying to Congress. "I don't think you should lie to Congress and there are a lot of people over the past year who have lied to Congress," he said. "For me, that would not be acceptable." Trump said the FBI is working very hard on its investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations levied against the judge, which he denies. "A lot is going to depend on what comes back from the FBI in terms of their additional -- No. 7 -- investigation," Trump said. CNN

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Senior WHO official calls for ‘urgent action’ to end tuberculosis by 2030
Countries are not doing enough to end tuberculosis – the world’s deadliest infectious disease – by 2030, warned the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, at the release of the latest Global Tuberculosis Report. The report shows that worldwide, tuberculosis (TB) cases are falling too slowly to meet the targets set by WHO’s End TB Strategy. The deadly disease, which usually infects the lungs, remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, even though it’s fully treatable, said Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, the Director of the WHO’s Global TB Programme. UN

America to buzz as phones get 'presidential alert' test Wednesday
The Trump administration will send messages to more than 200 million U.S. cellphones on Wednesday testing a previously unused presidential alert system that aims to warn the public in the event of a national emergency. The test message was originally scheduled for September but was pushed back to Wednesday at 2:18 p.m. EDT. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will send the alert, said the messages would bear the headline “Presidential Alert,” and that phones will make a loud tone and have a special vibration. Reuters

In New Hampshire, Jeff Flake talks about Kavanaugh, laments "sickness" in political system
Nobody knew when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, would turn up in Boston. First, it was 11:30 a.m. at Emerson Colonial Theatre. Then, it was 1 p.m. on an elevated platform neighboring City Hall. And finally, just before 2 p.m., a voice on stage announced "quite possibly the most newsworthy man in the world right now," and Flake sauntered onto the dais. He had committed to speaking at this Forbes "Under 30 Summit" months ago, slotted for a book-promotion event Monday morning that was billed only as "The Future of the Republican Party." That was before the sexual assault allegations surfaced about President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It was also before the Senate Judiciary Committee called Kavanaugh and the woman who accused him of sexual assault, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to testify before Congress in an open hearing. And it was before Sen. Flake -- the "swing vote member" of the committee's GOP majority -- leveraged his vote to set in motion a brief supplemental FBI investigation into that very allegation. CBS
COA VIEW: Flake is a real "flake."

Pelosi explains why she called Kavanaugh 'hysterical'
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who described Judge Brett Kavanaugh's testimony last week as "hysterical," explained Tuesday she decided to use that word because of its connection to women. Pelosi, in a wide-ranging interview with CNN's Dana Bash for The Atlantic's "Women of Washington" series, also made clear her inclination against impeaching Kavanaugh if Democrats take the House majority, saying she already has "enough people on my back" to impeach President Donald Trump. Pelosi noted that if a woman were to behave the way Kavanaugh did before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, she would be treated differently. "Hysterical; the word stems from the same word as hysterectomy," Pelosi said. "You know it's a word that is identified with women being very emotional and the rest, so I chose that word very specifically." CNN

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Independence of agency 'paramount', stresses UN nuclear chief in apparent response to Israel's claim of secret Iran site
“Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities for Iran remain ongoing,” UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head, Yukiya Amano said in a statement from his headquarters in Vienna. “The Agency continues to evaluate Iran’s declarations under the Additional Protocol, and has conducted complementary accesses under the Additional Protocol to all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit,” he added, referring to a series of agreements it has with Iran. The agency chief stressed that "in line with established safeguards practices, all information obtained, including from third parties, is subject to rigorous review and assessed together with other available information to arrive at an independent assessment based on the Agency’s own expertise." UN

Cuba’s handpicked president displayed multiple faces during visit to the United Nations
On his first trip to the United States wearing the banner as president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel declared at the U.N. General Assembly last week that he was not a reformer. Yet in various other settings, the island’s appointed leader offered a more fluid image of his style of leadership. After addressing some 100 Cuban Americans who support normalizing Cuba-U.S. relations, Díaz-Canel left the podium and spent the rest of the night chatting with participants. “It struck me that he stayed to greet everyone,” said professor Isabel Alfonso, a member of Cuban Americans for Engagement. “He is a charismatic leader, with a great interest in getting close to the people.” “He is a regular Cuban. He behaves like he is part of the group,” said Cuban-American businessman Saul Berenthal. He added that a similar meeting with Raúl Castro in 2015 was “completely different.” Miami Herald

Flooding, severe weather possible in Midwest, Southwest
A new storm system is moving into the Great Lakes and the Midwest on Wednesday one day after there were three tornadoes reported in Pennsylvania and flash flooding from Long Island to Westchester County, New York, and Connecticut. The severe weather could produce tornadoes, damaging winds and hail. The threat for severe weather will be from Iowa to Michigan -- with the biggest tornado threat in Wisconsin. ABC

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