NEWS     MONDAY,  OCTOBER 29, 2018    NEWS

Russian disinformation on Facebook targeted Ukraine well before the 2016 U.S. election
In the spring of 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was desperate for Mark Zuckerberg’s help. His government had been urging Facebook to stop the Kremlin’s spreading of misinformation on the social network to foment distrust in his new administration and to promote support of Russia’s invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine. To get Zuckerberg’s attention, the president posted a question for a town hall meeting at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters. There, a moderator read it aloud. “Mark, will you establish a Facebook office in Ukraine?” the moderator said, chuckling, according to a video of the assembly. The room of young employees rippled with laughter. But the government’s suggestion was serious: It believed that a Kiev office, staffed with people familiar with Ukraine’s political situation, could help solve Facebook’s high-level ignorance about Russian information warfare. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Facebook always supports liberals and manipulates spin in their favor.

Coast Guard search for downed airplane off South Carolina continues
Five people are missing as the U.S. Coast Guard continues to search for a downed civilian aircraft that was headed to the Bahamas from South Carolina on Thursday.
The plane, which disappeared Thursday morning around 110 miles east of Charleston, was a Piper PA-31 aircraft, according to the Coast Guard. Coast Guard crews, with the aid of helicopters, an airplane and the Cutter Hamilton, a ship based in North Charleston, have now searched approximately 3,000 square miles for the downed aircraft. Air Traffic Control received a report about an in-flight emergency on Thursday morning, and officials then lost radar contact with the plane, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Officials said there were five people aboard the missing airplane, reports the Post and Courier.  Fox

Trump falsely says NYSE opened day after Sept. 11 attacks to justify holding rally after Pittsburgh shooting
President Donald Trump falsely claimed Saturday that the New York Stock Exchange re-opened the day after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an effort to justify holding a rally on the same day that a mass shooting occurred at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Speaking at a planned campaign rally in Illinois, Trump said he had weighed whether to cancel his rally as well as a speech at an agricultural convention earlier in the day in Indianapolis, Indiana, but ultimately decided against it, saying such a move would amount to giving the killer an edge. He compared his decision to continue with the rally to reopening the NYSE after the September 11 attacks, something that did not happen. And with what happened early today -- that horrible, horrible attack in Pittsburgh -- I was saying maybe I should cancel both this and that," Trump said, referring to the rally and his earlier appearance at the agricultural convention.  CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN likes to fabricate against Trump.

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After Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Gab banned by PayPal, suspended by two other platforms
In the wake of the worst anti-Semitic massacre in U.S. history that claimed the lives of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, three technology companies – PayPal, Stripe and Joyent – have taken action against the social network platform Gab. The suspect, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, appears to have a history of posting anti-Semitic speech on Gab, an alternative to Twitter that bills itself as "defending liberty and free expression online," and has become a haven for far-right figures and white nationalists including Richard Spencer, Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones, along with the United Kingdom's far-right Britain First organization. PayPal confirmed the ban in a statement to The Verge, saying: "The company is diligent in performing reviews and taking account actions. Fox
VOA VIEW: Discrimination is not good,

Trump rides high on employment data, warns voters against economic setback from Democrats
The sizzling economy underpins President Trump’s final blitz for Republicans in the midterms, with dire warnings that the jobs boom and higher wages will slip away if Democrats seize Congress. Mr. Trump enjoys the best first-term economy in three decades with the gross domestic product growing at a 3.5 percent annual rate last quarter, and Mr. Trump wants Republicans rewarded for it at the ballot box. Analysts agree, however, that good times breed complacency among midterm voters and that grievance, such as the burning hatred harbored by Mr. Trump’s opponents on the left, is a stronger motivator for turnout at the polls. “We have made so much progress. We don’t want to give up that progress. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: CNN and liberals promote the negative - but if Dems take control of the House there will be an economic decline.

Rep. Adam Schiff: Trump's 'modus operandi is to divide us'
California Rep. Adam Schiff on Sunday accused President Donald Trump of attempting to divide Americans with his rhetoric despite his condemnation of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. "This President's modus operandi Is to divide us. ... It's not enough that a day on a tragedy he says the right words, if every other day of the year he's saying things to bring us into conflict with one another," Schiff told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday on "State of the Union." Following Saturday morning's shooting at the synagogue, which left 11 dead, Trump condemned the act of violence as an "anti-Semitic act" and "pure evil." CNN
VOA VIEW: Schiff is the great divider.

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Bomb squad investigating package at Atlanta airport
A bomb squad is inspecting a suspicious package found at the international terminal of the Atlanta airport Sunday morning. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta police and fire are on the scene investigating. Police spokeswoman Stephanie Brown said the package was found outside the terminal and airport operations were not affected. The airport said on Twitter that all traffic to the international terminal is being diverted to the departure level for now. ABC

Scores detained in Russian protests against extremist case
Police in Moscow and St. Petersburg have detained about 50 people taking part in unauthorized demonstrations against a criminal case filed against 10 young Russians for allegedly taking part in in extremist group that aimed to overthrow the government. Lawyers for the 10 suspects who were arrested in March say undercover police fabricated the case, writing the group's radical program and encouraging members to have shooting practice. Four of those charged are jailed and the others are under house arrest. ABC

Iranian foreign minister says U.S. support for Saudi Arabia enables "atrocities"
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says U.S. support for Saudi Arabia — Iran's bitter enemy — has allowed the kingdom to act with impunity in the Middle East. "I think the blanket support that the U.S. provides to Saudi Arabia and to Israel has enabled them to carry out atrocities that would not have happened, had there not existed this blanket support," Zarif said in an interview with CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer on "Face the Nation" Sunday. Saudi Arabia has come under withering international criticism for the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi operatives at the country's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Zarif also said U.S. choices have consistently destabilized the Middle East over the past two decades. CBS

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Meghan and Harry attend NZ ceremony to mark first votes for women
The Duchess of Sussex has praised the first women in the world to win the right to vote during a speech in New Zealand about feminism and fairness. Meghan was speaking on day one of her visit to the country with Prince Harry. It is the last stop on their tour. The duchess started with a few words of Maori, leading to applause and cheers from the audience in Wellington. She was speaking at an event to mark the 125th anniversary of universal female suffrage in New Zealand. It was the first country in the world where all adult women were allowed to vote.   BBC

New U.S.-bound group of migrants sets off from El Salvador
A new group of migrants bound for the United States set off from El Salvador on Sunday, following thousands of other Central Americans fleeing poverty and violence who have taken similar journeys in recent weeks. The group of more than 300 Salvadorans left the capital San Salvador on Sunday. A larger group of mostly Hondurans, estimated to number at least 3,500, who left their country in mid-October and are now in southern Mexico, has become a key issue in U.S. congressional elections. A third group have been moving through Guatemala, at one point numbering more than 1,000 people before beginning to fragment. Hundreds of that group broke through a Guatemala border gate in Tecun Uman, and on Sunday afternoon were on the bridge into Mexico. Reuters
VOA VIEW: If one caravan or invasion is successful - there will many to follow.

Barack Obama takes aim at Donald Trump for 'making stuff up'
Barack Obama criticised Donald Trump’s tenure in office on Friday in a series of speeches in Milwaukee and Detroit that took aim at the president and other Republicans for “making stuff up”. The speeches were among Obama’s sharpest and most direct critiques of his successor, but he was careful to not mention Trump by name. He said the “character of our country is on the ballot” in the first midterm election since Trump took office. Obama cited a recent Trump comment that he would pass a tax cut before the November election. “Congress isn’t even in session before the election. He just makes it up,” he said. “Here’s the thing. Everything I say you can look up.” Nor did Obama spare the Republicans more broadly.  Guardian
VOA VIEW: Obama is a lying fool.

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Pittsburgh shooting: Victims of synagogue attack named
The names of the 11 people killed in Saturday's attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh have been released, with the oldest aged 97. Two brothers and a husband and wife were among those killed. Six people were injured, including four policemen. The suspect, Robert Bowers, 46, is in custody and faces 29 criminal counts in what is thought to be the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent US history. Mayor Bill Peduto said this was the "darkest day of Pittsburgh's history". President Donald Trump has called the attack a "wicked act of mass murder". he ages of the 11 victims ranged from 54 to 97. They are:  Joyce Fienberg, 75, Richard Gottfried, 65, Rose Mallinger, 97, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, brother of Cecil Bernice Simon, 84, Sylvan Simon, 86, husband of Bernice Daniel Stein, 71
 Melvin Wax, 88, Irving Younger, 69. Tributes have been pouring in from those who knew the victims. Myron Snider described his friend Melvin Wax as a "sweet, sweet guy" and unfailingly generous.  BBC

Pittsburgh shooting: critics object to Trump call for synagogue armed guards
After a gunman killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Donald Trump condemned the attack and expressed shock at “unimaginable” violence against Jewish people. “This was an antisemitic act,” said the president, whose daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kusher are Jewish. “You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age, but we just don’t seem to learn from the past.” The president’s words were well received but his comments about whether the attack could have been prevented and his decision to proceed with scheduled political events on Saturday did not go down as well. The Guardian
VOA VIEW: All houses of worship should guard their grounds.

Vice President Mike Pence rejects notion Trump's rhetoric contributed violent attacks
Vice President Mike Pence rejected the notion that President Donald Trump's habit of attacking his opponents contributed to the shooting that left 11 people dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday or the bombs that were mailed to a number of political figures last week. "Look, everyone has their own style. And frankly, people on both side of the aisle use strong language about our political differences," Pence told NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard on Saturday when asked if he has ever suggested to Trump to tone down the rhetoric. Indy Star

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Oscar strengthening, forecast to become hurricane later Sunday
Oscar, which became a tropical storm Saturday, is strengthening and expected to become a hurricane later Sunday but land isn't threatened, according to the National Hurricane Center. Oscar, the 15th named storm this season, was about 815 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and 780 miles northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. advisory. It was moving southwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. If Oscar reaches 74 mph, it will designated as a hurricane. Seven named storms became hurricanes this season. No coastal watches of warnings are in effect. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center.  UPI

Prosecutors seek death penalty for synagogue massacre suspect Robert Bowers
The government has begun the process of seeking the death penalty for the suspect accused of killing 11 worshipers during an anti-Semitic rampage on Sunday inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a report said. Robert Bowers, 46, allegedly opened fire with an AR-15 rifle during worship services inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday, killing eight men and three women before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him. Six other people were injured in the attack, including four police officers. He faces 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation in addition to federal counts that include weapons offenses and hate crime charges.  Fox

Trump officials aggressively bypass appeals process to get issues before conservative Supreme Court
To a far greater degree than its predecessors, the Trump administration has sought to bypass adverse lower-court rulings on some of its signature issues by seeking extraordinary relief from a refortified conservative Supreme Court. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco have repeatedly gone outside the usual appellate process to get issues such as the travel ban, immigration and greater authority for top officials before the justices. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Good!

Amazon officials pitched their facial recognition software to ICE
Amazon officials earlier this year pitched the company’s controversial facial recognition software to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to documents uncovered by the Project on Government Oversight. The disclosure comes as Amazon’s product and similar tools built by other companies come under scrutiny from civil-liberties groups, legislators and even some of their own employees because of the technology’s potential for misuse. The relationship between high-tech firms and ICE has also been a flashpoint since the outcry over the agency’s enforcement of a Trump administration policy of separating migrant parents and children arriving at the U.S. border.Seattle Times

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Syrian Government's ‘different understanding’ of UN role, a ‘very serious challenge’
The difficulties of “keeping everyone onboard” an agreed path to peace in Syria highlights that “radically different” approaches are likely doomed to failure, the out-going United Nations Special Envoy for the war-torn country warned on Friday. Briefing the Security Council on his meeting with the Syrian Foreign Minister, held in Damascus on Wednesday, Staffan de Mistura said that an impasse had been reached over a proposed new constitution for Syria, with the UN playing a major role, as directed by the Council. The veteran envoy, who recently announced he would be stepping down at the end of next month, said that the sticking point revolved around the Syrian leadership’s view that constitutional reform, was an internal matter. UN

Kavanaugh battle dims Democrats' dreams of flipping Senate
Democrats’ dreams of flipping the Senate have dimmed over the past month as their candidates faltered in some key races, leaving Republicans confident that they will retain their grasp — and the ability to advance at least part of President Trump’s agenda. It would take a net gain of two seats to win control, and Democrats are left with an increasingly small battleground. Only one Republican-held seat, in Arizona, is a 50-50 bet for the party at this point. Three other targets — in Texas, Nevada and Tennessee — have shifted toward the Republican Party in the wake of the battle over Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.Washington Times

USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll: The midterms are all about Trump, and Democrats have the edge in the stretch
The midterm elections are all about the man who's not on the ballot. A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds President Donald Trump driving the decisions of a majority of voters who say they are determined to send a message of either support or opposition to him. That dynamic is giving Democrats an edge as the crucial campaign heads into the final stretch. A majority of those surveyed say Trump will have "a lot" of influence on their congressional vote on Nov. 6 – 35 percent who are casting their ballot to show their opposition to him, 23 percent to show their support. Only one in four say the president doesn't have at least some effect on their vote.
Indeed, Trump hasn't shied from making the Nov. 6 election a referendum on him, holding huge rallies in a string of red and swing states and telling the crowds that a vote for the local Senate or House candidate is "a vote for me." Indy Star
VOA VIEW: The liberal media and their bias pools will get it wrong, again.

Trump's order not the first time military troops have been sent to the U.S.-Mexico border
The caravan prompted the Trump administration to ask for National Guard help at the border. California Gov. Jerry Brown authorized up to 400 troops to work in support roles targeting transnational crime. Under the agreement, which runs through March, troops are stationed in San Diego, El Centro and Riverside. Another 1,700 guard members are deployed in other states. Under Brown’s authorization, the troops in California are not supposed to be used for immigration enforcement, but court documents in illegal-entry cases show that in some instances soldiers monitoring patrol cameras have helped with apprehensions. San Diego Tribune

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