NEWS     MONDAY,  NOVEMBER   5, 2018    NEWS

Trump amps up Venezuelan crackdown, sanctions gold exports with executive order
President Trump is continuing to put pressure on the government of Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro, introducing a new round of sanctions designed to further rattle the embattled South American country’s oil exports. Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton revealed that the president signed an executive order on Thursday to prohibit anyone in the U.S. from doing business with entities and individuals involved with “corrupt and deceptive” gold dealings from Venezuela, declaring that the Maduro regime “has used this sector as a bastion to finance illicit activities, to fill its coffers, and to support criminal groups.” Bolton made the revelations late last week while addressing a crowd of mostly Cuban-Americans and other Hispanics at the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida – the place where Cuban refugees were embraced in the 1960s in the aftermath of Fidel Castro’s revolt. Fox
VOA VIEW: The bad guys have to get their act together or suffer a backlash.

GOP's narrow path to deny Pelosi gavel could run through key districts offering shot to flip seats
Eddie Edwards claims Nancy Pelosi is getting scared. “They’ve been nervous since day one. Since I declared my candidacy in April 2017, they’ve been nervous. And it shows right now. Nancy Pelosi has spent well over half-a-million dollars in the last week to try and distort my campaign,” the Republican nominee in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District said Saturday.  While Pelosi might not actually be losing sleep over Edwards’ candidacy, his race does represent somewhat of a wild card among the dozens of competitive House contests being held Tuesday.  Fox
VOA VIEW: Pelosi has much to be scared about - she will not get the gavel.

Trump: ‘Asylum Is Not a Program for Those Living in Poverty’
Many members of the migrant caravans headed for the United States have turned down offers for asylum, jobs, education and medical care from Mexico, which proves they are “not legitimate asylum-seekers, President Donald Trump said Thursday in remarks on the immigration crisis.  They're not looking for protection. Because if they were, they'd be able to get it from Mexico,” he said. “Mexico has agreed to take them in and encouraged them to stay, but they don’t want to stay. They want to come into the United States. So this is no longer safety, and asylum is about safety,” Trump said. “Asylum is not a program for those living in poverty. CNS

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DeSantis and Trump Say Democrats Will Gut Medicare for Seniors
When the liberal media bothers to ask Democrats about their campaign message, the reply is "health care." Be careful, President Trump and Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis said at a rally in Florida Wednesday night: "We will protect your health care," DeSantis promised, noting that his opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum, has been "hanging out with Bernie Sanders." And what they want to do -- they call it "Medicare for all." But if you read the fine print, every senior loses Medicare or Medicare Advantage under their plan. They get dumped on a single-payer government system. If you get insurance through your business, that is taken away from you by force. And you are thrown onto a single-payer government plan. Government has no right to take away the health care benefits that you're earning. CNS
VOA VIEW: The voters in Florida would not be foolish to elect Gillum.

Nigerian Army appears to use Trump’s words to defend its killing of rock-throwing protesters
Nigeria's largest military arm on Friday appeared to use the words of U.S. President Donald Trump to defend its shooting of protesters over the past week. The official Twitter account of the Nigerian Army, one of three service branches within the Nigerian Armed Forces, posted a video showing a clip of Trump's speech at the White House on Thursday regarding illegal immigration and border security, in which the U.S. president said that throwing stones and rocks at American troops would be considered as firearms. "We're not going to put up with that. If they want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back," Trump says in the video. "I told them, consider it a rifle." The White House did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Saturday. ABC

Could Biden's barnstorm through vulnerable districts be a test of things to come in 2020?
As he introduced one of the youngest Democrats running for Congress to a crowd of more than 1,000 Iowans earlier this week, the power of the popular former Vice President Joe Biden's support among his party's base in a vulnerable district was on full display – a foreshadowing, in some ways of the 2020 speculation that will kick into overdrive on Wednesday. “Folks, my name is Joe Biden and I’m here because my friend Abby Finkenauer asked me to be here. She’s the best,” Biden said to a crowd of more than 1,000 people Tuesday night. ABC

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Hundreds of candidates with science backgrounds are running in the midterm elections
It's been an unprecedented year in politics leading up to Tuesday's midterm elections, with a historic number of women and minorities running for office. Scientists have typically steered clear of the political fray, but this year, more than 450 candidates with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math are also seeking state and federal offices. Lauren Underwood, a nurse from Chicago, and Joseph Kopser, an aerospace engineer from Texas, are just two of the hundreds of scientists throwing their lab coats into the political ring for the first time. CBS

Trump on Abrams: 'One of the most extreme, far-left politicians in the entire country'
President Donald Trump praised Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, saying on Sunday that his campaign has been "extraordinary" and tagging Democrat Stacey Abrams as an extremist. "He studied for this job for a longtime. He will be a great executive and he will keep Georgia on the path it is going, which is up," Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally with Kemp in Macon, Georgia. At the event, Trump ripped into Abrams. "If Stacey Abrams gets in, your 2nd Amendment is gone," Trump said. NBC
VOA VIEW: Abrams will lose.

How a Saudi royal crushed his rivals in a 'shakedown' at the Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Saudi Arabia's capital bills itself as an "elegant oasis" that "completely envelops its discerning guests in majestic surroundings." But a year ago Sunday, on Nov. 4, 2017, the ultra-luxurious Riyadh hotel — with its marble floors and vast indoor swimming pool — became a gilded prison, when hundreds of Saudi royals, billionaires and senior government officials were detained in an extraordinary power play by the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The involuntary guests were told they had to sign away large chunks of their assets to be released. NBC

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Dana Rohrabacher, once dubbed 'Putin's favorite congressman,' trying to defend seat
For years, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has cut a unique figure in Washington’s foreign policy world – a staunch Reaganite who has taken an unexpected ideological turn in advocating closer ties with Russia, even boasting about a drunken arm-wrestling contest with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the early 1990s. Now, the Orange County Republican once dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman” by Politico is one of the scores of House Republicans scrambling to defend his seat in the midterm elections against a Democrat – Harley Rouda, a former Republican attorney and businessman – in a district Hillary Clinton carried by 1.7 points in 2016. ABC

Iranian marchers chant 'Death to America' on eve of U.S. oil sanctions
Thousands of Iranians chanting “Death to America” rallied on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the imminent reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil sector. Students attending the government-organized rally in the capital Tehran, broadcast live by state television, burned the Stars and Stripes, an effigy of Uncle Sam and pictures of President Donald Trump outside the former embassy compound. Hardline students stormed the embassy on Nov. 4, 1979, soon after the fall of the U.S.-backed shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days. Reuters
VOA VIEW: More reason to add the sanctions.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed: Khashoggi probe will exonerate leader
Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an international businessman from the kingdom, said on Sunday that an official investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will exonerate the country’s leader. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of the Saudi government and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October. Saudi Arabia should publicly release the findings of the murder investigation which would surely exonerate Saudi Arabia’s leader, Prince Alwaleed said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”  Reuters

These Democrats could make Trump's life miserable if they win the House in the midterms
 If Democrats have been a thorn in President Donald Trump’s side while in the minority, just wait. Some of his sharpest critics are among those in line to lead committees if Democrats win majority control of the House. They would have the power to issue subpoenas, call hearings and generally make Trump’s life miserable.
magine the 3 a.m. tweets from Trump if Democrats use that power to probe whether he has financial ties to Russia and financial conflicts of interest or to subpoena the tax returns he’s been reluctant to disclose. All of that would come on top of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential campaign. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Dems will lose.

Trump, Republicans bank on expanding their Senate majority in final midterm sprint
Republicans entered the 48-hour sprint to Election Day confident they can expand their Senate majority while bracing for a knife fight over the House, hoping their “can’t go back” message on the border and the booming economy eclipses the wave of college-educated women and suburbanites looking to punish President Trump.
Mr. Trump wrapped up the midterm campaign by rallying Sunday with Tennesseans who could determine whether the GOP expands its 51-49 Senate majority, as Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn vies with former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen for an open Senate seat, before heading to Missouri Monday to try to flip a Democratic seat into the red column.  Washington Times

Obama steps into midterm fight over health law
Former President Obama on Thursday stepped into the midterm fight over insurance for sicker Americans, saying protections built into his signature health law are “absolutely at stake” on Election Day. His successor, President Trump, has infuriated Democrats by claiming his party will do a better job of making sure people with pre-existing medical conditions can afford insurance. Mr. Obama echoed their frustration, noting his 2010 Affordable Care Act forced insurers to cover people with pre- existing conditions and charge them the same premiums as healthy people. “While we’re talking about preexisting conditions, the ACA is the law that finally protected your coverage for preexisting conditions,” Mr. Obama tweeted. Those protections and your health care are absolutely at stake on Tuesday. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Hopefully Obama will be shut out.

The true cost of an iPhone over your lifetime: $300,000
If you think your family’s smartphone addiction is bleeding you all dry, you don’t know the half of it. Based on typical smartphone costs and usage patterns, your kids will end up spending a staggering $75,000 apiece on their phones over the course of their lives, according to valuation company Flipsy. And even that’s only scratching the surface, because they missed out the biggest cost of all: The opportunity cost of all that money. If you factor opportunity cost in, the true lifetime cost of your kids’ love affair with their Apple iPhone is closer to $300,000. New York Post

Why did a Democratic group pay Sean Spicer $250
More than a year after he left the White House, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer continues to profit from his time there — even earning a paycheck from a Democratic group. American Bridge 21st Century, one of the largest Democratic super political action committees, reported paying $250 to Spicer for “research,” according to records filed with Federal Elections Commission. It turns out the payment to Rigwil LLC — an entity created by Spicer — allowed an American Bridge representative to attend a party promoting Spicer’s book “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President” in Washington in September. Harrell Kirstein, a spokesman for the group, said American Bridge tried to question Spicer about Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh and Trump immigration and health care policies but he refused. Miami Herald

Liberal turnout could decide Texas Senate race
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke agree on one thing: Liberal fervor could be the deciding factor in their high-stakes race.
Although the Lone Star State has “a lot more conservatives than . . . liberals,” O’Rourke’s underdog campaign has been fueled by “intensity,” Cruz told CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night. “The liberals who are in Texas are really, really mad. They hate President Trump,” Cruz said. “It means they’re gonna show up no matter what. As I’ve said, they’ll crawl over broken glass to show up.” O’Rourke, a three-term congressman from El Paso, also told “60 Minutes” that “the more people that show up, the better we do” in Tuesday’s election. The latest poll has Cruz ahead, 50 percent to 47 percent, but with a 3.7 percent margin of error. New York Post
VOA VIEW: Wishful thinking by liberals - Cruz will win.

Roger Stone: I wasn’t a link between Trump’s campaign and WikiLeaks
Longtime political operative Roger Stone denied that he was a conduit between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, the shadowy whistleblower group that published Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails during the 2016 presidential race, claiming he’s being persecuted for playing basic politics. Stone said he got a “solid tip” from comedian Randy Credico, a witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, that whatever WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had revealed in two media interviews in the summer of 2016 would come out in October and they would be “devastating to Clinton.” New York Post

The caravan on the road in Mexico is the size of a small town. But it's a town under pressure.
They fall asleep on borrowed blankets, curled up on a floor someone has loaned for the night. They share meals of chicken soup and tortillas. They wash laundry in rivers or sinks, and when they fall sick after more than 20 days on the road, the people in the migrant caravan turn to the nuns trailing them with medicines and bandages. With 4,000 to 5,000 people, the first and largest group trudging slowly to the U.S. border is bigger than some of the municipalities it has descended on in Mexico, doubling their population overnight.  Houston Chronicle

Two Russian lawmakers are monitoring integrity of midterm voting in the shadow of 2016 meddling
Moscow is watching. At least, that's the task of two of its emissaries. Members of Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, will be in the United States this week to help certify the integrity of the midterm election, ensuring that the crucial vote on Tuesday lives up to international democratic standards. It may seem like a curious portfolio for parliamentarians from a country that, two years ago, used cyberwarfare to undermine faith in the democratic process. Russia's own elections are hardly models of integrity. Houston Chronicle

Saudi investigators worked to remove evidence
Members of a team from Saudi Arabia sent to help Turkish authorities investigate the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi worked instead to remove evidence of the slaying, a senior Turkish official said Monday. The official confirmed a report in Turkey's Sabah newspaper that an 11-member team of Saudi investigators that arrived in Turkey nine days after Khashoggi was killed to take part in a joint Turkish-Saudi probe included experts on chemistry and toxicology who were reportedly charged with obfuscating the evidence. ABC

Why it Matters: Here's what's inspiring these Americans to vote
Ahead of the high-stakes midterm elections, which are now just a day away, we asked Americans what matters to them, and why they are choosing to make their voice heard by voting this year. Some of the biggest concerns we heard from people were things such as health care, immigration and equality. But others said they were voting for candidates who stand up for the rights of female veterans or environmental issues. Tuesday's elections are already poised to be historic, with unprecedented numbers of women, African-Americans, LGBTQ and other minority or first-time candidates running for office at various different levels of government.  ABC

Neil Armstrong memorabilia fetches $7.5 million at auction
Memorabilia that belonged to the first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong, has fetched more than $7.4 million at auction. Dallas-based Heritage Auctions says the item that sold for the highest price, $468,500, at Saturday's auction was Armstrong's spacecraft ID plate from Apollo 11's lunar module Eagle. Also sold were a fragment from the propeller and a section of the wing from the Wright brothers' Flyer, the first heavier-than-air self-powered aircraft, which each sold for $275,000.
The flight suit Armstrong wore aboard Gemini 8, the 1966 mission that performed the first docking of two spacecraft in flight, brought the astronaut's family $109,375.
Meanwhile, in a separate auction, a gold-colored Navy aviator's helmet once owned by John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, sold for $46,250. NBC News

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Globalisation is here to stay, says Davos boss
The global elite must refocus their energies on “rethinking globalisation” when they meet in Davos, the annual summit’s leader has said, finding ways to resolve disputes without resorting to trade wars. January’s meeting in the Swiss mountain resort aims to rekindle some of the unity of spirit which emerged in the wake of the financial crisis, according to Borge Brende, the World Economic Forum president. “Globalisation is here to stay. The global economy is more integrated than ever before. If you put up tariffs you put up the cost of components in your own products,” he said. Telegraph

Racist phonecalls in Georgia midterms put spotlight on divided America in closing days of campaign
An automated call to voters by a white supremacist group has highlighted the increasingly bitter rhetoric in the US midterms as the campaign enters its final stages.
Voters in Georgia were targeted with the message that impersonated Oprah Winfrey, a prominent supporter of Stacey Abrams, who is running to become the first black female governor in the US. It compared the Democratic candidate to "a poor man's  Aunt Jemima" who "white women can be tricked into voting for, especially the fat ones," and mocked Ms Winfrey as a "magical negro". Aunt Jemima refers to a brand of US pancake mix that became linked to southern plantation racism. Telegraph

Syria war: UN convoy reaches Rukban desert camp
A UN aid convoy has reached about 50,000 civilians stranded on the Syria-Jordan border - bringing the first aid the camp has received since January. The convoy was meant to arrive at Rukban camp on 27 October, but was postponed for security reasons. Syria's army controls access to Rukban, which is near a US-backed rebels' base. Jordan is also blocking aid supplies. There have been reports of children dying due to poor sanitary conditions and a lack of healthcare at the camp. A cluster of about 10,800 makeshift tents and mud huts, the camp has been called "one of the most desperate places in Syria". The UN estimates that 80% of the people stranded at Rukban are women and children, while aid groups say that pregnant women at the camp have given birth without basic medical care.  BBC

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US mid-terms: How closely does Congress reflect the US population?
In the mid-term elections on 6 November, Americans will elect the entire House of Representatives of 435 members, and 33 of the 100 seats in the Senate. These two bodies, the House and the Senate, make up the US Congress. Currently 80% of these seats are occupied by white politicians, both male and female. According to census data, this group makes up just over 60% of the total US population. Women, although half the US population, make up around 20% of those elected. The largest minority ethnic groups - Hispanic, Asian and African Americans - are also significantly under-represented in Congress. These figures are derived from profile data collected by the US Congressional Research Council and show the current participation of different population groups BBC

UN General Assembly renews long-standing call for end to US embargo against Cuba
The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted in favour of condemning the United States economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba - a call it has made every year since 1992. A total of 189 UN Member States voted in favour, with Israel and the US voting against the resolution, urging all States to “refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures” which among other things, in the case of the embargo, interfere with the freedom of trade and navigation. There were no abstentions. The Assembly called upon States “that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the steps necessary to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible.” UN News
VOA VIEW: The UN cannot end the US embargo - they still want the US to pay more than its share.

ExxonMobil third quarter earnings up 55 percent, despite output decline
ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Friday its third-quarter earnings rose 55 percent on-year, as higher prices offset a two percent total oil and gas production decline. Total production declined two percent from the same quarter last year to 3.8 million barrels per day of oil equivalent, the company reported, but production was higher compared with the April-June period and is expected to increase from current levels, according to the report. Liquids production rose six percent, as growth in North America more than offset decline and higher downtime.  UPI

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U.S. and Israel weigh in whether Saudi Crown Prince can deliver on Middle East peace and Iran
U.S. and Israeli officials have expressed concern that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have less leeway to pursue the gradual warming of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors amid the political fallout from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The fate of the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has implications for the Arab-Israeli peace package developed by the Trump administration and for cooperation among opponents of Iran. “We should not allow an action like that to go unanswered,” the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, told an audience last week, referring to Khashoggi’s killing. “But we also have to be careful about not throwing away a relationship that has strategic value.” Washington Post

USS Cole victims are opposed at Supreme Court by unlikely partners
The road to recovery has been a long one for David Morales, who was injured during the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole 18 years ago last month. And he knew it would be difficult to collect the nearly $315 million that he and others wounded in the attack were awarded in their suit against the Republic of Sudan. But he didn’t expect the case to go all the way to the Supreme Court, and he certainly didn’t think he wd with Sudan on the other side of the legal battle. “I thought the United States would be on the side of its veterans,” Morales said in a recent interview. “It was very surprising, especially with Mr. Trump in office. Washington Post

Top Trump officials say new U.S. sanctions will choke Iran's economy
The Trump administration announced Friday the snapback of crippling economic sanctions on Iran’s oil, banking, shipping and other sectors – reimposing penalties lifted by the Obama administration as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The White House hopes the sanctions – set to go into effect Monday and aimed at more than 700 Iranian individuals and entities – will strangle Iran’s economy and force the regime into a new round of negotiations. The U.S. wants Iran to curb its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism, among other steps. Iran's leaders have said they are not interested in talks with the Trump administration. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Iran must submit or else.

Sent by Trump, soldiers arrive at border as migrant caravan in Mexico pushes north
With the first of three Central American caravans of asylum seekers still more than 700 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border, the military is beginning to fan out across southern Texas. On Friday, soldiers reinforced the international bridge in Hidalgo, near McAllen, in the first wave of up to 15,000 troops that President Donald Trump has said will help secure the southern border. They are conducting drills and putting up chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire. About 160 active-duty soldiers — mostly engineers and military police from various units — are now in the McAllen area, said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Faith Laughter. In total, including members of the National Guard who have been at the border since April, Trump's military deployment to the border could cost more than $200 million, according to The Washington Post. Hidalgo resident Josemaria Vasquez said she strongly opposes Trump's decision. "There's better use of that money,” Vasquez said. “This is not an invasion." NBC News

Iran sanctions: Rouhani defiant as US re-imposes measures
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to "break" swingeing sanctions re-imposed by the US targeting core parts of the economy. The Trump administration is restoring all sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal in a bid to pressure Iran. They will hit oil exports, shipping and banks, and make it difficult to do business with the oil-rich nation. But Mr Rouhani struck a defiant tone, saying that Iran would "continue selling oil". "We will proudly break the sanctions," he said at a meeting of economic officials. European countries which are still party to the accord designed to curb Iran's nuclear activity say they will help businesses bypass the sanctions. But there are doubts how successful this will be. US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear accord earlier this year, an agreement he called the "worst deal ever negotiated". It offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for reducing its nuclear development. The global nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, says that Iran has complied with the agreement.  BBC News

Racist 'magical Negro' robo-call from 'Oprah' targets Stacey Abrams in Georgia governor's race
For years, Oprah Winfrey's campaign rally appearances and political endorsements have posed a difficult question for anyone who happens to be advocating for the candidate on the other side: How do you contend with the star power of a billionaire Queen of All Media who is also one of the world's most influential people?
For one robo-call producer speaking into a microphone in what we can only assume is a dark basement, the answer is clear: an 11th-hour infusion of good old-fashioned racism. "This is the magical Negro Oprah Winfrey asking you to make my fellow Negress Stacey Abrams the governor of Georgia," the robo-call begins, before spewing nearly 60 seconds of racism coupled with a dash of anti-Semitism. Georgians began hearing the call last week, according to the Hill.  San Francisco Gate

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