NEWS     TUESDAY,  OCTOBER  23, 2018    NEWS

Russia arms control pact: What’s at stake with the INF treaty?
Russia’s Security Council Secretary, having met with his U.S. counterpart John Bolton in Moscow on Monday, said Russia is ready to work with the United States on issues regarding implementation of the arms control treaty. They spoke of extending another key accord, the Start Treaty, set to expire in 2021, by five years. But Russia’s reaction to President Trump’s announcement that he plans to withdraw from the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty was fierce. Various officials warned of a new arms race, unspecified reactions, and said the move would make the world a more dangerous place. Early on Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sounded the most measured of them all before Bolton’s meeting. Fox
VOA VIEW: Change and act right or face a withdrawal by the US - America First.

Nancy Pelosi suggests subpoena power could be useful tool in negotiating with Trump
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pledged Monday to use subpoena power purposefully if Democrats win a majority in the House in November, adding that the power is a potent tool for negotiating. "Subpoena power is interesting, to use it or not to use it," Pelosi told Dana Bash at the day-long CITIZEN Conference put on by CNN. "It's a great arrow to have in your quiver in terms of negotiating on other subjects." Subpoena power, something that would allow House Democrats to call Trump administration officials to testify before Congress as long as they are in power, could be considered one of the most powerful tools Democrats would gain if they win in November.  CNN
VOA VIEW: Pelosi and CNN make it easy not to vote for any Democrat.

US-led coalition says it struck two ISIS 'command centers' inside mosques
The US-led coalition fighting ISIS conducted two strikes against two ISIS "command centers" that were operating inside mosques in Syria in less than a week, the coalition said in a statement. The coalition said that 12 ISIS fighters were killed in the first strike, which took place October 18 in as-Susah, Syria. "The facility was a mosque, which the law of war protects from targeting unless it is used for a military purpose," the coalition said, adding that ISIS "repeatedly planned and actively coordinated attacks" on coalition troops and their local Syrian allies from that location. The second strike took place on Monday.  CNN


Air Force's $326G hot cup tab draws senator's ire
An air base’s penchant for pricey coffee cups has garnered the attention of a United States senator, who is demanding -- and receiving -- an explanation for the purchase of beverage tumblers that cost $1,280 each. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, questioned the procurement in an Oct. 2 letter to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. Grassley's letter cited a September 26 Fox News article reporting that in the past three years the 60th Aerial Squadron at Travis Air Force base in California purchased dozens of cups for nearly $56,000. The cups can reheat liquids on board the Air Force's fleet of cargo aircraft. The squadron reported that the cups have handles that break easily when dropped. Since replacement handles aren’t available, the whole cup has to be replaced. . Fox

Former ICE Official: Democrats Don't Want to Talk About Border Invasion
Tom Homan, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said the thousands of Central Americans heading north to the U.S. border are taking advantage of this country's weak immigration laws, but Democrats don’t want to talk about that. "A lot of this could have been prevented, "Homan told Fox News Monday morning. "I've said for over a year that if we didn't fix these loopholes it would happen. And here it is." Over the weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will not allow the migrants to enter the U.S. Pompeo said the Trump administration is “deeply concerned by the violence provoked by some members of the group, as well as the apparent political motivation of some organizers of the caravan." CNS
VOA VIEW: We must protect our borders.

Sen. Rand Paul: Sanctions Against Saudi Arabia Don’t Go Far Enough
Sanctions against the Saudi government aren’t enough punishment for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told “Fox News Sunday.”
The senator said for one thing, Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, must be replaced.“I think the Saudis are an authoritarian government. They are directed from the top down, and you don't have people just going off and doing things on their own. I feel certain that the crown prince was involved and that he directed this, and that's why I think we cannot continue to have relations with him,” Paul said.  CNS
VOA VIEW: Facts first, than action - solid action.


Merkel: No arms sales to Saudi until 'monstrous' killing cleared up
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a “monstrosity” and vowed to halt German arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the case gets cleared up. Merkel decried what she called “the monstrosity there in the Saudi consulate in Turkey” during a campaign rally in the town of Ortenberg, about 50 km northeast of Frankfurt. “It must be cleared up. As long as it’s not cleared up, there will be no arms exports to Saudi Arabia. I assure you of that very decidedly,” she said. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Valid point.

How the man behind Khashoggi murder ran the killing via Skype
He ran social media for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. He masterminded the arrest of hundreds of his country’s elite. He detained a Lebanese prime minister. And, according to two intelligence sources, he ran journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by giving orders over Skype. Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is one of the fall guys as Riyadh tries to stem international outrage at Khashoggi’s death. On Saturday, Saudi state media said King Salman had sacked Qahtani and four other officials over the killing carried out by a 15-man hit team. Reuters

North Korea 'bought at least $640 million in luxury goods from China in 2017', in defiance of UN sanctions
North Korea imported at least $640 million (£493 million) worth of luxury goods from China last year, in defiance of UN sanctions outlawing such trade over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, a South Korean politician said on Monday. The United States has urged strict implementation of sanctions as part of a "maximum pressure" campaign which Washington has credited with bringing impoverished North Korea to the negotiating table. But there have been signs the campaign has been losing steam since North Korea suspended nuclear and missile tests and leader Kim Jong-un vowed steps towards denuclearisation at a US-North Korean summit in June - and as China and Russia called for relaxed sanctions. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: China is no friend of the US,

Trump knocks O'Rourke, gives light attention to Houston congressional races
President Donald Trump on Monday called Rep. Beto O'Rourke "a stone-cold phony" and took a few sharp jabs at Sen. Ted Cruz's Democratic opponent, but otherwise focused on national issues while praising Cruz and a laundry list of Texas Republicans. Trump, in Houston for a rally to support Cruz, also encouraged the Toyota Center crowd to vote for Rep. John Culberson, acknowledging the nine-term Republican faces a tough re-election challenge. He is up against trial lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Democrat, in the 7th Congressional District. Cruz ticked through his top hits from the stump, continuing to cast O'Rourke as too far liberal for Texas.  Houston Chronicle

President Trump to hold a campaign rally in Charlotte next Friday
President Donald Trump is planning to come to Charlotte next week for a rally amidst a pitched congressional race that could help determine control of the U.S. House next month. In a message sent to supporters, the president’s website invited people to register for tickets for a 7 p.m. rally at Bojangles’ Coliseum in east Charlotte, but officials involved with the president’s visit said details were still being nailed down and could change. Trump’s visit is intended to boost the campaign of Republican Mark Harris, a former pastor running for the 9th District congressional seat against Democrat Dan McCready, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and businessman. Houston Chronicle

Is the U.S. really facing a border crisis?
The images convey a deepening U.S. immigration crisis: a two-mile-long stream of more than 7,000 Central American migrants marching into Mexico, heading north toward the United States. President Trump has seized on the mass exodus, taking to Twitter to call it an “assault” on the southern U.S. border. Two weeks shy of the midterm election, he continues to characterize the border as out of control, threatening to send troops there and telling a crowd of supporters in Montana: “Remember it’s gonna be an election of the caravan.” Overall, illegal immigration has been at historic lows the last several years. It has dropped sharply since then, hitting 303,916 in 2017. San Diego Tribune
VOA VIEW: There is a major crisis.

Turkish President Erdogan says Saudis planned murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was planned by the Saudis. Erdogan said Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, "was murdered in a ferocious manner" in a "planned incident," laying out a timeline of events from the moment Saudis arrived in Istanbul. "The information obtained so far shows that Khashoggi was murdered in a ferocious manner," Erdogan said. "To try and hide such a ferocious murder would be an insult to the conscience of humanity." The 18 individual Saudi officials identified as being involved in Khashoggi's death were the same that a Turkish investigation found to be responsible, Erdogan said. ABC

Historic $1.6 billion Mega Millions drawing set for tonight
The largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history could be decided tonight. The prize is an estimated $1.6 billion, which a single winner could choose to take as a lump sum of more than $900 million. Are you going to win? Probably not. Your odds are about 1 in 302.5 million. But someone, or a group of someones, finally, eventually, has to win. Right? ABC

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Dead Sea Scrolls fragments removed from Museum of the Bible for being 'inconsistent with ancient origin'
A Bible museum founded by an evangelical Christian billionaire has remove five fragments thought to have been from the Dead Sea Scrolls after experts concluded they were "inconsistent with ancient origin". The $500 million Museum of the Bible was opened in November by Steve Green, the founder of craft chain Hobby Lobby, and displayed some of his artifacts built up over a decade of collecting. But on Monday the chief curator, Jeffrey Kloha, announced that five of the 16 fragments in the museum's collection were being removed from public display after German-based scholars examined them. Telegraph

John Bolton says he told Russians 2016 election meddling had little impact
US national security adviser John Bolton has said he told senior Russian officials that the Kremlin’s efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential elections had little impact on the results of the vote. The remarks appeared to be an attempt to confront Russia over election meddling without putting into doubt the 2016 electoral victory of Donald Trump, who appointed Bolton to his position in March. Guardian

Category 4 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast
A potential catastrophic Hurricane Willa swept toward Mexico's Pacific coast with winds of 145 mph (230 kph) Monday night, threatening a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages. Farther south, Mexican officials reported 12 deaths related to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Vicente. After briefly reaching Category 5 strength, Willa's maximum sustained winds weakened some. But it remained "extremely dangerous" and was forecast to bring "life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall" to parts of west-central and southwestern Mexico ahead of an expected Tuesday landfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Kansas City Star

Donald Trump Jr. campaigns for Mike Braun, Greg Pence in Indiana stop
Donald Trump Jr. used a couple of his father's favorite tactics as he lit up a crowd of about 200 people Monday while stumping for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun and congressional candidate Greg Pence. Trump lauded his father's successes while criticizing former President Barack Obama, the media, and political experts, all to frequent clapping and cheering. "The economy is so good right now that Barack Obama is trying to take credit for it two years later," Trump said. "That is the stupidest thing that I've heard in both economics and politics." Indy Star

‘I am a nationalist,’ Trump proclaims at Houston rally
President Donald Trump surprised some onlookers by calling himself as a nationalist in his Houston speech on Monday, the first time he has ever done so, according to CNN, though others have used it to describe Trump’s populist rhetoric and his approach to foreign policy and immigration. "I am a nationalist," Trump said, though he allowed that "we're not supposed to say that word." The topic came up as Trump referenced the tariffs he has implemented, the need for a wall on the southern border, and U.S. exports of natural gas to Germany."America is winning again. America is respected again, because we are putting America first," Trump said. "We're taking care of ourselves for once." Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Amazing crowd.

CCTV footage appears to show Khashoggi body double in Istanbul
Newly leaked CCTV footage has emerged that appears to show a Saudi agent leaving the country’s consulate in Istanbul wearing the clothes of the murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. CNN aired the footage on Monday, citing a Turkish official who identified the man as Mustafa al-Madani, a “body double” and member of a 15-man Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target Khashoggi. The agent, wearing glasses and a fake beard in an apparent attempt to further resemble the journalist, is seen touring a number of landmarks in the Turkish city after leaving the consulate. Guardian


Hurricane Willa: Mexico issues warning over 'extremely dangerous' storm
Mexico has issued an alert for parts of its Pacific seaboard as it prepares for the "life-threatening" Hurricane Willa, now at the highest Category Five. Willa is expected to make landfall on Mexico's south-western coast on Tuesday and is "potentially catastrophic", the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned. It threatens to bring torrential rains and major flooding, the NHC added. Earlier this month areas of the US were devastated by Hurricane Michael, which left at least 27 people dead. BBC

As caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders
With more than 7,000 Central-American refugees now on the march through Mexico towards the southern border of the United States in search of safety and work, all countries involved are being urged by the UN to liaise with key agencies on the ground providing support. Answering questions from reporters at the daily press briefing on Monday, UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), had been boosting resources on the ground, as the caravan of mainly Honduran refugees and migrants made its way north, across the border between Guatemala and Mexico.

Scenes from the Democratic rally in Tampa, featuring Joe Biden
"I think there's something different about this election," Biden told the crowd. "I really mean this. Let me get to the point. This election is bigger than politics. For real. This goes well beyond. You will never have voted in an election that's more important." Biden, who is on a nationwide tour that doubles not only as an effort to boost Democratic turnout but also as a feeler for his own 2020 presidential campaign, spoke for more than 30 minutes. The Democrats had Biden address the crowd on the first day of early voting in Hillsborough County and several other major counties in Florida. Tampa Tribune
VOA VIEW: Dems must and will lose.

Trump gives Ted Cruz a new nickname
President Trump has a lot of names for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — but “Lyin’ Ted” is no longer one of them. Trump on Monday said he and his erstwhile opponent have buried the hatchet since the knock-down 2016 primary in which Trump questioned Cruz’s legitimacy and linked his dad to the John F. Kennedy assassination. “He’s not Lyin’ Ted anymore. He’s Beautiful Ted. I call him Texas Ted,” Trump said as he boarded Marine One en route to a campaign rally with Cruz in Houston. Trump added that he has no regrets about linking Cruz’s dad, Rafael, to JFK-killer Lee Harvey Oswald. “I don’t regret anything, honestly. It all worked out very nicely,” he said.
New York Post

Malls fear Sears bankruptcy signs will scare off buyers
If you’re going out of business, try not to make too much of a fuss about it. As Sears gears up to close some 142 stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, some mall operators are worried that big banners and garish signs could spoil the holiday vibe at their shopping centers — and further tarnish the already-battered image of shopping malls. In a filing in US Bankruptcy Court on Monday, big mall owners including Macerich and Brixmor sought to clamp down on attention-getting tactics used by liquidators, including strobe lights, bullhorns and balloons. Likewise, the landlords are looking to ban phrases including “Total Liquidation Sale,” “Going out of Business,” “Everything Must Go” and “Bankruptcy Sale.” Consider the neighboring stores, the mall owners pleaded in their Monday filing. New York Post

Many deaths can be avoided with better data
Speaking at the opening session of the UN World Data Forum on Monday, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed highlighted the life-saving impact that data can have, noting that better data and forecasting could have averted many deaths from natural disasters. “While it is clear that the data revolution is having an enormous impact, it has not benefited everyone equally,” said Ms. Mohammed, adding that, to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), better and bigger data is needed: “With accurate, representative, inclusive and disaggregated data, we can understand the challenges we face, and identify the most appropriate solutions for sustainable development.  UN

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Turnout high in midterm elections as 11 more states open early voting
Eleven states and the District of Columbia will begin early voting this week, including those with some of the hottest Senate and gubernatorial races of the midterm vote. In Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, some county polls opened even earlier than the state's scheduled opening date. Early voting in Florida must start by Saturday, but individual counties were allowed to open several days earlier.
Early voting sites in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties opened Monday at 7 a.m., as did other large-population voting areas -- Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Tampa.  UPI

CDC investigating 155 cases of rare, polio-like neurological condition
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday it is investigating 28 new cases of a rare neurological condition known as acute flaccid myelitis in the United States. A total of 62 cases of the condition, which primarily affects children and can cause paralysis, have been confirmed and the CDC is investigating 155 cases across 22 states, up from 127 last week. The CDC said it also is testing specimens, including stool, blood and cerebrospinal fluid, from suspected AFM cases and working with healthcare providers, health departments, policymakers, the public and other partners to gather information on the condition.  United Press International

Judge upholds Monsanto verdict, cuts award to $78 million
A Northern California judge on Monday upheld a jury’s verdict that found Monsanto’s weed killer caused a groundskeeper’s cancer, but she slashed the amount of money to be paid from $289 million to $78 million. In denying Monsanto’s request for a new trial, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos cut the jury’s punitive damage award from $250 million to $39 million. The judge had earlier said she had strong doubts about the jury’s entire punitive damage award. Bolanos gave DeWayne Johnson until Dec. 7 to accept the reduced amount or demand a new trial. Johnson’s spokeswoman Diana McKinley said he and his lawyers are reviewing the decision and haven’t decided the next step.  Seattle Times

Judge: Michael Avenatti must pay $4.85M in ex-lawyer’s suit
Porn actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti must pay $4.85 million to an attorney who worked at his former law firm, a California judge ruled Monday in an order that holds the potential presidential candidate personally liable in a lawsuit over back pay. The Los Angeles judge ordered the payout the same day a separate ruling came down evicting Eagan Avenatti LLC from its office space in Southern California after four months of unpaid rent. In the case over back pay, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin ruled that Avenatti personally guaranteed a settlement with attorney Jason Frank, who said Eagan Avenatti misstated its profits and that he was owed millions of dollars. Seattle Times
VOA VIEW: Avenatti is a rip-off and dead beat bum

Saudi economic forum opens but many absent over Khashoggi
A high-profile economic forum in Saudi Arabia has begun in Riyadh, the kingdom's first major event on the world stage since the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. The Future Investment Initiative forum, which began on Tuesday, is the brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It's aimed at drawing more foreign investment into the kingdom and to help create desperately needed jobs for its youthful population. Prince Mohammed was not immediately at the forum when it started. The forum last year proved to be a glitzy affair that drew more international business attention to the kingdom. This year's event meanwhile has seen many top business leaders and officials drop out over Khashoggi's Oct. 2 slaying. Tampa Tribune

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Confederate pride and prejudice
A short walk from where President-elect Abraham Lincoln made the last train stop in his home state before leaving for Washington on the verge of the Civil War, a Confederate battle flag flies from a home garage. The property belongs to former mayor Greg Cler, who runs a car repair shop in this central Illinois village of 3,500 people. Cler isn’t from the South. He grew up about five miles away, in Pesotum, where his father, like most others in the region, farmed corn and soy. But Cler has long felt an attachment to the flag. “Part of it is an act of rebellion,” he said. The other part is tied to the national turmoil surrounding race and identity. Cler sees the flag as a fitting symbol of white people’s shared grievances, which, he says, have new resonance today.  Washington Post
VOA VIEW: The Confederacy was not an evil empire - pride.

Divided Democrats struggle to answer Trump’s claims on migrant caravan
Democrats are struggling to respond to President Trump and his Republican allies, who are casting the caravan of thousands of migrants headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border as a failure of Democrats to help enact immigration policy in the GOP-controlled Congress. Some Democrats said Trump is vulnerable to a counterattack on his core campaign issue given that his policies failed to reduce the number of unauthorized immigrants. Yet party leaders and Democratic candidates have largely been silent ahead of the midterm elections, refusing to engage with Trump. The Democratic and Republican strategies reflect the path each party has charted with two weeks till Nov. 6.  Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Dems should and must lose big.

Explosive device found in mailbox of George Soros' home in New York
An explosive device was found in the mailbox of a New York home that's co-owned by George Soros' private company, according to Bedford police and the town's assessment rolls. Bedford police said they received a phone call from 168 Cantitoe St. on Monday about a suspicious package found in the mailbox. According to police, an "employee of the residence" opened the package, revealing what appeared to be an explosive device. The employee placed the package in a wooded before calling police. The Bedford and Westchester County police departments, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI responded. Police didn't say who owned the home, but according to the town's assessment rolls, it's co-owned by the Soros Fund Management LLC, which is a privately owned family office of George Soros, a wealthy supporter of liberal ideals. USA Today

Recall hits millions of pounds of food from Harris Teeter, 7-Eleven, Kroger and more
You may want to think twice about those grab-and-go-food items. Millions of pounds of ready-to-eat salads and premade food items including entrees, burritos, wraps and pizzas at several big name retailers such as Harris Teeter, Kroger, Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, Trader Joe's and Walmart have been recalled due to the potential risk of listeria and salmonella contamination. The recalls stem from those issued by a dozen food manufacturers including Bakkavor Foods, Envolve Foods and Ruiz Food Products. The food makers notified the U.S. Department of Agriculture about products they shipped that could include ingredients such as corn, diced onions and other vegetables possibly  tainted with bacteria – all provided from a single company, McCain Foods, the USDA says.  USA Today

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