From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved

    This file is attached to from “Beast That Came Out Of The Sea” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.



1/24/2018 Trump imposes tariffs on washers and solar panels - Some Republicans object to ‘taxes on families’ by Gregory Korte and David Jackson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Trump signed a pair of trade actions imposing steep tariffs on washing machines and solar panels on Tuesday, saying the taxes on imports “demonstrate to the world that the United States won’t be taken advantage of anymore.”
    The tariffs result from investigations into unfair trade practices by foreign manufacturers accused of dumping products in the U.S. market.    Two Korean manufacturers, LG and Samsung, have flooded the U.S. market in recent years, evading duties by moving production to Thailand and Vietnam.    China dominates the solar cell market.
    The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration could add as much as 50% to the cost of imported washing machines and 30% to solar panels.
    But the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, estimates that the tariffs could end up threatening 23,000 American jobs.    That’s because most jobs are in installing and assembling solar panels, not in manufacturing the solar cells.
    The tariffs — particularly those on solar panels — rankled even Republican members of Congress, many of whom come from Sun Belt states and support free trade policies.
    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the “Moms and dads shopping for a new washing machine will pay for this — not big companies.”    Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. tariffs “nothing more than a tax on consumers.”    Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., said it was “misguided,” and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. said it was a “mistake.”
    “Here’s something Republicans used to understand: Tariffs are taxes on families,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.    “Moms and dads shopping on a budget for a new washing machine will pay for this — not big companies.    You don’t fix eight years of bad energy policy with bad trade policy.”
    Trump said the tariffs would encourage foreign manufacturers to build plants in the United States.    Samsung and LG have announced plans to build factories in South Carolina and Tennessee, creating 1,600 jobs.
    “That’s exactly what the president wants to see,” said Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser.    “Ultimately we’re getting the outcome we want to get.”
    Cohn said Trump made the decision after a rigorous process that considered the impact of the tariffs on consumer goods prices.    “But he also cares very much about the workforce in the United States and making sure we create a good job environment in the United States,” he said.
    Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai, who met with USA TODAY’s editorial board Tuesday, did not say whether the country would impose its own tariffs against American products or retaliate in any way.
    “I think people in Beijing are still assessing the situation, and we’ll do whatever is needed to defend our own interests,” he said.    “These things are rather complicated, and you could take measures against one of your trading partners, and your partner could also take measures back.    But I think such a trade war would not help anybody.    It would hurt everybody.    A better option is to have consultation and to solve the dispute.”
    Trump also seemed to suggest that the tariffs were a shot across the bow for other trading partners, noting that talks on renegotiating trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and South Korea are underway.
    “NAFTA is moving along pretty well,” he said of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks underway in Montreal.    “I happen to be of the opinion that if it doesn’t work out, we’ll terminate it. We’ll see how it works out.”
    The move had some defenders among Republicans in Congress.
    Republican Sen. Rob Portman said his state, Ohio, has more washing machine manufacturing than anywhere else in the U.S.    “If other countries are not following the rules of trade they have to be held accountable,” he said.
    Companies “shouldn’t have to compete with unfair trade,” he continued, arguing that these tariffs are temporary and “necessary right now to keep these good jobs in Ohio.”
    Trump signed the tariff declarations at an Oval Office ceremony Tuesday, even though U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had announced them the previous day.
    While insisting that there “won’t be a trade war,” Trump also said he would take his “America First” trade policy to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland later this week.
    “You’re going to have people getting good jobs again, and they’ll be making more product again,” he said.    “It’s been a long time.”
[My comment: The WTO goal was to make all nations getting a fair chance in economics with trade policies, but somehow the Progressive Socialist got into the program and it became a way to push those philosophies in that all should be even and for the last 8 years we were being stripped of jobs as they left to go to other countries, and we had a drop in our economy and people living off of unemployment, or having to work two jobs to survive, because companies working persons under 30 hours so they did not have to cover their health insurance or retirement packages.    Thank God the Liberal Progressive Socialist AKA Democrats got voted out in 2016 and we got a president that cares.]

1/24/2018 Supreme Court agrees to quick review of immigration dispute
    The Supreme Court is racing Congress to decide the future of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the USA as children.
    The justices agreed Tuesday to decide quickly whether to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a federal district court’s order to restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program without waiting for an appeals court ruling.
    By setting up a fast track for both sides to submit court papers, the high court probably will consider the Justice Department’s request Feb. 16.

1/24/2018 India, Canada defend free trade after U.S. approves tariffs
    Hours after President Trump approved new tariffs on imports, the leaders of Canada and India came out Tuesday against a drift toward protectionism in the global economy.
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said barriers to trade could pose a danger on par with climate change and extremist attacks.    His Canadian peer, Justin Trudeau, revealed that his country and the 10 remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have revised their trade deal since the United States withdrew.

2/3/2018 Taking aim at Iran, U.S. hits Hezbollah with new sanctions
    Taking aim at Iran’s global footprint, the Trump administration on Friday hit six people and seven businesses linked to Hezbollah with terror sanctions, calling it “the first wave” in an escalating pressure campaign.
    The sanctions aim to squeeze Hezbollah financier Adham Tabaja, who already is designated by the U.S. as a global terrorist, by freezing out a network of companies in Lebanon, Ghana, Liberia and elsewhere.

3/3/2018 Promising tariffs on metals, Trump says trade wars are ‘easy to win’ - Skeptics warn that higher prices could harm U.S. by David Jackson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Trump declared Friday that “trade wars” with other countries would be “good, and easy to win,” a day after his pledge to put tariffs on steel and aluminum drew threats of retaliation from other countries and tanked the American stock market.
    “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump tweeted.    “Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big.    It’s easy!
    Trump ventured into a discussion about trade taxes, claiming in another tweet that some countries tax American products at up to 50%, while the United States charges nothing.
    “Not fair or smart,” Trump tweeted.    “We will soon be starting RECIPROCAL TAXES so that we will charge the same thing as they charge us.    $800 Billion Trade Deficit-have no choice!
    He did not explain what he meant by “reciprocal taxes.”
    China, Canada and the European Union have criticized Trump’s proposed tariffs and suggested retaliation against U.S. products that could range from Kentucky bourbon to Florida orange juice, raising prices for those and other products.
    Trump’s tweets came a day after he announced he would place tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports.
    Trump did not disclose details, such as which countries might be affected or whether there would be any exemptions, but he said paperwork would be signed next week.
    The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 400 points in the wake of Trump’s comments.
    Chinese officials were in Washington on Thursday as Trump made his tariff comments.    The White House said various administration officials met with the Chinese about the announcement.    The group included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and economic adviser Gary Cohn, who tried to persuade Trump to hold off on the tariffs.
    In a follow-up tweet, Trump said, “We must protect our country and our workers.    Our steel industry is in bad shape.    IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!
    Financial analysts questioned the wisdom of declaring a trade war that could lead to price hikes for goods and services.
    They said Trump’s rhetoric alienates allies needed for economic growth, as well as national security.
    “Trade Wars = Good ... Something I never thought I’d hear a US president say,” tweeted Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm.    Countries sounded alarms about Trump trade policies.
    “The foundations of our trade policy system are under threat,” said Mark Rutte, prime minister of The Netherlands.    “We must protect, but not fall into the trap of protectionism.    A possible short-term gain for a few means a long-term loss for the many.”
    Skeptics, including some Republican lawmakers, said trading partners and rivals would slap counter-tariffs on U.S. products and increase costs worldwide.    “Trade wars are never won,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said Friday.    “Trade wars are lost by both sides.    Kooky 18th-century protectionism will jack up prices on American families — and will prompt retaliation from other countries.    Make no mistake: If the president goes through with this, it will kill American jobs — that’s what every trade war ultimately does.    So much losing.”
    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump is sticking up for the American worker, and no one should be surprised by the tariff announcement.
    “This is something the president has wanted to do for quite some time,” Sanders said.
    “Trade Wars = Good ... Something I never thought I’d hear a US president say.”    Tweet from Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group.

3/23/2018 Trump orders list of tariffs against Chinese by David Jackson, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Trump ordered trade officials Thursday to draw up a list of tariffs on Chinese products, despite warnings from American business groups that the move would lead to higher prices.
    Trump said the yet-to-be-specified tariffs are designed to address unfair Chinese trade practices — “China’s economic aggression,” a White House statement said.    The Chinese vowed retaliatory taxes on American imports.
    “We’re doing things for this country that should’ve been done for many, many years,” Trump said.
    The administration announced the filing of formal complaints with the World Trade Organization, though Trump said the WTO has been “a disaster” for U.S. trade and often acted unfairly to Americans.
    Under a memorandum signed at the White House, Trump ordered the U.S. trade representative to develop a list of specific tariffs within 15 days; they would be subject to a period of public comment before they took effect.
    Trump announced the results of a trade representative’s investigation on Chinese practices, including claims of cybertheft of American trade secrets.
    The United States aims for tariffs on $50 billion to $60 billion of Chinese imports, seeking to match the amount it says U.S. companies lost because of Chinese trade practices.
    U.S. businesses are likely to comment against tariffs; they have asked Trump not to take such a step.
    Some business leaders said they agree Chinese trade practices need to be reined in, but tariffs would invite Chinese countermeasures.    “The only way we’ll truly make lasting progress is through a strategic approach that uses both carrots and sticks to accelerate changes to Chinese policies,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.    That includes “efforts to forge a fair, binding and enforceable trade agreement with China that requires them to end these practices once and for all.”
    Last week, a coalition of retail groups sent a letter to Trump warning that tariffs against China would invite retaliation affecting their sales.
    Noting that the USA already levies import taxes on items such as clothes and shoes, the group said new tariffs “would worsen this inequity and punish American working families with higher prices on household basics.”
    The Chinese vowed to hit U.S. goods with tariffs if Trump followed through on his plan. “China will certainly take all necessary measures to resolutely defend its legitimate rights and interests,” said the Ministry of Commerce.
    Last month, Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.    The administration is considering exemptions for some allies that export steel, but China is not likely to be granted such status.
    Trump’s China tariffs plan drew support from some lawmakers, including Democrats.    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, said he agreed with findings that China obtained trade advantages by basically stealing U.S. intellectual property.    “Let’s make sure that China starts playing by the rules,” Schumer said.
    Trump is right to take a “hard line,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.    But the administration should look at “how to punish China without harming our families, businesses and farmers.
    “The only way we’ll truly make lasting progress is through a strategic approach that uses both carrots and sticks to accelerate changes to Chinese policies.”    Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers.

4/3/2018 Kremlin: Trump invites Putin to White House by David Jackson, USA TODAY     WASHINGTON – President Trump has invited Vladimir Putin to the White House, but much planning remains amid renewed strains in the U.S.-Russian relationship, the Kremlin said Monday.
    While “Trump proposed holding a meeting at the White House in Washington,” Putin foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told reporters in Moscow that some issues need to be resolved.
    Trump signed off on a U.S. plan to expel 60 Russian diplomats and intelligence operatives and to close a Russian consulate in Seattle in retaliation for a poison attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter.
    “Against the backdrop of these events, it’s difficult to discuss the possibility of holding a summit,” Ushakov said, though he added he hopes that “one day, at one time or another, we can arrive at the start of a serious and constructive dialogue.”    The White House said Trump and Putin discussed a meeting during a recent phone call, with the White House being one of several options for a site.
    “As the President himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.    “We have nothing further to add at this time.”
    The United States and its allies have formally condemned Russia over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter; Russia has denied the allegations and is planning to kick U.S. officials out of its country.
    There’s also an ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and into any links with Trump’s campaign.
    Trump has said he wants to meet with Putin to discuss pressing issues, including the campaign to pressure North Korea into giving up nuclear weapons programs.
    During their March 20 phone conversation, Trump congratulated Putin on his re-election, despite claims of rigged balloting.
    Trump and Putin also spoke last year at summits in Germany and Vietnam.
President Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang in November.    POOL PHOTO BY MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV

5/4/2018 Trump gives religious groups more freedom on social services
    President Trump signed an executive order Thursday restoring a Bush era initiative to get religious groups more involved in providing federally funded social services.
    The order repeals Obama-era rules limiting the ability of groups getting federal funds to preach to those they serve.    Under the Trump order, faith-based groups will no longer have to refer beneficiaries to other programs if they object to the religious teachings.
    “As president, I will always protect religious liberty,” Trump said.
[Thank you Trump for standing up for religious teaching to the antichrists.]

5/25/2018 House passes $717B military bill including 2.6% pay increase
    The House on Thursday passed a $717 billion defense policy bill that would give the military a 2.6% pay raise, the largest in nine years.
    The bipartisan 351-66 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where a key panel completed a companion measure Wednesday.

5/29/2018 EU foreign ministers seek to keep Iran nuclear deal alive
    The European Union is seeking to shield the bloc’s strategic and economic interests in Iran after the U.S. withdrawal from the international nuclear deal, as the EU foreign policy chief insisted Monday that the unity of the member states was unquestioned.
    Federica Mogherini said member states were intensely coordinating their efforts “to protect the economic investments of European businesses that have legitimately invested and engaged in Iran.”

6/1/2018 Canada, EU, Mexico balk as Trump imposes tariffs on steel, aluminum by John Fritze, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Trump followed through on a threat to impose steep metal tariffs on U.S. allies Thursday, a long-awaited decision that analysts said moved the country closer to a trade war.
    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Canada, Mexico and the European Union would be subject to a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum beginning at midnight on Thursday.    Brazil, Argentina and Australia agreed to limit steel exports to the U.S. to avoid tariffs, he said.
    “The president’s overwhelming objective is to reduce our trade deficit,” Ross said.
    The decision was the latest by the Trump administration to project a more protectionist stance amid ongoing trade negotiations with China and other countries.    But it drew a sharp rebuke and promises of retaliation from longstanding allies.
    “These tariffs are totally unacceptable,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.    “These tariffs are an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States.”
    European trade officials have previously threatened to respond to Trump’s move with duties on U.S. made motorcycles, orange juice and bourbon, among other things.    Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, reiterated that position Thursday, saying Europe would impose duties on “a number of imports from the U.S.”     “This is protectionism, pure and simple,” he said.
    The Mexican economic ministry said it would move to place tariffs on U.S.-made pork, flat steel, apples, cheese and other products.
    Trump announced the steel and aluminum tariffs in early March but offered temporary exemptions to the European Union, Canada, Mexico and a number of other allies.    He extended those exemptions in late April, noting at the time it would be the “final” delay unless the countries agreed to other concessions.
    The move prompted criticism from a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill, especially those with large agricultural industries.
    “This is dumb,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. “Europe, Canada and Mexico are not China, and you don’t treat allies the same way you treat opponents.”
    The decision comes days after the Trump administration announced $50 billion of new tariffs on Chinese imports, after officials had earlier said it was “putting the trade war on hold” with Beijing.    Ross is set to travel to China this weekend to continue trade talks.
    The Trump administration has relied on a 1962 law that allows countries to impose trade restrictions for national security purposes.    The president has also justified the tariffs by pointing out “shuttered plants and mills” and the decades-long slide of manufacturing.
    Several analysts said they are concerned the approach will have the opposite effect.
    “He doesn’t have a strategy that’s going to lead to making American manufacturing great again,” said Robert Scott, a trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute.    “There will continue to be a series of tit-for-tat battles.”

6/9/2018 Trump wants to bring Russia back into G-7 - President’s idea draws bipartisan criticism by John Fritze, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Trump said Friday that Russia should be allowed to rejoin the Group of 7 forum of leading economies, breaking with other leaders of that group who are meeting this weekend in Quebec.
    As he left the White House on his way to the G-7 meeting, Trump lamented that Russia was expelled from the global political group in 2014 after it annexed Crimea.    The United States, along with its allies, supported Russia’s ejection at the time.
    “Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn.    “Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?
    Trump, who arrived in Canada hours later, described himself as “Russia’s worst nightmare” but said that “we have a world to run.”    Trump has frequently discussed his desire to build a better relationship with Russia, but the approach has been scrutinized because of questions about Trump’s relationship with the country prior to the 2016 election.    Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating Russia’s involvement in the election, including links to Trump’s campaign.
    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to a Russian state news outlet, did not say whether his country would rejoin the group if invited.    He said that Russia is “focused on other formats, apart from the G7.”
        The idea drew bipartisan criticism from Capitol Hill.
    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Russian President Vladimir Putin “chose to make Russia unworthy of membership in the G-8 by invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea."
    “Nothing he has done since then has changed that most obvious fact,” McCain said.
    Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a frequent critic of Trump, called the move “weak.    Putin is not our friend and he is not the President’s buddy,” Sasse said in a statement.    “He is a thug using Soviet style aggression to wage a shadow war against America, and our leaders should act like it.”
    Democratic Senate Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Trump of “turning our foreign policy into an international joke.”    Trump’s remarks were the latest show of disunity between the U.S. and the other six nations meeting at a resort on the Saint Lawrence River this weekend.    Trump was already expected to face tense meetings following his decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum from those countries.
    The meeting is getting under way a day after the president engaged in a Twitter spat with summit participants and announced he would leave the gathering before it is over.    The U.S. is meeting with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom at the summit.
    The White House said late Thursday that the president would leave the summit on Saturday morning.
    By doing so, Trump will skip meetings on climate change, energy policy and oceans.    He’ll leave Canada to head to Singapore, where he’s scheduled to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a historic summit.
    Trump returned to his concerns about global trade as he left the White House on Friday, saying the U.S. would terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement if it is unable to negotiate a better deal.
    “If we’re unable to make a deal, we’re better off,” Trump said.    “I think we’ll probably very easily make a deal.    All of these countries have taken advantage of the United States on trade.”
    “Russia should be in this meeting.    Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?” President Trump.
[I added this since it is prophesied in Revelation.
Rev. 17:10 Seven Kingdoms: Five are in the past, One is at present, The other is yet to come.
Rev. 17:11 The Eighth Head: The Seventh Head (revived Roman Empire) will grow an Eighth Head in verse 11 (Some claim this to be "The scarlet animal that is to be destroyed).
    Rev. 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth (‘Ogdoos’ eighth is connected to ‘Okta’ eight; here the vision shows that the seventh head will briefly sprout another as an eighth head or an outgrowth which will be destroyed; “the eighth” king, his “wound being healed,” Rev. 13:3, Antichrist manifested in the fullest and most intense opposition to God.    He is “the little horn” with eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things, before whom three of the ten horns were plucked up by the roots, and to whom the whole ten “give their power and strength,” in Rev. 12:13, 17.), and is of the seven (originally came from the seven heads; The eighth is not one of the seven restored, but a new power or person proceeding out of the seven, and at the same time embodying all the God opposed features of the previous seven.    For this reason there are not eight heads, but only seven, for the eighth is the embodiment of all the seven.),
and goeth into perdition (‘Apoleia’ indicating loss of well-being, not of being, is used of the Beast, the final head of the revived Roman Empire; In the birth-pangs which prepare the “regeneration” there are wars, earthquakes, and disturbances, at which Antichrist takes his rise, from the sea, Rev. 13:1; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:9-11.).
(Paraphrased: “The scarlet animal that died is the eighth king, having reigned before as one of the seven; after his second reign, he too, will go to his doom.”).
    No one can really narrow down who or what this new entity came from, but the above is food for thought.    In the next article "Russia joined the G-7 in the late 1990s almost a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union, making the group the G-8."    The seventh head will briefly sprout another as an eighth head, which was Russia, the eighth as one of the seven.    So in his second reign, which is when, will go to his doom.]

6/9/2018 Yarmuth: Russia gave presidency to Trump by Phillip M. Bailey, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said Friday that President Donald Trump is calling for Russia to be let back into an alliance of industrialized nations because it elevated him to the White House.
    The Group of 7 — which is made up of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — are scheduled to meet in Quebec this weekend to discuss several issues such as climate change and a growing trade war.     Russia was kicked out of the alliance in 2014 following its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.     Trump said Friday that the Russian government should be readmitted, however.    He said his administration has been “Russia’s worst nightmare” but that the foreign power should be in the meeting.
    “They threw Russia out,” Trump said.    “They should let Russia come back in, should have Russia at the negotiating table.”    “Say what you will about Trump, he sure is loyal to the country that elected him,” Yarmuth, a Democrat who represents Kentucky’s third congressional district, tweeted on Friday.
    Asked if the congressman is saying the Russians elected Trump, Chris Schuler, a Yarmuth spokesman, said: “Ha ha.    That’s the point!
    But Louisville Republicans rebuffed Yarmuth’s tweet as one pandering to his liberal base.
    “Congressman Yarmuth is demonstrating yet again why he has failed so miserably at getting anything done for this district, as he consistently chooses to use his platform for far-left pandering instead of advocating for Kentucky,” said Jim Stansbury, chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party.    “If he spent even half as much time serving his constituents as he does parroting the latest anti-Trump talking point handed down by his liberal party leaders, perhaps Louisville wouldn’t be falling behind its peer cities.”
    Trump and his supporters have bristled at suggestions that the he or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to win the presidency.
    Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, has indicted 19 people since last year, including five whom have pleaded guilty, in the course of that investigation.
    Trump has called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and “hoax” on numerous occasions.    Russia joined the G-7 in the late 1990s almost a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union, making the group the G-8.    Trump did not specify why he believed Russia, which retains control of Crimea, should be readmitted.
    The president did take to social media on Friday ahead of the G-7 summit to rail against Canada for tariffs it is imposing on U.S. dairy products.
    Trump’s trade policies have ignited a battle with several U.S. allies, including the European Union, which has resulted in many of those countries announcing they will impose tariffs on domestic products including Kentucky bourbon.

6/10/2018 Trump threatens to end trading if barriers not cut - At G-7 with allies, he says U.S. ‘like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing by John Fritze, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Trump told global leaders gathered at the Group of Seven summit in Quebec on Saturday that they must reduce trade barriers and floated the idea of lowering tariffs completely if other countries agree to a more pure form of open trade.
    Trump threatened to stop trading with other nations if they decline to lower barriers he has repeatedly described as unfair, and he warned allies against taking retaliatory measures against steep metal tariffs that he imposed last month.
    “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing,” Trump said.    “And that ends.”
    Ending trade with other nations under the current system, Trump said, would be “a very profitable answer if I have to do it.”
    The remarks, following a two-day meeting in Canada with the world’s largest industrialized economies, were among the most strident Trump has used to describe what he sees as an outof- whack global trade system that harms U.S. industries.     Trump tried to downplay any notion that the meeting in Canada was contentious.    He repeatedly described his relationship with the other leaders at the summit as “a 10” and said he did not blame the other countries for their positions on trade.
    Trump drew international criticism last month for leveling a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% duty on aluminum, measures the president says are necessary for national security.    The president has also said he is considering a tariff on imported cars.
    The president said the ideal situation would be a completely free trade system with the other G-7 nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.    Under such an arrangement, he said, the U.S. would agree to remove all tariffs and barriers if the other countries did as well.
    Trump did not indicate he had received any concessions in his negotiations on trade at the summit.    Several other leaders have threatened retaliatory tariffs.
    “If they retaliate,” Trump said, “they’re making a mistake.”
    The other leaders at the summit didn’t address Trump’s remarks directly, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both posted photos that showed an alternate perspective.
    “Day two of the G7 summit in Canada: spontaneous meeting between two working sessions.    #G7Charlevoix,” Merkel posted on Instagram with a photograph of her and Macron staring down Trump, who sat with his arms crossed as others looked on.
    Macron posted a photo of leaders and aides surrounding Trump, who is one of two people sitting, as Macron gestures at him.
    Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican who has been critical of the president, said if Trump “is actually serious about leading the expansion of a G-7 no-tariff, free-trade agreement, that’s tremendous, tremendous news. ... I would happily carry his bag to every single meeting of those negotiations.”
    But “the path to more trade begins with less whining on the global stage....The constant victim-talk doesn’t help anyone,” Sasse said.

6/12/2018 Trump, Kim begin Singapore summit - Singapore beams at center of summit spotlight: USA TODAY
    Worldwide anticipation of the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s third-generation autocrat Kim Jong Un was close to feverish before the leaders’ historic event Tuesday in Singapore.    It’s been called the biggest, and most mind-boggling, summit of its kind this century.
    No one knows how it ultimately will play out.    Anything is possible, from a grandiose declaration that the Korean War will be formally ended in the near future, with the far more complex linchpin of denuclearization on the back burner, to a rapid collapse of talks with someone abruptly walking away.
    Because of the time difference (Singapore is 12 hours ahead of Louisville), a report on the summit was unavailable for print.    However, all of the latest developments can be found at
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands ahead of their meeting at Capella Hotel in Singapore on Tuesday.

6/12/2018 EU, IMF back multilateral trade, warn of US protectionism
    Leaders of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and other agencies warned Monday that American protectionism could cause global economic damage, while the European Union backed a Group of Seven declaration that President Donald Trump abruptly refused to join.
    At a meeting in Berlin hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German leader and top officials from a half-dozen international organizations said in a joint statement that the “increasing protectionist tendencies provide us with a clear incentive and opportunity to express our strong support for the multilateral trading system.”

6/15/2018 IMF says tax cuts boosting US now but will hurt growth later
    The International Monetary Fund believes the U.S. economy will post solid growth this year and next, helped by tax cuts.    But then it says growth will slide as huge budget deficits drag on growth.     In its annual assessment of the U.S. economy, the IMF says growth will hit 2.9 percent this year and 2.7 percent next year.    Both are significant increases from last year’s 2.3 percent expansion.    However, after an initial boost from the $1.5 trillion tax cut package, the IMF forecasts growth will slow, dropping to 1.4 percent in 2023.

6/19/2018 Pompeo says China is engaging in ‘predatory economics 101
    China is engaging in “predatory economics 101” and an “unprecedented level of larceny” of intellectual property, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a business audience Monday.
    Pompeo made the remarks at the Detroit Economic Club as global markets reacted to trade tensions between the U.S. and China.    Both nations started putting trade tariffs in motion that are set to take effect July 6.

6/23/2018 EU places tariffs on US jeans, other items by Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
    The European Union announced a 25 percent tariff Friday on U.S. products ranging from motorcycles, to steel, bourbon and jeans in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imports of EU steel and aluminum.
    The EU, a bloc of 28 nations, said the tariffs on $3.4 billion in U.S. products would go into effect immediately.     In turn, Trump quickly responded to the European salvo, dashing off a tweeted warning Friday morning that if the EU tariffs and barriers “are not soon broken down and removed” the U.S. will place a 20 percent tariff on all European-built cars coming into the U.S.    “Build them here!” he tweeted.
    The EU’s retaliatory tariffs, which also included typical U.S. products such as orange juice, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and peanut butter, seemed aimed at putting pressure on politically sensitive groups such as farmers.
    Harley-Davidson is from Wisconsin, the home state of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, while bourbon is a big product of Kentucky, home state of Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
    The list also included playing cards, which will get a 10 percent tariff.    Other items are rice, sweet corn, orange juice, chewing tobacco and snuff, eye make-up, rowing boats and canoes.
    The EU charges that Trump broke world trade rules June 1 by slapping 25 percent tariffs on EU steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
    European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday that the U.S. decision to impose tariffs “goes against all logic and history.”     EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that the EU was “left with no other choice” but to impose tariffs of its own after the “unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S.”

6/27/2018 US pushes nations to cut Iran oil imports to zero by November
    The United States is pushing foreign countries to cut their oil imports from Iran to zero by November, a senior State Department official said Tuesday, as the Trump administration escalates its bid to pressure Iran after pulling out of the nuclear deal.
    The price of U.S. crude jumped to more than $70 a barrel for the first time since May on the news that countries were expected to eliminate their imports, rather than making a “significant” reduction.    The Trump administration does not intend to give out waivers allowing countries to keep importing, the official said.

7/10/2018 Trump blasts NATO allies for low spending on defense
    President Donald Trump on Monday rebuked European allies on the eve of a NATO summit, complaining that the United States spends more on collective defense than its 28 North Atlantic partners.
    “The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country.    This is not fair, nor is it acceptable,” Trump tweeted.    “While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more.”

7/12/2018 Trump blasts Germany as ‘captive to Russia’ - NATO summit begins on tense note by Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
    BRUSSELS – President Donald Trump unleashed his harshest broadside yet against a European ally on Wednesday, accusing Germany of being “totally controlled by Russia” and of not meeting its obligations to the NATO alliance.
    “Germany, as far I’m concerned, is captive to Russia,” Trump said.
    Trump’s extraordinary rhetoric signaled that he would continue his aggressive, America-first attitude toward the United States’ closest allies – even as he himself prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in an effort to improve U.S. Russian relations.
    Speaking to reporters after Trump’s remarks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel shot back that she would not be lectured about Russian control of Germany, having grown up in the Soviet dominated East Germany.
    “I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union,” she said, without mentioning Trump by name.    Trump’s verbal attack on Germany came in his first official event in Brussels Wednesday, setting a combative tone for the two-day summit of the alliance in Brussels.    He leaves Brussels for two days in London Thursday, followed by a weekend in Scotland and his summit with Putin in Helsinki next Monday.
    The harsh rhetoric suggested that Trump had no intention of patching up relationships bruised by a contentious Group of Seven summit in Canada last month, when he refused to sign on to a routine joint declaration calling for a reduction in tariffs.
    Trump has criticized European allies for not spending what they agreed to on defense.    Under a 2014 agreement, NATO set that amount at 2 percent of each country’s economic output.
    But Trump upped the ante in a closed-door meeting with allies Wednesday, demanding they double that amount to 4 percent of gross domestic product.    At a current spending level of 3.5 percent, even the United States does not meet that mark.
    Germany spends just 1.24 percent on defense.    But Trump also lambasted Germany’s support for a pipeline that would bring Russian natural gas through the Baltic Sea to central Europe.
    “So we’re supposed to protect Germany, but they’re getting their energy from Russia.    Explain that.    And it can’t be explained,” he said.
    The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a commercial venture, but the German government has given its approval.
    After a face-to-face meeting with Merkel later, Trump said the gas pipeline came up but seemed to shift his tone.    “We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany,” he said.
    A stoic Merkel responded, “I am pleased to have this opportunity to be here for this exchange of views.”
    Merkel emphasized the German role in fighting alongside the U.S. in Afghanistan and its commitment to the collective defense.    Trump’s comments prompted both the House and Senate to introduce nonbinding resolutions affirming U.S. support for the alliance.    The Senate resolution passed 97-2.
    “I subscribe to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he is overseas,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.    “NATO is indisnational pensable.    It’s as important today as it ever has been.”    Democrats called Trump’s insults of Germany an “embarrassment.”
    “His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,” said a statement from Democratic leaders, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.
    Trump has linked defense and trade issues throughout his presidency, using security powers to impose tariffs against close allies like Canada and trade deficits as an argument for cutting U.S. defense aid to Europe.
    At NATO, Trump pressed his recurring complaint that European allies aren’t paying enough toward the common defense of the alliance.    A new NATO analysis released Tuesday shows only five of the 29 allies – the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia and Latvia – currently meet the benchmark of 2 percent of economic output spent non-defense.
    “Just look at the chart,” Trump said at the breakfast.    “Many countries are not paying what they should.    And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.
    That complaint is a misrepresentation of the 2014 agreement reached at a summit in Wales.    While each country agreed to strive for the 2 percent mark within 10 years, that spending is supposed to be on their own defense and is not paid to the United States or NATO.
Deirdre Shesgreen contributed from Washington.
President Donald Trump attends a meeting ahead of the NATO summit.
So we’re supposed to protect Germany, but they’re getting their energy from Russia. Explain that.” President Donald Trump

NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg, Germany’s Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump gather for the allies’ “family photo.” GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

7/15/2018 Trump blames Obama for Russian hackings by Gregory Korte, USA TODAY
    LONDON – President Donald Trump blamed his predecessor Saturday for not doing more to prevent and punish Russia’s cyberattack on Democratic email servers in an attempt to influence the 2016 election.
    “The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration,” Trump tweeted, his first response to the indictments of Russian intelligence officers in the hacking scheme.
    That indictment, unsealed Friday, accuses the Russian operatives of a far-ranging plot to disrupt the democratic process by stealing tens of thousands of emails from Democratic Party officials and Clinton campaign operatives, and then leaking them via a website called DCLeaks.
    Those leaked emails became the source for countless news stories portraying Clinton in unflattering terms.    But Trump said the Obama administration could have stopped the leaks.    “Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?
    Obama ordered an investigation into the hackings and confronted Putin about the cyberattacks in September 2016.     But the White House was hesitant to go public because of worries Obama would be seen as trying to influence the election himself.
    Trump also advanced a vague and unsourced conspiracy theory: “Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t the FBI take possession of it?    Deep State?
    The response was almost identical to Trump’s reaction in February to the indictment of 16 Russians accused of carrying out a social media propaganda campaign to influence the election.
    But this time, the indictments have thrown a new variable into the already uncertain agenda when Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki.
    A group of top Senate Democrats on Saturday wrote to Trump, urging him not to meet Putin one-on-one without other Americans in the room, and to cancel the meeting if the Russian cyberattack on the U.S. election won’t be the meeting’s top issue.
    The senators called on Trump to “advance a well-coordinated U.S. message,” supported by senior administration leaders, to hold Russia accountable and urged him not to “wing it.”
Donald Trump, good job, get em Trump.

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin take questions Monday in Helsinki. ANATOLY MALTSEV, EPA-EFE

Allies get assailed, Russia gets respect -President accepts Putin’s denials of interference by Gregory Korte and John Fritze, USA TODAY
    HELSINKI – President Donald Trump accepted denials by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow interfered with the 2016 U.S. election Monday, bringing swift condemnation from members of Congress from both parties.
    After meeting privately with Putin for two hours in Helsinki, Trump said he held both the United States and Russia responsible for the deterioration in relations between the two countries.    “I think that the United States has been foolish.    I think we’ve all been foolish,” he said.
    Trump also declined to challenge Putin’s insistence that his country did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, even though U.S. intelligence agencies under two administrations and the Republican controlled Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Moscow sought to skew the election toward Trump.
    “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump told a joint news conference with the Russian president.
    “I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said.    “I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
    Trump’s embrace of Putin came on the last day of a weeklong European trip in which he berated NATO allies over their defense spending and undercut British Prime Minister Theresa May in the tabloids.    His handling of the Putin meeting drew scathing reactions.
    Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Trump had made the United States look like “a pushover” and said the president’s remarks “saddened” him.    Corker added that he thought Putin was likely celebrating the outcome of the meeting.    “I would guess he’s having caviar right now,” said Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., described the meeting in Helsinki as a “tragic mistake.”
    “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” said McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.    “President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin.”
    On Friday, the Justice Department laid out details of what it said was a hacking scheme in an indictment of 12 Russian agents whom it accused of trying to undermine the U.S. election.
    Putin told reporters through a translator that he was glad that Trump had defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election but said Moscow would “never interfere in internal American affairs.”
    Trump’s refusal to challenge Putin’s denials of election meddling prompted an unusual response from the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, who reasserted his belief that Moscow tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.    “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling,” Coats said.    Lawmakers had urged Trump to press for the extradition of the 12 Russian intelligence agents named in the indictment but Putin did not commit to doing so.    Putin also suggested that the two countries form a joint working group on cybersecurity that would look into the election issue.
    Putin proposed the same plan after they met at a Group of Seven summit last year.    Trump initially supported it, but then reversed himself.    Monday, he reversed himself again, calling it an “interesting idea.”
    Contributing: Eliza Collins, Jessica Estepa, Nicole Gaudiano and Kevin Johnson in Washington.
    “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands in Helsinki. PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AP

7/21/2018 Trump threatens tariffs on $500B in China goods by Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
    President Donald Trump said he’s prepared to impose tariffs on all $505 billion in goods China imports into the U.S. if the trade war he ignited escalates.
    “I’m ready to go 500,” Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernan in an interview that aired Friday on the network’s “Squawk Box” program.
    Trump has slapped tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods and threatened another $416 billion.
    Citing the $375 billion trade deficit the U.S. runs with China, as well as large gaps with other countries, Trump said, “They are taking advantage of us … We have been ripped off by China for a long time.”    The president said Chinese officials told him that “nobody (in past U.S. administrations) would ever complain until you came along – me.    They said, ‘Now you’re more than complaining.    We don’t like what you’re doing.’”    Trump also complained about the tit-for-tat counter-tariffs China has imposed on U.S. shipments to that country.    “I raised 50 (billion dollars in tariffs), and (China) matched it.    You don’t match it because otherwise we’ll always be behind.”
    Trump also addressed the criticism and market fallout his take-no-prisoners approach on trade has generated.
    “I would have a much easier life if I were to do it incorrectly,” Trump said.    Noting stock markets are up about 40 percent since he was elected, he said that “it could be up 80 percent” if he hadn’t started the trade skirmishes.    “I’m not doing this for politics.    I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country.”
    The escalating trade fights with China as well as Canada, the European Union and Mexico would reduce economic growth by more than a half percentage point and employment by hundreds of thousands of jobs if all the duties and retaliatory measures are imposed, economists have said.
    Trump touted his administration’s new workers council that’s set to train workers and help create 3.7 million jobs.
    “We have tremendous numbers of people who really are phenomenal in every way, but they’re not trained and are not qualified,” Trump said.     “We need people who are skilled.    We need people who are trained.    It’s much different than it was 30 years ago and 40 years ago.”
    Trump signed an executive order Thursday creating the National Council for the American Worker to improve worker training and education.    General Motors, Home Depot, Microsoft and Walmart were among the companies and groups signing a pledge to create jobs over the next five years.    Trump said that the training is necessary because “companies are pouring back into our country.”
    About 200 American companies last year announced they’ll move at least some production to the U.S. from overseas, generating nearly 80,000 jobs, up from about 50,000 such jobs in 2016 and the largest number on record, according to the Reshoring Initiative, which tracks the announcements.
    Of the economy broadly, Trump said, “I think it might be as good as it’s ever been – ever.”
    The economy is expected to grow close to 3 percent this year.    That could be the best performance since the recession.    Growth is expected to slow next year, and many economists are forecasting a recession in 2020.

7/27/2018 US markets faring better than China in trade spat - But more twists and turns likely to come in standoff by Adam Shell, USA TODAY
    Economists say there are no winners in a trade war, and American farmers, appliance companies and automakers are proof that tariffs can inflict financial harm.
    But if you’re using the stock market as a measure of who’s winning the trade dispute, the U.S. has a clear lead over China and its other trading partners.
    While stock prices are one way of gauging who’s feeling more of the ill effects of tariffs, there’s no disputing shares of U.S. companies are performing better than China-based stocks and other foreign markets, says Alec Young, the New York-based managing director of global markets research for FTSE Russell.
    “There’s a lot of ways to judge this, and I expect a lot of twists and turns, but if we just look through the lens of the market, we’ve seen a much stronger U.S. stock performance,” Young says.
    The Standard & Poor’s 500, a stock index filled with America’s biggest companies that get more than 43 percent of their revenues from overseas sales, is up 6.1 percent this year.    China’s Shanghai composite is down nearly 13 percent over the same period.    The major stock index in Japan is down a little less than 1 percent and European shares are up just 0.3 percent.
    The better performance of the closely watched U.S. stock index is good news for individual investors, as there is $3.4 trillion invested in index funds that track the S& P 500 in all sorts of accounts, ranging from 401(k)s and IRAs to mutual funds and exchange traded funds, according to S& P Dow Jones Indices.    A 401(k) investor with a $100,000 investment in the large-company stock index at the start of 2018 was sitting on a gain of $6,100 through July 25, compared with a loss of roughly $13,000 for a Chinese investor who began the year with a similar-sized investment in the Shanghai composite.
    So why are shares of U.S. companies holding up better, even though Kate Warne, investment strategist at St. Louis- based brokerage Edward Jones, says all markets have been “hampered” by tariffs and worries about the possibility of additional levies and more trade disruptions?    Reasons include:
[Trump is a business man not a politician, and you can see why he is getting things done and not selling the soul of this country away like Obama did for 8 years.    Ronald Reagan was an actor, and he did a better job also.    So this should be a major decision of who you vote for in the future.]

7/30/2018 Trump’s $12 billion farm aid will bring some relief to state - But expert says fix for farmers only short-term by Kate Talerico, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    Kentucky farmers suffering from the president’s trade war could soon get some relief.
    After meeting Wednesday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, President Donald Trump said that the EU had agreed to start buying more U.S. soybeans “almost immediately,” the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
    The announcement comes one day after his administration said it would shore up $12 billion for an emergency aid package to help farmers affected by retaliatory tariffs.
    Some farmers criticized that plan.    They prefer a long-term solution to retaliatory tariffs, which have resulted in significant price drops for soybeans, Kentucky’s top agricultural export.
    Trump said the U.S. and EU would “work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto-industrial goods.”
    That’s relief for one market, but the largest importer of soybeans is China, which last year purchased $14 billion of the crop from the U.S.
    “The damage has probably already been done,” Debbie Ellis, executive director of the Kentucky Soybean Board, said in an interview on Tuesday.    With soybean prices about $2 lower than last year, farmers stand to lose $200 million if nothing changes.
    It’s unclear how much help Kentucky farmers will actually get from the relief plan, which is set to kick in near Labor Day.    It would attempt to support the agriculture industry in three ways, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
    While the aid package will help in the short term, Kentucky farmer Davie Stephens said the soybean industry is “pushing for a long-term solution.”
    “The administration has truly disrupted our marketplace,” said Stephens, who is the vice president of the American Soybean Association.
    Kentucky produced 102.8 million bushels of soybeans last year, worth a total of $992.2 million, Ellis said.
    Indiana is also a major producer of soybeans.    Its $3 billion industry ranks fourth in the nation for production, ahead of Kentucky, which ranked 13th as of 2017.
    In announcing the aid package Tuesday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said it sends a message “that other nations cannot bully our agriculture producers to force the United States to cave in.”
    But Stephens and the American Soybean Association are urging the Trump administration to complete NAFTA and Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations by the end of the year so they can have a clearer idea of the markets for next year’s crop.
    In addition, the soybean association said Tuesday that it wants to work with the Trump administration to build new markets for soybeans, such as in Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.
    Soybeans have been at the forefront of the trade rift between the United States and China, the top buyer of American soybeans.
    But many Chinese companies began to cancel or resell their soybean shipments after Trump said he would enact a 25 percent tariff on certain Chinese products valued at $34 billion.    Trade policy experts say China is targeting the rural states that supported Trump in the 2016 election, The Guardian reported.
    Soybeans lead American agricultural exports, but since Trump imposed his tariffs, their prices have dropped to a 10-year low.    They closed at $8.61 a bushel on Wednesday.
    Soybean farmers worry that they may never be able to regain the markets they have lost in the trade war.
    “We have been building up the China market for decades,” said Wendy Brannen, communications director of the American Soybean Association.    “It’s not something that’s easy to gain back.”    Even as China turns to Brazil and Argentina for soybeans, the South American countries may lack the infrastructure China has previously demanded of the United States, Stephens said.
    “We have a high-quality soybean compared to our South American neighbors,” he added.
    The tariffs are just one of many recent blows to farmers, who this year saw their incomes hit a 12-year low, down 50 percent from just five years ago, according to forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released in February.
    “We know we’re in tough times,” Stephens said.    “Will this $12 billion help?    Will it solve it?    No.”

8/7/2018 Trump reimposes sanctions to levy economic pressure on Iran
    President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday reimposing many sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, saying the U.S. policy is to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the country.
    In a statement, Trump said the 2015 international accord to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions was a “horrible, one-sided deal” that left the Iranian government flush with cash to use to fuel conflict in the Middle East.
    Trump warned that those who don’t wind down their economic ties to Iran “risk severe consequences” under the reimposed sanctions.

8/11/2018 Trump smacks Turkey with heavier tariffs - Status of US pastor remains thorny issue by David Jackson and Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Wielding tariffs as a foreign policy weapon, President Donald Trump said Friday that he would increase duties on steel and aluminum from Turkey as the two nations argue about an imprisoned American.
    “I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!” Trump tweeted.    “Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%.”
    He also wrote: “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!
    The tweeted tariff threat came little more than a week after the Trump administration placed sanctions on Turkish officials over the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson, calling his detention “unjust” and “unacceptable.”    Those sanctions targeted Turkey’s minister of justice, Abdulhamit Gul, and minister of interior, Suleyman Soylu.
    Although narrowly tailored, those penalties have contributed to a slide in the value of Turkey’s currency, the lira, amid fears of a broad economic crisis.
    Bulent Aliriza, an expert on Turkey with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, said Trump’s latest decision to ratchet up tariffs will push Turkey’s economy “into more difficult waters.”
    White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Trump “has authorized the preparation of documents” to raise steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, citing a section of the U.S. trade law that allows penalties “on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security.”
    Turkey is a NATO ally.
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded defiantly to Trump’s announcement Friday.
    “We will not lose the economic war,” Erdogan said during a tour of Black Sea provinces, according to the Hurriyet Daily News, an English language outlet.    “This is a national struggle.”
    Aliriza said Trump’s move will strengthen Erdogan in the short run because it allows him to fan existing anti-American sentiment in Turkey.
    The proposed tariff hikes come just days after Turkey’s deputy foreign minister was in Washington to meet with U.S. officials on a range of contentious issues, including Brunson’s detention.
    State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to detail those conversations Thursday during a briefing with reporters, and she declined to say whether the two sides made any progress on the release of Brunson.    “We would define progress as Pastor Brunson being brought home,” she said.
    Previously, Trump has used tariffs against countries he claims are engaging in unfair trade practices against the United States.    The action against Turkey appears to flow from political differences between the two countries, particularly the Brunson case.
    Turkey accuses Brunson, arrested in 2016, of being a spy and says he was involved in an attempted coup.
    The U.S. says he has been falsely charged.
President Donald Trump and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchange pleasantries at last month’s NATO conference in Brussels. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

8/11/2018 Russia warns US of strong response to ‘economic war’ by Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
    Russia’s prime minister on Friday warned the United States against imposing new sanctions on Russia and said the Kremlin would view any ban on banking or the use of the dollar by Moscow as a “declaration of economic war” that would provoke a strong retaliation.
    The comments came as Russian President Vladimir Putin and the permanent members of the National Security Council discussed new possible U.S. sanctions against Moscow, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the government-owned Tass news agency.
    Peskov said the council discussed the “new unfriendly steps on the part of Washington, which may take the form of trade restrictions.”    The meeting’s participants “emphasized the complete illegitimacy of such actions from the standpoint of international law,” Peskov said.
    The State Department said Wednesday that new sanctions would be imposed later this month following Washington’s determination that Moscow had used the Novichok nerve agent to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury.    Russia has strongly denied involvement in the poisoning.
    According to the State Department, those sanctions will include the presumed denial of export licenses for Russia to purchase many items with national security implications.
    Some additional sanctions proposed in Congress include legislation targeting Russia’s state-controlled banks and freezing their operations in dollars.
    Such ramped-up economic measures, if adopted, would have a major impact on the Russian economy, as reflected by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s sharp reaction.
    “I would like not to comment on the talks about future sanctions, but there is one thing I can say: If measures like a ban on banking activities or the use of this or that currency follows, this can clearly be described as a declaration of an economic war,” the prime minister said Friday.    “And this war will have to be responded – by economic, political and, if necessary, other means.    And our American partners should realize this.”
    Medvedev said that while the U.S. said the sanctions are intended to punish Russia’s “bad” behavior, their goal is to sideline a rival.    “It’s intended to remove Russia as a strong competitor on the international arena,” he said.
    The announcement of new U.S. sanctions has rattled Russian currency and stock markets, sending the ruble plummeting to its lowest level since August 2016.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks Friday. SPUTNIK, POOL VIA AP

8/28/2017 German FM: Europe must step up at UN, WTO as US pulls out
    Germany’s foreign minister said Monday that Europe should fill the gaps left by the withdrawal of American funds and diplomacy in international organizations and key regions of the world.
    Heiko Maas told a gathering of German diplomats in Berlin that Europe should increase its political and financial weight at the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
[Trump is hitting them where it hurts, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran and the EU nations and will be continuing as you continue to read.]

8/29/2018 WHAT TO WATCH - Is U.S.-Mexico deal a sign of trade war thaw? By Adam Shell, USA TODAY
    Could a tentative trade deal reached by the U.S. and Mexico be a signal that negotiations with other trading partners have a better chance of success?
    Indeed, investors who want to know how financial markets could react to any big thaw in the trade war need look no further than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which soared nearly 260 points, or 1 percent, Monday, and rose another 15 points Tuesday.    And broader U.S. stock market gauges, including the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index and Nasdaq composite, both closed at record highs again Tuesday.
    “It’s obviously a plus and demonstrates that while (President Donald) Trump’s rhetoric has been harsh toward Mexico, he has been able to fashion a deal he can sign,” says Tom Block, a Washington policy analyst at New York based financial research firm Fundstrat Global Advisors.
    But Block and other Wall Street pros also stress that the successful talks with Mexico offer no assurances the same outcome will occur in trade disputes with China, Europe or Canada, nor does it ensure that Congress will vote in favor of the Mexico deal.
    While Wall Street would like to view the deal as a template for how trade talks with other countries will play out, they’re skeptical that other fights can be resolved as easily, even though it will put more pressure on Canada and China to get deals done with President Trump.
    “It’s worth remembering that every trade deal is different,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at currency trading firm OANDA, told USA TODAY. “I think this is a step forward, albeit a small one.”

8/30/2018 Report: Sanctions on oil industry will ‘cripple’ Iran’s economy
    U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil industry will “cripple” the country’s economy after they take effect in early November, according to a report released Wednesday.
    Analysts with Oxford Economics said they expect the sanctions to send Iran’s economy into recession.

9/9/2018 US redirecting $25 million in aid for East Jerusalem hospitals
    The Trump administration says it is “reprogramming” $25 million in aid for East Jerusalem hospitals in favor of “high-priority projects elsewhere.”
    The move announced Saturday is part of a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza that was ordered by President Donald Trump.
    Palestinians called the decision “an act of political blackmail.”

9/11/2018 Trump tariffs could boost Apple prices up to 20% by Zlati Meyer and Adam Shell, USA TODAY
    That Apple Watch you had your eye on?    It could become more expensive, depending on how President Donald Trump’s trade war with China turns out.
    Last week, Apple wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that a proposal to impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of products imported into the U.S. from China - including a range of the company’s products - could lead to higher prices for customers.
    Trump has already slapped tariffs on about $50 billion worth of goods from China, and he’s threatened tariffs on billions more, including levies of up to 25 percent on the $200 billion worth of goods that include products from Apple.    A tariff is basically a tax on goods entering the U.S. from around the world.
    The Cupertino, California-based company didn’t provide specific price details or confirm that it would raise them as a result of the possible tariffs.    But Avi Greengart, research director for consumer platforms and devices at market research firm GlobalData, theorized that a price increase could be as high as 10 percent.
    How would that affect a device such as the Apple Watch?    A low-end model from the Series 3 line is $329, according to Apple’s website. With a 10 percent price jump, you’d be looking at an extra $32.90 if Apple decided to pass the higher costs along to consumers.    For AirPods, the current $159 price tag would rise another $15.90.
    “Apple would not want to pass along a 25 percent price increase on an Apple Watch,” Greengart said.    “That may impact demand too much, and they would try to almost split the difference and see how much of the loss they can take and how much the consumer’s willing to bear.”
    The hit to consumers wallets, however, could be far more substantial, counters Angelo Zino, senior equity analyst at CFRA, a Wall Street research firm.    Zino estimates the average selling price of products Apple says will be impacted by tariffs would rise “at least 10 to 20 percent.”
    At least one Wall Street pro believes Apple, which last month became the first U.S. publicly traded company to achieve a market value of $1 trillion, will eat the costs.    Gene Munster, analyst and investor with Loup Ventures, thinks Apple would likely absorb any extra costs and not raise prices.
    Still, a price increase could fall somewhere between nothing and 20 percent.    Tom Forte, an analyst at D.A. Davidson, thinks the potential price increase for the devices Apple said are at risk from tariffs could start as low as 5 percent and go as high as 9 percent.
    Apple shares, which are up 30 percent this year, fell 1.3 percent Monday.
    Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

9/13/2018 US says Saudi Arabia, UAE protecting civilians in Yemen war
    Despite mounting civilian casualties, the Trump administration has determined that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are doing enough to protect civilians in their military campaign in Yemen.
    The move announced Wednesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allows the administration to continue to support the Saudi-led coalition in operations against Iranian-backed rebels that have been denounced by human rights groups as possible war crimes.

9/18/2018 Mattis calls out Russia on NATO by Lolita C. Baldor ASSOCIATED PRESS
    SKOPJE, Macedonia – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday condemned Russia’s efforts to use its money and influence to build opposition to an upcoming vote that could pave the way for Macedonia to join NATO, a move Moscow opposes.
    Mattis told reporters traveling with him to Skopje that there is “no doubt” that Moscow has been funding pro-Russian groups to defeat the referendum on a name change later this month.
    “They have transferred money, and they’re also conducting broader influence campaigns,” Mattis said.    “We ought to leave the Macedonian people to make up their own minds.”
    Macedonians will vote Sept. 30 on whether to approve the name North Macedonia in an effort to placate Greece, which has for years blocked Macedonia’s path to NATO and the European Union.    But any progress toward NATO membership by the Balkan nation is strongly opposed by Russia, which doesn’t want the alliance to expand to areas formerly under Moscow’s influence.
    Mattis, speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, made no mention of Russia but announced that the U.S. plans to expand its cybersecurity cooperation with Macedonia “to thwart malicious cyber activity that threatens our democracies.”
    Zaev predicted that Macedonians will vote in favor of the name change and thus the move into NATO.
    “There is no other alternative for the Republic of Macedonia than the integration into NATO and the EU,” he said.
    Speaking later Monday at another event, Zaev said he had “no evidence for Russia’s influence” in Macedonia.    He said Russia has no objections for Macedonia’s integration into the EU, but it’s “openly against our integration in NATO.”
    Macedonia’s main conservative opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, repeated its position that “the agreement with Greece is the worst deal signed in the Macedonia’s history.”
    A pro-Russian small oppositional party, Unique Macedonia, strongly criticized Mattis’ remarks on Moscow’s efforts to use money to influence the opposition to defeat the referendum.
    Mattis is the latest in a string of international leaders visiting Macedonia to voice support for the referendum, and he’s the most senior U.S. official to visit.    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have visited and made public endorsements of the name change, saying it’s critical in order for the country to join NATO after years of waiting.     Mattis said he and other NATO allies “say right up front in open press what we think.”
    “We’re not passing money to people behind the scenes,” he said.    “We’re not putting together parties that we control or try to control.”
    Russia has already been called out for trying to influence the vote.    In July, Greece expelled two Russian diplomats accused of supplying funds to protest groups opposing the name change deal.    Russia denounced the expulsions as unjustified.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, left, with Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, condemned Russian efforts on Macedonia.    AP

9/18/2018 Mattis condemns Russian influence-peddling in Macedonia
    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday condemned Russia’s efforts to use its money and influence to build opposition to a vote that could pave the way for Macedonia to join NATO, a move Moscow opposes.    Mattis said there is “no doubt” that Moscow has been funding pro-Russian groups.

9/18/2018 Trump administration adds $200B in tariffs on China
    The U.S. slapped tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese imports on Monday, ratcheting up ongoing trade tensions between the world’s two largest economic powers.
    In a statement, President Donald Trump announced he has directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to impose the new tariffs in response to what he said are unfair trade practices by China.
    “As president, it is my duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself,” Trump said.

9/19/2018 Senate approves bill to fund military and avert shutdown
    The Senate approved a wide-ranging, $854 billion bill Tuesday that funds the military and a host of civilian agencies for the next year and is a short-term fix to keep the government open through early December.
    The measure includes $675 billion for the Defense Department and boosts military pay by 2.6 percent, the largest pay raise in nine years.
    Senators approved the bill 93-7. House approval is expected next week.

9/22/2018 British leader May hits back at EU over ‘impasse’ on Brexit plan
    British Prime Minister Theresa May accused the European Union on Friday of creating an “impasse” in divorce negotiations by bluntly rejecting her blueprint for Brexit, sending the value of the pound falling as worries about a chaotic United Kingdom exit from the EU soared.
    In a televised address, May insisted she was prepared to take Britain out of the bloc without a deal if it did not treat the country with more respect.

The above is the F-35 fighter jet that the US will use if necessary

    The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
    Section 501(c)(3) organizations are the most common type of nonprofit organization in the United States, ranging from charitable foundations to universities and churches.    The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who introduced it in a preliminary draft of the law in July 1954.
    In the early 21st century, many politicians, including President Donald Trump, have sought to repeal the provision, arguing that it restricts the free speech rights of churches and other religious groups.    These efforts have been criticized because churches have fewer reporting requirements than other non-profit organizations, and because it would effectively make political contributions tax-deductible.
    On May 4, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order "to defend the freedom of religion and speech" for the purpose of easing the Johnson Amendment's restrictions.
    Efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment have been criticized for a number of reasons.    One concern is that political campaign contributions funneled through 501(c)(3) organizations would be tax-deductible for donors, and that such contributions would not be disclosed, since churches are exempt from reporting requirements required of other 501(c)(3) organizations.    Under this critique, repeal would have the potential of creating a mechanism where political contributions could be made without regard to other campaign financing laws.
    Good job Trump get some religious input from Christians to do something about the lawless antichrists doing whatever with the laws for the last 63 years.

9/23/2018 Palestinians fear US cut off future - UN refugee program loses American money by Deirdre Shesgreen and Michele Chabin, USA TODAYbr>     BETHLEHEM, West Bank – Gazing through the window of his family’s modest falafel shop, Samer Sa’ad is deeply worried about his children’s future in the overcrowded Dheisheh refugee camp.
    Sa’ad is one of 15,000 Palestinians trying to eke out a living in this 0.2square-mile patch of land.    The Trump administration decided to zero out funding for one of their only lifelines: a United Nations program that operates schools, health clinics and other basic assistance programs for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
    “Education, especially here in the camp, is the key to a better future.    The schools need funding,” said Sa’ad, the father of three young children.
    Nearby, dozens of children dodged traffic on the camp’s narrow main road as they made their way home from an elementary school funded by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.
    Sa’ad said he worries the Trump administration will try to dramatically slash the number of Palestinians classified as refugees.    Like many Palestinians, Sa’ad hopes to return to the home his family left behind in what is now Israel.    The prospect for repatriation – or the “right of return” – is limited to UNRWA-certified refugees.
    “I dream of freedom, of an end to the Israeli occupation, but I’m afraid I will never be able to reclaim our home and our land,” Sa’ad told USA TODAY.
    In announcing the State Department’s decision to nix funding, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States could no longer “shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs.”
    Nauert criticized UNRWA’s mandate to grant refugee status to the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of refugees displaced during the Arab-Israeli wars in 1948 and 1967.    Nauert said the practice creates an “endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries.”
    UNRWA was established in 1949 after 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes the year before.    The agency was supposed to be temporary – operating only until a peace agreement settled those refugees’ status.
    Nearly 70 years later, prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal appear bleaker than ever.
    UNRWA’s leaders said its mandate dictates how, and how many, people are eligible for the refugee designation.    It’s morally right, they argued, that “family unity” is taken into account in trying to help those displaced by conflict.
    UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said the growing Palestinian refugee population was not created by the U.N. agency.
    “The reason why the numbers go up is because the people who are responsible for the peace process – broadly speaking the international community – have failed to bring about the resolution of refugee status of these people,” he said.
    Gunness said the Trump administration’s decision has rippled through the refugee camps.
    “The sense of shock and foreboding is palpable,” he said.    UNRWA has enough money to keep schools running only through the end of September, he said.    Several other countries, from Germany to Jordan, scrambled to see whether they could fill the funding gap.
    If they can’t, “the consequences for the refugees we serve are catastrophic,” Gunness said.    “We will have to stop educating 526,000 children” and cut health care and other services.    Chris Gunness, spokesman, U.N. Relief and Works Agency.
A Palestinian man carries a sack of flour he received inside a U.N. compound at a refugee camp in Gaza. The United States decided to cut off funding for a U.N. refugee aid program.    SAID KHATIB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says UNRWA creates an endless “community of entitled beneficiaries.”    MANDEL NGAN/AFP
    “The reason why the numbers go up is because the people who are responsible for the peace process ... have failed to bring about the resolution of refugee status of these people.” Chris Gunness, spokesman, U.N. Relief and Works Agency.
Palestinian men collect food at a United Nations compound in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on Sept. 1. SAID KHATIB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
    $350 million of UNRWA’s $1 billion-plus annual budget is donated by the United States, the agency’s largest donor.    5.4 million Palestinians have been granted refugee status since 1948.    This includes not only those directly affected by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war but also their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
[The article forgot to tell why we stopped the aid.    Trump did that so Hezbollah in Lebanon can furnish this care to those Palestinians so they can pay for that instead of buying weapons and making these Palestinians not use their homes we provide them and schools they are attending that they are paying for to use to attack Israel.].

9/20/2018 U.K.’s Brexit Plans ‘Will Not Work,’ a Top E.U. Official Says by Steven Erlanger
    BRUSSELS — European leaders on Thursday toughened their stance against a British proposal on how to structure their future relationship, with the European Council president saying Prime Minister Theresa May’s controversial “Chequers” plan “will not work.”
    Mrs. May has cast that plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as the only workable one on the table.
    But at an informal summit meeting in Salzburg, Austria, on Thursday, the council president, Donald Tusk, and fellow European leaders made clear that in their eyes, that proposal was dead.
    If Mrs. May had hoped that the two-day Salzburg meeting would make her political life a little easier — her Conservative Party holds a conference at the end of September — it now appears it will have the reverse effect, and prompt more domestic criticism of her leadership.
    “Something happened in the room in Salzburg,” said Mujtaba Rahman, chief European analyst for the Eurasia Group.    “The French won the argument that the E.U. has to come out more firmly against Chequers, and we see that in the Tusk statement that Chequers ‘will not work.’    I didn’t expect that and I don’t think the prime minister’s office did, either.”
    The so-called Chequers plan, which Mrs. May hammered out with her government in July at the cost of two Brexit-supporting cabinet ministers, calls for free trade in goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland and a complicated technical fix to the customs issue, including the collection of European Union duties by British officials.
    Rather than coming out of Salzburg more divided, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary suggested was happening, “Europe collectively has come stronger, and even tougher today than a day or so ago,” Mr. Rahman said.
    Charles Grant, the director of the Center for European Reform, a research institution, said: “I don’t see any E.U. split right now, I really don’t.    I’ve been looking for a pro-British lobby in the Council for six months now, and I can’t find one.”
    Mr. Orban, who has been sharply criticized over Hungary’s violations of European standards of rule of law and democracy, created some attention for himself when he said on Wednesday that he and a group of other leaders were “getting a majority” for a deal with Britain.
    “The other camp would like to deliver evidence that to make that kind of decision is to be punished and that the British must suffer,” he said.    “I don’t like that approach at all.”
    The contention was dismissed by analysts as self-serving and likely only to weaken the British position, because Mr. Orban is considered so controversial and distasteful by most of his colleagues.
    It has been true for some time that France and Germany are the strongest voices for a firm stance toward Britain.    They worry about any diminution in a Brexit deal of the “four freedoms” that are the basis for the European Union — including the single market for seamless trade and freedom of movement and labor.
Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary in Salzburg on Thursday.    Credit Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Donald Tusk, the European Council president, at the conclusion of the meeting in Salzburg on Thursday.    He said the so-called Chequers plan “will not work” Credit Sean Gallup/Getty Images
    But even countries that are basically sympathetic to Britain, like the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, have been firm supporters of the guidelines given to European Union’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.
    Those guidelines include the need for a “backstop” in a British withdrawal deal to ensure customs and regulatory compliance between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, where no one wants to restore a physical border.
    European Union leaders said that the Chequers plan offered a good basis for negotiations, but that the customs arrangements were unacceptable.    Mrs. May has stuck by it, but on Thursday it was clear she had made little headway in persuading her peers.
    President Emmanuel Macron of France was scathing.
    “Brexit is the choice of the British people, pushed by those who predicted easy solutions,” he said.
    “Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be all right, and that it’s going to bring a lot of money home, are liars,” Mr. Macron said of the British politicians who campaigned for withdrawal.    “It’s even more true since they left the day after so as not to have to deal with it.”
    Mr. Macron called the Chequers plan “unacceptable, especially on the economic side, because it does not respect the integrity of the single market.”
    Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said the group was “united that, in the matter of the single market, there can be no compromises.”    She said, “No one can belong to the single market if they are not part of the single market.”
    The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, one of the European leaders more sympathetic to Britain, described the Chequers proposal as “helpful but not sufficient.”    He said he was seeking a deal with Britain that protects the interests of “the other 425 million people” who remain in the European Union.
    “So, we do not want to take decisions for the 65 million that will damage the 425 million,” Mr. Rutte said.
    Asked about Mr. Orban’s comments, Mr. Rutte said: “There is no division; the unity of the 27 is holding and I’m confident we will maintain it.”
    He added: “I’ve not seen these two camps at the table.    I saw 27 countries all wanting to make the best of something we hate, which is Brexit.    We all want the best for both sides, but it’s difficult with all the red lines that are part of the British debate.”
    Mr. Rahman said that while the British wanted to rely on technology to avoid having a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, the Europeans are very skeptical that technology was enough.    “At some point,” he said, “there will have to be checks to ensure that the entire island stays in the E.U. customs territory and the E.U. regulations apply.”
    “Even if you ‘dedramatize’ the checks,” he said, “they still have to happen.”
    Mrs. May insists that no prime minister can accept a different customs regime, a kind of border, within the United Kingdom, even as a backstop.
    As the pace of negotiations picks up, all sides are hoping to see most of the withdrawal agreement done by a European Union summit meeting scheduled for mid-October.    But leaders were also told to block out a weekend in mid-November for an emergency meeting, if required.

9/25/2018 Iran: US desire to halt rival’s crude exports won’t come true
    Iran’s oil minister said the United States will not succeed in its plans to halt Iranian crude exports even as he acknowledged that South Korea has stopped buying oil from Tehran, Iranian media reported Monday.
    The website of Iran’s oil ministry,, quotes the minister, Bijan Zanganeh, as saying the “U.S. dream of getting Iran’s oil exports (effectively) to zero won’t come true.”

9/25/2018 President Trump takes aim at globalism, defends America’s sovereignty at UN by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump announced his administration is scaling back on U.S. involvement in global organizations after accusing countries of disrespecting America’s generosity and values.
    During his United Nations address Tuesday, the president defended his decision to pull the U.S. out of the UN Human Rights Council.    He said the organization repeatedly condemned the U.S.and its allies, while shielding human rights abusers.    The U.S. will not return to the council until real reform is made.
    The president went on to say the U.S. does not recognize or support the international criminal court, then calling it an unelected global bureaucracy that violates all principles of justice.
President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
    He also took aim at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for protecting bad actors and ripping off the rest of the world.
    “We defend many of these nations for nothing and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices – not good,” stated President Trump.    “We want them to stop raising prices, we want them to start lowering prices, and they must contribute substantially to military protection from now on.”
    The president added, the U.S. will also not be participating in the global compact for migration.    He argued migration should not be governed by an international body unaccountable to American citizens.
    President Trump said the only real solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries.

9/26/2018 Trump hammers Iran in United Nations address - President also attacks China and Venezuela by John Fritze and Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
    NEW YORK – President Donald Trump blamed Iranian leaders for sowing “chaos, death and destruction” in a steely speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that heavily emphasized the president’s support of national sovereignty over globalism.
    Touting his meeting this year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and blasting Iran for spreading mayhem in the Middle East, Trump offered an impassioned defense of a foreign policy doctrine he said would allow countries to reject “global governance.”
    “We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” Trump said.    “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy.”
    Lobbing criticism at a bevy of international institutions, Trump called the U.N. human rights council “a grave embarrassment to this institution” and said the International Criminal Court “has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority.”    He touted some of his most divisive foreign policy decisions, including his crackdown on immigration and his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
    The “America first” remarks drew on a similar speech he delivered at the United Nations last year but included more detailed examples of how that vision informs his policies on trade, immigration and the world’s hot spots.
    Though Trump reserved his harshest language for Iran, he did not shy away from condemning other countries by name.    He jabbed China for what he said were unfair trade policies.    And he announced sanctions against Venezuelan leaders and blasted the government of its president, Nicolas Maduro, saying his socialist policies have “bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty.”
    Trump suggested he would sharply curtail U.S. foreign aid, saying he ordered a review by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of whether countries that receive American assistance are allies with shared values.
    “We are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends,” Trump said.
    “And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.”
    In an awkward moment, minutes into his speech, the delegates in the chamber laughed at a regular talking point from the president.    Trump said his administration had accomplished more than any other in U.S. history, prompting the reaction.
    “So true,” Trump said.    “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”
    Trump’s boast drew ridicule from his critics on Twitter.    “Preposterous,” tweeted Nicholas Burns, a longtime diplomat who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations.
    Trump’s remarks were buffeted by warnings from other world leaders that America’s pullback from the international institutions was ill-conceived and even dangerous.
    French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a passionate defense of multilateralism, saying it was the only way to stave off instability and conflict across the globe.    He rebuked Trump’s message, suggesting that “brandishing sovereignty” was a way of attacking others.
    In the absence of a strong American commitment to preserving the international order, Macron suggested, France and other European countries could step into the void, leading the charge against urgent global threats, such as climate change, poverty and inequality.
    “Do not accept the erosion of multilateralism. Don’t accept our history unraveling,” Macron said.
    Macron focused on climate change as an issue that demanded “global mobilization” from other developed countries after Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, which aims to curb global warming by gradually reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases.
    “The Paris agreement has stayed intact, and that is because we have decided to stay unified in spite of the U.S. decision to withdraw.    This is power,” Macron said.    “Let’s stop signing trade agreements with those who don’t comply with the Paris agreement,” he added, outlining a strategy that would isolate the United States.
    Speaking before Trump arrived at the podium, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lamented the rise of populism and a fraying of international cooperation – trends the U.S. president has fueled.
    “We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.” President Donald Trump
We are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us,” President Donald Trump said Tuesday in New York. JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

9/26/208 General: Stopping US-S. Korea exercises diminished readiness
    The decision to cancel major military exercises on the Korean Peninsula this year caused a slight degradation in the ability of American and Korean forces to work together and remain ready to fight, the U.S. general nominated to command troops in South Korea told senators Tuesday.
    Gen. Robert Abrams said that commanders are planning a number of smaller staff exercises to rebuild the ability of U.S. and allied forces to operate together.    And he was non-committal when asked whether the major exercises currently being planned for next year will be held.

9/26/2018 US orders sanctions on first lady of Venezuela, other officials
    The Trump administration on Tuesday slapped financial sanctions on four members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle, including his wife and the nation’s vice president, on allegations of corruption.
    The U.S. barred Americans from doing business with and will seize any financial assets in the U.S. belonging to first lady Cilia Flores, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.

9/26/2018 Judging Kavanaugh: How Democrat Smear Tactics are Obstructing Justice by OAN Newsroom
    Democrats are fighting hard to knock Judge Brett Kavanaugh out of the running for Supreme Court justice and they are not shy about using smear tactics to win.
    One America’s Pearson Sharp investigates how the latest campaign against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is setting a dangerous precedent for American justice.

9/26/2018 President Trump’s tough stance on trade forces Mexico and Canada to make choices by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump’s tough stance on fair trade practices has helped secure an agreement with Mexico, and now it’s forcing Canada to come to the negotiation table.
    Mexico and Canada have historically been united in opposition against any changes in trade policy with the U.S., but Mexico’s leadership has been reluctant to stall any further progress.
    Mexico and the U.S. sealed a new trade deal after the threat of tariffs forced both sides into an agreement. Canada, however, is still holding out.
President Donald Trump smiles during a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin previously said the president does want to secure a new trade deal with Canada regardless of when or how it happens.
    “The president’s objective is to have deals with Mexico and have a deal with Canada," stated Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.    “And if we could do it in one deal, we’ll do it as one deal — if we do it in two deals, we’ll do it in two deals.”
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated he may be willing to jump on a deal with the U.S. and Mexico, but time is running out.
    Congress has until the end of the month to approve any trade deals, which means Canada may have to wait until lawmakers reconvene.

9/27/2018 Trump will sign spending bill to avert government shutdown
    President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he will sign a spending bill to avert a looming government shutdown set to begin next week.
    Trump’s remarks came as the House was set to vote on a bill that funds the military and many civilian agencies for the next year and provides a short-term fix to keep the government open through Dec. 7.    The bill does not pay for Trump’s long-promised wall along the Mexican border.

9/27/2018 Army reservist accused of spying for Chinese government     Ji Chaoquan, a 27-year-old Chinese national, is accused of conducting background checks on eight workers – some of whom were U.S. defense contractors – for possible recruitment by China’s spy agency, according to a federal criminal complaint.
    Ji’s alleged involvement with the Chinese government occurred between Aug.28, 2013, and Sept.21, 2018.    Ji came to the U.S. on a student visa to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

9/28/2018 Japan agrees to trade talks with U.S. by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump listens as he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
at the Lotte New York Palace hotel during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said a new economic relationship with the U.S. should be a “win-win” for both countries.    He made those remarks during a briefing at the UN General Assembly this week.
    Abe had previously resisted trade talks for nearly two-years, instead, insisting on a multi-national trade pact.
    After his meeting with President Trump in New York, the Japanese leader agreed to enter into bilateral trade negotiations with the Trump administration.
    “Between our two countries, we have a very long history — it is the accumulation of trustful relationships” stated Abe.    “Upon that, we were able to begin negotiations and it will undoubtedly lead into the expanded trade and investment between our two countries.”
    Japan’s agreement to negotiate a new trade deal comes after the president said he would enact tariffs on Japanese cars.
    Those tariffs, however, will not be put in place since Japan has agreed to participate in trade talks.

9/28/2018 150 immigrants arrested by US agents in Southern California
    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it has arrested 150 immigrants across Southern California this week in an operation targeting public safety threats.
    The agency says about 90 percent of those apprehended Sunday through Tuesday have criminal convictions, and about 40 percent were previously released by local law enforcement agencies despite federal detainers.
    Detainers ask arresting agencies to notify immigration officers before releasing people, but California laws put some limits on cooperation.
[The Liberals who run California and want sanctionary cities, will get what they deserve in time when it all goes to hell one day.]

9/28/2018 Dutch police arrest 7 suspected of plotting big extremist attack
    Seven men were arrested Thursday in the Netherlands on suspicion of plotting a large-scale extremist attack that Dutch prosecutors said they think was foiled.
    The suspects, arrested in the towns of Arnhem and Weert, allegedly wanted to use bomb vests and assault rifles to do harm at an event and planned to detonate a car bomb at another location, prosecutors said.

9/28/2018 Ambassador Nikkie Haley supports Venezuelan protesters gathered outside UN building OAN Newsroom
    United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley rallied a crowd of Venezuelan protesters with words of support.
    “I am going to be loud and Maduro will hear us — we won’t stop talking until we see Maduro go,” she stated.
    Haley used a microphone Thursday to be heard over the hundreds of people gathered outside the United Nations building in New York.
Surrounded by security, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks briefly to people at a protest
against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro outside United Nations headquarters in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    Some of the banners carried by protesters read “S.O.S. Venezuela,” while others chanted for freedom.
Outrage was sparked when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made a surprise visit to the world body’s headquarters Wednesday.
    Maduro is widely blamed for the country’s severe hyperinflation and widespread shortages of basic necessities, which has forced millions to flee their homes.
    “It is a country of ghosts.    It is a country of shadows.    It is a country of farewells.” — Rosa Bramble-Caballero, Venezuelan social worker.
    Maduro went over his allotted time to speak at the UN, attacking the U.S. and neighboring Latin American nations as reasons why his country is suffering a major economic crisis.    However, his plea appeared to fall on deaf ears as several nations accused the embattled leader of human rights abuses and called on International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate.    President Trump also hinted at taking “possible military action.”
    While Venezuela has access to one of the world’s largest oil reserves, failed socialist policies put in place more than two-decades ago have run the country into the ground.
    As Maduro sought to “defend his country” on the world stage his protesters outside worked to defend their country from him.    They praised Haley for speaking up and thanked the Trump administration for putting tough sanctions on the country’s dictatorship.
    “We appreciate the gesture of the United States ambassador to the United Nations to come to greet those of us who are representing the Venezuelan people,” said , an exiled Caracas mayor and opposition leader.    “It’s clear that we are not alone — the world has its eyes on the Venezuelan tragedy.”
    Many of the protesters gathered said they are relying on President Trump to restore Venezuela.

9/28/2018 Judge rules Calif. sanctuary state law is unconstitutional by OAN Newsroom
Demonstrators hold signs against undocumented migrants. (Photo/Sam Hodgson/Reuters)
    A judge in Southern California has dealt a blow to the state’s sanctuary policies.
    On Thursday, Judge James Crandall ruled the sanctuary law is unconstitutional and is an example of the state government overstepping its authority.
    Crandall also granted the city of Huntington Beach’s request to be freed from enforcing the policies he dismissed as “one size fits all policing.”
    This comes after Senate Bill 54 was signed into law last year, blocking local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with ICE and from asking suspects about their immigration status.
    This case is separate from the Department of Justice’s pending lawsuit against the Golden State.

9/29/2018 McConnell accepts delay for FBI inquiry - Senate was set to vote on Kavanaugh confirmation by Phillip M. Bailey Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has accepted a surprising last-minute offer by a fellow Republican to delay the vote on federal judge Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination.
    Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona shocked the Beltway on Friday when he called for the FBI to take up to a week to look into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh before a full Senate vote on his nomination.
    “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegations,” Flake said.    “And I will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding.”
    The offer came not long after Flake was stopped in an elevator by a sexual assault survivor who pleaded with him to block the nomination.    Flake was visibly shaken when he left for the hearing room, according to USA TODAY.
    McConnell did not respond directly to questions about Flake’s proposal, but a spokesman for the Kentucky senator pointed the Courier Journal to a statement from the Senate Judiciary Committee that says it will ask the Trump administration to instruct the FBI to conduct an additional background investigation.
    The FBI “would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee,” according to the email.    It does not define credible accusations.    The investigation also must be completed no later than one week from today, according to the statement.
    McConnell controls the Senate’s calendar as majority leader, and had set up a procedural vote for Saturday on the nomination.    He has hung much of his legacy on confirming Kavanaugh, which would solidify a conservative majority on the high court for decades.
    On the Senate floor, McConnell said, “I’m pleased to announce that all 51 republican members of the Senate support the motion to proceed to the nomination.”
    He called Kavanaugh “most qualified and most impressive” and said, “This is a nomination that deserves to move forward.”
    McConnell had reportedly told the White House over the summer how few votes the GOP could spare in replacing retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
    McConnell had urged President Trump to not select Kavanaugh, according to the New York Times, due to his lengthy paper trail as staff secretary under former President George W. Bush and as an assistant for the independent counsel who investigated former President Bill Clinton.
    In July, McConnell praised Kentuckian Amul Thapar, a judge on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in an interview with the Courier Journal, providing possible insight into one of his preferred choices.
    “He’s very sharp,” McConnell said at the time.    “But the competition at this level is pretty intense.    I think the president will make a very high-quality appointment.”
    McConnell has made cementing a conservative federal judiciary a personal goal since he blocked former President Barack Obama’s effort to fill a Supreme Court seat in 2016.    Last week, McConnell guaranteed at a gathering of religious and social conservatives that Kavanaugh, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit, will make it through the process.
    The Judiciary Committee moved forward with Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday on an 11-10 party-line vote, including support from Flake, who is not seeking re-election.    That came a day after intense testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has alleged he attempted to rape her during a high school party in 1982.
    “I am here today not because I want to be,” Ford said during her testimony.    “I am terrified.”
    Ford described Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, trapping her in a bedroom where Kavanaugh pinned her to the bed as he tried to remove her clothes.    She said she thought that Kavanaugh was going to rape her and that he might accidentally kill her because he covered her mouth with his hand to prevent her from screaming.
    Kavanaugh responded with a fiery defense before senators.    He said he didn’t question whether Ford had been sexually assaulted at some point but vehemently denied doing so.
    “I have never done this to her or to anyone,” he said.    “That’s not who I am.    It is not who I was.    I am innocent of this charge.”
    Republicans hold a 51-47 majority over Democrats in the Senate with two independents caucusing with the minority party, leaving the GOP with a tiny margin to confirm a nomination on its own.
    Flake did not say directly during his comments before the committee that he would vote against Kavanaugh on the Senate floor if the FBI investigation does not occur, or if other senators are considering doing so.
    There are only a handful of votes in question that could determine the outcome.
    Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a key Republican swing vote, reportedly has sided with Flake’s request for a one-week delay.    And there are red-state Democrats facing close re-election in states Trump handily won two years ago who could sway the outcome.
    Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana said hours before Flake’s compromise that he was voting against the nomination.    Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said in a statement Friday that the country has been pulled apart by this nomination, and that more time is needed to come to a better decision.
    “I applaud Senator Flake’s decision to rise above the partisan circus on display during this entire process,” Manchin said.    “It is what is right and fair for Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and the American people.”
    “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegations.    And I will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding.”
Sen. Jeff Flake - Called for the FBI to take up to a week to look into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh
Sen. Mitch McConnell has made cementing a conservative federal judiciary a personal goal
since he blocked former President Barack Obama’s effort to fill a Supreme Court seat in 2016. DAVID R. LUTMAN/SPECIAL TO CJ
[So the cry babies have gotten there way somewhat, but who can trust them after the week is over and the FBI investigation comes up with nothing to add, will they have a thousand METOO attack the White House?]

9/29/2018 Moving forward - Judiciary committee advances Kavanaugh to full Senate, voting along party lines, with caveat of FBI investigation Trump orders FBI to reopen its probe of nominee to court by Richard Wolf and Eliza Collins, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump ordered the FBI to reopen its background investigation into Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh on Friday after bipartisan requests from the U.S. Senate.
    “I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file,” the president said in a statement.    “As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
    The order came hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Friday to move Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate but called on Trump to open an FBI investigation into sexual assault accusations against the nominee.
    Kanavaugh said he would comply with the investigation and answer additional questions posed by federal authorities.
    “Throughout this process, I’ve been interviewed by the FBI, I’ve done a number of ‘background’ calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the Senators and their counsel asked me,” he said in a statement.    “I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate.”
    The committee’s request for the investigation came after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who had been undecided on Kavanaugh, agreed to advance the nomination and asked that the FBI be given up to one week to investigate the charges against Kavanaugh, as Democrats have demanded.
    “This country’s being ripped apart here,” an emotional Flake said after a flurry of back-room negotiations outside the committee room.    “We can have a short pause and make sure that the FBI can investigate.”
    Earlier in the day, Flake had announced his support for Kavanaugh and was confronted in an elevator by a sexual assault survivor.
    Another undecided Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said she supported Flake’s call for an FBI probe.    The committee later announced that the investigation would be “limited to current credible allegations against the nominee.”
    Only the White House can force the FBI to undertake such a probe.    But with Flake and Murkowski seeking it, Trump had no choice, as the GOP holds a narrow majority in the Senate and can’t afford to lose two votes.
    “Someone’s got to explain this to Trump,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said after the committee vote.
    Earlier, the Republican-controlled panel had turned aside Democrats’ effort to subpoena Mark Judge, a potential witness to the alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford.    She gave wrenching testimony Thursday about allegedly being attacked by Kavanaugh when she was 15.
    The committee’s action came less than a day after it heard from Kavanaugh and Ford, who alleges the nominee pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothes at a party in 1982, when the federal appeals court judge was 17.    Kavanaugh, now 53, vehemently denied the allegations.
    “We should not rush to judgment,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the panel.
    She said it was wrong to listen to “a credible, poised and brave witness and simply ignore what we heard.”
    But Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Democrats simply want to “beat Judge Kavanaugh into submission.”
    “We can’t allow more time for new smears to damage Judge Kavanaugh,” he said.    “We’ve reached a point where it’s time to end the circus.”
    The nomination goes to the full Senate, where a final up-or-down vote had been anticipated by Tuesday.    Now that vote could be delayed for up to a week.
    Republicans had left the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening in a state of uncertainty.    GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Murkowski, both supporters of abortion rights, have remained noncommittal.    Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota also have not declared how they will vote but are more likely to oppose Kavanaugh.    Manchin said Friday that he supports the FBI probe.
    Very few others remained undecided Friday. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., one of three Democrats who supported Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation last year, announced he would oppose Kavanaugh.
    “The allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh are disturbing and credible,” he said.    “In the interest of getting as much information as possible, I believe the allegations should be investigated by the FBI.”
    Democrats were furious that Republicans scheduled the vote so soon after the daylong hearing, at which both Ford and Kavanaugh said they were “100 percent” sure of their diametrically opposed stories.    Senators pointed to people who were allegedly present at the party Ford has described, saying they have not had the chance to be subpoenaed and interviewed.
    “We have done a botch of an investigation,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.    “Over time, I expect the facts to come out.    They have a way of doing that.    Cover-ups never last.    The sand is running through Kavanaugh’s hourglass.”
    The president of the American Bar Association, Robert Carlson, and Heather Gerken, dean of Yale Law School, from which Kavanaugh graduated, added their voices Friday to those seeking an FBI investigation of the sexual assault allegations.
    “We can’t allow more time for new smears to damage Judge Kavanaugh.” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
    Protesters block a hallway Friday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.    Many were arrested. JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY
Sen. Jeff Flake called for the FBI to investigate the nominee, echoed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski. GETTY IMAGES

9/29/2018 ‘Rise up, women!’: Protesters hit Capitol Hill by Caroline Simon and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – In a full day of demonstrations on Capitol Hill, hundreds of mostly female protesters raised fists and shouted “lock him up/i>” in front of the Supreme Court, unfurled banners inside a Senate office building and even blocked a Senate elevator door to directly confront Sen. Jeff Flake on live TV.
    Angry protesters marched and shouted in, around and through the marbled buildings that dot Capitol Hill even as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were gingerly advancing the controversial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the full Senate for a vote next week.
    Arrests were plentiful – some for blocking hallways, others for unfurling banners reading “Withdraw Kava naugh.    No Abusers on the Supreme Court” from the upper floors of the Hart Senate Office Building.
    In the most dramatic confrontation, Maria Gallagher and Ana Maria Archila, two women who said they had been sexually abused, blocked an elevator door that Flake, R-Ariz., was trying to close.
    “i>What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit in the Supreme Court
,” a visibly distraught Archila told Flake.    “This is intolerable.”
    Gallagher, equally upset, told the senator: “You have power, but so many women are powerless.”
    At noon, more than 100 protesters – mostly women – gathered in front of the Supreme Court ahead of a Women’s March to hear speeches from fellow activists, sympathetic lawmakers, even folk singer Joan Baez.    The crowd’s energy rose as they chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, Kavanaugh has got to go,” and “The people, united, will never be divided!” amid drumming.
    “We will not be bullied,” Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., told demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court building where Kavanaugh hopes to sit soon.
    At the Hart Senate Office building, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, her voice choked with tears, gave a fiery speech to protesters, charging that the Republican- dominated committee’s push to confirm Kavanaugh quickly represented a “fundamental disrespect of women.”
    “This is 11 men deciding that women have no right to be treated with respect, and we say, ‘Rise up, women!’” she said.
    In the Senate elevator confrontation, the two women implored Flake while standing in the door, blocking it from closing.    Throughout the ordeal, Flake largely avoided eye contact with the women, saying he had to get to the Senate meeting.    “Don’t look away from me,” Gallagher shouted.    “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me.”
    The confrontation played out live on CNN as Flake’s staffer gently tried to defuse the situation.
[Sen. Flake even if they prove Kavanaugh innocent of all charges this group is a liberal group who will continue their demonstrations because they know he can turn over the Roe decision, and the Democrats will push them to do that.    Anyone with any common sense knows who “Is causing this country to be ripped apart.”]

9/29/2018 Trump signs $854B spending plan, avoiding federal shutdown
    President Donald Trump signed an $854 billion spending bill Friday to keep the federal government open through Dec. 7, averting a government shutdown before the November midterm elections.
    Trump signed the legislation to fund the military and several civilian agencies without journalists present, according to a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity.    The House and Senate approved the spending plan earlier this week.
    Trump has expressed deep frustration that the bill does not pay for his long-promised wall along the U.S.Mexico border.

9/29/2018 Intel committee to release its Russia investigation transcripts
    The House intelligence committee voted Friday to release transcripts of more than 50 interviews it conducted as part of its now-closed investigation into Russian election interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.
    Among those to be released are interviews with President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; longtime spokeswoman Hope Hicks; and former bodyguard Keith Schiller.    The committee will also release dozens of other transcripts of interviews with former Obama administration officials and numerous Trump associates, including Roger Stone.

9/29/2018 We’ll know in 48 hours’: Mexico sees new hope of trilateral NAFTA by David Lawder and Adriana Barrera
    WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico on Friday said the U.S. Trump administration and Canada were making serious efforts to resolve trade policy differences after days of bickering, raising hopes of saving the North American Free Trade Agreement as a trilateral pact.
    While details were scant, the apparent progress was enough to prompt Mexico and Washington to abruptly halt a plan to publish text of their own two-way trade deal, to give Canada more time to join.
    In Mexico, President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters that Washington had made a new counter-proposal to Ottawa, adding that he would keep pushing for all three countries be part of NAFTA.
    Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the delivery of the text to the Mexican and U.S. legislatures was delayed due to a “very serious” attempt by Ottawa and Washington to reach a deal.
    “In the next 48 hours we will know if we are going to get to a trilateral text or if we are going to have to put forward the text of the bilateral agreement,” Guajardo said in televised remarks to the Mexican Senate.
    Guajardo said his U.S. and Canadian counterparts “specifically requested” a delay in publishing the text.
    The Trump administration had threatened to proceed with a Mexico-only trade pact as U.S. talks with Canada foundered in recent weeks amid deep differences over Canada’s support for its dairy market and a mechanism for settling trade disputes.
    The NAFTA text, either bilateral or trilateral, is due by late Sunday night to meet U.S. congressional notification requirements to allow U.S. President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign the pact before Lopez Obrador takes office on Dec. 1.
    However, multiple deadlines have already been broken during the drawn-out attempt to renegotiate the trilateral deal since Trump demanded it be re-worked on the grounds that the 1994 NAFTA pact caused the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
    Lopez Obrador said there were no final deadlines in the negotiation.
    A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office declined to comment on the status of the U.S.-Mexico text and the talks with Canada.
    Officials in the offices of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, did not respond to queries about the counterproposal.
    Lopez Obrador told reporters in Mexico City that Trudeau asked him during a Thursday phone call “to intervene and call on the U.S. government to reach an agreement” with Canada.    “We agreed to that.”
    He said that regardless of the outcome with Canada the language of the agreement between Washington and Mexico City was now final.    “We are not going to re-open the negotiation.    That you can be sure of,” Lopez Obrador said.
    One source close to the talks said Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who has close contact with the White House, was also acting as an “instrumental” intermediary between Canada and the United States.
    Canada’s Liberal government says it does not feel bound by the latest NAFTA deadline, and it repeated on Friday that it would not bow to U.S. pressure to sign a quick deal.
    “We are in a very tough negotiation with the United States over NAFTA … there is no deadline on this. As far as we are concerned we want a deal that is good for Canadians and that’s the bottom line,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters in Ottawa.
    Some U.S. Democratic lawmakers said on Thursday after a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that they could not support a NAFTA deal without Canada.
    “Canada is exceptionally important.    I think it would be malpractice, both for economic and political reasons, not to have a major agreement with Canada,” said Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the tax and trade Senate Finance Committee.
    Trump trumpeted the deal with Mexico as a win for Americans and threatened to close the door on Canada if it did not sign on by Sept. 30.
    Trump also floated slapping auto tariffs on Canada, which could sow disarray in supply chains, take the wind out of the sails of a resurgent Canadian economy and rattle investors already unnerved by an escalating U.S.-China trade war.
    The U.S.-Mexico text will flesh out an agreement in principle that aims to rebalance automotive trade between the two countries and update NAFTA with new chapters on digital trade and stronger labor and environmental standards.
    It is expected to conform to details already released on auto rules requiring an increase in regional value content to 75 percent from 62.5 percent previously, with 40 percent to 45 percent coming from “high wage” areas, effectively the United States.
    Auto industry executives say it is unlikely those targets can be met if Canada is not part of the deal, given supply chains in which parts crisscross NAFTA borders multiple times.
    More light is likely to be shed on the enforcement of new labor standards and trade dispute settlement arrangements.    The United States has said Mexico agreed to eliminate a system of settlement panels to arbitrate disputes over anti-dumping and anti-dumping tariffs.
    The release of the trade deal text will start a months-long process for U.S. congressional approval that will require a lengthy analysis by the independent U.S. international Trade Commission and notification periods before an up-or-down vote.
(Additional reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez, Diego Ore, Frank Jack Daniel, Daina Beth Solomon, Lizbeth Diaz and Anthony Esposito in Mexico City and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Writing by David Lawder and Paul Simao; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler).
  • 9/30/2018 U.S. warship sails near disputed South China Sea islands: U.S. official by Idrees Ali
    An aerial view of uninhabited island of Spratlys in the disputed South China Sea, April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sunday, a U.S. official told Reuters, potentially angering Beijing at a time of tense relations between the two countries.
        Beijing and Washington are locked in a trade war that has seen them impose increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other’s imports.
        The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the destroyer Decatur traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands.
        The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.
        China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
        “We conduct routine and regular freedom-of-navigation operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future,” the U.S. official added.
        China’s foreign ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
        The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and military facilities in the area and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.
        The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and are separate from political considerations.
        The latest move comes at a particularly tense time in relations between the United States and China.
        Friction between the world’s two biggest economies is now moving beyond trade, with U.S. President Donald Trump accusing Beijing this week of seeking to interfere in congressional elections, marking a new phase in an escalating campaign by Washington to put pressure on China.
        China recently denied a request for a U.S. warship to visit Hong Kong and this month Beijing postponed joint military talks in protest against a U.S. decision to impose sanctions on a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.
        In May two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China.
    (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by David Goodman)

    9/30/2018 Macedonians vote in referendum on whether to change country’s name by Ivana Sekularac and Kole Casule
    A woman leaves the polling station after casting her ballot for the referendum in Macedonia on changing the country's name
    that would open the way for it to join NATO and the European Union in Skopje, Macedonia September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
        SKOPJE (Reuters) – The people of Macedonia voted in a referendum on Sunday on whether to change its name to ‘Republic of North Macedonia’, a move that would resolve a decades-old dispute with Greece which had blocked its membership bids for the European Union and NATO.
        Greece, which has a province called Macedonia, maintains that its northern neighbor’s name represents a claim on its territory and has vetoed its entrance into NATO and the EU.
        The two governments struck a deal in June based on the proposed new name, but nationalist opponents argue the change would undermine the ethnic identity of Macedonia’s Slavic majority population.
        President Gjorge Ivanov has said he will not be voting in the referendum and a boycott campaign has cast doubts on whether turnout will meet the minimum 50 percent required for the referendum to be valid.
        The question on the referendum ballot read: “Are you for NATO and EU membership with acceptance of the agreement with Greece.”
        Supporters of the name change, including Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, argue that it is a price worth paying to pursue admission into bodies such as the EU and NATO for Macedonia, one of the countries to emerge from the collapse of Yugoslavia.
        “I came today to vote for the future of the country, for young people in Macedonia so they can be live freely under the umbrella of the European Union because it means safer lives for all of us,” said Olivera Georgijevska, 79, in Skopje.
        Although not legally binding, enough members of parliament have said they will abide by the vote’s outcome to make it decisive.    The name change would requires a two-thirds majority in parliament.
        The state election commission said there had been no reports of irregularities by 1 p.m. (1100 GMT).    However, turnout stood at only 16 percent, compared to 34 percent in last parliamentary election in 2016 when 66 percent of the registered voters cast their ballot.
        “I came out to vote because of my children, our place is in Europe,” said Gjose Tanevski, 62, a voter in the capital, Skopje.
        In front of parliament in Skopje, Vladimir Kavardarkov, 54, was preparing a small stage and pulling up chairs in front of tents set up by those who will boycott the referendum.
        “We are for NATO and EU, but we want to join with our heads up, not through the service door” Kavadarkov said.    “We are a poor country, but we do have dignity.”
        “If they (NATO and EU) don’t want to take us as Macedonia, we can turn to others like China and Russia and become part of Euro-Asia integration.”     Prime Minister Zaev says NATO membership will bring much needed investment to Macedonia, which has an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent.
        “I believe the huge majority will be in favor because more than 80 percent of our citizens are in favor of EU and NATO,” Zaev said after casting his ballot.
        He said that a “yes” result would be “confirmation of our future.”
        A poll published last Monday by Macedonia’s Institute for Policy Research (IPIS) said between 30 and 43 percent of voters would take part in the referendum – below the required turnout.
        Another poll, conducted by Macedonia’s Telma TV, found 57 percent of respondents planning to vote on Sunday.    Of those, 70 percent said they would vote yes.
        For the referendum to be successful turnout needs to be 50 percent plus one vote.
        A failure in the referendum would represent the first serious blow to policy of the pro-Western government since it took over in May last year.
    (Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Keith Weir)

    9/30/2018 ‘Let’s come together,’ PM May challenges Brexit critics by Elizabeth Piper, Kylie MacLellan and William James
    A man wears a beret designed to resemble the EU flag during an anti-Brexit demonstration
    on the first day of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples
        BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May called on her party on Sunday to unite behind her plan to leave the European Union, making a direct appeal to critics by saying their desire for a free trade deal was at the heart of her Brexit proposals.
        At the start of what is set to be one of the Conservative Party’s stormiest annual conferences, May’s plans were once again attacked by two former ministers, with former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, calling them “deranged.”
        Just six months before Britain is due to leave the EU in the country’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years, the debate over how to leave the bloc is still raging in the center-right Conservative Party, and even in government.
        May’s already fragile leadership was put under further pressure this month when the EU rejected parts of the so-called Chequers plan.    But she put a positive spin on those talks, saying she was ready to consider the EU’s concerns.
        “My message to my party is let’s come together and get the best deal for Britain,” May told the BBC in the central English city of Birmingham.
        “At the heart of the Chequers plan is a free trade deal, a free trade area and frictionless trade … Chequers at the moment is the only plan on the table that delivers on the Brexit vote … and also delivers for the people of Northern Ireland.”
        May has shown little sign of shifting away from her Chequers plan, named after her country residence where she hashed out an agreement on Brexit with her ministers in July, despite growing criticism that her proposals offer the worst of all worlds.
        Johnson, who quit May’s cabinet after Chequers was agreed, called her plans “deranged” and attacked the prime minister for not believing in Brexit.
        He, and the former Brexit minister David Davis, are pushing for a Canada-style free trade deal with the EU – a proposal May says will split Northern Ireland from mainland Britain by making the British province adhere to different customs rules.
        Greg Clark, May’s business minister, said such a trade deal would also hurt businesses by clogging up international supply chains that are crucial to companies, such as car manufacturers.
        But Johnson was unrepentant, keen to portray himself as the defender of a clean break with the EU.
        “Unlike the prime minister I fought for this, I believe in it, I think it’s the right thing for our country and I think that what is happening now is, alas, not what people were promised in 2016,” Johnson, the bookmakers’ favorite to succeed May, told the Sunday Times newspaper.
        Davis, who like Johnson resigned in protest said her plan was “just wrong”, but he added he thought it was 80-90 percent likely that the government would strike an exit deal with the EU.
        May’s team had hoped the party’s conference would give her a platform to renew her pledge to help those people who are “just about managing”, trying to pull the focus away from Brexit and on to a domestic agenda.
        But her first announcement – for an additional levy on foreign home buyers – did little to reset the conversation, with Sunday dominated again with Brexit, a possible leadership campaign and the prospect of an early election.
        A report by a research group suggested Britain’s decision to leave the EU has cost the government 500 million pounds ($650 million) a week, wiping out for the moment any future savings from stopping payments to the bloc.
        Ian Lavery, chairman of the opposition Labour Party, said the Conservatives were “clearly too busy fighting amongst themselves and have neither the ideas nor the desire to offer real solutions to the problems they have caused.”
        Johnson’s interview in the Sunday Times was seen by many in the party to be the start of a campaign to unseat May – something that angered some Conservatives who are critical of the former foreign minister.
        May refused to be drawn on his comments, and did not refer to him by name in a lengthy interview with the BBC.    But her response was sharp.
        “I do believe in Brexit,” she said.
        “But crucially I believe in delivering Brexit in a way that respects the vote and delivers on the vote of the British people while also protecting our union, protecting jobs and ensuring that we make a success of Brexit for the future.”
    (Writing by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Keith Weir)

    9/30/2018 U.S. ambassador accuses China of ‘bullying’ with ‘propaganda ads’ by Tony Munroe
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks to the media in front of his residence in Beijing, China June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
        BEIJING (Reuters) – A week after an official Chinese newspaper ran a four-page ad in a U.S. daily touting the mutual benefits of U.S.-China trade, the U.S. ambassador to China accused Beijing of using the American press to spread propaganda.
        U.S. President Donald Trump last Wednesday referred to the China Daily’s paid supplement in the Des Moines Register – the state of Iowa’s biggest selling newspaper – after accusing China of seeking to meddle in the Nov. 6 U.S. congressional elections, a charge China denies.
        Trump’s accusation that Beijing was trying to meddle in U.S. elections marked what U.S. officials told Reuters was a new phase in an escalating campaign by Washington to put pressure on China.
        While it is normal for foreign governments to place advertisements to promote trade, Beijing and Washington are currently locked in an escalating trade war that has seen them level rounds of tariffs on each other’s imports.
        China’s retaliatory tariffs early in the trade war were designed to hit exporters in states such as Iowa that supported Trump’s Republican Party, Chinese and U.S. experts have said.
        Terry Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to China and the former longtime governor of Iowa, a major exporter of agricultural goods to China, said Beijing had hurt American workers, farmers and businesses.
        China, Branstad wrote in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Des Moines Register, “is now doubling down on that bullying by running propaganda ads in our own free press.”
        “In disseminating its propaganda, China’s government is availing itself of America’s cherished tradition of free speech and a free press by placing a paid advertisement in the Des Moines Register,” Branstad wrote.
        “In contrast, at the newsstand down the street here in Beijing, you will find limited dissenting voices and will not see any true reflection of the disparate opinions that the Chinese people may have on China’s troubling economic trajectory, given that media is under the firm thumb of the Chinese Communist Party,” he wrote.
        He added that “one of China’s most prominent newspapers dodged the offer to publish” his article, although he did not say which newspaper.
    (Reporting by Tony Munroe; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

    10/1/2018 European shares rise as NAFTA deal lifts sentiment by Julien Ponthus
    The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Staff
        LONDON (Reuters) – European shares rose on Monday morning as optimism on the trade war front was lifted by a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, which is helping world markets enter the fourth quarter on a positive footing.
        At 0820 GMT, the euro zone benchmark <.STOXX50E> was up 0.4 percent with most European bourses and sectors trading in positive territory.
        “News overnight of a late agreement between the U.S. and Canada to salvage the NAFTA trade agreement should give a boost to global risk appetite at the start of the fourth quarter,” wrote Peel Hunt strategist Ian Williams, adding the deal “may offer encouragement that the other global trade disputes can settled satisfactorily.”
        Ryanair was the worst performer, down 7.5 percent after it cut its forecast for full-year profit and said there could be worse to come if recent coordinated strikes across Europe continue to hit traffic and bookings.
        The low-cost carrier’s fall weighed on the wider sector <.SXTP> which was one of the only ones in the red, down 0.6 percent.
        Peer Easyjet , Air France-KLM and BA owner IAG were down 4.1 percent, 2.6 percent and 1.4 percent respectively.
        Germany’s Linde posted the highest rise, climbing 6.3 percent after it received approval for its proposed $83 billion merger with Praxair PX.N from the Chinese antitrust authorities.
        French supermarket group Casino was up 0.3 percent after it said it had agreed to sell some property assets for 565 million euros ($655 million) to reduce debt levels that have worried investors.
        Italian banks <.FTIT8300> were up 0.5 percent after suffering their worst fall in about two years on Friday on fears the populist government’s decision to increase its deficit target could threaten the long-term sustainability of its sovereign debt.
        On Sunday, Italian daily La Repubblica reported that the European Commission was set to reject Italy’s budget plans in November and open a procedure against the country’s public accounts.
        The Milan bourse was up 1 percent, making it the best performer among European trading centers, as it rebounded from a 3.7 percent drop on Friday.
    (Julien Ponthus and Danilo Masoni; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

    10/1/2018 Dollar cements gains on growing rate gap bets by Saikat Chatterjee
    FILE PHOTO: A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie", is pictured in this illustration picture
    taken in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo
        LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar consolidated recent gains and held below a near one-month high on Monday as higher U.S. Treasury yields boosted appeal for the greenback while the euro struggled to stay above 1.16 levels on the Italian budget concerns.
        “Relative interest rate differential story is back and that is helping the dollar with U.S. ten-year yields comfortably above the 3 percent levels and the Fed likely to raise interest rates again in December,” said Alvin Tan, a currency strategist at Societe Generale in London.
        The dollar index <=USD> was broadly steady at 95.13 and just holding below a Sept. 10 high of 95.38 hit in the previous session.
        While trade concerns have played a major role in the dollar’s 3.2 percent rise so far this year, an increasingly confident U.S. Federal Reserve has also helped the greenback.
        Elsewhere, the Canadian dollar rallied half a percent against the U.S. dollar on Monday as investors rushed to buy riskier assets after the United States and Canada agreed to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.
        Though other major currencies have recovered some ground against the dollar in recent weeks, JP Morgan strategists said the greenback’s gains against many high beta emerging market currencies will continue to support the dollar.
        Latest weekly positioning data showed that dollar long positions rose in the week ending Sept. 28 to a net long position of $24.8 billion, its biggest since Jan. 2017 as strong U.S. data and higher Treasury yields attracted hedge funds.
        That marks a remarkable turnaround for the dollar this year when short positions in the greenback peaked at nearly $29 billion in April.
        “Appetite for risk-taking is a bit firmer today in the backdrop of the trade deal, though the spotlight will be firmly on U.S. jobs data on Friday, which will indicate whether wage growth has picked up,” said Manuel Oliveri, a currency strategist at Credit Agricole in London.
        Apart from U.S. jobs data on Friday, PMI data will also be closely watched.
        However, the euro struggled to gain much traction as concerns about the Italian budget dogged sentiment.    The single currency was broadly flat around the $1.1608 levels.
        Italian daily La Repubblica reported on Monday that the European Commission was set to reject Italy’s plans to lift its budget deficit to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 and open a procedure against its public accounts in February.
        The proposed deficit is three times the previous administration’s target.
        Sterling was broadly flat as a ruling Conservative Party Conference got underway over the weekend and British finance minister Philip Hammond said the European Union was in the mood to do a divorce deal.
    (Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee, editing by Richard Balmforth)

    10/1/2018 Brent oil hits highest since 2014 before U.S. sanctions on Iran bite by Amanda Cooper
    FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
        LONDON (Reuters) – Brent crude oil hovered close to its highest since November 2014 on Monday, supported by supply concerns before U.S. sanctions against Iran come into force next month.
        December Brent crude futures were up 23 cents at $82.96 a barrel at 1121 GMT, having touching their highest in almost four years at $83.32. U.S. light crude was up 15 cents at $73.40.
        “Saudi Arabia are signaling that they do not have a lot of prompt spare capacity available, or that they don’t have the will to really use it on a proactive basis,” said Petromatrix strategist Olivier Jakob.
        “There’s nothing right now that gives a strong incentive to be a strong seller of the market.”
        Investors have indicated that they see prices rising, loading up on options that give the holder the right to buy Brent crude at $90 a barrel by the end of October.    Open interest in call options at $90 a barrel has risen by nearly 12,000 lots in the past week to 38,000 lots, or 38 million barrels.
        Higher oil prices and dollar strength, which has battered the currencies of several big crude importers, could hit demand growth next year, analysts said.
        But for now the focus is U.S. sanctions on Iran’s energy industry, which come into force on Nov. 4 and are designed to cut crude exports from the third-biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
        Several major buyers in India and China have signaled that they will cut purchases of Iranian oil.    China’s Sinopec <600028.SS> said it had halved loadings of Iranian oil in September.
        “If Chinese refiners do comply with U.S. sanctions more fully than expected, then the market balance is likely to tighten even more aggressively,” Emirates NBD analyst Edward Bell wrote in a note.
        Hedge funds have increased bets on a further price rise.    Exchange data shows the combined net long position in Brent and U.S light crude futures and options at its largest since late July, equivalent to about 850 million barrels of oil.    [CFTC/] [O/ICE]
        U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Saudi King Salman on Saturday on ways to maintain sufficient supply.
        “Even if they (Saudi Arabia) wanted to bend to President Trump’s wishes, how much spare capacity does the kingdom have?” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.
        With about 1.5 million barrels per day of Iranian oil expected to go offline on Nov. 4, prices could “rocket higher with the flashy $100 per barrel price tag indeed a reasonable-sounding target” if investors doubted the Saudis ability to respond with enough extra output, he said.
    (GRAPHIC: U.S. crude oil output, rig count –
    (GRAPHIC: Oil prices in different currencies –
    (Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Editing by David Goodman)

    10/1/2018 UK to send 800 troops to Arctic, citing concerns about Russia
        Britain’s defense secretary says the U.K. plans to boost its military presence in the Arctic next year amid concerns about Russian aggression.
        Gavin Williamson told The Sunday Telegraph that the government is preparing a “defense Arctic strategy” that would deploy 800 commandos to Norway in 2019.

    10/1/2018 ‘Don’t bully us’, Britain takes new combative tone to Brexit talks by Elizabeth Piper and William James
    Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab delivers his keynote address
    to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
        BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Britain cannot be bullied, Brexit minister Dominic Raab said on Monday, sharpening the government’s criticism of the European Union for taunting Prime Minister Theresa May and souring difficult Brexit talks.
        May’s ministers have come out one by one at their party’s annual conference in the city of Birmingham to warn the EU that they will embrace leaving without a deal if the bloc fails to show “respect” in the talks to end Britain’s membership.
        Just six months before Britain is due to leave the EU in the country’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years, May faces growing criticism over her proposals not only in her governing party but also in Brussels.
        Party unity is on ministers’ minds, and they are encouraging the faithful to direct their anger at the EU rather than at their prime minister, who some eurosceptic Conservatives accuse of leading Britain toward a “Brexit in name only”.
        Other ministers, such as finance minister Philip Hammond, have taken a softer tone, pointing out that leaving without a deal could hurt Britain’s economy, the world’s fifth largest.
        But Raab said he had called on the EU to match the “ambition and pragmatism” Britain had put forward with May’s Chequers proposals, named after her country residence where an agreement with her ministers was hashed out in July.
        “Unfortunately, that wasn’t on display in Salzburg,” he said, describing a summit last month in the Austrian city where EU leaders rejected parts of the Chequers plan.
        “Our prime minister has been constructive and respectful.    In return we heard jibes from senior leaders and we saw a starkly one-sided approach to negotiation.”
        “What is unthinkable is that this government, or any British government, could be bullied by the threat of some kind of economic embargo, into signing a one-sided deal against our country’s interests,” Raab said.
        Instead of the much-hoped-for staging post, the Salzburg summit has become a byword for a sharp deterioration in the atmosphere of the talks, when British government officials felt May was ambushed by the other EU leaders over Brexit.
        A tweet by European Council President Donald Tusk showing him offering May a selection of cakes with the comment: “A piece of cake, perhaps?    Sorry, no cherries” “certainly had an impact”, one official said.
        With no divorce deal and a standoff over the shape of any future relationship, the possibility of a “no deal Brexit” has increased, with some businesses preparing for what they see as a worst case scenario.
        “The world is watching,” said Matthew Fell, UK chief policy director at the Confederation of British Industry.
        “Every signal is hugely important in terms of setting the tone.    So the more that people can coalesce around some areas of agreement such as an industrial strategy, innovation and skills would be hugely helpful,” he told Reuters.
        But one source close to the government said there was now a sense that the EU had realized that the tone set in Salzburg was “perhaps a bit off” and, behind the scenes, conservations between the two sides were more constructive.
        Hammond, for one, was keen to pursue a more positive stance.
        After Brexit, Britain and the EU will still “be neighbors and we are going to have to carry on living with each other,” he told the conference, again backing May’s Chequers plan.
        “Mr Tusk says it won’t work.    But that’s what people said about the light bulb in 1878.    Our job is to prove him wrong.”
        But his softer line won less support at the conference than those adopted by Raab, trade minister Liam Fox and foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, who on Sunday compared the EU with the Soviet Union which could turn into a prison from which not only Britain would want to escape.
        It was Raab, winning a standing ovation for his story about his father’s journey from then Czechoslovakia after the Nazi invasion, who summed up Britain’s new combative stance.
        “The EU’s theological approach allows no room for serious compromise,” he said.    “If the EU want a deal, they need to get serious.”
    (Additional reporting by William James, Kylie MacLellan, Michael Holden and Guy Faulconbridge, writing by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

    The following is a comment by myself Jim A. Cornwell regarding the October 1, 2017 when a gunman, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, with 59 deaths, and non-fatal injuries to 851 (422 by gunfire) for a mass shooting, murder–suicide and the news as seen below are having a one-year anniversary.
    10/1/2018 Somber Tributes, Dimmed Lights on Vegas Shooting Anniversary by Ken Ritter and Regina Garcia Cano
        "Today, we are reminded of the pain that never really goes away," Nevada's governor said     "There is something very comforting about being with other survivors (and) family members," she said.
    "It's a very strange club to be a part of."
        Hours earlier, victims' families, survivors and elected officials marked the anniversary of the tragedy by placing roses on a tribute wall and dedicating a downtown memorial garden.
        The dedication ceremony under a cloud-streaked orange sunset drew at least 200 people, including former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, herself a survivor of a 2011 mass shooting.

        On August 3, 2018 I found in the Courier-Journal by Mark Berman August 3 at 2:28 PM Email the author, who wrote the following:
        Nearly a year after a gunman in Las Vegas carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, police say they have concluded their investigation without being able to determine what motivated the massacre.
        The Las Vegas police announced this on Friday, just two months before the first anniversary of the Oct. 1, 2017, attack that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.    Officials said Stephen Paddock fired from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for more than 10 minutes before eventually turning one of his guns on himself.
        In a 181-page report released Friday, police said that while searching for a possible motivation they scoured the gunman’s financial history, explored his movements and actions leading up to the shooting and spoke with his girlfriend, ex-wife, other relatives and his doctor.    After all of that, though, they were still unable to answer the pivotal question that has lingered since the carnage.
        “What we have not been able to definitively answer is why Stephen Paddock committed this act,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a news briefing before the report was made public.
        [‘I’m constantly asking: Why?’ When mass shootings end, the painful wait for answers begins.]
        Even in a country periodically scarred by shootings in schools, movie theaters, churches and offices, the scale of what happened in Las Vegas remains staggering.    Police said that in addition to those killed that night, another 869 people were physically injured, nearly half of them hurt by gunshots or shrapnel.    Scores of other people in the crowd of 22,000 are enduring psychological scars after witnessing such devastation.
        The report includes details about the gunman’s financial status, noting that an FBI analysis found that the amounts in his 14 bank accounts dropped before the shooting.    In September 2015, he had just shy of $2.1 million in his back accounts, a total that declined to $530,000 in September 2017, the report said.
        He had paid considerable amounts to casinos and credit card companies and, while his girlfriend was abroad before and during the massacre, wired $150,000 into her account, investigators found.    One of his last checks — for more than $13,000 — was written to the Internal Revenue Service, where the gunman had worked for a time.
        Lombardo called the gunman “an unremarkable man” who left behind only enough information for people to make educated guesses as to what drove him.    Investigators found that many people described the 64-year-old “as a narcissist [who] only cared about himself,” the report said.    One of the gunman’s brothers said he had mental health issues.    His girlfriend said the gunman claimed he was told by doctors he had a chemical imbalance and also complained doctors couldn’t cure him.    The report quotes the gunman’s doctor as saying he was “odd,” may have had bipolar disorder and accepted prescriptions for anxiety medication but refused anti-depressants.
        His girlfriend, who returned to the United States after the attack, was interviewed by investigators upon her return and said the gunman did not talk about gun control or express any racial bias.    She also said he did not discuss politics besides saying he was unhappy with the Obama administration “and was happy when President Trump was elected,” believing he would “do something to stop illegal immigration,” the report stated.    No other reference to politics is made in the police report.
    [Mandalay Bay hotel owner files lawsuits against Las Vegas massacre victims, saying it has ‘no liability of any kind’]
        While investigators were unable to determine a motive, they did find “certain indicators of intent shown by Paddock,” the report concluded.
        Among those were his reservations for a hotel in Chicago overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival and a reservation during another open-air music festival in downtown Las Vegas.    His girlfriend also noted that during a September 2017 stay in the Mandalay Bay, he was “constantly looking out the windows of the room” overlooking another concert venue.    His Internet search history showed that he had explored open-air concert venues and Las Vegas SWAT tactics.    (Officials also said they found “several hundred images of child pornography” on his computer and that the investigation into the source of those is ongoing.)
        Lombardo described the report as final, though he later referred to it as a “living document” and said new information could arise.    He also reiterated that police believe the gunman acted alone and said that they do not anticipate charging anyone else.
        The FBI, which took the lead in collecting evidence and provided other support to the investigation, also plans to issue its own report discussing the gunman’s psychopathology, Lombardo said.    A spokeswoman for the bureau said that report is set to be released later this year.
        Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo spoke of Stephen Paddock as “an unremarkable man” who left behind only enough information for people to make educated guesses as to what drove him to unleash such horror. (John Locher/AP)
        Police have said before they did not know what motivated the gunman, though at those times the investigation was ongoing.    Authorities have said the gunman spent considerable time preparing for the attack, amassing weapons and ammunition, and sought “to thwart the eventual law enforcement investigation” that would follow.
        While many rampage attackers give some explanations for their violence, the gunman in Las Vegas left behind no manifesto or suicide note, authorities said.    This lack of an answer can gnaw at those who survive such violence, said Megan Greene, who survived the Las Vegas attack.
        “Not knowing is probably the worst part of all of it,” Greene said in an interview earlier this year.
        “The big question is just why, and not having that answer just keeps you in this constant loop of questioning all of the actions of that day.”
    [‘I’m not gonna lay here and just get shot’: Survivors recount the terror and chaos of the Las Vegas massacre]
        Before releasing the report Friday, the Las Vegas police also made public waves of documents, video clips and audio files relating to the shooting in response to a lawsuit filed by media organizations.
        These materials have included body camera footage from officers who entered the gunman’s hotel suite to find him dead, shocked accounts from police responding to the shooting and horrified stories from people who survived.
        Nearly a year later, the shooting continues to reverberate through the lives of those who survived and many others who were affected.    Part of that is playing out in legal proceedings, as MGM Resorts International, which owns the hotel, filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 survivors to argue that it should not face any liability for the attack.
    [The wounds they carry: The aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre]
        As part of the lawsuit, the company is arguing that the shooting should be considered a terrorist attack, which could bolster its case that a federal law passed after the 9/11 attacks should limit its liability.
        The Las Vegas police report issued on Friday said that investigators found “no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate group or any domestic or foreign terrorist organization.”    Lombardo, the sheriff, said he recognizes that determining whether the shooting was terrorism depends on what definition a person uses.    He also added that he had come to his own conclusion.
        “I would personally call it a terrorist act,” he said.
        This report, first published at 1:15 p.m., has been updated.
    Further reading: Las Vegas gunman methodically sought to ‘thwart’ investigation of massacre, FBI says
    ‘The club no one wants to join.’ Mass-shooting survivors find solace in one another.

        I responded to the author as seen below:
    To Mark Berman:
        I read your article and appreciate your clarity of it.
        Ever since the event happened and no one seems to look at the whole picture of why Paddock did this.
        For the last decade persons seem to be doing mass killing for unknown reasons and most began when the Obama administration began and they started the undoing of the ATF [Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] the battle of the Second Amendment has stopped the onslaught of those rights being taken away from us by the Democrats.
        As the Police mostly influenced by Nevada a state that has been very Democratic for years say they have “concluded their investigation without being able to determine what motivated the massacre.”
        “Lombardo called the gunman “an unremarkable man” who left behind only enough information for people to make educated guesses as to what drove him. Investigators found that many people described the 64-year-old “as a narcissist [who] only cared about himself,” the report said. One of the gunman’s brothers said he had mental health issues. His girlfriend said the gunman claimed he was told by doctors he had a chemical imbalance and also complained doctors couldn’t cure him. The report quotes the gunman’s doctor as saying he was “odd,” may have had bipolar disorder and accepted prescriptions for anxiety medication but refused anti-depressants.”
        His girlfriend, who returned to the United States after the attack, was interviewed by investigators upon her return and said the gunman did not talk about gun control or express any racial bias.    She also said he did not discuss politics besides saying he was unhappy with the Obama administration “and was happy when President Trump was elected,” believing he would “do something to stop illegal immigration,” the report stated.    No other reference to politics is made in the police report.
        While investigators were unable to determine a motive, they did find “certain indicators of intent shown by Paddock,” the report concluded.
        Among those were his reservations for a hotel in Chicago overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival and a reservation during another open-air music festival in downtown Las Vegas.    His girlfriend also noted that during a September 2017 stay in the Mandalay Bay, he was “constantly looking out the windows of the room” overlooking another concert venue.    His Internet search history showed that he had explored open-air concert venues and Las Vegas SWAT tactics.    (Officials also said they found “several hundred images of child pornography” on his computer and that the investigation into the source of those is ongoing.)
        Lombardo described the report as final, though he later referred to it as a “living document” and said new information could arise.    He also reiterated that police believe the gunman acted alone and said that they do not anticipate charging anyone else.
        The FBI, which took the lead in collecting evidence and provided other support to the investigation, also plans to issue its own report discussing the gunman’s psychopathology, Lombardo said.    A spokeswoman for the bureau said that report is set to be released later this year.
        The Las Vegas police report issued on Friday said that investigators found “no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate group or any domestic or foreign terrorist organization.”    Lombardo, the sheriff, said he recognizes that determining whether the shooting was terrorism depends on what definition a person uses.    He also added that he had come to his own conclusion.
    I would personally call it a terrorist act,” he said

        I repeated what you wrote because of this investigation no one noticed or commented why he was looking for a specific place to do his massacre and why.    He turned down a music festival probably because the crowd did not fit his purpose in Chicago and as well as other ones, but did not fit his purpose, or a specific group.
        The reason I wrote this is, “What was his purpose in buying so many weapons, many are considered overkill, but it is not hard to see what was going on.    He selected the October festival from 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort because it was a Country Music festival which was packed with country music persons who believed in the Second Amendment the rights to have any kind of weapons, and I believe he had a twisted mind thinking that by killing as many of them he could would affect that right in some twisted way, which was crazy in itself.”
        After all that investigation no one even considered that venue, probably because of their political status.
    Jim A. Cornwell,
    [Noted that it has been a year now and the FBI has not released a final report].

    10/1/2018 President Trump touts ‘historic’ USMCA by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is touting his administration’s new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, calling it a new dawn for the American worker.
        During a Rose Garden address Monday, the president said the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is the largest and most historic trade deal ever made.
        He said the deal will terminate NAFTA, which he criticized as one of the worst trade deals ever made.
    President Donald Trump speaks as he announces a revamped North American free trade deal, in the Rose Garden of
    the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018.    The new deal, reached just before a midnight deadline imposed by
    the U.S., will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.    It replaces the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement,
    which President Donald Trump had called a job-killing disaster. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
        The president argued the USMCA focuses on fairness and reciprocity.    The deal sets new protections for labor, the environment, and intellectual property.
        He added, the deal will close job-killing loopholes, which he says will be a great victory for American farmers, manufacturers and autoworkers.
        Despite the agreement, President Trump confirmed U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will remain in place.
        He plans to sign the deal next month before sending it to Congress for approval.
        [I thought I would add this since the above article seems to take on the USMCA title but then I discovered the following
        About USMCA The U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association was created to grow the sport of motorcycling through quality coaching of new and returning riders.    USMCA Certified Coaches have completed the core content, agreed to uphold the USMCA values and Code of Conduct, passed a national-level background check, knowledge in basic AHA or Red Cross First Aid and CPR, and taken a step towards the management of concussions and how to detect signs for heat illness and cardiac arrest.    Certified Coaches are certified by two board members or have completed an in-field evaluation.
        They have the copyright on "USMCA".]

    10/1/2018 National Trade Council adviser: U.S. is no longer the global piggy bank by OAN Newsroom
        White House Trade adviser Peter Navarro is touting the USMCA, saying the trade agreement shows the U.S. will no longer be “the world’s piggy bank.”
        Navarro made the remarks during an interview Monday, claiming the agreement is good for all three countries involved.
        The trade expert went on to say the U.S. seeks free and fair trade, and when nations bargain fairly deals can be reached.
    FILE PHOTO – Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, and Peter Navarro chat while they wait for
    U.S. President Donald Trump to arrive to make an announcement about new tariffs for steel and aluminum imports
    at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 8, 2018. (REUTERS/Photo/Leah Millis)
        Meanwhile, Navarro also slammed China and accused the country of unfair trade practices.
        “Something’s got to change there because structurally if this global economy is going to go into its faster gear over the next decade, we really have to fundamentally change the way China relates to everybody,” he stated.
        This comes just one day after the U.S. and Canada reached an agreement amid negotiations regarding the USMCA.
        The U.S., Canada and Mexico are expected to sign the trilateral trade deal in November with ratification coming in the following months.

    10/2/2018 Oil was up $2.06 to $75.30, DOW up 193 to 26,651.

    10/2/2018 Nations reach deal to replace NAFTA - But hard work ahead for US, Mexico, Canada by David Jackson and Michael Collins, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and the leaders of Canada and Mexico touted a new trade agreement between the three countries Monday as a historic deal that would benefit workers across North America.
        But the hard work is far from over.
        The agreement, which would replace the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement, must be ratified by all three countries.    The leaders of all three nations are likely to sign the deal by the end of November.
        In the USA, Congress is unlikely to vote on the accord until early next year, when Democrats could hold a slim majority in the House and possibly even control the Senate as a result of the midterm elections in November.
        At a Rose Garden news conference Monday, Trump called the trade agreement “truly historic news” but said he’s “not at all confident” that it will win congressional approval.
        “Anything you submit to Congress is trouble, no matter what,” Trump said, arguing that Democrats “can take the greatest thing ever done and try to make it sound as bad as possible.”
        In Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who argued with Trump over trade in recent months, said the deal “will be good for Canadian workers, good for Canadian businesses and good for Canadian families.”
        Dairy farmers in Canada denounced the deal for giving the United States greater access to Canada’s dairy markets.    Trudeau could have a difficult time selling the pact in Quebec, an important dairy-producing province.
        Regardless, free and fair trade in North America “is in a much more stable place than it was yesterday,” he said.    “We now have a path forward.”
        In Mexico, the trade pact faces a much smoother road to passage even as the presidency changes hands in December.
        “We celebrate a trilateral deal.    The door closes on trade fragmentation in the region,” tweeted Jesus Seade, trade negotiator for Mexico’s incoming president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
        The agreement, announced late Sunday night just before a midnight deadline imposed by the United States, is designed to replace NAFTA, a 25-year-old pact that essentially eliminated tariffs on most goods traded among the three countries.
        The deal, the result of 13 months of negotiations, includes rules for the movement of products between the three countries and even a new name: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
        In a briefing after Trump’s news conference, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the trade agreement would make improvements in a number of areas, including automobiles, labor provisions, intellectual property, access to agricultural markets and a review mechanism.
        The last-minute deal would provide the United States with greater access to Canada’s dairy market, a concession sought by Trump and U.S. dairy producers.    The agreement contains rules requiring that a higher percentage of autos be made from parts manufactured in North America.
        Under NAFTA, automakers can qualify for zero tariffs if 62.5 percent of their vehicles’ components are manufactured in the USA, Canada or Mexico.    That figure would jump to 75 percent under the new deal.    Starting in 2020, 30 percent of vehicle production would have to be done by workers earning an average production wage of at least $16 per hour.    By 2023, that percentage would rise to 40 percent.
        The agreement would run for 16 years but would be reviewed after six years and could be extended for another 16.
        In Congress, the deal received favorable reviews from Republicans.
        House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., applauded the Trump administration for “bringing Canada into the fold to reach a trilateral agreement” and said he looks forward to reviewing the text.
        House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said any trade agreement “must be judged by whether it improves the wages, working conditions and well-being of America’s workers and farmers.”
        Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said NAFTA needed fixing and Trump deserves praise for taking steps to improve it.    But “any final agreement must be judged on how it benefits and protects middle-class families and the working people in our country,” he said.
        One of the Senate’s top Republicans, Sen. John Cornyn, who represents the border state of Texas, said in a statement he was pleased to see the three countries “modernize NAFTA,” saying it’s “a positive step toward maintaining a strong, unified North American economy, and I look forward to reviewing the details.”
    Contributing: John Fritze
    The U.S., Canada and Mexico have reached a new trade deal that leaders from all three countries say will benefit workers across North America. JUDI BOTTONI/AP

    10/2/2018 New Canada trade deal benefits US dairy farmers, Pact to allow more sales of milk, butter, cheese by Rick Barrett Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
        USA TODAY NETWORK - Dairy farmers in states such as New York and Wisconsin will be able to sell more of their milk, butter and cheese to Canada under a new trade pact that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement.
        The two countries will now join Mexico in updating that 1994 accord, which will be renamed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.
        As part of the deal, the U.S. is getting expanded access to Canada’s protected dairy market.
        Canada will ease restrictions on its dairy market and allow American farmers to export about $560 million worth of dairy products to its northern neighbor.    That’s about 3.5 percent of Canada’s total $16 billion dairy industry.
        “This is a very, very big deal for our farmers.    Mexico and Canada will be opened up a lot more than they are now, and I think there will be a better spirit between our three countries, which is important for our farmers,” President Donald Trump said Monday in a speech at the White House.
        Canada will eliminate its so-called Class 7 milk pricing system, which makes it cheaper for the country’s dairy processors to buy certain ingredients domestically.    The system was a big obstacle in the trade talks.
        And market access for the U.S. will exceed Canada’s concessions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.
        Canada will also add an export charge on skim milk products and infant formula, allowing U.S. producers to expand their presence overseas.
        In early 2017, dozens of dairy farms in Wisconsin, the nation’s second-largest dairy producer, were nearly forced out of business when they lost their milk buyer following a trade dispute with Canada.
        Grassland Dairy Products said it no longer would buy milk from those farms because it lost millions of dollars in business when the Canadian dairy industry made it harder for U.S. processors to sell ultrafiltered milk – used to make cheese – in Canada.
        Trump promised to settle that fight, and other agricultural skirmishes, in the NAFTA negotiations.
        “The deal includes a substantial increase in our farmers’ opportunities to export American wheat, poultry, eggs and dairy, including milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream,” the president said Monday.
        “Those products were not really being treated fairly as far as those who worked so hard to produce them, and now they’re going to be treated fairly,” he added.
        Canadian officials said they weren’t to blame.    Instead, they faulted the U.S. for producing too much milk in a global marketplace that was already flooded with the product.
        The new deal also benefits New York, the nation’s third-largest milk producer and the No. 1 producer of yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream, according to the New York Farm Bureau.
        “We have an overall positive look at both the Canadian and Mexico agreement,” said Lauren Williams, senior associate director of national affairs for the state Farm Bureau.    “It’s going to be a positive for New York agricultural, and with the Canadian provisions, it’s going to be a positive for the New York dairy industry.”
        There was no immediate comment from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets about the impact of the trade deal.
        The agreement will help dairy farmers in New York who had been stung by restrictive trade policies with Mexico and Canada, said Bob Wellington, a dairy economist at Agri-Mark Cooperative, which is based in Andover, Massachusetts.
        “The problem was our trade with Canada really put us in a hole about two years ago.    And it looks like that is going to get straightened out,” Wellington said.    “I think very much so it’s going to be a positive.”
    Contributing: Chad Arnold, Joseph Spector of the (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle
    In early 2017, dozens of dairy farms were nearly forced out of business when they lost their milk buyer following a trade dispute with Canada. MICHAEL SEARS/USA TODAY NETWORK

    10/2/2018 Alternative Brexit conference shows threat to UK PM May from party rebels by Alex Fraser
    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the ICC for the third day of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
        BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – A day after Prime Minister Theresa May urged her party to use their annual conference to unite behind her Brexit plans, rebel lawmakers were running out of patience with her decision to proceed with proposals many feel do not make a clean enough break from the EU.
        A few streets away from the main conference venue in the English city of Birmingham, eurosceptic lawmakers told Reuters her so-called “Chequers” plans were dead and that parliament would vote them down.
        “We would be failing to deliver the referendum mandate under the Chequers proposal,” said Priti Patel, a former minister in May’s government, referring to the 2016 referendum in which Britons voted 52 to 48 percent to leave the EU.
        “There can be no halfway house,” she told Reuters.    “We promised the British public that we were going to leave the European Union.”
        With less than six months before Britain is due to leave the EU, there is still no full exit agreement and eurosceptic rebels in her party are threatening to vote down a deal even if May clinches one.
        The fate of May’s government and her Brexit plan is in doubt because it is unclear whether she can command the 320 votes she needs in the House of Commons, the lower house of the British parliament, to approve a deal.
        During the event, billed as the alternative Brexit Advance Coalition Conference, audience members were asked to vote on who would be best to lead the party.
        Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of a faction of Brexit hardliners in May’s party, came top of the poll with 49 percent of the vote in the room. May only received 1 percent.
        Ninety-six percent of those attending said they opposed her plans for leaving the EU.
        “It never ever represented the instructions that the British people gave in the referendum,” said Bill Cash, a veteran Eurosceptic lawmaker.
        Andrea Jenkyns, who resigned from her role within May’s government as a parliamentary private secretary over the summer, said Brexit was now in danger of being scuttled by the government.
        “Our party members don’t want it, the public doesn’t want it, the opposition aren’t going to vote for it, the EU doesn’t want it, so we must chuck Chequers,” she said.
        But lawmakers and members said they do not want a snap election or a replacement for May as prime minister just yet.
        “We are determined not to have another election,” said Daniel Kawczynski, a lawmaker for a region in western England.    “I think it would be the height of folly and irresponsibility to keep going back to the people with more general elections and more referenda.”
        But Kawczynski said if the prime minister refuses to deviate from her plan then he would consult the opinion of his constituents and party members.
        “If she can’t bring along people who are in this audience and people in my association, then of course her position would ultimately be precarious,” he added.
    (Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Stephen Addison)

    10/2/2018 Beyond the rhetoric, Britain, EU preparing to move forward on Brexit by Gabriela Baczynska and Elizabeth Piper
    Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab delivers his keynote address to the
    Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
        BRUSSELS/BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – “Unworkable”, “unacceptable”, “impasse” – the words used to describe Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union do little to temper concerns that the two are heading for a chaotic divorce.
        But behind the scenes, both sides are preparing concessions as part of what one British official called “a constructive dialogue” that could yet lead to a deal.
        Officials and sources on both sides say there is clear will to try to overcome the obstacles to winning a withdrawal deal and agreeing a framework for future ties – a Northern Ireland border and EU-UK trade deal.
        Details are scarce, but the EU is planning to start putting in writing its offer for future trade ties, a demand Britain has pressed after officials felt Prime Minister Theresa May was snubbed at talks in Austria last month.
        Britain has also promised to bring a new proposal to unlock a standoff over preventing the return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, possibly by compromising about regulatory controls on goods in exchange for Brussels embracing the use of technological fixes for customs checks.
        With only six months to go before Britain leaves the bloc, the lack of clarity over the divorce has spooked markets by increasing the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, which both sides say they are working to avoid.
        On Wednesday, May gives a speech to end a fractious annual conference of her Conservative Party, where Brexit rebels did much to undermine her stance of maintaining close ties with the EU.
        On Thursday, Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will be in Brussels for talks with the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
        Senior diplomats in Brussels have been summoned to a Brexit meeting on Friday and Barnier is due to present to them an initial draft of the bloc’s trade proposal soon after, which the EU hopes would woo Britain into more compromises.
        While no new dates have been confirmed for the next round of negotiations between Barnier and British Brexit minister Dominic Raab, several EU diplomats said they expected them to take place in Brussels next week.
        “It must be next week or it’s too late to get anything done within our six week schedule,” one person said, referring to a plan of having a preliminary Brexit deal at the next EU leaders’ summit on Oct. 18.
        The remaining 27 EU states are due to host a summit on Nov. 17-18 to sign off on any agreement with Britain.    Otherwise, they would switch to contingency mode and focus on preparing for a no-deal Brexit in which Britain leaves next March with no agreements in place to mitigate the economic shock.
        British officials have signaled new ideas will come. A focus will be attempts to come to agreement over customs arrangements on the island of Ireland to prevent a return to a hard border that inflamed sectarian differences in the past.
        Raab welcomed Barnier’s suggestion that technology could be used to help resolve the issue after London said it could not accept the bloc’s proposal for Northern Ireland to effectively stay in the EU’s customs union.
        He also said Britain was looking at how regulatory checks on some goods could be used as part of a solution to move Brexit talks, notably on a “backstop deal” for the Irish border, forward.
        London has indicated that it may consider options on regulations on the island of Ireland, noting there are already some different rules for agriculture and food products between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
        But it was not clear whether the government would tolerate such a difference for manufactured goods.
        “We said we would need to retain a UK-wide customs backstop and on the regulatory side of things, we have been clear that we will, as long as we can carry the communities of Northern Ireland with us, we will be open to looking at some of the options on regulatory checks,” Raab said on the sidelines of May’s Conservative Party annual conference.
        The EU hopes a more developed promise of seeking close ties with Britain after Brexit could help May build a majority behind a divorce deal that the bloc insists must include an emergency fix for the Irish border.
        The bloc has decided to flesh out the declaration on post-Brexit ties with Britain a bit more to make the case for Britons more compelling.
    (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

    10/2/2018 On Vegas anniversary, Trump says bump stocks ‘ruled out’
        President Donald Trump says rapid- fire devices like those used in the Las Vegas massacre a year ago will soon be “ruled out.”
    Speaking in the Rose Garden on the anniversary of the attack that left 58 people dead, Trump said his administration is working through the process.    “We are knocking out bump stocks.    I’ve told the NRA.    Bump stocks are gone,” he said.

    10/2/2018 Obama backs more than 200 Democrats ahead of midterms
        Former President Barack Obama is expanding his influence ahead of November’s midterm elections.    On Monday, he released a second slate of endorsements for Democrats running for offices ranging from local to national, bringing the total to more than 300.
        Among the most prominent candidates to win Obama’s support are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York; Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor who is running for governor in Florida; and Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Arizona.

    10/2/2018 Republican convention set for August 2020 in Charlotte, NC
        The Republican National Convention will be held in North Carolina’s largest city in August 2020, and party leaders said Monday that they’ll gather with an eye on nominating President Donald Trump for a second term.
        Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced that the convention will be held in Charlotte on Aug. 24-27.
        Mayor Vi Lyles said Charlotte has a chance to show it can host both major political parties.    The city hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

    10/3/2008 Defense Secretary Mattis: U.S. diplomats doubled in Syria as ISIS nears defeat by OAN Newsroom
        Defense Secretary James Mattis recently announced the increased presence of American diplomats in Syria as the Islamic State’s presence nears extinction.
        Mattis made the remarks at the French defense ministry Tuesday, clarifying the unspecified number of American envoys has doubled.
        He said diplomat efforts are slowly replacing military operations as the ISIS stronghold continues to collapse.
    FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2018, file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks to reporters as he waits for the arrival
    of Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon.(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
        Mattis went on to say peace in Syria remains a priority despite Russian backlash at the United Nations.
        “We are still in a tough fight, make no mistake about it as ISIS has collapsed inward, in their own way they have reinforced the center as they’ve been forced to what now less than two-percent of their original territory that they held,” explained the defense secretary.
        Mattis went on to tout the relationship between the U.S. and France, deeming the “depth” and “richness” of the partnership a “considerable asset.”

    10/3/2018 POLL: President Trump’s approval rating spikes higher than former President Obama by OAN Newsroom
        Democrats may be in for a big surprise this November with President Trump doing well in the polls just one month out from midterm elections.
        On Monday, Rasmussen’s daily poll tracker put support for the president at a solid 48-percent, which is a full three-points higher than Barack Obama had during the same period of his first term.
        The economy continues to be a top factor for voters heading into midterms, which are just five weeks out.    A joint study conducted by Harvard University and the Harris Poll found 57-percent of voters approve of President Trump’s handling of the economy.
        The results are especially important for Republicans, because more Democrats were included in the study’s pool of respondents.
    President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Johnson City, Tenn., Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        While the booming economy under President Trump has long been a focal point of his administration, pollsters predict the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico will shoot these number even higher in the weeks to come.
        The replacement NAFTA deal, called the USMCA, is being touted as a win for workers across the U.S.
        “These measures will support many hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” stated the president.    “This is also a historic win for American manufacturers and American autoworkers who have been treated so badly — we’ve lost so many jobs, over the years, under NAFTA.”
        President Trump’s ability to secure an agreement with Canada may also help bring about a so-called red wave this November by highlighting his ability to get things done while in office.
        In fact, the Pew Research Center found more than 80-percent of Republicans believe the president is a strong leader, who keeps his promises and stands up for what he believes.
        This could be a sign Republicans are motivated to get out and vote in the midterms.

    10/3/2018 Challenging her critics, British PM May embraces Brexit ‘opportunity’ by Elizabeth Piper, William James and Kylie MacLellan
    Delegates queue outside the conference hall prior to the British Prime Minister Theresa May delivering her keynote
    address on the final day of at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples
        BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will tell her Conservative Party on Wednesday the impending divorce from the European Union is an opportunity that opens up a future of promise, assuring the faithful: “We have everything we need to succeed.”
        On the final day of her party’s conference May will take aim at her critics, who accuse her of failing to embrace Brexit and of giving in to the EU.
        The leader’s fragile position has been put under further pressure over the last month after the bloc rejected parts of her so-called Chequers plan and critics have stepped up calls for her to rethink her strategy for Brexit, the biggest trade and foreign policy shift in Britain for more than 40 years.
        But with just six months before Britain is due to leave the bloc, she has so far weathered the Brexit storm, shrugging off a barnstorming speech by her former foreign minister Boris Johnson, which did little to hide his leadership ambitions.
        “I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise,” she will say, according to excerpts of her speech.
        “Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes: we have everything we need to succeed.”
        The words may do little to ease the growing frustration of some Conservatives who openly say their party is directionless, but with Brexit talks entering a critical phase, few of her rivals want the top job just yet.
        Less than an hour before she was due to speak, Conservative lawmaker James Duddridge said he had submitted a letter to the party’s so-called 1922 committee, calling on May to resign.
        Forty-eight lawmakers would need to write such letters to trigger a vote of confidence in the leader.
        “Turns out there is a plan.    That plan is Boris,” Duddridge wrote on Twitter after Boris Johnson’s speech on Tuesday.
        In the speech, Johnson seemed to pull his punches, backing May for now after he made a rallying cry for the party to return to its traditional values and to "Chequers.”
        And her allies were keen to present a united front.
        “I sit in a cabinet that is utterly united in working with the prime minister on the proposals we’ve put forward to the EU,” said David Lidington, her effective deputy.
        John Smeaton, 80, a Conservative member from Somerset in southwestern England, said he was hoping: “She’s going to pull some rabbit out of the hat to make up for the fact that actually she doesn’t appear to be listening to what an awful lot of the members of the party are saying."
        “I feel sorry for her, but I’m not sure feeling sorry for your prime minister is a good place to be,” he said, as he stood near the front of a long queue to get into the main hall where May will speak.
        She will try to address her party’s fears of what some see as a growing threat from the main opposition Labour Party, which staged an upbeat conference last week when its leaders voiced confidence of winning any new election.
        Taking aim at Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, she will say that millions of people are “appalled” by his leftist policies, which include renationalizing rail, mail and utilities and boosting spending on infrastructure and housing.
        “They want to support a party that is decent, moderate and patriotic.    One that puts the national interest first,” she will say.    “i>We must show everyone in this country that we are that party.”
        But it will be her words on Brexit that most will focus on.
        With no agreement with the bloc over the divorce or a future relationship, the last day of the conference marks the beginning of what some officials predict will be a frenzied couple of weeks of diplomacy between London and Brussels as the two sides try to secure a deal to end more than 40 years of partnership.
        May and her team face weeks of difficult conversations with Brussels to win a deal, but she also faces challenges from inside her own party and from her partners in parliament, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
        DUP leader Arlene Foster has used the conference to loudly set out her red lines for Brexit, repeating that she will not accept a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.    “The red line is blood red,” she told the BBC.
        Describing Britain’s divorce as a “moment of opportunity,” May will promise to always act in the “national interest,” a swipe at Johnson, whose alternative proposals for leaving the EU, she says, would tear the United Kingdom apart.
    (Additional reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

    10/3/2018 Italy to cut deficit from 2020 after market sell-off by Giuseppe Fonte
    FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
        ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s populist government will cut its budget deficit targets from 2020, Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said on Wednesday, after investors sold off Italian assets and European Union ministers criticized its plans to jack up spending next year.
        The ruling coalition last week said it planned to run a deficit of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year, tripling the previous government’s target.    It also said that the deficit would stay at that level through 2021.
        The announcement unnerved markets and prompted criticism from European Commission officials but 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio was defiant on Tuesday, pledging not to backtrack “by a millimeter.”
        However, government sources told Reuters on Wednesday the aim now was to reduce the deficit and to no higher than 2.2 percent of GDP in 2020 and 2 percent in 2021, and possibly lower.    Next year’s target remains 2.4 percent of GDP, they said.
        The news sent Italian government bond yields down, and overnight the euro gained against the dollar.    Italian bank stocks <.FTIT8300> jumped by as much as 3 percent, but later settled at a 0.8 percent gain.
        Speaking at a meeting of Italy’s largest employers’ lobby, Tria confirmed that the fiscal shortfall would be put on a downward path after next year.
        “The deficit will increase compared with the previous forecast in 2019, but then there will be a gradual reduction in the following years,” he said, without spelling out what the targets would be.
        Earlier, League leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini had indicated the government was changing tack compared with last week’s stance.
        “The goal (next year) is to get Italians working again and paying taxes as they work and therefore reduce the deficit and debt in the following years,” Salvini said in an interview with private TV broadcaster Mediaset.
        The coalition came to power in June promising to slash taxes and boost welfare spending, and says an expansionary budget next year will boost economic growth and thereby curb Italy’s debt – the largest in Europe after Greece at about 131 percent of GDP.
        President Sergio Mattarella hopes there will be as little deficit spending as possible, but is not trying to dictate numbers to the government, a source close to the president said on Wednesday.
        Italian media have reported Mattarella is exerting pressure on the government behind the scenes to keep public finances under control and avoid a head-on collision with the EU.
        “The majority of the member states will clearly ask and demand that these (EU budget) rules are observed,” Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Loger, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said on Tuesday.
        Italy had previously pledged to Brussels that next year it would reduce its structural deficit, which is adjusted for the economic cycle and excludes one-off factors.
        During his speech to employers, Tria played down the government’s plans to raise deficit spending next year.
        “Even with a deficit goal that takes us further away from the structural adjustment requested by Europe, it doesn’t seem to me that it can be said this government is carefree on spending or that it’s going to blow apart public accounts to keep promises,” Tria said.
        Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is due to meet with key ministers to discuss the budget targets for 2019-2021 at around 1100 GMT on Wednesday, a separate government source said.
    (Additional reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, writing by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Steve Scherer and Jon Boyle)

    10/3/2018 WTO sees tech adding one third to annual trade by 2030
    The World Trade Organization WTO logo is seen at the entrance of the WTO headquarters in Geneva April 9, 2013. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
        GENEVA (Reuters) – Technology and innovation will increase global trade by 1.8-2.0 percentage points annually until 2030, the head of the World Trade Organization wrote in a report published on Wednesday.
        Blockchain, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, 3D printing and other breakthroughs would fundamentally change trade, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said as he launched the report.
        “This is structural, this is here to stay … It is a revolution,” he told a conference at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva.
        “Notwithstanding the current trade tensions, we predict that trade could grow yearly by 1.8 to 2.0 percentage points more until 2030 as a result of the falling trade costs, amounting to a cumulated growth of 31 to 34 percentage points over 15 years,” he wrote in his foreword to the WTO’s World Trade Report 2018.
        That compares with a fall in global trade costs of 15 percent between 1996 and 2014, the report said.
        Global e-commerce transactions were estimated to be worth $27.7 trillion in 2016, of which $23.9 trillion were business-to-business, the report said.
    (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

        But first I would like to remind all that in my file, I made all aware that GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) used the following symbol for decades up to the creation of the WTO (World Trade Organization).    I promoted a section on the December 6, 1999, regarding the "Battle in Seattle." in that file.
        As you see below left from the image was the original for GATT with 10 horns or regions and the 7 heads base supporting them.    So when the WTO formed we thought they would keep the same symbol in the second image to the left.    But they came out with a new image as seen in the middle below and notice that the leopard has changed it's spots in that symbol.    Or is that of a fancy colorful tiger hidden in the background?    It actually looks like the tiger has its claws wrapped around the world.    Well either way it looks like someone or something has a hold of the earth.    In the second image to the right why is only six of the original ten horns are presented is unknown.    And last to the right is the image you can see on the article above which changed some of the colors on it.
    The televised symbol for WTO    The televised symbol for WTOsymbol found at the WTO website    The televised symbol for WTO   

    10/3/2018 Justice Dept. submits bump stock ban to Office of Management and Budget
    by OAN Newsroom
    UPDATED 9:15 AM PT — Tues. Oct. 2, 2018 The Department of Justice moves to ban bump stock devices as the nation marks one-year since the Las Vegas massacre. One America’s Adonis Albright has the details as an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

    10/3/2018 U.S. cancels 1955 treaty with Iran by OAN Newsroom
        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared an end to a little known 1955 treaty with Iran amid heightened bilateral tension. Pompeo made the announcement Wednesday, saying the cancellation is “39 years overdue.”
        This comes after the International Court of Justice (ICJ), referred to as the World Court, issued a ruling demanding U.S. sanctions targeting Iran not interfere in humanitarian aid or civil aviation.

        Pompeo went on to slam the decision, citing it as a loss for the Islamic Republic and its “baseless requests.”
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018.
    Pompeo has announced that the U.S. is canceling a 1955 treaty with Iran establishing economic relations and consular rights between the two nations. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
        “Iran is attempting to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions necessary to protect our national security, and Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes and their case, as you can see from the decision, lacked merit,” he stated.
        Iran claims the U.S. decision to withdraw from the 2015 Nuclear Deal breached the decades-old treaty.
        Though the World Court issued its rulings, it has no power to enforce the decisions.

    10/3/2018 Pompeo says Iran is origin of threat to U.S. missions in Iraq by Lesley Wroughton
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the State Department in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran on Wednesday for threats to American missions in Iraq and said the United States was terminating a treaty of amity with Tehran, which is the target of increasing U.S. sanctions over its missile programs.
        “Iran is the origin of the current threat to Americans in Iraq,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department days after he announced the closing of the U.S. consulate in the Iraqi city of Basra.
        “Our intelligence in this regard is solid.    We can see the hand of the ayatollah and his henchmen supporting these attacks on the United States.”
        The United States announced on Friday it will effectively close the consulate in Basra and relocate diplomatic personnel assigned there following increasing threats from Iran and Iran-backed militia, including rocket fire.
        On Wednesday, the World Court ordered the United States to ensure that sanctions against Iran, due to be tightened next month, do not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.
        Judges at the International Court of Justice handed a victory to Tehran, which had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump violate the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries.
        Washington responded by pulling out of the treaty, a little- known agreement that was signed long before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that turned the two countries into archenemies.
        Pompeo said the United States should have pulled out of the treaty decades ago.
        “Today marked a useful point, with the decision that was made this morning from the ICJ, this marked a useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the treaty of amity between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
        He added: “We’re disappointed that the court failed to recognize that it has no jurisdiction to issue any order relating to these sanctions measures with the United States, which is doing its work on Iran to protect its own essential security interests,” Pompeo said.
        Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the court’s decisions “proved once again the Islamic Republic is right and the U.S. sanctions against people and citizens of our country are illegal and cruel.”
        Pompeo said the United States would work to ensure it is providing humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people and accused Iran of squandering money it could use on its own people.
    (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)

    10/3/2018 Merkel begins visit to Israel with Iran, Palestinians on agenda
    FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting
    at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
        JERUSALEM (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel began a visit to Israel on Wednesday, with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among issues on the agenda in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
        Merkel and Netanyahu did not make any statements after her arrival in Jerusalem.    They were due to hold talks after dinner at the prime minister’s official residence but most of the business will take place on Thursday.
        Merkel and ministers accompanying her begin with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and will hold other meetings during the day before returning to Germany in the evening.
        Germany has remained party to the Iran nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbing its atomic program, after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May.
        But speaking in Amman, Jordan in June, Merkel said European countries shared concerns over Iran’s ballistic missile program and called for solutions to its “aggressive tendencies” in the Middle East.
        Netanyahu has repeatedly warned against Iran’s nuclear ambitions and has said he would prevent the Islamic Republic entrenching in Syria and arming Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and supporting Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
        The Palestinians have tried to get Merkel to persuade Israel not to raze a Bedouin encampment in the occupied West Bank.    Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with a German diplomat on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
        Media reports said Merkel had threatened to cancel the visit if Israel were to raze Khan al-Ahmar, a ramshackle camp housing 180 residents.    Earlier this month, Israel’s Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for eviction after lengthy litigation.
        Children at the encampment held posters of Merkel on Tuesday and appealed to her to help block Israel’s plans.
    (Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Writing by Ori Lewis)

    10/3/2018 Peru annuls ex-leader Fujimori’s pardon and orders his capture
    FILE PHOTO: Former President of Peru Alberto Fujimori attends a trial as a witness at the navy base
    in Callao, Peru March 15, 2018. Picture taken through a window. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo
        LIMA (Reuters) – A Peruvian judge on Wednesday annulled a presidential pardon granted to former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori late last year and ordered his immediate capture and return to prison.
        Fujimori, 80, had been cleared of convictions for human rights abuses by former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Christmas Eve, three days after Kuczynski narrowly survived an impeachment vote with the help of Fujimori’s supporters.
        News cameras waited outside the sprawling house in Lima where Fujimori has been living since becoming a free man, less than halfway into a 25-year sentence for commanding death squads that massacred civilians under his 1990-2000 right-wing government.
        Fujimori’s lawyer and his daughter, opposition leader Keiko Fujimori, said in broadcast comments that Fujimori would appeal the decision.
        Kuczynski had cited Fujimori’s ailing health for the pardon, saying he did not want a former president to die in prison.
        But the pardon has been widely seen as part of a political deal and the family members of the victims of the death squad killings argued it had been granted illegally.
        “This re-establishes the right to justice for the family members of the victims,” said Carlos Rivera, an attorney for family members of the victims.
        Kuczynski, who turned 80 on Wednesday, resigned due to a graft scandal in March and is now under investigation by public prosecutors in connection with Fujimori’s pardon.
        Alejandro Aguinaga, Fujimori’s doctor, said on local broadcaster Canal N that Fujimori was at home but could not move because of a cardiac problem.
    (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes, Writing By Mitra Taj, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Tom Brown)

    10/3/2018 Exclusive: EU considers trade sanctions on Myanmar over Rohingya crisis by Robin Emmott and Philip Blenkinsop
    FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugee women hold placards as they take part in a protest at the Kutupalong refugee camp
    to mark the first anniversary of their exodus in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/File Photo
        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is considering trade sanctions on Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis, potentially stripping the country of tariff-free access to the world’s largest trading bloc, three EU officials said.
        The sanctions, under discussion at the European Commission, would include Myanmar’s lucrative textile industry and potentially put at risk thousands of jobs there but would not come into effect immediately, giving the EU leverage to stop what the West says is ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingya.
        Even by triggering a six-month review process on whether to impose trade sanctions, which could be reversed if Myanmar met humanitarian and democratic targets, the bloc would mark a significant shift in policy.
        The impetus for the move was a U.N. report in August, which accused Myanmar’s military of carrying out killings of Rohingya with “genocidal intent.”    That, and the rare U.S. step of putting sanctions on two entire military units, have put an onus on the European Union to act, officials said.
        “We are concerned about the impact on the population from our potential measures, but we cannot ignore a U.N. report describing the military campaign as genocide,” said one EU official of the debate within the European Commission, the EU executive responsible for the bloc’s trade policy.
        Until now, the EU has imposed travel bans and asset freezes on several members of the Myanmar military, but has shied away from slapping sanctions on Myanmar’s commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who the United Nations said should be prosecuted along with five others for genocide and crimes against humanity.
        Myanmar has rejected the U.N. findings as “one-sided.”    It says military action which followed militant attacks on security forces in August last year was a legitimate counterinsurgency operation.
        Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay did not answer telephone calls seeking comment on the possible EU move on Wednesday.    He said last month he would no longer speak to the media over the phone, only at a biweekly conference.
        EU officials believe the formal threat of losing tariff-free access would quickly hit foreign investment in the apparel industry, where European manufacturers take advantage of relatively low labor costs in Myanmar.
        “Removing this duty-free access is a measure of last resort, but we must act if other measures are not delivering,” said one EU official involved in the discussions.
        “In light of the deteriorating situation on the ground, the Commission is currently assessing possible ways of escalating its political and economic response,” a Commission source said.
        European firms sourcing apparel from Myanmar include retailers Adidas, C&A, H&M, Inditex, Next and Primark. Rights groups say the targeted EU sanctions so far have not forced the military or civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to protect civilians, resettle refugees or stop attacks on press freedoms that have included the imprisonment of two Reuters reporters for breaching a law on state secrets.
        The European Parliament last month called for the Commission to review Myanmar’s trade preferences.
        Within the Commission there are differences, with the EU Trade Chief Cecilia Malmstrom leaning toward starting the process of imposing trade sanctions while the EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini is more cautious because of EU policy to avoid economic sanctions that can hurt ordinary citizens, the officials said.
        Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has yet to take a position, they said.    A Commission spokesman declined to comment.
        Myanmar’s exports to the European Union were worth 1.56 billion euros ($1.81 billion) in 2017, nearly 10 times their value in 2012, after which the bloc gave Myanmar “Everything But Arms” trade status.
        That status means it can sell any goods tariff-free to the bloc, except weapons.    The EU is Myanmar’s sixth-largest trading partner and an important source of foreign direct investment.
        Myanmar’s clothing industry is its top export earner after oil and gas, generating more than $2 billion in exports and 450,000 jobs last year, according to industry association MGMA.
        Trade sanctions would end an economic opening granted to support Myanmar’s transition to democracy after Suu Kyi emerged from 15 years of house arrest under military rule and led her party to take both the parliament and the presidency.
        One more limited option for the EU could be to exempt textiles, an official said, but given the size of the sector, that would significantly reduce the impact of EU sanctions.    Clothing and footwear are worth more than three-quarters of Myanmar’s exports to the bloc.
        Both the United States and the European Union want to spur economic development to underpin democracy and diminish China’s influence.    Crushing the economy with trade sanctions could allow China to dominate Myanmar, officials said.
        Washington imposed sanctions on four military and police commanders and two army units in August.    New sanctions are under consideration for half a dozen other individuals and at least two military-run businesses, U.S. officials have said.
        A U.S. State Department report released last week accused Myanmar’s military of waging a “well-planned and coordinated” campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities against the Rohingya, but stopped short of calling it genocide or crimes against humanity.
        Senior State Department officials told Reuters, however, that those findings could be used to justify further targeted U.S. sanctions or other punitive measures.
        There appears to be little U.S. appetite, though, for re-imposing broad economic sanctions lifted by former President Barack Obama as the country shifted from decades of direct military rule toward a democratic transition.
        Some European companies have already cut business with Myanmar, with Cartier stopping purchasing gemstones from the country on Dec. 8, 2017, citing abuses against the Rohingyas.
    (Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels and Antoni Slodkowski in Yangon and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Giles Elgood)

    10/3/2018 Bolton calls U.N. world court ‘politicized,’ U.S. to limit exposure
    U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton answers a question from a reporter about how he refers to Palestine
    during a news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is taking steps to avoid exposure to binding decisions by the International Court of Justice, the U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday as he accused the U.N. court of being “politicized and ineffective.”
        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier on Wednesday said that Washington was terminating a treaty of amity with Tehran, after the International Court ordered the United States to ensure that sanctions against Iran, due to be tightened next month, did not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation.
        The ICJ, based in The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the United Nations’ venue for resolving disputes between nations.
        There have been mounting concerns among U.S. allies about the Trump administration’s commitment to multilateralism.
        In the nearly two years since being elected, President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from a nuclear agreement between six powers and Iran, pulled out of a global climate accord, left the U.N. cultural agency, and threatened NATO military allies that the United States would “go its own way” if members did not spend more on defense.
        Wednesday’s ruling by the International Court handed a small victory to Tehran, which had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the Trump administration violated the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries.
    Bolton, citing what he called “Iran’s abuse of the ICJ,” said that the United States would withdraw from the “optional protocol” under the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.
        “We will commence a review of all international agreements that may still expose the United States to purported binding jurisdiction, dispute resolution in the International Court of Justice,” Bolton said on Wednesday.    “The United States will not sit idly by as baseless politicized claims are brought against us.”
        The decision to withdraw from the optional protocol follows a complaint brought by the Palestinians in September, which challenged Washington’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
        The Vienna Convention is an international treaty setting out diplomatic relations between states.    It is often cited as a means to provide diplomatic immunity.
        In 2005, the Bush administration took issue with the ICJ after it ruled that the execution of a Mexican national in Texas breached U.S. obligations under international law.
        The Palestinians argued that the U.S. government’s placement of its embassy in Jerusalem violated an international treaty and that it should be moved.
        “This really has less to do with Iran and the Palestinians than with the continued consistent policy of the United States to reject the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, which we think is politicized and ineffective,” Bolton said.
        He added: “I’d like to stress the United States remains a party to the underlying Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and we expect all other parties to abide by their international obligations under the convention.”
        Palestine was recognized by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 as a non-member observer state, though its statehood is not recognized by either Israel or the United States.
    (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Roberta Rampton; Additional reporting by Tim Ahmann; editing by Susan Thomas and Leslie Adler)

    10/4/2018 Oil up $1.18 to $76.41, DOW up 54 to 26,828

    10/4/2018 US ends pact with Iran after UN court ruling - Sanctions can’t affect humanitarian imports by Kim Hjelmgaard and Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the United States is canceling a relatively obscure but decades-old economic treaty with Iran after a sanctions- related ruling by the United Nations’ highest court.
        Before the second phase of Washington’s reimposition of sanctions on Iran next month over its nuclear program, the U.N. International Court of Justice (ICJ), based in the Hague, Netherlands, ordered President Donald Trump’s administration to lift any punitive measures that affect Tehran’s imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to civil aviation safety. The ruling was provisional.
        Iran challenged the U.S. sanctions in a case filed in July on the grounds that they violate the 1955 Treaty of Amity, an agreement covering economic relations and some reciprocal consular rights.
        “This is a decision that is, frankly, 39 years overdue,” Pompeo said in a news briefing in Washington.    He said Iran tried to interfere with the “sovereign rights of the United States” by going to the ICJ.    “Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda causes,” he said.    He said Iran’s claims to the court are “absurd.”
        Washington has long insisted that its sanctions do not target humanitarian goods or services, but the sanctions it imposed on Iran after Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran and world powers in May restrict Iran’s ability to use the international banking system – that, in turn, has affected its imports of essential medicines and consumer goods.    It has also pressured international companies operating in the Middle Eastern country.    Many have wound down their operations in recent months.
        In its judgment, the court said Washington must “remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from” the reimposition of sanctions that affect exports to Iran of medicine and medical devices; food and agricultural commodities; and spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation.
        Iran has an aging civilian aircraft fleet for which it’s unable to acquire spare parts, and it has seen numerous airplane crashes in recent years.
        Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based research institute, said the “U.S. sanctions already have a humanitarian exemption for food, medicine and agriculture commodities – an exemption the mullahs (Iran’s religious leaders) often use to make money on the black market while denying the Iranian people access to humanitarian goods.”
        Goldberg was a senior Senate aide who helped develop the Iran sanctions returning.    He strongly favored pulling out of the nuclear deal.
        “As for civil aviation, perhaps the court should be better educated on how Iran misuses its civil air fleet to ship arms to terrorist organizations,” he said.
        Pompeo said the United States “will continue to make sure we are providing humanitarian assistance” to the Iranian people.
        “Outlaw regime,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter, reacting to the U.S. decision to leave the treaty.
        The next installment of U.S.-sponsored sanctions on Iran is due Nov. 4.    It will target Iran’s lucrative oil industry.    Sanctions reinstated in August clamped down on Iran’s access to U.S. dollars, its car industry and trading in some commodities.
        Neither Wednesday’s ruling nor the termination of the treaty is likely to have significant impact on the Trump administration’s implementation of the sanctions.    The International Court of Justice’s rulings are legally binding, but the court has no power to enforce them.
        Still, Farshad Kashani, an international law expert, wrote in an analysis in 2016 of the now-terminated treaty that it has been “vital to defusing flashpoints between the two otherwise hostile nations. ... It is a great benefit that there is an agreed mechanism in place to help resolve disputes when diplomacy proves futile.”
        Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, called the U.S. decision rash and illconsidered.    “Rather than take the humanitarian concerns of the international community with U.S. sanctions on Iran seriously, the U.S. impetuously withdrew from a treaty aimed at solidifying friendly relations between the American and Iranian peoples,” Abdi said.
        Pompeo escalated his criticism of Iran’s role in
        He said Iran was to blame for a mortar attack near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and a rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in Basra.    The State Department announced last week it would close the Basra facility.
        “Iran is the origin of the current threat to Americans in Iraq,” Pompeo said Wednesday.    “i>Our intelligence in this regard is solid.”
        Pompeo said the United States would hold Iran “directly responsible for any harm to Americans or our diplomatic facilities, whether perpetrated by Iranian forces or by associated proxies.”
        Iraqi officials urged the United States on Wednesday to reconsider its decision to close the Basra consulate, and they cast doubt on Pompeo’s assertions of Iran’s influence in that region.
        Pompeo argued that the attacks in Iraq were linked to the Trump administration’s reimposition of sanctions and America’s efforts to isolate Iran after the U.S. withdrawal from the multilateral 2015 nuclear agreement.
        “Clearly, they see our comprehensive pressure campaign as serious and succeeding,” he said.
        Hjelmgaard reported from London.
    People line up at a currency exchange in Tehran.    Sanctions have limited access to U.S. dollars.    A U.N. court ruled they can’t interfere with essentials. AP

    10/4/2018 U.S. Defense Secretary says Russian violation of arms control treaty ‘untenable’ by Idrees Ali and Robin Emmott
    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis during a NATO
    defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that Russia’s violation of an arms control treaty was “untenable” and unless it changed course the United States would respond.
        The United States believes Russia is developing a ground-launched system in breach of a Cold War treaty, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), that could allow Moscow to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice.    Russia has consistently denied any such violation.
        “Russia must return to compliance with the INF treaty or the U.S. will need to respond to its cavalier disregard to the treaty’s specific limits,” Mattis told a news conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
        “The United States is reviewing options in our diplomacy and defense posture to do just that.    Make no mistake: The current situation, with Russia in blatant violation of this treaty, is untenable,” Mattis said.
        He declined to give details on the possible U.S. response.
        The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty bans medium-range missiles capable of hitting Europe or Alaska and ended a Cold War-era crisis, when the Soviet Union installed nearly 400 nuclear warheads pointed at western Europe.
        NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Moscow had developed a missile known as Novator 9M729, which analysts say is similar to Russian short-range, sea-launched missiles but can fly between 500 km to 5,500 km (310-3,420 miles).
        Mattis’ comments are likely to worsen relations between Moscow and the West, already at a post-Cold War low over Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea, its bombing campaign in Syria and accusations of meddling in Western elections.
        While the United States has called for Russia to come back into compliance with the INF treaty for several years, Mattis’ comments come just days after Washington’s envoy to NATO said Russia must halt its covert development of the banned cruise missile system or the United States would seek to destroy it before it becomes operational.
        U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Tuesday Washington remained committed to a diplomatic solution but was prepared to “take out” any Russian missile if development of the medium-range system continued.
        The Russian foreign ministry reacted by saying Hutchison’s comments were dangerous.    Hutchison clarified that she was not talking about a preemptive strike against Russia.
        The top U.S. general in Europe said the United States needed to make strong statements on Russia’s violation.
        “We also will take the steps necessary to ensure that we don’t have any gaps in a credible defense and deterrence posture,” General Curtis Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander, told reporters during the NATO meeting.
        A recent U.S. State Department report found Russia had violated obligations “not to possess, produce, or flight-test” a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km (310-3,420 miles), “or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”
        Earlier this year, the U.S. military said in a new national defense strategy that countering Russia, along with China, would be a priority.    The move reflects shifting U.S. priorities after more than a decade and a half of focusing on the fight against Islamist militants.
        The Pentagon’s nuclear policy document released in February said that in response to Russia’s violation, the United States would start reviewing its own options for conventional, ground-launched, intermediate-range missile systems.
        Kingston Reif, the director for disarmament research at the Arms Control Association advocacy group, cautioned that if the United States also abandoned the INF treaty, it would allow Russia to potentially station hundreds of missiles near Europe.
        Any new U.S. missile system would also be politically difficult to station in Europe as no NATO ally would want to host it, he said.    “Attempting to force it upon the alliance would be incredibly divisive.    It is thus a weapon to nowhere.”
    (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Gareth Jones)

    10/4/2018 New British proposal for Irish border ‘step in right direction’: EU source by Gabriela Baczynska
    FILE PHOTO: A Brexit sign is seen between Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and Londonderry in Northern Ireland
    at the border village of Muff, Ireland, February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – New British proposals for avoiding extensive border checks on the island of Ireland after Brexit are “a step in the right direction” and “make finding a compromise possible,” a European Union source close to the negotiations told Reuters on Thursday.
        Brexit talks are entering a frenzied fortnight designed to produce an EU divorce deal with Britain and a blueprint for future ties.
        Avoiding erecting an elaborate border between EU-state Ireland and Britain’s province of Northern Ireland after Brexit is the main potential deal-breaker.
        Britain wants to regulate the border through a broad agreement on post-Brexit trade ties with the EU.
        The bloc says an emergency fix – or “backstop” – is needed in case these broader trade talks fail or take longer after Britain leaves the EU next March and the status-quo transition period runs its course at the end of 2020.
        Both sides are readying concessions on the Irish backstop.
        Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Thursday Dublin was not aware that Britain had tabled its planned formal new “backstop” proposal.
        EU diplomats and officials have also said they have not seen any formal new written text from London.    But the comment suggesting the EU would engage with the new proposal taking shape in London sent the pound rising against the dollar.
        EU diplomats and officials described the emerging new proposal under which Britain would agree to an indefinite backstop solution, something missing in London’s previous proposal rejected by the remaining 27 EU states last June.
        But Britain would stick to its line that, in case a backstop is triggered, the whole of the United Kingdom would stay in a customs union together with the EU.    That would mean having the same external tariff on some goods, as the EU currently has with Turkey.
        Under the British proposal described by EU sources, that would remove the need for customs checks on goods and agriculture on the island of Ireland.
        The EU has previously had an issue with that as it fears Britain could use the special access of Northern Ireland to the bloc’s single market to push goods that would not have to conform with high EU norms and could hence be sold cheaper.
        For the other type of checks, the regulatory ones, Britain would agree to simplified, light controls on goods going from the British mainland to Northern Ireland that would be carried out away from the actual border as much as possible, according to EU sources describing the emerging proposal.
        That, in turn, is a difficult one for Britain where Prime Minister Theresa May’s government relies on the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which vehemently opposes differing rules on its soil from the rest of the United Kingdom.
        “This is a step in the right direction, it makes finding a compromise possible,” one EU source close to the negotiations told Reuters.
        Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar arrives in Brussels to meet European Union officials later on Thursday.
    (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

    10/4/2018 Treasury Dept. Blacklists 12 Firms Over N. Korea, Hezbollah Ties by OAN Newsroom
    FILE – In this Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, file photo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks
    during a news briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
        The Treasury Department blacklists several entities over their alleged business with North Korea and terror group Hezbollah.
        In a statement Thursday, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said it slapped sanctions on 12 people and companies.
        These include Turkish based weapons dealer SIA falcon a North Korean diplomat and a Lebanese national.
        The national is accused of being a shadow bookkeeper who ran seven companies in Lebanon to launder money for Hezbollah terrorists.
        The Treasury said this latest action is a warning against violations of previous U.S. sanctions.

    10/4/2018 Pres. Trump Signs New Anti-Terrorism Strategy With Focus On Ideology by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to Minnesota to attend a fundraiser,
    and a campaign rally, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        President Trump updates America’s counter-terrorism strategy for the first time since 2011.
        The president signed the new anti-terror strategy Thursday.
        The new strategy focuses on taking action against terror groups’ funding and tracing terrorists back to their strongholds.
        The document says today’s terror threats are more diverse and include both shia groups, as well as nation states like Iran.
        White House officials said President Trump’s new strategy won’t require additional resources and will improve the efficiency of America’s anti-terror policies.

    10/5/2018 Oil down $2.08 to $74.33, DOW down 201 to 26,628

    10/5/2018 Key senators react positively to FBI report - Flake and Collins say the inquiry seems thorough by Deborah Barfield Berry, Eliza Collins and Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – Two pivotal Republican senators in the debate over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court made initially positive comments Thursday on an FBI background investigation of the nominee, raising the chances of his confirmation.
        A procedural vote on the Kavanaugh nomination was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EDT.    If it passes, it could pave the way for a final vote as early as Saturday.
        Republican leaders scheduled the vote after senators viewed a highly anticipated FBI report into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh that had been sent to Capitol Hill.
        Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who was instrumental in persuading Senate leaders to move forward with the FBI investigation last week, said the report.
    High court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of sexual assault. AP
    showed “no additional corroborating information” to suggest Kavanaugh committed sexual assault.
        Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, indicated that she did not share Democrats’ concerns that the FBI report was incomplete and inconclusive.
        “It appears to be a very thorough investigation, but I’m going back later to personally read the interviews,” Collins said.
        Flake said he agreed with Collins that the report was thorough.    Flake and Collins are swing votes who could make or break Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.    They didn’t say how they would vote.
        Republicans hold 51 seats in the Senate, and every other GOP senator except Flake, Collins and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has come out in support of President Donald Trump’s nominee.    If there is a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence would break it in favor of Kavanaugh.
        Murkowski’s spokeswoman, Karina Peterson, said the senator hadn’t finished the report, “so she doesn’t know if it is thorough enough.”
        The FBI’s report could sway swing votes on the other side of the aisle.
        Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., one of two Democratic senators who were on the fence about Kavanaugh, said she would vote against him.    Heitkamp faces intense pressure over her vote because she’s running for re-election this fall in a state Trump won in 2016.
        Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a second key Democrat vote, had not viewed the FBI’s investigation as of Thursday afternoon and was undecided.
        The FBI investigated accusations by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school 36 years ago.    The agency looked into allegations by Deborah Ramirez that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dorm party while they were students at Yale University. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations.
        Only one copy of the FBI report was sent to Capitol Hill based on a 2009 bipartisan memorandum that Republican leaders said was guiding their handling of it.
        Republican Senate leaders and White House officials said the FBI report revealed no evidence of wrongdoing.
        Democrats said the White House tied the FBI’s hands, so agents could not conduct a thorough investigation.    They were especially upset that the FBI did not interview Kavanaugh or Ford.    According to the FBI, nine witnesses were interviewed for the report, and neither the nominee nor Ford was among them.
        “Candidly, what we reviewed today in a very limited time ... looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation that was limited, perhaps by the White House, I don’t know,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
        Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the FBI’s report found “no hint of misconduct,” and he declared, “It’s time to vote.”
        “There’s nothing in (the report) that we didn’t already know,” Grassley said.    “These uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations.”
        Attorneys for Ford wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday, saying eight witnesses that the FBI never interviewed are willing to talk to agents about information relevant to Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh.
        Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he disagreed with Grassley’s statement that there was “no hint of misconduct.”    Schumer did not elaborate during a news conference Thursday morning.
        White House officials said they stand behind Kavanaugh’s nomination and are confident he will be confirmed.
        Spokesman Raj Shah said the FBI did comprehensive interviews of nine witnesses.    He did not provide names.    A 10th witness was contacted, but it is unclear whether this person submitted to a full interview.    Shah said, “I can’t outline the details of the background investigation,” but he indicated that nothing in the documents disqualified Kavanaugh.
        He said privacy laws prevent the White House from making the report public.
        Trump tweeted Thursday morning that the “harsh and unfair treatment” of Kavanaugh is mobilizing voters for the midterm congressional elections.
    Contributing: Erin Kelly, Christal Hayes, David Jackson, Maureen Groppe and Ronald B. Hansen, The Arizona Republic
    Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., could make or break Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court bid. SHAWN THEW/EPA-

    [As seen below the LAWLESS ONES respond in an editorial] 348 sign anti-Kavanaugh letter to senators
        To Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul: Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s aggressive behavior and partisan outbursts during the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing revealed a temperament that disqualifies him from being named to the U.S. Supreme Court.     It would be a tragedy for that disgrace to spread to the nation’s highest court.
        The women of Kentucky urge you to reject Brett Kavanaugh as associate justice for our U.S. Supreme Court.
        Honi Marleen Goldman and Bobbi Jo Webber.

    10/5/2018 Senate to hold cloture vote on Kavanaugh by OAN Newsroom
        The Senate has officially begun deliberations on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and are preparing to hold a cloture vote.
        Senate lawmakers convened Friday morning and are set to hold a vote to end debate on the Supreme Court nominee’s nomination.
    The U. S. Supreme Court building stands quietly before dawn in Washington, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
    The U.S. Senate will start the process of voting on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Supreme Court Associate Justice today. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
        This comes after Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans released an executive summary of the FBI’s report late Thursday.    The bureau interviewed 10 people with “firsthand knowledge of the allegations.”
        After reviewing this information, GOP senators maintain there is no corroboration of the claims made by both Dr. Christine Ford and Debra Ramirez.
        “These allegations have not been corroborated, none of the allegations have been corroborated by the seventh FBI investigation, not in the new FBI investigation, not anywhere.” — Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader
        If Republicans get the votes they need Friday, a final vote on Kavanaugh will be held Saturday.
        In the meantime, a plane will be on standby for Republican Senator Steven Daines in case his vote is needed to confirm Kavanaugh.    The Montana senator flew home to attend his daughter’s wedding.

    10/5/2018 A disciple of Brazil’s dictatorship moves closer to the presidency by Brad Brooks
    FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, shows a doll of himself
    during a rally in Curitiba, Brazil March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rodolfo Buhrer/File photo
        SAO PAULO (Reuters) – In 1993, Congressman Jair Bolsonaro strode to a podium in Brazil’s lower house and delivered a speech that shook its young democracy: He declared his love for the country’s not-so-distant military regime and demanded the legislature be disbanded.
        “Yes, I’m in favor of a dictatorship!” Bolsonaro, a former Army captain, thundered at fellow lawmakers, some of whom had joined guerrilla groups to battle the junta that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985.    “We will never resolve grave national problems with this irresponsible democracy!
        On Sunday, Brazilians will cast ballots in a presidential election that could elevate Bolsonaro to the head of the world’s fifth most populous country.    A political gadfly who has flitted through nine minor parties in a 27-year career, his views have changed little since that day in the capital of Brasilia.
        But his jeremiad message – that Brazil is a dysfunctional basket case that needs an iron-fisted ruler to restore order – is resonating with Brazilians dispirited by the nation’s soaring crime, moribund economy and entrenched political corruption.
        Violent criminals?    Bolsonaro says shoot them all.    Political enemies?    Them too.    Corruption?    A military coup will drain the swamp if the judicial system won’t, he says.    The economy?    Bolsonaro wants to privatize state-run companies to keep politicians away from the till.
        The 63-year-old is surging.    He leads a crowded field of 13 candidates heading into the first round of elections on Oct. 7 with 35 percent of likely votes, according to the latest survey by polling firm Datafolha.    If no candidate wins a majority, the top two vote-getters will go head-to-head on Oct. 28.    Pollsters give Bolsonaro a roughly 30-percent chance of winning the race outright this weekend; some say privately his chances might be even better than that.
        If there is a second round, Bolsonaro’s opponent is likely to be Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers Party. Datafolha shows them tied in a potential runoff.
        Many Brazilians are sounding alarms about Bolsonaro’s autocratic views and those of his vice-presidential running mate, recently retired Army general Hamilton Mourao, who says Brazil’s Constitution can be torn up and rewritten without input from citizens.
        Then there are the federal hate speech charges leveled against Bolsonaro for his racist, homophobic and misogynist rants.    His highlight reel includes a spat with a congresswoman whom Bolsonaro said was not attractive enough for him to rape.
        Bolsonaro’s campaign did not respond to Reuters’ requests for an interview.
        But supporters insist that tens of millions of Brazilians are silently rooting for Bolsonaro, even if some will not admit it to friends or pollsters.
        Brazilians from all walks of life applaud his vow to make life miserable for armed gangs that have made them prisoners in their own homes.    Many welcome his promise to loosen gun laws so average citizens can protect themselves.    Business people like his recent embrace of free-market economics.
        Young people are enthralled by his caustic put-downs of rivals on social media.    Polls show Bolsonaro is performing well with female voters, despite being labeled a misogynist by many.
    Evangelical Christians, who comprise a quarter of the electorate, are particularly enamored of Bolsonaro, a Catholic who has promised to rid schools of sex education, derail gay rights and thwart any attempts to loosen strict abortion laws.    Some see his recent survival of a near-fatal knife attack on the campaign trail as a sign that Bolsonaro, whose middle name Messias means “Messiah,” was sent by God to lead them.
        Others view him as the only option to prevent the return to power of the Workers Party, or PT, whose founder, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, is serving a 12-year prison sentence for graft and money laundering.
        Teenager Gilson Barbosa Silva, who hails from a tough district of Sao Paulo, says his disgust with the PT is such that he will begrudgingly vote for Bolsonaro, a member of the Social Liberal Party.
        “The options are depressing … (but) he is the only fresh option,” the heavily tattooed 18-year-old said.
        Carlos Melo, a political scientist with Insper, a leading Sao Paulo business school, said Bolsonaro has deftly capitalized on polarization that has deepened with Lula’s downfall.
        “The roots of his support are in the political radicalization that has flourished in Brazil,” Melo said.    “Jair Bolsonaro is a symbol of this transition.”
        Some pundits call Bolsonaro a “Tropical Trump” because of his large social media following, pugnacious demeanor and multiple wives.    Steve Bannon, the U.S. president’s campaign guru, has likewise advised Bolsonaro.
        But longtime political observers of Brazil – where full democracy has been the exception to a succession of authoritarian regimes in the last century – say Bolsonaro is a unique creation raised in the long shadow of the country’s most recent dictatorship.
        Bolsonaro celebrated his ninth birthday just days before the 1964 coup.    The son of an untrained dentist, he opted for the military and in 1977 graduated from the Black Needles Military Academy, Brazil’s equivalent of West Point.
        His Army career was undistinguished.    Bolsonaro landed in the brig for a couple of weeks in 1986 after a Brazilian news magazine published his complaints about paltry military pay.    But his words tapped into widespread discontent among rank-and-file soldiers.    He parlayed that support into a seat on Rio de Janeiro’s city council in 1988, then a spot in Congress two years later.
        Bolsonaro’s legislative achievements are thin: He has authored just two bills that became law.    Still, he has never been tarnished by corruption.
        Now, after nearly three decades in politics, Bolsonaro is riding a tsunami of voter frustration that may carry him to the presidency.
        Brazil is still hobbling from its worst recession in decades; 13 million are unemployed.    Crime has exploded and drug violence has touched every corner of the country.    Last year saw nearly 64,000 murders, the most on record.    The epic bribery investigation that jailed Lula exposed a pay-to-play political culture of staggering proportions.
        Disgust with Brazil’s leaders is palpable.    Only 13 percent of Brazilians are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with democracy overall, according to the most recent annual poll by Latinobarometro, a Chilean think tank.
        That toxic environment has Bolsonaro’s backers, much like U.S. voters who sent Donald Trump to the White House, hoping he will be a walking grenade that explodes the system from within.
        “If he can lessen graft and get rid of the old, corrupt foxes who rule our political system, then four years from now we will have more candidates who put Brazil’s interests above their own,” said Raphael Enohata, a 26-year-old graduate engineering student at the University of Sao Paulo.    “He is just the beginning of the transition we want.”
        Drug gangs are also high on Bolsonaro’s hit list.
        “We cannot treat criminals like normal human beings who need to be respected,” Bolsonaro said in August.    He said law enforcement should pump suspects with “10, 15 or 30” bullets each, then “be given awards” for their efforts.
        A few days later at a rally, Bolsonaro grabbed a cameraman’s tripod and mimicked shooting a rifle.    “We are going to gun down all these Workers Party supporters!” he shouted as the crowd cheered wildly.
        His campaign said it was a joke.    But Bolsonaro is serious about what he sees as his destiny.
        “God called me to this race,” he said upon accepting his party’s nomination.    “My mother gave me the middle name Messiah.    But I alone will not be the savior of the Brazil.    Who will save it is all of us, together.”
    (Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Marla Dickerson)

    10/5/2018 EU negotiators see Brexit divorce deal ‘very close’: sources by Gabriela Baczynska
    FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags opposite the Houses of Parliament,
    in London, Britain, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s Brexit negotiators see a divorce deal with Britain as “very close”, diplomatic sources said, a signal that a compromise might be in the making on the most contentious issue of the future Irish border.
        The EU signaled on Thursday it was engaging with new proposals emerging in Britain on avoiding extensive Irish border checks after Brexit, a potential deal-breaker in the unprecedented talks to end Britain’s four decades in the bloc.
        A member of EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s team told a briefing with national diplomats in Brussels late on Thursday that a divorce deal with Britain was “very close”, according to two sources at the meeting.
        Their comments sent sterling to a 10-week high versus the euro.
        The two sides are trying to push the divorce deal as well as an agreement on post-Brexit relations above the line in time for two leaders’ summits scheduled for Oct. 17-18 and Nov. 17-18.
        Under the plan in the making, the EU would get assurances that the emergency Irish border fix would be indefinite, while Britain would get its way in having all of the United Kingdom – rather than just Northern Ireland – stay in a customs union with the bloc should the border ‘backstop’ be triggered.
        Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, speaking in Brussels on Thursday, has stressed no new proposals have been made on paper and that they should come well ahead of the EU summit in less than two weeks to leave enough time for analysis.
        Sources in Brussels say the devil is in the detail.
        Such a compromise would leave the EU worrying that Britain could use Northern Ireland’s special access to the bloc’s single market to sell cheaper goods that would not adhere to labor, environment and other standards.
        The bloc worries that London would use whatever special trade fix is agreed for Northern Ireland as a building block for the overall future trade relationship to win an unfair competitive edge.
    CANADA +++
        One senior EU diplomat said the bloc could seek to attach additional conditions to any such agreement but they have not yet been specified.
        For Britain, the problem is agreeing to checks on goods and livestock with Northern Ireland, something the province’s Democratic Unionist Party – on which British Prime Minister Theresa May relies to govern – strongly opposes.
        Britain’s Brexit ministry said on Friday London’s new proposals on the Irish border would preserve the integrity of the United Kingdom.
        While the EU is pushing London on the Irish conundrum, the 27 states remaining in the bloc are also fleshing out their proposal of future ties with Britain.    A member of Barnier’s team was due to present his outline to 27 EU ambassadors in Brussels later on Friday.
        The chairman of EU leaders, Donald Tusk, on Thursday said a “Canada +++” was on offer, meaning an advanced free trade agreement coupled with close security ties and tight cooperation on global affairs, among others.
        Another senior EU diplomat said the EU would propose “zero tariffs and zero quotas” in trade with Britain after Brexit, which would go beyond what the bloc has with Canada.
        Such a proposal goes down well with May’s critics at home who advocate a more uncompromising cut from the EU than she is seeking.    For the bloc, however, the Irish emergency break would still be an essential part of any such offer.
        Any deal between May and fellow EU leaders must be endorsed by both the EU and British parliaments, another hurdle to clear to avoid the most damaging scenario of Britain leaving the bloc with not much in place to mitigate the economic shock.
    (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Sarah Young in London, Jan Strupczewski in Brussels; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

    10/5/2018 ECJ to hear case on whether UK alone can reverse Brexit on Nov. 27: source
    FILE PHOTO: An anti-Brexit demonstrator waves flags outside the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, September 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
        EDINBURGH (Reuters) – The European Court of Justice has set a Nov. 27 date for a hearing to decide whether Britain’s parliament can unilaterally change its mind on Brexit, a legal source told Reuters.
        “We have our hearing on November 27 at 9am” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.    “This shows the ECJ is moving at breakneck speed on this case.”    No one at the ECJ was available to comment.
    (Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary in Edinburgh and Jan Strupczewski in Brussels; editing by Stephen Addison)

    10/5/2018 Russia deployment of S-300 in Syria risks military escalation: France
    FILE PHOTO: People watch S-300 air defense missile systems launching missiles during the Keys to the Sky competition
    at the International Army Games 2017 at the Ashuluk shooting range outside Astrakhan, Russia, August 5, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo
        PARIS (Reuters) – Russia’s deployment of the S-300 anti-aircraft defense system in Syria risks fuelling military escalation and hindering prospects for a political solution to the seven-year conflict, France’s foreign ministry said on Friday.
        Moscow said on Tuesday it had delivered the surface-to-air missile system after the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian forces in September.    Russia accused Israel of being indirectly responsible for that act because the Syrian forces had been firing at attacking Israel jets.
        “France notes with concern the delivery by Russia of sophisticated anti-aircraft capabilities for the benefit of the Syrian regime,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von Der Muhll told reporters in an online briefing.
        “Amid regional tensions, the delivery of such equipment by Russia contributes to maintaining the risk of military escalation and removing the prospect of a political settlement of the Syrian crisis,” she said.
    (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Luke Baker)

    10/5/2018 Panama loses WTO claim to trade sanctions on Colombia
    FILE PHOTO: The logo of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its headquarters
    next to a red traffic light in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
        GENEVA (Reuters) – A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel on Friday rejected Panama’s claim for $210 million annual sanctions on Colombia for non-compliance with a previous ruling against tariffs on clothing, textile and footwear imposed by Bogota to target alleged “money laundering
        Panama won a judgment at the WTO in 2016 after complaining about Colombian tariffs on textiles, clothes and shoes.    Colombia, which had imposed the high tariffs because it said the goods were imported at artificially low prices in order to launder money, had until Jan. 22 2017 to comply.
    (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tom Miles)

    10/5/2018 McConnell and Schumer square off before Kavanaugh procedural vote by OAN Newsroom
        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the actions of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have tarnished the dignity of the upper chamber.
        While speaking on the Senate floor Friday, the Kentucky senator called out Democrats for their partisanship and for not giving Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt in the face of allegations against him.
        He went on to say the judge is stunningly well qualified to be on the court.    McConnell asked senators to put principles before politics and vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
        “We know the Senate is better than this.    We know the nation deserves better than this.    By confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, this brilliant jurist will be charged with upholding the rule of law and honoring American justice.    We must hold ourselves to that very same standard.” — Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Photo/Reuters)
        On the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Kavanaugh of being skeptical of abortion rights and executive accountability.
        He also asked the president to withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination and nominate someone else.
        The senate voted 51-to-49 to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to a floor vote.

    10/6/2018 Oil down $0.01 to $74.34, DOW down 180 to 26,447

    10/6/2018 Nomination advances - Confirmation all but assured for Brett Kavanaugh
        Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was among a handful of publicly undecided senators in the spotlight Friday as the White House and Republican leaders tried to round up enough votes to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In a 40-minute-plus speech, she said the nominee deserves a presumption of innocence against sexual assault allegations. She concluded: “I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.” The Senate voted 51-49 Friday to advance the nomination, and Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed Saturday.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. ALEX BRANDON/AP

    10/6/2018 Kavanaugh headed for confirmation in Senate - Collins, Manchin voice support, making ‘yes’ vote virtually assured by Eliza Collins, David Jackson, Deborah Berry and Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – Republicans appeared to have enough votes to narrowly confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after Sen. Susan Collins said Friday that the nominee deserves a presumption of innocence against sexual allegation charges.
        “It is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy,” Collins said on the Senate floor in announcing she will back the nomination.    “I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.”    After speaking for more than 40 minutes, she concluded: “I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
        Minutes later, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin – the only Democrat to vote with Republicans to end debate hours earlier – announced he will vote for confirmation in Saturday’s expected vote.
        Manchin and Collins were among a handful of publicly undecided senators in the spotlight Friday as the White House and Republican leaders tried to round up support for Kavanaugh after a rocky few weeks of explosive allegations, dramatic hearings, public protests and impassioned defenses.
        Collins sided with Republicans in the 51-49 vote to end debate.    But she waited for hours to announce whether she would also vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
        As Collins rose to speak, backed by Republican women sitting behind her, protesters started chanting.    “Vote No!    Show up for Maine women!” they shouted before being escorted out.
        Retiring Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, the other senator who had been wavering, said before Collins’ speech that he will vote to confirm Kavanaugh unless something significant changes.
        Manchin, up for re-election in a state President Donald Trump carried by 42 points, announced his final decision in a statement in which he said his heart goes out to any sexual assault victim.
        “I have reservations about this vote given the serious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh and the temperament he displayed in the hearing,” Manchin said.    “However, based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed FBI report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him.”
        If Manchin had opposed Kavanaugh, the Senate would split 50-50, and Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote.    The Senate is split with 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
        “Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting ‘YES’ to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!” Trump tweeted.
        The final vote is not just a chance for Republicans to shift the court to the right for what could be decades but also a test of how public officials respond to the raw emotions unleashed by allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh as part of the #MeToo movement.    A main reason Republicans voted for Trump – to put conservatives on the court – is also at stake, as is control of Congress in the midterm elections.
        Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican to vote against advancing the nomination, called it one of the most difficult decisions of her career.    “I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man,” she said after the vote.    “But it just may be that, in my view, he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”
        She was noticeably absent from the floor when Collins spoke.    But behind Collins sat three other female Republicans, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.
        “We went to support her,” Ernst said.    “She did a wonderful job.    I’m very proud of the diligence she put into it.”
        Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. – who had lunched with Collins before her speech – and GOP Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, turned their chairs entirely around to watch Collins.    As it became clear she was going to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, Democrats began to slump in their chairs, and a handful of people watching in the press gallery walked out.
        At the conclusion of her remarks, Republicans gave her a standing ovation as Collins mouthed “thank you” repeatedly.    Then Republicans, one by one, shook her hand or hugged her.    No Democrats approached.
        Manchin had headed before the vote to the secure basement room inside the Capitol complex to continue reviewing the 46-page FBI report on Kavanaugh and charges of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez.    Reporters pounced, asking Manchin if he’d made up his mind.    He said he hadn’t.
        Collins and Flake had seemed satisfied Thursday with the report.
        Murkowski later told reporters she made up her mind as she walked into the chamber Friday morning.
        “This has truly been the most difficult evaluation of a decision that I’ve ever had to make, and I’ve made some interesting ones in my political career,” she said afterward.
        An opinion piece Kavanaugh wrote Thursday in The Wall Street Journal was meant to reassure senators who’d expressed concern about his temperament after his angry testimony last week, two officials familiar with the process said.    But the American Bar Association said Friday that it’s reopening its evaluation of him because of “new information of a material nature regarding temperament.”    The review will not be done before the final vote.    Republicans – including Collins in her speech Friday – have touted the ABA’s previous “well qualified” rating of Kavanaugh as the “gold standard.”
        Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote that Kavanaugh’s nomination “will go down as one of the saddest, most sordid chapters in the long history of the federal judiciary.” Contributing: David Jackson, Richard Wolf
    Judge Brett Kavanaugh appears to have the votes to take a seat on the Supreme Court. ANDREW HARNIK/AP

    10/6/2018 Pompeo goes to North Korea under pressure to show progress
        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed off Friday for his fourth trip to North Korea.
        He faces pressure to produce tangible progress on convincing the country to get rid of its nuclear weapons as President Donald Trump seeks a second summit with leader Kim Jong Un.
        Pompeo is on a three-day tour of East Asia that will also take him to Japan, South Korea and China.

    10/6/2018 Unemployment rate falls to a nearly 50-year low by Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
        Unemployment fell to a nearly 50 year low in September even as employers added a disappointing 134,000 jobs amid increasing worker shortages and possible effects from Hurricane Florence.
        The unemployment rate fell from 3.9 percent to 3.7 percent, the lowest since December 1969, the Labor Department said Friday.
        Economists had estimated 185,000 new jobs were created last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.
        Goldman Sachs expected the hurricane to reduce employment by 33,000 in the Carolinas.    But Morgan Stanley said the storm likely affected too limited of an area and struck too late during the week of Labor’s survey to have a meaningful impact.    Workers are counted as employed as long as they show up for any part of their pay period.
        Yet employment in leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels and restaurants, fell 17,000 last month, suggesting the storm was a factor.
        “The headline payroll number is a weather story,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note to clients.
        The number of workers across the country who stayed home because of weather increased by 276,000 last month on a not seasonally adjusted basis, compared with a median 7,000 rise over the past 10 September jobs report, said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist of High Frequency Economics.
        Still another wrinkle is that Labor tends to undercount September employment in its initial estimate and revise it up later, O’Sullivan said.
        On the positive side, payroll increases for July and August were revised up by a total 87,000.    July’s gain was raised from 147,000 to 165,000 and August’s from 201,000 to 270,000.    That largely offsets September’s showing.
        Meanwhile, businesses are having a harder time finding qualified job candidates.    Many analysts expect the crunch to slow hiring in the months ahead despite strong economic growth.
        And a new Trump administration tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports – along with China’s retaliation against U.S. imports – took effect last month, hitting many consumer goods.    That has dinged business confidence and could curtail hiring.
        So far, job growth has been surprisingly strong this year despite the hurdles, averaging about 200,000 a month, up from 182,000 in 2017.
        Market reaction: There were enough positives in the jobs report, such as the continued decline in the unemployment rate and upward revisions of jobs created in July and August, to push long-term bond yields up again to fresh seven-year highs and pressure stocks.    The 10-year Treasury closed at 3.24 percent, its highest level since May 2011.
        “The sharp rise in bond yields has investors concerned,” said Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management in New York.
        Investors fear that interest rates will keep climbing higher and begin to slow economic growth.
        Stocks sold off for a second consecutive session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 180 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 26,447.    The Dow slid nearly 201 points Thursday when the 10-year government bond yield initially hit a seven-year high.
    Contributing: Adam Shell

    10/6/2018 Brazil’s polarized election enters last day of campaigning by Anthony Boadle
    A supporter of Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is seen next to an inflatable doll, also known as
    Pixuleco, depicting former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in front of Bolsonaro's condominium at Barra da Tijuca
    neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
        BRASILIA (Reuters) – Candidates began their last day of campaigning on Saturday for Brazil’s most polarized presidential race in decades that could elect a far-right former army captain who promises to crack down on corruption, ease gun laws and defend Christian family values.
        Front-runner Jair Bolsonaro, 55, has surged on widespread anger over rising crime, a drifting economy and the prospect of the leftist Workers Party returning to power.
        His closest rival is Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party, whose leader is in jail for receiving bribes.
        Final opinion polls on Saturday will show whether Bolsonaro has enough support to win the election outright on Sunday.    If no candidate gets a majority, the race will go to a second-round run-off between the two top vote-getters on Oct. 28.
        Bolsonaro, who is recovering from a near-fatal stabbing at a rally one month ago, appealed to Brazilians to vote for him in a live Facebook feed for his home on Friday night.
        He asked them to give him a majority to avoid a second vote, which some polls have shown his leftist challenger winning.
        Haddad’s support relies on the popularity of his mentor, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was barred from running due to a corruption conviction.    Haddad will campaign on Saturday in Bahia state in the northeast of Brazil where Lula is still a hero because his government did much to relieve poverty.
        About 26 percent of voters say they have yet to decide who to vote for, according a Datafolha poll released on Thursday.    It showed outright victory by Bolsonaro was still possible but not likely.
        “We will accept the result whatever it is, there should be no doubt of that,” Bolsonaro said.
        The assurance was aimed at calming fears he would call for a military coup if he lost.    Bolsonaro, who is backed by a group of retired generals, said last week he would only accept victory.
        A Bolsonaro government would speed up the privatization of state companies to reduce Brazil’s budget deficit and relax environmental controls for farming and mining.    It would also block efforts to legalize abortion, drugs and gay marriage.
        In an interview published on Friday by the newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo, one of the candidate’s top economic advisers said Bolsonaro would push ahead with privatizing state power firm Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, or Eletrobras.
        However, former army General Oswaldo de Jesus Ferreira pledged to keep state oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, in government hands.
        Hydroelectric dam projects on the Tapajos river in the Amazon basin that were stopped due to environmental concerns would be discussed again, Ferreira said.
        But he said the expansion of soy, corn and sugar cane plantations would not be allowed in the Amazon region, where environmentalists say deforestation is on the rise again.
    (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

    10/6/2018 Merkel calls for end to conservative in-fighting to halt poll slide by Andreas Rinke
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures as she delivers remarks following her meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
        KIEL, Germany (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that the conservatives must end their in-fighting to reverse slides in the polls before two regional elections this month.
        Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party have struggled to maintain a united front on immigration policy and the fate of the scandal-hit domestic intelligence agency.
        Polls indicate the CSU will lose its absolute majority in the Bavarian parliament in an election in the southern state on Oct. 14, bleeding support to the ecologist Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
        Support for Merkel’s CDU is also projected to fall, to around 29 percent, in an election in the state of Hesse two weeks later.    The party won 10 percentage points more in the election five years ago in Hesse, where it governs with the Greens.
        “I know that through our dispute we have contributed to making the polls look as they do,” Merkel told the CDU/CSU youth wing in a speech in the northern city of Kiel.    “Voters don’t appreciate it if we argue and they don’t even understand what we’re arguing about.”
        Merkel’s authority has been waning since an inconclusive election in September last year that produced the worst result for her conservatives since 1949.
        Her first attempt to form a government with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) was unsuccessful, forcing her to turn to the center-left SPD to secure a fourth term.
        She had to make painful concessions to the SPD, including ceding the prized finance ministry, to get the party to reverse its decision to be in opposition and join the government as coalition partners.
        She has since faced calls from her own party to name a successor.
        The CDU/CSU youth wing on Saturday demanded a constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms that a chancellor can serve to three.
        Merkel rejected this idea, saying it would breach the constitutional rights of lawmakers to have the freedom to vote for any chancellor candidate they want.
        Merkel’s coalition has been lurching from one crisis to another.
        In the summer, CSU leader and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer brought the government to the brink of collapse with a threat to turn back migrants at the border with Austria if they had already applied for asylum elsewhere in the European Union.
        Seehofer’s hardline on immigration has not helped his to CSU reverse a slide in support in Bavaria, the main gateway for migrants coming to Germany.
        Voters in the wealthy state appear to be unimpressed with his anti-immigration rhetoric.
        Those opposed to Merkel’s decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to some one million, mainly Muslim asylum seekers, are turning to the AfD.
        Yet others are leaving the CSU for the Greens, who are projected to become the second-biggest party in Bavaria on Oct. 14.
        Seehofer, the loudest critic of Merkel’s liberal immigration policies, on Saturday ruled out giving up his post as CSU leader after the election, vowing to stay on until the end of his term next year.
        Asked by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper if he would stay, he said: “Of course! I have a big project to complete.”
    (Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

    10/6/2018 EU’s Juncker upbeat on Brexit agreement, no-deal not an option by Kirsti Knolle
    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit
    during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegria
        VIENNA (Reuters) – The European Union and Britain will reach a deal on Brexit in November if they do not do so this month, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told Austrian newspapers.
        Juncker, whose optimism was echoed on Saturday by European Council President Donald Tusk, said that the potential for a rapprochement had grown in recent days, confirming what diplomatic sources have told Reuters.
        EU Brexit negotiators believe a deal with Britain on leaving the bloc is “very close”, the sources said, in a sign a compromise on a major sticking point – the future Irish border – might be in the making.
        “We are not there yet.    But our will to reach an understanding with the British government is unbroken,” Juncker was quoted as saying by Der Standard and Kurier and Der Falter.
        EU Brexit negotiators told ambassadors of the 27 states remaining in the bloc on Friday that there was no breakthrough on the Irish issue and much would depend on what the British bring to Brussels next week.
        Britain is due to leave the EU in March, but talks on managing the unprecedented split have been stalled over differences on how to avoid border checks between EU-member Ireland and Britain’s province of Northern Ireland.
        “We have to get away from this no-deal scenario.    It wouldn’t be good for Britain or for the rest of the (European) Union,” Juncker was quoted as saying.
        Britain’s Brexit ministry said on Friday that the country’s integrity would be preserved as part of any deal and that there would be no new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK unless the province’s executive agree.
        “We will continue to work at pace to conclude these negotiations in the autumn,” a British government spokesperson said on Saturday.
        Britain and the EU are trying to push for the divorce deal, as well as an agreement on post-Brexit relations, in time for two leaders’ summits scheduled for Oct. 17-18 and Nov. 17-18.
        “My assumption is that we will reach an accord which will achieve the conditions of the withdrawal treaty,” Juncker said, adding that it was not possible to predict whether there will be a conclusion to the Brexit negotiations in October.
        “If not, then we will do it in November.”
        Tusk also said it was possible to agree a deal with Britain on leaving the European Union by the end of 2018.
        “I have hope close to certainty that we will manage to reach an agreement both on exit and on best possible future relations … I hope that it will be possible to avoid major losses on both sides,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in Krakow, Poland.
        “We will try for it in October … and I think there is a chance to have an accord by the end of the year,” he added.
        Juncker told the Austrian papers that a political declaration on future relations between Britain and its former European partners was needed to accompany the Brexit deal.
        “You can’t absolutely keep separate the withdrawal treaty and the declaration of the future relationship between the United Kingdom and Europe,” he said.
    (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Additional reporting by Wojciech Zurawski in Krakow and Andy Bruce in London; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alexander Smith)

    10/6/2018 Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh as new Justice to the Supreme Court by OAN Newsroom
        It’s official, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, and will become the next Supreme Court Justice to sit on the bench.
    FILE – In this July 26, 2018, file photo, Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
        Kavanaugh was confirmed by a vote of 50 to 48, the closest vote for a Supreme Court Justice in several decades. Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has been stalled for weeks by Democrats, who tried to derail his nomination with allegations of sexual misconduct.
        However, Republicans — with the exception of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski — voted in favor of the longtime judge, noting his judicial expertise on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
        He now joins the other Justices on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Stomayor, Elena Kagan, and Neil Gorsuch.
    Protesters occupy the U.S. Capitol steps before a Senate vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation Saturday. ERIK S. LESSER/EPA-EFE
        And of course the Democrats sent persons into the Gallery to try to disrupt the voting of the Senate, and Vice President Pence had to have the Sergeant at Arms to maintain control in the Gallery at least 10 times.

    10/6/2018 U.S. farmers reportedly hit hard by trade dispute with China by OAN Newsroom
        Dairy farmers express concern, as trade tensions between China and the U.S. begin to effect America’s agriculture sector.
        China rolled out 25 percent tariffs on a number of goods — including dairy products — in July, following the enactment of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum goods.
    In this Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, right,
    visits a farm in Jiansanjiang in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province. Xi was on an inspection tour of the region as China
    has slapped tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports and looked to increase farming self-sufficiency amid a growing trade war with the United States. (Xie Huanchi/Xinhua via AP)
        U.S. farmers were hit hard by the recent penalties, and have urged the administration to make de-escalating the trade dispute with china a top-priority.
        Wisconsin’s governor spoke out on how the issue effects local farmers, during the World Dairy Expo in the state.    “I’ve, over the years, have said no matter what happens in Washington, as long as governors and state delegations are visiting places from Mexico to Canada to China to the UK, to other places around the world, that shows we’re interested in trade.” – Scott Walker (R) Wisconsin governor.
        Beijing had been the third largest market for U.S. dairy prior to the move.
        The U.S. exported almost $600 millions worth of dairy products to china just last year.

    10/7/2018 Scotland’s Sturgeon says her party likely to vote against Brexit deal
    Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at the inauguration of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC)
    off Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain Sep 7, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
        LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she could not expect her Scottish National Party (SNP) lawmakers to vote for any likely current format of a Brexit deal when it is put before parliament.
        Sturgeon told the BBC she expected British Prime Minister Theresa May to reach a “cobbled-together” deal to leave the European Union which parliament would be expected to rubber stamp with no details.    Such an outcome would be unacceptable, she said.
    (Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary and William James; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

    10/8/2018 Brazil’s far-right presidential candidate works on a coalition by Rodrigo Viga Gaier
    Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL),
    casts his vote in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 7, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
        RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – The main political adviser to Brazil’s far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said he will work Monday to stitch together alliances with individual lawmakers to ensure a runoff victory for the former Army captain.
    Congressman Onyx Lorenzoni said he was making good on Bolsonaro’s campaign pledge to end a system of horse-trading between party leaders in Brazilian politics, blamed for endemic corruption as past leaders wielded vast patronage in exchange for legislative support.
        Lorenzoni said Bolsonaro’s team was targeting individual lawmakers in parties opposed to the Workers Party (PT) and its presidential candidate Fernando Haddad – including those in parties whose leaders do not yet support the right-winger.
        Bolsonaro nearly won the presidency in Sunday’s first-round vote, taking 46 percent of votes against Haddad’s 29 percent.    A runoff is required under Brazilian law if no candidate wins a majority.    The second ballot is on Oct. 28.
        “We’ll speak with anybody who wishes to talk with us now, which is interesting because many of them did not want to have a dialogue with us before the first-round vote,” Lorenzoni said.
        He expressed confidence that Bolsonaro would easily win the presidency later this month, saying that many who voted for other candidates on Sunday want to block the PT, which held the presidency from 2003 to 2016, from returning to power.
        Bolsonaro’s popularity has surged as Brazilians, exasperated with a political system that orchestrated what prosecutors call the world’s largest political graft schemes, see him as the best hope to destroy corruption-riddled traditional politics.
        But Bolsonaro’s fiery anti-democratic rhetoric of the past, his stance that Brazil’s already notoriously violent police should kill as many criminals as possible, and his desire to rollback progressives’ gains in recent years have enraged a large number of voters.
        Should Bolsonaro win, he will have a far easier time than imagined pushing his socially conservative and free-market economic reform policies through Congress.
        Brazil’s next Congress was also elected on Sunday, and in a seismic shift, Bolsonaro’s once-tiny Social Liberal Party (PSL) was poised to become the second-largest force in the body.
        GRAPHIC-Polling, issues and leading candidates in Brazil’s election –
    (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro; Additional reporting and writing by Brad Brooks in Sao Paulo; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

    10/8/2018 No divorce without precise future framework: spokesman for UK’s May
    FILE PHOTO: Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags opposite the Houses of Parliament,
    in London, Britain, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
        LONDON (Reuters) – Britain cannot agree a withdrawal deal with the European Union without securing a precise framework for their future relationship, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday.
        “There can be no withdrawal agreement without a precise future framework,” he told reporters.
        Britain and the EU will resume talks this week on the detail of Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc and on its future relationship.    EU leaders will meet next week to try to conclude a deal but any final agreement may have to wait until a special meeting in November.
        After more positive comments from the EU over the Brexit negotiations, the spokesman said there was a difference between optimistic talk about a deal being done and getting an agreement, again calling on the bloc to move its position.
        “It’s worth me pointing out that there’s a difference between people talking optimistically about a deal, and a deal including both the withdrawal agreement and the future framework, actually being agreed,” he said.
        “There remain big issues to work through.”
    (Reporting by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper)
    [My comment: If Brexit leaves the EU, is it possible that the 27 other nations left some may try to leave it also to form new blocs?    That would be amusing since so many former prophecy predictors assumed that the European Union would be the 10 horns or powers on the beast.].

    10/8/2018 Pres. Trump Hosts Ceremonial Swearing-in For Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump listens to Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks during the ceremonial swearing-in
    ceremony of Kavanaugh as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in the East Room of the White House in Washington,
    Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Kavanaugh is accompanied by his wife Ashley Kavanaugh, third from left, and children Margaret, second from left, and Liza. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
        Incoming Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh attends a ceremonial swearing-in alongside President Trump at the White House.
        The president said Kavanaugh overcame intense scrutiny by Democrats who considered him guilty and didn’t want to give him due process.
        This comes after Kavanaugh was sworn in over the weekend by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts, who also attended the ceremony.
        President Trump then directly addressed Kavanaugh’s daughters and reassured them their father will now serve the American people on the nation’s highest court.
        He also thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Chuck Grassley for their unwavering support and strong leadership during the confirmation process.

    10/8/2018 President Trump slams Democrats for calling for the impeachment of Justice Kavanaugh by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is slamming Democrats for calling for the impeachment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
    While speaking with reporters Monday, the president referred to the leftist calls as a total insult to the American people and claimed Kavanaugh was the victim of a hoax orchestrated by Democrats.
    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington,
    Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, as he heads to Marine One for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        He then predicted a lot of Democrat voters will end up voting for Republicans in the midterms, because the Democratic Party has shifted so far to the left.
        “I think you’re going to see a lot of things happen on November sixth that would not have happened before,” stated President Trump.    “The American public has seen this charade … have seen this dishonesty by the Democrats.”
        The president also addressed concerns about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who traveled with him on Air Force One Monday.    He said he has gotten to know Rosenstein very well and gets along with him.
        The president is set to speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual convention in Florida before traveling back to Washington for a swearing-in ceremony for Brett Kavanaugh.

    10/8/2018 State Dept. rejects Iran’s lawsuit to recover $1.75B in frozen funds by OAN Newsroom
        Trump administration officials have rejected Iran’s plea to release billions of its frozen assets.
        In its filing with the International Court of Justice Monday, the State Department urged judges to toss Iran’s claim to recover $1.75 billion frozen in the U.S.
        U.S. officials said the Iranian money will go to families of the American marines killed or injured in the 1983 bombing of barracks in Beirut.    The State Department cited a 2016 Supreme Court decision to back up its position.
    In this Wednesday Oct. 3, 2018, image Mohammed Zahedin Labbaf, third left, agent for the Islamic Republic of Iran,
    and the U.S. delegation, right, listen to the ruling of the judges on an Iranian request to order Washington to suspend sanctions
    against Tehran, at the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
        Iran has sought to recover the money in line with the 1955 “friendship” treaty rescinded by the U.S. last week.
        “This case concerns measures taken by the United States progressively over a period of years to enable victims of terrorism to hold Iran accountable for acts of terrorism directed at or affecting U.S. persons,” stated Richard Visek, legal adviser for the State Department.
        The State Department stressed, America’s legal framework allows victims to hold the Ayatollah regime accountable for its support and financing of international terrorism.

    10/8/2018 Amazon funds radical Islamic ideologists in London, According to a new report by OAN Newsroom
        An investigation by Britain’s top newspaper revealed Jeff Bezos has been funding radical Islamic ideologists.
    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)
        According to The Times, Amazon has agreed to finance the Muslim Research and Development Foundation.
        The London-based Muslim entity advocates for stoning women to death, child marriage and female genital mutilation.
        The group’s founder is considered one of the most dangerous men in the United Kingdom.
        “Why are you voting for a party that is not going to rule by Islam in Britain, in Norway, in Holland, in Europe — this is insanity.    You are supporting the Kaffir to be on top of you.    No.    the Kaffir is already there.” — Haitham al-Haddad, Muslim Research and Development foundation Amazon is claiming this radical Muslim organization was cleared by the Charity Commission, meaning its financial aid to Islamic extremists does not violate any laws.

    10/8/2018 Italy threatens airport shutdown to prevent Germany from repatriating illegal migrants by OAN Newsroom
        Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is considering a shutdown of the country’s airports to prevent an influx of migrants.
    Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. (AP/Photo)
        The minister took to Twitter Sunday, saying Italy may close its airports like it closed its seaports due to illegal migrants.
        Salvini stressed the migrants would be stranded in airports’ international zones if Germany attempts to fly them to Italy.
        This comes after German officials announced plans to send dozens of migrants to Italy on charter flights.
        Italy’s Labor Minister Luigi Di Maio has also rejected Germany’s plans, saying migrant repatriation requires bilateral agreements.
        “I do not know who authorized this thing with the charter with the migrants arriving in Italy, sincerely, because on the secondary movements, no agreement was signed,” he stated.    “Or are you saying that we can repatriate sub-Saharan Africans in African countries without any agreement?
        Germany has since backtracked on its plans.

    10/9/2018 Brexit deal possible in weeks, says Northern Irish party that props up May by Amanda Ferguson and Gabriela Baczynska
    FILE PHOTO: Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, waits for a television interview
    at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo
        BELFAST/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Brexit deal is “eminently possible” within weeks but there can be no regulatory barriers within the United Kingdom, the head of the Northern Irish party that props up British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday.
        Less than six months before the UK’s exit from the European Union, there is little clarity about how the world’s fifth largest economy and its preeminent international financial center will trade with the EU after Brexit.
        Talks are snagged on how to avoid checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland if the sides fail to clinch a post-Brexit free trade deal.
        May and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which supports her minority government, have opposed EU proposals for a backstop that would keep Northern Ireland – but not mainland Britain – de facto inside the EU economic space.
        Ahead of a meeting with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, DUP leader Arlene Foster stuck to her rejection of any new regulatory or customs barriers inside the United Kingdom – but said that, with political will, a deal was possible.
        “I want to see a deal that works for everyone and I think that is eminently possible if the political will is there to make it happen,” Foster told BBC Radio Ulster.    “I very much hope that there is a deal in a number of weeks.”
        The EU’s Brexit negotiators believe a divorce deal with Britain is “very close,” diplomatic sources told Reuters last week, indicating a compromise on the future Irish border was in play.
        A flurry of Brexit activity is expected over coming days.
        Barnier will update the Commission on Wednesday and then EU ambassadors meet on Friday in Luxembourg.    EU leaders’ negotiators meet in Brussels on Monday.
        But even if May clinches a deal, there is uncertainty on whether she could sell it at home, where she will need approval from the British parliament.
        Lawmaker Steve Baker said at least 40 lawmakers in her Conservative Party were willing to vote down her possible Brexit deal if it left the UK ‘half in and half out’ of the EU.
        If lawmakers reject a deal, May could fall and Britain would face leaving the EU without an agreement, a move investors and company chiefs say would weaken the West, panic financial markets and block the arteries of trade.
        The United Kingdom would move from seamless trade with the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states.
        “Colleagues will not tolerate a half-in, half-out Brexit,” said Baker, who served as a junior Brexit minister in May’s government until he resigned in protest at her proposals.
        If 40 of her lawmakers voted against a possible deal, the fate of the government and exit process would depend on the opposition Labour Party, which has indicated it will vote against almost any deal May might secure.
        Brexiteers accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say Britain will thrive in the longer term if cut loose from what they see as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity and excessive debt-funded welfare spending.
        A ‘hard’ Brexit would result in extra tariffs of more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for German companies per year, a German institute said on Tuesday, adding that German exports to Britain could drop by up to 57 percent.
        Under May’s proposals, Britain will seek a free trade area for goods with the EU, largely by accepting a “common rulebook” for goods and British participation in EU agencies that provide authorizations for goods.
        Some Brexiteers say those proposals would ensure the EU kept control over swathes of the British economy and thus run counter to the spirit of her manifesto pledge to leave the EU Customs Union and the Single Market.
    (Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by John Stonestreet)

    10/9/2018 IMF cuts world economic growth forecasts on tariff war, emerging market strains by David Lawder
    Maurice Obstfeld, Economic Counsellor and Director of IMF (L) talks as Wafa Amr, Communication Officer of IMF listens,
    during their press conference at the 2018 International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Bank Group Annual Meeting at Nusa Dua in
    Bali, Indonesia, October 9, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Nyoman Budhiana/ via REUTERS
        NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019, saying that the U.S-China trade war was taking a toll and emerging markets were struggling with tighter liquidity and capital outflows.
        The new forecasts, released on the Indonesian resort island of Bali where the IMF and World Bank annual meetings are getting underway, show that a burst of strong growth, fueled partly by U.S. tax cuts and rising demand for imports, was starting to wane.
        The IMF said in an update to its World Economic Outlook it was now predicting 3.7 percent global growth in both 2018 and 2019, down from its July forecast of 3.9 percent growth for both years.
        The downgrade reflects a confluence of factors, including the introduction of import tariffs between the United States and China, weaker performances by eurozone countries, Britain and Japan, and rising interest rates that are pressuring some emerging markets with capital outflows, notably Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia and Mexico.
        “U.S. growth will decline once parts of its fiscal stimulus go into reverse,” IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said in a statement.    “Notwithstanding the present demand momentum, we have downgraded our 2019 U.S. growth forecast owing to the recently enacted tariffs on a wide range of imports from China and China’s retaliation.”
        With much of the U.S.-China tariff war’s impact to be felt next year, the Fund cut its 2019 U.S. growth forecast to 2.5 percent from 2.7 percent previously, while it cut China’s 2019 growth forecast to 6.2 percent from 6.4 percent.    It left 2018 growth forecasts for the two countries unchanged at 2.9 percent for the United States and 6.6 percent for China.
        Obstfeld said he was not concerned about the Chinese government’s ability to defend its currency against further weakening but told a news conference that Beijing would face a “balancing act” between actions to shore up growth and ensuring financial stability.
        If China and the United States were to resolve their trade differences, it “would be a significant upside to the forecast.”
        The eurozone’s 2018 growth forecast was cut to 2.0 percent from 2.2 percent previously, with Germany particularly hard hit by a drop in manufacturing orders and trade volumes.
        Obstfeld said the IMF does not see a generalized pullback from emerging markets, nor contagion that will spill over to those emerging economies which have stronger economies and have thus far avoided major outflows, such as some in Asia and some oil and metals exporting countries.
        “But there is no denying that the susceptibility to large global shocks has risen,” Obstfeld said.    “Any sharp reversal for emerging markets would pose a significant threat to advanced economies.”
        Brazil will see a 0.4 percentage-point drop in GDP growth to 1.4 percent for 2018 as a nationwide truckers strike paralyzed much of the economy.    Iran, facing a new round of U.S. sanctions next month, also saw its growth forecast cut, the IMF said.
        Some energy-rich emerging market countries have fared better due to higher oil prices, with Saudi Arabia and Russia receiving upgrades to growth forecasts.
        The IMF said the balance of risks was now tilted to the downside, with a higher likelihood that financial conditions will tighten further as interest rates normalize, hurting emerging markets further at a time when U.S.-led demand growth will start to slow as some tax cuts expire.
        Trade tensions are expected to continue although Fund officials view U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement as a positive sign.
        “Where we are now is we’ve gotten some bad news.    Our probability that we would attach to further bad news has gone up,” Obstfeld said.
        In a new simulation exercise to show trade war risks to the global economy, the IMF modeled the effect of an all-out U.S.-China trade war, coupled with threatened global U.S. automotive tariffs and retaliation from trading partners.
        The model also includes the effects of a reduction in business confidence that reduces investment and leads to a tightening of financial conditions.
        It found that global GDP output under this scenario would fall by more than 0.8 percent in 2020 and remain roughly 0.4 percent lower in the long-term compared to levels without the effects of a trade war.
        The repercussions for the United States and China would be particularly severe, with 2019 GDP losses of more than 0.9 percent in the United States and 1.6 percent in China in 2019.
        The exercise assumes that U.S. President Donald Trump imposes tariffs on the remaining $267 billion worth of Chinese goods imports not already under punitive tariffs and China retaliates in kind.    It also assumes that Trump imposes a 25 percent tariff on imported cars and auto parts.
        Adjustments would occur as domestic production displaces higher-priced imports, the model shows, but in the long run, the U.S. GDP would still be 1.0 percent below a baseline without these tariffs, while China’s GDP output would be one half percent below the baseline.
    (Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Clive McKeef & Simon Cameron-Moore)

    10/9/2018 German firms would face billions in extra tariffs in hard Brexit: study
    FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen behind e-Golf electric cars during assembly at the new production line of the Transparent Factory of German carmaker Volkswagen in Dresden, Germany March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo
        BERLIN (Reuters) – A hard Brexit would result in extra tariffs of more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) for German companies per year, a German institute said on Tuesday, and German exports to Britain might drop by up to 57 percent.
        Talks on ending four decades of Britain’s membership in the European Union have entered their final stage more than two years after Britons voted for Brexit.    A hard Brexit would mean Britain leaving the bloc with no trade deal.
        Britain and the EU are eyeing significant progress in negotiations at an Oct. 17-18 summit.
        The BDI industry association – one of Germany’s most influential lobby groups – said a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations was needed at that summit.
        “Otherwise there is the risk that Europe slides into a disorderly Brexit and that would cause a huge crisis,” Managing Director Joachim Lang said.
        A hard Brexit would cause huge difficulties for tens of thousands of companies in Europe and hundreds of thousands of employees in Britain and the European Union, Lang said.
        He noted that many companies were preparing for a hard Brexit and some wanted to suspend production in Britain from April as delivery routes could not be secured.
        The IW institute in Cologne said a hard Brexit would affect the auto sector – which employs some 800,000 people in Germany and is the country’s biggest exporter – particularly hard as it would be hit with about 60 percent of those extra costs.
        About 5 percent of Germany’s gross domestic product depended either directly or indirectly on trade with Britain, IW said, making it the third biggest trading partner for German firms.
        “That could dramatically change in the foreseeable future,” the IW study said.
        Referring to a potential plunge in German exports to Britain if a hard Brexit happens, IW researcher Markos Jung said: “This horrific scenario should force politicians to act constructively.”
        In the long term, a hard Brexit would probably result in price rises and a shift in Germany’s flow of goods, the IW said.
    ($1 = 0.8715 euros)
    (Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Louise Ireland)

    10/9/2018 President Trump: China not ready to make deal on trade, faces new round of tariffs by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is mulling even tougher tariffs on China in response to Beijing’s criticism of his administration’s policy course.
        On Tuesday, the president said China does not appear to be ready to conclude a trade deal.    He reiterated the country is now facing 10-to-25-percent tariffs on $267 billion worth of its exports to the U.S.
        This comes after Chinese officials blasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to Beijing earlier this week, saying U.S. trade and foreign policies are a mistake.
    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn before
    leaving the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
        In response, President Trump said he has cancelled several scheduled meetings with Chinese officials.
        “We can’t have a one-way street.    It’s got to be a two-way street.    It’s been a one-way street for 25 years.    We’ve got to make it a two way street.    We’ve got to benefit also.” — President Donald Trump (on trade with China).
        Some economists say a new round of tariffs would add to the existing duties on $200 billion of China trade, meaning all Chinese exports into the U.S. would be taxed at the border.

    10/9/2018 Nikki Haley resigns as UN ambassador by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump has officially accepted United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s resignation.    Haley discussed resigning with the president last week.
        The former South Carolina governor was chosen by President Trump soon after his inauguration and confirmed to serve as UN ambassador just four-days after he took office.
        Haley has handled a number of contentious issues during her time at the UN, including withdrawing the U.S. from the UN Security Council.
    President Donald Trump meets with outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley
    in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        The president and Haley met in the Oval Office Tuesday morning with open press coverage.
        President Trump said she has done an incredible job and he will hate to lose her.    He then spoke of the foreign policy accomplishments she assisted with, including working towards peace on the Korean peninsula and standing up against Iran as well as China.
        Haley said it is an honor of lifetime to serve the country she loves so much.    She will be leaving her post at the UN at the end of the year.

    10/10/2018 Trump to unveil plan for more ethanol in gas by Donnelle Eller Des Moines Register USA TODAY NETWORK
        After months of false starts, President Donald Trump was to tell Iowans on Tuesday night during a campaign rally in Council Bluffs that he’s opening the door to year-round access to gasoline with higher ethanol blends.
        A senior White House official said Monday that Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rule-making that allows for year-round use of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol or E15.
        The announcement sets off a review that could make E15 available to consumers as soon as next summer.
        In addition, the president will seek reforms to biofuels credit trading the White House says will provide greater transparency and help reduce volatility in the market.
        E15 is banned during the summer months, based on concerns it contributes to smog, a claim ethanol advocates say is unfounded.    Almost all gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol.     The move should help Iowa farmers and U.S. consumers at a time when years of record harvests – and Trump trade wars with Canada, Mexico and China – have helped depress corn and soybean prices.
        U.S. farm income this year is expected to be 50 percent below a 2013 high.
        It’s wonderful for the American farmer.    It’s great for biofuels producers.    And it’s great for the American consumer, so we’re thrilled,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, a Washington, D.C., ethanol advocacy group.
        Skor said increased adoption of higher ethanol blends could boost corn use by 2 billion bushels.
        That’s big news in Iowa, the nation’s largest corn grower and ethanol and biodiesel producer.    About half of Iowa’s corn crop is used to make ethanol and a high-protein byproduct called distillers grain that’s fed to livestock.
        While farmers backed the president in the 2016 election, many are weary about his approach to trade.    A trade war that could cost Iowa about $2.2 billion has hit some of his farm support hardest.    Farmers have gained some certainty with Trump’s new trade deals with Canada and Mexico announced earlier this month, which would replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.
        The U.S. is still involved in an ongoing trade dispute with China, the largest buyer of American soybeans and second-largest purchaser of pork, based on volume.
        Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said Trump deserved credit for getting year-round E15 when other administrations did not.
        “This is something we’ve worked on for seven years – non-stop,” Shaw said, adding he sees few problems with the reforms proposed to trading biofuels credits, called renewable identification numbers or RINS.
        “This is the first president that’s taken action,” Shaw said.    “It was a promise made and a promise kept.”
    The president wants more frequent compliance reporting, public disclosure of biofuels credit holdings and limits on who can buy the credits and how long they can be held.

    10/10/2018 UK PM May’s possible Brexit deal could be backed by 30-40 Labour lawmakers: Times
    British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her keynote address on the final day of at the
    Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo
        LONDON (Reuters) – Around 30 to 40 lawmakers from the opposition Labour Party would be prepared to back a Brexit deal that British Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to strike with the European Union, The Times newspaper reported, citing unidentified lawmakers.
        The EU’s Brexit negotiators believe a divorce deal with Britain is “very close,” diplomatic sources told Reuters last week, though it is unclear whether May could get the deal approved by the British parliament.
        Around 320 votes in the 650-seat parliament are needed to be certain of winning a vote.
        May has 315 lawmakers and governs with a working majority of 13 thanks to a deal with the 10 lawmakers of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), though rebels in her own party say 40 of her lawmakers could vote against her deal.
        The Times said a group of between 30 to 40 Labour lawmakers could defy their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and vote for a deal that May hopes to bring back by the end of the year.
        In one scenario being discussed, Labour lawmakers would initially vote down any deal to prove loyalty to the leadership, but if parliamentary deadlock remained the rebels would back any deal that prevented a chaotic departure, The Times said.
        If lawmakers reject a deal, May could fall and Britain would face leaving the EU without an agreement, a move investors and company chiefs say would weaken the West, panic financial markets and block the arteries of trade.
        Without a deal the United Kingdom would move from seamless trade with the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states.
    (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Sarah Young)

    10/10/2018 Belfast bakery did not discriminate in gay cake case, UK court rules
    Daniel and Amy McArthur, who own Ashers Bakery in Belfast, speak as they leave the Supreme Court in London, Britain, October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
        LONDON (Reuters) – A Northern Irish bakery’s refusal to bake a cake iced with a pro-gay slogan on account of its owners’ Christian beliefs was not discriminatory, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.     Ashers Baking in Belfast was found guilty of discrimination in 2015 for refusing to make a cake for a customer bearing the words “Support Gay Marriage” and a picture of characters Bert and Ernie from the television show Sesame Street.
        It failed in an appeal to the local courts in 2016 but the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest judicial body, overturned that decision, saying the bakers’ objection was to the message on the cake, not to any personal characteristics of the messenger, or anyone with whom he was associated.
        The bakery, which initially accepted the order from Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist, but later contacted him to cancel it and refund his money, would have refused to make such a cake for any customer irrespective of their sexual orientation, the court said.
        “This conclusion is not in anyway to diminish the need to protect gay people and people who support gay marriage,” said Brenda Hale, President of the Supreme Court.
        “It is deeply humiliating and an affront to human dignity to deny someone the service because of that person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief but that is not what happened in this case.”
        Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not allowed.
        The socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the province’s largest political party that also props up Britain’s minority government, has blocked attempts to legalize gay marriage.    Party leader, Arlene Foster, retweeted news of the judgment as soon as it was handed down.
        Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission, which backed Lee’s case, said it was disappointed with the judgment and the implications that the beliefs of business owners may take precedence over a customer’s equality rights.
        “There is a concern that this judgment may raise uncertainty about the application of equality law in the commercial sphere, both about what businesses can do and what customers may expect,” it said in a statement.
    (Reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin and Amanda Ferguson in Belfast; editing by Michael Holden)

    10/10/2018 German far-right party draws backing from small group of Jews by Hakan Ersen
    FILE PHOTO: Participants vote during the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party congress
    in Augsburg, Germany, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo
        WIESBADEN, Germany (Reuters) – Leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) have been rebuked for belittling the significance of the Nazis and criticizing a Holocaust memorial, but this has not stopped a small group of Jews from throwing their support behind the party.
        On Sunday they formed Jews in the AfD, a political group based in the western city of Wiesbaden that seeks to foster support for the party, which says Islam is not compatible with the German constitution.
        “We are not a religious organization, we are a political organization,” Jews in the AfD leader Wolfgang Fuhl told reporters at the inauguration ceremony, sitting on a podium with fellow Jews including a few wearing the Jewish skullcap.
        He said people wishing to join had to meet two requirements: membership in the AfD and ethnic or religious association with the Jewish faith.    Twenty people signed up at Sunday’s meeting.
        The AfD entered the German parliament for the first time in an election last year, drawing support from a broad array of voters angry with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to welcome almost a million, mainly Muslim asylum seekers.
        Its success drew immediate expressions of concern from Israeli officials and Jewish groups in Europe and the United States.
        German politicians in June rebuked AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland after he said that Hitler and the Nazis “are just bird shit in 1,000 years of successful German history.”
        And Bjoern Hoecke, the AfD’s leader in the eastern state of Thuringia, triggered anger last year after he told supporters that Berlin’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was a “memorial of shame” and that history books should be rewritten to focus more on German victims.
        But Jews for AfD leader Fuhl dismissed those concerns on Sunday, saying the AfD was the most pro-Israel party in Germany, not least because it supports the Jewish state’s right to have all of Jerusalem as its capital.
        “The AfD is an exceptionally pro-Israel party, supposedly the most pro-Israel party in the Bundestag,” Fuhl said, referring to the lower house of parliament in which the AfD is the third-largest party.
        Palestinians, with broad international backing, seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they want to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
        Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed, as its “eternal and indivisible capital.”
        Germany, home to an estimated 200,000 Jews, has built a reputation in recent decades as a tolerant, safe place for Jews to live.    The rise of the AfD has alarmed the community.
        Anti-Semitic crimes reported to the police rose 4 percent to 681 in the first eight months of 2017 against the same period last year, with an overwhelming majority of incidents linked to far-right extremism.    The real number is probably much higher.
        Members of Jews in the AfD appear unmoved by those figures.
        When asked by a journalist what he would say to people who might call him a “Nazi Jew,” Bernhard Krauskopf said speaking in English: “I tell them that ‘you are talking to a Jewish-German person whose father lost more than 50 people in Nazi death camps, you should be a little bit more intelligent not to talk such nonsense.'”
        Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said he was skeptical.
        “It doesn’t go together for me,” he told Reuters.    “In the end, I have to assume that these are people who simply have not recognized the true ulterior motive, also the goals of this more than right-wing populist party.”
        He added: “I think that there are some who think, ‘The AFD is a party that today predominantly campaigns against or targets refugees, migrants, Muslims’.    However, I consider it completely wrong to put Muslims under general suspicion.    And the formula ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ does not work.'”
    (Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by William Maclean)

    10/10/2018 Global financial stability risks rising with trade tensions, IMF says by Lindsay Dunsmuir
    IMF Financial Counselor and Director for the Monetary and Capital Markets Department Tobias Adrian
    talks to media during Global Financial Stability Report press conference at the 2018 International Monetary Fund (IMF)
    World Bank Group Annual Meeting at Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia, October 10, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/M Agung Rajasa/ via REUTERS
        (Reuters) – Risks to the global financial system have risen over the past six months and could increase sharply if pressures in emerging markets escalate or global trade relations deteriorate further, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.
        The IMF, whose autumn meetings with the World Bank get under way on the Indonesian resort island of Bali this week, also noted that while the banking system has been shored up by regulators in the decade since the 2008 global financial crisis, easy financial conditions are contributing to a buildup of vulnerabilities such as high debt levels and “stretched” asset valuations.
        New bank resolution regimes meant to avoid future bailouts are largely untested, the Fund said in its biannual global financial stability update.
        “Near-term risks to global financial stability have increased somewhat,” the IMF said.    “Overall, market participants appear complacent about the risk of a sharp tightening in financial conditions.”
        IMF capital markets director Tobias Adrian said potential shocks to the system could come in many forms, such as higher-than expected inflation that triggers a sharp jump in interest rates or a “disorderly” exit by Britain from the European Union.
        But the severity of the impact from such shocks will be determined by vulnerabilities including growing non-financial debt levels now exceeding 250 percent of GDP, a decline in underwriting standards outside the traditional banking sector and elevated asset prices that could drop sharply.
        “It’s this interaction between the buildup of vulnerabilities and the decline in asset prices that can generate adverse implications for macroeconomic activity,” Tobias told a news conference.
        The rapid build-up in debt in China in recent years also is a concern, although Chinese authorities have taken steps to rein in debt growth, he said.
        In the report, the IMF said economic growth appears to have peaked in some major economies while the gap between advanced countries and emerging markets was widening.    The IMF on Tuesday cut its global growth forecasts due to an escalating U.S.-China trade war and growing financial strains on emerging markets.
        The United States continues to grow strongly and the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the seventh time in the last eight quarters at its latest policy meeting in September.    U.S. stock markets are also at record highs.
        That contrasts with a slowing in the euro area and Japan.    China’s economy is also showing signs of moderating and that could be exacerbated by its trade disputes with the United States, which has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of imports from Beijing and is threatening duties on $267 billion more
        The normalization of monetary policy in the United States as well as a stronger dollar and escalation in trade tensions has already begun to affect emerging market economies, the Fund said.
        New IMF research shows emerging market countries excluding China could face debt portfolio outflows of up to $100 billion, a level last seen during the global financial crisis.
        The Fund cited a number of other near-term risks to financial stability including the possibility of a “no-deal” Brexit or renewed fiscal policy concerns in some highly indebted euro area countries.
        It also urged global regulators to keep in place measures taken since the financial crisis and both heighten supervision of market liquidity and raise the amount of capital banks have to set aside to cushion any downturn.
        “The financial regulatory reform agenda should be completed, and a rollback of reforms should be avoided,” the Fund said.    “To adequately address potential systemic risks, financial regulation and supervision should be used more proactively.”
    (Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir and David Lawder; Editing by Andrea Ricci & Shri Navaratnam)

    10/10/2018 President Trump signs two bills aimed at increasing drug price transparency by OAN Newsroom
    UPDATED 1:46 PM PT — Wed. Oct. 10, 2018     President Trump continues to follow through on his campaign promise to address the high cost of prescription drugs.
        On Wednesday, the president signed two pieces of legislation aimed at increasing transparency in prescription pricing.
        The measures will end gag orders, which prevent pharmacies from telling patients if they can save money by paying the cash price for medications.
    President Donald Trump holds up the ‘Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act’ after signing it and the ‘Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018,’
    during a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        The president explained this is part of his administration’s work with Congress to provide the health care Americans deserve.
        “Today I’m thrilled to sign two bills that will lower the cost of prescription drugs.    It’s the Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018 and the Patient’s Right to Know Lowest Price Act.    Obviously, based on the name you can tell that this gives people knowledge as to prices at different locations, where to buy the drugs.    That will have an immediate impact too.” — President Donald Trump.
        One of the laws deals with patients who have private insurance and is set to take effect right away.    The other applies to Medicare recipients and will go into effect in January of 2020.

    10/10/2018 Top national security officials testify before Senate, reiterate China threat by OAN Newsroom
        Top national security officials have been investigating around 5,000 counter-terrorism cases, and are now saying China represents a major threat.
        FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Wednesday, where they said Beijing is working to influence American voters in the upcoming midterm elections.    However, Nielsen said there is no evidence to suggest that China has already compromised election infrastructure.
    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, left, listens as FBI Director Christopher A. Wray testifies during a hearing
    of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
        Wray said while he would not rank the threat level of specific foreign nations, he believes China presents more of a threat than Russia.
        “China in many ways represents the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face,” he explained.    “Russia is in many ways fighting to stay relevant after the fall of the Soviet Union, they’re fighting today’s fight — China is fighting tomorrow’s fight and the day after tomorrow and the day after that.”
        The FBI director also said 1,000 of the bureau’s current terror investigations involve homegrown extremists in all 50 states.

    10/10/2018 Mexican police discover 627 ft. tunnel connecting to Calif. by OAN Newsroom
    This photo, released by U.S. Border Patrol, shows an underground tunnel connecting Mexico to the U.S. Mexican police discover
    the first underground tunnel of the fiscal year beginning less than a football field away from the U.S. border.
        According to reports Tuesday, the unfinished tunnel stretches 627 feet to connect a home in Jacumba, Mexico with Southern California.
        While the tunnel’s exit does not break the surface, it does feature rail tracks, electricity and a pump system to remove water.
        Border Patrol agents assisting Mexico with the investigation said the tunnel was likely being constructed to transport drugs across the border.
        The tunnel will likely be filled in by dirt after the investigation ends.

    10/10/2018 Obamacare website to be taken offline during open enrollment for maintenance by OAN Newsroom
        The Obamacare website will be taken offline during open enrollment.    The planned maintenance will last for 12-hours every Sunday beginning on November first and running through December 15th.
    The website is seen on a computer screen Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
        While officials explain the maintenance is scheduled to happen during periods of low traffic, Democrats are accusing the Trump administration of “sabotage.”    They are claiming Republicans are trying to cut down enrollment numbers as lawmakers work on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
        However, the administration said the maintenance will stop the website from crashing and from facing other problems, which plagued its initial roll-out back in 2013.
        The Obamacare website is scheduled to be down for a total of 60-hours during the enrollment period, but the actual number could be much lower as last year’s maintenance only lasted 21-hours.
    [Whats new the Democrats and Obama couldn't get it up running in 2013 either without spending millions on it for a no go after spending millions on it to fix it.    So now they want to blame it on Trump?    So this time it is Trump instead of Kavanaugh.]

    On 10/11/2018 Oil down $1.79 to $73.17, DOW down 832 to 25,599, NASDAQ down 316 to 7422.

    10/11/2018 Dow plunges 831 points as interest rate jitters persist by Adam Shell, USA TODAY
        The Wall Street bull got bloodied and battered Wednesday as the stock market suffered its biggest sell-off since February.
        Investors bailed out of the market as fears about the economic fallout caused by rising interest rates and the U.S. trade conflict with China spooked them.
        Technology stocks, which had been leading the market higher for most of 2018 and had gotten pricey, were the hardest hit.    The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite fell 4.1 percent.
        “These developments are telling us that the investment environment has become riskier,” says Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research.
        The Dow Jones industrial average plunged nearly 832 points, 831.83, or 3.2 percent, to 25,599.    The performance marked the blue-chip average’s worst one-day decline since a drop of more than 1,000 points on Feb. 8.    Growing concerns about the impact of higher borrowing costs on corporate earnings and consumer spending prompted investors to dump shares.    “Fear is rising,” says David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors in Sarasota, Florida.    “Investors are getting a wake-up call.”
        Kotok went as far as to predict that a full-fledged market “correction,” or drop of 10 percent, is underway.    After its drop of more than 3 percent Wednesday, the broad U.S. market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500, is now 4.9 percent off its Sept. 20 record high.
        The yield on the 10-year Treasury note – a U.S. government bond that affects the pricing of things ranging from fixed-rate mortgages to stocks – hit a seven-year high of 3.26 percent earlier Wednesday.    Higher interest rates make stocks less attractive relative to other investments, including bonds, which offer higher and more competitive yields and carry lower risk.
        In the recent slide that began late last week, the Dow has given back nearly 1,200 points, or 4.6 percent since its most recent peak.    The major worry weighing on stocks is that economic growth will slow if borrowing costs continue to spike, analysts say.
        While the U.S. economy grew at a 4.2 percent pace in the second quarter, worries about the slowing economic growth around the world are growing.
        The S&P 500 stock index fell 3.3 percent, down for its fifth consecutive session and marking its longest losing streak since November 2016.
        The market decline comes ahead of the third-quarter earnings season, which kicks off Friday.
    One of the major worries for investors is that economic growth will slow if borrowing costs continue to spike. JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE

    10/11/2018 Tony Blair says there is a 50-50 chance of another Brexit referendum
    Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends an event at Thomson Reuters in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
        LONDON (Reuters) – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was a 50-50 chance of getting another Brexit referendum as Prime Minister Theresa May will be unlikely to secure a majority for any divorce deal in parliament.
        “Whatever Brexit is on offer today is going to result in significant economic harm,” Blair, who served as prime minister from 1997 to 2007, told Reuters.
        “I still believe it is possible that Brexit is stopped, I think there is no majority in parliament for any proposition that the prime minister brings back,” Blair said, adding that he wanted a second referendum.
        Less than six months before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, there is little clarity about how the world’s fifth largest economy and its preeminent international financial center will trade with the EU after Brexit.
        May is trying to clinches a deal but there is uncertainty on whether she could sell it at home, where she will need approval from the British parliament.
        Blair said European regulators would not want the center of European finance to be outside their orbit so jobs would be lost in the financial>     “Why give ourselves this problem in a field of the global economy where we are globally preeminent?” Blair said, adding that the government had cast aside the interests of the service sector.
        Blair said that if Brexit did go ahead and was followed by a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn, then the country would face a “truly damaging and challenging situation.”
        “This is the problem with the policies of both major parties: they seem to think you can do Brexit and then engage is a whole lot of social legislation to make capitalism fairer and more equal and so on,” Blair said.
        “They have got to wake up to the fact that if you do Brexit your number one priority is going to be keeping this place as an attractive place for investors to come.”
    (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew MacAskill)

    10/11/2018 Under pressure from parliamentary partner, UK’s May meets ministers by Elizabeth Piper and Alistair Smout
    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a roundtable meeting with business leaders whose companies
    are inaugural signatories of the Race at Work Charter at the Southbank Centre in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
        LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet ministers on Thursday to discuss Brexit, hours after her parliamentary partner threatened to withdraw its support if she accepts what it calls a “draconian solution” on offer from the European Union.
        Just six months before Britain is due to leave the EU, the two sides differ on their view of the talks – the bloc says a withdrawal deal is within reach, while British officials say “significant obstacles” still lie in the way of any agreement.
        They do agree on one thing – that time is running out to seal a deal to pave the way for Britain’s divorce, the biggest trade and foreign policy shift for more than 40 years.    As that departure date creeps closer, those wanting to influence May’s approach to Brexit are stepping up their efforts.
        One of the biggest hurdles is an agreement on the so-called Irish backstop to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if there is no immediate trade deal.
        A seamless border is part of the settlement which largely ended decades of violence in the province.
        Neither side has indicated there has been a deal on the Irish backstop.    But after meetings in Brussels, the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up the Conservative government in parliament, has issued a series of terse warnings to May.
        DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson condemned what he said was the EU’s offer for a backstop that would keep Britain in the customs union for an unspecified time-limited period, would exclude Northern Ireland from any new British trade deals and see checks on goods moving from mainland Britain to the province.
        May’s acceptance of such a proposal “would have implications not just for Brexit legislation – 50 per cent of which would not have passed without DUP support – but also for the budget, welfare reform and other domestic legislation,” he said.
        “She will not have DUP support regardless of whether the government tries to bribe, bully or browbeat us into accepting it,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
        By withdrawing its support, the DUP could make it impossible for May to pass legislation through parliament, including the budget which will be voted on later this month.
        May will gather several of her ministers later on Thursday as part of routine meetings to keep her cabinet team updated on progress in Brexit talks.
        The meeting takes place against growing criticism over her plans to leave the EU with some Conservative euroskeptic lawmakers saying they will vote against any deal based on her so-called “Chequers” proposal, named after her country residence.
        Former prime minister John Major, whose career as leader was crushed partly by euroskeptics, said the behavior of some of those Conservatives was “an intolerable way to treat a prime minister who’s in the middle of negotiations.”
        But the parliamentary arithmetic is difficult for May. With the support of the DUP she commands a majority of only 13 lawmakers and needs to keep either her own party onside or attract votes from the main opposition Labour Party.
        Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the party will vote against any deal that does not meet its tests – something the Chequers plan does not fulfill.
        And former Labour leader Tony Blair added his voice to calls for the party to vote down May’s Brexit divorce deal.
        “My view is this only happens if there is blockage in parliament.    But if there is blockage in parliament it is a very simple argument.    You say look we have been two and a bit years trying to reach an agreement that works, parliament is blocked.”
    (Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew MacAskill; Writing by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Elisabeth O’Leary and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

    10/11/2018 Tony Blair says UK needs a referendum to stop Brexit
    Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives for an event at Thomson Reuters in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
        LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom should call a referendum to allow voters to choose between a no-deal Brexit and staying in a reformed European Union as British politics is deadlocked over the issue, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Thursday.
        Less than six months before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, there is little clarity about how the world’s fifth largest economy and its preeminent international financial center will trade with the EU after Brexit.
        If Prime Minister Theresa May can strike a deal with the EU, she has to get it approved by the British parliament, which is deeply divided over Brexit.
        Some members of her ruling Conservative Party are unhappy about the Brexit proposals she has made, and the main opposition Labour Party has indicated it is likely to vote down any deal May brings back.
        Blair, a former Labour prime minister, said he did not expect May to be able to get a deal through parliament so the country should be offered a new vote.
        “It really is difficult … The alternatives are all worse because if you do get to a blockage in parliament that is what opens up the possibility of going back to the people,” Blair, who was premier from 1997 to 2007, told a Reuters newsmaker in London.
        “My view is this only happens if there is blockage in parliament.    But if there is blockage in parliament it is a very simple argument.    You say, look we have been two and a bit years trying to reach an agreement that works, parliament is blocked.”
        Both opponents and supporters of Brexit agree that the divorce is Britain’s most significant geopolitical move since World War Two, though they cast vastly different futures for the $2.9 trillion UK economy and the world’s biggest trading bloc.
        Blair has repeatedly called for reversing Brexit, echoing other critics such as French President Emmanuel Macron and billionaire investor George Soros, who have suggested that Britain could still change its mind.
        Blair said that if Brexit did happen, the economic dislocation would be such that the United Kingdom would have to pitch to investors that it would be the best place in the world to do business.
    (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Gareth Jones)

    10/11/2018 Trump trade war delivers farm boom in Brazil, gloom in Iowa by Jake Spring and Tom Polansek
    Machines work collecting cotton at the Guarani Farm of the Catelan family, in Roda Velha district near Luis Eduardo Magalhaes, Bahia state, Brazil September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
        LUÍS EDUARDO, Brazil/BOONE, Iowa (Reuters) – The Bella Vita luxury condominium tower rises 20 stories over the boomtown of Luís Eduardo Magalhães in northeastern Brazil.    Its private movie theater and helipad are symbols of how far this dusty farming community has come since it was founded just 18 years ago.
        Local soybean producers shell out upwards of a half-million U.S. dollars to live in the complex.    Nearby farm equipment sellers, car dealerships and construction supply stores are bustling too.
        Meanwhile, nearly 5,000 miles to the north in Boone, Iowa, farmers are hunkering down.    At a recent agriculture trade show here, Iowa corn and soybean grower Steve Sheppard reflected the cautious mood.
        “I’m not buying any machinery, I’m not spending any money,” Sheppard said.
        Two countries.    Same business.    Two very different fates.    The reason: China.
        A growing trade war between the United States and China is re-ordering the global grains business.    In response to Trump administration tariffs on Chinese goods, Beijing this year imposed levies on U.S. agricultural products.    Among them was a 25 percent tariff on soybeans, the single most valuable U.S. farm export.    U.S. growers sold $12 billion worth to China last year alone.
        The fallout has been quick. China, the world’s largest importer of soybeans, has scaled back purchases of U.S. grain to feed its massive hog herd.
        It is turning instead to Brazil, which has ridden the wave of Chinese demand for two decades to become a global agricultural powerhouse.    Brazilian soybean exports to the Asian country jumped 22 percent by value between January and September, compared to the same period a year ago.
        Brazilian producers are not only selling more grain, their soy is fetching $2.83 more per bushel than beans from the United States, up from a premium of just $0.60 a year ago, thanks to stepped up Chinese purchases.
        Prices for U.S. soybeans, meanwhile, recently sunk to decade lows that farmers say are below the cost of production.    The slump has made the agricultural sector a drag on an otherwise healthy U.S. economy.    The Trump administration said in July it would spend up to $12 billion in taxpayer funds to help U.S. farmers offset trade-related losses, although the aid package could shrink.
        Many American farmers, overwhelmingly conservative voters who helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency, are standing by their man.    They believe he will eventually negotiate a better trade deal with China, whose appetite for soybeans is so vast that it cannot completely wean itself off U.S. grain.
        But for the time being, Trump trade policies are handing precious market share, money and momentum to Brazil, the United States’ most formidable agricultural competitor.    Some fear the lost ground will be hard to reclaim.
        “Bad news on tariffs in the U.S. is good news for them,” Robert Crain, general manager for the Americas for equipment dealer AGCO Corp, said about Brazilian farmers in an interview at the Iowa show.
    (For a graphic on the diverging fortunes of farmers in the United States and Brazil, see:
        Like their U.S. counterparts, Brazil’s farmers produce much more grain than is needed at home.    Foreign customers are responsible for the country’s agricultural boom.    Nearly 80 percent of Brazil’s soy exports now head to China.
        The city of Luís Eduardo Magalhães is a testament to the importance of this international trade.    Located in the state of Bahia, with farms stretching in every direction, the formerly unincorporated rural area in less than two decades has swelled to 85,000 people. That is bigger than Sioux City, Iowa’s fourth-largest city.
        Major employers in Luís Eduardo, as most locals call the city, include fertilizer factories, seed producers and processors of soy and cotton.    The area “relies 100 percent on agriculture,” said Carminha Maria Missio, a farmer and president of the local growers union.
        While Brazil’s overall economy is stuck in a ditch, the nation’s farm sector rolled to 13 percent growth last year.    The John Deere dealership in Luís Eduardo saw its sales rise 15 percent in 2017 and is expecting double-digit growth again this year, managing partner Chico Flores Oliveira said.
        The local real estate market is surging too.    Another new luxury condo tower is slated to open next year.    Single-family homes are sprouting throughout the city.    Prices for prime farmland are up 37 percent since 2012, according to consultancy Informa Economics IEG FNP.
        Brazil’s total soy area is expected to expand to a record 36.28 million hectares this season due to robust Chinese demand, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
        Farmers here also are bullish on this month’s presidential election in Brazil. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is leading in the polls, favors rolling back fines for farmers who deforest illegally or break other environmental laws.    Like Trump, Bolsonaro, is wary of China.    But producers here trust him not to blow it on trade.
        “Rural producers support Bolsonaro emphatically,” said Congresswoman Tereza Cristina, head of the powerful agriculture voting bloc in Brazil’s Congress.    “We have access to him…and I am certain that he is smart and sensible.”
        U.S. FARM BELT PINCHED The outlook is much gloomier in Iowa, the long-established heart of U.S. agriculture.
        It is the nation’s top corn-producing state and the No. 2 producer of soybeans.    But its access to some global markets has suffered under Trump.
        The president walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would have opened valuable markets such as Japan to more American ag products.    His renegotiation of the NAFTA accord had Mexico, the largest importer of U.S. corn, exploring other suppliers, including Brazil.    Now the Chinese are pulling back.
        Boone lays smack in the state’s center, surrounded by miles of row crops, hogs and poultry.    Farmland values here fell 12 percent from 2012 to 2017, according to Iowa State University.    Worries about the U.S.-China trade war loomed over the recent Farm Progress show, which comes to town every other year.
        Equipment dealer Lee Randall jotted down prices at an auction of used tractors and implements at the show.
        Prices have dropped on trade tensions and low crop prices, he said, shaking his head as a green and yellow Deere & Co combine sold for $118,000 and another fetched $82,000.
        “Five years ago you could have added 30 percent to every one of these pieces,” said Randall, whose business, Randall Brothers, is based in Ohio.
        Nearby, Brett Begemann, chief operating officer for Bayer Crop Science said farmers were likewise scrutinizing purchases of seeds and chemicals.    The trade dispute is making it difficult for Bayer to predict 2019 earnings for its agriculture unit.
        A two-hour drive north of Boone in Algona, Iowa, a town of about 5,500 people, farm doldrums are crimping business at the local Deere and Harley-Davidson Inc dealerships, the operators said.
        “Ultimately this area lives and dies by the farmer,” said Jim Wilcox, an owner of the Harley store.
        Farmers’ woes are showing up on bank balance sheets as well.    The proportion of the region’s agricultural loans reported as having repayment problems was up in the second quarter, reaching mid-year levels not seen since 2002, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
        Rodney Jensen, who farms near Algona, regrets not making deals to sell soybeans from his autumn harvest when prices were higher.    Like many, he is storing his crop, waiting for better times.
        He worries China will not buy as much U.S. soy as it used to, even if the two nations patch things up.
        “It’s been pretty pessimistic around here,” Jensen said.
    (Reporting by Jake Spring in Luis Eduardo Magalhães; and Tom Polansek in Boone, Iowa; Editing by Caroline Stauffer and Marla Dickerson)

    10/11/2018 Pres. Trump Addresses Threat Of Human Trafficking by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump, joined by his daughter Ivanka Trump, speaks to the Interagency Task Force
    to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons annual meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
    on the White House complex in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
        President Trump delivers remarks on his administration’s fight to end human trafficking.
        The president thanked the various agencies for their efforts to address the issue, while speaking from the White House Thursday.
        He discussed the progress since he took office, which includes a record number of human smugglers prosecuted last year.
        However, the president added there is still more to be done.
        “This is an urgent humanitarian issue,” said the president.    "My administration is committed to leveraging every resource we have to confront this threat, to support the victims and survivors, and to hold traffickers accountable for their heinous crimes."
        President Trump went on to say his administration is challenging foreign regimes, which tend to support the illicit human trade.

    10/11/2018 Pence outlines dangers of mass migration by OAN Newsroom
        Vice President Mike Pence recently discussed the dangers of mass migration and said the U.S. is committed to border security.
        Speaking at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America Thursday, the vice president called on Central American governments and leaders to tell their citizens to stop trying to enter the U.S. illegally.
    Vice President Mike Pence accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, right,
    speaks during the second Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America at State Department on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
        Pence said the U.S. is committed to the rule of law and all nations need to speak with one voice.    He also offered a message to those who may try and break those laws.
        “Do not put your families at risk by taking the dangerous journey north to attempt to enter the U.S. illegally,” he urged. “The truth is, if they cannot come to the U.S. legally, they should not come at all.” Pence went on to say all countries need to do more to combat mass migration and crime rates as well as improve their economies to prevent their citizens from fleeing their homelands.

    10/11/2018 LEAKED: Internal Google docs prove they censor Conservatives by OAN Newsroom
        Top tech companies have come under fire over allegations of anti-conservative bias.    Now a leaked internal memo from Google shows the allegations may actually be true.
        One America’s Jack Posobiec sits down with Breitbart’s tech reporter to learn more.

    10/11/2018 President Trump, Kanye West discuss wide range of issues in Oval Officeby OAN Newsroom
        President Trump welcomed rapper Kanye West to the White House Thursday to discuss prison reform.
        During a briefing ahead of lunch, the president sat down with West and retired football player Jim Brown to discuss ways on how to improve the African American community.
    Rapper Kanye West speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House
    with President Donald Trump, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        The president briefly touched on a series of topics including Chicago’s rising crime rate, gun reform, pardons as wee as the stop and frisk program.
    West quickly took control of the briefing to defend the president against the constant criticism he faces from Democrats and the media. West pointed out he has faced criticism of his own from Hollywood for supporting the administration’s agenda. He said the president has not received the praise he deserves for his accomplishments, including the booming economy.

    10/11/2018 Kellyanne Conway lectures Hillary Clinton on civility by OAN Newsroom
        White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is taking aim at Hillary Clinton for her divisive comments about Republicans.
        Conway took to the airwaves Wednesday to say whenever Clinton opens her mouth, she manages to offend half of the country.
        The White House counselor said not all Americans have the privileges Clinton experienced at her Ivy League school.    She said it’s one thing to call Trump supporters deplorable, but it is another thing to speak out against civility.
    File – Hillary Clinton speaks at the African Methodist Episcopal church national convention in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
        Conway’s comments come in response to those made by Clinton just one-day prior.
        “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” said Clinton.    “That’s why I believe if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate that’s when civility can start again, but until then the only thing the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
        Conway went on to call the comments made by Clinton “dangerous.”    The White House official also criticized Clinton for her upcoming six-month speaking tour with her husband.

    10/11/2018 U.S. retirees to get welcome bump in Social Security benefits by Mark Miller
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. Social Security card designs over the past several decades are shown
    in this photo illustration taken in Toronto, Canada on January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang
        CHICAGO (Reuters) – Come January, most U.S. retirees will get some welcome news when they check their bank accounts – the biggest inflation adjustment to Social Security benefits in eight years.
        The federal government on Thursday announced a 2.8 percent Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2019; seniors will see the raise in their January benefit payment.    That is the largest increase since 2012, when the COLA was 3.6 percent.
        Just as encouraging, health insurance will take a smaller bite out of benefits next year.    The standard Medicare Part B premium is forecast to rise just $1.50 to $135.50, according to the program’s trustees.
        Since the premium typically is deducted from Social Security payments, that means most beneficiaries will get to keep most of the COLA.    (The official Part B premium will not be announced until later this year.)
        COLAs are determined by an automatic formula tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).    With inflation running very flat since the recession of 2009-2010, COLAs have been anemic in some recent years – there was no COLA at all in 2015, and it was three-tenths of 1 percent in 2016.    The COLA awarded for 2018 was a more generous 2 percent.
        But for many retirees, that increase was blunted by the impact of the little-understood hold-harmless rule, which prohibits the dollar amount of Part B premium increases from exceeding the dollar amount of the COLA for roughly 70 percent of beneficiaries.    The rule ensures that net Social Security benefits do not fall when the dollar amount of the Part B increase is greater than the dollar amount of the COLA increase.    Last year, however, due to some quirky dynamics of how the COLA and Part B premium interact, the COLA was wiped out for many seniors. (     This year should be different for most beneficiaries.    For example, assuming the standard Part B premium winds up at $135.50 in 2019, the 2.8 percent COLA will translate to a $40.50 monthly net raise (after the Medicare premium adjustment) for a beneficiary receiving $1,500 this year.
        The math will be less straightforward for beneficiaries who currently pay less than the standard Part B premium – again due to the hold-harmless rule, which kept their premiums down in recent years. That group includes roughly 25 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries, according to research by the Senior Citizens League – in most cases, lower-income seniors.    Most of these retirees will see their premium jump up to the standard 2019 level, consuming a larger portion of the COLA.
        “That’s where we will see the biggest bite taken out of the COLA next year,” said Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for the League.
        Despite the overall good COLA news, rising healthcare costs continue to pose a long-term threat to net Social Security benefits.    For example, the Medicare trustees project that the Part B premium will start rising at a faster pace beginning in 2020, rising anywhere from 5.6 to 10 percent annually through 2026.
        Overall healthcare inflation is projected to rise 4.22 percent over the coming 20 years, according to a report released last week by research firm HealthView Services.    That is down from HealthView’s 2017 projection of 5.47 percent, due mainly to moderation of projected prescription drug costs.    HealthView cited ongoing shifts by consumers from brand names to less expensive generics, and the earlier-than-expected closing of the doughnut-hole gap in plan coverage.
        Still, HealthView calculates that healthcare expenses will consume about half (48 percent) of lifetime Social Security benefits for a healthy 66-year-old couple retiring this year.    And the squeeze will get worse in the years ahead due to healthcare cost inflation.    HealthView calculates that a 55-year-old healthy couple will need 57 percent of their benefits to cover future retirement healthcare costs, and a 45-year-old couple will spend 63 percent.
        “That’s very worrisome, since so many seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income,” said Ron Mastrogiovanni, HealthView’s chief executive officer.
        One way that seniors can control cost is to take advantage of the annual fall Medicare enrollment season, which begins on Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. (    This is the time of year when you can make changes to your basic coverage and prescription drug insurance.    Prescription drug premiums, in particular, are volatile and can jump dramatically from year to year.
        “People really need to do an annual checkup on their Part D coverage,” said Johnson.    “Unfortunately, most seniors don’t do it.”
        In some cases, seniors can mitigate those costs through improved health management of chronic conditions, the report finds.    Mastrogiovanni also recommends making modest increases in contributions to retirement saving accounts to offset costs.    “The simple idea of improving the management of health conditions and investing the savings underscores a key point – taking retirement healthcare off the table as a concern is an achievable goal.”
    (Reporting and writing by Mark Miller in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

    10/12/2018 Oil down $2.20 to $70.97, DOW down 546 to 25,053

    10/12/2018 Investors say don’t panic over 5% drop by Adam Shell, USA TODAY
        Stock market downdrafts of 5 percent or more can cause an investor’s blood pressure to spike and anxiety levels to rise.    And Wall Street’s most recent slide – which has resulted in a price haircut of closer to 7 percent – has been a scary ride down.
        But Wall Street has a reassuring message for investors who worry that this is more than a short-term blip: “Pullbacks are normal,” says John Lynch, chief investment strategist at LPL Financial.
        Indeed, history shows that market drops between 5 and 9.99 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index are more frequent than you might think but don’t normally morph into major downturns.
        Since World War II, there have been 56 drops of this size.    The pain has been bearable, however, with an average decline of 7 percent and the downturn lasting a little more than a month, according to data from Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, a Wall Street research firm.    The good news: The market recouped its losses in a month and a half, on average.
        “After declines (like we’ve seen the past few days), investors will find that a review of stock market history will serve as a dose of ‘virtual valium,’” Stovall told USA TODAY.
        Investors wondering how bad things can get if the market goes down even more can also take solace in the performance of the market during the 22 times it has suffered a so-called “correction,” or drop of 10 percent or more.    The average decline was 13.8 percent, according to CFRA, and the market recouped its losses in 264 days, on average.

    10/12/2018 Bill seeks to protect election systems from foreign foes
        Foreign nationals would be prohibited from owning or controlling companies that support U.S. election systems under legislation introduced by two senators from Maryland, where officials learned this summer that a Russian oligarch is heavily invested in a company that maintains key parts of their state’s election infrastructure.
        The measure would require companies that provide elections services to report any foreign national who owns or controls their firm to the secretary of Homeland Security, the Election Assistance Commission and state and local government officials.    It also would require companies to provide notice of any material change in ownership or control.

    10/12/2018 Arkansas Supreme Court upholds revised voter identification law
        Arkansas’ highest court on Thursday upheld a voter ID law that is nearly identical to a restriction struck down by the court four years ago.
        The 5-2 decision from the Arkansas Supreme Court means the law, which requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, will remain in effect in this year’s election.

    10/12/2018 US Postal Service proposes biggest price hike since 1991 by Ashley May USA TODAY
        The U.S. Postal Service is seeking to increase the price of its first-class mail “forever” stamp in the biggest price hike since 1991.
        The USPS board of governors requested a 5 cent increase to the “forever” stamp, up to 55 cents.    Before recalculating the cost of sending those wedding invitations, USPS said the change would also reduce the additional ounce price of letters.    So, a 2-ounce stamped letter would decrease from 71 cents to 70 cents, according to a statement.
        Priority Mail flat rate prices could also increase by an average of 5.9 percent.    For example, a medium flat rate box that now goes for $13.65 would increase to $14.35.
        The Postal Regulatory Commission must approve the changes before they could go into effect.
        The new price plan comes at a time when USPS is struggling with sales, as mail has been replaced with electronic communication.    While the service has been handling more package delivery, the loss in mail delivery has been more dramatic – and mail is the service’s main source of revenue, Postmaster General and CEO Megan Brennan said earlier this year of the financial loss.
    Contributing: The Associated Press
    The U.S. Postal Service wants to increase the price of its first-class mail “forever” stamp by 5 cents. AP

    10/12/2018 As Brexit talks progress, UK PM May struggles to find support at home by Costas Pitas and Guy Faulconbridge
    FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain, October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo
        LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May was struggling on Friday to find consensus on Brexit proposals that would be acceptable to her ministers, her Conservative Party and the Northern Irish lawmakers who prop up her minority government.
        Brexit negotiations with the European Union have accelerated and become more positive over the past week, though significant hurdles remain, finance minister Philip Hammond said.
        “What has happened over the last week, 10 days, is that there has been a measurable change in pace,” he told the BBC.
        “But that shouldn’t conceal the fact that we still have some big differences left to resolve,” Hammond said.    “So process is a lot more positive this week – substance still very challenging.”
        With less than six months to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU, May is seeking to rally support at home on the details of a divorce deal though it is unclear if she can win parliament’s approval for any agreement.
        British and EU negotiators are making headway on the Irish border issue, the biggest hurdle to an overall agreement, and hope for a Brexit deal breakthrough on Monday, diplomats said.
        The Irish border “backstop,” which seeks a way to avoid customs checks on the frontier between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland if there is no overall exit deal, has become the biggest sticking point in negotiations.
        As both sides seek to clinch a deal, the United Kingdom will publish on Friday more of its so-called technical notices which lay out the impact of a no-deal Brexit on specific sectors of the economy.
        May’s Northern Irish supporters vehemently oppose any checks between the province and mainland Britain after Brexit.
        The head of the Democratic Unionist Party, Arlene Foster, said May “could not in good conscience” back an EU proposal for checks on goods being imported to Northern Ireland from Britain after Brexit.
        Under May’s proposals, the whole of the United Kingdom would forge a customs partnership with the EU after a transition period ends in December 2020 in the event of the backstop being triggered.
        Some of May’s ministers have urged her to put a time limit on that plan.
        The Times newspaper said May was warned the issue was so serious that she could face further cabinet resignations unless she found a way to ensure the backstop was not permanent.
        Speaking to Northern Ireland journalists at her Downing Street office, May said on Thursday that talks on the Irish backstop were likely to continue until November.
    (editing by David Stamp)

    10/12/2018 ECB feels vindicated but risks gaining prominence: Draghi
    FILE PHOTO - European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi testifies before the European Parliament's Economic
    and Monetary Affairs Committee in Brussels, Belgium September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
        NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – The euro zone’s continuing expansion has vindicated European Central Bank policy but risks to the outlook, from trade protectionism to the threat of a hard Brexit, are on the rise, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Friday.
        The ECB has been dialing back stimulus for months and expects to end a 2.6 trillion euro asset purchase scheme in December, arguing that it has done enough to sustain growth and the rebound in inflation.
        But Draghi also toned down earlier remarks, which foreshadowed a “relatively vigorous” rise in underlying inflation, merely predicting a “gradual” increase over the medium term.
        “Recent developments vindicate the Governing Council’s earlier assessments of the medium-term inflation outlook,” Draghi said at the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting.    “Uncertainty around the inflation outlook is receding.”
        In a potential reference to the rise in Italian yields, Draghi also played down concerns about recent market volatility, suggesting that this has not had a broader impact.
        “With respect to financial stability more broadly, recent episodes of heightened financial market volatility have led to only limited contagion across countries and markets,” Draghi told the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee in Bali.
        Still, he warned of increasingly prominent external risks, which would impact euro zone growth.
        “An orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union poses a limited overall risk to the euro area’s financial stability,” Draghi said.
        “However, the uncertainty triggered by a cliff-edge Brexit could have the potential to pose a more significant downside risk to financial stability,” he added.
    (Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Writing by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

    10/12/2018 G20 fails to mend trade rift, chair urges protagonists to resolve disputes by Leika Kihara and Yawen Chen
    FILE PHOTO - Argentine Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne speaks at the
    Think 20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 18, 2018. Argentine Ministry of Finance/Handout via REUTERS.
        NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Trade tensions within the Group of 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies could only be solved by the countries directly involved, the chairman of a meeting of finance leaders from the G20 said after a gathering in Bali on Friday.
        Taking place on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings on the Indonesian island, the G20 meeting provided little more than a forum for member countries to put their viewpoint on an escalating tariff war between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies.
        “We recognize we are now facing trade tensions among members of the G20,” Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne, chairman of this year’s G20 finance leaders’ meeting, told a news briefing, without directly mentioning either the United States or China.
        “The G20 can play a role in providing the platform for discussions.    But the differences that still persist should be resolved by the members that are directly involved in the tensions.”
        The United States and China have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods over the past few months, jolting financial markets and stoking fears the rising tide of protectionism could dent global growth.
        Dujovne said that while global growth projections remain steady, the expansion has become less even across economies as downside risks materialized.
        “On trade tensions, we agree that international trade is an important engine of growth, and that we need to resolve tensions which can negatively affect market sentiment and increase financial volatility,” he said.
        Dujovne sidestepped a question on how Japan ought to deal with trade frictions when it chairs the G20 meetings next year, saying only that “Japan will be the one deciding on the priorities.”
        Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters on Thursday that Tokyo hopes to discuss ways to fix global imbalances at next year’s G20 gatherings.
        The G20 finance leaders did not produce a joint communique after their two-day meeting ended on Friday.
    (Reporting by Leika Kihara and Yawen Chen; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

    10/12/2018 Venezuela President Maduro claims White House issued the order for his death by OAN Newsroom
        “I just want to see Venezuela straightened out, I want the people to be safe.    We’re gonna take care of Venezuela.” — President Donald Trump.
        Tensions continue to rise between the U.S. and Venezuela after President Nicolas Maduro claimed the Trump administration is out for blood.    Maduro took to the podium Thursday to claim, without evidence, that President Trump and the White House have ordered his death.
        “From the United States, they have decided to kill me — they have given the order from the White House that Maduro be killed,” he proclaimed.    “They will not even touch a single hair of mine, because God and the people of Venezuela protect me.”
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (Miraflores Presidential Palace via AP)
        The president also claimed the administration is seeking help from officials within the Colombian capital of Bogota.
        “The task has been given to oligarchs in Bogota, to the Bogota government — I denounce this to the world,” said Maduro.
        The dictator’s comments come after Press Secretary Sarah Sandersb> condemned the regime Wednesday, following the death of councilman Fernando Alban who died while under government custody.
        Venezuelan officials have claimed Alban committed suicide after being accused of being involved in the alleged August fourth assassination attempt against Maduro.
        Sanders also called for the release of the country’s political prisoners, and said the administration will continue to increase pressure on the regime.

    10/12/2018 American pastor Andrew Brunson released after being held in Turkey for 2 years by OAN Newsroom
        An American pastor is finally set free after two-years of imprisonment in Turkey.
        On Friday, a Turkish judge ordered the release of North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest.    The court ruling was issued based on good behavior and time served.
        The 50-year-old was sentenced to more than three-years after being convicted on terrorism charges.
        He was accused of collaborating with terrorist groups and participating in a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, which he repeatedly denied.
    A U.S. embassy official escorts Norine Brunson, the wife of US pastor Andrew Brunson, before his trial in Izmir, Turkey, early Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)
        President Trump took to Twitter Friday morning, saying his thoughts and prayers are with pastor Brunson and he hopes he has a safe journey home.
        This comes after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Turkey to pressure the country to order his release.

    10/12/2018 Secretary Mnuchin says China trade talks must include currency issues by OAN Newsroom
    FILE – In this May 21, 2018, file photo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin talks with reporters about trade
    with China outside of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
        Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said any trade talks between the U.S. and China must include discussions about currency issues.
        While speaking to reporters Friday at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Indonesia, the secretary said he had a constructive conversation with the head of China’s central bank.
        Mnuchin said he expressed his concerns over the weakness of Asian nation’s currency and reiterated the U.S. push for market reforms as well as opening up trade between the two countries.
        “A lot of these issues have been the same issues we have been dealing with for a long period of time,” he stated.    “We’ve been very clear on the actions that we’d like them to take and we believe that would be good for our companies, for our workers and for their markets — opening up and reforming their markets will be good for their economy.”
        President Trump has taken a hard line stance against China, vowing to increase tariffs until a fair trade agreement can be reached.
        Meanwhile, China is ramping up exports before the Trump administration’s tariffs take full effect.

    10/12/2018 Trump admin. tallies 289 accomplishments in first 20 months, surpasses Reagan admin. by OAN Newsroom
        Just shy of two years in the White House, President Trump could be making history with a record number of accomplishments.
        “I made that promise to you during the campaign.    I made that promise to you during the primaries, remember?    I made that promise.    Promises made, promises kept.” — President Donald Trump.
    President Donald Trump pumps his fists as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington,
    Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to Lebanon, Ohio, for a rally. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
        According to the Washington Examiner, the president and his administration have tallied 289 accomplishments since his inauguration.
        The outlet reported the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, the addition of four million jobs, reduction of regulation, and the Republican’s tax cut law all top the list.
        Other accomplishments include an 83-percent increase in the arrest MS-13 gang members.
        The Trump administration has surpassed a previous record of accomplishments set by the Reagan administration.

    10/12/2018 South Korea’s parliament reviewing revised trade deal with the U.S. by OAN Newsroom
        South Korea is holding up its end of the bargain by asking its parliament to ratify the trade deal reached with President Trump last month.    The country’s trade ministry filed the necessary paperwork early Friday.
        President Trump and his South Korean counterpart signed off on the deal in September, updating the current Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.
    Trucks used to transport containers are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal
    at the Busan New Port in Busan, about 420 km (261 miles) southeast of Seoul. (Photo/REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won)
        President Trump praised the deal as a solution to the trade deficit, adding, it will give American manufacturers better access to the Korean market.
        “The new U.S.-Korea agreement includes significant improvements to reduce our trade deficit and to expand opportunities to export American products to South Korea,” said the president.    “These outcomes give the finest American made automobiles, innovative medicines, and agricultural crops access to Korean markets — I think our farmers are going to be extremely happy.”
        After South Korea’s parliament approves the agreement, it will need confirmation from Congress to finally go into effect.

    10/12/2018 Oil turns lower as weaker demand outlook weighs by Jessica Resnick-Ault
    FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
        NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices gave back early gains and turned lower on Friday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) deemed supply adequate and the outlook for demand weakening, sinking even as equities rebounded from a slump Thursday.
        The West’s energy watchdog said in its monthly report that the market looked “adequately supplied for now” and trimmed its forecasts for world oil demand growth this year and next.
        “This is due to a weaker economic outlook, trade concerns, higher oil prices and a revision to Chinese data,” said the IEA, which advises industrialised countries on energy policy.
        Brent crude fell 56 cents a barrel to $79.70 by 12:16 p.m. EDT (1616 GMT), after dropping 3.4 percent on Thursday.    U.S. crude futures fell 2 cents to $70.95.
        “The weaker outlook has gotten a raised profile in the market, but there’s potential for a real supply crunch toward the end of this year,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York.    “The demand outlook is hurt right now because of the situation with the U.S. and China in particular.”
        Both benchmarks were headed for their first weekly drop in five weeks, pressured by a big rise in U.S. inventories and fading concerns about shrinking global supplies due to looming U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.
        The IEA report is the latest official forecaster to predict weaker demand ahead and conclude that supply is adequate.    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) made a similar move on Thursday.
        “The bearish alarm bells are ringing for next year’s oil balance as market players brace for the return of a supply surplus,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
        Early in the session, crude rose as global equities were set for their biggest daily gain in nearly a month.
        Declining equities amid wider risk-off investor sentiment had pressured oil on Thursday.
        A drop in U.S. oil production this week supported prices.    In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, companies cut output by 40 percent on Thursday because of Hurricane Michael, even as some began returning crews to offshore platforms.
        Michael made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as the third most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland, though it has since weakened to a tropical storm.
        Oil traders will watch for the weekly U.S. drilling rig count, an indicator of upcoming production, which is due at about 1 p.m. from Baker Hughes.
    (Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Alex Lawler; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio)

    10/12/2015 Canadian dollar steadies as oil and stock prices rebound by Fergal Smith
    FILE PHOTO: A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie," is pictured
    in this illustration picture taken in Toronto January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo
        TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar was little changed against a broadly stronger greenback on Friday as oil and stock prices rebounded, but the loonie lost ground for the week as investors worried about threats to the global growth outlook.
        At 3:47 p.m. (1947 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading nearly unchanged at 1.3037 to the greenback, or 76.70 U.S. cents.
        The currency, which on Thursday touched its weakest intraday level in nearly two weeks at 1.3077, traded in a range of 1.3003 to 1.3052.
        For the week, the loonie was down 0.7 percent as investors worried that higher bond yields and trade conflicts could hurt global economic growth.
        “You’ve had this fundamental backdrop that markets are paying attention to, including the increased tension between the United States and China which doesn’t bode well if your currency moves with growth dynamics globally,” said Bipan Rai, North America head of FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.
        Canada exports many commodities, including oil, and runs a current account deficit so its economy could suffer if the flow of trade or capital slows.
        The price of oil pared some of this week’s losses despite a report from the International Energy Agency that deemed supply adequate and the outlook for demand weakening.
        U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.5 percent higher at $71.34 a barrel.
        Canadian heavy crude sells for much less than the price of U.S. oil, with the differential reaching the widest level ever this week at more than $50, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers.
        “I do think that the discount of WCS (Western Canada Select) to WTI (West Texas Intermediate) matters and that is part of the reason why CAD hasn’t participated in the crude rally over the last several weeks,” Rai said.
        The U.S. dollar <.DXY> climbed against a basket of currencies as global equity prices rebounded from this week’s rout and robust Chinese export figures soothed worries about the world’s second-biggest economy and its trade war with Washington.
        Canadian home prices were unchanged in September from August as the number of areas across the country posting price gains declined, data showed.
        Canadian government bond prices were higher across a flatter yield curve, with the 10-year rising 18 Canadian cents to yield 2.480 percent.
        The gap between Canada’s 10-year yield and its U.S. counterpart widened by 3.7 basis points to a spread of 66.6 basis points in favor of the U.S. bond.
    (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

    10/13/2018 DUP leader says would prefer no Brexit deal to ‘annexation’ of Northern Ireland
    FILE PHOTO: Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster holds a news conference at the European Parliament
    after a meeting with EUÕs Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
        DUBLIN (Reuters) – The head of the Northern Irish party that props up British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said on Saturday she would prefer no Brexit deal to a bad deal, saying the current proposal would permanently annex Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.
        Writing in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper, Arlene Foster also said she wanted a deal that would work for the Republic of Ireland and said she would travel to Dublin for talks on Monday.
    (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Gareth Jones)

    10/13/2018 Oil up $0.37 to $71.34, DOW up 287 to 25,340

    10/13/2018 Dow climbs 287 points after ‘tough week’ of big losses by Janna Herron, USA TODAY
        Stocks pulled off a strong showing Friday, but the rally wasn’t quite enough to recoup the steep losses from an earlier two-day rout.
        The Dow Jones industrial average rose 287.16 points, or 1.15 percent, to close at 25,339.99.    Still, the blue-chip index shed 1,107 points this week, its worst since March.    On Wednesday, the index dropped more than 800 points, the biggest loss since February.
        Other indexes, while making gains Friday, had similar bad weeks.    The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 4.1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq – hardest hit in Wednesday’s battering – ended the week down 3.74 percent.
        The Russell 2000’s performance was the worst, however.    The small-company stock index fell into official correction territory Thursday and ended the week 11.16 percent off its Aug. 31 peak.
        “Obviously, it was a tough week.    The good news is things have stabilized today, and, while we’re off from the day’s highs, the rebound was broad,” said Chris Cook, founder and president of Beacon Capital Management.
        Anxiety over a jump in interest rates coupled with the uncertain impact of Chinese tariffs on the economy ignited the sell-off Wednesday.    Tech darlings got hammered hard two days ago but rebounded with noise Friday.
        Amazon gained 4.03 percent, Apple increased 3.57 percent, and Netflix jumped 5.75 percent.    The biggest losers were trade-prone stocks such as Caterpillar, Boeing and 3M, which all lost almost 7 percent this week.
        “We are moving away from a market driven by low interest rates to one ... based more on fundamentals, so companies dependent on borrowing for growth – like tech stocks – look less attractive,” said Timothy Chubb, CIO at Univest Wealth Management Division.    “Investors are getting accustomed to that.”
        “Just because the market has been on the rise for such a long time doesn’t mean the race is over,” said Joe Wirbick, president of Sequinox, a financial planning firm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.    “Markets shift.    That’s just life.”

    10/13/2018 Wall St. rebounds with technology stocks leading the way by Sinéad Carew
    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
        NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index snapped a six-day losing streak on Friday as technology stocks recovered after a week of losses, with investors looking for bargains ahead of the third quarter earnings reporting season.
        Even the hard-hit S&P500 energy and financial sectors managed to close the session with slight gains after a late afternoon rally.
        The S&P technology index <.SPLRCT> gained 3.2 percent on the day, showing its strongest one-day gain since March 26, although it still registered its biggest weekly drop since March 23.
        “People are starting to buy in, thinking the higher flying growth stocks were oversold.    They wanted to get in before next week when earnings start coming,” said Janna Sampson, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
        But until the U.S. and China reach a trade deal, the rebound in the stockmarket could be vulnerable as investors are anxious about the impact of tariffs on corporate profits.
        “If earnings come out good I think this rally is sustainable if we don’t get negative trade news.    Trade news is the wild card.    That’s the big if,” said Sampson.
        The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 287.16 points, or 1.15 percent, to 25,339.99, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 38.76 points, or 1.42 percent, to 2,767.13 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 167.83 points, or 2.29 percent, to 7,496.89.
        The technology sector’s biggest boosts were Apple , and Microsoft which rose more than 3.0 percent. Visa and Mastercard both climbed almost 5.0 percent, boosted by strong credit card sales included in bank earnings reports, according to Oakbook’s Sampson.
        The S&P500’s financial sector ended the day up 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 banks subsector <.SPXBK> closed down 0.4 percent, well above its session low.    The biggest drag on the subsector was JPMorgan Chase & Co , which closed down 1.0 percent despite reporting a quarterly profit that beat expectations.
        PNC Financial led the percentage losers among bank stocks, with a 5.6 percent drop after the regional bank reported disappointing quarterly loan growth and said it expected only a small improvement in lending this quarter.
        The three gainers among banks included Citigroup , which rose 2.0 percent, and Wells Fargo , which eked out a 1.3 percent gain after upbeat results.
        Netflix and Amazon , some of the names that took a big hits in the week’s selloff, rose 5.7 percent and 4.0 percent respectively.
        The bank results launch a quarterly reporting season that will give the clearest picture yet of the impact on profits from President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
        Earnings at S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 21.5 percent in the third quarter, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv, a slowdown from the previous two quarters.
        Energy stocks <.SPNY> ended the day up 0.3 percent as oil prices steadied to settle up slightly after a volatile session dropped on a weakening oil demand outlook. [O/R]
        The consumer discretionary <.SPLRCD> and communication services <.SPLRCL> sectors, both rose more than 2.0 percent.
        Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.38-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.51-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
        The S&P 500 index posted no new 52-week highs and 52 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 10 new highs and 234 new lows.
        Volume on U.S. exchanges was 8.91 billion shares, well above the 7.78 billion average for the last 20 trading days but below the soaring volume of Thursday’s and Wednesday’s sessions.
    (This version of the story was refiled to fix typos)
    (Additional reporting by April Joyner in New York, Shreyashi Sanyal, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Rosalba O’Brien)

    10/13/2018 Pres. Trump meets with pastor Brunson after his release from Turkish custody by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump welcomes American pastor Andrew Brunson to the White House, after being released from a Turkish jail he was held in for two years.
        In the Oval Office Saturday, the president greeted the Brunson family, and told the pastor he can celebrate and rest now that he’s back on U.S. soil.
        Brunson thanked the president for his efforts to return him home, and said a prayer for him and the country.
    President Donald Trump prays with American pastor Andrew Brunson in the Oval Office of the White House,
    Saturday October 13, 2018, in Washington. Brunson returned to the U.S. around midday after he was freed Friday,
    from nearly two years of detention in Turkey. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
        Brunson then thanked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.
        The pastor also showed his appreciation to GOP Senate members, who have been working behind the scenes to bring him back home.
        South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham also weighed in on the return of Brunson.
        In a video he tweeted, the Senator said ‘the good man is now home, and i’m really glad we got to work with Turkey, which will give us a chance to reset our relationship.’

    10/13/2018 Report: ambassador Kelly Knight Craft to replace UN ambassador Nikki Haley by OAN Newsroom
        High-profile women are reportedly being considered as a replacement for outgoing UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
        Reports Saturday, claim U.S. ambassador to Canada, Kelly Knight Craft is under serious consideration.
    President Donald Trump meets with outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley
    in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        U.S. ambassador to France and Monaco, Jamie McCourt is also being floated.    An administration official was quoted saying, ‘the women are sophisticated, smart, and willing to travel.’
        The new names come after former Security Adviser Dina Powell withdrew her name this week.
        Haley will leave her post at the end of the year, with a replacement expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

    10/13/2018 Nikki Haley criticizes UN for electing human rights abusers to council by OAN Newsroom
        Outgoing UN ambassador Nikki Haley slams the General Assembly, for electing members with poor human rights records to its Human Rights Council.
        Haley criticized the UN on Friday, saying ‘the lack of standards continues to undermine the organization.’
    FILE – In this July 20, 2018 file photo, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters at United Nations headquarters.
    Haley is tendering her resignation, two sources tell The Associated Press, marking the latest shake-up in the turbulent Trump administration just weeks before the midterm election.
    She was appointed to the U.N. post in November 2016 and last month coordinated Trump’s second trip to the United Nations,
    including his first time chairing the U.N. Security Council. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
        This comes in response to the General Assembly selecting six new members, from countries like Somalia and the Philippines, who are considered to be human rights abusers by the UN Watch.
        That election cycle went largely unchallenged, and the new members are set to take their seats at the council in January.
        Haley said this demonstrates why the U.S. was right to withdraw from the council earlier this year.

    10/13/2018 ‘United against racism’, Germans stage mass protest against far right by Michael Nienaber
    Protesters gather to the "#unteilbar", demonstration which aims to "rise up against discrimination, poverty, racism, sexism,
    disenfranchisement, and nationalism" in Berlin, Germany, October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
        BERLIN (Reuters) – Protestors from across Germany marched through Berlin on Saturday against racism, xenophobia and the far right in one of the country’s biggest rallies of recent years.
        Organizers put the turnout at 242,000 people for the demonstration, which followed anti-immigration protests in several eastern cities over the summer and a rise in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party before a state election on Sunday.
        A police spokesman declined to estimate the size of the crowd at the march, which was organized by a broad alliance of associations, labor unions, parties and rights groups including Amnesty International.
        Marchers carried placards reading “Build bridges not walls,” “United against racism” and “We are indivisible – for an open and free society.”    Some danced to pop music on a warm autumn day.
        The arrival of more than a million migrants, many from war zones in the Middle East, has boosted support for the AfD.    It is expected to fare well in the election in Bavaria, long a stronghold of the conservative Christian Social Union, a member of the Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal coalition government.
        In August, far-right groups in the eastern city of Chemnitz clashed with police and chased people they believed to be foreign after the fatal stabbing of a German man blamed on two migrants.    Similar protests took place in Dresden, Koethen and other eastern cities.
        Merkel has accused AfD politicians of using the violent protests to stir up social tensions.
        Nevertheless, the number of violent attacks on refugees and asylum shelters in Germany has fallen sharply in the first half of this year.
        Two companies have also warned their German employees about the dangers of populism before the regional election in Bavaria while the head of the BDI industry association has said the economy could be hurt by a wave of nationalism.
    (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by David Stamp)

    10/13/2018 DUP leader regards no-deal Brexit as ‘likeliest outcome’: Observer
    Anti-brexit protestors wave flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
        LONDON (Reuters) – The head of the Northern Irish party that props up British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government regards a no-deal Brexit as the “likeliest outcome,” according to a leaked email seen by The Observer newspaper.
        The newspaper said Arlene Foster told Ashley Fox, leader of Conservative Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), over a dinner last week of her disappointment at a meeting with Michel Barnier, the French official leading the European Union’s negotiating team.
        “She described Barnier as being difficult and hostile in her meeting today,” the leaked email cited by The Observer said.    “AF said the DUP were ready for a no deal scenario, which she now believed was the likeliest one.”
        The Observer said it was one of several emails it had seen that had been “leaked from the highest levels of government.”
    (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

    10/13/2018 Swedish centre-right split scuppers plan for minority government by Johan Sennero and Esha Vaish
    FILE PHOTO: Swedish Liberal Party leader Jan Bjorklund gives a news conference after meeting with
    the Speaker of Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden September 27, 2018. TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstromer via REUTERS
        STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – An attempt by the leader of Sweden’s Moderate party to break the political deadlock after September’s election looked set to fail on Saturday as two parties in his centre-right bloc said they would not support him in forming a minority government.
        Neither the Alliance bloc – headed by Moderates’ leader Ulf Kristersson – nor a grouping of centre-left parties won enough votes in the election on Sept. 9 to form a majority and both have ruled out a deal with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, who hold the balance of power.
        Kristersson, tasked to try to form a new government, said on Friday he was prepared to do so without all the parties in the four-party Alliance bloc.
        But Liberal leader Jan Bjorklund – a member of the Alliance – said he would not back a government of only the Moderates and Christian Democrats, while Centre Party leader Annie Loof – also in the Alliance – said all four parties had to be part of a deal.
        “A Moderates and Christian Democrat government would be a weak government that risks ending up in a snap election and giving power to the Sweden Democrats,” Bjorklund told a press conference.
        “We will never be part of a government which needs support from the Sweden Democrats,” he added.
        All the mainstream parties in Sweden have refused to have any dealings with the Sweden Democrat party, which has roots in the white supremacist fringe.
        It has refused to support any government that does not give it a say in policy.
        The failure of Kristersson’s proposal puts the process of forming a government back to square one.
        It could also spell the end of the Alliance, formed in 2004 to challenge the political domination of the Social Democrats.
        “You cannot interpret this in any other way than that the Alliance is now finished,” Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson told daily Expressen.
        Both Bjorklund and Loof want the Social Democrats to support an Alliance government, something they have rejected.
        “We still want an Alliance government but that needs cooperation across the (political divide), otherwise that will give power to the Sweden Democrats,” Loof told reporters on Saturday.
        Kristersson said he would meet the speaker of parliament on Sunday.
        The baton is likely to pass next to Stefan Lofven, the leader of the Social Democrats and current caretaker prime minister.    He lost a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Sept. 25.
        The speaker has four attempts to find a prime minister acceptable to parliament or there will be fresh elections.
    (Reporting by Johan Sennero, Esha Vaish and Simon Johnson, Editing by Daniel Dickson and Andrew Bolton)

    10/13/2018 Fed official says rate hikes ‘right course’ for U.S. monetary policy by Sumeet Chatterjee
    FILE PHOTO: Randal Quarles, Federal Reserve board member and Vice Chair for Supervision, takes part in a swearing-in ceremony for Chairman Jerome Powell
    at the Federal Reserve in Washington, U.S., Febuary 5, 2018. Picture taken February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo
        NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve does consider the impact of interest rate hikes on emerging markets when setting policy, but the increases are the “right course of domestic policy” for the world’s largest economy, said a top Fed official on Saturday.
        The comments by Fed Vice Chair Randal Quarles came as some emerging markets face increasing pressure this year as higher U.S. interest rates draw foreign capital away, and due to fears of fallout from a tariff war between the U.S. and China.
        The Fed has also been at the receiving end of criticism from President Donald Trump, who on Thursday called its interest rate increases a “ridiculous” policy.    Those surprisingly caustic remarks came a day after the president told reporters, in response to a Wall Street rout, that the “Fed has gone crazy.”
        “If you look around the world, I think the Asian region as a whole is reasonably strong relative to certain areas in the past,” Quarles said, responding to a question on the region’s capacity to withstand interest rate shocks.
        “We do consider” the implication of U.S. monetary policy on emerging markets and the rest of the world, he said at the annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
        Rising U.S. rates, coupled with fears over the impact of U.S.-Sino trade war, have hurt emerging Asia, and currency, bond and share markets in India, Indonesia and the Philippines and elsewhere in the region have all come under pressure.
        The Fed last month raised interest rates for the third time this year, and foresees another hike in December, three more next year, and one increase in 2020.
        “It’s not going to be in the interest of anyone in the world … for us to get behind the curve in the U.S. by moderating what we think is the right course of domestic policy,” Quarles said.
    (Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

    10/14/2018 Britain’s Labour will not vote for ‘blind Brexit’
    FILE PHOTO - Emily Thornberry, Labour Party's Shadow Foreign Secretary, speaks at the party's conference in Liverpool, Britain, September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
        LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s main opposition Labour Party will not vote for a Brexit deal that offers little more than a “bridge to nowhere,” its foreign policy spokeswoman said on Sunday, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May.
        “I think they (the government) are going to come along and give us … a ridiculous binary choice,” Emily Thornberry told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
        “Frankly if she (May) comes back with something which is just a fudge that she’s cooked up with Brussels and it doesn’t meet our tests, we are not going to vote for it … We’re not stupid, we’re not voting for something that is essentially a bridge to nowhere.”
    (Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Mark Potter)

    10/14/2018 Swedish centre-right Alliance leader abandons attempt to form government for now
    FILE PHOTO: Swedish Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson gives a news conference after a meeting with the
    Speaker of Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, September 27, 2018. TT News Agency/Pontus Lundahl via REUTERS /File Photo
        STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The leader of Sweden’s Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, said on Sunday he had been unable to get enough support for a centre-right coalition government, putting the task of finding a candidate for prime minister back in the hands of parliament’s speaker.
        Sweden has been in a state of political deadlock since a Sept. 9 election when neither the Alliance bloc – headed by Kristersson – nor a grouping of centre-left parties won enough votes for a majority and both ruled out a deal with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, who hold the balance of power.
        Kristersson said on Friday he was prepared to try to form a minority government without all the parties in the four-party Alliance bloc, but the Liberal and Centre parties of his bloc scuppered the plan by refusing to back it.
        “I have done what I can, for now,” Kristersson said on Sunday as he told the speaker he was giving up his attempts to form a government for the moment.
        The speaker has four attempts to find a prime minister acceptable to parliament or there will be another election.    The speaker said on Sunday he would talk to the parties on Monday and hand someone else the task of forming the government.
        The baton is likely to pass next to Stefan Lofven, the leader of the Social Democrats and current caretaker prime minister.    He lost a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Sept. 25.
        But if other candidates fail Kristersson can be handed a second chance.
        “I’m disappointed that (the Alliance) is now missing an opportunity to form a new government with a new policy… I’m still ready to be prime minister and to lead an Alliance government,” Kristersson said.
    (Reporting by Johan Sennero and Esha Vaish; Editing by Johan Ahlander/Keith Weir)

    10/14/2018 Martyr priest, now Saint Romero, challenged power in El Salvador by Nelson Renteria
    A statue of the late Archbishop of San Salvador, Mons. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who will be declared saint by the
    Catholic Church on October 14, is seen at the Dolores church in Izalco, El Salvador, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
        SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – In 1980, a day after urging El Salvador’s military to halt a string of abuses that would inflame a 12-year civil war in the impoverished country, Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead while leading Mass.
        His homilies had blasted the U.S.-backed military dictatorship while voicing solidarity with the poor, making him a Latin American human rights icon.
        On Sunday at the Vatican, he will become a Roman Catholic saint.
        Romero was considered for canonization decades ago, but his nomination stalled on concerns that he was overly political.
        His reputation rebounded in 2015, when Pope Francis, a fellow Latin American committed to defending the poor, declared him a martyr who had been killed for hatred of the faith.
        Romero critiqued the military government and armed leftist groups alike.    That earned him animosity from both sides ahead of a civil war that lasted until 1992, leaving some 75,000 people dead and sending thousands of Salvadorans fleeing to the United States.
        In 1980, at a church altar, he found a bomb meant to take his life.
        “Persecution is necessary in the Church.    Do you know why?    Because the truth is always persecuted,” he said at the time.
        Two weeks later, undeterred by death threats, the man distinguished by his bushy eyebrows and thick glasses spoke directly to soldiers.
        “I beg you, I beseech you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression,” he said.
        The following day, a sniper killed the 62-year-old as he delivered Mass at a hospital chapel in the capital.    The main suspect is a former soldier.
        Romero’s murder was one of the most shocking of the long conflict between a series of U.S.-backed governments and leftist rebels in which right-wing and military death squads killed thousands.
        Romero was born in 1917 in a small coffee-growing town in Honduras, the second of eight brothers.    As a boy, he apprenticed as a carpenter before entering the seminary and studying theology in Rome.
        In 1943, he returned to El Salvador as a parish priest until becoming Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977.    The military’s killing, kidnapping and arrests of priests who supported workers’ rights turned him into a staunch critic of the regime.
        The Vatican said the miracle cementing his sainthood was the 2015 survival of Cecilia Flores, whose husband prayed to Romero when she was close to death in pregnancy.
        “Doctors told my husband … only a miracle will save your wife,” Flores said.    After her husband began praying, she instantly recovered and gave birth to a healthy son, she added.
        Salvadoran Cardinal Jose Gregorio Rosa said Romero’s sainthood will serve as an example for religious leaders as well as the faithful.
        “It’s the greatest thing a human being can achieve, an incredible joy,” he said.
    (Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Richard Chang)

    10/14/2018 Report: U.S. Secret Service Foiled ISIS Assassination Plot Against Pres. Trump by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump smiles as he arrives at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018,
    in Cincinnati, Ohio. The president is en route to campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        A new report reveals the U.S. Secret Service foiled an Islamic State plot to assassinate President Trump.
        ISIS planned to kill the president during a summit of Southeast Asian countries last November, according to Secret Service agent Anthony Ornato Sunday.
        Cyber intelligence suggested Islamic militants planned the attack upon President Trump’s landing in the Philippine capital of Manila.
        The report comes as the radical left group Antifa and Islamic circles have encouraged assassination politics in the U.S.
        Ornato says a suspect behind the plot was caught just 20 minutes before President Trump’s arrival.

    10/15/2018 Mattis pushes closer ties to Vietnam amid tension with China
        Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is making his second trip this year to Vietnam, a sign of how the Trump administration is trying to counter China’s military assertiveness by cozying up to smaller nations in the region.
        The visit begins Tuesday, with Mattis going to Ho Chi Minh City.    Mattis also plans to visit an air base and meet with his Vietnamese counterpart.
        The trip originally was to include a visit to Beijing, but that stop was canceled amid rising tensions.

    10/15/2018 Humiliating losses in Bavarian election shake Merkel’s coalition by Joseph Nasr
    Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to the
    CDU party headquarters in Berlin, Germany, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
        BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany woke up on Monday to the news that its crisis-prone government could become even more unstable after the parties ruling in a loveless coalition suffered humiliating results in an election in the southern state of Bavaria.
        Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies slumped to their worst election results in almost 70 years and her junior coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), saw support in Bavaria halved.
        “It’s gonna be turbulent,” headlined the Die Welt newspaper.    “The result in Bavaria is a vote against the grand coalition in Berlin.”
        The SPD had hoped that infighting over immigration between Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CDU) allies would give them a boost in Bavaria.
        But instead, the party saw support fall to just under 10 percent, prompting a discussion over the sustainability of its alliance with Merkel’s conservatives at the national level.
        SPD members are still bitter over their leaders’ decision to join a Merkel-led government after vowing before the general election in September 2017 to sit in opposition if they lost to the conservatives.    They are now demanding consequences.
        The party’s General Secretary Lars Klingbeil told Deutschlandfunk radio that members wanted a change in the style of government.
        SPD leaders have promised members opposed to a coalition with the conservatives they will hold a review after two-years in government and decide whether the partnership was still viable.
        Asked if disgruntled SPD members were demanding that the review be brought forward, Klingbeil said:
    The evaluation is planned for the middle of the legislative period but something must happen now.    There must be different style of government.”
        He said the CSU under Horst Seehofer must stop picking arguments, especially on issues like migrant policy.    “If the style of government doesn’t change, there will be a debate in the SPD and the critical voices will get stronger,” he said.
        Polls indicate that the ruling parties will be chastened again in two weeks in an election in the western state of Hesse, where they are expected to bleed support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the ecologist Greens.
        The state is ruled by Merkel’s CDU in a coalition with the Greens and a slump in support for the conservatives there would almost certainly further weaken her authority.
        “If the CDU loses the government in Hesse, this will probably start a discussion within the CDU about Merkel’s position,” wrote mass-selling Bild.
    (Reporting by Joseph Nasr, Madeline Chambers and Riham Alkoussa; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

    10/15/2018 Brexit talks stall before midweek EU summit by Gabriela Baczynska, Alastair Macdonald and Elizabeth Piper
    The car believed to be carrying Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab arrives at the EU Commission
    headquarters in Brussels, prior to a meeting with EU's chief Brexit negotiator MIchel Barnier, Belgium October 14, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
        BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – The stubborn problem of Britain’s land border with Ireland thwarted a drive to clinch a Brexit deal before a European Union summit this week, as negotiators admitted defeat after marathon talks and pressed pause for the coming
        EU negotiator Michel Barnier said after meeting British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab that they could still not bridge a gap between his “backstop” demands that Northern Ireland stay in the EU’s economic zone if there is a risk that border checks with EU member Ireland could revive conflict, and London’s rejection of any checks on trade between the province and the British mainland.
        Both sides want to end more than a year of talks by mid-November.    This is to give parliaments in London and Brussels time to approve a deal before Britain otherwise crashes out of the EU next March, plunging businesses and millions of ordinary citizens into a chaotic and costly legal limbo.
        However, British Prime Minister Theresa May faces intense opposition to some of the EU’s demands from members of her Conservative party and allies in Northern Ireland, some of whom threaten to reject any deal they do not like in parliament.
        “Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for (Ireland/Northern Ireland) to avoid a hard border,” Barnier tweeted after his meeting in Brussels with Raab ended days of bargaining between Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand and May’s Brexit lieutenant Oliver Robbins.
        A British government spokesman said progress had been made in some key areas.    “However there remain a number of unresolved issues relating to the backstop.    The UK is still committed to making progress at the October European Council,” he said.
        But the result, EU officials and diplomats said, is that there are no plans for further talks before leaders of the other 27 EU member states meet over dinner in Brussels on Wednesday to hear Barnier brief them on the state of play.
        Several said there was little chance the leaders would give Barnier new instructions.    They noted this puts the onus on May, who will join the leaders on Thursday morning, to break the deadlock she faces among her own allies and supporters.
        “It seems like May doesn’t have backing in her cabinet for the backstop,” said one senior EU diplomat who was briefed by Barnier.
        Both sides had for a time been talking up progress but many Brussels diplomats and officials have questioned whether May could appear to come to terms quite so quickly.    More days, or weeks, of drama could strengthen her hand as both sides talk up preparations for a possible “no-deal” Brexit.
        Leaders had been due to decide on Wednesday whether enough progress had been made for them to agree to hold another summit, pencilled in for Nov. 17-18, at which both the treaty on an orderly British withdrawal and a vaguer document setting out future trade relations could be inked in.
        It is unclear now whether the leaders will call for the November summit this week.    Many, notably French President Emmanuel Macron, made clear at a summit with May last month that they would agree to meet only if she could show she had come sufficiently close to a deal to make it worthwhile.
        EU sources said Barnier’s team have offered new wording on a text on the backstop, highlighting that it may never be activated or only for a limited time, and also that Britain as a whole could stay under EU rules for longer as it transitions out after March 2019.    But so far that has not met British reservations.
        Both sides want to avoid renewed checks on what will become their only land border to avoid hindering trade on the island of Ireland and reawakening tensions two decades after a peace deal ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.
        David Davis, who resigned as Brexit minister in July, accused May’s government earlier on Sunday of accepting “the EU’s language on dealing with the Northern Ireland border.”
        “This is one of the most fundamental decisions that government has taken in modern times.    It is time for cabinet members to exert their collective authority,” Davis, who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, wrote in the Sunday Times.
        Davis also pressed May to abandon her Brexit proposal, which involves staying in a free trade zone with the EU for goods.
        So far, May has shown little appetite to change tack, trying to persuade Conservative lawmakers and those in the opposition Labour Party to vote for any deal based on her plan.
        Even if she reaches a withdrawal agreement, she will struggle to get it through parliament and may find opposition from the small Northern Irish party which props up here minority government to other legislation such as the budget.
        “I fully appreciate the risks of a ‘no deal’ but the dangers of a bad deal are worse,” Arlene Foster, head of the Democratic Unionist Party, wrote in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper.
        “This backstop arrangement would not be temporary.    It would be the permanent annexation of Northern Ireland away from the rest of the United Kingdom and forever leave us subject to rules made in a place where we have no say.”
    (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Keith Weir and David Stamp)

    10/15/2018 President Trump says Putin is ‘probably’ involved in assassinations and poisonings by OAN Newsroom
    Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while answering questions at the Russian Energy Week International Forum
    in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
        President Trump claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin was “probably” involved in the poisoning of a Russian agent.
        In an interview on Sunday, President Trump appeared to agree with reports suggesting Putin ordered the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
        He doubled-down on his accusation that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, but insisted China also interfered and poses a bigger threat than the Kremlin.
        Meanwhile, the president claimed he has privately cracked-down on Putin in response to the incident.
        “I think I’m very tough with him (Putin) personally, I had a meeting — the two of us — it was a very tough meeting and it was a very good meeting,” said President Trump.
        This comes after the Russian president recently referred to the agent targeted in the attack as a “scumbag.”

    10/15/2018 U.S. cracks down on transnational organized crime including Hezbollah: Sessions
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks to the Office of Justice Programs'
    National Institute of Justice Opioid Research Summit in Washington, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said he had designated five groups, including Hezbollah and MS-13, as transnational criminal organizations to target with tougher investigations and prosecutions.
        Sessions also said he had designated the Sinaloa Cartel, Clan de Golfo and Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion for the crack down to be carried out by a special new task force.
        A special team of “experienced international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and money laundering prosecutors” will investigate individuals and networks providing support to Hezbollah, Sessions said.
        Mostly active in Lebanon, Hezbollah was an outlier on the Attorney General’s list, which was otherwise focused on groups with ties to Latin America.
        “With this new task force in place, our efforts will be more targeted and more effective than ever,” Sessions said, explaining that in 90 days task-force members will give him specific recommendations “i>to prosecute these groups and ultimately take them off of our streets.”
    (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Susan Thomas)

    10/15/2018 Cannabis college: Canadian students learn to grow pot
    Students Michal Marcinkiewicz and Carson Otto measure the light in the marijuana lab at the new Commercial Cannabis
    Production Program at Niagara College in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio
        TORONTO (Reuters) – As Canadians prepare for the legalization of recreational cannabis this week, 24 students are becoming the first in the country to get formal credentials in growing pot.
        Canada will become the first industrialized nation to legalize the recreational use of cannabis on Wednesday, fulfilling a campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals who had argued the move would keep pot out of the hands of underage users and reduce related crime.
        In brightly lighted climate-controlled rooms at Ontario’s Niagara College, protected by fences and layers of locked doors, are 50 cannabis clones that students will learn to irrigate, feed, protect, track with bar codes, test for chemical content, harvest and cure, said program coordinator Bill MacDonald.
        “They’re also learning the business side.    If you’re growing this crop, how much is it going to cost you?    How much labor (will) you need?
        They’ll learn cannabis has light needs similar to the chrysanthemum’s and feeding similar to a tomato or a pepper.
        “It’s an extremely unique plant, and people have a real emotional attachment to it.”
        As authorities worry Canada’s legal cannabis supply may fall short of demand and fail to choke off the black market, the program is attracting interest, MacDonald said.
        “Licensed producers are already lining up for our graduates.”
        Canada’s burgeoning marijuana industry has caught the attention of major retailers like Walmart Inc’s Canadian unit and other global companies, mainly in the alcohol and beverage industries, who are considering entering the market for cannabis-infused products.
        One thing students at Niagara College will not be able to do is make use of their product: All the plants have to be destroyed at the end of the course.
    (Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

    10/15/2018 Fleeing hardship at home, Venezuelan migrants struggle abroad, too by Alexandra Ulmer
    FILE PHOTO: Luis Pena, an undocumented Venezuelan migrant, cries after he received a voice message
    from his mother on the cellphone of a travel companion, while resting next to the road between Pamplona
    and La Laguna, near Mutiscua, Colombia August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
        VILLA DEL ROSARIO, Colombia (Reuters) – Every few minutes, the reeds along the Tachira River rustle.    Smugglers, in ever growing numbers, emerge with a ragtag group of Venezuelan migrants – men struggling under tattered suitcases, women hugging bundles in blankets and schoolchildren carrying backpacks.    They step across rocks, wade into the muddy stream and cross illegally into Colombia.
        This is the new migration from Venezuela.
        For years, as conditions worsened in the Andean nation’s ongoing economic meltdown, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans – those who could afford to – fled by airplane and bus to other countries far and near, remaking their lives as legal immigrants.
        Now, hyperinflation, daily power cuts and worsening food shortages are prompting those with far fewer resources to flee, braving harsh geography, criminal handlers and increasingly restrictive immigration laws to try their luck just about anywhere.
        In recent weeks, Reuters spoke with dozens of Venezuelan migrants traversing their country’s Western border to seek a better life in Colombia and beyond.    Few had more than the equivalent of a handful of dollars with them.
        “It was terrible, but I needed to cross,” said Dario Leal, 30, recounting his journey from the coastal state of Sucre, where he worked in a bakery that paid about $2 per month.
        At the border, he paid smugglers nearly three times that to get across and then prepared, with about $3 left, to walk the 500 km (311 miles) to Bogota, Colombia’s capital.    The smugglers, in turn, paid a fee to Colombian crime gangs who allow them to operate, according to police, locals and smugglers themselves.
        As many as 1.9 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015, according to the United Nations.    Combined with those who preceded them, a total of 2.6 million are believed to have left the oil-rich country.    Ninety percent of recent departures, the U.N. says, remain in South America.
        The exodus, one of the biggest mass migrations ever on the continent, is weighing on neighbors.    Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which once welcomed Venezuelan migrants, recently tightened entry requirements.    Police now conduct raids to detain the undocumented.
        In early October, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombia’s foreign minister, said as many as four million Venezuelans could be in the country by 2021, costing national coffers as much as $9 billion.    “The magnitude of this challenge,” he said, “our country has never seen.”
        In Brazil, which also borders Venezuela, the government deployed troops and financing to manage the crush and treat sick, hungry and pregnant migrants.    In Ecuador and Peru, workers say that Venezuelan labor lowers wages and that criminals are hiding among honest migrants.
        “There are too many of them,” said Antonio Mamani, a clothing vendor in Peru, who recently watched police fill a bus with undocumented Venezuelans near Lima.
        By migrating illegally, migrants expose themselves to criminal networks who control prostitution, drug trafficking and other rackets.    In August, Colombian investigators discovered 23 undocumented Venezuelans forced into prostitution and living in basements in the colonial city of Cartagena.
        While most migrants are avoiding such straits, no shortage of other hardship awaits – from homelessness, to unemployment, to the cold reception many get as they sleep in public squares, peddle sweets and throng already overburdened hospitals.
        Still, most press on, many on foot.
        Some join compatriots in Brazil and Colombia. Others, having spent what money they had, are walking vast regions, like Colombia’s cold Andean passes and sweltering tropical lowlands, in treks toward distant capitals, like Quito or Lima.
        Johana Narvaez, a 36-year-old mother of four, told Reuters her family left after business stalled at their small car repair shop in the rural state of Trujillo.    Extra income she made selling food on the street withered because cash is scarce in a country where annual inflation, according to the opposition-led Congress, recently reached nearly 500,000 percent.
        “We can’t stay here,” she told her husband, Jairo Sulbaran, in August, after they ran out of food and survived on corn patties provided by friends.    “Even on foot, we must go.”    Sulbaran begged and sold old tires until they could afford bus tickets to the border.
        Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has chided migrants, warning of the hazards of migration and that emigres will end up “cleaning toilets.”    He has even offered free flights back to some in a program called “Return to the Homeland,” which state television covers daily.
        Most migration, however, remains in the other direction.
        Until recently, Venezuelans could enter many South American countries with just their national identity cards.    But some are toughening rules, requiring a passport or additional documentation.
        Even a passport is elusive in Venezuela.
        Paper shortages and a dysfunctional bureaucracy make the document nearly impossible to obtain, many migrants argue.    Several told Reuters they waited two years in vain after applying, while a half-dozen others said they were asked for as much as $2000 in bribes by corrupt clerks to secure one.
        Maduro’s government in July said it would restructure Venezuela’s passport agency to root out “bureaucracy and corruption.”    The Information Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
        Many of those crossing into Colombia pay “arrastradores,” or “draggers,” to smuggle them along hundreds of trails.    Five of the smugglers, all young men, told Reuters business is booming.
        “Venezuela will end up empty,” said Maikel, a 17-year-old Venezuelan smuggler, scratches across his face from traversing the bushy trails.    Maikel, who declined to give his surname, said he lost count of how many migrants he has helped cross.
        Colombia, too, struggles to count illegal entries.    Before the government tightened restrictions earlier this year, Colombia issued “border cards” that let holders crisscross at will.    Now, Colombia says it detects about 3,000 false border cards at entry points daily.
        Despite tougher patrols along the porous, 2,200-km border, officials say it is impossible to secure outright.    “It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket,” said Mauricio Franco, a municipal official in charge of security in Cucuta, a nearby city.
        And it’s not just a matter of rounding up undocumented travelers.
        Powerful criminal groups, long in control of contraband commerce across the border, are now getting their cut of human traffic.    Javier Barrera, a colonel in charge of police in Cucuta, said the Gulf Clan and Los Rastrojos, notorious syndicates that operate nationwide, are both involved.
        During a recent Reuters visit to several illegal crossings, Venezuelans carried cardboard, limes and car batteries as barter instead of using the bolivar, their near-worthless currency.
        Migrants pay as much as about $16 for the passage. Maikel, the arrastrador, said smugglers then pay gang operatives about $3 per migrant.
        For his crossing, Leal, the baker, carried a torn backpack and small duffel bag.    His 2015 Venezuelan ID shows a healthier and happier man – before Leal began skimping on breakfast and dinner because he couldn’t afford them.
        He rested under a tree, but fretted about Colombian police.    “I’m scared because the “migra” comes around,” he said, using the same term Mexican and Central American migrants use for border police in the United States.    It doesn’t get easier as migrants move on.
        Even if relatives wired money, transfer agencies require a legally stamped passport to collect it.    Bus companies are rejecting undocumented passengers to avoid fines for carrying them.    A few companies risk it, but charge a premium of as much as 20 percent, according to several bus clerks near the border.
        The Sulbaran family walked and hitched some 1200 km to the Andean town of Santiago, where they have relatives.    The father toured garages, but found no work.
        “People said no, others were scared,” said Narvaez, the mother.    “Some Venezuelans come to Colombia to do bad things.    They think we’re all like that.”
    (Additional reporting by Mitra Taj in Lima, Anggy Polanco in Cucuta, Helen Murphy in Bogota and Alexandra Valencia in Quito. Editing by Paulo Prada.)

    10/15/2018 No end in sight for Swedish government talks by Johan Sennero and Simon Johnson
    Swedish Social Democratic Party leader Stefan Lofven meets Swedish Speaker of Parliament Andreas Norlen
    at the Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, October 15, 2018. TT News Agency/Henrik Montgomery via REUTERS
        STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedish Social Democrats leader and caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was handed the task on Monday of forming a new government with sufficient support in a parliament left deeply divided following last month’s inconclusive elections.
        But his prospects, like those of his main rival, Alliance bloc leader Ulf Kristersson, look bleak.
        The election on Sept. 9 delivered a hung parliament with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats holding the balance of power, although neither the centre left nor centre-right bloc is willing to do a deal with them.
        “This will demand hard and probably also protracted work,” Lofven told a news conference.
        “I am not going to stoke expectations for a quick solution, rather the opposite.    It is obvious that many roadblocks remain.”
        Moderate Party leader Kristersson, the Alliance’s candidate for prime minister, had a first stab at forming a government but failed and Lofven acknowledged that his own efforts would probably face similar obstacles.
        The Centre and Liberal parties that Lofven will primarily be looking to win over are reluctant to abandon the centre-right Alliance bloc and both said they still hoped to see Kristersson as prime minister with bipartisan support.
        Lofven has ruled out supporting the centre right unless they agree to keep him on as prime minister.
        “The parties have to rethink where they stand if we are going to get further in this process,” Speaker Andreas Norlen said as he announced that Lofven would be given the task of sounding out possibilities to form a government.
        Lofven lost a vote of no-confidence as prime minister on Sept. 25.
        His centre-left bloc of the Social Democrats, Greens and Left party has 144 seats in the 349-member parliament, one more than the centre-right Alliance.    The Sweden Democrats, with roots in the white supremacist fringe, have 62 seats.
        The Centre and Liberal parties scuppered Kristersson’s attempt at forming a government over the weekend, saying his proposals would leave the government needing support from the Sweden Democrats.
        Although united in their determination to keep the Sweden Democrats isolated, the Centre and Liberal parties champion economic policies that put them considerably to the right of Lofven’s Social Democrats, who have ruled over the past four years with the backing of the former Communist Left Party.
    Graphic: Swedish election scenarios:
    (Additional reporting by Daniel Dickson; editing by Niklas Pollard and Ed Osmond)

    10/15/2018 Venezuelans fleeing Maduro regime are struggling abroad by OAN Newsroom
        A new report is revealing the challenges faced by Venezuelan migrants as they flee the Maduro regime.
        According to the United Nations, the total number of Venezuelans living abroad has reached four million people of which more than two million have fled in recent years.    This amounts to the biggest mass-migration in the history of South America.
        Colombian officials said migrants are facing threats of trafficking and crime from local cartels.

    Venezuelan migrants sleep on the ground at a border crossing into Peru. (AP/Photo)
        Meanwhile, the Maduro regime has made it harder for Venezuelans to leave the country by restricting the issuance of passports.
        Migrants also struggle to secure employment and might face homelessness upon their arrival in Colombia and other countries.

    10/16/2018 Yarmuth: Clinton’s comments about Lewinsky ‘outrageous’ by Phillip M. Bailey, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
        Kentucky’s lone Democratic congressman didn’t spare former first lady Hillary Clinton from the flood of criticism she faced Monday for saying her husband’s affair with a White House intern wasn’t an abuse of power.
        President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 for lying to federal investigators about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
        Lewinsky, who originally described the relationship as consensual, wrote this year in Vanity Fair that she now thinks the relationship was a “gross abuse of power” on the former president’s part.    But in an interview Sunday with CBS News, Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, took issue with that description.
        “It wasn’t an abuse of power?” CBS correspondent Tony Dokoupil asked.    “No.    No,” Clinton said, adding that Lewinsky, who was 22 at the time, “was an adult.”    U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, of Louisville, expressed disgust at Clinton’s remarks via his official Twitter account on Monday.
        “This kind of defense is both outrageous and dangerous,” Yarmuth tweeted.    “It is never acceptable for a man or woman to sexually harass or abuse someone they manage.”
        The rise of the #MeToo movement, which has brought down several powerful men, has sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment and abuse.    It has many reconsidering Bill Clinton’s behavior at the time.
        The affair is considered by many to be inappropriate given that President Clinton, who was 49 during the relationship, was Lewinsky’s boss.
        Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, said in retrospect that it was the right call for her husband not to have stepped down.    She also denied having any role in criticizing the character of Lewinsky and other women who accused her husband.
        Clinton tried to turn the conversation to President Donald Trump’s own accusations of unwanted sexual advances and extramarital affairs.
        “Let me ask with this: Where’s the investigation of the current incumbent, against whom numerous allegations have been made, and which he dismisses, denies and ridicules?” she asked.
        “The View” co-host Abby Huntsman said Clinton’s attempt to switch the subject to Trump was why many people, “struggled to vote for her” two years ago.    She said Clinton can’t have it both ways.
        “You can’t put yourself on a pedestal and be a leader for the feminist movement and at the same time refuse to acknowledge the reality that you’ve lived with for all these years and stand by your husband,” Hunstman said.
        Other political commentators said Bill Clinton should be the one answering for his role in the affair rather than his wife.    “Hillary isn’t responsible for what her husband did, but she should be able to recognize it as an abuse of power,” political analyst Kirsten Powers tweeted.
        David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, put the comments in the context of the 2018 midterm election.
        “Just guessing this isn’t the story Democratic candidates were looking for in the homestretch of the midterms,” Axelrod tweeted.
        USA Today contributed to this story.    Reporter Phillip M. Bailey can be reached at 502-582-4475 or
    Rep. John Yarmuth

    10/15/2018 Pres. Defeats Daniels’ Defamation Case by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn before leaving
    the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
        A federal judge is dismissing the defamation lawsuit filed by Stormy Daniels against President Trump.
        The decision by Judge James Otero marks a major defeat for Daniels and her attorney Michael Avenatti.
        The president is entitled to legal fees from the plaintiff for bringing forth the lawsuit.
        The president’s attorney in the case, Charles Harder, has since released a statement.
        He says there’s no way to characterize Monday’s ruling in any other way than a total victory for President Trump and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels.

    10/16/2018 Judge dismisses Stormy’s libel suit vs. Trump - Ruling: Tweet protected by First Amendment by John Fritze, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – A federal judge in California on Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by former porn star Stormy Daniels that alleged President Donald Trump defamed her.
        Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, had filed the suit after Trump posted a tweet dismissing comments she had made in broadcast interviews.
        U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero indicated during arguments last month that he believed the tweet by Trump that named her appeared to be protected by the First Amendment.
        Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals shortly after Otero’s ruling.
        After Daniels said in an interview that a man confronted her over her allegations of an affair with Trump, the president tweeted that the person who made the threats was a “non-existent man” and that her allegation was a “total con job.”
    President Donald Trump accused Stormy Daniels of a “con job.” EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    10/15/2018 Sessions: MS-13, drug cartels top US threats by Michael Balsamo, ASSOCIATED PRESS
        WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions has created a new task force aimed at zeroing in on three of the world’s most notorious drug cartels and the brutal MS-13 street gang, already considered a top priority for federal law enforcement.
        Speaking to a group of federal prosecutors on Monday, Sessions designated five groups as top transnational organized crime threats and said the new task force will “develop a plan to take each of these groups off of our streets for good.”
        Sessions, who has been on the receiving end of relentless verbal jabs from President Donald Trump and may be in the final stretches of his tenure, was speaking directly to one of the president’s prime targets amid the administration’s broader crackdown on immigration: MS-13.
        Trump has said MS-13 gang members from the stronghold of El Salvador are coming to the U.S. both illegally and as unaccompanied minors to wreak havoc.    He has held up the gang as a reason for stricter immigration policies meted out by Sessions and others.
        “With more than 10,000 members in the United States, this gang is the most violent gang in America today,” Sessions said.
        Last year, Sessions directed officials to pursue all possible charges against MS-13 members, including racketeering, gun and tax law violations.    He also designated the gang as a “priority” to a multi-agency task force that has historically focused on drug trafficking and money laundering, which he called a “powerful weapon to use against this vicious gang.”
        The gang, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, is generally known for extortion and violence rather than distributing and selling narcotics.
        MS-13 members are suspected of committing several high-profile killings in New York, Maryland and Virginia.    On New York’s Long Island, where more than two dozen people are believed to have been killed by the gang since 2016, officials have arrested hundreds of MS-13 members, Sessions said.
        The task force will allow federal prosecutors to better target priority organizations and make prosecutions “more effective,” Sessions said.
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, joined by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and Jessie Liu, U.S. attorney for D.C. announces efforts to reduce transnational crime. AP

    10/15/2018 Jeff Sessions creates new task force to help tackle transnational crime by OAN Newsroom
        Jeff Sessions recently announced the formation of a new Department of Justice task force to tackle transnational criminal organizations like MS-13.
        On Monday, the attorney general said the organization focuses on fighting the five largest international crime syndicates, including MS-13, Hezbollah and the Sinaloa Cartel.
        The new department would be headed by Office of Enforcement Operations head Adam Cohen.
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
    in Washington, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, to announce on efforts to reduce transnational crime. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
        Sessions said the new group will allow the administration to more effectively target violent criminal gangs as well as the drug trade.        “I’ve ordered each of these subcommittees to provide me with specific recommendations within 90 days on the best way to prosecute these groups, the tactics they intend to use, and how to take them off our streets,” stated the attorney general.
        Sessions said formation of the new task force will help the president keep his promise of combating groups like MS-13.

    10/15/2018 Police investigating attacks by ANTIFA in Portland, New Yorkby OAN Newsroom
        Police in Portland and New York are looking into several attacks by ANTIFA members on right-wing activists that took place over the weekend.
        According to reports Monday, members of ANTIFA began attacking members of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer during a rally Saturday night.
        Video shows members of ANTIFA burning an American flag before a member of Patriot Prayer saved it.
        Although police were able to break up the fighting, no arrests were made.
        Meanwhile in New York, members of ANTIFA reportedly vandalized the Metropolitan Republican Club before attacking a group of activists exiting the building.
    Who is ANTIFA?
        The Antifa movement is a conglomeration of left wing autonomous, self-styled anti-fascist militant groups in the United States.    The principal feature of antifa groups is their use of direct action, harassing those whom they identify as fascists, racists or right wing extremists.

    10/16/2018 Under growing EU pressure, May meets her ministers on Brexit by Elizabeth Piper and Alastair Macdonald
    FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain, October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo
        LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will discuss Brexit with her ministers on Tuesday, under pressure to rethink her plans from both some members of her Conservative Party and the European Union.
        A day before May heads to Brussels for a summit, a senior EU official again made clear that parts of May’s plan could not work and said the time was right to step up plans for Britain leaving the bloc without a deal.
        With less than six months before Britain leaves the EU, Brexit talks have reached a stalemate over the so-called Irish backstop, a fallback plan to ensure there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.
        May told parliament on Monday she would not accept the EU’s proposal for such a backstop because, she said, it could break up the United Kingdom.
        On Tuesday, a German official repeated the EU’s line that the backstop needed to be legally watertight and without it there would be no Brexit deal.
        Germany’s European Affairs Minister Michael Roth offered this advice to May: “Take responsibility and be constructive.”
        But other ministers arriving in Luxembourg for a meeting of EU ministers pointed to the progress made so far in the Brexit talks.
        May will update her cabinet of top ministers on the Brexit negotiations later on Tuesday, aware that some have come under pressure from Conservative euroskeptic lawmakers to persuade her to change tack over her so-called Chequers plan.
        Eight of those ministers, some with concerns over Chequers and plans for a backstop, met late on Monday over pizza to discuss Brexit, the Telegraph newspaper reported, after reports that some may resign if May presses ahead.
        May has so far shown little sign of moving away from the proposal for future ties hashed out at her country residence, and tried to make clear to lawmakers on Monday that the issue was now over the backstop – part of Britain’s withdrawal terms.
        Talks with the EU reached a stalemate on Sunday, increasing the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, which, some companies say, could disrupt trade, delay the movement of goods and starve the world’s fifth largest economy of investment.
        EU and British officials suggest it is unlikely that there will be any agreement on the backstop at this week’s summit, but both are hopeful that progress can be made.
        “Even if in this week’s debate we are not going to have any kind of deal, there is still time, there is still possibility to get a deal,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in Luxembourg.
    (Writing by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

    10/16/2018 EU’s Barnier says will work ‘seriously’ in coming weeks for Brexit deal
    The European Union's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier is welcomed by European Council President Donald Tusk
    prior to a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, October 16, 2018. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via Reuters
        LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The European Union and Britain will work “calmly and seriously” in the next weeks to reach a deal on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc without creating a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said.
        Speaking to journalists before briefing EU ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg, Barnier said the withdrawal agreement with Britain had to be “orderly for everyone and all the subjects, including Ireland.”
        “We will take this time, calmly and seriously, to reach this overall accord in the next weeks,” Barnier said.    “We need more time to find this deal … and to reach this decisive progress.”
        Leaders of the 27 European Union countries that will remain in the bloc after Britain leaves in March 2019, will discuss progress in the negotiations on Wednesday evening.
    (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Alissa de Carbonnel and Gabriela Baczynska)

    10/16/2018 Peru detains opposition leader’s top advisers at political rally
    Supporters of Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori and leader of the opposition in Peru,
    protest against her detention in Lima, Peru October 15, 2018. The banner reads: "Keiko is not alone." REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
        LIMA (Reuters) – Peruvian police detained two top advisers of jailed opposition leader Keiko Fujimori at a political demonstration on Monday, deepening a crisis at the heart of the country’s most powerful conservative movement.
        Hundreds of people chanting “Keiko is innocent” marched through downtown Lima to protest against Fujimori’s arrest last Wednesday pending charges in a money laundering investigation.
        Ana Herz and Pier Figari, Fujimori’s top political strategists, were arrested at the demonstration, Ursula Letona, a lawmaker of her party, told journalists.
        “They were arrested in the middle of the march,” Letona said in comments on domestic broadcaster RPP.    “I’m upset.    We’re victims of the arbitrary arrests of our party leaders.”
        Reuters could not immediately reach attorneys for Herz and Figari to seek comment.
        Their arrests were the latest blow to the conservative movement built by former autocrat Alberto Fujimori, Fujimori’s father, during his decade in power from 1990 to 2000.
        Since his imprisonment for human rights crimes in 2007, Keiko has led her father’s political following.    But she failed to win the presidency twice and has seen her popularity plummet as the head of the opposition party that runs Congress.
        Fujimori denies any wrongdoing and has said her arrest is part of broader campaign of political persecution against her party and family.
        This month, a judge annulled a presidential pardon that had freed Alberto Fujimori from prison late last year. He has been hospitalized since the ruling was announced.
        Fujimori’s troubles could give President Martin Vizcarra an upper hand in working with Congress, which pressured his predecessor, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, to resign over graft accusations in March.
        Prosecutors allege Fujimori led a criminal organization that sought to use her 2011 presidential campaign to launder illegal funds for Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction group at the center of the region’s biggest graft scandal.
        Fujimori and her party deny ever taking money from Odebrecht.
    (Reporting by Marco Aquino and Mitra Taj; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

    10/16/2018 Rising oil turns up heat on vulnerable emerging economies by Karin Strohecker, Amanda Cooper and Ritvik Carvalho
    Employees walk inside the premises of an oil refinery of Essar Oil, which runs India's second biggest private sector refinery,
    in Vadinar in the western state of Gujarat, India, October 4, 2016. Picture taken October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave
        LONDON (Reuters) – A rise in oil prices to four-year highs is heaping pressure on big emerging-market crude consumers such as Turkey, India, Indonesia and South Africa that are already grappling with current account deficits, weak currencies and rising inflation.
        Emerging markets worldwide have been buffeted in recent months by the strong dollar, climbing U.S. interest rates and slowing growth momentum with Turkey and Argentina descending into full-blown currency crises.
        Meanwhile Brent crude prices have risen above $80 per barrel, thanks largely to coordinated production cuts by some of the world’s biggest oil exporters, as well as impending U.S. sanctions on crude exporter Iran that could wipe yet more supply off the market.
        Some analysts now think benchmark prices could return to $100 per barrel for the first time since 2014.    But for a number of importers such as India, Turkey or Indonesia – who all have seen their currencies tumble to record lows this year – oil is already more expensive now at $85 a barrel than it was back in 2008 when the price hit a record $147 a barrel.
        Rising oil prices spell trouble for emerging markets, said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist Northern Trust, an asset management firm with $1.1 trillion under management.
        “Look at the largest market cap countries … every one of them is an oil importer,” said McDonald.    “High oil prices are bad for them, unless it is tied to growth being really good – today what is driving oil prices higher is not a pick-up in growth, it is a slowdown in supply, and that’s a bad scenario.”
        Trouble is especially on the cards for those economies hit by the triple-whammy of a sharp currency drop, heavy reliance on dollar-denominated energy imports and external funding flows.
        While China, India, Thailand, Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia top the list of biggest emerging market oil importers, Thailand enjoys a solid current account surplus and China only edged into a rare deficit in the first half of the year.
        However, Turkey, Argentina, India and Indonesia find themselves high up on the list of countries featuring large current account deficits as a percentage of their GDP, according to forecasts by the International Monetary Fund for 2018.
        For many countries, the pressure is two-fold: rising crude imports with rising prices.    China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey and South Africa imported 18 percent more crude oil in July 2018, the last month for which complete data is available, than they did in January 2017.
        The average cost of their oil imports in their respective currencies, however, has risen by an average of nearly 60 percent in that time.
        Analysts are also closely watching how another oil shock might affect country’s import cover and the adequacy of central banks’ foreign currency reserves.    As oil prices rise, that ratio will come under even more scrutiny.
        Consumer spending power across many of these countries is also bound to suffer as – unlike in 2008 – many consumers do not have the same cushion of fuel subsidies and central banks have to ramp up rates to tackle inflation pressures and steady their currencies.
        Meanwhile, the hit taken by emerging market economies is likely to be severe enough to slow down oil demand growth this year and next.
        All three major oil market forecasters – the International Energy Agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and OPEC – cut their estimates for oil demand growth this year and next in the past days.    All three cited the financial pain visited upon emerging markets as the key catalyst.
    (Reporting by Karin Strohecker, Ritvik Carvalho, Amanda Cooper; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

    10/16/2018 Oil falls on U.S. shale output, expected stocks data by Christopher Johnson
    Vehicles pass by a Shell petrol station in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
        LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Tuesday on evidence of higher U.S. oil production and increasing U.S. crude inventories, but reports of a fall in Iranian oil exports helped to limit losses.
        Brent crude was down 50 cents a barrel at $80.28 by 1320 GMT. U.S. light crude was 40 cents lower at $71.38.
        “Shale oil production continues unabated in the United States,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank.    “Rising U.S. oil production is one key reason why the global oil market is likely to be amply supplied next year.”
        Oil production from seven major U.S. shale basins is expected to rise by 98,000 barrels per day (bpd) in November to a record of 7.71 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.
        The largest change is forecast in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, where output is expected to climb by 53,000 bpd to a new peak of 3.55 million bpd.
        U.S. oil production has increased steadily over the last five years, reaching a record high of 11.2 million bpd in the week to Oct. 5.    But infrastructure has not kept pace with rising output, filling domestic tanks.
        “Once pipelines and oil terminals are built connecting the Permian to the U.S. Gulf Coast, then there will be a big step up in U.S. crude oil exports,” Harry Tchilinguirian, oil strategist at French bank BNP Paribas told Reuters Global Oil Forum.
        U.S. crude stockpiles are expected to have risen last week for the fourth straight week, by about 1.1 million barrels, according to a Reuters poll ahead of reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).
        API data are due at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) with the EIA at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday. [EIA/S] [API/S]
        Balancing the U.S. data were reports that Iranian exports of crude oil may be falling faster than expected ahead of new U.S. sanctions on Tehran from Nov. 4.
        In the first two weeks of October, Iran exported close to 1.5 million bpd of crude to countries including India, China and Turkey, some industry sources suggest.
        That is a sharp drop from 2.5 million bpd in April before U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran in May and ordered the re-imposition of sanctions.
        With the world’s only sizable spare oil output capacity, Saudi Arabia is expected to export more to offset the loss of Iranian oil supply from the sanctions.
        Tension over the disappearance of a Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey also remain.
        Saudi Arabia has denied it was responsible for the disappearance of Khashoggi.
    (Reporting by Christopher Johnson in LONDON and Jane Chung in SEOUL; Editing by David Evans and Jane Merriman)

    10/16/2018 McConnell: USMCA will not get vote in 2018, but top agenda item in 2019 by OAN Newsroom
        The Senate majority leader is claiming the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is at the top of the 2019.
        During an interview Monday, Senator Mitch McConnell said because of the process of new trade agreements, there will not be a vote in 2018.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks after the Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
        However, he said the USMCA will be a main agenda item at the beginning of next year.
        Under the current rules, there is a number of boxes that need to be checked off before Congress can vote on a trade deal.
        Trade negotiations lasting longer than expected with Canada likely contributed to the delay in voting.
        Republicans wanted to vote on the deal before midterms in case they lost their majority, however, the three-way deal has received praise from the left with Chuck Schumer coming out in support of the deal.

    10/16/2018 President Trump: Far-left Democrats seek to outlaw private Medicare plans by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump speaks during the signing ceremony for ‘Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act’ and ‘Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018,’
    in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        President Trump has reaffirmed his commitment to protecting Medicare coverage for senior citizens.    The president announced on Monday that open enrollment is now available for affordable Medicare Advantage plans.
        President Trump added, far-left Democrats seek to dismantle Medicare with their push for open borders and a $30 trillion Health Care For All (HCFA) system.
        The president explained last week that Health Care For All would, in practice, mean health care for none because of the financial strain it causes.
        He went on to accuse Democrats of trying to outlaw private health care plans, driving huge increases in premiums.
        “A Democrat-controlled Senate will try to take away your Second Amendment.    They’re going to take it away.    They want to take over American health care and destroy it.    They want to make us Venezuela, that’s what they wanna do.” –President Donald Trump
        The president also stressed far-left Democrats — led by Bernie Sanders — would run the American health care system into bankruptcy.

    10/16/2018 AG Jeff Sessions blasts federal judges for ruling based off personal opinion by OAN Newsroom
        Attorney General Jeff Sessions slams the judicial branch for overstepping its authority and is pointing the finger at so-called “activist judges.”
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in
    Washington, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, to announce on efforts to reduce transnational crime. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
        Sessions spoke before the Heritage Foundation on Monday, where he singled out New York District Court Judge Jesse Furman in particular.
        Furman is the judge who ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to face questioning for allowing a citizenship question to be reinstated on the 2020 census.
        Sessions accused judges like Furman of making their decision based off personal opinion and not based off of facts and evidence.
        “But the Census question, which has appeared in one form or another on the Census for over a hundred years, is either legal or illegal.    Tell us judge.    One side or the other will take the appeal.    The word’s on the page don’t have a motive, they are either permitted or they are not, but the judge has has decided to hold a trial over the inner workings of the cabinet secretary’s mind.” — Attorney General Jeff Sessions
        The Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling this month on whether Ross will be forced to testify about the citizenship question.

    10/17/2018 Oil up $0.14 to $71.97, DOW up 548 to 25,798
    10/17/2018 Earnings give push to Dow’s 548-point rise by Adam Shell, USA TODAY
        A strong batch of quarterly profit reports from a trio of stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average sparked a market rebound Tuesday on Wall Street.
        The better-than-expected thirdquarter results from companies in the health care and financial services businesses eased fears of an economic slowdown as interest rates move higher.
        The Dow gained 548 points, or 2.2 percent, to 25,798. That rise, the bluechip’s seventh-biggest daily point gain ever and its best day since late March, helped it recoup a chunk of its nearly 1,600-point drop after declines in six of the previous eight trading sessions.
        Third-quarter results from drug maker Johnson & Johnson, health insurer UnitedHealth Group and Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs pushed stock prices up broadly.    The good news on profits, coupled with upbeat data on home-builder confidence, job openings and the nation’s industrial sector, reinforced optimists’ belief that the economy remains strong in the face of rising borrowing costs and fallout from trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
        “I think solid earnings will stabilize the market,” says Nick Sargen, Fort Washington Investment Advisors in Cincinnati.
        While it’s still early, profits for all the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 are expected to grow nearly 22 percent, putting profits on track for a third consecutive quarter of 20 percent-plus growth, earnings tracker Refinitiv says.
        After a gain of 2.2 percent Tuesday, the broad stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, was 4.1 percent below its September all-time high.

    10/17/2018 US targets network supporting Iran’s use of child soldiers
        The Treasury Department on Tuesday targeted a network of banks and businesses that provides financial support to a paramilitary force in Iran, which allegedly trains and deploys child soldiers to fight with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
        The department said the Bonyad Taavon Basij network is an example of how Iran has infiltrated seemingly legitimate businesses to fund terrorism and other malign activities.

    10/17/2018 Brazil’s federal police asks top court to indict President Temer on graft charges by Ricardo Brito and Lisandra Paraguassu
    Brazil's President Michel Temer, talks with journalists after casting his vote in Sao Paulo, Brazil October 7, 2018. Marcos Correa/Brazilian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS
        BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s federal police have asked the supreme court to indict President Michel Temer and confiscate his assets and those of some of his close associates over alleged graft, according to a copy of its report for the court, seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
        Police have been investigating Temer for allegedly taking bribes in return for helping shape a decree regulating Brazil’s ports, and in particular for extending concessions in the port of Santos to benefit companies of close associates.
        Temer, a former vice president who took office in 2016 after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached, has repeatedly said he is innocent.    He has faced several graft allegations, but is immune from prosecution while in office, unless the supreme court decides to strip his immunity.
        Supreme Court Justice Lugs Roberto Barroso, who is overseeing the case, said on Tuesday he would wait to see the findings of Brazil’s public prosecutors office before deciding on how to proceed.
        The report produced by the federal police recommends that Temer, his daughter Maristela, his former advisor Rodrigo Rocha Loures and eight others face charges and have their assets confiscated for their role in allegedly laundering bribes through real estate transactions.
        Temer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.    His term ends on Jan. 1, and with it his immunity from prosecution.
        The federal congress voted twice last year to block Temer from standing trial in the Supreme Court on three corruption charges leveled against him.
    (Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Clive McKeef)

    10/17/2018 Trump administration says to open trade talks with EU, UK, Japan by David Shepardson
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer speaks during a meeting hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump
    with governors and members of Congress at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Trade Representative’s office told Congress on Tuesday it intends to open trade talks with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Japan.
        Under fast-track rules, the United States cannot start talks with the EU, Japan and the United Kingdom until 90 days after notifying Congress.
        “We will continue to expand U.S. trade and investment by negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU and the United Kingdom,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
        “We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”
        The letters from Lighthizer to Congress come weeks after the United States won agreement on reworking the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, and as the administration faces continuing trade friction with China.
        The administration aims to “address both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve fairer, more balanced trade” with the EU and Japan, the letters said.
        Japan “is an important but still too often underperforming market for U.S. exporters of goods,” the letter said.    It said the United States had a $69-billion trade deficit in goods with Japan, much of that in the auto sector.
        In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan would protect its interests, based on a joint statement issued at a Japan-U.S. summit on Sept. 26.
        “It will not be an easy negotiation,” Suga told a regular news conference.
        “But we would like to proceed with talks in line with our stance that we will push where necessary and defend our position where necessary, in a way that protects our national interests.”
        The letter on the EU said the European Union and the United States have $1.1 trillion in annual two-way trade, “the largest and most complex” economic relationship in the world, and added that the United States has a $151.4 billion trade deficit in goods."
        The letter to Congress on Britain said it planned to start talks “as soon as it is ready” after Britain exits the EU on March 29.    The United States wants to develop “cutting edge obligations for emerging sectors where U.S. and U.K. innovators and entrepreneurs are most competitive.”
        Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said, “These three economies are some of our largest and most important trading partners, but they are also markets in which U.S. farmers, manufacturers, and service providers face significant barriers.”
        Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee that oversees trade issues, said, “The administration must take the time to tackle trade barriers comprehensively.”
        He urged that the opportunity be used to set a high bar in areas such as labor rights, environmental protection and digital trade to benefit American workers and businesses, adding that “a quick, partial deal that only addresses some problems” should be avoided.
        Last week, senators said Lighthizer informed them the administration planned to soon launch trade talks with the Philippines but the USTR on Tuesday did not notify Congress of formal plans to open talks.
        In July, Lighthizer told a Senate panel the United States was “close to beginning negotiations” with the Philippines.    A spokeswoman for Lighthizer did not immediately comment on why the administration was not now moving ahead.
        Wyden said last week he had “very serious concerns about undertaking trade negotiations with a Philippine president who brags about a bloody drug war that has reportedly claimed 12,000 lives.”
    (Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo; Editing by Diane Craft and Clarence Fernandez)

    10/17/2018 President Trump urges 5% cut to federal government spending to curb deficits by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is vowing to cut federal spending as part of his ongoing fiscal reforms.
        During a cabinet meeting Wednesday, the president touted a five-percent cut to the spending of all cabinet departments and federal agencies.
        President Trump called the initiative the “nickel plan.”    He said it will curb wasteful spending, misappropriations, fraud, and corruption at the federal government.
        This comes as budget deficit rose 17-percent to $779 billion this fiscal year.
        President Trump said his “nickel plan” would curb fiscal deficits as well as boost the efficiency of federal government.
    President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018,
    in Washington. From left, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao,
    Trump, and Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahon. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        “I’ve heard about the penny plan for 15 years — one penny every year per dollar, after 4 or 5 years the country is in good shape,” he stated.    “I’m saying let’s not do the penny plan, let’s do the five-penny plan — I’m going ask everybody to come back with a five- percent cut next week, I think you’ll all be able to do it.”
        The president also touted further decisive steps to tackle budget deficits over the coming years.

    10/17/2018 President Trump: We have asked Turkey to hand over evidence on missing journalist by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump confirms the U.S. has asked Turkey to hand over evidence related to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
        While speaking from the Oval Office Wednesday, the president said his administration has asked Turkey to turn over audio and video evidence from the Saudi consulate in Instanbul.
    President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        He predicted we will likely find out what happened to Khashoggi by the end of the week, signaling the investigation into the case is wrapping up.
        The president added, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be returning from Turkey Wednesday night and he plans to be briefed with a full report.
        “I’m not giving cover at all.    With that being said, Saudi Arabia has been a very important ally of ours in the Middle East…if you look at Saudi Arabia they are an ally and they are a tremendous purchaser of not only military equipment but other things.” — President Donald Trump

    10/17/2018 Gen. Dunford: Complacency in fight against radical Islam threatens U.S. by OAN Newsroom
        With the Islamic State now on the run, a new threat is rising to take its place.
        Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford is warning the U.S. and its allies not to get complacent with ISIS and other radical Islamic groups like Al-Qaeda.    He argued the Islamic State still has around 32,000 able bodied fighters ready to go despite ISIS losing all except two-percent of the land from its so-called caliphate.
        According to Dunford’s assessment as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the terror group “is far from defeated” and is getting creative by using the internet to spread propaganda as well as plan attacks across the globe.
    Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, speaks to reporters at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
        Still there are signs of progress as the militants continue losing ground in Iraq and Syria, and with terror attacks on the decline for a third year in a row.
        Dunford is urging the west to keep pressure on ISIS, arguing the group has only grown stronger each time pressure was lifted in the past.    He then turned his attention to another issue plaguing the region also brought about by complacency from western powers.
        While meeting with dozens of international defense chiefs in Washington on Tuesday, Dunford renewed calls for U.S. allies to prosecute their radicalized citizens.    As of right now, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have around 700 detainees from 40 different countries.
        “And although we have been successful in returning some, there are still many more that have to be returned,” said Dunford.    “I think we all recognize that many of the individuals that led ISIS in the early days had been detainees at one time or another and so it’s very important is that we address this properly and particularly where appropriate return them home for prosecution.”
        Another intelligence official present at the meeting stressed the importance of these detainees remaining behind bars, where they can not get back onto the battlefield.
        “We’re also making sure inside Syria that these people are housed in a facility in which you cannot, they can’t simply co-mingle with each other so they become a kind of a nucleus for a future threat,” explained Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (now ISIS).    “We want to make sure that they can never get out and that as they remain in Syria they remain in a facility that is safe, that is secure, that has access to the ICRC so it meets international standards as much as possible.”
        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis are working hard to ensure the 700 detainees receive justice in their own countries.

    10/17/2018 Several Cuban diplomats disrupt UN event on plight of political prisoners by OAN Newsroom
        A U.S. official is calling for several Cuban diplomats to be reprimanded for acting out during a recent United Nations meeting.
        Roughly 20 diplomats and protesters loudly disrupted Tuesday’s event, which was held to launch the “Jailed for What” campaign.    The campaign is working to advocate for the release of an estimated 130 political prisoners currently being held by the Cuban government.
        Cuba’s ambassador said the protest was held to defend the dignity of the country’s heroic people.    However, U.S. Ambassador Kelley Currie said the delegation would not let anyone speak for nearly 45 minutes.
    American Ambassador on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations Kelley E. Currie speaks during a Security Council
    meeting on the situation in Syria, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
        “This is an unfortunate situation…the United Nations represents so much for so many of us here,” she stated.    “I work here every day, I work collegially with colleagues with whom I have disagreements — I have never in my life seen diplomats behave the way that the Cuban delegation did today, it was really shocking and disturbing.”
        Currie went on to say the diplomats should be ashamed of themselves and said the U.S. will be taking further action with authorities within the UN.

    10/17/2018 President Trump blasts Obama for failing to secure 2016 presidential election against foreign hacking by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is blasting the previous administration for failing to secure the 2016 presidential election against foreign hacking threats.
        During an interview on Tuesday, the president called into question Obama’s actions leading up to election day.
    FILE – In this Sept. 21, 2018, file photo, former President Barack Obama speaks as he campaigns in support of Pennsylvania candidates in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
        He said Obama was warned of possible meddling in September of 2016, but failed to act upon the information.    Instead, the former president only spoke about it after the election.
        On the other hand, President Trump says he has done more for election security than Obama ever did.
        “Everybody understands there was no collusion.    There’s no Russia.    It was all made up by the Democrats.    They’re the ones that colluded with Russia.    The Democrats colluded with Russia.    And, frankly, the previous administration didn’t do anything about Russia when they knew that they should have.” — President Donald Trump
        President Trump signed an executive order last month, ordering sanctions against any foreign official or government caught trying to meddle with the midterms.

    10/18/2018 Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right
        Leaders from the European Union and Britain shrugged off previous deadlines Wednesday, giving themselves several more weeks to clinch a friendly divorce deal ahead of their separation.
        After the EU insisted for months that this week’s summit was a key meeting to get a deal, its Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said “we need much time, much more time, and we (will) continue to work in the next weeks” with his British counterpart.
        British Prime Minister Theresa May also spoke about “working intensively over the next days and weeks” to achieve agreement.    A no-deal departure on March 29 could create chaos.

    10/18/2018 Investors are buzzing over marijuana stocks by Adam Shell, USA TODAY
        Investors are buzzing over pot stocks.
        Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in Canada, a move Wall Street pros say is akin to the end of Prohibition in the U.S. back in the 1930s that legalized the sale of beer and booze after a nearly 15-year ban.
        Weed stocks, as a result, have been all the rage this year as investors at home and north of the border look to get in early on the budding but speculative business.    A confluence of factors, ranging from Canada’s legalization, pot’s growing use for medical purposes and major investments from big companies such as Corona brewer Constellation Brands, has shifted investing in pot from the fringe to the mainstream.
        Still, investors in weed stocks were bummed out Wednesday when pot stocks declined.
        Investors are looking to profit in a new market that generated $8.5 billion on legal marijuana in the U.S. last year and which is estimated to grow to $23.4 billion in 2022, according to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics.
        Investors, however, need to be careful not to get burned out by these upstart investments, whose parabolic rise this year has been compared to the cryptocurrency boom.    Bitcoin, the best known digital currency that climbed as high as $19,501 late last year, has suffered a bust, losing two-thirds of its value this year to $6,496.
        Here are some pot stocks and funds to keep on your radar:
    • Tilray: Shares of Tilray, the Canadian-based company that cultivates and distributes medical cannabis and cannabinoids, have gone on a wild ride.    Since it began trading in July as a public company in the U.S. on the Nasdaq stock exchange, it has gained 771 percent.    But it slumped 4.4 percent Tuesday and fell 6.5 percent Wednesday.
    • Cronos Group: Toronto-based Cronos sells medicinal and recreational weed.    It dubs its pot for recreational use “Spinach.”    Cronos shares are up nearly 40 percent this year.    Shares fell nearly 8 percent Wednesday.
    • Canopy Growth: Canopy Growth is another Canadian company that focuses on the sale of medical cannabis.    Its products, which include oils, soft gel capsules and hemp, treat things such as chronic pain, seizures and nausea.    Its shares are up 114 percent this year.    Shares fell 4.4 percent Wednesday.
    • Aurora Cannabis: Aurora Cannabis, a licensed producer of medicinal marijuana in Canada, saw its shares rally more than 510 percent from its 52-week low in October 2017 to Tuesday’s most recent high.    Still, the stock has given back a big chunk of those gains and is up 41 percent in 2018.
    • ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF: Investors who want to invest in a broad basket of weed-related stocks can do so via the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ).    This exchange traded fund is up 22 percent in 2018. Shares slumped 3 percent Wednesday.

    10/18/2018 More than 650 Venezuelans flee country on foot each day by OAN Newsroom
        More than 650 people flee Venezuela on foot each day to escape food shortages and rampant hyperinflation.
        According to reports, many refugees begin their journey at one of the hundreds of illegal trails that start along the country’s border with Colombia.
        The trails are used by those who can’t afford bus or plane tickets, and who do not have the proper documentation required to cross the border legally.

    10/18/2018 U.S. weekly jobless claims data bolsters labor market outlook by Lucia Mutikani
    FILE PHOTO: Passersby walk in front of a help wanted sign at a McDonalds restaurant
    in the Brooklyn borough of New York, March 7, 2014. REUTERS/Keith Bedford/File Photo
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped last week and the number of Americans on jobless rolls fell back to levels last seen in 1973, suggesting a further tightening in labor market conditions.
        The labor market strength was also underscored by another report on Thursday from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showing manufacturers in the mid-Atlantic region boosting employment and increasing hours for workers in October.
        That, together with a robust economy likely keep the Federal Reserve on course to increase interest rates again in December.    The U.S. central bank raised rates in September for the third time this year and removed the reference to monetary policy remaining “accommodative.”
        “The labor market is tight by any quantitative metric and companies are holding on to labor because of the difficulty of replacing workers,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
        Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 for the week ended Oct. 13, the Labor Department said.    Claims fell to 202,000 during the week ended Sept. 15, which was the lowest level since November 1969.
        Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 212,000 in the latest week.    The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina continued to be affected by Hurricane Florence, which drenched the region in mid-September.    Claims for Florida were impacted by Hurricane Michael.
        The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,000 to 211,750 last week.
        The claims data covered the survey period for the nonfarm payrolls component of October’s employment report.
        While the four-week moving average of claims rose 5,750 between the September and October survey periods, that did not change expectations for a rebound in job growth this month after Florence depressed restaurant and retail payrolls in September.
        “We think that job growth could bounce back in October if the weakness from the September report that was tied to Hurricane Florence reverses,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.
        The economy created 134,000 jobs in September, the fewest in a year.    The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment with the unemployment rate close to a 49-year low of 3.7 percent.    There are a record 7.14 million open jobs.
        Minutes of the Fed’s Sept. 25-26 meeting published on Wednesday showed policymakers “generally agreed that (labor market) conditions continued to strengthen,” and united on the need to raise interest rates further.
        The dollar firmed against a basket of currencies and U.S. Treasury yields rose marginally.    Stocks on Wall Street were trading lower, also weighed down by a raft of weak earnings reports from industrial companies.
        Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 13,000 to 1.64 million for the week ended Oct. 6, the lowest level since August 1973.    The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims dipped 1,250 to 1.65 million, also the lowest level since August 1973.
        In a separate report, the Philadelphia Fed said employment at factories in the region – which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware – increased in October.    It said more than 30 percent of responding firms reported increasing payrolls this month.
        The Philadelphia Fed’s employment index rose 2 points to a reading of 19.5 this month and firms also reported increasing hours for workers.    The workweek index jumped to a reading of 20.8 from 14.6 in September.
        The survey’s business conditions index slipped to a reading of 22.2 in October from 22.9 in September amid a drop in new orders.    But firms were upbeat about new orders over the next six months and many expected to increase capital spending in 2019.
        Businesses also reported raising prices for their goods, with the survey’s prices received index rising 4.5 points in October to a reading of 24.1.    Further prices increases are expected over the next six months.
        While more companies reported paying more for raw materials this month, the survey’s prices paid index slipped 1.4 points to a reading of 38.2.    The prices paid index had dropped 15 points in September.    The survey’s findings suggest inflation could push higher over the coming months.
        “Firms’ pricing power is likely to grow and inflation is likely to accelerate,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
    (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

    In this Aug. 31, 2018 photo, Venezuelan migrants line up for free bread and coffee, donated by a Colombian family from their car,
    at a gas station in Pamplona, Colombia.    Millions have fled Venezuela’s deadly shortages and
    spiraling hyperinflation in an exodus that rivals even the European refugee crisis in numbers. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
        Despite the tough terrain and harsh weather conditions awaiting refugees who flee on foot, many say it’s worth it to escape the failing socialist state.
        “I feel like all Venezuelans are walking, any which way now.    We are leaving the country because we cannot handle this way of life anymore.    We are going hungry, we do not have medicine, and we are dying from illnesses.” — Sandra Cadiz, Venezuelan migrant
        An estimated two million people have fled the Maduro regime in Venezuela over the last four years to seek shelter in countries like Colombia and Ecuador.
        This represents the migration of almost 10-percent of the country’s population

    10/18/2018 Britain’s May and EU voice renewed confidence on Brexit by Elizabeth Piper and Philip Blenkinsop
    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May and other EU leaders voiced renewed confidence on Thursday that they could secure a Brexit deal, saying they were working hard to overcome the very same hurdles that only days ago brought the talks to a halt.
        Less than six months before Britain quits the EU in its biggest shift in policy for more than 40 years, the two sides are at odds over how to deal with their only land border, between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland.
        The problem centers on a so-called backstop – an insurance policy to ensure there will be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland, a former focal point for sectarian tensions, if a future trading relationship is not in place in time.
        To try to unlock the talks, May had earlier signaled she would consider extending a so-called transition period “for a matter of months” after Britain leaves the EU in March, a move her critics called a betrayal but one which the bloc welcomed.
        Extending the transition period could mean that if a future partnership is not ready, a backstop, which so far has been unpalatable to the British side, would not have to be triggered.    But even an extension would not get rid of the EU’s insistence that such a backstop must be agreed to secure a deal.
        For now, both sides seemed to be happy to kick any solution to that problem a little bit further down the>     “We are all working, we’re intensifying the work on these issues that remain,” May told a news conference after a two-day summit in Brussels had ended.
        “What I’ve had from leaders around the table … since I arrived here in Brussels yesterday is a very real sense that people want that deal to be done.”
        “I am confident that we can achieve that good deal.”
        EU leaders also voiced a new optimism after the last summit in the Austrian city of Salzburg ended in acrimony, with May irritated that the EU had criticized her Brexit plans in a particularly damaging way.
        EU Council President Donald Tusk described the mood as being much better than Salzburg.    “What I feel today is that we are closer to the final solutions and the deal,” he told a news conference.
        Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commission president, said: “It will be done.”
        But behind the positive noises, one side will have to compromise to find a way to, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “to square the circle” of the Northern Irish border.
        On arriving at the second day of the summit, May said a “further idea” had emerged, an idea to extend the transition phase beyond December 2020 that caused uproar among some Brexit supporters back in Britain.
        May and a senior British government official tried to play down the significance of the consideration of such an extension, saying it had only “come up in negotiations in recent days” and that it was one of several options to help move the talks on – something London desperately wants to see.
        And a French official said any extension would come with conditions attached – it would not be automatic, it would be decided closer to the time and that it would have to be agreed by the leaders of the 27 other EU nations, probably unanimously.
        Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar summed it up by saying big gaps remained between the two sides.
        “A lot of things have been agreed but there are still big gaps both in terms of the shape of the future relationship and also the protocol on Northern Ireland and Ireland and the backstop,” he told reporters.
    (Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Michel Rose, Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels and William James, Kylie Maclellan and Andrew MacAskill in London, Conor Humphries in Dublin; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Alison Williams)

    10/18/2018 As tensions mount, Mattis seeks more resilient U.S. ties with China’s military by Phil Stewart
    FILE PHOTO: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis speaks with the media before an enhanced honor cordon arrival of Greek Minister
    of Defense Panagiotis Kammenos at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
        SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told his Chinese counterpart on Thursday that the world’s two largest economies needed to deepen high-level ties so as to navigate tension and rein in the risk of inadvertent conflict.
        Mattis saw firsthand last month how mounting Sino-U.S. friction can undermine military contacts when Beijing up-ended plans for him to travel to China in October to meet Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.
        It was retaliation for recent U.S. sanctions, one of a growing number of flashpoints in relations between Washington and Beijing that include a bitter trade war, Taiwan and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.
        Mattis and Wei made no remarks as they shook hands at the start of their talks on the sidelines of a regional security conference in Singapore.    The meeting ended without any public statements.
        Randall Schriver, a U.S. assistant secretary of defense who helps guide Pentagon policy in Asia, said Mattis and Wei largely restated differing views on thorny security disputes but agreed on the need for durable ties.
        “Both acknowledged that the meeting itself was significant and that high-level communication can help,” Schriver said.    “So I think it was productive in that regard.”
        Schriver said making military-to-military ties with China less brittle would be crucial to helping reduce the chances of a devastating conflict.
        “Two nuclear-armed powers with regional, if not global, interests – we need to make sure that when we step on one another’s toes, it doesn’t escalate into something that would be catastrophic,” Schriver told reporters traveling with Mattis.
        Wei has a standing invitation to visit the United States but no date was agreed for his trip, Schriver said.
        Military-to-military ties have long been one of the more fragile parts of the overall U.S.-China relationship, with Beijing limiting contacts when tensions run high.    That has been a source of major concern for years among U.S. officials, who fear an accidental collision or mishap could quickly escalate.
        “What we want in terms of stability are regular interactions at senior levels so we have a good understanding of one another’s intentions, that we have confidence-building measures that will help us prevent an unintended accident or incident,” Schriver said.
        “And, should one occur, that we have the ability to manage that, so it doesn’t worsen.”
        China has been infuriated by the United States putting sanctions on its military for buying weapons from Russia, and by what Beijing sees as stepped-up U.S. support for self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by China as its sacred territory.
        In a recent reminder of the risks amid rising tensions, the Pentagon this month accused China of an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver in the South China Sea that brought a Chinese ship dangerously close to a U.S. Navy destroyer in international waters.
        Mattis, speaking to reporters as he flew to Asia this week, rejected Chinese claims that the United States was acting aggressively and pointed the finger at Beijing.
        “When the Chinese ships are putting bumpers over the side … You don’t do that when you’re out in the middle of the ocean, unless you’re intending to run into something,” Mattis said.
        But tensions between the United States and China have already extended well beyond naval maneuvers and even the bitter trade war.
        U.S. President Donald Trump last month accused China of seeking to meddle in Nov. 6 congressional elections, a charge almost immediately rejected by Beijing.
        Vice President Mike Pence, in what was billed as a major policy address, renewed that and other accusations this month and added that Chinese security agencies had masterminded the “wholesale theft of American technology,” including military blueprints.
        The Pentagon’s top concerns have been China’s rapid military modernization and simultaneous creation of military outposts in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway vital for international trade.    The Pentagon withdrew an invitation to China to a multinational exercise earlier this year in protest.
        China expressed disappointment to Mattis on Thursday over that decision, Schriver said.
        “Minister Wei said that he did hope that there’d be future opportunities.    And if the relationship progresses that way, I’m sure we’ll entertain it,” Schriver said.
        “But we’re not there right now.”
    (Editing by Nick Macfie and Clarence Fernandez)

    10/18/2018 Pres. Trump Threatens To Send Military As Migrant Caravan Head For Mexico by OAN Newsroom
    FILE – In this Oct. 11, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens to a question during
    a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
        President Trump threatens to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border as thousands of Hondurans migrant push through Guatemala.
        The president said he would deploy the U.S. military if Mexico does not stop a caravan of Central America migrants from entering the U.S.
        Many Honduran migrants moved this week with some trying to cross the Mexico border.
        Mexican officials say migrants caught without papers would be deported.
        The incoming president of Mexico says the country’s foreign minister will speak with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, to explore a solution to the caravan issue.

    10/18/2018 Sen. Lindsey Graham supports President Trump’s stance on migrant caravans by OAN Newsroom
        Senator Lindsey Graham is agreeing with President Trump’s decision to put countries on notice for allowing migrant caravans to proceed to America’s southern border.
        In a series of tweets Thursday, the South Carolina Senator said the situation is unacceptable and shows a lack of respect for the U.S.
    Honduran migrants who are traveling to the United States as a group, get a free ride in the back of a trailer truck flatbed,
    as they make their way through Teculutan, Guatemala, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. The group of some 2,000 Honduran migrants hit
    the road in Guatemala again Wednesday, hoping to reach the United States despite President Donald Trump’s threat
    to cut off aid to Central American countries that don’t stop them. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
        He added, the president is right to hold Mexico accountable since they could reduce the flow and stop the caravans if they chose to do so.
        Senator Graham explained he also wants to help stabilize Central and South American nations.
        He ended by saying the caravans are a separate issue than illegals who have lived in the U.S. for years, and should be dealt with as separate and distinct problems.

    10/19/2018 Oil down $1.10 to $68.65, DOW down 327 to 25,379

    10/19/2018 Trump threatens to shut border if Mexico doesn’t stop migrants
        President Donald Trump is lashing out over a caravan of Central American migrants trying to reach the U.S., saying that if Mexico does not stop the effort, he will use the military to “CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER.”    Trump tweeted Thursday that he wanted “Mexico to stop this onslaught.”    He also appeared to threaten a revamped trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

    10/19/2018 California will reconsider life sentences for 3rd-strike inmates
        California will reconsider life sentences for up to 4,000 nonviolent third-strike criminals by allowing them to seek parole under a ballot measure approved by voters two years ago, according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press on Thursday.    Corrections department spokeswoman Vicky Waters said that “they would have to go through rigorous public safety screenings and a parole board hearing.”

    10/19/2018 Mystery of journalist straining US-Saudi ties by David Jackson, Deirdre Shesgreen and Kim Hjelmgaard USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Thursday that it appears Jamal Khashoggi, the missing Saudi journalist and U.S. resident, is dead.
        “It certainly looks that way to me, it’s very sad,” Trump said before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Missoula, Montana, where he will host a campaign rally.
        Trump vowed “very severe” consequences for Saudi Arabia if its government is found responsible for the journalist’s death.    “I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff.”
        The president did not elaborate on what action his administration could take.    He has said he doesn’t want to disrupt the long-standing U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia.
        The Saudi journalist, who wrote critically of the kingdom and royal family for The Washington Post, has been missing since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain paperwork to marry his fiancee.    Turkish officials said he was murdered inside the building, but Saudi officials denied that.
        Before leaving for Montana, Trump said he wanted to wait for the results of Saudi and Turkish investigations before deciding what steps the United States should take.
        Lawmakers suggested a range of actions, from economic sanctions on Saudi Arabia to blocking U.S. weapons sales to the Middle East ally.
        After a whirlwind emergency trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Trump earlier Thursday that the United States needs to give the Saudis “a few more days” to investigate Khashoggi’s fate.
        “We made clear to them that we take this matter very seriously,” Pompeo said after meeting with Trump to brief him on his two-day trip, during which he discussed Khashoggi’s disappearance with top government officials.    “They assured me that they will conduct a complete and thorough investigation.”
        Pompeo did not say whether he believes Khashoggi is dead.
        “There are lots of stories out there about what has happened,” Pompeo said.    “We just are going to allow the process to move forward, allow the facts to unfold.”
        It’s been more than two weeks since Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident who obtained U.S. residency last year over fears for his safety, vanished after visiting the consulate in Istanbul.
        Turkish officials claimed there are gruesome audio and video recordings of Khashoggi being beheaded and dismembered within minutes of entering the compound.
        Saudi Arabia called the allegations against it completely “baseless.”
        Pompeo did not say anything about the recordings.    He expressed confidence that the Saudi government would conduct a full and “transparent” investigation.
        In the midst of the diplomatic crisis, Saudi Arabia transferred $100 million to the State Department – a longpromised contribution to help stabilize parts of Syria that were liberated from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
        The donation came as Pompeo landed in Riyadh to meet with Saudi officials.
        A top State Department official involved in securing the funds said there was no connection.
        “We always expected the contribution to be finalized in the fall time frame,” said Dan McGurk, the president’s special envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.    “The specific transfer of funds has been long in process and has nothing to do with other events or the secretary’s visit.”
    Turkish forensic officers leave the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after searching it Thursday. EMRAH GUREL/AP
        “I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff.” President Donald Trump Speaking to reporters about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and suspected death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

    10/19/2018 Pompeo speaks out about migrant caravan, says this is a moment of crisis by OAN Newsroom
        Thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America have breached the Guatemalan border with Mexico and are pushing toward the United States.    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling it a “moment of crisis.”
        The secretary of state met with his Mexican counterpart in Mexico City Friday.    While the pair discussed trade, the topic of the migrant caravan dominated their press conference.
        Pompeo reiterated that President Trump has made it clear there will be military action if that caravan is allowed to pass into the U.S.
        He also said the problem the U.S. faces at the southern border challenges American sovereignty.
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso , not shown, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, in Mexico City. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Image via AP)
        “We are quickly reaching a point which appears to be a moment of crisis,” stated Pompeo.    “Foreign Secretary Videgray and I spoke about the importance of stopping this flow before it reaches the U.S. border — we are deeply aware that the way Mexico will handle this is your sovereign decision.”
        Meanwhile, Mexico has called on the United Nations to intervene and is asking for humanitarian assistance to address the situation.

    10/19/2018 Mexican government seeking help from UN to process arrival of Honduran migrants by OAN Newsroom
        Mexico is seeking international aid as the country prepares for the arrival of thousands of migrants.    On Thursday, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray called on the United Nations to assist in processing roughly 3,000 Honduran migrants currently heading to the country from Guatemala.
        To alleviate the crisis the Mexican government will not allow the migrants to enter the country in a group.
        Instead, each person would need to apply for refugee status individually or show a valid passport and visa.
        “For that reason we are soliciting the help and support of the United Nations, so that the determination of the requests for refuge will be done in transparency and with the support of the international community,” stated Videgaray.
    Hundreds of Honduran migrants stand at the shore of the Suchiate river on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman,
    Guatemala, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Mexico’s foreign ministry says government officials at its southern border with Guatemala
    have started assisting the early arrivals from a caravan of some 3,000 Honduran migrants that has drawn sharp criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump. (AP Photo)
        The Mexican government is also requesting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees establish a series of shelters across the country’s southern border with added help in reviewing legitimate claims for asylum.
        The foreign minister went on to say the country will do everything in its power to respect human rights, but would not hesitate to turn away or deport any individuals who arrive without appropriate papers.
        “I would like to highlight that for the Mexican government it is essential, in the first place, to respect and protect the human rights and the fundamental dignity of all of the migrants, and to do it under the logic of respectful, humanitarian treatment,” said Foreign Minister Videgaray.
        Meanwhile, Mexico Ambassador to the U.S. Geronimo Gutierrez said if a migrant manages to travel through Mexico and then illegally crosses into America, Mexico will allow those individuals to be sent back.
        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has welcomed the country’s plan and assures the White House will assist in the efforts.    Pompeo is now expected to travel to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, where the two will reportedly discuss potential solutions to the migrant crisis, narcotics and terrorism.

    10/19/2018 Migrant Caravan Clash With Mexican Police, Break Down Border Fence by OAN Newsroom
    Migrants tired of waiting to cross into Mexico, climb a border bridge fence to jump into the Suchiate River,
    in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Some of the migrants traveling in a mass caravan
    towards the U.S.-Mexico border organized a rope brigade to ford its muddy waters. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)
        Thousands of migrants traveling in a caravan toward the U.S. clash with Mexican police, as they break down a border fence.
        A group of migrants breached the Mexico-Guatemala border Friday, according to reports.
        Multiple people rushed through and towards the border bridge, before Mexican police used pepper spray to stop them.
        Despite the chaos, Mexican officials say roughly 100 migrants a day will be allowed into the country to have their asylum requests reviewed.

    10/20/2018 Caravan migrants break through border fence, rush into Mexico
        Central Americans traveling in a mass caravan broke through a Guatemalan border fence and streamed by the thousands toward Mexican territory Friday, defying Mexican authorities’ entreaties for an orderly migration and U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of retaliation.
        Waving Honduran flags, the migrants arrived earlier at the Guatemalan side of the muddy Suchiate River, noisily demanding they be let in.
        “One way or another, we will pass,” they chanted, clambering atop U.S.donated military jeeps parked at the scene as Guatemalan police looked on.

    10/20/2018 US and South Korea call off another major military exercise
        The United States and South Korea are scrapping another major military exercise this year, a Pentagon official said Friday, citing a push for diplomatic progress with North Korea.
        Washington and Seoul are suspending an air exercise known as Vigilant Ace “to give the diplomatic process every opportunity to continue,” spokesman Dana W. White said.

    10/20/2018 Russian national charged in election conspiracy - St. Petersburg woman accused of role in disinformation effort by Kevin Johnson and David Jackson, USA TODAY
        ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A 44-year-old Russian national was charged Friday as part of a conspiracy to disrupt the U.S. political system, including the looming midterm elections, federal authorities announced Friday.
        A criminal complaint was unsealed here naming Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg, Russia, who allegedly served as chief accountant for the disruption campaign funded by businessman Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
        While the case involves Russian election interference, the charges were not brought by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the ongoing inquiry into election meddling by the Kremlin.
        Nevertheless, Prigozhin was among the 13 Russians indicted earlier this year by Mueller’s team, in connection with a wide-ranging political interference effort involving an internet firm tied to the Kremlin.
        Prigozhin was not charged in Friday’s action, though two of the companies he controlled – Concord Management and Consulting LLC., and Concord Catering — were listed as assisting in the case involving Khusyaynova.    Both of the companies were also charged, along with Prigozhin, in the earlier Mueller indictment.
        Khusyaynova, who is not in U.S. custody, is charged with managing the finances of a $35 million campaign, known as Project Lakhta, that targeted the United States and other countries in an influence operation that funded activists, purchased advertising and promoted postings across social media platforms.
        During the first six months of this year, the campaign’s operating budget totaled more than $10 million, federal authorities said Friday.
        In Arizona as part of a three-day midterm campaign swing, President Donald Trump said the new charges have “nothing to do with my campaign.”
        “All the hackers and everything you see – nothing to do with my campaign,” he said.
        The alleged conspiracy, according to court documents, sought to engage in “information warfare against the United States,” in part by spreading distrust toward candidates for political office.
        Prosecutors said the project involved a number of associates who took “extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists.”
        “This included the use of virtual private networks … They used social media platforms to create thousands of social media and email accounts that appeared to be operated by U.S. persons, and used them to create and amplify divisive social and political content targeting U.S. audiences,” the government alleged.    “These accounts also were used to advocate for the election or electoral defeat of particular candidates in the 2016 and 2018 U.S. elections.    Some social media accounts posted tens of thousands of messages, and had tens of thousands of followers.”
        The Russian campaign allegedly sought to arouse political responses to a range of hot-button issues in the U.S., from immigration and gun rights to race, including National Football League players’ protests during the pregame national anthem.
        The operation sought to exploit the raw emotion related to the 2015 Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre; last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas; the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and various fatal police shootings of African-American men.
        “The conspirators’ alleged activities did not exclusively adopt one ideological view; they wrote on topics from varied and sometimes opposing perspectives,” prosecutors asserted.
        Included in that effort, according to court documents, operatives called for assailing the records of Trump opponent Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who died in August, and Mueller, claiming that the continuing Russia investigation is “damaging to the country.”
    Robert Mueller’s team indicted a man earlier this year with ties to the woman charged Friday. AP

    10/20/2018 Pres. Trump: Migrant Groups Heading to U.S. are not ‘Little Angels’ by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump ramps up the pressure to halt the migrant caravan making its way to the U.S. border.
        During a press briefing in Arizona on Friday, the President reminded reporters the groups are not “little angels” but rather “hardened criminals.”
    President Donald Trump talks to a pilot in the cockpit of an F-35 aircraft during a Defense Capability Tour
    at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
        President Trump recently pushed Guatemala and Mexico to strengthen their borders in an effort to stop the migrants from entering the U.S., but said those efforts failed.
        This comes amid reports Honduran officials are sending authorities to their border in an effort to repatriate the group of migrants.
        Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents in Arizona are overwhelmed as large groups of Central American migrants continue to arrive at the southern border ahead of the migrant caravan.
        Hundreds of people, who are waiting for court dates, are being released as border officials say they don’t have the capacity to hold all of the migrant families.
        According to reports, more than 1,400 migrants have been left behind by smugglers in the desert across the Arizona-Mexico border.
        In response, Republican Senator Jon Kyl has asked the Department of Homeland Security to help find ways to deal with the wave of migrants in the region.
        President Trump has threatened to halt aid to Central American countries if they don’t do something to stop the caravan.

    10/20/2018 DHS Under Secretary: China, Iran, Russia Risks to Cyber Security in Midterm Elections by OAN Newsroom
        U.S. national security agencies are sounding the alarm amid ongoing cyberattacks from oversees in the run-up to the midterm elections.
        On Friday, DHS under Secretary Chris Krebs says he sees “continued and persistent attempts” by China, Iran, and Russia to use social media to meddle in the U.S. elections.
    A view of a business center building known as the so-called “troll factory’s” new office in St. Petersburg, Russia,
    Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. The troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, is one of a web of companies allegedly controlled
    by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has reported ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
        According to Krebs, so far there hasn’t been a breach like the 2016 Presidential election, but he’s not ruling out the possibility.
        This comes after the President slammed China for attempting to meddle in the midterms, after it was revealed the Chinese government placed an ad containing anti-Trump propaganda in an Iowa newspaper.

    10/20/2018 Hundreds of thousands take to streets in London demanding second Brexit vote by Andrew MacAskill and Amanda Ferguson
    FILE PHOTO: A European Union flag is held in front of the Big Ben clock tower in Parliament Square
    during a 'March for Europe' demonstration against Britain's decision to leave the European Union,
    central London, Britain July 2, 2016. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/Files
        LONDON/BELFAST (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the European Union marched through London on Saturday in the biggest demonstration so far to demand that the British government holds a public vote on the terms of Brexit.
        The protesters waved the blue and gold flag of the EU and held up “Bollocks to Brexit” banners under sunny skies to call for another referendum on the eventual deal on how Britain will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc.
        The march comes after another tumultuous week for Prime Minister Theresa May in which she failed to agree a divorce deal with EU leaders in Brussels and infuriated members of her own party by making further concessions in the talks.
        With just over five months until Britain is due to leave there is no clarity about what a future trade deal with the EU will look like and some rebels in May’s Conservative Party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one.
        James McGrory, one of the organizers of the march, said voters should have the chance to change their minds because the decision will impact their lives for generations.
        “People think the Brexit negotiations are a total mess, they have no faith in the government to deliver the promises that were made, partly because they cannot be delivered,” he said.
        At the march, demonstrators carried placards saying “Brexit is pants,” “Time for an EU turn” and “European and proud.”
        Organizers said about 700,000 people took part in the march, which would make it the largest in Britain since a demonstration against the Iraq war in 2003.
        The “People’s Vote” campaign, which includes several pro-EU groups, said they had stewards stationed at regular intervals to estimate the size of the crowd.    The police did not provide an independent estimate of numbers participating.
        Protesters originally gathered near Hyde Park and then walked past Downing Street and finished outside parliament where they listened to politicians from all main political parties.
        Britain’s 2016 referendum saw 52 percent vote in favor of leaving the European Union.    But the past two years have been politically fraught as the government has struggled to agree on a plan and there are fears that Britain could leave the bloc without a deal.
        Some opinion polls have shown a slight shift in favor of remaining in the European Union, but there has yet to be a decisive change in attitudes and many in Britain say they have become increasingly bored by Brexit.
        The prime minister has repeatedly ruled out holding a second referendum.    The opposition Labour party’s Brexit spokesman said last month his party open to a second referendum with the option of staying in the bloc in certain circumstances.
        In Belfast in Northern Ireland, around 2,000 people gathered on Saturday to oppose Brexit.
        Brendan Heading, a 39-year-old IT worker, said he was worried the decision to leave the EU would damage the economy and could lead to the break up of the United Kingdom.
        “I feel that Brexit threatens prosperity and stability,” he said.    “People should have the opportunity to vote for an alternative based on what we now know.”
        Brexit supporters held their own rally in the town of Harrogate in the north of England.
        Richard Tice, Vice-Chairman of Leave Means Leave and one of the speakers at the event, described the people on the march in London as “losers” and said a second referendum would trigger a constitutional crisis.
        “We had a vote, we voted to leave, the idea to have a second referendum would be incredibly damaging,” he said.
        “People need to be under no illusions as to how people feel about what is a significant potential for a total betrayal of democracy in this country.”
    (Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Ros Russell, Richard Balmforth)

    10/20/2018 U.S.-bound migrant caravan stuck on Guatemalan border with Mexico by Delphine Schrank
    Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., rest on the bridge that connects
    Mexico and Guatemala in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
        TECUN UMAN, Guatemala (Reuters) – Hundreds of Central Americans in a U.S.-bound migrant caravan were stuck on Guatemala’s border with Mexico on Saturday as efforts began, under pressure from Washington, to send some home and stop their journey northward.
        Many of the migrants, the overwhelming majority fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras, had slept through heavy rain overnight on a bridge connecting Guatemala to Mexico, as dozens crammed against a metal border gate guarded by Mexican police.
        In the early morning hours, Guatemalan police said they had transported 62 Hondurans in two buses, among the first such efforts to remove migrants from the tense border crossing on the Suchiate River.
        For days U.S. President Donald Trump has warned the Central American caravan must be stopped.    He has made it a political issue in the Nov. 6 midterm U.S. congressional election, threatened to cut off regional aid, close the U.S.-Mexico border and deploy troops there if Mexico failed to halt the migrants.
        Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was due to meet his Guatemalan counterpart Jimmy Morales in the Guatemalan capital on Saturday for talks on implementing a strategy for returning the Honduran migrants.
        Organizers said the caravan included around 4,000 migrants on Friday but there has been no official estimate of the sprawling number of men, women and children traveling north on foot and in vehicles.
        “The (U.S.) tone is one of worry and they told us that we should act like allies,” a senior aide to Guatemala’s president told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly.
        “It’s really a very delicate situation because this could generate more caravans,” he said.
        On Friday, hundreds of migrants at the head of the caravan had poured through Guatemalan border posts and onto the bridge, but were repelled by dozens of shield-bearing Mexican police. Several complained they had been teargassed.
        Drained from days of walking and frustrated, many spent the night in the open. Some stretched towels and garbage bags along the bridge walls, others lay down on backpacks, while a man applied lotion to his tired feet.
        Mexico’s government, which says it will process migrants’ claims for asylum individually, vowed to tackle the caravan as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met top officials in Mexico City.    Pompeo urged Mexico to ensure the procession did not reach the United States.
        Most of the migrants Reuters spoke to said their ultimate destination was the United States.    Some said they hoped to stay in Mexico, but they had no idea how to get the documentation needed to do so.
        Still, many were determined to try.
        “No, I’ll fight.    I’ll try again,” said Honduran Hilda Rosa as her four teenage children sat upright, beaming as she pumped the air with her fist.
        The native of Tegucigalpa told a familiar tale when asked why she had left Honduras: “You know why: no work, violence.”
        Most of the people now caught trying to enter the United States illegally hail from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, among the poorest and most violent countries in the Americas.
        The caravan members ranged from farmers and bakers to housewives and students, and included a whole block of friends and family from the Honduran city of El Progreso, some of whom said they would start going back to where they came from on Saturday.
        Jose Ramon Rodriguez, 45, a construction worker from El Progreso, sat on the Guatemalan end of the bridge late on Friday with his head hanging low, his 9-year-old son tucked against him.
        “Tomorrow we go home,” he said.    His companions nodded.
        Among them was Osman Melgar, who nursed a bleeding gash on his shin, suffered when he fell as dozens of people packed on the bridge began fleeing when police, according to several eyewitnesses, used tear gas.
        Some, including 40-year-old Adriana Consuelo, went under the bridge, paying craftsmen 25 pesos ($1.30) to ferry them across the river on vessels made of giant rubber tires.
        After making it to the muddy banks of Mexico, she said, “No one checked my documents,” as Consuelo headed to a taco restaurant.
        But Mexico had stepped up its efforts to stop the flow of people, migration experts said.
        “Every time there’s a (migrant) caravan there are police sent to the southern border … but we’ve never seen anything as dramatic as we’re seeing today,” said Eunice Rendon, coordinator of migrant advocacy group Agenda Migrante.
        “This has everything to do with Trump,” she added.
    (Reporting by Delphine Schrank; Additional reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City and Anthony Esposito in Mexico City; Editing by Dave Graham, Simon Cameron-Moore and Tom Brown)


    9/7/2018 House Freedom Caucus Members Push for Carter Page, Ohr Docs by OAN Newsroom
        GOP members of Congress call on President Trump to declassify and release all documents regarding Bruce Ohr’s interviews with the FBI as well as the Carter Page FISA applications.    Lawmakers feel the Department of Justice may have broken protocol in their investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged dealings with Russia.
        One America’s Patrick Hussion spoke with Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz about the call to make the documents public.

    9/10/2018 President Trump to Declassify Page Docs, Release Investigative Activities of Bruce Ohr by OAN Newsroom
        A new report says President Trump is prepared to declassify key documents, shedding light on the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.    One America’s Alex Salvi takes a look at the fight over Carter Page’s FISA warrant.

    9/24/2018 CIA Director Gina Haspel vows efficiency, accountability of agency’s work by OAN Newsroom
        CIA Director Gina Haspel delivered her first public address in office, where she discussed threats to U.S. national security.
        In a speech at the University of Louisville early Monday, Haspel said her main focus is threats posed by hostile nation states rather than terror groups.
        Haspel said the CIA is working closely with U.S. allies to identify emerging threats and fill the gaps in CIA intelligence gathering.
        She also reaffirmed her commitment to eradicating political biases at the CIA, which some Republicans say thrived under the agency’s previous chief — John Brennan.

    10/13/2018 House Judiciary CMTE Chair Goodlatte may subpoena Deputy AG Rosenstein in near future by OAN Newsroom
        House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte announces he will subpoena Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, if he doesn’t agree to come before the panel very soon.
    Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s district has long been a safe seat for Republicans. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
        Goodlatte made the remark in an interview Saturday, saying it is essential that the committee speaks with him.
        He added, the panel has been looking to talk to Rosenstein, since the release of the New York Times report alleging he secretly talked about recording President Trump.
        Goodlatte went on to say, lawmakers want to question the official on other issues, such as his approval of FISA warrants using possibly illicit sources.

    CIA Director Gina Haspel addresses the audience as part of the McConnell Center Distinguished Speaker Series
    at the University of Louisville, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
        “Our work requires secrecy, and secrecy in turn requires a profound degree of trust from the American people,” stated the CIA director.    “That’s why our agency abides by and embraces an oversight structure that includes the congressional intelligence committees, the FISA court, and our own independent inspector general.”
        Haspel also highlighted her commitment to keeping the CIA accountable to the American people by ensuring transparency and full compliance with congressional oversight.

    10/8/2018 Rep. Nunes: FBI lawyer’s testimony is proof of FISA abuse, anti-Trump bias by OAN Newsroom
        House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is pointing to new evidence of political bias at the Obama-era FBI.
        On Sunday, Nunes said testimony from former FBI lawyer James Baker revealed the bureau failed to inform the FISA court of Democrat interests in the Russia probe.
        According to Baker, nobody at the FBI or Department of Justice was aware the Democratic Party and Clintons financed the Trump dossier.
        Nunes stressed the Democrats fed false information to the FBI.
    FILE photo – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., pauses while meeting with reporters
    outside the White House in Washington following a meeting with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
        Meanwhile, his fellow Republican Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus said Baker’s testimony shed light on Democrat biases at the Obama-era FBI.
        “There is strong suggestions in some of the text messages, emails and so forth, who was involved that extraordinary measures were used to surveil,” stated Meadows.    "There was a suggestion there was as many as five different people that perhaps came under the surveillance of the DOJ and FBI in the early days of the Trump transition.”
        For his part, Nunes pointed out the FBI’s application for a warrant to spy on the 2016 Trump campaign amounts to the abuse of FISA authority.

    As seen on this site:
    2/13/2018 Scandal, Corruption, Lawbreaking — And So What? by Victor Davis Hanson
        What is the endgame to never-ending wrongdoing?
        The FISA-gate, Clinton emails, and Uranium One scandals are sort of reaching a consensus.    Many things quite wrong and illegal were done by both Hillary Clinton and her entourage and members of the Obama agencies and administration — both the acts themselves and the cover-ups and omissions that ensued.
        Remember, in the FISA-gate scandal such likely widespread criminal behavior was predicated on two premises: 1) certainty of an easy Clinton victory, after which the miscreants would be not only excused but probably rewarded for their zeal; 2) progressive hubris in which our supposedly moral betters felt it their right, indeed their duty, to use unethical and even unlawful means for the “greater good” — to achieve their self-described moral ends of stopping the crude and reactionary Trump.
        The wrongdoing probably includes attempting to warp a U.S. election, Russian collusion, repeatedly misleading and lying before the FISA courts, improperly surveilling American citizens, unmasking the names of citizens swept up in unlawful surveillance and then illegally leaking them to the press, disseminating and authenticating opposition smears during a political campaign, lying under oath to Congress, obstructing ongoing investigations, using federal funds to purchase ad hominem gossip against a presidential candidate, blatant conflicts of interests, weaponizing federal investigations, trafficking in and leaking classified information . . . The list goes on and on.
        The State Department is now involved.    Apparently anyone who was a former Clinton smear artist can pass fantasies to a sympathetic or known political appointee at State.    And if the “dossier” fits the proper narrative and shared agenda, it gains credence enough to ensure that it is passed up to senior State officials and on to the FBI.    Perhaps a private citizen with a grudge against a rival should try that as well.
        These scandals will grow even greater before various congressional investigations expire.
        But then what?
        In some sense, we are in uncharted territory — given the misadventure of appointing Robert Mueller as special counsel.    His team is now replaying the role of Patrick Fitzgerald in the Scooter Libby case: investigating a crime that did not exist and that even if it did was committed by someone else.
        The Mueller team’s likely parachute will have little if anything to do with the Russian collusion that it originally and chiefly was appointed to investigate.    Instead, it’s likely to settle for perjury and obstruction charges against peripheral Trump officials (if the cases are not thrown out by possible reliance on tainted FISA transcripts).
        The indictments may gain a little traction if they are timed to be released before the midterm elections, hyped in the mainstream media, and calibrated to be tried before liberal D.C. juries.    The investigation may seek some redemption or justification if it criminalizes the secretly taped bombast of a Trump family member, catching him in some sort of perjury trap or business misdeed.
        Yet Mueller’s appointment makes resolution of FISA-gate and its associated scandals more difficult to resolve.    His value for the Left is not in what he will find but that his mere presence will become an argument ipso facto for never again appointing anyone like him.    After all, has the U.S. government ever had two special counsels working at cross-purposes, each investigating one of the two candidates in the prior presidential election?
        Once a special counsel is appointed, can he be superseded by a really special or special-special counsel, an attorney who might have to investigate the other special counsel (who was in charge of the botched Clinton Uranium One scandal, who was appointed through a clear and constructed conflict of interest, and whose own team is largely composed of proud partisans and campaign donors, and who may have been involved in using poisoned FISA surveillance data to leverage confessions or indictments)?
        It is unlikely that Rod Rosenstein will demand to see whether Mueller, after almost nine months, has actually found much evidence of collusion.    Nor is Rosenstein apt to order Mueller to cease a mostly dead-end investigation and redirect it along a freeway of Clinton-Obama-connected collusion, obstruction, and fraud.    (Read the Page-Strzok text archive to see why the present weaponized bureaucratic culture in D.C. is utterly incapable of disinterested inquiry.)
        Still, Democrats at some point will see that what they thought was the formerly defensible is now becoming absolutely indefensible.    Adam Schiff, after months of leaking, making grandiose false statements on cable TV, and getting punked by Russian comedians, is now a caricature.    He became the sad legislative bookend to the neurotic James Comey.    Schiff will probably soon be forced to pivot back to his former incarnation as a loud critic of FISA-court abuse.
        Those who still persist in denying the extent of clear wrongdoing will suffer the tragicomic fate of Watergate-era Representative Charles Sandman (an authentic World War II hero) and Rabbi Baruch Korff (who as a child fled Ukrainian pogroms).    The last diehard supporters of Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment, they both ended up widely discredited because of their political inability or personal unwillingness to see what was right before their eyes.
        After all, professed civil libertarians, hard-hitting investigative reporters, and skeptics of nontransparent and overreaching federal agencies are now insidiously defending not the just the indefensible, but what they have claimed to have fought against their entire lives.    Woodward and Bernstein in their sunset years have missed the far greater scandal and in their dotage will likely nullify what they once did in their salad days.
        If the economy keeps improving, if Trump’s popularity nears 50 percent, and if polls show the midterm elections still tightening, we should see the politics of Democratic equivocation sooner rather than later.
        So what would be their terms to call it all off?
        I think the Democratic fallback position will be to point to the career carnage at the FBI and DOJ as punishment enough.
        Director Comey was fired.    Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was forcibly retired.    FBI lawyer Lisa Page was reassigned and demoted.    FBI general counsel James Baker resigned.    Senior agent Peter Strzok was reassigned and demoted.    The former FBI director’s chief of staff, James Rybicki, resigned.    Mike Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, took retirement.
        Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr was reassigned and demoted.    Justice Department’s counterintelligence head, David Laufman, resigned.    A cadre of others “unexpectedly” have left, allegedly (or conveniently) for private-sector jobs.    Such career implosions do not happen without cause.
        And if that is not enough, Democrats may further tsk-tsk that if there were perhaps zealotry and excesses, they were in the distant past.    An out-of-office Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power, James Clapper, John Brennan — and Barack Obama — may have stepped over the line a bit in matters of surveillance, unmasking, and leaking.    But do we really wish to go back and put another administration on trial, politicizing governmental transitions?
        And if that is not enough, Democrats will also shrug that the collusion mess was analogous to another Republican Benghazi hearing: lots of embarrassing smoke of “what difference does it make” admissions, but little fire in proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the main players engaged in prosecutable crimes.
        And if that is still not enough, Democrats in extremis may concede that Mueller could retire with his minor scalps, and both sides then could call it quits, even-steven.    Who knows, perhaps they will say that Christopher Steele had a history with Russian oligarchs and was using his paymaster Hillary Clinton as well as being used by her?
        Accepting any of these obfuscations would be a grave mistake.
        Despite a nonstop media assault on Trump’s administration, Representative Devin Nunes, and the congressional investigative committees, more than 50 percent of the public already believes that the Trump campaign was illegally surveilled and smeared through the confluence of the Clinton campaign, the Obama administration, and the FBI.
        Voters would only grow more cynical if some Americans were allowed to abuse constitutionally protected civil liberties, and to lie to the Congress, the FBI, and the courts, while the less connected others go to jail for much less.    Without a judicial accounting, it will be impossible to clean up the hierarchies of the FBI and the DOJ.
        Indeed, absent accountability and punishment, the new modus operandi would be for any lame-duck incumbent administration to use federal agencies to enhance the campaign of its own party’s nominee.    It would be only logical to conclude that criminal acts used to help a successor would be forgotten or rewarded under the victor’s tenure.
        Voters would only grow more cynical if some Americans were allowed to abuse constitutionally protected civil liberties, and to lie to the Congress, the FBI, and the courts, while the less connected others go to jail for much less.
        What is needed?
        Attorney General Sessions must find muscular, ambitious, and combative prosecutors (preferably from outside Washington, D.C., and preferably existing federal attorneys), direct them to call a Grand Jury, and begin collating information from congressional investigations to get to the bottom of what is likely one of gravest scandals in post-war American history: the effort to use the federal government to thwart the candidacy of an unpopular presidential candidate and then to smear and ruin his early tenure as president.
        Only another prosecutorial investigation, one way or another, will lead to resolution, take the entire mess out of the partisan arena, and keep the anemic Mueller investigation honest — with the full knowledge that if its own investigators have violated laws or used tainted evidence or in the past obstructed justice, then they too will be held to account.

    10/21/2018 Marchers clog streets of London to demand new Brexit vote
        Hundreds of thousands of protesters opposed to Britain’s impending exit from the European Union marched through central London on Saturday, demanding a new referendum and to have a say on the government’s final Brexit deal with the EU.
        Organizers say another public vote is needed because new facts have come out about the costs and complexity of Britain’s exit from the bloc since voters chose to leave in 2016.    They estimated some 700,000 people took part in the march Saturday.


    10/21/2018 Democrat New Jersey Senator Cory Booker Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Man by OAN Newsroom
        Democrat New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is now being accused of sexual assault by a man.
        On Saturday, an anonymous man released a detailed four page document on Twitter, claiming the incident happened when Booker visited his workplace back in 2014.
    Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks to a crowd at a Get Out the Vote Rally at the
    RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. (Andy Abeyta/Quad City Times via AP)
        He claims Booker followed him to the bathroom, touched him inappropriately, and approached him for oral sex.
        The man says he reached out to two lawyers earlier this month disclosing his name, date, location, corroborating evidence, and two possible hearsay witnesses.
        The reported victim also said watching Booker’s defense of alleged sexual assault victims was “laughably ironic, jarringly cringe-worthy, and triggering” leading him to speak out.
        Booker who has admitted to sexual assault back in 1992, has yet to respond to the allegations.

    10/21/2018 Honduran Migrants from Caravan Begin Entering Mexico via Rafting, Swimming by OAN Newsroom
        Migrants from the caravan headed towards the U.S. border are beginning to enter into Mexico while many remain in Guatemala.
        On Saturday, reports say migrants primarily from Honduras, crossed into Mexico by swimming or using rafts.
    Central American migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018.
    Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance
    toward the U.S. border early Sunday in southern Mexico. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
        Reports also claim immigrants paid people to transport them across the river using giant rubber tires.
        This comes after the caravan clashed with Mexican police on Friday forcing them onto a bridge.
        Many have slept on the bridge overnight guarded by Mexican authorities.
        Officials say it’s difficult to track the migrants since many of them are dispersed to various locations.
        President Trump has threatened to cut-off aid and deploy troops if Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras fail to stop the caravan before reaching the U.S. border.

    10/21/2018 Brazil’s Bolsonaro says he intends to use armed forces to fight violence by Maria Carolina Marcello
    A supporter of Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL),
    attends a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
        SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said on Sunday that, if he is elected, he intends to use the armed forces for routine street patrols, describing the country as “at war.”
        The far-right lawmaker and former army captain said in an interview with Band TV that he would discuss the idea with his proposed defense minister and state governments, which are responsible for public safety.
        “If Congress grants permission, I would put armed forces in the streets,” Bolsonaro said.
        A 63-year-old, seven-term congressman who openly defends Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, Bolsonaro is widely expected to win the presidency this month.    Opinion polls show him leading his leftist rival Fernando Haddad by 18 percentage points just a week ahead of the Oct. 28 second-round vote.
        Scrambling to make up the difference, Haddad on Sunday pledged to increase benefits paid under Brazil’s top social assistance program, known as Bolsa Família, by 20 percent.
        Bolsonaro, a polarizing candidate who has been charged with hate speech for his comments regarding gays, blacks and women, has pitched himself as the anti-establishment choice, appealing to voters fed up with political corruption and violent crime.
        In August 2017, a year after Rio de Janeiro hosted the Olympic Games, the federal government dispatched 8,500 soldiers to quell violent crime in the city.    But military officials said from the outset that they would not be the ones to resolve issues underpinning the urban violence.
        On Sunday thousands of supporters took part in rallies for Bolsonaro in Brazil’s major cities, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília.
        That followed women-led protests against him on Saturday, for the second time in a month.
    (Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello, Writing by Carolina Mandl, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

    10/21/2018 Italy expects EU budget rejection on Tuesday: source by Giuseppe Fonte and Valentina Za
    Italian Deputy PM Luigi Di Maio speaks at the 5-Star Movement party's open-air rally
    at Circo Massimo in Rome, Italy, October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
        MILAN (Reuters) – The Italian government expects the European Commission to decide for the first time ever on Tuesday to ask a member state to revise its draft budget, a government source said on Sunday.
        The Commission has slammed as an unprecedented breach of EU fiscal rules Italy’s 2019 budget plan, which aims to lift the deficit to 2.4 percent of domestic output next year from 1.8 percent in 2018.
        Since receiving beefed-up powers in 2013 over member states’ budgetary plans, the Commission has never asked a country to submit a revised budget.
        Italy’s 2.3 trillion euro ($2.65 trillion) public debt, one of the world’s largest, makes the country vulnerable and a potential source of contagion for other euro zone countries.
        Investors have shed 67 billion euros in Italian bonds since a populist government formed in May, sending the risk premium Italy pays over safer German paper to a 5-1/2 year high of 3.4 percentage points.
        The source said Economy Minister Giovanni Tria and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had unsuccessfully pushed for a reduction of the 2019 deficit target at a cabinet meeting on Saturday.
        The source did not rule out an agreement to lower the deficit goal could be found during a three-week period of negotiations with Brussels that will follow the rejection.
        Though the decision was expected on Tuesday, the source said it may not be announced on the same day.
        Asked for comment, a Commission spokesman said that the Commission had expressed its “serious concerns” over the draft budget to the Italian authorities, seeking clarifications by noon on Monday to facilitate an assessment.
        Earlier on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the government was working on the letter it would send to the Commission on Monday, adding he expected a speedy reaction.
        Di Maio, who leads the ruling anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, told RAI state television he hoped the explanations Rome would provide “over a long discussion process … could lead the Commission to share the goals we have set.”
        After riding popular anger at the austerity measures Italy adopted in response to the euro zone crisis of 2011-2012, Italy’s ruling coalition, also comprising the far-right League, wants to lower the retirement age and provide a basic income for the poor.
        On Friday, credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Italy’s debt to one notch above junk status citing concerns over the government’s budget plans.
        Di Maio said he hoped the Commission would take into account Italy’s strengths such as the private sector’s low debt and high household wealth, which Moody’s cited among reasons supporting a ‘stable’ outlook on the rating.
        He joined other government members in efforts to dispel concerns about Italy’s euro membership.
        “We understood from conversations with people from the ECB (European Central Bank) and the markets, meaning investors, that the (bond yield spread) jumped because there is a concern that this government wants to leave the euro or the European Union,” Di Maio said.
        “I want to say it here, and there will be other solemn occasions to reiterate it as a government and a political party, … there is no Plan B (to leave Europe) but only Plan A which is to change Europe,” Di Maio said.
        “As long as I’m head of this movement and a minister of this government I’ll always guarantee that Italy remains within the euro and in Europe,” he added.
        The ECB declined to comment on Di Maio’s remark about conversations with people from the central bank.
        Di Maio said Italy had a chance to prove public debt could be reduced by “investing in social rights” and trigger important changes across Europe.
        He said the 5-Star, founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, was working to present in January-February a program that brought together similar grassroots movements from other European countries with the goal to back a heart and humanity to European institutions.” ($1 = 0.8686 euros)
    ($1 = 0.8686 euros)
    (Additional reporting by Robin Emmott in Brussels, Editing by Adrian Croft)

    10/22/2018 ‘No one will stop us, only God’: Migrant caravan bound for US swells by John Bacon, USA TODAY
        A caravan of Central American migrants marching into Mexico bound for the United States grew to more than 5,000 people Sunday despite threats from President Donald Trump to use the military to seal the border.
        The throng, many from Honduras, streamed across a bridge over the Suchiate River connecting Guatemala with Mexico.
        More than 5,100 migrants have registered in three shelters in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Hidalgo, Gerardo Hernandez, head of the local government’s emergency services, told Reuters.    He said up to 2,000 more were camped out in the central square.
        “You can’t even walk, there’s just so many people,” he said.    “So far, they’re all peaceful, thank God.”
        Many of the migrants cited poverty, corruption and gang violence in Honduras for their flight.    Mexico had been trying to slowly process asylum requests in small groups, in some cases providing 45-day visitor permits.    But thousands of the migrants grew impatient, circumventing the bureaucracy and crossing on makeshift rafts or just swimming into Mexico undeterred by border authorities.    They were cheered on by crowds on the Mexican side who shouted, “Venganse!” – “come on in!
        The Mexican government has warned caravan participants “of grave risks” they could face from human trafficking networks if they illegally enter Mexico. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Sunday that the United States was closely monitoring the caravan’s advance.
        “We must remain mindful of the transnational criminal organizations and other criminals that prey on the vulnerabilities of those undertaking the irregular migration journey,” she said in a statement.
        Nielsen said the United States was working with “our partners in the region” to investigate and prosecute anyone making a profit from the migration.
        But the crowd was large and the mood mostly ecstatic Sunday.    Olivin Castellanos, 58, a truck driver and mason from Villanueva, Honduras, said he took a raft into Mexico.    He hopes to work in construction in the U.S.
        “No one will stop us, only God,” he said.    “We knocked down the door and we continue walking.”
    Contributing: Associated Press
    Central American migrants walking to the U.S. depart Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico,
    on Sunday as they make their way north. MOISES CASTILLO/AP

    10/22/2018 Take Five: World markets themes for the week ahead
    FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York,
    U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
        (Reuters) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.
          The real possibility of the yuan weakening to the 7-per-dollar mark last seen in 2008, hangs over China, emerging markets and global equities.    The thinking so far has been that the risk of capital outflows, along the lines of what happened in 2016, would dissuade Beijing from allowing such a slide in the currency.    But more recently, weak benchmark yuan/dollar fixings, a drop in the trade-weighted yuan index to below 2017 lows, and a flurry of comments and measures from policymakers reveal both a sense of panic and determination to prop up the economy.
          With third-quarter economic growth slowing to crisis-era lows, no let-up in Washington’s trade rhetoric and a stock market that’s lost 28 percent since February, China has been forced to ease monetary conditions and is cajoling banks to lend to small firms.    It has just announced tax cuts that could reach one percent of GDP next year.
          A weaker yuan would complement those efforts.    Yet a 7-per-dollar yuan would erode faith in the China’s stability and provoke more U.S. ire.    And coming on top of rising U.S. yields, Brexit and Italian politics, it would add another layer of worry to world markets.
          Lost in transmission: China’s small firms get more loans on paper but not in reality –
          China central bank chief says plenty of room for monetary adjustments amid trade row –
          China’s tax cuts next year expected to reach 1 pct of GDP
          China’s policymakers pledge market support –
          Stock market turmoil, conflict over a contentious Italian budget, high oil prices, sputtering economic growth — not quite the backdrop a central bank wants to see three months before its it ends its stimulus program.
          But that is exactly what the European Central Bank faces when it meets on Thursday.    For now, the heightened risks to the growth outlook are not expected to derail its plans to end QE by year-end, but the bank could downgrade the growth risk assessment in its policy statement.
          That would be a dovish signal and one likely to cheer euro zone bond markets which have been guided already to not expect a rise in the ECB’s record low rates until well into 2019. No wonder then, that the gap between short-dated bond yields in the United States and Germany are at their widest in 30 years, while 10-year euro area bond yields (with the exception of Italy) have been largely insulated from the recent spike U.S. Treasury yields.
          Merkel calls for stable euro zone budgets in warning shot to Italy
          Trade dispute, Brexit angst weigh on German investor morale
          ECB should keep policy options open regardless of Fed
          The ECB’s QE program –
    • 3/HOME RUN
          The U.S. housing market, the store of much of Americans’ wealth, has taken a leg down of late, against the backdrop of the Federal Reserve’s signals of another rate hike this year and more in 2019.    With rising borrowing costs and prices outstripping wage growth, the market has been a weak spot in the robust economy.    So new homes sales data, due on Oct. 24, will be closely scrutinized.
          U.S. homebuilding dropped more than expected in September, while mortgage activity was knocked in the latest week to its lowest since 2014.    The housing market has also been hobbled by an acute shortage of properties for sale and higher home prices.    Residential investment contracted in the first half of the year and the latest data supports economists’ expectations that housing remained a drag on economic growth in the third quarter.
          U.S. house prices to rise more than 6 percent this year, then slow
          U.S. new home sales rebound, but trend weakening
          U.S. housing market continues to sputter –
          Moody’s has just cut Italy’s credit rating to within a notch of ‘junk’ — the sub-investment grade category below BBB-/Baa1 which is usually populated by the weaker emerging economies.    On Friday, S&P Global is likely to do the same, premising the move on Italian plans to boost spending to boost growth and the impact on a debt ratio that’s already one of the world’s worst.
          But Italy’s debt is trading with yields that suggest investors are pricing it as junk already.    So the bigger risk than a one-notch ratings downgrade has been that one or both of the agencies set the outlook on Italy’s rating to Negative, instead of Stable.    That would suggest a fall into junk is a real possibility in the near future.
          Loss of investment grade carries a high cost — hundreds of billions of euros in fund flows and possibly even a fresh euro zone crisis.
          Luckily for Italy, Moody’s has held off doing that, maintaining a steady outlook on the credit and providing a boost to bonds and stocks.    Many will be hoping S&P follows its lead.
          Italy’s draft budget is serious breach of EU rules- Commission
          ANALYSIS-The rating game: ‘Junk’ Italy still hard to imagine, funds say
          Italy’s CDS price trades in line with junk-rates issuers –
          European companies’ Q3 earnings are a key test for a market which according to EPFR Global, has seen investors pull out almost $5 billion this week.    Investors are jumpy about China’s economy, rising costs, trade wars, and lackluster euro zone growth.
          The coming week sees Europe’s most hated sectors — autos and banks — reporting earnings.    French carmakers Renault and Peugeot will report figures.    Coming after Daimler’s profit warning and negative outlooks from tyre maker Michelin and car dealership Inchcape, these will be watched for signs of strain from weaker car demand and higher trade tariffs.
          Results from UBS, Barclays, Nordea and the struggling Deutsche Bank will give a read on how bad things are for the banking sector.
          Analysts have slashed earnings forecasts for carmakers consistently over the past six months – and have become increasingly pessimistic on banks’ earnings since March.    Shares in both sectors are in bear territory, having fallen around 20 percent this year.
          Earnings for MSCI Europe companies are seen growing more in 2019 than 2018, I/B/E/S Refinitiv data shows.    And while earnings expectations were relatively stable in 2017, pessimism over Europe this year has led analysts to steadily downgrade their forecasts.
      European earnings growth expectations fall –
          LIVE MARKETS-An inconvenient trend for the Q3 earnings season
          Michelin cuts market forecasts on EU emissions squeeze, China slowdown
          Weaker China demand, regulation spell tough quarter for Europe’s auto stocks – GS
      (Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan in Singapore, Jennifer Ablan in New York; Helen Reid, Dhara Ranasinghe and Tommy Wilkes in London; compiled by Sujata Rao; Editing by Toby Chopra)

    10/22/2018 President Trump says U.S. now cutting aid to Central American nations over migrants by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump has declared that the U.S. will start blocking federal aid to Central American countries for failing to to contain the migrant caravan.
        In a tweet Monday, the president said Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and illegally coming to the U.S.
        He continued by saying the U.S. will now begin cutting off or substantially reducing the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.
    Central American migrants making their way to the U.S. in a large caravan cling to the trucks of drivers who offered them
    free rides, as they arrive to Tapachula, Mexico, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the Guatemala-Mexico
    border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border Sunday in southern Mexico. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
        This comes after the presidents of Honduras and Guatemala met over the weekend.    According to the two leaders, over 2,000 people have returned home despite reports claiming the caravan has expanded to at least 5,000 migrants as of Monday.
        President Trump also expressed disappoint with Mexico’s government for failing to block thousands of migrants headed toward the U.S. border.
        The president went on to say you can “blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic immigration laws.”

    10/22/2018 Speaker Ryan blasts ‘Medicare for All,’ warns against socialism by OAN Newsroom
        House Speaker Paul Ryan is condemning the notion of ‘Medicare for All’ and is also speaking out against socialism.
        In a video released Monday, Ryan suggested adopting ‘Medicare for All’ would destroy and obliterate the private and employer sponsored health care systems.
        He also said ‘Medicare for All’ would hasten the bankruptcy of Medicare, and pointed out socialism is long on promises and extremely short on delivering on them.
        Ryan outlined the damage ‘Medicare for All’ could cause and warned about the harm of socialism.
        The speaker went on to suggest socialism “ruins” access to good health care as well as having choices and innovation.

    10/22/2018 EU eyes Brexit customs deal to break Irish deadlock: sources By Alastair Macdonald and Francesco Guarascio
    FILE PHOTO: A Guinness truck passes a sign for Customs and Excise on a road near the border
    with Ireland near Kileen, Northern Ireland, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union negotiators are looking at ways to promise Britain a customs deal that could stretch Brussels’ Brexit red lines but might break a deadlock over the Irish border, EU sources close to the talks have told Reuters.
        Accounts of how British and EU negotiators came close to a deal on Oct. 13 focus on how Prime Minister Theresa May balked at an EU demand for a “backstop” clause.    This could put Northern Ireland in a special relationship with the EU that might distance it from the British mainland to avoid putting up customs posts on Britain’s only EU land border, with Ireland.
        But as the two sides try to rebuild momentum following a Brussels summit last week, the readiness of EU negotiator Michel Barnier’s team in that outline deal to soften their refusal to pre-empt the outcome of later talks on a future EU-UK trade pact may help in unlocking an acceptable package.
        EU diplomats briefed on the negotiations said a vital part of a complex package was to “anchor” a reference in the legally-binding withdrawal treaty to May’s proposal to keep the whole of the United Kingdom in a customs partnership with the EU — thus avoiding special treatment for Northern Ireland.
        Negotiators, who declined direct comment for this report, acknowledged in briefings to EU officials the difficulties of linking the treaty to a more general, and non-binding, political declaration of intent on future relations.
        But the EU’s shift, as talks move into an end-game where failure would see Britain crashing out of the bloc in March, is part of what one senior negotiator calls a “jigsaw” solution –elements of which on their own cross one side or the other’s red lines but that, as a whole, form a package both can live with.
        The EU is now considering May’s “all-UK backstop” offer.    Under this both Northern Ireland and the mainland would remain within an effective EU customs area, avoiding a “hard border” that risks reviving violence in the north against British rule.
        One problem for the EU has been that May’s proposal seemed to extend what was meant to be a specially favorable deal for one small region to Europe’s third ranked economy.    It could be considered only under tighter terms, the EU said.    The second problem is that such talks should start only after Brexit.
        Still, the EU has signaled a will to blur its distinction between Brexit treaty talks and post-Brexit negotiations — a move that London has demanded since talks started.    “You cannot absolutely keep separate the withdrawal treaty and the declaration on the future relationship,” Barnier’s boss, EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker, said two weeks ago.
        Building an “all-UK customs element” into the treaty to be finalised soon would, EU officials argue, lend May credibility for her insistence to critics at home that Northern Ireland will never need to be treated differently from the mainland.
        The EU also volunteered to extend the post-Brexit status quo transition period by a year until the end of 2021.    This would be to ensure more time to negotiate the kind of all-UK customs arrangement that would satisfy Brussels’ demands that Britain abide by rules preventing it getting an unfair advantage in EU markets.
        However, the EU still wants a “Northern Ireland-only” clause to fall back on in case that UK deal cannot be closed — that in the end was a dealbreaker for London before last week’s summit.
        An early offer of an EU-UK customs arrangement, note EU officials, also runs a risk of angering Britons who want to hold May to her rejection of a customs union.    The arrangement both sides are studying is very close to a customs union in EU eyes, but Brussels understands that May cannot call it that.
        The timetable for talks has been shifted back as May faces stiff opposition within her own party and allies to the Irish and customs elements of a deal.    But EU leaders expressed growing confidence after meeting May last week that the jigsaw would fall into place in time for parliamentary ratification by March.
    (editing by David Stamp)

    10/22/2018 UK’s May tries to calm Brexit rebels, says deal almost done by Kylie MacLellan and William James
    FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves a news conference at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
        LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May urged restive lawmakers to back her in the final stages of     Britain’s exit from the European Union, saying talks were in their most difficult phase even if a deal was close.
        After facing some of the fiercest attacks to date over her Brexit plans since again failing to clinch a deal at an EU summit last week, May tried to calm passions in parliament where her strategy has angered eurosceptics and EU supporters alike.
        “Serving our national interest will demand that we hold our nerve through these last stages of the negotiations, the hardest part of all,” May told parliament.
        Financial markets seized on the possibility that May could be toppled as prime minister by rebels in her Conservative Party, driving sterling below $1.30 to its lowest since Oct. 4.
        With just over five months until Britain is scheduled to exit the EU, talks have stalled over a disagreement on the so-called Northern Irish “backstop,” an insurance policy to ensure there will be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland if a future trading relationship is not agreed in time.
        But May’s attempt to unlock the talks by considering an extension to a status-quo transition period beyond the current proposed end date of December 2020 has further riled both pro- and anti-EU factions in her deeply split Conservative Party.
        May again dismissed the EU’s proposed backstop as unacceptable and she set out two options for Britain to choose from: an extension to the transition period, or a temporary UK-EU customs territory which was first outlined earlier this year.
        May said the EU had made a substantial shift on the latter option. EU sources told Reuters negotiators were looking at ways to promise Britain a customs deal that could stretch Brussels’ Brexit red lines but might break a deadlock.
        In an attempt to highlight how much progress has been made in more than a year of talks with the EU, she told parliament the government has reached agreement on everything from Gibraltar to future security over the last three weeks.
        “Taking all of this together, 95 per cent of the Withdrawal Agreement and its protocols are now settled,” she said.
        But the deal – the terms of Britain’s divorce – cannot be signed off until the two sides settle on future management of the border between Northern Ireland and EU member state Ireland.
        British and EU leaders are committed to avoiding obstacles at the border, a crucial aspect of the 1998 Good Friday peace deal that ended decades of Irish sectarian bloodshed.
        The EU proposal for Northern Ireland to remain in the bloc’s customs union has been rejected by May as it would potentially create barriers to trade with the rest of Britain – something ruled out by Northern Ireland’s DUP party, whose 10 votes in parliament prop up May’s government.
        At an EU summit in Brussels last week, any agreement seemed just as far off as it did months earlier, with EU officials and diplomats saying that May had offered nothing new to ease the deadlock.
        Since then, her proposal to extend the transition period has stoked anger among Conservative eurosceptics, who fear she is leading Britain into a deal that will make Britain a “vassal state” indefinitely – unable ever to fully leave the EU or to forge its own free trade deals with other countries.
        Critics of May used Britain’s Sunday newspapers to rhetorically savage the British leader, with unnamed rivals using phrases such as “assassination is in the air.”
        However, that approach looked to have backfired as even May’s harshest critics condemned the violent nature of the comments, tempering any confrontation with their leader.
        A vote of no-confidence in May would be triggered if 48 Conservative lawmakers submit letters to the chairman of the party’s so-called “1922 Committee” of backbenchers to demand such a vote.    The Sunday Times said 46 had now been sent, but Reuters could not verify that number.
        However a planned show of strength among the Brexiteers, who intended to rebel at a vote on Northern Ireland legislation in parliament later this week, was called off by the leader of the rebellion, former minister Steve Baker.
    (Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Toby Chopra)

    10/22/2018 Belgium chooses Lockheed’s F-35 over Eurofighter: Belga by Philip Blenkinsop and Andrea Shalal
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 Lightning II aircraft participate in a training mission near
    Kunsan Air Base, South Korea in preparation for VIGILANT ACE 18 in South Korea in this December 1, 2017 U.S Air Force
    photo made available on December 5, 2017. Courtesy Josh Rosales/U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS
        BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – Belgium has chosen Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth jets over the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace its aging F-16s, news agency Belga cited government sources as saying, in a move that would cement the U.S.-made war plane’s position in Europe.
        The country has been deliberating for months over a multibillion-dollar purchase of 34 new fighter jets, with the latest deadline for a decision being Oct. 29.
        A defense ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the government’s decision and did not confirm the end-October deadline.
        Lockheed spokeswoman Carolyn Nelson did not confirm that a decision had been made but said the company remains confident that the F-35 is the right choice for Belgium.
        “The F-35 offers transformational capability for the Belgian Air Force and, if selected, will align them with a global coalition operating the world’s most advanced aircraft.”
        If confirmed, the decision will make Belgium the 12th country to buy the radar-evading F-35 jets and could help to strengthen the U.S. aerospace company’s position in forthcoming tenders in Switzerland, Finland and Germany.
        The decision, the likely outcome of which was reported by Reuters last Friday, had been expected in July before the NATO summit in Brussels.    The order for jets due for delivery from 2023 is estimated to be worth 3.6 billion euros ($4.14 billion). [nL2N1WV11Y]
        Washington has extended the terms of the F-35 bid to Oct. 31 at Brussels’ request, U.S. sources said, adding that any further delay would trigger changes in pricing.
        Lockheed has said its bid will give Belgian companies significant opportunities to contribute to the global F-35 enterprise.
        Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has previously said he would like to make the decision on the F-16 replacements before a national election in May and Defence Minister Steven Vandeput has said he hoped to settle the matter before he steps down at the end of the year.
        A win for Lockheed would mark a setback for Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, the four countries behind the Eurofighter program, who had mounted a strong lobbying campaign for the European war plane.
        It is also likely to anger France, which did not submit a formal bid for the Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation but had offered Belgium close defense cooperation to prevent a further spread of the F-35 in Europe.
        Other European buyers of the F-35 include Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Turkey and Norway.
        The Eurofighter is flown by Germany, Britain, Austria, Italy and Spain.
    (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels and Andrea Shalal in Berlin; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and David Goodman)

    10/22/2018 Mexico to consider all actions in response to Canadian steel tariffs
    FILE PHOTO: Flags of the U.S., Canada and Mexico fly next to each other in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo
        MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will consider all possible actions in response to Canadian steel tariffs, including the possibility of going to the World Trade Organization, Deputy Economy Minister Juan Carlos Baker said on Monday.
        Mexico’s government has rejected Canada’s move to impose new quotas and tariffs on imports of seven categories of steel from many countries, including Mexico.
    (Reporting by Sharay Angulo)

    10/22/2018 Pres. Trump: We’ll Build Up Nukes Until Russia Comes To The Table by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump stops to talk to members of the media before walking across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington,
    Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, to board Marine One helicopter for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to Houston. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
        President Trump defends his administration’s decision pull out of a cold war era nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
        The president told reporters Russia has not lived up to its end of the deal and accused Moscow of repeatedly violating the terms of the agreement.
        He said the U.S. will build up nukes until Russia comes back to the negotiation table and called for China’s involvement, as well.
        This comes after the president announced he would terminate the Reagan-Gorbachev deal over the weekend, which limits production of short and intermediate range nuclear weapons.

    10/22/2018 Pentagon: Mattis, Pres. Trump ‘Completely Aligned’ On Nuclear Treaty Withdraw by OAN Newsroom
    U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) prior to a swearing-in ceremony
    for Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
        James Mattis agrees with President Trump on the idea of pulling out of a nuclear treaty relationship with Russia.
        The secretary of defense and President Trump are aligned on the issue, according to the Pentagon.
        Spokesman Colonel Rob Manning told reporters, Mattis has consistently pointed out Russia is not in compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.
        Manning also said Mattis is in close contact with the president on this issue.
        Mattis told NATO defense ministers earlier this month if Russia didn’t return to compliance with the INF treaty, the U.S. would need to respond.
        President trump told reporters Saturday he wanted to withdraw from the three decade old treaty, saying Russia has been in violation of the INF treaty for many years.
        Russia continues to deny any violations.

    10/22/2018 Germany halts arms sales to Saudi Arabia by OAN Newsroom
        Germany is halting its arms sales to Saudi Arabia after the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
        German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her cabinet has put a temporary hold all sales of weapons and military equipment to the oil rich kingdom.    Merkel said Saudi Arabia must disclose all facts on Khashoggi’s death and hold those accountable involved in the murder.
    FILE – In this Oct. 17, 2018 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting
    of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin. Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday
    that she supports a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file)
        Germany is the fourth largest arms exporter to the Saudis after the U.S., Britain and France.
        The German economy minister said new arms deals with the Saudis will stop immediately, while previous agreements are now subject to review.
        “On the basis of what we see at the moment, as long as the investigations continue, as long as we do not know what happened, as Foreign Minister Heiko Maas put it: there is no basis for positive decisions on arms exports to Saudi Arabia,” stated Steffen Seibert, spokesman for the German government.
        The German government also urged all European countries to impose an arms embargo on the Saudis, saying such a move could make Riyadh more inclined to address the international concern.

    10/22/2018 Speaker Ryan blasts ‘Medicare for All,’ warns against socialism by OAN Newsroom
        House Speaker Paul Ryan is condemning the notion of ‘Medicare for All’ and is also speaking out against socialism.
        In a video released Monday, Ryan suggested adopting ‘Medicare for All’ would destroy and obliterate the private and employer sponsored health care systems.
        He also said ‘Medicare for All’ would hasten the bankruptcy of Medicare, and pointed out socialism is long on promises and extremely short on delivering on them.
        Ryan outlined the damage ‘Medicare for All’ could cause and warned about the harm of socialism.
    The speaker went on to suggest socialism “ruins” access to good health care as well as having choices and innovation.

    10/23/2018 Migrants head north; Trump lobs threats - Mexican president calls for United Nations’ help by Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
        With an estimated 5,000 Central American migrants now making their way north through Mexico, President Donald Trump lobbed another series of threats Monday morning against the region’s governments for not being able to stop the growing caravan.
        Trump wrote that he would follow through on threats to cut off funding for Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador now that the caravan has cleared Central America and ensconced itself in southern Mexico.    The president warned of “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” mixed into the migrant caravan group, which originated in Honduras but has swelled in size as people from other nations have jumped in along the way.
        “There isn’t a single terrorist here,” Denis Omar Contreras, one of the caravan organizers, told the Associated Press.    He said caravan migrants come from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
        “As far as I know there are no terrorists in these four countries, at least beyond the corrupt governments,” he said.
        Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is requesting that the United Nations help process the group to determine whether they have valid asylum claims or should be returned to their home countries.    On Twitter, Trump said that wasn’t enough and blamed the caravan on America’s southern neighbors, Democrats and the nation’s “pathetic Immigration Laws.”
        “Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.,” Trump wrote.    “We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”
        The three countries combined received more than $500 million from the United States in fiscal year 2017, according to the AP.
        Trump also used the advance of the caravan as a political battle cry, as so many GOP candidates have done in recent days.
        “Remember the Midterms!” the president tweeted.
        His threats have done little to dissuade members of the caravan from trying to reach the U.S. border to make their claims for asylum.    Those in the group have become so insistent on staying together, in fact, that they’ve been turning down medical aid and offers of bus rides to ensure they continue as a group.
        Ulises Garcia, a Red Cross official, told the AP that the migrants have suffered a wide range of injuries, including lacerated, infected feet from the miles of walking to ankle and shoulder injuries from falls on the arduous trek.    But even they, Garcia said, refused trips to local hospitals and clinics under the theory that there is safety in numbers.
        “They fear they’ll be detained and deported” if they leave the group, Garcia said.
        Most of the caravan members were holding on in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula on Monday morning, trying to figure out how the Mexican government would treat them.
        Brenda Ochoa, a member of the Center of Human Rights Fray Matias de Cordova, part of a group of local organizations monitoring the caravan, said Monday morning that many of the caravan members already have been deported to their home countries.    She said the Mexican government has not provided any public information on the interviews of some caravan members and said government officials are providing only food, water and medical care to those who agree to be detained by immigration officials.
        “This humanitarian aid has been conditioned on detention,” Ochoa said, according to video posted on U.S.-based Spanish-language news network Telemundo.    “This has been a grave injustice.    We call on international organizations to jointly monitor the passage of this (caravan).”
        Pena Nieto sent two Boeing 727s filled with federal police to the southern border to monitor the growing number of migrants crossing the border.    But the outgoing president said those police officers would be unarmed and said it would be United Nations officials who would take the lead in determining which migrants have valid claims for refugee status and which should return home.
        The president’s successor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who assumes office in December, won his election in part by vowing to fight back against Trump and doing what was in the best interest of Mexico, not necessarily the United States.    He said last week that Mexico should give work visas to the would-be refugees, which could lead them to the U.S. border.
        For now, United Nations officials in Mexico said they are bolstering their staff in southern Mexico to help process the rush of migrants.    In a series of tweets over the weekend, the Mexican office of foreign relations showed images of a migrant processing site, where they would begin interviewing women, children and the elderly to determine what should be done with them.
        Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the Mexican government must confront and turn back the migrant caravan.
        “These caravans need to be stopped in Mexico,” Graham told Fox News.    “It’s an affront to our sovereignty."    “I will be practical with illegal immigrants who have been in America for decades,” he said, referring to the estimated 10 million to 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States.
        But “I’m not going to tolerate any more coming here through caravans, and we need to change our laws to disincentivize this behavior.”
    “There isn’t a single terrorist here.”    Denis Omar Contreras, caravan organizer
        Forecast to be one of the most powerful hurricanes to enter Mexico from the Pacific in recent years, Willa is expected to strike a few miles south of Mazatlan as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

    10/23/2018 Trump’s missile treaty pullout could escalate tension with China by Phil Stewart
    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Houston, Texas, U.S., October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. withdrawal from a Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty with Russia could give the Pentagon new options to counter Chinese missile advances but experts warn the ensuing arms race could greatly escalate tensions in the Asia-Pacific.
        U.S. officials have been warning for years that the United States was being put at a disadvantage by China’s development of increasingly sophisticated land-based missile forces, which the Pentagon could not match thanks to the U.S. treaty with Russia.
        President Donald Trump has signaled he may soon give the Pentagon a freer hand to confront those advances, if he makes good on threats to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which required elimination of short- and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles.
        Dan Blumenthal, a former Pentagon official now at the American Enterprise Institute, said a treaty pullout could pave the way for the United States to field easier-to-hide, road-mobile conventional missiles in places like Guam and Japan.
        That would make it harder for China to consider a conventional first strike against U.S. ships and bases in the region.    It could also force Beijing into a costly arms race, forcing China to spend more on missile defenses.
        “It will change the picture fundamentally,” Blumenthal said.
        Even as Trump has blamed Russian violations of the treaty for his decision, he has also pointed a finger at China.    Beijing was not party to the INF treaty and has been fielding new and more deadly missile forces.
        These include China’s DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which has a maximum range of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) and which the Pentagon says can threaten U.S. land and sea-based forces as far away as the Pacific island of Guam.    It was first fielded in 2016.
        “If Russia is doing it (developing these missiles) and China is doing it and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” Trump said on Sunday.
        John Bolton, White House national security advisor, noted that recent Chinese statements suggest it wanted Washington to stay in the treaty.
        “And that’s perfectly understandable.    If I were Chinese, I would say the same thing,” he told the Echo Moskvy radio station.    “Why not have the Americans bound, and the Chinese not bound?
        U.S. officials have so far relied on other capabilities as a counter-balance to China, like missiles fired from U.S. ships or aircraft.    But advocates for a U.S. land-based missile response say that is the best way to deter Chinese use of its muscular land-based missile forces.
        Kelly Magsamen, who helped craft the Pentagon’s Asian policy under the Obama administration, said China’s ability to work outside of the INF treaty had vexed policymakers in Washington, long before Trump came into office.
        But she cautioned that any new U.S. policy guiding missile deployments in Asia would need to be carefully coordinated with allies, something that does not appear to have happened yet.
        Mismanagement of expectations surrounding a U.S. treaty pullout could also unsettle security in the Asia-Pacific, she cautioned.
        “It’s potentially destabilizing,” she said.
        Experts warn that China would put pressure on countries in the region to refuse U.S. requests to position missiles there.
        Abraham Denmark, a former senior Pentagon official under Obama, said Guam, Japan and even Australia were possible locations for U.S. missile deployments.
        “But there are a lot of alliance questions that appear at first glance to be very tricky,” he cautioned.
        Still, current and former U.S. officials say Washington is right to focus on China’s missile threat.    Harry Harris, who led U.S. military forces in the Pacific before becoming U.S. ambassador to Seoul, said earlier this year that the United States was at a disadvantage.
        “We have no ground-based (missile) capability that can threaten China because of, among other things, our rigid adherence … to the treaty,” Harris told a Senate hearing in March, without calling for the treaty to be scrapped.
        Asked about Trump’s comments, China’s foreign ministry said a unilateral U.S. withdrawal would have a negative impact and urged the United States to “think thrice before acting.”
        “Talking about China on the issue of unilaterally pulling out of the treaty is completely mistaken,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
    (Reporting by Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Idrees Ali, David Brunnstrom and Eric Beech; Editing by James Dalgleish)

    10/23/2018 France’s ban on full-body Islamic veil violates human rights: U.N. rights panel by Tom Miles
    FILE PHOTO: French police and gendarmes check identity cards of two women for wearing full-face veils, or niqab, as they arrived
    to demonstrate after calls on the internet by Islamic groups to protest over an anti-Islam video, in Lille September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
        GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. Human Rights Committee said on Tuesday that France’s ban on the niqab, the full-body Islamic veil, was a violation of human rights and called on it to review the legislation.
        France had failed to make the case for its ban, the committee said, giving Paris 180 days to report back to say what actions it had taken.    The panel’s findings are not legally binding but could influence French courts.
        “In particular, the Committee was not persuaded by France’s claim that a ban on face covering was necessary and proportionate from a security standpoint or for attaining the goal of ‘living together’ in society,” it said.
        The panel of 18 independent experts oversees compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).    Implementation of its decisions is not mandatory, but under an optional protocol of the treaty, France has an international legal obligation to comply “in good faith.”
        There was no immediate reaction from French authorities.
        The same committee came to similar conclusions on the 2008 case of a woman sacked by a creche for wearing a veil.    In September, a top French judge was quoted by newspaper Le Monde as saying that while not binding, the panel’s decisions might still influence French case law.
        In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights, whose rulings are binding, upheld France’s ban on full-face veils in public, saying it did not violate religious freedom.
        But the U.N. Human Rights Committee disagreed with this in its statement on Tuesday, saying the ban disproportionately harmed the right of women to manifest their religious beliefs and could lead to them being confined at home and marginalized.
        The committee’s findings come after complaints by two French women convicted in 2012 under a 2010 law stipulating that “No one may, in a public space, wear any article of clothing intended to conceal the face.”
        In its findings the panel said the ban had violated the two women’s human rights and called on France to pay them compensation.
        Under the ban, anyone wearing the full-face veil in public is liable to a fine of 150 euros or lessons in French citizenship.
        The committee’s chair Yuval Shany said that he and several others on the 18-member panel considered it a form of oppression.
        Several countries in Europe have introduced legislation on Islamic dress. Denmark’s parliament enacted a ban on wearing of face veils in public in May.    Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have also imposed some restrictions on full-face veils in public places.
        France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, estimated at 5 million or more out of a population of 67 million.    The place of religion and religious symbols worn in public can be a matter of controversy in the staunchly secular country.
        According to French media Metronews, some 223 fines were handed out in 2015 for wearing a full veil in public.
    (Additional reporting by Ingrid Melander in Paris; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

    10/23/2018 Former top Clinton aide condones harassing Republicans in public by OAN Newsroom
        A former top Clinton aide is claiming that harassing Republicans is protected under the First Amendment.
        Over the weekend, Philippe Reines said protesters are confronting Republican officials in public spaces because it’s — “all that’s left.”
        Numerous Republican officials, including Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and Sarah Sanders, have been heckled in public restaurants in recent months.
    Longtime Clinton family aide Philippe Reines (back right) stands alongside
    former Secretary of State and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
        Reines said if this is the worst treatment some may get, it’s fine with him.
        “You have a Republican Party who is giving aid and comfort to the Proud Boys, and to white nationalists,” he stated.    “They’ve become the party of white nationalists and all other hatred — that’s the bigger deal to me than someone not getting their supper.”
        Harassment has become a bigger issue ahead of the 2018 midterms, leading to President Trump’s most recent campaign slogan — “jobs not mobs.”

    10/23/2018 Socialism makes comeback in U.S. politics by OAN Newsroom
        A new report is detailing the devastating effects of socialism to national economy and the well-being of citizens.
        According to a report from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), socialism is making a comeback in American politics led by some on the left.    The report found Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are pushing the narrative.
        Additionally, researchers estimated the Democrat-proposed ‘Medicare for All’ would cause U.S. GDP to fall by nine-percent.
    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at a “Medicare for All” rally on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard).
        The report’s findings confirm President Trump’s previous statements.
        “The Democrats don’t care that a flood of illegal immigration will bankrupt our country,” said the president.    “Democrats in Congress have already signed up for a socialist takeover of health care…the Democrats want America to become — it’s not even that they want it, but that’s what’s going to happen — Venezuela…Venezuela, how does that sound?
        The CEA report also stressed that socialist policies and government overreaches inevitably deprive citizens of economic opportunity and eventually destroy individual freedoms.

    10/23/2018 White House working on additional 10% tax cut for middle-income workers by OAN Newsroom
        According to President Trump’s chief economic adviser, the administration is working on additional tax cuts for middle-income Americans.
        In an interview Tuesday, Larry Kudlow said the 10-percent tax cuts are in the “planning stage.”
        He said the White House is already working with the House Ways and Means Committee to get a plan in place, and to take the president seriously when he talks about these ideas.
    White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)
        This comes after President Trump talked about the tax cut during Monday’s rally for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in Houston.
        “We are going to be putting in a 10-percent tax cut for middle-income families,” announced the president.    “It’s going to be put in next week — ten-percent tax cut.”
        Kudlow confirmed the measure could not be put in place until after the midterms on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
        He also defended the administration’s first round of tax cuts. The chief economic adviser said the cuts worked and “blue collar people are booming.”

    10/23/2018 Second caravan of at least 1K migrants braces for onslaught on U.S. by OAN Newsroom
        Another migrant caravan is bound for the U.S. and is currently gathering steam in Central America.
        According to recent reports, a second caravan of at least 1,000 migrants is marching from Honduras into Guatemala.    The migrants are following in the path of the previous caravan of 7,000, which formed in Honduras two weeks ago.
        The new caravan reportedly includes people previously deported from the U.S. President Trump has also said members of MS-13 and unknown people from the Middle East have blended into the crowd.
    Mexicans from religious organizations hand out small bags containing water, toilet paper, diapers and medicine to Central American migrants
    who got a free ride from a motorist, in Xochiltepec, Mexico, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018.
    Motorists in pickups and other vehicles have been offering the Central American migrants rides, often in overloaded truck beds,
    as the group of about 7,000 people heads to the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
        The president has vowed to cut aid to Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador if those countries don’t stop mass-migration into the U.S.
        “We give them hundreds of millions of dollars, they do nothing for us,” he stated.    “I guess it looks like the people are walking right through the middle of Mexico, so I’m not exactly thrilled there either.”
        President Trump has even mulled closing the U.S.-Mexican border to prevent the illegal crossing of migrants into the country.

    10/24/2018 Oil down $2.93 to $66.43, DOW down 126 to 25,191

    10/24/201/ Oil falls to $76 as worries mount on demand outlook by Alex Lawler
    Oil and gas tanks are seen at an oil warehouse at a port in Zhuhai, China October 22, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song
        LONDON (Reuters) – Oil slipped to around $76 a barrel on Wednesday, paring losses after hitting its lowest since late August, pressured by concern that demand is weakening and supply ample even as U.S. sanctions loom on oil exporter Iran.
        In a sign supply is plentiful, industry group the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday U.S. crude stocks had risen by 9.9 million barrels – more than forecast.    The U.S. government’s supply report is due at 1430 GMT. Brent crude , the global benchmark, was down 37 cents to $76.07 a barrel at 1020 GMT.    It fell earlier in the day to $75.11, the lowest since Aug. 24. U.S. crude was unchanged at $66.43.
        “Rising oil inventories and growing petro-nations’ output calm the supply fears related to the Iran oil embargo,” said Norbert Ruecker, head of macro and commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer.
        Crude fell sharply in the previous session, with Brent closing down 4.3 percent.
        “This price movement comes as little surprise with attention now clearly being focused on the weakening economic situation and gloomy demand outlook,” analysts at JBC Energy said in a report.
        A sell-off in equities due to concern about the economic outlook also weighed on crude on Tuesday.    Forecasters such as the International Energy Agency already expect slower oil-demand growth for 2019 due to a slowing economy.
        On Wednesday, Asian stocks edged up as signs of stimulus from China propped up sentiment and European shares attempted a tentative rebound.
        While U.S. sanctions on Iran, which start on Nov. 4, are expected to tighten supplies, other producers, notably top exporter Saudi Arabia, are already pumping more oil and willing to increase further if needed.
        Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia would step up to “meet any demand that materialises to ensure customers are satisfied.”
        Some analysts say nonetheless that prices could rebound before the end of the year.
        “We still see Brent reaching $85 per barrel by year-end,” said U.S. bank Morgan Stanley.
        Next year, slower demand and additional U.S. shale oil production should contribute to lower prices, Ruecker of Julius Baer added.
        “While in the near term prices are at risk from any further supply disruption, oil should trend lower heading into 2019 as slowing emerging market demand growth and the shale boom restore the oil market’s supply cushion,” he said.
    (Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Mark Potter and David Evans)

    10/24/2018 Mexican town is teeming with caravan migrants by David Agren, Special to USA TODAY
        HUIXTLA, Mexico – The Central American migrants moving their way through Mexico as part of a controversial caravan – one President Donald Trump is pushing hard as a midterms election issue – is forging ahead in its journey to the U.S.-Mexico border.
        Waves of migrants – who U.N. officials estimate may be as high as 7,200 and growing – have arrived in the small southern Mexican town of Huixtla, where many camped out on Tuesday.    Many staked out grassy spots in the town square to sleep outdoors overnight before continuing their grueling trip north.    They were at least 1,100 miles from McAllen, Texas, the nearest U.S.-Mexico border entry.
        The center of Huixtla, a small town of about 30,000 people in southern Mexico, was teeming with migrants, who sought shelter from the sun under tarps and shaded sidewalks.    Church groups served food and drink to migrants, while locals sold them everything from single cigarettes to coconut treats smothered in hot sauce.
        Among the migrants: Kevin Maldonado. The 20-year-old from Honduras said he had walked six hours from Tapachula to Huixtla under a scorching sun, passing through a Mexican immigration checkpoint just prior to entering Huixtla.    “We’re tired,” he said from the shade of the sidewalk outside a camera store, where he slept the night before.    “But the caravan is going to continue.”
        Maldonado said he had been picking coffee in western Honduras – where U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show an outflow of large numbers of migrants.    But, he said, a plunge in coffee prices prompted him to consider taking the treacherous trip to the United States.    He said he is not discouraged or dissuaded by Trump’s remarks and threats that the caravan would be stopped by soldiers, if necessary, and remains optimistic he can get to the U.S.
        “Maybe he’ll have a change of heart and give us a chance," he said of Trump.    Maldonado says he wasn’t sure how he’d travel to the U.S., which would require transiting Mexico, where crimes against migrants range from kidnap for ransom to extortion to rape.    But he saw a story on a Honduran news channel about the caravan being organized and thought it was his chance to flee the poverty rampant in his homeland.
        Danilo Ruiz, 26, said, he, too, joined the caravan after seeing a report on TV.
        “We were going to leave for the United States in January,” he said while resting in Huixtla with three friends – who all identified as LGBTQ and cited “discrimination and violence” for leaving.    “We saw the news about this caravan, immediately packed our bags and left the next day.”
        The caravan began Oct. 13 when a group of mostly Honduran migrants embarked on the trip north, fleeing government corruption, extreme poverty and rampant violence.    The caravan has trekked through Guatemala and is passing through southern Mexico with migrants from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.    It was organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a human rights group that provides aid and legal assistance to migrants.    It’s the second organized caravan this year, but this one is considerably larger and has garnered more media attention than one last spring.
        One man reportedly died late Monday when he fell from the back of a truck and died.
    Contributing: Sergio Bustos; The Associated Press
    Honduran migrants take part in a caravan heading to the U.S., on the outskirts of Tapachula, on their way to Huixtla, Mexico. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    10/24/2018 No new nuclear arms in Europe despite Russian treaty breach: NATO
    FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he speaks at a news conference after a NATO defence ministers
    meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO allies are not likely to deploy more nuclear weapons in Europe in response to what the West says is a Russian breach of a nuclear arms control treaty that Washington is pulling out of, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
        Washington will press ahead with a plan to quit a landmark nuclear arms control pact despite objections from Russia and some European countries, senior U.S. official John Bolton said on Tuesday, after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
        “I don’t foresee that European allies will deploy more nuclear weapons as a response,” he told a news conference in his first public comments on the issue since U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty.
        The NATO chief also said that the United States was in full compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and that Russia’s decision to develop what he said was a ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile meant that the treaty was no longer “effective.”
        “All allies agree that the United States in full compliance … the problem, the threat, the challenge is Russian behavior,” Stoltenberg said.
    (Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Philip Blenkinsop, Richard Balmforth)

    10/24/2018 Euro slides to two-month low on economic growth fears by Tommy Wilkes
    FILE PHOTO: A Japan Yen note is seen in this illustration photo taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration
        LONDON (Reuters) – The euro skidded more than half a percent to its weakest since Aug. 20 on Wednesday after signs that economic growth could be slowing across the euro zone.
        Euro zone business growth slowed much faster than expected this month, a widely-watched Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) survey showed.
        German private-sector growth slowed to its lowest level in more than three years, and manufacturing in France hit a 25-month low, according to other surveys.
        The single currency, earlier trading flat, dropped more than to as low as $1.1402 after the surveys were published.
        The euro also fell 0.4 percent against the Swiss franc to 1.1372 francs , a two-week low.
        “Particularly the German PMI was disappointing … The environment for the euro is getting more difficult,” said Thu Lan Nguyen, a Frankfurt-based strategist at Commerzbank, pointing to a dispute over Italy’s spending plans and concerns about the bloc’s growth outlook.
        The European Central Bank holds its monetary policy meeting on Thursday, and investors will be looking for any comments about the deepening row between the European Union and Italy over Rome’s budget.
        Weakness in the single currency supported the dollar, which rose 0.4 percent against a basket of currencies to 96.380 <.DXY>.
        The Japanese yen – often bought when broader markets slide – gave up its earlier gains, suggesting some renewed demand for risk-taking as stock markets rebounded on Wednesday.
        The yen edged 0.2 percent lower to 112.65 yen per dollar, but remains almost two percent up since Oct. 4.
        Big falls in stock prices have shaken foreign exchange markets this week, with the yen the main gainer, as investors weigh up whether equity weakness is a major correction or just another wobble in a nearly decade-long bull-market run.
        The S&P 500 <.SPX> is on course for its worst performance since at least August 2015.
        “There are good reasons why you would want to be cautious,” said Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at BNY Mellon, citing the Italian budget and U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Federal Reserve over interest rate rises.
        Worries about Italy, fears about ebbing world growth, global trade wars and political tensions between Saudi Arabia and the West are spooking investors.
        Sterling fell 0.6 percent to $1.2904 , a six-week low, amid intensifying concerns about whether the UK can get a Brexit agreement.
        The Canadian dollar edged marginally lower to C$1.3095 ahead of an expected Bank of Canada interest rate hike later on Wednesday.
        The Australian dollar stood at $0.7090, unchanged on the day, after earlier finding supported from improved sentiment in Asia, Australia’s key export markets.
    (Editing by Andrew Heavens)

    10/24/2018 Euro zone businesses hit the brakes as trade war stalls growth by Jonathan Cable
    FILE PHOTO: Employees of German car manufacturer Porsche work chassis at the Porsche factory
    in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany, January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
        LONDON (Reuters) – Euro zone business growth slowed much faster than expected this month, dragged down by waning orders that put a big dent in confidence, adding to evidence the bloc’s halcyon days are behind it for now, a survey showed.
        October’s disappointing survey is likely to concern policymakers at the European Central Bank, who are expected to end their bond-buying program in less than three months, despite a slew of political and trade concerns.
        The economic slowdown comes amid an escalating trade war between the United States and China, a spiraling debt dispute in Italy, deadlocked Brexit negotiations and the prospect of steadily tightening financial conditions.
        Both the euro and euro zone government bond yields dropped on Wednesday after the survey’s release, with the single currency falling half a percent to $1.1417, its lowest since Aug. 20.
        Markets have taken a battering recently and European stocks <.STOXX> were trading near a two-year low on Tuesday, down 20 percent from their peak, but the index rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday.
        “The euro area economy is clearly suffering from the uncertainty created by the trade war and weaker global growth momentum, and the weakness is spreading to the domestic economy,” said Jan von Gerich at Nordea.    “The weak PMI data clearly increase downside risks to the euro area growth outlook.”
        Indeed, the outlook for global growth in 2019 has dimmed for the first time, according to Reuters polls of economists, who are also concerned about the U.S.-China trade war and have repeatedly said euro zone growth is well past its peak.
        ECB policymakers have slowly trimmed asset purchases, hoping they have done enough to bolster growth and inflation and are expected to hold policy steady on Thursday – despite evidence euro zone growth momentum peaked some time ago.
        “Amid the fiscal stand-off between Rome and Brussels as well as increasingly jittery global markets, the ECB is likely to stress caution,” said Stephen Brown at Capital Economics.
        IHS Markit said if the survey levels were maintained, they pointed to fourth quarter growth of 0.3 percent.    That would be the slowest pace in 2 1/2 years and below the 0.4 percent predicted in a Reuters poll earlier this month.
        Earlier figures from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, showed private-sector growth slowed to its weakest in more than three years as manufacturing and services both lost momentum.
        Germany’s Chambers of Industry and Commerce, DIHK, last week cut its 2018 growth forecast and predicted a slowdown next year as the country faces mounting risks at home and abroad.    It predicted 2019 growth of 1.7 percent, below a Reuters poll forecast of 1.8 percent.
        However, it was a different story in France, the bloc’s second-biggest economy.    Its growth accelerated as strength in services offset weakness in manufacturing.
        IHS Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the euro zone tumbled to a 25-month low of 52.7 from a final September reading of 54.1, significantly below the median expectation in a Reuters poll for a modest dip to 53.9.    The lowest forecast was for 53.2.
        Anything above 50 in the survey, which is regarded as a good guide to economic health, indicates growth.
        Suggesting companies don’t expect a rebound anytime soon, the future output index, which gauges optimism, fell to a near four-year low of 59.4.    A similar reading from manufacturers fell to a level not seen in almost six years.
        Manufacturers suffered a similar fate with their PMI sinking to 52.1 from 53.2, missing a median prediction for 53.0, as factory orders contracted for the first time since late-2014.
        An index measuring output, which feeds into the composite PMI, dropped to 51.2 from 52.7.    It hasn’t been lower since the end of 2014.
        A similar gloomier picture emerged for the bloc’s dominant service industry.    The services PMI plummeted to a two-year low of 53.3 from September’s 54.7, also far short of all forecasts in a Reuters poll.
        In a further sign of a dimming outlook, the services employment index – a lagging indicator, also fell.
    (Editing by Larry King)

    10/24/2018 Violent deaths of Venezuelans in Colombia more than triple in 2018 by OAN Newsroom
        Venezuelan migrants fleeing the Maduro regime are being met with rising levels of violence in neighboring Colombia.
        Government statistics gathered between January and September of this year show “violent deaths” for Venezuelans are up 244-percent since 2017.    That comes out to about 310 deaths, which is up from the 90 recorded just last year.
        Of that total, more than half were murdered with most violence taking place along the Venezuelan border.
    In this Aug. 31, 2018 photo, Venezuelans illegally cross into Colombia, to Villa del Rosario, along a path known as a “trocha.”
    Uncontrolled by Venezuelan or Colombian authorities, the trochas are ruled by bands of armed men sporting rifles and dressed in
    fatigues. They charge migrants about $10 to be let through, frequently robbing or assaulting those who can’t pay. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
        While the Colombian report did not explain who was to blame for the huge increase in violence, many migrants are pointing the finger at local drug gangs.
        “I feel really unsafe.    I have my four-month-old daughter here.    It is madness here at night.    People are getting stabbed out there.    Colombians come to smoke drugs here and then they say it’s the Venezuelans who are smoking drugs, but that’s not the case.” — Roberto Jose Castro, Venezuelan migrant.
        Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez has promised to help the Venezuelan refugees and is willing to spend close to nine billion dollars in humanitarian aid.    However, he is also calling on international partners to help with the crisis.

    10/24/2018 President Trump blasts Federal Reserve as threat to presidency, economy by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is calling out the Federal Reserve for treating him different than former President Obama.
        During an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, the president blasted the Federal Reserve as the single biggest risk to the booming economy he has created.
        He pointed out how the central bank kept interest rates at zero during the last administration, but they have raised the rate three times this year alone.
        That number is now at 2.25 -percent with the interest rate expected to increase again for a fourth time in December.
        Many experts believe this is being done to curb the possibility of unsustainable economic growth, which could manifest as inflation or grow into a financial bubble.    They explain the interest rate was kept at historic lows under Obama to help the economy recover from the Great Recession, which began about a decade ago.
    FILE- In this Sept. 26, 2018, file photo Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference in Washington.
    On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its September meeting when it lifted rates for the third time this year. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
        President Trump is arguing the rate hikes are happening too fast, in turn, pushing auto-loan and mortgage rates to their highest levels in years as well as causing dips in the stock market.
        On top of that, the president claims rising interest rates make it harder for him to save enough money to help pay down the massive national debt.
        This isn’t the first time the president has publicly disagreed with the policy makers over at the central bank.
        “I think the fed is making a mistake, they’re so tight,” he stated.    “I think the fed has gone crazy.”
        While President Trump refused to say if he would consider removing chairman Jerome Powell, he hinted he may be starting to regret nominating him to a four-year term.

    10/24/2018 President Trump looking to strike British-American trade deal, Says U.K. trade secretary by OAN Newsroom
        According to British Trade Secretary Liam Fox, President Trump is “very keen” on striking a trade deal with the United Kingdom.
        In a statement Tuesday, Secretary Fox said a trade deal with the U.S. is one of his main priorities after the U.K. leaves the EU next march.
        This comes after the HMS Queen Elizabeth docked in the New York Harbor earlier this week to host a series of British-American trade events.
    Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox arrives in Downing Street for a Government Cabinet meeting,
    in London, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2018, ahead of crucial Brexit negotiations. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)
        Secretary Fox also expressed confidence Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts will allow Brexit to go into effect next March despite political setbacks.
        “I think she is, and will be the Prime Minister that leads us out of the EU at the end of March 2019,” stated the British trade secretary.    “I think that people need to give her the space to finish the negotiations, parliament will have a vote on what that ultimate outcome is, but it’s very difficult to negotiate with European Union when you also have to negotiate with your own colleagues.”
        Fox stressed that he and President Trump agree that trade and security cooperation are interconnected.    He suggested this makes a British-American trade deal a matter of utmost urgency.

    10/24/2018 Mexicans regroup after Willa’s ‘end of world’ onslaught by David Alire Garcia
    A child walks near a tree that fell on a car along a street in Escuinapa, near the southern tip of
    Sinaloa state after Hurricane Willa hit, Mexico October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero
        ESCUINAPA, Mexico (Reuters) – Residents on Mexico’s Pacific Coast on Wednesday began clearing up the wreckage left by Hurricane Willa, which ripped through towns overnight, tearing off rooftops, downing power lines and splitting trees apart.
        Willa hit the northwestern state of Sinaloa late Tuesday as one of the strongest storms to lash the coast in recent years, with winds of up to 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour).
        “I thought it was the end of the world,” said Alma Rosa Ramirez, a 45-year-old resident of the town of Escuinapa, as she described how her whole house rattled in the blasting winds.
        Now with the sun peeking through and wind nearly at a standstill, Ramirez and scores of other residents took to the streets to pick up debris, while emergency crews poured in to work on reestablishing basic services.
        Ramirez arrived at her tiny fruit and vegetable stand in the shadow of a large stone church in Escuinapa’s central square, saying she feared the storm had devastated the farming region that supplies her with the carrots, squash and chiles she sells.
        “There’s going to be a lot of poverty,” she said.
        No deaths have been reported as thousands of people were evacuated from coastal towns and resorts before the storm hit.
        “The population took cover in time,” said Luis Felipe Puente, head of the country’s Civil Protection agency, confirming that no deaths had been reported as of early on Wednesday.
        On the other side of Escuinapa, 74-year-old retiree Virginia Medina sat in a white plastic chair, a 4-week-old kitten winding between her legs, as she took in the damage.
        Willa showed her little mercy: a metal corrugated roof collapsed, water pooled in the kitchen and gnarled branches littered Medina’s front patio and backyard.
        “I can’t even walk in my backyard … Here in the neighborhood a lot of walls came tumbling down.    Now there is no power, no gas, there’s nothing,” Medina said.
        Willa struck the coast about 50 miles (80 km) south of Mazatlan, a major city and tourist resort in Sinaloa, as a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
        The storm had reached rare Category 5 status on Monday, with winds nearing 160 miles per hour (260 kph), as it headed toward the coast.
        The storm dissipated by mid-morning as it moved quickly inland over northwest-central Mexico on Wednesday.    It was still expected to dump heavy rains across the region.
        By then, the storm was about 75 miles (120 km) west of the city of Monterrey, blowing maximum sustained winds of 25 mph, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
        Downpours in Mexico prior to Willa’s arrival have heightened the risk of flooding, and the NHC said the storm could drench some areas in as much as 18 inches (45 cm) of rain.
    (Additional reporting by Dave Graham and Brendan O’Brien; writing by Anthony Esposito and Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Robert Birsel, Helen Popper, Frances Kerry and G Crosse)

    10/24/2018 Nasdaq confirms correction while S&P 500 and Dow erase 2018 gains by Caroline Valetkevitch
    A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
        NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks plunged again on Wednesday, confirming a correction for the Nasdaq and erasing the Dow and the S&P 500’s gains for the year, as disappointing forecasts from chipmakers and weak home sales data fueled jitters about economic and profit growth.
        The Nasdaq closed down 12.4 percent from its Aug. 29 record closing high, falling 4.4 percent for the day in its biggest one-day percentage decline since Aug. 18, 2011.
        Chipmakers Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics warned of slowing demand.    They followed disappointing forecasts on Tuesday from Caterpillar and 3M .
        The forecasts gave investors further reason to pause and helped fuel the selling momentum, said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
        “Once a snowball like this starts, it doesn’t stop until it gets to the bottom of the hill.    And we don’t know if we’re at the bottom yet,” Tuz said.
        Stocks have been punished this month by a range of worries, from rising borrowing costs and bond yields to Italy’s budget and U.S. congressional elections due in less than two weeks.
        On Wednesday, data showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell to a near two-year low in September, the latest sign that rising mortgage rates and higher prices were hurting demand for housing.
        Adding to weaker sentiment in late trading, the Federal Reserve said in a report on the economy that U.S. factories have raised prices because of tariffs.
        The Cboe Volatility Index <.VIX>, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term gyrations for the S&P 500, jumped 4.52 points to close at 25.23, its highest close since Feb. 12.    The S&P 500 fell for a sixth consecutive day.
        “It looks like more panic and fear as the selling has continued to roll,” said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Independent Advisor Alliance based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
        The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 608.01 points, or 2.41 percent, to 24,583.42, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 84.59 points, or 3.09 percent, to 2,656.1 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 329.14 points, or 4.43 percent, to 7,108.40.
        Texas Instruments dropped 8.2 percent, helping pull the Philadelphia Semiconductor index <.SOX> down 6.6 percent in its biggest daily percentage drop since October 2014. Intel , due to report earnings later this week, fell 4.7 percent.
        The beaten-down S&P technology sector retreated <.SPLRCT> another 4.4 percent.
        While third-quarter profit growth estimates have risen to 22.4 percent from 21.6 percent in the last 10 days, weaker forecasts have pulled down fourth-quarter growth estimates to 19.5 percent from 20 percent, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.
        Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.38-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 5.42-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
        The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and 91 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 15 new highs and 445 new lows.
        About 9.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges.    That compares with the 8 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days.
        After the closing bell, Microsoft rose 2.7 percent following the release of its results.
    (Additional reporting by Kate Duguid and Sinead Carew in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot and James Dalgleish)

    10/24/2018 Investigation underway into suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats, CNN by OAN Newsroom
        The FBI is currently investigating a number of suspicious packages that were addressed to the Obamas, the Clintons, news outlet CNN as well as other Democrats.
        The Secret Service released a statement Wednesday morning, announcing they intercepted two suspicious packages during routine mail screenings that were addressed to the homes of Hillary and Bill Clinton as well as Barack and Michelle Obama.
        The first package addressed to the Clintons was flagged an intercepted Tuesday near the couple’s New York home, while a second package addressed to the Obamas was intercepted in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.
        About an hour later, CNN employees were evacuated after a third suspicious package was delivered to the Time Warner Center in New York City. According to NYPD, a pipe bomb was discovered in the mail room of the Time Warner Wenter where CNN studios is located.
        Law enforcement said the package was addressed to former CIA director and CNN correspondent John Brennan.    CNN has confirmed no other threats were made against any of its other bureaus.
        During a press conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the bomb threats an attempt to undermine our free press and leaders.    He also commended first responders and law enforcement for their handling of the situation.
    A member of the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction team works outside the Time Warner Center, in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.
    A police bomb squad was sent to CNN’s offices in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
        A short time after the incident at CNN, the Florida office of Democrat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was also evacuated after a forth suspicious package was found and that flags that Florida is related to this incident.    A bomb squad was immediately called to the scene.
        Meanwhile, Secret Service has confirmed they did not intercept any suspicious package addressed to the White House as previously reported.
    [My comment: Since this article came out it includes the Clintons (Hillary no civility), Obama (former president who talked out of both sides of his mouth), CNN (fake news specialists), then the bombs increased to George Soros (the billionaire backing the progressive socialist regime for the last 10 years), John Brennen (FISA criminal to be), James Clapper (another FISA criminal to be), Joe Biden (may run for president), Robert DeNiro (hollywood democrat actor), Eric Holder (kicker), Cory Booker (sex assaulter unpunished) and Maxine Waters (rhetoric speciliast to hassle all republicans anyway you can).
        What is unusual is that this occurred 13 days before the Nov. 6 elections as if someone wants attention as if these Democrats are being singled out, and the culprit who made these pipebombs with a timer and not one of them were exploded, zero detonations, NADA detonations, making you wonder if their intention was to show a threat, and soon after the Democrats are on the news coming back at President Donald Trump at inciting anger against Democrats.
        And soon after of ourse Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer blamed Trumps rhetoric for the recent bomb threats occurred.    HMMMM!    I rest my case.
        Later they sincled out that the bombs had igniters that failed and it was discovered that the packages may have been sorted at the Opa-Loku, in South Florida center.
        By noon on 10/6/2018 the feds, etc have captured a suspect from the city Plantation, name Caesar Sayoc Jr., 56 year old

    10/25/2018 As winter comes, NATO kicks off largest maneuvers since Cold War by Terje Solsvik
    FILE PHOTO: Banners displaying the NATO logo are placed at the entrance of new NATO headquarters
    during the move to the new building, in Brussels, Belgium April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
        OSLO (Reuters) – Military forces from 31 countries began NATO’s largest exercise in decades, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Iceland, on Thursday, practicing military maneuvers close to Russia, which itself held a huge military drill last month.
        As temperatures fell below freezing across training grounds in central Norway, giving a taste of what it means to defend NATO’s vast northern flank, some 50,000 troops, 250 aircraft and 10,000 tanks, trucks and other land-based vehicles were ready.
        “Forces are in position, they are integrating and starting combat enhancement training for major battlefield operations over the next two weeks,” Colonel Eystein Kvarving at Norway’s Joint Headquarters told Reuters.
        Dubbed Trident Juncture, the exercise is by far the biggest in Norway since the early 1980s, a sign that the alliance wants to sharpen its defenses after years of cost cuts and far-flung combat missions.
        Increasingly concerned about Russia since it annexed Crimea in 2014, Norway has sought to double the number of U.S. Marines receiving training on its soil every year, a move criticized by Moscow.
        Russia last month held its biggest maneuvers since 1981, called Vostok-2018 (East-2018), mobilizing 300,000 troops in a show of force close to China’s border which included joint drills with the Chinese and Mongolian armies.
        NATO’s war games were originally meant to involve 35,000 troops, but the number grew in recent months and included the late addition of an aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman with some 6,000 personnel.
        NATO fears Russia’s military build-up in the region could ultimately restrict naval forces’ ability to navigate freely, and on Oct. 19 the Truman became the first American aircraft carrier to enter the Arctic Circle since before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
        Although a solid majority of Norwegians support membership of NATO, whose secretary general is former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, some parties on the left would prefer that the country quit the alliance and form some type of military cooperation arrangement with its Nordic neighbors.
        “The effect of this activity will increase the tension between Norway and Russia,” Socialist member of parliament Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes said of the exercise, adding that the presence of an aircraft carrier caused particular concern.
        “You have to be quite hawkish to view this as something that brings peace in any way,” he told Reuters.
    (Additional reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

    10/25/2018 WATCH: Democrats, Soros politicize alleged bombing attempts ahead of midterms by OAN Newsroom
        Some liberals are already trying to politicize the string of apparent mail bombs sent to current and former Democrat politicians around the country, and are blaming President Trump over the matter.
        One America’s Kristian Rouz has more.

    10/25/2018 Authorities investigate suspicious packages addressed to Joe Biden, Robert De Niro by OAN Newsroom
        An investigation is underway in Delaware and New York City, where suspicious packages addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and actor Robert De Niro have been discovered.
        Authorities said they recovered a second package addressed to Biden at a facility in New Castle Thursday morning after a similar package was addressed to him Wednesday.
        Meanwhile in New York City, authorities removed a package from a building housing De Niro’s offices and have taken it to an NYPD facility for further investigation.
    Police are standing watch near a building associated with Robert DeNiro,
    Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in New York after reports of a suspicious package. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
        This comes just one day after a number of Democrat officials received suspicious packages.
        The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said all federal facilities are under a heightened alert due to recent bomb scares across the country.

    10/25/2018 WATCH: Democrats, Soros politicize alleged bombing attempts ahead of midterms by OAN Newsroom
        Some liberals are already trying to politicize the string of apparent mail bombs sent to current and former Democrat politicians around the country, and are blaming President Trump over the matter.
        One America’s Kristian Rouz has more.
        DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made the announcement Wednesday, saying federal facilities are following enhanced security procedures.
        Nielsen said she condemns the cowardly attacks in the strongest terms, and said Americans will not be intimidated.

    10/25/2018 Megyn Kelly skips out on her NBC show after Blackface comments by OAN Newsroom
        Megyn Kelly did not appear on her NBC show Thursday, fueling speculation the network may drop her over controversial comments she made regarding Blackface.
        According to insider sources, Kelly is currently negotiating with the NBC over a possible exit deal.
        This comes after her talent agency dropped her as a client on Wednesday.    While there was not a reason given for the decision, the talent agency let Kelly go just one-day after she apologized for the comments.
        “That conversation turned to whether it is ever okay for a person of one race to dress up as another — a black person making their face lighter or a white person making theirs darker to make a costume complete.    I defended the idea, saying as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume it was okay — well I was wrong and I am sorry.” -Megyn Kelly
    FILE – This Sept. 21, 2017 file photo shows Megyn Kelly on the set of her show,
    Megyn Kelly Today” at NBC Studios in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
        Political analysts have noted Kelly’s career has been on a steady decline since she attacked then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
        Kelly’s NBC show has been on thin ice lately after receiving consistently low ratings.
    [Sorry Megyn it is hard to work around NBC Democrat lovers now why don’t you join the Trump team and give it back to them for your freedom of speech violation.    We don't care if you say blackface or horseface.    Or you can take the money and start a new show on a network that lets you say what it is.]

    10/25/2018 Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defends President Trump’s criticism of the media by OAN Newsroom
        White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders backs President Trump’s criticism of the media in wake of the explosive package mailed to CNN.
        Speaking with reporters Thursday morning, Sanders slammed CNN by saying the network only focuses on the negative and agreed with the president’s claim the media has a role to play in the current political climate.
        She said the first thing the network did was immediately accuse the president of being responsible for the bomb threats targeting Democrats, and went onto call their finger pointing “disgraceful.”
    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to reporters outside the
    West Wing of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        Sanders defended the president by saying he has condemned violence in all forms since day one and will continue to do so.
    .     “Look, there’s a big difference between comments made and actions taken,” stated the press secretary.
        “The president is certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages to someone no more than Bernie Sanders was responsible for a supporter of his shooting up a Republican baseball field practice last year — the idea that this is at the hands of the president is absolutely ridiculous.”
        Sanders said it is important for both political sides to remain civil.

    10/25/2018 Erik Prince hires lobbyist to push Congress to privatize Afghan war by OAN Newsroom
        Blackwater founder Erik Prince has called in more help in his effort to convince the U.S. government to privatize the war in Afghanistan.
        According to reports, Prince hired Ron Phillips of Gavel Resources to push his agenda on Capitol Hill.
        The former House Armed Services Committee staffer is setting up meetings between Prince and members of Congress in an effort for Prince to convince them to turn the war over to private security forces.
    Blackwater founder Erik Prince arrives for a closed meeting with members of the
    House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
        Prince has been pushing the idea for more than a year as a way to cut costs in the 17-year war.
        “All I am trying to say is what worked after 9/11 when the Pentagon advocated a conventional invasion through Pakistan and the CIA said small, light…a few special forces officers, a few CIA officers backed by air-power…they smashed the Taliban in a matter of weeks,” he explained.
        Prince does not believe America’s longest running war is close to an end if the government continues with its current strategy.    However, he is claiming that he can turn the war around in six-months and with 3,600 men.

    10/25/2018 WTO members hold urgent talks to tackle challenges to its future by David Ljunggren and David Lawder
    Canada's International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr gestures while posing with officials during
    the Ottawa Ministerial on WTO Reform in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
        OTTAWA (Reuters) – Senior officials from 12 countries gathered in Canada on Thursday for talks to find ways to reform the World Trade Organization and address U.S. grievances which are threatening the body’s future.
        The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is blocking appointments of WTO judges and has threatened to pull out of a grouping designed to ensure a rules-bound global trade system.
        Participants said the one-day meeting in Ottawa was a first step to addressing the organization’s many challenges.
        “We need to go from just talking about the importance of the WTO to also being able to get (something) more concrete,” European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told Reuters after the first session.
        As well as the EU the one-day conference also groups Canada, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, Australia and seven other countries.
        Absent from the meeting are the United States and China, whose escalating tariff war has thrown the future of the 23-year-old trade body into doubt.
        Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr, conceding “there can be no meaningful reform of the WTO without the Americans and Chinese,” said Ottawa had first wanted to “bring in a group of nations who … share the value and the belief that the rules-based international order is worth preserving.”
        Delegates will mull over proposals from Canada and the European Union, including boosting the number of WTO judges and dealing with log-jams in the body’s dispute settlement system.
        They also will discuss rewriting trade rules for industrial subsidies, state-owned firms and technology transfers, potentially addressing some of Washington’s complaints that WTO rules have given an unfair advantage to China.
        Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said he wanted the meeting to demonstrate enough progress to make clear that many countries were determined to maintain a rules-based system.
        “I would hope that type of momentum is then seen by, for example, the U.S., as a positive demonstration that other nations hear their concerns about the way the WTO hasn’t been working,” he told reporters.
        Jennifer Hillman, a former WTO appellate judge who is a Georgetown University law professor, said much could be gained from participants’ efforts to reach consensus.
        “If they can, it obviously puts pressure on the U.S., or China or both to figure out whether there’s any part of this package that they can live with,” she said in an interview.
    (Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; editing by Susan Thomas and James Dalgleish)

    10/25/2018 Meadows: Papadopoulos Insistent On No Russia Collusion by OAN Newsroom
    George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser who triggered the Russia investigation, arrives for his first appearance
    before congressional investigators, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
        Republicans are hailing the questioning of George Papadopoulos a success, claiming it further pushes the narrative there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
    Congressman Mark Meadows says Papadopoulos was cooperative and transparent during questioning, while speaking after Thursday’s hearing.
        He claims Papadopoulos was very insistent that there was no collusion and no opportunity for collusion based on his contacts.
        Congressman Meadows says Thursday’s hearing further indicates there was inappropriate behavior on behalf of the FBI and DOJ, as it relates to how the probe began.

    10/25/2018 Sen. Grassley refers Avenatti, Swetnick to DOJ for possible criminal investigation by OAN Newsroom
        The third Brett Kavanaugh accuser and her lawyer were recently referred to the Department of Justice for a possible criminal investigation.
    FILE – In this July 27, 2018, file photo Michael Avenatti, talks to the media during a news conference
    in front of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
        In an announcement Thursday, Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley said attorney Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick gave false statements to Congress.
        Grassley claimed their actions amount to obstruction of justice and perjury.
        This comes weeks after Swetnick claimed she was drugged and sexually assaulted at a party back in the early 80s.
        Grassley said these false statements can’t be ignored to prevent such behavior in the future.

    10/25/2018 President Trump blames high cost of drugs on ‘freeloading’ countries by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump said the rising costs of prescription drugs for Americans is because foreign countries are taking advantage of U.S. research breakthroughs.
        Speaking from the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department in Washington Thursday, the president said foreign countries are paying practically nothing for drugs since their governments pay whatever drug companies set.
    President Donald Trump arrives to talk about drug prices during a visit to the
    Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh
        Meanwhile, he said the U.S. is paying billions of dollars for its own home-grown drugs.
        This supports a recently released HHS report, which found U.S. drug prices were nearly twice as high as those in foreign countries.
        However, he says under his administration’s new plan Medicare will be allowed to negotiate directly with drug companies and Americans will be able to pay the lower price other countries are paying.

    10/26/2018 Oil up $0.51 to $67.33, DOW up 401 to 24,985

    10/26/2018 WHAT TO WATCH - Dow rallies, but can this bounce last? By Adam Shell, USA TODAY
        Just when it looked like the stock market would never stop going down, it reversed course and went up a lot.
        The bounce Thursday was a big relief to jittery investors.    The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 401 points, erasing some of the sting from the previous three-day rout that knocked it down 860 points.        The rally put the Dow back in positive territory for the year.
        Wall Street pros cited a number of factors to explain the move higher.
    • Stocks “oversold:” The washout suffered in Wednesday’s 608-point Dow drop caused stocks to get too beat up and sentiment to get too gloomy.    But that day’s pain came on lower trading volume than the two-day plunge ending Oct. 11.    “That shows a decline in selling pressure,” says Mark Arbeter, president of Arbeter Investments.
    • Good earnings news: A slew of strong profit reports from high-profile companies, ranging from software giant Microsoft to social media player Twitter to electric-car maker Tesla, reaffirmed the strength of the American economy and leading companies, says Bill Hornbarger, chief investment strategist at Moneta Group.
    • Panic selling dries up: The market’s recent slide looked more like panic selling than investors making rational investment decisions, says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network.    But the strong earnings reports allowed investors to recognize “that things are not as bad” as the recent swoon suggest.    But what matters now, is what comes next? Hornbarger says it’s a “little too early to signal the all clear.”
    10/26/2018 No suspects identified; authorities intercept devices sent to former VP Biden, actor De Niro by Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
            Investigators increasingly focused on mail streams in and out of Florida as authorities continued to hunt for whoever sent 10 suspected explosive devices to officials and high-profile individuals.
        Attention turned to Florida on Thursday largely because a device addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder was recovered when it was routed back to the return address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DFla., in Sunrise, Florida, according to two law enforcement officials.    Schultz has nothing to do with the mail campaign.
        The two officials, who are not authorized to comment publicly, said authorities had not identified a suspect.
        Three new potentially explosive devices found Thursday were nearly identical in design to the seven seized earlier in the week, a law enforcement official said Thursday.    One of the latest was sent to actor Robert De Niro at of fices in New York, and two were sent to former Vice President Joe Biden and intercepted at postal facilities in Delaware.
        Biden is no longer under Secret Service protection.
        The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the devices were assembled with pieces of plastic PVC pipe containing black powder and shards of shrapnel that appeared to be glass.    The pipes were wrapped in tape and a timing-like mechanism was attached.
        New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill said Thursday that the devices were not being treated as hoaxes, but he stopped short of calling them “live” devices.
        “I would say it’s a suspected explosive device.    We are treating them as suspected explosive devices,” he said.
        The powder found in packaging in New York wasn’t a biological weapon, but further testing is being done, O’Neill said.    The devices were being examined at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.
        “We are discovering things by the hour,” he said.
        FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney declined to provide details about the devices to avoid disclosing significant information.    “It does remain possible that further packages have been or could be mailed,” he said.    “These devices should be considered dangerous.”
        Kevin Barry, a former member of New York Police Department’s bomb squad and former director of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, expected the FBI analyses to be focused on both the design and recovery of physical evidence.
        Testing at the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico would gauge the functionality of the devices, check the type of pipe used and examine the powder to determine whether it is high explosive, low explosive or a chemical substance intended to be dispersed when the devices were triggered, Barry said.
        If the tests found a fingerprint on the devices or their packaging, the FBI would run that evidence through a criminal database seeking a match.    Investigators would likely be able to identify a suspect within days from a matching fingerprint, Barry said.
    Contributing: Kevin McCoy
        “I condemn these cowardly acts in the strongest possible terms.” Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security secretary.
    Police stand guard near a building associated with actor Robert De Niro
    after a suspicious package sent to the actor was seized Thursday. MARK LENNIHAN/AP

    10/26/2018 Senator seeks probe of lawyer, client in Kavanaugh case
        A key Senate chairman asked the Justice Department on Thursday to investigate Julie Swetnick and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, for allegedly false statements made during the confirmation process for Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
        Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the FBI to investigate potential conspiracy, false statements and obstruction of Congress.    Grassley said it was a request for investigation, not a criminal allegation.
        Avenatti welcomed further investigation.    “Senator Grassley has just made a major mistake,” Avenatti said.    “Let the investigation into Kavanaugh and his lies begin.”

    10/26/2018 French President Macron regrets Belgium choosing Lockheed jets
    French President Emmanuel Macron gestures during a news conference with his Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska
    at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa
        BRATISLAVA/PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he regretted Belgium’s decision to choose Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth jets over the Eurofighter Typhoon planes.
        “It’s a decision that was the result of a process which I greatly respect and which was linked to political constraints specific to Belgium, which are not for me to comment upon, but strategically it goes against European interests,” said Macron at a news conference held with Slovakia President Andrej Kiska.
        “For my part, I regret the choice that was made.”
        On Thursday, Belgium announced its decision to go with the Lockheed Martin planes to replace its ageing F-16s in a 4 billion euro ($4.5 billion) deal, saying the decision came down to price.
        The decision is a setback for Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, who are behind the Eurofighter program, and also means the rejection of an informal French offer to sell Belgium the Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation.
    (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Michel Rose)

    10/26/2018 Cypriot rivals agree new checkpoints, but stop short of peace talks
    Elizabeth Spehar, U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission (UNFICYP)
    attends a meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci
    in the buffer zone of Nicosia airport, Cyprus October 26, 2018. Iakovos Hatzistavrou/Pool via REUTERS
        ATHENS (Reuters) – The rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus agreed on Friday to open more checkpoints along the militarized frontier that separates them, marking a rare sign of cooperation in the deadlocked conflict.
        Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were meeting for the first time in about six months, but they stopped short of announcing the resumption of peace talks that collapsed last year.
        The leaders had a “frank exchange of views” on the way forward, they said in a joint statement after meeting at a United Nations compound on the island on early on Friday.
        Anastasiades and Akinci agreed to open one new checkpoint in the west of the island and another in the east.    The crossing points are due to be opened on Nov. 12 and will ease interaction between populations estranged for decades until the first checkpoints opened in 2003.
        There are presently seven checkpoints dotted along the 180-km (112-mile) ceasefire line splitting Cyprus east to west, which is patrolled by U.N. peacekeepers.
        The island was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.
        U.N.-led peace talks between the two sides collapsed in acrimony in Switzerland in July 2017, mainly due to disagreement over the role Turkey could play in a post-settlement Cyprus.
        The perils of the stalled process have underscored simmering tension between Cyprus’s internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government and Turkey in overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research.    The matter also strains ties between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.
    (Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Helen Popper)

    10/26/2018 Migrant caravan may be funded by Democrat organizations by OAN Newsroom
        Border security remains at the forefront of the Trump administration as the president announced he will deploy military troops to the southern border.    This comes as some conservatives speculate over whether caravan is being funded by partisan operatives.
        One America’s Gabrielle Cuccia has more from Washington.
        The list is long of Democrat agencies who are funding the caravan.

    10/26/2018 Mexican Government Offers Plan To Keep Caravan In Mexico by OAN Newsroom
    People rest as a thousands-strong caravan of Central American migrants heading for the U.S. sets up camp for the night in
    Pijijiapan, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. Many migrants said they felt safer traveling and sleeping with several thousand
    strangers in unknown towns than hiring a smuggler or trying to make the trip alone. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
        The Mexican government offers a plan to keep Central American migrants in Mexico, as caravan pushes toward U.S. President Enrique Pena Nieto offered migrants temporary identification papers, jobs and education for their children if they register for asylum.
        This comes as thousands of migrants are making their way to the U.S. seeking a better life.
        “In Mexico, you will be able to get medical attention and even send your kids to school,” said Pena Nieto.    You will also get a temporary official ID for the paperwork you’ll need to do while you regularize your migration situation.    And something very important, once incorporated into the plan, you will be able to access the temporary work program.”
        President Trump has threatened to cut aid to Central American countries if nothing is done to stop the caravan from reaching the U.S.

    10/26/2018 Pres. Trump Calls On Congress To Pass Immigration Laws by OAN Newsroom
    FILE – In this March 13, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a tour
    as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
        President Trump is again calling on Congress to pass legislation addressing illegal immigration to secure the nation’s borders.
        The president said the U.S. spends billions of dollars a year on illegal immigration, but that will not continue adding Democrats must vote to pass strong, but fair laws.
        Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed his comments, while touring the
    first completed section of the president’s 30 foot high border wall in Southern California.
        “This should not be a partisan issue,” said Nielsen.    It seems that many in Congress are currently suffering from amnesia.    In 2006, Congress passed the Secure Fence Act with broad bipartisan support.    Border security is national security and it is vital to our mission of protecting the homeland.”
        She also commented on a possible executive order to address the migrant caravan, saying the administration is reviewing all legal options and everything is on the table.
        This comes as two migrant caravans, totaling nearly 10,000 people, are currently advancing through Mexico to the U.S.

    10/26/2018 President Trump Dismisses Blame Over Threats Made Against Democrats by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018,
    before boarding Marine One for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base. Trump is traveling to North Carolina for a rally. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        President Trump says he deserves no blame in the recent threats made to Democrats.
        The president said he heard that the suspect was one of his supporters, however that doesn’t mean he should take the wrap over the bomb threats made against a number of prominent Democrats.
        The president said threats have nothing to do with party affiliation.
        “There’s no blame,” said the president.    There’s no anything.    If you look at what happened to Steve Scalise.    That was from a supporter of a different party.    You look at what happened in numbers of these incidents, they were supporters of others.”
        The president has condemned the acts and said threats against politicians should not happen in our country.

    10/26/2018 President Trump Praises law enforcement over arrest of mailer bomb suspect by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is praising law enforcement over the arrest of the suspect in connection with threats made against Democrats.
    In this undated photo released by the Broward County Sheriff’s office, Cesar Sayoc is seen in a booking photo, in Miami.
    Federal authorities took Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., into custody Friday, Oct. 26, 2018
    in Florida in connection with the mail-bomb scare.(Broward County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
        While speaking Friday, the president said there was a far-reaching investigation to find who was responsible for the threats.
        He applauded the FBI, Secret Service, the Department of Justice, and local law enforcement who were involved in the arrest.
        The president also called the acts by the suspect terrorizing and despicable, and said political violence should never happen.
        This comes after reports claim 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc Jr. from Aventura, Florida has been detained in the city of Plantation and is being charged over the series of bomb threats in the past few days.
        DNA evidence reportedly played a role in the arrest.

    10/26/2018 Dept. of Justice announces 5 federal charges against mail bomb suspect by OAN Newsroom
    In this undated photo released by the Broward County Sheriff’s office, Cesar Sayoc is seen in a booking photo, in Miami.
    Federal authorities took Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., into custody Friday, Oct. 26, 2018
    in Florida in connection with the mail-bomb scare. (Broward County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
        The Department of Justice announces federal charges against the suspect in custody over several suspicious packages sent to Democrats.
        In a press briefing Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Cesar Sayoc Jr. will face five federal charges in connection with the incident.
        Those charges include interstate transportation of an explosive, threatening and assaulting former and current federal officials — including a former president — as well as the illegal mailing of explosives.
        Officials also warned there could be still be more packages in transit and reminded the public to remain vigilant.
        They also said the IED’s that were recovered are not hoax devices, and consisted of several bomb-making materials.
        If convicted on all charges, Sayoc Jr. could spend up to 58-years behind bars.
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions pauses before speaking about the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla.,
    in the package bomb case, during a news conference at the Department of Justice, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    10/27/2018 Feds charge Florida man in bomb mailings plot - Suspect has history of arrests dating back to at least the early 1990s by Ken Alltucker, Kevin Johnson and Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY
        A Florida registered Republican with a history of financial problems, petty arrests and flamboyant political criticism mailed at least 14 explosive packages through the mail, targeting Democratic leaders and multimillionaires in a plot that struck a chord of fear throughout the nation, federal officials said in arrest records Friday.
        Several people who know the suspect, Cesar Sayoc, 56, said they were shocked at the charges, although their descriptions paint a picture of a man who is hard to get a handle on: Sayoc attended the Little Flower Church in Fort Lauderdale, but he told acquaintances he had a working relationship with male strip clubs in South Florida.
        None of the explosive packages detonated, and no one was injured in the mailings.
        Sayoc told at least one neighbor he was a “flash dancer” at strip clubs and needed to keep his body in prime shape through weight training.    But in court depositions, Sayoc is depicted as occasionally bankrupt and living with his mother.
        “He was always cordial, courteous and professional,” said Daniel Lurvey, a Miami-Dade defense attorney who represented Sayoc in two theft cases in 2013 and 2014.    “We talked a little bit about his work, and I remember him referring to an association with the Chippendale dancers.”    The group is a nationally renowned touring troupe of male strippers, but Lurvey said he did not know exactly what Sayoc’s association was, and it remains unclear if Sayoc actually had any connection with the troupe.    Chippendales spokesman Michael Caprio on Friday said Sayoc “has never been affiliated in any way with Chippendales.”
        In 2001, Chippendales sued – and won a judgment – to prevent Gold Productions Inc. from using the Chippendales name in their productions.    Sayoc claims on his LinkedIn professional page to have been a promoter and booking agent for Gold Productions.
        A former neighbor, Robert Blake, said he used to give Sayoc rides to the nearest health club, where Sayoc, who appeared to enjoy bodybuilding, would work out most days.
        He said Sayoc told him he made a living as a flash dancer and needed to work out to stay in shape.    Blake, in an interview Friday with USA TODAY, said Sayoc lost his home to foreclosure during the nationwide real estate crash and disappeared from their suburban Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, a community of older single-family homes near Pompano Beach in Broward County.
        Blake said Sayoc was unmarried, did not have any kids and lived next door to him for about three years.
        Sayoc describes himself on LinkedIn as a “Promoter, booking agent Live entertainment, owner, choreographer.”    He was born in Brooklyn, New York.    Records show he has a criminal history dating back nearly three decades, including a 2015 arrest in Broward County for petty theft and probation violation.
        Federal authorities charged Sayoc with five federal crimes, including interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of an explosive and threats against former presidents.
        Sayoc was arrested near an auto store in Plantation, Florida.    Police examined a white van shrouded in stickers with political and anti-media messages.    Cops covered the vehicle with a tarp and took it away on the back of a flatbed truck.    The stickers included images of President Donald Trump, American flags, and what appeared to be logos of the Republican National Committee and CNN, though not all the images were clear.
        FBI Director Christopher Wray said a fingerprint recovered from an envelope mailed to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters matched Sayoc’s fingerprint.
        Wray said investigators tracked more than a dozen devices mailed to highprofile Democrats and their supporters that all were similar.    Each mailed device included 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, battery, wiring and potentially explosive material designed to give out heat and energy.    “These are not hoax devices,” Wray said.
        Earlier Friday, Trump applauded the suspect’s arrest, calling it “an incredible job” by law enforcement.    The bombing attempts were “despicable” and have “no place in our country,” Trump said.
        “We must never allow political violence to take root in America,” Trump said, and “I’m committed to doing everything in my power to stop it.”
        The total number of bombs reached at least 14 Friday after more suspicious packages were recovered: one in Florida addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, another in New York addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a device recovered at Sen. Kamala Harris’ office in Sacramento, California, and another package that was intercepted at a mail facility in Burlingame, California, addressed to billionaire Tom Steyer.
        “Today’s arrest doesn’t mean we are out of the woods,” Wray said Friday.
    Contributing: Brett Murphy, Herb Jackson, Hannan Adely and Phaedra Trethan for the USA TODAY Network
    The exterior of one of the suspicious packages that were received at multiple locations
    in the New York and Washington, D.C., areas and Florida this week. FBI, HANDOUT, EPA-EFE
    A van is towed through Plantation, Fla., on Friday in connection with
    the 14 suspicious packages mailed to prominent Democrats. MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/ AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    10/27/2018 More violence feared as Brazil braces for far-right presidency by Brad Brooks
    FILE PHOTO: Federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro, a candidate for Brazil's presidential elections,
    shows a doll of himself during a rally in Curitiba, Brazil March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rodolfo Buhrer/File photo
        SAO PAULO (Reuters) – After a presidential campaign that has seen political violence overshadow policy debate, many Brazilians fear attacks will continue after the likely election on Sunday of tough-talking far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
        Bolsonaro’s supporters in recent weeks have threatened to harm Supreme Court justices and physically attacked journalists and opposition voters.
        There has also been violence attributed to backers of Bolsonaro’s opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT), but to a far lesser extent.
        Brazil’s tense political climate has been compared by some to divisions in the United States, where several high-profile opponents of President Donald Trump received pipe bombs in the mail this week.
        But the situation in Brazil, is far more perilous, analysts say, because it already suffers from extreme violence, often without consequence for perpetrators.
        Nearly 64,000 murders were registered last year, but less than 10 percent of homicide cases result in charges, according to government data.
        Bolsonaro, who maintains a double-digit lead in all polls, himself suffered a near-fatal stabbing during a campaign rally last month.
        He is still recovering, but the episode only reinforced his aggressive rhetoric, combining verbal attacks on political foes with vows to violently combat crime and pursue graft cases against opponents.
        “You PT crew, you’ll have the civil and military police with legal support to bring the law down on your backs,” he said in a video broadcast to supporters at demonstrations last Sunday.    “These delinquent Reds will be banned from our homeland.”
        He says he does not condone violence carried out by his supporters, but analysts say his daily rants on social media platforms are taking a toll.
        “Bolsonaro, because of his rhetoric supporting violence and the aggressive manner he has campaigned, has opened the Pandora’s box on political violence in an already extremely violent country,” said Rafael Alcadipani, a public security expert at the Getulio Vargas Foundation university in Sao Paulo.
        “If people thought Brazil had extremely high levels of street violence in normal times, imagine what it will be like under a president who aggressively pushes violence among police and against political opponents?
        Bolsonaro’s attacks on the media over aggressive reporting that he calls “fake news” have also sent a chill through newsrooms which have dealt with a surge in threats and physical violence.
        Brazilian investigative journalism group Abraji said since January 64 reporters who cover the campaign have been physically attacked and another 82 targeted in online hate campaigns.
        By comparison, 40 U.S.-based journalists covering all topics were physically attacked during that period, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker database run by over two dozen press freedom groups.
        Bolsonaro supporters were blamed for most of the attacks in Brazil, Abraji said, while PT backers were responsible for a smaller fraction.
        Folha de S.Paulo, Brazil’s biggest newspaper, has been flooded with threats, including ones targeting the six-year-old son of a reporter who uncovered alleged illegalities in the Bolsonaro campaign’s use of WhatsApp to spread misinformation.
        Federal police are investigating a retired Army colonel who has made repeated threats against Supreme Court judges in widely shared videos, warning them not to rule against Bolsonaro.    The man is now wearing an electronic ankle bracelet so authorities can monitor his whereabouts.
        Supreme Court Justice Carmen Lucia said the attacks were a threat against democracy, saying this week that “aggressions that target any justice are attacks on the entire court as an institution.”
        Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former army captain, is an ardent supporter of Brazil’s 1964-85 military regime and cites one of the period’s most notorious torturers, Colonel Carlos Ustra, as a personal hero.
        As president, he says he would encourage police to kill suspected criminals with abandon.    He wants to loosen gun controls so civilians can defend themselves and at times he suggests violence can solve Brazil’s political problems too.
        In one campaign rally, he grabbed a cameraman’s tripod, shouldered it like a rifle and yelled into a microphone that “we are going to gun down all these Workers Party supporters!
        His campaign says his rhetoric simply veers into politically incorrect jokes meant to irritate his leftist presidential rival Fernando Haddad.
        Bolsonaro has won over tens of millions of Brazilian voters with his inflammatory, anti-establishment stance, citizens who are sick of being the targets of rampant street crime and endemic political corruption he vows to eradicate.
        Matheus Ferreira, an 18-year-old snack stand vendor in Sao Paulo who hails from a violent slum, said the tense situation fills him with fear, but not much beyond what he faces daily.
        “I will vote for Bolsonaro,” he said this week.    “If he can make Brazil safer, he would have been worth the risk.”
    (For graphic on Brazil election, click
    (Reporting by Brad Brooks; Editing by Clive McKeef and Joseph Radford)

    10/27/2018 PA. Suspect in Custody After Killing at Least 11 People at Tree of Life Synagogue by OAN Newsroom
        Pennsylvania police say at least 11 people have been killed and several are injured including four police officers, after a shooting situation at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill today.
        Officials say the suspect in custody is identified as 49-year-old Robert Bowers and are treating the shooting as a hate crime.
        Bowers reportedly had multiple firearms, including a high-powered rifle.
    Officials near the scene of a shooting in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. (KDKA Photo/Tim Lawson)
        Police say they received reports of shots fired at the Tree of Life Synagogue at around 10:00 AM local time and say the gunman walked into the building and reportedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs such as, “All Jews must die.”
        According to 911 dispatchers, the suspect opened fire shortly after entering the synagogue – and later fired at first responders.

    10/27/2018 President Trump Condemns Anti-Semitism After Deadly Pa. Synagogue Shooting by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump embraces Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow after he prays at the
    91st annual Future Farmers of America Convention and Expo at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis,
    Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, following a shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
        President Trump condemns anti-Semitism following the deadly synagogue mass shooting in Pennsylvania.
        The president made the comments Saturday at the Future Farmers of America Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
        He said the the apparent anti-Semitic act unleashed such horror on the congregation.
        The president added there is no place for religious or racial prejudice of any kind in the United States.
        Authorities say 11 people died in the synagogue massacre.
        First Lady Melania Trump also condemned the deadly shooting in a tweet.
        The first lady said the violence needs to stop, adding the country must unite together.
        Other members of the Trump family also weighed in on the incident, including Ivanka Trump– who is Jewish.
        She called the shooting “the acts of a depraved bigot and anti-semite.”
        She added all good Americans stand with the Jewish people and called for unity against hatred and evil.

    10/27/2018 Russia, Germany, France and Turkey meet for four-way Syria summit
    Flags of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey flutter in front of the presidential Vahdettin Mansion
    prior to a summit on Syria, in Istanbul, Turkey October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
        ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey gathered in Istanbul on Saturday for a summit on Syria, where violence this week in the last remaining major rebel stronghold highlighted the fragility of a deal to avert a massive government offensive.
        Ankara, which has long backed rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, and Moscow, Assad’s principal foreign ally, brokered the deal last month to create a demilitarized zone in the northwest Idlib region.
        Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of the rebels, who rose up against Assad in 2011.    The area is home to an estimated 3 million people, more than half of whom have already fled other areas as government forces advanced.
        Shelling in Idlib killed at least seven civilians on Friday, the largest one-day loss of life there since Russian air strikes stopped in mid-August, a war monitor said.
        Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Erdogan are due to have four-way talks in Istanbul on Saturday.    Putin spoke ahead of the summit by phone to Macron and Erdogan.
        U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who is stepping down at the end of next month for family reasons, is also taking part.
        Under their deal last month, Turkey and Russia agreed to set up a buffer zone running 15-20 km (9-13 miles) into rebel territory that had to be evacuated of all heavy weapons and all jihadist fighters.
    (Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova and Can Sezer; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen and David Dolan; Editing by Peter Graff)

    10/27/2018 Romans protest at eternal decline of Italian capital
    People gather outside Rome's City Hall to protest against the decline
    of the Italian capital in Rome, Italy October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
        ROME (Reuters) – Several thousand people protested in front of Rome City Hall on Saturday to denounce the ragged state of the Italian capital, where roads are potholed, rubbish often goes uncollected and wild boar roam the streets.
        Critics say the city has been in decline for years and accuse Mayor Virginia Raggi, who took office in 2016, of failing to fulfill campaign promises to clean up the mess.
        “We’re here because Rome deserves better, because Rome is in a state of neglect the like of which has never been seen before,” said Marita Monaco, 57, who took part in the protest in a Renaissance square designed by Michelangelo.
        “It is a city in disarray, where there are no more rules or social cohesion,” she added.
        Raggi is a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and was swept to power following a wave of public disgust over corruption scandals that had battered previous administrations run by both traditional left- and right-wing parties.
        The first female mayor in the history of the city, Raggi says she needs more time to overcome Rome’s myriad problems, but argues that she is already making good progress.
        Her critics say things are getting worse, not better.
        A strike by rubbish collectors has left many trash cans overflowing, potholes riddle the roads, while the local transport system is in permanent crisis.
        More than 20 buses have caught fire on the streets of the city so far this year, largely the result of poor maintenance, while a broken escalator injured more than 20 Russian soccer fans at a city metro station last Tuesday.
        The death this week of a 16-year girl, whose body was found in an abandoned building used by drug dealers, underscored fears about law and order in the city.    Police say they believe the girl was gang-raped and have arrested four migrants.
        Under the hashtag #romadicebasta (“Rome says enough”) residents’ associations and civil society groups banded together to organize Saturday’s protest, which Reuters reporters estimated drew between 5,000-8,000 people.
        “Rome has become an open sewer, a scandal, full of rats, foxes, wild boar and rubbish,” said Rome resident Salvatore Golino.    “We are drowning in trash and we can’t take it anymore.”
        A recent video that went viral online showed a family of boar foraging through sacks of rubbish on a city street.    Another video earlier this year showed a large boar running up a major city road under the gaze of astonished drivers.
        Raggi is standing trial for alleged abuse of office over a contested appointment within her administration.    She has denied the accusation, but has said she will resign if found guilty.
        A verdict is due on Nov. 10 and Raggi’s administration would fall if she left office, potentially opening the way for fresh elections.
    (Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Alison Williams)

    10/27/2018 Central American caravan moves on in spite of Mexico jobs offer by Delphine Schrank
        ARRIAGA, Mexico (Reuters) – A U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants pressed on through southern Mexico on Saturday, in spite of government offers of jobs, as authorities stepped up efforts to disperse the convoy that has angered U.S. President Donald Trump.
        Mexican police in riot gear briefly blocked the march of men, women and children as they neared Oaxaca state before dawn, to relay the offer of temporary identification papers, jobs or education for those seeking asylum in Mexico.
        Trump has threatened to send troops to the U.S. border and cut aid to Central America to try to stop the group of several thousand people that left Honduras two weeks ago.
        Estimates vary significantly on the group’s size, which has morphed as some migrants return home and newcomers join.    At least 150 migrants traveling separately were detained by Friday near Guatemala’s border, a Mexican official said.
        More than 1,700 people in the convoy have applied for asylum, while others have returned home, according to Mexico’s government.    The Honduran ambassador said on Friday the group officially had 3,500 members.    Other estimates go much higher.
        By Saturday, more than 100 Honduran migrants opted to seek refugee status and enter the temporary work program proposed by President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday, said Mexico’s National Migration Institute.    Many others rejected the offer.
        “We’re going to the United States.    Because that’s our dream,” said 28-year-old Honduran Daniel Leonel Esteves at the head of a 50-person wide column of migrants snaking down a highway into the hills.
        Others echoed his goal to cross the border, declining Mexico’s offer.
        “Our destination is the United States,” said migrant Francisco Ramirez.
        A police official on a road just south of Oaxaca, where migrants were proceeding north from the town of Arriaga in Chiapas state, said authorities intended to keep presenting the asylum offer.
        “We think it’s very important that every person in the caravan knows these benefits, so that they stop putting their safety at risk crossing these roads,” said federal police commissioner Benjamin Grajeda.
        Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to make the migrant caravan and immigration major issues before the Nov. 6 elections, in which Republicans are battling to keep control of Congress.
        Honduras said 4,500 of its citizens attempting to emigrate have returned to the country in recent days.
    (Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Additional reporting by Orfa Mejia in Tegucigalpa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

    10/27/2018 Central American caravan moves on in spite of Mexico jobs offer by Delphine Schrank
    Police line up for a temporary blockade of a caravan of thousands of migrants from Central America,
    en route to the United States, making its way to San Pedro Tapanatepec
    from Arriaga, Mexico October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
        ARRIAGA, Mexico (Reuters) – A U.S.-bound caravan of Central American migrants pressed on through southern Mexico on Saturday, in spite of government offers of jobs, as authorities stepped up efforts to disperse the convoy that has angered U.S. President Donald Trump.
        Mexican police in riot gear briefly blocked the march of men, women and children as they neared Oaxaca state before dawn, to relay the offer of temporary identification papers, jobs or education for those seeking asylum in Mexico.
        Trump has threatened to send troops to the U.S. border and cut aid to Central America to try to stop the group of several thousand people that left Honduras two weeks ago.
        Estimates vary significantly on the group’s size, which has morphed as some migrants return home and newcomers join.At least 150 migrants traveling separately were detained by Friday near Guatemala’s border, a Mexican official said.
        More than 1,700 people in the convoy have applied for asylum, while others have returned home, according to Mexico’s government.    The Honduran ambassador said on Friday the group officially had 3,500 members.    Other estimates go much higher.
        By Saturday, more than 100 Honduran migrants opted to seek refugee status and enter the temporary work program proposed by President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday, said Mexico’s National Migration Institute.    Many others rejected the offer.
        “We’re going to the United States.    Because that’s our dream,” said 28-year-old Honduran Daniel Leonel Esteves at the head of a 50-person wide column of migrants snaking down a highway into the hills.
        Others echoed his goal to cross the border, declining Mexico’s offer.
        “Our destination is the United States,” said migrant Francisco Ramirez.
        A police official on a road just south of Oaxaca, where migrants were proceeding north from the town of Arriaga in Chiapas state, said authorities intended to keep presenting the asylum offer.
        “We think it’s very important that every person in the caravan knows these benefits, so that they stop putting their safety at risk crossing these roads,” said federal police commissioner Benjamin Grajeda.
        Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to make the migrant caravan and immigration major issues before the Nov. 6 elections, in which Republicans are battling to keep control of Congress.
        Honduras said 4,500 of its citizens attempting to emigrate have returned to the country in recent days.
    (Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Additional reporting by Orfa Mejia in Tegucigalpa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

    10/28/2018 ‘Horrific’ Pa. synagogue shooting kills at least 11 -Official: Suspect yelled anti-Semitic epithets during attack by Rick Jervis, Sean Rossman and Candy Woodall, USA TODAY
        Robert Bowers, 46, has been identified as the suspect in Saturday’s “horrific” mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, according to a law enforcement official.
        Police took Bowers into custody after the rampage that resulted in at least 11 fatalities and six injuries, according to the Associated Press.    Four of the six injured were police officers, three of whom were shot, according to the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department.
        Bowers allegedly burst into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and screamed, “All Jews must die!” – among other anti-Semitic epithets – as he opened fire on the congregants, according to the law enforcement official.
        The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly, said the suspect was armed with at least one rifle.
        The official said the suspect left a trail of anti-Semitic rants on social media accounts, prompting authorities to designate the FBI as the lead agency to investigate the attack as an alleged hate crime.
        “It’s a very horrific crime scene,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said at a news conference.    “It’s one of the worst I’ve see.”
        Teams of armed police swarmed the neighborhood near downtown Pittsburgh just before 10 a.m. Saturday.    Residents were urged to shelter in place as armed law enforcement agents canvassed the neighborhood.
        Speaking to reporters at Andrews Air Force Base, President Donald Trump praised law enforcement’s response in the shooting and called the suspect in custody a “madman” and a “wacko.”
        He said he would like to see more armed guards at synagogues and other places of worship and impose more death penalty sentences on convicted murderers.
        “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country and, frankly, all over the world,” Trump said.    “Something has to be done.”
        “It’s a very horrific crime scene.    It’s one of the worst I’ve seen.” Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh public safety director.
        Posts believed to be from Bowers’ social media accounts show pictures of several Glock pistols in their cases and derogatory remarks about refugees, Jewish people and Trump.    The last such post on the social network Gab, issued Saturday morning, criticized a refugee advocacy group that “likes to bring invaders in that kill our people.”
    I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” the author wrote.    “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

        At the scene, Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando told reporters that the shooting took place near the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
        Squirrel Hill is a Jewish enclave near Carnegie Mellon University.    A little more than 50 percent of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish community lives in or around the neighborhood, said Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
        Tree of Life’s immediate past president, Michael Eisenberg, told KDKA-TV that there were three congregations meeting simultaneously, probably totaling about 100 people, at the time of the shooting.    They were gathered in the main part of the building, as well in the basement and in the rabbi study room, he said.
        The shooting occurred during a babynaming service.    Eisenberg said he spoke with a maintenance man who hid in a bathroom during the shooting and witnessed a congregant being shot before fleeing through an exit.
        Eisenberg said he was on his way to a service there when he noticed police swarming the streets.
        “There were police cars everywhere, guns drawn, rifles,” he told KDKA-TV.    “It was surreal.”
        In the interview, Eisenberg said synagogue officials recently adjusted the exit doors to make them easier to open, which probably saved lives Saturday.    During Saturday services, the front door is kept unlocked, allowing visitors to come and go freely, he told KDKA-TV.
    Police respond to an active shooter situation Saturday at Tree of Life synagogue
    in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. PAM PANCHAK/AP

    10/28/2018 Border officials prepare for arrival of migrant caravan - Say they see no way to speed asylum process by Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
        SAN DIEGO – With 2,100 National Guardsmen already fanned out along the southern border and another 1,000 troops on the way, the Trump administration is doing everything it can to ensure that members of the migrant caravan headed north through Mexico do not illegally enter the United States.
        But after touring the largest port of entry along that border Friday, the head of Customs and Border Protection conceded that his officers don’t have a way to speed up their ability to process caravan members trying to enter the country legally by requesting asylum.
        While visiting the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the main crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said his agency views the looming arrival of the migrant caravan as a “law enforcement situation.”
        He said his Border Patrol agents and members of the military will be ready to rapidly deploy anywhere along the nearly 2,000-mile border to ensure the caravan does not force its way across the border, as it did when it crossed from Guatemala into Mexico.
        We’re not going to allow a large group to push into the United States unlawfully,” he said.    “We can’t have it.    It’s not safe for anybody involved.”
        But the last migrant caravan that reached the United States earlier this year showed that most participants took the legal route by applying for asylum.    According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 122 caravan members were caught illegally crossing the border, but 401 requested asylum, with 93 percent passing their initial screening.
        Still, McAleenan said his hands are tied as to how his officers can process more caravan members who present themselves at ports of entry, as the Department of Homeland Security has urged them to do.
        “It’s not turning people away; it’s asking them to wait,” he said.
        McAleenan’s tour of the border comes as the Trump administration searches for a way to dissuade or halt the migrant caravan that has been estimated at up to 10,000 people.
        Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during her own tour of the California border Friday that “everything is on the table,” including a proposal to halt all asylum requests along the southern border.
        Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, under pressure from President Donald Trump, announced that caravan members who stay in the southern portion of his country would be given temporary work permits and access to public health benefits, education and shelters.    None of that has stopped the majority of caravan members, who continue their slow trek north.    U.S. officials are updating their mass migration response plans all across the border because it remains unclear where or when the group will arrive.
        McAleenan, who oversees Customs officers who man the nation’s ports of entry and Border Patrol agents who monitor the vast stretches in between, said the ideal place would be the San Ysidro port.    Officials there finalized a multiyear, $750 million upgrade in August that vastly expanded the number of lanes available for cargo trucks, buses, personal vehicles and pedestrians.    About 100,000 people cross through the port each day.
        Despite improvements, the facility can only process about 100 asylumseekers each day, housing them in basement holding cells.    McAleenan said they are often stuck there until space opens up in detention facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for adults and the Department of Health and Human Services for minors.
        “We’re not going to allow a large group to push into the United States unlawfully.    We can’t have it.    It’s not safe for anybody involved.” Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
    Customs and Border Protection head Kevin McAleenan is briefed
    at San Diego’s San Ysidro crossing. ALAN GOMEZ/USA TODAY

    10/28/2018 Pres. Trump: Fake, Dishonest Reporting Fuels Division, Hatred Among Americans by OAN Newsroom
    FILE – In this Oct. 11, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens to a question during a ceremony
    in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File )
        President Trump blasts the mainstream media over its attempts to tie him to recent acts of violence.
        The president took to twitter Sunday criticizing the media for its negative coverage of his administration.
        President Trump slammed, what he called, the fake and dishonest reporting of some mainstream outlets.
        This comes after several reports blamed Republicans for last week’s bomb threats, as well as the synagogue shooting in Pennsylvania.
        President Trump also suggested the negative media coverage of his work and his supporters is stirring hostility and division among the American people.

    10/28/2018 Defense Secy Mattis Discusses Military’s Role In Preparing For Migrant Caravan by OAN Newsroom
    FILE – In this July 14, 2018 file photo, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis
    addresses a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Olso, Norway. (Jim Watson/Pool Photo via AP, File)
        Defense Secretary James Mattis discusses the military’s role in making preparations, as the so called migrant caravan continues to advance toward the United States.
        Mattis described the DOD’s activities as defense support for the civilian authorities on the border.
        He explained the agencies are in a planning phase, using an approach which is similar to the way they prepare for a major storm.
        “We are planning logistics right now, said Mattis.    Obviously, logistics are always are a tough part, where you have to actually line up where is the gear at, where are the troops at for the mission.    Our staffs have meeting over the last three days, they’re meeting now, they’re meeting tomorrow, and we’ll make certain we have whatever material, just like we do for storms.”
        Mattis went on to say orders are being drafted and materials like barriers and construction supplies are being sent, in case they are needed.

    10/28/2018 Pittsburgh Synagogue Suspect To Make Court Appearance Monday by OAN Newsroom
    A person brings flowers to a makeshift memorial at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
        Pennsylvania authorities say the synagogue shooting suspect is set to make his first court appearance on Monday.
        Officials released the names of 11 victims ranging from 54 to 97-years-old Sunday, three who are women.
        The crime scene is expected to take up to a week to process following Sundays removal of the bodies.
        Officials reported multiple weapons were recovered, including an AR-15 and three Glock handguns.
        They also gave an update on those injured, saying a second officer will soon be out of the hospital.
        Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto called the shooting the “darkest day” in the city’s history.
        Peduto claims armed guards would not have prevented the attack, however, some Jewish groups say otherwise.

    10/29/2018 German governing parties punished in state election
        Germany’s governing parties lost significant support in a state election Sunday that was marked by discontent with infighting in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s national government and prompted calls for her administration to get its act together quickly.
        Projections showed Merkel’s conservatives heading for an extremely lackluster win in the vote for the central Hesse region’s state legislature.

    10/29/2018 State election losses further dent Merkel’s authority by Joseph Nasr
    FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a news conference
    after a Syria summit, in Istanbul, Turkey October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
        BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced calls on Monday from her own conservatives to cede the party’s leadership, further eroding her authority after painful losses in a regional election.
        Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) came home first in Sunday’s election in the western state of Hesse but support fell by more than 11 points, reigniting a succession debate by conservatives unhappy with the chancellor’s grip on power.
        She will also have to contend with pressure from her Social Democrat (SPD) junior coalition partners, who have also bled support in Hesse and are under pressure to rethink their alliance with Merkel.
        SPD leader Andrea Nahles, whose party saw support fall to its lowest since 1946, has threatened to end the alliance with Merkel’s conservatives if there is no improvement on policy.
        Merkel, chancellor for 13 years, will have to invest her political capital and tactical acumen to keep together her loveless coalition, borne out of necessity seven months ago after an inconclusive federal election last year.
        This will distract her from tending to major challenges at home and abroad – ranging from overcoming a digital deficit and pushing the German car industry toward cleaner mobility to seeing through euro zone reforms and managing Britain’s planned departure from the European Union.
        “The election results show that people expect renewal from the CDU,” conservative lawmaker Matern von Marschall told the Stuttgarter newspaper.
        His CDU colleague Christian von Steffen was more blunt: “We need a meaningful program with a clear path and new faces.”
        A senior CDU member told Reuters that party leaders wanted to discuss the possibility of Merkel reversing her decision to seek re-election as party chairwoman in December.
        “This should be discussed,” the member of the CDU governing board told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.    CDU leaders will meet next Sunday to prepare for a summit in December where party members will vote for a new chairman.
        Nahles is also feeling the heat from SPD members still disgruntled with their leaders’ decision to join Merkel instead of fulfilling an election promise to sit in opposition if they fail to win the federal vote.
        Nahles said on Sunday she would propose a roadmap to allow the SPD to measure the progress of the ruling coalition, which has been plagued by infighting, at a mid-term review next year.
        Her proposal did little to appease the head of the SPD’s youth wing, who said the election in Hesse was a clear signal that the ruling coalition was not viable.
        “The final verdict on the coalition has been spoken,” Kevin Kuehnert wrote in Twitter.    “Voters don’t want ‘business as usual.'
        Merkel’s coalition was twice on the brink of collapse, once over immigration policy and then over a dispute about the fate of the domestic intelligence chief who was accused of harboring far-right views.
        The instability has further eroded the credibility of the conservatives and the SPD in the eyes of German voters, who are increasingly turning to smaller parties on the right and on the left.
        In Hesse, where Merkel’s CDU rule with the ecologist Greens, the two biggest winners were the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
    (Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

    10/29/2018 U.S.-bound migrants enter Guatemala, others clash at border by Nelson Renteria and Delphine Schrank
    Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America en route to the United States,
    rest on the roadside in Tapanatepec, Mexico, October 28, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
        SONSONATE, El Salvador/TAPANATEPEC, Mexico (Reuters) – A new group of migrants bound for the United States set off from El Salvador and crossed into Guatemala 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 between 3,500 and 7,000, 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 broke through a gate at the Guatemala border with Mexico in Tecun Uman on Sunday, and clashed with police.    Local first responders said that security forces used rubber bullets against the migrants, and that one person, Honduran Henry Adalid, 26, was killed.
        Six police officers were injured, said Beatriz Marroquin, the director of health for the Retalhuleu region.
        Mexico’s Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete told reporters on Sunday evening that federal police did not have any weapons, even to fire plastic bullets.
        He said that some of the migrants had guns while others had Molotov cocktails, and this information had been passed on to other Central American governments.
        Guatemala’s government said in a statement that it regrets that the migrants didn’t take the opportunity of dialogue and instead threw stones and glass bottles at police.
        U.S. President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to make immigration a major issue ahead of Nov. 6 elections, in which the party is battling to keep control of Congress.
        Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on “Fox News Sunday” said Trump was determined to use every authority he had to stop immigrants from crossing the border illegally.
        “We have a crisis at the border right now … This caravan is one iteration of that but frankly we essentially see caravans every day with these numbers,” she said.
        “I think what the president is making clear is every possible action, authority, executive program, is on the table to consider, to ensure that it is clear that there is a right and legal way to come to this country and no other ways will be tolerated,” Nielsen added.
        Trump has threatened to shut down the border with Mexico and last week said he would send troops.    On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis authorized the use of troops and other military resources at the U.S.-Mexico border.
        By Sunday evening, hundreds of the Salvadorans had crossed the border into Guatemala, having walked and hitched rides in pickups and on buses from the capital.
        They organized using social networks like Facebook and WhatsApp over the last couple of weeks, inspired by the larger group in Mexico.
        Salvadoran police traveled with the group, who carried backpacks and water bottles and protected themselves from the hot sun with hats.
        Several migrants, gathered by the capital’s ‘Savior of the World’ statue before leaving, said they were headed to the United States.
        El Salvador’s left-wing government said it had solidarity with the migrants and respected their right to mobilize, but urged them not to risk their lives on the way.
        In Mexico, the original group of Hondurans, exhausted by constant travel in blistering heat, spent Sunday resting up in the town of Tapanatepec, Oaxaca, planning to head north at 3 am on Monday.
        “It’s far … the farthest yet,” said Honduran Bayron Baca, 26, pulling open a map that Red Cross volunteers had given him in a medical tent.
        Dozens took dips in a nearby river to refresh themselves from the trek, which has covered an average 30 miles (48 km) a day.
        An estimated 2,300 children were traveling with the migrant caravan, UNICEF said in a statement, adding that they needed protection and access to essential services like healthcare, clean water and sanitation.
        Eduardo Grajales, a Red Cross volunteer in Arriaga, Mexico, attending to migrants on Friday night, said the worst case his colleagues had seen that day was of a baby so badly sunburned from the tropical heat, he had to be hospitalized.
    (Reporting by Nelson Renteria and Delphine Schrank, additional reporting by Carlos Rawlins, Sofia Menchu and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Andrea Ricci, Rosalba O’Brien and Darren Schuettler)

    10/29/2018 Central American migrants ‘push and kick’ their way through border fence by OAN Newsroom
        Members of a migrant caravan recently forced their way through a gate at Mexico’s southern border.
        According to Sunday reports, more than 100 Central American migrants forced their way through a customs gate connecting Guatemala and Mexico.
        Officials said several Guatemalan police officers and migrants were injured as the group “pushed and kicked” its way through the gate.
    Central American migrants try to force their way through a customs gate at the border bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico,
    in Tecun Uman, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. A new group of migrants, who called themselves a second caravan, gathered on a bridge after
    forcing their way through a gate at the Guatemalan end and clash with Mexican authorities. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)
        This incident comes just more than a week after separate reports showed migrants clashing with Mexican riot police along Mexico’s southern border.
        About 50 migrants were able to push through and others threw rocks at police before officers deployed pepper spray to regain control.
        At least one person was reportedly killed and six police officers were hurt.
    Central American migrants run from Mexican authorities during clashes on a border bridge that connects
    Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. A new group of migrants, who called
    themselves a second caravan, gathered on a bridge after forcing their way through a gate at the Guatemalan end. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)
        Mexico offered members of the caravan long-term work last Friday if they agreed to apply for asylum in Mexico.    While some are accepting that offer, others are determined to reach the United States.
        Meanwhile, President Trump is calling on the migrants to go back, saying they will not be admitted into the U.S. unless they go through the legal process.
        The president made the comment on Twitter Monday.    He said many gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the caravan.    The president went on to call the caravans an invasion of our country.
        President Trump has said he will close the southern border and send U.S. troops to aid border security officials.    The Pentagon has already approved the deployment of 5,000 active duty service members if needed.

    10/29/2018 Thousands of U.S. troops could be sent to Mexico border: sources by Phil Stewart
    Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America en route to the U.S.,
    walk on the train tracks, in Arriaga, Mexico October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of U.S. troops may be headed to the border with Mexico ahead of a caravan of migrants trekking toward the United States, U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday, offering much higher estimates than the 800 to 1,000 initially forecast.
        The Pentagon declined comment on potential troop numbers, saying planning was still underway for a mission that risks drawing the U.S. military into a politically charged operation just days ahead of Nov. 6 mid-term congressional elections.
        President Donald Trump, who has seized upon the Central American migrant caravan in campaign rallies ahead of the vote, said on Twitter that the military would be waiting for the procession — suggesting a far more direct role in confronting the migrants than U.S. defense officials have previously suggested.
        “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border,” Trump tweeted.
        “Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” he added.
        U.S. officials told Reuters last week the military will have not have an active law enforcement role, instead sending engineers, pilots and other support staff including some that may be able deal with crowd control on the U.S. side of the border. Pentagon officials declined comment on Monday.
        Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis authorized the use of troops and other military resources at the U.S-Mexico border.    U.S. officials told Reuters they would begin deploying as soon as Tuesday and their mission was authorized through mid-December.
        That authorization could be extended, they noted.
        Mattis’ authorization last week allowed the military to provide “mission-enhancing capabilities” to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help build temporary barriers and housing.
        On Sunday, Mattis told reporters that some construction materials were already being moved to the border, including barriers.    He said the Department of Defense was still planning the logistics and details of the deployment.
        Mattis suggested the mission would take time to develop, saying it would be a “phased” operation. U.S. officials have told Reuters the support mission would be coordinated by the U.S. military’s Northern Command.
        Trump, who campaigned against illegal immigration to win the 2016 U.S. presidential vote, has seized on this caravan in the run-up to the congressional elections, firing up support for his Republican Party, which is seeking to maintain control of Congress.
        If the Republicans lose Congress, it could make it much harder for Trump to pursue his policy agenda in the remaining two years of his term in office.
        Estimates on the size of the caravan vary from around 3,500 to more than double that.    Some migrants have abandoned the journey, deterred by the hardships or the possibility of making a new life in Mexico.    Others joined it in southern Mexico.
        Trump’s decision to call in the military appears to be a departure from past practice, at least in recent years, in which such operations were carried out by National Guard forces — largely part-time military members who are often called upon to serve in response to domestic emergencies.
        There are 2,100 U.S. National Guard forces at the border already, sent after a previous Trump request in April.
        The decision to send active duty forces this time gives the Pentagon the ability to more rapidly mobile greater capability than would be immediately available with the Guard, officials tell Reuters.
    (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell)

    10/29/2018 Election of far-right president in Brazil cheered by Trump, markets by Ricardo Brito and Rodrigo Viga Gaier
    Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL),
    react after Bolsonaro wins the presidential race, in Brasilia, Brazil October 28, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
        RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former Army captain who won Brazil’s presidential election in convincing fashion, rode a wave of enthusiasm on Monday from giddy supporters, bullish investors and budding ally U.S. President Donald Trump.
        Bolsonaro, who early in his legislative career declared he was “in favor” of dictatorships and demanded that Congress be disbanded, vowed on Sunday to adhere to democratic principles while holding up a copy of the country’s Constitution.
        U.S. President Donald Trump said he had an “excellent call” congratulating Bolsonaro and tweeted about their plans to “work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else!
        Markets also cheered Bolsonaro’s victory, sending Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index to an all-time high on his pledges to balance the federal budget and privatize state firms.
        Bolsonaro’s win alarmed critics around the globe, given his defense of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, vows to sweep away leftist political opponents and a track record of denigrating comments about gays, women and minorities.
        His victory brings Brazil’s military back into the political limelight after it spent three decades in the barracks following the country’s return to civilian rule.    Several retired generals will serve as ministers and close advisers.
        “You are all my witnesses that this government will defend the constitution, of liberty and of God,” Bolsonaro said in a Facebook live video in his first comments after his victory.
        The president-elect’s future chief of staff told Reuters his first international trip would be to Chile — one of the South American neighbors that swung to the right in recent elections.
        An outspoken Trump admirer, Bolsonaro also vowed to realign Brazil with more advanced economies such as the United States, overhauling diplomatic priorities after nearly a decade and a half of leftist rule.
        The 63-year-old former paratrooper joins a list of populist, right-wing figures to win elections in recent years such as Trump, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
        Trump’s friendly call augurs closer political ties between the two largest economies in the Americas – both now led by conservative populists promising to overturn the political establishment.
        Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist with Rio de Janeiro State University, said he was concerned that the tense and violent atmosphere that enveloped Brazil’s election campaign may continue.
        “It’s a worrying scenario.    It’s possible that even with his win, we could see a further wave of violence among Bolsonaro’s supporters against those who backed his opponent,” Santoro said.
        Bolsonaro supporters carried out several attacks in the run-up to Sunday’s vote, in particular targeting Brazilian journalists, according to a tally kept by Abraji, an investigative journalism group.
        Bolsonaro himself was stabbed at a rally last month and will need to undergo surgery in mid-December.
        Bolsonaro won 55.2 percent of votes in a run-off election against left-wing hopeful Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT), who garnered 44.8 percent, according to electoral authority TSE.
        The fiery lawmaker’s rise has been propelled by rejection of the leftist PT that ran Brazil for 13 of the last 15 years and was ousted two years ago in the midst of a deep recession and political graft scandal.
        Thousands of Bolsonaro supporters cheered and set off fireworks outside his home in Rio de Janeiro’s beachfront Barra de Tijuca neighborhood as his victory was announced.
        “I don’t idolize Bolsonaro and I don’t know if he will govern well, but we are hopeful.    People want the PT out, they can’t take any more corruption,” said Tatiana Cunha, a 39-year-old systems analyst in the midst of the noisy celebrations.
        Investors cheered Bolsonaro’s ascent, relieved that he could keep the PT out of power and hopeful that he would carry out fiscal reforms proposed by his orthodox economic guru.
        Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index rose as much as 3 percent to an all-time high in opening trade, led higher by shares of state-owned firms and blue-chips.
        State lender Banco do Brasil SA rose nearly 5 percent and state oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA opened 4 percent higher at an 8.5-year high.
        Brazil’s currency, the real, gained around 10 percent against the dollar this month and interest rate futures have tightened dramatically as Bolsonaro’s prospects improved.
        Investors are particularly heartened by his choice of Paulo Guedes, a Chicago University-trained economist and investment banker, as future economy minister.
        Guedes, who wants to privatize an array of state firms, said on Sunday the new government will try to erase Brazil’s budget within deficit in a year, simplify and reduce taxes, and create 10 million jobs by cutting payroll taxes.    New rules will boost investment in infrastructure, he told reporters.
        Still, Fitch Ratings on Monday highlighted the “deep fiscal challenges” confronting Bolsonaro’s team, as weak growth and a huge budget deficit give little room to maneuver.
        “The exact details of how his administration plans to achieve (its) objectives are limited,” wrote Fitch analysts led by Shelly Shetty.    “The lack of fiscal space, a high unemployment rate and a sluggish economic recovery will also likely limit economic policy options.”
        Onyx Lorenzoni, a fellow congressman whom Bolsonaro has tapped as chief of staff, told journalists that Guedes would be responsible for structuring an independent, autonomous central bank with targets.
        Asked about Brazil’s currency, Lorenzoni said Bolsonaro would offer businesses more predictability, but ruled out an exchange rate target.
        In a separate interview with Reuters, he said the president-elect would meet with Guedes and other members of his team on Tuesday.    He will oversee the transition from Rio this week and fly to the capital Brasilia next week, Lorenzoni added.
        In parallel, representatives for Bolsonaro will begin meeting this week with President Michel Temer’s team to start work ahead of the Jan. 1 inauguration.
    (Reporting by Ricardo Brito in Rio de Janeiro and Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter and Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro, Brad Brooks in Sao Paulo and Jake Spring in Brasilia; Editing by Neil Fullick and Alistair Bell)

    10/29/2018 Wall Street claws back as financials lead by Lewis Krauskopf
    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
        (Reuters) – U.S. stocks gained on Monday, helped by relief over Italy maintaining its debt rating, as equities clawed back from a sharp sell off last week.
        Financials <.SPNY> led broad gains among sectors as the benchmark S&P 500 rose more than 1 percent.
        Shares of software maker Red Hat Inc gave among the biggest boosts to the S&P 500, surging 45.3 percent after the company agreed to be bought by IBM Corp for $34 billion.    IBM shares fell 1.9 percent.
        Still, stocks had come off their session highs, as investors were wary of any rally given increased volatility over the past month, stemming from higher interest rates and worries about the economy and trade tensions.    The S&P last week flirted with correction territory.
        “They were so oversold, it invited a bounce,” said Willie Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee.    “The question is whether or not it can go anywhere.”
        The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 254.08 points, or 1.03 percent, to 24,942.39, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 34.9 points, or 1.31 percent, to 2,693.59 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 63.18 points, or 0.88 percent, to 7,230.39.
        Investors who are bullish about stocks point to strong corporate earnings and economic strength, although weak housing data has raised some concern about the economy.
        Data on Monday showed U.S. consumer spending rose for a seventh straight month in September, but income recorded its smallest gain in more than a year amid moderate wage growth, suggesting the current pace of spending was unlikely to be sustained.
        “Many investors are starting to take a step back from all the noise and are looking at the strong fundamentals of the U.S. economy right now,” said Arian Vojdani, an investment strategist at MV Financial in Bethesda, Maryland.
        Earlier, relief over Italy dodging a ratings downgrade helped global sentiment and overturned an earlier fall in U.S. stock futures.
        Shares of carmaker Ford Motor Co rose 5.1 percent, while General Motors Co gained 3.7 percent after Bloomberg reported China was planning to cut the tax levied on car purchases by half.
        Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.62-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
        The S&P 500 posted 3 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 20 new highs and 54 new lows.
    (Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Thomas)

    10/29/2018 End of era beckons as Merkel says will not stand again as chancellor by Andreas Rinke and Paul Carrel
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts as she attends a news conference following
    the Hesse state election in Berlin, Germany, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
        BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she would not seek re-election as party chairwoman and that her fourth term as chancellor would be her last, heralding the end of a 13-year era in which she has dominated European politics.
        Merkel, 64, has been chairwoman of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2000 and chancellor since 2005.    Her decision to step down as chairwoman comes after her party suffered its second regional election setback in as many weeks.
        Merkel made the announcement a day after Sunday’s vote in the state of Hesse, at which the CDU came first but suffered a slump in support from the last election there in 2013.
        “I have the firm feeling that today the time has come to open a new chapter,” Merkel, looking serious but calm, told reporters in Berlin after a meeting of the CDU’s leadership.
        Drawing the consequences of the CDU’s weak result in Hesse and dissatisfaction with her coalition, she said: “Firstly, at the next CDU party congress in December in Hamburg, I will not put myself forward again as candidate for the CDU chair.”
        “Secondly, this fourth term is my last as German chancellor.    At the federal election in 2021, I will not stand,” she added.
        The move sets in motion the process for the CDU to settle on and groom Merkel’s successor.    It caused the euro to fall briefly and German government bond yields rose.
        Stepping down as CDU chairwoman further undermines Merkel’s authority, as she had previously said the party chair and chancellery should be held by the same person.
        Her authority has already been dented this year by the two regional election setbacks and a close ally losing his role as leader of her conservatives’ parliamentary group.
        Merkel has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the euro zone crisis and opening Germany’s doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015 – a move that still divides the bloc and Germany.
        “We are witnessing a continuation of the pattern in place ever since Merkel’s mistakes in the 2015 migration crisis: the gradual but steady erosion of her political power,” said Carsten Nickel, managing director at Teneo, a consultancy.
        “Rather than outright instability in Germany and Europe, it simply means a continuation of the current leadership vacuum.”
        Monday’s news came as a surprise to CDU party officials, who had expected Merkel to seek re-election as chairwoman at a party congress in Hamburg in early December.
        The shock move started the race in the CDU to succeed Merkel.    It also raises questions about whether she can stage manage a smooth exit.
        Merkel is under pressure from her Social Democrat coalition partners to deliver more policy results and the center-left party could yet pull out of the government at a mid-term review next year.
        Germany’s other leading CDU chancellors – Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl – both had messy ends to their time in office.
        Merkel standing down from the party chair will allow a new CDU chairman or chairwoman to build a profile before the next national election.
        Merkel said CDU party Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Health Minister Jens Spahn – a leading critic of the chancellor – had announced they would seek the party chair.    Party sources said Friedrich Merz, a former parliamentary leader of Merkel’s conservative alliance, would also run.
        Merkel’s weakness at home may limit her capacity to lead in the European Union at a time when the bloc is dealing with Brexit, a budget crisis in Italy and the prospect of populist parties making gains at European parliament elections next May.
        When Merkel came into office in 2005, George W. Bush was U.S. president, Jacques Chirac was in the Elysee Palace in Paris and Tony Blair was British prime minister.
        In Sunday’s vote in Hesse, the CDU came out top but lost 11 percentage points in support from the last election in 2013.
        “With these latest results, it has simply become untenable that Merkel continues to lead the CDU,” said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director at Eurasia Group, a consultancy.
    (Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

    10/29/2018 Greek students clash with police in central Athens
    Riot police officers try to avoid flames from a petrol bomb during clashes as Greek students demonstrate
    against a draft bill changing university entrance requirements in Athens, Greece, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
        ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek youths clashed with police in central Athens on Monday as a protest against education reform turned violent when it reached parliament’s Syntagma square.
        Protesters threw stones, flares and petrol bombs at police who responded with teargas.
        The incidents occurred during a march by students to parliament, protesting against a draft bill changing university entrance requirements.
        Reuters witnesses saw at least three petrol bombs hurled by demonstrators, who also threw flares.    Police responded with rounds of teargas.
        The incidents ended almost as rapidly as they started and the central square soon opened up for traffic.
        Reforms wanted by the education ministry include curriculum changes in the final year of high school and alterations to what are now uniform entrance exams to university, irrespective of the chosen field of study.
        High school students say the changes will increase the exam burden and create a system which discourages critical thought.
    (Reporting by Athens newsroom,; Editing by Alison Williams and Ed Osmond)

    10/29/2018 U.S. urges EU to stop WTO steel spat, hopes for deal with Canada, Mexico by Tom Miles
    FILE PHOTO: Dennis Shea U.S. Ambassador to the WTO arrives for the General Council meeting at the
    World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
        GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States urged European Union governments on Monday to reflect on whether it was really in their interest for the EU to go ahead with a trade dispute over U.S. metals tariffs, and said it was hopeful of settling the issue with Mexico and Canada.
        U.S. Ambassador Dennis Shea told the WTO’s monthly dispute settlement meeting, which was considering 12 requests for adjudication over U.S. tariffs and related retaliation, that Washington was “>deeply disappointed” with the EU’s stance.
        “We would encourage the European countries to consider carefully their broader economic, political, and security interests,” Shea said, according to a transcript of his remarks seen by Reuters.
        But another U.S. trade official later told the same meeting that the United States had held constructive discussions on the tariffs with Canada and Mexico, the transcript showed.
        “The United States is hopeful these discussions may be concluded satisfactorily,” the official said.
        China, Norway, Russia and Turkey had also asked the WTO to judge the legality of the U.S. tariffs, despite Washington’s claim that they are based on national security and therefore outside WTO jurisdiction.
        “We will not allow China’s Party-State to fatally undermine the U.S. steel and aluminum industries, on which the U.S. military, and by extension global security, rely,” Shea said.
        National security claims were taboo for most of the WTO’s 23-year history, because trade diplomats feared a domino effect as countries cited national security to get out of a wide range of obligations.    But Shea suggested it would be even worse to try to challenge the U.S. national security claim.
        “The United States wishes to be clear: if the WTO were to undertake to review an invocation of (the national security exemption), this would undermine the legitimacy of the WTO’s dispute settlement system and even the viability of the WTO as a whole,” he said.
    (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter)

    10/29/2018 Officials: Migrant Caravan Will Not Enter U.S. by OAN Newsroom
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, right, listens as Commander of United States
    Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command Gen. Terrence John O’Shaughnessy, left, speaks
    during a news conference in Washington, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, on the Department of Defense deployment to the Southwest border. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        The Pentagon announces how it will respond to the thousands of migrants headed toward the U.S. border.
        Officials Monday said there have been multiple resources deployed to address the approaching migrant caravans, including thousands of Border Patrol agents and Special Task Forces.
        They pointed to the recent violent acts by the caravan, after forcing their way through the Guatemala-Mexico border over the weekend, and warned they will not allow them to enter the U.S. unlawfully.
        Officials added the Mexican government has already offered the migrants a deal to stay in Mexico, including guaranteed shelter and employment, but that offer was denied.
        “By the end of this week we will deploy over 5,200 soldiers to the southwest border,” said Gen. Terrence John O’Shaughnessy.    That is just the start of this operation.    We’ll continue to adjust the numbers and inform you those but please know that’s an addition to the 2,092 that are already employed from our National Guard Operation Guardian support that’s been so effective.”
        This comes as President Trump is expected to announce a plan to deal with the caravan on Tuesday.

    10/29/2018 Secretary Pompeo: Iran’s economy faces deep recession amid corruption, bad policies by OAN Newsroom
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Alex Brandon/AP/Photo)
        According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Iranian economy is headed for a deep recession.
        In a tweet Monday, Secretary Pompeo said the Ayatollah regime is ruining the Iranian economy by moving money out of the country instead of creating jobs.
        He pointed to a recent report from the International Monetary Fund that forecast Iran’s GDP would fall 3.6-percent next year.
        Pompeo’s remarks come just ahead of a U.S. oil embargo against Iran due on Sunday, November 4.
        In the meantime, the Ayatollah Regime is seeking to maintain its business ties with the EU and protect itself from internal dissent.
        “Russia, China, India, European Union, some African countries and some countries from Latin America, they are our friends — we should work with them,” stated Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.    “The U.S. showed that it not only opposed Iran’s government and not only Iran’s regime, but it is opposed Iran and Iranian nation.”
        Secretary Pompeo also said Iran’s economic struggle is a result of its support for the Assad government in Syria.

        10/29/2018 Synagogue shooter appears in court by OAN Newsroom
    This undated Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo shows Robert Bowers,
    the suspect in the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh
    on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation via AP)
        The suspect accused of fatally shooting 11 people at synagogue in Pittsburgh over the weekend recently made his first court appearance.
        46-year-old Robert Bowers appeared before a judge Monday, where he waived a reading of the criminal complaint against him and the possible penalties he faces if convicted.
        He also waived his right to a bail hearing and will be held without bond.
        Leading prosecutor Scott Brady spoke with reporters following the hearing, where he confirmed Bowers will make a second court appearance on Thursday.
        Bowers has been indicted on 29 criminal counts, including first degree murder and assault.
        Meanwhile, the rabbi of the Tree Life Synagogue is claiming an extra security review is taking place in an effort to prevent future incidents from happening.
        While speaking Monday, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said security personnel is examining the deadly incident for the community.    He said it’s not just Pittsburgh that needs to examine the situation, but rather the Jewish community as a whole.
    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha Congregation stands
    across the street from the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
        Local residents where the shooting took place discussed ways they believe could combat future incidents.
        “Shouldn’t really need security you know, psychopaths are everywhere — the only way to defend against them is to defend yourselves typically,” said resident Mark Weiler.    “I’m an advocate for concealed carry in things like this and maybe that’s what the Jewish community needs to do.”
        Other locals said they will survive this incident and be stronger because of it, but will never be the same.

    10/30/2018 Strong Wall Street start ends in big drop - S& P 500 index falls just short of correction territory by Adam Shell, USA TODAY
        Wall Street took investors on a wild ride Monday, with the Dow swinging more than 900 points before closing down for the day.    The Standard & Poor’s 500 also shifted violently but avoided ending in official “correction” territory.
        The latest sell-off was prompted by renewed tariff worries.
        The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 350 points in morning trading before going into a free-fall that dragged it down 566 points from Friday’s close.    When trading ended, the blue-chip average was down 245 points, or 1 percent, at 24,443.    The broad S& P 500, which was up as much as 2 percent and fell nearly 4 percent from its high point for the day, closed down 0.7 percent at 2641.25 – or 9.9 percent off its Sept. 20 high.    That left the index just shy of the 10 percent drop needed for a correction.
        Stocks, which have been under pressure for weeks since the S& P 500 hit its high, continue to struggle under the weight of trade-war fears and concerns that the U.S. central bank will hike interest rates too aggressively and cause damage to the economy.
        The broad stock market gauge turned sharply lower in the afternoon after Bloomberg reported that the U.S. is preparing to announce more tariffs on China in early December if talks between President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping are not able to ease the trade war in talks.
        That news triggered a fresh round of selling by investors who are increasingly concerned that a protracted trade fight with China, the world’s second- biggest economy, will cause the U.S. economy and foreign economies to slow.
        Many leading stocks fell, including, which dropped more than 6 percent, and video streaming service Netflix, which slipped more than 5 percent, and airplane maker Boeing, which cratered more than 6.5 percent after one of its Boeing 737 planes was involved in a deadly crash in Indonesia.
        With the S&P 500 now in danger of suffering its second corrective phase this year following a 10.2 percent drop that ended in early February, Wall Street is debating whether the 9-year-old bull market is in danger of falling more and vulnerable to its first bear market, or a 20 percent-plus drop.
        “It doesn’t take heavy analysis to recognize this market is now approaching bear territory,” Michael Wilson, equity strategist at Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley, told clients in a report.
        While the broad S&P 500 is down only about 10 percent from its high, more than 40 percent of U.S. stocks, he says, have fallen more than 20 percent from their highs in the past year.
        The main worry is that the economic challenges that are building could cause investors to re-evaluate their high expectations for corporate profits in the quarters ahead.    While earnings for companies in the July-September quarter are seen growing at a 20 percent clip for the third consecutive quarter, Wall Street pros are worried that earnings will slow next year from the 10 percent growth now expected by analysts.    What could cause the drag?    Higher wages and rising commodities costs due to tariffs.

    10/30/2018 Reinforcing the US-Mexico border
        As several thousand migrants tramp through Mexico, heading for the United States, the Pentagon is sending 5,200 troops to the border ahead of them.
        The troops will not be carrying out law enforcement activities.
        Instead, they will provide support services for the regular agents of the border patrol.    They are to be added to the 2,100 National Guardsmen already deployed at the border.
        The caravan, estimated to consist of as many as 7,000 people, is headed slowly north.
        The new deployment is seen as the latest effort by the Trump administration to show robust border security in the days before the midterm elections.
    Customs and Border Protection agents stand guard at the Gateway International Bridge
    in Brownsville, Texas, on Monday. JASON HOEKEMA/THE BROWNSVILLE HERALD VIA AP

    10/30/2018 Pentagon to deploy troops to border - 5,200 sent south to head off caravan by Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – Just one week shy of the midterm elections, the Pentagon will deploy at least 5,200 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to prevent members of a migrant caravan from illegally entering the country, the Department of Defense announced Monday.
        About 2,100 National Guard troops already were fanned out across the border under an order from President Donald Trump earlier this year.    In recent weeks, the president has been warning repeatedly about the dangers posed by the caravan of mostly Central American migrants.
        Critics accused Trump of using the Pentagon as a tool to rally his political base ahead of the midterm elections by drumming up anti-immigrant fears.
        “At a moment we need a president that helps the nation heal and unite, we have one that is ripping us apart and using racism, xenophobia and antisemitism as strategic weapons in the run up to the elections,” tweeted Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group.
        The caravan stands at about 3,500 people after 1,700 of them filed asylum applications in Mexico or accepted assistance to return to their home countries.
        Administration officials said last week that they were considering a plan to send up to 1,000 active-duty troops to the border. But that deployment, dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot, will surpass 5,200, said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Northern Command.
        “That is just the start of this operation,” O’Shaughnessy said in a news conference Monday.    “Border security is national security.”
        The troops will not conduct law enforcement activities, but some will be armed as they provide support to Border Patrol agents along the border.
        National Guard units have already been assisting by monitoring video surveillance feeds to direct Border Patrol agents patrolling the vast stretches between U.S. ports of entry.    The new deployment of active-duty troops will include helicopter and other aviation units armed with night vision technology to help identify anyone trying to illegally cross the border, and to deploy agents to apprehend them, O’Shaughnessy said.
        The operation will also include engineering units to build temporary barriers, lay out concertina wire at ports of entry and construct temporary housing for U.S. personnel, he said. About 800 troops are already en route to Texas from Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, and more will follow this week headed toward Arizona and California.
        Typically, migrant caravans travel in numbers to seek safety and avoid risks such as kidnap, rape and extortion.    When the last migrant caravan reached the U.S. border in April, a majority of people presented themselves at ports of entry to request asylum, a legal way to enter the United States.
        Trump on Monday again claimed, without evidence, that the migrant caravan may have “many gang members” and “some very bad people.”    Reporters from USA TODAY and other media outlets, including The Associated Press, have not seen the presence of such individuals.    Supporters of the caravan have denied such allegations.    Many of the migrants are families traveling with children.
        Critics accused Trump of using the Pentagon as a tool in his political game by drumming up anti-immigrant fears to rally his political base in the leadup to the midterm elections.
    Contributing: David Jackson and Tom Vanden Brook in Washington.
    BORTAC secures the southwest Border in Arizona at the U.S. / Mexico border. NICK OZA/THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC

    10/30/2018 Grand jury will be given Pittsburgh shooting case - Suspect called a danger to the community by John Bacon, Chris Kenning and Max Londberg, USA TODAY
        PITTSBURGH – The long-haul trucker accused of shooting and killing 11 worshipers in a hate-driven rampage at a local synagogue made a brief court appearance in a wheelchair Monday and was ordered back for a preliminary hearing Thursday.
        Robert Bowers, 46, was assigned a court-appointed lawyer and waived a reading of the charges he faces.    He was being held without bail for the attack the Anti-Defamation League called the deadliest against the Jewish community in U.S. history.
        Bowers, who was wounded in a gunfight with police during Saturday’s carnage at Tree of Life Synagogue, was released from a local hospital hours before the hearing.
        Scott Brady, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania, said after the hearing that the case would be presented to a federal grand jury within 30 days.
        In court documents filed just before the hearing, prosecutors described Bowers as a danger to the community.
        Prosecutors wanted Bowers held without bail, asserting that “no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure” his appearance at future court hearings.
        Brady said earlier that he has begun the process of gaining the approval of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to pursue a death penalty case against Bowers.
        President Donald Trump has expressed support for Brady’s position, saying that “when people do this, they should get the death penalty.    And they shouldn’t have to wait years and years.”
        The White House announced that Trump and first lady Melania Trump would visit Pittsburgh on Tuesday “to express the support of the American people and to grieve with the Pittsburgh community.” Brady said Bowers’ apartment in Baldwin, about 10 miles south of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the shooting took place, and his vehicle were being searched.    Jon Pushinsky, 64, a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue, came to watch the court proceedings, saying he wanted to bear witness.
        He was struck by Bowers’ everyday appearance.
        “It was not the face of villainy that I thought we’d see,” he said.
        Jean Clickner, another Tree of Life member in court to get a glimpse of Bowers, said she doesn’t support prosecutors’ push for the death penalty.    She said she is focused on helping heal the injured and grieving.
        Pushinsky and Clickner were members of Dor Hadash Congregation, one of those within the Tree of Life Synagogue.
        After the hearing, Brady read a statement to reporters but took no questions.    He promised to present a preliminary case at the next hearing Thursday at 10 a.m.
        “At that time, we will have the opportunity to present evidence demonstrating that Robert Bowers murdered 11 people who were exercising their religious beliefs, and that he shot or injured six others, four of whom were police officers responding to the shooting.”
        “Our investigation of these hate crimes continues,” he said.
        Authorities say Bowers, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and three Glock .357 handguns, burst into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue on Saturday, shouting anti-Semitic epithets and opening fire on the congregants.    Bowers was wounded in a shootout with police that left four officers injured, police say.
        Judah Samet, 80, said he arrived a few minutes late for the 9:45 a.m. service Saturday – and his tardiness probably saved his life.
        Samet, who survived 10 months at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during World War II before serving in the Israeli Army, pulled into the parking lot and was told the rampage was underway.
        Samet said the shooter came outside when Bowers briefly exited the synagogue.
        “The bullets were whizzing by me” until Bowers went back inside, Samet said.    “He kept killing.    I was lucky.”
        Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said he had just started services when he heard the gunfire.
        He told eight congregants to duck behind the thick oak pews and remain silent while he hustled some near the front out of the room.
        The shooting grew louder and he could not make his way back, he said.    He raced to a safe space in the choir loft while calling police.
        Twenty minutes later, he was extricated by SWAT officers, he said.    One of the congregants left behind was shot but survived, he said.
        “The other seven of my congregants were gunned down in my sanctuary,” Myers told CNN.    “There was nothing I could do. ... I wish I could have done more.”
        Bowers is charged with 29 criminal counts, including 11 federal hate-crime charges.    Another 11 counts of using a firearm to kill carry a maximum penalty of death.
        All 11 victims died from rifle wounds, and several suffered head wounds, the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said.
        The victims included middle-age brothers, an elderly husband and wife and a grandmother nearing 100.
        Barton Schachter recalled meeting one of the victims in the late ’80s, when the two coached Little League together.    Daniel Stein, Schachter said, loved baseball. He had an enormous smile.
        Recently, a new love had come into his life. Within the last year, the 71 year-old member of the Tree of Life congregation had his first grandchild, Schachter said.
        Stein’s smile spread across his face when he spoke of the grandchild.
        “He didn’t need to use a lot of words because he generated that enormous smile when he was talking about his kids, his grandchild, his synagogue,” Schachter said.
        Stein’s congregation, known as New Light, had only recently moved in with Tree of Life, Schachter said.
        Members had grown out of their former synagogue a few blocks away and were welcomed warmly about a year ago, sharing space with Jews from two different groups.    Their safe space of prayer and reflection abruptly turned into the scene of a bloodbath when Bowers allegedly burst in before 10 a.m. Saturday and started gunning down the congregants.
        David Haber, at his home overlooking Murray Avenue, called his wife when he noticed the street swarming with first responders.
        After he opened the front door, police officers yelled to get back inside.
        “We just watched it happen.    We stood at our door dumbfounded,” Pam Haber said.    “It was like a war zone.”
        Their front yard and street soon became the center of the police staging area.    They soon got a text that told them the shooting was at Tree of Life, their own synagogue.
        “Our beautiful utopia has been damaged,” David Haber said, adding he feels “somewhat violated.”
        The first burials have been scheduled for Tuesday, those close to the victims said.    Other families were waiting for the investigation to continue before they could quickly bury their loved ones as required by Jewish tradition.
        Bacon reported from McLean, Va. Londberg and Kenning reported from Pittsburgh. Contributing: Ryan Miller and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
        “Our beautiful utopia has been damaged.” David Haber
        “It was not the face of villainy that I thought we’d see.” Jon Pushinsky on suspect Robert Bowers
    A makeshift memorial welcomes mourners outside the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh. MATT ROURKE/AP

    10/30/2018 Bomber suspect appears in court by Sara Marino, USA TODAY NETWORK - FLORIDA
        MIAMI — The strip club DJ accused of mailing bombs to critics of President Donald Trump will remain in Florida this week as lawyers prepare for his transfer to New York City for prosecution.
        Cesar Sayoc, 56, appeared in federal court Monday.    He faces five charges, including interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of an explosive and threats against former presidents.    If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 48 years in prison.
        U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres scheduled another hearing for Sayoc on Friday. Monday’s hearing was brief, with Sayoc’s lawyers asking for more time and the judge agreeing to hold him without bond.
        Prosecutors are seeking to transfer Sayoc to New York, where he will be prosecuted.    A New York City public defender has been appointed in the case.
        As Sayoc heads to court Monday, the FBI said its bomb squad in Atlanta is responding to “a suspicious package” at the U.S. Postal Service in downtown Atlanta.
        The FBI did not identify to whom the package was addressed.    But earlier in the day, CNN President Jeff Zucker announced that a suspicious package addressed to the cable television network was intercepted Monday at an Atlanta post office.
        Sayoc, who was living in a van for much of the last decade, listed his mother’s Aventura condominium as his residence.    When authorities confiscated the van Friday, it was covered in images of President Donald Trump, American flags and what appeared to be logos of the Republican National Committee and stickers criticizing Democrats and CNN.
        Sayoc is a registered Republican and last voted in the November 2016 election.    He graduated from North Miami Beach High School in 1980.
        Sayoc was working the night before his arrest as a DJ at a strip club in West Palm Beach.
        Authorities used a fingerprint found on an envelope sent to Rep. Maxine Waters to identify Sayoc as a suspect, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday.
        Wray said investigators tracked more than a dozen devices mailed to highprofile Democrats and their supporters that all were similar.    Each mailed device included 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, battery, wiring and potentially explosive material.    The total number of bombs reached at least 14, including package sent to former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Democratic donor George Soros, and Florida U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman- Schultz. Authorities found a package Friday with a device in Florida addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, another in New York addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a device recovered at Sen. Kamala Harris’ office in Sacramento, California, and another package that was intercepted at a mail facility in Burlingame, California, addressed to billionaire Tom Steyer.
        Sayoc’s recent social media posts paint a picture of a staunch supporter of Trump and Ron DeSantis, the GOP nominee for Florida governor who the president has endorsed, as well as Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
        Other posts vilify Democrat Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee’s mayor, who is locked in a fierce battle with DeSantis.
        Authorities focused last week on a postal distribution center in Opa-Locka after discovering several of the suspicious packages passed through it.
        Sayoc was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved with his family to South Florida as a child.
        Records show he has a history of arrests dating back to at least the early 1990s.    He also had financial troubles, filing for personal bankruptcy in 2012 during the Great Recession.
        Sayoc’s criminal history includes a 2015 arrest in Broward County for petty theft and probation violation, and a 2002 Miami-Dade charge for threatening to blow up Florida Power and Light.
    Contributing: The Associated Press.
    Cesar Sayoc.

    10/30/2018 President Trump considers building tent city to hold migrants applying for asylum by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump is considering building a “tent city” along the southern border as a possible solution to the approaching migrant caravan.
        During an interview on Monday, the president explained the tents would be used to hold migrants who have applied for asylum while they wait for their case to go to trial.    He added, very few asylum applications are actually approved and those whose applications are rejected will be deported from the country.
        President Trump went on to blast the Obama administration for following a ‘catch and release’ policy, stressing how that will not happen under his watch.
    Children wait for a ride on the side of the road, as a caravan of Central Americans continues its slow march toward the U.S.
    border, near Tapanatepec, Mexico, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Thousands of migrants traveling together for safety resumed their
    journey after taking a rest day Sunday, while hundreds more migrants were pushing for entry to Mexico. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
        In order to accomplish this, the president is sending thousands of military troops to secure the border.
        “This caravan that’s coming up is not getting through.    It’s — no way it’s getting through.    And, in fact, I called up the United States military to make sure.    People are not going to come through in the caravan.    They are going to apply, and they have to come through legally.    And we want a merit system, not this ridiculous system that we have.    Merit.” — President Donald Trump
        Defense Secretary James Mattis had originally approved sending around 800 service members to the border, however, that number has since grown to over 5,000.
        Around 800 soldiers from bases in Kentucky are on their way to Texas to help secure the border as the migrant caravans march closer to the U.S.    The soldiers are part of the 5,200 active duty troops of ‘Operation Faithful Patriot,’ which will be deployed to Texas, Arizona and California.
        Air Force General Terrance O’Shaughnessy announced the U.S. will send the remaining service members and weapons by the end of the week.
        This comes after police in Mexico clashed with migrants, leaving one dead after the group attempted to enter Mexico from Guatemala.
        O’Shaughnessy said the military will work to maintain immigration policies set by the commander-in-chief.
        In the meantime, President Trump has not elaborated on his proposed tent city, but he added it will be “very nice” and will cost less than building more permanent structures.
    A new group of Central American migrants wade in mass across the Suchiate River, that connects
    Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. The first group was able to cross the river
    on rafts — an option now blocked by Mexican Navy river and shore patrols. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)

    10/31/2018 UK, Norway agree right to remain for their citizens after Brexit by Nerijus Adomaitis and Gwladys Fouche
    The London Eye, the Big Ben clock tower and the City of London financial district are seen from the
    Broadway development site in central London, Britain, August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
        OSLO (Reuters) – British citizens already living in Norway and Norwegian citizens living in Britain will have the right to remain residents, even in case of a no-deal Brexit, the prime ministers of Britain and Norway said on Tuesday.
        The agreement announced Tuesday was the first concrete step agreed between Britain and the Nordic country on terms that would apply after Britain leaves the EU in March.    Norway is not a member of the EU but is part of the single market as a member of the wider European Economic Area (EEA).
        “Prime Minister May and I agreed that Norway and UK will put in place a comprehensive citizens rights’ agreement,” said Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway.
        “We will treat all UK citizens living in Norway … so they will have the same opportunities as they had before also after March 2019,” she said, adding that Britain and Norway were “very close” on agreeing a deal to mirror any Brexit deal London concludes with Brussels.
        British Prime Minister Theresa May, visiting Oslo, said she was making the same commitment to Norwegian citizens, as part of a wider pledge to grant such rights to citizens of all EEA countries already living in Britain.
        “Whatever happens, we confirm that people from the EEA, the Norwegian citizens and those others who are living in the UK, and who have made their life choice to be in the UK, well, to be able to be in the UK.    We want them to stay.”     Solberg said that in the event Britain leaves the EU without a free trade deal with the EEA countries, the most challenging issue between Norway and Britain would be the trade in goods.
        “The most difficult part will be goods, especially from Norway to Britain, because there will be problems on the British side more than on our side,” she told Reuters.
        “We will have to deal only with Britain, but (Britain) will have to deal with everybody,” she said after a session of the Nordic Council at the Norwegian Parliament where May spoke earlier.
        Britain is Norway’s most important trading partner, buying oil, gas and fish.
        Still, Solberg said she “absolutely believed” that Oslo and London would be able to make “things function” between Norway and Britain even in the case of a hard Brexit.
    (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Peter Graff)

    10/31/2018 New Brexit vote may hamper independence goal, Scottish lawmaker says
    FILE PHOTO: Pete Wishart MP (2ndL) and John Swinney MSP arrive at Perth Congregational Church in Perth, Scotland
    October 18, 2014. A private memorial service was held to commemorate David Haines. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
        EDINBURGH (Reuters) – A senior member of the Scottish National Party has questioned his party’s backing for a second vote on European Union membership, arguing that it could undermine its Scottish independence goal.
        In a rare public sign of dissent Pete Wishart, an SNP lawmaker in Britain’s national parliament, said in a newspaper column that supporting a second “confirmatory” referendum could undercut the SNP’s goal of secession from the United Kingdom by inviting comparison.
        Infighting in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives is complicating her efforts to reach a deal in time for Brexit day on March 2019.    The SNP, Scotland’s biggest party, said this month it would back a second referendum on the issue — although Scotland already voted to keep its EU membership in 2016.
        Up to now the SNP had been one of the most unified parties on Brexit, supporting Britain’s continued membership of the single market and customs union.
        “There is now a view amongst the politicians leading the “People’s Vote” (second EU referendum) campaign that all big constitutional referendums should now have a “confirmatory” second vote,” Wishart wrote in Scottish newspaper The National.
        “By enthusiastically buying into this ‘confirmatory’ vote for an EU referendum we weaken our hand in resisting unionist calls for a second vote on a successful indyref (independence referendum).”
        In the UK’s 2016 referendum on EU membership, a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the bloc, while England – by far the most populous of the home nations – and Wales voted to leave.
        May has consistently ruled out the idea of a second Brexit referendum while Labour, whose ranks are also divided, has dithered over the issue.
    (Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)

    10/31/2018 U.S. general says troop numbers at Mexican border to rise further by Phil Stewart
    A U.S Custom and Border Protection agent guards one of the gates at the border on the
    international bridge between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. general overseeing a deployment of more than 5,200 troops to the border with Mexico said on Tuesday that troop levels would rise further, but declined to say how high or estimate what the operation will cost.
        Many basic questions remained unanswered a day after the Pentagon announced the open-ended deployment of over 5,200 active-duty troops to the border, including the scope of the mission as well as the Pentagon’s assessment of any threat posed by arriving migrants.
        President Donald Trump has hardened his stance on immigration ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections.    He has drawn attention to a caravan of migrants that is trekking through Mexico toward the United States as he seeks to fire up support for his Republican party, which is facing some tough battles as Democrats seek to wrest control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
        Republican lawmakers and other Trump supporters have applauded the deployment.    But critics say Trump is politicizing the military, deploying them as a stunt to drive Republican voters to the polls without any real national security threat.
        General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, defended the operation at a briefing on Tuesday.    He echoed Trump administration concerns about the caravan and compared the border support mission to other domestic military missions, like hurricane relief.
        “I firmly believe that border security is national security,” O’Shaughnessy said.
        The U.S. military still had no firm idea of what the operation would cost, he added.    Pentagon officials have said the Defense Department will need to find a way to pay for the operation, suggesting money may need to be taken from other national security programs.
        O’Shaughnessy said that just over 1,000 troops had deployed to Texas as of Tuesday, where they will carry out tasks like building barriers, erecting tents, and flying government personnel by helicopter to and from different locations along the border.
        He said the troops now slated to go to Texas, Arizona and California were only the start of a larger deployment and that eventually troops would go to New Mexico as well.
        “What I can confirm is there will be additional force over and above the 5,239.    The magnitude of that difference, I don’t have the answer for now,” he said.
        The projected U.S. deployment is already roughly the same size as the U.S. military contingent in Iraq.
        Trump railed against illegal immigration to win the 2016 presidential election and has seized on the caravan of Central American migrants at campaign rallies in the run-up to next week’s vote.
        Trump has characterized the migrants as an “invasion” and falsely stated they harbor terrorists and are financed in part by Democrats.
        O’Shaughnessy declined to comment on intelligence about the caravan when asked whether there were terrorists among the migrants.    He said the caravan was “different” than those seen by the United States in the past, adding that they were better organized.
        “We’ve seen violence coming out of the caravan,” O’Shaughnessy said.
        Mexico’s government said on Tuesday that it had deported two Honduran men for whom there were arrest warrants back home, one for homicide, the other for a drug-related offense.    The two men, ages 21 and 47, crossed into Mexico with the migrant caravan in the state of Chiapas.
        Kevin McAleenan, the U.S. commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, estimated on Monday that the caravan was comprised of about 3,500 migrants.
    (Reporting by Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler)

    10/31/2018 Thousands of Venezuelans head to Peru to beat residency deadline by Marco Aquino
    Venezuelan migrants queue to get the needed paperwork for a temporary residency permit
    outside the Interpol headquarters in Lima, Peru October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo
        LIMA (Reuters) – At least 6,000 Venezuelans lined up at Peru’s northern border on Tuesday in hopes of entering the country before a deadline for acquiring residency, and another 4,000 were due to arrive in the next two days, Peru’s ombudsman’s office said.
        Peru was one of the first countries to offer temporary residency cards for Venezuelans who have been fleeing their crisis-stricken homeland and crossing Colombia and Ecuador to reach Peru.
        As the number of Venezuelans in Peru has surged to nearly half a million, the government moved the deadline from the end of the year to the end of October.    They must enter the country by Wednesday to be eligible for the cards which allow them to live, work and study in the country legally.
        Peru also started requiring passports for entry.
        As the deadline has neared, a growing number of Venezuelans have crowded at Peru’s border with Ecuador, said Abel Chiroque, the head of the ombudsman’s office in the border town of Tumbes.
        “Demand for services is overwhelming … the capacity to respond has collapsed,” Chiroque said by phone, describing migrants who have been in line for nearly 24 hours.    “The situation is worrisome.”
        Chiroque said he asked the government to distribute tickets to Venezuelans in line when the deadline closes, so they can be eligible for the residency cards later.
        Peru’s immigration agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
        As oil-rich Venezuela’s economy has sunk into crisis under President Nicolas Maduro, as many as 1.9 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015, according to the United Nations.    Some 90 percent of recent departures, the U.N. says, remain in South America.
        The exodus has stressed social services and sparked concerns about crime and jobs in host countries, and many migrants are facing restrictive immigration laws and discrimination.
        Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said Monday that Peru could not give residency to Venezuelans indefinitely.
    (Reporting By Marco Aquino, Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

    10/31/2018 Bolsonaro’s economic guru urges quick Brazil pension reform by Rodrigo Viga Gaier
    A woman takes a t-shirt with the image of Brazil's new president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, in front of
    Bolsonaro's condominium at Barra da Tijuca neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
        RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – The future economy minister tapped by Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro insisted on Tuesday that he wanted to fast-track an unpopular pension reform to help balance government finances despite mounting resistance to getting it done this year.
        Paulo Guedes, whom Bolsonaro selected as a “super minister” with a portfolio combining the current ministries of finance, planning and development, has urged Congress to pass an initial version of pension reform before the Jan. 1 inauguration.
        “Our pension funds are an airplane with five bombs on board that will explode at any moment,” Guedes said on Tuesday.    “We’re already late on pension reform, so the sooner the better.”
        He called the reform essential to controlling surging public debt in Latin America’s largest economy and making space for public investments to jump-start a sluggish economy.    Markets surged in the weeks ahead of Bolsonaro’s Sunday victory on the expectation that he could pull off the tough fiscal agenda.
        Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index <.BVSP> rose 3.7 percent on Tuesday, boosted by strong corporate earnings and the resolve shown by Guedes on pension reform.
        Yet the University of Chicago-trained economist, who is getting his first taste of public service, met with skepticism from more seasoned politicians.
        Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of the lower house of Congress, said on Tuesday that reform is urgent, but cautioned that the conditions to pass it were still far off.
        Major Olimpio, a lawmaker from Bolsonaro’s own party who helped run his campaign, agreed the political climate was not ready for reform.
        Even Bolsonaro’s future chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, said in a Monday radio interview that he only expects to introduce a reform plan next year.
        After a meeting with Lorenzoni, Guedes said the decision on timing was ultimately a political one that the chief of staff would weigh.
        “We can’t go from a victory at the ballot box to chaos in Congress,” Guedes told journalists.
        On other issues, Guedes made clear he was the final word on economic matters, laying out plans to give the central bank more institutional independence and clarifying comments made by Lorenzoni about exchange-rate policy.
        “You are all scared because he is a politician talking about the economy.    That’s like me talking about politics.    It’s not going to work,” Guedes said.
        While advisers work out the details of his economic program, Bolsonaro revisited some of his most contentious campaign promises on Monday night: looser gun laws, a ban on government advertising for media that “lie,” and urging a high-profile judge to join his government.
        In interviews with TV stations and on social media, Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former Army captain who won 55 percent of Sunday’s vote after running on a law-and-order platform, made clear he would push through his conservative agenda.
        Bolsonaro said he wants Sergio Moro, the judge who has overseen the sprawling “Car Wash” corruption trials and convicted former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of graft, to serve as his justice minister.
        Barring that, he said he would nominate Moro to the Supreme Court.    The next vacancy on the court is expected in 2020.
        Bolsonaro had not formally invited Moro as of Tuesday afternoon, and the judge remained noncommittal on the proposal.
        “In case I’m indeed offered a post, it will be subject to a balanced discussion and reflection,” Moro said in a statement.
        Late on Monday, Bolsonaro said in an interview with Globo TV that he would cut government advertising funds that flow to any “lying” media outlets.
        During his campaign, the right-winger imitated U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy of aggressively confronting the media, taking aim at Globo TV and Brazil’s biggest newspaper, the Folha de S.Paulo.
        “I am totally in favor of freedom of the press,” Bolsonaro told Globo TV.    “But if it’s up to me, press that shamelessly lies will not have any government support.”
        Bolsonaro was referring to the hundreds of millions of reais the Brazilian government spends in advertising each year in local media outlets, mainly for promotions of state-run firms.
        The UOL news portal, owned by the Grupo Folha, which also controls the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, used Brazil’s freedom of information act as the basis for a 2015 article that showed Globo received 565 million reais in federal government spending in 2014.    Folha got 14.6 million reais that year.
        Globo said on Tuesday that federal government advertising represented less than 4 percent of the revenue for its flagship channel, TV Globo, without providing more detailed figures.
        Grupo Folha did not reply to requests for comment.
    (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Brad Brooks; Writing by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Larry King and Leslie Adler)

    10/31/2018 Each illegal immigrant costs $70K, according to Center for Immigration Studies report by OAN Newsroom
        According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the cost of illegal immigration is rising as the border surge reaches its highest level since 2011.
        In a report published Wednesday, the organization said the cost to taxpayers is around $70,000 per illegal immigrant, which is about seven times more than the cost of deportation.
        The CIS also reported the taxes paid by illegal immigrants are not enough to offset the cost of the services they consume, in turn, leaving a net cost of $70 billion dollars per year.
        The organization also said immigration as a whole in 2016 was equal to the highest numbers on record, with over 1.7 million people coming to the U.S. through legal and illegal means.
    Migrants climb on the trailer of a truck as others wait in a line for a ride on the road that connects Tapanatepec
    with Niltepec, Mexico, as a caravan of Central Americans continues its slow march toward the U.S. border, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
        This report comes as President Trump continues to double-down on his stance on immigration amid the influx of non-citizens charging toward the border in a so-called migrant caravan.
        In a series of tweets Wednesday, the president told the thousands of Central American migrants making their way to the southern border to go home.
        He pointed out that many in the caravan are violently assaulting Mexican authorities as they attempt, with many succeeding, to cross into Mexico from Guatemala.
        President Trump called the U.S. border “sacred” and assured members of the caravan will not be let into the country.

    10/31/2018 Mexico’s ambassador to U.S. claims there are very violent migrants in caravan by OAN Newsroom
        Mexico’s U.S. Ambassador — Geronimo Gutierrez — is blasting Democrats for saying everyone in the migrant caravan are all peaceful refugees seeking asylum.
        On Tuesday, Gutierrez explained there have been multiple instances where migrants have been “very violent,” while rebelling against border authorities.
        This comes after Mexican officials warned some migrants in Guatemala are building makeshift bombs to use against police officers guarding the border between Mexico and Guatemala.
    This Oct. 29, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force shows deployers from Headquarters Company, 89th Military Police Brigade,
    Task Force Griffin get ready to board a C-130J Super Hercules from Little Rock, Arkansas, at Fort Knox, Kentucky,
    in support of Operation Faithful Patriot. The Trump administration on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, announced plans to deploy 5,200 active duty troops,
    double the 2,000 who are in Syria fighting the Islamic State group, to the border to help stave off the caravans. (Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss/U.S. Air Force via AP)
        The Trump administration is sending over 5,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to deal with the thousands of incoming migrants.
        Some troops have already arrived at their posts, while others are expected to be deployed by the end of the week.

    10/31/2018 Trump hardens stance on Mexico border, says 15,000 troops could be sent by Jeff Mason and Idrees Ali
    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the "Our Pledge to America's Workers"
    event at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States could send as many as 15,000 troops to the border with Mexico, as he hardens his stance against a caravan of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.
        The numbers cited by Trump are significantly higher than defense officials have disclosed.    The Pentagon said on Monday it was deploying more than 5,200 troops to the border but that the number would rise.    On Wednesday, it said more than 7,000 troops would support the Department of Homeland Security along the border.
        Several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have accused Trump of politicizing the military ahead of next week’s congressional elections with his plans to use active military personnel to buttress border patrol efforts.
        “As far as the caravan is concerned, our military is out … We’ll go up to anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel, on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
        Trump did not say how many of those 15,000 would be National Guard.    There are already 2,100 U.S. National Guard forces at the border, sent after a previous Trump request in April, and they are authorized to go up to 4,000.     If 15,000 troops were drawn into the effort, it would mean there would be more U.S. troops on the border with Mexico than there are in Afghanistan, which has become America’s longest conflict.
        Trump has sought to use immigration as an issue to motivate Republican voters ahead of the Nov. 6 elections, where Republicans will seek to maintain control of both congressional chambers.
        As a presidential candidate before the U.S. election in 2016, Trump promised to harden immigration laws and build a wall along the southern border with Mexico, but implementation of his signature campaign promise has been slow.
        A caravan of Central American migrants estimated to number at least 3,500 people left Honduras in mid-October and is now in southern Mexico on its way to the U.S. border.
        Before Trump’s comments, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday rejected criticism that deploying thousands of troops to the border with Mexico was a political stunt.
        “The support that we provide to the secretary for homeland security is practical support based on the request from the commissioner of customs and border police, so we don’t do stunts in this department,” Mattis said after a meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon.
        Republican lawmakers and other Trump supporters have applauded the deployment.    But critics argue Trump has manufactured a crisis to drive Republican voters to the polls.
        “The move to send 5,200 active duty troops to the southern border is a craven political stunt that sets a bad precedent and is arguably an abuse of power,” said Kelly Magsamen, a former senior Pentagon official who is currently with the Center for American Progress left-leaning think tank.
        Trump’s decision to call in the military appears to be a departure from past practice.    In recent years, such operations have been carried out by National Guard forces, largely part-time military members often called upon to respond to domestic emergencies.
        A U.S. official told Reuters that as of Wednesday the Pentagon had identified more than 7,000 active-duty troops, which included about 2,000 on standby, that could be deployed to the border with Mexico if needed.
        Many basic questions remained unanswered days after the Pentagon announcement, including the scope of the mission as well as the Pentagon’s assessment of any threat posed by arriving migrants.
    (Reporting by Jeff Mason and Idrees Ali; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell)

    10/31/2018 U.S. doesn’t want to harm friends, allies with Iran sanctions: Bolton
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton answers a question from a reporter about how
    he refers to Palestine during a news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the Trump administration wants sanctions on Iran’s crude exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil.
        “We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,” Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society.
        Bolton said the administration understands that a number of countries, some close geographically to Iran which he visited last week, and others “may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately.”    It was a more conciliatory tone about the sanctions from Bolton, a proponent of being tough on Iran and winding down its crude exports to zero.
        Still, Bolton said that consequences can already be seen in Iran including the collapse of the rial, its currency.    “I think it’s important that we not relax in the effort,” he said.
        The administration is weighing whether to give waivers to some countries that have cut their purchases of Iranian oil on Nov. 5, when sanctions on Iranian exports snap back.
        Three of Iran’s five largest buyers of crude – China, India and Turkey – have resisted calls by Washington to end their oil purchases outright.    This week South Korea asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “maximum flexibility” on its request for a waiver to prevent companies there from being hit by the sanctions.    Other countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, depend on some imports from Iran.
        The administration has said it is considering waivers on a case-by-case basis.
    (Reporting by Steve Holland, Timothy Gardner and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by James Dalgleish)

    10/31/2018 New migrant caravan departs Salvadoran capital for U.S. by Nelson Renteria
    People walk in a caravan of migrants departing from El Salvador en route to the United States, in San Salvador, El Salvador, October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
        SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – About 2,000 migrants began walking north from El Salvador’s capital on Wednesday, the latest of several groups trying to reach the United States, even as President Donald Trump increases pressure to halt the flow of people.
        The migrants departed in two groups, including men and women pushing strollers and others with children on their shoulders.    On Sunday, a separate group comprising about 300 people set off for the U.S. border from the Salvadoran capital.
        A caravan estimated to number at least 3,500 people, which left Honduras in mid-October and is now in southern Mexico, has become a major issue in U.S. congressional elections on Nov. 6.
        The bulk of migrants caught trying to enter the United States illegally via Mexico come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.    Many make the dangerous journey north to escape high levels of poverty and violence in their homelands.
        The United States is in the process of sending 5,200 troops to its southern border as part of Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.    The prospect has so far not discouraged people from leaving El Salvador.
        “It scares us a little.    But since we’re seeing a ton of people going together, we can help one another to cross,” said Jose Machado, one of the migrants departing San Salvador, carrying a backpack stuffed with clothing and toiletries.
        Trump, who has threatened to slash U.S. aid to Central America and close the U.S. border with Mexico, said in a tweet on Wednesday that Mexico needs to keep up efforts to discourage the migrants, who he described as “tough fighters.”
        A clash at the Mexico-Guatemala border on Sunday left one migrant dead and several law enforcement officers injured.
        “Mexican soldiers hurt, were unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan.    Should stop them before they reach our Border, but won’t!” Trump said in a Tweet.
        White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday praised Mexico’s actions to slow the movement of people, but told Fox News: “They can do more.”
        Police estimated the two groups leaving San Salvador numbered around 1,000 each.    One cohort left around dawn, followed by a second later in the morning.
        Some waved Salvadoran flags as motorists honked in support and shouted, “God bless you.”
    (Reporting By Nelson Renteria, Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Dave Graham and Alistair Bell)

    10/31/2018 Mattis rejects criticism of sending U.S. troops to border by Idrees Ali
    FILE PHOTO: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis speaks with the media before an enhanced honor cordon arrival of
    Greek Minister of Defense Panagiotis Kammenos at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday rejected criticism that deploying thousands of troops to the border with Mexico was a political stunt.
        “The support that we provide to the secretary for homeland security is practical support based on the request from the commissioner of customs and border police, so we don’t do stunts in this department,” Mattis said after a meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon.
        Several groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have accused President Donald Trump of politicizing the military ahead of next week’s midterm elections.
        Trump has hardened his stance on immigration ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections.    He has drawn attention to a caravan of migrants that is trekking through Mexico toward the United States as he seeks to fire up support for fellow Republicans in campaign battles with Democrats who are trying to wrest control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
        Republican lawmakers and other Trump supporters have applauded the deployment.    But critics say Trump is politicizing the military, deploying them as a stunt to drive Republican voters to the polls without any real national security threat.
        “The move to send 5,200 active duty troops to the southern border is a craven political stunt that sets a bad precedent and is arguably an abuse of power,” Kelly Magsamen, a former senior Pentagon official, said.    She is currently with the Center for the think tank American Progress.
        The deployment will create an active-duty force comparable in size to the U.S. military contingent in Iraq.
        Trump’s decision to call in the military appears to be a departure from past practice.    At least in recent years, such operations were carried out by National Guard forces, largely part-time military members often called upon in response to domestic emergencies.
        A U.S. official told Reuters that as of Wednesday the Pentagon had identified about 7,000 active-duty troops, which included about 2,000 on standby, that could be deployed to the border with Mexico if needed.
        On Tuesday, the top U.S. general overseeing a deployment of more than 5,200 troops to the border said troop levels would rise further, but declined to say how high or estimate what the operation will cost.
        Many basic questions remained unanswered days after the Pentagon announcement, including the scope of the mission as well as the Pentagon’s assessment of any threat posed by arriving migrants.
    (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)

    11/1/2018 Trump, Xi upbeat on U.S.-China trade disputes ahead of meeting by Susan Heavey and Joseph Campbell
    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Estero, Florida, U.S., October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
        WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping both expressed optimism on Thursday about resolving their bitter trade disputes ahead of a high-stakes meeting planned for the two leaders at the end of November in Argentina.
        Trump said on Twitter that trade discussions with China were “moving along nicely” and that he planned to meet with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit, after the two had a “very good” phone discussion.
        In comments to state media, Xi said he hoped China and the United States would be able to promote a steady and healthy relationship, and that he was willing to meet with Trump in Argentina.
        “The two countries’ trade teams should strengthen contact and conduct consultations on issues of concern to both sides, and promote a plan that both can accept to reach a consensus on the China-U.S. trade issue,” Xi said on CCTV state television.
        Xi was quoted by CCTV as saying after the call with Trump that the two leaders had hoped to expand bilateral trade cooperation.
        Neither leader specified any details of potential progress in their first known direct discussion in several months.    Trump administration officials have said that trade talks with China cannot resume until Beijing comes up with specific actions it is willing take to meet U.S. demands for sweeping changes to policies on technology transfers, industrial subsidies and market access.
        The two countries already have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods and Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the remainder of China’s $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the disputes cannot be resolved.
        But Trump struck a more upbeat tone on Twitter after the phone call with Xi.
        “Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China.    We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade,” Trump tweeted.    “Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina.    Also had good discussion on North Korea!
        Earlier on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a group of visiting U.S. politicians that China and the United States could overcome their differences and get relations back on track if they worked together in a spirit of mutual respect.
        China and the United States are locked in an increasingly bitter trade war, and both countries have already placed tariffs on some of each others’ imports.
        Meeting a group of Republican lawmakers in Beijing, China’s Li noted the China-U.S. relationship’s “ups and downs” over the past four decades of diplomatic ties.
        “We do hope that China and the United States will meet each other halfway and work together in the spirit of mutual respect and equality,” Li told Trump’s fellow Republicans.
        U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee told Li that the delegation was there “to show our respect to a great country and a great people,” and that the two countries “are competitors but not adversaries.”
        Alexander said he would be discussing trade with Li, though neither of them mentioned the ongoing tariff war in remarks in front of reporters.
        Earlier this week, Trump said he thought there would be “a great deal” with China on trade, but warned that he had billions of dollars worth of new tariffs ready to go if a deal did not materialize.
        The United States has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, with duties on $200 billion of the total set to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1, 2019.    China has responded with retaliatory duties on $110 billion worth of U.S. goods.
    (Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington, Joseph Campbell, Yawen Chen and Michael in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai. Ben Blanchard and David Lawder; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Rosalba O’Brien and David Gregorio)

    11/1/2018 Trump increases pressure on Venezuela with sanctions on gold by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland
    FILE PHOTO - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro touches a gold bar as he speaks during a meeting with the
    ministers responsible for the economic sector at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump increased economic pressure on Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday with new sanctions aimed at disrupting the South American country’s gold exports.
        Trump signed an executive order to ban anyone in the United States from dealing with entities and people involved with “corrupt or deceptive” gold sales from Venezuela, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said in a speech in Miami.
        “The Maduro regime has used this sector as a bastion to finance illicit activities, to fill its coffers, and to support criminal groups,” Bolton said.
        Bolton made the announcement as part of a pledge to crack down on what he called “the troika of tyranny” in the western hemisphere, naming Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
        Miami is home to large numbers of immigrants from Cuba and Venezuela.    Bolton made his appearance there just days before U.S. congressional elections that include close races for a Senate seat and the governorship in Florida.
        Bolton’s remarks were likely to be well received by those Cuban-Americans and other Hispanics in Florida who favor stronger U.S. pressure on Cuba’s Communist government and other leftist governments in Latin America.
        Bolton spoke at Freedom Tower – a building where Cuban refugees were welcomed in the 1960s following Fidel Castro’s revolution – a day after Trump campaigned in Florida for Republican candidates.
        Florida has traditionally been a swing state and former President Barack Obama was scheduled to rally Democrats in Miami on Friday ahead of the Nov. 6 elections.
        Bolton said Cuba is aiding Maduro’s government in Venezuela, referring to the close ties between the two countries since Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, came to power in 1999.
        Trump has taken a harder line on Cuba after Obama sought to set aside decades of hostility between Washington and Havana.    He has rolled back parts of Obama’s 2014 detente by tightening rules on Americans traveling to the Caribbean island and restricting U.S. companies from doing business there.
        Bolton said the U.S. State Department would “within days” add more than two dozen entities to a list of Cuban organizations associated with country’s military and intelligence services.    U.S. persons and companies are banned from doing business with the restricted companies.
        He said the administration would review whether to allow U.S. citizens whose property was seized by the Castro government to sue foreign companies that have invested in the properties in Cuba.    The review, requested by a group of Republican lawmakers from South Florida, was first reported by McClatchy.
        “We want to look at this question with a fresh set of eyes,” Bolton said.
        Bolton also singled out Nicaragua for criticism over leftist President Daniel Ortega’s crackdown on political opponents, saying its government “will feel the full weight of America’s robust sanctions regime” with measures coming “in the very near future.”
        Almost 2 million Venezuelans have fled since 2015, driven out by food and medicine shortages, hyperinflation, and violent crime.    Thousands have made their way to south Florida.
        Maduro, who denies limiting political freedoms, has said he is the victim of an “economic war” led by the United States.
        Venezuela this year turned to gold as a way to receive desperately-needed hard currency, exporting 23.62 tonnes of gold worth $900 million to Turkey in the first nine months of the year, compared with zero in the same period last year, official Turkish data showed.
        In 2016, Maduro declared war on illegal miners and declared gold a strategic priority in an effort to spur production in the so-called ‘Mining Arc’ to create an alternative source of revenue for the oil-dependent economy.
        Critics and opposition leaders say this decision has in fact led to a surge in wildcat mining and violence, with the government reaping the benefits of illegal gold production.
        The country’s gold revenues remain small compared to the OPEC member’s oil sector, which accounts for over 90 percent of export revenue.
        The Trump administration had threatened sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, but a senior U.S. official said this month there is less need to target the energy sector given that it is unraveling under Maduro-appointed military officials.
        Analysts say higher oil prices and a desire to protect U.S. Gulf Coast refiners have also weighed on Washington’s decision.
        Early in his presidency, Trump briefly spoke about a “possible military option” for Venezuela, without providing details.
        Bolton brushed off a question about whether Trump would consider interventions other than stepped-up sanctions.    “I don’t see that happening in part because I am very firmly of the view that as the sanctions torque up, the pressure will become unbearable,” Bolton said.
    (Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick add Humeyra Pamuk in Washington, Luc Cohen and Alexandra Ulmer in Caracas; editing by Frances Kerry and Grant McCool)

    11/1/2018 Trump’s trade war looms over divided U.S. farm belt ahead of vote by Humeyra Pamuk and P.J. Huffstutter
    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump stands with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
    as he delivers remarks on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a news conference in the Rose Garden
    of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
        (Reuters) – Chuck Wirtz voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, inspired by the then-political outsider, but the veteran Iowa hog farmer now has buyer’s remorse as the U.S. Republican president’s trade policy exacts a heavy toll on his business.
        Wirtz, 56, estimates the tariffs resulting from the U.S. trade war with China and other nations have cost him $200,000 this year and forced the liquidation of part of his farm in northwestern Iowa.
        “I was obviously wrong and I regret my vote,” said Wirtz, who says he is undecided ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections that will decide whether Republicans continue to control the U.S. Congress.
        Some of the nation’s 3.2 million farmers and ranchers, traditionally staunch Republicans, are wavering in this election because of the trade dispute with China, the main buyer of U.S. soybeans and pork, interviews with nearly two dozen farmers showed.
        Those interviews and a survey of 2,454 farmers by trade publication Farm Journal also point to a surprising generational split in agricultural areas.    While younger producers largely believe in Trump’s pledge to cut a better trade deal with China and his administration’s patriotic appeal for short-term sacrifice, older farmers recall past economic crises and the years of work involved in opening the Chinese market.
        Veteran farmers worry they will not be able to recover from a prolonged dispute with the world’s other economic superpower and are concerned the downturn will take too big a bite out of their retirement savings.
        Barry Bean, a Missouri cotton marketer whose family sells crops, said that older producers have been cautioning their younger peers about the longer-term risks of the trade battle.
        “They’re saying, ‘Look, I’ve taken two or three for the team in the past. We can’t keep taking one for the team.’
        A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that about 53 percent of registered voters in rural areas approved of Trump as of last month.    Farm Journal found that some 70 percent of farmers had voted for Trump and 52 percent found him favorable as of August.    However, 61 percent of farmers under 45 favored the president while only 40 percent over 65 did.
        Overall in the United States, 55 percent of voters over the age of 55 supported Trump in 2016, according to the Reuters/Ipsos 2016 Election Day poll.    Only 30 percent of voters under 24 and 38 percent of those aged 25-34 voted for the president.
        Democrats, who have high hopes to win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, see the changing tide in the farm belt as possibly boosting their chances in areas that Trump won in 2016 but are now seen as toss-ups.
        They would need to gain at least 23 of the House’s 435 seats to have a majority in the chamber, which would enable them to block at least part of Trump’s agenda.    Recapturing the Senate is considered far more difficult.
        Two of the four House races in Iowa, the top corn producing state, are considered up for grabs.    Democrat Abby Finkenauer has been hitting the trade issue hard as she vies to oust Trump ally and U.S. Representative Rod Blum in one of the districts.
        In Kansas, the nation’s top wheat producing state, the Kansas Farm Board took the unusual step of declining to endorse a candidate for governor after Republicans nominated staunch Trump ally Kris Kobach.
    Congressional election battlegrounds interactive graphic –
        Political divisions are prompting debates in Republican farm families like that of Donald Schexnayder, 57, who farms corn with his two brothers in Louisiana.
        “I have one brother who’s not sure about the president, and the other that is very sure that what he’s doing is right,” Schexnayder said.
        The Trump administration has tried to sweeten its relationship with farmers in recent months with a $6 billion farm aid package meant to compensate them for markets that were lost due to the trade wars.
        Farmers started receiving checks in September, and the U.S. Agriculture Department has promised more aid for the end of the year.
        Last month, Trump, who has embraced an “America First” policy aimed at boosting jobs and reducing U.S. trade deficits, promised to expand domestic sales of corn-based ethanol, a key market for Iowa farmers.
        Fears that other markets could be lost also eased after the trilateral trade deal signed by the United States, Canada and Mexico on Oct. 1. U.S. corn and dairy farmers, in particular, had fretted about the prospect of a North American trade war.
        Nevertheless, a study by economists at Perdue University in Illinois this week showed the retaliatory tariffs imposed by Canada and Mexico during the trade negotiations would cause U.S. agricultural exports to decline by at least $1.8 billion annually, outweighing market access improvements it said were worth $450 million.
        U.S. farmers, however, remain most worried about trade with China, which last year bought 60 percent of U.S. soy and has virtually halted purchases this year.
        “He probably should have gotten Mexico and Canada, get that deal done and then went after China,” said Curt Mether, a 63-year-old corn and soybean farmer in Iowa, referring to Trump.
        Mether said he had voted for Trump and would vote Republican next week, partly because of alignment on social issues like abortion, but added that he could reevaluate Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
        “We’ll be willing to put up with him for a while, I’d say another year or so.    If he doesn’t get the negotiations turned around by the time he himself is up for election, then we’ll definitely reassess,” Mether said.
    (Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Additional reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Paul Simao)

    11/1/2018 Chile to join China´s Belt and Road Initiative by Dave Sherwood
    FILE PHOTO - Chile's Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero Espinoza attends the
    World Economic Forum on ASEAN at the Convention Center in Hanoi, Vietnam September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kham
        SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile will join China´s Belt and Road initiative, Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero said on Thursday, in a move to deepen economic and political cooperation with the Asian powerhouse in a zone of strong U.S. influence.
        Ampuero said in a statement that joining China´s global infrastructure initiative would make Chile more attractive to Chinese investors and position the Andean nation as the “landing point for investments in Latin America.”
        The agreement is set to be signed on Friday, the statement said.
        China is Chile´s top trading partner, and the two countries are deepening ties.    Last week, Chile and China signed a trade deal to streamline customs controls and widen access to the Chinese market for Chilean products.
        China has increasingly taken a more aggressive foreign policy position throughout Latin America as the United States, under President Donald Trump, has opted for a more protectionist stance.
        The “One Belt, One Road” initiative, proposed in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, promotes expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe, with billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
        China has sought a bigger role overseas since Trump was elected, presenting its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the United States has abandoned.
        The country is already testing U.S. dominance in Latin America, offering the region $250 billion in investment over the next decade.    It is the top trading partner of many other countries in the region, including Brazil and Argentina.
    (Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by David Gregorio)

    11/1/2018 Social Security and the U.S. deficit: Separating fact from fiction by Mark Miller
    FILE PHOTO: A sign is seen on the entrance to a Social Security office in New York City, U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
        CHICAGO (Reuters) – For decades, some of our most prominent U.S. politicians have been sounding the alarm that Social Security is an important driver of the federal budget deficit.    But is that really true?
        U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, recently pointed to “entitlements” as the key cause of rising federal deficits, and blamed Democrats for refusing to go along with proposals to cut spending by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
        McConnell was responding to a report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury last month that the budget deficit grew to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, the highest in six years.    Treasury attributed the increase to the tax cuts contained in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), higher spending and rising interest payments. (Full Story)
        The call for cuts to our very popular entitlement programs just before an election makes for surprising politics – and it is not selling well with the public; a poll this week by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist ( found that 60 percent of Americans would prefer to reverse the tax cuts than cut spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
        But is there substance to McConnell’s argument?
        You can make a case that rising spending on Medicare and Medicaid contribute to deficits, since both depend partially on federal general revenue.    I would counter that the rising cost of these programs reflects a general problem with rising healthcare costs that affects not just government, but employers who insure workers and individuals buying their own insurance.
        But it is quite a stretch to argue that Social Security drives deficits.
        By law, Social Security cannot contribute to the federal deficit, because it is required to pay benefits only from its trust funds.    Those, in turn, are funded through a dedicated payroll tax of 12.4 percent of income, split evenly between employees and employers, levied on income (this year) up to $128,400.
        The program’s revenue and expenses are accounted for through two federal trust funds that have operated with large and growing surpluses in recent years, and they finished fiscal 2018 with an estimated $2.89 trillion.    By law, Social Security must invest these surplus funds only in special-issue U.S. Treasury notes, which have the same full faith and credit guarantee as any other federal bond.
        Going forward, the trust fund surplus will be drawn down as an aging population claims benefits, and as the U.S. fertility rate continues to decline, which means fewer workers are coming along to pay taxes into the system.
        That already is starting to happen.    In fiscal 2018, expenditures exceeded revenue (including interest on investments) for the first time since 1982.    Social Security took in $912 billion in fiscal 2018 and spent $991 billion.    The difference – $79 billion – came from repayment of interest on those Treasury notes.    Some conservative policy analysts point to that payment as evidence that Social Security is a cause of deficits, since the $79 billion payment came from general revenue.
        “We can call that $79 billion an interest payment on past borrowing – fine,” said Brian Riedl, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank.    “Social Security in the past ran annual surpluses and lent that surplus money to the Treasury.    In those years, the existence of Social Security reduced the federal budget deficit.    Today, it is relying on a cash infusion from the Treasury to pay full benefits.”
        Riedl’s point is technically correct.    But in this sense, Social Security is no more a cause of the deficit than any other holder of U.S. Treasuries, be it Wall Street or the Chinese government.    “Government needs to raise a certain amount of money unless it balances its general fund,” said Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, an advocacy group.
        “If it doesn’t do that, it issues bonds – the only question is, who buys them?” said Altman.
        A second argument that Social Security contributes to deficits is related to the longer-run outlook for the program.    The trust funds are projected to be exhausted in 2034; at that point, incoming revenue would be sufficient to continue paying only about 75 percent of promised benefits.
        We might or might not reach that point – we could eliminate much of this long-range shortfall by gradually increasing payroll taxes and raising the cap on covered income.    Or we could reduce benefits by further increasing the full retirement age, or craft some combination of tax increases and benefit cuts.
        Other creative options could include permitting the Social Security trustees to invest a modest portion of reserve funds in equities, or to levy a tax on financial services.    From where I sit, the smart move is to bolster the program with higher revenue to close the shortfall and expand benefits.
        But deficit hawks point to the 2034 exhaustion date to argue that the government would have to make up any shortfall and continue paying full benefits.    The argument here is that Congress would never allow a huge cut to Social Security benefits in light of the program’s popularity and the importance of benefits; if the trust fund were to run dry, lawmakers would simply make up the difference out of general revenue.
        But the assertion that we will reach the 2034 benefit cuts is speculative.    Congress may craft a solution ahead of that date, or it may not.
        Even more speculative is the question whether general revenue would be tapped if we do reach the 2034 exhaustion doomsday scenario.    The long-range budget forecast by the Congressional Budget Office assumes this would happen – but not because the nonpartisan congressional budget scorekeeper has an opinion one way or the other.    Federal law requires the CBO to assume that payments for some mandatory programs would continue to be fully funded in this situation.
        What would the Social Security Administration actually do if the trust fund were exhausted?    The answer is not clear, according to recent analysis by the Congressional Research Service.    It could continue paying benefits on a delayed schedule or cut payments.    And beneficiaries might take legal action to claim full benefits, since Social Security is a legal entitlement.
        One hopes that these questions will never be answered, because exhaustion would be a real mess.    But we can get the answer to the question of whether Social Security drives the deficit right now: No.
    (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)
    (Reporting and writing by Mark Miller in Chicago)

    11/1/2018 Pres. Trump Issues Stern Warning To Caravan by OAN Newsroom
    FILE – In this Oct. 27, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump pauses while
    speaking at a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, Ill. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
        President Trump issues another stern warning to the group of illegal immigrants making its way north from Central America and promises big changes to the U.S. asylum system.
        During a speech from the White House Thursday, the president told migrants in the caravan they are wasting their time and should turn around.
        He also said the Army Corps of Engineers is building tent cities along the border to detain illegal immigrants calling it catch, but not release.
        The president said the generosity of the U.S. is being taken advantage of and reiterated calls for merit based immigration system.
        He also warned if any migrants in the caravan try to use rocks to break into the country like they did in Mexico, the U.S. military will consider them to be using firearms.

    11/1/2018 U.S., Iran policy depends not just on sanctions but on flexibility by Arshad Mohammed and Lesley Wroughton
    U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a campaign rally in Estero, Florida, U.S., October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As U.S. President Donald Trump resumes sanctions on Iran, the success of his push to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities may hinge on how flexible he is willing to be on his extensive demands to coax Tehran into talks.
        Washington will reintroduce sanctions on Monday targeting Iran’s most important industry – oil – and U.S. officials have indicated a measure of flexibility is needed to ensure global markets are well supplied to keep prices from surging.
        In abandoning the international 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Trump and his top aides have touted the re-imposition of economic penalties on Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign to force a change in a wide range of Iranian behavior.
        What Trump wants from Tehran, though, is seen by former officials as a “maximalist” position that includes ending uranium enrichment, giving U.N. inspectors access to all sites across Iran and ceasing support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen and the Hamas Palestinian militant group.
        On May 21, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed 12 demands that also covered Iran ending development of nuclear-capable missiles, withdrawing forces under its command in Syria, and ceasing threatening acts toward its neighbors.
        “They are maximalist demands and no Iranian government would be willing or able to accept them,” said Robert Einhorn, a former U.S. official now at the Brookings Institution.
        Trump wants Iran’s government to capitulate or collapse, Einhorn said.
        “They are not going to knuckle under,” he said.    “But if the administration began to signal some flexibility … it’s possible the Iranian regime would agree to enter into talks.”
        Such flexibility could include signaling that Iran might limit, but not eliminate, uranium enrichment and that it might allow for greater inspections than in the 2015 deal, if not the anywhere-anytime inspections Washington wants.
        The sanctions resuming on Monday include those aimed to force Iran’s oil customers such as China, India and Turkey, to cut their oil purchases, ideally to zero, though the White House appears to recognize that is unrealistic.
        “We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,” White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday, in a hint Washington may grant “exceptions” to these sanctions for countries that significantly reduce their purchases from Iran.
        Another penalty would be to blacklist roughly two dozen previously sanctioned Iranian banks, which may get the Brussels-based SWIFT financial messaging system to disconnect them, further inhibiting Iran’s trade with the world.
        When he abandoned the Iran nuclear deal, Trump promised to impose “the highest level of economic sanction” on Iran, saying this would make them want a new pact.    “When they do, I am ready, willing and able,” he said.
        A central impediment to any negotiation is the lack of trust given Trump’s abrogation of the 2015 agreement and the Iranian belief that his real aim, despite U.S. denials, is to bring down its government.
        Richard Nephew, a former U.S. official now at Columbia University, summed up Tehran’s stance on talks as “Why bother?
        Iran was more likely to try to evade and resist U.S. sanctions, taking a position of “if we are going to go down, at least we won’t go down on our knees, we’re going to die standing up,” Nephew said.
        Iran may try to survive the shrinking oil revenues for two years to see if Trump is re-elected and then decide on talks.
        “They will be averse to doing so from a position of abject weakness,” said Jon Alterman, a former U.S. official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
        Before talking, Iran would likely increase support for regional proxies or conduct missile tests to create chips it could concede in a negotiation.
        “If I had to bet, all these things will happen – the U.S. will tighten the screws, the Iranians will do more things that are worrying to the Trump administration, and the two sides will talk,” Alterman said.
    (Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

    11/1/2018 EU floats new Irish border compromise in tentative Brexit plan: FT
    A Guinness truck passes a sign for Customs and Excise on a road near the
    border with Ireland near Kileen, Northern Ireland, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
        LONDON (Reuters) – European Union negotiators have floated a tentative Brexit plan to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and to give Britain stronger guarantees that a customs border would not be needed along the Irish Sea, the Financial Times said on Thursday.
        As Reuters reported last month, EU negotiators offered to include a plan in the withdrawal agreement to keep mainland Britain in a customs union after Brexit in order to avoid a hard border.
        The deal offered was bending EU “red lines,” which have included refusing to give assurances on future EU-UK trade relations in the Brexit treaty.
        Accounts of how British and EU negotiators came close to a deal on Oct. 13 focus on how Prime Minister Theresa May balked at an EU demand for a “backstop” clause.
        The FT said EU Brexit negotiators were now considering a new proposal to compromise on an Irish “backstop” which would be an insurance policy to ensure there will be no return of customs checks on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland if a future trading relationship is not in place in time.
        The biggest obstacle to a Brexit deal has been Britain’s wish to keep the border of its province of Northern Ireland with Ireland open, preserving frictionless trade and a 1998 peace deal that ended sectarian violence while leaving the EU’s single market and customs union to forge its own trade deals.
        With just over five months until Britain is scheduled to leave the EU talks have stalled over the issue.
        EU diplomats familiar with the latest briefing by negotiators this week said that the EU proposals did not appear to have changed significantly from that October offer.
        Northern Ireland would remain in a deep customs union with the bloc, applying the union’s full “customs code” and following single market regulations for goods and agri-food products, the FT reported.
        Meanwhile, the UK would be in a more “bare-bones” customs arrangement with the EU, in which it would apply a common external tariff on imports from outside the union and rules of origin, the FT reported, saying the plan had been presented to EU ambassadors on Wednesday and floated with UK officials.
        The paper said May’s negotiating team would give an indication next week on whether Britain was open to the compromise which would be a crucial decision on whether the EU will hold a special summit to discuss a potential deal this month.
        Such a compromise plan is likely to face opposition from Brexit supporters in May’s government and party who do not want Britain to be tied into an open-ended customs union with the bloc until a UK-EU trade deal was agreed.
        The FT said the plan contained many proposals which London had rejected last month.
        “The same fundamental problems are there,” the FT quoted one EU diplomat briefed on the plan.    “They’ve played around with the ingredients to the deal.”
        However, sterling rose against the U.S. dollar and euro following the report, adding to earlier gains after officials said Britain and the EU had made progress on a deal to give London’s dominant financial center basic access to the bloc’s markets after Brexit.
    (Reporting by Michael Holden and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Balmforth)

        On the last three days:
    10/31/2018 Oil down $0.86 to $66.18, DOW up 432 to 24,875,
    11/1/2018 Oil down $0.87 to $65.31, DOW up 241 to 25,116,
    11/2/2018 Oil down $1.68 to $63.69, DOW up 265 to 25,381

    11/2/2018 Oil falls again as U.S. allows Iran sanctions waivers by Christopher Johnson
    FILE PHOTO - Cyprus-flagged oil product tanker "Prisco Elena" (C) and other oil tankers
    are seen against the skyline of the central business district (CBD) in Singapore April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong
        LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices slipped further on Friday, heading for a weekly loss of more than 6 percent, after a report that Washington has granted several countries waivers on sanctions on Tehran, allowing them to continue to import Iranian crude.
        Benchmark crude oil was down 20 cents a barrel at $72.69 by 0900 GMT.    The contract has fallen 12 percent since the beginning of October.
        U.S. light crude was 25 cents lower at $63.44, down more than 13 percent since hitting four-year highs a month ago..
        Global markets, including oil, were lifted earlier on Friday by hopes that the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies could be resolved soon.
        But sentiment turned negative after a report that several governments received waivers that would allow them to import some Iranian crude once U.S. sanctions are imposed next week.
        The U.S. government has agreed to let eight countries, including close allies South Korea and Japan, as well as India, keep buying Iranian oil after it reimposes the sanctions, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing a U.S. official.
        “Oil prices sold off sharply … on news that the U.S. administration would grant waivers for oil imports from Iran,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note to clients.
        A list of all countries getting waivers is expected to be released officially on Monday, several industry sources said.
        Despite these efforts, analysts said any potential Iranian oil sanction waivers would likely only be temporary.
        Goldman Sachs said it expects Iran’s crude oil exports to fall to 1.15 million bpd by the end of the year, down from around 2.5 million bpd in mid-2018.
        Beyond Iran sanctions, oil output has been rising significantly in the past two months.
        Russian Energy Ministry data showed on Friday the country pumped 11.41 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in October, a 30-year high.
        The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted oil production in October to 33.31 million bpd, up 390,000 bpd and the highest by OPEC since 2016. [OPEC/O]
        And in the United States, crude production is now well over 11 million bpd, putting the U.S. in a neck and neck race with Russia for the title of top producer.
        By the end of next year, however, Goldman expects Brent to fall to $65 a barrel, largely due to “the unleashing of Permian (U.S. shale) supply growth once new pipelines come online.”
    (Reporting by Christopher Johnson in LONDON and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

    11/2/2018 US charges Chinese companies in theft of trade secrets
        The United States has charged companies in China and Taiwan and three individuals with stealing trade secrets from a U.S. semi-conductor company, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
        The Justice Department said the defendants, including a Chineseowned company singled out this week by the Trump administration, targeted Idaho-based Micron over a technology it produces that stores memory in electronics.

    11/2/2018 US vows tough approach to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba
        The Trump administration is laying out a tougher approach to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
        President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said Thursday that those three countries form a “troika of tyranny” and he’s announcing new sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba, and says the U.S. will impose additional ones on Nicaragua.
    Bolton says the countries represent “destructive forces of oppression, socialism and totalitarianism.”

    11/2/2018 Federal health care website up and running after slow start
        The federal website where consumers can get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act was running Thursday after a slow start as sign-up season for 2019 opened days before the midterm elections.
        Early Thursday, people accessing the site were directed to a screen that said work was underway.    Things seemed to be normal by 9 a.m. EDT.
        Before the site went live for signups at the start of a new coverage year, technicians had to load up details on thousands of changes in plans and premiums.

    11/2/2018 Trump ad blaming Democrats in killings denounced - President steps up fight against immigrants by William Cummings, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s campaign claimed in an ad that Democrats are responsible for a Mexican citizen who killed two California deputies, and Trump’s critics have called the spot racist and divisive.
        “Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!” reads the opening text in a campaign ad tweeted by Trump on Wednesday.
        “Democrats let him stay,” the next line reads.
        The man featured in the video is Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican citizen who had repeatedly entered the U.S. illegally and was sentenced to death for the murder of two Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies.    The ad is part of Trump’s push to make immigration a key issue ahead of the midterm elections next week.
        “It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country.    Vote Republican now!” the president tweeted alongside the
        The 53-second spot, paid for by the Trump campaign, is being derided by many as the most racially charged campaign commercial since the infamous 1988 “Willie Horton ad.”
        “This is distracting, divisive Donald at his worst,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told CNN.    Perez characterized the commercial as “dog-whistle politics” based on “fearmongering” and a desperate move ahead of the midterm election.
        Pollsters have predicted that the Democrats will gain a majority in the House of Representatives.
        During his trial, Bracamontes was removed from the courtroom for threatening outbursts.    At the reading of his verdict in February, Bracamontes smiled and vowed to “to kill more cops soon.”    The commercial centers on Bracamontes’ antics, while the text tells the viewer that “Democrats let him stay.”
        The video, which had been seen by 1.9 million people as of 7 a.m. EDT Thursday, then cuts to scenes of apparent migrants crashing through unspecified gates.
        “Who else would Democrats let in?” the ad asks rhetorically in conclusion, before closing with a message that “President Donald J. Trump and Republicans are making America safe again.”
        Immigration has long been a top issue for Trump since he entered politics, but in recent weeks, he has stepped up the tempo in his warning cries about an “invasion” across the U.S.-Mexico border.    He has used his platform to help keep up step-by-step media coverage of a caravan of Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico.
        On Wednesday, the president threatened to deploy 15,000 U.S. troops to the border in response to the approaching caravan.
        Also this week, Trump began to argue he can end birthright citizenship, which is rooted in the 14th Amendment, with an executive order.
        It is not the first 2018 midterm campaign commercial paid for by Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.    Another ad that says a Democratic victory would endanger the country’s economic gains, but never mentions Trump, began airing Monday as part of a $6 million ad buy.
        “You have to make people feel things.    I think that’s what commercials are, from a commercial for a car, a phone or anything that might be,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told CNN about the “We Can’t Go Back” ad.
        In response to the new ad featuring Bracamontes, Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a Trump critic, said, “This is just a new low in campaigning.    It’s sickening,” according to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
        Several critics compared the ad to a conservative PAC commercial for former President George H.W. Bush’s successful 1988 campaign to succeed President Ronald Reagan.    The ad centered on William Horton, a convicted murderer who fled custody after being released as part of a weekend furlough program supported by Bush’s Democratic opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.    Horton committed a violent rape while out of prison.
    President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Wednesday at the Hertz Arena in Estero, Fla., to help Republican candidates. JOE RAEDLE

    11/2/2018 Trump admin. to reimpose sanctions on Iran by OAN Newsroom
        The Trump administration is ramping-up pressure on Iran by reimposing sanctions previously lifted under former President Obama as part of the Iran nuclear deal.
        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the sanctions Friday, saying they target Tehran’s energy, shipbuilding, shipping and banking sectors.
        They also said countries which continue to do business with Iranian entities will be penalized.
        In audio released by the State Department, Pompeo said the ultimate goal is to compel Iran to permanently abandon its well-documented outlaw activities and behave as a normal country.
        “These sanctions hit at core areas of Iran’s economy, they are necessary to spur changes we seek on the part of the regime,” said Secretary Pompeo.    “These sanctions are far tougher than the sanctions that have ever been imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran — that is why they are so desperate to find ways to circumvent it.”
        After Pompeo’s announcement, President Trump tweeted a “Game of Thrones” reference in relation to the move.
        Back in May, the president pulled-out of the Iran Nuclear Deal.    He called it a horrible deal and warned anyone who fails to comply with the sanctions will face severe consequences.

    11/2/2018 President Trump responds to threats made by Rep. Pelosi if Democrats take House by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump recently responded to threats made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to subpoena the president if Democrats take control of Congress.
        In an exclusive interview with The Washington Times Thursday, the president called the threat illegal.
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (L), President Donald Trump (R). (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        Furthermore, he said if Democrats take control of either chamber and they follow through with a subpoena then he will take the fight to the Supreme Court.
        His comments come in response to remarks made by the California lawmaker during a CNN campaign forum last week.
        “And subpoena power is interesting, to use it or not to use it…what we will do is exercise oversight, which is the responsibility of the Congress of the United States,” said Representative Pelosi.
        In response, the president shook off any threats of impeachment by saying the process would take two years to get to the Supreme Court.

    11/2/2018 POLL: Almost half of voters credit President Trump with improving economy by OAN Newsroom
        The results of a new poll is showing most voters credit President Trump with jump-starting the economy despite some Democrats trying to give the credit to former President Obama’s past policies.
        According to Thursday’s Harris Poll, nearly 50-percent of respondents believe President Trump is the reason why unemployment is at a record low and manufacturing is booming.
        On the other hand, only 21-percent of voters think the economy is the result of policies put in place by the former administration.
    President Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign rally Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
        “I think we are now at the most successful level that the country has ever seen.    That’s how we’re doing.    And let me just tell you because I hear a couple of the fakers the other day say ‘Well, I think it’s Obama’s economy.'    Obama’s economy?    Obama?    They want to put on more regulations, they want to take back your tax cuts which are massive.    They want to take them back and they want to raise the hell out of your taxes and the whole thing will go boom.” — President Donald Trump
        The economy grew by 4.2-percent last quarter despite many in the media saying it would be impossible to achieve.

    11/2/2018 Poll: Pres. Trump’s Job Approval At 51% by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump boards Air Force One, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018,
    in Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        President Trump’s approval rating is growing, signaling good news for the GOP ahead of the midterm elections.
        A daily Rasmussen survey released Friday, shows 51 percent of likely voters approve of the president’s job performance.
        The survey also shows 37 percent of voters strongly approve of the president.
        The results are up from the same poll released earlier this week, which showed the president’s approval at 50 percent.
        Economic growth has been a major factor for voters going into next week’s elections and last month’s jobs report shows the economy has continued to thrive under the Trump administration.

    11/2/2018 Trade deficit climbs 10% in 2018 comes despite tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports by OAN Newsroom
    FILE- In this July 5, 2018, file photo, a rubber tire gantry moves a shipping container
    in the container yard at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)
        Despite a strong economy, the U.S. trade gap has continued to widen due to a record high number of imports.
        On Friday, the Commerce Department said the trade deficit grew for the fourth straight month in September.
        The difference between what America buys and what it sells climbed 1.3-percent to $54 billion.
        Despite U.S. exports increasing, the amount the country takes in increased at a greater rate.
        The deficit with China rose over four-percent to a record $40.2 billion.
        President Trump has made reducing trade deficits a cornerstone of his economic agenda, implementing steel and aluminum tariffs to help control the damage.

    11/2/2018 U.S. approves key step toward German missile defense deal by Andrea Shalal
    FILE PHOTO: The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) is pictured during a presentation at
    European Defense Group MBDA in Schrobenhausen, near Ingolstadt, Germany, June 25, 2015. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo
        BERLIN (Reuters) – The U.S. government has approved integration of the U.S. Patriot PAC-3 MSE missile into a next-generation German missile defense system, a spokesman said on Friday, a key step toward completion of a long-delayed multibillion-dollar arms sale.
        The decision followed high-level talks by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this summer, two sources familiar with the issue said.
        Germany selected the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) built by Lockheed Martin Corp and European missile maker MBDA over Raytheon’s Patriot air and missile defense system in 2015, but it has taken years to move forward on the new defensive system called TLVS.
        U.S. Air Force Col. Mike Andrews, the Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the use of the MSE missile had been approved for use in the German program, but gave no further details.
        “This is a significant step forward.    The impasse has been solved,” said one of the sources, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
        Lockheed, the top U.S. weapons maker, and MBDA gave no details, but said they were upbeat that the program was moving forward.    MBDA is jointly owned by Airbus, Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo.
        A spokesman at the German defense ministry gave no details, but said both the U.S. and German sides were committed to signing a contract.    “There is new momentum.    Both sides are clearly committed to successful completion of the TLVS program,” the spokesman said.
        Germany’s defense ministry in August asked Lockheed and MBDA to submit a best and final offer for the program, but that required U.S. government approval of the integration of the PAC-3 MSE missile, one of the sources said.
        Lockheed, which developed the MEADS program together with MBDA, also builds the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missile, but needed approval for its integration into German program since the missile was developed separately from MEADS.
        The MEADS system was developed with $4 billion in funding from Germany, Italy and the United States, although the U.S. Army later ended its participation in the program.
        Germany hopes to sign a contract for TLVS in 2019 and field the system in 2025.
        MBDA and Lockheed executives have said progress on the German deal could fuel interest by other countries in the system, which will offer the ability to knit together a variety of different systems, including Patriot.
        Initially slated to cost about 4 billion euros ($4.56 billion), sources say the final cost of the TLVS system is likely to be several billion euros higher.
    (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

    11/2/2018 Venezuelan migration to Colombia may generate growth: World Bank
    FILE PHOTO: Colombian migration officers check the identity documents of people trying to enter Colombia from Venezuela,
    at the Simon Bolivar International bridge in Villa del Rosario, Colombia August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo
        BOGOTA (Reuters) – The arrival of more than a million Venezuelans fleeing a deep social and economic crisis in their country could lead to economic growth in Colombia, if the country takes the right steps to manage the migrant crisis, the World Bank said in a report released on Friday.
        More than 2 million Venezuelans have emigrated amid food and medicine shortages and profound political divisions in their country, according to figures from the United Nations.    Half have opted to live in Colombia, and many have arrived with only what they could carry.
        Providing migrants access to healthcare, utilities and education will cost Colombia between 0.26 percent and 0.41 percent of its gross domestic product this year, the report said, adding that the country must make medium-term investments to improve those services.
        But legalizing migrants – some of whom cross the two countries’ porous border without visas or other permissions – will help them find formal jobs and increase tax revenue and consumption, the report said.
        “Despite short-term negative impacts, the evidence suggests that if adequate policy decisions are taken, migration has the potential to generate growth in Colombia,” the report said.
        Colombian President Ivan Duque says Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro is a dictator, and he has promised to continue to accept migrants.
        Of the 1.03 million Venezuelans living in Colombia, more than half a million have visas or other legal permission, while 240,000 are in the process of acquiring temporary permission.    The remaining 217,000 lack authorization to stay.
        Some 3,000 migrants arrive in Colombia each day, and the government says 4 million could be living in the country by 2021, costing Colombia nearly $9 billion.
        The European Union, United Nations and the United States have given millions in aid money to help Colombia cope with the migrant influx.
        Maduro and other top officials of Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party have dismissed migration figures as stemming from politically motivated alarmism and “fake news” meant to justify foreign intervention in Venezuela’s affairs.
    (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Leslie Adler)

    11/2/2018 Shopping at well-stocked Venezuelan stores?    Better take dollars by Corina Pons and Mayela Armas
    People shop inside a convenience store at a five-star hotel in Caracas, Venezuela
    October 12, 2018. Picture taken October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
        CARACAS (Reuters) – At a luxury hotel in Venezuela’s capital, a small store with amply-stocked shelves offers an array of goods ranging from fine wines to imported baby formula, in stark contrast to the crisis-stricken nation’s barren supermarkets.
        Another store, on the other side of the country in the sweltering western city of Maracaibo, sells American-branded breakfast cereals, soap and truffle salt.
        In a country with annual inflation topping 400,000 percent, the stores’ prices are the only ones that will remain steady.
        “Here we sell in dollars,” said Lourdes Torres, manager of the Maracaibo store, as she attended customers waiting to pay with U.S. legal tender.
        “We accept cash as well as transfers from American banks,” she said, adding that she also accepts payment in local bolivar currency with prices converted at the black market exchange rate that is nearly four times the official rate.
        The privately run “bodegones,” reminiscent of the “dollar stores” Cuba’s government ran in the 1990s, have steadily expanded in recent months as conducting business in the beleaguered bolivar currency becomes increasingly difficult.
        Their rise follows a decision by the government of President Nicolas Maduro to loosen a 15-year-old currency control system that made dollar-based commerce explicitly illegal.
        It also coincides with the growing dollarization of a collapsing economy in which many professionals – from doctors and dentists to personal trainers – are now charging in hard currency to avoid having their earnings swallowed by hyperinflation.
        The clientele of the “bodegones” are primarily well-heeled Venezuelans with earnings in hard currency.    But shoppers also include a growing number of residents who receive remittances from some two million Venezuelans who have emigrated to escape hunger and disease.
        Reuters visited six newly established stores selling in dollars in Caracas and five other major cities, including the border city of San Cristobal and the once-bustling industrial hub of Valencia, now filled with empty factories.
        It was not immediately evident how many such stores have opened nor why the government was not requiring the stores to meet state price controls that are enforced at major supermarket chains.
        The Information Ministry did not reply to a request for comment.
        The “bodegones” often grab customers’ attention with luxury products such as high-end chocolates or high-tech gadgets.
        But the most popular items are personal hygiene products like deodorant and toothpaste that are consistently available in greater variety than in supermarkets, according to store managers.
        “People are always asking if we have diapers,” said the manager of a weeks-old shop in eastern Caracas who, like most shop owners who spoke to Reuters, asked not to be identified.    They worry that their operations fall within a legal gray area and could be targeted by authorities.
        She said her supply of diapers, displayed next to bottles of champagne, always runs out within a week.
        Dollarized prices were unthinkable under regulations created by late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.    They put the government in charge of carrying out nearly all foreign currency transactions and setting prices for consumer goods.
        Maduro’s government, which often blames shortages and inflation on unscrupulous businesses overcharging or hoarding products, in August lifted a prohibition on the free exchange of hard currency.    But the government did not create a law saying such operations are allowed, which has left many shop owners trepidatious about speaking to the media.
        In September, as the new bodegones were starting to emerge, the government jailed 34 managers of well-known supermarkets on accusations of price-gouging.    They were later released and immediately resigned, according to industry sources.
        Maria Uzcategui of commerce association Consecomercio said stores pricing goods in dollars do so “at their own risk,” while the government has turned a blind eye and gone after big-name grocery chains for political effect.
        “The arrests are a show to blame retailers for the country’s economic situation,” Uzcategui said.    “That is why they single out the large chains, and not small businesses or these new ‘bodegones.'
        Prices at the dollar stores are exorbitant for those living on a bolivar-based salaries.    The minimum wage is around $10 per month, and at least 80 percent of the population skips at least one meal per day, according to a quality of life study known as Encovi carried out by private universities.
        Meanwhile, some $1.1 billion in annual remittances have turned into a lifeline for civil servants, retirees and salaried professionals who want to avoid waiting in long lines or scouring supermarkets in search of what they need.
        Sonia Ramirez, a 52-year-old retired judge in San Cristobal, shops at the ‘bodegones’ with the $120 she gets from her two sons who live in the Dominican Republic and Spain.
        “They are always well-supplied, but at much higher prices than what the government requires,” she said.
    (Additional reporting by Isaac Urrutia in Maracaibo, Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal, Tibisay Romero in Valencia and Maria Ramirez in Puerto Ordaz; Writing by Luc Cohen and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Dan Grebler)

    11/3/2018 Oil down $0.55 to $63.14, DOW down 110 to 25,271

    11/3/2018 US economy adds booming 250,000 jobs in October by Paul Davidson USA TODAY
        The economy added a healthy 250,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday in the last employment report before midterm elections that President Donald Trump has cast as a critical referendum on his stewardship of the economy.
        The unemployment rate was unchanged at a near 50-year low of 3.7 percent.    Annual wage growth topped 3 percent for the first time in nine years.
        Economists had estimated 200,000 jobs were added last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.
        Trump has boasted that low unemployment is a result of the cuts to taxes and regulations championed by his administration and warned that electing Democrats would reverse the gains.
        “At stake in this Election is whether we continue the extraordinary prosperity we have achieved - or whether we let the Radical Democrat Mob take a giant wrecking ball to our Country and our Economy!” he tweeted this week.
        Economists, however, say there likely would be no significant impact on the economy and labor market if the House or Senate flipped to Democratic control.
        Politics aside, the significance of Friday’s report was tempered by the effects of recent hurricanes.    Hurricane Florence appeared to reduce employment by 50,000 in the Carolinas in September, likely leading to a similar-size boost last month as workers returned to job sites, Goldman Sachs estimated.
        Payrolls increased by just 118,000 in September.
        But the research firm expected that to be largely offset by a decline of 20,000 to 40,000 jobs as a result of Hurricane Michael, which battered the Florida Panhandle. Goldman expected a net 15,000 bump from weather effects.
        Monthly job growth has averaged a sturdy 212,000 this year, up from 182,000 in 2017, despite low unemployment and related labor shortages that are making it harder for businesses to find workers.
        “Businesses have started relaxing their (hiring) standards,” says Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.    “They’re being more rational.    That’s why we’re seeing sustained strong job growth” despite the smaller supply of available workers.

    11/3/2018 US puts sanctions on Iran back in place - 8 nations exempt, temporarily, on oil purchases by Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON – The Trump administration on Friday reimposed economic sanctions on Iran’s oil, banking, shipping and other sectors – 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.
        “Our ultimate aim is to compel Iran to permanently abandon its well-documented outlaw activities and behave as a normal country,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Friday in a conference call.    The U.S. penalties will hit foreign countries and companies that do business with the targeted Iranian entities, including its national oil company, its banks and its shipping industry.
        Critics say the move will hurt the Iranian people, not the regime, at a time when its economy is already reeling from a drop in the value of its currency and other problems.
        “These sanctions are a slap in the face to the Iranian people who have been squeezed between the repression of their government and the pressure of international sanctions for decades,” Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said in a statement ahead of Pompeo’s announcement.    “Impoverishing ordinary Iranians will not hurt the regime or achieve any of America’s security interests, but it will set back the Iranian people’s aspirations for years.”
        Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, said the U.S. has asked Saudi Arabia to increase its production of oil “while we take off Iranian oil from the market.”
        That will help prevent a global spike in the price of oil, which would end up helping Iran.    The Trump administration’s strategy – relying on Saudi Arabia to squeeze Iran – illustrates why the White House has been cautious in its response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
        Asked how the Trump administration could square its condemnation of Iran’s human rights abuses with its support for Saudi Arabia, which also has an abysmal record on that front, Hook said, “I can only speak to how the Saudis have helped our Iran strategy.”
        The sanctions stem from President Donald Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement, negotiated by the U.S. and five other nations.    Under that Obama-era deal, Iran agreed not to pursue nuclear weapons and agreed to inspections of its military sites and other facilities.    In exchange, the U.S. and its partners – including Germany, France, China and Russia – lifted global sanctions that had devastated Iran’s economy.
        Iran’s leaders have said they will continue to adhere to the agreement.    Other signatories to the accord are trying to salvage it – with the European Union seeking to create a work-around to avoid U.S. sanctions and continue doing business with Iran.    In a joint statement, the foreign and finance ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom noted that 12 consecutive reports from an independent watchdog have documented Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement. And they said they would continue to do business with the regime.
        Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the EU’s proposed loophole will not work – and warned that the Trump administration will go after any entity trying to dodge the U.S. sanctions.
        Pompeo said eight countries, which he declined to name, were cooperating with the administration on its push to move to “zero” oil imports from Iran.    Those countries will earn temporary exemptions when the sanctions go into effect.
        There will also be some exemptions for food, medicine and humanitarian goods, Pompeo said.

    11/3/2018 Budget deficit continues its upward trend by Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool
        Across the U.S., families have to keep their budgets balanced in order to make ends meet.    But the same has never been true of the U.S. government, which has routinely run deficits by spending more than it brings in through taxes and other revenue sources.
        Budget deficits have been a bipartisan effort, with Republicans and Democrats trading positions of power without having found any permanent resolutions to the issue.
        In October, the Treasury Department announced the budget deficit for fiscal 2018, which ended on Sept. 30, rose to $779 billion.    That was up from $666 billion the year before, marking the third consecutive year of higher deficits.
        Rising deficits were largely expected for several reasons.    First, tax cuts that took effect at the beginning of calendar 2018 reduced the amount of quarterly tax payments taxpayers paid to the Treasury during the first nine months of the year.    Also, rising interest rates forced the federal government to pay more in interest on the national debt, which stands at more than $21 trillion.    And finally, an increase in inflation contributed to higher government spending for several key programs.
        With current projections for more than $1 trillion in deficits for fiscal 2019, many expect debate to center on what combination of spending cuts and tax increases is most appropriate to get the U.S. government on a firmer financial footing.    Yet given the past track record of lawmakers and presidential administrations, Americans shouldn’t expect a quick resolution anytime soon.
    [The problem with the above is that during the Bush administration it was only 7 trillion and then Obama came in and in 8 years ran it up close to 20 trillion, and now they are trying to blame Trump on being stuck with his debt.]

    11/2/2018 Judge Rules In Favor Of Trump Admin. In California Federal Lands Case by OAN Newsroom
    President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at
    Erie Insurance Arena, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Erie, Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
        The Trump administration scores a legal victory after a California judge blocked a state law that limits federal land transfers.
        The measure, passed Thursday, gives the state the first right of refusal over government proposals to sell federal land.
        The ruling says the law violated the constitution, because it interferes with the federal government’s right to regulate the sale of federal property.
        The law was adopted by the state, as environmentalists were concerned the administration was planning to sell off the land for mining or drilling.
        The DOJ sued the state back in April, as federal officials claimed the law slowed down a number of planned transfer.

    11/3/2018 Maduro blasts new economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration by OAN Newsroom
        Socialist leader Nicolas Maduro takes shots at President Trump, over newly imposed sanctions.
        On Friday, the Venezuelan dictator harshly criticized the penalties which were approved this week, which places a limit on the gold imported from Venezuela.
        Maduro called the sanctions criminal and crazy, as President Trump gets tough on the regime.
    President Nicolas Maduro has urged the Government of Canada, a country with which Venezuela
    has diplomatic relations since 1948, to “go away” if it “is not interested in Venezuela.” (Photo Ariana Cubillos, AP)
        Since Maduro took office, millions of Venezuelans have fled the South American country due to economic turmoil, and government corruption.
        “That’s why I say that the sanctions from the imperialist United States government against Venezuela are crazy, demented, crazy, schizophrenic, criminal.    But with or without sanctions, Venezuela is moving forward, nobody can stop the growth and prosperity of our people.” – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
        The U.S. remains the main oil-importer for Venezuela, but the Trump administration reportedly will consider placing restrictions on current deals, if tensions continue to flare.

    11/3/2018 Pres. Trump comments on allegedly false accusation against Justice Kavanaugh by OAN Newsroom
        President Trump sounds off on a recent alleged admission by one of the women accusing now Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
        In a tweet Saturday, apparently referring to Judy Munro-Leighton, the president said a vicious accuser of Justice Kavanaugh has just admitted she was lying, and added her story was totally made up or fake.
    President Donald Trump, right, stands with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, left, before a ceremonial swearing in in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
        He then said can you imagine if he didn’t become a Supreme Court Justice because of her disgusting false statements.
        The president also questioned the validity of other unproven accusations made against the Justice and asked where are the Democrats on this.
    [That is 3 out of 3 women who had accused the Supreme Court nominee, and where is Finestein (the leaker) and Booker (the speaker of rights who was wrong) and the mob (brought in to interfere) at now, without even an apology to Kavanaugh.].

    11/4/2018 French far-right overtakes Macron in EU parliament election poll by Geert De Clercq
    FILE PHOTO: French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National) party leader Marine Le Pen
    looks on as she delivers her speech in Mantes-la-Ville, France, September 23, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
        PARIS (Reuters) – France’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party jumped ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s LREM for the first time in a poll of voting intentions for May 2019 European Parliament elections.
        An Ifop poll published on Sunday showed the centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) with 19 percent of voting intentions compared to 20 percent at the end of August, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s RN — formerly the National Front — rose to 21 percent from 17 percent previously.
        Together with the seven percent score of sovereignist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and one percent each for “Frexit” parties led by former Le Pen associate Florian Philippot and Francois Asselineau, far-right parties won a combined 30 percent of voting intentions, up from 25 percent end August.
        The poll asked nearly 1,000 French people on Oct 30-31 who they would vote for if the European Parliament elections were to be held the next Sunday.
        The conservative Les Republicains party led by Laurent Wauquiez slipped two percentage points to 13 percent, while the far-left France Insoumise led by Jean-Luc Melenchon fell from 14 to 11 percent.
        Melenchon was widely criticised and mocked after yelling at police officers during a raid of his party offices as part of an anti-corruption inquiry.
        In an Odoxa-Dentsu poll released mid-September, Macron and Le Pen’s parties were neck-and-neck at around 21 percent, while the conservative Les Republicains came third with 14 percent and Melenchon’s France Insoumise fourth with 12.5 percent.
        In an Ifop poll in May, the LREM was seen winning 27 percent of the EU parliament vote, well ahead of the far right’s 17 percent and more than Macron’s 24 percent in the first round of France’s April 2017 presidential elections.
        The European elections are shaping up to be a major battle between centrist, pro-EU parties like Macron’s LREM and far-right formations that want to stop immigration and globalisation.
        The European Parliament elections determine who leads the major EU institutions, including the European Commission, the bloc’s civil service, and are also important as a bellwether of sentiment among the EU’s 500 million people.
        In a YouGov poll published last week, Macron’s popularity fell to its lowest level since his 2017 election, with only 21 percent of those polled saying they were satisfied with him.
        Macron’s reputation has been hit by the brusque departure of two high-profile ministers and a summer scandal over his bodyguard, while stubbornly high unemployment, high taxes and rising fuel prices add to a general feeling of discontent.
    (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Helen Popper)

    11/3/2018 Mexico’s Interior Secy: caravan wants to capitalize on midterm elections in U.S. by OAN Newsroom
        A top Mexican security official is raising questions about the timing of the migrant caravan headed toward the U.S.
        Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete said earlier this week, its no coincidence the caravan is approaching the U.S. during election season.
    Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border,
    get a ride on trucks, in Donaji, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
        This, as President Trump continues blasting Democrats for encouraging illegal immigrants to break the nation’s laws, calling it an assault on the country.
        Many experts believe the migrants may be motivated to come to the U.S., by the possibility of Democrat’s gaining seats on election day.
        Now, President Trump has announced the White House may increase the amount of troops stationed at the border to as many as 15,000.

    11/4/2018 Oil rally faces tidal wave of supply by Devika Krishna Kumar and David Gaffen
    FILE PHOTO: A drilling crew uses a mechanical roughneck machine to thread drill pipe together
    on an oil rig in the Permian Basin near Wink, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
        (Reuters) – The oil market’s two-year bull run is running into one of its biggest tests in months, facing a tidal wave of supply and growing worries about economic weakness sapping demand worldwide.
        After topping out at more than $75 and $85 a barrel just a month ago, both U.S. crude and Brent benchmark futures have grappled with near-relentless selling.    For a time, prices had some support on hopes that renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran would force barrels off the market.
        That changed in the last week.    The world’s three largest producers – Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States – all indicated they were pumping at record or near-record levels, while the United States said it would allow waivers that could allow buyers to keep importing Iranian oil, lessening the threat o