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Syria's Kurds look to Assad for protection after US pullout
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 19:39:13 -0400

Syria's Kurds look to Assad for protection after US pulloutSyria's Kurds said Syrian government forces agreed Sunday to help them fend off Turkey's invasion — a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos. The shift could lead to clashes between Turkey and Syria and raises the specter of a resurgent Islamic State group as the U.S. relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.

Southern California wildfires burning unchecked
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 11:40:29 -0400

Southern California wildfires burning uncheckedGusting winds fueling a fast-moving wildfire in southern California showed no signs of abating Saturday as a blaze that forced the evacuation of some 100,000 people kept burning out of control. A red flag warning of critical fire danger -- strong winds and very low humidity -- has been extended into the weekend, the National Weather Service said. Firefighters said people have taken evacuation orders seriously in the so-called Saddleridge fire burning in the San Fernando Valley area of greater Los Angeles.

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senator
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 06:53:29 -0400

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senatorHong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.

Merkel Says Germany and France Should Deepen Relationship
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 05:36:13 -0400

Merkel Says Germany and France Should Deepen Relationship(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Pocket Cast or iTunes.Germany and France should deepen their relationship and coordinate policies more intensively, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly podcast, ahead of a Franco-German ministerial meeting Wednesday.Merkel and several German ministers will travel to Toulouse next week to meet French counterparts and discuss how to intensify political coordination. For example, both governments should agree on common positions before each European Council meeting, she said.Germany and France are the motors of European security and defense policy, Merkel said. Wednesday’s talks will also deal with defense issues such as the next steps in developing European tanks and an airplane, according to the chancellor.Before the talks, Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse. The company is the “probably most important project of Franco-German collaboration of the past decades,” Merkel said.Germany and France also plan to foster contacts between citizens of both countries in areas near their border. She said other plans include the foundation of cultural institutes and a fund to facilitate such projects.To contact the reporter on this story: David Verbeek in Frankfurt at dverbeek1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Schaefer at, Thomas MulierFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 12:00:00 -0400

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?Will Beijing's strategy work?

Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens charged
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:46:28 -0400

Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens chargedOhio investigators say the six-foot log was pushed or thrown off the cliff in the Hocking Hills State Park. Two teens have been charged.

California becomes first US state to ban fur products
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 09:40:24 -0400

California becomes first US state to ban fur productsCalifornia has become the first US state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products.On Saturday, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law to prohibit residents from making or selling items such as clothing, shoes or handbags made of fur.

German police investigate bitcoin transfer to synagogue killer
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:12:17 -0400

German police investigate bitcoin transfer to synagogue killerGerman police are investigating a bitcoin transfer made to the far-Right extremist behind Wednesday’s terror attack in Halle to determine if the man possessed a broader support network. German media outlet Spiegel reports that a transfer of 0.1 bitcoin – approximately €750 (£660) – was made to alleged attacker Stephan Balliet in the lead up to the attack. Police said the transfer came from an unknown source. Balliet told police interrogators that he had received the money from someone whom he had communicated with on the internet, but that he did not know who they were. Questions were raised as to how Balliet, who had been unemployed for a significant period of time in the lead up to the attack, was able to fund the attack, including buying the materials for his home-made weapons. As reported by Spiegel, the man told investigators that the weapons were cheap to manufacture, primarily as he constructed them from basic raw materials. He told police he bought steel worth €50, cartridge cases for €25 and a telescope for €20 to manufacture the weapons, which he based on designs released online by British pro-gun activist Philip Luty "The further investigations will deal in particular with the question of whether other persons were involved in the act or its preparation alongside Stephan Balliet", said a spokesman for the Federal Criminal Police Office. The 27-year-old Balliet was active in far-Right chatrooms, with police suspecting he was radicalised online. Balliet uploaded a manifesto outlining his motives, details of his weapons and indications as to the nature of his plans in the lead up to the attack.

The Latest: Powerful typhoon reaches greater Tokyo area
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:26:42 -0400

The Latest: Powerful typhoon reaches greater Tokyo areaHelicopters are plucking people from their flooded homes as rescue efforts went into full force in wide areas of Japan, including Tokyo, after a powerful typhoon unleashed heavy rainfall, leaving at least four dead and 17 missing. Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo Saturday and moved northward. Several train service in the Tokyo area resumed early morning.

Trump takes his stump speech to the Values Voter Summit
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 20:58:12 -0400

Trump takes his stump speech to the Values Voter SummitPresident Donald Trump on Saturday delivered a full-throated defense of his presidency at the Values Voter Summit, calling Democrats “crazy” over their impeachment inquiry, touting his recent withdrawal of troops from Syria and pledging to fight for religious liberty in America and around the world. "These are bad bad people," Trump said of House Democrats, telling some 3,000 attendees at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., that “we’re going after” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House intel chair Adam Schiff, while raising the prospect of suing them, in a 79-minute address that hewed closely to his stump speech. Pelosi “hates our country,” the president continued, before further lashing out against the House impeachment inquiry that followed revelations from a whistleblower alleging Trump sought the help of a foreign government to dig up dirt on a political rival.

Hungary opposition wins Budapest in blow for PM Orban
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 18:31:58 -0400

Hungary opposition wins Budapest in blow for PM OrbanHungary's opposition scored a shock win in the Budapest mayoralty election Sunday, the first electoral blow for nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban since he came to power in 2010. The win was "historic" said the pro-European centre-left challenger Gergely Karacsony, 44, who was backed by a wide range of opposition parties from across the political spectrum. The mild-mannered former political scientist led by 51 percent of the vote ahead of the incumbent Istvan Tarlos on around 44 percent, with 82 percent of votes counted.

Hong Kong protesters and police clash, metro and shops targeted
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 22:56:56 -0400

Hong Kong protesters and police clash, metro and shops targetedRallies in shopping malls on Hong Kong island and across the harbor in the Kowloon district began peacefully around midday with a few hundred people at each chanting "Free Hong Kong" and other slogans. Police said protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs at police, with one setting a police van alight in Kowloon's Sha Tin district. Police made several arrests and used tear gas to disperse protesters, saying they used "minimum force".

Police: No evidence of shooting after Florida mall lockdown
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 21:54:18 -0400

Police: No evidence of shooting after Florida mall lockdownReports of possible shots at an upscale Florida mall sent panicked people running and triggered a lockdown for several hours Sunday, but a SWAT team's search found no evidence of any shooting and police issued an all-clear after nightfall. One person was injured, apparently leaving the mall in Boca Raton, police said. Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander said Sunday evening that authorities conducted a sweeping search but found no evidence to confirm the initial reports.

Meet the Massive Ordnance Penetrator: The Air Force's Newest Bunker Buster Bomb
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 22:00:00 -0400

Meet the Massive Ordnance Penetrator: The Air Force's Newest Bunker Buster BombHuge and very powerful.

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stops
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:31:10 -0400

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stopsNorwegian Cruise Line passengers voiced their anger after disembarking from the ship Friday after several port stops were canceled due to weather.

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign Office
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:54:00 -0400

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign OfficeThe US diplomat’s wife allegedly involved in a crash which killed a teenager does not have diplomatic immunity, the Foreign Office has said.A letter, that appears to have been sent by foreign secretary Dominic Raab to Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, says: “The question remains when such immunity comes to an end, regardless of any waiver.

Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wall
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:35:24 -0400

Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wallAn 18-foot replica of President Trump’s border wall has been climbed in a matter of seconds by an 8-year-old girl and a man who returned for another attempt while juggling with one hand.

Millions told to evacuate as Super Typhoon Hagibis slams into Japan - throwing Rugby World Cup into chaos
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:36:07 -0400

Millions told to evacuate as Super Typhoon Hagibis slams into Japan - throwing Rugby World Cup into chaosAt least six million people were told to evacuate their homes as Super Typhoon Hagibis smashed into Japan on Saturday, triggering mudslides, flooding and the heaviest rain and winds in 60 years. Within hours of the typhoon making landfall at around 7pm local time (11am UK), at least two people were dead, nine were missing and more than 80 were injured, according to local media. Officials warned that the storm could be the most powerful to hit Japan since one of the worst typhoons on record devastated Tokyo and surrounding areas in 1958, killing more than 1,200 people. Even before the storm hit, there were reports of at least one death, with a 50-year-old man killed when his car overturned in strong winds in Chiba Prefecture, an area just east of Tokyo still recovering from a strong typhoon which hit last month. Four others, including two children, were also injured by a tornado in the same area. One resident there told NHK: “When the winds suddenly hit, they blew the roof off my house. The noise was awful. One of my three children was injured but is now in a hospital.” Even before the typhoon hit, strong winds brought havoc to areas such as Chiba, near Tokyo  Credit: Katsuya Miyagawa/Kyodo News The typhoon had been brewing over the Pacific Ocean with recorded winds of more than 145 mph. Authorities issued warnings that with gusts likely to exceed that figure, some houses were at risk of being blown down.  The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of as much as 30 inches of rain in the 24-hour period until midnight on Saturday.  Television footage showed images of damage to roofs and walls of buildings in storm-hit spots across Japan. More than 16,000 homes, mainly along the Pacific coastline, were without electricity.  Some residential areas along the coast in Shizuoka were also reported as being submerged up to around knee height in tidal surges. The approaching typhoon caused rivers to overflow in the area, with reports of at least one person swept away, and widespread landslide warnings also in place. Three people were missing in Gunma Prefecture after a landslide swept through six houses. The weather system passed directly over Tokyo, one of seven regions subject to the non-compulsory evacuation orders - and where a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit just ahead of the typhoon's arrival.  Around 17,000 Self-Defence Forces personnel were on standby across the country for potential deployment on rescue operations. Even as the typhoon moved away from the capital late on Saturday, one expert warned of further flooding as several surrounding prefectures began releasing water from dams, letting it flow downstream. "The situation is now worse than this evening," Nobuyuki Tsuchiya, director of the Japan Riverfront Research Centre, told Reuters. About 1.5 million people in Tokyo live below sea level. Japan's national rugby team waded through floodwater to reach the pitch for practice, with a decision still to be made on Sunday's matches Credit: Japan Rugby Football Union/Reuters A study by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers in June 2018 concluded that a huge storm surge in Tokyo Bay could lead to 8,000 deaths and cause damage estimated at Y115 trillion (£84 billion).  Much of the damage would be to infrastructure, such as underground railway lines, roads and bridges, as well as structures on vulnerable reclaimed land in the bay.  A disaster simulation prepared by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2018 suggested that more than 80 square miles of the city could be inundated in a worst-case scenario, accounting for one-third of the entire city. In low-lying areas, water levels could rise as high as 32 feet above mean sea level.  The government’s estimations are based on data from Typhoon Muroto, which struck the city in September 1934, killing 3,066 people, injuring a further 13,000 and leaving 200,000 people homeless.  Authorities in central Japan called on residents of coastal regions to evacuate to higher ground inland and alerts were sent out to mobile phones through messaging systems and are running on television and radio broadcasts.  Train services in and around Tokyo were cancelled throughout Saturday, along with long-distance bullet train services. Japanese airlines grounded all domestic and international flights out of Narita and Haneda, the two airports that serve the capital, while theme parks and many shops closed their doors. There are fears for low-lying coastal areas, with residents warned they should move to higher ground inland Credit: Kyodo News/AP A number of companies, including car makers Toyota and Honda, have halted production.  Saturday’s Rugby World Cup game between England and France in Yokohama has been cancelled, along with the Italy-New Zealand clash in Toyota City.  A decision is due to be made at midnight on games scheduled for Sunday, including the all-important Scotland-Japan game, which will decide which nation emerges from the group stages of the tournament. The looming super typhoon has also triggered a frenzy of last-minute buying, with store shelves emptied of bread, instant noodles, bottled water and other perishable foods. Stores in some areas have also reportedly run out of batteries and packing tape that is being put across windows to reduce the possibility of flying glass.  Super Typhoon Hagibis - the Tagalog word for “speed” - is the second major storm to hit Japan in just over a month.  Typhoon Faxai struck eastern Japan on September 9, killing three people, leaving more than 40 injured and leaving scenes of devastation in its wake. At the peak of the storm, more than 930,000 people were without power and it took two weeks for some areas to have electricity restored.

Joe Biden's son Hunter announces resignation from Chinese firm amid impeachment row
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:28:34 -0400

Joe Biden's son Hunter announces resignation from Chinese firm amid impeachment rowJoe Biden’s son Hunter has announced that he is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company and will stop working for foreign-owned firms if his father is elected president in 2020. Hunter Biden, 49, has found himself dragged into the spotlight amid attempts to impeach Donald Trump. He was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company which was being investigated by the authorities, and Mr Trump asked Ukraine’s president to look for evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden. That call – requesting foreign assistance to damage a political rival – sparked the impeachment inquiry. On Sunday Hunter Biden announced he was leaving his current role on the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, which was set up in 2013 to invest Chinese capital outside China. George Mesires, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, said he will resign at the end of the month from the management company of a private equity fund that’s backed by Chinese state-owned entities. He also reiterated that he never discussed his business activities with his father. Hunter Biden, whose business activities have come under intense scrutiny  “Hunter always understood that his father would be guided, entirely and unequivocally, by established US policy, regardless of its effects on Hunter’s professional interests,” the statement said. “He never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the President of the United States.” Mr Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have repeatedly claimed, without providing evidence, that Hunter Biden made millions of dollars from China while his father was vice president. They have also made unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden used his position to help end an investigation in 2016 into the owner of Burisma, one of the country’s largest private gas companies, where Hunter Biden sat on the board. Burisma’s owner had been under investigation for alleged money laundering and abuse of power. The allegations predated Hunter Biden’s joining the board in April 2014. He stepped down earlier this year. The Bidens firmly deny any wrongdoing.  Earlier this month, Mr Trump raised eyebrows by publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens. A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry rejected that notion, saying it wouldn’t interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. “Under a Biden Administration, Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests,” the statement said. “He will continue to keep his father personally uninvolved in his business affairs.” Hunter Biden’s pledge to avoid foreign work if his father wins the White House sets him apart from Mr Trump’s children, who have continued working with foreign business partners from Dubai to Indonesia and India while his father sits in the White House. Donald Trump Jr and his brother Eric have taken over the running of the Trump Organization while their father is in the White House, and have continued to do business globally After Mr Trump won the presidency in 2016, he handed the running of the Trump Organization to his sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and said they wouldn’t do any new overseas deals. But they have continued to push the Trump Organization’s existing foreign deals, including visits to promote luxury resorts in Indonesia, condo sales in India and an expansion of their golf resort in Scotland. The Trump sons have joined in on the attacks, accusing Hunter Biden of using his family name for personal gain while his father was vice president. “At the VERY LEAST, there’s an appearance of impropriety,” Don Jr. tweeted. And at a rally in Minneapolis this week, Eric Trump attacked Hunter Biden, whipping up the crowd with chants of “Lock him up,” a replay of his father’s familiar campaign stump speech targeting Hillary Clinton in 2016. Joe Biden has defended his son and vowed to make him a visible part of his campaign. “He’s a fine man. He’s been through hell,” he said. “I’m also confident the American people know me, and they know my son.”

Exposed and under fire, Syria's Kurds may turn to Damascus
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 05:36:17 -0400

Exposed and under fire, Syria's Kurds may turn to DamascusA US withdrawal from Syria's northern border this week has exposed Washington's Kurdish partners to a Turkish assault, creating conditions for a rapprochement with Damascus that both sides need badly, analysts said. The main US partner in the years-long battle against the Islamic State group, Kurdish forces were left to fend for themselves after allied US forces pulled back on Monday. What the Kurds resent as a US betrayal paved the way for a Turkish operation that has seen Ankara bombard positions since Wednesday and send forces across the border.