NEWS     THURSDAY,  NOVEMBER  15, 2018    NEWS

U.S. edge has eroded to 'a dangerous degree' study for Congress finds
The National Defense Strategy Commission, made up of former top Republican and Democratic officials selected by Congress, evaluated the Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy, which ordered a vast reshaping of the U.S. military to compete with Beijing and Moscow. The commission warned that Washington isn’t moving fast enough or investing sufficiently to put the vision into practice, risking a further erosion of American military dominance that could become a national security emergency. At the same time, according to the commission, China and Russia are seeking dominance in their regions and the ability to project military power globally, as their authoritarian governments pursue defense buildups aimed squarely at the United States. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Has-beens should not dictate.

Fake Instagram accounts used Trump, Kanye and social issues to target voters
Facebook on Tuesday revealed more details about the fake Russian-linked Instagram accounts that posted politically divisive content on race and gender and on public figures such as President Donald Trump and Kanye West in a bid to influence voters in the midterm elections. More than 1 million people – 600,000 in the U.S. – followed at least one of the 99 Instagram accounts right up until the day before the U.S. midterm elections when the social media giant, acting on a tip from the FBI, took them down. The accounts are suspected to have been the work of Russia's Internet Research Agency, the group that tried to sway the 2016 presidential election by spreading politically divisive messages.  USA Today
VOA VIEW: Facebook is a danger to freedom and civil liberties.

Judiciary Committee processes Trump nominees over Democrats' objections
Senators returned to Washington Tuesday and immediately picked up where they left off — processing President Trump’s judicial nominees, over the objections of Democrats. The Judiciary Committee held a hearing for Paul B. Matey, nominated to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and for four district court picks. Mr. Matey’s nomination is particularly controversial because it marks another round in the fight over Senate traditions and courtesies and their abuse in the era of Mr. Trump. Mr. Matey is slated to fill a seat on the appeals court that’s traditionally ascribed to New Jersey. But that state’s senators, both Democrats, object to the president’s pick, and have withheld their “blue slips” to signify their opposition. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Resistance is all the Dems know.

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Sheriff: California wildfire’s death toll rises to 48
Ernest Foss was a musician who gave lessons out of his home when he lived in San Francisco, where an amplifier that ran the length of a wall served as the family’s living room couch. Carl Wiley refurbished tires for Michelin. Jesus Fernandez, known as “Zeus,” was described as a loving father and loyal friend. They were among the first victims identified in the aftermath of the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California history, an inferno blamed for at least 48 deaths, with authorities ramping up the search Tuesday for still more souls. The flames all but obliterated the Northern California town of Paradise, population 27,000, and ravaged surrounding areas last Thursday. About 7,700 homes were destroyed.  Seattle Times

'Never Nancy': Democrats ramp up efforts to sideline Pelosi, without offering an alternative
A band of House Democrats determined to oppose House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's speaker bid are planning to release a signed letter as soon as this week indicating that they have gathered enough support to deny her the 218 votes needed to win the gavel on the House floor in January, a move they say would complicate her path to a second term as speaker and force renewed discussion about her stepping aside. "This is a simple letter saying we want new leadership, which is what a vast majority of Democrats and the American people want." ABC
VOA VIEW: Pelosi would be good for Republicans in 2020.

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FBI sees 17 percent increase in hate crimes compared to 2016
Two weeks after the deadly Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the FBI released it's 2017 hate crimes statistics which revealed a 17 percent increase in incidents since 2016. In 2017 there were 8,493 victims and 6,307 known offenders. By comparison there were 7,509 victims and 5,727 known offenders in 2016, according to the data. It's also worth noting that more law enforcement agencies participated in reporting hate crime statistics in 2017. "This report is a call to action -- and we will heed that call," Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement. ABC

"Precarious" Gaza truce holds, but puts huge pressure on Israeli leader
Children in Israel's south were heading to school early Wednesday as an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took effect, putting an end to a brief yet intense flare-up with Gaza. The truce, announced Tuesday by Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, came after nearly two days of heavy shelling from both sides that had threatened to descend into full-blown war. CBS

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Key 'resistance' group plots how newly elected reps can take on Trump
Indivisible, the grassroots movement at the center of opposition to President Donald Trump, taught its activists how to influence lawmakers from outside of power with an online guide in late 2016 based on the tea party's tactics under Barack Obama. Now the "resistance" group is looking to prepare its members for life under divided government. Indivisible's approach two years ago went viral, local chapters popped up around the country and its members helped fuel a Democratic takeover of the House in the midterms. The updated sequel, a guide to "Indivisible On Offense," looks to instruct progressive members on the power that comes with Democratic control of the House and how they can maximize it. NBC
VOA VIEW: Idiots will prove wasteful and foolish.

Climate change may be dissolving the ocean floor
"Even at places on our planet where we have never set foot... there is a trace of human activity." From heat waves to severe storms and wildfires, the effects of climate change are visible all around us — and new research suggests that the impact of a warming world extends all the way to the bottom of the ocean. A study published Oct. 29 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that high levels of carbon dioxide — the heat-trapping greenhouse gas that is a key contributor to Earth's warming climate — have made parts of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean so acidic that the chalky white mineral that makes up the seafloor is dissolving. NBC

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'Stop lying' about Florida recounts, Democrats warn Trump
Democratic leaders have demanded that Donald Trump “stop bullying, harassing and lying” about election recounts in Florida before American democracy is put at risk. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, called on Republican governor Rick Scott to recuse himself from overseeing his US Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. The Senate minority leader’s stand came as Trump, Scott and Republicans pursue a scorched earth strategy in Florida, deploying battalions of lawyers and throwing out baseless claims of fraud. Troubled recounts in Senate and gubernatorial elections in Florida are now barreling towards a Thursday deadline amid an increasingly acrimonious fight that has echoes of the famous 2000 presidential recount. The Guardian

FDA imposes severe restrictions
Alarmed by a huge increase in vaping among minors, is expected to impose severe restrictions on the sale of most e-cigarettes products throughout the United States – actions that will likely have a significant impact on an industry that has grown exponentially in recent years with little government oversight. As soon as next week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to announce a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes – the majority of vaping products sold – in tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country, according to senior agency officials. Seattle Times

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