NEWS     THURSDAY,  OCTOBER  18, 2018    NEWS

Treasury employee charged with leaking financial info on Trump campaign officials, Russians
A Treasury employee has been arrested and charged with leaking multiple reports about financial transactions relating to former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, campaign official Richard Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina and the Russian Embassy, federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday. Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards is accused of illegally photographing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARS) -- which are sent by banks and other financial institutions to alert law enforcement to potential illegal activity -- and leaking them to the press. Edwards worked as a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), according to a press release by the Southern District of New York. Fox
VOA VIEW: The madness and left wing craziness doesn't end.

ICE forced to release illegal immigrants ‘out of the front door’ in Arizona amid space crunch, migrant surge
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials – faced with a lack of housing space, an agreement that limits how long they can detain families and a massive increase in the number of border crossers – are having to resort to releasing illegal immigrants and asylum seekers "out of the front door" in Arizona. Sheriff Leon Wilmot, head of the Arizona Sheriff’s Association, told Fox News that sheriffs have been told ICE has run out of available space in its detention facilities and has not been able to keep up with the pace of people crossing the border and presenting themselves at ports of entry. Fox
VOA VIEW: Total madness.

Admin wants to bring DACA case back to Supreme Court quickly with Kavanaugh in
With Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, the Justice Department signaled on Wednesday that it wants to expedite lawsuits concerning Trump administration positions through the lower courts in order to get them before the Supreme Court's newly formed five-justice conservative majority. The latest example came in a letter from to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals warning if there wasn't a decision soon on the administration's planned phase out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation -- the Justice Department would go directly to the Supreme Court.  CNN
VOA VIEW:  The Supreme Court is more conservative.

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Judging the Kavanaugh effect in key Senate races
President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have said they'll turn the vote on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court into an asset in November, while Democrats have made it clear they'd rather talk about health care or taxes. There's evidence that in swing states critical to Democrats' Senate hopes in the Midwest, support for Kavanaugh could hurt several incumbent Democrats. Others, less endangered, could see a bump from their opposition to him. The region has become a key battleground in 2018 as Democrats try to regain momentum where Trump beat them in 2016. Trump's approval rating is at 42% across Midwestern states, according to a recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS, about the same as nationwide, where it's 41%.  CNN
VOA VIEW: Midterm results will make CNN and other liberal media realize they misjudge Americans.

Rand Paul: Saudis 'Are Not Our Friends'
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he spoke to President Trump this past weekend, "and I told him that we need to cut off arms to Saudi Arabia." "For over a year now, I have been trying to get Congress to stop sending more arms to Saudi Arabia," Paul told Fox News's Neil Cavuto on Tuesday. "It's important to remember that Saudi Arabia is the largest state sponsor of radical Islam. They fund tens of thousands of madrassas around the world, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Philippines, all teaching hatred of America. They have been doing this for decades. They are not our friends." CNS News
VOA VIEW: No Islamic nation is our true friend.

Russians Are Among the Foreign Observers of U.S. Midterm Elections
When American voters go to the polls on November 6, an international team invited by the State Department to observe the elections will include six Russians, selected and paid for by President Vladimir Putin’s government. The six Russians, including two members of the country’s Central Election Commission, will join 30 others from 11 other countries – all members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – to assess the mid-term elections “for compliance with international obligations and standards for democratic elections.” CNS News

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Plane carrying first lady Melania Trump turns around after 'burning' smell reported on board
A plane carrying first lady Melania Trump was forced to turn around shortly after takeoff Wednesday after reports of a "burning smell" by members of the press on board the flight. A Fox News reporter said there was “a thin haze of smoke and smell [of] something burning.” The smell quickly became stronger about 10 minutes after takeoff, she added. The smell was reportedly coming from “a malfunctioning comms unit” on board. The first lady's communications director Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that it was simply a "minor mechanical issue," and added, "everything is fine and everyone is safe.” ABC

Trump: 'Not at all' giving cover to the Saudis in Jamal Khashoggi disappearance
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his recent comments about Saudi Arabia's denials of any involvement in the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi were not an attempt to give the oil-rich ally cover. “No not at all, I just want to find out what's happening,” Trump told reporters. He added that he expects to know who is at fault for Khashoggi’s alleged murder “by the end of the week.” His comments came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Turkish President Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu and refused to express any doubt or skepticism about the legitimacy of a Saudi investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance. ABC
VOA VIEW: There must be full facts before any judgment is made.

Federal Reserve unanimously backed higher interest rates, despite Trump
President Donald Trump's unhappiness with the Federal Reserve for hiking interest rates seems to be having little sway with policymakers. Central bank officials were unified in voting last month to boost rates by a quarter point, the Fed's account of its September policy meeting shows. Some members of the rate-setting panel -- the Federal Open Market Committee -- also indicated it might be necessary to raise rates more aggressively to keep the economy from overheating. But others argued against stronger tightening of monetary policy without "clear signs" the economy is running hot. Mr. Trump said Tuesday in an interview with Fox Business Network that he views the Fed as his "biggest threat," criticizing Chairman Jerome Powell and other Fed officials for moving "too fast" to raise interest rates. CBS

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Budget deficit hits highest level in 6 years after tax cuts
Earlier this week, the Treasury Department announced that the U.S. deficit has ballooned to $779 billion. Stephanie Ruhle breaks down how the GOP tax cuts and increased spending are pushing the country deeper into debt. Policy advisor with America First Policy Andrew Puzder and former New Jersey Senator Bob Torricelli join the conversation. MSNBC

New York State gets back 90 cents for each dollar it sends to D.C.
New York State got back 90 cents in federal spending for every dollar it sent to Washington last year, one of the highest imbalances in payments between the states and federal government, according to a new report. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, in a 35-page report released Wednesday, found New York residents and businesses sent nearly $250 billion to Washington in income tax payments, Social Security tax, unemployment insurance tax and other payments in the fiscal year ended September 2017. The state got back $225.7 billion in federal spending, including Medicaid and Social Security payments, grants and salaries for federal employees working in the state. The imbalance — $24.1 billion — equals 90 cents in federal spending in New York for every dollar sent to Washington. Newsday
VOA VIEW: NY gets the best buy.

Legalize marijuana but cautiously, prosecutor tells state Assembly in Manhattan
Make pot legal for adults, the capital city's top prosecutor urged the Assembly on Tuesday — but be careful. In arguing for legalization, Albany District Attorney David Soares and other proponents at an all-day hearing in Manhattan cited the disproportionate arrest rate of blacks and Hispanics for marijuana despite comparable use among whites; the benefits of reallocating police and prosecutorial resources to more pressing priorities and expunging criminal records of those convicted of behavior that could soon be legal; and the opportunities for a legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana market. Newsday

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Melania Trump visits babies, moms affected by opioid crisis
First lady Melania Trump toured a hospital's neonatal care unit Wednesday to learn about the treatment given to newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal, after she was initially delayed by mechanical issues on her plane. Her flight was forced to return to a Washington-area military base because of smoke in the cabin, and she took a different plane to make the trip to Philadelphia. Mrs. Trump spoke briefly at a conference at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on newborns who have been exposed to opioids while in the womb. The hospital has provided care to mothers with opioid use disorder and their newborn children for more than 45 years. Las Vegas Sun

Trump to Withdraw U.S. From Postal Treaty, Squeezing China
President Donald Trump plans to withdraw the U.S. from a 192-nation treaty that gives Chinese companies discounted shipping rates for small packages sent to American consumers, another escalation of his economic confrontation of Beijing. U.S. officials said the administration sought to revise the treaty in September and was rebuffed by other nations, prompting the decision to withdraw. The State Department will deliver a notice to the Universal Postal Union in Switzerland Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Under the union’s framework it takes a year for a country to withdraw, during which rates can be renegotiated. The officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said postal rates wouldn’t change for at least six months, and that the U.S. would prefer to stay inside the union’s system. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: America First is starting to escalate.

Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections as he faces intensifying pressure to produce more indictments or shut down his investigation, according to two U.S. officials. Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice, according to one of the officials, who asked not to be identified speaking about the investigation. That doesn’t necessarily mean Mueller’s findings would be made public if he doesn’t secure unsealed indictments. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: The American people are tired of Mueller's wasteful witch hunt.

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Mike Pompeo visits Turkey as newspaper claims damning evidence against Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi case
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists before leaving Riyadh on Wednesday that Saudi leaders, including King Salman and his son, the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, "made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable." "They made a commitment to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official," Pompeo said. But he admitted that he had learned very little about the actual case of the missing journalist from his meetings in Riyadh. "I don't want to talk about any of the facts," Pompeo told journalists. CBS

Salesforce CEO: tech billionaires 'hoard their money' and won't help homeless
Marc Benioff, the Salesforce CEO, has escalated his attacks on fellow San Francisco billionaires, saying they are “hoarding” money and don’t want to help the homeless. In an interview with the Guardian on Tuesday, the tech entrepreneur intensified his criticisms of Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, saying: “He just doesn’t want to give, that’s all. And he hasn’t given anything of consequence in the city.” Benioff’s recent efforts to call out ultra-wealthy business leaders has caused divides in the tech industry, which has typically been united in its resistance to taxes that could fund services and combat income inequality. Guardian

A tale of two houses: how Jared Kushner fuelled the Trump-Saudi love-in
A key player in the US-Saudi relationship is conspicuously missing from the talks held in Riyadh by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to try to defuse the international crisis over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. Jared Kushner helped build the alliance between the House of Saud and the House of Trump. The president’s son-in-law and senior adviser took the lead in promoting Mohammed bin Salman as a Saudi visionary, and persuaded the administration to hitch US Middle East policy to the prince’s rising star. Together the two thirty-something princelings, MBS and Kushner, stayed up late into the night planning to remake the map of the Middle East with bold thinking and mountains of cash. Guardian

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US ready to negotiate free trade deal with UK 'as soon as' Britain quits the EU
The US has confirmed it will be “well prepared” to start negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain “as soon as” the UK has left the European Union. Donald Trump, the US President, has formally notified Congress of his intention to initiate negotiations on a trade agreement in a major boost for Theresa May as she heads to Brussels for a crunch summit. The Prime Minister will travel to the continent on Wednesday afternoon before addressing EU leaders in the evening when she will try to persuade them to break a negotiating impasse. The confirmation that the US is preparing for trade talks with Britain to start immediately after the UK has left the EU on March 29, 2019. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Good for UK.

How a quiet Green revolution is sweeping German politics
German politics has experienced a quiet revolution in the past week. For more than a year, the fear of a populist surge has dominated the national debate. All eyes have been on the Alternative for Germany party (AfD). But when the upset came last weekend, it was from an unexpected quarter: the Green Party. The Greens surged to second place in Bavarian regional elections, almost doubling their vote. And it has not stopped there. A national poll this week has them in second place across Germany, leapfrogging both the AfD and the centre-Left Social Democrats (SDP). But Angela Merkel and her coalition partners should have known about the danger of a Green surge. It has been a long time coming. Telegraph

Northrop Grumman wins $697 million U.S. defense contract
Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) has been awarded a $697 million U.S. defense contract for upgrades to the EA-18G Growler and EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft for the U.S. Navy and the government of Australia, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. Reuters

Senate panel wants to question Hyundai, Kia over engine fire reports
The Senate Commerce Committee’s Republican chairman and ranking Democrat said on Wednesday they had asked top U.S. executives at Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) to testify at a Nov. 14 hearing on reports of engine fires involving vehicles from the Korean automakers. The call to testify comes after safety advocates raised concerns about fires in vehicles not involved in collisions. The non-profit, consumer advocacy group Center for Auto Safety said last week that 103 fire complaints had been filed with U.S. safety regulators since June 12 and urged an immediate recall of nearly 3 million vehicles.  Reuters

World population set to grow another 2.2 billion by 2050
The world’s population is set to grow by 2.2 billion between now and 2050, the UN said on Wednesday, and more than half of that growth - 1.3 billion - is likely to be in sub-Saharan Africa, where women’s rights are hampered by limited access to healthcare and education, along with “entrenched gender discrimination”. Monica Ferro, Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Geneva, said the trend globally is towards smaller families, indicating that more people are making choices about exactly how many children they want, or can afford to raise. Despite the gradual transition to lower fertility rates, which began in Europe in the late 19th century, no country can claim that all their citizens enjoy reproductive rights at all times, Ms Ferro told journalists at a press briefing.  UN
VOA VIEW: A bad projection.

Veteran UN Syria Envoy to step down, pledges to work 'until the last hour' for peace
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, told the Security Council on Wednesday that he is stepping down at the end of next month, after four years and four months on the job. Staffan de Mistura, said that he had been “discussing with the Secretary-General my desire for purely personal reasons to move on. I have deeply appreciated his constant support and wise counsel on this matter.” But briefing the 15-member Council on an invitation from the Government of Syria to visit Damascus next week, he said he would continue in his post up to the end of November, in an effort to get UN-backed peace talks on track, and help lay the groundwork for a new constitution. UN News

Marine who saved 20 lives during Vietnam receives Medal of Honor
President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor on Wednesday to a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant major who saved more than a dozen fellow Marines during the Vietnam War. Retired Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley was presented with the nation's highest military honor in the East Room of the White House for his actions during the Battle of Hue City in February 1968, which Trump regarded as "one of the bloodiest." He praised Canley for his "unmatched bravery" and fearlessness. UPI

Israel answers rocket fire with airstrikes on Gaza Strip
Israeli fighter jets targeted three areas in the Gaza Strip Wednesday -- retaliation for an earlier rocket attack -- amid intense rioting along the border that may lead to more attacks on Hamas. Officials said the airstrikes killed a 25-year-old man. Earlier Wednesday, a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit a home in Beersheba, Israel. No injuries were reported. UPI

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