Oct. 18, 2019

REUTERS

President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim – debunked as a conspiracy theory – about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored U.S.-Israeli efforts to counter Iran in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, in an apparent attempt to ease Israeli concerns that Tehran could exploit a U.S. military pullback in Syria.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Friday the controversy over the Trump administration's handling of Ukraine had nothing to do with his resignation, adding he did not know whether he would cooperate with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

A former chief executive of specialty finance lender Hercules Capital Inc has agreed to plead guilty to participating in what authorities say is the largest college admissions scam uncovered in the United States, prosecutors said on Friday.

Blasts in a mosque in eastern Afghanistan during Friday prayers killed at least 62 men who had gathered for worship, local officials said.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Friday that the European Union was working on measures to compensate sectors hit by duties imposed by the United States after EU's illegal subsidies to the airplane industry.

Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.

U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history on Friday when they stepped outside the International Space Station (ISS) on the first all-female spacewalk.

The Chicago teachers strike entered its second day on Friday as union leaders reported some headway at the bargaining table, where negotiators are trying to resolve differences that have idled the third-largest U.S. school district.

Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners on Friday vowed to stage a major march at the weekend despite police ruling the rally illegal, setting the scene for possibly more unrest in a city battered by months of violent protests.

AP Top Stories

Heavily armed fighters surrounded security forces in a Mexican city on Thursday and made them free one of drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's sons, after his capture triggered gun battles and a prison break that sent civilians scurrying for cover.

U.S. immigration authorities have discovered hundreds of instances at the border of "family unit fraud," or unrelated individuals posing as families, over the last six months thanks to a new investigative initiative.

A communications blackout in India's powderkeg Kashmir region is fuelling a fake news war with Pakistan, as both sides unleash a deluge of disinformation to fill the vacuum and shape opinion.

Dutch police said Thursday that a group of people discovered on an isolated farm this week may have been kept there against their will for up to nine years, as they arrested a 67-year-old man who says he is the father of the group.

After being lost in the wilderness for three days, an Australian woman was rescued after the SOS message she scrawled in the sand was spotted on a surveillance camera.

One of the reasons border apprehensions have dropped from their alarming peak in May is that Mexico has been pretty aggressive in stopping third-country nationals from traversing its territory on their way north to make bogus asylum claims so they can be released into the U.S.

Nearly a million children could lose their automatic eligibility for free school lunches under a Trump administration proposal that would reduce the number of people who get food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released an analysis that says as many as 982,000 children could be affected by the change.

A plane and its passengers are set to test the mental and physical limits of long-haul aviation when Qantas operates the first direct flight by a commercial airline from New York to Sydney this weekend. Researchers will monitor the effects on passengers of the 19-hour non-stop journey.

BBC

Venezuela has won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, despite widespread criticism of its poor human rights record.

The US imposed tariffs on $7.5bn on EU goods after the World Trade Organization ruled in its favor earlier this month. This is the result of a 15-year battle over aircraft subsidies paid by the EU to Airbus which have been ruled illegal by the WTO. As a result a long list of Europe-made goods has been issued that is now subject to a 25% tariff.

WND

A major southern California fault capable of producing a magnitude 8 temblor started to move for the first time in 500 years following a series of earthquakes in the Mojave Desert over the summer, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science.

Toxic heavy metals damaging to your baby's brain development are likely in the baby food you are feeding your infant, according to a new investigation published Thursday.

The largest dark web child pornography site in the world has been taken down. IRS-CI was able to trace bitcoin transactions on the site to people all over the world who were uploading and downloading this material, as well as find the location of the site administrator. By analyzing the block chain and de-anonymizing bitcoin transactions, the agency was able to identify hundreds of predators around the world – even though those users thought that they could remain anonymous.

Mexico has deported over 300 Indian nationals to New Delhi, the National Migration Institute (INM) said late on Wednesday, in what it described as an unprecedented transatlantic deportation.

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