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- U.S. lawmakers may change September 11 law after rejecting veto
By Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers expressed doubts on Thursday about Sept. 11 legislation they forced on President Barack Obama, saying the new law allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia could be narrowed to ease concerns about its effect on Americans abroad. A day after a rare overwhelming rejection of a presidential veto, the first during Obama's eight years in the White House, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives opened the door to fixing the law as they blamed the Democratic president for not consulting them adequately. "I do think it is worth further discussing," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, acknowledging that there could be "potential consequences" of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, known as JASTA.
- Suing governments over terror no sure thing despite U.S. September 11 law By Mica Rosenberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - Families of Sept. 11 victims and others who may seek to sue foreign governments accused of supporting terrorism in the United States still face significant legal hurdles, despite a boost from passage of a law allowing such cases to proceed. The new Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, grants an exception to the legal principle of sovereign immunity in cases of terrorism on U.S. soil. Passage of the law over a presidential veto could allow relatives and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to move forward with a case they filed more than a decade ago against Saudi Arabia in New York federal court.
- U.S. to open new vetting agency for 'secret' security clearances By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government will open the doors next week to a new agency, with stronger data protections, meant to shorten by many weeks the time it takes to vet government workers seeking "secret" and "top secret" security clearances. The National Background Investigations Bureau will be headed by Charles Phalen, who has worked as a security executive at the CIA, the FBI and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, officials said on Thursday on a conference call with reporters. The bureau will replace an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) clearance system that was hit by hackers who stole potentially sensitive personal data on as many as 22 million people, including government employees and job applicants.
- Do not vote for 'demagogue' Trump, USA Today tells its readers
Branding Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," USA Today on Thursday urged its readers not to vote for the Republican presidential candidate, but added that it was not endorsing his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton either. It went on to list and expand on eight reasons for its stance, including: "He is ill-equipped to be commander in chief," "He traffics in prejudice," and "He’s a serial liar." "Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements typically range from uninformed to incoherent," the editorial said. In an opinion piece on the USA Today website, Trump's running mate Mike Pence wrote that the New York businessman was "thoughtful, compassionate and steady... I know he is ready to lead the United States as our next president and commander in chief." Trump and Clinton are locked in a close race for the Nov. 8 election.
- Party faithful: Inside look at the California GOP convention Hundreds of protesters surrounded the Hyatt Regency in a normally sleepy suburb of San Francisco. Some even attempted to charge through police barricades into the lobby. The source of their frustration: Donald Trump.
- What Colorado has learned from legalizing marijuana so far ER visits are up, and heavier use among young adults reported, but the decreased stigma surrounding recreational pot blunts findings.
- Marine Corps dog who lost leg in Afghanistan awarded gallantry medal The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals awarded a 12-year-old U.S. Marine Corps dog named Lucca the prestigious Dickin Medal.
- Spate of police officers fatally shot is ‘very chilling’ Virginia state trooper Chad Dermyer, a Marine veteran and father of two, is the 16th law enforcement officer to be killed by a gunman this year — a 129 percent increase over the first three months of 2015. “The numbers are very chilling,” said Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police.
- Obama seeks to loosen restrictions on opioid abuse medication President Obama outlined a number of new actions aimed at combating the country’s deadly opioid epidemic on Tuesday.
- NYC Bombing Suspect's Mom, Brother Released From Afghan Jail
The mother and brother of New York City bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami spent two nights in an Afghan jail before being released, though they have not been allowed to leave the country, Rahami's father told ABC News today. The father, Mohammad Rahami, had said in an interview Tuesday that his wife Najiba and son Qassim had been pulled off of a flight in Dubai, questioned for 16 hours and then sent against their wishes to Kabul, Afghanistan. "Why send my son back to Afghanistan?
- Round Two: Wells Fargo CEO Faces Blistering Rebuke From Congress Again
Just over a week after facing blistering questions in front of a Senate panel, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf went back to Capitol Hill today, where he received verbal lashings and further calls to resign from members of the House Financial Services Committee over the unauthorized accounts scandal that is engulfing his company. For over four hours, Democratic and Republican members of the committee lambasted the bank boss with heated exchanges that echoed the Senate hearing. The bipartisan derision began early today, with the committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, telling Stumpf during his opening remarks: “Fraud is fraud.
- US Tried Twice to Deport Man Killed by Police in Southern California: Officials
Federal officials tried twice to deport Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old man who was shot by police in Southern California on Tuesday. The shooting spurred protests Tuesday and Wednesday nights in El Cajon, about 16 miles northwest of San Diego. Olango arrived in the U.S. in 1991 as a refugee from Uganda, but was ordered to be deported after he was convicted for transporting and selling narcotics, the U.S. immigration agency's western regional communications director, Virginia Kice, told ABC News in a statement.
- Russia fighting in Syria for a year, still at odds with US
WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after Russia waded into the war in Syria, aiming to flex its national security muscles and prop up beleaguered Syrian president Bashar Assad, Moscow appears no closer to one of its military goals, getting the U.S. to cooperate in the skies or on the ground in the civil war, and prospects for a diplomatic resolution seem dim.
- EU nations approve ratification of climate change pact
- Trump shames ex-beauty pageant winner for sexual history
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump shamed a former beauty pageant winner Friday for her sexual history and encouraged Americans to check out what he called her "sex tape," in an early-morning tweet-storm that dragged him further away from his campaign's efforts to broaden its appeal to women.
- The Latest: Federal officials warn of hacking attempts
- In Charlotte, police shooting affects presidential politics
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The killing of a black man by a Charlotte police officer, and the sometimes violent protests that followed, have intensified the political divide in a state crucial to deciding whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the presidency.
- Big business continues trend toward political transparency But new survey indicates many corporate giants still shun sunlight.
- Politics of Pain series prompts calls for action More than two dozen editorials and columns nationwide responded to our series on the politics behind the opioid epidemic.
- Clinton-supporting super PACs target Latino voters Latinos likely to play crucial role in swing states like Florida and Nevada.
- US inflation stays low in August with spending flat
US inflation in August nudged upwards, regaining some of the pace it had lost in the summer, but was still low, according to Commerce Department data released Friday. Personal income gained $39.3 billion in August, an increase of 0.2 percent over July, down from the 0.4 percent increase recorded the month before. Personal consumption expenditures, or PCE, a measure of the value of all goods and services bought, were virtually unchanged between July and August, according to the department.
- 100,000 people trapped in South Sudan town: UN
The United Nations warned Friday that around 100,000 people were trapped in the South Sudanese town of Yei, where they were facing serious shortages of food and medicine. Yei is situated some 150 kilometres (93 miles) southwest of Juba, near the borders with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and until recently had been spared much of the violence plaguing the world's youngest nation. The UN refugee agency said now around 100,000 people -- many of whom had fled into the town in search of safety -- could no longer leave after government troops surrounded the area.
- Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Socialist leader in fight for survival
At the helm of the Spanish Socialist party for two years, Pedro Sanchez -- or "Mr Handsome" as he is known -- is fighting for his survival as fellow heavyweights call for his head. Seventeen members of the party's executive quit Wednesday in a bid to oust the 44-year-old, unhappy about the way he was navigating the Socialist ship through Spain's nine-month political deadlock. The former economics professor was largely unknown when he took the reins of the Socialist party (PSOE) in July 2014 after winning the first ever primary elections organised by the 137-year-old grouping.
- EU agrees to ratify Paris climate deal
EU environment ministers agreed Friday to fast-track the ratification of the landmark Paris agreement on climate change, despite the fact that some national parliaments have yet to approve the deal. What some believed impossible is now real," European Union President Donald Tusk said on Twitter. Around 60 countries have now committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures, which was sealed in December 2015 in the French capital.
- World leaders bid farewell to 20th-century 'giant' Peres
World leaders bid farewell to Israeli elder statesman and Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres at his funeral in Jerusalem Friday, with US President Barack Obama hailing him as a giant of the 20th century. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was among the mourners at the city's Mount Herzl national cemetery and was seated in the front row, reportedly at the request of Peres's family. Abbas knew Peres well and negotiated with him.
- EU's 'Monsieur Brexit' starts tough job
Frenchman Michel Barnier officially starts work as the European Commission's Brexit negotiator on Saturday in an appointment that British media called a "declaration of war". Loathed in parts of London for taking on the banking sector when he was a commissioner, Barnier insisted after his appointment by Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in July that he will be fair to all sides in what promise to be difficult talks. The 65-year-old former French minister will begin his job with a grand tour throughout the autumn of the 27 European Union capitals -- minus London -- to canvass their views on the historic divorce.
- Czech PM asks Britain to stop 'hateful attacks' on citizens
The Czech prime minister has asked his British counterpart Theresa May to take action to stop what his government considers violence against Czechs in the wake of Britain's decision to quit the EU, his office said Friday. The Czech leader said Prague was "disturbed by the increase in hateful attacks in Britain aimed at the citizens of EU member states". The Czech premier spoke to May by telephone on Thursday after Zdenek Makar, a 31-year-old Czech, was killed in a brawl outside a London pub.
- Syria regime advances in Aleppo, MSF decries 'bloodbath'
Syrian regime forces advanced in the battleground city of Aleppo on Friday, backed by a Russian air campaign that a monitor said has killed more than 3,800 civilians in the past year. The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity accused Syria's government and its ally Moscow of provoking a "bloodbath" in the city, saying the eastern rebel-held portion had become "a giant kill box". Syria's army was advancing on two Aleppo fronts, as talks between key players Washington and Moscow -- which back opposing sides in the war -- appeared on the verge of collapse.
- Philippines' Duterte draws Hitler parallels in war on drugs
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday likened his deadly crime war to Hitler's efforts to exterminate Jews, as he declared he was "happy to slaughter" millions of drug addicts. Duterte also railed against Western critics of his unprecedented law-and-order crackdown, which has left more than 3,000 people dead in three months and raised concerns about a breakdown in the rule of law in one of Asia's most chaotic democracies. "Hitler massacred three million Jews.
- Turkey seeks arrests of judicial, prison staff in coup probe
Turkish authorities on Friday issued dozens of arrest warrants for staff in the judicial and prison systems, the latest swoop against suspects said to be linked to the alleged mastermind of the July 15 coup. Istanbul prosecutors have sent out warrants for 87 people working in Istanbul courts and 75 wardens and other staff working in prisons, the state-run Anadolu news agency said. There have been regular raids against staff suspected of links to the failed coup in courts but this is believed to be the first time that the prison system has been targeted.
- Moroccan left hopes to offer 'third way' at polls
As campaigning heats up ahead of next week's parliamentary elections in Morocco, Nabila Mounib wants to offer voters an alternative to ruling Islamists and the liberal opposition. The country's only female party leader, Mounib heads up a leftist coalition that calls for a constitutional monarchy and genuine political reform. The Federation of the Democratic Left (FGD) is campaigning for the October 7 poll under the slogan: "With us, another Morocco is possible".
- Bulgaria bans full-face Islamic veil
The law "bans wearing in public clothing that partially or completely covers the face", referring to the burqa or the more common niqab. Bulgaria's mostly centuries-old Muslim community, dating back to conversions during Ottoman times, makes up around 13 percent of the population, mostly in the Turkish minority. Muslim women in Bulgaria have generally worn just a simple scarf to cover their hair.
- Hungary's Muslims 'feel the hate' ahead of refugee referendum
Fellow convert Maria Nagy, standing at the counter of the Asian goods shop she runs with her Pakistani husband in the multi-cultural eighth district of Budapest, has had similar experiences. The referendum is about whether Hungary will accept one of the European Union's main responses to the continent's migrant crisis, that of sharing refugees around the bloc via mandatory quotas. Prime Minister Viktor Orban is backing a "No" vote and is almost certain to win, inflaming tensions with his western European partners which have heavily criticised his hardline anti-migrant nationalism.
- Britons sceptical on government Brexit strategy
Only 16 percent of Britons think the government is doing well on delivering Brexit while another 16 percent think Britain will end up not leaving the European Union, according to a new poll published on Friday. A majority of those surveyed (50 percent) thought the government, which has revealed virtually nothing on its strategy so far, was doing badly on Brexit, the online YouGov poll for The Times newspaper found. Prime Minister Theresa May has said only that she will not invoke Article 50 -- the start of the formal exit procedure -- before the end of the year and that she wants to curb immigration from the EU.
- Eurozone inflation hits two-year high
Eurozone consumer prices rose to a near two-year high in September offering hope that a disputed programme by the ECB to stimulate the economy may be delivering. The Eurostat statistics agency on Friday said inflation in the 19-country currency bloc rose to 0.4 percent this month, the first time it has hit that level since October 2014. Eurozone unemployment meanwhile was unchanged at a five-year low of 10.1 percent in August, the agency said, with both figures in line with forecasts by analysts.
- US-Russia talks on verge of ending as Aleppo faces catastrophe
The United States warned Thursday that it is on the brink of ending talks with Russia over the assault on Aleppo, where the United Nations says a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding unlike any witnessed so far in Syria's brutal five-year war. Air strikes pounded Aleppo province while at least 11 civilians, including seven children, died during attacks on the city of Idlib, nearby Jarjanaz and central Hama province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. With no let-up in the military campaign, US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that months of diplomacy to end the war had hit a dead-end.
- Saudi soldier killed, 3 civilians hurt by Yemeni shells
Shelling from Yemeni rebels killed a Saudi border guard and wounded three civilians including a Bangladeshi, the interior ministry said on Friday. The Tuwal district of Jazan, on the Saudi frontier with Yemen, came under fire on Thursday afternoon, wounding the border guard corporal, a ministry statement said. Two Saudis and a Bangladeshi national were wounded by Huthi rebel shelling of Tuwal the same day, the Civil Defence agency said in a separate statement.
- Pope embarks on peace mission to Caucasus
Pope Francis set off Friday for Georgia and Azerbaijan on what Vatican officials billed as a mission to promote peace in a troubled part of the world, three months after he visited neighbouring Armenia. "The holy father will be bringing a message of peace and reconciliation for the whole Caucasus region," his spokesman Greg Burke told reporters. After taking off from Rome just after 0700 GMT, Francis was due to touch down four hours later in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a country with one of the oldest Christian traditions in the world.
- Obama says Peres reminded him of 20th-century giants like Mandela
US President Barack Obama said Shimon Peres reminded him of "giants of the 20th century" like Nelson Mandela in his eulogy for the Nobel Peace Prize winner in Jerusalem on Friday. "In many ways, he reminded me of some other giants of the 20th century that I've had the honour to meet," Obama said at the funeral for the former Israeli president and prime minister attended by world leaders.
- 3,800 civilians dead in Russian strikes in Syria: monitor
More than 3,800 civilians have been killed in one year of Russian air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, a monitoring group said Friday as international outcry mounted. Assad's regime and its key backer Russia are under growing pressure from world governments to halt a new offensive pounding rebel-held areas of the battleground city of Aleppo. More than 9,300 people have been killed in the Russian raids since September 30, 2015, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.