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The Latest: Trump says Israel, Jordan want troops in Syria

The Latest: Trump says Israel, Jordan want troops in SyriaPresident Donald Trump says he still wants to get all U.S. troops out of Syria, but Israel and Jordan have asked him to keep some in Syria. Just last week, Trump said the roughly 1,000 American troops in northeastern Syria will go home, leaving about 200 at a base in the southeast of the country. Trump's Pentagon chief, Mark Esper, said Monday that he is considering the possibility of leaving an additional contingent in eastern Syria to work with Syrian Kurdish fighters to combat the Islamic State.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 10:57 pm

Your Evening Briefing

Your Evening Briefing(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every afternoon? Sign up hereSenator Elizabeth Warren on Monday unveiled an $800 billion plan to reshape U.S. public education. The Democratic presidential candidate’s signature wealth tax will pay for school and child-care initiatives—in effect transferring the cost of raising America’s children from all taxpayers to just the richest families. Here are today’s top storiesTeva said it offered to settle thousands of opioid lawsuits by providing what the company said are billions of dollars in drugs for use in fighting the U.S. addiction epidemic. Ken Fisher has seen more than $1 billion in assets drain away since making some sexist remarks earlier this month. The new Ford Explorer was supposed to help turn the underperforming automaker around. Instead, sales plunged as a plant plagued by personnel problems struggled to get the SUV out the door.Children are dying at a record pace on the U.S. border. Coyotes, meanwhile, are getting rich. Almost a year after California’s deadliest wildfire, the town of Paradise is largely abandoned. Residents have scattered to live with relatives, in nearby cheap motels, tents and cars. Meanwhile, the legal battle for control of PG&E, the utility that went bankrupt after its equipment sparked the deadly blaze, is incurring $1 million in professional fees daily.After losing a bid to hold a vote on his Brexit deal Saturday, Boris Johnson was thwarted yet again Monday. It’s another in a long series of defeats for his effort to take the U.K. out of the European Union.What’s Joe Weisenthal thinking about? The Bloomberg news director has been closely watching Austria’s so-called Century Bond because it represents one of the most extreme plays out there in the bid for safe-haven assets. Lately, as investors seem less inclined to seek safe havens, Joe says the chart for the long-term bond “looks like garbage.”What you’ll need to know tomorrowAnalysts are taking a knife to their 2020 profit estimates. Mitt Romney goes by “Pierre Delecto” on a secret Twitter account. One reporter outsourced her life to subscription services. Another survived the world’s first 20-hour flight. SoftBank has an $8 billion rescue plan to take control of WeWork. U.S. stocks advanced amid positive signs on trade talks. P&G made an inkjet printer for your face.What you’ll want to read tonightOlder adults were the targets of $1.7 billion in attempted thefts and losses in 2017, quadruple the amount reported four years earlier, according the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Already targeted by phone scammers and greedy relatives, America’s elderly are facing a bigger threat: the professionals they trust. Lawyers, insurers and financial advisers are increasingly the wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Corrects nation associated with century bonds in 10th paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Josh Petri in Portland at jpetri4@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 10:37 pm

Britain's Johnson plots another Brexit showdown

Britain's Johnson plots another Brexit showdownBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson brushed aside yet another Brexit setback Monday and sought again to ram through his EU divorce deal in time for next week's deadline. House of Commons speaker John Bercow shot down Johnson's second attempt Monday to get MPs to sign off on his revised EU withdrawal terms. Lawmakers decided at their first Saturday session since the 1982 Falklands War to force Johnson to ask Brussels to postpone the October 31 cutoff date by three months.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 10:31 pm

No more delays, UK PM Johnson appeals to parliament to back Brexit bill

No more delays, UK PM Johnson appeals to parliament to back Brexit billPrime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to lawmakers on Monday to approve his Brexit bill this week, saying neither he, the European Union or the public wanted any more delays to Britain's departure from the bloc. With just over a week before Britain is due to leave the EU, Johnson is scrambling to get his deal through parliament, which has put up a series of hurdles for the prime minister to meet his Oct. 31 deadline to try to prevent a no-deal Brexit. After the parliamentary speaker ruled out a straight 'yes or no' vote on the deal itself on Monday, Johnson is now looking to pass the legislation implementing the agreement through parliament as quickly as possible.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 10:30 pm

Russia’s Troll Farm Is Kind of Sh*tting the Bed on Facebook

Russia’s Troll Farm Is Kind of Sh*tting the Bed on FacebookPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyFacebook on Monday removed nearly 200 newly discovered fake accounts linked separately to Iran and to Russia’s Internet Research Agency. The takedowns demonstrate that foreign influence operations are already targeting the 2020 election, but provide evidence that Russia’s notorious troll farm is struggling to regain anything close to the influence in held in 2016.The new wave of takedowns targeted separate networks of deceptive accounts created by Iran and Russia, including dozens of fake Facebook organization pages. In a press call, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the takedowns show the company has come far since getting caught flat-footed in 2016. “The fact that we’ve identified them proactively should provide some confidence that our systems here are working,” Zuckerberg said.The Russian accounts were far more focused on U.S. domestic issues, but in terms of sheer numbers and longevity, the Iranian effort outstripped Russia. The Iranian accounts included 21 Instagram accounts and 135 fake Facebook accounts propping up 26 phony organization pages and four Facebook groups. More than 90 of the accounts were primarily focused on U.S. readers, with the others mostly targeting Latin America. The accounts largely pushed links to Iranian propaganda on state-run news outlets, according to Facebook.As with past takedowns, the company’s announcement only identified a handful of the Iranian personas. Of those, though, one stands out as eerily reminiscent of Russia’s 2016 efforts—a Facebook page called “BLMnews” that purported to be a news site covering the Black Lives Matters movement. The page had a meager 45 followers, and, according to Facebook, was devoted to driving traffic to an associated website that’s been operating since August 2016, according to Internet registration records.Russia’s Internet Research Agency ran similar sites and Facebook pages during and after the 2016 election season, some with sizable followings. But so far the Saint Petersburg troll farm appears to have a long way to go. Of the 50 accounts banned by Facebook on Monday, all but one were on Instagram alone, with no Facebook presence at all. The Russian operation appears to be in the early stages, Facebook said. “They're still trying to build their audience, and they put significant operation security into concealing who they were,” said company cybersecurity chief Nathaniel Gleicher in Monday’s press call.One sign of that improved op-sec is the dearth of text on the troll’s posts—perhaps a sign that Russia is seeking to avoid the linguistic giveaways that marred some of its 2016 content. According to social network analysis tool Graphika, which had inside access to Facebook’s data, the accounts generally pushed screenshots of other people’s tweets and memes with no commentary. “Some posts gained hundreds of likes but typically obtained orders of magnitude fewer than the American personalities they copied,” reads Graphika’s report on the Russian accounts. “The ‘conservative’ accounts in the set had a particular fondness for the conservative partisan group Turning Point USA, often sharing its memes and comments.”That may be a factor in the relatively limited reach of Russia’s identified personas. The 50 accounts together had a total of 246,000 followers, according to Facebook’s figures. “It seems they are getting stuck at the mimicry phase of infiltration,” said Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.As tallied by Graphika, the personas are the usual Russian mix of accounts pretending to be arch-conservatives in the heartland, and a roughly equal number pretending to be African American activists. A smattering of accounts were focused on more specific issues, like gun rights on the right or LGBTQ rights on the left.The accounts were largely devoted to sowing division, but when they directly addressed the 2020 election, they followed the IRA’s 2016 playbook to the letter. The “conservative” accounts attacked liberals and heaped praise on Donald Trump, while “liberal” accounts derided the president while vocally supporting Bernie Sanders over Democratic frontrunners. Joe Biden is singled out for criticism in much the same way as Clinton in 2016.Notably, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, a favorite of Russia’s state-owned media, isn’t featured at all in the posts shared by Graphika and Facebook, despite recently being labeled a “Russian asset” by Hillary Clinton.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 10:04 pm

Chile must investigate protest deaths, UN High Commissioner and former president says

Chile must investigate protest deaths, UN High Commissioner and former president saysThe United Nations High Commissioner for human rights and former president of Chile has called for independent investigations to be held into the deaths of several protesters in the country following days of rioting, looting and arson.At least 11 people are reported to have died in unrest which began as protests by students opposed to a 4 per cent rise in train fares, but quickly escalated into anger over the cost of living across the country.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 8:37 pm

Thousands protest in Sudan, call to disband ex-ruling party

Thousands protest in Sudan, call to disband ex-ruling partyThousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Sudan on Monday to call for disbanding former President Omar al-Bashir's party, the political organ he used to control the country during his 30 years of autocratic rule before being ousted in April. Separately, Sudan's transitional government and a main rebel faction signed a political declaration amid peace negotiations that began last week, taking a new step toward ending the country's yearslong civil wars. Sudan's current transitional government came to power after a similar campaign of mass unrest, which eventually led the military to overthrow al-Bashir.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 8:18 pm

Putin removes critical voices from his rights council

Putin removes critical voices from his rights councilRussian President Vladimir Putin has removed several opposition figures from his human rights council, a decree published Monday showed, with critics saying the move robs the advisory body of its legitimacy. The 50-member body, which has spoken out against abuses, has gradually been losing its influence and many respected members of the human rights community had already quit in protest at various Kremlin actions. The five people being removed from the council, include its veteran head Mikhail Fedotov, according to the presidential decree on the government website.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 8:10 pm

Protesters remain despite Lebanese PM's reform package

Protesters remain despite Lebanese PM's reform packageFacing escalating mass protests, the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri approved Monday a package of economic reforms and a 2020 budget without new taxes, hoping to appease people in the streets. Following a nearly five-hour Cabinet meeting, Hariri announced a series of economic and financial reforms which he described as a "coup," saying no government in Lebanon's history has taken such radical steps before. "The decisions that we made today might not fulfil your goals, but for certain it achieves what I have been seeking for two years," Hariri told the protesters.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 8:08 pm

Israel's Netanyahu gives up on forming new coalition

Israel's Netanyahu gives up on forming new coalitionPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that he had failed to form a majority government in parliament, marking a major setback for the embattled Israeli leader that plunges the country into a new period of political uncertainty. In a statement, Netanyahu said he had worked "tirelessly" to establish a unity government with his chief rival, former military chief Benny Gantz, but been repeatedly rebuffed. Facing a Wednesday deadline, Netanyahu said he was returning the "mandate" to President Reuven Rivlin, who will now ask Gantz to try to form a coalition.




Posted on 21 October 2019 | 7:58 pm

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