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Democrats Lead in Fundraising, But Will It Be Enough to Topple Republicans?

October 19, 2018 by · Comments Off on Democrats Lead in Fundraising, But Will It Be Enough to Topple Republicans? 

In the battle for Congress, Democrats are winning the money game. But will it be enough for them to overtake Republicans? In what is shaping up to be the most expensive U.S. congressional election in history, Democrats have had a distinct advantage in fundraising over Republicans throughout the midterm election cycle as they seek to break the GOP’s stranglehold on Congress. While Republicans are widely expected to preserve their slim 51-to-49-seat majority in the U.S. Senate and possibly expand it, polls show the Democrats poised to take back the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in seven years. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to retake the House.

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Border Insecurity in Iran Amid Regime Crackdown on Minorities

October 17, 2018 by · Comments Off on Border Insecurity in Iran Amid Regime Crackdown on Minorities 

Armed conflict between Iranian security forces and separatist militants on the Iranian border is growing, as the government tightens its grip on the minority population. With a population of more than 80 million people, Iran is predominantly ethnic Persian. The country’s religion is Shi’ite Islam, and it is home to millions of ethno-religious minorities, including Kurds, Azeris and Baluchis. Iran’s media Tuesday reported that 14 members of the Iranian security forces were abducted by militants near the southeastern province of Sistan-and-Baluchestan, which shares a border with neighboring Pakistan. The Baluch separatist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), claimed responsibility. In a statement, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) blamed “terrorist groups led and backed by foreign services” for the kidnappings. It asked Pakistan to protect its western borders and facilitate the release of the abducted Iranian forces.

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Trump Administration Aims to Force Drug Companies to List Prices in Ads

October 16, 2018 by · Comments Off on Trump Administration Aims to Force Drug Companies to List Prices in Ads 

The Department of Health and Human Services released proposed regulations Monday that would require companies selling drugs covered by Medicare or Medicaid that cost more than $35 to disclose prices in their television ads. HHS Secretary Alex Azar framed the move as a way to reduce prices and protect consumers. “Patients deserve to know what a given drug could cost when they’re being told about the benefits and risks it may have,” Azar said in a speech to the National Academy of Medicine announcing the draft regulations. “They deserve to know if the drug company has pushed their prices to abusive levels. And they deserve to know this every time they see a drug advertised to them on TV.”

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Iran’s President Seeks to Downplay US Oil Sanctions

October 15, 2018 by · Comments Off on Iran’s President Seeks to Downplay US Oil Sanctions 

Iran’s president on Sunday tried to downplay U.S. sanctions targeting the country’s vital oil and gas sector that are set to be restored next month. Speaking in Tehran University to mark the start of the academic year, Hassan Rouhani said the Nov. 4 sanctions “will have no effect,” because “the U.S. has already done whatever it wanted to do.” President Donald Trump’s administration has been steadily restoring sanctions on Iran since he withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord in May. Iran has been grappling with an economic crisis in recent months, with its currency plunging to historic lows and sporadic protests breaking out.

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Trump Suggests Defense Chief Could Leave

October 14, 2018 by · Comments Off on Trump Suggests Defense Chief Could Leave 

U.S. President Donald Trump is suggesting Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis could be one of his next key officials to leave the government. The Republican Trump, in an interview airing Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes” news show, said he has no indication that Mattis is leaving, but added, “It could be that he is. I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth.” The U.S. leader described the retired Marine Corps general as “a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That’s Washington.”

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Bloomberg Rejoins Democrats, Signals Interest in Presidential Bid

October 11, 2018 by · Comments Off on Bloomberg Rejoins Democrats, Signals Interest in Presidential Bid 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rejoined the Democratic Party on Wednesday, signaling an interest in running as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. The announcement came as the billionaire media mogul has emerged as a top financial backer of the Democratic Party during the pivotal 2018 midterm congressional races, pledging nearly $100 million to Democratic candidates and causes Bloomberg, the 76-year-old head of the eponymous Bloomberg LP media company, made the announcement in a post on Instagram. He took an indirect swipe at President Donald Trump and his Republican allies, who Bloomberg suggested posed a threat to U.S. democratic institutions.

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Marijuana Backers Look for Midwest Breakthrough in Nov. Election

October 10, 2018 by · Comments Off on Marijuana Backers Look for Midwest Breakthrough in Nov. Election 

Backers of broad marijuana legalization are looking to break through a geographic barrier in November and get their first foothold in the Midwest after a string of election victories in Northeastern and Western states. Michigan and North Dakota, where voters previously authorized medical marijuana, will decide if the drug should be legal for any adult 21 and older. They would become the 10th and 11th states to legalize so-called recreational marijuana since 2012, lightning speed in political terms. Meantime, Missouri and Utah will weigh medical marijuana, which is permitted in 31 states after voters in conservative Oklahoma approved such use in June. Even if Utah’s initiative is defeated, a compromise reached last week between advocates and opponents including the Mormon church would have the Legislature legalize medical marijuana.

 

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Hurricane Michael Gets Stronger on Approach to Florida

October 9, 2018 by · Comments Off on Hurricane Michael Gets Stronger on Approach to Florida 

Forecasters say Hurricane Michael has strenghtened into a powerful Category 2 storm as it continues on a dangerous path towards the southeastern U.S. state of Florida. The National Hurricane Center says Michael is located about 635 kilometers south of the popular resort town of Panama City, carrying maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers an hour. The storm has already caused damage in Mexico and Cuba. Forecasters say the storm could dump as much as 30 centimeters of rain in western Cuba, triggering life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
 

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US Senate Confirms Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

October 7, 2018 by · Comments Off on US Senate Confirms Kavanaugh for Supreme Court 

The U.S. Senate voted Saturday to approve Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, following weeks of controversy over sexual assault accusations and attacks on his character and temperament. Kavanaugh was confirmed in a 50-48 vote. Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana was absent because he was attending his daughter’s wedding. That prompted Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to vote “present,” in a practice called “pairing” between senators. Murkowski was opposed to sending Kavanaugh to the high court, but withdrew her “no” vote as part of the pairing practice so that Daines would not have to be in the chamber.

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US Calls Iranian Missile Strike Targeting Syrian Militants ‘Reckless’

October 2, 2018 by · Comments Off on US Calls Iranian Missile Strike Targeting Syrian Militants ‘Reckless’ 

The United States has criticized an Iranian missile attack on purported militant targets in eastern Syria, calling it “reckless, unsafe and escalatory.” In a statement sent to VOA on Monday, Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson said Iran took no measures to notify other military powers operating in Syria of Monday’s predawn missile strike. Unlike Iran, he said, “professional” military forces such as those of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and of Russia deconflict their operations to ensure maximum safety.

 

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