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AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EDT – CP

by ahnationtalk on October 29, 201841 Views

Source: The Associated Press
Oct 29, 2018 

Harrowing tales emerge from synagogue; suspect due in court

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ As Barry Werber walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue, he passed a cart carrying glassware and whiskey meant for the baby-naming ceremony scheduled at Dor Hadash, one of three small congregations that worship there.

He went downstairs, where his New Light Congregation meets, and found only a few people gathered. Melvin Wax, 88, was chatting up front with David Rosenthal, who had intellectual disabilities and spent hours helping out there. Rosenthal soon went upstairs for his own service at Tree of Life.

Two other men, Daniel Stein and Richard Gottfried, were checking on food supplies in the kitchen for the breakfast New Light planned to host.

Minutes later, Werber found himself hiding in a dark storage closet after an anti-Semitic gunman tore through the building and opened fire, killing Wax, Rosenthal, Stein, Gottfried and seven others across two floors.

“I don’t know why he thinks the Jews are responsible for all the ills in the world, but he’s not the first and he won’t be the last,” Werber, 76, said Sunday. “Unfortunately, that’s our burden to bear. It breaks my heart.”


Analysis: Politics presses on amid election-season tragedy

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies continued. Attack ads stayed on the airwaves. Political combat largely carried on.

Amid a wave of election-season violence that left many Americans on edge, the contentious midterm campaign has barrelled forward with little pause. Trump and other politicians disavowed the pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and condemned the massacre of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue this past week. But the divisiveness that has dominated the nation’s politics kept creeping back.

During a rally Saturday night, Trump asked a crowd of red-hatted supporters if it was OK for him to “tone it down, just a little bit.” When the crowd roared back with a decisive “No!” Trump replied: “I had a feeling you might say that.”

The attacks are a grim capstone to a midterm campaign that will serve as a referendum on Trump, whose unorthodox approach to the presidency is particularly glaring in times of tragedy. With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Trump was among many politicians who largely stuck to the script, raising questions about whether Americans are becoming increasingly desensitized in the wake of tragedy.

“It feels in this moment like there’s a numbness,” said Jennifer Psaki, who served as a campaign and White House adviser to former President Barack Obama. “When there’s a tragedy, the nation is a little rudderless.”


Indonesia Lion Air flight with 189 on board crashes into sea

KARAWANG, Indonesia (AP) _ A Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia’s capital on Monday in a blow to the country’s aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and U.S.

Indonesia’s disaster agency posted photos online of a crushed smartphone, books, bags and parts of the aircraft fuselage that had been collected by search and rescue vessels.

President Joko Widodo ordered the transport safety commission to investigate and urged Indonesians to “keep on praying” as rescuers search for victims. A transport official said the flight requested to return shortly after takeoff from Jakarta. Weather conditions were normal but the brand new aircraft had experienced a technical issue on its previous flight.

Lion Air said the jet, on a 1 hour and 10 minute flight to Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and eight crew members.

Distraught friends and relatives prayed and hugged each other as they waited at Pangkal Pinang’s airport and at a crisis centre set up at Jakarta’s airport. Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field in the ocean.


Brazil elects far-right president, worrying rights groups

SAO PAULO (AP) _ In some of his first words to the nation as president-elect, far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro promised to defend the constitution and unite a bitterly divided populace.

His left-wing rival immediately vowed to mount a vigorous opposition, while rights groups warned against a rollback of civil liberties.

That juxtaposition underscored the reality that the end of the election was not the end of acrimony and that myriad challenges lay ahead for Latin America’s largest nation.

Bolsonaro appeared to try to allay those concerns Sunday night, saying he would “pacify” Brazil following a race that revealed deep divisions and was repeatedly marred by violence. The candidate himself was stabbed and almost died while campaigning in early September, and there were numerous reports of politically motivated violence, especially directed at gay people.

“This country belongs to all of us, Brazilians by birth or by heart, a Brazil of diverse opinions, colours and orientations,” he said, reading off a sheet of paper in a live television address.


Red Sox top Dodgers for 4th World Series title in 15 seasons

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Chris Sale’s final pitch for this Boston juggernaut triggered a celebration on the Dodger Stadium infield, among thousands of fans who made their way to California _ and even outside Fenway Park back home.

The quest is complete. Yes, these 2018 Red Sox really are that great.

A team to remember from top to bottom. A season to savour from start to finish.

David Price proved his post-season mettle, Steve Pearce homered twice and Boston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 on Sunday to finish off a one-sided World Series in five games.

A tormented franchise during decades of despair before ending an 86-year championship drought in 2004, the Red Sox have become baseball’s team of the century with four titles in 15 seasons.


Russian held as agent studied US groups’ cyberdefenses

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A year before federal prosecutors accused Maria Butina of operating as a secret agent for the Russian government, she was a graduate student at American University working on a sensitive project involving cybersecurity.

Butina’s college assignment called for her to gather information on the cyberdefenses of U.S. non-profit organizations that champion media freedom and human rights, The Associated Press has learned. It was information that could help the groups plug important vulnerabilities, but also would be of interest to the Russian government.

In fact, the Russians previously had in their sights at least two of the groups that she and other students interacted with.

Butina participated in the project under the tutelage of a respected professor who advised the State Department on cybersecurity matters. It was carried out for the non-profit group Internews, which works extensively with the U.S. government to bolster the free flow of information in dangerous parts of the world and has drawn Russian ire with some of its programs in Russia and neighbouring countries. The group also advises other nonprofits on cybersecurity.

Internews confirmed Butina’s involvement and a broad description of what the project involved. A lawyer for Butina did not respond to a request for comment.


Loved ones, friends remember synagogue shooting victims

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ They were professors and accountants, dentists and beloved doctors serving their local community.

A day after the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead, officials released the names of the victims. The oldest of them was 97. The youngest was 54. They included a pair of brothers and a husband and wife.

Said Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light Congregation: “The loss is incalculable.”


Cecil and David Rosenthal went through life together with help from a disability-services organization. And an important part of the brothers’ lives was the Tree of Life Synagogue, where they never missed a Saturday service, people who knew them say.


Candidates sidestep Trump in midterm closing message

POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (AP) _ Tom MacArthur is doing something that’s familiar to dozens of candidates in the most fiercely contested congressional races: Tiptoeing around President Donald Trump.

The Republican congressman has done more than anyone in New Jersey to help Trump. He was the only member of his delegation to vote for Trump’s tax cuts. And he personally authored a provision that briefly resurrected Trump’s health care plan.

But on the eve of the election, he sounds like a member of the Trump resistance.

“I’ve worked with Democrats to get things done that matter to South Jersey,” MacArthur told The Associated Press after addressing hundreds of veterans at an American Legion weekend celebration without mentioning the president’s name. “I work with the president when I can, and when I think he’s doing something that’s bad for Jersey, I resist that, I push back on that.”

In an election that hinges on Trump’s standing, candidates from both parties are struggling to find the right balance when it comes to Trump. While liberals demand Trump’s impeachment, many Democratic candidates are focused on health care. Republicans in Washington, meanwhile, are all in for Trump, but the party’s most important House candidates are spending their final days attacking Democrats for resisting _ without saying much about the president who’s being resisted.


US election integrity depends on security-challenged firms

It was the kind of security lapse that gives election officials nightmares. In 2017, a private contractor left data on Chicago’s 1.8 million registered voters _ including addresses, birth dates and partial Social Security numbers _ publicly exposed for months on an Amazon cloud server.

Later at a tense hearing , Chicago’s Board of Elections dressed down the top three executives of Election Systems & Software, the nation’s dominant supplier of election equipment and services.

The three shifted uneasily on folding chairs as board members grilled them about what went wrong. ES&S CEO Tom Burt apologized and repeatedly stressed that there was no evidence hackers downloaded the data.

The Chicago lapse provided a rare moment of public accountability for the closely held businesses that have come to serve as front-line guardians of U.S. election security.

A trio of companies _ ES&S of Omaha, Nebraska; Dominion Voting Systems of Denver and Hart InterCivic of Austin, Texas _ sell and service more than 90 per cent of the machinery on which votes are cast and results tabulated. Experts say they have long skimped on security in favour of convenience, making it more difficult to detect intrusions such as occurred in Russia’s 2016 election meddling.


AP Analysis: Bolsonaro rivals bet Brazilians would unite

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) _ Just as many opponents of Donald Trump considered him unelectable in 2016, detractors of Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro always believed the far-right candidate himself was the ultimate fail-safe mechanism.

Like Trump, who was caught on video boasting that he grabbed women by the genitals, Bolsonaro came to the race with a long history of comments that were offensive to many people. He twice told a female colleague in Congress she was too ugly to be raped, said a dead son was preferable to a gay one and often disparaged blacks and indigenous people.

The former army captain also frequently cast aspersions on democratic institutions and argued that if the 1964-1985 dictatorship made any mistake, it was that it didn’t go far enough in killing communists who threatened the nation.

All of that, the reasoning went, made him simply too toxic for the majority in Brazil, a conservative nation but also one where many people pride themselves on a certain live-and-let-live approach to life.

That belief was so strong that parties across the spectrum never considered a unifying strategy against Bolsonaro. Instead, they jockeyed for position, believing that whoever among the other dozen candidates placed second to Bolsonaro in the first round of voting Oct. 7 would beat him in the runoff Sunday.


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