President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks during a campaign rally at Bojangles' Coliseum, Friday, October 26, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here’s exactly what Donald Trump will say on November 7

President Donald Trump holds a news conference to talk about the results — and what they mean for him and his 2020 prospects. And he says this*:

“We always knew this was going to be a very tough election. Most presidents have lost huge numbers of seats in the House and Senate. When I first took office, many people said we would lose the House and Senate. And lose them badly. Many presidents have suffered far greater losses in their first midterm election. Remember that we held the Senate yesterday. Maybe if those guys in the House had stuck a little closer to me, we might have held the House too. So true. So, all in all, this election is far better than the fake news media and the so-called experts were saying. And we still have control of the Senate, so important, so we can keep appointing conservatives judges to the federal bench.”

*Yes, this is a thought experiment. We don’t know, exactly, what will happen on Tuesday night. Democrats could win the House and the Senate. Republicans could keep their majorities in both. But a split — Democratic House, Republican Senate — is, without question, the most likely scenario based on history and all the available polling data we have.
And if you have ANY doubt that Trump would throw House Republicans under the bus if/when they lose the majority, the President’s tweet Wednesday directed at outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan following Ryan’s criticism of his birthright citizenship announcement should clear that up nicely. Trump tweeted:

“Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”

Also remember that Trump is not someone who often takes blame — for, well, anything. (Remember him saying recently that even if Republicans get a shellacking this November, it won’t be his fault?) He’s also not someone who has experienced loss in the political context. He’s run one race and he won it. While his name isn’t on the ballot next week, there is no doubt that many people will blame Trump. And he won’t like it.

Asked Wednesday by reporters, Trump said he won’t blame Ryan or “anybody” if Republicans lose the House. If you believe that, I have a hot company named Theranos you might be interested in.

The Point: This election — win or lose — will be a major moment for Trump’s presidency. And we all know how he reacts to bad news. (Not well.)

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As toxic air chokes Delhi, more people opt for masks, air purifiers

As toxic air chokes Delhi, more people opt for masks, air purifiers

Panic has gripped in the national Capital as air quality in the city is choking continuously. Considering this as a health crisis, the demand for air purifiers and N-95 face masks suggested by doctors as a preventive measure has gone up.

Many chemist shops have denied the availability of the stock at their outlet while some pharmacy stores are selling the usual routine face masks. A day after recording severe pollution, Delhi’s air quality improved slightly to very poor category on Wednesday after wind speed picked up and dispersed pollutants even though the stubble fire count increased.

The overall air quality index of Delhi was recorded at 366 by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

An official with the Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said, “the improvement in air quality can be attributed to increased speed of early morning winds, which came as respite and dispersed particles rapidly pulling back air quality towards very poor range.”

SAFAR further said AQI for next two days would remain in very poor range but with increasing trend. Gurgaon recorded severe air quality at 416, while it was very poor in Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Noida and Greater Noida.

Ten areas in Delhi recorded severe air quality while 23 areas recorded very poor air quality, according to the CPCB data. Regional factors such as stubble burning contributed to 22 per cent of pollution in the national capital, according to SAFAR.

Health experts say that Delhi’s air quality is so toxic that a person has to cover his mouth before stepping out his house.

Mail Today did a reality check on Wednesday at various chemist shops around the city. Medical stores in areas like Rajendra Nagar, Karol Bagh, Connaught Place, Green Park and outside AIIMS and Safdarjung hospital are selling n-95 masks.

Ravi Dubey, a chemist shop owner outside AIIMS said, “Yes, definitely, the demand for face masks has done up. People are more aware this time and have been asking for n-95 face masks. In fact, many costumes are also asking for air purifiers for their homes and officers.” NOT only outside, but the residents can feel irritation in eyes and respiratory distress due to poor air quality inside their houses as well.

Urvashi Dagar (31), who is eight months pregnant, told Mail Today, “Even inside my house, I can feel burning sensation is my eyes. I am also facing breathing problem. Before my delivery, we are planning to purchase an air purifier.”

“As indoor pollution is another concern, people who purchase air purifiers should look elements like room size, clean air delivery rate air change per hour, technology and the type of filter. To remove minutest air pollutants of smaller particle size, an air purifier would need more dense filters,” said Arvind Chabra, Country Head Blueair adding that the demand of air purifiers has gone up eight to 10 times.

“Unfortunately, in India, we still do not have the standard for air purifiers. So it is advised for people to select the best product. The government needs to quickly frame air purifier standards and motivate healthy living by controlling all sources of air pollution,” he said.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that air pollution kills 7 million people each year. Nine out of 10 people across the globe breathe air that has been polluted by traffic emissions, industry, agriculture and waste incineration.

WHO stated that one-third of deaths from heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases are due to air pollution. Pregnant women need to be very careful as exposure to air pollution can prove to be an obstacle in the growth of a foetus.

Read | Breathless, quite literally! Air quality in Delhi-NCR zooms into worst stage

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Three races to watch on election night

Three races to watch on election night

These races could predict the rest of the night: CNN Political Director David Chalian points out three races that if called early, could foreshadow what will happen in the House of Representatives.

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A iife-changing journey from pre-diabetic to record-breaking runner

A iife-changing journey from pre-diabetic to record-breaking runner

Originally from Abu Dhabi, Al-Suwaidi was born and educated in the United States. He studied for a masters degree and doctorate in the hope of pursuing a profession in academia.

But during that intense period, Al-Suwaidi says, he was veering toward an unhealthy lifestyle, weighing in at 127 kilograms (280 pounds).

“I was always studying, and if I wasn’t studying, I was out, enjoying my time, eating late at night,” he said. “Not once did I think about how long I was going to live.”

In 2013, he moved back to Abu Dhabi, and in 2015, he took on the role of executive director at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. During a regular checkup with his doctor, he got surprising news.

“At the age of 32, my doctor told me I was going to be diabetic in the next couple of months,” Al-Suwaidi said. “I was shocked.”

Khaled Al-Suwaidi before undertaking his health journey.

The consequences of luxury

Rates of obesity and diabetes in the Middle East are staggering, particularly in the Persian Gulf region. The International Diabetes Federation reports that 37 million people in the Middle East and North Africa are living with diabetes, about 9.7% of the population there. Globally, it is estimated that 415 million people are living with diabetes — about 1 in 11 adults.
After intermittent fasting, these 3 men no longer take insulin for diabetes -- but experts stress caution

High rates in the region are due to its luxurious lifestyle, said Dr. Gurjyot Bajwa, a physician in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi.

“A lot of things that the rest of the world does themselves, they’re taken care of here,” she said, highlighting driving to work versus walking. “Which, on the flip side of the coin, makes for a very sedentary lifestyle.”

The Middle East has the second highest rate of increase in diabetes in the world, with genetic risk factors also playing a crucial role.
Many studies have found that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease.

According to Bajwa, simple changes such as a 20-minute stroll each day can reduce your risk and increase your lifespan.

“We all have a predisposition towards things we can inherit genetically,” she said. “But the things we can modify are how we live, and every day is a possibility for change.”

A life-changing decision

“The first step is realizing that you can change and that it’s going to take time,” Al-Suwaidi said. “Then, a lot of great things will start to happen.”

He started getting to sleep early, restricting the amounts and types of food he ate and, of course, exercising. He focused on consuming large amounts of vegetables and a variety of fruit whenever he had a sugar craving.

“I made a life-changing decision to lose weight,” he said. “But at the same time, I wanted a physical challenge.”

And what a challenge it has been. Three years later, Al-Suwaidi became the first Emirati to run nonstop across the United Arab Emirates for cancer awareness. He went from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi, 327 kilometers (203 miles), in 40 days.

Khaled Al-Suwaidi is the first Emirati to run across his country, from the east coast to the west coast.

His father is a cancer survivor, which made him develop a strong determination to battle his obesity.

“Once I started to become fit, I realized that I’m at the peak of my physical capabilities,” he said. “If I don’t try to push myself now, it’s going to be more difficult as I get older.”

Since his passion for running began in 2017, he’s run over 6,294 kilometers (3,910 miles). He says he’s pushed through pain, blisters and nausea, but it’s all been worth it.

Middle East struggles under the weight of an obesity epidemic

Now, he’s training for his next energy-sapping journey: a 2,070-kilometer (1,286-mile) run from the UAE to Saudi Arabia.

“We’re given everything we need to be successful in this world, and I feel it’s time for us to give back,” he said. “Doing these long runs in remembrance of many things is my way of giving back to my community.”

But he credits the improvement he’s seen in his health to his diet, more than the exercise.

Following a wholesome diet can quickly make you feel better and look better and motivate you to do even more, Bajwa said.

Diet is key

“80% of everything that’s happened to me happened in the kitchen; 20% happened while I was training,” Al-Suwaidi said. “You can work out in the gym for many hours, but if you’re not taking in the proper nutrition in the kitchen, there’s not going to be any change whatsoever.”

As part of Al-Suwaidi's plant-based diet, he packages his food the night before to ensure that he gets the proper nutrients.

About six months ago, Al-Suwaidi began experimenting with a plant-based diet. Three times a week, he eats vegan, and he says he’s seen better performance and energy in his training.

Research shows that plant-based diets have tremendous health benefits and have the potential to prevent diabetes. Consuming mostly fruits and vegetables and cutting out refined foods has been proved to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Bajwa said diets should well-rounded, with loads of fiber, something vegetables have a lot of.

“Foods high in salt and saturated fat are the no-go,” she said. “Addressing these risks and taking good care of what you eat has valuable health benefits.”

Going back to 2015, Al-Suwaidi describes how he was on the road to an extremely dark place. “I never thought about my lifespan whatsoever,” he said. “I just thought about my next meal.”

After his changes, however, he believes that he’s added decades to his life.

“I’ve learned so much in these past three years,” he said. “I think I’m in the best shape of my life right now.”

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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect faces new charges as funerals continue

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect faces new charges as funerals continue

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) – A federal grand jury on Wednesday charged the man accused of killing 11 worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue with additional hate crimes and firearms offenses, as the Jewish community held more funerals for victims of the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

The 44-count grand jury indictment expands on the charges initially brought against avowed anti-Semite Robert Bowers, 46, after Saturday’s massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill district.

“Today begins the process of seeking justice for the victims of these hateful acts,” U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said in a statement, adding that his office “will spare no resource” in doing so.

The fresh charges account for surviving victims of the massacre, including police officers. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

Bowers is accused of bursting into the synagogue and opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle and three pistols in the midst of Sabbath prayer services as he shouted “All Jews must die.”

Eleven of the mostly elderly congregants were killed, and six people, including four police officers, were wounded before the suspect was shot by police and surrendered.

The attack, following a wave of politically motivated pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, heightened national tensions days ahead of elections on Tuesday that will decide whether U.S. President Donald Trump will lose the Republican majority he now enjoys in both houses of Congress.

The Pittsburgh massacre also fueled a debate over Trump’s inflammatory political rhetoric and his self-identification as a “nationalist,” which critics say has fomented a surge in right-wing extremism and may have even helped provoke Saturday’s bloodshed.

The Trump administration has rejected the notion that he has encouraged white nationalists and neo-Nazis who have embraced him, insisting he is trying to unify America even as he continues to disparage the media as an “enemy of the people.”

Mourners gathered on Wednesday for the funerals of Melvin Wax, 88, who was leading Sabbath services for one of the temple’s three congregations when the attack began; retired real estate agent Irving Younger, 69; and retired university researcher Joyce Fienberg, 75.

The after-effects of the tragedy pervaded life on Wednesday in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, the heart of its Jewish community, where the synagogue is located.

In coffee shops, customers talked about the victims they knew, remembering them as civic-minded, kind and pillars of the community. In the street, friends embraced and comforted one another during the period of raw grief.

Libby Zal said that Younger was such a fixture in Squirrel Hill that a local store he frequented would send him a “get well” card if he was absent for a few days.

Dan Frankel, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, called Younger outgoing and opinionated.

“He was very interested in social justice and he probably would not have wanted the death penalty (for the gunman),” Frankel said.

The casket of Irving Younger, 69, a victim of Saturday’s synagogue shooting, is carried to a waiting hearse after his funeral at Rodef Shalom Temple in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton


Wednesday’s indictment, like the criminal complaint preceding it, charged Bowers with 11 counts of obstructing free exercise of religion, resulting in death, and 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder – one count for each worshiper killed

It added 15 criminal counts total, including new hate-crime charges pertaining to the wounding of two worshipers and the use of dangerous weapons against a dozen police officers, including the four injured in a gunfight with the suspect.

Funerals for the first four victims to be buried were held on Tuesday as Trump paid a low-key visit to Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, stopping briefly at Tree of Life and the hospital where the wounded officers are recovering.

His trip was greeted by thousands of protesters, who staged a boisterous but peaceful march and rally near the synagogue, demanding Trump publicly denounce white nationalism.

Trump made no public comments during his visit, but wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning that his office had been “shown great respect on a very sad and solemn day” in Pittsburgh.

“Small protest was not seen by us, staged far away,” he tweeted. “The Fake News stories were just the opposite-Disgraceful!”

Four days after the attack, nerves in Squirrel Hill were still frayed. A public school was briefly placed on lockdown following a report that someone had brought a gun onto campus, police said. The report was later found to be false.

Jodi Smith, a Pittsburgh native, joined mourners ahead of the Wax funeral at the Ralph Schugar Chapel and remembered him as a “very polite, gentle man.”

“I could have claimed him as a father,” Smith said. “The synagogue had been his life since his wife passed away a few years ago.”

Slideshow (8 Images)

Fienberg spent 25 years as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center until she retired in 2008.

“She was an engaging, elegant, and warm person,” the center said on Facebook.

Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Bernie Woodall; writing by Steve Gorman; editing by John Stonestreet, Jeffrey Benkoe, Bill Tarrant and Cynthia Osterman

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Khashoggi murder outcry threatens U.S.-Saudi ties, Saudi prince says

Khashoggi murder outcry threatens U.S.-Saudi ties, Saudi prince says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The outcry in the United States demonizing Saudi Arabia over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul threatens U.S.-Saudi strategic ties, the former Saudi intelligence minister warned on Wednesday.

Friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold posters and banners with his pictures during a demonstration outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/File Photo

“We value our strategic relationship with the United States and hope to sustain it. We hope the United States reciprocates in kind,” royal family member Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud said in an address to the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, a non-profit advocacy organization.

Turki, to whom Khashoggi once served as an adviser, has also served as an ambassador to London and Washington. His speech denouncing what he called “the demonization of Saudi Arabia” clearly carried Riyadh’s imprimatur, as he heads an Islamic research center named after his father, the late King Faisal.

Turki’s address came after Istanbul’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday said that Khashoggi was suffocated in a premeditated killing and his body was then dismembered.

Khashoggi, who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States, wrote columns for the Washington Post critical of the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Some U.S. lawmakers have accused the crown prince of ordering Khashoggi’s death – a charge that Riyadh denies – and threatened sanctions. U.S. commentators have strongly condemned the kingdom.

Recalling that more than 70 years of U.S.-Saudi ties survived previous crises, Turki said, “Nowadays, this relationship is once again threatened.”

“The tragic and unjustified” slaying of Khashoggi “is the theme of today’s onslaught and demonization of Saudi Arabia in the same fashion as the previous crises. The intensity and gleefulness of it is equally unfair,” he said. “Subjecting our relationship to this issue is not healthy at all.”

Turki reiterated that the kingdom is committed to bringing to justice those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder “and whoever else failed to uphold the law.”

The Trump administration is demanding full accountability from Riyadh in Khashoggi’s death. In what it called a first step, it revoked the visas of some Saudi officials implicated in the slaying.

The U.S.-Saudi relationship “is too big to fail,” Turki said.

Those ties, he noted, transcend oil production, trade, arms sales and investment to cooperation on Middle East peace efforts, stabilizing oil markets, fighting extremism and containing Iran, the kingdom’s main regional foe.

Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler

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Shrapnel ties US-made bombs to Yemen deaths

US using Saudi weakness over Khashoggi to push for end to Yemen War

Seeing an opening created by the kingdom’s new pariah status after the killing of a dissident journalist, US officials say the time is ripe to move on longstanding goals, including forcing an end to the Saudi-led bombing campaign that has prompted a humanitarian crisis in neighboring Yemen.

The officials acknowledged that neither the Yemen war nor the dispute with Qatar can be solved quickly. But the administration hopes to make progress on both fronts by the end of the year, they said, and have recently stepped up public calls on Saudi Arabia to alleviate the disputes.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both this week called on participants in the Yemen civil war to agree to a ceasefire “in the next 30 days,” a demand that comes amid fresh criticism of US support for the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict.

“Thirty days from now we want to see everybody around a peace table based on a ceasefire, based on a pullback from the border and then based on ceasing dropping of bombs,” Mattis said at an event at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Tuesday.

Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered, Turkish chief prosecutor says

His call was later echoed by Pompeo, who issued a statement saying, “the United States calls on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen.”

Mattis and Pompeo both insisted that the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthis stop their respective aerial and missile bombardments.

The three-year conflict between Saudi-led coalition and their Iranian-backed enemies has devastated Yemen and killed at least 10,000 people. United Nations experts say that the coalition’s bombing of civilians are potential war crimes and that its partial blockade of the country has put 13 million men, women and children in danger of starvation, in what could become the worst famine in 100 years.

Outrage over the situation has created increasing pressure on the US to pull its support for the coalition, which it provides in the form of military sales, training and refueling of coalition jets.

Saudi Arabia’s belated admission that Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and US resident, was murdered by a team with close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has left the Trump administration — including the President himself — feeling stung by Saudi Arabia.

After initial strong denials, the kingdom has produced multiple explanations. Even after admitting that Khashoggi was murdered by men close to bin Salamn, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said blaming Saudis for the US resident’s death is “hysterical.”

Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue in Bahrain Saturday, al-Jubeir said, “This issue has become fairly hysterical. People have assigned blame on Saudi Arabia with such certainty before the investigation is complete. We have made it very clear that we are going to have a full and very transparent investigation, the results of which will be released.”

Mattis and Pompeo call for Yemen ceasefire 'within 30 days'

al-Jubeir met with Mattis on Sunday in Bahrain. The defense secretary told reporters traveling with him on his plane to Prague that he had discussed Khashoggi’s death with the Saudi official. “We discussed it,” Mattis said, “you know the same thing we talked about, the need for transparency, full and complete investigation, um, full, full agreement from FM Jubeir, no reservations at all, I said we need to know what happened.”

Trump and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is the President’s son-in-law, placed a heavy reliance on the powerful crown prince for an overall strategy in the region, despite warnings that the young royal was untested and volatile.

While American officials previously expressed private displeasure at Mohammed’s intervention in the Yemen war and the Saudi-ordered kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, they mostly aired their grievances in private while maintaining in public that the alliance with Saudi Arabia was necessary to counter Iran’s influence.

Trump is privately fuming

But Khashoggi’s murder, and the ensuing coverup, have made it more difficult to keep those grievances private.

Trump has privately fumed at the Saudis for putting him in the situation of having to defend his decision to fastidiously cultivate a close relationship with Mohammed and his father, King Salman. He and his advisers are in agreement that forcing some kind of resolution on Yemen is a good way to make the best of a bad situation.

The unintended consequences of Jamal Khashoggi's killing

The Saudi stand-off with Qatar, which has fractured a security alliance importance to the US, has been another thorn in the Trump administration’s side.

Asked Wednesday whether he felt betrayed by the Saudis, Trump suggested it was the kingdom’s leaders that betrayed themselves.

“I just hope that it all works out. We have a lot of facts, we have a lot of things that we’ve been looking at,” he said. “They haven’t betrayed me. I mean, maybe they betrayed themselves. We’ll have to see how it all turns out.”

Trump has come to the belief in recent days that the American public is starting to catch on to the Yemen catastrophe, including through powerful images of starving children in the New York Times.

The Trump administration has been criticized by activists and some members of Congress for its support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen and for the administration’s recent finding that the coalition was doing enough to avoid civilian casualties.

The US military provides the Saudi collation with training meant to help minimize civilian casualties, as well as aerial refueling of coalition warplanes.

Mattis said the “goal right now is to achieve a level of capability by those forces fighting against the Houthis, that they are not killing innocent people.”

“We refuel probably less than … I think 20% of their aircraft. They have their own refuelers, by the way,” Mattis said.

Congressional pressure

A congressional source told CNN the Khashoggi murder has “put a face” on the broader problem related to the US-Saudi relationship and renewed momentum on Capitol Hill to push for legislation that would end US involvement in the war in Yemen.

Previous resolutions aimed at ending US involvement in the war in Yemen have failed to gain approval but various pieces of legislation proposed in recent months have received increasing support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, wrote in a recent op-ed that he plans to bring his resolution to end US involvement in the “unauthorized war” in Yemen back to the floor next month.

“Because of the privileged resolution that will come to a vote sooner or later and that is certainly something that’s weighed on the administration,” a senior congressional aide told CNN. “I am sure Mattis and Pompeo are well aware of that.”

Democratic Rep. Ro Khonna also cited Pompeo’s statement in a press release touting his own bipartisan proposal in the House intended to align with the resolution Sanders is pushing in the Senate.

“It’s about time. After more than three years of war, thousands dead, millions on the brink of starvation, and growing pressure from Congress, the Trump Administration is finally calling for an end to the Saudi-led war in Yemen,” Khonna said in a statement. “We have tremendous leverage over the Saudi-led coalition and should demand this Administration do all in their power to bring both sides to the peace table and end the war.”

The congressional source also told CNN that efforts to curtail US involvement in Yemen and pressure to respond to Khashoggi’s murder are related in that they both provide evidence of the Saudi government’s and in particular the crown prince’s “recklessness.”

CNN’s Nicole Gaouette contributed reporting.

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White House, Republicans see 'swift action' on tax cut plan

White House, Republicans see ‘swift action’ on tax cut plan

FILE PHOTO: The White House is awash with early morning sun on the morning of the U.S. Presidential election in Washington November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House and Republican lawmakers said on Wednesday they will take “swift action” next year on a 10 percent tax cut for middle-class Americans, as Republicans battle to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in next week’s elections.

In a joint statement, the White House and Republican members of the tax-writing House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee said they would act on the tax-cut legislation at the start of the new Congress, which will be seated in January.

President Donald Trump, who is campaigning to boost his party’s chances in the Nov. 6 voting, earlier this month said he wanted the tax cut for the middle class after being criticized for a 2017 tax overhaul that was seen as benefiting wealthier Americans and corporations.

“We are committed to delivering an additional 10 percent tax cut to middle-class workers across the country. And we intend to take swift action on this legislation at the start of the 116th Congress,” Wednesday’s statement said.

It did not give details on the plan.

If Republicans lost control of their majority in the House then any consideration of a tax cut would be moot. Opinion polls show Democrats have a chance at achieving the net gain of 23 seats they need to win a House majority.

Even if Republicans retain control of both House and Senate, getting a tax cut through the Senate would be difficult given concerns about its impact on the budget deficit.

Reporting by Eric Beech; editing by Mohammad Zargham and Grant McCool

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U.S. Senate panel examines former Trump aide Bannon's campaign role: sources

U.S. Senate panel examines former Trump aide Bannon’s campaign role: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is pursuing a wide-ranging examination of former White House adviser Steve Bannon’s activities during the 2016 presidential campaign, three sources familiar with the inquiry told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon holds a news conference in Rome, Italy September 22, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianch/File Photo

The committee is looking into what Bannon might know about any contacts during the campaign between Moscow and two advisers to the campaign, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, they said.

William Burck, a lawyer for Bannon, told Reuters: “The Senate Intelligence Committee has expressed an interest in interviewing Mr. Bannon as a witness, just as they have many other people involved in the Trump Campaign. But the Committee has never suggested that he’s under investigation himself and to claim otherwise is recklessly false.”

Papadopoulos, a consultant, initially advised the presidential campaign of Republican hopeful Ben Carson before joining the Trump campaign. Page is also a consultant, who had business contacts in Russia.

On Sept. 7, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison. He had pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents about the timing and significance of his contacts with Russians, including a professor who told him the Russians had “dirt” on Trump’s Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

No charges have been filed against Page.

The panel also will examine Bannon’s role with Cambridge Analytica, a former data analysis company that the Trump campaign hired to help identify and target messages to potentially sympathetic voters, the sources said.

The Senate committee is working with Bannon’s advisers to set a date for him to be interviewed by staff investigators in late November, two of the sources said.

Bannon recently met for the second time with investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the 2016 presidential election, one of the sources said.

Russia has denied interfering in the election and Trump denies any collusion, frequently describing the Mueller investigation as a political witch hunt.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Bannon was questioned last week by Mueller’s team. The newspaper said the interview focused on Trump supporter Roger Stone. In emails to Reuters, Stone has said he did not know about or have access to WikiLeaks materials related to Democrats.

In the run-up to the 2016 election, WikiLeaks published hundreds of emails hacked from the Democratic Party and the personal account of top Hillary Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta.

One of the sources familiar with the Bannon-related Senate panel investigations said Mueller’s team does not consider Bannon to be a potential subject of their investigation.

Bannon served as a vice president of Cambridge Analytica from June 2014 to August 2016, at which point he joined Trump’s presidential campaign as a senior strategist.

Sources said the Senate Intelligence committee has sought to interview other witnesses about the role played by Cambridge Analytica and affiliated companies in the 2016 election.

Earlier this year it was reported that Cambridge Analytica had collected the personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political purposes. Facebook later apologized to users for the data breach.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and David Gregorio

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Wall St. ends last day of haunted October in the black

Wall St. ends last day of haunted October in the black

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rebounded for a second day on Wednesday as investors snapped up beaten-down technology and internet favorites and strong company results lifted spirits, even as the S&P 500 closed out its worst month in seven years.

The S&P 500 lost 6.9 percent in October, while the Nasdaq shed 9.2 percent, its biggest monthly loss since November 2008.

Fears of rising borrowing costs, global trade disputes and a possible slowdown in U.S. corporate profits spooked equity investors this month, with technology and internet names that had powered the market’s rally taking the biggest hit.

“People are just happy to have the month of October over,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“All of the fears that popped up last week are being pushed into the background right now. I don’t know if it’s going to have any legs to it. Just a few earnings in the next few days can change things a lot.”

On Wednesday, shares of Facebook Inc (FB.O) gained 3.8 percent after the social media giant said margins would stop shrinking after 2019 as costs from scandals ease.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) near the close of market in New York, U.S., October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McdDermid

The S&P communication services index .SPLRCL, which also houses Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), rose 2.1 percent. The S&P technology index .SPLRCT ended up 2.4 percent on the day.

Shares of Inc (AMZN.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O), which is due to report results after the bell on Thursday, climbed as well, by 4.4 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.

The Nasdaq gained 3.6 percent in the last two sessions, its biggest two-day percentage gain since June 2016.

General Motors Co (GM.N) shares jumped 9.1 percent to notch their biggest one-day gain since late May, after the No. 1 U.S. automaker posted robust quarterly results and forecast strong full-year earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 241.12 points, or 0.97 percent, to 25,115.76, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 29.11 points, or 1.09 percent, to 2,711.74 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 144.25 points, or 2.01 percent, to 7,305.90.

The Cboe Volatility Index .VIX, the most widely followed gauge of expected near-term gyrations for the S&P 500, had its lowest close since Oct. 23.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Dow lost 5.1 percent for the month, its biggest monthly percentage decline since January 2016.

October also marked only the 12th time since the start of the current equity bull market that both stocks and U.S. Treasury bonds produced losses in the same month, based on preliminary data.

(For a graphic on ‘U.S. stocks vs. bonds’ click

Mostly stronger-than-expected results have pushed up third-quarter profit growth estimates for S&P 500 companies to 26.3 percent, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv data.

Defensive sectors were the only decliners. The S&P consumer staples index .SPLRCS fell 0.9 percent.

Shares of Kellogg (K.N) fell 8.9 percent after cutting its full-year profit forecast due to higher advertising and distribution costs.

The financial sector .SPSY rose 1.4 percent and the S&P 500 regional banks index .SPLRCBNKS gained 1.9 percent, on the Federal Reserve’s proposal to ease regulations for U.S. banks with less than $700 billion in assets.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.53-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.59-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and four new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 38 new highs and 114 new lows.

About 9.8 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compared with the 8.7 billion-share daily average for the past 20 trading days.

Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal & Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Nick Zieminski, James Dalgleish and Jonathan Oatis

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