One man dies as wind-driven Los Angeles wildfire forces 100,000 to flee

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A fierce, wind-driven wildfire swept through foothills and canyons along the northern edge of Los Angeles on Friday, engulfing homes, closing roads and devouring acres of dry brush and chaparral as 100,000 residents were forced to flee. At least one death was attributed to the fire, a man who authorities said suffered a heart attack while trying to battle encroaching flames on his property rather than heeding evacuation orders. The blaze, dubbed the Saddleridge fire, began on Thursday night and had raced across some 7,500 acres…

California’s new normal: evacuating wildfires yet again

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – It’s part of California’s new normal – year-round fire seasons, planned electricity blackouts and, for retired couple Bhagvei and Paresh Badreshia, sudden evacuations in the middle of the night. Again. They were among 100,000 residents forced to flee a fierce, wind-driven wildfire that swept foothills and canyons along the northern edge of Los Angeles on Friday, engulfing homes, closing roads and devouring acre upon acre (hectare upon hectare) of dry brush and chaparral. The evacuations in Southern California came after the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas…

Turkish-led forces advance into Syrian border town, fighting rages

ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkish-backed Syrian rebels advanced into Ras al Ain in northeast Syria on Saturday but it was unclear how far, with Turkey saying the town center had been taken and Kurdish-led forces denying this and saying they were counter-attacking. Turkish army vehicles and military personnel are stationed near the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Murad SezerThe battle for Ras al Ain raged as Turkey pursued a four-day-old, cross-border offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia despite an outcry from the United States and European Union…

Turkey’s Syria offensive an ‘invasion’: Arab League secretary general

CAIRO (Reuters) – Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Saturday led Arab foreign ministers in lambasting Turkey’s military operation in northeast Syria as an “invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty”. FILE PHOTO: Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Arab League’s secretary general, attends the Rome Mediterranean summit MED 2018 in Rome, Italy November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Max RossiIraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, president of the current Arab League session, also condemned Turkey’s offensive into Syria during an emergency meeting of the body, called by Egypt.…

Brexit: ‘Intense technical’ talks between UK and EU in Brussels

Negotiators from the UK and EU are having what has been described as « intense technical discussions » in an attempt to agree a new Brexit deal. About a dozen British officials, including the UK’s EU adviser David Frost, are taking part in the talks at the EU Commission in Brussels. The meetings are expected to continue through the weekend. But European Council President Donald Tusk has suggested there is only the slightest chance of an agreement. The UK is due to leave the EU at 23:00 GMT on 31…

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels seize center of Syrian border town: senior Turkish official

ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkish-backed Syrian rebels seized control of the center of the Syrian border town of Ras al Ain town on Saturday, a senior Turkish security official said, as Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia in the region entered its fourth day. An explosion and smoke are seen over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov“The (Syrian rebel) national army took control of the town center this morning. Inspections are being conducted in…

Supertyphoon Hagibis gives new wind to Philippine disco band

MANILA (Reuters) – For a four-decade-old Philippine disco band, the namesake supertyphoon bearing down on Japan has brought a sudden rush of interest in its macho act. Sonny Parsons (R), leader of Filipino boyband Hagibis, poses for a photo with fans at a fastfood restaurant in Manila, Philippines October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jerome MoralesKnown as the Philippines’ “Village People”, all-male band Hagibis has been going since 1979. While some members have changed over time, it has retained its act featuring tight black trousers, leather jackets, open shirts, shades, moustaches and suggestive…

Silver-haired sit-in, face mask party protests planned for Hong Kong

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Several pro-democracy protests are planned for Hong Kong on Saturday reflecting the widespread anger at the government, ranging from an elderly sit-in, a face mask party, a shopping mall demonstration and an anti-emergency law street march. People hold letters to form « Free HK » during a protest in Tai Po, Hong Kong, China October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Susana VeraHong Kong’s protests started in opposition to a now-abandoned extradition bill but have mushroomed in four months into a pro-democracy movement and an outlet for anger at social…

Ex-envoy tells impeachment inquiry Trump ousted her based on ‘false claims’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on Friday told a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump that Trump ousted her based on “unfounded and false claims” after she had come under attack by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador who was abruptly recalled from Kiev in May, spent more than nine hours in a closed-door meeting with House members and staff. She had been expected to appear last week, but was told not to by the State Department at the behest…

Trump says acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan is stepping down

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was stepping down and a new acting chief of the agency would be named next week. FILE PHOTO: Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan reacts while protesters interrupt his remarks at the Migration Policy Institute annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri GripasMcAleenan became the fourth person to lead the agency under Trump in April after the Republican president asked for the resignation of…

GM appeals directly to employees as strike losses mount, riling UAW

DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Motors Co took the unusual step of appealing directly to its unionized employees in a blog post on Friday that laid out its latest offer aimed at ending a month-long strike, drawing an angry response from the union that the automaker was trying to “starve … workers off the picket lines.” While emphasizing GM’s commitment to the collective bargaining process, the letter, signed by Gerald Johnson, executive vice-president for global manufacturing, circumvents United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership and points to frustration at a lack of progress…

Trump urges appeals court to shield tax returns from N.Y. prosecutors

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday urged a federal appeals court to block New York prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his tax returns, arguing that he was immune from criminal investigation as a sitting president. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Leah MillisIn a filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, Trump said there was “broad bipartisan agreement, for decades if not centuries, that a sitting president cannot be subjected…

U.S., China agree ‘Phase 1’ trade deal; Trump suspends October tariff hike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and China agreed on Friday to the first phase of a deal to end a trade war, prompting President Donald Trump to suspend a threatened tariff hike, but officials said the agreement had to be put on paper and more work was required to get it finalized. The partial accord, covering agriculture, currency and some aspects of intellectual property protections, represented the biggest step toward resolution of a 15-month tariff war between the world’s two largest economies that has hit financial markets and slowed…

Ohio ban on Down syndrome abortion blocked by U.S. appeals court

(Reuters) – A divided federal appeals court on Friday said Ohio cannot enforce a 2017 law banning abortions when medical tests show that a fetus has Down syndrome. Upholding a preliminary injunction, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said the law was invalid under Supreme Court precedents because it had the purpose and effect of preventing some women from obtaining pre-viability abortions. Circuit Judge Bernice Bouie Donald wrote in a 2-1 decision that the injunction also served the public interest by ensuring “access to constitutionally protected health…

Indicted Giuliani associate worked on behalf of Ukrainian oligarch Firtash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One of the two Florida businessmen who helped U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, also has been working for the legal team of a Ukrainian oligarch who faces bribery charges in the United States, according to attorneys for the businessmen and the oligarch. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash arrives at court in Vienna, Austria, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/File PhotoLev Parnas, one of the two associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, served as a translator for lawyers representing oligarch…

Shark Tank star’s wife now facing fine, not jail time, after Canada fatal boat crash

FILE PHOTO: Kevin O’Leary Chairman, O’Shares ETFs; Television Personality, « Shark Tank » speaks during the Milken Institute’s 22nd annual Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Mike BlakeTORONTO (Reuters) – The wife of Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary is now facing a fine and no jail time after she was charged with careless operation of a vehicle following a boat crash that caused two deaths and three injuries, Canadian prosecutors said on Friday. Linda O’Leary was charged two weeks ago for the crash, which took place in…

Wall Street rallies on trade deal hopes; Apple hits record high

(Reuters) – Wall Street rose for the third straight session on Friday, as investors expected top-level trade talks between the United States and China to result in a partial trade deal and delay planned U.S. tariff increases. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidShares of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) hit a record high and were the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, while the technology sector .SPLRCT was headed for its best day…

California governor says broad power shutdown to prevent fires ‘unacceptable’

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom called a widespread electricity shutdown triggered by a power company to prevent wildfires “unacceptable”, as gale-force winds and dry weather posed a critical fire threat to the north of the state. Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E) has imposed unprecedented shut-offs that left more than 730,000 homes and workplaces in northern California without power on the second day of planned outages. But as of late Thursday, power was restored to more than half of those who had lost it, PG&E officials said…

EU, Britain to hold ‘intense’ negotiations on Brexit deal as departure date nears

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The 27 countries staying in the European Union after Britain leaves gave the go-ahead on Friday for their chief negotiator to hold another round of intense and secret negotiations with London in a bid to secure a deal, two senior diplomatic sources said. European Council, President Donald Tusk attends a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou/PoolMichel Barnier and his British counterpart Stephen Barclay had earlier held what both sides called a “constructive” meeting in Brussels as Britain’s scheduled departure…

Renault seeks reboot of Nissan alliance after ousting CEO

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault’s (RENA.PA) board voted on Friday to oust chief executive Thierry Bollore, as the French carmaker and Japanese partner Nissan (7201.T) seek a fresh start following the scandal-hit tenure of former alliance supremo Carlos Ghosn. FILE PHOTO: Thierry Bollore, Chief Executive Officer of Renault, reacts after French carmaker Renault’s 2018 annual results presentation at their headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File PhotoRelations between Renault, which named its finance director as temporary CEO, and Nissan, which picked a new CEO on Tuesday, have…

Brewer Carlsberg wants to produce a ‘paper bottle’ for its beer

Carlsberg has released details of two new « paper bottle » research prototypes it’s working on. In an announcement made during the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen on Friday, the Danish brewing giant said the « Green Fibre Bottle » prototypes were produced from sustainably sourced wood fibres and « fully recyclable. » The business has been developing the idea since 2015, working with packaging experts and academics on the project. An « inner barrier » is used to ensure the bottles can carry beer. One prototype uses a…

Turkey bombards Syrian Kurdish militia, thousands flee as death toll mounts

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish warplanes and artillery hit Kurdish militia targets in northeast Syria on the third day of an offensive that has killed hundreds of people, forced tens of thousands to flee and turned Washington’s establishment against President Donald Trump. The incursion, launched after Trump withdrew U.S. troops who had been fighting alongside Kurdish forces against Islamic State militants, has opened a new front in the eight-year-old Syrian civil war and drawn fierce international criticism. In Washington, Trump suggested that the United States could mediate in the conflict. He…

Putin says Turkey’s Syria operation may allow militants to escape: Ifax

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan October 11, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that Islamic State militants held in northeast Syria could escape as a result of a Turkish military operation there, the Interfax news agency reported. The Turkish offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in the northeast of Syria opens one of the biggest new fronts in years in an eight-year-old civil war that has drawn in…

German Halle gunman admits far-right synagogue attack

A man has confessed to an attack on a synagogue in Germany in which two people died, and admitted a far-right, anti-Semitic motive, during a hearing with an investigating judge. Stephan Balliet, 27, spent several hours giving evidence before a federal court judge about the attack in the eastern city of Halle. He was arrested on Wednesday after a 40-year-old woman was shot dead in front of Halle’s synagogue. A man aged 20 was also fatally shot. He was attacked inside a kebab shop after the gunman tried unsuccessfully to…

Oil prices jump 2% after Iran says two missiles struck one of its tankers

Six oil tankers and a U.S. spy drone have been attacked since May either in, or near, the Strait of Hormuz — a strategically important waterway which separates Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. ATTA KENARE | AFP | Getty Images Oil prices rose sharply on Friday morning after Iranian officials said that two rockets had struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea. Brent crude futures were up 2.07% at $60.33 a barrel by 8:00 a.m. London time, shortly after the news, with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures…

Hundreds take to Hong Kong streets ahead of new round of weekend protests

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hundreds of mask-wearing pro-democracy protesters marched through Hong Kong’s central business district at lunchtime on Friday, occupying a main thoroughfare and disrupting traffic as the city braced for another weekend of turmoil. People march to protest against what they say is the abuse of pro-democracy protesters by Hong Kong police, at Chater Garden in Central district, Hong Kong, China October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Susana VeraChanting calls for their core demands and denouncing what they see as police brutality, the crowd peacefully occupied streets in the financial district,…

China denounces Thai politicians for show of support to Hong Kong activists

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The Chinese embassy in Bangkok has condemned Thai politicians for showing support to Hong Kong activists amid mass anti-Beijing protests, saying that such move could harm the relationship between the two countries. FILE PHOTO: Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party, speaks during a news conference at the parliament in Bangkok, Thailand June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya TunThe criticism was echoed by Thailand’s army chief, who on Friday spoke of “hidden agendas” in meetings between opposition activists. The embassy statement, posted on its official Facebook page…