Pipe bombs target Democrats, CNN as political tensions mount
WASHINGTON (AP) — A wave of glass-filled pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, other prominent Democrats and CNN was thwarted without physical harm, but an anxiety-filled day on Wednesday deepened political tensions and fears two weeks before national midterm elections.
None of the bombs detonated as law enforcement took them away for examination and disposal.
The first crude bomb to be discovered had been delivered Monday to the suburban New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes. The FBI said an additional package was intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder, but that one ended up at a Florida office of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was on it.
Later Wednesday, the FBI said two additional packages addressed for Rep. Maxine Waters had been intercepted that were similar in appearance to five others.
The targets of the bombs were some of the figures most frequently criticized by President Donald Trump, who still assails Clinton at rallies while supporters chant “lock her up” — two years after he defeated her and she largely left the political scene. Trump accuses Soros of paying protesters and singles out cable news network CNN as he rails against the “fake news” media.
Bomb threats highlight risk of violent political rhetoric
NEW YORK (AP) — The discovery of pipe bombs targeting prominent Democratic politicians and CNN is raising the threat of election-season violence largely unknown in the U.S. — and prompting uncomfortable questions about the consequences of leaders’ increasingly vitriolic rhetoric.
Coming two weeks before midterm elections, the thwarted attacks Wednesday caused renewed soul-searching — and finger pointing — about whether President Donald Trump has fanned passions to dangerous levels. Democrats swiftly pointed to his remarks seeming to condone violence against reporters and belittling political opponents, including some apparently targeted by the devices. Trump decried all political violence and issued a broad call for unity.
Some voters expressed concern the country was spiraling into new territory.
“It almost seems like we’re in the middle of a civil war without the shots being fired,” said Bobby Dietzel, a 45-year-old information technology worker from Kansas City who is registered with neither party. From a Denver coffee shop, he said he watched the political conflict with alarm. “It’s almost scary to talk politics with people.”
Law enforcement officials did not comment on the possible motives behind the crimes or whether political ideology may have played a role. Those involved have all been targeted by Trump and the right.
Trump decries violence but calls on media to end ‘hostility’
MOSINEE, Wis. (AP) — President Donald Trump decried the threat of political violence and called on the media to end its “hostility” on Wednesday, hours after authorities intercepted bombs sent to a news network and prominent Democrats who have been the targets of some of his sharpest barbs.
Trump’s pleas for harmony came as law enforcement officials scrambled to find the perpetrator of the thwarted bomb attacks against former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and others. The scripted message was a dissonant one for the president, who has repeatedly blasted his political opponents as criminals and argued that they will destroy the country if they win control of Congress in the midterms.
“We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony,” he said at a campaign rally in Wisconsin. “Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself.”
The president noted the unusually subdued tone of his remarks.
“By the way, do you see how nice I’m behaving tonight?” he said. “Have you ever seen this?”
For Honduran migrants in caravan, the journey is personal
HUIXTLA, Mexico (AP) — A deportee from the United States trying to get back to the life he spent more than a decade building. A woman whose soldier husband already is in the U.S. with their 4-year-old son. A teenager desperate to earn money to support his diabetic mother back home.
The caravan of Central American migrants traveling through southern Mexico — estimated at around 7,000 people, nearly all Hondurans — has attracted headlines in the United States less than two weeks before Nov. 6 midterm elections.
But most of those walking through blistering tropical temperatures, sleeping on the ground in town squares and relying on donated food from local residents are unaware of U.S. political concerns or even that there’s a vote coming up.
While they commonly cite the same core reasons for migrating — poverty, violence — their stories are deeply personal.
Who won the lottery? Why some states allow winners secrecy
SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Like the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body, the secret formula for Coca-Cola and whether there are aliens in outer space, the identity of the winner of the second-biggest lottery in American history may remain hidden forever — because of where the person bought the ticket.
South Carolina, where someone recently purchased the ticket at a convenience store , is one of a handful of states that play Mega Millions and allow winners to be anonymous. Lottery jackpots are often synonymous with dazed winners holding an oversized check, but officials and lawmakers say anonymity can protect winners from being targeted by criminals and unscrupulous people coming out of the woodwork asking for money.
“Everything we do we try to create a winner, whether it is education, whether it is a retailer, whether it is a player. Why do you want a player who is a winner and now he becomes a loser because his name is out there?” said South Carolina Education Lottery Chief Operating Officer Tony Cooper in explaining the board’s policy of allowing winners to claim prizes anonymously.
If someone thinks it’s best for their safety or sanity to not be named publicly, Cooper says the agency would respect that decision. And they have in the past. Cooper said the agency successfully fought off a Freedom of Information Act request for identifying information of winners including the winner of a nearly $400 million Powerball jackpot in Lexington County in September 2013.
Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas all allow anonymity to Mega Millions winners. In Arizona, people who win more than $600 can keep their names secret for 90 days after claiming prizes, but after that names are public record. In Michigan, winners are anonymous unless they win Mega Millions or Powerball prizes.
Saudi crown prince calls Khashoggi killing a ‘heinous’ crime
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — In a fiery and unwavering appearance Wednesday at an investment forum, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “heinous” and “painful to all Saudis,” before warning anyone against trying to “manipulate” the crisis and drive a wedge between the kingdom and Turkey.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was joined onstage by two Arab allies as he made his first extensive public remarks about the killing that has sparked widespread condemnation and marred his international standing after Turkish reports said a member of his entourage was involved in the crime.
Many international business leaders pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative, the kingdom’s main economic forum, after the Oct. 2 killing of The Washington Post columnist inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
But in the forum’s vast and ornate auditorium, thousands of people who did attend rose to their feet to applaud the 33-year-old heir whose strong showing underscored his reputation for being bold and assertive.
Prince Mohammed, who spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone before the forum, addressed the case immediately after taking the stage for a panel discussion, saying the Saudis were cooperating with Turkey on the Khashoggi investigation.
Northern Marianas slammed by strongest US storm this year
HONOLULU (AP) — Super Typhoon Yutu crossed over the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands early Thursday as the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, making it the strongest storm to hit any part of the U.S. this year, the National Weather Service said.
“At its peak, it felt like many trains running constant,” Glen Hunter wrote in a Facebook message to The Associated Press. Hunter lives on Saipan, the largest island in the commonwealth, which is a U.S. territory about 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) west of Hawaii.
“At its peak, the wind was constant and the sound horrifying,” he said.
Maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 kph) were recorded around the eye of the storm, which passed over Tinian and Saipan early Thursday local time, said Brandon Aydlett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
Targeted by pipe bomb, CNN denounces White House’s rhetoric
NEW YORK (AP) — CNN’s president on Wednesday denounced the White House for its “total and complete lack of understanding” of the consequences of attacks against the media after the cable news network’s New York office and several prominent Democrats were sent pipe bombs.
Feelings were raw over a perceived reluctance by the administration to mention that CNN was sent one of the crude devices, which also went to Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and others. A fundraising email attacking CNN sent out as the story unfolded deepened that perception. Trump’s campaign later apologized for the email.
“The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”
There was no immediate response from the White House.
CNN has been a frequent target of Trump’s “fake news” barbs, and a “CNN sucks” chant broke out at a Monday campaign rally. Amid that backdrop, some at CNN were angered by an initial tweet by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that condemned “the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and other public officials,” but omitted any reference to CNN. An hour later she sent another tweet that said the White House’s condemnation “certainly includes threats made to CNN as well as current and former public servants.”
Vazquez for Leon only batting order change for Game 2
BOSTON (AP) — The Red Sox made one change to their starting batting order after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series opener, inserting Christian Vazquez at catcher for Game 2 in place of Sandy Leon.
Boston manager Alex Cora dropped the catcher’s spot one slot to ninth on Wednesday night, raising center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to eighth.
The Dodgers didn’t change their lineup.
David Price starts on the mound for the Red Sox and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the Dodgers. This marks just the third World Series in which both starting pitchers in the first two games are lefties, after 1963 and 1973.
In the opener, the Dodgers became the first team to start nine right-handed hitters in a Series game, none switch-hitters.
Share sell-off moderates in Asia after rout on Wall Street
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares fell moderately in Asia on Thursday after another torrent of selling on Wall Street sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting more than 600 points, erasing its gains for the year.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index sank sharply on the open but leveled off, regaining some lost ground. By mid-morning it was down 2.9 percent at 21,443.72. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 1.6 percent to 2,561.36 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index skidded 1.8 percent to 24,785.68.
Charts for the entire region were awash with the red that indicates losses, but the declines were mostly in the 2 percent to 3 percent range.
“Coming online with the overtly risk-off backdrop from U.S. markets, investors in the Asian region would be taking the cue to head for the doors,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
In Hong Kong, airline Cathay Pacific’s shares dropped 6.5 percent after it said it had discovered a data breach affecting 9.4 million passengers.
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