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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Trump says US will pull out of intermediate range nuke pact

ELKO, Nevada (AP) — President Donald Trump said Saturday he will exit a landmark arms control agreement the United States signed with the former Soviet Union, saying that Russia is violating the pact and it’s preventing the U.S. from developing new weapons.

The 1987 pact, which helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East, prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

“Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years,” Trump said after a rally in Elko, Nevada. “And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”

The agreement has constrained the U.S. from developing new weapons, but America will begin developing them unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons, Trump said. China is not currently party to the pact.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let’s really get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons, but if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it, and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” he said.

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Saudi account of Khashoggi killing is widely denounced

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey will “never allow a cover-up” of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, a senior official in Turkey’s ruling party said Saturday, reflecting international skepticism over the Saudi account that the writer died during a “fistfight.”

The comment was one of many critical reactions to Saudi Arabia’s announcement early Saturday of the writer’s violent death, indicating the kingdom’s efforts to defuse a scandal that has gripped the world were falling short. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, was an exception. Asked whether he thought the Saudi explanation was credible, he replied: “I do. I do.”

Despite widespread outrage over the killing of the columnist for The Washington Post, it is unclear to what extent the top leadership of Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally and a powerful player in a volatile region, would be held accountable for what human rights activists describe as an extrajudicial killing by Saudi agents.

The only way to find out what happened would be through an international investigation led by a U.N.-appointed panel, the editorial board of The Washington Post said.

Saudi Arabia’s “latest version asks us to believe that Mr. Khashoggi died after becoming engaged in a ‘brawl’ with officials who had been sent to meet him. His body, Saudi officials told several journalists, was handed over to a ‘local collaborator’ for disposal,” it said, while also criticizing Trump for allegedly trying to help top Saudi leaders escape “meaningful accountability.”

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Saudi Khashoggi saw Turkey as base for a new Middle East

ISTANBUL (AP) — Friends say Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a proud Arab who wanted to set up a base in his ancestral homeland of Turkey, contributing to the growing community of exiled Arabs who have taken refuge there.

For Khashoggi, a history lover, the growing Arabic community and Turkey’s power in the region echoed aspects of the Ottoman empire, when Istanbul was at the center of a rich and multicultural Middle East. With millions of Arab exiles who fled their homes because of wars or oppression, Turkey has become a fertile ground for talent and ideas, a place where Khashoggi might be able to pursue his own projects, including a pro-democracy group, a media watch group, a forum to translate economic studies and launching online magazines.

Khashoggi was planning to marry his Turkish fiancée on Oct. 3, a day after he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get his divorce from a previous marriage confirmed. He had bought a home in Istanbul and friends said he planned to split his time between there and Virginia, where he had owned a condo since 2008.

He never emerged from the consulate. Saudi authorities said Saturday that he died in a brawl involving visiting officials, an account that has drawn widespread skepticism. Turkish pro-government media say a Saudi hit squad traveled to Turkey to kill the columnist for The Washington Post which has called for an investigation led by a U.N.-appointed panel to determine what happened.

Khashoggi’s killing sent a chilling message to the many exiled Arabs who have taken refuge in Turkey. Several anti-government Arab TV stations broadcast from Turkey and Istanbul’s Arab Media Association has about 800 members. Turkey has also welcomed thousands of members of Egypt’s now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, after its then-President member was ousted from power by the military in 2013. Many Syrian groups opposed to President Bashar Assad have also unsurprisingly converged in neighboring Turkey, where nearly 3 million Syrians have fled to escape the war back home.

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Migrants vow to re-form caravan, continue north toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (AP) — About 2,000 Central American migrants who circumvented Mexican police at a border bridge and swam, forded and floated across the river from Guatemala decided on Saturday to re-form their mass caravan and continue their trek northward toward the United States.

Gathered at a park in the border city of Ciudad Hidalgo, the migrants voted by a show of hands and then marched to the bridge to urge those still there to cross the river and join them.

“Let’s all walk together!” and “Yes we can!” they cried, defying warnings to turn back this week from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has sought to make the caravan and border security in general into a campaign issue a little over two weeks before midterm elections.

The group’s decision capped a day in which Mexican authorities again refused mass entry to migrants on the bridge, instead accepting small groups for asylum processing and giving out 45-day visitor permits to some of them.

Mexico had sought to maintain order after a chaotic Friday in which thousands rushed across the bridge only to be halted by a phalanx of officers in riot gear. Authorities began handing out numbers for people to be processed in a strategy seen before at U.S. border posts when dealing with large numbers of migrants.

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Sales are brisk as Mega Millions jackpot hits $1.6 billion

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Mega Millions lottery may see a streak of jackpot rollovers end as it heads toward a record $1.6 billion drawing on Tuesday.

As more tickets sell, chances grow that at least one buyer will pick all six winning numbers. That would stop the streak of 25 rollovers, most recently on Friday night.

Based on sales projections, 75 percent of the 302 million possible combinations will be chosen for Tuesday’s drawing, up from 59.1 percent in Friday’s, said Carole Gentry, spokeswoman for Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

“It’s possible that nobody wins again. But it’s hard to fathom,” Gentry said.

About 280 million tickets sold in Friday’s drawing, none matching the winning mix of 7, 15, 23, 53, 65 and 70 to claim an estimated prize of $1 billion. Fifteen tickets matched five numbers for second-tier prizes of at least $1 million.

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Nevada Republicans whip up fears of California’s influence

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Republicans running in Nevada’s hotly contested races for governor and U.S. Senate are taking aim at a common target as they try to maintain GOP control of the seats: California.

As more Californians have poured across the state line over the past few years, many of them escaping sky-high housing costs, some Nevada Republicans fear a state that already has become a political battleground will begin to resemble its deep blue neighbor.

GOP candidates are appealing to conservative voters with warnings about life in California: sanctuary cities, crippling business regulations, out-of-control housing prices and a worsening homeless crisis.

Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is in a tight re-election battle against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, has highlighted his opponent’s support from California billionaire Tom Steyer and Hollywood celebrities, while warning on Twitter that the state could become “CaliforNevada” if Rosen is elected.

Politicians on the right have for years demonized California as a conservative’s worst nightmare. In 2003, as a joke, a Republican state lawmaker in Nevada requested a bill be drafted to rename the state “East California,” along with making The Beatles’ song “Taxman” the official state song.

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Is there interference in the 2018 US midterm elections?

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Justice Department unsealed criminal charges detailing a yearslong effort by a Russian troll farm to “sow division and discord in the U.S. political system,” it was the first federal case alleging continued foreign interference in U.S. elections.

Earlier Friday, American intelligence officials released a rare public statement asserting that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are engaged in ongoing efforts to influence U.S. policy and voters in future elections.

The statement didn’t provide details on those efforts. That stood in contrast with the criminal charges, which provided a detailed narrative of Russian activities. Russian activities have also been outlined in previous criminal cases.

A look at what is known about foreign efforts to interfere in U.S. elections:

WHAT IS THE U.S. WORRIED ABOUT?

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Amid housing crisis, Reno’s motor lodges become last resort

RENO, Nev. (AP) — They were the toast of Reno in the 1950s, when the growing casino industry sparked a boom that for a time turned northern Nevada into the West’s top gambling destination.

Dozens of downtown motor lodges provided spare but comfortable retreats for motorists who took to the nation’s new highways to see the bright lights of the self-proclaimed “Biggest Little City in the World” and try their luck at the slot machines and blackjack tables.

Today, the lodges still standing are in disrepair and rent rooms by the week. But there is one similarity to their heyday: Reno is booming again and so are the lodges — just not with vacationers or fortune-seekers.

They have become the housing of last resort for Reno’s down-and-out, a population that has soared in recent years as a red hot housing and rental market have priced out more and more people.

California is partly to blame.

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Violence, confusion surround Afghan parliamentary elections

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections in eight years suffered from violence and chaos Saturday, with a multitude of attacks killing at least 36 people, key election workers failing to show up and many polling stations staying open hours later than scheduled to handle long lines of voters.

Problems surrounding the elections — already three years overdue — threaten to compromise the credibility of polls which an independent monitoring group said were also marred by incidences of ballot stuffing and intimidation by armed men affiliated with candidates in 19 of the country’s 32 provinces. Some areas have yet to vote, including Kandahar, where the provincial police chief was gunned down Thursday.

Stakes were high in these elections for Afghans who hoped to reform Parliament, challenging the dominance of warlords and the politically corrupt and replacing them with a younger, more educated generation of politicians. They were also high for the U.S., which is still seeking an exit strategy after 17 years of a war there that has cost more than $900 billion and claimed more than 2,400 U.S. service personnel.

Deputy Interior Minister Akhtar Mohammed Ibrahimi said 36 people were killed in 193 insurgent attacks across the country: 27 civilians, eight police officers and one Afghan soldier. He said attackers used everything from grenades to small arms fire to mortars and rocket launchers, and that security forces killed 31 insurgents.

The most serious attack on the polls was in a northern Kabul neighborhood where a suicide bomber blew himself up just as voting was about to end, killing three people and wounding another 20, many of them seriously, said Dr. Esa Hashemi, a physician at the nearby Afghan Hospital. Interior and defense ministry officials said 15 people were killed or wounded, including several police.

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10 days after hurricane, football offers a welcome escape

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Castor Gay knew his life had changed the moment he watched his back fence disappear into the howling wind and water started pouring from his ceiling. Mike Maddox sensed the same thing when he packed into a tiny pantry closet with his mom, brother and five dogs while his house shook.

Hurricane Michael delivered quite a punch when it hit the teenagers who make up the Mosley High Dolphins football team.

But just 10 days later, under the bright sunshine at Tommy Oliver Stadium in downtown Panama City, a small return to regular life had already begun. Gay was back in his bright orange, white and green jersey while doing his job on the offensive line protecting Maddox, who was once again a quarterback.

For a few hours, football was important again.

And the Dolphins were ready to punch back against the Pensacola Tigers.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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