Daily Brief4

10 things you need to know today !

1. Pipe bomb investigation broadens as more packages intercepted

Hasil gambar untuk Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs expands to 10 packages

The investigation into pipe bombs sent to prominent figures, all critics of President Trump, expanded to 10 suspicious packages on Thursday, after the discovery of devices addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and another mailed to actor Robert De Niro. Like the packages addressed to former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and other prominent Democrats, the latest packages were intercepted before reaching their apparent targets, and did not detonate. Nobody has been injured by the devices.

The discoveries have prompted a nationwide search for those responsible. The investigation is intense in South Florida, because some of the packages were mailed from there. It was not immediately clear whether the devices were designed to detonate, or simply scare people.

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The FBI announced three more suspected pipe bombs were found Thursday — one in actor Robert De Niro’s Manhattan office, and two in mail facilities in Delaware addressed to former vice president Joe Biden.

Over a 72-hour period, devices were also discovered addressed to prominent liberal critics of President Trump, including former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). A Wasserman Schultz district office in South Florida was listed as the return address on the packages, in what current and former investigators said was a feint suggesting particular antipathy on the part of the bomber toward her.One lead being pursued by investigators is that some of the devices may have been mailed from South Florida, but officials were cautious Thursday and urged the public to call in with tips from anywhere.

The packages had many of the hallmarks of suspicious mail, including large block lettering and excessive postage aimed at making it harder to track, said Matthew Doherty, who formerly led the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center. The fact that none detonated provides investigators with considerable evidence, he said.

“There’s a rich treasure trove of forensic information since they were found intact,” Doherty said. That means FBI investigators can “look for patterns such as the device, the technical expertise, the method of mailing, a whole host of great, rich forensic evidence that can be gathered.”

Hasil gambar untuk Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs expands to 10 packages

The bomb packages have been found in five states — New York, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, and California — and the fourth day of the investigation began in the early morning hours when a retired NYPD detective who now works for De Niro saw an image of one of the suspect devices on the news.

“It struck him that that looked very much like a package he had seen on Tuesday for mail he was to screen for Robert De Niro Productions,” said John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.The bomb squad was called to De Niro’s offices in Lower Manhattan, and the device was found and removed by 6:30 a.m., officials said. Hours later, the FBI announced it had found two similar packages in Delaware. Both were addressed to Biden, but neither had made it to his home, officials said.

Authorities appealed for tips at a Thursday afternoon news conference in New York. “We are investigating all of this with great precision, and I can say with certainty that we will identify and arrest a person or people responsible for these acts,” NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said.

Officials declined to say whether the devices were intended to detonate or were meant to scare people, but they repeatedly urged the public to view them as if they could pose a threat.

Hasil gambar untuk Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs expands to 10 packages

“We are treating them as live devices,” said O’Neill, urging people not to touch packages they deem suspicious. “This is something that should be taken seriously.”William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI New York field office, asked people to remain vigilant, warning that more devices “have been or could be mailed.” He said the powder contained in envelopes holding the devices found in New York did not pose any biological threat and said the substance was still being analyzed.

The U.S. Postal Service has inspectors who are trained to recognize suspicious mail and operate X-ray machines as part of its screening process, officials said. Philip Bartlett, inspector in charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s New York division, said Thursday afternoon that the Postal Service had found nothing since early that morning, leaving the tally at 10 packages.

The devices have prompted heightened security nationwide. Police have increased patrols of high-profile people, areas and organizations, and authorities have warned some prominent figures — including former president Jimmy Carter — to be on alert.

Hasil gambar untuk Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs expands to 10 packages

While the first explosive device was found Monday — at the New York home of George Soros, a billionaire activist known to fund pro-democracy and liberal political groups — it was not until early Wednesday that it became apparent investigators were hunting a serial bomber. The Secret Service said it had intercepted two bombs — one addressed to Clinton at the New York home she shares with former president Bill Clinton and another addressed to Obama in Washington that were found at mail screening facilities. Neither bomb included a note, law enforcement officials said.

Other packages were soon discovered, including two sent to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.); one sent to CNN’s New York offices and addressed to John Brennan, the former CIA director; and another addressed to Eric H. Holder Jr., Obama’s first attorney general. That package had an incorrect address, so it was redirected to Wasserman Schultz’s office in Sunrise, Fla., and recovered there.

At least one of the packages sent to Biden also had an incorrect address and was being redirected to Wasserman Schultz when investigators intercepted it in Delaware, officials said.

All of the bomber’s targets have clashed sharply with Trump at different times, and the spate of dangerous packages intensified the already full-throated political fights two weeks before congressional elections.

Hasil gambar untuk Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs expands to 10 packages

On Wednesday, Trump spoke out against violence and violent rhetoric. On Thursday, he tweeted: “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News.”

[The Washington Post]

2. Trump reportedly mulling executive order to block Central American migrants

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The Trump administration plans to send up to 1,000 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to help prevent undocumented immigrants from illegally entering the U.S., officials said Thursday.

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Trump also reportedly is considering issuing an executive order to block Central American migrants, including those seeking asylum, from entering the U.S. over the southern border as a caravan of thousands of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador travels through Mexico toward the U.S. “I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency,” President Trump tweeted. “They will be stopped!” Trump also has intensified his attacks on Democrats in a bid to use the caravan and illegal immigration to rally the Republican base ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections. [Reuters, The New York Times]

3. Biden says bomb scare should be wake-up call to ease political division

Former Vice President Joe Biden, speaking hours after becoming the latest intended target of pipe bomb packages sent to prominent Democrats, said he hoped the incidents “might wake everybody in my business up a little bit and we will begin to put this nation back together again.”

The intended recipients of the 10 packages intercepted this week have clashed with President Trump, who at first called for unity then blamed much of the anger in U.S. society on “the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News.” Biden responded by saying “words matter,” and calling for U.S. leaders to “lower the temperature” in our public dialogue. “The press is not the enemy of the people,” he said. “Immigrants are not animals.” [NBC News]

4. Trump unveils proposal to cut Medicare prescription drug costs

Donald Trump

President Trump on Thursday announced a plan to lower drug prices, proposing Medicare pay for certain prescription drugs based on prices in other advanced industrial countries. The proposal calls for a demonstration project covering half the country in which Medicare would set an “international pricing index” as a benchmark for how much to pay for drugs covered by Part B of Medicare.

“This is a revolutionary change,” Trump said in a speech at the Department of Health and Human Services. “Nobody’s had the courage to do it, or they just didn’t want to do it.” Trump has long promised to bring down drug prices. His announcement comes just ahead of Nov. 6 midterm elections at a time when many voters are focused on health care. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]

5. China calls report of eavesdropping on Trump ‘fake news’

Hua Chunying

China on Thursday denied a New York Times report that its operatives were listening to calls made by President Trump on his personal cellphone, calling it “fake news.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the Times reporters “are sparing no efforts to win the Academy Award for best screenplay.”

Beijing suggested Trump trade in his iPhone for a smartphone made by China’s Huawei “if they are really concerned about security issues.” Trump has called the Times report inaccurate, too, tweeting that he never uses insecure mobile phones. He said he only uses secure phones “and have only one seldom used government cell phone.” [The Associated Press]

6. North, South Korea agree to dismantle 22 border guard posts

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North and South Korea agreed on Friday to “completely destroy” 22 guard posts along their heavily fortified border, South Korea’s defense ministry said. “The measures will be finished through mutual verification in December,” the ministry said in a statement.

The closures mark the latest in a series of steps to ease military tensions between the neighboring rivals to bolster efforts to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapon and long-range missile programs. The agreement came in talks after the two sides agreed to a military pact at a summit last month in the North Korean capital calling for a halt to “all hostile acts.” That deal also included a no-fly zone near the border and the gradual removal of guard posts, firearms, and landmines from the Demilitarized Zone. [Reuters]

7. Stocks rebound, then futures fall as volatility continues

U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, bouncing back with a lift from strong corporate earnings reports after suffering big losses a day earlier. Tech shares jumped after Microsoft, Visa, and Xilinx made solid gains after reporting strong earnings. Twitter and Comcast led internet and media companies higher, and Ford’s better-than-expected earnings gave consumer-focused stocks a lift. The S&P 500 gained 1.9 percent, the Dow rose by 1.6 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite surged by 3 percent.

“It’s certainly reassuring to see stocks bounce back today on stronger earnings, but I would expect that we continue to see a lot of day to day volatility,” said Kate Warne, an investment strategist for Edward Jones. U.S. stock futures dropped early Friday, pointing to a lower open. [The Associated Press, MarketWatch]

8. Record-low 2017 flu vaccinations lined up with record-high flu deaths

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The flu killed more Americans last season than any in recorded history — and it could be because people didn’t get vaccinated. Just 37.1 percent of American adults got a flu vaccine in the 2017-2018 flu season, the lowest rate since 2010-2011. That could be why 49 million people got the disease and a record 79,000 people died from it last season. Last year’s leading flu strain was particularly resistant to vaccines and especially harsh on young and old people.

Hasil gambar untuk Record-low 2017 flu vaccinations lined up with record-high flu deaths

But a 6.2 percent drop in vaccinations from the previous season could’ve also driven higher death rates. The CDC started recording flu deaths in the 1970s, and the highest number of deaths before last year was 56,000, in 2012-2013. [CDC, The Washington Post]

9. Sahle-Work Zewde becomes Ethiopia’s 1st female president


Ethiopia’s parliament on Thursday approved the appointment of senior diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president. The president’s job is mostly ceremonial, with the prime minister holding executive power and acting as head of state.

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Still, the office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hailed the selection of Sahle-Work, currently a United Nations under-secretary general and special representative of the secretary general to the African Union, as “a historic move.” “In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life,” Fitsum Arega, Abiy’s chief of staff, said on Twitter. [Reuters]

10. CBS developing animated Star Trek comedy

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CBS is working on a new Star Trek half-hour animated comedy series, Entertainment Weekly reported Thursday. The show, Star Trek: Lower Decks, comes from Rick & Morty writer Mike McMahan and will revolve around the support crew of an unimportant Starfleet Academy ship. This is one of several new Star Trek shows in development exclusively for CBS’s streaming platform, CBS All Access, where Star Trek: Discoveryairs.

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Discovery co-creator Alex Kurtzman will produce Lower Decks. The series, which is the Star Trek franchise’s first full-fledged comedy, does not yet have a premiere date. CBS has ordered two seasons. [Entertainment Weekly]



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