NATO, Russia hold Balkan drills amid growing Eastern European tensions

Preview Russia and NATO are to hold separate drills with the Balkan nations of Serbia and Montenegro, both formerly part of Yugoslavia. It comes as the Russian envoy to NATO has warned that the Western alliance’s buildup could be harmful for other countries’ security.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Russia and NATO are to hold separate drills with the Balkan nations of Serbia and Montenegro, both formerly part of Yugoslavia. It comes as the Russian envoy to NATO has warned that the Western alliance’s buildup could be harmful for other countries’ security.
Read Full Article at RT.com

‘Inferno’ crashes and burns at North American box office

“Inferno,” the latest big screen installment of Dan Brown’s conspiracy novels, fizzled out in its opening weekend in North America, industry data showed Monday, earning $10 million less than expected.The third film in the series that stars Tom Hanks to…

"Inferno," the latest big screen installment of Dan Brown's conspiracy novels, fizzled out in its opening weekend in North America, industry data showed Monday, earning $10 million less than expected.

The third film in the series that stars Tom Hanks took a frosty $14.9 million in North America, a fraction of the $77.1 million debut of "The Da Vinci Code," which kicked off the franchise in 2006.

"At this point, it could truly flame out and struggle to reach $40 million," wrote Brad Brevet of film finance website Box Office Mojo, noting that it been expected to make closer to $25 million.

But he added that Sony had kept the budget at a relatively low $75 million, meaning that, combined with overseas ticket sales, the studio wasn't "looking at a complete blood bath on the balance sheet."

Based on Dan Brown's bestselling book series, the film stars Felicity Jones alongside Hanks, who returns to the role of Harvard professor Robert Langdon, this time seeking to stop an evil billionaire from killing off the world's population by releasing a deadly virus.

Sony's poor showing with "Inferno" cleared the way for Lionsgate's "Boo! A Madea Halloween" -- the latest installment in Tyler Perry's Madea franchise -- to retain the number one spot in its second week.

The comedy, in which Perry reprises his role as a tough-talking matriarch, took in $17.2 million for a total of $52.6 million, box office tracker Exhibitor Relations said.

"Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" slipped a spot from last week to take third place with $9.6 million.

The sequel to the 2012 film "Jack Reacher" stars Tom Cruise as a former soldier now going it alone, based on the book series by British author Lee Child.

The financial thriller "The Accountant," starring Ben Affleck, held on to its number four spot from last week with $8.5 million.

The film follows an autistic mathematics savant who capitalizes on his fondness for numbers by becoming an undercover forensic accountant for criminal organizations.

Horror prequel "Ouija: Origin of Evil" -- about home seances gone wrong -- dropped two spots to take fifth place during its second weekend with $7.1 million.

Rounding out the top 10 films were:

"The Girl on the Train" ($4.4 million)

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" ($4.1 million)

"Keeping Up with the Joneses" ($3.4 million)

"Storks" ($2.9 million)

"Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" ($2.2 million)

US denounces latest Turkish media crackdown

The United States issued a stern rebuke to its ally Turkey on Monday after authorities stepped up their persecution of media outlets critical of the government.Washington regularly expresses concern about the increasingly authoritarian treatment of the…

The United States issued a stern rebuke to its ally Turkey on Monday after authorities stepped up their persecution of media outlets critical of the government.

Washington regularly expresses concern about the increasingly authoritarian treatment of the media by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

But State Department spokesman John Kirby raised the tone after Turkey detained the editor of the newspaper Cumhuriyet and closed 15 other outlets.

"The United States is deeply concerned by what appears to be an increase in official pressure on opposition media outlets in Turkey," he said.

Kirby called Cumhuriyet "one of Turkey's most respected newspapers" and criticized Ankara's ongoing detention of many journalists.

He insisted Washington remains a friend of Turkey and supports its fight against terrorism, including its fight against the Kurdish PKK group.

But he added: "We encourage the government of Turkey to ensure that the rule of law and fundamental freedoms are protected.

"Democracies become stronger by allowing diverse expressions of views, particularly in difficult times," he argued.

Cumhuriyet's editor Murat Sabuncu was detained and police are hunting for executive board chairman Akin Atalay, Turkey's official news agency said.

The paper, which has published revelations embarrassing for the government, said at least a dozen journalists were detained in dawn raids.

Bony back among the goals in Stoke win

Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony ended a 10-month goal drought with a brace against former club Swansea City as Stoke City’s revival continued with a 3-1 win in Monday’s Premier League clash.Both goals for the 27-year-old Manchester City loanee were s…

Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony ended a 10-month goal drought with a brace against former club Swansea City as Stoke City's revival continued with a 3-1 win in Monday's Premier League clash.

Both goals for the 27-year-old Manchester City loanee were set up by another former Swansea favourite, Joe Allen, with Alfie Mawson also putting through his own net as Stoke claimed a third win on the bounce.

Swansea, who had levelled in the first half through Wayne Routledge, have made their worst start to a Premier League season with just five points from 10 matches. It is also the first time they have gone nine games without a win.

Stoke are unbeaten in five matches and climb to to 12th, five points clear of the relegation zone, while Swansea are second from bottom and five points adrift of safety.

It took less than three minutes for Bony to make his mark, pouncing to prod home from inside the six-yard box after Allen's mishit half-volley for his first goal in 23 matches for club and country.

However, the Swans levelled within five minutes as Routledge did brilliantly to head home Gylfi Sigurdsson's superb cross.

The hosts were impressive going forward and Scotland international Charlie Adam -- making his first Premier League start of the season -- hit the post with a fantastic curling effort.

Stoke suffered a blow in the 26th minute as Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri had to go off injured and was replaced by Egyptian youngster Ramadan Sobhi.

Adam then conjured up another splendid effort but was this time denied by the other post.

The woodwork was proving to be a very effective 12th man for the visitors as it once gain came to the rescue after Allen's astute pass found Marko Arnautovic, who rounded goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski only to see his effort cannon back off an upright.

Bony blazed over after being teed up by Arnautovic at the start of the second half but 19-year-old Sobhi was the creator as the hosts restored their advantage in the 55th minute.

Sobhi produced a delightful piece of skill inside the box after a superb pass from Irish veteran Glenn Whelan and his shot was diverted into his own net by Mawson.

It was another brilliant Stoke move which produced the killer third goal 17 minutes from time.

Arnautovic delivered a sublime back-heeled pass to find Allen, whose shot was saved by Fabianski. However, the Welsh international reacted brilliantly to help the ball across to Bony, who applied the finish.

Valeant, ex-executives face criminal probe: report

US criminal prosecutors could bring fraud charges in the coming weeks against Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and two former senior executives, Bloomberg News reported Monday.The Department of Justice probe concerns Valeant’s hidden ties with Phi…

US criminal prosecutors could bring fraud charges in the coming weeks against Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and two former senior executives, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

The Department of Justice probe concerns Valeant's hidden ties with Philidor RX Services, a specialty pharmacy company that Valeant secretly controlled, said the Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Investigators are also focusing on former chief executive J. Michael Pearson and former chief financial officer Howard Schiller, the report said.

Bloomberg described the case as "fluid" and said one possibility was that the government would settle with the company and take action later against individuals.

News of the probe sent Valeant shares down 12.3 percent to $17.84.

Valeant said it was cooperating with the DOJ probe and that it "cannot comment on or speculate about the possible course of any ongoing investigation."

Valeant in October 2015 severed ties with mail-order pharmacy Philidor RX following sharp criticism over their relationship. Valeant was forced to restate its financial accounts as a result of faulty accounting related to Philidor.

Revelations about Valeant's relationship with Philidor has spawned numerous investigations.

Once a darling of investors, Valeant has also come under fire for implementing steep price hikes on drugs.

Canada to lift Romania, Bulgaria visa requirement

Canada will lift a visa requirement for Romanian and Bulgarian travelers at the end of next year and ease some restrictions before then, the government announced Monday.The two EU nations had made visa-free travel a key condition for their support of t…

Canada will lift a visa requirement for Romanian and Bulgarian travelers at the end of next year and ease some restrictions before then, the government announced Monday.

The two EU nations had made visa-free travel a key condition for their support of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that was signed by Canada and the EU on Sunday.

After Romania and Bulgaria reached a deal with Ottawa a week ago on the visa waivers -- which will go into effect on December 1, 2017 -- they lifted their respective threats to block the free trade accord.

"Lifting the visa requirements for Romania and Bulgaria will mean visa-free travel to Canada for citizens of all EU member states. We will all benefit from the increase in travel and trade that results," Immigration Minister John McCallum said in a statement.

The visa restriction was meant to stop a feared wave of refugee claims by ethnic Roma, also known as gypsies, but created tensions between the EU and Canada.

In the lead-up to the full visa lifting, Ottawa said Romanian and Bulgarian citizens who have held a Canadian temporary resident visa in the past 10 years or who hold a valid US non-immigrant visa would be exempted from the visa requirement.

Tippi Hedren says Hitchcock groped her

American actress Tippi Hedren alleges in a new autobiography that Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted and intimidated her while they were working together in the 1960s, according to reports.Hedren has accused the director of sexual harassment on a numb…

American actress Tippi Hedren alleges in a new autobiography that Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted and intimidated her while they were working together in the 1960s, according to reports.

Hedren has accused the director of sexual harassment on a number of previous occasions, notably in interviews around the 2012 release of the HBO movie "The Girl," which depicts his alleged obsession with her.

But the publication of "Tippi: A Memoir" on Tuesday will mark the first time she has written about her treatment herself.

Hedren, plucked from obscurity by Hitchcock to star in his 1963 masterpiece "The Birds," alleges that the director became obsessed with her shortly after signing her to a five-year contract.

He demanded that other cast members steer clear of her, and became upset if he saw her talking to other men, she writes, according to the New York Post and Daily Mail, which obtained access to the memoir.

She says Hitchcock once threw himself on top of her and tried to kiss her in the back of his limousine, the newspapers report.

She reportedly describes another incident when the director cornered her on set one day and asked her to touch him.

Whenever he caught her alone, "he'd find some way to express his obsession with me, as if I owed it to him to reciprocate somehow," Hedren reportedly writes.

Hedren, whose daughter is the actress Melanie Griffith, also claims Hitchcock used his driver to stalk her and had her handwriting analyzed, according to the Mail.

Hitchcock and Hedren worked together on "Marnie" the following year, a film about a habitual thief with mental health problems who is raped by her husband on their wedding night.

Hedren says she was aware of a widespread belief that the scene of a man forcing himself on his "frigid, unattainable bride" was Hitchcock's personal fantasy about her.

The British filmmaker, who died in 1980, expressed his love for her but became increasingly aggressive as she kept her distance, she reportedly said, describing one particularly traumatic attack.

"I've never gone into detail about this, and I never will. I'll simply say that he suddenly grabbed me and put his hands on me," she says.

"It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly."

She wrote that she didn't tell anyone about the incidents because at the time, "sexual harassment and stalking were terms that didn't exist," the Post reported.

Hitchcock grew frustrated by her resistance and allegedly warned her he'd ruin her career, blocking Universal when it attempted to submit her performance for an Oscar.

"I've made it my mission ever since to see to it that while Hitchcock may have ruined my career, I never gave him the power to ruin my life," Hedren reportedly writes.

Politicians in debt-stricken Ukraine reveal lavish fortunes, spark public outcry

Preview Ukraine is facing a public outcry after country’s politicians have declared the possession of vast hordes of cash, bulging bank accounts, high-end cars, elite wine collections and other luxury goods in the aftermath of anti-corruption reform.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview Ukraine is facing a public outcry after country’s politicians have declared the possession of vast hordes of cash, bulging bank accounts, high-end cars, elite wine collections and other luxury goods in the aftermath of anti-corruption reform.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Racing 92 trio to take legal action over doping probe leaks

New Zealand great Dan Carter and two other players from French side Racing 92 are to take their case to the public prosecutor after confidential medical records were made public by media, their club announced Monday.Carter, fellow former All Black Joe …

New Zealand great Dan Carter and two other players from French side Racing 92 are to take their case to the public prosecutor after confidential medical records were made public by media, their club announced Monday.

Carter, fellow former All Black Joe Rokocoko and Argentinian winger Juan Imhoff were the target of an investigation by the medical commission of the French Rugby Federation after testing positive for corticosteroids following last season's domestic Top 14 final.

But the trio, as well as Racing's medical staff, were all cleared of any wrongdoing.

The club said in a statement that media reports had "blurred public perceptions of their players".

The statement added that they and the players had decided to take action "in order to shine light on how their medical confidentiality was breached."

"After totally justified medical treatment dispensed conforming to the rules, three Racing players saw their medical confidentiality breached when details were reported by the media," Racing added.

"This serious and evident violation must not create any future difficulty for anyone wishing to work securely and transparently with the relevant anti-doping institutions."

Corticosteroids can be used to combat pain, inflammation or allergies.

They can be taken legally or illegally, depending on the method of ingestion.

It is illegal to take corticosteroids orally or have them injected in either the blood or muscle, but they can be injected into joints or inhaled.

Even if taken in a banned manner, athletes can gain permission to do so by applying for the controversial Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

French sports daily L'Equipe originally revealed the positive tests on October 7.

French television channel Canal+ claimed Carter's corticosteroid readings showed 81 nanogrammes per millilitre, with 49 for Rokocoko and 31 for Imhoff, while the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has set a limit of 30.

UN agrees to press on with Colombia mission

The UN Security Council agreed Monday to press on with the deployment of a new UN mission for Colombia that will monitor a ceasefire until a final peace deal is reached.The council endorsed recommendations from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to deplo…

The UN Security Council agreed Monday to press on with the deployment of a new UN mission for Colombia that will monitor a ceasefire until a final peace deal is reached.

The council endorsed recommendations from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to deploy 400 observers in Colombia after President Juan Manuel Santos extended the ceasefire with FARC rebels until December 31.

The government signed a historic peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on September 26 to end decades of conflict, but in a shock move, voters rejected the deal in a referendum.

With 152 observers already on the ground, Ban told council members in a letter that it was important to "quickly ramp up the mission's capacity" to get to work on truce monitoring.

Under the peace deal, the UN mission was to oversee the disarming of rebels but its tasks for now will be limited to the ceasefire monitoring.

Ban said the mission can accommodate immediately another 68 observers and noted that support from Latin American and Caribbean countries was critical to build up the monitoring force.

Both the government and the FARC had requested that the UN mission be authorized to verify the ceasefire signed on October 13.

Ban argued in the letter sent last week that the mission is now more important than ever.

"Its presence helps to foster popular confidence that, however complex the ongoing political dialogue may be, a point of no return has been reached in the search for peace in Colombia," he wrote in the letter obtained by AFP.

Over the weekend, Santos said he was hoping for a peace deal by Christmas and warned that any further delay could make the peace process "explode."

El Salvador ex-president ’embezzled’ millions, prosecutor says

A former president of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca, arrested with six other people over the weekend, stole $246 million from state coffers, the Central American nation’s chief state prosecutor said Monday.”An overall amount of $246 million was embez…

A former president of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca, arrested with six other people over the weekend, stole $246 million from state coffers, the Central American nation's chief state prosecutor said Monday.

"An overall amount of $246 million was embezzled into the accounts of individuals, benefiting those charged," Douglas Melendez told a news conference.

Nearly half of that was taken out in cash after being transferred from government accounts to those of presidential employees who wired them to accounts belonging to companies "close to the accuseds."

Several companies connected to a cousin of Saca's were searched under warrant on Monday.

Saca, 51, and the six other suspects, including three currently serving government officials, were arrested on Sunday for alleged embezzlement and money laundering.

A self-made businessman, Saca was a well-known journalist before becoming president for a five-year term in 2004.

He was seen as a strong ally of the United States during his time in power.

The other suspects arrested include former public waterworks official Cesar Funes, 46, and ex-presidential communications chief Julio Rank, 65.

The other three people detained are Pablo Gomez, Francisco Rodriguez Artega and Jorge Alberto Harrera.

They worked in Saca's government and are currently financial officials in the government of leftist President Salvador Sanchez.

Saca was a member of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) during his time as president.

He was expelled from ARENA at the end of 2009 after the party blamed him for its defeat in presidential and legislative elections that year.

The suspects could face sentences of up to 15 years in jail for embezzlement and money laundering, according to El Salvador's penal code.

Saca was already facing charges dating to early this year, when he was accused of embezzling some $4 million.

His leftist successor as president, Mauricio Funes, faces similar charges. He obtained political asylum in Nicaragua in September, after saying he feared for his life in El Salvador.

Viacom stays in-house for new top executive

Viacom on Monday named longtime company executive Robert Bakish as its interim top executive, filling a void at the media-entertainment group roiled by internal feuding.Bakish, who has led Viacom’s international television business over the past 10 yea…

Viacom on Monday named longtime company executive Robert Bakish as its interim top executive, filling a void at the media-entertainment group roiled by internal feuding.

Bakish, who has led Viacom's international television business over the past 10 years, will be acting president and chief executive starting November 15, taking over from Tom Dooley, who announced he was stepping down last month.

The move comes after the ouster of CEO Philippe Dauman, who clashed over control of the company with 93-year-old founder and controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone and his family.

Dauman had filed legal actions claiming the aging Redstone was unable to manage his affairs and had been manipulated by his daughter Shari.

Dauman eventually dropped his lawsuit as part of an agreement to leave the company, which controls Paramount studios in Hollywood and a global television empire that includes MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and other properties, with operations in 180 countries.

The appointment comes with the Redstone family seeking to re-merge Viacom with broadcast group CBS more than a decade after splitting the two firms, aiming to reposition for a changing media landscape.

"Bob's record of innovation and achievement at Viacom, combined with his strategic vision and leadership ability, make him highly qualified for this position," said Tom May, non-executive chairman of the board.

"We are determined to move forward aggressively to strengthen Viacom for the future, whether as a standalone company or in a potential combination with CBS. There is a great deal of opportunity ahead and Bob is a superb leader to drive this effort, fully empowered to take the actions necessary to position Viacom for success."

Under Bakish, the company has expanded its global footprint to more than 200 TV channels reaching a cumulative 3.9 billion subscribers, with international revenue doubling during his tenure, according to a company statement.

Shari Redstone, who is vice chair of the board, called Bakish "an exemplary forward thinker" who "embraces disruption and brings teams along with him."

Sumner Redstone, believed to be in failing health, remains chief executive of the holding company National Amusements, the controlling shareholder of the two firms. Shari Redstone is president of the group.

Edwards wants ranking boost as Wales ponder injuries

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has called on the side to climb the global rankings to improve their chances at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.November sees Wales, currently fifth in the World Rugby’s standings, at home to Australia, Argentina, Japan an…

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has called on the side to climb the global rankings to improve their chances at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

November sees Wales, currently fifth in the World Rugby's standings, at home to Australia, Argentina, Japan and South Africa,

A run of good results, starting with Saturday's clash against the Wallabies in Cardiff, will help Wales in their quest to break into the top four come May's 2019 World Cup draw.

World champions New Zealand, on a record 18-game unbeaten streak, are currently out in front with England second, Australia third and South Africa fourth.

The leading quartet will be the top seeds and that should, in theory at least, lead to a 'better' pool draw and a more straightforward route to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Wales dropped to ninth place shortly before the 2015 World Cup draw and as a result found themselves in the same group as England and Australia.

Although Wales came through the 'pool of death', with tournament hosts England suffering the embarrassment of a first-round exit, they were beaten by Australia before losing to South Africa in the quarter-finals.

Edwards for one would like Wales to make life easier for themselves, saying Monday: "We've only been in that top four four percent of the time since the world rankings came to fruition 15 or 16 years ago.

"So if we can push our way into the top four that will be a big effort from our boys, and that's what we're aiming to do.

"That would be mission accomplished with the World Cup draw on the horizon."

Wales have lost their last 11 Tests against Australia, several by a slender margin, but with the Wallabies having had their fair share of problems in 2016, home fans will hope that run ends this weekend.

"They have had some criticism over the summer but they came second in the Rugby Championship," said Edwards.

"At the moment New Zealand are obviously number one by a distance, but the rest of the competition they basically won," he added.

"People talk about their two sevens, but they have other outstanding players other than (Michael) Hooper and (David) Pocock."

Wales captain Sam Warburton is set to miss Saturday's match, with the Cardiff Blues flanker in line to play for his club instead as he continues his recovery from a neck injury.

Meanwhile full-back Liam Williams and lock Jake Ball are both injury doubts for a Wales side where Rob Howley will be in charge following head coach Warren Gatland's secondment to the British and Irish Lions.

Wales have put their team announcement back until Thursday and Edwards said: "Liam was in a boot last week, it did look serious, but we'll wait until the last minute with the medics.

"We're hopeful he'll play, but he'll definitely play some part in the series over the next month."

The former Great Britain rugby league international added: "Jake has started light training, so we'll see if he's available for selection later in the week."

Islamic bloc says chief quits after mocking Egypt president

The Saudi head of the world’s largest pan-Islamic body, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, resigned Monday, an OIC statement said, days after infuriating Egypt over remarks in which he mocked President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.OIC Secretary-General I…

The Saudi head of the world's largest pan-Islamic body, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, resigned Monday, an OIC statement said, days after infuriating Egypt over remarks in which he mocked President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

OIC Secretary-General Iyad Madani "has resigned for health reasons," the Jeddah-based organisation said in a statement, two days after Cairo condemned the comments that provoked outrage among Egyptians.

2 killed, 37 injured in ‘poisonous substance’ attack on Aleppo – Russian MoD

Preview At least two Syrian military personnel were killed and 37 civilians injured in a terrorist attack that struck the government-controlled areas of Aleppo, in which the militants used toxic substances, Russia’s center for reconciliation in Syria reported.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview At least two Syrian military personnel were killed and 37 civilians injured in a terrorist attack that struck the government-controlled areas of Aleppo, in which the militants used toxic substances, Russia’s center for reconciliation in Syria reported.
Read Full Article at RT.com

US stocks dip as presidential polls tighten

Wall Street stocks edged lower Monday as rising uncertainty over the US presidential campaign countered the lift from major acquisitions by General Electric and CenturyLink.

Markets are recalibrating the US presidential contest after the shock FBI announcement that it was reviewing a newly discovered trove of emails linked to Hillary Clinton’s controversial private server, which sent shares tumbling Friday.

Clinton has been seen by Wall Street as the safer choice for the White House compared with Donald Trump, who is viewed as unpredictable.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 18,142.42, down 0.1 percent.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost 0.01 percent. The broad-based S&P finished at 2,126.15, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite was at 5,189.13.

Baker Hughes sank 6.3 percent after it agreed to merge with GE’s oilfield business, with GE garnering control of the venture in exchange for $7.4 billion in dividend payments. GE fell 0.4 percent.

Level 3 Communications jumped 3.9 percent on news it will be bought by CenturyLink for $34 billion. CenturyLink, the third largest US telecommunications carrier, tumbled 12.5 percent.

Wall Street stocks edged lower Monday as rising uncertainty over the US presidential campaign countered the lift from major acquisitions by General Electric and CenturyLink.

Markets are recalibrating the US presidential contest after the shock FBI announcement that it was reviewing a newly discovered trove of emails linked to Hillary Clinton's controversial private server, which sent shares tumbling Friday.

Clinton has been seen by Wall Street as the safer choice for the White House compared with Donald Trump, who is viewed as unpredictable.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 18,142.42, down 0.1 percent.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost 0.01 percent. The broad-based S&P finished at 2,126.15, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite was at 5,189.13.

Baker Hughes sank 6.3 percent after it agreed to merge with GE's oilfield business, with GE garnering control of the venture in exchange for $7.4 billion in dividend payments. GE fell 0.4 percent.

Level 3 Communications jumped 3.9 percent on news it will be bought by CenturyLink for $34 billion. CenturyLink, the third largest US telecommunications carrier, tumbled 12.5 percent.

Manager Guardiola and Man City seek Barcelona revenge

Stung by a chastening 4-0 defeat at Camp Nou two weeks ago, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola makes a second attempt to outwit his former club Barcelona on Tuesday.Guardiola’s men were undone by the second-half dismissal of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo…

Stung by a chastening 4-0 defeat at Camp Nou two weeks ago, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola makes a second attempt to outwit his former club Barcelona on Tuesday.

Guardiola's men were undone by the second-half dismissal of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo on October 19, when Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to propel his side five points clear of City at the Group C summit.

Another defeat would give Borussia Moenchengladbach and Celtic an opportunity to overtake City and Guardiola knows his side face a major test of their nerve at the Etihad Stadium.

"We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are going to provoke our mistakes because of the quality they have," said Guardiola, who led Barcelona to European glory in 2009 and 2011.

"Barcelona provoke your mistakes. But we had a few chances and have to keep going in that sense and try to finish better than we did in Barcelona.

"We will try. We will try it again. I've never thought we could not win. I have never entered a match thinking we can't win.

"We have to play almost perfectly to win, but if not we congratulate them and set our minds on the game against Celtic and in Moenchengladbach in a few weeks."

After a run of six games without victory -- the longest of Guardiola's coaching career -- City blew off the cobwebs with a 4-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday that kept them top of the Premier League.

Having scored twice and made a goal for Ilkay Gundogan, striker Sergio Aguero is expected to keep his place in the starting XI, after being dropped for the trip to Barcelona.

With Barcelona old boy Bravo suspended, Willy Caballero is due to deputise between the posts.

Bacary Sagna (hamstring) and Fabian Delph (muscle) are the only expected absentees for City, who reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time under Manuel Pellegrini last season.

Barcelona are aiming for a sixth successive victory over City, who they eliminated from the Champions League in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.

- Turan fitness check -

Luis Enrique's side, European champions for a fifth time in 2015, require just a point to reach the last 16 and will be assured of first place if they win and Gladbach do not prevail at home to Celtic.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us to qualify," said the Barcelona coach.

"Obviously it won't be easy. We want to be first in the group. We will have to play very well, as we did in Camp Nou, with and without the ball.

"It's difficult against a team like City, who know how to occupy space in the right way and don't like losing the ball. We'll have to play at our top, top level."

Barca are currently on a four-game winning streak, but they arrived in Manchester on Monday with a depleted squad.

With Gerard Pique (ankle) and Jordi Alba (hamstring) absent, as well as Aleix Vidal (thigh), they are missing two first-choice defenders, while captain Andres Iniesta (knee) is also out.

Jeremy Mathieu, a potential option at centre-back, is nursing a calf problem, but his first-leg dismissal means he is suspended in any case.

French defenders Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne are due to fill in for Pique and Alba, with Arda Turan, Rafinha, Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes vying for the right to take Iniesta's place in midfield.

Luis Enrique said Turan's fitness would be tested in the final pre-match training session after the Turkey captain sat out the 1-0 victory over Granada at the weekend with an ankle injury.

Asked what changes in Iniesta's absence, midfield colleague Ivan Rakitic said: "A lot changes. He's a unique player.

"Whoever plays in that position tomorrow (Tuesday), we'll have to be together and help that player."

Murray to face Verdasco in Paris opener

Andy Murray will meet Fernando Verdasco in his opening match at the Paris Masters after the Spaniard advanced at the expense of injured Dutchman Robin Haase on Monday.Verdasco, a former world number seven, was leading 6-2, 3-2 before a hip injury force…

Andy Murray will meet Fernando Verdasco in his opening match at the Paris Masters after the Spaniard advanced at the expense of injured Dutchman Robin Haase on Monday.

Verdasco, a former world number seven, was leading 6-2, 3-2 before a hip injury forced Haase to throw in the towel in their first-round encounter.

World number two Murray can dethrone Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings with a victory in the French capital if the Serb fails to reach the final, or if the Briton makes the final and Djokovic falls before the semis.

Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis defeated French wildcard Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-4, while Benoit Paire joined the French exodus after losing 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) to Paolo Lorenzi.

Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated Fabio Fognini to lift the Kremlin Cup in Moscow a week ago, dealt the Italian another loss in Paris, racing to a 6-3, 6-1 victory.

Djokovic takes on the winner of Tuesday's match between Nicolas Almagro and Gilles Muller after receiving a first-round bye, while US Open champion Stan Wawrinka begins against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff, who thrashed Illya Marchenko 6-1, 6-1.

Tomas Berdych is ninth in the Race to London standings with the Czech needing to progress to the last four to remain in with a chance of playing at the end-of-season Tour finals next month.

He trails Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic, a winner in Basel at the weekend, in the battle for the final two places in the eight-man field and must beat Portugal's Joao Sousa to remain in contention.

Royal order sacks Saudi finance minister

Saudi Arabia on Monday sacked its veteran finance minister as the kingdom undergoes a major economic restructuring because of lower oil revenues.Ibrahim al-Assaf “has been removed from his position”, said a royal decree, one of a series of orders from …

Saudi Arabia on Monday sacked its veteran finance minister as the kingdom undergoes a major economic restructuring because of lower oil revenues.

Ibrahim al-Assaf "has been removed from his position", said a royal decree, one of a series of orders from King Salman, published by the official SPA news agency.

Iraq’s ‘Mosul Regiment’ wants its base and honour back

It’s their city, their battle, their honour. Iraq’s elite “Mosul Regiment” was the last out when the jihadists overran the city, and now wants to be the first back in.They have moved to within a few hundred metres (yards) of Mosul, two weeks into a hug…

It's their city, their battle, their honour. Iraq's elite "Mosul Regiment" was the last out when the jihadists overran the city, and now wants to be the first back in.

They have moved to within a few hundred metres (yards) of Mosul, two weeks into a huge offensive to take back the city the Islamic State group seized two years ago.

"June 10, 2014, at exactly 10:00 am." The moment stayed etched in Lieutenant Colonel Muntadhar Salem's mind, and righting that wrong has been an obsession of his ever since.

He came within striking distance of his dream on Monday when he and the fighters of the Mosul Regiment started flushing out jihadists from the last two villages before the city's eastern entrance.

The men, from Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), set off at dawn from Bartalla, a town they retook last week.

They were soon targeted with mortar fire by IS fighters in a nearby industrial area.

Salem did not blink as two rounds fell on either side of the building where he was posted and a third shaved it before ploughing into the ground farther away.

But one of his medics was hit, and the officer ran to the unfinished building where the wounded soldier was taken with shrapnel in his chest.

The medic was promptly evacuated and the Mosul Regiment continued its advance.

- 2014 debacle -

Salem relentlessly called in coordinates to the US-led coalition, occasionally resulting in air strikes that sent huge mushrooms of dust into the sky.

Colonel Mustafa al-Obeidi's voice came sputtering over the radio as his men advanced cautiously through the village of Bazwaya, sidling along walls and scanning the empty streets with their rifles raised: "They're fleeing, the jihadists are fleeing into Mosul."

The eastern side of Mosul, the city that is the jihadists' last major stronghold in Iraq and where their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed his "caliphate" two years ago, is expected to offer limited resistance.

Military sources and residents have for days reported that IS leaders were moving across to the west bank of the Tigris River that runs through Mosul.

Other forces -- including soldiers, police and Kurdish peshmerga fighters -- are advancing on other fronts, but have yet to approach the city limits.

When the jihadists seized the city in June 2014, the Mosul Regiment was forced to vacate its Al-Ghuzlani base.

"It was the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki at the time," Salem recalled. "We were ready to stay."

But there were only a few hundred of them and the rest of the security forces stationed in Mosul had fled, abandoning vehicles and other equipment, and sometimes their uniforms.

The leadership in Baghdad argued that "it was not worth sacrificing our men, the best-trained fighters, for such an unevenly matched battle", said another CTS colonel who gave his name as Murtada.

Since then, the CTS has spearheaded the fightback, retaking one city after another.

- Sky-high morale -

Murtada's eyes were shining when he mentioned his former base, now just a short push away.

"This is where we lived, where we did our job," he said.

All members of the Mosul Regiment fondly remembered what they described as a sense of brotherhood devoid of any sectarian feelings on Al-Ghuzlani base.

Murtada, a native of Karbala, a holy Shiite city south of Baghdad, became emotional when he spoke of his Sunni friend Ahmed, who was killed in action.

"The counter-terrorism forces are the last bastion sectarianism hasn't broken into," Salem said.

Yet they already know that destruction is all they will find when they return to the base.

"We used to have a sports field, a shooting range, a prison, a helipad, our barracks," Salem said, pointing to each facility on an old satellite picture of the area.

With a swipe of his tablet, he brought up a image taken by the US-led coalition recently: there was nothing left -- just a desolate expanse of sand and rubble.

"The jihadists used bulldozers: they levelled everything," said Murtada.

But two years of a gruelling campaign against IS, a group whose suicidal but effective fighting tactics once left the world struck with awe and fear, have earned the CTS a reputation of its own.

Now, with the streets of Mosul almost within reach, morale was sky-high among the men of the Mosul Regiment.

As he clutched his rifle, Salem pledged that his regiment's homecoming was close, and so was the demise of the group "that wrecked the image of Islam across the world".

Kosovo urges citizens to avoid Serbia over arrests

Pristina on Monday advised its citizens not to use neighbouring Serbia as a transit country after the second arrest of a Kosovo Albanian in a month.Serbian authorities on Friday arrested Hilmi Kelmendi, 36, as he was travelling from Kosovo to Germany o…

Pristina on Monday advised its citizens not to use neighbouring Serbia as a transit country after the second arrest of a Kosovo Albanian in a month.

Serbian authorities on Friday arrested Hilmi Kelmendi, 36, as he was travelling from Kosovo to Germany on suspicion of committing war crimes during the 1998-1999 conflict, a statement from the foreign ministry in Pristina said.

It denounced the arrest as "unacceptable".

In Belgrade, an interior ministry official confirmed Kelmendi's arrest on the basis of a court warrant, saying he was currently "in hands of the war crimes prosecutor's office." She declined to provide further details.

At the end of September, Serbian police also arrested Nehat Thaqi, Kosovo police's director of the northern Mitrovica area, as he crossed into Serbia. He was detained on suspicion of "terrorism" although the specific allegations are unknown.

On Friday, a Belgrade court extended his one-month detention for another 30 days.

Following the arrests, Kosovo's foreign ministry urged all citizens to "who, for whatever reason, choose Serbia as a transit country, to avoid it as much as possible in the coming months."

"This arrest is unacceptable and endangers many processes achieved during the dialogue for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia," the ministry said.

Since 2011, Kosovo and Serbia have been negotiating under EU auspices to improve ties which have remained strained since the end of the war and particularly since Pristina's unilaterally declaration of independence in 2008 that Belgrade refuses to accept.

Freedom of movement was one of the first accords clinched, and since December 2011 Serbia agreed to allow ethnic Albanians to travel across the "border/boundary" on the basis of ID cards.

The war between Serbian security forces and pro-independence ethnic Albanian guerrillas ended after a three-month NATO air campaign that ousted Belgrade-controlled troops from the breakaway province of Kosovo.

The war claimed some 13,000 lives, mostly ethnic Albanians.

EU Parliament to claim 340,000 euros from French far right leader

The EU Parliament will ask French far-right leader Marine Le Pen to reimburse it nearly 340,000 euros paid to two of her aides as they allegedly carried out party business, sources told AFP on Monday.The anti-EU Le Pen is suspected of illegally paying …

The EU Parliament will ask French far-right leader Marine Le Pen to reimburse it nearly 340,000 euros paid to two of her aides as they allegedly carried out party business, sources told AFP on Monday.

The anti-EU Le Pen is suspected of illegally paying wages to two assistants who were working on matters not pertaining to her role as a European lawmaker, an official from the parliament and another source told AFP.

The 339,000 euros ($370,000) demanded were first reported by the French magazine Marianne and website Mediapart.

"The parliament knows it must begin to recover the sum in question from Marine Le Pen," the parliamentary source, who asked to remain anonymous, said to AFP.

Another source said that Le Pen, who is a major candidate for the French presidency next year, had missed a four-week deadline given on September 30 to provide feedback on the case.

A lawyer for Le Pen, Marcel Ceccaldi, told AFP his client will refuse to cooperate without first receiving the full report on the matter from the EU's European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

"How can you possibly separate the activities of an MEP and the president of a major political party," Ceccaldi said.

"European debates and questions on French society, such as migration and Europe's visa-free Schengen policy, are intimately linked," he said.

OLAF meanwhile confirmed in an email that its investigation was completed in July.

"In this particular case, OLAF sent its final report containing financial recommendations to the European Parliament, so that any EU funds unduly paid are returned to the EU budget," the office said.

In March 2015, European Parliament President Martin Schulz alerted OLAF to possible financial irregularities committed by the National Front (FN) party in wages to 20 EU parliamentary assistants.

French police are also investigating the allegations in a separate probe that is still ongoing.

The current case involves two assistants who worked directly for Le Pen, Thierry Legier and Catherine Griset.

A similar OLAF case targets Le Pen's estranged father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is also an MEP. The EU is claiming the elder Le Pen repay 320,000 euros paid to his parliamentary assistant.

In an unrelated case, last week EU lawmakers lifted the parliamentary immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen, a move sought by French prosecutors who want to try him for allegedly inciting racial hate.

Lost in Translation? Israeli outraged after getting ‘no guests from Israel’ reply from German hotel

Preview A private hotel in southern Germany faced a social media storm after an Israeli tourist claimed the facility canceled his and the friends’ booking over nationality. The guesthouse has said it’s a case of “mistranslation.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview A private hotel in southern Germany faced a social media storm after an Israeli tourist claimed the facility canceled his and the friends’ booking over nationality. The guesthouse has said it’s a case of “mistranslation.”
Read Full Article at RT.com

Syria’s Assad congratulates Lebanon’s new president

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad Monday congratulated his new Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun on his election, hoping it would contribute to “reinforcing stability” in Lebanon, state news agency SANA said.Lebanese lawmakers earlier Monday elected the…

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad Monday congratulated his new Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun on his election, hoping it would contribute to "reinforcing stability" in Lebanon, state news agency SANA said.

Lebanese lawmakers earlier Monday elected the 81-year-old ex-army chief, who promised to protect the country from spillover from the five-year war in neighbouring Syria.

In a phone call, "Assad congratulated General Michel Aoun on his election," SANA said, hoping it would "contribute to reinforcing stability in Lebanon and to bringing about a better future for the Lebanese people".

Earlier, after taking the presidential oath, Aoun said: "Lebanon is still treading through a minefield, but it has been spared the fires burning across the region."

Aoun was once in the vanguard of opposition to Syria's regime before an about-face that saw him join forces with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement that has backed Assad's regime in the war.

More than a million Syrian refugees have flooded Lebanon since the start of the conflict in 2011, which is already home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, many of whom live in squalid camps.

‘Swedish Schindler’ declared dead by his homeland

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War II, was finally declared dead by his homeland on Monday over 70 years after disappearing into the hands of the Soviet Union.The announcement brings only a partial c…

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War II, was finally declared dead by his homeland on Monday over 70 years after disappearing into the hands of the Soviet Union.

The announcement brings only a partial closure to one of the greatest mysteries of the Cold War -- the fate of the so-called "Swedish Schindler" -- as his body was never returned to his family.

Wallenberg issued Swedish papers to tens of thousands of Jews, allowing them to flee Nazi-occupied Hungary and likely death.

But months before the war ended, the Soviets invaded Budapest and summoned the Swede to their headquarters in January 1945.

He disappeared, and his fate became a flashpoint issue between the West and the Soviet Union.

"The official date of his death is July 31, 1952", said Pia Gustafsson, an official from Sweden's tax authority, which registers birth and deaths.

"This date is purely formal. Legally, we must choose a date at least five years after his disappearance and there were signs of life until the end of July 1947," she said.

The decision came after a representative of Wallenberg's family asked for a death certificate from Sweden, which published search notices for him and received no new information on his whereabouts.

- Killed by KGB? -

A statement sent to AFP in 2015 by the family said Wallenberg's "declaration of death is a way to deal with the trauma we lived through, to bring one phase to closure and move on."

Wallenberg was sent as a special envoy to the capital of Nazi-controlled Hungary in 1944, and by early 1945, he had issued Swedish papers to thousands of Jews, allowing them to flee the country and likely death.

The Swedish diplomat, who was 32 when he disappeared, also acquired buildings to house as many Jews as possible and provide them with extraterritorial status.

He organised the Budapest rescue mission which, according to some estimates, saved 100,000 people from persecution.

Wallenberg's efforts earned him the nickname "Swedish Schindler" in reference to Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who rescued some 1,200 Polish Jews during the war.

In 1957, the Soviet Union released a document saying Wallenberg had been jailed in the Lubyanka prison, the notorious building where the KGB security services were headquartered, and that he died of heart failure on July 17, 1947.

But his family refused to accept that version of events, and for decades tried to establish what happened to him.

In 2000 the head of a Russian commission of investigation conceded Wallenberg had been shot and killed by KGB agents in Lubyanka in 1947 for political reasons, but declined to be more specific or to cite hard evidence.

UK Nissan pledge offers glimpse into Brexit strategy

Britain’s promise to Nissan that the car industry will retain access to the European market has lifted some of the mystery shrouding the government’s likely strategy in upcoming Brexit negotiations.The Japanese manufacturer’s announcement last week tha…

Britain's promise to Nissan that the car industry will retain access to the European market has lifted some of the mystery shrouding the government's likely strategy in upcoming Brexit negotiations.

The Japanese manufacturer's announcement last week that it would continue to invest in its Sunderland plant was a coup for Prime Minister Theresa May, but immediately raised questions as to what assurances had been given for when Britain leaves the European Union.

Business Secretary Greg Clark later revealed the government had told Nissan that its objective in Brexit negotiations was "to ensure we have continued access to the markets in Europe and vice versa without tariffs and bureaucratic impediments".

"If you conduct the talks in a serious, constructive and civilised way there is a lot in common we can establish," he told BBC television Sunday, highlighting the value of the British market to continental European carmakers.

The episode was seized upon by business leaders and politicians, who have been desperate for the government to clarify its strategy for negotiating with European leaders and Brussels.

Clark's comments raised suggestions that the government would pursue a branch-by-branch strategy, seeking access to the European market for individual sectors rather than retaining membership of the single market.

Staying in the single market means having to accept free movement of labour, a key objection of Brexit voters.

But May's spokeswoman denied that the Nissan developments showed the government was looking at different deals for different sectors, saying the overriding principle was "that we want to make sure businesses can continue to trade freely".

"It means that as we prepare for the negotiations it's right that we think about the interests of the fishing industry, and how the fishing quotas work, separately for how it works for the automotive industry," she added.

- 'Dead-weight loss' -

The automobile sector is vital for Britain's economy, responsible for more than 800,000 jobs and 12 percent of total exports, although the country still imports more cars than it ships out.

But European leaders have warned against a sector-by-sector deal, with EU Council President Donald Tusk saying after the June referendum that "there can be no single market a la carte".

"The United Kingdom may favour a sector-by-sector approach during negotiations with the EU, but any free trade agreement must apply to the whole economy," Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, economist and director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, told AFP.

Other branches of the economy could demand the same commitments given to the automobile industry, while British employers' groups have lobbied to avoid a so-called "hard Brexit" and instead retain membership of the single market.

"Barriers to trade create a so-called dead-weight loss; in other words, it's simply not possible to compensate all the losers," Erik Nielsen, chief economist of Unicredit bank, warned in a recent note.

Pharmaceutical sector representatives have already confirmed a meeting with the government in November.

Downing Street has guaranteed the funding of specific research projects when the country leaves the EU, but the profession is demanding a long-term solution.

The government also needs to find a deal that will placate the country's powerful financial sector, which has repeatedly demanded guarantees that it will retain access to the single market, crucial for large banks based in the City of London.

"If Nissan (with 7,000 employees in Britain) can get a company specific commitment of support from the government, why not Citi group, which employs even more people in the UK?" asked Nielsen.

With the threat of compensation claims against the government if British manufacturers and service providers lose access to mainland Europe, the stakes could not be higher.

Young Indonesian woman caned for getting ‘too close’ to her boyfriend

Preview A 20-year-old woman has been publicly caned for getting “too close” to her boyfriend in the Indonesian province of Aceh – the latest such punishment in the conservative region, which implements Sharia law in full.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview A 20-year-old woman has been publicly caned for getting “too close” to her boyfriend in the Indonesian province of Aceh – the latest such punishment in the conservative region, which implements Sharia law in full.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Opioid overdose hospitalizations double among young Americans

Hospitalizations for overdoses of more than doubled among US children and adolescents between 1997 and 2012, according to a new study published Monday.Suicide attempts and accidental ingestion accounted for a growing number of the poisonings, said the …

Hospitalizations for overdoses of more than doubled among US children and adolescents between 1997 and 2012, according to a new study published Monday.

Suicide attempts and accidental ingestion accounted for a growing number of the poisonings, said the authors of the report published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

They identified more than 13,000 cases of children and adolescents ranging from one to 19 years old hospitalized for overdoses of doctor-prescribed opiates, from which 176 died.

Among children aged one to four, hospitalizations increased by 205 percent, and 161 percent for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.

Young children were hospitalized mainly for ingesting the painkillers accidentally, while attempts at suicide or self-inflicted injury accounted for most overdoses among adolescents over the age of 15, said co-author Julie Gaither, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Medicine.

Overdoses among other teenagers probably resulted from attempts to get high.

The authors attribute the explosion in the number of overdoses from painkillers among young children to their parents or other adults in their households who provided access to the drugs.

In general, poisonings attributed to prescription drugs have become the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, they stress.

The rise is due mainly to the huge increase in the presence of the powerful painkillers in Americans' homes.

Use of the drugs has skyrocketed in recent years, prompting the authorities to sound alarms over the sharp increase in overdoses and addiction.

Doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012.

The study also found that the vast majority of children and adolescents who overdosed on the drugs were white -- 73.5 percent -- and that almost half were covered by private medical insurance.

The proportion of young people from families receiving Medicaid -- federal health insurance for lower-income Americans -- hospitalized for opiate overdoses increased from 24 percent in 1997 to 44 percent in 2012, the study says.

Leinster’s Carbery eyes Irish debut against All Blacks in Chicago

Fledgling fly-half Joey Carbery could make his Test debut as Ireland go in search of a first win over New Zealand when they face the world champions in Chicago on Saturday.Carberry, included in a 27-man squad on Monday — a day before his 21st birthday…

Fledgling fly-half Joey Carbery could make his Test debut as Ireland go in search of a first win over New Zealand when they face the world champions in Chicago on Saturday.

Carberry, included in a 27-man squad on Monday -- a day before his 21st birthday -- has made just nine senior appearances for Leinster.

But with Ulster's Paddy Jackson missing the trip to the United States for personal reasons, Carbery could provide bench cover for first-choice No. 10 Jonathan Sexton after he was selected ahead of Ian Madigan, now at French club Bordeaux.

The Irish will be without experienced forwards Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Iain Henderson -- all returning to fitness -- as they bid to defeat a New Zealand side looking to extend their world record for successive international wins by a major rugby nation to 19 consecutive Tests.

In 28 Tests spanning more than a hundred years, Ireland have never beaten New Zealand, with their best result a 10-10 draw in Dublin in 1973.

But their last meeting saw Ireland, under New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt, go desperately close before Ryan Crotty's injury-time try, converted by Aaron Cruden, gave the All Blacks a 24-22 win at Dublin's Lansdowne Road three years ago.

Ireland and New Zealand will meet again in Dublin on November 19.

Ireland squad to play New Zealand at Soldier Field, Chicago, on Saturday:

Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Rory Best (Ulster, capt), Joey Carbery (Leinster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Ultan Dillane (Connacht), Tadgh Furlong (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster) Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster), Billy Holland (Munster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Luke McGrath (Leinster), Jori Murphy (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Jack Ryan (Munster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Josh Van der Flier (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Bosnia jails seven jihadists for joining IS

A Sarajevo court in charge of terrorism cases Monday sentenced seven Bosnian jihadists to up to three years in prison for having joined the Islamic State group in Syria.”These men were found guilty of having left Bosnia in 2013 and 2014 and joining the…

A Sarajevo court in charge of terrorism cases Monday sentenced seven Bosnian jihadists to up to three years in prison for having joined the Islamic State group in Syria.

"These men were found guilty of having left Bosnia in 2013 and 2014 and joining the ranks of the Islamic State terrorist organisation," said judge Mirsad Strika, reading the verdict.

"They participated in terrorist activities, they admitted to have been on Syria's territory and that their goal was to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad," Strika said, referring to the Syrian president.

The first defendant Enes Mesic, jailed for three years, is considered a particularly radical Islamist belonging to the hardline Wahhabi community in Bosnia's northeastern village of Dubnica.

Out of the seven convicted jihadists, only Ibro Delic, sentenced to a 23-month jail term, was in the court to hear the verdict. The others, all under house arrest, were represented by their lawyers.

Two defendants, each sentenced to 22 months in jail, were also found guilty of illegal possession of arms, including an automatic rifle and a dozen hand grenades.

A radical Bosnian Islamic leader, Husein Bosnic, sentenced by a local court in 2015 to seven years in prison, has received the most severe punishment in Bosnia so far among those charged with having fought alongside jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

The departures of Bosnians to Syria and Iraq have nearly stopped, although some 200 people were still there in mid-2016, out of a total 330 that had left, including many women and children, according to authorities and official figures.

Around 40 people have been killed while some 50 have returned to Bosnia.

Some jihadists have pleaded guilty and were sentenced to a symbolic one-year jail term, after an agreement with the prosecutor.

Bank of England governor to extend term by year to 2019

Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced Monday that he will extend his contract for an extra year to 2019, saying he wants to help secure an “orderly transition” to Brexit.Amid speculation that he would leave in 2018, the Canadian said: “I would…

Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced Monday that he will extend his contract for an extra year to 2019, saying he wants to help secure an "orderly transition" to Brexit.

Amid speculation that he would leave in 2018, the Canadian said: "I would be honoured to extend my time of service as governor for an additional year to the end of June 2019."

"By taking my term in office beyond the expected period of the Article 50 process, this should help contribute to securing an orderly transition to the UK's new relationship with Europe," added Carney, referring to the triggering of Britain's two-year negotiating period to leave the European Union.

Britain's finance minister, Philip Hammond, said he was "very pleased" at Carney's decision to stay on for an additional year.

"This will enable you to continue your highly effective leadership of the Bank through a critical period for the British economy as we negotiate our exit from the European Union," Hammond said in a letter addressed to Carney.

The Bank of England chief's five-year contract runs to 2018 and includes the option for Carney to extend his term until 2021.

His decision to stay in the post until June 2019 will see him steer the Bank through the full negotiating period foreseen between London and Brussels.

Ahead of the June referendum on whether to quit the European Union, 51-year-old Carney warned of the economic dangers of Britain leaving the bloc.

There has since been speculation of tensions between the bank chief and the conservative government.

Earlier on Monday the government reiterated its support for Carney, with Prime Minister Theresa May's spokeswoman saying the premier regards him as "absolutely" the right person for the job.

"The prime minister has been clear in her support for the governor, the work he is doing for the country," May's official spokeswoman told reporters.

Finland to continue wolf culls despite NGO uproar

Finnish authorities said Monday they plan to maintain culling of the protected wolf population to prevent illegal poaching, despite opposition from environmentalists.Fifty-five out of Finland’s 290 grey wolves were culled during the 2015-2016 hunting s…

Finnish authorities said Monday they plan to maintain culling of the protected wolf population to prevent illegal poaching, despite opposition from environmentalists.

Fifty-five out of Finland's 290 grey wolves were culled during the 2015-2016 hunting season, and the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said culling needed to continue.

"The aim is to increase the wolf population's acceptability especially amongst local people living in the wolf territories and to diminish... illegal poaching," the ministry said in a statement.

The decision came after two month-long trial culls in 2015 and 2016, during which licensed hunters were allowed to seek permits for killing individual wolves.

But in addition to the 55 wolves culled over the winter, 23 animals died for other reasons such as traffic accidents, poaching, or were shot by police to protect people.

Ministerial adviser Sami Niemi admitted the high number of other deaths had caught the authorities by surprise and as a result, the licensing system was being modified before hunting could continue.

Niemi said the ministry was now to define an annual maximum for all wolf deaths to prevent excessive culling.

Environmentalists have heavily criticised Finland for culling an animal strictly protected by the European Union's legislation.

"The numbers have been significant and wrong wolf individuals have been shot in these hunts", the Finnish Nature League's manager Sami Saynevirta told AFP.

He was referring to the estimated 20 reproducing leader wolves that were shot during the latest cull, although the aim was to target young individuals.

But the ministry said that before the trial culls, when hunting was not allowed, the wolf population reached its record low at between 120 and 135 animals in 2013, mainly due to poaching.

After the culls, Finland's Natural Resources Institute estimated there were between 200 and 235 wolves left in the country, but new counts are needed to define how many wolf packs were able to reproduce this year.

The European protection rules allow some exceptions, such as hunting wolves in Finland's northern reindeer herding areas and more restricted hunting of individual wolves that attack livestock elsewhere in the country.

Hunting is a widespread tradition in Finland. About 300,000 people register each year for permits, one of the highest per capita rates in Europe.

UN extends Syria gas attacks probe

The UN Security Council on Monday extended the mandate of a panel investigating chemical attacks in Syria for two weeks to allow time to negotiate a one-year renewal of the probe.The council unanimously backed a US-drafted resolution on the short exten…

The UN Security Council on Monday extended the mandate of a panel investigating chemical attacks in Syria for two weeks to allow time to negotiate a one-year renewal of the probe.

The council unanimously backed a US-drafted resolution on the short extension as a bigger battle loomed over the findings of the investigation, which showed Syria had used chemical weapons.

The United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) panel has concluded that government forces carried out three chemical attacks on villages in 2014 and 2015.

Russia however has dismissed the findings as "unconvincing" and said no sanctions should be imposed on Syria for the chlorine gas attacks.

Britain and France are pushing for sanctions and maintain that UN resolutions clearly provide for such action in response to the use of chemical weapons.

The Security Council agreed to set up the so-called joint investigative mechanism (JIM) in August 2015 to determine who was behind the chlorine attacks using barrel bombs.

The use of chlorine as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013 under pressure from Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The UN-OPCW panel also found that the Islamic State group used mustard gas as a weapon in August 2015.

German army creates ‘reality show’ to boost popularity, critics warn of distortions

The German army (Bundeswehr) is set to launch a new reality show covering the daily life of fresh recruits. The project, aimed at boosting the popularity of the military, faces mounting criticism from politicians, the public and activists…

Preview The German army (Bundeswehr) is set to launch a new reality show covering the daily life of fresh recruits. The project, aimed at boosting the popularity of the military, faces mounting criticism from politicians, the public and activists.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Netanyahu seeks to soothe settlers as storm clouds loom

Fearing political storms at home and a last-ditch diplomatic gambit by US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called on Jewish settlers to show restraint.Speaking at the opening of parliament’s winter session, he…

Fearing political storms at home and a last-ditch diplomatic gambit by US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called on Jewish settlers to show restraint.

Speaking at the opening of parliament's winter session, he said that government officials earlier on Monday asked the Supreme Court to extend the December 25 deadline for the eviction of settlers from the wildcat West Bank outpost of Amona.

A postponement, he said, would allow a "responsible" resolution to the issue, a hot potato for Netanyahu's right-wing government which leans heavily on settler support.

"I am sure that at the end of the day the settlers will also act responsibly," he added. "They know that there is not, and will not be, a government more supportive of settlement than this government."

It is Netanyahu's zeal for settlement in the occupied West Bank that rankles Washington, and Netanyahu reportedly fears that following next week's US presidential election Obama could break with long-standing US practice and support -- or at least not veto -- a UN Security Council resolution laying out parameters for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"President Obama stated from the podium of the United Nations in 2011 that peace would not be achieved through UN resolutions but through direct negotiations," Netanyahu told the Knesset.

"That is correct. He is right. I want to believe that he will remain faithful to that position and not abandon the traditional policy of the United States."

"In any case, Israel will oppose any external attempt to impose terms upon it."

At the start of Netanyahu's speech, members of the mainly Arab Joint List opposition party rose and left the hall, and his comments were repeatedly interrupted by hecklers.

West Bank settlements are viewed as illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The United States has warned that continued settlement building in the territory occupied by Israel in 1967 is eating away at the possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict.

US Deputy Ambassador to the UN David Pressman used particularly strong language in October 14 remarks, saying that the building of Jewish outposts on Palestinian land was "corrosive to the cause of peace".

Amona, home to about 40 settler families, was built on land privately owned by Palestinians who successfully petitioned Israeli courts for the outpost's removal.

Over 200 migrants storm border in Spain’s Ceuta

Around 220 African migrants forced their way through a fence between Morocco and the tiny Spanish enclave of Ceuta Monday, clashing with police in an incident that injured 35, officials said.”The migrants demonstrated a hostile and violent attitude. Ma…

Around 220 African migrants forced their way through a fence between Morocco and the tiny Spanish enclave of Ceuta Monday, clashing with police in an incident that injured 35, officials said.

"The migrants demonstrated a hostile and violent attitude. Many were armed with sticks and they attacked the officers when they tried to prevent them from entering," the Spanish government's representative in Ceuta said in a statement.

Three policemen and 32 migrants were treated in hospital for minor injuries, the statement said.

The migrants were taken to a short-stay immigrant centre while Spanish authorities determine their legal status, a local police spokesman said.

Police were also searching for a handful of others who made it across the barbed-wire fence and fled into the surrounding hills.

Ceuta along with Melilla, another Spanish territory in North Africa, have the European Union's only land borders with Africa.

They are favoured entry points for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe, who get there by either climbing over the border fence or by swimming along the coast.

In 2014, 15 migrants drowned as dozens tried to swim to Ceuta from a nearby beach.

At the time, human rights groups and migrants said Spanish police tried to keep them from reaching the shore by firing rubber bullets and spraying them with tear gas.

US should strike back at cyberattackers: report

The US government and private sector should strike back against hackers to counter cyberattacks aimed at stealing data and disrupting important computer networks, a policy report said Monday.

A panel of experts assembled by the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security said policies should be eased to allow “active defense” measures that deter hackers — differentiating that from the idea of “hacking back” to disable systems used by attackers.

The panel envisioned measures such as taking down “botnets” that disrupt cyberspace, freeing data from “ransomware” hackers and “rescue missions” to recover stolen data.

“The time for action on the issue of active defense is long overdue, and the private sector will continue to be exposed to theft, exfiltration of data, and other attacks in the absence of a robust deterrent,” the report said.

“When private sector companies have a capability to engage in active defense measures, they are building such a deterrent, which will reduce risks to these companies, protect the privacy and integrity of their data, and decrease the risks of economic and societal harm from large-scale cyberattacks.”

The report follows a wave of high-profile attacks against US companies and government databases, and after the Obama administration accused Russia of using cyberattacks to attempt to disrupt the November presidential election.

US policymakers are moving too slowly in dealing with a “dynamic” threat from cyberspace, former national intelligence director and task force co-chair Dennis Blair said.

“We are shooting so far behind the rabbit that we will only hit it if the rabbit makes another lap and comes back to where it was,” he told a conference presenting the report.

However, the panel did not recommend hacking back “because we don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease,” project co-director Frank Cilluffo said.

But “there are certain steps companies can take” to repel and deter cyberattacks, he added, advocating the establishment of a legal framework for them.

Although the scope of the problem is understood, the solutions remain controversial.

Some of the recommendations go too far by inviting companies to gain unauthorized access to outside computer networks, task force co-chair Nuala O’Connor, president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, said in a dissent.

“I believe these types of measures should remain unlawful,” she wrote, adding that it remains difficult to be sure of cyberattacks’ sources.

“The risks of collateral damage to innocent internet users, to data security, and to national security that can result from overly aggressive defensive efforts needs to be better accounted for.”

The US government and private sector should strike back against hackers to counter cyberattacks aimed at stealing data and disrupting important computer networks, a policy report said Monday.

A panel of experts assembled by the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security said policies should be eased to allow "active defense" measures that deter hackers -- differentiating that from the idea of "hacking back" to disable systems used by attackers.

The panel envisioned measures such as taking down "botnets" that disrupt cyberspace, freeing data from "ransomware" hackers and "rescue missions" to recover stolen data.

"The time for action on the issue of active defense is long overdue, and the private sector will continue to be exposed to theft, exfiltration of data, and other attacks in the absence of a robust deterrent," the report said.

"When private sector companies have a capability to engage in active defense measures, they are building such a deterrent, which will reduce risks to these companies, protect the privacy and integrity of their data, and decrease the risks of economic and societal harm from large-scale cyberattacks."

The report follows a wave of high-profile attacks against US companies and government databases, and after the Obama administration accused Russia of using cyberattacks to attempt to disrupt the November presidential election.

US policymakers are moving too slowly in dealing with a "dynamic" threat from cyberspace, former national intelligence director and task force co-chair Dennis Blair said.

"We are shooting so far behind the rabbit that we will only hit it if the rabbit makes another lap and comes back to where it was," he told a conference presenting the report.

However, the panel did not recommend hacking back "because we don't want the cure to be worse than the disease," project co-director Frank Cilluffo said.

But "there are certain steps companies can take" to repel and deter cyberattacks, he added, advocating the establishment of a legal framework for them.

Although the scope of the problem is understood, the solutions remain controversial.

Some of the recommendations go too far by inviting companies to gain unauthorized access to outside computer networks, task force co-chair Nuala O'Connor, president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, said in a dissent.

"I believe these types of measures should remain unlawful," she wrote, adding that it remains difficult to be sure of cyberattacks' sources.

"The risks of collateral damage to innocent internet users, to data security, and to national security that can result from overly aggressive defensive efforts needs to be better accounted for."

Russia-US plutonium deal no longer in force after Putin signs bill

President Vladimir Putin has signed an act suspending a 2000 agreement between the US and Russia on reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium extracted from decommissioned warheads. Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview President Vladimir Putin has signed an act suspending a 2000 agreement between the US and Russia on reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium extracted from decommissioned warheads.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Turkey says Raqa operation should start after Mosul operation ends

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday Turkey wants the drive to oust Islamic State jihadists from the Syrian city of Raqa to begin after operations in Iraq’s Mosul and a Turkish-backed mission in northern Syria are over.”It would be right, …

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday Turkey wants the drive to oust Islamic State jihadists from the Syrian city of Raqa to begin after operations in Iraq's Mosul and a Turkish-backed mission in northern Syria are over.

"It would be right, militarily and strategically, to conduct this Raqa operation after the Mosul operation and Turkey's Euphrates Shield operation have ended," he told reporters in Ankara.

Last week US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said operations for the "isolation" of Raqa, the de-facto capital of IS' self-declared caliphate, should begin in conjunction with the assault on Mosul.

An offensive by Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces to free Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city, began in mid-October with air support from the US-led coalition.

Meanwhile Turkey is continuing with an operation called Euphrates Shield, launched on August 24, in which it is supporting opposition fighters in northern Syria with tanks and air strikes.

The Ankara-backed fighters comprise various brigades rather than one organised force, according to experts.

So far, the rebels have captured the IS stronghold of Jarabulus and retaken the symbolically important town of Dabiq.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that the rebels would target Raqa after advancing towards the city of Al Bab in northern Syria and taking Manbij, recently captured by Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

Euphrates Shield has two main goals: to clear IS elements from the Turkish-Syrian border and halt the westward advance of the YPG.

Last week Ankara conducted air strikes against People's Protection Units (YPG) positions to stop their advance towards Al Bab, Turkish media said.

Ankara views the YPG as linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

German supermarkets settle dispute to save 15,000 jobs

The German economy minister on Monday said two leading retailers had settled a dispute over the takeover of loss-making supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann, saving some 15,000 jobs.The agreement will pave the way for the country’s largest supermarket…

The German economy minister on Monday said two leading retailers had settled a dispute over the takeover of loss-making supermarket chain Kaiser's Tengelmann, saving some 15,000 jobs.

The agreement will pave the way for the country's largest supermarket group Edeka to take over Kaiser's stores while a financial settlement for rival group Rewe would be worked out in coming days.

"The efforts have paid off to secure the jobs of 15,000 people," Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters.

He gave few details about the agreement, saying only that a "balance of interests" had been reached between the arguing parties.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the agreement could also see Rewe take over some of Kaiser's stores in Berlin.

The breakthrough in the long-running spat came just a week after all sides agreed to last-ditch mediation talks led by ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The saga began some two years ago when Edeka announced plans to take over the more than 400 stores owned by struggling Kaiser's Tengelmann, despite concerns this would distort competition.

Gabriel controversially gave the deal a special ministerial seal of approval, under the condition that no jobs would be lost, prompting several supermarket rivals to file a legal challenge that blocked the takeover.

Running out of patience, Kaiser's Tengelmann this month floated the prospect of breaking up the chain, which would have to led to mass lay-offs and gave fresh urgency to finding a solution.

Gabriel said Rewe had promised to withdraw its complaint by November 11.

Rewe was the last holdout after groups Markant and Norma had already dropped their objections.

Kaiser's employees will have job security for seven years under the new agreement, Gabriel added.

Small fine for Russia metals giant over red river leak

Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel has been handed a small fine for a spillage last month that turned an Arctic river bright red, the company confirmed Monday. Russia’s environment ministry opened an investigation in September after images showed the …

Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel has been handed a small fine for a spillage last month that turned an Arctic river bright red, the company confirmed Monday.

Russia's environment ministry opened an investigation in September after images showed the Daldykan river near Norilsk, a city of 170,000 in Russia's far north, flowing bright red.

"Norilsk Nickel confirms the company was issued a decree detailing administrative punishment," said a company statement sent to AFP.

Imposed by the environment ministry's watchdog, the punishment amounts to a "fine for the impact by polluting substances... on the river Daldykan," it said.

A spokeswoman refused to name the amount of the fine, referring AFP to Russia's administrative code, which says that companies which violate protection regulations for bodies of water are to be fined between 30,000 to 40,000 rubles ($475-$630/430 - 575 euros).

Norilsk Nickel is the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium and reported net profits of $1.3 billion (1.2 billion euros) in the first half of this year.

After initially refusing to confirm a leak at its plant, Norilsk Nickel said that heavy rains in early September had resulted in water flooding over a "filtration dam" at its Nadezhda plant in Norilsk and into the river.

The river feeds into a local lake which locals use to fish, but not information was sent out to warn the public, an indigenous activist in the region told AFP last month.

The environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor told RIA Novosti that the company has 10 days to appeal the decision.

Trump mounts blue-state challenge to Clinton in final sprint

Donald Trump stormed into Democratic territory as the campaign entered its final week Monday, determined to disprove polls and capture the White House as rival Hillary Clinton battles to contain the fallout from renewed FBI focus on her emails.The Repu…

Donald Trump stormed into Democratic territory as the campaign entered its final week Monday, determined to disprove polls and capture the White House as rival Hillary Clinton battles to contain the fallout from renewed FBI focus on her emails.

The Republican barreled into the northern state of Michigan, where Clinton leads by 6.2 points, hoping to capitalize on the controversy to sway swing voters just eight days before Election Day.

Trump also campaigned Sunday in Clinton-friendly New Mexico, and holds a rally Tuesday in Wisconsin, where Clinton's lead is 5.7 points, according to a RealClearPolitics poll aggregate.

Allegations that Clinton put the United States at risk by using a private email server while secretary of state were thrust back into the spotlight Friday -- dramatically shifting the momentum in a race where Clinton was increasingly seen as the prohibitive favorite to win.

University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato told AFP the email scandal "has changed the dynamic of the race."

"She would have been running a victory lap this week, running up the score. Instead she's trying to hold on."

The long-running controversy reared its head once more when FBI director James Comey revealed that the bureau was looking into the matter once again, based on a previously unknown trove of emails.

Clinton reacted furiously to the announcement, while other Democrats widely denounced it for coming just days before a presidential election. But Trump has gleefully seized on the revelations in an attempt to offset his own disadvantage in most polls.

"We all know about Hillary's mounting legal troubles, that she has brought onto herself with her serial, wilful, purposeful and deliberate criminal conduct," the 70-year-old told a crowd Sunday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

- 'Flip' a blue state -

It remained unclear how much the Comey announcement will move the needle, but Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CBS News that Clinton's camp was reeling.

"I just don't think that they were ready for the race to take this turn again," she said.

While Clinton does maintain leads in some key battleground states and a modest advantage nationwide, recent polls already showed a tightening race.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey carried out before the FBI announcement put the Democratic presidential candidate just one point ahead of her Republican challenger.

But while Clinton's lead has shrunk, Sabato distilled the Trump strategy to a simple truth: he needs to flip at least one Democratic-leaning state on November 8 in order to win.

"He is going to have to turn a blue state or two in addition to winning the battlegrounds," Sabato said. "He has to win almost everything. If he wins all the battlegrounds, he needs one more blue state."

Clinton, meanwhile, hit the campaign trail hard Sunday in the battleground state of Florida, where Trump has clawed back into the slimmest of leads for the Democrat according to polling.

"We're not going to be distracted, no matter what our opponents throw at us. We are not going to be knocked off course," she told supporters.

On Monday the 69-year-old traveled to swing state Ohio as she continues to encourage early voting. More than 22 million have already cast early ballots.

- 'Serious mistake' -

Clinton's campaign was jolted when Comey announced that his agents are reviewing a newly discovered trove of emails, resurrecting an issue the candidate hoped was behind her.

Her response has been to hit out at the move as "deeply troubling" and to rally supporters to get out and vote, turning the tables on Trump by branding him as unfit to lead the nation.

President Barack Obama's first attorney general, Eric Holder, issued a blistering opinion piece on Comey's actions in Monday's Washington Post.

Comey "is a good man, but he made a serious mistake," Holder wrote.

"That decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season."

According to US media, the probe was renewed after agents seized a laptop used by Clinton's close aide, Huma Abedin, and her now estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.

The disgraced former congressman, who resigned in 2011 after sending explicit online messages, is under investigation over allegations he sent sexual overtures to a 15-year-old girl.

US networks reported Sunday that the FBI had obtained a warrant to search the emails.

UN chief urges Lebanon to quickly form government

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday welcomed the long-awaited election of a president in Lebanon and said a new government must now be formed without delay.Ban congratulated Michel Aoun who was elected by Lebanese lawmakers, ending a two-year po…

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday welcomed the long-awaited election of a president in Lebanon and said a new government must now be formed without delay.

Ban congratulated Michel Aoun who was elected by Lebanese lawmakers, ending a two-year political vacuum in the country bordering Syria.

He "hopes that Lebanese parties will now continue to work in a spirit of unity and in the national interest," said a statement from his spokesman.

The UN chief "encourages the formation without delay of a government that can effectively serve the needs of all Lebanese citizens and address the serious challenges facing the country."

The United Nations has repeatedly called on Lebanon's political leaders to elect a president and bolster institutional stability at a time when the war in Syria was rattling the region.

Lebanon is hosting more than one million Syrian refugees while hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have been living in squalid and often lawless camps in the country.

Ban also said that parliamentary elections should be held on time. Those are scheduled for next year.

Last shelters destroyed at ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais: AFP

Demolition crews destroyed the last shelters at the infamous “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais on Monday, AFP reporters at the site said.Work began last Monday to clear the Jungle, home to around 6,000 migrants until a week ago and a glaring symbol of Eu…

Demolition crews destroyed the last shelters at the infamous "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais on Monday, AFP reporters at the site said.

Work began last Monday to clear the Jungle, home to around 6,000 migrants until a week ago and a glaring symbol of Europe's worst migration crisis since World War II.

Dutch taking more time to end EU-Ukraine pact row

The Dutch government Monday said it needed more time to negotiate a compromise over a key EU-Ukraine pact, and will keep up intense talks at home and abroad ahead of a December EU summit.Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been walking a political tigh…

The Dutch government Monday said it needed more time to negotiate a compromise over a key EU-Ukraine pact, and will keep up intense talks at home and abroad ahead of a December EU summit.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been walking a political tightrope since an April 6 referendum -- organised by eurosceptic groups -- in which 60 percent of voters rejected the cooperation accord with Kiev.

The Netherlands is the only one of the 28-member bloc that has yet to ratify the accord, which aims to boost political dialogue as well as economic and trade cooperation.

Even though it was a non-binding referendum, and voter turnout was very low, Rutte has been trying to find a way to amend the pact to honour the outcome.

He is suggesting adding a clause about no-military cooperation, and no guarantees for Ukraine's accession to the European Union.

In a letter to parliament on Monday, Rutte said "only a legally binding solution that does justice to the 'no vote' can be ratified by The Netherlands."

"But this takes time," he stressed, adding it was in the country's "national interests to do our utmost to find a solution."

Rutte said he had already been in discussions with his European partners, and intended to continue the talks over the next six weeks leading up to the December 15-16 summit.

"Although no formal commitments have been made, the government believes that such a solution is feasible," Rutte added.

In a heartfelt plea to opposition parties on Friday, Rutte warned without compromise the agreement could fail, and offer Russia a vision of a divided Europe.

With a Tuesday Dutch parliamentary deadline looming for a solution, Rutte had warned his government would have no choice but to propose a law by late Monday withdrawing the country's support for the accord.

It would seem that weekend talks with opposition parties have bought the government more time to find a solution.

Rutte has found himself in a Catch-22 situation having failed to convince opposition parties to back his proposals to amend the accord. The opposition wants him to negotiate with Brussels first and bring back an amended treaty for debate.

But Rutte said Brussels first wanted assurances the accord will be passed by the Dutch parliament before asking other member states to accept any proposed changes.

Top US diplomat heads to Venezuela to support dialogue

A top US diplomat was headed to Venezuela on Monday to underscore US support for a newly begun political dialogue between the leftist government and the opposition, the State Department said.Thomas Shannon, the US undersecretary of state for political …

A top US diplomat was headed to Venezuela on Monday to underscore US support for a newly begun political dialogue between the leftist government and the opposition, the State Department said.

Thomas Shannon, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs, will meet with senior government officials, opposition leaders and representatives of civil society during the visit, which will run through Wednesday.

"His visit will underscore our support for the ongoing dialogue process, and our interest in the well-being of the Venezuelan people," the State Department said.

Venezuelan government and opposition leaders on Sunday opened Vatican-mediated talks, agreeing to an agenda for further discussions aimed at defusing a deepening political impasse in the oil-rich South American nation.

The opposition has staged mass street protests and threatened to march on the presidential palace later this week after Venezuelan electoral authorities blocked a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro.

Discontent with Maduro, who succeeded the late Hugo Chavez in 2013, has been running high amid a worsening economic crisis that has led to shortages of food and medicine.

Drone captures build-up of Iraqi forces near Mosul as army enters ISIS stronghold (VIDEO)

Iraqi Army units have for the first time managed to enter one of the districts of Islamic State stronghold Mosul, following a two-week military operation aimed at clearing areas surrounding the city and ousting the terrorists. Read Full A…

Preview Iraqi Army units have for the first time managed to enter one of the districts of Islamic State stronghold Mosul, following a two-week military operation aimed at clearing areas surrounding the city and ousting the terrorists.
Read Full Article at RT.com

84 killed by rebel shelling over past 3 days in Aleppo, mostly women & children – Syrian Army

The bombardment of government-held positions in Aleppo by militants from terrorist groups has resulted in the deaths of some 84 people, the majority of whom were women and children, the Syrian Army has said. Read Full Article at RT.com

Preview The bombardment of government-held positions in Aleppo by militants from terrorist groups has resulted in the deaths of some 84 people, the majority of whom were women and children, the Syrian Army has said.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Murray calm ahead of final ascent bid for number one title

Andy Murray insisted on Monday he felt no additional pressure ahead of his quest to wrest away the world’s top ranking from long-time incumbent Novak Djokovic at this week’s Paris Masters.Murray can supplant Djokovic at the summit by claiming a first t…

Andy Murray insisted on Monday he felt no additional pressure ahead of his quest to wrest away the world's top ranking from long-time incumbent Novak Djokovic at this week's Paris Masters.

Murray can supplant Djokovic at the summit by claiming a first title in the French capital if the Serb fails to reach the final of an event he has dominated in recent times.

The Briton has won three successive tournaments -- Beijing, Shanghai and Vienna -- to close in on Djokovic and would become the oldest new number one since Australia's John Newcombe in 1974.

But the 29-year-old said his approach would remain the same and vowed to block out the hysteria surrounding his potential ascent to the top.

"It's not in my control. I can obviously try and win my matches, but even if I win all of my matches this week, I still might not get there," said Murray.

"So it's in Novak's hands. He's ahead obviously just now, so if he wins his matches and gets to the latter stages of the last two tournaments, then he'll most likely keep the No. 1 spot.

"So I don't feel any differently now to how I did kind of six, eight weeks ago. My goal wasn't to finish No. 1 at the end of this year.

"I wanted to finish this year as strong as possible, and I think there is a lot stronger chance of doing it in the early part of next year, which is what I targeted rather than this week."

- Best form of career -

Murray, who received a first-round bye, will begin his Paris campaign against former world number seven Fernando Verdasco, after the Spaniard progressed following the retirement of Dutchman Robin Haase.

The Wimbledon champion is riding a 15-match winning streak and lifted his career-best seventh title of the season following Sunday's straight-sets victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Austria.

"This year I have been healthy the whole year, and the last four or five months I have played the best of my career," Murray added, dismissing concerns over fatigue despite his recent winning run.

"I feel fine. I had a break after Shanghai, which I needed, and didn't hit any balls until I arrived in Vienna.

"And then obviously I got the walkover (in the semi-finals) on Saturday which helped, so it was pretty much a rest day. And then, yeah, the final wasn't too long yesterday, either. I feel okay."

Murray owns an impressive 69-9 record in 2016 and is just two wins shy of last year's win total, but he was swept aside convincingly by Djokovic in last year's Paris final.

The Serb admitted Murray's late assault on his number one ranking had rejuvenated his own faltering season as he looks to extend his 122-week stay at the top.

After completing a career Grand Slam at the French Open, Djokovic crashed out prematurely at Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics and was then beaten by Stan Wawrinka in the US Open final.

He has fond memories in France, though, and will attempt to win a fourth consecutive Paris Masters crown to keep Murray waiting.

"It makes me want to go on court and fight for every point because there is something to win at the end," said the 12-time major winner.

Guardiola wants ‘perfect’ City against Barcelona

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted his players must keep their discipline and produce the “perfect” performance to beat Barcelona in the Champions League at Eastlands on Tuesday.Guardiola’s side lost 4-0 in their Group C encounter again…

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted his players must keep their discipline and produce the "perfect" performance to beat Barcelona in the Champions League at Eastlands on Tuesday.

Guardiola's side lost 4-0 in their Group C encounter against the Spanish giants at the Nou Camp on October 19 ?- their fifth defeat in as many meetings with the Catalan club.

City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was sent off in that match and Guardiola acknowledged the importance of keeping 11 players on the pitch against a side of Barcelona?s class.

?We know we need to play almost perfectly,? Guardiola, who guided Barcelona to two Champions League titles while manager from 2008-12 after starring for the club as a player, told a news conference on Monday.

"It's always difficult in the Champions League. Ten versus 11 against Barcelona is almost impossible. We have to improve that otherwise it is impossible to achieve the target.

"I have never thought we can't win a football match and I will never start to think that way, even though we lost 4-0. We'll give it a go. We know it is difficult and they are a difficult opponent.

?Maybe we are going to change the way we press, the build-up, many things. I would like to play in a good level. What passed in Barcelona, that is not the reason for what it is going to happen here.

?We have to be focused in 90 minutes knowing they are going to provoke our mistakes with the quality they have. In that moment we try to keep going and finish better than in Barcelona.?

- 'Final for City' -

Barcelona top the group at the halfway point with three victories from their three matches, while City have four points after a draw against Celtic and victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Guardiola said the group standings meant Tuesday's match was of greater significance for City than Barcelona.

?It is not a final for them. It is a final for us,? the 45-year-old explained.

?There are just three games left. We dropped two points in Glasgow against Celtic and we need to recover those points.

?Every manager, every trainer has his plans. We know them, they know us. But football is unpredictable. Hopefully our quality in front can make a difference.

?In the first half we played well at Camp Nou but the two wide players for Barcelona are almost unstoppable. The only thing I can ask of our players is they play the way they know.?

With Bravo suspended following his red card in the first fixture, Willy Caballero will start in goal for the match at the Etihad Stadium and Guardiola has every confidence in the 35-year-old goalkeeper.

"He has helped me very much from the first few games,? Guardiola said.

?I like Willy on a personal level and as a goalkeeper he has played and given a lot of confidence. If he plays well, we?re all be happy with him. If he doesn?t, then we will support him. But I have no doubts about him.?

City forward Nolito also said striker Sergio Aguero will be a key player against Barcelona and insisted his team-mates have the self-belief needed to beat the La Liga champions.

"I think he?s one of the best strikers in the world,? Nolito said. "And it?s a pride to have him in the team and we hope he has one of those days where he scores lots of goals.

"Sincerely, we have to beat Barcelona one day. We have to win this one because of the situation we?re in. We have to. Knowing how strong they are we will have to be at our best.?