The death toll from Sunday’s earthquake on the Iran-Iraq border has topped 540. More than 8,000 people have been injured in the magnitude 7.3 earthquake. Most of the deaths occurred in Iran, where more than 12,000 homes were destroyed, leaving many people homeless as winter approaches.
Puerto Rico’s governor has asked the federal government for $94 billion to help repair critical infrastructure and rebuild housing following Hurricane Maria. More than half the island remains without power seven weeks after the hurricane hit. More than 10 percent of the island is without running water.
In news from Alabama, a fifth woman has come forward to accuse Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. Beverly Young Nelson says Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old. At the time, he was in his thirties. Nelson said the incident occurred after Moore offered to drive her home from her waitressing job.
Beverly Young Nelson: “I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting, and I was struggling, and I was begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face. At some point—at some point, he gave up. And he then looked at me, and he told me, he said, ’You’re just a child.’ And he said, 'I am the district attorney of Etowah County. And if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.'”
Meanwhile, The New Yorker magazine reports Roy Moore was banned from a local mall and a YMCA in Alabama because he repeatedly badgered teenage girls, in some cases soliciting sex from young girls. Moore, a former state judge, has denied the accusations. Meanwhile a growing number of Republican Party leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are urging Moore to drop out ahead of the December 12 special election to fill Jeff Sessions’s former seat.
Meanwhile, a sixth woman has come forward to accuse former President George H.W. Bush of groping her. Roslyn Corrigan says she was 16 years old when Bush grabbed her buttocks as she stood next to him for a photograph during a public event at a CIA office in Texas.
President Trump has nominated Alex Azar, a former top executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. The post has been vacant since the resignation of Tom Price. Public Citizen’s Robert Weissman criticized the nomination, saying, “Tom Price supported Big Pharma in the U.S. Congress. Now apparently Trump has decided to cut out the middleman and let a pharmaceutical executive literally run the federal department that protects the health of all Americans.”
Donald Trump Jr. has admitted he had some direct contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. Trump Jr. made the admission after The Atlantic magazine revealed WikiLeaks repeatedly sent him private direct messages on Twitter during the campaign. Occasionally, Trump Jr. responded. On October 12, WikiLeaks urged Trump Jr. to have his father link to the site containing the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta. Fifteen minutes later Donald Trump himself tweeted, “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!” Also, on Election Day, WikiLeaks urged Trump Jr. to tell his father not to concede if he lost.
This comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is heading to Capitol Hill today to testify before a congressional hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Some Democratic lawmakers have accused Sessions of committing perjury for previously telling Congress that he was not aware of any Trump campaign official talking to the Russians. Sessions’s remark contradicts the statements of two former Trump campaign aides, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who have admitted they had contacts with Russians during the campaign. Meanwhile, Sessions has asked officials to look into whether a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the Clinton Foundation and an Obama-era deal to sell a uranium company to Russia.
In news from Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting at least 53 people have been killed in airstrikes outside of Aleppo. The dead include at least five children and three women. Meanwhile, the BBC is reporting hundreds of fighters with the Islamic State were allowed to leave Raqqa last month as a part of a secret deal with the U.S.-led coalition to end the fighting in Raqqa. A BBC investigation found about 250 militants left in October along with 3,500 members of their families and their weapons. Some of the fighters headed to other parts of Syria controlled by the Islamic State; others went to Turkey.
In Wisconsin, a 14-year-old Native American teenager was shot dead last week by a deputy in the Ashland County Sheriff’s Department. Jason Pero was a member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The shooting occurred after police received a 911 call about a man walking down the street with a knife. Investigators now believe the 14-year-old was the one who had made the 911 call. Pero’s grandfather criticized the police for using lethal force. Alan Pero said, “He got murdered out in front of the house here. He’s a boy. There’s warning shots. There’s Tasers. There’s pepper spray. You don’t go right on a 14-year-old kid and go for the kill zone.”
Football player Colin Kaepernick has been named “Citizen of the Year” by GQ for sparking a movement against racism after he refused to stand last year for the national anthem before an NFL game. The magazine wrote, “He’s been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality. … Kaepernick’s determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.”
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