Friday, October 28
Obama to return to Florida to help Clinton get out the vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is returning to Florida today to help Democrat Hillary Clinton get out the vote.
Obama will hold an evening rally for Clinton in Orlando, along the "I-4 corridor" that's home to large numbers of potentially persuadable voters. Florida is one of just a handful of states that an Associated Press analysis rates as a toss-up between Clinton and Donald Trump.
White House officials say Obama will be traveling to boost Clinton nearly every day until Election Day. He's used other events for Clinton to hammer Trump over his treatment of women and minorities and his unfounded claims that the election is "rigged" against him.
The president's appearance comes a day after Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama held a joint campaign rally in North Carolina.
Clinton rallies with Mrs. Obama as Trump alleges corruption
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Hillary Clinton has turned to popular first lady Michelle Obama to rally voters in North Carolina, part of the effort to deliver a knockout blow to Donald Trump.
For his part, the New York billionaire is denouncing both Hillary and Bill Clinton as creatures of a corrupt political system, who would use the Oval Office to enrich themselves at the expense of American families.
New fundraising reports show that Trump is facing a sizable deficit that could cripple his final efforts to win on Election Day.
Clinton entered the final stretch of the race with a resounding cash advantage over Trump. As of last week, her campaign and Democratic partners had $153 million in the bank, more than double what Trump's side had available.
UPDATE: US Senate candidates in Illinois spar over heritage, service
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has mocked Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth's family history of military service in the U.S., implying that her Asian-American heritage should cast doubt on her claims.
The comment came Thursday evening during the first televised debate between the two at the University of Illinois in Springfield.
Duckworth spoke of how her family has "served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution."
Kirk responded that he had "forgotten (that her) parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington."
Duckworth later tweeted a photo of herself with her parents, including her father in uniform and wearing medals. Her tweet says "My Mom is an immigrant and my dad and his family have served this nation in uniform since the Revolution."
The Latest: UN says IS reportedly using 'human shields'
BAGHDAD (AP) — The United Nations' human rights office says the Islamic State group appears to be using tens of thousands of civilians in and around the Iraqi city of Mosul as "human shields."
It has received reports of more than 200 people being killed for refusing to comply with IS orders or previously belonging to Iraqi security forces.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said Friday in Geneva that "credible reports" suggest IS has been forcing tens of thousands from their homes in districts around Mosul.
She said: "ISIL's depraved, cowardly strategy is to attempt to use the presence of civilian hostages to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations, effectively using tens of thousands of women, men and children as human shields."
Iraqi troops continue to take back surrounding towns as the offensive to recapture Mosul from IS continues.
NEW: Northern Ireland legal challenge to Brexit is dismissed
LONDON (AP) — A judge in Northern Ireland has dismissed one of the legal challenges to Britain's decision to leave the European Union, or Brexit.
A group of politicians in Northern Ireland had sued before the Belfast High Court, arguing that lawmakers in the Stormont Assembly should have a say on whether to trigger negotiations with Europe.
Lawyers for the Britain's government had argued there was no legal barrier to Brexit.
The case is separate from a landmark legal challenge being heard before Britain's High Court, which argues that Parliament needs to act before Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger negotiations to leave the 28-nation bloc.
NEW: French lawmakers want higher taxes on Airbnb renters
PARIS (AP) — French lawmakers have approved a measure to increase taxes on people renting their homes, cars and other goods on the internet when their earnings exceed a certain amount.
The measure means people using Airbnb and similar websites would be subject to the same tax as professional services like hotels and car rental companies.
It would apply on property owners making more than 23,000 euros ($25,132) per year by renting their apartment or house, and on people making more than 7,720 euros per year by renting their car or other items.
Lawmakers want to restore some "equity" between occasional renters and professional ones, who often suffer from the competition.
The measure, approved Friday by the lower house of Parliament, will need to be discussed by the Senate in coming weeks.
NEW: UK tribunal to rule on work benefits for Uber drivers
LONDON (AP) — A British employment tribunal is expected to rule on whether Uber drivers are employees in a case that challenges the ride-sharing service's business model.
The GMB union says the drivers are employees and should receive a minimum wage, breaks and vacation pay. The Central London Employment Tribunal's decision Friday could affect as many as 30,000 drivers.
Uber argues it is a technology company that links self-employed drivers with people who need rides. It also says drivers should seek arbitration in the Netherlands, where Uber's European operations are based.
GMB Legal Director Maria Ludkin says the question is whether jobs in the "so-called gig economy really represent a new paradigm of freedom and self-employment, or in fact are simply a new technology ploy to deny employed workers ordinary employment rights."
NEW: Turkey sacks hundreds of military personnel in coup probe
ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's military has fired 460 employees as part of an ongoing investigation into the movement allegedly responsible for the failed coup attempt on July 15.
The Ministry of National Defense announced in a tweet on Friday that 195 staff members — of which 158 were officers — have been dismissed from the army and the navy.
A spokesman says this brings the total number of dismissals by the ministry to 4,243 military personnel since the coup.
Additionally, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency says the Interior Ministry dismissed on Friday 153 members of the Gendarmerie and 112 of the Coast Guard.
Tens of thousands of people have been dismissed or suspended from government jobs for alleged links to the coup, including from the military, police, judiciary and the Education Ministry.
UPDATE: Syrian rebels launch Aleppo offensive
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebel groups say they have launched a large-scale offensive to break the government's siege of eastern Aleppo, a contested city in the north of the country and the current focal point of the six-year war.
The Islamic Front rebel coalition announced on Twitter Friday morning that the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham group targeted a military airport to the east of the city with Grad rockets and destroyed a government position to the west of the city.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said rebels detonated two car bombs against government positions to the city's southwest and attacked with more than 150 rockets.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is hosting the foreign ministers of Syria and Iran in Moscow. He says in televised remarks today that Russia will keep supporting the Syrian government while the West is considering new sanctions to put pressure on both Moscow and Damascus.
Australian parents jailed for daughter's 15 years of abuse
SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian husband and wife have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for sexually abusing, torturing and confining their daughter over 15 years.
The District Court in Sydney was told that the father used various sharp tools to rape and torture the girl who was left tied up in a shed or in a plastic box on the family's ritual property in northern New South Wales state for up to three days at a time.
The parents cannot be identified. The 59-year-old father was sentenced on Friday to 48 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole after serving 36 years.
The 51-year-old mother was sentenced to 16 years in prison and must service at least 11 years.
STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS
New rules aim to help students clear loans in cases of fraud
BOSTON (AP) — The Obama administration is issuing new rules meant to help students get their federal loans erased in cases where there's been fraud and misconduct by their schools.
The Education Department drew up the new rules in response to thousands of claims from former students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges chain, which closed or sold all of its campuses last year amid allegations of fraud.
The rules set forth the conditions under which students can have their loans erased and put colleges on the hook financially for repaying loans instead of taxpayers. They also ban schools from forcing students to sign agreements saying they won't sue over misconduct.
Thus far, 15,000 claims filed by former Corinthian students have been approved, leading the government to clear $247 million in loans.
Jury awards more than $70M to woman in baby powder lawsuit
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Johnson & Johnson promises to appeal a more than $70 million verdict in a California woman's lawsuit alleging that years of using the company's baby powder caused her cancer A St. Louis jury announced its verdict yesterday.
The woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. The suit accused Johnson & Johnson of "negligent conduct. Much research has found no link or a weak one between ovarian cancer and talc used in baby powder
It's the latest case raising concerns about the health ramifications of extended talcum powder use. The jury ruling ended the trial that began Sept. 26 in the case brought by Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. The suit accused Johnson & Johnson of "negligent conduct" in making and marketing its baby powder.