News Briefs – National and International


Kavanaugh confirmation vote postponed pending FBI probe

The confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh hit another roadblock as the Senate requested an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. President Donald Trump ordered the investigation on Friday, saying the investigation was to be “limited in scope and completed in less than one week.” Swing-vote senators including Republicans Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski, along with Democrat Joe Manchin, said that the investigation had to take place before they would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. The Judiciary Committee requested that the investigation look at “current credible allegations” against the nominee. Kavanaugh currently stands of being accused of sexual misconduct by three women and has categorically denied the allegations.

Trump announces modernized NAFTA deal with Mexico, Canada

President Donald Trump announced Monday that the United States, Mexico and Canada had agreed to a revised trade pact, effectively modernizing the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement he had promised to terminate during his campaign. According to the New York Times, the deal is the result of more than a year of intense negotiations between the three countries. Changes in the new deal were made concerning areas such as intellectual property and the digital economy to bring the agreement up-to-date with the digital age. The deal was welcome by several business groups but criticized by others for not lifting tariffs on steel and aluminum. Mexico and Canada responded by saying that they expect those tariffs to be worked out separately from the new trade deal.

Facebook hack a ‘sophisticated attack,’ says company VP

The more recent Facebook hack, allowing outside parties to control approximately 50 million accounts, was a “sophisticated attack,” said Carolyn Everson, the company’s vice president of global marketing solutions. Everson said the hack, which was announced by Facebook on Sept. 28, could only be detected if the hackers made a certain move. According to CNBC, the 50 million targeted accounts had their automatic login reset as a precaution. In a precautionary move, 40 million other users also had their logins reset. No password or credit card information was taken, according to the report. Everson said that the latest attack was Facebook’s fault but that the company was being proactive in its response to this incident.

More than 800 dead from Indonesian earthquake, tsunami

At least 844 people are dead after a devastating earthquake hit the eastern Sulawesi Island of Indonesia on Friday. The resulting tsunami, which surprised weather officials, entered Palu Bay, hitting the city of Palu with tragic results. Waves as high as 18 feet crashed into the city, destroying buildings and killing hundreds. According to officials, none of the country’s tsunami detector buoys were working because they had either been damaged by vandals or stolen. The dead are being buried in mass graves and are expecting as many as 1,300 victims to arrive. As of Monday, aid agencies continued to try reaching as many people as possible but were struggling getting staff into affected areas because of the damage cause by the natural disasters.

Iran fires missiles at Syrian militants over military parade attack

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched ballistic missiles, along with drone bombers, directed at eastern Syria on Monday. The attack targeted militants Iran blamed for an attack that occurred at a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz last month. According to ABC News, the missiles had enough range to strike U.S. military bases and targets inside both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The report said that Monday’s strike by Iran was the country’s second missile attack in a month’s time. “Terrorists used bullets in Ahvaz,” said Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the Guard’s aerospace division. “We answered them with missiles.” The Guard is a paramilitary group that answers directly to the Iranian supreme leader.

Former nuncio releases second letter on pope, ex-cardinal

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former papal nuncio to the United States, released a second letter on Sept. 27 regarding the alleged cover-up by Church officials of the sex abuse committed by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. In the letter, Vigano said that in the month after releasing his first letter, neither the pope nor any cardinals have denied the testimony and that their silence confirms his testimony. Pope Francis has made few remarks on Vigano’s letters, saying to journalists in August that he was not going to make a comment on the testimony and that it “speaks for itself.” On Sept. 26, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, announced the body’s investigation into the allegations against McCarrick after previously asking the Vatican to do so.

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