Bolton: Russian Meddling Had No Effect on 2016 Election Outcome

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton says he told Russian officials that its meddling in the 2016 election did not affect the outcome but instead created distrust.

“The important thing is that the desire for interfering in our affairs itself arouses distrust in Russian people, in Russia. And I think it should not be tolerated. It should not be acceptable,” Bolton said Monday on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Bolton is in Moscow for talks with Russian leaders on President Donald Trump’s intention to pull the United States out of a 1987 arms control agreement.

Before joining the White House, Bolton called Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election an “act of war.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian election interference and allegations of collusion with the Trump campaign — allegations both Trump and Russia deny.

The U.S. has charged a number of Russian citizens and agents with election meddling.

Last week, the Justice Department charged a Russian woman with “information warfare” for managing the finances of an internet company looking to interfere in next month’s midterm elections.

The company is owned by a business executive with alleged ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The woman, Elena Khusyaynova, said Monday she is “shocked” by the charges against her. She calls herself a “simple Russian woman” who does not speak English.

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Russian Woman Mocks US Charges of Meddling in 2018 Election

A Russian woman accused by the U.S. of helping oversee a social media effort to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections mocked the accusations Monday, saying that they made her feel proud.

Justice Department prosecutors alleged Friday that Elena Khusyaynova helped manage the finances of the same social media troll farm that was indicted earlier this year by special counsel Robert Mueller. The troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, is one of a web of companies allegedly controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with reported ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Khusyaynova responded Monday in a video on the internet news site Federal News Agency, reportedly also linked to Prigozhin. She said she was bewildered by the allegations that she could have influenced the U.S. elections even though she is just a simple bookkeeper who doesn’t speak English.

Justice Department prosecutors claimed that Khusyaynova, of St. Petersburg, ran the finances for a hidden but powerful Russian social media effort aimed at spreading distrust for American political candidates and causing divisions on hot-button social issues like immigration and gun control. It marked the first federal case alleging foreign interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

“I was surprised and shocked, but then my heart filled with pride,” Khusyaynova said. “It turns out that a simple Russian woman could help citizens of a superpower elect their president. Dear people of the world! Let’s all help the American people elect such politicians who would behave in a humane way and lead our planet to peace and goodness. Let’s all wish America to become a great and peaceful country again!”

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CIA Director Travels to Turkey Over Death of Saudi Journalist

U.S. media reports say CIA director Gina Haspel is traveling to Istanbul to meet with Turkish officials who are investigating the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Sources told news outlets that Haspel departed Monday for Turkey to work on the investigation into Khashoggi’s death.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that he has “top intelligence people in Turkey,” but did not give further details. Trump said he is still not satisfied with the explanation he has heard about Khashoggi’s death, but said “we’re going to get to the bottom of it.” 

The president said he had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler — since Khashoggi’s death. He said he will know more about the death once U.S. teams investigating the killing return to Washington from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

In another development Monday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met Saudi Arabia’s embattled crown prince in Riyadh. The Saudi Foreign Ministry posted a photograph of the meeting on its Twitter account.

Mnuchin canceled his plans to attend a three-day investment conference hosted by Saudi Arabia beginning Tuesday, but said he would meet the Saudi crown prince to discuss counterterrorism efforts. 

New surveillance video released Monday from Istanbul appears to show a Saudi agent wearing Khashoggi’s clothing and leaving Riyadh’s consulate on Oct. 2, an apparent attempt to cover up his killing by showing he had left the diplomatic outpost alive.

The video was taken by Turkish law enforcement and shown Monday on CNN, suggesting Saudi agents used a body double in an effort to conceal the killing. 

The video surfaced as Saudi officials offered yet another explanation for the death of the 59-year-old Saudi journalist who had been living in the U.S. in self-imposed exile while he wrote columns for The Washington Post that were critical of the Saudi crown prince and Riyadh’s involvement in the conflict in Yemen. 

The Saudis at first said Khashoggi had left the consulate and that they did not know his whereabouts. Later, they said he died in a fistfight after an argument inside the consulate. Now, the Saudis are saying Khashoggi died in a chokehold to prevent him from leaving the consulate to call for help. 

It is not known what happened to Khashoggi’s remains, although Turkish officials say he was tortured, decapitated and then dismembered. One Saudi official told ABC News that Khashoggi’s body was given to a “local cooperator” in Istanbul for disposal, but Saudi officials have said they do not know what happened to his remains.

In Washington, White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, told CNN the U.S. is still in a “fact-finding” phase in trying to determine exactly what happened to Khashoggi. 

“We’re getting facts in from multiple places,” Kushner said. He said that Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will then decide how to respond to Saudi Arabia, a long-time American ally.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vowing to reveal details about the case in a Tuesday speech to his parliament.

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Українські десантники здобули срібло на змаганнях «Кембрійський патруль» у Британії

Українські десантники завоювали срібло на багатонаціональних змаганнях «Кембрійський патруль» (Cambrian Patrol) у Великій Британії. Про це повідомили у міністерстві оборони України 22 жовтня.

«У Великій Британії, неподалік містечка Брекон, на півдні області Повіс в Уельсі, на узвишші масиву «Чорних гір» завершилися щорічні міжнародні навчання «Кембрійський патруль» (Cambrian Patrol). Упродовж тижня 127 команд із 27 країн демонстрували свою майстерність у проходженні 80-кілометрового маршу та у виконанні різних бойових завдань. Українські десантники випередили 13 команд, вісім з яких згодом, зійшли з дистанції», – ідеться у повідомленні.

«Дистанція змінилася з 80 до 95 кілометрів, нам заборонили користуватися приладами навігації і до того ж приготували для нас декілька несподіваних сюрпризів», – розповів капітан української команди.

Змагання Cambrian Patrol проводяться з 1959 року, коли група військовослужбовців Сухопутних військ територіальної оборони Уельсу розробила курс тренувань на вихідні дні, який складався з марш-кидка на довгу дистанцію через Кембрійські гори і завершувався стрільбами на полігоні Сеннібрідж. Із кожним роком на змагання залучається все більше міжнародних учасників.

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Поклінний хрест на Алеї Героїв у Дніпрі встановлений законно – облрада

Поклінний хрест у Дніпрі на Алеї пам’яті Героїв Небесної сотні й військових, загиблих у війні на Донбасі, встановлений законно, йдеться у відповіді Дніпропетровської обласної ради на інформаційний запит Радіо Свобода.

«Встановлення поклінного хреста здійснювалось за ініціативою ГФ «Штаб національного захисту» на пам’ятнику (гранітному камені), встановленому в 2014 році їхніми силами і за їхні кошти. Такі дії погоджені з балансоутримувачами меморіальних об’єктів та земельної ділянки», – йдеться у відповіді, отриманій 22 жовтня.

За документом, меморіальні об’єкти комплексу, в тому числі камінь, перебувають у спільній власності територіальних громад області, правом оперативного управління володіє КП «Адміністративне управління Дніпропетровської обласної ради». Сама територія перебуває у комунальній власності міської ради.

У жовтні в Дніпрі представники громадського формування «Штаб національного захисту» встановили кам’яний хрест із тризубом на камені – одному з об’єктів Алеї пам’яті Героїв Небесної сотні та військових, загиблих у війні на Донбасі.

Захід приурочили до Дня захисника України. Такі зміни обурили частину учасників бойових дій на Донбасі й творців алеї, які стверджують, що меморіальний комплекс планувався як простір єдності для людей різних віросповідань і національностей, де хрест зайвий. Тим паче, що, за їхніми словами, він був встановлений самочинно. Творці ж хреста заявляють, що він вписується в композицію і на нього є всі дозвільні документи.

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У Києві цього тижня прогнозують мокрий сніг

У Києві на 24-25 жовтня синоптики прогнозують пориви вітру, дощі й, можливо, мокрий сніг, повідомляє місцева влада.

«У столиці 24–25 жовтня очікується різка зміна погодних умов… Зокрема, очікуються дощі та пориви вітру до 15-20 м/с. У Київській області 25 жовтня очікується дощ, місцями – з мокрим снігом», – йдеться в повідомленні.

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Управління з питань надзвичайних ситуацій Департаменту міського благоустрою радить у вказані дні щільно зачиняти вікна, на вулиці триматися подалі від рекламних щитів, ліній електропередачі, дерев, у разі сильного вітру сховатися в найближчому приміщенні або природному укритті.

Після похолодання, за даними синоптиків, в Україні буде друге бабине літо.

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Famed Norwegian Resistance Fighter of WWII Joachim Ronneberg Dies at 99

Norwegian resistance fighter Joachim Ronneberg, whose bravery helped keep Nazi Germany from building nuclear weapons, has died at 99.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg called him one of the country’s heroes and possibly the last of the World War II resistance fighters.

Ronneberg fled Norway when the Nazis invaded in 1940. He trained with the Norwegian resistance in Britain and returned behind enemy lines.

Ronneberg led Operation Gunnerside — the 1943 secret mission that blew up a German plant producing heavy water, a necessary component in early nuclear research.

The Nazis were working on building nuclear weapons and may have developed a bomb to use on New York or London if the plant had not been destroyed and Hitler defeated in 1945.

Ronneberg’s story was dramatized in the 1965 film The Heroes of Telemark.

Ronneberg later became a journalist and rarely talked about his wartime experiences except to warn younger generations of the dangers of totalitarian governments.

 

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AP Analysis: Saudi Prince Likely to Survive Worst Crisis Yet

The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul is unlikely to halt Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power, but could cause irreparable harm to relations with Western governments and businesses, potentially endangering his ambitious reform plans.

International outrage over Khashoggi’s Oct. 2 slaying at the hands of Saudi officials, under still-disputed circumstances, has marked the greatest crisis in the 33-year-old’s rapid rise, already tarnished by a catastrophic war in Yemen and a sweeping roundup of Saudi businessmen and activists.

The prince had hoped to galvanize world support for his efforts to revamp the country’s oil-dependent economy, but now the monarchy faces possible sanctions over the killing. Saudi Arabia has threatened to retaliate against any punitive action, but analysts say that wielding its main weapon — oil production — could backfire, putting the prince’s economic goals even further out of reach.

“The issue now is how Western governments coordinate a response and to what extent they wish to escalate this in a coordinated fashion,” said Michael Stephens, a senior research fellow who focuses on the Mideast at London’s Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies.

“Would financial sanctions be considered sufficient as to have sent a message to Saudi Arabia that this will never happen again?” Stephens added. “Some may feel this is inadequate, while others, like the Americans, may feel this is going too far.”

Senior aides close to the prince have been fired over Khashoggi’s killing, and 18 suspects have been arrested. But the prince himself, protected by his 82-year-old father, King Salman, has been tapped to lead a panel to reform the kingdom’s intelligence services, a sign he will remain next in line to the throne.

The king has the authority to change the line of succession — as he did when he appointed his son crown prince in the first place, upending the previous royal consensus.

But any direct challenge to Prince Mohammed’s succession “may be destabilizing for the kingdom as a whole,” said Cinzia Bianco, a London-based analyst for Gulf State Analytics. “Being young and being so close to his father, there is a chance that his behavior can be constrained with the influence of his father and other actors around the world,” Bianco said.

That only holds as long as King Salman remains in power. If Prince Mohammed ascends the throne, he could be in power for decades, longer than any other royal since the country’s founding in 1932, including its first monarch, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

The firing and arrests announced by the kingdom appear to be at least an acknowledgement by the royal family of how serious the crisis has become.

“While it might be too early to evaluate the reaction of the international community, these moves might be read as a serious initial signal that the Saudi leadership is course correcting,” wrote Ayham Kamel, the head of Mideast and North Africa research at the Eurasia Group.

“Despite speculation that the crisis spells the end of Mohammad bin Salman, the recent announcements prove that the king still believes that the current line of succession is suitable.”

The Saudis’ greatest concern is the United States, a crucial military ally against archrival Iran and a key source of the kind of foreign investment they will need to reform the economy. A strong American response could encourage other Western countries to follow suit, further amplifying the crisis.

President Donald Trump has thus far sent mixed signals, vowing “severe punishment” over the death of the Washington Post columnist but saying he doesn’t want to imperil American arms sales to the kingdom.

Trump chose Saudi Arabia as his first overseas trip as president, and his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has developed close ties with Prince Mohammed, apparently seeing him as an ally in advancing his yet-to-be-released peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians.

But even if the Saudis keep Trump on their side, they could face a reckoning from the U.S. Congress, where Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed outrage over the killing. Some have suggested using the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act, which makes it possible to impose entry bans and targeted sanctions on individuals for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption.

Saudi Arabia last week threatened “greater action” if faced with sanctions. While no official has explained what that would entail, the general manager of a Saudi-owned satellite news channel suggested it could include weaponizing the kingdom’s oil production.

Forty-five years ago, Saudi Arabia joined other OPEC nations in an oil embargo over the 1973 Mideast war in retaliation for American military support for Israel. Gas prices soared, straining the U.S. economy.

But it’s unclear whether such a move would work in today’s economy. Saudi Arabia has been trying to claw back global market share, especially as Iran faces new U.S. oil sanctions beginning in November. Slashing oil exports would drain revenues needed for Prince Mohammed’s plans to diversify the economy, while a spike in oil prices could revive the U.S. shale industry and lead other countries to boost production.

“The Saudis have been very helpful by accelerating oil production, especially as sanctions on Iran ramp up,” said Kristin Diwan, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. “It would be very foolish of Saudi Arabia to forfeit the trust of the oil market earned over decades by injecting politics into their oil policy.”

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Easter Islanders Hope to Swap a Copy for Iconic Statue in UK museum

For 150 years, the British Museum has housed one of the iconic, heavy-browed stone figures that Chile’s Easter Island is famous for.

Now the islanders are hoping desperately to get it back.

They plan to build a copy of the four-ton monolith and, potentially swap it for the real thing.

The statue, known as a “moai” and named the Hoa Hakananai’a, is one of hundreds originally found on the island. Carved by Polynesian colonizers somewhere between the 13th and 16th centuries, each of the big-headed figures was considered to represent tribal leaders or deified ancestors.

About a dozen have been removed from the island over the years. Now Camilo Rapu, president of the island’s Ma’u Henua community, said it’s time Hoa Hakananai’a was returned.

The Ma’u Henua community, with Chilean government support, launched a campaign in August to persuade the British Museum and Queen Elizabeth II to return the famous moai — in exchange for an exact replica to be carved on Easter Island.

“Our expert carvers will make a copy in basalt, the original stone used in the Hakananai’a moai, as an offering to Queen Elizabeth in exchange for the original,” Rapu told reporters in Santiago.

The Ma’u Henua have signed an agreement with the Bishop Museum — Hawaii’s largest museum, with a huge collection of Polynesian artifacts — to produce a polycarbonate copy of the Hakananai’a, to be ready by November 3.

The actual carving of the statue will take place on Easter Island, using thousand-year-old Rapa Nui techniques — combined with some modern technology to allow the job to be completed in seven months.

The Hakananai’a moai in the British Museum stands 2.4 meters tall (eight feet) and weighs about four tons.

On November 23, a committee of islanders and Chilean officials plans to travel to London in hopes of negotiating the moai’s return.

“This is a historic demand of the Rapa Nui people,” said Rapu. The Rapa Nui were the island’s aboriginal settlers, and their descendants still make up a large part of the population.

“This moai has a spiritual value; it is part of our family and our culture. We want her (the queen) to understand that for us, this is its value — not as a museum piece,” he said.

The islanders will bring with them a book, in support of their demand, signed by some of the thousands of tourists who every year visit the Pacific island paradise some 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) off Chile’s mainland.

 

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