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Republican Donors, Operative Fueling New Anti-Trump Ad Blitz
Republican donors with links to several presidential candidates – as well as a prominent GOP operative – are pooling their resources in a new effort to go after Donald Trump and keep the party’s presidential front-runner from winning the nomination. The most recent bid is a reported “guerrilla campaign” led by a group called Trump Card LLC and run by Liz Mair, former communications official for the Republican National Committee. The group’s goal, according to The Wall Street Journal, is to collect money from anonymous donors to “defeat and destroy” Trump, who has essentially led the GOP presidential field since declaring his candidacy this summer. Fox News
VOA VIEW: The more attacks against Trump, the more fuel will be added to his fire.

Trump, Carson Repeat Disputed 9/11 Celebration Claim
Donald Trump twice repeated over the weekend that he saw people cheering in New Jersey after the September 11 attacks -- but his claims are being widely disputed as false. Trump first made the claim at a campaign rally in Alabama on Saturday, where he said he "watched the World Trade Center go down" and watched in New Jersey, "as thousands of people were cheering as the building was coming down." He doubled down on those claims in an interview Sunday with ABC's "This Week," even as George Stephanopoulos pushed back. CNN

Chicago Chief Says Cop Should Be Fired For Rekia Boyd Death
The chief of the Chicago Police Department said on Monday that he will recommend terminating an off-duty officer who fired his weapon into a crowd and killed an unarmed African-American woman. Officer Dante Servin was found not guilty on involuntary manslaughter charges earlier this year for the March 2012 death of Rekia Boyd, 22. Servin fired his gun after getting into an altercation with a crowd in an alley on the city's West Side, fatally wounding Boyd. The police department said in a statement that Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Wednesday will send formal charges to the Chicago Police Board, recommending that Servin be terminated.
USA Today
VOA VIEW: Police nationwide will stand behind Servin with job action.

Don't Buy These 4 Things On Black Friday
Black Friday has become synonymous in our minds with great deals. Often, the deals are impressive as businesses compete for shoppers' attention and dollars. But there’s a dirty little Black Friday secret. Just because you're buying on Black Friday doesn't mean you're getting the biggest savings. You might do better buying before or after, depending on the product. But how do you know? Every year, software giant Adobe uses its Adobe Marketing Cloud to crunch numbers and make predictions about the upcoming season. Adobe says that it's been accurate within about 2% every year so far. This year, it examined 55 million products from 4,500 retailers stretching back to 2008 and released an incredibly detailed report. So, what does it tell us? USA Today

State Department Issues Three-Month Worldwide Travel Alert
The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Monday to U.S. citizens due to “increased terrorist threats” during the next three months. “Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions,” officials said. “These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.” The alert, in effect until February 24, 2016, comes after the groups also known as ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people, and for the downing of a Russian plane in Egypt, which killed 224 people. According to CBS News foreign policy reporter Margaret Brennan, it’s the first time the alert has been issued since December 2014. Boston Globe

Maine Proposes Ban On Junk Food Purchases With Food Stamps
Maine's top health official on Monday proposed banning the purchase of soda and candy under the federal aid program known as food stamps, describing the move as needed to counter an "alarming epidemic of obesity" among the state's poor. In their formal request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which must approve any change in rules related to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, state officials said the shift would help control the rising costs of healthcare for overweight, low-income patients. A 2012 study by a University of Maine researcher put the annual medical costs of obesity in Maine at $452.7 million. Reuters

U.S. Destroys 280 ISIS Oil Trucks In Syrian City Of Deir Ez-Zor
American warplanes destroyed around 280 of ISIS' oil tanker trucks along the Syria-Iraq border on Monday, U.S. officials told NBC News. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said that A-10 Warthogs and AC-130 Specter gunships launched 24 precision-guided bombs and strafed the tanker trucks with heavy machine-gun and cannon fire. The vehicles were gathered at a "fuel collection point" in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. The planes dropped leaflets warning the drivers to "run immediately or you will be killed," according to the officials, adding that similar leaflets were dropped during U.S. airstrikes last week that destroyed 116 oil tanker trucks. MSNBC


White House To GOP: Worry About Gun Control, Not rRefugees
The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said lawmakers’ failure to stop suspected terrorists from purchasing guns in the U.S. “is a pretty clear indication that Republicans in Congress are more interested in playing politics, and more scared of the NRA, than they are concerned about doing the right thing for our national security.” Washington Times

Hollande's Message To Obama: This Is An Emergency
French President Francois Hollande will arrive in Washington Tuesday to deliver a message to President Obama about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS): This is an emergency. A French diplomatic official told CBS News that the prime message that Hollande will deliver to Mr. Obama Tuesday in Washington is? that the imminent threat from ISIS is an emergency that requires urgent action. The two presidents are scheduled to meet and hold a press conference Tuesday morning. European Union officials are increasingly concerned and telling U.S. officials that the Syrian crisis -- with its refugee flows and spawning of terror groups -- is destabilizing Europe.? CBS

Donald Trump's Disturbing Racial Rhetoric
After slandering Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists, and retweeting images of monkeys trying to cross the border, Donald Trump has declared open season on African-Americans. On Sunday, Trump defended the beating of a black protester who disrupted a campaign rally. White supporters punched and kicked the man, who was wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. Hours later, Trump retweeted an image of a black gunman, twinned with false statistics that blame blacks for 97% of violence against blacks in America, shifting attention away from the white police brutality against blacks that has been so much in the news lately. CNN
VOA VIEW:  The truth hurts - the vast amount of crimes against blacks come from blacks.

5 Things To Know About The Biggest Ever Drug Merger
Pfizer (PFE) and Allergan (AGN) are merging in what will be the biggest pharmaceutical industry merger ever, combining the makers of Lipitor, Botox and Advil in a $160 billion deal. While the numbers may be stratospheric, the merger has some very down-to-earth implications for consumers, taxpayers and investors, all of whom have a stake in the combination's outcome. For one, it would result in the largest ever corporate tax "inversion" by headquartering the merged company in Ireland, Allergan's base, which would lower its tax rate and potentially provide less tax revenue to the U.S. The Obama administration and other critics attack such arrangements as blatant tax dodges, and even "unpatriotic," while corporations say they are acting in the best interest of shareholders. CBS

Ben Carson Says He Saw 'Newsreels' Of American Muslims Cheering On 9/11
In a press conference following a rally in Nevada today, presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters that he saw a video of American Muslims cheering on Sept. 11, 2001, in New Jersey when the World Trade Center's twin towers fell. When asked by ABC News if American Muslims were cheering on 9/11, Carson said “Yes.”
When asked if he specifically saw it happening he said, “I saw the film of it, yeah.” Later in the press conference he clarified he saw it from “the newsreels” from the 9/11 coverage at the time. Over the weekend, fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump said he saw New Jersey residents celebrating the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- a claim that has been challenged by fact checkers. ABC


U.S. Carrying The Load In Fight Against ISIS
Ahead of a meeting between President Obama and French President Francois Hollande, the White House said Monday that the U.S. is contributing more than its share to the fight against the Islamic State. “The United States is certainly pulling more than our own weight” in the 65-nation coalition fighting the extremist group in Syria and Iraq, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. Mr. Hollande will meet with Mr. Obama at the White House Tuesday to discuss how to ramp up efforts to defeat the Islamic State in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. The French president has urged Mr. Obama to work more closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military forces are supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, an opponent of the U.S. Washington Times

Marco Rubio Warns In 1st National TV Ad 'Paris Could Happen Here'
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio will debut the first national television ad of his campaign Tuesday focusing squarely on terrorism. The 30-second ad features the Florida senator up close against a simple black background as he warns Americans of the dangers of “radical terrorists.” “This is a civilizational struggle, between the values of freedom and liberty, and radical Islamic terror,” Rubio says. “What happened in Paris could happen here.” In the wake of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead, the presidential hopeful calls the terrorists “disgruntled or disempowered people.” “These are radical terrorists who want to kill us because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school,” Rubio, 44, says directly to the camera. He wraps up the ad with an ultimatum on the war against ISIS. ABC

Yellen Defends Seven Years Of Low Interest Rates In Letter To Nader
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, responding to a letter calling for higher interest rates on behalf of savers, said Americans would have been worse off had the central bank not kept rates near zero since 2008, and repeated that she expects to tighten policy “gradually” after liftoff. Warning that “an overly aggressive increase in rates would at most benefit savers only temporarily,” she argued in the letter released Monday in Washington that the Fed’s seven-year era of zero rates had sheltered American savers from dramatic declines in the value of their homes and retirement accounts. “Many of these savers undoubtedly would have lost their jobs or pensions (or faced increased burdens from supporting unemployed children and grandchildren),” if the Fed had not acted with such force, she wrote. Bloomberg

Minneapolis Police Say 5 Shot Near Protest Scene
Five people were shot near the site of an ongoing protest over the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, Minneapolis police said. The shootings occurred late Monday night a block from the police department’s 4th Precinct, where protesters have been conducting a sit-in since the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15. Police Department Spokesman John Elder said in a news release that officers responded to the sound of gunshots around 10:40 p.m. and 911 calls shortly after reported five people had been shot. Dozens of officers assisted victims and secure the scene, the statement said. Charlotte Observer
VOA VIEW: Police must respond firmly to violent protesters and demonstrators, or the rule of law will fail.

San Diego's Rise In Homelessness Bucks U.S. Trend
The homeless population in San Diego city and county is now the fourth largest in the country, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and nearly 48 percent of them are sleeping on the streets. San Diego’s homeless population rose to 8,742 this year from 8,506 in 2014, a 2.8 percent increase that bumped it into the top four for the first time behind the metropolitan areas of Seattle, Los Angeles and New York City. San Diego was the 12th ranked metro area in 2007, and has steadily made its way up to the No. 4 spot, according to the federal data. San Diego Union

Huckabee: Obama ‘Probably’ Wants Americans To Learn Koran Verses
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee mocked the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism policy Monday in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in Mali, saying the White House would rather espouse having Americans “memorize Koran verses” than deal with the problem head-on. The former Arkansas Republican governor, in an op-ed piece for, asked, “Why does the Obama administration express more outrage at conservatives than at radical Islamic terrorists?”
“President Obama seems more interested in protecting the reputation of Islam than protecting the American people,” Huckabee wrote. He added: “After this attack in West Africa, Obama’s new domestic terrorism plan probably requires Americans to memorize Koran verses.” Kansas City Star

How To Fly Free Forever: Put $170 Million On Your AmEx
Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian, who doesn’t exactly struggle to afford a plane ticket, can now likely fly free, in first class, with his whole family, anywhere in the world, for the rest of his life. All because he bought a painting. Liu was the winning bidder for Amedeo Modigliani’s Reclining Nude at a Christie’s auction earlier this month – offering $170.4 million – and when the sale closes he'll be putting it on his American Express card. Liu, a high-profile collector of Chinese antiquities and art, has used his AmEx in the past when he’s won art auctions. He put a $36 million tea cup from the Ming Dynasty on his AmEx last year, according to reports, and put other artifacts on his card earlier this year. He and his wife said they plan on using their American Express card to pay for the Modigliani, according to news reports after the sale. American Express will not confirm Liu Yiqian’s Modigliani purchase, or say if it would be the biggest ever on their cards, citing privacy reasons. But it can be done. Miami Herald

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Carson Slams 'Hypocrisy' Of His Doubters On Foreign Policy
Dropping in the polls amid questions over the extent of his foreign policy knowledge, Ben Carson told an Iowa crowd on Sunday night that "nobody ever pays any attention" to his foreign policy positions - but President Obama and others use "almost the exact words" that he uses in talking about the fight against ISIS. "I've said for multiple months, is that if we take the fight to [ISIS] over there, we're much less likely to have to fight them over here," Carson said in Wilton, Iowa. He expressed annoyance over the recent criticisms directed at him. "I find it a little frustrating when I say things like that and nobody ever pays any attention," Carson said. "And they say, 'Carson doesn't know anything about foreign affairs.' And yet, everybody picks up on all of the stuff that I say, including President Obama, and starts using it themselves. I think it's very, very strange." MSNBC

Income Inequality Makes Rich People Stingier
If Charles Dickens's Victorian London had more income equality, Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn't have been such a miser. That's the implication of new research that suggests inequality makes wealthy people less generous. The study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to probe how inequality influences altruism. Some earlier research in the U.S. has observed that the rich are stingier than people with more modest incomes. But studies in Europe and Japan didn't find the same effect. "That was a bit of a puzzle for us," says Stéphane Côté, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, who wrote the paper with colleagues from Toronto and Stanford. "That’s why we reasoned maybe a factor that seems to effect the rich is whether they live in a place that is highly unequal in terms of economic inequality." Bloomberg

US Imposes Sanctions Related To Violence In Burundi
President Barack Obama is imposing sanctions against individuals in Burundi the U.S. says are contributing to violence in the African nation. Among those targeted by the asset freeze and visa restrictions are Burundi's minister of public security and a leader of the country's national police. Burundi has been racked by violence since April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, sparking violent street clashes and a failed coup attempt. According to the United Nations, at least 240 people have been killed since the violence broke out. Las Vegas Sun


Feinstein: 'ISIL Is A Quasi-State'; Obama: 'Bunch Of Killers With Good Social Media'
Giving Islamic State terrorists more credit than President Obama has done, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, described the group as "enormously strong" and "a quasi-state." Feinstein also admitted that she is skeptical of the Obama administration's efforts to degrade and destroy ISIL: "I don't think the approach is sufficient to (do) the job," she told CBS's "Face the Nation" with John Dickerson. "I think there are general principles, and the general principles in terms of the administration strategy, too, but I'm concerned that we don't have the time, and we don't have years. We need to be aggressive now, because ISIL is a quasi-state. CNS News

Texas Student Arrested Over Clock Seeks $15 Million
The family of a Texas Muslim teenager arrested for bringing a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb to school demanded $15 million in damages and an apology from the city of Irving and its schools to avoid a lawsuit, lawyers said on Monday. The lawyers represent the family of Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a student who dabbles in robotics and attended a Dallas-area high school. His arrest in September sparked controversy, with many saying he was taken into custody because of his religion.In separate letters to the city of Irving, located west of Dallas, and the Irving Independent School District, lawyers said the ninth grader was wrongfully arrested, illegally detained and questioned without his parents. Reuters

Vast Majority Of World Disasters Caused By Weather
A new United Nations report aims to shine the light on the human and economic costs of weather-related disasters. Of the thousands of disasters nations have suffered over the last two decades, 90 percent have be weather-related. The majority have been caused by floods, storms, heatwaves and droughts. But the costs of these disasters, the study's authors point out, aren't well established. Only about 35 percent of all major disasters included data on economic losses. The official figure for disaster costs over the last 20 years is $1.891 trillion. UPI

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Paris Street Cleaner Finds Terror Vest
A street cleaner yesterday found an explosive vest similar to those used in the Paris attacks near the place where a fugitive suspect's cellphone was found, raising the possibility that he aborted his mission, either ditching a malfunctioning vest or fleeing in fear. Authorities said the device, which did not have a detonator, was found in a pile of rubble in the southern Paris suburb of Montrouge. A police official said the vest contained bolts and the same type of explosive used in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that claimed 130 lives and left hundreds wounded. It was found in the same area where a cellphone belonging to fugitive suspect Salah Abdeslam was pinpointed by GPS on the day of the Paris attacks, two police officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. Philadelphia Inquirer

Obama Moves To Lead Fight Against IS
Under pressure from politicians at home and Russian maneuvering abroad, the Obama administration is moving this week to reassert leadership of the international fight against the Islamic State. President Obama will meet French President Francois Hollande in Washington on Tuesday for the first in-person talks since Islamic State operatives attacked Paris on Nov. 13. That will follow two other high-profile meetings on Monday with allies. Vice President Biden on Monday presided over a closed-door gathering of ambassadors representing the 65-nation coalition against the Islamic State. And Secretary of State John Kerry met with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two major backers of the Syrian opposition. Philadelphia Inquirer

Turkey shoots down Russian warplane near Syrian border
Turkey has confirmed that it shot down a Russian warplane Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia denies that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies. Russia’s Defense Ministry said: “We are looking into the circumstances of the crash of the Russian jet. The Ministry of Defense would like to stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.” Russia said the Su-24 was downed by artillery fire, but Turkey claimed that its F-16s fired on the Russian plane after it ignored several warning. NY Post

US Preschool Enrollment Low Among Developed Nations
Sixty-six percent of American 4-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education, placing the United States well below average compared to other developed countries at a time of increasing focus on early learning, according to a report released Tuesday. As U.S. presidential candidates weigh the costs and benefits of early childhood education on the campaign trail, the report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development points to a growing global recognition of its worth, the report's authors said. While enrollment figures for American 3- and 4-year-olds didn't change much from 2005 to 2013, the OECD averages went up significantly. In 2013, an average of 88 percent of 4-year-olds in the countries surveyed were enrolled, compared with 72 percent in 2005. For 3-year-olds, the average enrollment went from 52 percent in 2005 to 74 percent in 2013. Tampa Tribune

Wooing Blacks, Sanders Reframes, But Doesn't Change Argument
Bernie Sanders acknowledges that he needs more support from black voters to have any chance of defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. And, also stating the obvious, Sanders is a longtime politician from Vermont, where the population is 95 percent white. So he's not exactly spent much time before now campaigning among African-Americans. The result is a political tightrope for a 74-year-old senator who has assembled a national following as a self-styled "democratic socialist" calling for a "political revolution" that wrests control of the U.S. government from "the billionaire class" comprising the nation's wealthiest individuals and corporations. Tampa Tribune

Violence Flares As Kerry Meets Netanyahu In Israel
A Palestinian motorist rammed his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint on Tuesday, wounding three, Israel's military said, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited for the first time in over a year, hoping to calm two months of deadly violence. Kerry touched down amid a new rash of deadly attacks that have dampened any lingering hopes of renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians during the Obama administration's final year. Ahead of his trip, Kerry conceded he was coming without the ambitious agenda of past visits and was primarily focused on stemming the violence. "There can be no peace when we have an onslaught of terror, not here, not anywhere else," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he welcomed the chief American diplomat. Houston Chronicle

Seoul: North Korean Leader Kim Demotes Top Official
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is believed to have demoted one of his top officials and sent him to a rural collective farm for reeducation, South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers Tuesday. If confirmed, the banishment of Choe Ryong Hae would be the latest in a series of executions, purges and dismissals that Kim has orchestrated in what analysts say is a further strengthening of his grip on power since taking over in late 2011. The office of lawmaker Shin Kyung-min said the National Intelligence Service disclosed the information in a closed-door briefing for members of the legislature's intelligence committee. Houston Chronicle

Deadly 'Kissing Bug' Reported In Georgia, According To CDC
The "kissing bug," which carries a parasite in its feces that can cause a deadly disease, has been found in Georgia, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — though it's unclear when, where or how many have been reported. Known as triatomine bugs, they have recently made headlines for popping up around the South, especially in Texas. They feed on the blood of mammals, including humans, and may carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease — which, if left untreated, can cause sudden death, according to the CDC. However, there's a low chance in the United States of getting Chagas from a triatomine bug. Transmission is tricky even if the bug is carrying the parasite (and not all of them are), according to the CDC: Fecal matter from the bug must be rubbed into a bite wound or a mucous membrane, such as the eye. Alanta Journal

Social Media Helps Drive Historic Cuban Exodus To US
As summer began to bake the central Cuban city of Sancti Spiritus, Elio Alvarez and Lideisy Hernandez sold their tiny apartment and everything in it for $5,000 and joined the largest migration from their homeland in decades. Buying two smartphones for $160 apiece on a layover on their way to Ecuador, they plugged themselves into a highly organized, well-funded and increasingly successful homebrewed effort to make human traffickers obsolete by using smartphones and messaging apps on much of the 3,400-mile (5,500-kilometer) overland journey that’s become Cubans’ main route to the U.S. Some 45,000 Cubans are expected to move by bus, boat, taxi and on foot from Ecuador and other South and Central American countries to the Texas and California borders this year, afraid that the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba will mean an imminent end to special immigration privileges that date to the opening of the Cold War. Charlotte Observer

NATO To Hold Emergency Meeting
NATO will hold an emergency meeting after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet along the Syrian border that Ankara said had violated its airspace. Tuesday's meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the alliance's main decision-making body, will be held at Turkey's request, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements. The council, composed of ambassadors from the United States and NATO's 27 other member countries, will convene at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) The official said "the aim of this extraordinary NAC meeting is for Turkey to inform allies about the downing of a Russian airplane." SF Gate

Benghazi, Email Probes Plow Ahead After Clinton Testimony
Nearly five weeks after Hillary Rodham Clinton's marathon testimony on the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, several investigations into the deadly assault and Clinton's use of a private email account and server are going full bore — and likely will continue into the presidential election year. Republicans on the House Benghazi panel were traveling to Europe, while Senate investigators continue to probe Clinton's use of a private homebrew email server for business purposes and her decision to delete messages she deemed personal. Clinton served as secretary of state during the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and now is the Democratic front-runner for president. SF Gate

DC Police Chief Who Advocated Taking Down Mass Shooters Has Approved Few Gun Permits
Despite her call on Sunday night for civilians to “take the gunman down” in a mass shooting scenario, Washington DC’s chief of police has approved just 48 concealed carry licenses in the past year and nearly 80 percent of all applicants have been rejected. Of 233 applications sent for review since the Metropolitan Police Department began accepting permits on Oct. 23, 2014, 185 licenses had been denied as of Nov. 14, a department spokesperson told on Monday. That low approval rate is seemingly at odds with remarks Chief of Police Cathy Lanier made on Sunday night’s episode of “60 Minutes.” Fox News
VOA VIEW: Lanier is a double talk liberal.

Intel Chair: WH Denied Having 'Containment Strategy' Toward ISIL, Until Obama Said: 'We Have Contained Them'
Rep. David Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says the Obama White House denied having a "containment strategy" toward ISIS/ISIL -- before President Obama told ABC News this month that "our goal has been first to contain -- and we have contained them." Speaking to CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper, Nunes noted that the U.S. didn't "go after ISIS until two reporters got their heads cut off. And then the president said, well, this is our strategy." (Obama explained his anti-ISIS "strategy" in September 2014, saying the U.S.-led coalition would "conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes" against terrorists in both Iraq and Syria; send U.S. advisers to help ground forces in their fight; train and equip the Syrian opposition; and boost intelligence and other counter-terrorism efforts.) CNS

Vitamin D Does Not Reduce Colds In Asthma Patients
Previous studies have shown that children with asthma have low levels of vitamin D, with studies mounted to find whether increasing levels of the vitamin would help ease the chronic condition. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin were surprised to find it had no effect on decreasing colds or asthma symptoms. Researchers at Wisconsin had previously published research showing patients whose vitamin D levels were returned to normal had a 40 percent reduction in asthma exacerbations, however the new study did not find vitamin D reduced the number or severity of colds in adults with the condition. UPI

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IAF Jets Bomb Hamas Targets In Central Gaza Strip
The Israeli military announced late Monday that its air force had struck targets in the central Gaza Strip in retribution for Palestinian rocket fire earlier in the day. According to the IDF, the air force attacked a number of installations in central Gaza belonging to Hamas' military infrastructure. "The IDF views Hamas as being the party responsible for what takes place in the Gaza Strip," the army said in a statement. A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel's Eshkol Regional Council Monday morning, the IDF confirmed. Jerusalem Post

Jonathan Pollard Loses His Job Due To Parole Conditions
An employer who had intended to give a salaried position to Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard retracted the offer Monday, because the conditions of his parole would have prevented him from doing his job. Pollard received an offer to become a research analyst in the finance department of a respected investment firm. But his parole conditions require him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet at all times for GPS tracking of his whereabouts and to be subjected to unfettered monitoring and inspection of his computers and those of his employer. He cannot leave his home in New York City before 7 a.m. or come home after 7 p.m., which makes it difficult to travel to and from work, to attend prayer services, or to accept invitations to dinner on the Sabbath and holidays from friends and relatives. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Any parole requirements after 30 years of incarceration is capricious.

Syria Conflict: Army Captures Western Towns From IS
State media and activists said troops, backed by Russian air strikes, had seized the towns of Mahin and Hawwarin. They lie to the east of a strategically important motorway connecting Damascus with major cities to the north. The army has launched a series of offensives since Russia launched an air campaign to bolster President Bashar al-Assad's government on 30 September. Russia has said it has targeted only "terrorists", but activists say its strikes have mainly hit Western-backed rebel groups which are opposed to IS. BBC

Russia Resumes Nuclear Trade With Iran As Sanctions Lifted
The move follows Iran's agreement to international curbs on its nuclear programme. UN sanctions against Iran are to be lifted in exchange for that agreement, under a deal signed in July. Russia says it will help Iran's export of enriched uranium and modification of nuclear facilities at Arak and Fordo. Iran says its nuclear programme is only for civilian, not military, purposes. Mr Putin is in Tehran to attend a summit of gas exporting countries. His talks with Iranian leaders are likely to focus on the war in Syria, where Russia and Iran are the main military backers of President Bashar al-Assad. BBC

Brussels To Stay In Lockdown 'For At Least Another Week'
Brussels will keep unprecedented security measures in place for at least another week as it faces an imminent and serious threat of a major terrorist attack, Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, has said. Anxious inhabitants of the Belgian capital had hoped for a respite from the lockdown that has seen shops, schools and offices shut, public transport restricted, museums and theatres closed, seasonal markets cancelled, and thousands of armed police and soldiers in the streets. Some measures – such as the closure of schools and the metro – may be lifted on Wednesday, Michel told a press conference on Monday evening. Others will remain, however, and the military deployment will be reinforced. Guardian

Obama 'Confident' In Information From Isis Briefings Despite Pentagon Inquiry
Barack Obama has confidence in the staff who brief him on the war against Islamic State, his spokesman said on Monday, despite an official investigation into claims of an intelligence whitewash. The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations by the US military’s central command (Centcom) intelligence analysts that supervisors revised conclusions of their reports to exaggerate progress and play down failures in Iraq and Syria. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Obama has made clear to his advisers he wants a warts-and-all account of the fight against Isis. “The president does have a lot of confidence in the individuals who are responsible for presenting intelligence information to him, primarily because he has given them very specific instruction about his desire to get the possible sense of what’s actually happening on the ground, even if it means coming to the president with some bad news,” he said. Guardian

UN Seeks Common European Strategy On Health Care For Refugee And Migrant Influx
As the unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants into Europe strains host countries’ medical resources, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) opened a high-level meeting in Rome today to draft a common strategy on health care for the newcomers, ranging from prompt vaccination against measles and polio to dealing with childbirth complications. “Health systems in the European Region, including those of countries that receive refugees and migrants, are well equipped to diagnose and treat common infectious and non-communicable diseases,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, which includes Turkey and has received nearly three million refugees and migrants this year alone. UN News

Mali: UN Police Help Mali Government Probe Of Deadly Terrorist Attack
United Nations police are providing Mali with support and technical expertise in the investigation of Friday’s deadly terrorist attack on the Radisson hotel in Bamako, the West African country’s capital. Already on the day of the “despicable terrorist attack,” a force from the security and safety section, the Quick Reaction Force, and police segment of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was on site together with medical care personnel, ambulances and fire trucks to provide all possible aid, the Mission reported today. UN News

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