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    Seventy-seven-year-old María Gonzalez is tired of waking up, Monday to Friday, to sell toilet paper in the Chilean capital. Her meager $146 monthly pension puts her below the poverty line, which in Chile is around $222 a month. “I feel tired. Honestly, I’m exhausted. These last 15 days that I have been at home, I slept and ate,” Gonzalez told The Associated Press after protests shut down public transport and made it impossible for her to reach the city to sell. What started on Oct. 18 as a student protest over a modest subway fare hike has ballooned into a massive, mostly peaceful social uprising that continues to consume Chile. Those early days were marked by attacks across Santiago’s subway that rendered public transit nonexistent. Looting of grocery stores and pharmacies also broke out. The chaos meant that thousands of people couldn’t get to work. The protests include struggling retirees as well as others seeking better salaries, subsidized housing, a decrease in the cost of medicine and a new constitution. Many also want to overhaul a dictatorship-era private pension system that is widely criticized in a country with a rapidly aging population. More than 1.2-million Chileans receive a pension that is less than $216 a month, well below the minimum salary of $400. Like Gonzalez, many retirees need to work in the informal sector to make ends meet. She sells big toilet paper rolls for offices, and paper towels. “Sometimes I’m left with everything... but when I sell, I earn 5,000 to 6,000 pesos (the equivalent of $7 or $8),” she said. “With that money, I can charge my phone, buy bread, buy some chicken.” On an unusually good month, she can earn $160 this way, helping cover living expenses and her $133 rent in the impoverished settlement of Cerro Navia on the outskirts of Santiago. She says without that extra income, she would be living off the cold bread, powdered milk and soup that the state’s health system provides for the elderly who live in poverty. “I’m always eating beans, chickpeas,” she said. “For example, today I didn’t go to the grocery store and I’m living off my breakfast, which was milk, tea, and a pastry that cost 1,300 pesos ($1.70).” The limitations of her life are visible in other ways. “I don’t have a heater, I don’t have anything. ... I’m sleeping on a cot someone gave me. I don’t have enough to buy a bed,” said Gonzalez, who lives alone. “One day I sat down and I figured out I spend more than 500,000 pesos ($660) a year just on transportation.” It costs Gonzalez $42 a month to take public transportation twice a day. That’s 29% of the pension received by the poorest in society. And while a middle class household of two spends roughly $28 a month on electricity, $21 on water and $45 on gas, the cost of a basic basket of food costs, according to the government, about $58. In 1981, during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, Chile enacted a pension system that requires all workers to allocate 10% of their earnings to privately run pension fund administrators, known by their Spanish initials of AFP. Those who haven’t made contributions, or have very few, receive a basic pension from the state that amounts to $146 a month. That minimum wasn’t introduced until 2008 under the government of Michelle Bachelet, and later modified in response to public demands. Some 500,000 elderly receive that basic pension. Gonzalez calls the AFP system “terrible.” Women, who can retire at the age of 60 versus the age of 65 for men, typically have saved less. That is reflected in their pensions, which are smaller, although they live longer than men. Prior to the protests, President Sebastián Piñera announced a pension reform proposal that would increase contributions from 10% to 14%, with employers responsible for covering the increase. Segundo Vergara, 69, earns 400,000 pesos ($530) a month as a cleaner. If his wife wasn’t working, “we would be living off bread and water, eating rice and pasta every day,” he told the AP as he attended a demonstration in Santiago. Vergara said he is still working in hopes of taking advantage of a proposed law, not yet approved, that would reward those who retire later with an additional contribution from the state to their pension. At the moment, his pension would be about $260. Margarita Álvarez, who works at a human rights organization and has a disability pension, said that the existing pension system needs to go “because in the end, the people who win are the ones who are managing the money.” The six pension companies that manage Chileans’ savings recently announced that their earnings during the first nine months of the year had jumped 70.6%, thanks in part to better profitability, and more people contributing. Álvarez, 64, lives with her husband, a daughter and grandchildren. She says they are able to eat beef twice a month. “The rest is vegetable soup. Luckily, artichokes are around, because they are cheaper, and eggs ... which help a lot at home, especially when you have children. You have to feed them protein somehow.” Fernando Larraín, director general of the pension administrators’ association, said that the issue Chile confronts is one of meager salaries, as well as the fact a large number of retirees worked during the 80s and 90s, when the salaries in the country were even lower. “In addition, today, we have around 30% of the population that isn’t contributing” to pensions on a regular basis, he said. He also said that the 10% savings rate is “a lot lower than the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. We have retirement ages that have not adapted to the reality of the labor market ... and a basic pension in which the state uses 0.8% of its gross domestic product, compared to 6%, on average, of OECD countries.” Benjamín Saez, an economist at Fundacion Sol, an NGO that specializes in issues of inequality, said that people who made pension contributions over 30 years or more still receive just about $266.” He said that introduction of the minimum $146 pension has only served to “postpone the crisis” as it “is not enough to cover even 70% of the poverty line.” ___ Associated Press writer Marcos Sepúlveda contributed to this report.
  • Chinese Olympic champion swimmer Sun Yang defended his failure to take a doping test by testifying at a rare public hearing Friday that inspectors drawing blood and urine samples failed to have the proper identification papers. Courtroom translation problems in both English and Chinese marred the landmark hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, frustrating Sun’s lawyers during his opening statement and cross-examination. Sun’s mother later took the stand in sometimes-combative testimony in the afternoon, admonishing lawyers, “I haven’t finished yet.” One lawyer said he could not tell if Sun was being evasive or if it was simply a misunderstood interpretation. The case stems from the three-time Olympic champion’s refusal to cooperate with three anti-doping officials during a random test at his home in China in September 2018. “During inspection, I realized they don’t have any authorized papers to prove their identification,” Sun testified. A WADA expert disputed Sun’s account, saying the inspectors’ credentials were in order. A tribunal appointed by swimming world body FINA gave Sun only a caution in January, but the World Anti-Doping Agency appealed the case to CAS. Its judges are not expected to give a verdict from Friday’s 12-hour hearing until next year and if the ruling goes against him, Sun could be banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 2-meter (6-foot, 7-inch) Sun became a star in China as its first man to win an Olympic title in swimming. He won gold medals in the 400- and 1,500-meter freestyle races at the 2012 London Olympics. He added gold in the 200 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The 27-year-old Sun also has 11 world championship titles and is a polarizing figure in the sport. Annoyed by official secrecy surrounding Sun’s three-month ban for a positive test in 2014, one Australian rival at the 2016 Olympics in Rio called him a drug cheat. Sun provoked more anger among rivals by winning two world titles in July while the CAS appeal was pending. Medalists from Australia and Britain refused to stand on the podium with him in Gwangju, South Korea. The translation problems at Friday’s hearing began almost from the start, and it was unclear at times how much of the testimony and questions were understood, with both judges and lawyers expressing frustration. At one point, Sun’s London-based lawyer, Ian Meakin, apologized for asking his client leading questions, saying: “The translation was so bad.” Richard Young, a lawyer for WADA, said the translation was so bad that “you couldn’t tell if he was monumentally evasive or couldn’t understand the questions.” When the hearing resumed after a break, juding panel president Franco Frattini also apologized “for the poor quality of the interpretation.” The court noted that Sun’s team selected the translators, who were replaced at a lunch break by a WADA staff member. Lawyers were told an accurate transcript of the morning sessions would later be provided to all parties. Sun detailed how he and his entourage had doubted the qualifications of the officials conducting the doping test at his home that escalated into a confrontation. “How are you able to trust them?” said Sun, whose personal doctor had been summoned to the scene in the middle of the night. A security guard instructed by Sun’s mother used a hammer to smash a box containing a vial of his blood during a late-night dispute after the swimmer questioned the collection team’s credentials. Sun said he was not respected by the officials, including a chaperone he said asked to take his photograph. “This is really ridiculous,” Sun said in translated comments. Although Sun and his entourage were criticized for their conduct, the first tribunal panel said the sample mission was void and invalid because anti-doping protocol was not followed. Technically, Sun was judged to be not properly notified of needing to give samples. WADA has asked for a ban of between two and eight years, believing Sun voluntarily refused to submit to give samples. “That is pretty sensational,” Young, the WADA lawyer, said of the hammer-smashing incident. “But he was nailed on a tampering violation before any of that happened.” If WADA’s appeal is upheld, Sun risks a longer sanction that could bar him from the Tokyo Games because it would be his second offense. He served a three-month ban imposed by Chinese authorities in 2014 after testing positive for a banned stimulant. That initial ban was quickly addressed by Sun and his legal team on Friday. He said it was a prescribed medication for a heart issue because he sometimes fainted after training. Lawyers for WADA repeatedly asked Sun if he had learned in his long career of the serious consequences for refusing to give a sample. He repeatedly answered that the lead anti-doping official had not warned him specifically. Sun’s anti-doping history was detailed, with 180 samples given at competitions and during training from 2012-18. A total of 60 were organized by the Sweden-based firm IDTM, which sent the collection team to Sun’s home. CAS judge Philippe Sands pressed Sun whether IDTM staff had shown different kinds of documents of authorization on the 59 previous occasions he gave samples without problems. ___ More AP swimming: https://apnews.com/tag/Swimming and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Latest on Bolivia’s political confrontation (all times local): 12:25 p.m. Bolivia’s interim leader says Evo Morales will have to “answer to justice for electoral fraud” if he returns home. Jeanine Áñez made the comment during a news conference Friday, a day after Morales insisted from asylum in Mexico that he remains the country’s legitimate president because his resignation was forced by the military and wasn’t formally accepted by Congress. Añez was the top-ranking Senate opposition official when Morales resigned Sunday and says that the resignation of everyone else in the chain of succession left her with the presidency. Morales left following massive demonstrations across the country alleging fraud in the Oct. 20 presidential election — irregularities certified by a team of auditors from the Organization of American States. Morales had claimed victory in his bid for a fourth term in office. Áñez said Morales “left on his own. Nobody threw him out.” ___ 1 a.m. Bolivia’s interim leader says Evo Morales can’t run as a candidate in any new elections. That comes even as the ousted leader contends he is in fact still the president of the Andean country since its Legislative Assembly has yet to accept his resignation. Bolivia is heading into uncharted territory, with lawmakers trying to reach a deal for new elections, protests raging in parts of the country and rival claims to the presidency. Morales stepped down on Sunday at military prompting following nationwide protests over suspected vote-rigging in an Oct. 20 election in which he claimed to have won a fourth term in office. An Organization of American States audit of the vote found widespread irregularities.
  • The Ukrainian Security Service says it has arrested Al Bar Shishani, one of the top commanders in the Islamic State group. The service, the SBU, said in a Facebook statement Friday that Shishani, a Georgian national, was apprehended near the Ukrainian capital Kiyv. The CIA and the Georgian police participated in the operation, it said. Since 2012, Shishani had served as a deputy to Abu Omar al-Shishani, the “minister of war” in IS, who was declared dead in 2016. In 2016, Al Bar Shishani fled to Turkey, and in 2018 arrived in Ukraine, using a fake passport, the SBU said.
  • The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will meet in Paris on Dec. 9 to try to seek a settlement for the five-year conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed 13,000 people. French President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced the meeting Friday after months of diplomatic efforts to get all sides to agree on new talks. Macron’s office said it’s time for a meeting because of “major advances” in negotiations since this summer, including troop withdrawals and prisoner exchanges. Over the past several weeks, Ukrainian and rebel forces have pulled back from three frontline points. In September, Russia and Ukraine each released 35 of the others’ nationals who had been imprisoned, including high-profile Ukrainian sailors who had been seized by Russia. Ukraine and the separatists last month signed a tentative agreement on holding elections in the rebel-held areas, a move that prompted substantial criticism among Ukrainians who saw the move as capitulation to Russia. The leaders of the four countries first met in Normandy in 2014, and their group is dubbed the “Normandy Format.” They last met in this format in 2016, although discussions have continued at a lower level. Macron's office says that the meeting will allow implementation of the Minsk accords, the 2015 agreement sponsored by France and Germany that envisages broad autonomy for the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and an amnesty for the rebels. There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin on Friday about the summit’s announcement. ___ Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this story.
  • A senior U.S. coalition commander said Friday the partnership with Syrian Kurdish forces remains strong and focused on fighting the Islamic State group, despite an expanding Turkish incursion into areas under Kurdish control. The U.S.-Syrian Kurdish relationship, which dates back to 2014, was strained after President Donald Trump last month ordered American troops out of northern Syria, making way for a Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held towns and villages along a stretch of the border. On Friday, reports said U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from Kobani, a border region where the partnership against IS was cemented in 2014, and that Russians moved into to replace them. The commander’s comments to The Associated Press reflect how troops on the ground are trying to stick to the original aims of the Syria mission despite a reduced and changed footprint. They say they are staying to fight alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group, as well as deny IS the oil fields as a source of revenue while showing support for the Kurdish fighters who have lost a sizeable part of the 30 percent of syria they once controlled. Their words however come as Trump says the mission now is focused on securing oil fields and infrastructure. Air Force Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill told the AP on Friday that Islamic State militants remain “a global threat” and that the partnership with the Kurds and international action is still needed against it. “So, I don't think the work is complete. We still have to pursue them and eliminate them everywhere we can find them,” he told the AP in a telephone interview from Baghdad. Hill said IS militants are trying to regroup and find new financing, are still interacting with supporters on social media and continue to plot attacks through affiliates around the world. Syria and Iraq, he said, remain “the center point for all Daesh operations,” he added, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “This is where Daesh lives and where they coordinate their acts of terror.' Kurdish and American forces are now operating in a region that is more complicated and crowded with troops since the Turks began their attack on northeast Syria in early October, aimed at pushing the Kurdish fighters away from the border. Turkish forces have consolidated control over a stretch of the border running 120 kilometers (70 miles) wide and 30 kilometers (20 miles) deep into Syria. They have also kept up pressure outside that area, fighting with Kurdish forces on the edges. Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have moved into other parts of the border under a Russian-Turkish deal. U.S. officials emphasize that they will not fight Turkey, a NATO ally. But Hill underscored that the U.S. was standing by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. 'We have been working with (the SDF) for a long time and we continue to train and work with them now,” Hill said. “So I think the partnership is strong.” He said the SDF are “the lead on the ground” in fighting IS. “They know the land, they know the people, and they know the players. They are the best force to fight Daesh, ' he said. While IS has lost its territorial control in Iraq and Syria, its militants continue to wage insurgent attacks. Hill said his troops continue to train, advise and equip the Kurdish-led forces. The SDF is guarding the oil fields, and the U.S. is providing them help in doing so, as well as in securing some 11,000 IS prisoners held in SDF-run facilities, he said. Both sides have sought to show the U.S.-Kurdish partnership never waned. One American commando who works closely with the SDF said at no one point there was any drop in communication between the two sides, even as U.S. forces were pulling out from border areas ahead of the Turkish invasion. “The friendship didn’t end to restart. It continues. We hope it also reaps political results to find a political solution,” Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesman, told AP earlier this week. Over the last five years, the Kurdish-led forces have grown to between 40,000 to 60,000, including Arab fighters. The U.S. has provided them training, ammunition and tactical vehicles but no heavy weapons. In the campaign against IS, the SDF have lost 11,000 fighters. Trump’s expansion of the mission raises legal questions. Protecting the oil from IS can fit under the legal authority that the U.S. first used to go into Syria to fight the militants. That was based on Congress’ 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force that said U.S. troops can use all necessary force against those involved in the Sept. 11 attacks and to prevent any future acts of international terrorism. But the oil fields may more immediately be under threat from the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran. The U.S. troops are not legally mandated to fight state actors fighting for oil on sovereign soil but can only engage in self-defense. Hill didn’t address this issue but said his forces are “prepared for all scenarios.” 'We have very clear orders and we have very clear guidance on the direction that we will go,' Hill said. “Clarity of our mission and the clarity of our orders remain. We are focused on Daesh resurgence.” During a recent visit to two U.S. bases in eastern Syria, AP journalists saw beefed up forces that focused on holding ground, such as Bradley armored vehicles and Marines forces who could secure bases. There was no sign that Americans were directly guarding oil installations. On Friday, reports from a war monitor and a Kurdish news agency said U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from their last position in the Kobani region, an air base known as the Kobani Landing Zone. Russian military police deployed in the base, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Video aired by the Kurdistan 24 news agency showed a Russian flag hoisted at the site. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters earlier this week that the withdrawal from Kobani would take a week or so. Kobani was a scene of the first major battle to drive out IS in 2014, making it a symbol of U.S.-Kurdish cooperation against the militants. During the invasion, Turkish officials have threatened to move in on Kobani, which would allow Turkey to link up its territories it holds to the west with newly captured areas to the east. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad repeated warnings that the American presence in Syria will lead to armed “resistance” that “will exact losses among the Americans, and consequently force them to leave.” Speaking with Russia24 TV and Rossiya Segodnya news agency, Assad said Americans should remember the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that “Syria will not be an exception.” He also criticized Kurdish groups seeking to set up an autonomous region inside Syria. “We shall never accept any separatist propositions under any circumstances,” he said. In northwestern Syria, an airstrike on the village of Bara in Idlib province killed five people and wounded several others, according to the Observatory and the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets. The dead included three children who were brothers, the Observatory said. Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, is dominated by members of al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. A cease-fire stopped the government offensive on Idlib at the end of August but in recent days, opposition activists have reported shelling and airstrikes in the area. ___ Associated Press writer Albert Aji in Damascus contributed.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel says security services will assess the risks posed by suspected Islamic State group members deported home to Germany by Turkey. Merkel said Friday that Germany’s joint counter-terrorism center would apply the same procedures to them as with people already in the country “and then determine in each case whether there are security risks.” Authorities in Berlin confirmed that a 55-year-old man, one of seven people deported Thursday to Germany by Turkey, has been detained on an existing warrant for fraud. The other six people — four women, a man and a baby — were able to return to their home in Hildesheim, near Hannover. Turkey accused them of being supporters of the Islamic State group.
  • An American citizen suspected of being an Islamic State group member was deported to the U.S. on Friday after spending five days in no man’s land between Turkey and Greece, the Turkish interior minister said. Suleyman Soylu said the suspect — identified by local media as 39-year-old Muhammad Darwis B. — had been put on a plane to the U.S. from Istanbul “a short time ago.” Two German IS suspects were also removed from Turkey on Friday, the minister added. He did not specify where in the U.S. the American suspect had been sent or the destinations of the other two suspects. Since the start of the week, Ankara has stepped up the return of suspected foreign IS members back to their countries of origin. Earlier cases saw suspects sent to Denmark, Germany and the U.K. Other deportations involving Irish, German and French citizens are pending. The U.S. citizen, who is of Jordanian origin, had been left between Turkey's Pazarkule border gate and the Greek frontier at Kastanies since Nov. 11. On Thursday, Turkey's Interior Ministry said repatriation was underway after the U.S. agreed to accept him and provided travel documents. He initially asked to be sent to Greece from Turkey, but Athens refused to take him in. Following European criticism of its military incursion into northern Syria and an EU decision to impose sanctions over drilling for gas off Cyprus, Turkey has suggested that it will send suspected IS foreign fighters back to their home nations. 'You should revise your stance toward Turkey, which at the moment holds so many IS members in prison and at the same time controls those in Syria,' President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday. Turkey said last week that about 1,200 IS militants are in Turkish prisons and 287 IS members, including women and children, were captured during Turkey's offensive in Syria, launched last month.
  • Two Lithuanians and a Norwegian convicted of espionage in Russia were freed Friday in exchange for two Russians who had been in prison in Lithuania. Yevgeny Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis, who were convicted in 2016, have been reunited with their families, Lithuanian spy chief Darius Jauniskis said. Frode Berg, a Norwegian sentenced in Russia to 14 years in prison for espionage, was handed over to Norway's embassy in Vilnius after he crossed into Lithuania. Earlier in the day, Russians Nikolai Filipchenko and Sergey Moiseyenko were pardoned by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. The Baltic News Service said the spy swap took place at noon at a border checkpoint with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. No further details were available. “We are happy that Frode Berg is now coming home to Norway as a free man,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said. “I would like to thank the Lithuanian authorities for their cooperation and for their efforts to free Berg.” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said Norway had “worked systematically” to get Berg, a retired border inspector, freed since his arrest in Moscow in December 2017 on espionage charges for collecting information about Russian nuclear submarines. Prosecutors asserted that he was caught with documents he had received from an employee of a military facility who was shadowed by Russian intelligence. “The only thing we want to say now is that we are overjoyed and happy,” Berg’s daughter, Christina, told Norway’s VG newspaper.
  • The Latest on a spy swap between Lithuania and Russia (all times local): 2 p.m. Lithuania’s spy chief, Darius Jauniskis, says the two Lithuanian men convicted of spying in Russia “have been reunited with their families” after they were released as part of a spy swap. He added that Frode Berg, a Norwegian citizen serving a 14-year sentence in Russia for espionage, “was part of the deal” also. In Oslo, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Frode Berg was handed over to Norwergian authorities in Lithuania. Earlier Friday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda pardoned two Russians convicted of spying. ___ 9:35 a.m. Lithuania’s president has pardoned two Russians convicted of spying, a move seen as a step toward a spy swap with neighboring Russia that could include a Norwegian citizen serving a 14-year sentence for espionage in a Russian jail. President Gitanas Nauseda’s office announced the move on Friday along with three unrelated pardons. Lithuania's parliament last week voted to give its president the right to pardon a convict involved in a spy swap deal. In return, two Lithuanians who both were sentenced in 2016 for spying in Russia could be released, as could Frode Berg, a retired Norwegian border inspector, who was arrested in Moscow in 2017 on espionage charges. It wasn't clear what the next step might be or when it would happen.

News

  • A jury found Roger Stone guilty Friday of obstruction, giving false statements to Congress and tampering with witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> Read more trending news  The verdict came on the second day of jury deliberations. Stone had denied any wrongdoing and framed the charges as politically motivated. Update 12:20 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Jurors found Stone guilty Friday of all seven counts against him, including one charge of obstruction, one charge of witness tampering and five charges of making false statements connected to his pursuit stolen emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman set a February 6 sentencing date for Stone, Fox News reported. Until then, Berman allowed Stone to be released on his own recognizance. Stone, who did not take the stand during his trial, is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The president slammed the jury's verdict Friday, questioning in a tweet whether Stone fell victim to 'a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country.' Original report: Jury deliberations in the case against Roger Stone, a political consultant and confidant of President Donald Trump, extended into a second day Friday after jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether he lied to Congress about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. Jurors asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson two questions Thursday during their six hours of deliberations, Reuters reported. The questions were about what was considered testimony in the case and a request for a clarification of the charges, according to the Courthouse News Service. Authorities arrested Stone in January on charges brought by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, who headed the Justice Department's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Stone was charged with obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis said Stone lied to protect the Trump campaign from embarrassment and scrutiny in its quest for emails hacked by Russian officials and disseminated by WikiLeaks, according to The Washington Post. Attorneys for Stone claimed he never intentionally deceived Congress and that he was simply wrong in his testimony after committee members unexpectedly peppered him with WikiLeaks-related questions. 'There was nothing illegal about the campaign being interested in information that WikiLeaks was going to be putting out,' defense attorney Bruce S. Rogow said, according to the Post. 'This is what happens in a campaign. … It happens in every campaign.' In testimony, several witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about the more than 19,000 emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and then provided to WikiLeaks. Former campaign CEO Steve Bannon reluctantly testified last week and told jurors Trump's campaign saw Stone as an 'access point' to WikiLeaks. He said Stone boasted about his ties to the anti-secrecy group and its founder, Julian Assange. Bannon said campaign officials tried to use Stone to get advanced word about hacked emails damaging to Trump's rival in the 2016 presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rick Gates, who served as a campaign aide for Trump, told jurors Stone asked him in June 2016 for the contact information of Trump's son-in-law and then-senior campaign adviser, Jared Kushner. Stone wanted to 'debrief' him on developments about the hacked emails, Gates said. Stone has proclaimed his innocence and accused Mueller's team of targeting him because of his politics. He could face up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A newborn’s body was found on a pile of rocks on the side of the road Tuesday night, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  The infant was found lying in the fetal position with the umbilical cord still attached in freezing temperatures, News12 reported. Investigators are interviewing the child’s mother. Charges have not been filed and there have been no arrests, WPVI reported. Her identity has not been released. 
  • Roger Stone was one of the key figures of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian election meddling, accused fo trying to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential race, NBC News reported. Stone was found guilty of all charges he faced including making false statements to Congress and obstruction of justice. Stone's lawyers said that any misstatements their client made to lawmakers were unintentional, the Washington Post reported shortly after his arrest. Who is Roger Stone? Stone was born in 1952 and was raised in Lewisboro, New York. His mother was a newspaper writer and his father was a well digger. Stone started his conservative leanings when a neighbor gave him a book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” written by Barry Goldwater. It was given to him before he turned 13. Shortly after, he started working on the mayoral campaign for William F. Buckley Jr. in New York on weekends in 1965, The New Yorker uncovered in an article published in 2008.  He attended George Washington University but didn’t graduate because he got into politics, working with Republican candidates for more than 40 years, according to The New Yorker. >> Read more trending news  He was only 19 when Watergate happened, and he, under the name Jason Rainier, made contributions to Pete McCloskey, who was challenging President Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination. Stone, as Rainier, made the contributions through the Young Socialist Alliance and then released the receipt to a newspaper to show that McCloskey was a left-wing candidate, according to The New Yorker. Stone also hired another person to work in  George McGovern’s Democratic presidential campaign. Both events were uncovered during the Watergate hearings in 1973. He lost a job on the staff of Republican Bob Dole because of the hearings and started the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which backed Republicans Chuck Grassley in Iowa and Dan Quayle in Indiana. Stone also worked twice on the Republican presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan -- once in 1976, when Reagan didn’t win, and again in 1980, when he did -- then as political director for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, The New Yorker reported. After Reagan took office, Stone stayed in the private sector, creating a political consulting and lobbying firm that went under different names, including Black, Manafort, Stone & Atwater.  The firm worked for corporations like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to lobby former co-workers in the Reagan campaign who held jobs in the administration. It also served clients like Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, The New Yorker found. Focusing more on political campaigns as a solo entity instead of lobbying as part of a group, Stone worked as a senior consultant for the successful campaign of George H.W. Bush and worked three campaigns for Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. He also ran unsuccessful campaigns for Dole’s 1996 quest for president. He was brought in when the 2000 presidential recount started in Florida. He played the political game on radio stations in southern Florida, saying that the recount was Al Gore’s left-wing power grab, The New Yorker reported. His efforts, along with other Republican assets, empowered George W. Bush’s Republican supporters to protest the second recount. Stone wanted, and got, the recount in Miami shut down in what became the “Brooks Brothers riot,” The Washington Post and The New Yorker reported. Stone also worked on  the younger Bush’s re-election campaign. It is believed documents obtained by CBS News that showed that Bush got out of military service for Vietnam were actually fake and that Stone was the person who created the documents, The New Yorker reported. Stone was one of President Donald Trump’s panel of long-time advisors, The Washington Post reported. He was connected to Trump when the now-president floated the idea of running in 2000.  Then, Trump said, “Roger is a stone-cold loser,” who “always takes credit for things he never did,” according to The New Yorker. Despite the harsh words then-private sector member Trump had for Stone, he used Stone for his campaign not once, but twice, teaming up in 2011 when Trump toyed with, but eventually decided against a presidential run. They went their different ways in August 2015, the Times reported.  But who pulled the plug on Stone’s tenure on the Trump campaign? Stone said he resigned and Trump’s campaign officials said he had been fired, The New York Times reported. Trump said of the firing, “I hardly ever spoke to the guy; he was just there. He played no role of any kind,” the Times reported in 2015. But Stone was listed on Federal Election Commission filings as being on the campaign payroll and he used Twitter to defend Trump during the campaign, according to the Times. What is his connection to Trump? Stone has been scrutinized for having ties to WikiLeaks by using an associate as an intermediary between himself and people associated with WikiLeaks, CNN reported. Stone spoke about having “back channel communications” with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, during the campaign. Stone later said the “back channel” was really a New York radio host, Randy Credico, who allegedly shared only information gleaned from interviews with Assange, CNN reported. Stone also predicted releases of information by WikiLeaks in the final days of the campaign between Trump and his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, CNN reported.  Stone said in a column for Breitbart, the website run by former Trump campaign adviser Steve Bannon, that it wasn’t the Russians who hacked the servers containing the emails leaked by WikiLeaks, but it was actually a hacker who went by the name Guccifer 2.0.  >>Read: Russian hackers indicted: Who is Guccifer 2.0? Here are 15 things to know Despite Stone’s assertions in the column, some have linked Guccifer 2.0 to Russian web services, Foreign Policy reported.  In July 2016, the Times reported that intelligence agencies had “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the email leaks and that Guccifer 2.0 was in reality an agent of the Russian military intelligence service, or GRU. Mueller’s team is investigating whether there were other connections between Stone and WikiLeaks. That connection could come in the form of Jerome Corsi, another associate of Stone’s who said this week that he expects to be indicted by Mueller for “giving false information to the special counsel or to one of the other grand jury,” CNN reported. If Corsi’s prediction comes true, he could face charges from perjury to making false claims and even obstruction of justice, all related to false statements he made about his alleged connection between WikiLeaks and Stone, CNN reported. Stone, however, said he was truthful in previous testimony before a congressional panel. >>Read: 12 Russians indicted: Here’s what the DOJ says happened “My attorneys have fully reviewed all my written communications with Dr. Corsi,” Stone wrote in a statement to CNN. “When those aren’t viewed out of context they prove everything I have said under oath regarding my interaction with Dr. Corsi is true.” Stone went on to write, “I stand by my statement to the House Intelligence Committee and can prove it is truthful if need be. I have passed two polygraph tests administered and analyzed by two of the nation's leading experts to prove I have (been) truthful.” >>Read: 12 Russians indicted: Military officials accused of hacking DNC, stealing voter info Corsi said Stone warned that there would be trouble for Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta after Corsi published an article for InfoWars. After Stone’s statement, WikiLeaks released thousands of hacked emails from Podesta, CNN reported.  >>Read: WikiLeaks emails: FBI investigates, Podesta claims he was targeted by Russian hackers Stone tweeted “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” six weeks before WikiLeaks published the emails, The Washington Post reported. >>Read: Julian Assange: WikiLeaks source was 'not the Russian government' Stone said he did not tell Trump that WikiLeaks was going to release the hacked emails and denied working with Russia, CNN reported. But Stone did say in a recent opinion piece for The Daily Caller, that he emailed Bannon during the campaign, CNN reported. Stone, in the column, clarified that the information he shared with Bannon was publicly available. Stone said the statements he made during the campaign were exaggerations or tips only and that he didn’t know details of WikiLeaks’ plans before the document drops, the Post reported.
  • The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is testifying Friday in the second public hearing in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. >> Read more trending news  Marie Yovanovitch will appear before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to answers questions about her time as ambassador in Ukraine and how she believed she was driven out of that position by Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer. The hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. ET, will be broadcast live on CSPAN, CNN, Fox News and other cable news channels. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, (D-California), and the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, (R-California), will question Yovanovitch in 45-minute segments each then committee members will have five minutes each to question Yovanovitch. Watch the live stream of Friday’s hearing here Live updates In a break 10:45 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: The hearing has been suspended for a short recess for House members to vote.  Trump tweets, Yovanovitch defends herself  10:30 a.m. Nov. 15, 2019: Schiff read a tweet from Trump this morning disparaging Yovanovitch’s service. Trump said that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Schiff asks if she wants to address the tweet. Yovanovitch answered, “I don’t think I have such powers,” but went on to say that her work “demonstrably made things better, both for the US and for the countries I’ve served in.” Fearing a tweet 10:24 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Goldman asks Yovanovitch if she was given a vote of support from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. She said she was not. He asked if she knew why not. She said the department feared that the president would post a tweet contradicting any support. ‘Devastated' by Trump's Ukraine call 10:15 a.m. Nov. 15, 2019: Yovanovitch said she was “shocked” and “devastated” by the White House memo on Trump’s call with Zelensky. The transcript included the phrase that Yovanovitch is “bad news.” “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said the color drained from my face,” Yovanovitch told Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor with the Southern District of New York who is the counsel for the Democrats. She said Trump’s comment that she was “going to go through some things,” in his call with Zelensky, “felt like a vague threat.” ‘Big hit for morale’ 10 a.m. Nov. 15, 2019: Schiff asked Yovanovitch how her recall was received by colleagues in the State Department. Yovanovitch said, 'Well, it's been a big hit for morale, both at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv and also more broadly in the State Department.' She also that it’s fair to say that her firing affected morale of other ambassadors. Yovanovitch's opening statement 9:33 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Yovanovitch is giving her opening statement, talking about the sometime dangers of foreign service. She opened her statement by recounting her family’s history. They fled the Soviet Union. She says she has served in several “hardship” posts as a diplomat.  She talked about her work in Ukraine. 'Not all Ukrainians embraced our anti-corruption work. Thus, perhaps, it was not surprising, that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old, corrupt rules sought to remove me. What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and, working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. Ambassador. How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government?' She says she never tried to work against Trump or for Clinton. She said she has never met Hunter Biden but did know former Vice President Joe Biden. Nunes’ turn 9:20 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Rep. Nunes is speaking now. He says five of the members of the Intelligence Committee voted to impeach Trump before he ever made the July 26 phone call. He complains that the Democrats met secretly with the whistleblower and that Republicans have been threatened if they try to find out the person’s name and release it. He also said Democrats went after nude photos of Trump. He is reading the just-released transcript into the record. The hearing has begun 9:10 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Schiff is giving his opening statement. He is praising Yovanovitch’s qualifications and her anti-corruption work in Ukraine. He's asking why Trump wanted to recall Yovanovitch from her post. Phone call transcript released 9:05 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: The White House has released the transcript of the first phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That phone call took place in April. This is not the phone call the whistleblower reported on. People are getting to their seats 9 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: House Intelligence Committee members, the press and spectators are coming into the room for the start of the hearing. $3 million in donations 8:55 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced on Thursday that the Trump campaign raised more than $3 million on Wednesday during the first public impeachment hearings. A case of bribery? 8:47 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, accused Trump of bribery. Pelosi pointed out at her weekly press conference that bribery is “in the Constitution” as a reason for impeaching a president. Yovanovitch has arrived 8:38 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Yovanovitch has arrived at Capitol Hill with her attorneys and is entering the building. One public hearing and two in private8:35 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: While Yovanovitch will testify in public Friday, David Holmes will appear before the committee afterward in a closed-door session. Holmes is a State Department employee who claims to have overheard a phone conversation about Ukraine between Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and Trump. On Saturday, Mark Sandy, an office of Management and Budget official, will testify before the committee in private. Sandy will be the first OMB official to agree to testify before the committee. How the hearing will go 8:15 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: The hearing will be conducted in the same way as Wednesday’s hearing with William Taylor and George Kent was conducted. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, and the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-California, will question Taylor and Kent in 45-minute segments each. Those 45 minutes can be delegated to the staff lawyers or other committee members. After the extended 45-minute periods, the committee will go back to its usual format of five-minute rounds of questions for committee members. Let’s get started 8 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Good morning and welcome to live updates from the second public hearing of the impeachment inquiry. The hearing begins in an hour, at 9 a.m. ET. Live updates coming 6 a.m. ET Nov. 15, 2019: Live updates of Marie Yovanovitch's testimony will begin at 8 a.m. ET. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. ET [Summary]
  • A brake fluid leak on certain Nissan cars and SUVs could lead to risk of fire prompting the automaker to recall about 394,000 vehicles in the United States. >> Read more trending news  An antilock brake actuator pump can leak onto a circuit board, causing electrical shorts and fires. Because of the risk, Nissan recommends owners park the vehicles outside and away from buildings if the antilock brake light is on for more than 10 seconds.  The recall covers 2015 to 2018 Nissan Murano SUVs, 2016 to 2018 Maxima sedans and 2017 to 2019 Infiniti QX60 and Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is the second recall for some of the same vehicles. In 2018, Nissan dealers inspected parts but did not replace the pumps if fluid wasn’t leaking. Dealers will now replace pumps on all of the vehicles. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
  • An Arkansas paramedic is charged with felony theft after authorities allege she cut a 1.7-carat diamond ring off a dead patient’s finger last month and pawned it for $45. Lisa Darlene Glaze, 50, of Hot Springs Village, is charged with theft by receiving and misdemeanor transfer of stolen property to a pawn shop, according to Garland County court records. Arrested Monday, she has since been released on $4,500 bond. >> Read more trending news  The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs reported that Glaze, a paramedic at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, was one of the paramedics who attended to Gloria Farrar Robinson on Oct. 16 when the 72-year-old Whie Hall woman suffered a medical emergency. A probable cause affidavit obtained by the newspaper stated Robinson was taken to CHI St. Vincent, where she later died. After Robinson died, her personal effects were given to her husband, identified in her obituary as Leonard Robinson, and her sister, Alesia Massey. Massey asked Glaze about three of Robinson’s rings that were missing. Glaze “did not answer her and walked away,” according to the affidavit. Robinson’s husband and sister went to Fuller Hale South Funeral Home in Pine Bluff two days later to make funeral arrangements, at which time they were given a bag with two of the missing rings, the Sentinel-Record reported. A 1.7-carat diamond, gold solitaire ring was still missing. The ring, which was adorned with a marquise-cut diamond, had been cut off Robinson’s finger, according to the affidavit. On Oct. 24, eight days after Robinson died, Glaze went to Hot Springs Classic Guns and Loan with a marquise-cut, solitaire diamond ring with a gold band. She sold the ring, which the pawnshop worker noted had a cut in the band, for $45, the court documents allege. Glaze used her driver’s license for identification during the transaction, the Sentinel-Record reported. Five days after the sale, a Montgomery County investigator went to the pawnshop and took photos of the ring, sending the images to Robinson’s husband and sister. Both identified the ring as belonging to the deceased woman, the affidavit said. The pawnshop employee who bought the ring identified Glaze in a photo as the woman who sold the piece of jewelry, the Sentinel-Record reported. Massey, Robinson’s sister, retrieved the ring from the pawnshop and had it appraised. The ring was determined to be worth nearly $8,000. Robinson’s son, Ben Ellis, castigated Glaze in a Facebook post Wednesday, calling her an expletive before questioning her care of his dying mother. “You stole my mother’s rings off her hands after she died?” Ellis wrote. “Did you let my mother die so you could steal her jewelry?” A woman named Diane McAlister offered Ellis her condolences. “Gloria was a wonderful, hardworking person. She respected everyone,” McAlister wrote. “I hope this person is prosecuted to the highest degree.” According to her obituary, Robinson worked as a payroll officer at Southeast Arkansas College for more than 20 years. Glaze has been placed on administrative leave with pay by the hospital, which issued a statement to the Sentinel-Record about the case. “CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs places a priority on the safety and well-being of our patients and our healing ministry is committed to their security while in our care,” the statement read. The hospital is continuing to cooperate with the investigation, officials said. If convicted, Glaze faces up to 10 years in prison on the felony theft charge and up to a year in county jail for the charge of selling stolen property to the pawnshop, the newspaper said.