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Clinton campaign receives envelope with suspicious powder

NEW YORK — Police in New York say they're investigating an envelope containing a white powdery substance that was sent to Hillary Clinton's campaign, forcing an office to be evacuated. A spokesman for the New York Police Department says the envelope was found at Clinton's Manhattan office, were mail is received, around 5:30 p.m. Friday. It was then taken to the 11th floor of her Brooklyn headquarters. The discovery of the suspicious substance caused that floor to be evacuated. The police spokesman says there have been no reports of illness or injury. It was not immediately known what the substance is or whether it is harmful. Police are still investigating.

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Nobel academy member slams ‘arrogant’ Dylan

A prominent member of the academy which awards the Nobel literature prize slammed this year’s laureate Bob Dylan as arrogant on Friday, citing his total silence since the award was announced last week. The US singer-songwriter has not responded to repeated phone calls from the Swedish Academy, nor reacted in any way in public to the news. “It’s impolite and arrogant,” said the academy member, Swedish writer Per Wastberg, in comments aired on SVT public television. On the evening of October 13, the day the literature prize winner was announced, Dylan played a concert in Las Vegas during which he just sang his songs and made no comment at all to his fans. He ended the concert with a version of the Frank Sinatra hit “Why Try To Change Me Now?,” taken to be …

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Ousted Thai PM fined nearly $1-B over failed rice scheme

MOSCOW  (PNA/Sputnik) – Thailand’s former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has vowed to fight an administrative order demanding that she personally pay nearly $1 billion for a failed rice subsidy policy implemented during her time as head of state. Thai businesswoman and former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was ousted during a military coup in 2014, and has been charged 35 billion Thai baht ($996 million) for the failed rice subsidy policy. Yingluck was charged with negligence in her duties as head of the National Rice Policy Committee. In 2013, Yingluck admitted that she had never attended any meeting of the committee. The punitive administrative order demands a huge monetary fee, and the seizure of Yingluck’s assets. “In terms of the order, it is not right and it is not just,” she said, adding that …

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US destroyer sails close to contested islands in S. China Sea: Pentagon

Washington - A US destroyer sailed close to a cluster of islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea on Friday, the Pentagon said, amid continued tensions in the contested waterway. The USS Decatur passed close to the Paracel Islands and "conducted this transit in a routine, lawful manner without ship escorts and without incident," Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross said. "This operation demonstrated that coastal States may not unlawfully restrict the navigation rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea that the United States and all states are entitled to exercise under international law." The maneuver is the third South China Sea "freedom of navigation" operation conducted this year by the United States, which has repeatedly stressed it will ignore China's "excessive" maritime claims. Ross said the Decatur did not sail within …

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UN says Syria army used chemical weapons in Qmenas in 2015

United Nations (United States) - The Syrian army attacked the village of Qmenas with chemical weapons in March 2015, UN experts said in a report released Friday. But they were unable to determine who was responsible for two other chemical weapons attacks -- against Binnish in Idlib province in March 2015 and Kafr Zita in Hama province in April 2014. The report was presented Friday to the UN Security Council. The UN-led joint investigative mechanism (JIM) in late August reported that Syrian government forces had carried out at least two chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015 and that Islamic State jihadists had used mustard gas as a weapon. Of the nine total alleged chemical attacks it is considering in its ongoing probe, the JIM has now attributed three to the Syrian government and one …

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Missing European craft ‘crashed’ into Mars: ESA to AFP

A tiny European craft despatched to Mars for a trial touchdown Wednesday "crashed" into pieces on the Red Planet's surface instead, a European Space Agency mission manager told AFP on Friday. A NASA photograph of the intended landing site confirmed the Schiaparelli craft, missing for two days, had "crashed on the surface of Mars", Thierry Blancquaert said by telephone from mission control in Darmstadt, Germany. The craft "reached the Martian surface a lot faster than intended," he said. Flight operations manager Michel Denis added that an image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed a "white spot, consistent with the size of a parachute. About two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, there is a black spot... most likely Schiaparelli's point of impact". The black spot was "larger than it would have been if Schiaparelli …

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China slams ‘provocative’ US sail-by in South China Sea

China has slammed the US for sailing a warship near disputed territory in the South China Sea, saying the move was a "serious illegal act" and "deliberately provocative". In a statement on its website late Friday night, the country's defence ministry said two Chinese naval vessels warned off a US ship after it entered "Chinese territorial waters" near the Paracel Islands, known as Xisha in Chinese. China controls all of the islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. The ship's "entrance into China's territorial waters is a serious illegal act and a deliberately provocative act," it said, adding that the ministry had made "solemn representations" to Washington. In a separate online statement, the foreign ministry said the action had "seriously violated China's sovereignty and security interests, and had seriously broken relevant Chinese …

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Clinton warns Trump is ‘threatening’ US democracy

Hillary Clinton excoriated rival Donald Trump as a threat to American democracy Friday for not pledging to honor results of the upcoming presidential election, as the bitter rivals battled for supremacy in battleground states. clinton The 2016 election cycle pitting the Republican nominee against the former secretary of state has turned increasingly toxic, with Trump fueling wild conspiracy theories about vote "rigging" and Clinton warning that the provocative billionaire was straying into authoritarianism. "We know the difference between leadership and dictatorship, and the peaceful transition of power is one of the things that sets us apart," Clinton told a rally in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the key swing states up for grabs on November 8. "Donald Trump refused to say that he'd respect the results of this election. By doing that, he's threatening our …

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Typhoon Haima raises flood alarm in south China

GUANGZHOU -- Typhoon Haima barreled into south China Friday, triggering sudden downpours in several cities as authorities rushed to issue warnings against floods, landslides, and other weather-related disasters. According to local meteorological services, Haima made landfall in the city of Shanwei, Guangdong Province, shortly after noon. It weakened as it traveled further north. But at least five counties and cities in Guangdong experienced unabated heavy rain Friday night. Shanwei disaster relief office said gales and rain from Haima caused 59 dike ruptures, and damaged 21 dam gates and 179 water facilities. In nearby Huizhou City, a shoe factory was inundated, trapping 21 people inside. Fortunately, after a two-hour rescue they were transferred to a safer location. Heavy rainfall has been forecast to last for two days in several cities. Thousands of blankets and clothes, …

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London airport evacuated after ‘CS gas’ incident

A suspected CS tear gas spray was found at London City Airport after passengers and staff were evacuated Friday following a "chemical incident" that left 27 travellers feeling unwell and halted flights. London's innermost airport re-opened three hours after the incident was first reported, after 500 people were evacuated and several passengers treated for breathing difficulties. A search of the airport "led to the discovery of what is believed to be a CS gas or spray", Scotland Yard police headquarters said in a statement. "Whilst the cause of the incident has not yet been confirmed, officers are investigating if it was the result of an accidental discharge of this canister. "Officers are investigating whether it may have been discarded by a passenger prior to check-in. "There have been no arrests and enquiries continue." The London …

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