Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.
According to recent official reports, California fires death toll has risen to 31, with more than 200 people still unaccounted for.
Six more people were confirmed killed in the Camp Fire in the north of California, taking the toll there to 29.
That fire now equals the deadliest on record in California – the 1933 Griffith Park disaster in Los Angeles.
In the south of the state, the Woolsey Fire has claimed two lives as it damaged beach resorts including Malibu.
An estimated 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.
With strengthening winds threatening to spread the flames, California Governor Jerry Brown has urged President Trump to declare a major disaster, a move that would harness more federal emergency funds.
The appeal came a day after President Trump threatened to cut funding for California, blaming the fires on poor forest management.
Emergency teams have been sifting through the remains of more than 6,700 homes and businesses burned down in the town of Paradise.
Paradise and surrounding area bore the brunt of the inferno, which started in nearby forest on November 8.
At a news conference on November 11, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the bodies of five people had been found in their burned-out homes and a sixth was found inside a vehicle. He said that more than 200 people were still unaccounted for.
The fire is the most destructive in the state’s history and the joint deadliest.
According to fire officials, it has burned more than 109,000 acres and is nearly 25% contained.
The blaze started on November 8 near Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles north-west of central Los Angeles.
By November 11 the fire had consumed 83,000 acres and destroyed at least 177 buildings, officials said. It is only 10% contained. The smaller Hill Fire, nearby, has scorched 4,530 acres and is 75% contained.
Some looting was reported in the southern fire area over the weekend and police said arrests had been made.
Luxury homes in Malibu and other beach communities are among properties that have fallen victim to the flames.
Gerard Butler shared a picture of a charred house on Twitter, writing: “Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LAFD. If you can, support these brave men and women at http://SupportLAFD.org .”
Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, where the HBO series Westworld is filmed, was also destroyed.
On November 10, firefighters used a respite from strong winds to drop fire retardant in a bid to strengthen firebreaks.
However, officials warned against complacency, with winds of up to 70mph expected over the coming days. They said fires could spread quickly and unexpectedly.
Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said: “Winds are already blowing. They are going to blow for the next three days. Your house can be rebuilt but you can’t bring your life back.”
Meteorologist David Gomberg told the Los Angeles Times that fire tornadoes were possible.
Governor Jerry Brown’s request to President Donald Trump was aimed at bolstering the emergency response to what he called the “catastrophic” nature of the wildfires.
In a letter, the governor said: “We’re putting everything we’ve got into the fight against these fires and this request ensures communities on the front lines get additional federal aid.”
The president’s response to the fires has been criticized as unsympathetic and ill-informed.
On November 11, during his trip to Paris, President Trump tweeted: “With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!”
The president has previously blamed Californian officials for wildfires and threatened to withhold federal funding.
In a tweet on November 10, President Trump accused California authorities of “gross mismanagement” of forests.
Governor Brown’s spokesman, Evan Westrub, called President Trump’s comments “inane and uninformed”.
Historically, California’s “wildfire season” started in summer and ran into early autumn. However, experts have warned that the risk is becoming year-round.
The current fires are being blamed on a combination of climate change and transient weather conditions.
Low humidity, warm Santa Ana winds, and dry ground after a rain-free month have produced prime fire-spreading conditions.
California’s population stands at 40 million, almost double what it was in the 1970s, and the number living close to at-risk forest areas is rising.
And recent years have produced record-breaking temperatures, earlier springs, and less reliable rainfall.
Citing the role of a warming climate, Governor Jerry Brown declared: “This is not the new normal, this is the new abnormal. The chickens are coming home to roost, this is real here.”
Neil Young made the same link, writing on his website: “I have lost my home before to a California wildfire, now another.
“We are vulnerable because of climate change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it.”
The reported phone call to the White House came before Saudi Arabia admitted Jamal Khashoggi had been killed.
There is still no consensus on how Jamal Khashoggi died. The journalist entered the consulate to sort out documents for his marriage.
Initially, Turkish media had quoted sources as saying Turkey had audio recordings proving that Jamal Khashoggi had been tortured before being murdered.
Last week, however, Turkey said he had been strangled immediately after entering the consulate and Jamal Kashoggi’s body dismembered “in accordance with plans made in advance”.
Nobody has been found and a Turkish official said the body had been dissolved.
Saudi Arabia has changed its account of what happened to the journalist.
When Jamal Khashoggi first disappeared, Saudi Arabia said the journalist had walked out of the building alive. Saudi Arabia later admitted he had been murdered, saying the killing was premeditated and a result of a “rogue operation”.
Eighteen suspects have been arrested in Saudi Arabia, where will be prosecuted. However, Turkey wants the suspects to be extradited.
Turkey has not publicly blamed Saudi Arabia for the killing.
President Erdogan said in a TV speech on November 10: “We gave the recordings, we gave them to Saudi Arabia, we gave them to Washington, to the Germans, to the French, to the English.”
“They listened to the conversations which took place here, they know,” he said.
No other country has admitted hearing the said recording.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has fractured three ribs in a fall on November 7, the court says.
The fall happened in her office at the Supreme Court in Washington.
The 85-year-old went home but was in discomfort and went to George Washington University hospital on November 8, a statement said.
Tests showed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had fractured three ribs on her left side and she has been admitted for observation and treatment.
It meant that the most senior justice on the court’s liberal wing was not present for November 8 investiture of Brett Kavanaugh, whose appointment led to protests following allegations of assault.
Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment, confirmed last month by the Senate, restores the nine-member court’s conservative majority. The court has the final say on issues such as abortion, gun control and voting rules.
President Donald Trump, who nominated Brett Kavanaugh and described the claims against him as a “hoax”, attended his investiture.
On Twitter, many were quick to offer Ruth Bader Ginsburg assistance in the form of extra ribs and human shields to ensure she made it through the Trump presidency.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She had previously focused her work on women’s rights and started the first law journal dedicated to the topic.
The liberal justice has survived cancer and in 2012 cracked two ribs in a fall at her home.
Some of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legal opinions, coupled with her refusal to step down during the Obama era, have seen her gain popularity in some quarters and earned her the nickname Notorious RBG.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the subject of both a recent documentary, RBG, and a forthcoming feature film, On the Basis of Sex, in which she is played by actress Felicity Jones. The feature film is about a landmark Supreme Court case in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued for fathers’ rights and against gender discrimination.
In a resignation letter, Jeff Sessions – a former Alabama senator who was an early supporter of Donald Trump – made clear the decision to go was not his own.
He wrote: “Dear Mr. President, at your request I am submitting my resignation.”
“Most importantly as my time as attorney general, we have restored and upheld the rule of law,” he added, while thanking the president.
President Trump has repeatedly pilloried the attorney general since Jeff Sessions stepped aside from the Russia investigation in March 2017, allowing his deputy Rod Rosenstein to lead an inquiry that has dogged the White House.
In July 2017, President Trump told the New York Times: “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”
The president has at various times belittled Jeff Sessions as “beleaguered”, “VERY weak”, and “DISGRACEFUL”.
According to a White House official, Chief of Staff John Kelly called Jeff Sessions before President Trump’s combative press conference to discuss midterm election results on November 7.
The attorney general’s exit comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to hunt for evidence of potential collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
Robert Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation – overseen by the DoJ – has resulted in a series of criminal charges against several of Trump associates.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted after the announcement was made: “Clearly, the President has something to hide.”
Chuck Schumer added: “Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general.”
President Donald Trump has hailed a “big victory” in midterm elections after Democrats seized the House of Representatives but Republicans consolidated their grip on the Senate.
The Democratic majority in the House will be in a position to block President Trump’s legislative program.
However, control of the Senate ensures President Trump can still make key appointments.
The vote was seen as a referendum on Donald Trump, even though the president is not up for re-election till 2020.
The result confirms a historical trend for the party that is not in the White House to make gains in the mid-terms.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi promised that her party would serve as a counterweight to the White House.
Nancy Pelosi – who is set to become speaker, a position she held from 2007 to 2011 – told supporters: “Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration.”
Meanwhile the Florida Senate race is heading for a recount after Republican Rick Scott got 50.21% and incumbent Bill Nelson 49.79% of the vote. A margin of less than half a percentage point automatically triggers a recount.
The Democrats gained more than the 23 seats they needed for a majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives.
They could now launch investigations into President Trump’s administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest.
They could also more effectively block his legislative plans, notably his signature promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
In the Senate, Democrats were facing an uphill battle because they were defending 26 races, while just nine Republican seats were up for grabs.
The Republicans are on course to increase their representation from 51 to 54 in the 100-seat Senate upper chamber.
President Trump has threatened to retaliate for any Democratic investigations with his own probes in the Senate into alleged “leaks of classified information”.
He tweeted: “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!”
President Donald Trump has urged voters to back the Republican Party on the eve of the midterm elections.
He said during a blitz of three final rallies: “Everything we have achieved is at stake tomorrow.”
The November 6 vote is being seen as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency.
The president’s ability to govern in the final two years of his term will hinge upon the outcome.
Americans are going to the polls to vote on all 435 seats in the House, 35 of the 100 Senate seats and dozens of state governors.
With the control of Congress up for grabs, President Trump has ratcheted up rhetoric on divisive issues in a bid to energize his base.
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama campaigned for the Democratic Party.
He tweeted: “Tomorrow’s elections might be the most important of our lifetimes. The health care of millions is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. The character of our country is on the ballot.”
The midterm elections will decide which party will control the two houses of Congress.
If Republicans maintain their hold on the Senate and the House of Representatives, they could build on their agenda and that of President Trump.
If the Democrats wrest control of one or both chambers, they could stymie or even reverse President Trump’s plans.
Pollsters suggest Democrats may win the 23 seats they need to take over the House of Representatives, and possibly 15 or so extra seats.
However, the Democrats are expected to fall short of the two seats they need to win control of the Senate.
Governors are also being chosen in 36 out of 50 states.
After months of campaigning, speculation, and billions of dollars spent on adverts, leaflets and bumper stickers, voters will have their final say on November 6.
Democratic candidates for the House of Representative have raised $649 million from individual donors, more than doubling the $312 million tally for the Republicans.
Democrats are hoping to achieve a “midterm wave” – a sweeping victory that changes the shape of the political map in the US.
Many people have already voted.
The US Elections Project, a University of Florida-based information source, said that some 34.3 million people have cast early ballots but the real number is probably higher. In 2014, were just 27.5 million.
In Texas, early voting has exceeded the entire turnout in 2014.
Thunderstorms are forecast for November 6 along the eastern coast, as well as snowstorms in the Midwest, which could affect turnout.
Australian missionary nun Sister Patricia Fox, who has spent almost three decades in the Philippines, has been deported after repeatedly denouncing President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s violent campaign against the drugs trade.
Sister Patricia Fox, 72, is now returning to Australia.
The nun’s missionary visa was downgraded to a temporary tourist visa last month.
Angela Merkel said she took “full responsibility” for poor performance.
She said: “As chancellor and leader of the CDU I’m politically responsible for everything, for successes and for failures.
“When people are telling us what they think of how the government was formed and what they think of our work during the first seven months of this parliament… then it is a clear signal that things can’t carry on as they are.
“The time has come to open a new chapter.”
Angela Merkel also made it clear she would not handpick her successor as party leader and would “accept any democratic decision taken by my party”.
However, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer would be the obvious choice for Merkel loyalists to replace her. She is currently the party secretary.
Health Minister Jens Spahn, a leading critic of Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policies, has also announced his candidacy.
Friedrich Merz, a former leader of the CDU-CSU parliamentary group and an old rival to Angela Merkel, has thrown his hat into the ring.
Angela Merkel’s CDU plunged 11 percentage points to 27% in October 28 elections in the central state of Hesse, according to preliminary results. This was the CDU’s worst showing in the state since 1966.
The SPD, which is in coalition with the CDU nationally, fell by a similar amount to 19.8%.
The main beneficiaries were the Greens, who paradoxically share power with the CDU in the state and have now drawn level with the SPD, and the far-right AfD, who rose to 13%.
The Hesse vote follows a pattern of losses for the two main parties, with the AfD doing particularly well in eastern states.
Two weeks ago, the CDU’s Bavarian ally, the CSU, lost its absolute majority in the state’s parliament which it has dominated since 1957. Like in Hesse, the SPD also lost badly and the Greens and AfD surged.
While the Greens appear to have benefited from the SPD’s slump in support, it seems clear that the centre-right has lost voters to the AfD.
Part of the reason could be anger at Angela Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders to large numbers of refugees, a move which the AfD has vehemently opposed.
According to a local official, most of the blast victims were students of the technical college, which is a vocational school for 850 teenagers.
Victims have been taken to hospital, and a major emergency response operation launched.
Four military planes were ready to evacuate the wounded and military hospital facilities were ready to accept victims if necessary, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
Investigators released a statement saying an explosive device filled with “metal objects” had detonated in the dining area.
The director of the college, who had not been at the scene at the time of the attack, told Russian media that unknown armed men had broken into the building. She compared it to the school siege of Beslan in 2004, during which about 330 people died.
Sergei Aksenov told Tass that reports circulating on social media of a shooting after the explosion were untrue, and said the situation on the scene was calm.
The leader also announced three days of mourning for the victims.
The schools and pre-schools were being evacuated in the city after the blast, Reuters reported.
Crimea, officially part of Ukraine, was seized by Russia in 2014 and annexed after a disputed vote that was widely condemned by the international community.
The speaker of the Russia-backed Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, suggested Kiev may have been behind the explosion, saying “the entire evil inflicted on the land of Crimea is coming from the official Ukrainian authorities”.
The religious report, commissioned after same-gender marriage was made legal in 2017, suggested that procedures for non-state schools to reject gay students should be made consistent nationwide, raising the possibility of allowing such rejections across Australia.
On October 10, PM Scott Morrison, who leads the center-right Liberal-National coalition, said the proposals – which included some safeguards for gay students – would be considered “carefully and respectfully”.
On October 13, the prime minister made clear that religious schools would not be allowed to discriminate under new legislation.
He said: “Given recent misreporting, we have an opportunity here to bring forward a simple amendment to end the confusion.”
Australian state schools are already banned from discriminating against students on the basis of their orientation.
Brett Kavanaugh will be sworn in later on October 6.
The upper house is split 51-49 in favor of the Republicans and the vote was largely along party lines. In the end, there was indeed a two-vote margin, the closest nomination vote since 1881.
The only party dissenters were Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had intended to vote No, and Democrat Joe Manchin, who voted Yes.
That should have meant a 51-49 tally, but the absence of Republican Steve Daines, a Yes voter who was at his daughter’s wedding, altered the final figures.
Lisa Murkowski opted instead to simply mark herself as “present”, leaving the final vote 50-48.
In their final summations, the two Senate party leaders reflected how bitter the divide had become.
Minority Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said Brett Kavanaugh did not belong on the bench as he had “obscured his views to the American people”, “repeatedly misled the Senate” and delivered one of the “bitterest and most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee”.
Chuck Schumer also said President Trump had “stooped to new depths” in mocking the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
He said that for all those who opposed the nomination, “there is one answer – vote” in the November mid-term elections.
Majority Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Brett Kavanaugh was a “serious scholar, a brilliant student of the law and a meticulous and dedicated public servant”.
Lisa Murkowski had earlier said that although Brett Kavanaugh was a “good man”, he was “not the right person for the court at this time” and his “appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable”.
Joe Manchin is facing a difficult re-election campaign in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that President Trump won by a landslide. He said he “found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist”.
There were shouts of “shame” from the public gallery as he voted yes.
Two Republican waverers, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, finally decided to back Brett Kavanaugh.
Over 300 protesters against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been arrested in Washington, DC.
Comedian Amy Schumer and model Emily Ratajkowski were among 302 people held for demonstrating against Judge Kavanaugh.
On October 4, Republicans declared an FBI report had exonerated Brett Kavanaugh of assault allegations.
However, Democrats said the five-day inquiry was “incomplete” because it was limited by the White House.
The Senate will hold a procedural vote on Brett Kavanaugh on October 5.
The likelihood of Judge Kavanaugh winning a full Senate vote appeared to increase on October 4 after two Republicans whose backing will be essential gave a positive account of the FBI inquiry.
However, the confirmation is not a certainty, with several senators undecided and one at risk of missing a vote because he is attending his daughter’s wedding.
If confirmed to the lifetime position on America’s highest court, Brett Kavanaugh, 53, is expected to help conservatives dominate the nine-member panel, which has the final say on issues such as abortion, gun control and voting rules.
As the vote neared, Brett Kavanaugh defended his neutrality in a Wall Street Journal editorial, saying he is an “independent, impartial judge”
Addressing his angry testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he branded the allegations against him an “orchestrated political hit”, Brett Kavanaugh wrote: “I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said.”
Thousands of mainly female demonstrators marched through Washington DC on October 4, starting at the appeals court where Judge Kavanaugh currently presides.
They converged on Capitol Hill and held a rally outside the Supreme Court, chanting: “Kavanaugh has got to go!”
Police rounded the protesters up in a Senate office building after they sat down and refused to budge.
There was another protest in front of Trump Tower in NYC.
President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans declared the FBI report had cleared their nominee, as they sounded increasingly confident Judge Kavanaugh would win confirmation.
Senators said the FBI had spoken to five witnesses connected to accusations by Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges a drunken Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her in 1982.
Federal agents are also said to have spoken to four other witnesses involving a separate accusation by Deborah Ramirez, who claims Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were both were at Yale University. The judge denies both allegations.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said in a statement: “This investigation found no hint of misconduct.”
Senate Republicans plan a procedural “cloture” vote at 10:30 on October 5, which is required to move to a final vote, scheduled on October 6 at around 17:30.
However, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said the FBI report was “the product of an incomplete investigation”, saying key corroborating witnesses had been snubbed. Another Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal, told reporters it was a “whitewash”.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said: “What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking.”
Republican Senator John Cornyn raised eyebrows by telling his party this was “our Atticus Finch moment”, a reference to the lawyer in classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird who refutes a false rape allegation.
Given that Republicans have a razor-thin 51-49 margin of control in the Senate, the party can potentially only afford one defection if it wants to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, assuming Democrats vote the same way.
Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination has been at the mercy of three wavering senators, but two of those – Jeff Flake and Susan Collins – appeared to respond positively to the FBI report.
Another wavering Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, reportedly met assault survivors in her office on October 4.
Complicating matters, the office of Republican Steve Daines said he was planning to attend his daughter’s wedding in Montana on October 6 – meaning he might not be around to vote, or that the vote may be held open until he can return to take part.
Another Republican, Cory Gardner, who previously said he would back Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is yet to decide how he will vote, the Denver Post reported.
A previously undecided Democratic Senator, Heidi Heitkamp, said she would vote against Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, citing “concerns about his past conduct”.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the only Democrat who remains undecided, said he would finish reading the FBI report on October 5.
Russia has been accused of involvement in a series of cyber-plots across the globe, leading the US to level charges against seven agents.
The DoJ said targets included the global chemical weapons watchdog, anti-doping agencies and a US nuclear company.
The allegations are part of an organized push-back against alleged Russian cyber-attacks around the world.
Russia earlier dismissed the allegations as “Western spy mania”.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands has accused four Russians of plotting to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which had been probing the chemical attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the UK.
The UK accused the GRU of being behind four high-profile cyber-attacks, whose targets included companies in Russia and Ukraine; the US Democratic Party; and a small TV network in the UK.
The US said its anti-doping agency, soccer’s governing body FIFA and the US nuclear energy company Westinghouse were targeted by Russian intelligence.
Canada said “with high confidence” that breaches at its center for ethics in sports and at the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were carried out by Russian intelligence.
Added to this, the Dutch authorities have said a laptop seized from the four suspects in April was found to have been used in Brazil, Switzerland and Malaysia.
According to the Dutch authorities, the laptop was used in Malaysia to target the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 over territory held by Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed.
On October 4, Russia’s foreign ministry – which had earlier dismissed the allegations from the UK and the Netherlands as “Western spy mania” – released an official statement saying it was the victim of “yet another stage-managed propaganda campaign”.
The statement said: “It’s unclear who is supposed to believe these statements accusing Russian citizens of attempting to mount cyber-attacks against the OPCW and trying to obtain data related to the Malaysian flight MH17, as if it is necessary to be near the target of your attack.”
“Any Russian citizen carrying a mobile device is seen as a spy,” the statement added.
At a press conference in Washington, John Demers, US Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said that many of the attacks were aimed at delegitimizing sports bodies and “altering perceptions of the truth”.
John Demers said the attacks were how Russia retaliated for bans on its athletes following evidence it was systematically using drugs to enhance their performance.
As a result of the findings, the US has indicted seven people, four of whom were the men expelled from the Netherlands, while the other three were among those charged in July with hacking Democratic officials during the 2016 US elections.
The Russians were also charged with wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering.
All seven men are thought to be in Russia, which does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
A joint statement from British PM Theresa May and her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte said the alleged plot against the OPCW demonstrated “the GRU’s disregard for global values and rules that keep us all safe”.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK was discussing further sanctions against Russia with its allies.
The EU has also denounced the alleged cyber-plots.
The four suspects identified by Dutch officials had diplomatic passports – which meant the Netherlands could not arrest them as diplomats are in theory immune from prosecution in their host country – and included two IT experts and two support agents, officials said.
The men hired a car and parked it in the car park of the Marriot hotel in The Hague, which is next to the OPCW office, to hack into the OPCW’s Wi-Fi network, Major General Onno Eichelsheim from the Dutch MIVD intelligence service said.
Equipment in the car boot was pointed at the OPCW and was being used to intercept login details, he said, adding that the antenna for the operation lay under a jacket on the car’s rear shelf.
When they were intercepted they tried to destroy one of the mobile phones they were carrying, Maj Gen Ono Eichelsheim said.
One of their mobile phones was found to have been activated near the GRU building in Moscow, while another carried a receipt for a taxi journey from a street near the GRU to the airport.
Maj Gen Eichelsheim said the men were planning to travel to Switzerland, to a laboratory in Spiez where the OPCW analyzed samples.
They never made it. Instead, the four were immediately escorted out of the country, he added.
The suspects were named by the MIVD as hackers Alexei Morenetz and Yevgeny Serebriakov, and support agents Oleg Sotnikov and Alexei Minin.
According to officials, the suspects were from the GRU’s Unit 26165, which has also been known as APT 28.
At the time the Russian operation was disrupted, the OPCW was investigating the Skripal case as well as an alleged chemical attack in April on the Syrian town of Douma near Damascus by Russian-backed government forces, the MIVD said.
A laptop seized from the suspects was found to have been used in Brazil, Switzerland and Malaysia, the Dutch officials said.
The cyber-operation in Malaysia targeted the attorney general’s office and Malaysian police as well as the investigation into MH17’s shooting down, Ambassador Wilson said.
Earlier this year Dutch-led international investigators concluded that a missile that brought down MH17 belonged to a Russian brigade. Russia has denied any involvement in the plane’s destruction, which led to the deaths of many Dutch citizens.
Data from the laptop showed it was also present in the Swiss city of Lausanne where it was linked to the hacking of a laptop belonging to Wada, which has exposed doping by Russian athletes.
The FBI report contains summaries of interviews that the bureau has conducted. Nine people were reportedly interviewed, but not Brett Kavanaugh or the woman who first accused him of assault.
The report is in paper format only and no copies will be made. It is being held in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol building, known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or “SKIF”.
Senators have been told not to reveal its contents, but some have already begun to describe its findings.
Senator Bob Corker said the FBI report is 46 pages long.
Democrats have raised concerns the investigation has been too narrow in scope, with key witnesses not interviewed.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on October 4, the lawyers for the first woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of assault, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, criticized investigators for not speaking with more than a dozen alleged witnesses whose names she provided.
In a statement after reading the FBI report, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, said: “There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know”, and that the FBI “found no hint of misconduct”.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein called it an “incomplete investigation”, adding that “the most notable part of this report is what’s not in it”.
Swing Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona – like other Republicans – said it contained “no additional corroborating information”.
Moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine, who also has not announced how she will vote, said it “appears very thorough”.
Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate committee that Brett Kavanaugh had assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
Judge Kavanaugh angrily denied that he had ever assaulted her or anyone else.
Mark Judge, a high school friend of Brett Kavanaugh who Christine Blasey Ford says was in the room at the time of the assault, has said he will co-operate with any law enforcement agency that will “confidentially investigate” the allegations.
He has already denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations.
Two others who were allegedly present in the house during the alleged assault, PJ Smyth and Dr. Ford’s friend Leland Ingham Keyser, are willing to co-operate “fully” with the FBI’s investigation, their lawyers said.
A third woman who has also publicly accused Brett Kavanaugh, Julie Swetnick, alleges he was involved in the drugging and assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s.
Hulie Swetnick says she was the victim of a gang rape in 1982 at a party attended by Brett Kavanaugh.
Her lawyer said on Septemeber 29 that they had yet to hear from the FBI.
Announcing the FBI investigation, President Trump said: “I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file.
“As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
The inquiry involves the FBI reopening its previously completed background check on Brett Kavanaugh. This may mean going back to old witnesses – or speaking to new ones.
Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer said her client welcomed the step but questioned the time limit of a week to hold the investigation.
Republicans are pushing to vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court on September 28, after hearing dramatic testimony from him and Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing him of assault.
President DonaldTrump has urged the Senate – where Republicans have a majority – to vote.
This is expected next week, although the outcome is far from certain with a number of senators on both sides undecided.
The American Bar Association has called for a delay of the vote to allow the FBI to investigate the claims by Christine Blasey Ford and other women.
The Supreme Court plays a vital role in political life – appointed for life, its nine members have the final say on US law.
This includes highly contentious social issues, such as abortion, and challenges to government policy.
Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment would tilt the balance in favor of conservatives for years to come.
For this reason, Republicans accuse the Democrats of seeking to delay the confirmation until after the mid-term elections in November when they hope to win enough seats to stop it altogether.
The hearing, which lasted for nine hours, brought an outpouring of support for Christine Blasey Ford – a university professor – from the #MeToo movement against harassment and assault.
President Donald Trump’s nominee, at times emotional and angry, denied assaulting Christine Blasey Ford when they were teenagers.
The 51-year-old, close to tears, described the incident in detail saying it had “drastically” affected her life.
Prior to September 27, no-one had heard from Christine Blasey Ford publicly since the allegations arose.
After addresses by the leading Republican and Democrat senators, she delivered her statement, at times close to tears.
“I am here today not because I want to be,” she said.
“I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
Christine Blasey Ford alleged Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge had locked her in a bedroom during a small gathering at a house in a Washington DC suburb in the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and Brett Kavanaugh was 17.
She said Brett Kavanaugh had tried to remove her clothing, pinned her to a bed and groped her. Both men were “drunkenly laughing”, she said.
Prof. Ford added: “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details.”
Under questioning by a Democratic senator, Christine Blasey Ford said her most vivid memory was “the laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense… They were laughing with each other – two friends having a really good time with one another”.
In an answer to a question from another Democrat about claims of mistaken identity, she said she was “100%” certain that Brett Kavanaugh had assaulted her.
Many of the 10 Democrats in the 21-person committee praised her for coming forward – and supported her call for an FBI investigation into her allegations.
The 11 Republicans, all men, deferred most of their questions to a lawyer, Phoenix prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.
Brett Kavanaugh responded by taking a combative approach but occasionally became emotional.
“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” the 53-year-old federal judge told the committee.
“The constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.
“Since my nomination in July there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.”
Brett Kavanaugh insisted he would not be “intimidated” into withdrawing from the process.
He said: “You may defeat me in the final vote but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”
Brett Kavanaugh said he did not doubt that Christine Blasey Ford had been assaulted, but insisted: “I’ve never s**ually assaulted Dr Ford – or anyone.”
He admitted he had drunk beer while at high school and under-age, but said he had never got so drunk as to forget events.
The federal judge added that his calendars for 1982 – which he had kept – showed he had not attended a party at the location Christine Blasey Ford had described.
His friend, Mark Judge, has sent two letters to the committee saying he has no recollection of the events described by Christine Blasey Ford and adding that he had never seen Brett Kavanaugh behave in the way alleged.
The Democratic senators on the committee have called on President Trump to “immediately withdraw” Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Moments after the hearing ended, however, President Trump stood by his nominee and said he found Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony “powerful, honest and riveting”.
President Trump has repeatedly defended the judge’s character, saying he is “one of the highest quality people” he has ever met.
Thousands of protesters against the nomination took to the streets on September 27 and 59 people were arrested near the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
In a written testimony provided ahead of September 27 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Christine Blasey Ford says: “It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.”
Christine Blasey Ford alleges Brett Kavanaugh tried to drunkenly remove her clothing, pinned her to a bed and groped her at a party when she was 15 and he was 17.
“Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details,” she wrote in her prepared statement.
“I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened.”
Christine Blasey says Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge locked her in a bedroom during a small gathering at a house in Washington DC suburbs in the summer of 1982.
“Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack,” she said.
Mark Judge has disputed the allegations, saying he does not recall the incident.
“I believed [Brett Kavanaugh] was going to rape me,” Christine Blasey said. The fact that he covered her mouth she says “terrified” her the most, and has had “the most lasting impact”.
“It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”
When Mark Judge jumped on the bed, she says “we toppled over and Brett was no longer on top of me.” She was then able to run from the room.
Brett Kavanaugh is also facing other accusations of assault from three women.
However, he denies Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation “immediately, unequivocally, and categorically”.
The judge also released prepared written testimony ahead of the hearing.
Brett Kavanaugh says: “Over the past few days, other false and uncorroborated accusations have been aired. There has been a frenzy to come up with something – anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious – that will block a vote on my nomination. These are last-minute smears, pure and simple.”
The written testimony suggests Brett Kavanaugh will not try to portray himself as a saint.
He will say: “I was not perfect in those days, just as I am not perfect today. I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many.”
He will also say that what he has been accused of is “far more serious than juvenile misbehavior”.
The hearing is scheduled to get under way at 10:00 local time and could last five hours.
There will be opening statements from the leading Republican and Democrat members.
Christine Blasey Ford will deliver her opening statement first.
The 21 senators on the committee will then have five minutes each to pose questions, but while the 10 Democrats are expected to ask questions themselves, it is believed a special counsel will act on behalf of the Republicans.
Christine Blasey Ford will then leave the room and Brett Kavanaugh will enter. She had earlier asked not to be in the same room as the judge.
Brett Kavanaugh will deliver his statement and the same round of questioning will follow.
President Donald Trump has portrayed the events in political terms, accusing the Democrats of trying to block the nomination.
However, the job of prime minister could fall to Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates. The new speaker, Andreas Norlen, who is also a member of the Moderates, was confirmed in the position on September 24 with the support of SD.
While Ulf Kristersson is widely seen as the person most likely to form a new government, others may be invited to do so if he fails – including Stefan Lofven himself.
If there are four unsuccessful attempts to form a government that will trigger fresh elections – something which has never happened before.
Speaking after the vote, Stefan Lofven, who is still the leader of the largest party, said he intended to work to form another government across the political divide.
“I see good opportunities to continue as prime minister,” he said.
Stefan Lofven said he did not believe that fresh elections were something voters wanted – but he said he would never support a government that relied on the SD.
Ulf Kristersson said that a new government was needed – one with broad political support.
While the SD is expected to back the Moderate candidate, Stefan Lofven warned the center-right bloc on September 25 against relying on the support of a party “founded by Nazis”.
The SD is a nationalist, anti-immigration party which was linked to neo-Nazis and other far-right groups for years. The party only entered parliament in 2010.
In the years since, the SD has become the third-largest party – a political success story.
Officially, the SD welcomes supporters from all backgrounds, but its history means it has been shunned by the mainstream political parties since it first won seats.
The SD has been keen to change its image, but there have been some unfortunate scandals, and several party members have been expelled in recent years for racist behavior or links to right-wing groups.
Traditionally, the SD’s supporters have been working class men.
However, the party won 18% of the vote in the recent general election – up from 13% four years ago – demonstrating a growing base in Sweden.
A presidential spokesman and disaster response coordinator said almost all the deaths had been caused by landslides in the Cordillera and Nueva Vizcaya regions, adding that reports from other areas were still coming in.
One person was killed by a falling tree in the province of Ilocos Sur, he said.
Almost all buildings in the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan’s provincial capital, sustained damage, a government official said.
The Philippines is routinely hit during the typhoon season but the strength of Manghukt evoked memories of the deadliest storm on national record – Super Typhoon Haiyan – which killed more than 7,000 five years ago.
However, preparation and evacuation procedures have been improved since then – warnings were issued, travel was restricted, schools shut and the army was put on standby in advance.
Mangkhut is still strong as it heads west toward southern China with current sustained wind speeds of 90mph but fears it will re-strengthen into a super typhoon have receded.