Migrants pause to honor dead man, rest, still far from US
HUIXTLA, Mexico – Still more than 1,000 miles from their goal of reaching the United States, a caravan of Central American migrants briefly halted its arduous journey Tuesday to mourn a fellow traveler killed in a road accident, and to rest weary, blistered feet and try to heal illnesses and injuries suffered on the road.
Thousands awakened as the sun rose over a makeshift encampment in a rain-soaked square in the far southern Mexican town of Huixtla, a chorus of coughs rattling from the shapeless forms wrapped in blankets and bits of plastic sheeting.
Sunburned from the daytime heat and chilled by the overnight cold, many appeared to be developing respiratory problems.
Edwin Enrique Jimenez Flores, 48, of Tela, Honduras, had one of those persistent coughs, but still vowed to reach the U.S. to seek work.
“My feet are good,” he said.
Turkish president: Saudis must name masterminds of killing
ISTANBUL – Saudi Arabia must identify those who ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and turn over the suspects for trial, the Turkish president said Tuesday in remarks that carefully ratcheted up pressure on a country that is a source of investment for Turkey, but also a rival for influence in the Middle East.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a sharp rebuttal of Saudi Arabia’s widely criticized account that the writer for The Washington Post died accidentally in a brawl, saying Saudi officials had planned the killing for days.
Some analysts believe Turkey is also calculating whether it can capitalize on outrage over the killing to extract political capital from the world’s largest oil exporter without alienating it altogether.
Addressing ruling party lawmakers in parliament, Erdogan used the word “murder” 15 times to describe Khashoggi’s death after the writer entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 for paperwork related to his marriage plans.
Erdogan also cast Turkey in the role of global statesman, echoing calls for full Saudi accountability from Western allies whose relationships with the Turkish government have often been edgy in the past.
Senate slipping away as Dems fight to preserve blue wave
NEW YORK – In the closing stretch of the 2018 campaign, the question is no longer the size of the Democratic wave. It’s whether there will be a wave at all.
Top operatives in both political parties concede that Democrats’ narrow path to the Senate majority has essentially disappeared, a casualty of surging Republican enthusiasm across GOP strongholds. At the same time, leading Democrats now fear the battle for the House majority will be decided by just a handful of seats.
“It’s always been an inside straight, and it still is,” Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said of Democrats’ outlook in the Senate, where they need to pick up two seats while holding on to several others in Republican-leaning states to seize the majority. “If it had been a different year, with a different map, we might have had a terrific sweep. That would be a long shot.”
While the trend may be troubling for Democrats, the evolving political landscape remains unsettled two weeks before Election Day, even with millions of votes already cast across 20 states.
There are signs that the Democrats’ position in the expanding House battlefield may actually be improving. Yet Republican candidates locked in tight races from New York to Nevada find themselves in stronger-than-expected positions because of a bump in President Donald Trump’s popularity, the aftermath of a divisive Supreme Court fight and the sudden focus on a caravan of Latin American migrants making an arduous trek toward the U.S. border.
Category 3 Willa hits Mexico’s coast, starts to weaken
MAZATLAN, Mexico – Hurricane Willa swept onto Mexico’s Pacific mainland with 120 mph (195 kph) winds Tuesday night, hitting an area of beach towns, fishing villages and farms after roaring over an offshore penal colony.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the dangerous Category 3 storm hit near Isla del Bosque in Sinaloa state, and federal officials said there were early reports of power blackouts in some places and damage to flimsy structures with tin roofs.
Damage assessments were limited by darkness and disrupted communications, and no extensive information was expected until morning.
The storm’s forward movement sped up to 17 mph (28 kph) and it was beginning to lose power as it swirled over high ground. The hurricane center said Willa was expected to rapidly weaken during the night.
Willa came ashore about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Mazatlan, a resort city that is home to high-rise hotels and about 500,000 people, including many U.S. and Canadian expatriates.
Lottery office pools increase odds and possibly headaches
DES MOINES, Iowa – A group of New Jersey construction workers noticed that the sixth member of their lottery pool had abruptly left work. Turns out, he had a lottery ticket worth $38.5 million and claimed he bought the winning ticket separately with his own money.
With the record Mega Millions jackpot now at a record $1.6 billion, it may seem like perfect sense to pool money with co-workers or friends to increase the chance of winning a giant payday. But “with this many zeros attached to it, it is a recipe for disaster,” said Rubin Sinins, the attorney for the five jilted construction workers in that 2009 case.
Sinins said such plans can turn into a protracted legal fight, hard feelings and court orders – like in the case of his clients, who eventually won a jury verdict and split the lottery winnings . But if you do venture down that road, he and other experts have some advice: draw up an agreement.
“Document precisely who is part of the lottery pool so that there’s no misunderstanding later,” he said.
Other attorneys and lottery officials agree, though they acknowledge it can seem silly to draw up agreements and copy ticket stubs given the dismal odds of actually winning . The odds for Tuesday night’s Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302.5 million, while there’s a slightly better chance – 1 in 292.2 million – of winning the $620 million Powerball prize Wednesday night.
6 children dead, 12 sick in viral outbreak at rehab center
A severe viral outbreak at a New Jersey rehabilitation center for “medically fragile children” has left six youngsters dead and 12 others sick, the state Health Department said Tuesday.
There have been 18 cases of adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of New York, the New Jersey Health Department said in a statement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an email that it is providing technical assistance to the state. In the past 10 years, cases of severe illness and death from the type of infection found at the facility have been reported in the United States, said CDC spokeswoman Kate Fowlie in an email, though it’s unclear how many deaths there have been.
The strain afflicting the children is usually associated with acute respiratory illness, according to the CDC, which on its website instructs health workers to report unusual clusters to state or local health departments.
The Health Department didn’t release the ages of the victims or address the severity of the illness in the other dozen cases.
US health chief says overdose deaths beginning to level off
WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. drug overdose deaths has begun to level off after years of relentless increases driven by the opioid epidemic, health secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday, cautioning it’s too soon to declare victory.
“We are so far from the end of the epidemic, but we are perhaps, at the end of the beginning,” Azar said at a health care event sponsored by the Milken Institute think tank.
Confronting the opioid epidemic has been the rare issue uniting Republicans and Democrats in a politically divided nation. A bill providing major funding for treatment was passed under former President Barack Obama. More money followed earlier this year under President Donald Trump. And tomorrow Trump is expected to sign bipartisan legislation passed this month that increases access to treatment, among other steps.
More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, according to preliminary numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer- a 10 percent increase from 2016. Health and Human Services – the department Azar heads – is playing a central role in the government’s response.
In his speech Azar suggested that multi-pronged efforts to bring the epidemic under control are paying off. He ticked off statistics showing an increase in treatment with medications such as buprenorphine and naltrexone. There’s solid evidence backing medication-assisted treatment, when used alongside counseling and ongoing support. He also noted much broader access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, and a documented decline in the number of people misusing prescription opioids as doctors take greater care in prescribing.
Police try to prevent retaliation after Chicago rapper shot
CHICAGO – Police took steps on Tuesday to stave off retaliatory attacks by street gangs after a Chicago rapper known for taunting rivals on social media was shot in the head in a shootout during a funeral for his friend and a fellow rapper killed earlier in October.
Five others were injured in the Monday afternoon shooting, though none as seriously as 21-year-old rapper Marvel “FBG Wooski” Williams. Witnesses described hearing around 40 shots as two groups exchanged gunfire along a two-block stretch of a busy street on the city’s South Side.
Police are monitoring threats of retaliation posted on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites after the shooting, and officers planned to hold community meetings Tuesday night in a bid to ease tension, Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
“We want to make sure there are no future acts of retaliation from either side,” he said. He added that the investigation, including into possible motives for the attack, were ongoing and that there have been no arrests.
Police did not release Williams’ name, but the singer’s official Instagram account confirmed he was the one shot in the head. Other media also said it was him. Williams was a friend of the rapper whose funeral was being held in a church next to where the shooting occurred.
Sandra Day O’Connor announces likely Alzheimer’s diagnosis
WASHINGTON – Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, announced Tuesday in a frank and personal letter that she has been diagnosed with “the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease.”
The 88-year-old’s letter was addressed to “Friends and fellow Americans.” And it was a farewell of sorts from a woman who was not only a trailblazer for women in the law but also for much of her quarter century on the high court a key vote on issues central to American life.
O’Connor said doctors diagnosed her some time ago and that as her condition has progressed she is “no longer able to participate in public life.” After her 2006 retirement from the high court O’Connor had appeared around the country championing an educational organization she founded and serving as a visiting appeals court judge, among other activities. But she stopped speaking publicly more than two years ago.
“While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessings in my life,” she wrote. She added: “As a young cowgirl from the Arizona desert, I never could have imagined that one day I would become the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
O’Connor’s announcement of her diagnosis came a day after an Associated Press story in which her son Jay O’Connor said that his mother had begun to have challenges with her short term memory. The story noted that O’Connor had stopped making public appearances and recently turned over an office she had kept at the Supreme Court to newly retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Jay O’Connor also said that hip issues have meant his mother now primarily uses a wheelchair and stays close to her home in Phoenix.
World Series at bat: Red Sox’s Sale vs Dodgers’ Kershaw
BOSTON – The World Series opens in October chill on Tuesday night, with Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitching at Fenway Park for the first time and facing a Red Sox team that had the best record in baseball.
Kershaw will confront a lineup loaded with the likes of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez that carried Boston to 108 wins this season.
Chris Sale gets the start for Boston, pitching 10 days after his last outing and nine after he was hospitalized with what the team called a “stomach illness.” What precisely was wrong with Sale is unclear. He joked – possibly – that it was from a piercing gone bad.
Forecasts call for the temperature to be around 50 degrees for the first pitch a little after 8 p.m., with a drop as the night goes on.