5 things for October 18: ISIS, politics, Russia, travel ban, NFL

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ISIS’ capital has fallen. US-backed forces say they’ve wrestled control of Raqqa, Syria, away from the terror group and declared “major military operations” there over, though some pockets of resistance remain. The war against ISIS started about three years ago, after the terrorist group gobbled up huge swaths of Iraq and Syria. Now, ISIS only controls a small strip of territory along the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Still, an aid group warns that the humanitarian crisis is getting worse, with 270,000 people who fled the fighting in Raqqa still needing help. And CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh says ISIS will continue to exist as a ragtag insurgency and threaten the West.

      Can ISIS ever be eradicated?

    2. Politics

    There’s a bipartisan deal “in principle” to restore the Obamacare subsidies that President Trump dumped last week. The deal would keep the subsidies — paid to insurance companies to help keep premiums affordable for low-income Americans — going for two years. In exchange, Republicans get more flexibility for states in how they implement Obamacare. And the President says he’s on board with it all.
    Meanwhile, a US congresswoman accuses the President of making insensitive comments to a Gold Star widow. Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Democrat, said Trump told the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson in a phone call that “he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.” A White House official said such conversations are private.
    Johnson was one of four American soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger. The Pentagon is investigating what happened, and the incident is putting a spotlight on the US mission in western Africa, where hundreds of US troops and a fleet of drones are used to battle several terror networks.

      Lawmaker infuriated over Trump’s call to widow

    3. Russia

    Yevgeny Prigozhin is a Russian oligarch dubbed “chef” to President Vladimir Putin by the Russian press. In 2002, he served caviar and truffles to President George W. Bush during a summit in St. Petersburg. Before that, he renovated a boat that became the city’s most exclusive restaurant.
    But his business empire has expanded far beyond the kitchen. US investigators believe it was Prigozhin’s company that financed a Russian “troll factory” that used social media to spread fake news during the 2016 US presidential campaign, according to multiple officials briefed on the investigation. One part of the factory had a particularly intriguing name and mission: a “Department of Provocations” dedicated to sowing fake news and social divisions in the West, according to internal company documents obtained by CNN.

      Exclusive: Putin’s ‘chef,’ the man behind the troll factory

    4. Travel ban

    A federal judge in Hawaii has blocked the third version of the President’s travel ban, just a day before it was set to take effect. Judge Derrick Watson said the ban, which bars residents from eight countries, “plainly discriminates based on nationality.” The White House called the ruling “dangerously flawed” and promised an appeal.

      Federal judge blocks Trump Travel Ban 3.0

    5. NFL

    NFL owners will have a second day of meetings today, as the league tries to get a handle on the controversy over player protests during the National Anthem. The league’s current policy, which offers no penalties for players who don’t stand for the anthem, is not expected to change. And Commissioner Roger Goodell said players were not asked to commit to standing for the anthem.
    The league and its players did announce support for criminal justice reform. Goodell, in a letter with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, said the NFL could get behind a bill that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Goodell and Baldwin said such a bill (like one introduced two years ago) would “address many of the issues on which our players have worked to raise awareness of over the last two seasons.”

      Kaepernick’s attorney speaks out on grievance


    As I was walking down, I heard rapid fire. And at first, I took cover. I felt a burning sensation. I went to go lift my pant leg up, and I saw the blood. That’s when I called it in on my radio that shots have been fired.”
    Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino security guard Jesus Campos, who is telling his story of what happened the night of the Las Vegas massacre for the first time today on “Ellen”


    People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
    Hashtag history
    “Me too” didn’t start last weekend with Alyssa Milano. The rallying cry for survivors of sex assault and harassment actually has been around for 10 years.

      #Metoo: Social media flooded with stories

    I know a guy ….
    The Green Bay Packers won’t have Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season, but fans are petitioning for the perfect replacement — Colin Kaepernick. 
    Take her with you
    Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is already in our homes and offices. Now, Garmin wants to put her in the car with you.
    Super stars
    The sequel to “Mamma Mia” just upped its star power big time, now that it will feature Meryl Streep and Cher.
    What a country
    We might need to move to Australia, where Google drones will soon start dropping hot and tasty burritos into people’s yards.


    $410 million
    The asking price for the most expensive home for sale in the world right now


    One-man band
    A musician calms his fussy 2-month-old daughter by playing every instrument in his rendition of Toto’s “Africa.” And you thought ’80s music was dead. (Click to view.)

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