Fireal

 

Thursday, Oct 4,  2018

Key GOP swing votes call FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation ‘thorough’ Brett Kavanaugh’s odds of being confirmed to the Supreme Court improved Thursday, with several key senators expressing no issues with the FBI’s recently concluded background investigation. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) called the probe “very thorough.” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) agreed with this assessment. He added that nothing the FBI found corroborates Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh groped her and attempted to rape her in high school, an accusation Kavanaugh denies. However, another undecided Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), said Thursday she is not yet sure whether the FBI investigation was thorough. Meanwhile, previously undecided Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) said she will vote no, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is reportedly leaning yes. If all 51 Republicans remain united, Kavanaugh will be confirmed when the Senate votes this weekend. Source: The Washington Post, Politico

Report: China infiltrated companies, U.S. government with microchip China placed tiny microchips on motherboards that ended up in U.S. government servers, potentially giving a “stealth doorway” to hackers, U.S. officials tell Bloomberg Businessweek in a massive investigation published Thursday. Amazon reportedly first discovered the Chinese-built motherboards, sold by California company Supermicro, contained mysterious, rice-grain-sized chips in 2015. That finding sparked a top-secret, ongoing federal investigation that concluded Chinese subcontractors implanted the chips and that this hardware infestation could be particularly severe, officials told Businessweek. They also said Apple, a bank, and government and military agencies could be susceptible to hacking via the chips. In statements to BusinessweekChina claimed to be “a resolute defender of cybersecurity,” Apple and Supermicro denied knowing about the investigation, and Amazon called the report “untrue.” Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Yankees and Red Sox to meet in MLB playoffs for first time since 2004 Major League Baseball’s division series begin Thursday, starting with game one in a best-of-five series between the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers, and another between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. On Friday, the 2017 World Series-winning Houston Astros kick off their series with the Cleveland Indians. And in what is surely the headline series, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet on Friday, the first postseason game between the two rivals since the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 ALCS deficit against the Yankees on their way to winning Boston’s first World Series since 1918. Source: ESPN

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in India for a summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (The Times of India)

The International Court of Justice orders the U.S. to lift sanctions against Iran related to the import of humanitarian goods and civil aviation safety. (The Guardian)

A Peruvian court reverses the pardon granted to former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and orders that Fujimori must be returned to prison. (BBC)

Kepler-1625b, an exoplanet proposed in 2017 to be orbited by an exomoon, the first possible example of a moon orbiting a planet in another stellar system, is confirmed with observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. (Space.com)

 

Wednesday,  Oct 3,  2018

In a public speech in Southaven, Mississippi, U.S. President Donald Trump says that Salman of Saudi Arabia’s power wouldn’t last “for two weeks” without the support of the U.S. military. (Reuters)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sends a “Presidential Alert”, a Wireless Emergency Alerts test message at 2:18 PM EDT (18:18 UTC) to most cell phones in the United States. (Time)

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the United States terminates the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran after the International Court of Justice used it as a basis to order the U.S. to lift sanctions against Iran related to the import of humanitarian goods and civil aviation safety. (Fox News)

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to George P. Smith, Frances Arnold, and Greg Winter for the design of molecules with a range of uses by means that mimic natural selection. (The New York Times).

FBI could wrap up Kavanaugh investigation Wednesday The FBI indicated Tuesday that it will wrap up its supplemental background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as early as Wednesday, leading Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to vow, “We’ll have an FBI report this week, and we’ll have a vote this week.” The FBI has finished interviewing several key witnesses named by women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault in the early 1980s, but other potential witnesses have lamented that the FBI has not contacted them. There is also disagreement over what parts of the FBI report will be made public, with McConnell saying it will be available only to senators, and colleagues in both parties insisting at least part of the findings be made public. Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post

Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford during Mississippi rally President Trump defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday by mocking one of the women who has alleged he assaulted her when they were teenagers. Last week, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor from California, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a high school party. Trump mocked Ford and the way she answered questions about how she got to the party and the location of the home: “What neighborhood was it in? ‘I don’t know.’ Where’s the house? ‘I don’t know. Upstairs. Downstairs. I don’t know. But I had one beer, that’s the only thing I remember.'” The crowd laughed and cheered. Source: CNN

1 woman, 2 men win Chemistry Nobel for directed evolution of proteins On Wednesday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to two Americans and one British chemist for research that has “taken control of evolution and used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind.” Half of the award and $1 million prize goes to Frances H. Arnold at the California Institute of Technology for conducting “the first directed evolution of enzymes,” the academy said. George P. Smith at the University of Missouri in Columbia and Sir Gregory P. Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge were jointly awarded the other half for using “phage display” to help produce new pharmaceuticals. Arnold is just the fifth woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Source: Nobel Committee

 

Tuesday,  Oct 2, 2018

French RAID and BRI police units raid the headquarters of a Shiite association in Grande-Synthe and the homes of its leaders for “strong support” to “many” terrorist organizations. Assets are frozen and three people remanded in custody. (France-Soir via Koz Post)

The Council of Representatives of Iraq elects Barham Salih as president. Salih then appoints Adil Abdul al-Mahdi as prime minister. (CNN)

The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded to Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou, and Donna Strickland for their work using lasers to manipulate microscopic objects. Strickland is the first woman to win this award in 55 years. (The New York Times) (CNN)

The End