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Facebook Unveils Policies to Protect 2020 US Elections

By VOA News WASHINGTON - Facebook on Monday said it will apply lessons learned from America's 2016 election to prevent manipulation of its platforms in the 2020 presidential contest. In a press release, Facebook said it is working to combat "Inauthentic Behavior" on its applications — a phenomenon widely documented in 2016 that has continued in years since. Facebook defines inauthentic behavior as "using deceptive behaviors to conceal the identity of the organization behind a campaign, make the organization or its activity appear more popular or trustworthy than it is, or evade (Facebook's) enforcement efforts." intelligence agencies have accused Russia of creating…
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Drug Companies Reach $215 Million Settlement in US Opioid Case

By VOA News A major pharmaceutical company and three of the biggest drug distributors in the have reached a $260 million settlement with two counties in Ohio to avoid a trial over their role in the deadly opioid addiction crisis gripping America. The deal, struck Monday, came just hours before the opening arguments in a court in Cleveland, Ohio. The case has been viewed as a harbinger for similar lawsuits filed by more than  2,700 local and state governments across the country in hopes of recouping damages from the crisis. Drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen will pay $215…
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US Quietly Reduces Troop Force in Afghanistan by 2,000

VOA News By Ayaz Gul ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - The top American commander in Afghanistan revealed Monday the size of troop force in the country has quietly been reduced by 2,000 over the last year, insisting remaining military personnel  are still capable of reaching their stated objectives. The revelation by Gen. Austin Scott Miller, means the number of residual force now stands at roughly 12,000 soldiers. They are tasked with fighting terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and Islamic State, as well as training, advising and assisting Afghan forces battling Taliban ;   “Unbeknownst to the public as part of our optimization, over the…
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Trump Defends Now-Abandoned Decision to Hold G-7 at His Resort

VOA News By Steve Herman WHITE HOUSE - President Donald Trump is lashing out at Democrats and the media after criticism prompted him to cancel his plan to hold a meeting for leaders of major industrialized countries at one of his properties in Florida. "You people with this phony emoluments clause," Trump said to reporters during a Cabinet meeting ;  The Nobility Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) is intended to prevent federal officeholders from receiving any type of compensation from foreign governments to avoid a corrupting influence. "It doesn't matter if you're rich," said Trump, brushing aside such constitutional concerns.…
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Censure: When Congress Punishes One of Its Own

VOA News By Katherine Gypson CAPITOL HILL - When the Congress seeks to condemn the actions of a president, a cabinet member, a lawmaker or a judge, lawmakers can vote on a motion to "censure" the individual. Censure is a formal reprimand less severe than removing an official from their job. It requires a simple majority vote in either chamber of Congress, instead of the two-thirds majority required to remove a lawmaker from office. What is the censure process? The Constitution gives each house of Congress the ability to punish its members for disorderly behavior or criminal misconduct through a reprimand,…
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Tensions Running High in Washington Over Impeachment, Syria

VOA News By Jim Malone WASHINGTON - After a thousand days of President Donald Trump in the White House, official Washington found itself consumed by the twin crises of impeachment and Syria this week. Even as the president is trying to fend off congressional Democrats moving toward impeachment, he also faces a fierce backlash from Democrats and many Republicans over his decision to pull forces out of Syria. Trump is used to weathering political storms, but this one is particularly intense and comes at a time when he is looking ahead to a re-election campaign next year. Syria flap   From the…
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White House Admits Quid Pro Quo Between Trump and Ukraine

VOA NEWS By Ken Bredemeier WASHINGTON - The White House admitted Thursday that President Donald Trump froze $400 million in badly needed military aid to Ukraine to pressure it into investigating Democrats and the 2016 presidential election. The stunning revelation by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney came after Trump spent weeks denying there was any quid pro quo with Ukraine. Mulvaney told reporters at the White House the money for Ukraine was being held up because of Trump’s concerns over corruption in Ukraine and suspicions it was involved in the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee e-mails in 2016.…
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Trump Rallies Supporters in Texas

VOA News By Patsy Widakuswara DALLAS, TEXAS - President Donald Trump was in Texas Thursday, where he held a campaign rally in the city of Dallas to drum up support in a state that until recently could be counted on to vote Republican. In front of an enthusiastic crowd, Trump boasted about the brokered cease-fire deal reached with Turkey, whereby Ankara agreed to temporarily suspend its military operation in Syria to allow Kurdish forces to retreat from a designated safe zone. “Turkey is going to be happy, the Kurds are going to be happy, ISIS is going to be unhappy,” Trump said,…
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Zuckerberg Defends Facebook’s Approach to Free Speech, Draws Line on China

VOA News By Reuters WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday defended the social media company's light regulation of speech and lack of fact checking on political advertising, while citing China's censorship as a roadblock to operating in the country. Facebook has been under fire in recent years for its lax approach to fake news reports, state-backed disinformation campaigns and violent content spread on its services, prompting calls for new regulations around the world. In a speech at Georgetown University filled with references to the First Amendment and the fight for democracy, Zuckerberg stood his ground, saying…
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US Farmers Harvest Amid Trade, Impeachment Uncertainty

VOA News By Kane Farabaugh CAMERON, ILL. - A sunny and warm October day outside Coleman, Illinois, is a welcome sight for farmer Jared Kunkle, who is eager to begin harvesting corn and soybean crops. Inclement weather has been a problem this growing season, as he explained to a group of farmers from Brazil who recently visited the area. “When I tell them we’ve had a half a day to work in May, they are just blown away,” Kunkle said. “We had a half of day ... in the entire month of May to plant.” That’s because many parts of the…
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