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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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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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US Sanctions Turkey, Seeks Halt to Syria Offensive

By VOA News President Donald Trump is pressuring Turkey to stop its offensive in northern Syria with calls for a cease-fire and sanctions against Turkish officials, as he plans to send a delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence to Ankara for talks to resolve the situation. Trump's action follows sharp criticism in the week since the White House announced Turkey was going forward with its long-held plans to try to carve out a buffer zone along its border with Syria free from the Kurdish fighters it accuses of being terrorists linked to separatist Kurds in Turkey. Turkey's incursion pushed the…
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White House Being Warned to Expect Subpoena for Documents on Trump’s Dealings With Ukraine

VOA News By Steve Herman WHITE HOUSE - The White House is being warned by leaders of the opposition Democratic Party, who control the House of Representatives, to expect a subpoena for documents about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Asked by a reporter at a news conference on Wednesday if he would cooperate with such requests from the legislative body, which has launched an impeachment inquiry, Trump replied, “I always cooperate.” At the same time, Trump described the Democrats’ investigation as “a hoax," but added "we’ll work together with shifty Schiff,” referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat.…
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Kurt Volker Set to Testify in Inquiry of Trump’s Ukraine Dealings

By VOA News Former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is set to testify before House committees Thursday about his involvement in President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine. He is expected to speak behind closed doors to the Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs committees. Volker has served as a special envoy to Ukraine since he was appointed to the job by then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Volker was in public service for more than 20 years, starting as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency in 1986. After that followed time in the foreign service, serving overseas in London,…
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3 US Troops Wounded in Afghanistan Insider Attack

VOA News - By Carla Babb PENTAGON - Three service members were wounded in an insider attack Monday in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. A military spokesman in Afghanistan, Army Col. Sonny Leggett, said a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police fired on a military convoy, and that the service members sustained "non-life-threatening injuries." "The attacker was killed by return fire from Resolute Support forces," he added. Another official confirmed to VOA the three wounded in the attack were all Americans. The attack is under investigation. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the green-on-blue attack and wrongly stated that service members were killed.…
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Puerto Rico Braces for Tropical Depression Karen

By VOA News The territory of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are expected to feel the effects of Tropical Depression Karen to the islands Tuesday. The National Weather Service warned Monday that Karen was expected to bring flash floods and mudslides to the islands starting Tuesday into Wednesday. Monday evening, Karen was 215 kilometers south of St. Croix and moving north-northwest at 20 kph, with maximum sustained winds of 55 kph. Meteorologist Roberto Garcia predicted that eastern Puerto Rico would be "greatly affected" by moderate to serious flooding. The territory is still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria…
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