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International Budget for Friday, October 12, 2018

Updated at 0330 UTC (11:30 p.m. U.S. EDT Thursday).

Additional news stories, including full U.S. coverage, appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT and MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.

^TOP STORIES<

^Trump won't cut weapons sales to Saudi Arabia as furor deepens over missing journalist<

USSAUDIARABIA-JOURNALIST:LA _ President Donald Trump on Thursday flatly opposed halting U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to a diplomatic furor over a journalist who disappeared after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, saying a cutoff would only invite China and Russia to sell weapons to the Saudis instead.

Trump's foreign policy in the Middle East relies heavily on close military ties with Saudi Arabia, and the growing global attention to the plight of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi-born U.S. resident and a prominent critic of the Saudi royal family, threatens to disrupt the administration's regional aims.

1000 (with trims) by Laura King in Washington. MOVED

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^Russia presses Europe to break with Trump and help rebuild Syria<

^RUSSIA-EUROPE-SYRIA:BLO_

There's little prospect of a deal with the U.S., which is now vowing to keep troops in Syria until Iran withdraws, Vitaly Naumkin said in an interview. Russia is instead focused on efforts to organize a Syria summit in Turkey with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. The plan is being held up by European demands for a transition away from Bashar Assad's rule.

750 by Henry Meyer and Arne Delfs in Moscow. MOVED

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^US hopeful Turkey will release pastor but has no deal, sources say<

USTURKEY-PASTOR:BLO _ The Trump administration is hopeful that Turkey will set free an imprisoned American pastor when he appears in court on Friday but hasn't secured a deal for his release, according to people familiar with the situation.

Two officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the case of Andrew Brunson, described what they called a growing sense of optimism among some senior staff that the North Carolina pastor will be released.

400 by Nick Wadhams, Benjamin Harvey and Jennifer Jacobs in Washington. MOVED

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^WORLD NEWS<

^Iraq's new prime minister faces expectations to change, rebuild the country<

^IRAQ:LA_< After five months of political wrangling, Iraq's former oil minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was chosen last week to form a new government _ the latest hope for reconstructing a county ravaged by war and hardship.

His predecessors came to power amid existential battles against the Islamic State and a Kurdish succession bid that promised to dismember the country. But as prime minister he faces an arguably greater challenge: appeasing an electorate that has lost patience with the entire political class and is eager to see results more than 15 years after the U.S.-led invasion.

850 (with trims) by Nabih Bulos in Beirut. MOVED

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^Mukalla is an oasis of stability in war-torn Yemen. So why do some residents miss al-Qaida?<

YEMEN-MUKALLA:LA _ Fuel truck driver Ali Astal wouldn't dare cross this country brimming with guns and militias without a Kalashnikov or two stashed under the dashboard.

But when he reaches the Mukalla city limits, he gamely surrenders his weapons at a checkpoint.

"This is for the city's security," he said as a soldier wrote out a receipt so he might collect the guns on his way out.

Mukalla, former al-Qaida bastion of about 500,000 people, is one of the safest cities in a nation torn apart by a brutal civil war that has claimed at least 10,000 lives, displaced 2 million and forced the internationally recognized government into exile. It may be the only place in Yemen that doesn't allow civilians to carry firearms in public, a common site elsewhere.

But two years after troops from the United Arab Emirates and their local allies reclaimed the city, a port on the Arabian Sea, residents are growing restless.

1600 (with trims) by Alexandra Zavis in Mukalla, Yemen. MOVED

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^UN refugee chief: Venezuelan exodus 'not going to stop' soon<

VENEZUELA-REFUGEES:MI _ The region needs to brace itself for the arrival of even more Venezuelan migrants, as there are few signs that the exodus will end anytime soon, the head of the United Nations refugee agency said.

Speaking to reporters in Lima Thursday, UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi said the international community needs to help countries like Colombia and Peru that are absorbing the brunt of the new arrivals.

"Clearly, I think governments in the region and we, the humanitarian community, must step up our preparation for more (migrants); this is not going to stop anytime soon," he said of the Venezuelan crisis. "Unfortunately it's not going to stop."

750 by Jim Wyss in Lima, Peru. MOVED

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^Maduro: White House ordered Colombia to kill me<

^VENEZUELA-MADURO:DPA_

"The White House tasked Bogota with killing Maduro," the Venezuelan president said in a statement broadcast on radio and television. "That's why they call me a dictator, because anything goes against a dictatorship."

He gave no evidence for his accusations.

250 in Caracas, Venezuela. MOVED

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^Ramaphosa treads 'softly-softly' in South Africa power struggle<

SAFRICA-RAMAPHOSA:BLO _ South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is caught in an intricate game of political chess as he seeks to stamp his authority on the government while maintaining a semblance of party unity before elections next year.

While his finance minister and political ally, Nhlanhla Nene, resigned Tuesday after lying about meeting with businessmen under investigation for looting state funds, other ministers with worse track records remain. Following a razor-thin victory for control of the ruling African National Congress in December, Ramaphosa still faces staunch opposition among supporters of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, to a wholesale clear-out of the government.

600 by Mike Cohen in Cape Town, South Africa. MOVED

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^UNITED STATES<

^Hurricane Michael's toll: At least 3 dead, 360,000 in dark, towns wiped out<

WEA-MICHAEL-2ND-LEDE:MI _ The awful toll has yet to be calculated, but Hurricane Michael's damage is likely to be massive along the Panhandle and Florida's Forgotten Coast, now a hellscape of flattened neighborhoods, ruined businesses and upended lives.

At ground zero where Michael crashed ashore in Mexico Beach, house after house was razed to concrete slabs and piles of splintered wood. The place looked eerily like South Dade after Hurricane Andrew.

1000 (with trims) by Jenny Staletovich, David Ovalle and Samantha Gross in Miami. MOVED

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WEA-MICHAEL-1ST-LEDE:LA. _ 1300 (with trims) by Jenny Jarvie in Mexico Beach, Fla., and Matt Pearce in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^'Panama City is devastated': A hurricane's aftershock<

WEA-MICHAEL-PANAMACITY:MI _ The marina once hosted a morning coffee club, rented fishing rods to families and was home to a tight-knit community of sailors and boaters.

Nothing remained standing, or floating upright, in the destructive wake of Hurricane Michael. Boat owners, workers and residents who came to salvage what they could on Thursday found dirty water swirled with cracked wood planks, snapped masts and scattered, shredded life jackets. There was a strong smell of marine fuel in the air.

950 by David Ovalle in Panama City, Fla. MOVED

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^Trump calls into 'Fox & Friends' to talk about Hurricane Michael. Then he keeps talking<

TRUMP:LA _ It seemed likely to be one of those brief television moments when the president calls in to boast about the response to a massive hurricane. President Donald Trump, who has been getting less air time for his prime-time rallies on Fox News lately, had other ideas.

The president held court on "Fox & Friends," his favorite show, for 47 minutes Thursday about a range of topics, including criticism that he'd gone ahead with a rally in Pennsylvania the night before as Hurricane Michael devastated the Southeast. Hundreds of thousands of people in its path were without power, and probably unable to watch Trump's comments.

700 by Noah Bierman in Washington. MOVED

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^Washington state abolishes death penalty, calling it 'arbitrary' and 'racially biased'<

WASHSTATE-EXECUTIONS-1ST-LEDE:LA _ In a strongly worded decision that faulted the state's use of the death penalty as "arbitrary" and "racially biased," the Washington state Supreme Court on Thursday abolished capital punishment.

The 5-4 ruling, which makes the state the latest in a growing number to outlaw the death penalty either through legislation or the courts, effectively makes permanent a four-year moratorium on the death penalty in Washington.

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^Ground zero: Hurricane Michael inflicted heavy damage on tiny Mexico Beach<

WEA-MICHAEL-MEXICOBEACH:PT _ Fires burn with no one to put them out. Cars and trucks stacked like toys. Stairs lead to houses that no longer exist. Trees bent over, as if trying to run from something.

Hurricane Michael slammed into North Florida on Wednesday with historic fury. The Category 4 storm is the most powerful storm on record to strike the Panhandle, blasting it with storm surge up to 14 feet and 155-mph winds _ just two miles shy of Category 5 strength.

But one of the communities hit hardest was Mexico Beach, a town of about 1,100 near where the monster storm first made landfall.

300 by Zachary T. Sampson in Mexico Beach, Fla. MOVED

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^Michael moves out of Georgia leaving one dead<

^WEA-MICHAEL-GEORGIA:AT_

The powerful storm claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl in Southwest Georgia, which appeared to be the hardest hit part of the state.

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^He promised to protect their dogs during Hurricane Michael. Then the walls collapsed<

WEA-MICHAEL-DOGS:MI _ For six years, Charles Burgess ran Pawaday Inn, building up a loyal customer base that brought him their beloved dogs and cats for grooming and boarding.

As Hurricane Michael approached, customers entrusted Burgess to care for their pets as they left town.

So Burgess holed up with 12 dogs, two cats and several employees in the squat concrete building on East Sixth Street, figuring it was strong enough to endure whatever was coming. But Michael, whipping to the top of the Category 4 scale just before landfall near the Panhandle city, proved too powerful.

350 by David Ovalle in Panama City, Fla. MOVED

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^Federal judge rejects Democrats' request for voter-registration extension<

FLA-VOTER-REGISTRATION:MI _ After the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit earlier this week seeking a statewide extension of the voter registration deadline, a federal judge has rejected it, saying "there is no justification."

Given Hurricane Michael's disruption of the last day of voter registration on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott's administration extended the registration deadline by one day, but only in those counties that planned to close all or part of Tuesday because of the hurricane. Democrats called Secretary of State Ken Detzner's one-day proposal insufficient and confusing and said it fails to protect Floridians' voting rights.

450 by Caitlin Ostroff in Miami. MOVED

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^New poll shows Democrat Shalala trailing GOP opponent in a district Trump lost badly<

^FLACONGRESS-27TH-DISTRICT:WA_

Shalala, a Democrat running in a Florida district that President Donald Trump lost by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016, is trailing Republican TV journalist Maria Elvira Salazar by 2 percentage points in a Mason Dixon-Telemundo 51 poll. The independent poll's margin of error was 4 percentage points and included a pro-Trump nonparty candidate who could siphon votes from Salazar.

Salazar's unique background as a journalist in a party dominated by Trump and her appeal with older, Spanish-speaking voters has enabled the GOP to remain competitive.

1100 (with trims) by Alex Daugherty and David Smiley in Washington. MOVED

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^Analysis: Trump's hardball tactics may win trade battles while losing the loyalty of allies<

TRUMP-TRADE-ANALYSIS:LA _ The president's bruising strategy led to frayed relations with some of the United States' closest allies and contributed to what has become a stain on America's image and that of its president across the globe.

The consequences of declining goodwill may not be immediately apparent, stretching beyond Trump's tenure in the White House. But they could potentially end up overshadowing whatever immediate profits his hardball negotiating style yield.

"The U.S. has been a global leader for 70 years, but the cost of going to a narrow balance-sheet definition of relationship is that it is no longer seen as a leader," Eric Miller, a global fellow at the Wilson Center's Canada Institute in Washington, said.

"Leadership is about inspiring followers," he said. "What's happening over time with America First is it's becoming America alone."

1500 (with trims) by Don Lee in Washington. MOVED

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^Trump said he won't fire Federal chairman. That's wise, because he probably can't<

TRUMP-FED:LA _ President Donald Trump on Thursday blamed the Federal Reserve for the recent stock market downturn but said he would not dismiss his hand-picked chairman, Jerome H. Powell.

"No, I'm not going to fire him." Trump said in the Oval Office after a reporter asked him if Powell's job was in jeopardy due to recent increases in the Fed's benchmark short-term interest rate that Trump said "disappointed" him.

But it would be very difficult for Trump to fire the Fed chairman even if he wanted to.

350 by Jim Puzzanghera in Washington. MOVED

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^Analysis: Trump's stump speeches describe Democrat-run hellscape<

TRUMP-ANALYSIS:CON _ President Donald Trump's midterm homestretch stump speech has evolved into a warning that Democratic control of one or both chambers will create a hellscape of rampant crime, high taxes and no safety net for older Americans.

650 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED

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^In Oval Office meeting, Kanye West compares Trump to 'Superman'<

^TRUMP-WEST:NY_

West, who was at the White House to discuss prison reform, gang violence and American manufacturing with the president, went on a 10-minute pre-lunch rant that left reporters and others in the room stunned.

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^<

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^TRUMP-WEST:LA_<350 by Nardine Saad. MOVED

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^Oops! Kanye West shares his iPhone passcode with the world<

TRUMP-WEST-PHONE:WA _ It's time for Kanye West to do something about his iPhone passcode.

While visiting the Oval Office on Thursday, the rapper and music impresario was caught on camera logging onto his mobile device, a single digit pressed six times, 000000.

Cybersecurity folks did the virtual equivalent of a head slap.

"Sheesh," tweeted Graham Cluley, a British security blogger.

350 by Tim Johnson in Washington. MOVED

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^Music industry hails passage of the Music Modernization Act<

TRUMP-MUSICACT:LA _ American politics may be polarized, but a new law signed by President Donald Trump on Thursday suggests that liberals and conservatives agree on the need for a better system to compensate musicians and songwriters in the digital era.

The Music Modernization Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is a response to the modern world of music streaming and satellite radio _ platforms that did not exist when laws governing royalty payments to music creators and license holders were drafted decades ago.

800 by Randall Roberts and Randy Lewis. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED

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^Trump defies California senators with 9th Circuit judge nominations<

TRUMP-JUDGES-9THCIRCUIT:WA _ After months of negotiations and delays, the White House is moving to fill California's three vacancies on the influential 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals _ over the strenuous objections of the state's two Democratic senators.

White House officials had been negotiating with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, about filling these and other federal court vacancies in the state. But that dialogue collapsed. On Wednesday night, the Trump administration announced it was nominating three attorneys to the 9th Circuit, the largest and busiest federal appeals court in the country.

800 by Emily Cadei and Kate Irby in Washington. MOVED

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^Dina Powell tells Goldman Sachs allies she leans toward declining UN post<

UN-POWELL:BLO _ Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Dina Powell has told some colleagues that she's leaning against leaving the firm to rejoin the Trump administration as ambassador to the United Nations, according to two people familiar with the matter.

President Donald Trump has called Powell about the job twice, first on Sunday _ before current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley announced her resignation _ and again on Wednesday, the people said. He made it clear that he's interested in the idea of appointing Powell to the position, they said, though he has also talked to other candidates.

450 by Jennifer Jacobs in Washington and Sridhar Natarajan in New York. MOVED

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^House GOP subpoenas Glenn Simpson, founder of Trump dossier firm Fusion GPS<

USRUSSIA-HACKING-FIRM:BLO _ House Republicans have subpoenaed the founder of the firm that commissioned a dossier alleging ties between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign, demanding that Glenn Simpson show up Tuesday for a closed-door deposition at the Capitol.

200 by Billy House in Washington. MOVED

^Fewer white men running for office as women and minorities step up, report finds<

POLITICS-DEMOGRAPHICS:CON _ The 2018 primary season has seen a drastic decline of white men running for office in congressional and state races, as more women and minorities have joined the fray, according to report released Thursday.

There has been a 13 percent drop in white, male congressional candidates since 2012 and a 12 percent drop in legislative races, the report from the Reflective Democracy Campaign found.

450 by Stephanie Akin in Washington. MOVED

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^Yet another poll says Missouri Senate race is tight. A look inside the numbers shows why<

MOSENATE-POLL:SL _ Yet another independent poll shows Missouri's U.S. Senate race very close, but its underlying results on questions about issues and intensity reveal much more about the state of one of the nation's most-watched elections.

The poll by Reuters, Ipsos and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics shows Republican state Attorney General Josh Hawley supported by 45 percent of likely Missouri voters, and incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., supported by 44 percent. That's well within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

The same polling firm found businessman J.B. Pritzker leading Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, 50 percent to 30 percent in Illinois.

700 by Chuck Raasch in Washington. MOVED

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^Poll: Abrams and Kemp in tight race in Georgia; Trump's approval up<

GAGOV-POLL:AT _ Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams remain locked in a tight race for Georgia governor less than a month before the election, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/WSB-TV poll that showed an increasingly dwindling number of undecided voters.

The poll showed Kemp ahead of Abrams 47.7 percent to 46.3 percent, a statistically insignificant difference within the poll's 2.8 percentage point margin of error. Libertarian Ted Metz had 2.3 percent of support, and a slim 4 percent of voters are undecided.

The Sept. 6 AJC/WSB-TV poll showed the candidates deadlocked at 45 percent with 7 percent undecided.

650 by Greg Bluestein in Atlanta. MOVED

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^GOP official resigns after saying congressional candidate would be sent back to reservation<

KANHOUSE-INSULT:KC _ The Kansas Republican who said of Democratic congressional candidate Sharice Davids, "your radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian will be sent back packing to the reservation," has resigned as a precinct committeeman.

500 by Hunter Woodall and Lynn Horsley in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED

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^Border fence replacement hailed by Trump is completed in Calexico, Calif.<

BORDERWALL:SD _ Construction workers last week put up the final panel of a new border barrier in Calexico, Calif., a project touted by President Donald Trump as the first part of his promised wall between Mexico and the U.S.

Almost two years into Trump's presidency, Congress has so far avoided funding a full-fledged border wall. The approximate $1.6 billion in funding that has been awarded to border construction has focused on replacement barrier projects.

700 by Kate Morrissey in San Diego. MOVED

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^Health care exchange premiums dip, finally<

^HEALTHCARE-PREMIUMS:CON_

The decline is a significant departure from steep increases in 2017 and 2018. Premiums for HealthCare.gov plans grew by an average of 37 percent for plans this year, after rising by 25 percent the year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

850 by Mary Ellen McIntire. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED

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^Michael Cohen registers as a Democrat in latest break with Trump<

COHEN-1ST-LEDE:NY _ Michael Cohen has been caught in the blue wave.

The disillusioned former fixer to President Donald Trump registered as a Democrat on Thursday, his legal team announced, putting the final nail in the coffin of the two men's crumbling relationship.

The former Trump attorney, who up until June served as the Republican Party's deputy finance chairman, made the switch at the New York state board of election offices in Albany, a spokeswoman confirmed to the New York Daily News. Cohen's move was first reported by Axios.

350 by Chris Sommerfeldt in New York. MOVED

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^DA tosses charges relating to one accuser in Harvey Weinstein case after incriminating info came to light<

^WEINSTEIN:NY_

800 by Shayna Jacobs in New York. (Moved as an entertainment story.)

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^ISIS suspect in Calif. faces certain execution if sent back to Iraq, lawyers say<

ISIS-ARREST:SA _ Lawyers for the Sacramento man accused of being an Islamic State terrorist who killed a police officer in Iraq in 2014 have set forth a key part of their defense argument: Omar Ameen wasn't in the war-torn country at the time of the alleged killing.

Ameen, a 45-year-old father of four who has lived in Sacramento since early 2016, faces a court hearing in federal court Monday as part of the government's efforts to extradite him back to his home nation of Iraq to face charges in the June 22, 2014, slaying of a police officer in Anbar province.

800 (with trims) by Sam Stanton in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED

^LA typhus outbreak adds fuel to debates over homelessness, housing<

^MED-TYPHUS-LA:LA_< A man hospitalized for dehydration a few months ago at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center started suffering a severe fever, and doctors weren't sure why.

The patient was homeless, a clue to doctors that he might have typhus. Every year people contract flea-borne typhus in Southern California, mostly in Los Angeles County. Doctors did a blood test.

"We sent it off, and lo and behold _ typhus," County-USC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brad Spellberg said.

Since July, there have been nine cases of typhus in downtown Los Angeles, six of which infected homeless people, prompting health officials last week to declare an outbreak there. There have also been 20 cases in Pasadena this year, far more than the five typically seen there annually.

1100 (with trims) by Soumya Karlamangla in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Red tide remnants: Where do dead fish end up?<

ENV-FLA-REDTIDE-DEADFISH:FL _ Red tide's stinky situation: What to do with all the fish carcasses that wash ashore?

The decision in South Florida, which began experiencing the effects of red tide two weeks ago, has been to put them in landfills where they can rest in (smelly) pieces.

The solution seemed fine, since landfills aren't known for their pleasant aromas, but there were still concerns the fish stench might be a bit too much even at a dump.

550 by Larry Barszewski in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

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^Guess what these young dinosaurs ate when their parents weren't looking<

^SCI-DINOSAUR-TEETH:PH_

For a type of fast-growing youngster that lived 150 million years ago, the answer instead was a diverse, nutritious diet, rich in tender greens.

That finding resulted from the discovery, announced Thursday, of a rare juvenile dinosaur skull belonging to one of those familiar, long-necked plant-eaters called sauropods.

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^BUSINESS<

^Analysis: Trump blames Fed for stock slide; analysts say his criticism is just plain crazy<

TRUMP-FED-1ST-LEDE:LA _ The stock market tumbled Thursday for a second straight session _ a combined loss of nearly 1,400 points by the Dow Jones industrial average _ and President Donald Trump has been quick to finger the culprit:

The Federal Reserve, headed by his handpicked chairman, Jerome H. Powell.

"I think the Fed is out of control. I think what they're doing is wrong," Trump said.

But Fed officials have been doing exactly what they've publicly signaled for months: slowly raising a key interest rate in the face of stronger economic growth.

So blaming the Fed for the market dive is just plain nuts, analysts said.

1450 (with trims) by Jim Puzzanghera in Washington. MOVED

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^Microsoft partners with professional cricketer to make smart bat technology<

^CPT-MICROSOFT-CRICKET:SE_

Kumble on Thursday announced the Power Bat, a bat equipped with an internet-connected sensor that communicates with a receiver buried in the cricket pitch and analyzes data instantly.

The lightweight sticker affixed on a bat is designed to be unobtrusive for players but still powerful enough to capture data.

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^ENTERTAINMENT<

^'Bad Times at the El Royale' writer-director Drew Goddard on an endangered species: an original movie from a Hollywood studio<

^MOVIE-BADTIMES-GODDARD:LA_

But in his own telling, he has flirted with disaster at every turn.

"Here's the truth: Every movie I've done in my career could be viewed as something the industry doesn't want," Goddard, 43, said on a recent afternoon at a cafe in Los Angeles. "It all looks good in hindsight. But at the time, everyone said 'The Martian' would never work. Even 'Cloverfield' _ 'Oh, you're going to do some weird "Blair Witch Project" take on Godzilla?' They all sound like bad ideas in one-sentence form."

1400 by Josh Rottenberg in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Ike Barinholtz finds humor in a political dystopia with dark comedy 'The Oath'<

^MOVIE-OATH-BARINHOLTZ:LA_

A loyalty vow to an American president? Sounds insane, right?

"Oh, let me check Twitter. Has it already happened since we sat down?" said Barinholtz, who wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film, over lunch at the Four Seasons.

In "The Oath," which opens in limited release Friday, Barinholtz stars as Chris, a proudly liberal, 24-hour-news junkie who obsesses over the looming deadline for the Patriot's Oath, which has been scheduled for Black Friday. Tensions rise over Thanksgiving dinner as Chris' more traditionally minded parents (Nora Dunn and Chris Ellis), conservative brother (Jon Barinholtz) and his brother's far-right-leaning girlfriend (Meredith Hagner) clash over differing ideologies.

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