Key Ambassador to Turn on Trump in Impeachment Inquiry

The White House is set to lose an ally Thursday as U.S. ambassador Gordon Sondland testifiees before a congressional impeachment inquiry that he opposed President Donald Trump’s plan to use personal attorney Rudy Giuliani as his foreign-policy conduit in Ukraine.


White House: Trump to Host Next G-7 at His Miami Resort

In a stunning pair of press conference reveals Thursday, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said next year’s G-7 summit will be held at President Donald Trump’s golf resort in Miami and confirmed Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine because he wanted an investigation into interference in the 2016 election.

Vice President Mike Pence meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace for talks on the Kurds and Syria, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin)

Pence: US and Turkey Agree to Ceasefire in Syria

The United States and Turkey announced a five-day ceasefire Thursday in the invasion of Syria by Turkish forces that has resulted in the slaughter of Kurdish fighters.


Bay Area Quake, 30 Years Later

30 Years After Loma Prieta, California Gets Quake Warning System

Marking the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake and its devastation to buildings, bridges, freeways and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California officials on Thursday launched a long-awaited statewide warning system that will send cellphone alerts before earthquakes.


Geologists Tout Lessons Learned From Ridgecrest Quakes

Months after Southern California experienced its largest earthquake sequence in over two decades, scientists have learned the temblors are more complex than previously thought.

Deep sea coral and fish [photo credit: Papahanaumokuakea National Monument]

Tropical Oceans Hit Hardest in Global Biodiversity Crisis

Numerous reports have painted a grim picture for habitats across the globe due to climate change. Not only is there a crisis, there is a dramatic shift in our ecosystems according to research released Thursday.


Brexit Deal Reached, but Approval Remains Uncertain

It’s back to a bitter, complicated and messy Brexit showdown in the House of Commons. On Saturday, the Parliament is set to vote on whether to support a deal struck Thursday between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union that would allow the United Kingdom to leave the EU in an orderly fashion on Oct. 31.


EU Rights Court Exempts Jehovah’s Witnesses From Military Service

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that Jehovah’s Witnesses in Azerbaijan cannot be forced to serve in the military.


Bioweapon Threat Didn't End in Cold War, Experts Warn House

Picking apart flaws in the government’s system of monitoring for bioweapons, a panel of scientists warned House lawmakers Thursday that America is grossly unprepared for a bioterrorist attack.


Hoosiers Sue to Replace Paperless Voting Machines

In this June 13, 2019, file photo, ExpressVote XL voting machines are displayed during a demonstration at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. More than one in ten voters could vote on paperless voting machines in the 2020 general election, according to a new analysis, leaving their ballots vulnerable to hacking according to a new study. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Indiana voters filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking the decertification of voting machines they claim are vulnerable to hacking and do not leave a verifiable paper trail, in hopes of replacing the machines ahead of the 2020 election.


Chicago Teachers Begin Strike After Rejecting City Offer

Teacher Jesse McAdoo  addresses reporters while surrounded by fellow teachers after a meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates at the CTU Center, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Chicago. Chicago parents and community groups are scrambling to prepare for a massive teachers' strike set to begin Thursday, prompting the city to preemptively cancel classes in the nation's third-largest school district. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago public school teachers will strike starting Thursday morning, as delegates from the Chicago Teachers’ Union voted Wednesday to reject the latest contract proposal from the city after three weeks of negotiations.


Around the Nation

Powerful Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings Dies at 68

Maryland Congressman Elijah E. Cummings,  a sharecropper’s son who rose to  become the powerful chairman of a U.S. House committee investigating President Donald Trump, died early Thursday of complications from longstanding health issues, his office said. He was 68.

FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2019, file photo, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks during a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington.  U.S. Rep. Cummings has died from complications of longtime health challenges, his office said in a statement on Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Clean Power Plan Rollback Survives Challenge by Senate Democrats

Senate Republicans beat back an effort from Democrats on Thursday to reinstate Obama-era greenhouse gas emission standards for power plants.


Senate Fails to Block Emergency Border Wall Funding

The Senate came up short Thursday in a vote to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution that initially passed with Republican support to end an emergency declaration to fund the border wall.


House Tackles Building Efficiency for Climate Fight

Fossil fuel-dependent buildings account for more than a quarter of U.S. carbon emissions. Eyeing their contribution to climate change, experts testified Thursday before the House on the importance of getting homeowners to retrofit their properties with energy efficiency in mind.


Teen Sniper Pushes Justices to Chuck Life Sentences

Operating out of a blue 1990 Chevy Caprice with a hole drilled in the trunk to accommodate a rifle’s barrel, the infamous Beltway Snipers terrorized the nation’s capital for three weeks in the fall of 2002 with a string of shootings that left 10 people dead and three others injured.


House Readies Bill Aimed at Stopping Foreign Election Interference

House lawmakers are pushing for the passage of a third bill to protect the integrity of U.S. elections, with the latest piece of legislation aimed at closing loopholes that allow foreign nationals to spend money on American political campaigns.


Jury to Decide Fate of Honduran President’s Brother Over Drug Charges

When trial opened two weeks ago, U.S. federal prosecutors regaled a New York jury with a portrait of Honduras with its president and his brother, a congressman, on the take from El Chapo: a virtual narco-state with mayors, congressmen, and police chiefs guarding a lucrative cocaine trade.

FILE - In this March 16, 2017 file photo, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez, brother of Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez, arrives for a press conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Jury selection in the drug trafficking trial of Tony Hernandez began Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in U.S. federal court in Manhattan. U.S. prosecutors allege the 41-year-old used his government connections to smuggle U.S.-bound cocaine through Honduras. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio, File)

Judge Shoots Down Bid to Delay Major Opioid Trial

Jury selection moved forward Wednesday in a bellwether trial over the nationwide opioid epidemic after the federal judge overseeing the sprawling case rejected an effort by drug manufacturers and distributors to postpone the trial.



Rhymes With Dump


Impeachment talk got you down? Does the mention of a word that rhymes with “dump” make you want to drive north on the southbound 405 during rush hour? The standard remedies — alcohol, meditation, self-cutting, ice cream, porn — aren’t enough these days.

Read the Nightly Brief

SoCal Utility Warns Wind May Spur Planned Blackouts

FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2019, file photo, a helicopter drops water while battling a wildfire called the Saddle Ridge Fire in Porter Ranch, Calif. Fire officials say a destructive fire that broke out on the edge of Los Angeles began beneath a high-voltage transmission tower. The destructive fire that broke out on the edge of Los Angeles began beneath a high-voltage transmission tower owned by Southern California Edison, fire officials said Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

Southern California Edison warned customers Wednesday that a windy forecast means pre-emptive blackouts could be on the way to avoid catastrophic wildfires throughout the region.


LA Times Union Reaches Contract Deal With Owner

FILE - In this May 16, 2016, file photo, pedestrians look at news photos posted outside the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles. It was announced Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, that the Los Angeles Times is being sold to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a local billionaire, for $500 million, ending its strained tenure under the owner of the Chicago Tribune. Soon-Shiong is a major shareholder of Chicago's Tronc Inc., one of the richest men in Los Angeles and, according to Forbes, the nation's wealthiest doctor, with a net worth of $7.8 billion. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

After more than a year of contract negotiations at the Los Angeles Times, the newsroom’s union reached a contract agreement on Wednesday evening after the newspaper was purchased in February 2018 and broke away from a Chicago-based publisher.


North America Wilted in Hottest September on Record

September was the warmest ever recorded in North America and the rest of the planet tied a record for the hottest September ever, according to a global climate report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday.

Male sage grouses are seen fighting for the attention of females southwest of Rawlins, Wyo., on May 9, 2008. (Jerret Raffety/The Rawlins Daily Times via AP, File)

Judge Blocks Trump Plans to Raid Sage Grouse Habitat

A federal judge handed a victory to conservationists Wednesday, finding the Trump administration’s plan to boost energy development, mining and construction in greater sage grouse habitat should be halted while the two sides argue the merits.


California Water Board OKs 35-Year Plan to Tackle Farm Pollution

California’s Central Valley yields billions of dollars’ worth of fruits and vegetables each year, but its aquifers are overused and polluted. With brown, silty streams pouring from their kitchen sinks, thousands of farmworkers and residents have become habitual buyers and users of bottled water.


Fort Worth Leaders Want Judicially Enforced Police Reform

Community and faith leaders on Wednesday called on the Trump administration to open a civil rights investigation into the Fort Worth Police Department after a white officer shot a black woman to death in her home, saying the goal should be police reform plan enforced by a federal judge.

Rosalie Howes speaks in opposition to Tennessee’s proposed Medicaid block grant in Chattanooga Wednesday afternoon. (Daniel Jackson/CNS)

Tennesseeans Voice Opposition to Medicaid Proposal

Rosalie Howes began to choke up when she began to describe the effect Tennessee’s proposal to receive Medicaid funding as a block grant would mean for her family.

prison bars

Drug Kingpin Who Helped Feds Lobbies for Lighter Sentence

In a secret motel room meeting in 1994, federal agents offered Rayful Edmond III the opportunity to cooperate with the government but told the D.C. drug kingpin the help he gave would not change his life sentence.


Execution Set for Georgia Inmate Despite Appeals for DNA Test

Despite calls for the use of DNA testing in a two-decades-old murder case, Georgia officials announced on Wednesday that death row inmate Ray Jefferson Cromartie will be executed near the end of the month.

Musher Ramey Smyth approaches Shageluk, Alaska, as rain falls and some sun hits the area during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 8, 2018. PETA is the biggest critic of the world's most famous sled dog race, but new Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach has started discussions with the animal rights group and plans a sit-down meeting with PETA Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)

Reversing, Iditarod Will Meet With Animal Welfare Leader

The new head of Alaska’s Iditarod plans to meet with a leader of an animal welfare group that’s devoted to ending the world’s most famous sled dog race, which it sees as a cruel, deadly event for its canine participants.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks during a House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing on veteran caregiver support, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Trump Said to Have Considered Closing Some VA Hospitals

Eager for changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs, President Donald Trump toyed with issuing an executive order to close parts of the VA health system without consulting Congress, according to an upcoming book by his former VA secretary.


US Requires Chinese Officials to Report American Contacts

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it will soon require Chinese officials in the United States to notify the State Department before any contacts they plan to have with American educators, researchers and local and state governments.

In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke and dust billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Turkish artillery on Tuesday pounded suspected Syrian Kurdish positions near the town in northeast Syria amid reports that Kurdish fighters had retaken the town as Turkey pressed ahead with a military incursion that has drawn widespread condemnation. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Kurds Accuse Turkey of Using Banned Incendiary Weapons

Embattled Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria on Thursday accused Turkey of using banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus, a charge Ankara denied.

Charlotte Charles, left, mother of British teenager Harry Dunn, and her husband Bruce Charles, arrive at Union Station in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. The family of a British teenager killed in a car crash involving an American diplomat's wife was headed to the White House on Tuesday for a meeting with senior administration officials. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Parents of Killed British Teen Reject Trump’s Gambit

The grieving parents of a British teenager who was killed in a car crash involving a U.S. diplomat’s wife felt ambushed when President Trump tried to get them to meet with the woman in front of the press, attorneys for the couple said Wednesday.


In Brief


Walt Girdner was born in central Iowa in 1922, one of five children. His father took a job as a Christian minister in Alameda after the family moved to California in 1925. Growing up during the Great Depression, Walt worked double shifts at a cannery to make money for college. He attended Stanford where he put together a string of letters and wins, running the quarter and half-mile. An invitation to join the U.S. Olympic team was negated by World War II and cancellation of the games. During the war, he disembarked in Normandy, fought in the infantry and marched into Germany .

As a young man, he developed an interest in imagery, first through drawing then through the developing technology of photography. Although he left the church where his mother and father were pastors, he kept a lifelong faith in the power and mystery of the natural environment, seeing in its beauty an overriding and everlasting spiritual force. His subjects focused on people and their settings. Farmers, flower sellers, youth were recurring themes.

He traveled in large part to find new images and capture them, in France at first, then the rest of Europe and later Africa and Mexico. Towards the end of his life, Walt focused on images in nature, including letters and numbers that emerged through abalone shells, beach tableaus and patterns in the sand.  He had faith that imagery was a powerful way to communicate and believed young people were much better at interpreting the language of imagery, gifted with imaginations more agile and unencumbered.

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Beethoven meets Thelonious Monk in a Denver snowstorm. Mural and photo © Peter M. Hurley / for Courthouse News.