Ceylanpinar, OCT 18 (AP/UNB) — Associated Press journalists witnessed continued fighting Friday morning in a northeast Syrian town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that went into effect hours earlier.
Shelling and billowing smoke could be seen around Ras al-Ayn accompanied by the sound of gunfire. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported intermittent clashes in the Ras al-Ayn but relative calm elsewhere since Thursday night. That's when Turkey and the U.S. agreed to a five-day cease-fire to halt the Turkish offensive against Kurdish-led forces in the region. AP journalists also reported quiet in the town of Tal Abyad.
The agreement — reached after hours of negotiations in Turkey's capital of Ankara between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence — requires the Kurdish fighters to vacate a swath of territory in Syria along the Turkish border. That largely solidifies the position Turkey has reached in its offensive, now in its tenth day.
The fighting Friday came even after the commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria, Mazloum Abdi, told Kurdish TV late on Thursday: "We will do whatever we can for the success of the cease-fire agreement." But one Kurdish official, Razan Hiddo, declared that the Kurdish people would refuse to live under Turkish occupation.
Kurdish fighters have already been driven out of much — but not all — of a swath of territory that stretches about 100 kilometers (60 miles) along the middle of the Syrian-Turkish border, between Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad.
But Kurdish forces are still entrenched in Ras al-Ayn, where they were fiercely battling Turkish-backed Syrian fighters trying to take the town Thursday. Whether the Kurdish fighters pull out of Ras al-Ayn will likely be an early test of the accord.
Turkish troops and their allied Syrian fighters launched the offensive two days after U.S. President Donald Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing American troops from the border area.
The Kurds were U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State but came under assault after Trump ordered U.S. troops to pull out.
Trump framed the U.S.-brokered cease-fire deal with Turkey as "a great day for civilization" but its effect was largely to mitigate a foreign policy crisis widely seen to be of his own making.
Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.UNF-21
Dhaka, OCT 18 (UNB) - Boris Johnson will attempt to persuade MPs to back his Brexit deal today ahead of what is expected to be a knife-edge vote in the Commons on Saturday.
Mr Johnson has insisted he is "very confident" MPs will back his deal.
But the DUP's opposition to his plans means he faces a battle to get the agreement through Parliament.
The PM is expected to focus his attention on Labour MPs in Leave-voting areas, a group of Tory Brexiteers, and rebels he expelled from his party.
Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly said conversations with the Democratic Unionist Party would also continue, despite their insistence they would oppose the deal.
Saturday's showdown in the Commons is the prime minister's last chance to get Parliament to approve a deal before the Brexit deadline of 31 October.
If MPs reject his plans, legislation passed by MPs says he must ask the EU for an extension until 31 January 2020 - something he has repeatedly insisted he would not do.
The BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, said she understood the government would try to sidestep a delay and push for a general election if it was defeated on Saturday.
Some MPs could call for an extension even if the deal is passed, to ensure that hitches in the legislation between now and 31 October cannot lead to the UK accidentally leaving without a deal.
Hailing the "excellent" deal which between the UK and the EU which was announced at a summit of European leaders on Thursday, the PM urged MPs to "come together" to vote for his plans and "get Brexit done".
But the DUP said it would oppose the plans over concessions made by the UK to the EU on customs checks at points of entry into Northern Ireland, among other issues.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I can give you an absolute assurance that we will not be voting for the deal."
He said the party would oppose the deal as a bloc and would not abstain, adding that Mr Johnson had been "forced into this deal" because the EU knows he is "vulnerable in Parliament".
Opposition parties also confirmed they would reject the deal and instruct their MPs to vote against it.
As a result, the prime minister is expected to focus his attention on three groups:
Tory Brexiteers who have not yet backed a deal and repeatedly voted against former PM Theresa May's withdrawal agreement
Twenty-three former Tory MPs who now sit as independents, including 21 Mr Johnson kicked out of the party last month after they rebelled against him in a bid to prevent a no-deal Brexit
And a group of Labour MPs who have expressed a desire to back a deal but are concerned about protection for workers and the environment
Oliver Letwin, one of the former Tories, told the Today programme he would support the deal, and estimated that 17 or 18 of the 21 rebels would follow suit.
But he hopes to force Boris Johnson to request an extension anyway, saying he did not want to "let the government off the hook" and allow it to bypass a law aimed at preventing no-deal.
Under the law as it stands, the government could have its deal approved in principle on Saturday and then leave with no deal anyway if it fails to pass implementing legislation by the 31 October deadline.
What is in the new Brexit deal?
DUP 'unable to vote' for PM's new Brexit deal
One of the Labour MPs who have said they want to back a deal, Ronnie Campbell, told the BBC's Newsnight he was minded to defy his party and vote with Mr Johnson.
"I think this country's just fed up with the way Parliament's run this for the last three years," said the Labour veteran, who is standing down at the next election.
BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said he understood Labour MPs who rebelled by backing Mr Johnson would not lose the whip, that is, not be effectively expelled from the party.
On Thursday, Mr Johnson said he was "very confident" MPs would want to vote for his agreement when they studied it.
Speaking about the arithmetic of getting the deal through Parliament, Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly told the BBC: "If everybody sticks to their word and votes the way they said they would if a deal was presented then we'll have the numbers to get through."
Keraniganj, Oct 18 (UNB) – An employee of a launch was hacked to death allegedly by his co-worker at Sadarghat launch terminal here on Friday.
The deceased was identified as Rubel, 22, a cook of ‘MV Kirtankhola’.
Officer-in-charge of river police Rezaul KarimBhuiya,, said Rubel and Yeamin, 20 picked up a quarrel over cooking while working at the launch around 10:45 am.
At one stage, Yeamin hit Rubel with a sharp weapon, leaving him dead on the spot.
On information, police recovered the body and arrested Yeamin.
Trenton, OCT 18 (AP/UNB) — Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $117 million multistate settlement over allegations it deceptively marketed its pelvic mesh products, which support women's sagging pelvic organs.
Ohio's attorney general said Thursday an investigation found that J&J, the world's biggest health products maker, violated state consumer protection laws by not fully disclosing the devices' risks.
Numerous women who had the once-popular, hammock-like devices implanted claim they caused severe pain, bleeding, infections and other complications.
Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon surgical products unit reached the settlement with 41 states and the District of Columbia.
"These companies didn't paint a clear picture of the device's medical risks, preventing patients from making well-informed decisions," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement.
The products, also called transvaginal mesh, are a synthetic material surgically implanted through the vagina of women whose pelvic organs have sagged or who suffer from stress urinary incontinence — bladder leakage when they cough, sneeze or lift heavy objects. Such incontinence is estimated to affect 3% to 17% of women and sometimes becomes severe after age 70.
Some of the products are still on the U.S. market, and hundreds of thousands of women have had the devices surgically implanted, according to Yost's office.
An Ethicon spokeswoman noted the settlement doesn't include admission of any misconduct, and said the devices "are considered by many to be the gold standard for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence."
"Ethicon has acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of our transvaginal mesh products," which were launched around the world in 1998, she added.
About 25,000 U.S. women with complications have sued Johnson & Johnson, the company said. Those lawsuits aren't affected by the settlement.
It comes as J&J is swamped with thousands of lawsuits claiming patients were harmed by products including baby powder, opioid painkillers and prescription drugs such as its schizophrenia drug Risperdal. Headlines about the litigation and big jury verdicts against J&J, including an $8 billion punitive award to a young man who grew breasts while taking Risperdal, have depressed J&J's stock price for nearly a year. Most of the verdicts against J&J have been overturned or are being appealed.
The pelvic mesh deal requires the company to cease its claims that surgical technique can eliminate any risks, as well as to disclose a list of risks, including loss of sexual function, mesh eroding into the vagina and the possible need for corrective surgery.
The settlement covers the District of Columbia and these states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Ethicon said it settled separately with Washington state and has cases pending in California, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia.
J&J shares closed Thursday up $1.00 to $136.17, still well below their 52-week high of $148.99 late last fall.
Washington, OCT 18 (AP/UNB) — Rep. Elijah Cummings said somebody once told him he would see one guy when he sat down with President Donald Trump "and then you might see another guy" the next day.
Cummings eventually saw that other side of Trump — the one who called the longtime Baltimore-area congressman a "brutal bully" and his district a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess." That was after the burley Cummings, as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, angrily berated a Homeland Security official at a congressional hearing on the administration's policy of separating migrant families at the southern border.
Cummings, who died Thursday at age 68 of complications from chronic health issues, refused to respond in kind. Instead, he invited Trump to come see the district for himself.
Trump on Thursday had nothing but praise for Cummings, tweeting that he was a "highly respected" leader whose voice "will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace." He ordered that U.S. flags fly at half-staff through Friday out of respect for the congressman.
Relations between the veteran Democratic lawmaker and the Republican political newcomer seemed to get off to a positive start just a few weeks after Trump took office.
The two met in the Oval Office in March 2017 to discuss legislation Cummings and other lawmakers planned to offer to help lower prescription drug prices, an interest the two men shared. Cummings told reporters afterward that the issue had come up when he ran into Trump at the president's inaugural lunch in January and they agreed to talk more.
Trump was "enthusiastic" about the proposal, Cummings said , and Trump tweeted about the "Great discussion!" they'd had. A White House statement said Trump had expressed to Cummings his interest in working in a "bipartisan fashion" to help make prescription drugs more affordable.
But the relationship collapsed after the drug proposal stalled, voters put Democrats in control of the House in the 2018 elections and Cummings, in his new role as chairman, ramped up oversight of a White House that had faced scant scrutiny when Republicans ran the chamber.
At the time of his death, Cummings was among the House committee chairmen leading an impeachment inquiry Trump has denounced as "witch hunt."
On its own, Cummings' committee was examining conflict-of-interest issues involving Trump's hotel in Washington and family members serving in the White House. It also was looking into how the White House, and Trump, approved security clearances, including for Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
The committee also heard testimony from Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, a key figure in federal law enforcement probes of potential coordination between Russia and Trump's campaign, and campaign finance violations involving hush money paid to women who said they had had intimate relationships with Trump. Trump has denied those relationships.
Cummings had also reviewed the administration's treatment of migrant children after they were separated from adults who brought them to the border.
Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., who served on Cummings' committee, said the chairman believed in his constitutional responsibility to keep watch over the executive branch.
"He was so committed to protecting our democracy," Lawrence told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. "He did not take his role lightly."
In response to the series of July attacks by Trump, Cummings invited the president to tour his district , from the poorest parts of the majority-black city of Baltimore to the more well-off areas in suburban Baltimore and Howard counties.
"Come to Baltimore. Do not just criticize us, but come to Baltimore and I promise you, you will be welcomed," the lawmaker said in August in his first public comments about the president's criticism. Trump had also complained about other cities run by Democrats he did not name. The comments were widely seen as a race-centered attack on big cities with minority populations.
Trump defended his comments, which were widely condemned, before moving on from Cummings. He also said he would visit Baltimore "at the right time."
That turned out to be in September, when he addressed House Republicans holding their annual retreat in the city . But Trump did not meet with any city officials or otherwise tour the city while there.
In a subsequent August appearance at the National Press Club , Cummings recalled being interviewed by a newspaper reporter who said he was Trump's "worst nightmare." Cummings, the son of sharecroppers who rose to become a civil rights champion and leading member of Congress, said he explained that that was not his intention.
"I said, 'You know, I'm doing my job,'" Cummings said. "I said the president is probably a nice guy but I love my democracy. I love my country and I love my countrymen more."