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Judge: Justice must give House Mueller grand jury evidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge has ordered the Justice Department to give House Democrats secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell made the directive in a brief order on Friday.

Democrats had requested that the department provide the material, which was redacted from Mueller's report, as part of their ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

Justice Department lawyers argued at a hearing earlier this month that House Democrats already had sufficient evidence from Mueller's investigation, including copies of summaries of FBI witness interviews.


The Latest: PG&E changes strategy after wine country fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric said a faulty transmission line near the start of a wildfire in California wine country has prompted a change in strategy about when to shut down such high-voltage lines in windy weather.

Company CEO Andy Vesey (VEE-zee) said Friday that PG&E has been relying on weather forecast at higher elevations to determine whether to shut off a transmission line.

Under the change, it will look at wind speeds at a more localized level and at a lower elevation than it has in the past.

The cause of the fire near the Sonoma County town of Geyserville has not been determined.

But PG&E has said a transmission line in the area was not shut off and malfunctioned minutes before the fire began Wednesday night.

The utility did cut off power to local distribution lines as part of its program to prevent wildfire during hot, dry and windy weather but not to larger transmission lines that carry power across the state.


Pentagon hands Microsoft $10B 'war cloud' deal, snubs Amazon

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Pentagon has awarded Microsoft a $10 billion cloud computing contract called JEDI .

The contentious bidding process for the contract pitted Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle, among others, against one another.

Bidding for the huge government contract has attracted more attention than usual, sparked by speculation early in the process that Amazon would be awarded the deal. Tech giants Oracle and IBM pushed back with their own bids. Oracle also challenged the bid process in federal court, but lost .

The resulting system will store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the U.S. military to use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities..

Microsoft and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Esper: US troops, armored vehicles to guard Syria oil fields

BRUSSELS (AP) — Pentagon chief Mark Esper says the United States will leave more American troops and armored vehicles in eastern Syria to help prevent Islamic State militants from gaining access to oil fields controlled by U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds.

A U.S. official says the deployment will likely include tanks.

Esper confirms that U.S. is going to send in an armored force to the oil region. He's refusing to provide details or the number of troops.

His comments at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels reflect another change in what's been a rapidly shifting U.S. stance on American forces in Syria.

Just last week, President Donald Trump was insisting that all 1,000 forces would leave the country


The Latest: GM workers ratify contract, 40-day strike ends

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — General Motors workers voted 57.2% in favor of a new contract with the company, ending a 40-day strike.

The United Auto Workers union says Friday that the contract was approved 23,389 to 17,501.

The vote means that workers will put down their picket signs and return to their jobs. Some will start as early as Friday night, and some production could resume on Saturday.

Skilled trades workers will begin restarting factories that were shuttered when 49,000 workers walked out on Sept. 16.

The deal includes a mix of wage increases and lump-sum payments and an $11,000 signing bonus. But GM will close three U.S. factories.

The union has decided that it will now bargain with Ford.


The Latest: UK police arrest 4th person in truck deaths case

LONDON (AP) — British police say they have arrested a fourth person in connection with the deaths of 39 people found in a truck in southeast England.

Essex Police deputy chief Pippa Mills says a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland was arrested at England's Stansted Airport on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and conspiracy to manslaughter.

In addition, the 25-year-old truck driver, also from Northern Ireland, remains in custody, and a man and woman from northeast England have also been arrested.

Mills said the force would not "speculate" about the victims' nationalities, but said "this is now a developing picture." Police earlier had said that all the victims were believed to be Chinese citizens, but reports have emerged that some may have been from Vietnam.


US budget deficit hits $984 billion, highest in 7 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal deficit for the 2019 budget year surged to $984.4 billion, its highest point in seven years.

The government is reporting a 26% increase over the 2018 deficit of $779 billion. The surge reflected such factors as revenue lost from the 2017 tax cut and a budget deal that added billions in spending for military and domestic programs.

Forecasts by the Trump administration and the Congressional Budget Office project that the deficit will top $1 trillion in the current budget year. And the CBO estimates that the deficit will stay above $1 trillion over the next decade.

Those projections stand in contrast to President Donald Trump's campaign promises that even with revenue lost from his tax cuts, he would be able to eliminate the federal budget deficit.


Trump's company exploring sale of marquee Washington hotel

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's company is exploring the sale of its Washington hotel, which has been at the center of three years' of ethics complaints and lawsuits accusing him of trying to profit off the presidency.

The Trump Organization said in a statement Friday that it will consider offers to buy it out of a 100-year lease of the building partly because "people are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel."

The Trump International Hotel has been a magnet for lobbyists and diplomats looking to curry favor with the Trump administration.

In Trump's latest financial disclosure, the opulent hotel built from the Old Post Office building just steps from the White House generated nearly $41 million, up less than half a million from last year.


The Latest: Chirinos goes deep, Astros lead Nationals 4-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Robinson Chirinos homered off the foul pole in left, and the Houston Astros took a 4-1 lead over the Washington Nationals after six innings.

The Astros left the bases loaded when Alex Bregman grounded into a fielder's choice off reliever Fernando Rodney.

Aníbal Sánchez allowed four runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings for Washington.

Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom half of the inning. The Astros stole four bases with Suzuki behind the plate, and he threw wildly to second for an error in the sixth. Suzuki was limited to pinch-hitting duty for three weeks in September because of an elbow injury that compromised his throwing.

Washington stranded its eighth runner in scoring position and 10th overall when Adam Eaton grounded out with runners on first and second.


The Latest: 23 killed in Iraq anti-government demonstrations

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi security officials say at least 23 people have been killed in protests in Baghdad and across provinces in the country's Shiite-dominated south.

The officials say the dead include eight protesters who were killed in Baghdad. The remaining deaths were distributed across the provinces of Basra, Nasiriyah, Misan and Muthanna in southern Iraq.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Most of the deaths occurred as a result of tear gas canisters that were fired directly at protesters, as well as rubber bullets and live ammunition.

By Qassim Abdul-Zahra

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