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10 things you need to know today: October 11, 2019

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Harold Maass
Rudy Giuliani at the White House
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1.

2 Giuliani associates arrested after helping effort to investigate Biden

Two associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, have been arrested for allegedly trying to funnel foreign money to U.S. politicians, including a pro-Trump re-election committee, prosecutors revealed Thursday. The suspects, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, helped Giuliani in his effort to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine. Prosecutors say Fruman and Parnas gave $325,000 to the pro-Trump political action committee America First Action, falsely reporting the money came from a natural gas company. They also allegedly donated to a congressman they were asking to help get the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine ousted. Trump was not implicated in the case, but it contributed to rising pressure he faces as he fights impeachment. [Reuters, The Washington Post]

2.

Ethiopian prime minister wins Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his "efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea," the Nobel Institute said Friday. Ahmed worked out a deal with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki to end two decades of conflict. "An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed's unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002," the Nobel Institute said. Ahmed also lifted a state of emergency, legalized outlawed opposition groups, and granted amnesty to thousands of political prisoners in his first months in office. Another leading contender for this year's peace prize — the 100th to be awarded — was Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. [CNBC]

3.

U.S., China start high-level trade talks

High-level U.S. and Chinese negotiators met Thursday for their first talks since July aiming to end the trade war between the world's two biggest economies. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, representing the Trump administration, met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the USTR office after a series of warnings by economists that the tit-for-tat tariffs the two sides have been exchanging could tip the global economy into a recession. President Trump has threatened to hike tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods on Oct. 15 if there's insufficient progress. Trump, who plans to meet China's vice premier on Friday, said the first of an expected two days of talks went "very well." [Reuters, MarketWatch]

4.

Germany says synagogue attack was right-wing terrorism

German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said Thursday that a deadly shooting at a synagogue in the city of Halle was a far-right terror attack. Lambrecht said the suspect, 27-year-old Stephan Balliet, had nine pounds of explosives in his car and had planned a massacre. He faces two counts of murder and nine of attempted murder. The attack was livestreamed via Twitch, allegedly by Balliet, and watched by about 2,200 people. The man in the video blamed Jews for social problems, including those associated with immigration. German authorities said the attacker shot victims outside after trying unsuccessfully to get into the synagogue, where 60 people were attending a Yom Kippur service. The attacker wanted to "kill as many people as possible of Jewish faith," prosecutors said. [BBC News, NBC News]

5.

Trump tells supporters Democrats want to 'overthrow' him

President Trump on Thursday accused Democrats of trying to "overthrow our government," speaking at his first rally since the launch of the House impeachment inquiry over Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden. "They want to erase your vote like it never existed," he said in Minneapolis' Target Center. "They want to erase your voice, and they want to erase your future." Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "really stupid," and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) an "America-hating socialist." Trump also attacked Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, repeating unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct by Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine, with his supporters chanting, "Lock him up!" Outside, protesters called for locking up Trump. [The Associated Press]

6.

Report: 4 officials shared concerns over Trump and Ukraine before call

Four national security officials were so worried about the Trump administration's effort to pressure Ukraine for political purposes that they went to a White House lawyer to voice their concerns, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing U.S. officials and other people familiar with the matter. The officials were disturbed by the abrupt removal of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in May, Rudy Giuliani's sharing of bizarre conspiracy theories about Ukraine, and suggestions that President Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to give him material that could hurt former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival. Officials said their worries mounted after Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked for Ukraine to investigate Biden as a "favor." [The Washington Post]

7.

Oil prices spike after 2 missiles hit Iranian tanker

Oil prices jumped by 2 percent early Friday after Iranian state news IRNA reported that two missiles had hit an oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company in the Red Sea off the Saudi Arabian coast. Saheb Sadeghi, head of public relations at the National Iranian Tanker Company, said the projectiles "possibly" were fired from Saudi territory, although Tehran did not immediately say who it believed to be behind the attack. Regardless, analysts said it was likely to further raise tensions in the region. "This latest incident, if confirmed to be an act of aggression, is highly likely to be part of the wider narrative of deteriorating relations between Saudi and the U.S. and Iran," private maritime security firm Dryad Maritime said. [CNBC, CNN]

8.

Washington Mystics win their first WNBA title

The Washington Mystics defeated the Connecticut Sun 89-78 on Thursday night, earning the team's first WNBA championship in franchise history. It all came down to Game 5, with Emma Meesseman of the Mystics ending the night with 22 points; she was also named Finals MVP. For the Sun, Jonquel Jones finished with 25 points and nine rebounds. The Mystics have been in the league since 1998, and it wasn't until 2017 that they made it to the playoffs. During their first-ever appearance in the Finals last season, the Mystics lost to the Seattle Storm. [CBS Sports]

9.

Floridian sentenced to 20 years for killing man over parking spot

A Florida judge on Thursday sentenced Michael Drejka to 20 years in prison for killing a man who shoved him in a dispute over a handicapped-accessible parking spot. The victim, Markeis McGlockton, confronted Drejka, who was berating McGlockton's girlfriend for parking in the spot outside a convenience store, and Drejka pulled a pistol and shot him. Drejka's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that Drejka was within his rights under Florida's "stand your ground" law. McGlockton's father, Michael McGlockton, said after Drejka's conviction in August that the resolution of the trial will let the family "start putting the pieces back together and move on." [CNN]

10.

Simone Biles wins record 5th all-around world gymnastics championship

Simone Biles continued her domination of women's gymnastics on Thursday, winning her record fifth all-around world championship title, ending her floor routine with a mic-drop gesture for emphasis. "It wasn't my best routine," she said, "but we just thought it would be fun." Biles has now won two more all-around titles than any other female gymnast. Her 2.1-point margin of victory was her biggest yet at the world championships, and matched the spread in her 2016 Olympic gold-medal win. The all-around gold brought her total number of world championship medals to 22, adding to her record and putting her one shy of tying the overall record for men and women set by Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo. [The Associated Press]