National

When U.S. troops were ambushed in Niger on Oct. 4, the widespread reaction was surprise. The U.S. has military forces in Niger? What are they doing there?

Yet in many ways, the Niger operation typifies U.S. military missions underway in roughly 20 African countries, mostly in the northern third of the continent. They tend to be small, they are carried out largely below the radar, and most are focused on a specific aim: rolling back Islamist extremism.

If all goes well, people on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands could have power restored next week for the first time since a pair of devastating Category 5 hurricanes struck in September, the local electric utility says.

"Portions of St. John are scheduled to be restored by the middle of next week," says Jean P. Greaux, Jr., communications director for Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority.

Nearly a month after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, almost 80 percent of the territory is still without power. While nobody expected a quick restoration of Puerto Rico's badly outdated power grid, officials have estimated that it could take at least six months.

U.S. District Judge Susan Ritchie Bolton says that President Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio does not "revise the historical facts" of his case — and that she will not vacate her ruling that found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt.

In a four-day nationwide operation aimed at sex trafficking, the Federal Bureau of Investigations says it had rescued 84 minors, and arrested 120 people.

"I'll be famous one day, but for now I'm stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons." That's harsh language from the downtrodden sixth-grade narrator of Diary of A Wimpy Kid, a blockbuster series of graphic novels.

But it speaks to a broader truth.

State legislative races don't usually draw a lot of national attention – but Virginia's House District 13 race is: it pits a Republican incumbent known for unsuccessfully sponsoring a so-called "bathroom bill" against a transgender woman.

The CIA on Thursday was forced to walk back an assertion by Director Mike Pompeo, who incorrectly said U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election were unsuccessful.

Asked at a security conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday whether he could say with absolute certainty that the November vote was not skewed by Russia, Pompeo replied: "Yes. Intelligence community's assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election."

Senate Republicans passed a $4 trillion budget blueprint late Thursday by a narrow 51-49 vote, with Kentucky's Sen. Rand Paul joining Democrats in opposing the measure considered a key step in forward on President Trump's promises of a tax overhaul.

The White House praised the bill, saying it "creates a pathway to unleash the potential of the American economy through tax reform and tax cuts."

The Los Angeles Dodgers nailed down the National League championship and a trip to the World Series Thursday by beating the Chicago Cubs 11-1 to take the series four games to one. Left fielder Enrique Hernandez was on fire for the Dodgers, hitting three home runs and driving in seven runs at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

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