Mexico’s president faces an earthquake of his own when he asks citizens for disaster assistance

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Rescuers try to recover victims from a building that collapsed during the recent 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Mexico City. More than a week after the quake, teams were still searching for survivors. (Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

MEXICO CITY — The late-night tweet from the Mexican president’s office went out as an ordinary appeal for assistance in a time of crisis.

“Mexico still needs you,” read the Wednesday night tweet. “Help with tents, tarps and blankets for families displaced by the #earthquakes. #FuerzaMéxico.”

But the appeal fell flat. It also hit a sore spot for many Mexicans, who hold their politicians and elites in low esteem and were already seething over a series of corruption scandals consuming the country in the months preceding the twin earthquakes striking in September.

Mexicans on social media raged against the tweet, along with their perceptions of opulence, insensitivity and corruption in politics and public service.

“Urgently needed, cans of honesty and sacks of dignity for the collection center in Los Pinos” — the president’s office. “Don’t bring anymore cynicism or shamelessness. There’s already an excess,” tweeted Gerardo Esquivel, an economist at the Colegio de México.

“This is a government lacking credibility, lacking legitimacy with a very bad image due to scandals and all this fuels the negative reaction,” he told The Washington Post.

The magnitude-7.1 earthquake that rocked central Mexico on Sept. 19 and magnitude-8.1 earthquake hitting the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca 12 days earlier have claimed more than 400 lives and damaged more than 155,000 buildings.

As Mexicans remove the rubble and mourn the dead, many are asking tough questions about corruption — both the cases of alleged graft in the construction of buildings collapsing in the quakes and the politicians now pleading with the country to help out in a time of crisis.

“It’s not wrong for the government to ask for help. But for THIS government, it’s certainly rich,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor, professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, in Mexico City. “They are very good, very efficient — not only at diverting resources, but also shrugging it off once their schemes are exposed.”

The earthquakes were preceded by a string of corruption scandals such as one involving 11 federal ministries and agencies signing agreements with public universities for services worth $422 million — of which $187 million went into shell companies, according to anti-graft group Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) and online news organization Animal Politico.

Almost immediately after the earthquake, a social media campaign emerged pressuring political parties to give up part of the 6.8 billion pesos ($370 million) in public money allotted them each year. (Some of the parties complied, causing uncomfortable questions about whether they might make up for the donated cash by turning to dodgy sources — such as drug cartels — in the 2018 presidential campaign.)

Some even suggested the government go after the raft of state governors who have been accused of graft and fund earthquake relief by recovering what was misappropriated. Others demanded the political class take a pay cut rather than ask the country to dig deeper.

The furor comes at a time when many Mexicans, acting on their own, have already given generously, organized relief efforts and pitched in to remove rubble and rescue those buried under collapsed buildings.

“In our imagination, the government has a lot of money and all of it is mismanaged,” said Manuel Molano, deputy director of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a think tank. “We’re suspicious because they give us reason to become suspicious.”

President Enrique Peña Nieto has an approval rating wallowing in the teens, the product of corruption and conflict-of-interest scandals, an underperforming economy and insecurity hitting levels not seen in 20 years.

The president’s office pointed to a survey from the newspaper El Financiero showing the federal government receiving a 50 percent approval rating for the earthquake response. Members of the army and navy — who have dug through rubble and taken relief to remote areas — received 81 percent approval.

“The federal response to the earthquakes has been, is and will continue to be vigorous … as is deserved by the thousands of people affected by this disaster,” the president’s office said in a statement. “More than 90,000 federal employees are participating directly in the rescue efforts” in areas like security, providing food and medical help and working on reconstruction.

Still, politicians including Peña Nieto have been jeered as they visit hard-hit areas. “Grab a shovel!” someone shouted as the president toured one site. No high-level politicians have been seen getting their hands dirty or hauling away rubble.

“They’ve been missing in action,” says Gerardo Priego Tapía, a former lawmaker with the opposition National Action Party. “The only thing it reflects is that they live on a different planet from most Mexicans.”

Stories surfaced of some politicians seeking to politically profit from the disasters or put their propaganda on relief supplies, prompting some Mexicans print acerbic messages with felt pens on their donations.

“We saw citizens helping, rescuing [people] — along with public forces — coordinating, buying, giving shelter, reporting, informing [but also] hiding their donations from governments so that they didn’t steal them,” said José Merino, political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. “It’s hard to find the space to give [the government] credit.”

Businesses have stepped forward, too, promising to match donations toward earthquake reconstruction, but some Mexicans suggested the political and business class start paying their fair share of taxes, instead — and that state governments, which prefer to pawn off politically unpopular tasks like tax collection on the federal government, start collecting funds on the local level.

The hard-hit state of Morelos, to the south of Mexico City, scrapped its vehicle tax several years ago, prompting wealthy residents of the capital to register their luxury cars there — including Attorney General Raúl Cervantes, who put Morelos plates on his Ferrari, according to MCCI and the newspaper Reforma. Cervantes’s legal representatives have said that his actions were legal and that he had a residence in Morelos.

In Indonesia, the ‘fake news’ that fueled a Cold War massacre is still potent five decades later

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Members of the youth wing of the Indonesian Communist Party are taken to prison in Jakarta on Oct. 30, 1965. Historians estimate that beginning in 1965, between 500,000 and 1 million Indonesians were killed in Gen. Suharto’s bloody rise to power, the worst mass slaughter in Southeast Asia’s modern history after the Khmer Rouge killing fields in Cambodia. (AP Photo)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Early on the morning of Oct. 1, 1965, members of Indonesia’s armed forces kidnapped and killed six high-ranking generals in Jakarta. To this day, it’s not entirely clear who was involved in planning the operation or what the “30th September Movement” hoped to achieve.

But the military’s swift reaction and the mass killings that followed have entered history as one of the Cold War’s darkest chapters. Gen. Suharto, then the head of the army’s strategic reserve command and relying on support from the CIA, accused the powerful Communist Party of orchestrating a coup attempt and took over as the military’s de facto leader. Over the next few months, his forces oversaw the systematic execution of at least 500,000 Indonesians, and historians say they may have killed up to 1 million. The massacre decimated the world’s third-largest Communist Party (behind those of the Soviet Union and China), and untold numbers were tortured and killed simply for allegedly associating with communists.

The military dictatorship that formed afterward, led by Suharto, made wildly inaccurate anti-communist propaganda a cornerstone of its legitimacy and ruled Indonesia with U.S.  support until 1998.

More than 50 years after the events of 1965 — and as documents continue to emerge pointing to Washington’s support for the killings — the topic is still an inflammatory one in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Recently, conservative and Islamist activists, armed with Suharto’s version of events, have sought to suppress investigations into the events of 1965 and have used the communist boogeyman to attack moderate President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

“There are two tools that cynical operators can use for political gain in Indonesia — religion and communism,” said Baskara T. Wardaya, a professor at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta who studies the role of the Cold War in Indonesian history. “And the myth of an ever-present, dangerous communist threat was created by Suharto in October 1965. It was ingrained into the minds of the people.”

In 1965, the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) was a legal party of unarmed civilians operating in the open, not a rebel or clandestine organization. Even if the party’s high command did know about or helped form the 30th September Movement, there is no evidence that any rank-and-file members had knowledge of its plans.

But simply for their political beliefs, they were subjected to mass slaughter. Across the country, one by one, Indonesians were shot, stabbed, decapitated or thrown off cliffs into rivers to be washed into the ocean. The carnage was mostly over by the end of 1965, but violence and discrimination continued for decades. Relatives of victims or accused communists were banned from participating in many facets of public life.

A member of the U.S. Embassy staff in Jakarta later admitted that he had handed over a list of communists — compiled by U.S. officials — to Indonesian authorities as the massacre was underway.

“It really was a big help to the army,” Robert J. Martens, a former member of the embassy’s political section, told The Washington Post in 1990. “They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad.”

The National Declassification Center recently processed thousands of the Jakarta embassy’s files from this period and is working with Brad Simpson, a historian at the University of Connecticut, and the National Security Archive to digitize them and make them public.

In an email Friday, Simpson said preliminary work indicated that the documents should “confirm in additional detail that US officials were aware of the Army-led mass-killings of alleged PKI supporters and members and actively encouraged them” and could be released later this year. He added of the officials, “They knew the Army was carrying out a campaign of extermination against overwhelmingly unarmed civilians who were unaware of and had no involvement in the September 30th Movement.”

But Indonesia still suffers from “dangerous anti-communist paranoia,” in the words of a recent Human Rights Watch publication. The organization was condemning an attack on the offices of the Legal Aid Institute in Jakarta earlier in September.

The institute had planned to host a small conference about the events of 1965, but conservatives circulated social-media messages falsely alleging that the event was actually a meeting to revive the PKI, which is still illegal. Demonstrations on Sept. 16 forced the cancellation of the planned talk. When supporters of the groups involved returned to the building the next day for a cultural event, they were trapped inside by an “anti-communist” mob until early the next morning.

Participants, including students and young human rights activists, told stories of their panic that night as they heard the group outside shout repeatedly “Kill PKI!” and “Allahu akbar!” Witnesses said many of the demonstrators belonged to the same Islamist groups that led a successful campaign for the imprisonment of a former governor of Jakarta, a Christian of Chinese descent, on charges of committing blasphemy against Islam.

“We were the victims of a hoax,” said Citra Referandum, a lawyer at the Legal Aid Institute, using a Bahasa Indonesia term sometimes translated as “fake news.” She said, “Our event on September 17th was only about supporting democracy in Indonesia.”

The anti-communists remain active. On Friday, a few thousand protesters gathered in Jakarta to warn the country about the alleged dangers of a PKI resurgence in the government. Many analysts think this line of attack may be used against Widodo in next year’s election.

“Many powerful people are invested in maintaining the false narrative put forward by the propaganda and brainwashing under Suharto, because they don’t want to see themselves or their predecessors turned from heroes into villains,” said Andreas Harsono, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in Indonesia, after Friday’s protest. “And even though communism is practically nonexistent here, the fears they created can still be used against Jokowi. He’s Javanese [Indonesia’s largest ethnic group] and Muslim, so they can’t attack him for his race or religion. So they try to attack him for being a communist.”

Read more:

It wasn’t just the Armenians: The other 20th century massacres we ignore

Why banning ‘extremist groups’ is dangerous for Indonesia

Catalan farmers drive hundreds of tractors through Barcelona in support of independence vote

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Farmers brought their tractors to the streets of Barcelona Sept. 29 to protest the Spanish government declaring Catalonia’s referendum illegal. (Raul Gallego Abellan/The Washington Post)

BARCELONA — It for sure wasn’t the usual parade, but at midday Friday, hundreds of Catalan farmers rumbled down the elegant boulevards of this lovely city on their tractors, and parked their idling machines around the headquarters of the federal government.

Farmers in Catalonia are no strangers to protest. When they’re unhappy with agricultural policy, they’re likely to dump a load of rotten vegetables or fresh manure at the doors of bureaucrats. But no one has seen anything like this.

The farmers came out to demand the right to vote in Sunday’s controversial referendum, which seeks to ask citizens of Catalonia whether they want to break from Spain and declare themselves an independent nation of 7 million.

Catalan leaders vow to press ahead with the vote in rebellion against the central government in Madrid, and the Constitutional Court, which has declared the referendum illegal and the results, whatever they could be, illegitimate. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has moved thousands of national police and Guardia Civil militia into Catalonia to stop the plebiscite.

The farmers weren’t having it.

“Look at what just happened in Kurdistan. In this dangerous place, next to Iraq and Syria, and with these crazy men from Islamic State, they could stage a referendum and we can’t?” said Francesc Bancells, a wheat farmer.

The farmers were mounted on tractors, some washed, others still dusty from the fields. They were almost all men, their forearms sunburned, many in jeans shorts.

Dalmacio Ramon Bo, who grows tomatoes, was philosophical. Asked why he wanted to vote for independence, he answered, “Look, the politicians will keep stealing from us, that’s a given, but maybe our own politicians will steal a little less.”

Ramon, who said he is the 10th generation to work his land,  said the farmers planned to circle the polling places in their towns and villages with the tractors Sunday to keep the national police from shutting down the vote.

“But we have to be very careful, very polite, very peaceful,” he said. “We don’t want to blow this chance.”

The Catalan police stopped the tractors before they reached the federal government offices. The farmers shut down their machines, honked their horns, drank  cold beers and waved at the crowds that had gathered to welcome them.

One of the neighbors shouted down from his balcony, “Long live Spain!” He is one of the many who do not want to separate from Spain. Surveys taken in the summer showed the population split on the question of independence, though more told pollsters they wanted to stay in Spain than leave.

It is possible that sentiment has shifted in the past two weeks, as the central government has arrested a dozen Catalan officials, threatened pro-independence mayors with arrest, shut down websites, restricted airspace and confiscated more than 13 million ballots and other paperwork printed to support the referendum.

“All this repression, the central government didn’t do itself any favors. More people support independence now than did two weeks ago,” said David Badia, who farms flowers. “They screwed themselves.”

His friend, Francesc Ribas, who grows tomatoes, sat on his tractor and nodded his head. Asked whether an independence vote would hurt farmers, he said, “maybe at first, but not for long.”

Ribas said he would drive his tractor out to protect the polling station at a school in his village.

“If the police come for me, I will act like you handle a bull. You raise your hands in the air and then lay down and the bull will run right by you.”

Ferrari to make changes after engine failures

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MILAN (Reuters) – Ferrari will make changes to improve the quality of components after both of the Formula One team’s cars suffered engine failures in Malaysia at the weekend, chairman Sergio Marchionne said on Monday.

Title contender Sebastian Vettel lined up in last place after problems in qualifying while team mate Kimi Raikkonen was set to be on the front row of the grid but was ruled out before the start.

The problems came after both Ferrari drivers had collided and retired at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix two weeks earlier.

”The fact that yesterday both the Ferraris could have beaten everybody is undisputed,“ Marchionne told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Rovereto, northern Italy. ”It was also the case in Singapore.

“Without external factors, those cars would have been first and second. And that’s very positive.”

Marchionne said the current team was still comparatively young and finding its way, after a restructuring last year, even if Ferrari had been around for 70 years. And components needed to be better.

“We are addressing the entire chain to impose different standards,” he said.

“It’s one thing breaking an engine on the (test) bench at home but it really looks bad when you have to be pushed off the grid (before the formation lap) from second place, it’s enough to make you pull your hair out.”

Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen won in Malaysia for Red Bull while Lewis Hamilton finished second for Mercedes to increase his championship lead over Vettel to 34 points with five races remaining.

Hamilton won in Singapore.

Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ red carpet canceled after Las Vegas shooting

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Warner Bros. on Monday scaled back the world premiere for its sci-fi film “Blade Runner 2049” following the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in which a gunman killed at least 59 people in Las Vegas.

The premiere for the film, which stars Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, was scheduled for Tuesday night in Hollywood. The screening will go ahead but without a red carpet where stars chat to reporters and pose for photos.

“In light of the tragic events of last night, Warner Bros. Pictures, Sony Pictures and Alcon Entertainment are cancelling the red carpet for tomorrow’s screening of ‘Blade Runner 2049,’” Time Warner Inc-owned Warner Bros. said in a statement.

Monday’s red-carpet premiere in Los Angeles for the movie “Marshall” was also canceled, and ABC television said “Dancing With the Stars” would begin with a moment of silence on Monday.

Variety also reported that Las Vegas shows Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group canceled Monday night performances.

Sunday’s shooting turned a three-day open-air country music festival into a scene of carnage. More than 500 people were injured after a 64-year-old gunman released a hailstorm of bullets into the site of the Route91 Harvest festival.

Police said the motives of the gunman, who killed himself, were unknown.

Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Peter Cooney

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Guitarist Caleb Keeter rethinks gun control after Vegas shooting

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – American country music stars expressed horror after Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas turned a three-day open-air festival into a scene of carnage, and one said it forced him to change his opposition to gun control.

The Route91 Harvest festival, promoted as a “three day neon sleepover,” attracted fans from across the United States to hear country’s biggest stars, including Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Sam Hunt.

At least 59 people were killed by a 64-year-old gunman who released a hailstorm of bullets into the festival site. Police said the gunman’s motives remain unknown.

Caleb Keeter, a guitarist with the Josh Abbott Band, which played the festival earlier on Sunday, said he had been a lifelong supporter of the right to bear arms “until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was.”

“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it,” Keeter said on Twitter.

Aldean, the Sunday night headliner, had just taken the stage when bursts of gunfire rang out, sending thousands of people diving for cover.

“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean, 40, who was unharmed, said on Instagram. “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

Singer Jake Owen, who performed minutes before Aldean, said he witnessed “the most unimaginable event.”

“Shots were ringing off the stage rigging and road cases. No one knew where to go,” Owen tweeted.

FILE PHOTO: Country music singer Jason Aldean poses at the 2017 CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jamie Gilliam/File Photo

Owen told Fox News in an interview early on Monday, ”This isn’t what America is supposed to look like.

Chris Young, a country singer who was at the festival on Sunday but not playing, said on Twitter that he “spent I don’t know how long on the floor of a trailer behind the stage” listening to the gunfire.

“I‘m literally shaking still,” Young added.

Country newcomer Kane Brown, 23, who performed earlier on Sunday, tweeted, “This world is sick.”

The Route91 festival has been held in Las Vegas for three years, attracting large crowds to hear country music’s top talent. The festival was open to all ages, with strollers welcome. Tickets for the 2017 event started at $210 for three days, rising to $750 for an air-conditioned VIP suite, according to the festival website.

Photos taken earlier in the weekend and posted on the festival’s Twitter feed showed crowds of mostly young people in T-shirts and cowboy hats, dancing and drinking in the sunshine.

Festival promoter Live Nation said on Monday that it was “heartbroken over the tragedy.”

“To think that anyone would want to inflict harm on a gathering of music lovers is beyond our comprehension,” the company said in a statement, saying it would do its utmost to support the victims.

Taylor Swift, who started her career as a country singer, said on Twitter there were “no words to express the helplessness and sorrow my broken heart feels for the victims.”

Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Shania Twain tweeted that they were heartbroken, while veteran singer Brad Paisley said “there are no words right now that suffice,” and Keith Urban said he was “stilled and speechless.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio and Leslie Adler

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F1 title rivals should be wary of Red Bull

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LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel should both be wary of resurgent Red Bull after Max Verstappen’s victory in Malaysia at the weekend.

While the Dutch 20-year-old and his Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo are not championship contenders, they could yet be kingmakers.

How they fare in the remaining five races may play a big part in determining whether the drivers’ crown ends up at Mercedes or Ferrari, even if Hamilton looks the clear favorite.

With the Briton now 34 points ahead of Ferrari rival Vettel and 125 points left to be won, any further success for Red Bull would help tilt the title toward Hamilton unless he suffers misfortune.

Hamilton is almost at the point where a string of second places would be enough for him to be world champion for a fourth time, even if Vettel were to finish first in every remaining race.

Assuming Hamilton keeps up his impressive run of 20 successive scoring finishes, Vettel needs to win repeatedly and be supported by team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Even then, three Ferrari one-two finishes in succession would still see Hamilton lead the championship into the penultimate round if he finishes third every time.

Were Verstappen and Ricciardo to become the filling in a red and silver sandwich, finishing behind the two Ferraris but ahead of the Mercedes pair, then that would change everything.

Formula One F1 – Malaysia Grand Prix 2017 – Sepang, Malaysia – October 1, 2017. Redbull’s Max Verstappen overtakes Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin

That may just be wishful thinking on the part of Ferrari fans stunned by their team’s recent implosion — both drivers colliding at the start in Singapore and then handicapped by power unit problems in Malaysia.

Few will need reminding that Hamilton has won the U.S. Grand Prix, a race yet to come, five times in the past six years and ended 2016 with four wins in a row.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Yet Mercedes, winners of nine out of 15 races so far this year, are alert to the danger.

“Probably if you look at the real pace today, it would have been P5 (fifth place). And that is worrisome,” team boss Toto Wolff said after Hamilton finished second without ever challenging Verstappen.

“On paper the Ferrari is the fastest car, followed by the Red Bull and then us,” the Austrian had observed after qualifying.

Had Raikkonen lined up in second place in Malaysia, rather than retiring before the start, and Vettel not been sidelined in qualifying, there is every chance that Ferrari and Red Bull could have kept Hamilton off the podium.

“There are some real big problems that I can’t really explain to you,” Hamilton said after a race that saw team mate Valtteri Bottas, with a package of supposed improvements, finish only fifth.

“I don’t know which one of these next races is going to be good for us, which races are not, but we’ll do everything we can to try and stay ahead.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Peter Graff

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Asian shares edge down, Wall Street records limit losses

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares tiptoed lower on Tuesday, pressured by weaker oil prices but supported by records on Wall Street and upbeat economic data that lifted U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.1 percent in early trade.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index .N225 added 0.3 percent, getting a tailwind from a weaker yen.

Australian shares slipped 0.4 percent ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) policy decision. While no monetary steps are expected, investors will be looking to see if the central bank adopts a more hawkish bias.

On Wall Street on Monday, U.S. stocks started the fourth quarter on a strong note, with all three major indexes closing at record highs after data underscored strength in the economy.

A measure of U.S. manufacturing activity surged to a near 13-1/2-year high in September. Disruptions to the supply chains caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma resulted in factories taking longer to deliver goods and boosted raw material prices.

The Institute for Supply Management index rose to 60.8 in September, from 58.8 in August, exceeding expectations for a reading of 58.

U.S. construction spending also rebounded in August after two straight months of declines, boosted by increases in both private and public outlays.

The dollar stood tall, hoisted by rising U.S. Treasury yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note US10YT=RR hit its highest since mid-July after the upbeat data reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will increase U.S. interest rates in December for a third time this year.

“There are strengthening expectations about what the Fed will do for the balance of the year, namely one more rate increase and balance sheet reduction,” said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Private Client Group in Helena, Montana.

Due to the impact of the recent hurricanes, Northey said, “we’re going to get some data anomalies over the next few months, but as you step back and take a broader context around trends that exist right now, it is clear the U.S. economy is performing very well, and it will continue to be on an improving path.”

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, added 0.1 percent to 93.650 .DXY, nudging up to its highest levels since late August.

The euro was steady on the day at $1.1731 EUR=, but still faces pressure from Spain’s biggest constitutional crisis in decades, after Sunday’s violence-marred independence referendum in Catalonia opened the door for its wealthiest region to move for secession as early as this week.

The dollar was nearly unchanged against its Japanese counterpart at 112.72 yen JPY=, within sight of last week’s two-month high of 113.26 yen.

Proposed U.S. tax code changes as well as the possibility that U.S. President Donald Trump will appoint a more hawkish Fed Chair also gave the dollar a lift.

Crude oil futures edged down after tumbling on Monday, as a rise in U.S. drilling and higher OPEC output put the brakes on their recent rally.

Brent crude LCOc1 slipped 0.2 percent to $56.01 a barrel, after marking a third-quarter gain of about 20 percent. U.S. crude CLc1 edged down 0.1 percent to $50.51.

Spot gold XAU= edged up slightly to $1,271.55 per ounce, after plumbing its lowest in nearly seven weeks on Monday as the dollar rose.

Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Sam Holmes

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The Killers land first Billboard No. 1 with ‘Wonderful Wonderful’

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Las Vegas rockers The Killers landed their first chart-topping album on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart on Monday, staving off new records from rapper Macklemore and R&B singer Jhene Aiko.

“Wonderful Wonderful,” the fifth studio album by The Killers, sold 118,000 album units in its first week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.

Macklemore’s latest album, “Gemini,” debuted at No. 2 with 51,000 album units sold, while Aiko’s “Trip” came in at No. 5 with sales of 37,000 album units.

The Billboard 200 chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

Monday’s chart win was bittersweet for The Killers after 59 people were killed at a country music festival in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

While The Killers had no affiliation with the festival, the band tweeted: “We’ve got heavy hearts. We love you, Las Vegas.”

On the Digital Songs chart, which measures online single sales, alt-rockers Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” climbed to No. 1 from No. 4, with 65,000 copies sold.

Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Peter Cooney

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National Football League roundup

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(The Sports Xchange) – The Chicago Bears announced a change at quarterback on Monday and will start rookie Mitchell Trubisky for next Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Bears coach John Fox will bench Mike Glennon and turn to No. 2 overall pick Trubisky. The quarterback change has been expected after Glennon turned over the ball four times in the 35-14 loss last Thursday night at the Green Bay Packers.

– –

–Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be sidelined for two to six weeks with a transverse process fracture in his back, coach Jack Del Rio announced.

Quarterback EJ Manuel will be behind center in the absence of Carr, who sustained the injury while being sacked during third quarter of Oakland’s 16-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. He was taken down by Adam Gotsis and received an inadvertent knee to the back from fellow defensive end Shelby Harris.

– –

Minnesota rookie running back Dalvin Cook sustained a torn ACL in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season, coach Mike Zimmer announced.

Cook was injured during the third quarter of Sunday’s 14-7 loss to the Detroit Lions. Zimmer said the 22-year-old Cook will undergo surgery and is expected to return next season.

– –

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden was placed on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a torn ACL, the team announced.

Golden was injured during Sunday’s 18-15 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers. An MRI revealed the extent of the injury for Golden, who will have surgery after the swelling subsides.

– –

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is not expected to miss any playing time after sustaining a hip flexor injury, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, citing a source.

Fellow wideout Mohamed Sanu is not as fortunate as he is expected to be sidelined two to three weeks with a hamstring injury, according to multiple reports. Jones and Sanu sustained their respective injuries during Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

– –

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated running back Doug Martin from the NFL’s reserve suspended list, the team announced.

Tight end Alan Cross was waived to open the roster spot for Martin, who was suspended for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy last season. Martin served the first contest of his four-game suspension in 2016 before sitting out Tampa Bay’s first three games this season.

– –

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jordan Matthews and linebacker Ramon Humber are both expected to undergo thumb surgery and will be out indefinitely, coach Sean McDermott announced.

While McDermott did not elaborate on the length of either player’s absence, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Matthews is expected to miss about one month.

– –

Seattle Seahawks left tackle Rees Odhiambo was taken to the hospital Sunday night after he experienced trouble breathing and rookie running back Chris Carson suffered a “significant” ankle injury during the 46-18 win against the Indianapolis Colts.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Odhiambo took a hard hit to the chest on an interception in the third quarter and needed medical attention in the locker room after the game when he suddenly had trouble breathing. Odhiambo, a third-round pick in 2016 out of Boise State, remained in the hospital overnight.

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