IN ABSENCE OF FEDERAL AID, TEXAS HURRICANE VICTIMS FORCED TO RELY HEAVILY ON CHARITIES: The groups helping to rebuild on the Texas Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey have collected close to $1 billion in donations, according to an Associated Press tally of major national and local organizations. Much of that money is already being put to work after Harvey, which ravaged cities in Southeast Texas in August with high winds before dumping record amounts of rain on the rest of the coast, including Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city. Of the $928 million raised by major groups involved in the recovery, the most money has been collected by the Red Cross, which said this month that it's raised $493 million for Harvey relief. The Greater Houston Community Foundation, which is operating the relief fund endorsed by Houston's top elected leaders, has raised more than $108 million. The Rebuild Texas Fund, administered by the family foundation of computer magnate Michael Dell, has raised more than $89 million. The evangelical group Samaritan's Purse has also raised $86 million. United Way has raised more than $54 million.
RUSSIAN HACKER WITH TIES TO PUTIN ATTACKED SOME 200 JOURNALISTS BETWEEN 2014 AND NOW: The Associated Press found that Lobkov was targeted by the hacking group known as F@ncy Be@r in March 2015, nine months before his messages were leaked. He was one of at least 200 journalists, publishers and bloggers targeted by the group as early as mid-2014 and as recently as a few months ago. The AP identified journalists as the third-largest group on a hacking hit list obtained from cybersecurity firm Secureworks, after diplomatic personnel and U.S. Democrats. About 50 of the journalists worked at The New York Times. Another 50 were either foreign correspondents based in Moscow or Russian reporters like Lobkov who worked for independent news outlets. Others were prominent media figures in Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltics or Washington. The list of journalists provides new evidence for the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that F@ncy Be@r acted on behalf of the Russian government when it intervened in the U.S. presidential election. Spy agencies say the hackers were working to help Republican Donald Trump. The Russian government has denied interfering in the American election.
UN OVERWHELMINGLY CONDEMNS TRUMP RECOGNITION OF JERUSALEM AS ISRAELI CAPITOL: The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to denounce President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, largely ignoring Trump's threats to cut off aid to any country that went against him. The nonbinding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem "null and void" was approved 128-9 — a victory for the Palestinians, but not as big as they predicted. Amid Washington's threats, 35 of the 193 U.N. member nations abstained and 21 were absent. The resolution reaffirmed what has been the United Nations' stand on the divided holy city since 1967: that Jerusalem's final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The Trump administration made it clear the vote would have no effect on its plan to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said afterward that he completely rejects the "preposterous" resolution.
JURY ACQUITS FIRST BATCH OF TRUMP PROTESTORS, O'KEEFE VIDEOS NO HELP WHATSOEVER: The protesters are being tried in small batches in a process that is expected to extend deep into 2018. This first batch of six protesters served partially as a test case for the government's strategy. Much of the evidence consisted of a variety of videos, from security cameras, police helicopters and, in some cases, posted to social media by the defendants themselves. Prosecutors also interviewed dozens of witnesses, but none who could identify any of the defendants as a perpetrator. The prosecution also used video supplied to them by Project Veritas, a controversial right-wing activist collective that uses guerrilla tactics in defense of conservative causes. The Washington Post recently revealed an apparent sting operation designed to discredit the newspaper by planting a false story against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
JOSH STEIN TARGETS PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY FOR PUSHING DEADLY LIQUID FENTANYL (OPIOID) PRODUCT: North Carolina state government lawyers are suing a pharmaceutical company whose former leaders face criminal charges related to an alleged nationwide bribery scheme involving a powerful opioid. Attorney General Josh Stein announced an unfair trade lawsuit Thursday that he filed in Wake County court against Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics for a marketing campaign he says rewarded doctors who prescribed the drug Subsys. The drug is approved only for cancer patients dealing with extreme bouts of pain. The lawsuit alleges Insys officials gave financial inducements to physicians who prescribed Subsys to non-cancer patients and sponsored presentations in Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem to expand use. The lawsuit also accuses the company of misleading insurers about the drug. Federal prosecutors indicted the company’s founder in the fall, while former executives face trial next year.