AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EDT

Associated Press • AP • Updated: October 31, 2017 at 8:05 pm • Published: October 30, 2017

8 killed by driver on bike path in 'cowardly act of terror'

NEW YORK (AP) — A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday, killing at least eight and seriously injuring 11 in what the mayor called "a particularly cowardly act of terror."

The driver was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting what witnesses said was "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," authorities said. The man underwent surgery and was in critical condition but was expected to survive.

Officials who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity identified the attacker as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov and said he is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. legally in 2010. He has a Florida driver's license but may have been staying in New Jersey, they said.

The driver barreled along the bike path in a rented Home Depot truck for the equivalent of about 14 blocks, or around eight-tenths of a mile, before slamming into a small yellow school bus. The mayhem and the burst of police gunfire set off panic in the lower Manhattan neighborhood and left the pavement strewn with mangled bicycles and bodies that were soon covered with sheets.

"I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground," said Chen Yi, an Uber driver.

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10 Things to Know for Wednesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:

1. 8 KILLED IN 'COWARDLY ACT OF TERROR' IN NYC

A 29-year-old man in a rented pickup truck mows down pedestrians and bicyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial, leaving bodies in his wake.

2. WHAT'S BEING LEARNED ABOUT GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Newly unsealed court papers outline the former Trump adviser's frequent contacts with senior campaign officials and with foreign nationals who promised access to the highest levels of the Russian government.

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Former Trump adviser's guilty plea could rattle White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump dismissed George Papadopoulos on Tuesday as a "liar" and a mere campaign volunteer, but newly unsealed court papers outline the former adviser's frequent contacts with senior officials and with foreign nationals who promised access to the highest levels of the Russian government.

They also hint at more headaches for the White House and former campaign officials. Papadopoulos is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he investigates possible coordination between Russia and Trump's 2016 White House campaign.

Records made public Monday in Papadopoulos' case list a gaggle of people who were in touch with him during the campaign but only with such identifiers as "Campaign Supervisor," ''Senior Policy Advisor" and "High-Ranking Campaign Official." Two of the unnamed campaign officials referenced are in fact former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates. Both were charged with financial crimes in an indictment unsealed Monday.

The conversations described in charging documents reflect Papadopoulos' efforts to arrange meetings between Trump aides and Russian government intermediaries and show how he learned the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails."

Though the contacts may not by themselves have been illegal, the oblique but telling references to unnamed people — including "Professor" and "Female Russian National" — make clear that Mueller's team has identified multiple people who had knowledge of back-and-forth outreach efforts between Russians and associates of the Trump election effort.

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Senators blast Facebook, Twitter, Google in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Exasperated U.S. senators harshly criticized representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google at a hearing Tuesday for not doing more to prevent Russian agents interfering with the American political process as early as 2015.

At one point, Sen. Al Franken shook his head after he couldn't get all the companies to commit to not accepting political ads bought with North Korean currency.

The hearing by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary panel was moved last week into a cavernous hearing room usually reserved for high-profile events like Supreme Court confirmations. About 50 people waited to get in as senators fired pointed questions and waved at cardboard displays of outrageous ads.

"People are buying ads on your platform with rubles. They are political ads," Franken fumed. "You put billions of data points together all the time. ... Google has all knowledge that man has ever developed. You can't put together rubles with a political ad and go like, 'Hmmm, those data points spell out something pretty bad?' "

Technology company representatives fumbled at points. After Franken pointed out foreign spending on U.S. political campaigns is illegal, Google's director of law enforcement and information security, Richard Salgado, replied only that the search giant would refuse political ads paid with foreign currency "if it's a good enough signal on illegality."

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'House of Cards' filming suspended; new Spacey allegations

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood's widening sexual harassment crisis brought forth a second actor's allegation against Kevin Spacey on Tuesday, halted production on his Netflix series "House of Cards" and prompted CBS to check into an actress' claim she was groped by Jeremy Piven.

Mexican actor Robert Cavazos wrote on his Facebook page that he encountered Spacey at the bar of London's Old Vic Theatre, where Spacey was artistic director, and the actor tried to fondle him against his will.

"It was more common for this guy, when he was in the bar of his theater, grabbing whoever caught his attention," Cavazos wrote. "I didn't stand for it, but I know some people who were afraid to stop it."

Cavazos declined an interview request. There was no immediate reply to a request for comment from representatives for Spacey, who was artistic director from 2004-15.

In a statement Tuesday, the theater expressed "deep dismay" at the allegations and said "inappropriate behavior by anyone working at The Old Vic is completely unacceptable."

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California wildfire insurance claims top $3.3 billion

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Property damage claims from a series of deadly October wildfires now exceed $3.3 billion, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Tuesday.

The figure represents claims for homes and businesses insured by 15 companies and is more than triple the previous estimate of $1 billion. Jones said the number will continue to rise as more claims are reported.

The amount of claims now reported means that the fires caused more damage than California's 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which was previously the state's costliest, with $2.7 billion in damages in 2015 dollars, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Forty-three people were killed in the October blazes that tore through Northern California, including the state's renowned winemaking regions in Napa and Sonoma counties. They destroyed thousands of buildings as more than 100,000 people were forced to evacuate. It was the deadliest series of fires in California history.

The fires are now nearly contained.

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Women rescued by Navy defend their account of ordeal at sea

HONOLULU (AP) — Two women from Hawaii who were rescued after being lost at sea defended their account of the ordeal Tuesday, insisting that a storm was whipping up 30-foot waves and near hurricane-force winds on the night they set sail, despite records that show no severe weather in the area.

The Coast Guard is reviewing records from the days after Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava put to sea in a 50-foot sailboat, but NASA satellite images for the days around their departure show no organized storms in the region where they planned to travel.

There was a tropical cyclone, but it was near Fiji, thousands of miles west of Hawaii. Localized squalls are known to pop up, but a storm lasting three days would have been visible on satellite and would have elicited mass warnings to the public to brace for the weather.

"We got into a Force 11 storm, and it lasted for two nights and three days," Appel said.

Coast Guard officials told The Associated Press on Monday that the two women had an emergency beacon but never turned it on because they did not fear for their lives. If they had, rescue would have been headed their way in a matter of minutes.

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Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity tops cable news rankings

NEW YORK (AP) — After the summer of Rachel Maddow, Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity ascended to the top of the cable news mountain.

Hannity's move to the 9 p.m. timeslot paid immediate dividends for the network. President Donald Trump's biggest cable news backer averaged 3.2 million viewers in October, topping Maddow's 2.5 million, the Nielsen company said. Fox's Tucker Carlson, in an earlier time slot, had 2.8 million viewers.

When Bill O'Reilly was working at Fox, there was no question for years who was the top person in cable television talk. His ouster in April following the revelation of sexual harassment settlements put that distinction up for grabs, and MSNBC's Maddow took the title in July, August and September.

Fox's Laura Ingraham made a strong debut Monday, reaching 3.27 million viewers at 10 p.m. and beating CNN and MSNBC in the time slot, Nielsen said.

It's got a near-impossible act to live up to, but the Dodgers-Astros World Series is averaging 16.1 million viewers through five games for Fox, Nielsen said. The thrilling fifth game, won by the Astros in extra innings, was the most-watched contest with nearly 19 million viewers.

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Turner returns to 3B for Dodgers in Game 6 of World Series

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Justin Turner is back at third base and hitting third in the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting lineup for Game 6 of the World Series, while the Astros juggled the bottom of their lineup.

Turner served as designated hitter in Game 5 after taking a grounder off a knee during Game 4.

Center fielder Chris Taylor leads off Tuesday night for the Dodgers, followed by shortstop Corey Seager, Turner, first baseman Cody Bellinger, right fielder Yasiel Puig, left fielder Joc Pederson, second baseman Logan Forsythe and catcher Austin Barnes. Left-hander Rich Hill starts.

Pederson had been the DH in the first two games in Houston before being dropped in Game 5. Kike Hernandez and Charlie Culberson are dropped.

Center fielder George Springer tops the Astros' order, followed by third baseman Alex Bregman, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, catcher Brian McCann, left fielder Marwin Gonzalez and right fielder Josh Reddick. Right-hander Justin Verlander is on the mound. McCann moves from last to sixth in the lineup and Reddick drops from sixth to last. Evan Gattis, who DH'd in the last game, drops out.

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Trump admin to defend Cuba embargo at UN, reversing Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration will defend America's decades-old economic embargo on Cuba in a United Nations vote this week, the State Department said Tuesday, in a reversal from the Obama administration that reflects deteriorating U.S.-Cuban relations.

Every year the U.N. votes to condemn the embargo, and for years the U.S. predictably voted "no." But last year, under President Barack Obama, the U.S. abstained for the first time, as Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro moved forward with the historic warming of relations.

A "no" vote Wednesday from U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley will return the United States to a place of extreme isolation within the global community over its policy toward Cuba, potentially undermining the Trump administration's broader goals for engagement with Latin America. The U.S. embargo on Cuba is almost universally opposed throughout the world.

The vote comes as an ongoing crisis over U.S. government workers in Havana harmed by invisible "health attacks" has created a new rift between the U.S. and Cuba, putting the restoration of ties in jeopardy. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert did not mention the attacks in announcing the "no" vote, instead emphasizing the need to promote rights and democracy in Cuba.

"For far too long, Cuba has engaged in human rights abuses — human rights abuses that perhaps past administrations have turned and looked the other way," Nauert said. Still, she said the U.S. would continue pursuing engagement with the island that advances American interests.

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