Monday morning news: October 14, 2019

Northern Syria conflict grows bloodier, U.S. troops ordered out » President Trump has ordered the Pentagon to begin pulling all remaining U.S. troops out of northern Syria. That as the conflict there grows bloodier. 

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday… 

ESPER: It’s terrible. I’ve heard the same reports. It gets worse by the hour.

Those reports include word Turkish forces are executing Kurdish prisoners, and that amid the fighting hundreds of ISIS supporters have escaped from a holding camp.  

Esper said he warned Turkey about the consequences of attacking the Kurds.

ESPER: We will see everything from the release of ISIS prisoners to a humanitarian catastrophe — it will damage U.S. relations with Turkey, their standing in NATO. All this is playing out exactly as we predicted. 

He said the Pentagon now believes Turkey is executing a wider invasion than expected—pushing further south into Syria.

And with United States no longer protecting its allies in the region, the Kurds on Sunday announced a new agreement with the Syrian government. 

Esper said with Kurdish Forces teaming up with the government and its Russian allies, U.S. forces are “trapped between a Syrian-Russian army moving north …  to take on the Turkish army that’s moving south.” And that’s why the president ordered the remaining troops out. 

The U.S. military will not intervene, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Sunday that economic sanctions are locked and loaded.

MNUCHIN: We have put them on warning. The president has authorized me to effectively shut down the entire Turkey economy. And we can do that at a moment’s notice on his command. 

Critics on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill continue to call the troop withdrawal reckless and disastrous. 

Hunter Biden steps down from board of Chinese-backed firm » Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, announced on Sunday that he will step down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity firm. The news came amid numerous recent attacks from the White House. 

As Democrats press an impeachment inquiry over President Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens’ actions in that country, the president has insisted the Bidens are the only ones guilty of corruption. 

On Sunday, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Hunter Biden should have stepped down from the board a long time ago. 

CONWAY: In fact, he probably shouldn’t have been on the board to begin with. He hitched a ride on Air Force Two with the vice president of the United States, also his father, at that time — came back with sweetheart deals. 

The younger Biden had pledged to forego all foreign work if and when his father wins the presidency. But amid recent attacks from the White House, he said he wants to avoid any appearance of conflicts of interest. 

His lawyer released a statement saying Hunter—quote—“never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the President of the United States.”

Wildfire kills three in Southern California » A wildfire in California’s San Fernando Valley has killed three people over the past week while forcing thousands to evacuate. 

But firefighters say thanks to cooler temperatures and higher humidity they’re beginning to get the upper hand. 

As of Sunday, the blaze that burned 12 square miles and was 41 percent contained.

Investigators don’t yet know what caused the fire. But officials are looking into a witness report that flames were seen at the base of a power transmission tower.

Louisiana gov. race heads to runoff election » Voters went to the polls in Louisiana over the weekend. Supporters of Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards made their voices heard.

AUDIO: Four more years! Four more years!

But whether he’ll get another four years in office remains to be seen. He was unable to top 50 percent in Saturday’s primary election. And as Edwards told his supporters that means the race is heading to runoff election. 

EDWARDS: Prepare yourselves, because over the next five weeks, the partisan forces in Washington D.C. are going to pull out all the stops. There is nothing they won’t say or do to try and win this election. 

His Republican opponent, Eddie Rispone, said President Trump’s support played a big part in denying Edwards an outright victory. 

RISPONE: He’s going to support us. That’s wonderful. Let’s thank him!

Edwards is the Deep South’s only Democratic governor. And as an ardent pro-life Democrat, he’s been a frequent political target from members of his own party. 

Voters will decide the runoff on November 16th. 

Despite two big debuts at box office, Joker gets last laugh » At the weekend box office…

AUDIO: [Sound of Addams Family trailer]

The Addams Family moved in at second place with 30 million in ticket sales. 

And the Will Smith action sci-fi flick Gemini Man debuted in 3rd place with $21 million. 

TRAILER: I think I know why he’s as good as you. He is you. Twenty-five years ago, they made you from me.

But the Joker had the last laugh, topping the box office once again with $55 million. 

You can find WORLD’s reviews of current films—along with ratings and content information—at

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) In this Oct. 11, 2012, file photo, Hunter Biden waits for the start of the his father’s, Vice President Joe Biden’s, debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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