News Digest 10/12/2019

Mark Esper

U.S. bolsters Saudis against Iran with air support

WASHINGTON | The U.S. is deploying dozens more fighter jets and additional air defenses to Saudi Arabia, beefing up efforts to defend the kingdom against Iran even as President Donald Trump repeatedly insists that America must get out of endless Middle East wars.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the deployments Friday just hours after Iran said two missiles struck one of its oil tankers traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon moves are part of a broader response to the suspected Iranian missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14.

The heightened tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have led the U.S. to pour about 14,000 more U.S. troops into the region since May, including additional ships to maintain maritime security in the Persian Gulf area.

Indiana AG: 165 more fetal remains linked to doctor

INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana’s attorney general said Friday that 165 sets of fetal remains have been found in the Chicago area inside a car owned by a late Indiana abortion doctor, boosting the total number of abandoned sets of fetal remains discovered at properties linked to him to more than 2,400.

Attorney General Curtis Hill said the 165 remains were discovered Wednesday in the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz parked at a business property in Dolton, Illinois, where Dr. Ulrich Klopfer had kept a total of eight cars.

Those remains are believed to be from abortions Klopfer performed in 2002 at his three Indiana abortion clinics, Hill said.

Last month, 2,246 sets of fetal remains were found in Klopfer’s Will County, Illinois, garage, after relatives stumbled onto them while cleaning out that building after he died Sept. 3 at age 79.

Those remains, which have been returned to Indiana, were determined to be from abortions Klopfer performed from 2000 to 2002 at his clinics in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend. The Fort Wayne clinic closed in 2014, and the Gary and South Bend clinics closed the next year.

The new discovery brought the total number of sets of fetal remains discovered at properties connected to Klopfer to 2,411.

U.S. consumers snap up Parmesan before tariffs hit

MILAN | U.S. consumers who appreciate the tang of aged Italian Parmesan cheese as an aperitif or atop their favorite pasta dish are stocking up ahead of next week’s tariff hike and as dairy producers in the two countries square off.

The Italian agricultural lobby Coldiretti said Friday that sales of both Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, aged cheeses with a distinctive granular quality that are defined by their territory of origin, have skyrocketed in the United States by 220% since the higher tariffs were announced one week ago.

The new tariffs — up from $2.15 per 2.2 pounds to around $6 per 2.2 pounds — take effect on Oct. 18. Parmesan cheese is on a long list of EU products targeted by the Trump administration for retaliatory tariffs approved by the World Trade Organization for illegal EU subsidies to aviation giant Airbus.

Coldiretti says American consumers as a result will pay over $45 per 2.2 pounds, instead of $40 — which is expected to hurt sales in the U.S., the second-largest export market after France.

Shepard Smith leaves

Fox News Channel

NEW YORK | Shepard Smith, whose newscast on Fox News Channel seemed increasingly an outlier on a network dominated by supporters of President Donald Trump, abruptly quit after signing off his final newscast on Friday.

Smith, who had signed a contract extension last spring, said that he had asked the network to let him out of his deal and it had agreed.

“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive,” he said.

His departure comes one day after Attorney General William Barr met privately with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News, although Smith’s representatives cautioned against conflating the two events.

— From AP reports