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US strikes back at Iran-linked groups in Syria after troops attacked: The Morning Rundown, Oct. 27, 2023

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The United States carries out airstrikes on Iranian-backed groups in Syria after attacks on U.S. troops. And a new Democratic candidate steps forward to challenge President Biden in 2024. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Friday, Oct. 27, 2023.

US strikes against Iranian-backed groups in Syria after troops attacked

The United States has carried out airstrikes in Eastern Syria on two facilities associated with Iranian-backed militant groups believed to be responsible for 19 rocket and drone attacks over the past week against U.S. personnel.

Those attacks in Iraq and Syria have injured 21 U.S. troops, with many suffering traumatic brain injuries.

According to the Pentagon, the U.S. airstrikes in Syria were at President Biden’s direction, with two U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets striking two facilities, a weapon storage area and an ammunition storage area, used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups.

“These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on Oct. 17,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Thursday night, Oct. 26.

Austin added that these Iranian-backed attacks on U.S. forces are “unacceptable and must stop.”

U.S. officials said America’s response in Syria was not related to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. They were about protecting U.S. troops.

The U.S. military has deployed two aircraft carriers to the Middle East to show its support for Israel and to deter Iran or the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon from getting involved in the conflict.

Speaking at a United Nations Security Council meeting earlier this week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about the U.S. not wanting the war to spread while letting Iran know it will defend itself.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. We do not want this war to widen,” Blinken said. “But if Iran or its proxies attack U.S. personnel anywhere, make no mistake: we will defend our people, we will defend our security, swiftly and decisively.”

The Pentagon said all U.S. troops injured in the attacks by the Iranian-backed groups have returned to duty. There are approximately 900 U.S. troops stationed in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq.

Chinese fighter jet nearly collides with us B-52 bomber

According to the U.S. military, a Chinese fighter jet nearly collided with an American B-52 bomber over the South China Sea on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

The U.S. released a video of the near-collision on social media on Thursday, Oct. 26.

U.S. officials said the Chinese pilot “flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner” and “demonstrated poor airmanship” as he flew his J-11 jet within 10 feet of the B-52 bomber, which was conducting routine nighttime operations.

The Pentagon said the Chinese fighter jet’s intercept “violated international air safety rules.”

Earlier this month, the Pentagon said the U.S. had seen more instances of “coercive and risky operational behavior” by Chinese pilots over the East and South China Seas in the past two years than in the entire decade before that.

News of this latest incident comes as President Biden is expected to meet with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi at the White House Friday, Oct. 27.

Manhunt continues for Maine mass shooting suspect

The search continues this morning for the suspect in a mass shooting in Maine that killed 18 people and injured 13 others.

The multistate manhunt is underway for Robert Card, 40, accused of opening fire at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials and 80 FBI agents are involved in the search.

Authorities surrounded a house in Card’s hometown on Thursday, Oct. 26, but completed their search without finding the suspect.

Residents of Lewiston and surrounding towns are being told to shelter in place.

Card is a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army Reserve and is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips announces bid for White House

A new candidate has entered the 2024 presidential election race and is challenging President Biden for the Democratic nomination. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., announced his White House bid in an interview with CBS on Thursday, Oct. 26.

Phillips has been a loud critic of Biden’s re-election efforts, calling on other, younger Democrats to step up to run against and replace the 80-year-old president.

“My real call to action right now is not about me. The call to action is to ask the president to pass the torch,” Phillips said in a “Meet the Press” interview in August 2023.

Earlier this month, Phillips stepped down from his leadership role as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Caucus after unsuccessfully calling on younger Democrats to challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination.

According to a recent CNN poll, two-thirds of Democrats agree with Phillips, wanting the party to choose another candidate besides Biden, with nearly half citing Biden’s age as the main concern.

Though the White House has not commented on Phillips’ announcement, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to reports of Phillips joining the race by saying the administration appreciates the congressman’s “almost 100% support of the president.”

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Toyota recalls more than 750,000 vehicles over bumpers

Toyota is recalling more than 750,000 large SUVs in the U.S. to fix problems with the front bumpers.

According to the automaker, the recall covers certain Toyota Highlanders from 2020 to 2023, including gas-electric hybrid models.

According to Toyota, the vehicles have front lower bumper covers connected with mounting tabs that could detach on even minor impacts, causing parts of the assembly to fall into the road and creating hazardous conditions for drivers.

Dealers will inspect the bumper cover tabs for damage and install new hardware. Toyota said it will contact all owners affected by the recall by December 2023.

Final Beatles song to be released next week

Beatles fans received some exciting news yesterday, Wednesday, Oct. 26; it is something they never thought they would hear — that the band’s final song will be released next week.

The track, titled “Now and Then,” was written and sung by John Lennon in the 70s, with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison working on the song again in the 90s.

But because of technological issues on the recorded track, where Lennon’s voice could not be separated from a piano, it was shelved for decades. The song needed help. Fast forward down the long and winding road to last year when director Peter Jackson and his team would not let it be, using artificial intelligence to hear Lennon’s clear vocals.

“In 2023, to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s quite an exciting thing,” McCartney said in a press release.

“Now and Then” will be released across the universe on Nov. 2. A 12-minute documentary film will premiere the day before on The Beatles’ YouTube channel, where fans will come together to watch.

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THE UNITED STATES CARRIES OUT AIRSTRIKES ON IRANIAN-BACKED GROUPS IN SYRIA AFTER ATTACKS ON US TROOPS

AND — A NEW DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE STEPS FORWARD TO CHALLENGE PRESIDENT BIDEN IN 2024 

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27TH.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M SHANNON LONGWORTH.

THE UNITED STATES HAS CARRIED OUT AIRSTRIKES IN EASTERN SYRIA ON TWO FACILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH IRANIAN-BACKED MILITANT GROUPS BELIEVED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR 19 ROCKET AND DRONE ATTACKS OVER THE PAST WEEK AGAINST US PERSONNEL.

THOSE ATTACKS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA HAVE INJURED TWENTY-ONE US TROOPS – WITH MANY SUFFERING TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES.

THE PENTAGON – SAYING – THE US AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA WERE AT PRESIDENT BIDEN’S DIRECTION – WITH TWO US AIR FORCE F-16 FIGHTER JETS STRIKING TWO FACILITIES — A WEAPON STORAGE AREA AND AN AMMUNITION STORAGE AREA — USED BY IRAN’S ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS AND AFFILIATED GROUPS.

IN A STATEMENT THURSDAY NIGHT — DEFENSE SECRETARY LLOYD AUSTIN SAID — “THESE PRECISION SELF-DEFENSE STRIKES ARE A RESPONSE TO A SERIES OF ONGOING AND MOSTLY UNSUCCESSFUL

“…ATTACKS AGAINST U.S. PERSONNEL IN IRAQ AND SYRIA BY IRANIAN-BACKED MILITIA GROUPS THAT BEGAN ON OCTOBER 17TH.”

AUSTIN ADDING — THESE IRANIAN-BACKED ATTACKS ON US FORCES ARE “UNACCEPTABLE AND MUST STOP.”

US OFFICIALS SAID AMERICA’S RESPONSE IN SYRIA WAS NOT RELATED TO THE ONGOING WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS – THEY WERE ABOUT PROTECTING US TROOPS.

THE US MILITARY HAS DEPLOYED TWO AIRCRAFT CARRIERS TO THE MIDDLE EAST TO SHOW ITS SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL AND TO DETER IRAN OR THE IRAN-BACKED MILITANT GROUP HEZBOLLAH IN LEBANON FROM GETTING INVOLVED.

SPEAKING AT A UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING EARLIER THIS WEEK – SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN SPOKE ABOUT THE US NOT WANTING THE WAR TO SPREAD – WHILE ALSO LETTING IRAN KNOW IT WILL DEFEND ITSELF.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. We do not want this war to widen. But if Iran or its proxies attack U.S. personnel anywhere, make no mistake: we will defend our people, we will defend our security – swiftly and decisively.”

THE PENTAGON SAID ALL US TROOPS INJURED IN THE ATTACKS BY THE IRANIAN-BACKED GROUPS HAVE RETURNED TO DUTY.  THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY NINE HUNDRED US TROOPS STATIONED IN SYRIA AND TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED IN IRAQ.

A CHINESE FIGHTER JET NEARLY COLLIDED WITH AN AMERICAN B-52 BOMBER OVER THE SOUTH CHINA SEA ON TUESDAY – ACCORDING TO THE US MILITARY.

THE US RELEASED VIDEO OF THE NEAR COLLISION ON SOCIAL MEDIA ON THURSDAY.

US OFFICIALS SAY THE CHINESE PILOT QUOTE “FLEW IN AN UNSAFE AND UNPROFESSIONAL MANNER,” AND “DEMONSTRATED POOR AIRMANSHIP” AS HE FLEW HIS J-11 JET WITHIN 10 FEET OF THE B-52 BOMBER – WHICH WAS CONDUCTING ROUTINE NIGHTTIME OPERATIONS.

THE PENTAGON SAYING THE CHINESE FIGHTER JET’S INTERCEPT “VIOLATED INTERNATIONAL AIR SAFETY RULES.”

EARLIER THIS MONTH – THE PENTAGON SAID THE US HAS SEEN MORE INSTANCES OF “COERCIVE AND RISKY OPERATIONAL BEHAVIOR” BY CHINESE PILOTS OVER THE EAST AND CHINA SEAS IN THE PAST TWO YEARS THAN IN THE ENTIRE DECADE BEFORE THAT.

NEWS OF THIS LATEST INCIDENT COMES AS PRESIDENT BIDEN IS EXPECTED TO MEET WITH CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG (WONG) YI (YEE) AT THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY.

THE SEARCH CONTINUES THIS MORNING FOR THE SUSPECT IN A MASS SHOOTING IN MAINE THAT KILLED 18 PEOPLE AND INJURED 13 OTHERS.

THE MULTISTATE MANHUNT IS UNDERWAY FOR FORTY-YEAR-OLD ROBERT CARD ACCUSED OF OPENING FIRE AT A BAR AND BOWLING ALLEY IN LEWISTON ON WEDNESDAY.

HUNDREDS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS AND 80 FBI AGENTS ARE INVOLVED IN THE SEARCH.

AUTHORITIES SURROUNDED A HOUSE IN CARD’S HOMETOWN ON THURSDAY – BUT COMPLETED THEIR SEARCH WITHOUT FINDING THE SUSPECT.

RESIDENTS OF LEWISTON AND SURROUNDING TOWNS ARE BEING TOLD TO SHELTER IN PLACE.

CARD IS A SERGEANT FIRST CLASS IN THE US ARMY RESERVE AND IS CONSIDERED TO BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS.

A NEW CANDIDATE HAS ENTERED THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RACE – AND IS CHALLENGING PRESIDENT BIDEN. CONGRESSMAN DEAN PHILLIPS – A DEMOCRAT FROM MINNESOTA – ANNOUNCED HIS WHITE HOUSE BID IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CBS ON THURSDAY.

PHILLIPS HAS BEEN A LOUD CRITIC OF BIDEN’S RE-ELECTION EFFORTS – CALLING FOR OTHER – YOUNGER** – DEMOCRATS TO STEP UP TO RUN AGAINST AND RE-PLACE THE 80-YEAR-OLD PRESIDENT.

IN A MEET THE PRESS INTERVIEW IN AUGUST PHILLIPS SAID WHILE HE ADORES BIDEN — HIS CALL TO ACTION IS TO QUOTE: “ASK THE PRESIDENT TO PASS THE TORCH.”

EARLIER THIS MONTH PHILLIPS STEPPED DOWN FROM HIS LEADERSHIP ROLE AS CO-CHAIR OF THE DEMOCRATIC POLICY AND COMMUNICATIONS CAUCUS AFTER UNSUCCESSFULLY CALLING ON YOUNGER DEMOCRATS TO CHALLENGE BIDEN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION.

ACCORDING TO A RECENT CNN POLL  – TWO THIRDS OF DEMOCRATS AGREE WITH PHILLIPS — WANTING THE PARTY TO CHOOSE ANOTHER CANDIDATE BESIDES THE PRESIDENT — WITH NEARLY HALF CITING BIDEN’S AGE AS THE MAIN CONCERN. 

THOUGH THE WHITE HOUSE HAS NOT COMMENTED ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT — ON TUESDAY THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY RESPONDED TO REPORTS OF PHILLIPS JOINING THE RACE — SAYING THE ADMINISTRATION APPRECIATES THE CONGRESSMAN’S “ALMOST 100 PERCENT SUPPORT OF THE PRESIDENT.”

TOYOTA IS RECALLING MORE THAN SEVEN-HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND LARGE S-U-V’S IN THE U-S TO FIX PROBLEMS WITH THE FRONT BUMPERS…

ACCORDING TO AUTOMAKER — THE RECALL COVERS CERTAIN TOYOTA HIGHLANDERS FROM 2020 TO 2023–  INCLUDING GAS-ELECTRIC HYBRID MODELS.

TOYOTA SAYS THE VEHICLES HAVE FRONT LOWER BUMPER COVERS CONNECTED WITH MOUNTING TABS… THE TABS COULD DETACH ON EVEN

FINALLY THIS MORNING –– BEATLES FANS RECEIVED SOME EXCITING NEWS “YESTERDAY” – IT’S “SOMETHING” THEY NEVER THOUGHT THEY WOULD HEAR — THAT THE BAND’S FINAL SONG WILL BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK.

THE TRACK – TITLED “NOW AND THEN” —  WAS WRITTEN AND SUNG BY JOHN LENNON IN THE 70S – WITH PAUL MCCARTNEY, RINGO STARR AND GEORGE HARRISON WORKING ON THE SONG AGAIN IN THE 90S.

BUT BECAUSE OF TECHNOLOGICAL ISSUES ON THE RECORDED TRACK – WHERE LENNON’S VOICE COULD NOT BE SEPARATED FROM A PIANO – IT WAS SHELVED FOR DECADES. THE SONG NEEDED “HELP” —  FAST FORWARD DOWN “THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD” TO LAST YEAR WHEN DIRECTOR PETER JACKSON AND HIS TEAM WOULD NOT “LET IT BE” — USING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO HEAR LENNON’S CLEAR VOCALS.

IN A PRESS RELEASE — MCCARTNEY SAYING QUOTE – “IN 2023 TO STILL BE WORKING ON BEATLES MUSIC, AND ABOUT TO RELEASE A NEW SONG THE PUBLIC HAVEN’T HEARD, I THINK IT’S QUITE AN EXCITING THING.”

“NOW AND THEN” WILL BE RELEASED “ACROSS THE UNIVERSE” ON NOVEMBER SECOND. A 12-MINUTE DOCUMENTARY FILM WILL PREMIERE THE DAY BEFORE ON THE BEATLES’ YOUTUBE CHANNEL WHERE FANS WILL “COME TOGETHER” TO WATCH.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS FRIDAY.

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WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE MONDAY.

UNTIL THEN I’M SHANNON LONGWORTH. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

MINOR IMPACTS — CAUSING PARTS OF THE ASSEMBLY TO FALL INTO THE ROAD — CREATING HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS FOR DRIVERS.

DEALERS WILL INSPECT THE BUMPER COVER TABS FOR DAMAGE AND INSTALL NEW HARDWARE… TOYOTA SAYS  IT WILL CONTACT ALL OWNERS AFFECTED BY THE RECALL BY DECEMBER.