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Photos: Obamas host final state dinner

7 things to know now: Debate night; WikiLeaks without the net; new Macs on the way; Social Security

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now: 

1. Debate night: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet tonight in Las Vegas for the third and final presidential debate before the Nov. 8 General Election. Chris Wallace of Fox news is the moderator for the debate set for 9 p.m. (ET) at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, and Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith who was killed in the raid in Benghazi, will be Trump’s guests. Clinton invited Mark Cuban and Meg Whitman to attend the debate.

2. Internet cut: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has had his internet access “temporarily” restricted by the government of Ecuador. Ecuador's Foreign Ministry published a statement on Tuesday saying it "exercised its right" to "temporarily restrict access to some of (WikiLeaks') private communications network within its Embassy in the United Kingdom." The move came hours after WikiLeaks published information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s speeches to the financial giant Goldman Sachs. Assange is in the Ecuador embassy building in London and has been since he sought asylum there following charges of sexual assault.

3. Updated Macs: According to reports, Apple plans to unveil an updated Mac line-up next week. The company will show off new versions of the iMac desktop, MacBook Air laptop and a thinner MacBook Pro laptop, among other products, according to Bloomberg.

4. Social Security Cola: Social Security recipients will get a raise next year, but it may be tough to find it in their checks. The typical retiree's monthly check will increase by $3.92 in 2017 – or 0.3 percent. The increase is the smallest cost-of-living adjustment ever put into place for the government program. More than 66 million people get the checks. The average retiree's monthly benefit is $1,305.30.

5. Phone exchange booths: Samsung is manning exchange booths in airports around the world to get passengers carrying its Galaxy Note 7 to swap their phone for another device. The phones have been shown to catch fire without warning. Customers are being helped by Samsung employees at the exchange points to transfer their information to the new phones. 

And one more

Chuck Berry, who turned 90 on Tuesday, said he will release an album next year, his first in 38 years. The album will be called “Chuck,” and is expected to have new, original material from Berry. So far, no news about the date the album will be released.

In case you missed it

More than 5 million people have seen this elephant “rescue” the man who once rescued her.

Third presidential debate: What time, what channel, live stream, invited guests

With only three weeks until the General Election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are set to meet in Las Vegas Wednesday for the final presidential debate.

While there are a series of topics debate moderator Chris Wallace will draw questions from, it’s likely that the candidates will come up with their own topics - for Clinton, Trump’s remarks about women and his fitness to serve; for Trump, Clinton’s email scandals and the continuing release of information about the campaign and the Clinton Foundation’s workings via WikiLeaks.

Here's a quick look at the logistics for the thrid debate.

What time does it start?

The debate begins at 9 p.m. (ET). It will be 90 minutes long, without commercial interruption.

Where can I see it?

The debate will be broadcast live on cable news networks, the three major networks and other media outlets including social media.

Where is it being held?

The debate is being held at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV).

Who will moderate the debate?

Chris Wallace, the anchor of Fox News Sunday, will moderate the final debate.

What is the structure for the debate?

The debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments covering topics picked by Wallace. Both candidates will have 2 minutes to respond to a question and then another chance to respond to their opponent. Wallace will use the leftover times to expand on the discussion topic.

What are the topics?

The six topics will be immigration, entitlements and debt, the Supreme Court, the economy, foreign policy, and each candidate's fitness to serve as president.

Will anyone else be on the debate stage?

No, the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, and the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, both failed to meet the 15 percent polling threshold to qualify for the debate.

Special guests?

Donald Trump has invited Pat Smith to attend the debate. Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, a State Department IT consultant who was killed in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks. Smith, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July, is an outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton and says she blames her son’s death personally on Clinton.

Time Magazine is reporting that Trump has invited President Barack Obama's half-brother to attend the debate. Malik Obama, who is now an American citizen, announced in July that he supports Trump.

Hillary Clinton has invited Mark Cuban and Meg Whitman to the debate.

 Live updates

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//;border=false"></script> [View the story "Live updates" on Storify]

Voids discovered in Great Pyramid; scientists now try to figure out what they are

The Great Pyramid has been a puzzle for scientists for centuries, but new discoveries are leading to new questions about one of the wonders of the classical world.

Scientists, using state-of-the-art technology, have found voids in the massive structure, which was built in 2560 BC, The Telegraph reported.

A group of experts from universities, companies and institutes worldwide comprise "Scan Pyramids" and are using muography, thermography and 3-D simulation to map the pyramid.

Muons are able to penetrate thick rocks like X-rays penetrate the body, Discovery's Seeker website reported earlier this year.

>> Read more trending stories  

The group also scanned the Bent Pyramid, named for the slope of the upper section of the structure, as the first in its year-long project.

Thermography uses infrared to map structures. The different techniques are then combined to render a 3-D reconstruction to study the ancient buildings.

The team has found chevron patterns made of stone that it said were not used as decoration, but possibly to seal voids in structure.

Chevrons were used to cover the king and queen chambers, to either protect a room or keep a roof from collapsing, Scan Pyramid reported

Now researchers are trying to determine why so many chevrons were put in to protect a small area on a descending corridor

Scientists said they performed multiple tests to make sure it was not noise or "statistical fluctuation" and the results suggest that there is a void, or voids, behind the stonework.

The teams confirmed the void on the north face of the pyramid. Now they are trying to find the precise size and shape. 

They are also examining the queen's Cchamber. The results are expected to be released early 2017, The Telegraph reported.

To read more on the discovery and the technology used, click here.

Is the fix in? Trump campaign says election is rigged, supporters agree

The continuing campaign message from Donald Trump that the General Election will somehow be rigged against him may be hitting its mark as a new poll shows 41 percent of those surveyed believe November's election could be "stolen" from the Republican nominee.

According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted Oct. 13-17, nearly three-fourths of the Republicans polled said they think it is a real possibility the election could be taken from Trump. Seventeen percent of the Democrats surveyed in the poll agreed. The poll was conducted among 1,999 registered voters.

Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult, told Politico that Trump supporters feel a very real lack of confidence in the country’s voting system.

“The results show that voters are increasingly losing confidence that votes around the country will be counted accurately on Election Day," Dropp said. "The sentiment especially rings true among Trump's supporters, with half expressing concern about a 'rigged election.'"

Half of the respondents in an Associated Press poll – those who favored Donald Trump over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton -- say they have little to no confidence that votes will be counted fairly.

Trump ramped up his assault on Clinton, the media and the integrity of the vote-counting system over the weekend, tweeting Saturday: "Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail. Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election."

It is not a new theme for Trump, who in August told a crowd of supporters in Pennsylvania that he would only lose the state "if cheating goes on."

Many people both in and out of the Republican Party have expressed concern over Trump’s claims of a rigged process, as they have struck a chord with a growing number of his supporters. Nearly 60 percent of those polled in the Politico survey said they believe it's necessary to raise questions about the accuracy of the election results.

They cited voter fraud or involvement by a foreign government as the basis for their concerns.

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, at first this weekend tried to walk back some of Trump’s remarks, saying the Republican Party would accept the results of the Nov. 8 election as the will of the people.

However, on Monday Pence’s position changed a bit when he said the national media is trying to rig the election for Clinton.

"I have no doubt the national media is trying to rig this election with their biased coverage in Hillary Clinton’s favor,” Pence said said.

Trump has doubled down on critics, especially fellow Republicans, claiming they are naïve for ignoring “large-scale voter fraud.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisc.), has been a vocal opponent of Trump’s claims that voter fraud is rampant in America. A spokesman for Ryan issued a statement Saturday saying, “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”

Trump does have some supporters, though they may not be as full-throated as the candidate would wish they were.

Rep. Pete King, (R-N.Y.), agreed with Trump that a close look at how votes are counted is needed, but stopped short of saying the election would be rigged.

"Is it legally rigged? No it's not. Whoever wins, wins,” King told radio host Don Imus, “But, I do think there's a lot to what he's saying, whether it's conscious or not, of having people in the so-called establishment, whatever that is, the big money people, the media, the political leaders, they are petrified of the thought of Trump being elected. So they consciously and unconsciously just do everything they can."

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), told CNN on Monday that while he agrees somewhat with Trump, he does not believe there is a conspiracy to keep the GOP candidate from winning the election.

“… I don't want to say anything on this program that delegitimizes the elections because I don't want the American people to lose faith in our process. If we do, this entire constitutional republic could come tumbling down," King said. “We have a mainstream media that there's plenty of evidence to point to that they have been tilted in favor of Hillary Clinton, by and large. We have evidence out there that illegals have been voting by the hundreds, if not the thousands. It only took 537 in Florida. Those are things that do concern me.”

A Los Angeles Times story pointed out that presidential elections are carried out on a state level, not a national one, and that a majority of the states seen as “swing” states have a Republican overseeing the ballot counting.

Jon A. Husted, the secretary of state of Ohio, said Monday it was “wrong and engaging in irresponsible rhetoric” to question the integrity of the vote counting.

“We have made it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Husted said Sunday in an interview. “We are going to run a good, clean election in Ohio, like we always do.”

7 things to know now: Melania Trump; State pressured FBI on emails; Bush fired

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Email re-classification: According to an FBI investigation, a senior State Department official asked the agency to reduce the classification of an email from Hillary Clinton’s private server in exchange for a deal that would have given the FBI the authorization to deploy more agents in foreign countries. The accusation against State Department official Patrick Kennedy was revealed in the latest release of interviews from the FBI's investigation into Clinton's sending and receiving classified government information through a private email server. One FBI official told investigators that Kennedy repeatedly "pressured" FBI officials to declassify information in one of Clinton's emails about the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.

2. Bush is out: NBC News has fired Billy Bush from the “Today” show. Bush, who was heard and seen on tape in a degrading conversation about women with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, was only recently named as a host for the show’s 9 a.m. hour.

3. Cartwright pleads guilty: Retired four-star Gen. James Cartwright pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to lying to the FBI about whether he provided journalists top secret information in 2012. Cartwright, who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2007, admitting he lied to the FBI when questioned about whether he provided top secret information to two journalists. Cartwright retired in 2011, but retained his top security clearance.

4. Walking out on Schumer: Two hundred people walked out of a performance by Amy Schumer in Tampa over the weekend after she attacked Donald Trump during one of her shows. The crowd booed after Schumer called Trump an “orange, sexual-assaulting, fake-college-starting monster.” Schumer called a Trump supporter up to the stage then questioned him about his decision to support the New York billionaire. As more people began booing, Schumer told them they could leave, then said they would be thrown out if they continued to yell during the show.

5. Supporting her husband: Melania Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was surprised by the tape of her husband using crude language about women, but that she considered it only “boy talk.” Trump said she had not heard her husband speak that way before. "No. No, that's why I was surprised, because I said like I don't know that person that would talk that way, and that he would say that kind of stuff in private," Melania Trump said. "I heard many different stuff -- boys talk," she said. "The boys, the way they talk when they grow up and they want to sometimes show each other, 'Oh, this and that' and talking about the girls. But yes, I was surprised, of course."

And one more

Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith told The Huffington Post that he saw ex-Fox News boss Roger Ailes as a “father” and denied Ailes ever prevented him from publicly  announcing that he is gay. “He treated me with respect, just respect,” he said. “I wasn’t new in the business when I came here ― I’d been doing reporting for 12 years ― but I wasn’t old in it either, and he gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we get it right, try to get it right every day. It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place.” Ailes left the network last month after he was accused by several women there of sexual harassment.

In case you missed it

You, and 3.2 million other viewers, are now waiting to see what this is an ad for.

'Make America Great Again'? To these Canadians, America is already great

This election cycle is a trying time for many Americans. Caught between “Make America Great Again” and "I’m With Her,” some people just don’t know where to turn.

>> Watch the viral video

Some have pledged to flee to the Great White North if their unfavorable presidential candidate wins, a sentiment you hear almost every four years.

But let’s not kid ourselves, Canada’s pretty cool. We’ve got that country to thank for Drake, ice hockey, instant replay, the athletic cup, basketball (James Naismith was Canadian-American) and the paint roller, among other things.

Our polite Canadian friends like us, too. In fact, they think America’s pretty great already.

Living up to their “nice to a fault” stereotype, a group of Canadians has started a social media campaign to encourage Americans this election season.

>> Read more trending stories

In a video titled “Tell America It’s Great,” Toronto-based creative agency The Garden Collective rounds up a bunch of Canadians who earnestly and unironically tell Americans what they love about the United States.

“Hey, guys! We’re just up here in Canada talking about how great you guys are down there, and we thought we’d just send you a little bit of a love note,” one man in the video says to start things off.

Among the things these particular Canadians like about the U.S., according to the video:

  • We invented the internet
  • We’re “going to get humanity to Mars”
  • When things are tough, we “fight to make them better”
  • Our musical gifts to the world, such as jazz, bluegrass, R&B and hip-hop
  • Our diversity

The video was posted to the “Tell America It’s Great” website on Oct. 13. The hashtag #TellAmericaThatItsGreat was started as a twist on Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” The Garden Collective founder Shari Walczak told the “New York Times” on Monday. “We look at [the election] through a Canadian lens, but all of us have friends, family and colleagues who live in America. We realized they’re immersed in it day-in and day-out and how awful that must feel.”

After the campaign took off on Twitter, other Canadians chimed in with a few of their favorite American things.

And Americans returned the sentiments right back.

Can a write-in candidate win the 2016 presidential election?

Once only the realm of Mickey Mouse, Snoopy or the cat who has been mayor of a town in Alaska for the past 15 years, the write-in vote is fast becoming the hippest civics expression on the block.

With polls showing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton at unpopular poll numbers rarely seen in U.S. presidential elections, the search for an alternative is at a fever-pitch.

One attractive option is the write-in candidate — at least it is if Google searches are to be believed.

Online searches for the term “write-in” candidate set a record last week (a 2,800 percent increase over a record high for the search term set in 2004). According to Google Trends, the greatest number of searches came in states that are traditionally Republican and Democratic strongholds, not, as you may think, from swing states.

While it can be fun to write in the name of your favorite Kardashian, or your aunt, Edna, it doesn’t really advance the cause of democracy.

Here’s a quick look at what it takes for a write-in vote to count and why it’s not likely to change the political landscape this year.

What is a write-in vote?

A write-in vote happens when a voter writes-in the name of a person they wish to vote for instead of choosing a candidate whose name appears on the ballot. This type of vote in a presidential election is allowed in some form in 43 states.

If I want to vote this way, may I write in any name?

Sure you can. But, just a warning, if you are going with Darth Vader this election cycle, your victory party could be poorly attended.

The problem with writing in Darth Vader, other than the fact that he is a fictional character, is that he has not registered as a write-in candidate.

Wait. What? You have to register to be a write-in candidate?

In 35 states you do. And, in most of those states, the cutoff date to fill out paperwork or pay a fee has passed.

This is America, and I want vote for Darth Vader and have it count, what can I do?

You can live in one of eight states — Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Wyoming — that allow voters to write-in any name they wish.

Any states that do not allow write-in votes?

Yes, there are seven states that do not allow write-in votes, or do so under very strict circumstances (for example, the death of a candidate who is already on the ballot). Those state are: Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Has any president ever been elected this way?

No, no one has been elected president as a write-in candidate, but a sitting U.S. senator was elected that way. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) lost the Republican primary in her state in 2010, but won the Senate seat in the general election through a write-in candidacy.

Let’s imagine the write-in candidate wins the popular vote for president, what then?

That would be an interesting question; on election day, when we pull the lever (or write in a name), we are not voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, we are voting for a slate of "electors" who are charged with representing our state’s vote when the electoral college meets to elect the president and vice president.

The Constitution of the United States does not dictate for whom the electors must vote, but some states do direct the votes of its electors. The electors generally vote for their party’s nominee when it comes to casting electoral college votes.

7 things to know now: WikiLeaks internet cut; Olympian's daughter killed; Randy Travis

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. New WikiLeaks: A new batch of hacked emails released from WikiLeaks is reported to include, among other revelations, transcripts of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s speeches to the financial firm Goldman Sachs. The latest dump of dispatches also includes emails detailing Clinton campaign concerns over how the LGBT community would react to a statement from Clinton about former first lady Nancy Reagan. The emails are said to have been hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's email account. Update: WikiLeaks says founder Julian Assange’s internet connection was cut Monday morning by a "state party." Assange lives in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He has been there for more than four years.

>>WikiLeaks: Assange's internet link 'severed,' but he's not dead

2. GOP office fire bombed: A Republican Party office in Hillsborough, N.C., was fire bombed early Sunday. Officials say the fire was ignited when a bottle filled with flammable liquid was thrown through the window. A slogan that read “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” was spray painted on a nearby wall. No arrests have been made. The incident came after a week that saw several women accuse GOP candidate Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.

3. Rolling Stone trial: Trial is set to begin Monday in a defamation suit filed against Rolling Stone magazine by a former dean at the University of Virginia. The suit claims Rolling Stone defamed associate dean Nicole Eramo, saying she persuaded a sexual assault survivor they article identified as “Jackie” not to report the incident. The magazine later apologized and retracted the article called “A Rape on Campus.”

4. Mosul offensive: The offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city – Mosul – has begun, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi. The city was taken by ISIS forces in 2014. Al Abadi's said Monday, "The bell of liberty has been rung and operations to liberate Mosul have started. Very soon we will be among you to raise the Iraqi flag."

5. Tyson Gay’s daughter: The daughter of U.S. Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay was killed Sunday after she was caught in an exchange of gunfire between two cars. Trinity Gay, 15, was pronounced dead after the 4 a.m. shooting at a Lexington, Kentucky, restaurant parking lot. Two people were detained for questioning, according to authorities.

And one more

Country music star Randy Travis surprised the audience at Sunday's Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony by leading a sing-along of the gospel classic “Amazing Grace.” Many in the crowd, there to honor Travis, Charlie Daniels and record producer Fred Foster, were brought to tears by Travis’ version of the song. The country singer suffered a near fatal stroke following a viral infection three years ago.

In case you missed it

Great Barrier Reef declared dead in obituary

A writer has declared the Great Barrier Reef in Australia officially dead after a story in September said that the bleaching of the reef's coral this year has caused it to decline.

ABC News in Australia reported last month that bleaching had killed 35 percent of coral in the central and northern parts of the reef.

Scientists also have found damage to the coral from the Crown of Thorns starfish. They expect the coral to need years to recover from the damage.

>> Read more trending stories  

The bleaching has also had an effect on the fish off the coast of Australia, ABC News reported.

The demographics of the fish population have changed. Fish that eat algae are fine, but fish like the parrot fish have disappeared. Parrot fish feed on coral.

According to the obituary, published at

"The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old. "For most of its life, the reef was the world's largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more biodiversity than all of Europe combined. It harbored 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 species of mollusk, 450 species of coral, 220 species of birds, and 30 species of whales and dolphins. Among its many other achievements, the reef was home to one of the world's largest populations of dugong and the largest breeding ground of green turtles."

The obituary says the Great Barrier Reef was preceded in death by the South Pacific's Coral Triangle, the Florida Reef in the Florida Keys and most of the other coral reefs on earth. 

But some have called the obituary "greatly exaggerated," saying the reef is "under severe stress but not dead yet."

"This is a fatalistic, doomsday approach to climate change that isn’t going to engage anyone and misinforms the public," said Kim Cobb, a coral reef expert at Georgia Tech. "There will be reefs in 2050, including portions of the Great Barrier Reef, I’m pretty confident of that. I’m put off by pieces that say we are doomed."

Russell Brainard, head of the coral reef ecosystem program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, told the Huffington Post that some people "are going to take it at face value that the Great Barrier Reef is dead."

"I have studied corals off Christmas Island in the Pacific where 85 percent of them have died. It was a graveyard," Cobb said. "But even there, I was shocked to see remarkable resilience. Amid the graveyards of the reefs there were areas that looked like nothing had happened.

"There is a lot we can do to minimize climate change, and we need to get going on that. To say reefs are finished and we can't do anything about it isn't the message we need going forward."

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