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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of October 15, 2015 In News, Pop Culture History, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts


Headlines -

The United States will halt its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of his term in 2017, President Obama announced on Thursday, prolonging the American role in a war that has now stretched on for 14 years.

The National Weather Service now expects El Niño to bring wetter-than-average rains to virtually all of California, forecasters said for the first time Thursday. The new forecast is significant because it raises the chance that El Niño will send big storms not only to Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area — as has already been forecast — but also to the mountains that feed California’s most important reservoirs, which fuel water for much of the entire state. California’s largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, are in the northern edge of the state.

Lawyers for Dennis Hastert said Thursday that the former U.S. House speaker plans to plead guilty to an indictment that alleges he agreed to make $3.5 million in hush money payments to cover up wrongdoing from years ago. Hastert's attorney, John Gallo, told U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin that a written plea agreement has been worked out in the case. Durkin set a hearing for Hastert to enter the guilty plea on Oct. 28 — five months to the day after the bombshell indictment against the powerhouse Republican was announced.

Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank set fire to a Jewish shrine near Nablus and stabbed an Israeli soldier near Hebron on Friday as tensions ran high after more than two weeks of violence. Israel's military said about 100 people converged on the tomb of the biblical patriarch Joseph in the northern part of the West Bank and set parts of it ablaze before Palestinian security forces arrived and pushed them back.

A deputy was shot dead at a Minnesota hospital Sunday after the suspect he was guarding grabbed his gun and opened fire.
Aitkin County Sheriff's Investigator Steven Sandberg, 60, died during an altercation at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota, state officials said in a statement.

Crews on Sunday pulled dozens of stranded cars and trucks free and reopened some Southern California roads that were buried in tons of mud during flash flooding.
Los Angeles County crews reopened stretches of five roads in mountain communities about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. Later - one man was found dead in his SUV, both buried in mud.

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympic runner who fatally shot his girlfriend in 2013, was released from prison and placed under house arrest on Monday night, a South African official said. "Oscar Pistorius was placed under correctional supervision tonight," Manelisi Wolela, a spokesman for South Africa's correctional services department, said in a cellphone text message sent to journalists.

Justin Trudeau, the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, will be Canada’s next leader, after a dramatic federal election that ended the divisive reign of the Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper.

The pilot of a U.S. fighter jet was killed on Wednesday when it crashed on farmland after taking off from a U.S. Air Force (USAF) base in eastern England. The U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet came down in Redmere near Ely, a rural area about 70 miles (110 km) north of London.

Joe Biden announces He Will Not Run for Presidency in 2016, Ending Persistent Rumors. Biden said Wednesday he felt he did not have "the time necessary to mount a winning campaign." He praised the Obama administration's record and said he would "not be silent" defending it.

Sports -
The New York Mets defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, to Advance to NL Championship Series. They’ll play the Cubs. Later - Mets beat the Cubs and are headed to the World Series. Daniel Murphy homered for the sixth game in a row, a slugging streak that set a new major league postseason record.

Technology news -
Your phone's virtual assistant may be doing some temp work on the side: Two French researchers have discovered a way to activate Siri or Google Now from afar.
There is a catch, however: Headphones must be plugged into a phone's microphone jack.
As reported by Wired, scientists at the French government agency ANSSI found that, by using the headphone cord as an antenna, they could trick the phone into thinking it is receiving audio commands from the owner.
Skype announces that users can now share links to their Skype chats with other people without requiring them to create or open a Skype account.

There’s a problem with the Facebook app on your phone. It keeps running - and wears batteries down quicker.

Amazon has sued more than 1,000 people who offered to write fake reviews for a price.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, targets users of Fiverr.com, an online marketplace where you can take on "gigs" such as designing a logo or writing a press release for $5.
Amazon found that people were offering to write positive reviews of products they had never used, most often with text supplied by the seller.
Sometimes, Amazon claimed, they would go so far as to receive empty envelopes in the mail to make it seem like they were actually shipped a product.

The U.S. government will soon require many drone aircraft to be registered, a move prompted by the growing number of reported close calls as planes fly into and out of some of the nation's biggest airports, federal officials announced Monday. Pilot sightings of drones have doubled since last year, including sightings near manned aircraft and major sporting events, and interference with wildfire-fighting operations, the government said.

The FBI and Secret Service are investigating reports that non-government personal accounts associated with CIA Director John Brennan as well as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson were hacked, law enforcement officials told CNN.
The New York Post first interviewed the alleged hacker, who said he accessed an AOL email account associated with Brennan that included files regarding his security clearance application, and the hacker also claims to have accessed a Comcast account associated with Johnson.

Western Digital Corporation said on Wednesday that it had agreed to acquire the memory chip maker SanDisk Corporation in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $19 billion

Entertainment news -
Nearly three months after he checked out of rehab, John Stamos has been charged in his DUI case. The Los Angeles District Attorney tells E! News that the 52-year-old actor has been charged with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs, stemming from his June arrest for DUI in Beverly Hills.

First Look At The New Star Wars Movie - New “Star Wars” clip debuts during “Monday Night Football” halftime this week. In the first hour after the "Force Awakens" teaser aired, 1.3 million people interacted with it on Facebook, while "Star Wars"-related tweets came at the furious pace of 17,000 per minute, as fans dissected every frame for clues about the film's plot. Meanwhile, viewership for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" spiked heading into halftime, indicating many viewers had tuned in specifically to see the new clip.

October 21 - “Back to the Future” day with lots going on including a collector’s re-issue of the Pepsi Bottle used in “II.”

Passing - Corey Wells - A founding member of the popular 1970s band Three Dog Night has died in New York state. He was 74.

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