Bird strike sends United Airlines flight back to Chicago



(CNN) — A bird strike shortly after takeoff sent a United Airlines flight back to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Friday, the airline said.

Flight 1930, on a Boeing 737-900, was bound for Miami International Airport.

“The aircraft landed safely and passengers deplaned at the gate,” United Airlines said in a statement. The airline didn’t provide details of any potential damage to the plane.

“I knew something was wrong because there was fire below the wing that kept coming out in spurts, and it felt like the plane was kind of jerking,” Fiock told CNN.

“We could hear the pops of the engine trying to start and see the fire on our side since we were right by the wing. The lights kept flickering, too, when it would pop. I was just hoping we would be able to land safely!”

Fiock said she didn’t realize a bird strike had caused the problem until after the plane landed.

“The pilots did a great job getting us back safely, and I’m so grateful to them and the crew,” she said.

Flight tracking site FlightAware shows that Flight 1930 took off at 10:47 a.m. local time and returned to O’Hare 42 minutes later.

A new aircraft was assigned to the flight, the airline said, and it departed early Friday afternoon.

Engines are the most frequently damaged component of civil aircraft in the US, according to the FAA, accounting for about a quarter of all damaged aircraft components.

The number of wildlife strikes with aircraft is on the rise, the FAA says on its wildlife site.

Strikes have increased steadily from about 1,800 in 1990 to 16,000 in 2018, the FAA website says.

“Expanding wildlife populations, increases in number of aircraft movements, a trend toward faster and quieter aircraft, and outreach to the aviation community all have contributed to the observed increase in reported wildlife strikes,” the FAA site says.

Top image: A United Airlines aircraft at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in February. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/File)



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25 Best Halloween Potluck Ideas | Halloween Party Ideas and Recipes : Food Network



Scary-Delicious Potluck Ideas

Halloween is the perfect time to host (or attend!) a potluck dinner. Whether you stick to a theme or contribute something that highlights fall flavors, you’ll find that there are plenty of appetizers, sides and desserts that fit right in. Plus, what could be better than gathering with friends while enjoying some tasty Halloween treats? If you’re looking for some fun Halloween snacks or the perfect dish to pass, you’re in the right place — we’ve got all the recipes you need, starting with these jalapeño poppers. Instead of breading and frying as usual, we use store-bought crescent dough to make the wrappings. Kids and adults alike will love this festive take on a classic. The best part? They can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Mummy Jalapeno Poppers

Cake Eyeballs

Cake pops are perfect for a party, because they’re easy to grab without having to cut a slice out of a whole cake. The best part? No utensils necessary. Try these cute (and a little icky) cake pops that look like eyeballs for your next Halloween party.

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Cake Eyeballs

Chicken Pumpkins

Crispy chicken bites are an easy and delicious dish to bring to a potluck. Perfect as an appetizer, snack or entrée option, these little bites look just like pumpkins, thanks to the celery stem sticking out the top. Serve with ranch dressing for even more flavor.

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Chicken Pumpkins

Spider Web Deviled Eggs

Everybody’s favorite party appetizer gets a scary makeover in this devilled egg recipe. To make the signature spider web design, boil the eggs and then crack the shells. Let them sit in water tinted with black food coloring until cool. Once peeled, the food coloring leaves behind the fun design.

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Spider Web Deviled Eggs

Halloween Crispy Rice Treats

These colorful treats are the perfect thing to bring to your next Halloween party. Crispy, crunchy and sweet, it’s the nostalgic treat you know and love with a festive twist. Extra marshmallows act as the perfect “spider webs” and chocolate-covered peanuts or jelly beans make decorative bugs.

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Halloween Crispy Rice Treats

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

For an easy appetizer that feeds a crowd, try this pumpkin-shaped cheeseball. Ground-up cheese puffs give the cream cheese ball its signature orange color, and a bell pepper stem looks just like it came from a pumpkin. Serve with crackers, chips or crostini.

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Pumpkin Cheese Ball

Witch Finger Breadsticks

There’s nothing creepier than a long, boney witch’s finger pointing straight at you. That’s why we love this easy breadstick recipe — it’s a fun way to add some Halloween flair to an otherwise boring recipe. Shriveled green olives act as creepy fingernails, and marinara is the perfect “bloody” dipping sauce.

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Witch Finger Breadsticks

Cake Pop Brains

Kids love anything that’s ooey gooey, especially during Halloween. That’s why we love these cake pop “brains” made from red velvet cake and ruby chocolate melts. Kids will love to dive into the icky treat, only to find that it’s delicious and rich on the inside.

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Cake Pop Brains

Hot Dog Mummies

Store-bought crescent dough is the secret to this appetizer that’s sure to please a crowd. Everyone loves pigs in a blanket, and this version turns the classic recipe into a festive treat. White American cheese and ketchup are all you need to make little peering eyes.

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Hot Dog Mummies

Halloween Jell-O Shots

Don’t let kids have all the fun — this Halloween, make a special treat for the grown-ups, too. These vodka-spiked Jell-o shots look just like candy corn. They’re even cuter (and more delicious) when topped with some whipped cream and orange sprinkles.

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Halloween Jell-O Shots

Ghostinis with Bloody Murder Sundried Tomato Tapenade

Crostini gets an inventive twist in this seasonal treat, thanks to the magic of cookie cutters. Simply select your favorite Halloween cookie cutter, then cut bread into shapes. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and toast. Serve with sun dried tomato and olive tapenade.

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Ghostinis with Bloody Murder Sundried Tomato Tapenade

Stuffed Mushroom Eyeballs

You won’t be able to take your eyes off this eerie appetizer. Stuffed mushrooms are a party favorite, and these are particularly perfect for Halloween. Mushrooms get packed with garlic-flavored cream cheese then topped with sun dried tomato strips and sliced black olives to make perfectly creepy eyeballs.

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Stuffed Mushroom Eyeballs

Cookies and Scream Graveyard Crunch

This nostalgic and festive treat will remind you of being a kid. The layered dessert features sweet favorites like vanilla sandwich crackers, peanut butter, chocolate wafer cookies and more. Once assembled, it looks just like a haunted graveyard that kids will love to dig into.

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Cookies and Scream Graveyard Crunch

Ghost Hand Pies with Honey Dijon

Hand pies are perfect for a party because they’re easy to grab and don’t require any utensils. This recipe uses homemade pie dough (store-bought is okay, too), cheddar and Dijon for a savory, irresistible treat.

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Ghost Hand Pies with Honey Dijon

Witch Finger Cookies

For an easy and impressive recipe to please everyone at your next Halloween potluck, try these witch finger cookies. A sliced almond acts as the nail and raspberry jam acts as blood to decorate these sweet and crunchy confections.

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Witch Finger Cookies

Meatball Mummies

The only thing that makes meatballs even more yummy? Wrapping them in puff pastry! This recipe is even more fun when you assemble the puff pastry strips to look like little mummies. Make them ahead of time and store in the freezer for an easy Halloween treat.

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Meatball Mummies

Meringue Bones

Though it may look intimidating, this recipe uses only five ingredients and is more simple than you’d think. Meringues are an impressive dessert no matter what shape they’re in, but for Halloween, why not pipe the delicate dessert into a bone shape? Your guests will love the strawberry filling that looks like blood.

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Meringue Bones

Cheesy Pumpkin Puffs

These soft, gooey puffs are stuffed with American, Swiss and cheddar cheeses wrapped around store-bought puffed pastry. Garam masala and ginger add bright, pungent flavor and pumpkin adds a sweet creaminess. A cookie cutter is all you need to make them into tiny pumpkins.

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Cheesy Pumpkin Puffs

Black Magic Cake

This dark, rich dessert is like a blank canvas for Halloween décor. Top it with a candy spider or wrap it with stretched, melted marshmallow to make a spider web. Either way, it’s a delightfully easy dessert to bring to your next potluck party.

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Black Magic Cake

Halloween Deviled Tea Eggs

Deviled eggs are a great party snack, and this version is even more special. Thanks to flavorful additions like soy sauce and black tea leaves, these boiled eggs look like they have a creepy spider web wrapped around them. The orange filling and black sesame topping add to the Halloween theme.

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Halloween Deviled Tea Eggs

Mummy Hand Pies

These mummy hand pies are as easy as, well, pie. Make them in advance and store them in the freezer, then whip them out when it’s time for your Halloween party. The crispy edges and soft, gooey center are hard to resist.

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Mummy Hand Pies

Marshmallow Web Ghost Cake

This impressive cake is just as gorgeous to look at as it is delicious to eat. Sticky, stretchy marshmallows act as realistic spider webs that criss cross around the double layer, multi-colored cake. Finish it off with little ghosts piped out of buttercream frosting.

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Marshmallow Web Ghost Cake

Deviled Ham Eyeball Sandwich

This smoky ham salad gets extra flavor from Dijon mustard, pickled relish, honey and Worcestershire sauce. Pile it on top of white bread cut into circles, then serve with sliced green olives to act as the eyeball. This festive treat it a delicious way to celebrate Halloween.

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Deviled Ham Eyeball Sandwich

Caramel Apple Monster Munch

This yummy party crunch is loaded with fall flavors. An easy snack to whip up in just 25 minutes, it consists of freshly-popped popcorn, crispy apples and sweet and sticky caramel. Be sure to make extra — this irresistible snack won’t last long on your potluck table!

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Caramel Apple Monster Munch

Pumpkin Lovers Lasagna

Lasagna is a guaranteed hit at any dinner party — it’s easy to prep in advance, feeds a crowd and tastes delicious. This version is perfect for fall thanks to the addition of sage, butternut squash and pumpkin puree. Serve it with a crisp salad or enjoy on its own for a filling dinner.

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Pumpkin Lovers Lasagna



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Herschel Walker: Allies want more ‘Trumpian response’ to abortion allegation





CNN
 — 

Republican allies want Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker to more forcefully deny an allegation that surfaced this week that he once paid for a woman’s abortion.

Some Walker supporters said they want the GOP nominee, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in one of the most competitive races of the 2022 midterms, to dial up his efforts to refute the allegations, which were first published by The Daily Beast on Monday. The initial story attributed the abortion claim to an unidentified woman before adding in a separate report Wednesday that she was the mother of one of Walker’s four children. The Daily Beast also published photographs of a “get well” card the woman alleged Walker had sent following the procedure and referenced a bank deposit receipt she provided to the outlet that contained an image of a $700 personal check Walker allegedly sent her to pay for the abortion.

CNN has not been able to independently verify the allegation.

Conversations with several Republican operatives and sources close to Walker paint a picture of a campaign whose senior officials were caught flat-footed and which has struggled to mount an organized response to the allegations from The Daily Beast and from Walker’s son Christian, who has accused him of lying about the abortion claim. This is despite rumors circulating for months that these sorts of accusations could come to light and warnings from outside allies to prepare for that possibility.

“It’s not so much we are concerned about the allegations themselves, it’s mostly the response,” said a person close to the Walker campaign who wanted a more “Trumpian response” from the candidate.

A second person close to the campaign said that if Walker is “going to say [the abortion allegation] is not true, he needs to do so loudly and as much as possible.”

Walker has repeatedly dismissed the allegations as false and a “flat-out-lie,’ including in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday: “I know this is untrue. … I know nothing about any woman having an abortion.”

“Had that happened, I would have said it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he later added. Asked about that comment during a campaign stop Thursday afternoon, Walker told reporters he was referring to “something totally different” that had “nothing to do” with the abortion claim.

One Republican strategist with ties to the Walker campaign said the candidate should follow through on his threat to sue The Daily Beast for defamation “to put weight behind his denial.” In his first statement responding to the allegation on Monday, Walker said he was “planning to sue the Daily Beast for this defamatory lie” by Tuesday morning, but no legal actions have been taken yet.

“If they don’t want to go down that road in the middle of a campaign, they should offer up something else,” this person said.

Publicly, the Walker campaign has touted a fundraising bonanza in the wake of the allegations. In a press release Wednesday, Walker campaign manager Scott Paradise said the campaign raised more than $12 million last quarter amid “a gutter campaign focused on lies and personal attacks” by Warnock. Privately, the campaign has told allies it has evidence to disprove the abortion allegation and is eyeing a high-profile debate between Walker and Warnock next Friday as an ideal time to release it. With control of the evenly divided Senate on the line, their race in a state President Joe Biden narrowly carried in 2020 is one of the most closely watched of the year.

“I can’t imagine any sane person wouldn’t put that information out,” said a source close to the Walker campaign.

Walker did not mention having evidence to disprove the claim in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday or in his interview with Hewitt on Thursday, saying only that he does not know the identity of the woman making the allegation and does not recognize the signature that allegedly appeared on the get-well card as his own.

“I never just put an H on anything. I never have. It’s sort of like everyone is anonymous or everyone is leaking. And they want you to confess to something you have no clue about,” Walker told Fox News.

Randy Evans, a former Trump ambassador to Luxembourg who is close to Walker’s campaign, said the GOP nominee should resist the temptation to devote too much time focused on rebutting the allegation against him, preferring that he focus on top-of-mind issues for Georgia voters such as crime and inflation.

“Every minute Walker is talking about this story, which he’s denied, he is doing what Warnock wants him to do. And every minute that Warnock is talking about Biden, he is doing what Walker would want him to do,” Evans said in a phone interview, adding that “the best thing [Walker] could do is the very second something untrue came out, promptly deny it and move on.”

“And I think it’s clear that is what he did,” said Evans, who said he continues to support Walker.

Walker did not acknowledge the allegation in a new 30-second spot released by his campaign on Wednesday, instead talking about his “real battle with mental health” and his Christian faith.

One Republican strategist with ties to Walker’s campaign, who requested anonymity to speak about the matter, said it was surprising to see the campaign caught off guard by the abortion claim when this source and others said it had been circulating for months in Georgia GOP circles.

“Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long” to publicly surface, this person said. “I heard about this way back in May, but it was just hearsay, along with a bunch of other stuff that was going around at the time.”

In a tweet Tuesday evening, Paradise, Walker’s campaign manager, dismissed a Politico story alleging that the GOP nominee’s team was aware months ago of the abortion allegation as “absolute garbage.” The story said the allegation “was brought to the attention of those working on Walker’s behalf” before he launched his Senate campaign.

But one of the sources close to the Walker campaign told CNN on Wednesday that they had personally warned senior Walker aides to “be ready” for the allegation to make its way into the media. While this person said they do not believe the allegation to be true, they recalled bringing it up as a note of caution, believing the general election would take an ugly turn given Georgia’s critical role in November to determining control of the Senate.

“I heard that rumor, and early on I said to somebody, maybe Taylor [Crowe] or Stefan Passantino, the campaign’s general counsel, ‘You guys should be ready for this,’” this person said, recalling that Walker’s aides said they would be. Crowe is the campaign’s political director.

Passantino declined to comment on the matter, while Crowe did not respond to multiple requests for comment. In a Wednesday phone call with CNN, Paradise declined to say whether he was made aware of the abortion allegation prior to the Daily Beast story and asked for questions to be emailed to him.

After this story published, Paradise responded with a statement saying, “This is the second time this week you’ve written a lie based on bad anonymous sources. Categorically false.”

The allegation was so widely known in Georgia Republican circles that Erick Erickson, a Georgia-based conservative radio host, said two of Walker’s primary opponents tried to get him to discuss it on his program before Walker became the GOP nominee for Senate.

“I had every single Republican on my show with me during the [Senate] primary, and two of them mentioned it as an unsourced rumor that had surfaced in their opposition files,” Erickson said. “None of them had any details to prove it, but they were pushing me to talk about it on air.”

“Everyone knew it,” Erickson said, adding that it was “all just noise in the primary” and that Republican voters are unlikely to back away from Walker because they are inherently “suspicious of hit jobs” following the intense allegations of sexual assault that consumed the Senate confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Former President Donald Trump also faced a slew of sexual misconduct allegations during and after his 2016 presidential bid – ignoring some and denying others at the time they surfaced. A person close to the former President said he was unaware of the abortion allegation against Walker until it surfaced earlier this week, and had planned to speak with the Republican Senate hopeful on Tuesday. Trump issued a statement Tuesday evening saying Walker had “properly denied” the allegation and encouraging GOP voters to turn out and support him next month.

Republicans have largely credited Trump for convincing Walker, a longtime friend of his, to launch a Senate bid earlier this year, even though his past controversies gave some top GOP election officials pause. Walker published a book in 2008 detailing his battle with dissociative identity disorder, a mental illness that he has said sometimes led to violent episodes in adulthood.

Further complicating Walker’s strategy as he navigates the abortion allegation has been his son Christian’s online criticism of him, said people close to his campaign.

“What I thought was very notable was that nobody had a freakout moment because of the Daily Beast story,” said Erickson, noting that what sent most Republicans spiraling this week was the criticism Christian Walker aimed at his father in a series of social media postings.

Following publication of the Daily Beast story, Christian Walker accused his father of lying and misleading the public about allegations that have been made against him and about his family’s support for his run for office.

“Every family member of Herschel Walker asked him not to run for office, because we all knew (some of) his past. … He decided to give us the middle finger and air out all his dirty laundry in public while simultaneously lying about it,” Walker’s son tweeted Monday.

Sources familiar with the matter said Walker had reassured Republicans during the primary that his family was fully behind his campaign, including his ex-wife Cindy Grossman and son Christian, and that they would stand by him if any baggage came out. But one of the sources close to the Walker campaign said that his family members “haven’t been willing to campaign for him” and that Walker has previously been reluctant to ask.

Grossman has previously alleged that Walker “held a gun to my temple and said he was going to blow my brains out” during a violent episode while they were married. Her claim, which occurred during an interview with ABC News around the time his autobiography was released, has been featured in a recent ad by the anti-Walker Republican Accountability PAC as well as in ads launched by Georgia Honor PAC, a group with ties to a Senate Democratic super PAC.

On Thursday, Walker told Hewitt he hasn’t “sat down with Christian since he started believing, I think … that I had other kids.”

“Then this came out and that’s why I say I love him. I love Christian. I love him with all my heart,” Walker said.

“Christian obviously makes things more complicated than some of the previous stories,” a senior Republican official said. “It all depends on how his comments get used and whether he says more? Does he do interviews? Cut ads? It’s unknowns, and unknowns are always challenging.”

This story has been updated with additional information.





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UK blackouts: Facing risk of power cuts this winter Britain is drilling for more oil




London
CNN Business
 — 

The UK government could award oil and gas companies more than 100 new licenses to drill in the North Sea, as it looks for ways to bolster energy security amid a global supply crunch.

Launched Friday, the licensing round won’t lead to new UK production for several years. And when drilling does begin, Britain will still be dependent on energy imports, according to the government, leaving it vulnerable to soaring prices and supply disruptions of the kind that threaten blackouts this winter.

UK utilities company National Grid

(NGG)
warned Thursday that households and businesses could be left without power for up to three hours at a time in a worst-case scenario of very cold weather, low levels of wind, gas shortages and an inability to import electricity from Europe. It said it would take steps to mitigate the risk, including bringing old coal-fired power stations back online if necessary.

Starting November 1, National Grid will also offer financial incentives to customers to reduce power consumption at peak times.

Kathryn Porter, an energy consultant at Watt-Logic, told CNN Business that National Grid was still underestimating the risks to supply, but that blackouts for households were unlikely because it could disconnect large energy users at peak times if necessary.

The latest licensing round won’t improve the immediate supply picture and could face a legal challenge from environmental activists. Greenpeace said that new oil and gas licenses were “potentially unlawful” and that it would be looking for ways to act.

“New oil and gas licenses won’t lower energy bills for struggling families this winter or any winter soon nor provide energy security in the medium term,” Philip Evans, energy transition campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said in a statement.

“New licenses — and more importantly more fossil fuels — solve neither of those problems but will make the climate crisis even worse,” he added.

Analysis by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the regulator that grants licenses, shows the average time between discovery of oil and gas deposits and first production is close to five years, though that lag is “falling.”

In a statement on Friday, the NSTA said it will prioritize areas in the southern North Sea that can be developed quickly and where gas has already been discovered. Companies have until January 12 to apply for licenses, with permits expected to be issued as soon as the second quarter of 2023.

The NSTA said the licensing round has been subject to a “climate compatibility check” to ensure it aligns with the UK government’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It added that producing gas domestically has a much lower carbon footprint than importing it from abroad.

The International Energy Agency said last year that investment in new fossil fuel supply projects, including drilling for oil and gas, must stop immediately if the world is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

The UK government set out plans earlier this year to generate 95% of Britain’s electricity from low carbon sources by 2030. The plan, which allows drilling for oil and gas, will also ramp up nuclear power and wind energy.



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19 Halloween Cocktails | Best Drinks for Halloween Parties | Halloween Party Ideas and Recipes : Food Network



Boo-zy Halloween Cocktails

No matter who you’ve invited, it’s not a party until you’ve got a drink in hand. So, whether you’re hosting friends for a cauldron full of punch or planning a pre-trick-or-treating cocktail party (with appetizers!) for all the neighborhood parents, you’ll find that these creepy-cute drinks are just what you’re looking for. So go ahead, spike the punch bowl! One of our favorite Halloween party sips? This version of the classic rickey. It’s refreshing and delicious — just add some gin and you’ve got the perfect after-dark cocktail.

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Blueberry Rickety Eyeball Punch

Witch’s Brew

This cauldron cocktail is perfect for grown-up Halloween parties. Made with just 5 simple ingredients, it’s the perfect choice when you need to whip something up on the fly.

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Witch’s Brew

Poison Apple Punch

Fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks and cloves add so much warm, spicy flavor to this mix of apple cider and whiskey. Fresh citrus zest rounds things out with a bright, natural sweetness.

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Poison Apple Punch

Blood Orange Vampire Punch

Tart cherry and sweet blood orange juices are a great way to balance out mezcal’s characteristic smokiness. The flavors blend so perfectly you’ll want to make this drink year-round.

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Blood Orange Vampire Punch

Black Light Cocktail

Fun fact: tonic glows under a black light (which makes it the perfect addition to any Halloween cocktail). Trisha adds some to her finished drink as well as her ice cubes, for maximum effect.

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Black Light Cocktail

Ghost Cocktails

This spooky cocktail will give you chills but in a good way. Sweet, frosty and just a little boozy, this is a fun start (or ending) to a Halloween gathering. You can omit the vodka for younger ones and double or triple the recipe for a larger group.

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Ghost Cocktails

Pumpkin Sangria

Calling all pumpkin spice fans! This seasonal sangria gets an extra boost of flavor from pumpkin pie spice — mixed with the sugar for the rim of the glasses. Yum!

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Pumpkin Sangria

Hemlock Cocktails

Short on time or ingredients? You only need a handful of things (and about 5 minutes) to mix up some delicious bourbon cocktails.

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Hemlock Cocktails

Bubbling Cauldron Punch

This cauldron may not be filled with slimy toads, bat wings and dragon scales but it sure looks like it! The secret to this delicious potion’s bubbly appearance? Scoops of green tea ice cream!

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Bubbling Cauldron Punch

Dark and Spooky

A mix of rum and ginger beer takes a terrifying turn when you drop a chewy black gummy spider into the glass!

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Claire Robinson’s Dark and Spooky

Berry Eyeball Punch

This punch bowl may look gruesome, but those floating eyeballs are really sweet and delicious lychee fruit — with blueberries tucked inside!

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Berry Eyeball Punch

Zombie Punch

Don’t be surprised if you find your guests lurking around the punch bowl to get another sip; frozen fruit ice cubes keep this punch cold without watering down its flavor.

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Zombie Punch

Candy Corn Cordials

Now you can have your candy corn — and drink it too? Yes! Candy corn-infused vodka is easy and fun to make. Dress it up with orange liqueur and a little fresh lemon juice for perfectly Halloween-hued drinks.

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Candy Corn Cordials

Blood-Red Cherry Punch

Welcome guests young and old with a cup of “blood.” Juice and grenadine give this crowd-pleasing punch its ruby-red color, and ginger ale adds effervescence.

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Blood-Red Cherry Punch

Phoenix Rising Cocktail

This white Russian with a twist uses white chocolate liqueur. Serve it in a goblet fit for a queen’s costume.

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Phoenix Rising Cocktail

Dragon’s Blood Punch

Give your guests a fright with this creepy punch. It gets its ruby hue from a mixture of cranberry juice and fruit punch.

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Dragon’s Blood Punch (non-alcoholic)

Black Cloud Cocktail

The eerie black cloud layer in this drink comes from a splash of black vodka.

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Black Cloud Cocktail

Cider Fall Fireball

Looking for a devilishly delicious twist on sweet apple cider? Add homemade simple syrup infused with warm baking spices like cinnamon, ginger and clove — and fiery, spiced rum!

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Cider Fall Fireball

Halloween Jell-O Shots

Why should kids have all the fun for Halloween? For your holiday table, include treats for grown-ups, like these vodka-spiked Jell-O shots. They’re beautifully layered in a baking dish with colors meant to evoke candy corn and flavors inspired by a creamy orange ice pop. Simply cut them into squares then top with lightly sweetened whipped cream and some orange and black sprinkles.

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Halloween Jell-O Shots



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Thailand’s day care massacre unites families and a country in grief



Uthai Sawan, Thailand
CNN
 — 

Smears of dried blood still stained the wooden floor of a classroom in northern Thailand on Friday, a day after the country’s worst massacre unfolded in perhaps one of the most unlikely places.

At the Child Development Center Uthai Sawan, school bags sat uncollected on colored shelves, and photos of children smiled from the wall, clipped into place with pegs near cardboard cut-outs of ladybirds.

Outside, sobbing parents sat on blue plastic chairs in a makeshift shed, nursing their grief and clinging to each other and their children’s blankets and bottles, any reminder of life, as officials finalized plans for a visit from the country’s top leaders.

More than 20 young children ages 2-5 lost their lives in this classroom during nap time on Thursday when a former policeman armed with a knife and handgun forced his way inside and slashed them in their sleep.

‘I didn’t expect he would also kill the kids’: Nursery teacher describes horror of deadly massacre

In a strange mix of grief and grandeur, at the center’s front door, a red carpet had been rolled out for the delivery of a floral wreath, a gift from the Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya, the King’s youngest daughter.

Later Friday, King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida are due to fly north from the Grand Palace in Bangkok to meet the families of the dead and the six injured, still receiving medical care in Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital.

Their visit will follow that of the country’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, who arrived earlier Friday. Prayut met with families at the relief center set up by the government, visited hospitalized survivors and laid flowers outside the day care.

Thailand is accustomed to the underlying tensions that come in a nation governed by leaders of a military coup, but violence of the type perpetrated on Thursday is rare. The last mass death in the southeast Asian country was two years ago, when a former soldier went on a rampage at a military site before targeting shoppers at a mall in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, known as Korat, further south.

In that case, the shooter was said to have erupted after an argument with another soldier over a land-selling commission fee. In this case, the motive is unclear but after terrorizing the childcare center, Panya Kamrab, a 34-year-old former policeman drove home and shot his wife and child, before taking his own life.

Families of victims mourn while waiting for blessings from Buddhist monks on October 7, 2022.

Buddhist monks donate blood for the victims on October 7, 2022 in Nong Bua Lamphu, Thailand.

The total death toll was 36, including Panya’s wife and two-year-old stepson, who normally attended that day care center, but who wasn’t there when the officer came searching for him. The toddler’s death takes the number of children killed to 24.

Drugs may have played a role – officials said Panya had appeared in court that morning on drug possession charges – though blood tests are being carried out to determine if drugs were in his system at the time of the attack.

“Regarding the motivation, the police have not ruled out any possibilities, it could be from personal stress, or a hallucination from drugs, we have ordered a blood test,” Royal Thai Police said in a statement.

The results may give some answers as to why it happened – but they won’t put an end to the inconsolable grief felt throughout this small, close knit community, or solve the question of how to stop it from happening again.

Nopparat Phewdam sat outside the day care center on Friday with other parents, though she lost her brother in the attack. Unlike others there, Nopparat knew the killer. She said he was a frequent customer to her convenience store and often came in with his stepson. “He seemed polite and spoke softly,” she said.

Noppart Phewdam told CNN she lost her brother in the massacre.

Details of the massacre have been slow to emerge, but the accounts given so far describe a man armed to kill, who didn’t hesitate to attack innocent children, and even shot dead a pregnant staff member who was a month away from giving birth.

One staff member said Panya entered the center around noon, while two other staff members were having lunch. They heard sounds “like fire crackers” and saw two colleagues collapse on the floor. “Then he pulled another gun from his waist…I didn’t expect he would also kill the kids,” they said.

Most of the deaths were the result of “stabbing wounds,” local police chief Major General Paisan Luesomboon told CNN. First responders told CNN of the grim scene that awaited them – most injuries were to the head, they said.

In the any community, the loss of 36 people in one atrocity would be keenly felt, but the deaths of so many young children in a small rural area has shaken the village of around 6,300 people.

Distraught families sat side by side outside the center, united in grief, as they waited Friday for details of government support.

This couple lost their four-year-old son in the massacre.

They included the heavily pregnant mother of four-year-old Thawatchai Siphu, also known as Dan, who was too distraught to speak. Dan’s grandmother, Oy Yodkhao, told CNN the family had been excited to welcome a new baby brother.

Now their joy is drowned in loss and disbelief that someone could murder innocent children.

“I couldn’t imagine there would be this kind of people,” said Oy. “I could not imagine he was this cruel to children.”

Also sitting in numb grief were Pimpa Thana and Chalermsilp Kraosai, the parents of talkative twin boys, Weerapat and Worapon, who were yet to celebrate their fourth birthday – with two children, their family had been complete.

Pimpa said her mother had phoned her to tell her there’d been a shooting at the day care center. “At that time I was not aware that my children were dead, my husband kept the news from me. I know it after I returned home.”

Rows of small toddler-sized coffins in white and pale pink were laid on the ground as police retrieved the bodies from the classroom Thursday.

Across the country on Friday, people wore black and flags flew at half-staff at government buildings, as thoughts turned to what lessons could be learned from a massacre within the walls of a classroom.

A Thai officer lays a wreath of flowers from the royal family to mourn those killed at a child care center in the country's north.

Gregory Raymond from Australian National University says he sees parallels between the mass shooting in 2020 and what happened Thursday at the day care center. Both perpetrators had served as officers in a country with a strong policing and military presence.

“These are young men. They appear to have become alienated in some way. And they had access to weapons,” he said.

It’s not known what mental issues Panya had been suffering, though it was believed he had a long-term drug problem – a growing issue in the country’s north, near the border and the Golden Triangle, a global hub for illicit drugs.

Last year, officials seized a record amount of methamphetamine – nearly 172 tons – in East and Southeast Asia in 2021, including the first haul of over 1 billion methamphetamine tablets.

“There’s a lot of manufacturing going on in the Mekong sub region, and there’s also a lot of trafficking through Thailand,” said Raymond. “So all of that means that there’s more people who are developing problems with methamphetamine, and I think that has to be seen as a pretty significant cause of what’s happened here.”

The mix of drugs and mental health issues among the forces is a problem Thailand needs to address, he added.

“Thailand might have to start to think more about how it manages mental health amongst professionals, particularly those who have access to guns, or who have become used to having used to having violence as a kind of tool for their occupation.”



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Biden offers stark ‘Armageddon’ warning on the dangers of Putin’s nuclear threats




Washington
CNN
 — 

President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered a stark warning about the dangers behind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats as Moscow continues to face military setbacks in Ukraine.

“First time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have a direct threat of the use (of a) nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path they are going,” Biden warned during remarks at a Democratic fundraiser in New York where he was introduced by James Murdoch, the youngest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, according to the pool report.

He added: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”

It’s striking for the President to speak so candidly and invoke Armageddon, particularly at a fundraiser, while his aides from the National Security Council to the State Department to the Pentagon have spoken in much more measured terms, saying they take the threats seriously but don’t see movement on them from the Kremlin.

“I’m trying to figure out what is Putin’s off ramp?” Biden said during the event, “Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself in a position that he does not not only lose face but lose significant power within Russia?”

His comments come as the US considers how to respond to a range of potential scenarios, including fears that Russians could use tactical nuclear weapons, according to three sources briefed on the latest intelligence and previously reported by CNN.

Ex-US defense secretary says in unlikely event that Putin resorts to nukes, he could use this weapon

Officials have cautioned as recently as Thursday that the US has not detected preparations for a nuclear strike. However, experts view them as potential options the US must prepare for as Russia’s invasion falters and as Moscow annexes more Ukrainian territory.

“This nuclear saber rattling is reckless and irresponsible,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said earlier Thursday. “As I’ve mentioned before, at this stage, we do not have any information to cause us to change our strategic deterrence posture, and we don’t assess that President Putin has made a decision to use nuclear weapons at this time.”

Following Biden’s remarks, officials emphasized to CNN Thursday night that they had not seen any changes to Russia’s nuclear stance.

A US official said that despite Biden’s warning that the world is the closest it has been to a nuclear crisis since the 1960s, they have not seen a change to Russia’s nuclear posture as of now. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s Tuesday statement that there has been no indication of a change in Russia’s posture and therefore no change in the US posture still stands, the official said.

A senior US government official expressed surprise at the President’s remarks, saying there were no obvious signs of an escalating threat from Russia.

While there is no question Russia’s nuclear posture is being taken seriously, this official said the President’s language at a fundraiser tonight caught other officials across the government off guard.

“Nothing was detected today that reflected an escalation,” the official said, who went on to defend Biden’s remarks because of the ongoing gravity of the matter.

At the fundraiser, Biden was speaking clearly about the threat officials believe Russia poses, a person familiar with his thinking told CNN.

Still, US officials have taken somber note of the Russian President’s repeated public threats to use nuclear weapons. In a televised address late last month, Putin said, “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff.”

Last Friday, at a ceremony in which he announced the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, Putin said Russia would use “all available means” to defend the areas, adding that the US had “created a precedent” for nuclear attacks in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

“We’ve got a guy I know fairly well,” Biden said of Putin Thursday. “He’s not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly under-performing.”

This story has been updated with additional information.



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Biden’s nuclear warning not based on new intelligence but opens a window into real worries inside the White House





CNN
 — 

President Joe Biden’s stark warning Thursday night that the world faces the highest prospect of nuclear war in 60 years was not based on any new intelligence about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions or changes in Russia’s nuclear posture, multiple US officials told CNN.

The US still has seen no evidence that Putin is moving toward using Russia’s nuclear capability, nor is there any intelligence showing he’s decided to do so. But Biden’s comments – laid out in starker terms than other US officials have used to date – reflected heightened concerns inside his administration about the risk of Russia carrying out a nuclear strike in Ukraine, where Russian forces have recently faced a string of defeats.

Biden’s blunt assessment caught several senior US officials by surprise, largely due to that lack of any new intelligence to drive them and the grim language Biden deployed.

One senior administration official said Biden was speaking “frankly” in his remarks at a Democratic fundraiser in New York, reflecting heightened concern based on Putin’s recent nuclear threats.

The threat has long been high on the minds of the administration’s national security officials, and the battlefield failures have only served to elevate regular discussions and contingency planning about the issue. But there was no moment, briefing or new information that Biden was privy to that signaled any actual shift in Russian posture.

And the morning after Biden’s comments, administration officials said the US’s nuclear stance has not changed.

“Our posture hasn’t changed,” one official said of the US preparations. “If there was some new piece of alarming information, it obviously would.”

There simply isn’t much – if any – precedent in the last six decades of a president so bluntly warning of looming catastrophe. The divergence in tone between Biden and his top national security officials is striking, with the President moving sharply away from the coordinated effort to calmly warn against saber rattling, but not rhetorically escalate anything.

Yet Biden’s remarks, as one official noted, do reflect reality – a reality that may be difficult to grasp due to the combination of a far-off war and a post-Cold War era when nuclear threats have simply disappeared from daily risks. Those risks have grown acutely in the last eight months, even if there is no tangible evidence Putin has made concrete moves in that direction.

Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling led US national security adviser Jake Sullivan to warn of “catastrophic consequences” late last month should Moscow move to use nuclear weapons – and Putin has only further ratcheted up his rhetoric since.

Biden’s remarks serve as a window into a very real, very ongoing discussion inside his administration as the seek to calibrate the response to that environment.

The comments were also the latest unguarded moment from Biden during an off-camera fundraiser, where the President has repeatedly deployed more candor and colorful rhetoric he might in scripted remarks. Officials say his off-the-cuff remarks at fundraisers tend to be a brief and unvarnished window into real concerns or debates Biden is grappling with at the moment.

Typically held with only a few dozen donors, Biden’s fundraisers are more intimate occasions where he often speaks from handwritten notes, only loosely following a script he’s written for himself. Like at his public events, Biden speaks from a handheld microphone during his fundraisers and usually roams around the room while he’s talking. Reporters are allowed to listen and report on the President’s remarks but not film them, a convention that began during the Obama presidency.

His remarks are usually only slotted for 10 minutes but in the past he has stretched to half an hour or more, expounding on various topics. After the remarks, reporters are ushered out while Biden takes a few questions from the donors.

While most of what Biden says at the fundraisers is familiar, he has made comments previously that went beyond his remarks to larger audiences. It was a fundraiser in Maryland where Biden declared Trump-aligned Republicans “semi-fascist” and where he said the views of the Catholic Church on abortion had changed.

Biden’s comments about the prospect of nuclear Armageddon were not scripted and aides back in Washington first learned about his remarks through news reports and dispatches from the press pool in the room.

Biden’s reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis was notable, both because it was the last time a US president spoke so overtly about the risks of a potentially impending catastrophe, but also because it’s 60th anniversary is just a few days away.

Implicit in Biden’s comments, however, was the risks posed by a critical difference. President John F. Kennedy and his team weighed a series of potential off-ramps and backchannel proposals that could head off the crisis. The Soviet leader at the time – Nikita Khrushchev, who had seen the horrors of World War II – always made clear he understood the stakes of a nuclear standoff, even if his strategic calculation in Cuba was woefully off-base. Mutually assured destruction was the baseline, and even at their worst moments and most bellicose threats, the dealings between Kennedy and Khrushchev reflected that reality.

In contrast, Biden’s comments about an inability to identify an off-ramp – particularly as Putin’s military flails – raises a very real concern that the long-standing mutual understanding may not be as assured as assumed. Putin’s at-times rambling and bellicose speech last Friday only served to exacerbate that concern inside the White House, one official said.

Biden’s use of the word “Armageddon” has drawn all the headlines, but the context of that remark is critically important. White House officials have stressed that the idea Russia could deploy “tactical” strikes, as per their doctrine, does not represent some kind of half measure or step below maximum escalation.

The President’s use of Armageddon served to illustrate that point – there’s no escalation ladder when it comes to nuclear weapons, tactical or otherwise. Any move in that direction sets off a cascading response that only has one outcome.

Several officials pointed out that Putin’s nuclear saber rattling isn’t new, and US officials have been grappling with the threats and the potential for their use since the first days of the war.

But White House officials closely watched – and studied for clues – Putin’s speech last week – and much like his speech just prior to the invasion, it raised alarms. It’s been an element of several internal discussions in recent days, highlighting that while the world may brush off the latest in months of Putin statements seemingly detached from obvious reality, the Biden “doesn’t have that luxury,” one official said.

One official characterized the speech as “insane,” and while that bolstered the US view of Russian weakness and isolation, it also further increased concern about Putin’s willingness to escalate beyond the level of a rational actor.

That’s important context when thinking about Biden’s remarks, one official noted.

White House officials decided not to say anything publicly Thursday night, and there are no plans to address the remarks in isolation so far on Friday morning. If Biden wants to address it himself, it will be apparent when he departs for his Maryland event later in the morning, one official said.

More broadly, the most important element remains that US officials have seen no change in posture or specific intelligence that raises the threat level above where it has been.

There have been direct communications to Moscow in the last several weeks detailing the scale of the US response should Putin decide to go down that path. Those details remain closely held, and officials say that won’t change any time soon.



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