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i t 1 I i ! j j , j i i i 1 ; ; . . ! f GENERAL NEWS NOTES OF THE DAY. There lias been no cessation of the fighting in Belgium and northern France. It is of the fiercest ii character and the British warships, assisted by t French craft, continue to aid the allies on land i with heavy shell fire from their guns. German s reports refer optimistically to the situation. Thev c evidently are taking a strong offensive, but seem unable to force back either the Belgian army or j the Franco-British troops. The Germans are re- ported today to have withdrawn their advanced j line eastward from Mariakerke and MIddlekerke in Belgium because of the fire of the guns of the i British monitors. They have heavily Intrenched themselves east of the main highway that connects Ostend and Nieuport and have also fortified the line from Wilskerke southeast to Thorout. The new German headquarters in the north is reported to lie at Chistelles. A Bordeaux: dispatch says that General .Toff re is about to receive 500,000 fresh troops. This years class of recruits, who. after two months of training, are now tit to bear arms, j will be joiued by a section of the reserves not yet ; called to the colors. A dispatch from Teueritfe. Canary Islands, reports that the German cruiser j Karlsruhe has sunk thirteen British merchantmen in the Atlantic. The news of the Karlsruhes ex- plolt was brought to that port by the German steamer Crefeld, which arrived there with the ; crews of the British steamers Strathroy, Maple -Branch, Highland Dope, Indrani, Rio Iguassu. Farn. ; Niceto. Maria dc Larrinaga, Cervantes, Cornish City, Truth, Condor and Lynrowan, all of which were sunk by the Karlsruhe. The Crefeld was accompanied into liort by the German steamers Pata- , goula, Rio Negro and. Asuncion. A later message state that over 400 men of the crews are prisoners . and that the merchantmen were mostly sunk iu : the Atlantic. The ships were mostly engaged in the South American trade and their total tonnage . is about 00,000. Lille, the principal city of north- . ern France, has been occupied by the Germans after having been virtually destroyed by German cannon. The most beautiful buildings have bee a shot to pieces. From Petrograd comes a reiteration of the otlicial reports that the Germans are eoii-tlnuihg to retreat from Warsaw and. that desperate engegenients are being fought in Galicia. The Prussian diet has passed war bills carrying an appropriation aggregating 75,000,000. While tins German armies on the west wing are slowly pushing forward against the strongest opposition in the region between Lille and the channel in a campaign to straighten out the flank- which, iu their earlier stages of the struggle, was bent back almost lo the Belgian frontier in order to cover the communications with the home land, the situation to the eastward, on the fortress line of Verdun, Toul and Relfort. has changed but little since the end of September. The German armies between Verdun and Toul still retain a foothold on the west bank of the Meuse, before St. Mihiel. despite the repeated French efforts to- eject them. The Germans apparently are content to hold the positions gained pending the Inauguration of an artillery attack I against Verdun. An official announcement from German army headquarters, dated Oct. 23, says: "On the Yser canal yesterday we gained successes. To the south of Dixmunde our troops advanced. West of Lille our attacks were successful. We . took possession of several villages. On the rest of the western front it is generally quiet. In tho eastern theater of the war the Russians attacks near West Augustowo have been repulsed. We captured several machine guns." A dispatch from 1 Paris says that, according to trustworthy accounts ! received at the French capital, fresh troops brought : un by the Germans have enabled them to deliver attacks with increased vigor on the French right t wing, where the battle has been of a dingdong character with alternate gains and losses. It Is 5 officially announced in Berlin that Britisli warships 3 have bombarded Ostend. . Reliable official reports J ; declare that there is in Germany today a. sufficient t supply of cereals to meet all requirements until the - next harvest and that the stock of cattle is sufll-- - cient to provide an ample supply of meat. The United Slates lias decided to protest for-; - mally to Great Britain against the seizure of the 3 Standard Oil ship, the Platuria, demanding its release from British detention at Stomoway. a port t in the Lewis islands, Scotland. The protest; which 7 is identical to that filed in the case of the Brin-5 . dilln, held at Halifax, will go to Ambassador Page at London. The Platuria, which, like the Brindilla. carried illuminating oil, was similarly bound from ; one neutral country to another the United States s to Denmark and had changed its registry from i German to American, although Us ownership always s was American. The war tax bill has been signed by President Wilson. The general taxes of the bill, those on beers and wines, w;ent into effect immediately. - The taxes by way of licenses on brokers and 1 on places of amusements and the tobacco taxes will 1 go into: effect Nov. 1. The adhesive stamp taxes, those on debentures, bonds, insurance policies and j the like, will go into effect oec. 1. The Mexican national convention at Aguas Ca-lientes. which recently voted itself the sovereign authority in Mexico, has appointed a committee of 1 f five "to assume the duties" of live cabinet positions in Mexico City. The committee is to take charge of the portfolios of foreign relations, war. public instruction, justice; and finance. Carranza remains defiant, it is understood, The Swedish steamer, Alice, homeward bound from London, was blown up by a mine in the North sea and sank in throe minutes. All the members of the crew were saved. There is no truth in the report of the death of Porlirio Diaz, former president of Mexico, in Spain. Senor Diaz has been suffering from a slight gastric trouble. Westminster Abbey has been insured for 50,000 against damages from aircraft attacks..