Stories by Rebecca Falconer

Pentagon chief says U.S. troops to leave Syria for Iraq

A US soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha on the outskirts of Tal Abyad town along the border with Turkish troops, on September 8, 2019.
A U.S. soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in September in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha, near the border with Turkey. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Saturday night that all of the nearly 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will continue the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, from western Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: President Trump has faced scathing criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, which paved the way for Turkey to lead a military offensive against Kurdish forces who allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

Record-setting longest commercial flight arrives in Sydney from NYC

 The Qantas plane that flew 19 hours nonstop from Sydney to New York City.
The Qantas team at Sydney Airport after it flew nonstop from New York City. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images for Qantas

Qantas confirmed in a statement that it's completed a test for the world's longest flight, with its plane landing at Sydney Airport after flying for 19 hours 16 minutes from New York City's JFK Airport.

Why it matters: Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who was aboard the Boeing 787-9, hailed the achievement as a "significant first for aviation" that he hopes will become a regular, time-saving service for passengers. Researchers monitored pilots' brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness during the flight.

What's next: The Australian firm plans two more research flights — one from London to Sydney in November and another New York to Sydney in December, Qantas said.

José Altuve propels the Houston Astros to the World Series

Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astrosin Game 6 of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, October 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
The Houston Astros' Jose Altuve during the team's clash with the New York Yankees in Houston, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

A José Altuve walk-off home run sent the Houston Astros to the World Series as the team beat the New York Yankees 6-4 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night.

The big picture: The victory at Minute Maid Park, Houston, which ended the Yankees's season means the Astros are heading to the World Series for the second time in three years, the Washington Post notes. The Astros will face the Washington Nationals for the World Series title, starting with Game 1 in Houston on Tuesday, per the New York Times.