US pastor freed from Turkey prays with Trump in Oval Office WASHINGTON (AP) — Freed American pastor Andrew Brunson fell to one knee in the Oval Office and placed his hand on President Donald Trump’s…
US pastor freed from Turkey prays with Trump in Oval Office
WASHINGTON (AP) — Freed American pastor Andrew Brunson fell to one knee in the Oval Office and placed his hand on President Donald Trump’s shoulder in prayer on Saturday, asking God to provide the president “supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”
Trump welcomed Brunson to the White House to celebrate his release from nearly two years of confinement in Turkey, which had sparked a diplomatic row with a key ally and outcry from U.S. evangelical groups.
Brunson returned to the U.S. aboard a military jet shortly before meeting the president. He was detained in October 2016, formally arrested that December and placed under house arrest on July 25 for health reasons.
“From a Turkish prison to the White House in 24 hours, that’s not bad,” Trump said.
Brunson’s homecoming amounts to a diplomatic — and possibly political — win for Trump and his evangelical base. Coming on the heels of the confirmation of a conservative justice to the Supreme Court, Brunson’s return is likely to leave evangelical Christians feeling good about the president and motivated get to the polls in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
Newspaper says Turkey has audio of Saudi writer’s slaying
ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish officials have an audio recording of the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Apple Watch he wore when he walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over a week ago, a pro-government Turkish newspaper reported Saturday.
The new claim published by the Sabah newspaper, through which Turkish security officials have leaked much information about the case, puts more pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi.
Also Saturday, Ankara’s top diplomat reiterated a call to Saudi Arabia to open up its consulate, from where Khashoggi disappeared, for Turkish authorities to search.
The writer, who has written critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after he walked into the consulate on Oct. 2. The kingdom has maintained the allegations against it are “baseless,” though an official early on Saturday — on Khashoggi’s 60th birthday — acknowledged for the first time that some believe the writer was killed by the kingdom.
The disappearance has put pressure on President Donald Trump, who has enjoyed close relations with the Saudis since entering office.
Florida officials fear Michael’s death toll will rise
MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Search and rescue personnel are continuing to comb through the ruins of a small Florida Panhandle community destroyed by Hurricane Michael, which has left hundreds thousands without power and without easy access to supplies.
So far, one body has been found in Mexico Beach, but authorities say there is little doubt the death toll will rise.
Crews with dogs went door-to-door Saturday in Mexico Beach, pushing aside debris to get inside badly damaged structures in a second wave of searches following what they described as an initial, “hasty” search of the area. About 1,700 search and rescue personnel have checked 25,000 homes, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said.
Michael made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds (249 kph) and heavy storm surge. The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 15, including the victim found in the rubble of Mexico Beach, where about 1,000 people live.
“Everything is time consuming,” said Capt. Ignatius Carroll, of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue task force. “You don’t want to put a rush on a thorough rescue.”
Florida insurers to weather effects of Michael, analysts say
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s disjointed property insurance system that relies almost exclusively on small and midsize companies will take a multibillion dollar loss from Hurricane Michael, but has sufficient reserves and backups that providers should be able to pay claims without problems, analysts say.
Major national players like State Farm, Allstate and Liberty Mutual write few if any homeowners policies in Florida because of the high risk of hurricane losses, leaving the market to smaller companies and the state-created insurer of last resort, Citizens Property.
Boston-based Karen Clark & Company, which models catastrophes, estimates Florida private insurers will pay $6 billion in claims for wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and vehicles. The estimate doesn’t include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, which has about 60,000 policies in the hardest-hit Florida counties. The program had no immediate estimate on its losses.
Analysts say that, despite their smaller size, Florida insurers should be able to cover their Michael losses through re-insurance – policies insurance companies purchase from global companies like Lloyd’s of London to cover catastrophic losses. Most of the state’s damage from Wednesday’s Category 4 storm is in the sparsely populated Panhandle, lessening the financial blow.
Florida insurers “are built to be able to withstand these types of storms that are expected to happen every 10 to 15 years,” according to Brian C. Schneider, a senior director at the analytics firm Fitch Ratings. The company said the reinsurance programs performed well after Hurricane Irma last year, which caused about $50 billion in damages in Florida.
Mourners pack funeral for 8 of 20 killed in NY limo crash
AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (AP) — Mourners at a funeral for four sisters and their family members killed in a New York limousine crash were assured Saturday that their loved ones can still see their tears and feel their heartache.
On a damp, chilly day, hundreds of people packed the pews of an old brick church in Amsterdam at the service for eight of the 20 people killed last Saturday when the limousine they hired for a 30th birthday celebration crashed. The stretch limo barreled down a hill past a stop sign into another vehicle in the parking lot. All 17 passengers and the driver were killed, as well as two pedestrians standing in the parking lot.
“The question that is in the hearts of so many is: Why?” The Rev. O. Robert DeMaritnis told hundreds of mourners. “Why did these 20 individuals have to be taken from us so quickly and so unexpectedly?”
DeMaritnis spoke on an altar flanked by pictures of Allison King, sister Abigail Jackson and her husband Adam Jackson, sister Mary Dyson and her husband Robert Dyson, sister Amy Steenburg and her husband Axel Steenburg and his older brother, Richard Steenburg.
Urns containing their remains were placed beneath the pictures, with each of the three married couples sharing urns. Five teddy bears lay by the urns, one for each young child who lost a parent.
Trump praises McConnell’s role in battle over Kavanaugh
RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — President Donald Trump heaped praise Saturday on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, crediting the veteran Kentucky lawmaker’s political toughness and acumen during the ugly battle that concluded with Brett Kavanaugh becoming a Supreme Court justice.
“He’s Kentucky tough,” Trump declared.
Kavanaugh took his seat on the high court this week after overcoming allegations of sexual misconduct dating to his high school and college years. He forcefully denied the charges, and Trump and McConnell firmly backed Kavanaugh as part of their combined quest to populate the judiciary with conservative judges. Kavanaugh could tilt the political balance of the high court in the conservative direction for generations.
“We stuck with him all the way because we knew the facts,” Trump said, speaking of himself and McConnell, Kentucky’s senior U.S. senator.
“There’s nobody tougher. There’s nobody smarter. He refused to cave to the radical Democrats’ shameful campaign of personal and political destruction,” Trump said at a political rally at Eastern Kentucky University before he called McConnell to the mic.
#MeToo inspires wave of old misconduct reports to colleges
BOSTON (AP) — For 35 years, Ruth D’Eredita tried to dismiss her former professor’s behavior — the way he touched her, groped her and kissed her. But last year, as dozens of women came forward to share similar encounters with powerful men, she started to see her memories differently.
“It made me look at that incident and say, no, it was wrong,” said D’Eredita, a 1984 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, a women’s school in Massachusetts. “I went there with a heart full of passion, eager for scholarship, just to throw myself into it, and this man looked at me as a potential sexual partner.”
She’s now among a wave of women inspired by the #MeToo movement to report past sexual misconduct to their colleges, breaking sometimes decades of silence in an attempt to acknowledge the wrongdoing, close old wounds and, in some cases, seek justice.
The reports from deep in the past have also raised big questions about how to investigate such cases and how to usher them through newer discipline systems built upon updated ideas about right and wrong.
In many ways, schools say, they face the same frustrations that arose in last month’s Senate hearing over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexually assaulting another teenager in the mid-1980s. Memories fade. No one agrees. Witnesses stay quiet.
As sea ice melts, some say walruses need better protection
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Given a choice between giving birth on land or sea ice, Pacific walrus mothers most often choose ice.
Likewise, they prefer sea ice for molting, mating, nursing and resting between dives for food. Trouble is, as the century progresses, there’s going to be far less ice around.
How well walruses cope with less sea ice is at the heart of a legal fight over whether walruses should be listed as a threatened species, giving them an added protection against human encroachments.
The federal government in 2008 listed polar bears as a threatened species because of diminished sea ice brought on by climate warming. That year the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to do the same for walruses.
However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in October 2017 that walruses are adapting and no one has proven that they “need” sea ice.
Turner homers as Dodgers beat Brewers 4-3 in NLCS Game 2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Justin Turner and the Los Angeles Dodgers know all about performing in the postseason.
Backed into a tough spot Saturday, the red-headed slugger delivered once again.
Shut down for most of the afternoon, Los Angeles staged another late rally and Turner hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Dodgers over the Milwaukee Brewers for a 4-3 victory that evened the NL Championship Series at a game apiece.
The high-powered Dodgers had two measly singles off Wade Miley before breaking through against one of baseball’s best bullpens. After forcing the Brewers to use six relievers in Milwaukee’s 6-5 victory Friday night, the NL West champions put that extended look to good use in Game 2, especially against faltering All-Star Jeremy Jeffress.
“As long as we have outs left, we know we’re in the game,” Turner said.
Jim Taylor, fierce fullback for mighty Packers, dies at 83
Jim Taylor, the ferocious Hall of Fame fullback who embodied the Green Bay Packers’ unstoppable ground game during the Vince Lombardi era and helped the team win four NFL titles and the first Super Bowl, died Saturday. He was 83.
He died unexpectedly at a hospital in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the team said.
Taylor played on the great Packer teams and was the league’s MVP in 1962. He scored the first rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history.
“He was a gritty, classic player on the Lombardi teams and a key figure of those great championship runs,” Packers President Mark Murphy said of the player who left his mark on “multiple generations of Packers fans.”
Taylor was voted into the Hall in 1976. David Baker, president of the Hall, lauded Taylor for not only personifying Lombardi’s “run to daylight” philosophy but for living his life as he played game, with “passion, determination and love for all he did.”