Trump apologizes to Kavanaugh during swearing-in ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in —again, for the cameras, this time — Monday night at a White House ceremony, but not before President Donald Trump slammed Kavanaugh’s opponents for a “campaign of personal destruction.”
In a ceremony that could have been a unifying moment for the nation, Trump instead delivered remarks that even he acknowledged began “differently than perhaps any other event of such magnitude.”
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” Trump said, addressing the bitter partisan fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination that became a firestorm after the emergence of sexual misconduct allegations, which Kavanaugh emphatically denied.
With all the sitting justices in attendance, along with Kavanaugh’s family and top admiration officials, Trump said Kavanaugh had been the victim of a “campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.”
But, he told the new justice, “You, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.” Critics have argued the investigation was not thorough enough to merit that conclusion.
Cuomo says limo shouldn’t have been on road; victims mourned
SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (AP) — The supersized limousine that crashed and killed 20 people outside a country store failed a safety inspection last month and shouldn’t have been on the road, and the driver wasn’t properly licensed, New York’s governor said Monday.
The state moved to shut down the owner, Prestige Limousine, as state and federal authorities investigated the cause of Saturday’s wreck in Schoharie. The company said it was taking its cars off the road while conducting its own probe into the crash.
The crash about 170 miles north of New York City came three years after another deadly stretch-limo wreck in New York state spurred calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to examine such vehicles’ safety. There is no evidence the state took any steps to do so.
As victims’ relatives tried to come to grips with the tragedy that happened as a group of friends and family were on their way to a 30th birthday party, authorities had yet to say how fast the limo was going or determine why it failed to stop and sped off the road at the bottom of a long hill.
The 19-seater vehicle had at least some seat belts, but it was unclear whether anyone was wearing them, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.
Sprint to Nov. 6: The race to frame the Kavanaugh story
WASHINGTON (AP) — Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court fired the starting pistol for the final sprint to Election Day in the United States, with control of the House and Senate at stake.
The nation’s reckoning with power and who to believe about sexual misconduct has generated a new anger factor among the electorate and made the Nov. 6 balloting a referendum on more than President Donald Trump.
What to watch over the final four weeks:
KAVANAUGH, TO THE COURT
10 minutes of terror: A quake, a tsunami and a missing son
PALU, Indonesia (AP) — The Muslim call to prayer had just started echoing across the Indonesian city of Palu when Musrifah’s home began to shake violently.
Family photos fell from the walls. Dishes and glasses crashed to the floor. A television smashed onto the white tiles of their living room, prompting Musrifah to scoop her 2-year-old son into her arms.
Seconds later, the concrete sides of their one-story house cracked, then crumbled, filling the air inside with pale clouds of dust.
“Mommy!” the terrified boy cried, his body trembling as his hands pressed into her back.
“Don’t worry,” she told him. “I’m here.”
Carbon tax gets renewed attention but still faces resistance
Advocates of taxing fossil fuels believe their position is stronger now because of an alarming new report on climate change and a Nobel Prize awarded to by two American economists, but neither development is likely to break down political resistance to a carbon tax.
Previous alarms about global warming met with resistance from Congress and the White House. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change last year.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a panel of scientists brought together by the United Nations, warned in a report Monday that droughts, wildfires, coral reef destruction and other climate and environmental disasters could grow worse as soon as 2040, even with a smaller increase in temperatures than used to set the Paris targets.
A few hours later, the Nobel Prize in economics went to two Americans, including William Nordhaus of Yale University, who argues that carbon taxes would be the best way to address problems created by greenhouse-gas emissions.
A carbon tax is a charge imposed on the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, which produce carbon dioxide. The tax is designed to make users of those fuels pay for the environmental damage they cause. The ultimate goal of some tax backers is to price fossil fuels out of the market and replace them with sources of energy that produce little or no heat-trapping emissions.
US Gulf Coast bracing for ‘monstrous’ Hurricane Michael
MIAMI (AP) — Residents of Florida’s Panhandle frantically filled sandbags, boarded up homes and secured boats Monday as they anxiously awaited Hurricane Michael, which forecasters warned could smash into the state’s Gulf Coast as a dangerous major hurricane within days.
Fueled by warm tropical waters, Michael gained new strength by nightfall and could reach major hurricane status with winds topping 111 mph (179 kph) before its anticipated landfall Wednesday on the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida, forecasters warn.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Michael a “monstrous hurricane” with a devastating potential from high winds, storm surge and heavy rains.
Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland. Scott also said Monday afternoon that state health officials are reaching out to hospitals and nursing homes to be prepared. Following Hurricane Irma last year, 14 people died when a South Florida nursing home lost power and air conditioning.
Of the elderly and infirm patients, Scott had a blunt message for their caregivers: “If you’re responsible for a patient, you’re responsible for the patient. Take care of them.”
Reprieve for Rosenstein: Trump says he’s not firing official
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared a reprieve Monday for Rod Rosenstein, saying he has no plans to fire his deputy attorney general whose future has been the source of intense speculation for two weeks.
“I’m not making any changes,” Trump told reporters as he returned to the White House after traveling with Rosenstein to an international police chiefs’ conference in Florida. “We just had a very nice talk. We actually get along.”
The flight provided an opportunity for their most extensive conversation since news reports last month that Rosenstein had discussed the possibilities in early 2017 of secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and invoking constitutional provisions to have him removed from office.
Those reports triggered an avalanche of speculation about the future of Rosenstein — and also the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. The deputy attorney general appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to his special counsel post and closely oversees his work.
Trump said earlier in the day that he had “a very good relationship” with Rosenstein and was eager to speak with him aboard Air Force One on the flight to Florida. They did talk, for about 45 minutes, but not alone, a White House spokesman said. The subjects: violent crime in Chicago, support for local law enforcement, border security, the conference they were flying to and “general DOJ business,” spokesman Hogan Gidley said without elaboration.
Brazil leans toward unsparing vision of far-right Bolsonaro
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The far-right former army captain who looks likely to become Brazil’s next president promised nothing short of a complete overhaul of Latin America’s largest nation, vowing Monday to combat the evils of corruption by gutting government ministries and privatizing state companies. He also pledged to promote traditional values that would roll back the rights of gays and other minorities.
With his pledge of “Brazil above all,” Jair Bolsonaro has catapulted from the fringes of Congress, where he served as a member of marginal parties for 27 years, to a stone’s throw from the presidency. A rabble rouser who has reminisced fondly about dictatorship and promised an all-out war on drugs and crime, he just missed outright victory in Sunday’s vote and will face former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ Party in an Oct. 28 runoff.
Bolsonaro only needs a few more points to secure victory, and Haddad’s supporters vowed Monday to launch a tough fight to make up ground after their candidate finished a distant second.
The election was a seismic shift for this nation of more than 200 million people, where the left has won the past four elections but deep divisions have opened in the wake of a massive corruption scandal and the 2016 impeachment of then-President Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s move fits into a global trend among voters — in the United States and Europe, among other places — who are choosing anti-establishment and often far-right or populist candidates who target minorities and promise a return to “traditional values.”
“The evils and damages of corruption hurt the people in many ways. It’s they who don’t have a bed in the hospital, who don’t have security in the streets or money in their pockets,” Bolsonaro tweeted Monday. “A corrupt government encourages crime in all spheres.”
Netflix to bring new US production hub to New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Netflix has chosen New Mexico as the site of a new U.S. production hub and is in final negotiations to buy an existing multimillion-dollar studio complex on the edge of the state’s largest city, government and corporate leaders announced Monday.
It’s the company’s first purchase of such a property, and upcoming production work in Albuquerque and at other spots around New Mexico is forecast to result in $1 billion in spending over the next decade.
More than $14 million in state and local economic development funding is being tapped to bring Netflix to New Mexico. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, a Democrat, touted the investment and said lengthy efforts to put New Mexico on the movie-making map are paying off.
“This is awesome,” the governor told dozens of people gathered inside a cavernous sound stage at ABQ Studios. “This massive investment will have a huge impact of course on New Mexico and continue our efforts to grow and diversify the economy.”
Martinez acknowledged the state’s reliance on federal funding and oil and gas development, saying more needs to be done to encourage diverse ventures such as Netflix as the private sector is the backbone of the American economy.
Saints’ Brees becomes NFL’s all-time yards passing leader
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees has become the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing — and he did it in style.
The 39-year-old Brees eclipsed Peyton Manning’s previous record of 71,940 yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie Tre’Quan Smith during the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.
After the record-breaking completion, officials stopped the game and the game ball was handed over to Pro Football Hall of Fame officials on the sideline while the Superdome crowd offered a standing ovation. Brees removed his helmet, held out his arm to salute the crowd and hugged his wife, Brittany, and children on the sideline.
“I love you guys so much,” Brees said while hugging his three boys as Brittany held their daughter nearby. “You can accomplish anything in life if you’re willing to work for it.”
Brees entered the game needing 201 yards for the record. He passed for 250 by halftime, completing 17 of 20 passes, including two TD tosses and no interceptions, as his fellow athletes saluted him on social media.
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