Post-Michael Florida: Fear, frustration and life on the edge
MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — For residents of the hurricane-ravaged Florida Panhandle, everyday life is rife with fears, frustrations and the troubles of just trying to get by.
Cellphone service is often spotty, looters can show up at any time and there are long lines to obtain gasoline, water and essentials more than a week after Hurricane Michael slammed into the coast.
Unseasonably warm temperatures in the 80s are adding to the misery because so few people can cool down with air conditioning. Bottled water is plentiful at roadside aid stations; ice is another matter.
Poor cellphone service leaves those most vulnerable with little information to help them get by. Residents in Panama City eagerly ask for tips on finding pharmacies, coin-operated laundries and stores that might sell batteries to power flashlights with fading beams.
TRUMP-SAUDI ARABIA-MISSING WRITER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Trump: ‘Certainly looks’ like Saudi writer dead
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says it “certainly looks” as though missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.
Trump did not say Thursday what he based his conclusion on. But he says the consequences for the Saudis “will have to be very severe” if they are found to have killed him.
Trump has previously warned that the kingdom will face “severe punishment” from the U.S. if it is determined that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
Khashoggi hasn’t been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago.
Turkish authorities say he was killed and dismembered. The Saudis have denied involvement.
Both the Turkish and Saudi governments are conducting separate investigations into Khashoggi’s disappearance.
The Latest: Trump: Tester ‘viciously’ went after VA nominee
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — President Donald Trump is accusing Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana of viciously attacking Adm. Ronny Jackson, a former White House doctor whom the president had tapped to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Trump said Thursday at a campaign rally for Tester’s Republican opponent that Tester “led the Democratic mob” in an effort to destroy Jackson’s reputation.
Jackson withdrew after facing ethics allegations and questions about whether he was prepared for the role, which included a claim that Jackson “got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle” at a Secret Service going-away party.
Tester’s role was leading the investigation and releasing a list of allegations that had been compiled by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
The president maintained Thursday that Tester attacked Jackson “so viciously, so violently.”
CENTRAL AMERICA-MIGRANT CARAVAN
Food, water, ride: Guatemalans aid Honduran caravan migrants
ZACAPA, Guatemala (AP) — Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States have been helped at every turn in Guatemala by people offering food, water and rides in trucks.
More than 2 million Guatemalans live in the U.S., and locals see the Hondurans streaming by their homes and businesses with dreams of making it to the U.S. as their Central American brothers and sisters.
About 20 neighbors in one town joined Wednesday to cook in the street and served up beef broth, rice, tortillas and coffee to migrants on foot. They tossed water, bread and toilet paper to those passing in vehicles.
Meanwhile, the caravan continued to draw warning tweets from President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials.
The Latest: 3 Pennsylvania dioceses confirm federal probe
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses say they have received subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Two people familiar with a federal investigation into child sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania told The Associated Press that dioceses across the state had been served with subpoenas seeking a trove of sensitive files and testimony from church leaders.
A spokeswoman for Erie says the diocese’s counsel is working with the DOJ. A spokesman for Allentown says the diocese is responding to “an information request in a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and will “cooperate fully.”
The Harrisburg Diocese also says it has been served and will cooperate fully.
The subpoenas follow a state grand jury report in August that detailed hundreds of allegations of child sex abuse in the church.
China’s economic growth slows amid trade battle
BEIJING (AP) — China’s economic growth slowed further in the latest quarter, adding to challenges for communist leaders who are fighting a mounting tariff battle with Washington.
The government reported Friday the world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.5 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.7 percent.
Forecasters expected China’s economy to cool after Beijing tightened credit controls to rein in a debt boom. But the slowdown has been deeper than expected, prompting Chinese leaders to reverse course and encouraging banks to lend.
Growth in retail spending and investment slowed, though to still-robust rates.
Exports have begun to weaken after President Donald Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on Chinese goods in a fight over Beijing’s technology policy.
Iconic Dodge City moves its only polling site outside town
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Access to the ballot box in the November election will be more difficult for some people in the western Kansas town of Dodge City, where Hispanics now make up the bulk of its population of more than 27,000.
This November, Dodge City’s sole polling location has been moved outside city limits to a facility more than a mile from the nearest bus stop.
An election official blames the last-minute move on road construction that blocked access to its usual location.
Some local voters and the American Civil Liberties Union have long criticized the use of a lone Dodge City polling site to serve more than 13,000 voters even before its move just weeks before the midterm election.
Nearly 60 percent of the city’s population is Hispanic.
CANNED TUNA-PRICE FIXING
StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities say StarKist has agreed to plead guilty to price fixing as part of a broad collusion investigation of the canned tuna industry.
Federal prosecutors announced the plea agreement Thursday and said the company faces a fine up to $100 million. Bumble Bee Foods last year pleaded guilty to the same charge and paid a $25 million fine.
Chicken of the Sea has not been charged because prosecutors say the company exposed the scheme and cooperated with the investigation.
Two former Bumble Bee executives and a former StarKist executive also each pleaded guilty to price-fixing charges.
Former Bumble Bee chief executive Christopher Lischewski has pleaded not guilty to a price fixing charge.
The three companies are accused of conspiring to keep canned tuna prices artificially high between 2010 and 2013.
ELECTION 2020-BOOKER-SOUTH CAROLINA
Booker makes South Carolina debut amid presidential buzz
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Sen. Cory Booker is in South Carolina for his first trip as a potential presidential contender. Speaking at Allen University, he offered a dire-yet-hopeful image of a country that has long struggled to reach its potential.
He’ll speak later Thursday at a Democratic party dinner.
The senator is just one of several potential White House contenders swarming South Carolina, which holds the first presidential primary in the South.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Columbia earlier Thursday for a fundraiser for local Democrats. California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran for the Democratic nomination unsuccessfully in 2016, are scheduled to be in the state Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was in the state last weekend.
Wet and mild: Warm winter predicted for much of the US
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. meteorologists say winter is looking wet and especially mild for much of the country, thanks to a weak El Nino brewing.
The National Weather Service forecasts a warmer than normal winter for the northern and western three-quarters of the nation.
Forecaster Mike Halpert said Thursday no place is expected to get a colder than normal winter.
The Southeast, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic can go any which way.
Halpert says the southern one-third of the United States and much of the East Coast, especially northern Florida and southern Georgia, could be hunkering down for a wetter than normal December through January.
The weather service’s forecast doesn’t look at snow likelihood.
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