CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-THE LATEST
The Latest: Sheriff: Death toll raises to 48 in wildfire
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have reported six more fatalities from a blaze in Northern California, bringing the total number of fatalities so far to 48 in the deadliest wildfire in state history.
The announcement came Tuesday after authorities ramped up the search for more victims buried in rubble left by the blaze that incinerated the town of Paradise.
Many friends and relatives of those living in the fire zone say they haven’t heard from loved ones. Some went to shelters looking for them.
More than 5,000 firefighters are still battling the blaze that charred 195 square miles (505 square kilometers) since it started Thursday.
The fire has destroyed about 7,700 homes and displaced 52,000 people.
The statewide death toll from wildfires over the past week in California has reached 50.
AP sources: DHS Secretary Nielsen expected to leave
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has soured on his Homeland Security secretary and Kirstjen Nielsen is expected to leave her job, perhaps as soon as this week.
That’s according to two people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss personnel matters publicly. The sources say Trump blames Nielsen for not doing more to address what he sees as a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
But anyone who takes over is likely to face similar problems. The administration has already tried to clamp down at the border, but most of those efforts have been thwarted or watered down due to legal challenges.
Nielsen had hoped to complete one year in the post and leave in December, but it appears unlikely she’ll make it.
AMAZON HQ-THE LATEST
The Latest: In NYC, Arlington, not everyone Amazon thrilled
NEW YORK (AP) — Not everyone in New York and Virginia is happy about being chosen to become the spot for new Amazon headquarter locations.
Some see the billions in tax breaks as corporate welfare while others are worried about home values and school overcrowding in areas where it’s already a problem for many residents.
New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in a joint statement asked why scarce public resources are being offered to one of the profitable corporations in the world.
In Virginia, state representative Lee Carter warned that thousands will be priced out of their homes with the influx of high-paid tech workers. He also raised the issue of overcrowded schools and traffic.
ELECTION 2018-HOUSE-CALIFORNIA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Democrat Harder ousts California GOP Rep. Denham
LOS ANGELES (AP) — As ballot-counting continues, Democrats gained ground in two undecided House races in the one-time Republican stronghold of Orange County, California.
Meanwhile, in the Central Valley farm belt, first-time candidate Josh Harder defeated four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham following an updated vote count Tuesday, giving Democrats their fourth pickup of a GOP House seat in California.
Two other House races remain too close to call.
In the 45th District in Orange County, Democrat Katie Porter jumped into a 261-vote lead over Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, after trailing the incumbent since Election Day.
And in the 39th District, anchored in Orange County, Democrat Gil Cisneros tightened the gap with Republican Young Kim.
With Harder’s win, Democrats will hold at least a 43-10 edge in California U.S. House seats.
Expensive APEC summit sows division in host Papua New Guinea
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — After three decades of promoting free trade as a panacea to poverty, the APEC grouping of nations that includes the U.S. and China is holding its lavish annual leaders meeting in the country that can least afford it.
Barely penetrated by roads and scarred by violence, Papua New Guinea hopes the parade of world leaders will lift the mountainous Pacific nation of hundreds of tribal groups out of obscurity and attract investment.
But the expense has brought criticism when the government has a budget crisis and basic medicines are scarce. In 2015, the International Monetary Fund estimated hosting the event could cost $1 billion.
Australia, China and other countries have absorbed some of the cost but critics have already been given plenty of vindication.
CIA considered potential truth serum for terror suspects
WASHINGTON (AP) — Shortly after 9/11, the CIA considered using a drug it thought might work like a truth serum and force terror suspects to give up information about potential impending attacks.
After months of research, the agency decided that a drug called Versed (VER-said), a sedative often prescribed to reduce anxiety, was “possibly worth a try.” But in the end, the CIA decided not to ask government lawyers to approve its use.
The existence of the program — dubbed “Project Medication” — is disclosed in a once-classified report being released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The 90-page report is a window into the internal struggle that medical personnel working in the CIA’s detention and harsh interrogation program faced in reconciling professional ethics with the chance to prevent future attacks.
Juul halts store sales of some flavored e-cigarettes
NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s leading e-cigarette maker says it has halted store sales of some flavors to deter use by kids.
The announcement Tuesday by Juul Labs Inc. comes ahead of an expected government crackdown on underage sales of e-cigs.
Juul said it has stopped filling store orders for its mango, fruit, creme and cucumber pods but not menthol and mint. It will sell all flavors through its website and limit sales to those 21 and older.
The company said it was closing its Facebook and Instagram accounts and pledged other steps to make it clear that it doesn’t want kids using Juul products.
E-cigarettes are generally considered a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, but health officials have warned the nicotine in them is harmful to developing brains.
Pilots says Boeing didn’t disclose jet’s new control feature
Pilots who fly Boeing’s 737 MAX in the U.S. say the airline manufacturer didn’t tell them about features of a new flight-control system that reportedly are part of the investigation into last month’s deadly crash in Indonesia.
The pilots say they were not trained in new features of an anti-stall system in the plane that differ from previous models of the 737.
The automated system is designed to help pilots avoid raising the plane’s nose too high, which can cause the aircraft to stall. It automatically pushes the nose of the plane down.
But if that nose-down command is triggered by faulty sensor readings — as suspected in the Lion Air crash — pilots can struggle to control the plane and it can go into a dive and perhaps crash.
Melania Trump publicly calls for White House aide’s firing
WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary move, Melania Trump is publicly calling for the dismissal of a top White House National Security Council official.
After reports circulated Tuesday that the president had decided to remove Mira Ricardel from the NSC, the first lady’s spokeswoman issued a statement saying: “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”
Ricardel is national security adviser John Bolton’s deputy.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the first lady’s staff and Ricardel clashed during Mrs. Trump’s visit to Africa in October over such things as seating on the plane and requests to use the council’s resources.
Ricardel attended a White House ceremony Tuesday with President Donald Trump celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
OHIO FAMILY KILLED-THE LATEST
The Latest: “Thank God!” says massacre Facebook page leader
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A woman who has helped lead a social media group focused on the 2016 shootings of eight family members in rural Ohio says she’s both shocked and relieved at news of arrests.
Verlina (ver-LEE’-nuh) Jarrell, of Circleville, Ohio, is co-administrator of a Facebook page about the “Pike County massacres’ with some 650 members.
She says in an interview: “This has been so long coming. Thank God!”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup says he’s hopeful the arrests will help bring “much-needed closure” to the community that’s part of the 2nd House District in southern Ohio. Wenstrup says via email he’s optimistic that “justice can be served.”
The Wagner family of four was arrested and charged Tuesday in the killing of eight members of the Rhoden family. Their lawyer says they will be vindicated.
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