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Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 10:20 p.m. EST

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-THE LATEST

The Latest: Authorities: 631 people unaccounted for in fire

MAGALIA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say that 631 people are still unaccounted for after last week’s deadly wildfire in Northern California.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said he believes there are people on the list who fled the blaze and don’t realize they were reported missing. He said authorities were making the list public so people could see if they’re on it, and let authorities know they are safe.

Honea announced the increased count at a news conference Thursday, after having said a day earlier that 130 people were unaccounted for.

He said the first figure was a partial count, and after authorities went back through all 911 calls and other reports of missing persons from the past week they came up with the new number.

The Nov. 8 fire killed 63 people, destroyed 9,700 homes and displaced 52,000 people in the town of Paradise and nearby towns. ___

ELECTION 2018-FLORIDA-THE LATEST

The Latest: At least 55,000 ballots in Senate hand recount

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Election offices across Florida will have to hand count at a bare minimum almost 54,000 ballots in the U.S. Senate race.

A survey of 64 of Florida’s 67 counties by The Associated Press put the number of overvotes and undervotes Thursday evening at 53,769 ballots in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott.

The only counties that hadn’t reported those counts were three of the state’s largest: Broward, Lee and Palm Beach counties.

In an overvote, a voter picks more than one choice for the same race. With an undervote, the voter doesn’t pick a choice in a race.

The deadline for finishing the hand count is Sunday.

TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE-CONGRESS

AP source: Whitaker told Graham that Mueller probe to go on

WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has told Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will proceed. That’s according to a person familiar with the meeting.

Graham and Whitaker met Thursday as a bipartisan group of senators pushes legislation to protect Mueller’s job. The senators are concerned about Whitaker’s past criticism of the probe, which is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The person says Whitaker told Graham the investigation would be allowed to proceed. The person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Mueller, calling the investigation a hoax. He tweeted Thursday that the probe is “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”

HELPFUL HOMELESS MAN-THE LATEST

The Latest: Couple, homeless man charged in charitable scam

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a New Jersey couple and a homeless man made up a “feel good” story about the man helping them so they could raise money through an online fundraiser.

Burlington County prosecutors outlined the allegations against Mark D’Amico, Katelyn McClure and Johnny Bobbitt on Thursday. All three are charged with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception.

The couple has claimed they set up a GoFundMe page for Bobbitt after he helped McClure get gas when she became stranded in Philadelphia last year. But prosecutors say they found evidence all three knew each other for at least a month before and set up the scheme.

D’Amico and McClure surrendered Wednesday night. Their attorney said they have no comment. Bobbitt is jailed in Philadelphia. A previous lawyer of his didn’t return a call seeking comment.

WINTRY WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Sprawling wintry weather reaches New York City

NEW YORK (AP) — The first snowstorm of the season to hit the New York City area brought several inches of snow and slowed the evening commute to a crawl.

The wet snowfall and wind gusts Thursday downed numerous tree branches throughout the city. Police advised people to stay indoors and avoid the roads, if possible. A multi-vehicle accident on the George Washington Bridge added to the traffic nightmare.

There were scattered delays on the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit reported 30-minute delays system wide.

Flight delays of up to an hour were reported at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports.

The snow should turn to mostly sleet and rain after 7 p.m. before changing to rain overnight.

NKOREA-WEAPON TEST

NKorea says it has tested new “high-tech tactical” weapon

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says leader Kim Jong Un has observed the successful test of a “newly developed high-tech tactical” weapon.

The report Friday from state media didn’t say what sort of weapon it was, although it didn’t appear to be of a nuclear or missile related test. Still, any mention of weapons testing could influence the direction of stalled diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang that’s meant to rid the North of its nuclear weapons.

The North said the test took place at the Academy of National Defense Science and that Kim couldn’t suppress his “passionate joy” at the success of the test.

The South Korean Yonhap news agency says it was Kim’s first publicly known guidance of a weapons test since he supervised an ICBM launch in late November 2017.

Last year saw a string of tests that many believe put the North on the brink of a viable arsenal of nuclear tipped missiles that can target the U.S.

CAMBODIA-KHMER ROUGE

Cambodian tribunal session set for verdicts on Khmer Rouge

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The international tribunal to judge the criminal responsibility of former Khmer Rouge leaders for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians has opened its session to deliver its verdicts on charges of genocide and other crimes.

Facing judgment on Friday are Nuon Chea, 92, and Khieu Samphan, 87, the last surviving senior leaders of the radical communist group that brutally ruled Cambodia in the late 1970s. They are already serving life sentences after being convicted in a previous 2011-2014 trial of crimes against humanity connected with forced transfers and disappearances of masses of people.

The Khmer Rouge sought to achieve an agrarian utopia by emptying the cities to establish vast rural communes. Instead their radical policies led to what has been termed ‘auto-genocide’ through starvation, overwork and execution.

FDA-SMOKING FLAVORS

FDA to crack down on menthol cigarettes, flavored vapes

NEW YORK (AP) — A top U.S. health official is pledging to try to ban menthol from regular cigarettes, outlaw flavors in all cigars and tighten rules regarding the sale of most flavored versions of e-cigarettes.

Scott Gottlieb of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration disclosed the plans on Thursday.

The move represents a major step to further push down U.S. smoking rates, which have been falling for decades.

The restrictions are mainly aimed at reducing smoking in kids: About half of teens who smoke cigarettes choose menthols and flavored e-cigarettes have been blamed for a recent increase in teen vaping rates.

AP-US-TEC-FACEBOOK-ENFORCING-RULES-THE-LATEST

The Latest: Facebook to create independent appeals body

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it’s setting up an independent body for people to appeal decisions to remove — or leave up — posts that may violate its rules.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that the company wants to have such a review body by the end of next year. Appeals are currently handled internally.

Facebook employs thousands of people to review posts, photos, comments and videos for violations. Some things are also detected without humans, using artificial intelligence. But Zuckerberg says creating an independent appeals body will prevent the concentration of “too-much decision-making” within Facebook.

Facebook has faced accusations of bias against conservatives — something it denies — as well as criticism that it does not go far enough in removing hateful content.

The move comes as the company is releasing its latest report on how it’s been enforcing its community standards, which ban things like hate speech and nudity.

MVPS

Boston’s Betts, Milwaukee’s Yelich win MVP Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Boston’s Mookie Betts and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich were runaway winners of the Most Valuable Player awards after the 26-year-old outfielders each led their teams to first-place finishes with dominant seasons that included batting titles.

Betts received 28 first-place votes and 410 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting announced Thursday.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, a two-time MVP, followed with one first-place vote and 265 points. Trout tied the record of four second-place finishes shared by Stan Musial, Ted Williams and Albert Pujols. Trout won in 2014 and 2016; was finished second in ’12, ’13 and ’15; and was fourth in 2017.

Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez was third with 208 points, and Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez was next with one first and 198 points.

Betts hit a major league-leading .346 with 32 homers, 80 RBIs and 30 stolen bases as the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox, who won a team-record 108 games and their fourth World Series title in 15 seasons. Votes were submitted before the postseason.

Both batting champions won MVP awards for the first time since San Francisco’s Buster Posey and Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Yelich got 29 first-place votes and 415 points, and the other first-place vote went to New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, the NL Cy Young Award winner, who finished fifth. Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez was second with 250 points, followed by Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado with 203.

Acquired from the payroll-paring Miami Marlins about a month before spring training, the 26-year-old Yelich won the first batting title in Brewers history with a .326 average. He set career highs with 36 homers and 110 RBIs and had a 1.000 OPS.

Yelich nearly became the NL’s first Triple Crown winner since Joe Medwick in 1937, finishing two homers shy of Arenado and one RBI back of Baez. Yelich was especially impressive in the second half, hitting .367 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs — including 11 homers in August and 10 in September.

Milwaukee reached the playoffs for the first time in seven years, swept Colorado in the Division Series then lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game League Championship Series, falling one win short of its first World Series appearance since 2002.

Yelich gets a $100,000 bonus for winning, and the price of the 2022 team option in his contract increases by $1 million to $16 million.

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Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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