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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

September 06, 2019 - 8:04 PM

Dorian's floodwaters trap people in attics in North Carolina

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (AP) — A weakened Hurricane Dorian flooded homes on North Carolina's Outer Banks on Friday with a fury that took even storm-hardened residents by surprise, forcing people to climb into their attics. Hundreds were feared trapped by high water, and neighbours used boats to rescue one another.

Medics and other rescuers rushed to Ocracoke Island — accessible only by boat or air — to reach those who made the mistake of defying mandatory evacuation orders along the 200-mile (320-kilometre) ribbon of low-lying islands.

"We are flooding like crazy," Ocracoke Island bookshop owner Leslie Lanier texted. "I have been here 32 years and not seen this."

Its winds down to 90 mph (145 kph), Dorian howled over the Outer Banks as a far weaker storm than the brute that wreaked havoc on the Bahamas at the start of the week. Just when it looked as if its run up the Southeast coast was coming to a relatively quiet end, the Category 1 hurricane sent seawater surging over neighbourhoods, flooding the first floors of many homes, even ones on stilts.

"There is significant concern about hundreds of people trapped on Ocracoke Island," Gov. Roy Cooper said.

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'Only animals can live here': Storm victims await evacuation

ABACO, Bahamas (AP) — Carrying their meagre possessions in duffel bags and shopping carts, hundreds of desperate storm victims gathered at the port in Grand Abaco on Friday in hopes of getting off the hurricane-devastated island, amid signs of rising frustration over the pace of the disaster-relief effort.

"It's chaos here," said Gee Rolle, a 44-year-old construction worker who waited with his wife for a boat that could take them to the capital, Nassau. "The government is trying their best, but at the same time, I don't think they're doing a good enough job to evacuate the people. It ain't livable for nobody. Only animals can live here."

The Bahamian Health Ministry said helicopters and boats were on the way, but officials warned of delays because of severe flooding.

The search for victims and survivors went on, meanwhile, five days after Dorian slammed the Bahamas with 185 mph (295 kph) winds that obliterated countless homes. Officials said 30 people have been confirmed dead, but the toll is sure to rise.

At the port, some of those who lined up behind a yellow cloth tape arrived as early as 1 a.m., hoping to get to Nassau.

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Desperate for leniency: Macy, Longoria go to bat for Huffman

BOSTON (AP) — Felicity Huffman and her lawyers pleaded Friday for probation, community service and a fine instead of jail time for her role in the college admissions scandal, buoyed by letters of support from her famous husband, William H. Macy, and her "Desperate Housewives" co-star Eva Longoria.

Huffman, in a three-page letter filed Friday with the federal court in Boston that is handling the sweeping bribery scheme, said she has "a deep and abiding shame" for her actions.

She said she has found motherhood to be "bewildering" and had turned to the scheme in the hopes of giving her oldest daughter a chance to pursue her dream of acting.

Huffman said in the letter that her daughter has a diagnosed learning disability and struggles with math.

"In my desperation to be a good mother, I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot," Huffman wrote to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani. "I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family."

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Son's opioid addiction subjects mom to goodbye after goodbye

FOUNTAINDALE, Australia (AP) — Deb Ware stared in numb horror at her son, a frail, 22-year-old man in diapers who looked like he'd had a stroke.

This was hardly Sam Ware's first dance with death in the years since his addiction to pharmaceutical opioids began with a simple wisdom tooth extraction; in just the past 12 months, he overdosed more than 60 times.

But on this day in June, inside this hospital in Australia, his mother wondered if it would be his last.

For three years, she had battled to save his life, a lonely war against a system that made pharmaceutical opioids cheap and easy to get, in a country that has quietly endured what was once thought to be a uniquely American crisis of skyrocketing opioid addiction and deaths.

And yet despite all her efforts to rescue her son from an addiction funded largely by her government, here she was: Standing by, helpless, as doctors prepared to place her child in a coma.

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N. Carolina election tests Trump clout, suburbs' GOP flight

MINT HILL, N.C. (AP) — A tossup special election in North Carolina is shaping up as a pre-2020 test of President Donald Trump's pull on voters and whether the suburbs are continuing the flight from Republicans that fueled the party's 2018 House election losses.

The House district flows eastward from the prosperous Charlotte suburbs into rural areas hugging the South Carolina border. It's up for grabs on Tuesday after state officials invalidated last November's election following allegations of voter fraud by a GOP operative.

The Democrat in that race, former Marine and Harvard MBA Dan McCready, is running again, portraying himself as a centrist who puts "country over party" and opposes impeaching Trump. His opponent, Republican state senator and attorney Dan Bishop, is a Trump loyalist who sponsored the state's now-repealed 2016 law restricting the use of bathrooms by transgender people.

Both parties are pouring resources into the state, hoping to claim a morale-boosting win to juice candidate recruitment and fundraising. But the real X-factor is Trump himself, who parachutes into Fayetteville on Monday for an election-eve rally in hopes of securing a district he won by 11 points in 2016 and that Republicans have held since 1963. With Vice-President Mike Pence also campaigning for Bishop on Monday, the race is testing Trump's influence on voters and whether Democrats can sustain the momentum that powered their midterm election wins.

"This is a pretty Republican district. This is not a seat you'll be able to explain away very well" if Bishop loses, said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who once chaired the House GOP campaign committee. A defeat would mean "Republicans are in trouble in the suburbs," he said.

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AP Interview: Gorsuch rues loss of civility but mum on Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Neil Gorsuch is following the path of Supreme Court colleagues-turned-authors in a new book in which he laments the loss of civility in public discourse.

The 52-year-old justice wrote "A Republic, If You Can Keep It" because Americans should remember that their political opponents "love this country as much as we do," Gorsuch said in an interview with The Associated Press in his Supreme Court office. The book is being published Tuesday.

But Gorsuch had little to say about President Donald Trump, who appointed him to the Supreme Court and who routinely brands his opponents dopes, losers, liars and worse.

"If you're asking me about politics, I'm not going to touch that," Gorsuch said.

All Gorsuch would say about Trump is that during the nomination process in 2017, the president "was very gracious to my family."

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Agency reverses course on Trump's Alabama hurricane claim

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal agency reversed course Friday on the question of whether President Donald Trump tweeted stale information about Hurricane Dorian potentially hitting Alabama, upsetting meteorologists around the country.

On Sunday, Trump had warned that Alabama, along with the Carolinas and Georgia, was "most likely to be hit (much) harder than anticipated."

The National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama, tweeted later: "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east."

But the president has been adamant throughout the week that he was correct, and the White House has deployed government resources and staff to back him.

The latest defence came out Friday evening, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a statement from an unidentified spokesman stating that information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to the president had demonstrated that "tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama." The advisories were dated from last Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Monday, the statement read.

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2 Singaporeans among California boat fire victims

From a veteran water polo coach to a Singaporean data scientist, the passengers aboard the ill-fated Conception dive boat were linked by their love for the water.

Here are the victims who have been identified so far from the deadly fire that engulfed the vessel, killing 34 people off California's wind-swept Channel Islands during their three-day excursion over Labor Day weekend.

VETERAN WATER POLO COACH

Before Justin Dignam, 58, founded a payroll company he coached water polo at universities.

Dignam was a veteran water polo player who played at University of Richmond before coaching a team at Iona College and becoming the head coach of Wesleyan University's men's team, according to Team USA Water Polo. He also served as a referee.

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Mugabe dies; liberated Zimbabwe, then held it for 37 years

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, an ex-guerrilla chief who took power when the African country shook off white minority rule and presided for decades while economic turmoil and human rights violations eroded its early promise, has died in Singapore. He was 95.

Mugabe enjoyed strong support from Zimbabwe's people soon after he became the first post-colonial leader of what had been British-controlled Rhodesia.

Often violent farm seizures from whites who owned huge tracts of land made him a hated figure in the West and a hero in Africa.

His successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, tweeted word Friday that an "icon of liberation" had died. Mnangagwa, a long-time loyalist until Mugabe dismissed him from his Cabinet, named Mugabe as a national hero, Zimbabwe's highest posthumous honour.

He said the nation would observe an official mourning period for its late leader, "a great teacher and mentor" and a "remarkable statesman of our century." No date or other details were given.

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'Lucky, no?' Nadal fights past Berrettini into US Open final

NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal found himself trailing in a tight first set against a bigger, younger opponent who was finding ways to cause trouble in their U.S. Open semifinal.

Never one to panic, never liable to have a letdown, Nadal hung tough, waited for 24th-seeded Matteo Berrettini to wilt ever so slightly and then pounced.

Nadal moved closer to a fourth U.S. Open championship and 19th Grand Slam title overall — one away from Roger Federer's record for men — by pulling away for a 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-1 victory over Berrettini under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night.

The second-seeded Nadal was down 4-0, then 5-2, then 6-4 in the opening tiebreaker before taking the next four points and was on his way.

"You don't want to be in a tiebreak against a player like Matteo. ... I was a little bit lucky, no?" Nadal said. "I survived at that moment and ... after that, the match completely changed."

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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