EXPLAINER: How Ida can be so deadly 1000 miles from landfall
Natural and some man-made ingredients came together, causing the weakened but still soggy remnants of Hurricane Ida to devastate the Northeast more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away from its landfall.
This sort of distant and deadly flooding from hurricanes has happened before, and meteorologists had warned that Ida could cause it. But the head of the National Weather Service said the storm’s onslaught of rain was so strong and came so quickly that it overwhelmed the region’s ability to cope with the downpour.
Although Ida had lost most of its 150 mph (240 kph) wind force, the storm kept its strong rainy core. Then it merged with a wet and strengthening non-tropical storm front, according to meteorologists and atmospheric scientists.
When this happens, “very exceptional rainfall can occur,” said MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel.
‘It looked apocalyptic’: Crew describes Afghan departure
For the U.S. military pilots and aircrew about to make their final takeoffs out of Afghanistan, the sky was lit up with fireworks and sporadic gunfire and the airfield littered with battered shells of airplanes and destroyed equipment. Stray dogs raced around the tarmac. And Taliban fighters, visible in the darkness through the green-tinged view of night vision goggles, walked the airfield waving an eerie goodbye.
Lined up on the runway at the Kabul airport Monday night were the five last C-17s to leave the country after a chaotic and deadly airlift evacuation that marked the end of America’s involvement in the Afghanistan war. In the final hours, there were no more rocket defense systems to protect them on the runway, and no one in the airport control center to direct them out.
“It just looked apocalyptic,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Braden Coleman, who was in charge of monitoring the outside of his aircraft for artillery fire and other threats. “It looked like one of those zombie movies where all the airplanes had been destroyed, their doors were open, the wheels were broken. There was a plane that was burned all the way. You could see the cockpit was there, and the whole rest of the plane looked like the skeleton of a fish.”
Ex-prosecutor indicted for misconduct in Ahmaud Arbery death
A former Georgia prosecutor was indicted Thursday on misconduct charges alleging she used her position to shield the men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery from being charged with crimes immediately after the shootings.
A grand jury in coastal Glynn County indicted former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson on a felony count of violating her oath of office and hindering a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor.
The indictment resulted from an investigation Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr requested last year into local prosecutors’ handling of Arbery’s slaying after a cellphone video of the shooting and a delay in charges sparked a national outcry.
Manchin seeks ‘strategic pause’ on Biden bill, opposes $3.5T
Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday that Congress should take a “strategic pause” on more spending, warning that he does not support President Joe Biden’s plans for a sweeping $3.5 trillion effort to rebuild and reshape the economy.
The West Virginia Democrat’s pointed opposition was stronger than his past statements and taps into a grab-bag of arguments over inflation, national security and other concerns to deny Biden and his party a crucial vote on the emerging package. The timing of his comments comes as lawmakers are laboring behind the scenes to draft the legislation ahead of this month’s deadlines.
“Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal.
New Texas abortion law pushes women to out-of-state clinics
Even before a strict abortion ban took effect in Texas this week, clinics in neighboring states were fielding growing numbers of calls from women desperate for options.
An Oklahoma clinic had received more than double its number of typical inquiries, two-thirds of them from Texas. A Kansas clinic is anticipating a patient increase of up to 40% based on calls from women in Texas. A Colorado clinic that already had started seeing more patients from other states was preparing to ramp up supplies and staffing in anticipation of the law taking effect.
The Texas law, allowed to stand in a decision Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court, bans abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, typically around six weeks. In a highly unusual twist, enforcement will be done by private citizens who can sue anyone they believe is violating the law.
Study: Warmer Arctic led to killer cold in Texas, much of US
Warming of the Arctic caused by climate change has increased the number of polar vortex outbreaks, when frigid air from the far north bathes the central and eastern United States in killer cold, a study finds.
The study in the journal Science Thursday is the first to show the connections between changes in the polar region and February’s Valentine’s Week freeze that triggered widespread power outages in Texas, killing more than 170 people and causing at least $20 billion in damage.
The polar vortex normally keeps icy air trapped in the Arctic. But warmer air weakens the vortex, allowing it to stretch and wander south. The number of times it has weakened per year has more than doubled since the early 1980s, said study lead author Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research, a commercial firm outside of Boston.
Flights resume, some power restored in New Orleans after Ida
Commercial flights resumed in New Orleans and power returned to parts of the business district Thursday, four days after Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast, but electricity, drinking water and fuel remained scarce across much of a sweltering Louisiana.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the system walloped parts of the Northeast, dumping record-breaking rain in a region that had not expected a serious blow and killing at least 45 people from Maryland to Connecticut. Eleven people in New York City drowned in basement apartments.
New Orleans fared better than many other places because it was protected from catastrophic flooding by the levee system that was revamped after Hurricane Katrina. The power was back on before dawn in some downtown neighborhoods. Utility crews also restored electricity to several hospitals in Jefferson Parish and near Baton Rouge. Some streets were cleared of fallen trees and debris, and a few corner stores reopened.
Gen. Lee statue can be removed, Virginia Supreme Court rules
Virginia’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that the state can remove an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a prominent spot in the state’s capital city, saying “values change and public policy changes too” in a democracy.
The 7-0 decision cited testimony from historians who said the enormous statue was erected in 1890 to honor the southern white citizenry’s defense of a pre-Civil War life that depended on slavery and the subjugation of Black people.
More than a century later, its continued display “communicates principles that many believe to be inconsistent with the values the Commonwealth currently wishes to express,” the justices said.
FAA bans Virgin Galactic launches while probing Branson trip
The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that Virgin Galactic cannot launch anyone into space again until an investigation is complete into a mishap that occurred during July’s flight with founder Richard Branson.
The ban came as Virgin Galactic announced plans to launch three Italian researchers to the edge of space in a few weeks.
The FAA said the rocketship carrying Branson and five Virgin Galactic employees veered off course during its descent back to its runway in the New Mexico desert on July 11. The deviation put the ship outside the air traffic control clearance area.
Al Jazeera News
Thailand: Thousands join Bangkok rally demanding PM’s resignation
Thousands of protesters have gathered in Thailand’s capital to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, promising to keep up pressure until he leaves office.
Thursday’s demonstration at the Asoke intersection in central Bangkok was one of the biggest such gatherings this year despite a warning from the police earlier in the day that protests were banned due to coronavirus restrictions.
Protests against Prayuth have gained momentum since late June as groups who sought his removal last year return with broader support from people angered by a worsening coronavirus situation.
Poland declares state of emergency on Belarus border amid migrant surge
Poland declared a state of emergency in two regions bordering Belarus on Thursday following a surge of illegal migration that Warsaw has blamed on its neighbour.
Poland and the European Union have accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging hundreds of migrants to cross into Polish territory to put pressure on the bloc over sanctions it has imposed on Minsk.
The emergency order - the first of its kind in Poland since communist times - banned mass gatherings and limited people's movements in a 3-km (2-mile) deep strip of land along the frontier for 30 days, the government said.
At an Afghanistan border crossing, people face uncertainty and a long wait
Pakistani Shafiq Mohammad, 40, stands at a closed pedestrian crossing gate on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, holding a passport and a stack of identity cards and imploring Pakistani officials to let him and his family through.
The crossing at Torkham, now manned on the Afghan side by armed Taliban soldiers, has long been the busiest between the two countries, but since last month has seen a sharp dip in pedestrian crossings as tight controls have been imposed.
"I don't know (why they're not letting us in), we're also standing here asking why you do not let us... what is the procedure, how can we proceed," Mohammad says through a metal-barred gate from the Afghan side of the border.
4th Surge Leading To 'Burnout' For Doctors, Nurses
A "burnt out" staff of doctors and nurses at Advocate Health hospitals are now handling a fourth surge of the coronavirus.
Dr. Dipul Patadia, chief medical officer for Advocate Condell Medical Center, says there's been a 12-fold increase in patients admitted with COVID-19 since the beginning of July across all Advocate Aurora Health hospitals.
This time around, nurses and doctors are seeing more children becoming sick and are treating mainly unvaccinated patients, as well as many more in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The daily work can be very "polarizing" for many in the medical field who believe the virus is preventable, Patadia said.
'It's OK Not To Be OK': NC Community Reeling From School Shooting
One day after a fatal school shooting took the life of a Winston-Salem high school student, Gov. Roy Cooper joined members of Forsyth County law enforcement to make a call for greater investment in preventative measures aimed at children.
"We've got to make more investments in our school mental health," Cooper said, adding that investments were also needed in early childhood education, wrap-around services and positive activities to engage children.
Cooper's comments come a day after a male student was shot at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, prompting an hourslong search for the suspect who opened fire.
The Hill.com News
Psaki shuts down male reporter's abortion questions: 'You've never faced those choices'
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday responded to a male reporter who pressed her on President Biden’s support for abortion by saying the reporter has “never faced those choices.”
Psaki said Biden "believes that it is a woman’s right, it is a woman’s body and it is her choice,” in response to a reporter from EWTN, a Catholic network, who asked why Biden supports abortion when the Catholic Church opposes abortion.
When the male reporter asked who Biden believes should look out for the unborn child, Psaki replied: “He believes that it is up to a woman to make those decisions and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor.”
Key figure in NC ballot probe gets prison for benefit fraud
A key player in a North Carolina ballot fraud probe that led to a new congressional election was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison for obtaining illegal Social Security benefits while concealing payments for political work he performed.
Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., 65, of Bladenboro, had pleaded guilty to two counts in June on the day his federal trial was supposed to begin. He faced a maximum combined sentence of 15 years in prison for his offenses of theft of government property and Social Security fraud.
U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle also told Dowless he must pay $8,600 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, which prosecuted Dowless.
Al Capone's former South Florida home slated for demolition
The South Florida house that gangster Al Capone owned for nearly two decades, and died in, is facing demolition plans.
The Miami Herald reported Thursday that the new owners of the nine-bedroom, Miami Beach house plan to demolish it after buying it for $10.75 million this summer.
One of the owners, developer Todd Glaser, told the Herald the home, which is about 3 feet (1 meter) below sea level, has flood damage and standing water underneath it. The new owners plan to build a two-story modern spec home with 8 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a Jacuzzi, spa and sauna.
Ohio man arrested days after confronting NBC News' Shaquille Brewster on live TV, officials say
The Ohio man who angrily confronted NBC News' Shaquille Brewster on live television was arrested in Dayton on Thursday, authorities said.
Benjamin Eugene Dagley, 54, was picked up at a shopping plaza in the southwest Ohio city, U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said in a statement.
Dagley is wanted in Gulfport, Mississippi, where he'll be charged with two counts of assault, one count of disturbance of the peace and one count of violation of emergency curfew, officials said.
"This violent fugitive was attempting to flee from his charges in Gulfport but the swift work of our task force members resulted in a timely arrest," Elliott said.
Good News Network
Judge Throws Out Trump-era Rule That Allowed Filling Streams, Marshes, and Wetlands for Development
In the face of a legal challenge mounted by six Native American Tribes, a district court judge in Arizona has thrown out a Trump-era interpretation of the Clean Waters Act (CWA) that would allow actors to fill in, pollute, or dredge wetlands, streams, and marshlands,
District Judge Rosemary Marquez noted that there were numerous “serious errors” in the regulation that was passed to help states better identify and manage waters that are legally protected by the CWA.
It was in June that the Biden Administration announced they would revisit Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), but it was Marquez who felt that leaving it in place while new rules were made risked causing “serious environmental harm.”