Feds rush aid to Puerto Rico, while Trump tweets about debt
WASHINGTON -- The US ramped up its response Monday to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, even as President Donald Trump brought up the island's struggles before Hurricane Maria struck — including "billions of dollars" in debt to "Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with."
The Trump administration has tried to blunt criticism that its response to Hurricane Maria has fallen short of its efforts in Texas and Florida after the recent hurricanes there.
Five days after the Category 4 storm slammed into Puerto Rico, many of the more than 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory were still without adequate food, water and fuel. Flights off the island were infrequent, communications were spotty and roads were clogged with debris. Officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month.
Trump himself pointed out some differences between the two states and the island in a series of tweets Monday night.
"Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble."
Trump also noted that the island's electrical grid was already "in terrible shape." Still, he promised, "Food, water and medical are top priorities - and doing well."
In Washington, officials said no armada of US Navy ships was headed to the island because supplies could be carried in more efficiently by plane. The Trump administration ruled out temporarily setting aside federal restrictions on foreign ships' transportation of cargo, saying it wasn't needed. The government had waived those rules in Florida and Texas until last week.
Though the administration said the focus on aid was strong, when two Cabinet secretaries spoke at a conference on another subject — including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose agency is helping restore the island's power — neither made any mention of Puerto Rico or Hurricane Maria.
UNITED NATIONS -North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that a weekend tweet by US President Donald Trump was a “declaration of war” and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down US bombers, even in international airspace.
It was the latest escalation in a week of undiplomatic exchanges between North Korea and the US during the UN General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting.
Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that the United Nations and the international community have said in recent days that they didn't want “the war of words” to turn into “real action.”
But he said that by tweeting that North Korea's leadership led by Kim Jong Un “won't be around much longer,” Trump “declared the war on our country.”
Under the UN Charter, Ri said, North Korea has the right to self-defense and “every right” to take countermeasures, “including the right to shoot down the United States
In this Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 photo, Aremy Sanchez Flores walks with her husband Jose Padilla after getting married in an empty lot outside a church that collapsed after an earthquake in Atzala, Mexico. Twelve people died during a baptism at the church on Sept. 19 Tuesday where the couple was scheduled to get married. Flores said she was very sad, but that it is time to move forward. (AP)