Feds rush aid to Puerto Rico, while Trump tweets about debt

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - World -

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)

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