Albuquerque Journal - - NEWS -

Mex­ico thanked for aid of­fer

WASH­ING­TON — Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son praised Mex­ico’s gen­eros­ity in of­fer­ing help as the U.S. re­sponds to Har­vey, aim­ing Wed­nes­day to defuse a po­ten­tial sore point be­tween two neigh­bors al­ready sharply at odds over NAFTA and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pro­posed bor­der wall.

Since the for­mer hur­ri­cane struck the U.S., Amer­ica’s south­ern neigh­bor has of­fered a “wide range” of help through both the Texas state gov­ern­ment and the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, Tiller­son said. The U.S. hasn’t for­mally re­sponded to the of­fer to say whether it will ac­cept it. But Tiller­son, meet­ing with Mex­ico’s top diplo­mat, said he wanted to thank the coun­try none­the­less.

“It’s very gen­er­ous for Mex­ico to of­fer to help in this very, very chal­leng­ing time,” Tiller­son said.

Hur­ri­cane bumps gas prices

DAL­LAS — Hur­ri­cane Har­vey is send­ing pump prices higher for U.S. mo­torists and caus­ing tem­po­rary shifts in the flow of oil and gaso­line around the world after tak­ing down a huge chunk of U.S. re­fin­ing ca­pac­ity.

It will be days or even weeks be­fore the en­ergy sec­tor in the south­east Texas Gulf Coast is back to nor­mal op­er­a­tions as it deals with flood­ing in the af­ter­math of Har­vey, which has been down­graded to a trop­i­cal storm. The re­gion from Cor­pus Christi, Texas, where Har­vey made land­fall, to the Louisiana state line ac­counts for about 3 per­cent of the U.S. economy and is a cru­cial ex­port mar­ket for oil and chem­i­cals.

Wed­nes­day brought news that the na­tion’s big­gest re­fin­ery, which was al­ready run­ning be­low half-speed, had be­gun a com­plete shut­down.

Hous­ton flood in­sur­ance drops

WASH­ING­TON — Hous­ton’s pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing quickly, but when Har­vey hit last week­end there were far fewer homes and other prop­er­ties in the area with flood in­sur­ance than just five years ago, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ci­ated Press in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The sharp, 9 per­cent drop in cov­er­age means many res­i­dents flee­ing Har­vey’s flood­wa­ters have no fi­nan­cial backup to fix up their homes and will have to draw on sav­ings or go into debt — or per­haps be forced to sell.

A for­mer head of the fed­eral flood in­sur­ance pro­gram called the drops “un­be­liev­able” and crit­i­cized the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, which over­sees the pro­gram. “When you start to see poli­cies drop like this, FEMA should have done some­thing about this,” said Robert Hunter, who ran the pro­gram in the late ’70s. He es­ti­mates that fewer than two of 10 home­own­ers with flood dam­age have flood in­sur­ance.

In­mate gets tem­po­rary stay

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A 36-year-old con­demned Texas in­mate sched­uled for ex­e­cu­tion next week has won a tem­po­rary re­prieve be­cause of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

Bexar County pros­e­cu­tors cited “ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances” in ask­ing a state judge to move Juan Castillo’s ex­e­cu­tion to Dec. 14 be­cause some of his le­gal team is based in Har­ris County. Gov. Greg Ab­bott has des­ig­nated the county a dis­as­ter area along with dozens of other Texas coun­ties hit by the storm.

State District Judge Jef­fer­son Moore signed the or­der Wed­nes­day agree­ing to move the date.


A warn­ing sign in Iowa, La., is par­tially sub­merged Wed­nes­day.

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