Official: Searchers find body in town hit by hurricane
MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Search and rescue teams have found a body in the Florida Panhandle town nearly wiped out by Hurricane Michael, and authorities said there is little doubt the death toll will rise further.
The tally of lives lost across the South stood at 14, including the victim found in the rubble of Mexico Beach.
Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban, leader of a search-and-rescue unit that entered the devastated community, said: “We have one confirmed deceased and are working to determine if there are others.”
Zahralban said searchers, who were using a trained dog, were trying to determine if that person had been alone or was part of a family.
He spoke Friday as his team was winding down its two-day search of Mexico Beach, the town of about 1,000 people that was nearly obliterated by Micahel’s storm surge and devastating 155 mph winds when the Category 4 hurricane made landfall Wednesday.
Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in the U.S., and this Gulf Coast community of about 1,000 people was in its bullseye. While most residents fled ahead of the storm’s arrival, others stayed to face the hurricane. Some barely escaped with their lives as homes were pushed off their foundations and whole neighborhoods became submerged.
Hector Morales, a 57-yearold restaurant cook, never even thought of evacuating. His mobile home wasn’t on the beach but when it suddenly began floating during the hurricane, he jumped out and swam to a fishing boat and clambered aboard.
“I lost everything,” Morales said. “... But I made it.”
How many others were not so fortunate was still not clear.
State officials said that by one count, 285 people in Mexico Beach defied mandatory evacuation orders and stayed behind. Though it’s unclear if any of those got out at the last minute or had successfully ridden out the storm.
Emergency officials said they had completed an initial “hasty search” of the devastation, looking for the living or the dead, and had begun more careful inspections of thousands of ruined buildings. They hope to complete those inspections later today.
They’ve received thousands of calls asking about missing people, but with cellphone service out across a wide area, they found it impossible to know who among those unaccounted for were safe but just unable to dial out to friends or family.
Meanwhile, Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said he expects the death toll will rise. “We still haven’t gotten into the hardesthit areas,” he said, adding with frustration: “Very few people live to tell what it’s like to experience storm surge, and unfortunately in this country we seem to not learn the lesson.”
BEIJING — With China and the United States opening the door to a meeting next month between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, hopes are rising for a potential easing of tensions in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
Worries about the increased tariffs the two sides have imposed on each other’s goods contributed to a dizzying bout of volatility in financial markets this week. The higher tariffs raise costs for companies in both countries, and economists say that if they remain in place indefinitely, they could depress economic growth.
A Xi-Trump meeting, if it happens, would take place during a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 biggest global economies in Argentina in late November.
“I don’t think any decision has been made in regards to a meeting,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Saturday in Bali, Indonesia, where he’s attending global finance meetings.
Still, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, said in Washington on Friday that preparations for the talks were under way.
Trump vows to unearth truth about Khashoggi disappearance
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Friday the U.S. will uncover the truth about what happened to journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, whose possible murder at Saudi hands after disappearing in Istanbul has captured worldwide attention. Trump promised to personally call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman soon about “the terrible situation in Turkey.”
“We’re going to find out what happened,” Trump pledged when questioned by reporters in Cincinnati where he was headlining a political rally.
Khashoggi, a forceful critic of the Saudi government, went missing more than a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish officials have said they believe he was murdered there.
U.S. officials say they are seeking answers from the Saudi government and are not yet accepting the Turkish government’s conclusions.
The Saudis have called accusations that they are responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance “baseless.”
Widely broadcast video shows the 59-year-old writer and Washington Post contributor entering the consulate on Tuesday of last week, but there is none showing him leaving.
Defendant lunges for officer’s gun in Oregon courtroom
NEWPORT, Ore. — Video shows a dramatic Oregon courtroom scuffle in which a defendant lunges for a police officer’s gun.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports a judge had denied a request by deputies to restrain 27-year-old Scott Lemmon in court Wednesday. In the video, Lemmon