Na­tion & World Glance

Yuma Sun - - OPINION -

Wild­fire de­stroys most of Cal­i­for­nia town of Par­adise

PAR­ADISE, Calif. — Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple fled a fast-mov­ing wild­fire Thurs­day in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, some clutch­ing ba­bies and pets as they aban­doned ve­hi­cles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that forced the evac­u­a­tion of an en­tire town and de­stroyed hun­dreds of struc­tures.

“Pretty much the com­mu­nity of Par­adise is de­stroyed, it’s that kind of dev­as­ta­tion,” said Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean late Thurs­day. “The wind that was pre­dicted came and just wiped it out.”

McLean es­ti­mated that a cou­ple of thou­sand struc­tures were de­stroyed in the town of 27,000 res­i­dents about 180 miles north­east of San Fran­cisco, was or­dered to get out. The ex­tent of the in­juries and spe­cific dam­age count was not im­me­di­ately known as of­fi­cials could not ac­cess the dan­ger­ous area.

Butte County CalFire Chief Dar­ren Read said at a news con­fer­ence that two fire­fight­ers and mul­ti­ple res­i­dents were in­jured.

Jus­tice Gins­burg in hos­pi­tal af­ter frac­tur­ing 3 ribs in fall

WASH­ING­TON — Eighty-five-year-old Supreme Court Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg frac­tured three ribs in a fall in her of­fice at the court and is in the hos­pi­tal, the court said Thurs­day.

The court’s old­est jus­tice fell Wed­nes­day evening, the court said. She called Supreme Court po­lice to take her to Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal in Wash­ing­ton early Thurs­day af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dis­com­fort overnight, court spokes­woman Kathy Ar­berg said.

She was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal for treat­ment and ob­ser­va­tion af­ter tests showed she frac­tured three ribs.

In her ab­sence, the court went ahead Thurs­day with a court­room cer­e­mony wel­com­ing new Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh, who joined the court last month. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and new act­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Matthew Whi­taker were on hand.

Gins­burg has had a se­ries of health prob­lems. She broke two ribs in a fall in 2012. She has had two prior bouts with can­cer and had a stent im­planted to open a blocked artery in 2014. She also was hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter a bad re­ac­tion to medicine in 2009.

But she has never missed Supreme Court ar­gu­ments. The court won’t hear ar­gu­ments again un­til Nov. 26.

Ex­pert: Acosta video dis­trib­uted by White House was doc­tored

NEW YORK — A video dis­trib­uted by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to sup­port its ar­gu­ment for ban­ning CNN re­porter Jim Acosta from the White House ap­pears to have been doc­tored to make Acosta look more ag­gres­sive than he was dur­ing an ex­change with a White House in­tern, an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert said Thurs­day.

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Sanders tweeted the video, which shows Acosta ask­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump a ques­tion on Wed­nes­day as the in­tern tries to take his mi­cro­phone away. But a frame-by-frame com­par­i­son with an As­so­ci­ated Press video of the same in­ci­dent shows that the one tweeted by Sanders ap­pears to have been al­tered to speed up Acosta’s arm move­ment as he touches the in­tern’s arm, ac­cord­ing to Abba Shapiro, an in­de­pen­dent video pro­ducer who ex­am­ined the footage at AP’s re­quest.

Ear­lier, Shapiro no­ticed that frames in the tweeted video were frozen to slow down the ac­tion, al­low­ing it to run the same length as the AP one.

The al­ter­ation is “too pre­cise to be an ac­ci­dent,” said Shapiro, who trains in­struc­tors to use video edit­ing soft­ware.

The tweeted video also does not have any au­dio, which Shapiro said would make it eas­ier to al­ter. It’s also un­likely the dif­fer­ences could be ex­plained by tech­ni­cal glitches or by video com­pres­sion — a re­duc­tion in a video’s size to en­able it to play more smoothly on some sites — be­cause the slow­ing of the video and the ac­cel­er­a­tion that fol­lowed are “too pre­cise to be an ac­ci­dent.” Protesters na­tion­wide seek to pro­tect Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion

NEW YORK — Protesters na­tion­wide have called for the pro­tec­tion of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into po­ten­tial co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Rus­sia and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign.

Sev­eral hun­dred demon­stra­tors gath­ered Thurs­day in New York’s Times Square and chanted slo­gans in­clud­ing “Hands off Mueller” and “No­body’s above the law” be­fore march­ing down­town.

In Chicago, Demo­cratic Sen. Dick Durbin joined sev­eral hun­dred protesters at Fed­eral Plaza.

Crowds also turned out at the White House and in Greens­boro, North Carolina; Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee; Las Ve­gas and many other places.

Or­ga­niz­ers say the nam­ing of act­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Matthew Whi­taker is a “de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to ob­struct the spe­cial coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Florida faces prospect of re­counts in gover­nor, Se­nate races

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE, Fla. — Florida faced the prospect of re­counts in the ra­zor-thin races for gover­nor and U.S. Se­nate, po­ten­tially pro­long­ing the bat­tle over two of this year’s most-closely watched cam­paigns.

In the gover­nor’s race, Demo­crat An­drew Gil­lum’s cam­paign said Thurs­day it’s pre­pared for a pos­si­ble re­count. He con­ceded to Repub­li­can Ron DeSan­tis on Tues­day night, though the mar­gin of the race has since tight­ened. As of Thurs­day af­ter­noon, DeSan­tis led Gil­lum by 0.47 per­cent­age point.

Mean­while, Demo­cratic in­cum­bent Sen. Bill Nel­son has al­ready be­gun pre­par­ing for a po­ten­tial re­count in a race still too close to call against Repub­li­can Gov. Rick Scott. Nel­son’s lawyer called that race a “jump ball” — though Scott’s cam­paign urged Nel­son to con­cede. Scott held a 0.21 per­cent­age lead over Nel­son on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The tight races un­der­scored Florida’s sta­tus as a peren­nial swing state where elec­tions are of­ten de­cided by the thinnest of mar­gins. Since 2000, when Florida de­cided the pres­i­dency by 537 votes in a con­test that took more than five weeks to sort out, the state has seen many close elec­tions, but never so many dead heats in one year.

And like 2000, the count­ing process is be­com­ing con­tentious.

Fed­eral Re­serve leaves key pol­icy rate un­changed

WASH­ING­TON — The Fed­eral Re­serve has left its key pol­icy rate un­changed but sig­naled that it plans to keep re­spond­ing to the strong U.S. econ­omy with more in­ter­est rate hikes. The next rate hike is ex­pected in De­cem­ber.

The Fed left its bench­mark rate in a range of 2 per­cent to 2.25 per­cent. A state­ment it is­sued Thurs­day af­ter its lat­est pol­icy meet­ing por­trayed the econ­omy as ro­bust, with healthy job growth, low un­em­ploy­ment, solid con­sumer spend­ing and in­fla­tion near the Fed’s 2 per­cent tar­get.

De­spite a U.S. trade war with key na­tions, weaker cor­po­rate in­vest­ment and a slug­gish hous­ing mar­ket, the Fed is show­ing con­fi­dence in the econ­omy’s re­silience. To help con­trol in­fla­tion, it has pro­jected three rate in­creases in 2019 af­ter an ex­pected fourth hike of the year next month.

In de­cid­ing how fast or slowly to keep rais­ing rates, the Fed will be mon­i­tor­ing the pace of growth, the job mar­ket’s strength and gauges of in­fla­tion for clues to how the econ­omy may evolve in the com­ing months. The brisk pace of eco­nomic growth — a 3.5 per­cent an­nual rate in the July-Septem­ber quar­ter, af­ter a 4.2 per­cent rate in the pre­vi­ous quar­ter — has raised the risk that in­fla­tion could be­gin ac­cel­er­at­ing.

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