Experts predict Hurricane Florence will be “the storm of a lifetime” for parts of the Carolina coast, where the National Hurricane Center warns “life-threatening” tidal waves, freshwater flooding and “damaging hurricane-force winds” could take place. The storm is expected to shift further south after making landfall on Friday. President Donald Trump said the government is “totally prepared” — though he also drew fire yesterday for calling his administration’s handling of last year’s Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, an “incredible unsung success.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
The executive producer of 60 Minutes, amid sexual harassment allegations, stepped down from his position at CBS for violating company policy. Jeff Fager disclosed that his employer took action after he sent a text message to a CBS reporter “demanding that she be fair in covering the story” – the company has not commented. Bill Owens will become interim manager of the TV show while the channel has already experienced high-profile departures from CEO Leslie Moonves and former host Charlie Rose.
Five major e-cigarette companies, including popular brand Juul, have been told by the Food and Drug Administration to tackle vaping among minors or risk being banned from selling flavored products. The FDA’s chairman said the problem had reached an “epidemic proportion,” and manufacturers have been given 60 days to show how they would address it. The agency also issued around 1,100 warning letters and 131 fines. The FDA received congressional approval to regulate e-cigarettes in August 2016, although it’s trying to ease regulation to help stop cigarette smoking among adults.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country has identified the suspects in the March poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil. Claiming there’s “nothing criminal” about them, Putin called on the men, identified by British prosecutors as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, to come forward. Petrov and Boshirov — alleged to be Russian intelligence agents — have been charged in absentia for the Novichok nerve agent attack, and Scotland Yard has issued a European arrest warrant for both suspects.
In a letter sent from jail, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has officially withdrawn from next month’s election and named running mate Fernando Haddad to succeed him as the Workers’ Party nominee. Lula, who is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption, had appealed a decision last month by Brazil’s electoral court that barred him from running. Now that the popular ex-president is out of the race, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has taken the lead — though he’s unable to campaign after being stabbed last week during a rally.
Dozens of industry groups representing thousands of companies are set to launch a coalition today aimed at persuading President Trump that his trade tariffs are backfiring. With its Tariffs Hurt the Heartland lobbying campaign, the Americans for Free Trade group will buy media ads, contact members of Congress and host town halls in key swing states. One lobbyist says the “layering effect” of the administration’s tariffs — meant to extract concessions or boost U.S. manufacturing jobs — “has finally gotten everyone to say: ‘Enough is enough.’”
Know This: The Australian newspaper that published a Serena Williams cartoon that was criticized as being racist has printed a version of the offending piece on its front page. In a state of the union address today, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to argue that the euro should replace the U.S. dollar as the global trade currency. And Vietnamese officials have urged residents of Hanoi to stop eating dog and cat meat.
Read This: As international anger builds over the Myanmar government’s alleged role in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, the famous Shepard Fairey posters depicting leader Aung San Suu Kyi have become far less desirable.
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En garde! Appearing in full dress uniform, Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s elite National Guard, pledged in a seven-minute YouTube video yesterday to pound opposition politician Alexei Navalny into a “juicy steak.” Zolotov, President Putin’s former bodyguard, was responding to a video investigation by Navalny into alleged corruption in the National Guard. “The officer corps aren’t allowed to let these things go,” Zolotov said. Navalny, meanwhile, is currently serving a 30-day prison sentence for organizing an unsanctioned protest.
According to data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the company now boasts 70 autonomous vehicles certified for testing, a 27 percent increase since May. If DMV filings — the only official acknowledgment of the highly secretive program — are a reliable indicator, that would give Apple the third-largest fleet of self-driving cars behind GM Cruise and Waymo. The company reported its first low-speed accident last month, one of more than 40 self-driving vehicle accidents so far in 2018.
Will it hit the fan? Home to 9 million pigs across 2,300 farms creating 10 billion pounds of waste annually, the Tar Heel State faces a messy problem as Hurricane Florence nears: The “manure lagoons” that hold the waste are in the storm’s path. Lagoons hit by past hurricanes have flooded, flushing their contents into estuaries and sparking algae blooms and fish deaths. Hog farmers have been urged to prepare accordingly — especially since forecasters say Florence could bring 15 more inches of rainfall than lagoons can handle.
Two weeks before his sentencing on three counts of sexual assault, the disgraced comedian wants Judge Steven O’Neill to recuse himself so a new judge can consider one of Cosby’s previous failed attempts to get the case dismissed. The 81-year-old’s legal team — his third — was reportedly tipped off by a gossip site that O’Neill had a personal grudge against Bruce Castor, the former district attorney. During the trial, O’Neill rejected Castor’s testimony about why he didn’t choose to prosecute Cosby back in 2006.
Last season, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay took his team from a 4-12 record to 11-5 in just four months. Embracing a West Coast style prioritizing passing over running, the 32-year-old is forcing defenses to adapt to his rapid-fire playmaking. Now, offenses across the country are trying to emulate his success by tapping into his playbook — making McVay the “next target,” some scouts say, for teams looking to copy successful strategies.