China strikes back by going after America’s energy companies

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The United States has an abundance of natural gas that pollution-riddled China badly needs to wean itself off coal.

Eying China’s voracious demand, Cheniere Energy, ExxonMobil (XOM) and other American energy companies are racing to build more than two dozen expensive facilities to export liquefied natural gas, which is super-cooled natural gas that can be transported by ship.

China even marked President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing last fall by agreeing to invest as much as $43 billion into an LNG project in Alaska.

But this pairing of an able buyer and well-supplied seller no longer looks like a slam dunk. As part of the escalating trade warChina on Tuesday said it will impose a 10% tariff on $60 billion of US products — including LNG.

The trade tensions could make it more difficult for the next wave of LNG export facilities to get the financing needed to get off the ground.

“It’s obviously very concerning. The potential for some projects to get delayed is very real,” said Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, a trade group that represents Exxon, Chevron (CVX) and other energy companies.

The shale boom created an excess of natural gas in the United States. In a bid to get rid of the glut, the United States began exporting LNG in 2016 when Houston-based Cheniere (LNG)opened the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana. Earlier this year, Dominion Energy (D) opened Cove Point in Maryland, the nation’s second export facility .

China is the big elephant in the room. China’s appetite for LNG is growing rapidly. And it’s on the verge of overtaking Japan as the biggest buyer of LNG in the world.

That’s one major reason why the United States is planning to quadruple its export capacity by building at least 25 new facilities. LNG is a centerpiece of Trump’s energy dominance agenda.

china lng tariffs chart

In the 12 months leading up until June 2018, China was the second-largest buyer of US LNG, according to energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Shell, the US subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA), was the largest seller.

However, China has dialed back its US LNG purchases in recent months as trade tensions have ratcheted up, according to ClipperData. Beijing is instead turning more to LNG powerhouses Qatar, Australia and Russia.

“China has been able to find willing sellers closer to its own backyard,” said Matt Smith, ClipperData’s director of commodity research.

Tariffs less than feared

Now, the tariffs will likely price US LNG out of the Chinese market, according to S&P Global Platts.

“There are other suppliers around the world that would gladly supply China — and they don’t have a 10% tariff,” said Riedl.

Kyle Isakower, vice president for economic policy at the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement that the trade situation “works against US energy sector growth and counter to the administration’s stated goal of ‘energy dominance.'”

The good news is that China had threatened an even bigger tariff — 25% — on US LNG. Cheniere’s share price rallied 2% on Tuesday in response to the lower-than-feared rate.

In any case, analysts don’t believe that overall US LNG exports will be dramatically hurt in the short run. There are plenty of other buyers, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Latin America. And Washington has been pushing Europe to break its addiction to natural gas from Russia.

“If China buys less, someone else will buy more,” said Pavel Molchanov, an energy analyst at Raymond James. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Chinese buyer, a European buyer or a Latin American buyer. Revenue is revenue.”

lng tanker

Will projects get shelved?

The real fallout of the US-China trade war could be felt in that next wave of LNG projects that’s in the works.

Due to the enormous cost to build each facility, financing hinges on the ability to sign a long-term buyer to a contract. And the obvious buyer had been China. Until now, that is.

For instance, Cheniere announced plans in May to expand its Corpus Christi export terminal in Texas. The expansion was backstopped in part by a contract with PetroChina (PTR).

Cheniere did not respond to a request for comment on the impact of the tariffs from China.

In August, Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco told analysts that threatened tariffs from China may slow down talks with counterparts in China about future growth.

However, Fusco said that the tariffs won’t impact existing contracts. And he emphasized that the US-China energy relationship has been beneficial to both sides, including by creating thousands of direct and indirect American jobs.

“China is an important growth market for Cheniere,” Fusco said. “We expect to sell meaningful amounts of LNG into China over the long term.”

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Kim Jong Un hugs Moon Jae-in as inter-Korean summit starts

South Korean president arrives in North Korea

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South Korean president arrives in North Korea 01:57

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in on his arrival in Pyongyang Tuesday for their third summit this year, as the two countries look to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The two leaders smiled and hugged at the foot of Moon’s plane at Sunan International Airport, amid crowds of cheering North Koreans waving flowers and national flags, including those symbolizing a unified Korean Peninsula.
Moon and Kim and their wives then shook hands with various officials, before reviewing a North Korean ceremonial guard. The highly choreographed scene, set to military music, lasted around 15 minutes.
It was the first time Kim had greeted visitors at the airport since the young North Korean leader took power in 2011, according to South Korean officials.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, left, are greeted by Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

Later in the day, the two rode in an open-topped car through the streets of Pyongyang, waving to thousands of onlookers who had lined the streets.
The historic three-day-trip marks the first time since 2007 that a South Korean president has traveled North.The two leaders will discuss a host of likely issues, including economic cooperation, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and formally ending the Korean War.
“What I want to achieve is peace. Not a tentative change which could be volatile dependent on international situation, but irreversible, permanent and unwavering peace, regardless of what might happen on the global arena,” Moon said on Twitter ahead of his departure.

Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un hug as their wives shake hands.

Moon and Kim vowed to bring an end to the Korean War during their first summit meeting. Though fighting ended 65 years ago, the war has never been formally ended with a peace treaty.
While a formal peace regime officially ending the Korean War would need buy in from the US and China — the other participants in the conflict — experts agree that there is nothing to stop the two Koreas declaring an end to the war themselves, or signing a bilateral peace treaty.

US remains wary

Moon arrived in North Korea with an entourage that includes K-pop stars and nearly a dozen business leaders, including Jay Y. Lee, the head of Samsung.
Though Pyongyang will likely relish the opportunity to court South Korean investors, ongoing nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States are also expected to feature prominently on the agenda.
The third meeting comes as the diplomatic efforts to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles appear to have hit an impasse. It’s been three months since US President Donald Trump met Kim in Singapore — the first-ever summit between the sitting leaders of their two countries — but there have been no visible steps made by North Korea to suggest it has stopped the development of its nuclear arsenal.

Trump and Kim Jong Un's ups and downs

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Trump and Kim Jong Un’s ups and downs 03:02
The United Nations’ head of political affairs, Rosemary di Carlo, said Monday there are signs North Korea is “still maintaining and developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.”
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, delivered a similar assessment last month when he said the Trump administration does not feel North Korea was living up to its end of the agreement reached between Trump and Kim in Singapore, a page-and-a-half document that critics assailed as too short on specifics.
The problem, analysts say, is that North Korea will likely never give up its nuclear weapons unless it has a peaceful and productive relationship with the United States.
Washington is likely only willing to fundamentally change its relationship with Pyongyang if Kim were to give up his nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles he needs to deliver them.
“I am willing to talk candidly with Chairman Kim Jong Un to find a balance between the US’ demands for denuclearization and North Korea’s request for dropping hostile policies and enforcing measures to secure their safety,” Moon said Monday.
“I believe that the denuclearization issue can be progressed at a rapid pace if the two leaders face each other again and talk.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center left, waves as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center right, applauds upon Moon's arrival at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang Tuesday.

Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have preached patience in recent weeks, with Pompeo telling reporters Friday that the US will continue to use a strategy that involves negotiation while also enforcing the stringent sanctions levied on Pyongyang by the United States and the United Nations.
“The United States is as committed as ever to continuing to enforce those UN Security Council resolutions,” Pompeo said.
“We believe they are central to President Trump’s efforts to convince Chairman Kim that full, final denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is necessary.”

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump shake hands during their summit in Singapore on June 12.

Rolling out the red carpet

If history is any precedent, North Korea will continue to pull out all the stops for Moon and his entourage.
The previous two South Korean Presidents who visited North Korea, President Roh Moo-hyun in 2007 and President Kim Dae-jung in 2000, were both given a hero’s welcome.
Kim, the first South Korean leader ever to travel North, won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, but his legacy was tainted after it was revealed that South Korea secretly funneled nearly $200 million dollars to the the North Koreans through the Hyundai corporation just days before the talks.

Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, top; Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong Il, bottom left; and Kim Jong Il and Roh Moo-hyun, bottom right.

Like Kim and Roh before him, Moon was also greeted on arrival in Pyongyang by scores of cheering civilians, many in colorful traditional dress. Moon’s office said he will also stay at the same venue where Kim Jong Il, the late North Korean leader, hosted Kim Dae-jung and Roh, the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse.
Photos of the luxury property emerged in June after Kim Jong Un hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov there. The guesthouse was surrounded by well manicured grass and colorful flowers — “Paekhwawon” means “garden of a hundred flowers.”
But beyond the pomp and circumstances, it’s unclear if this summit will end in any sort of formal agreement. Moon’s office insists that its important for the two Korean leaders to continue meeting on a regular basis in order to work toward peace.
“We don’t mean to add another declaration or another agreement,” Yoon Young-chan, a spokesman for Moon, said Tuesday. “We’re moving towards a new era.”
COURTESY: CNN

Made in America: Shrapnel found in Yemen ties US bombs to string of civilian deaths over course of bloody civil war

Exclusive Report

A wounded Yemeni child awaits treatment after a strike on a school bus in Saada on August 9, 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, a CNN investigation found remnants of a US-made bomb at the scene of an airstrike that left dozens of schoolboys dead. Now, an independent Yemen-based human rights group called Mwatana has given CNN exclusive access to a trove of documents that show fragments of US-manufactured bombs at the scene of a string of other incidents since 2015, when the civil war began. In each of those cases, civilians were either killed or put at risk.

Mwatana, which documents violations by all parties in Yemen’s conflict, used its network of trained field researchers to photograph evidence at the scene of strikes. The group consulted weapons experts to identify the weapons used from serial numbers found on the fragments. Mwatana was recognized last month with an award by US body Human Rights First.

While CNN was not on the ground, we have made our own checks using image metadata and publicly available government websites linking each of these incidents to a US manufacturer. An internationally renowned weapons expert also analyzed each image for CNN.

The incidents give a snapshot of US involvement in Yemen’s conflict through its support for the Saudi-led coalition that is battling a Houthi-led rebel insurgency. The United States says it does not make targeting decisions for the coalition. But it does support its operations through billions of dollars in arms sales, the refueling of Saudi combat aircraft and some sharing of intelligence.

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Video: US-made weapons linked to Yemen deaths 5:25

Mwatana’s chairwoman, Radhya al-Mutawakel, told CNN that the US bore a “legal and moral responsibility for selling weapons to the Saudi-led coalition” that are worsening the conflict in Yemen.

“In more than one way and during more than one incident, remnants of American weapons have been found at the site of airstrikes that killed civilians,” she told CNN from Geneva, Switzerland. “Yemeni civilians are dying every day because of this war and you (America) are fueling this war, so stop fueling this war. It is a shame that financial interests are worth more than the blood of innocent people.”

Cdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, told CNN that “the final decisions on the conduct of operations in the campaign are made by the members of the Saudi-led coalition, not the United States.” Rebarich called “upon all parties to take all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians” and said the US took “all credible accounts of civilian casualties seriously.”

Col. Turki al-Malki, the Saudi-led coalition spokesman, told CNN that the coalition would investigate.  The “coalition takes any allegations of incidents very seriously” and “targeting operations are carried out in conformity to the rules of engagement, which resemble the highest international standards,” he added.

US defense contractor Raytheon has not yet responded to a CNN request for comment.

  • 2015

    • Mwatana

      APRIL 30, 2015

      Strike on home kills one, injures six

      Coalition jets drop a bomb on a residential neighborhood in al-Basateen District, Dar Sa’ad District, Aden Governorate, according to Mwatana. The bomb lands on the home of Haifa’ al-Zawqari, who was killed in the attack, while six others, including a young girl and two women, are wounded, Mwatana says.

      CNN found that the National Stock Number (NSN) and part number on this remnant are those of a GBU-12 laser guided bomb manufactured by Raytheon, a US defense contractor. The bomb weighs 230-330 kilograms and contains 87 kilograms of highly explosive H6.

      GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb

      GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb

    • Mwatana

      MAY 26, 2015; OCTOBER 9, 2015

      Airstrikes hit a school

      A coalition airstrike hits the Ahmed Bakri School in the al-Taheta area of Hodeidah on two separate occasions, according to Mwatana. There are no recorded casualties, the group says.

      CNN found that the Commercial And Government Entity (CAGE) number on the shrapnel — “96214” — sources this weapon to Raytheon. “ADAPTER ASSY FORWARD” may relate to a GBU forward control unit used to modify a roughly 450-kilogram MK-83 bomb. It’s unclear which of the two strikes produced these remnants.

      MK-83 bomb modified with a GBU

      MK-83 bomb modified with a GBU

    • Mwatana

      AUGUST 10, 2015

      Cluster bombs hit farmer’s home, kill 10 civilians

      Saudi-led coalition planes drop three cluster bombs on the home of 28-year-old farmer Majed Ali in Bani Haddad Village, Haradh District, Hajjah Governorate, according to Mwatana. Six children and three women are among the dead, and six other civilians are injured, the group says.

      Mwatana researchers found the outer shell of a CBU-58A/B — a 430-kilogram US-made cluster bomb. CNN determined that the NSN on the remnant linked the munition to an aircraft dispenser and bomb manufactured in 1977 by the Air Armament Center, a division of the US government’s Air Force Materiel Command. The center, which closed in 2012, was once responsible for the development, acquisition, testing, and deployment of all air-delivered weapons for the US Air Force. Weapons experts told Mwatana there are usually about 630 BLU-63 spherical bomblets inside the type of shell found. According to Human Rights Watch, the United States exported 1,000 cluster bombs of this type to Saudi Arabia between 1970 and 1995. The United States is one of seven nations — including China, Israel, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Saudi Arabia — that have rejected a ban on the sale or use of cluster bombs.

      CBU-58A/B

      CBU-58A/B

    • Mwatana

      AUGUST 28, 2015

      Strike on two houses kills 8 people

      Coalition jets drop three bombs targeting two adjacent houses in the governorate of al-Zahar, Ibb province, according to Mwatana. The attack kills eight people and injures 12 others, according to the group.

      According to an internationally renowned weapons expert consulted by CNN, this fragment appears to be part of a rear fin for a guidance unit. The CAGE number “78301” sources the part to Simonds Machinery, a company based in San Francisco. Simonds is not a weapons manufacturer, but Mwatana’s experts believe this is a part from a US-made bomb.

    • Mwatana

      SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

      Two hurt in bombing of home

      Saudi-led coalition fighters drop a bomb targeting the home of a civilian in Sana’a governorate, according to Mwatana. Two people are injured, the group says.

      The CAGE number and data on this image identify the fragment as a piece of a control actuator manufactured by Raytheon for use with its bombs. The date stamp shows this part was made in September 2010.

  • 2016

    • Mwatana

      JANUARY 6, 2016

      Factory burns for three days

      An airstrike hits a factory that stocks thousands of car parts in the Kilo 7 commercial area of Hodeidah province, Mwatana says. There are no reported casualties, but the bombing causes a fire that burns for three days, an eyewitness tells the group.

      CNN found that the CAGE number “96214” on this piece of shrapnel belongs to Raytheon. The NSN indicates that this is a guidance kit which may have been used to modify an MK-82 bomb. The markings show it was made in May 2015.

      MK-82 bomb modified with guidance kit

      MK-82 bomb modified with guidance kit

    • Mwatana

      FEBRUARY 2, 2016

      Missile strike kills 1 civilian, injures 8

      A missile from a coalition aircraft strikes the village of Al-Saar in the Hajar district of Hajjah province, according to Mwatana. One civilian is killed and eight are wounded, the group says.

      CNN found the NSN on the remnant was linked to an aircraft dispenser and bomb manufactured by the Air Armament Center, a division of the US government’s Air Force Materiel Command. The dispenser seen in the image is marked as model type CBU-52B/B, which holds 220 bomblets that would disperse in mid-air across an area roughly the size of several football fields.

      CBU-52B/B

      CBU-52B/B

    • Mwatana

      SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

      Strike on vehicle kills 15 members of one family

      An airstrike blows up a vehicle in Al-Mutama district, Al-Jawf governorate, killing 15 members of a single family including 12 children, the youngest a one-year-old boy, according to Mwatana. “Their bodies were torn to shreds. Flesh was hanging from the plants and trees,” an eyewitness tells Mwatana.

      CNN found that the CAGE number “96214” on this piece of shrapnel belongs to Raytheon. The NSN indicates this is part of a control system for a GBU-12 laser guided bomb.

      GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb

      GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb

    • Mwatana

      SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

      Apartment bombing kills 6

      An airstrike in the Dahar district of Ibb province targeted an apartment building, killing six people and wounding one, Mwatana says. Eyewitnesses tell the group they fled, terrified after the explosion and returned to find an entire family, their neighbors, wounded and dying in the street.

      The CAGE number “96214” on this part belongs to Raytheon. The Manufacturing Parts Number (or SKU) indicates this is the fin of a guidance kit that may have been used to modify an MK-82 bomb.

      MK-82 bomb modified with guidance kit

      MK-82 bomb modified with guidance kit

    • Mwatana

      OCTOBER 5, 2016

      Man killed in cluster bomb strike on fishing boat

      A cluster munition fired by Saudi-led coalition forces hits a fishing boat on the coast of Al-Hima village in Hodeidah Governorate, according to Mwatana. One man is killed, the group says.

      CNN found that the CAGE number “18894” on the remnants correlates to the US government’s Air Armament Center, a division of the Air Force Materiel Command. An arms expert for Mwatana found the parts number “ASSY 8562837-5” linked to a large-scale anti-armor submunition, one of four carried by the US-manufactured cluster bomb BLU-108. Each submunition dangles under a parachute at a predetermined altitude, scans through a built-in infrared device, and explodes when it finds a target or upon impact.

      BLU-108 submunitions contained within a Sensor Fuzed Weapon

      BLU-108 submunitions contained within a Sensor Fuzed Weapon

  • 2018

    • Mwatana

      APRIL 22, 2018

      Strike on wedding kills 21, including children

      Saudi-led coalition forces target a wedding party in Bani Qais District, Hajja Governorate, on a Sunday evening, Mwatana says. The strike kills 21 civilians, including 11 children, and injures another 97, 48 of them children, according to the group.

      Mwatana’s researchers found parts of the missile tail used in this attack. According to a weapons experts consulted by Mwatana, the part in the above photo is part of a retractor mechanism, which is used with the model GBU-12 or any other model within the set of the US-made GBU bombs. Another image from Houthi rebel-run media of the same attack showed a piece of shrapnel with the CAGE number “96214,” linking the bomb to Raytheon, and the serial number in the photo indicates it is a wing assembly part from a GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb. Investigations website Bellingcat also identified the remnant as a wing assembly part from a GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb based on a photograph published by local media.

      GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb
      GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb
      COURTESY: CNN

Ethiopia: Thousands protest ethnic-based violence

AFRICA

The Ethiopian government has denounced overnight ethnic-based violence on the outskirts of the capital. Thousands of Ethiopians took to the streets to demonstrate on Monday.

    
Protest in Addis Abeba (picture-alliance/AA/M.W. Hailu)

As democratic reforms launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government slowly take shape in Ethiopia, several areas surrounding the capital Addis Ababa were hit by what is the latest round of violence in the country.

Thousands of angry Ethiopians took to the streets of Addis Ababa in protest on Monday after a weekend of ethnically motivated attacks that saw 23 people killed and dozens arrested on the outskirts of the capital over the weekend.

Chris Stein

@ChrisJStein

Groups of protesters passing through Meskel Square

Fighting broke out in the wake of the return of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) leaders — once banned and termed terrorists by the government — to the country, invited back by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

“We demand justice,” some of the rally-goers chanted. “The government’s task is to protect its citizens, not to send condolences after they are butchered.”

Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, condemned the killings.

Fitsum Arega

@fitsumaregaa

PM Abiy Ahmed strongly condemns the killings & acts of violence against innocent citizens around Ashawa Meda, Kataa & Fili Doro last night. These cowardly attacks represent a grave concern to the unity & solidarity of our people & will be met with appropriate response.

The nearby town of Burayu also reportedly faced ethnically-motivated violence, according to theReporter Ethiopia news website, including deaths and thousands of displaced. The news platform says people are still fleeing their homes, with many headed to Addis Ababa.

The Reporter@TheReporterET

Sources added that women have been raped and many have been displaced and sought refuge in a church, a school and Red Cross erected tents in Addis Ababa.https://www.thereporterethiopia.com/article/conflict-burayu-surrounding-claims-lives 

Conflict in Burayu, surrounding claims lives

Ethnically charged conflict in Burayu and surrounding towns has claimed the lives of unknown number of people and displaced thousands of others, The Reporter learnt.

thereporterethiopia.com

On Monday in the capital, the protesters headed to Meskel Square, where just two days earlier thousands had gathered to welcome some 1,500 OLF fighters returning to Ethiopia from their base in neighboring Eritrea. The group has for decades advocated the “right to national self-determination” for the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. Their return was preceded by scuffles between rival groups.

Ethiopia's Oromo people gather to celebrate the return of the Oromo Liberation Front in Addis AbabaA woman joins celebrations in Addis Ababa for the return of the formerly banned Oromo Liberation FrontDawud Ibsa, chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front, now back in Addis AbabaEthiopia's Oromo people gather in Addis Ababa for the return of the formerly banned Oromo Liberation Front

AFP Africa@AFPAfrica

For years they were banned as a terror group but following changes introduced by Ethiopia’s reformist PM Abiy Ahmed, rebels from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) have returned home, bringing thousands onto the streets of Addis to celebrate @AFP http://u.afp.com/o6QV 

The OLF return comes amid sweeping government reforms to bring opposition groups back into politics. In a first step earlier this year, the OLF was one of the groups removed from a list of terror groups. Tensions in restive areas dramatically declined when the Abiy government released several thousand prisoners, unblocked websites and welcomed opposition voices.

Government welcomes OLF

The government also welcomed the returnees.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Fitsum Arega

@fitsumaregaa

We welcome warmly the leadership & members of OLF to . A peaceful contest of ideas will move us from a culture of conflict into a culture of peace. In a pluralistic society, all of us need to respect our rich diversity.Rule of law is the virtue that makes peace possible.

“I’m happy to be here after 26 years of struggle from outside of Ethiopia,” the OLF leader Dawud Ibsa told reporters, adding that the OLF has struggled to bring the changes that are happening now in Ethiopia. “We are now seeing positive signs that include the respect for rule of law: That’s why we came here,” he said.

Deal to ease cros-border tensions after decades of hostilities

Just one day after the OLF returned to their native country, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement at a summit in Saudi Arabia. The deal is aimed at bolstering a historic peace accord between the two former Horn of Africa enemies. In July, Abiy and Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki had signed a “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” that formally restored diplomatic relations. Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, and war broke out later that decade over a border dispute.

“There is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

COURTESY: DW

Russia, Turkey agree to create demilitarized zone around Syria’s Idlib

NEWS

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to forge a demilitarized zone between rebels and Syrian government forces in Syria’s Idlib region.

    
Syrien Idlib - Zerstörter Marktplatz nach Luftangriff (picture-alliance/AA/A. Sayid)

The presidents of Turkey and Russia agreed on Monday to declare Syria’s Idlib province as a “demilitarized zone,” with the aim of halting the Syrian government’s assault on the rebel-held region.

The agreement marks a major diplomatic victory for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was eager to prevent a major Syrian government assault, backed by Russian air power, on the last remaining rebel stronghold in Syria.

What’s in the Idlib deal?

As part of the Russia-Turkey agreement:

  • Both forces will establish a 15 to 20 kilometer (9 to 12.5 mile) wide demilitarized zone around the Idlib province by October 15
  • Radical rebel groups, such as the Al-Nusra Front, will be ordered to leave the region
  • Rebel forces must give up their heavy arms, including tanks and rockets
  • The Syrian government and Russia will gain access to a key highway passing through Idlib that connects the north of the country with other major cities
  • Both Turkish and Russian military troops will patrol the region

Watch video00:24

Putin: ‘There will be a demilitarized zone’

‘A serious result’

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed Monday’s deal as a “serious result,” adding that “Russia and Turkey have confirmed their determination to counter terrorism in Syria in all its forms.”

Putin also said he believed the agreement would also go some way in ending Syria’s bloody seven-year civil war. “It is our common belief that the practical realization of the planned steps will provide an additional impulse for the process of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict,” he said.

Erdogan said the Idlib buffer zone was crucial to preventing a “big humanitarian crisis.”

The Turkish president added: “Our solidarity on regional issues will give hope to the region. At the moment, I believe, not only our region but also the world is looking at Sochi today.”

Read more: What is Iran’s role in Syria if Assad wins the war?

Infografik Karte Streitkräfte im Idlib-Region Syrien EN

Turkey’s diplomatic win: The creation of a demilitarized zone around Idlib marked a significant U-turn by Putin, who just last week during talks in Iran dismissed Erdogan’s calls for a ceasefire. According to the exiled Syrian opposition, Russia’s decision to abstain from the offensive represented a diplomatic success for Turkey and the United States, who had also warned against further strikes on Idlib.

Bloodbath averted: The threat of a Syrian onslaught on Idlib had prompted several countries, including Germany, to warn of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the region. Despite coming under almost non-stop bombardment for several years, the area is still home to some 3 million Syrians, around 60,000 of whom are believed to be rebel fighters. Turkey also said it feared that an attack on the rebel bastion would trigger a mass exodus across it borders.

Idlib: A ‘hotbed’ for terrorism? The Russian government has repeatedly described Idlib as a “hotbed” for terrorism, even claiming that rebel forces were preparing a chemical attack that would ultimately be blamed on the Syrian regime. Turkey, however, has criticized the Assad government for using the presence of jihadists as pretext for a potential onslaught.

Syria still determined to wipe out Al-Nusra Front: A key part of Monday’s deal appeared to be Turkey agreeing to order the evacuation of Al-Nusra Front forces from Idlib. Earlier on Monday, the Damascus’ ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva indicated that the government would continue its onslaught against the group, which it views as a terrorist organization.

Watch video26:00

Battle for Idlib: Endgame in Syria?

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

dm/rc (AP, AFP, dpa)

COURTESY: DW

Dozens dead in Philippines, now Typhoon Mangkhut pummels China

NEWS

Hong Kong and Macau are battening down the hatches as the super typhoon hits southern China. Mangkhut left at least 66 people dead in the Philippines, as it smashed property, tore down power lines, and caused landslides.

    
A woman runs in the rainstorm in Shenzhen (Reuters/J. Lee)

After leaving a trail of destruction through the Philippines, Typhoon Mangkhut was battering China on Sunday, with Hong Kong and Macau bearing the brunt of its force. Officials in Manila said that the storm had claimed at least 64 lives in their countries, while two were confirmed dead in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong authorities issued their highest storm signal, No. 10, despite the typhoon weakening slightly as it moved across the South China Sea.

Freelance reporter James Ross told DW that “furiously-high winds, torrential rain, and storm surges are hitting all the coastal areas” of Hong Kong.

He said the territory had already seen major flooding in low-lying areas, roads and highways blocked by fallen trees and debris, and damage to buildings with windows smashed by the winds.

China Central Television also reported surges as high as 3 meters (10 feet).

Worst in many years

“This seems like the worst typhoon I’ve experienced in 15 years here,” Ross added.

The South China Morning Post tweeted videos showing the intensity of the winds as they hit the city and nearby Lantau Island.

SCMP News

@SCMPNews

Typhoon hits Whampoa in http://buff.ly/2My3zdc  🎥: Andy Yeung pic.twitter.com/NWJCV8OTIc

SCMP News

@SCMPNews

Ma Wan, off the eastern edge of ‘s Lantau Island, feels the force of http://buff.ly/2My3zdc  🎥: Sian Loh pic.twitter.com/UHRQq0bKKU

Matt Bossons, Editor-in-Chief at the @thatsshenzhen website, tweeted a video of his Shenzhen hotel being flooded by coastal waters.

Hong Kong international airport canceled most flights on Sunday, leaving tens of thousands of travelers stranded.

Macau, meanwhile, shut all 42 casinos as the territory braced for a bad hit. Authorities there faced criticism last year, when Typhoon Hato left nine people dead and caused widespread damage.

Elsewhere in China, tens of thousands of people were being evacuated to safer areas, amid predictions of severe storm surges along the coast.

Read more: The world’s deadliest hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones

On Saturday, at least 48 people were killed as the typhoon tore through the Philippines’ northern Luzon island, leaving floods and landslides in its wake.

Police said at least 40 people, mostly gold miners, were feared trapped in a landslide, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

A police official told AP that part of a mountain slope collapsed on the miners’ bunkhouses in a small town in Benguet province.

Seven bodies have been dug out by rescuers and an eighth body has been located but not yet retrieved.

Mangkhut made landfall over the town of Baggao, 382 kilometers (237 miles) north of Manila, lashing Cagayan province and nearby areas with maximum winds of 205 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 285 km/h – the equivalent to a Category 5 “intense hurricane” in the Atlantic.

Deadly landslides

Philippine authorities said most of the dead got caught up in landslides in mountainous areas.

Baguio City flooded by typhoon (Reuters/Jordan Rae Salinas)Raging flood waters struck Baguio City as Typhoon Mangkhut hit the Philippines on Saturday

The heavy rains and fierce winds knocked out electricity and communication lines, while thousands of homes and business premises were torn down.

“The landslides happened as some residents returned to their homes after the typhoon,” disaster response coordinator Francis Tolentino told DZMM Radio, adding that 5.7 million people had been affected.

Read more: Philippine’s Duterte orders opposition senator be arrested

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte conducted an ariel inspection of the worst affected region on Sunday.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

ABS-CBN News

@ABSCBNNews

LOOK: President Duterte conducts an aerial inspection of Cagayan (📷: SAP Bong Go) | via @pia_gutierrez

The Philippines, which is hit by about 20 typhoons a year, is considered one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

mm,es/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

COURTESY: DW

Florence pummels the Carolinas

LIVE UPDATES

By Brian RiesVeronica RochaMeg WagnerPaul P. Murphy and Eric Levenson, CNN

Updated 2 hr 51 min ago11:19 p.m. ET, September 15, 2018

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Here’s what’s next for Tropical Storm Florence

Here’s what’s next for Tropical Storm Florence

NOAA

LIVE UPDATES

Florence pummels the Carolinas

By Brian RiesVeronica RochaMeg WagnerPaul P. Murphy and Eric Levenson, CNN

Updated 2 hr 41 min ago11:19 p.m. ET, September 15, 2018

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2 hr 41 min ago

13,000 US soldiers assigned

The US Army is committing troops to help with Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, providing soldiers and engineers, as well as planes and amphibious vehicles.

More than 13,000 service members have been deployed to provide support in affected areas, from the US Army and the National Guard as well as teams from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army is also freeing up 4,500 cots, 200 medical beds and 18 water purification systems.

In a news release the US Army said it was also supplying:

  • Over 70 rotary wing aircraft plus another 200 additional aircraft available within 24-72 hours if necessary.
  • Approximately 30 watercraft and 3,000 Army High Water Vehicles from Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Drum, New York; and Fort Campbell, Kentucky for ground search and rescue, commodities distribution, citizen transportation, and patient movement.
3 hr 9 min ago

Hurricane death toll rises to 13

Two more deaths in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence were recorded in Horry County, in South Carolina, late Sunday, taking the total toll from the storm to 13. The latest deaths involve a man and woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the SC Department of Public Safety.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

10 in North Carolina

  • A 41-year-old woman and her seven-month-old son died in Wilmington on Sept. 14 when a tree fell on their home.
  • A 68-year-old man in Lenoir County died when he was electrocuted while plugging in a generator on Sept. 14.
  • A 77-year-old man in Lenoir County fell and died due to a cardiac event while outside checking on dogs during the storm on the night of Sept. 13/14.
  • An 81-year-old man in Wayne County fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate on Sept. 14.
  • A husband and wife died in a house fire in Cumberland County on Sept. 14.
  • Duplin County has had 3 fatalities due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways.

3 in South Carolina 

  • A 61-year-old woman lost her life when her car struck a tree that fell down during the aftermath of Hurricane — she’s been named as Mrs. Amber Dawn Lee from Union County.
  • Two fatalities occurred when a man and woman died in Horry County due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the SC Dept of Public Safety.
5 hr 56 min ago

Update: Over 732,000 customers without power in the Carolinas

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, there are  704,483 statewide power outages. Electric cooperatives of South Carolina report 28,328 outages.

That brings the total number of customers without power to 732,811 across both states.

5 hr 29 min ago

Lumber River in North Carolina now at 17.6 feet

From CNN’s Cassie Spodak

Corey Walters, City of Lumberton deputy director of public works, tells CNN the Lumber River is currently at 17.6 feet. When the water reaches 26 feet, it is projected to overwhelm the barriers and flood the nearby communities. The area has already been put under a mandatory evacuation order.

There is flooding “everywhere in the city… the rescues are non-stop,” Walters said, adding that there have been “hundreds of rescues.”

“This is our worst-case scenario,” Walters said.

The deputy director said city has received 19 inches of rain since the start of Florence and it is projected to get over 25 inches total.

6 hr 47 min ago

Hurricane baby born after parents flee North Carolina

From CNN’s Dakin Andone

As Florence battered the Carolina coast, one couple who evacuated their home in New Bern, North Carolina, welcomed a baby girl.

Rachel and Levi English left the state to seek refuge at a relative’s home in Pennsylvania, and it wasn’t long after arrived that baby Matilda made her entrance.

Read more here.

6 hr 52 min ago

Death toll rises to 11

Florence has killed at least 11 people in both North Carolina and South Carolina, officials from both states have reported. Duplin County, North Carolina, has had 3 fatalities due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways, according to the Sheriff’s Office, bringing the state’s storm-related deaths to ten people.

North Carolina’s Chief Medical Examiner’s office has details on the 7 deaths in that state:

  • 41-year-old female and her seven-month-old son died in Wilmington, NC, when a tree fell on their home
  • 68-year-old male in Lenoir County, NC, who died when he was electrocuted while plugging in a generator
  • 77-year-old male in Lenoir County, NC, who fell and died due to a cardiac event while outside checking on dogs during the storm
  • An 81-year-old man in Wayne County, NC, who fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate
  • A husband and wife died in a house fire in Cumberland County, NC

In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster released the name of the woman who died.

  • Amber Dawn Lee, 61, from Union County, SC, died when her car struck a tree that fell down during the aftermath of Florence, according to a South Carolina Office of Emergency Management official
3 hr 16 min ago

Man arrested for allegedly looting in North Carolina

A man was arrested for allegedly looting an Exxon gas station and convenience store in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Saturday, according to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

New Hanover Sheriff@NewHanoverSO

NHSO has just arrested a man for looting the Exxon Store at 810 N College Rd. Sheriff McMahon said if you break into someone’s home or business we will arrest you!

From the New Hanover Sheriff’s twitter account:

“If you break into someone’s home or business, we will arrest you!”

 

7 hr 24 min ago

NOAA Satellites show Florence’s slow march inland

NOAA Satellites

@NOAASatellites

The center of is still slowly making its way across eastern South Carolina, as seen by . Heavy rains and catastrophic flooding persist across parts of the Carolinas. Latest: http://go.usa.gov/xPgvE 

NOAA says in a tweet:

“The center of #Florence is still slowly making its way across eastern South Carolina, as seen by #GOESEast. Heavy rains and catastrophic flooding persist across parts of the Carolinas.”

7 hr 29 min ago

Hazardous situation near Lumber River in North Carolina

From CNN’s Polo Sandoval

The situation is quickly growing more dangerous for people in the low-lying areas near the Lumber River in Lumberton, North Carolina.

The message below was sent out by the Robeson County PIO.

“ALL SHELTERS ARE OPEN. St Pauls High School, Purnell Swett High School, Lumberton High School, Fairmont Middle. Please evacuate NOW if you are living in a low-lying area or your home is flooding. Please share this important!!!!!”

7 hr 34 min ago

1 additional storm-related fatality in North Carolina

Duplin County, North Carolina, has had three fatalities due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways, according to the sheriff’s office.

This brings storm-related fatalities to nine. Eight people have died in North Carolina while one person died in South Carolina.

7 hr 32 min ago

Trump and Pence receive update on storm at the White House

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence receive an emergency preparedness update call on the impact of Hurricane Florence in the Treaty Room of the White House.

8 hr 56 min ago

The Lumber River is rising faster than officials expected

From CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton

The water in the Lumber River is rising faster than officials in Lumberton, North Carolina, expected, Corey Walters, City of Lumberton deputy director of public works, tells CNN’s Cassie Spodak.

It’s estimated the water is now close to 15 feet — flood stage is 13 feet.

The city has spent the last 24 hours frantically trying to build up a barrier in a gap in the levee system here, where a train track runs under I-95, that helped lead to the devastating flooding after Hurricane Matthew, he said.

Lumberton public information officer Emily Jones told CNN the water is rising faster than expected and has already reached 14 feet. It is expected to reach 24 feet by lunch time tomorrow.

There is no mandatory evacuation but residents in the low-lying areas that were flooding during Hurricane Matthew should leave now.

8 hr 40 min ago

Out-of-state travelers should avoid driving through NC, DOT says

From CNN’s Keith Allen and Greg Wallace

People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon is asking out-of-state travelers to avoid driving through North Carolina, as much of the state is dealing with rising flood waters from Florence.

“We could see this for several days,” Trogdon said at a Saturday press conference. “This is what we need to do today to make sure motorists are safe in North Carolina.”

“Stay off the roads in most parts of North Carolina,” NC Governor Roy Cooper echoed. “All roads in the state are at risk of floods.”

All lanes of Interstate 95 are closed in both directions between Exit 81 near Raleigh-Durham and Exit 65 near Godwin, due to flooding, according to NC DOT.

While a portion of Interstate 95 near Dunn, North Carolina, is expected to re-open tomorrow, NC DOT anticipates additional closures in the Fayetteville area, near the Cape Fear River. Those closures could last a week.

Drivers from neighboring Georgia and Virginia are being asked to use alternative routes, NC DOT says.

Detours for through traffic have been established. Here’s a hotline for navigation assistance: 1-833-786-7618.

10 hr 1 min ago

Water Rescues completed in the city of New Bern

The City of New Bern has completed all of its water rescues, the city posted on its official Twitter account.

City of New Bern@CityofNewBern

We have completed all of our water rescues & want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who helped us save lives. You rock! We couldn’t have done it without you! If boaters are looking to help, pls reach out to other communities who might still have needs.

According to CNN meteorologists, as of Friday evening, New Bern had already seen more than 10 feet of storm surge and likely more than 10 inches of rain, and hundreds of people had to be rescued.

As of Saturday morning, 100 remained waiting for help.

New Bern, home to approximately 30,000 people, sits about 37 miles northeast of Jacksonville, North Carolina, on the banks of the Neuse River. Thursday, a CNN team in the area watched as the water spilled over the edge of the river and flooded Union Point Park in a matter of hours.

12 hr 6 min ago

Fayetteville police warn everyone within a mile of the river to evacuate

Residents of Cumberland County, the city of Fayetteville, and the town of Wade, have been ordered to evacuate as officials fear rising river waters will lead to widespread flooding.

“All residents within one mile of the banks of the Cape Fear and Little River should leave IMMEDIATELY,” the police department tweeted, as the city’s communications director told CNN “the worst is yet to come.”

“We’re starting to see the waters rise rapidly. It’s something we’ve seen before with hurricane Matthew. It’s going to be a little bit worse this time around,” Kevin Arata said.

“What we’re telling people is the worse is yet to come. Really the rains are starting to collect because it’s hitting harder up north. When it goes into those banks or tributaries up there and then comes down, that’s where trouble starts. While we haven’t seen it rise all the way yet, it’s going to happen here in the next 24 to 48 hours,” he said.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Fayetteville Police

@FayettevillePD

*****MANDATORY EVACUATIONS*****

There is a mandatory evacuation in place for citizens of Cumberland County, City of Fayetteville, and the town of Wade. All residents within one mile of the banks of the Cape Fear and Little River should leave IMMEDIATELY

12 hr 24 min ago

The Carolina coast has at least 12 more hours of rain to go

Play Video

Florence is traveling westward, but it’s not done dumping rain on the Carolina coast.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said some coastal areas of North and South Carolina should prepare for another 12 hours of rain — or more.

“That question of when does it finally end is on a lot of folk’s minds. The problem is for the majority of them, you still have at least probably a good 12 hours to go, if not longer,” she said.

That’s because Florence is moving at a speed of about 2 mph. That’s slower than most people walk.

“You could probably walk faster than this storm has been moving. The good news is it is still moving,” she said.

12 hr 47 min ago

1 dead in South Carolina

From CNN’s Chuck Johnson

A 61-year-old woman died in South Carolina when her car hit a tree that fell in Hurricane Florence, according to South Carolina Office of Emergency Management spokesman Antonio Diggs.

Diggs said the woman was driving in Union County on Friday but did give any additional details.

This is the first death reported in South Carolina linked to the storm. Five people have died in North Carolina:

  • A mother and her infant child died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city’s police department said.
  • In the town of Hampstead, a woman in cardiac arrest was found dead after emergency responders found their path blocked by downed trees, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.
  • Two men in Lenoir County also died: One who was hooking up a generator and another who was checking on his dogs outside.
12 hr 53 min ago

More than 150 blood drives were canceled because of Florence

The American Red Cross says more than 150 blood drives have been canceled through early next week in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia because of Florence.

Those cancelations will result in more than 4,400 uncollected blood and platelet donations, the organization said.

“We need platelet blood donations now, and in the coming days, to recover the donations canceled by the storm,” the Red Cross said in a statement.

The organization is encouraging residents in unaffected areas to donate blood to help.

13 hr 11 min ago

North Carolina governor: If you’re safe, stay put

Florence is unloading “epic amounts of rainfall,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a press conference Saturday.

“The flood danger from this storm is more immediate today than when it made landfall 24 hours ago,” he said.

Cooper also offered advice for residents:

  • “If you are safe, stay put. We know that people are anxious to get back home. But don’t go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear.”
  • “Water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don’t typically flood. Many people who think that the storm has missed them have yet to see its threat.
  • “Remember, most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars. Don’t drive across standing or moving water.

On top of the advice, Cooper shared some words of hope and inspiration.

“We in North Carolina have been through tough storms and this one is sure testing us,” he said. “But now is the time for us to persevere. I have never known North Carolinians to quit in the face of a challenge and we’re not about to start.”

Watch more:

CNN Newsroom

@CNNnewsroom

NC Governor Roy Cooper’s advice to those affected by Tropical Storm Florence:

– “If you are safe, stay put”

– “Know that the water is rising fast, everywhere”

– “Many people who think that the storm has missed them, have yet to see its threat” http://cnn.it/2My4tGr 

13 hr 24 min ago

These are the top wind speeds recorded across North Carolina

A volunteer rescue truck drives underneath a fallen tree in New Bern, North Carolina.

The National Weather Service is tracking wind speeds across North Carolina.

Here’s a look at some of the peak gusts recorded across the state:

  • New River inlet: 112 mph
  • Fort Macon: 105 mph
  • Wilmington International Airport: 105 mph
  • Cape Lookout: 97 mph
  • Cedar Island: 89 mph
  • Cherry Point: 87 mph
  • Jacksonville: 86 mph
  • Frisco Woods: 80 mph
  • Ocracoke: 80 mph
14 hr 2 min ago

How the government is responding to Florence, by the numbers

From CNN’s From Greg Wallace and Lauren Fox

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency just gave an update on how they’re handling Florence. They said they believe they have adequate supplies including meals and generators.

Here are the latest numbers FEMA provided:

  • 6,500 National Guard have deployed. Another 2,900 active duty are also standing by.
  • 7,500 Coast Guard have deployed.
  • 43 helicopters are in use, and the Coast Guard is beginning to conduct flights to assess damage and the situation on the ground.
  • The military has 1,300 high-water trucks working and available in the region.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers has 120 generators available in the region and more are on the way.
  • US Health & Human Services has 560 personnel deployed, mostly assisting individuals at shelters with their health care needs.
  • The one number we don’t have? There’s no cost estimate from FEMA for this storm. However, “This is going to be a costly storm,” officials said.
14 hr 7 min ago

Almost 1 million customers without power in the Carolinas

More than 960,000 power outages have been reported in North and South Carolina due to the storm.

809,665 power outages have been reported in North Carolina. 155,097 power outages have been reported in South Carolina.

That’s 964,762 customers total without power.

But keep in mind: These numbers reflect the customers without power, not people. A lot of those customers might have multiple people in their households, meaning the number of people without power could be even higher.

14 hr 30 min ago

These are the rain totals across North Carolina (from reporting stations that didn’t break in the storm)

From CNN’s Judson Jones

Parts of North Carolina have seen more than two feet of rain. The city of Swansboro alone has gotten more than 30 inches — which breaks the all-time record for rainfall in a tropical system in the state of North Carolina.

Here’s a breakdown of the top rain fall reports across the state. But note: These are only from stations that are still reporting. It’s unclear how many stations broke during Florence.

  • Swansboro: 30.58 inches
  • Hofmann: 25.87 inches
  • Newport/Morehead City: 23.75 inches
  • Emerald Isle: 23.49 inches
  • Elizabethtown: 20.17 inches
  • Croatan: 19.89 inches
  • Cedar Point: 19.25 inches
  • Mount Olive: 16.80 inches
  • Jacksonville: 16.13 inches
  • Kinston: 16.01 inches
14 hr 38 min ago

South Carolina official: We’re expecting flooding next week

From CNN’s Paul Vercammen

Horry County spokesperson Kelly Brosky said her South Carolina county has some localized flooding but is otherwise doing pretty well. That might change soon though.

“We anticipate more serious flooding next week,” she said.

For now, the situation seems to be under control. There aren’t any major road closures and officials are getting crews on the field to focus on fallen trees and power restoration.

About 87,000 people are without power, and 2,700 people are in shelters, Brosky said.

15 hr 9 min ago

Florence is about 40 miles away from Florence, South Carolina

From CNN’s Judson Jones

Tropical Storm Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

It’s still crawling westward across South Carolina at just 2 mph, which is about as fast as you walk.

“Heavy rains and catastrophic flooding continue across portions of North Carolina and South Carolina,” the service said in an update.

Of note: Florence is about 40 miles south of Florence, South Carolina.

15 hr 14 min ago

All the ponies on this North Carolina island survived the storm

All of the ponies on North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island are safe, the National Park Service tweeted.

Even the pony pen remained intact.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

@CapeHatterasNPS

We are happy to announce that all of the Ocracoke ponies are safe and that the pony pen did not sustain any damage from Hurricane Florence.

Horses were first documented on Ocracoke Island when European colonists settled there in the 1730s. Since then, they’ve been a major part of its history.

We’re not sure how wild horses in other areas are doing, but we’ll keep you posted here as soon as we learn more. Ahead of the storm, experts suggested that North Carolina’s wild horses would be OK.

Meg Puckett, herd manager of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, said the ponies were built to weather storms like Florence.

“These horses have been here centuries,” she told CNN earlier this week. “They are probably better equipped to handle this kind of weather than anybody else on the Outer Banks right now.”

15 hr 21 min ago

2 deaths reported this morning are not actually storm-related, officials say

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston in Atlanta

Two deaths characterized this morning by North Carolina’s Carteret Office of Emergency Services as being “storm related” are not related to Florence, according to the Sheriff’s Department in Carteret County.

On Friday, the Carteret County Sheriff’s Department responded during active hurricane conditions to investigate the reported deaths of residents there, according to a release from the Sheriff’s Department.

A preliminary investigation confirmed the deaths of couple Pauly and Alicia Lewis to be murder-suicide, according to a statement from the department.

Carteret County Emergency Services spokeswoman Amanda Tesch says there are no storm related deaths in the county.

The death toll for Florence stands at 5 people.

  • A mother and her infant child died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city’s police department said.
  • In the town of Hampstead, a woman in cardiac arrest was found dead after emergency responders found their path blocked by downed trees, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.
  • Two men in Lenoir County also died: One who was hooking up a generator and another who was checking on his dogs outside.
15 hr 32 min ago

This is the most rain North Carolina has ever seen during a tropical system

From CNN’s Brandon Miller

Florence has dumped 30.58 inches of rainfall in Swansboro, North Carolina.

This breaks the all-time record for rainfall in a tropical system in the state of North Carolina.

The previous record was 24.06 inches, and it was set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

And remember: This number — and all rain totals — are preliminary and subject to change.

15 hr 53 min ago

FEMA: This storm isn’t over. There’s still a lot of rain to come.

Jeff Byard, with FEMA’s Office of Response and Recovery, urged residents along to Carolina coast to stay vigilant as Florence begins to move away from the area.

While the storm’s winds may be weakening, water — in the form of heavy rainfall, flash flooding and storm surge — is still a concern.

“Wind can hurt you,” Byard said at a Saturday morning news conference. “It is the water, it’s the surge, it’s the rain that … can kill you more than the wind can.”

Water has accounted for more than 75% of all hurricane-related fatalities in the US from 1963 to 2012. Wind, on the other hand, is only responsible for 8% of all deaths.

“There’s a lot of rain to come. There’s a lot of rain that’s fallen,” Byard said.

Watch more:

Play Video

16 hr 13 min ago

North Carolina is still bracing for possible flooding

While Tropical Florence is starting to move away from North Carolina, its effects aren’t over. Many communities are bracing for flooding.

CNN’s Polo Sandoval is reporting from Lumberton, North Carolina.

“The real threat could still be ahead for many communities, because all of that water has to go somewhere,” Sandoval said.

He continued: “Many people here believe that the worst could still be ahead. Yes, they were spared the wind damage, but the floodwaters — that could still be in their future.”

CNN Newsroom

@CNNnewsroom

“The real threat could still be ahead … all that water has to go somewhere,” says @PoloSandovalCNN in Lumberton, North Carolina, where communities face a serious risk of flooding after Tropical Storm Florence http://cnn.it/2NhOsJW 

15 hr 38 min ago

100 people still need to be rescued from one North Carolina city

About 100 people in New Bern, North Carolina, still need to be rescued from the floodwaters brought on by the storm, the city’s mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN.

Rescuers have already plucked about 400 people out of the waters since Friday afternoon.

The city has seen more than 10 feet of storm surge and likely more than 10 inches of rain as of Friday evening, according to CNN meteorologists.

New Bern is home to approximately 30,000 people and sits about 37 miles northeast of Jacksonville, North Carolina.

16 hr 51 min ago

You could walk as fast as Florence is moving

From CNN’s Judson Jones

Tropical Storm Florence is moving at 2 mph. That’s about as fast as you could walk.

Since making landfall yesterday in North Carolina, Florence has only moved about 100 miles. That is an average of just about 4 mph for 24 hours.

For comparison: The average speed for an Atlantic hurricane at Florence’s latitude is 16.9 mph.

Why the speed matters: Florence’s slow crawl is why the flooding has been — and will continue to be — catastrophic. As the storm continues to slowly move west, it is close enough to the coast to pick up moisture and energy from the ocean (therefore allowing extreme feeder bands of rain to continue to pour over the same saturated areas of South and North Carolina).

17 hr 10 min ago

Meanwhile, rescues from a super typhoon are under way in the Philippines

From CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore


Aquino Lord, who shot the video before rushing to help the rescue team, said the team was able to get him out safely.

“The man in the video is safe,” he told CNN. “He attempted to pass across the flowing water but he failed. He is from our neighboring Barangay. At the moment that this incident happened, we were not yet there. We just came to help.”

17 hr 21 min ago

At least seven dead in North Carolina

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston

Two people in Carteret County, North Carolina, have died due to the storm, according to the Carteret County Office of Emergency Management Services.

Officials say the Carteret County Sheriff’s Department will release additional details this morning.

This brings the total storm deaths to seven people.

  • A mother and her infant child died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city’s police department said.
  • In the town of Hampstead, a woman in cardiac arrest was found dead after emergency responders found their path blocked by downed trees, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.
  • Two men in Lenoir County also died: One who was hooking up a generator and another who was checking on his dogs outside.
15 hr 57 min ago

President Trump approves North Carolina’s disaster declaration

President Trump has approved a disaster declaration for eight North Carolina counties, the White House said in a statement Saturday.

The approval makes available federal funding, which can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low cost loans to cover uninsured property losses as well as other aid both for homeowners and business owners.

The counties included in the declaration are:

  • Beaufort
  • Brunswick
  • Carteret
  • Craven
  • New Hanover
  • Onslow
  • Pamlico
  • Pender
17 hr 40 min ago

A tree fell into this North Carolina man’s bedroom (and missed hitting him by 3 feet)

From CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore

A North Carolina man went to sleep during Florence — and woke up to tree branches in his bedroom.

Harry Mathias III said his father was sleeping in his New Bern home when a tree came crashing through the ceiling.

“About an hour after he fell asleep, a piece of drywall came in from the ceiling woke him, along with the rest of us, with a loud bang,” he told CNN. “After taking a look we realized rain water was coming in and tree branches were coming in from the attic.”

He added: “If the tree had fallen about 3-4 more feet, it would have crushed my father to death.”

Despite the harrowing experience, Mathias said he dad went out to cut up other fallen trees in the rain, just 10 hours afterward.

Here’s the footage:

Shaboom Banana@ShaboomBanana


Tree in my dad’s bedroom. ~New Bern, NC

18 hr 1 min ago

Here’s where Florence is now and where it’s heading next

The National Hurricane Center just released it’s latest forecast advisory for Tropical Storm Florence. It has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, and it’s moving westward at 2 mph (that’s a walking pace).

The storm is expected to travel northwest through South Carolina today and tomorrow morning. After that, it will keep curving to the north, the latest potential track shows.

Here’s the latest projected path:

18 hr 18 min ago

It’s been 24 hours since Florence hit

It’s officially been 24 hours since the eye of hurricane Florence made landfall on the coast of North Carolina yesterday.

While Florence has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, it still packs a powerful punch. It is expected to hover over the Carolinas today, dumping tons of rain, and flash-flooding is still possible. (Remember water — not wind — is the deadliest storm hazard).

Here’s what has unfolded in the 24 hours since Florence made landfall:

  • Flooding for miles: Up to 40 inches of rain and storm surges pushing water inland will produce catastrophic flash flooding, the National Hurricane Center says.
  • Water rescues: There have been hundreds of rescues specifically in the city of New Bern, North Carolina. 
  • Rising rivers: Rivers in North Carolina are expected to crest higher than during 2016’s Hurricane Matthew in some areas, emergency officials said.

Watch more:

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17 hr 32 min ago

It’s morning on the East Coast. Here’s what you need to know about the storm.

Florence, now a tropical storm, is hovering over South Carolina after making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane yesterday morning. Here’s what to expect today:

  • Florence’s effects: The storm will continue to trigger “life-threatening, catastrophic” flash floods in North and South Carolina, south-central Virginia and West Virginia in the coming days, the US National Weather Service said in a tweet on Saturday morning.
  • The victims: At least five people have died in the storm, including an infant. 
  • Power outages: Nearly 950,000 customers are without power in the Carolinas
  • Where it’s going: Forecasts show Florence traveling westward through South Carolina today. Tomorrow, it will begin to turn north.
18 hr 56 min ago

More than 780,000 people are without power in North Carolina

North Carolina Emergency Management says 786,769 customers are without power statewide.

The good news? This is approximately 3,000 less power outages than reported late last night.

19 hr 7 min ago

Here’s what’s next for Tropical Storm Florence

19 hr 28 min ago

Family trapped in Florence floodwaters kept hearing people screaming for help

Volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team help rescue three children from their flooded home in James City, North Carolina.

Annazette Riley-Cromartie and her family decided against evacuating their home in eastern North Carolina after noticing that the massive storm appeared to be weakening.

“It came in slowly, but then it steady kept rising,” Riley-Cromartie told CNN.

The family quickly retreated to higher areas of the house but then heard the unmistakable sounds of people crying out for help.

“You just keep hearing people yelling, and you can’t do anything,” Riley-Cromartie said. “It’s the worst feeling in the world.”

Read the full story behind their rescue here.

19 hr 43 min ago

Storm knocks out power to nearly 781k in NC

At least 780,964 residents in North Carolina have been left without power around the state, according to North Carolina Emergency Management.

The highest concentration of outages are in Brunswick, New Hanover, Carteret, Cumberland, Johnston, and Robeson counties, the agency tweeted.

Volunteers from all over North Carolina are helping rescue residents from their flooded homes in New Bern, North Carolina.
20 hr 1 min ago

Officials release latest weather forecasts

Tropical storm Florence will continue to trigger “life-threatening, catastrophic” flash floods in North and South Carolina, south-central Virginia and West Virginia in the coming days, the US National Weather Service said in a tweet on Saturday morning.

NWS WPC

@NWSWPC

[UPDATE: 530 AM Saturday] Here is the latest information on the life-threatening, catastrophic flooding from Florence.

Separately, the US National Hurricane Center also warned of storm surges as the extreme weather event continues to lumber inland.

National Hurricane Center

@NHC_Atlantic

Tropical Storm continues to cause catastrophic flooding in portions of North and South Carolina.

20 hr 21 min ago

In photos: Florence’s trail of devastation

Storm surges, punishing winds and torrential rain are turning some towns in the Carolinas into rushing rivers.

Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes on Friday.
Hundreds of trees have collapsed after water-logged soil could no longer bear the weight.
Broken from their moorings, boats are wrecked against a railroad bridge that crosses the Neuse River.
20 hr 34 min ago

What a rescue crew saw when then-Hurricane Florence made landfall

New Jersey Emergency Management posted a video on their official Twitter account of the moment then-Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina.

The footage was captured looking out of the front of one of their high-water vehicles and shows the heavy rain lashing the surroundings as the road ahead begins to flood.

NJOEM

@ReadyNJ

Early morning views from one of our high water vehicles as made landfall in North Carolina.

Are you prepared for hurricane season? Visit http://ready.nj.gov  today!

20 hr 47 min ago

More than 165k without power in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the storm has knocked out power to more than 165,000 homes across the state, according to a tweet from South Carolina Emergency Management on Saturday morning.

The organization also warned people to use flashlights rather than candles and never to use a generator inside their residences.

SCEMD

@SCEMD

More than 165,000 households are without power across SC due to . If you lose power try to use flashlights instead of candles. Never use a generator inside your home or garage. Keep it more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows for safety.

21 hr 2 min ago

Rescuers work to save people from rising water

Lieutenant Mitchell Ruslander and his team from Swift-water rescue have been working around the clock to help residents caught in the storm.

“We were out all night last night actually cutting holes in people’s roofs because the water levels rose so high, so quick,” he tells CNN.

“It’s just way more than I expected … Absolute worst is the flooding.”

An area in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, usually meant for street parking and relaxing on park benches is inundated by water from the swollen Cape Fear River.

And although the hurricane has been downgraded, he warns that people shouldn’t get complacent and immediately assume that they can return home. He suggests that residents who evacuated continue to monitor the storm.

“It’s going to take several days for all of this water to go away,” he adds.

21 hr 7 min ago

Two deaths reported from Typhoon Mangkhut

From journalist Jinky Jorgio and CNN’s Jo Shelly and Alexandra Field in Santiago, Philippines

A woman holds her umbrella against the heavy rains pounding Manila on Saturday.

As Florence continues to release a deluge upon the Carolinas, another massive storm is wreaking havoc in Southeast Asia.

Two people have died in the hours since Mangkhut made landfall, according to the Philippines’ national disaster agency.

Ricardo Jalad, Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said two first responders were found dead in the Cordillera Administrative Region on the island of Luzon.

Jalad also reported 51 landslides across the region as a result of the storm.

Read more on Typhoon Mangkhut here.