Sep. 14, 2018

REUTERS

U.S. Southeast power companies said nearly 440,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and South Carolina were without power on Friday as Hurricane Florence hit the coast. Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed to plead guilty to two criminal counts in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to court documents on Friday.

The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday set a vote for next week on President Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court pick while a Democratic senator sent unspecified new information about nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the FBI.

Former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon is helping to craft the curriculum for a leadership course at a right-wing Roman Catholic institute in Italy, stepping up his efforts to influence conservative thinking in the church.

China is willing to provide Venezuela with what help it can, Premier Li Keqiang told Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Friday, but there was no mention in state media of China providing any new funds for the country.

Russian warships held drills in the Bering Sea which separates Russia from Alaska, part of Moscow's biggest military maneuvers since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The European Union will scrap the twice-yearly seasonal clock change across the bloc from October 2019, leaving member states to decide by April whether they will stick permanently to summer or winter time, the European Commission said on Friday.

Heavily-mortgaged homeowners are still facing painful choices a decade on from the financial crisis, as nearly one in ten owe more to their lenders than their houses are worth.

U.S. retail sales recorded their smallest gain in six months in August as consumers cut back on purchases of motor vehicles and clothing, but upward revisions to July data likely keep intact expectations of strong economic growth in the third quarter.

U.S. import prices recorded their biggest drop in more than 1-1/2 years in August amid declines in the cost of fuels and a range of other goods, suggesting a strong dollar was curbing imported inflation pressures.

Some 8,000 people were driven from their homes in the Boston suburbs by a series of gas explosions, and it was unclear on Friday when they could go back. The blasts killed at least one person, injured 12 more and destroyed dozens of homes and other buildings in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence on Thursday.

U.S. industrial production rose in August, as strong output in auto manufacturing offset lackluster production in the rest of the factory sector.

AP Top Stories

Russia and China intend to regularly conduct joint war games similar to the massive ones being held this week, the Russian defense minister said Wednesday.

A UN commission on Wednesday called on rebel groups in Syria's Idlib province to leave urban areas to protect civilians from any looming regime assault.

The Pentagon has protested after US fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers west of Alaska, in the latest incident of its kind.

BBC

Super Typhoon Mangkhut has gathered strength as it barrels towards the Philippines The storm is now packing winds of 160 mph and officials say more than five million people are in its path.

The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is to meet victims of alleged sexual abuse in the Netherlands. The group requested the meeting to discuss abuse reportedly carried out by former or current Buddhist teachers in several countries.

Zimbabwe has launched a crowdfunding campaign to deal with an outbreak of cholera that has so far killed 25 people, mostly in the capital, Harare.

Elon Musk's space company says it has signed up the first private passenger to fly around the moon on its huge Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). SpaceX said the announcement for the BFR was an important step toward everyday access to space. No details about the timing, cost or the passenger's identity have been revealed before a Monday announcement.

A court in El Salvador has sentenced former President Antonio Saca, 53, to 10 years in prison. Saca, who was arrested two years ago at his son's wedding, has been ordered to pay back $260m to the state. While Saca is the first Salvadorean president to be jailed for corruption, both his predecessor and his successor in office have also been accused of corruption.

Two men alleged to have stolen the corpse of an elderly woman and held the body for ransom in south-eastern Nigeria have been arrested by the police. The men stole the body from a hospital's mortuary, took it into the bush and demanded a ransom of $11,000 from the hospital and the family of the deceased. The suspects, who are ex-convicts, were caught in a sting operation and the body has since been returned to the family. The men were recently released from jail after serving six and 14 years respectively on kidnapping charges. [Ed. Note: Looks like they can't be successful with victims alive or dead.]

WND

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more a part of everyday life, from self-driving cars to voice-based interactions with machines. Now one new application that writes ad copy for products sold online. At the rate of 20,000 lines per second. Millions of lines per day.

A study found that female-to-male trans teens had the highest suicide attempt rate of all other identity groups surveyed: 50.8%. Unsurprisingly, other gender-confused teens had outrageously high rates of suicide attempts, too. Nonbinary adolescents, meaning teens who do not identify exclusively as female or male, were found to have a 41.8% suicide attempt rate; male-to-female trans teens had a 29.9% rate; and "questioning" teens had a rate of 27.9%.

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