Thursday morning news: September 13, 2018

Florence to make landfall today » Hurricane Florence sits on the doorstep of the Carolinas today. It will begin making landfall late tonight. It’s now projected to hit the coast as a category 3 hurricane with winds around 115 miles per hour and a devastating storm surge. 

TRUMP: Residents in the path of these devastating storms should comply with all evacuation orders and other emergency instructions. Protection of life is the absolute highest priority.

President Trump said Wednesday that first responders are at the ready and FEMA is standing by to provide relief.

Florence will also hit Virginia, and Governor Ralph Northam said anyone under evacuation orders who has not yet left should leave right now

NORTHAM: For those individuals who choose not to take this order, this evacuation seriously, I’d ask them to please consider the lives of our first responders. They have families just like everybody else. 

While Florence will generate category 3 winds, destructive enough alone, it also poses a category 5 flood threat. Some areas could see more than 40 inches of rain. And cities as far inland as Charlotte could see up to 8 inches. Florence will likely bring powerful storms to more than a half-dozen states this weekend. 

Democrats poised to block, delay Kavanaugh vote » Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee hope to advance Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Senate floor today, but there’s a very good chance that won’t happen.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has scheduled a Thursday vote on the nomination. But Democrats have signaled that they’ll use a committee rule to delay Kavanaugh’s nomination by at least a week.

Democrats have complained they don’t have enough information on Kavanaugh and that they haven’t had enough time to review the information they do have. 

Trump approves sanctions on foreigners who interfere in elections » The White House says President Trump has signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against foreign entities caught interfering in U.S. campaigns and elections. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the threat is very real and it’s not just from Moscow.

COATS: We have seen signs, not just Russia but from China, capabilities potentially from Iran and even North Korea. So it’s more than Russia here that we’re looking at. 

National Security Advisor John Bolton said the order will address attempts to tamper with campaign and election infrastructure, but it will also punish anyone caught trying to sway American voters with propaganda and misinformation. 

BOLTON: We felt it was important to show that the president has taken command of this issue, that the integrity of our elections and our constitutional process are a high priority to him.

In a bipartisan statement released Wednesday, Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland gave the administration credit for addressing the problem. But they say the executive order needs to go further. 

U.S. holding record number of migrant children » The United States is currently detaining a record number of migrant children. The New York Times reported Wednesday that population levels at federal shelters for migrant children have spiked, increasing fivefold since last summer.

The Times reported that the government is now holding nearly 13,000 migrant children, up from 2,400 in May of last year, according to The Times. Most of the children crossed the border alone without their parents.

The report said the reason for the spike is not an increase in the number of children crossing the border, but rather a reduction in the number of underage migrants the government has released to live with families or sponsors within the U.S. 

FDA: E-cigarette use among teens at epidemic levels » The Food and Drug Administration is sounding alarms about teens using e-cigarettes. The FDA calls the problem an “epidemic,” citing recent data pointing to a sharp increase in underage use of the handheld nicotine delivery devices.

The FDA has sent warning letters to more than a thousand retailers about illegally selling e-cigarettes to kids. And it’s hit another 130 retailers with fines. But FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said changes have to start with manufacturers. 

GOTTLIEB: We’ll bend that trajectory on this growing youth addiction. Industry must step up to this problem.

The agency is giving the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers 60 days to produce plans to stop underage use of their products. If the plans fall short, the FDA could take action, including banning flavored vaping products, which appeal to young users. 

Russia says it’s found suspects in Novichok attacks » Russian President Vladimir Putin says his government has found the two men Britain named as suspects in a Novichok attack in the UK. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: During a summit in Eastern Russia Wednesday, Putin said Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are not Russian agents and there’s nothing criminal about them. They’re simply innocent civilians.

He added that he hopes the men will come forward to tell their side of the story.

Russian officials initially said the names of the men charged—quote—“mean nothing” to them.

Last week, Britain charged Petrov and Boshirov with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, and of using the Novichok nerve agent. Britain says the Russian government ordered the nerve attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England in March. Moscow continues to deny any involvement.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead—Part 3 of WORLD’s investigation into the marijuana push. And Cal Thomas on the Federalist Papers. This is The World and Everything in It.

(Grace Beahm Alford/The Post And Courier via AP) Stewart Thomason places sandbags that he used for previous hurricanes and tarp to prevent the flooding from rain at his home on the Isle of Palms,S.C. ahead of Hurricane Florence on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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