Wednesday morning news: September 12, 2018

East Coast braces for Florence » Residents of several states along the east coast continue to brace for Hurricane Florence. Officials are telling more than a million people to flee the storm’s path as it takes aim at the Carolinas.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told residents Tuesday that the storm will impact every person in his state.

COOPER: This storm is a monster. It’s big and it’s vicious. It is an extremely dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane. 

Florence may be the strongest storm to hit the region in more than a half-century. It could make landfall Thursday as a category 4 hurricane, packing winds of more than 130 miles per hour. But the biggest threat is not the wind, it’s the water.

States all along the eastern seaboard will see major storm surge, with the Carolinas and Virginia catching the worst of it. It could be more than 12 feet in some areas.  

And Jeffrey Stern of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said much like Hurricane Harvey along the Texas coast last year, Florence could park over the region for days.

STERN: Catastrophic levels of inland flooding throughout the state. We have seen projections of upward of 20 inches in some areas with generally 8 to 10 to 12 to 15 inches across over half of the commonwealth. 

Florence could cause flash floods and mudslides as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains and West Virginia.

Kim Jong Un seeks second summit with Trump » North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has asked for a second summit with the U.S. and President Trump is considering it.

The president said last week he was expecting to hear from Kim, and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed this week that he received what she called a “very warm, very positive” letter.

SANDERS: The letter from Kim Jong Un to the president certainly showed a commitment to continuing conversations, continuing to work on the progress that they have had since their meeting just a few months ago. 

Relations between Trump and Kim slowed after the June summit in Singapore. Last month, Trump scrapped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea over a lack of progress in denuclearization. But the president’s stance turned more positive over the weekend after North Korea celebrated its 70th anniversary with more focus on its economy and unity. Sanders called the parade “a sign of good faith” since it did not include any long-range missiles.

Iran’s nuclear chief hopes deal survives without US, issues threat » Iran’s nuclear chief said Tuesday he hopes Tehran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers will survive despite President Trump’s withdrawal from the deal earlier this year.

Ali akbar Salehi also warned that his country stands ready to ramp up its nuclear program if the deal falls apart and that if that happens, Iran will be closer to a nuclear bomb than it was before the nuclear deal.

SALEHI: If we have to go back and we start—I mean we withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before. We will be standing on a much, much higher position. 

He also issued a veiled threat, warning of serious consequences if his nation’s nuclear scientists suffer any more attacks. A string of bombings targeted several scientists in 2010 at the height of Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.

The U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal has badly shaken Iran’s already anemic economy, crashing its currency. U.S. sanctions coming in November that threaten Iran’s oil exports will only compound the economic woes. But Tehran says it will only honor the 2015 nuclear deal and will not return to the negotiating table with the U.S.

U.S. reportedly suspects Russia in attacks on American diplomats » Russia is reportedly the prime suspect behind the mysterious attacks against American diplomats in Cuba. That according to an NBC News report this week, citing three U.S. officials with knowledge of the investigation.  

The report said “The suspicion that Russia is likely behind the alleged attacks is backed up by evidence from communications intercepts” amassed during an ongoing investigation involving the FBI, the CIA and other agencies.

But State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert says the administration’s position hasn’t changed.

NAUERT: I would caution you all to be very skeptical of those officials’ statements right now. As you should be aware, the investigation continues. There is no known cause; no known individual or group believed to be responsible at this time. 

Dozens of U.S. diplomats suffered brain injuries, hearing and vision loss after still unexplained attacks at their homes and hotels in Havana, starting in 2016. The victims reported hearing strange sounds.  American diplomats in China reported similar incidents.

At least 32 killed in suicide bombing in Afghanistan » A terrorist attack has killed more than 30 people in Afghanistan. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest in Kabul Tuesday killing at least 32 people and wounding more than a 130 others. A government spokesman said all the victims were innocent civilians who had gathered to protest a local police commander.

It was unclear whether the attacker knew the nature of the protest. No group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, but the Taliban took credit for multiple attacks on Monday that killed more than 50 security officials.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next—lessons learned 10 years after the financial crisis. Plus, evangelizing Mormons. This is The World and Everything in It.

(NASA via AP) This photo provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, as it threatens the U.S. East Coast.

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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