Thursday morning news: October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael » AUDIO: [Sound of Hurricane Michael]

Hurricane Michael slammed the Florida panhandle Wednesday even stronger than originally feared.

The National Hurricane Center’s Michael Brennan said at landfall, it was very nearly a category-5.

BRENNAN: Very strong category-4 hurricane, maximum winds of a 155 miles per hour. 

That made it the strongest hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in at least 14 years.

Many buildings were drowned in storm surge while the wind shredded and toppled other structures.

Brad Kieserman is vice president of operations and logistics with the American Red Cross. He said Wednesday that some residents on the coast waited too long to evacuate and were stuck in the storm’s path.

KIESERMAN: We know that people did not evacuate. So what that tells us is that we have a pretty good sense of how our first responders are going to be required to perform search and rescue when this is over.

Michael was still a category-2 hurricane when it crossed the southeast tip of Alabama into southern Georgia. The storm made its way across Georgia overnight, still packing tropical storm force winds. It’s now pushing into the carolinas where communities already battered by Hurricane Florence are bracing for another punch.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper… 

COOPER: Winds will be strong enough to bring down trees weakened by Florence, especially with saturated ground. Winds will be strong enough to rip tarps from roofs on homes damaged by Florence.

The storm has already knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in Florida and Georgia. 

FBI director questioned on Kavanaugh probe » Lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security Committee questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday.

Democrats wanted answers about the bureau’s supplemental background investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last week. California Senator Kamala Harris asked Wray if the probe was limited in scope or if the bureau had full discretion…

HARRIS: …To investigate whatever your agency thought was appropriate to figure out what happened?

Wray said that by nature a background investigation on a nominee—including last week’s additional probe—does have parameters.

WRAY: That that is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back quite a long ways. 

Unlike a criminal probe, the scope of a background investigation of a nominee is defined by the agency requesting it, in this case the White House.

The scope was confined to current, credible accusations. The FBI interviewed 10 people, including several named as possible witnesses to alleged sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. None of them corroborated the accusations.

Democrats complain the probe was too limited to uncover the truth. 

Charges pending against limo company operator » New York State police on Wednesday arrested the operator of the limousine service involved in Saturday’s deadly crash.

Prestige Limousine operator Nauman Hussain is charged with criminally negligent homicide following the wreck that killed 20 people in upstate New York.

State Police Superintendent George Beach said the driver Hussain hired didn’t have the appropriate license to drive that vehicle. And he said the limousine “was placed out of service by the Department of Transportation” last month “and should not have been on the road.” 

BEACH: The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain. 

The company has insisted it corrected the issue found during a failed inspection.

And Hussain’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said the focus should be on the dangerous intersection where the crash occurred.

KINDLON: This road was a problem. It was a known problem to the State of New York.

Turkish media: Saudi ‘assassination squad’ killed journalist » President Trump said Wednesday the U.S. is “demanding” answers from Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of a Washington Post columnist who went missing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The president told reporters at the White House that he’s been in contact with high ranking Saudi officials… 

TRUMP: At a very high level—the highest level. Let me say this: It’s the highest level.

A Turkish newspaper on Wednesday released photos and a surveillance video of a 15-member Saudi intelligence team that flew in and out of Istanbul on October 2nd, the same day journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared. The paper called the group an “assassination squad” sent to kill him.

Khashoggi is a Saudi national living in Washington, D.C., who was often critical of the Saudi government. He disappeared last Tuesday after entering the consulate.

Northern Irish bakers win landmark ‘gay cake’ case » The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that a Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland did not discriminate when it refused to make a cake with a slogan supporting same-sex marriage. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has that story. 

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: In 2014, Ashers Baking Company declined to make a cake ordered by gay rights activists. They wanted it decorated with Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the phrase “Support Gay Marriage.”

On Wednesday, a five-judge panel of the UK’s highest court unanimously overturned a lower court decision, ruling the owners should not be forced to craft a message at odds with their faith.

Judge Brenda Hale wrote in the decision—quote—“In a nutshell, the objection was to the message and not to any particular person or persons.” She said it was not a case of a business refusing to serve someone based on sexual orientation.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

Stocks take a dive » U.S. stocks plunged to their worst loss in eight months on Wednesday as technology companies continued to drop. The Dow fell 831 points.

The losses were widespread, hitting stocks that have been the biggest winners in recent years. Apple and Amazon both had their worst day in two and a half years.

The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of tech companies, had its biggest loss in more than two years.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next—Jamie Dean is here to talk about her recent trip to Colombia. And Cal Thomas on the new Gosnell movie. This is The World and Everything in It.

(Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) Haley Nelson inspects damages to her family properties in the Panama City, Fla., spring field area after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida’s Panhandle on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 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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