Wednesday morning news: October 10, 2018

Hurricane Michael to make landfall today » Hurricane Michael is set to roar into the Florida panhandle today, likely as a Category 3 hurricane. Strong winds and rain from the storm have already begun lashing the Gulf Coast.

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a final warning on Tuesday, noting the storm has already taken lives in Central America… 

SCOTT: Let me be clear, Hurricane Michael is going to hit very near to where we are in Franklin County as a dangerous and life-threatening major hurricane. And if you don’t follow the warnings from these officials, this storm could kill you. 

State and federal authorities have pre-positioned disaster response teams. Jeff Byard is FEMA’s associate administrator for the office of response. He told reporters… 

BYARD: Our priority is going to be on life saving, but our effort is going to be stabilization of our critical lifelines: Power and security, food, water and sheltering, health and medical. 

Michael is expected to be the strongest hurricane to hit the panhandle in 13 years. Winds could top 110 miles per hour with storm surge of up to 13 feet.

Inland flooding also poses a significant risk. Some areas could see as much as 12 inches of rain. The good news: Michael is moving, unlike Hurricane Florence, which parked over the Carolinas for days.

U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Nikki Haley announces departure » U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will step down at the end of this year. President Trump made the announcement with Haley by his side at a White House news conference Tuesday. 

TRUMP: We will miss you. We’ll be speaking all the time, but we will miss you nevertheless, and you have done a fantastic job, and I want to thank you very much. 

The president said Haley told him six months ago she was considering taking a break.

Haley, who was governor of South Carolina before joining the State Department, called her time in both offices “the honor of a lifetime”… 

HALEY: I have given everything I’ve got these last eight years, and I do think that sometimes it’s good to rotate in other people who can put that same energy and power into it.

Haley called the last 21 months a success. She cited budget cuts at the UN, the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as evidence.  

President Trump said he would announce Haley’s successor in a few weeks.

Second Novichok attack suspect identified » A British investigative group says it has identified the second of two Russians accused of the March Novichok attack in the UK.

The Bellingcat group says the suspect charged by the British government under the name Alexander Petrov is really 39-year-old Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin. And while Moscow claims he’s a nutritional supplement salesman, he’s really a military doctor with Russian GRU intelligence, and a recipient of the Hero of the Russian Federation award.

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins said investigators from his group visited the the suspect’s hometown, where he says Mishkin is quite well known.

HIGGINS: Apparently his grandmother has a photograph of him receiving the award from Vladimir Putin himself. So the fact Putin denied he knew anything about it is a clear lie.

Last month, Bellingcat identified the other suspect, charged under the name of Ruslan Boshirov as Anatoliy Chepiga, a decorated colonel in the GRU.

London’s police force is not commenting on the men’s identities.

Britain charged the two men with using the Soviet-era nerve agent in an attempt to kill ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England. 

Indonesia death toll tops 2,000 » Indonesian officials have raised the death toll once again, from the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more. 

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: More than 2,000 people are now confirmed dead on the island of Sulawesi as rescue workers plan to end their search in some of the worst-hit areas.

Last last month, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the region, followed by a tsunami. The quake caused the soil in several neighborhoods to liquefy, burying people and houses beneath. Thousands of residents are still unaccounted for.

The disasters devastated the city of Palu and officials there say soft-soil areas remain unstable. They’re still working to evacuate thousands of survivors.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Saudi journalist missing » Turkish officials are planning to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for clues about a missing journalist. Surveillance footage shows Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi walking into the building just over a week ago, but he never came out.

Turkey has accused Saudi Arabia of ordering Khashoggi’s murder. Saudi officials strongly deny the claim.

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Tuesday, President Trump said he finds the reports he’s heard concerning. 

TRUMP: Right now, nobody knows anything about it, but there are some pretty bad stories going around. I do not like it. 

The U.S. has called on the Saudi government to support a thorough investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

And at a news conference Tuesday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini joined that call. 

MOGHERINI: We are fully aligned with the U.S. position on this. We expect a thorough investigation and full transparency from the Saudi authorities on what has happened. 

Khashoggi is a Saudi national who has written extensively about the kingdom and its ruling family. He moved to the United States out of fear for his safety amid a crackdown on dissenters.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next—Michael Cochrane will delve into voting technology on Washington Wednesday. And Joel Belz on the most important kind of education. This is The World and Everything in It.

(NOAA via AP) This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. EDT. 

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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