Friday morning news: November 16, 2018

Death toll rises again from “Camp” fire » At least 56 people are now dead and hundreds remain missing in Northern California from the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century.

The fire has also displaced thousands of residents. Nearly everyone who lived in or around the town of Paradise has found only charred remains where their homes once stood.

California Governor Jerry Brown toured the area with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday. Brown told reporters the government will to have to address the new reality of worsening wildfires.

BROWN: We’re gonna have to manage our forests better. We’re gonna have to build our cities more smartly. We’re going to have to build shelters so that people can escape when these terrible fires get out of hand. And yes, we’re going to have to deal with climate change. 

Meanwhile, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said the weather is finally beginning to cooperate … with winds dying down and rain in the forecast.

PIMLOTT: We’re looking forward to some more moisture coming, some on shore flow in a few days, and potentially over the Thanksgiving holiday, a low pressure coming in with some precipitation. 

The Camp fire was 40 percent contained as of Thursday, while officials say the Woolsey fire in Southern California was nearly 60 percent contained.

U.S. Senate race in Florida goes to hand recount » Election officials in Florida will have to recount the votes in the U.S. senate race by hand. A machine recount showed Governor Rick Scott ahead of incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson by less than two-tenths of 1 percent. And under state law, the margin is narrow enough to trigger a hand recount.

But the recount in Florida’s gubernatorial election showed a wide enough margin to avoid a hand recount. Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis on Election Night but later retracted his concession as officials recounted the votes.

Recount efforts have been fraught with problems in some areas where machines, many of them quite old, overheated and broke down.

BUCHER: Our machines failed because we were using them 24/7.  

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher.

The county missed a Thursday deadline to turn in recounted votes in the governor’s race and a federal judge rejected a request to extend the deadline.

In other election news, another tight U.S. House race ended Thursday. Jared Golden won the 2nd District race in Maine. His race was one of three House races decided in favor of Democrats within the last 48 hours. Democrats have now gained at least 33 seats in the House in last week’s election.

Treasury Dept. announces new sanctions against suspects in Khashoggi murder as Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty » The Treasury Department is adding economic sanctions to the travel bans already in place against 17 Saudis accused in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. One of the men is a top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Meantime Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor says he’s seeking the death penalty for several suspects in the case. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has more.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: Chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb said Thursday he’ll pursue death sentences for five men charged in Khashoggi’s murder.

He added that 21 people are now in custody in connection to the crime, with 11 already indicted and awaiting trial.

But the prosecutor’s office has absolved the crown prince. Al-Mojeb said in a statement Khashoggi’s killers were under orders to take the journalist into custody at the Istanbul Consulate and bring him back to Saudi Arabia alive.

Turkey maintains Khashoggi’s murder was ordered at the highest levels of the Saudi government and calls the prosecutor’s account “unsatisfactory.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

British Cabinet agrees to Brexit deal » British Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal with the European Union is in jeopardy today and her job might be as well.

Two Cabinet ministers resigned on Thursday to protest the agreement, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. And some lawmakers from May’s own party called for her replacement.

May insists the Brexit plan is not the easy choice, but the right one.  

MAY: I believe with every fiber of my being that the course I have set out is the right one for our country and all our people. From the very beginning, I have known what I wanted to deliver for the British people to honor their vote in the referendum. 

The Cabinet begrudgingly accepted the deal on Wednesday, but it needs the approval of Britain’s Parliament. May faces pushback from political opponents and members of her own Conservative Party who say the deal fails to honor the referendum and instead leaves Britain under the thumb of the European Union.

As part of the agreement, the UK would agree to follow EU rules in numerous areas—such as animal welfare, environmental standards, and workplace protections.

Hate crimes on the rise » Reports of crimes motivated by racial, religious, sexual, and other prejudices spiked across the country by 17 percent last year. It was the third straight year so-called hate crimes have risen in the U.S.

Among the findings in a new FBI report, a 37 percent increase in anti-Semitic crimes. Overall, the report showed a nearly 23 percent increase in religion-based hate crimes and a 16 percent rise in hate crimes against African-Americans.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) Flames consume a home as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 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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