Thursday morning news: November 8, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns » Jeff Sessions is out as attorney general. He resigned Wednesday at the request of President Trump.

His departure was not a surprise. The president has been highly critical of the attorney general since Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, clearing the way for the appointment of a special counsel investigation.

Sessions exited Department of Justice headquarters Wednesday to applause by DOJ staff.

SESSIONS: [Sound of applause]

In a statement Wednesday Trump said, “We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!”

Matthew G. Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, will serve as acting attorney general until the White House picks a new nominee.

Some candidates say the election isn’t over » Twenty-four hours after polls closed in Tuesday’s midterm elections, some candidates said the election isn’t over yet.

In Georgia, Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp declared victory Wednesday.

KEMP: I promise to fight for all Georgians above all else and be a governor who cares more about doing the right thing than playing good politics. 

Kemp appeared to have the race won Tuesday night but as officials tallied votes from the final districts, the margin narrowed. Kemp still holds an advantage of more than 60,000 votes, but Democrat Stacey Abrams isn’t conceding.

ABRAMS: But I’m here tonight to tell you votes remain to be counted. There are voices that are waiting to be heard. 

Thousands of provisional and absentee ballots are outstanding. Not enough to close the 63,000-vote gap, but under Georgia law, if Kemp’s share of the vote fell to exactly 50 percent or less, it would trigger an automatic runoff election.

Kemp now has 50.3 percent of the vote. 

Meantime in Florida, Senator Bill Nelson wants a recount. Under Florida law, if the winner’s margin of victory is less than a half percent, a recount is automatically triggered. Governor Rick Scott has already declared victory. With 99 percent of the votes counted, he holds an edge of 30,000 votes, just a little above the half-percent threshold.

And they’re still counting the last of the votes in Arizona’s Senate race. With 99.5 percent counted, Republican Martha McSally leads Democrat Kyrsten Sinema by one percentage point, about 20,000 votes.

Cameroon children freed » Armed separatists have released the 79 students kidnapped from a Presbyterian boarding school in Cameroon but are still holding two adults. WORLD Radio’s Onize Ohikere reports.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Rev. Fonki Samuel Forba leads the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. He said the kidnappers dropped off the students and a driver at one of their churches.

But the kidnappers are still holding the school’s principal and one teacher.

Armed gunmen abducted the students and three adults Sunday night from the school near the city of Bamenda. The Northwest Region is the center of clashes between security forces and English-speaking separatists who have declared the region an independent state named Ambazonia. The separatists, calling themselves the Amba Boys, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in a video posted online Monday. Forba said the school shut down after the attack due to security threats.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.

Asia Bibi relocated amid safety concerns but remains in Pakistan » Asia Bibi is still waiting to find out if she’ll be allowed to leave Pakistan. Bibi is the Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy charges by Pakistan’s Supreme Court last week. Her acquittal has sparked nationwide protests and more threats to her safety.   

Officials flew Bibi Wednesday night from an undisclosed location to a facility in Islamabad for security reasons. Just before her plane took off, troops reportedly guarded the roads leading to the airport.

Italian officials said they are working to help relocate Bibi and her family. But as of now, authorities say she can’t leave because a Muslim attorney has filed a petition for a review of her acquittal. Pakistani courts usually take years to decide such cases.

Jet crashed in Indonesia after key sensor replaced » New information about the Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner that crashed in Indonesia last week.

A maintenance crew replaced a crucial sensor on the Lion Air jet the day before it plunged into the Java Sea. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The sensor maintenance workers replaced is known as the “angle of attack” sensor. It keeps track of the angle of the aircraft nose to help prevent the plane from stalling and diving.

Investigators say that replacement may have compounded other problems with the plane.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said the jet’s airspeed indicator malfunctioned on its last four flights and that problem was related to the sensor issue.

Meantime, Boeing has issued a safety warning about potentially problematic flight-control software on the 737 Max 8. The company said it sent a bulletin to operators about how to address the issue.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Jeff Sessions returns to his home in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 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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