Wednesday morning news: September 4, 2019


Hurricane Dorian edges northward » Residents in northern Florida can’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet, but they’re hoping to pry the plywood off their windows very soon. 

AUDIO: [Sound of Hurricane Dorian]

Dorian on Tuesday weakened to a category 2 hurricane—while its outer bands lashed the Florida coast with tropical storm force winds. But it took a sharp right turn, moving north, parallel to the shoreline, suggesting the state might avoid a direct hit. 

But Governor Ron DeSantis warned on Tuesday that it’s too early to know for sure. 

DESANTIS: While we think this is a much better track than what we were looking at 72 hours ago, we just ask people to stay safe, remain vigilant. 

It also appeared more likely that Dorian may spare the Georgia coast, but coastal residents aren’t yet out of the woods there either.  

With its turn to the north, the storm began to track toward the Carolinas. Officials there are hoping Dorian takes another right turn tonight, spinning back out to sea. 

But North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned on Tuesday… 

COOPER: Hurricane Dorian continues on a path toward North Carolina, and the threat of significant storm damage to our state is very real. This storm is strong and it’s relentless. We must be ready. 

Meantime, officials in the Bahamas are only beginning to assess the devastation there—after Dorian lingered over the islands for the better part of two days. 

Aerial video footage of Abaco and Grand Bahama showed splintered piles of debris where homes once stood. At least five people died in the storm. 


Officials call of search for dive boat fire survivors » Officials said Tuesday that they have called off their search for survivors from that deadly dive boat fire near the Southern California coast. 

The Coast Guard and law enforcement said no one has been found alive after flames consumed the boat packed with people on a scuba diving trip. Passengers were sleeping below deck and were apparently trapped by the flames. 

Thirty-four people died. Officials have recovered the bodies of at least 20 victims. 

Coast Guard Lt. Commander Matthew Kroll said Tuesday that up to that point the focus was on trying to find survivors and now officials will begin the search for answers.

KROLL: I know that a lot of families are waking up this morning still in disbelief of what happened yesterday, and so my heart is with them as we find out more information. We will be digging into and having investigation to figure out what happened and how it happened so that we can prevent these incidents in the future.

The fire broke out about 3 a.m. Monday as the Conception was anchored off Santa Cruz Island, west of Los Angeles. The crew appeared to quickly call for help.

Five crew members sleeping on the top deck were able to escape by jumping off and taking a small boat to safety. 


Walmart halts sales of handgun, short-barrel ammunition » Walmart says it will stop selling handgun ammunition in its stores. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Walmart’s announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in West Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

The chain announced it will stop selling short-barrel and handgun ammunition after it runs out of its current inventory. It will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells them. 

But it will continue to sell hunting rifles and related ammunition.

Walmart is also asking customers not to openly carry firearms in its stores unless they’re law enforcement officers. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 


British prime minister suffers defeat in Parliament, calls for election » British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a major defeat in Parliament on Tuesday night as rebellious lawmakers voted to seize control of the Brexit agenda.

The prime minister, in turn, immediately said he would call for a new general election.

Johnson has vowed that the UK will leave the Eureopean Union with or without a deal on October 31st. And he urged lawmakers to reject the approach of Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

JOHNSON: Further confusion, further uncertainty for business in this country and abroad, that is what he is prescribing. 

But his appeal fell flat. The 328 to 301 vote cleared the way for Johnson’s opponents to introduce a bill today that would stop a no-deal Brexit. 

Many fear leaving without a deal would damage the British economy. The vote came hours after Johnson suffered key defections from his party, losing a working majority in Parliament.

But Jeremy Corbyn counts Johnson’s defeat as a victory.  

CORBYN: He isn’t winning friends in Europe. He’s losing friends at home. His is a government with no mandate, no morals, and as of today, no majority. 

The prime minister may be willing to gamble that a new election would tip the balance of power in his favor. It would be Britain’s third general election in four years.


Taliban defends deadly attack amid peace talks » AUDIO: [Sound from Afghanistan]

The Taliban on Tuesday defended its suicide bombing against an international compound in Kabul that killed at least 16 people and wounded more than a hundred others. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Almost all the victims of the Monday night assault were civilians. The Afghan government said five attackers were killed and some 400 foreigners rescued. 

A tractor packed with explosives left a large crater in the street. And thick smoke rose from the Green Village, home to several foreign organizations and guesthouses.

The attack came just hours after a U.S. envoy said he and the Taliban had reached a deal “in principle” to end America’s longest war.

But a Taliban spokesman said Tuesday “we understand that peace talks are going on … but they must also understand that we are not weak and if we enter into talks … we enter from a strong position.”

He claimed the attack was a response to raids by U.S. and Afghan forces on civilians across the country. While he acknowledged there should be less harm to civilians, he said they shouldn’t live near such an important foreign compound.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.


(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Waves crash in front of an American flag that is planted on a jetty during a high surf from the Atlantic Ocean, in advance of the potential arrival of Hurricane Dorian, in Vero Beach, Fla., Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. 

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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