Wednesday morning news: November 27, 2019

Fired Navy secretary fires back at Trump over SEAL pardon » Recently fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer is firing back at President Trump over his pardon of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. 

A military jury convicted Gallagher of posing with a dead ISIS fighter in Iraq. On Monday, the president defended his decision to pardon Gallagher and other soldiers earlier this month.

TRUMP: I have to protect my warfighters. 

But in an interview with CBS News, Richard Spencer said the commander in chief sent the wrong message to U.S. troops; that actions don’t have consequences. 

SPENCER: I don’t think he really understands the full definition of a warfighter. A warfighter is a profession of arms. And a profession of arms has standards that they have to be held to and they hold themselves to. 

Spencer said he could not in good conscience obey an order that he believed violated an oath he took. 

Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Spencer this week—after he allegedly went around Esper’s back to try and work out a compromise with the White House in the Gallagher case. 

Albania hit with strongest earthquake in decades » Rescue crews in Albania sifted through the crumbled concrete and lumber of collapsed buildings on Tuesday, searching for survivors of the strongest earthquake to hit the country in decades. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The 6.4 magnitude quake struck about 20 miles northwest of the capital city of Tirana, but it was felt across the southern Balkans. Multiple aftershocks followed, with several above magnitude 5.

At least 20 people are dead and more than 600 others injured.

The overnight quake knocked down apartment buildings and hotels while people slept. Neighboring countries and European nations sent search-and-rescue crews to help find any survivors still trapped in the rubble.

Albania experiences regular seismic activity. In September, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake destroyed about 500 homes.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Ebola responders on lockdown in Congo » Ebola responders are on lockdown in the eastern Congo city of Beni after angry residents attacked a United Nations base to protest repeated rebel assaults. 

Local officials said at least four protesters were killed. 

The violence is not directed at the World Health Organization or the Ebola teams at large. Beni residents are outraged that rebels continue to carry out deadly attacks despite the presence of UN peacekeepers and Congolese forces. Some demand that the UN mission act or leave.

But WHO said the unrest is endangering many more lives. The agency’s director-general tweeted that every day health workers don’t have full access to Ebola-affected areas is a “tragedy” that prolongs the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Millions of Thanksgiving travelers hit the highways » About 49 million Americans are hitting the road this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA spokeswoman Tamra Johnson says most of the top travel destinations this year are of the warm-and-sunny variety with Orlando, Florida and Anaheim, California topping the list. 

JOHNSON: The theme park destinations are very popular this year. But we’re also seeing that locations like New York, New York, Las Vegas, Nevada, and also Honolulu, Hawaii are also very popular and are all in the top-5. 

Today will be the busiest day on highways across the country. Johnson says if you can wait till tomorrow to make the drive, you’re probably better off. 

JOHNSON: Otherwise, try to leave as early as possible in the morning, no matter what day of the week you leave. That way you can avoid the rush hour traffic and get to your destination as soon as possible. 

AAA expects to rescue more than 300,000 motorists, mostly due to dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts. With that in mind, Johnson recommends checking your battery and tire tread before you hit the road. 

Winter storms wreak havoc on holiday travel » Depending on where you live or where you’re traveling, you may also want to check the weather. 

Todd Krause with the National Weather Service says blizzard conditions will make for hazardous holiday travel from the Rockies to the Great Lakes.

KRAUSE: We’ve got warnings issued all the way from Colorado and Wyoming, through Minnesota, up to upper Michigan, and for heavy snow and strong winds. So we’re looking at 8 to 12 inches of snow, winds maybe gusting to 30-40 miles per hour. It’s gonna be bad. 

Thousands of travelers were stranded at Denver’s airport Tuesday, after winter weather forced airlines to cancel more than 500 flights. 

Further west, residents of Northern California and southern Oregon are feeling the force of a so-called “bomb cyclone.” The National Weather Service said residents there haven’t experienced anything like it in decades. 

The forecast called for wind gusts of 75 miles per hour in some areas—with waves up to 35 feet slamming the coast. 

And forecasters said mountain passes in the region could get up to 2 feet of snow.

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) Rescuers search a collapsed building after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Thumane, western Albania, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 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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