Monday morning news, February 17, 2020

Historic flood waters from Pearl River swamp Mississippi » The Pearl River is still overflowing into nearby neighborhoods in Mississippi. And Governor Tate Reeves warned on Sunday that despite two days of sunshine, the danger remains very real.  

REEVES: We do not anticipate this situation to end anytime soon. It will be days before we are out of the woods and the waters start to recede. 

Reeves warned of possible catastrophic flooding in and around the state capital of Jackson.

Rescuers performed several assisted evacuations over the weekend. And law enforcement officials have been going door to door telling people in affected areas to leave. 

REEVES: We do not want to lose anyone as we respond to what is expected to continue to be historic flood levels. 

The National Weather Service said it expects the river to crest in the Jackson area at nearly 38 feet sometime today. 

Reeves said once the river crests, the flood risk will remain for three or four days. Forecasters are expecting several inches of rain between midday Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

Conway responds to Barr controversy » Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway spoke out Sunday on a controversy surrounding Attorney General William Barr. Last week Barr reversed the sentence recommendation of prosecutors in the Roger Stone case, who in turn revolted. 

They recommended seven to nine years behind bars for longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone. After Barr sought a lighter sentence, Democrats accused him of deferring to President Trump and some called on him to resign. But Conway told Fox News Sunday that Democrats are trying to “bully” the attorney general. 

CONWAY: The president of the United States has not asked or directed his attorney general privately to do anything in any criminal matter, including Roger Stone. 

The Department of Justice said it made its decision on Monday—the day before Trump tweeted his disgust with the original sentence recommendation. 

On Thursday, Barr said the president’s constant remarks on DOJ matters was making it—quote—“impossible for me to do my job.”

Barr has received support from some Republicans, including Louisiana Senator John Kennedy:

KENNEDY: Does the president have a right to tweet about a case? Of course. Just because you can sing, though, doesn’t mean you should sing. 

That in response to Trump’s insistence that he has a right to involve himself in Justice Department matters. 

Many American passengers aboard quarantined cruise ship trading returning home » Many of the Americans who have been quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan flew home on Sunday. But for now, they’re merely trading one quarantine for another. They’ll spend an additional two weeks in isolation at U.S. military bases to ensure they have not contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci with the National Institutes for Health said Sunday… 

FAUCI: The reason for that is that the degree of transmissibility on that cruise ship is essentially akin to being in a hotspot, a lot of transmissibility on that cruise ship.  

More than 350 passengers on the ship were diagnosed with the virus. 

The New York Times reported Sunday that an American woman who left the cruise ship in Cambodia last week and flew to Malaysia has also tested positive. 

COVID-19 has now infected nearly 70,000 people worldwide. And more than 16-hundred people have died from the virus.

Education Dept. probing Harvard, Yale over foreign gifts » The U.S. Education Department is investigating foreign gifts made to Harvard and Yale.  Officials say the probe is part of a broader review of international money flowing to American universities. 

The department said it is reviewing whether the Ivy League schools failed to report hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and donations from countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and China.

Federal law requires U.S. colleges to report contracts and donations from foreign sources totaling $250,000 or more. The Education Department said some of the donors are countries known to be hostile to the United States and may be seeking to steal proprietary research and spread propaganda.

Rocket carries supplies to International Space Station » AUDIO: [Sound of launch] 5, 4, 3…

A cargo ship rocketed toward the International Space Station over the weekend.

AUDIO: [Sound of launch]

The rocket blasted off on a resupply mission, carrying candy and cheese to satisfy the astronauts’ cravings.

The aerospace and defense contractor Northrop Grumman launched its Cygnus capsule from the Virginia seashore. The nearly 4-ton shipment should arrive at the orbiting lab tomorrow. 

Besides the usual experiments and gear, the capsule holds an assortment of goodies: fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, chocolate, skittles and gummy candy. 

Periodic supply runs by Russia, Japan and NASA’s two private shippers, usually provide more than experiments, equipment, clothes and freeze-dried meals. The capsules also bring family care packages, as well as fresh food.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Strong currents from the swollen Pearl River flood over the Old Brandon Road Bridge in Jackson, Miss., Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. 

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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