Nation and World briefs for September 7

Dorian’s floodwaters trap people in attics in North Carolina

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. — A weakened Hurricane Dorian flooded homes on North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Friday with a fury that took even storm-hardened residents by surprise, forcing people to climb into their attics. Hundreds were feared trapped by high water, and neighbors used boats to rescue one another.

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Medics and other rescuers rushed to Ocracoke Island — accessible only by boat or air — to reach those who made the mistake of defying mandatory evacuation orders along the 200-mile (320-kilometer) ribbon of low-lying islands.

“We are flooding like crazy,” Ocracoke Island bookshop owner Leslie Lanier texted. “I have been here 32 years and not seen this.”

Its winds down to 90 mph (145 kph), Dorian howled over the Outer Banks as a far weaker storm than the brute that wreaked havoc on the Bahamas at the start of the week. Just when it looked as if its run up the Southeast coast was coming to a relatively quiet end, the Category 1 hurricane sent seawater surging over neighborhoods, flooding the first floors of many homes, even ones on stilts.

“There is significant concern about hundreds of people trapped on Ocracoke Island,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Mugabe dies; liberated Zimbabwe, then controlled it for 37 years

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, an ex-guerrilla chief who took power when the African country shook off white minority rule and presided for decades while economic turmoil and human rights violations eroded its early promise, has died in Singapore. He was 95.

Mugabe enjoyed strong support from Zimbabwe’s people soon after he became the first post-colonial leader of what had been British-controlled Rhodesia.

Often violent farm seizures from whites who owned huge tracts of land made him a hated figure in the West and a hero in Africa.

His successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, tweeted word Friday that an “icon of liberation” had died. Mnangagwa, a long-time loyalist until Mugabe dismissed him from his Cabinet, named Mugabe as a national hero, Zimbabwe’s highest posthumous honor.

He said the nation would observe an official mourning period for its late leader, “a great teacher and mentor” and a “remarkable statesman of our century.” No date or other details were given.

Desperate for leniency: Macy, Longoria go to bat for Huffman

BOSTON — Felicity Huffman and her lawyers pleaded Friday for probation, community service and a fine instead of jail time for her role in the college admissions scandal, buoyed by letters of support from her famous husband, William H. Macy, and her “Desperate Housewives” co-star Eva Longoria.

Huffman, in a three-page letter filed Friday with the federal court in Boston that is handling the sweeping bribery scheme, said she has “a deep and abiding shame” for her actions.

She said she has found motherhood to be “bewildering” and had turned to the scheme in the hopes of giving her oldest daughter a chance to pursue her dream of acting.

Huffman said in the letter that her daughter has a diagnosed learning disability and struggles with math.

“In my desperation to be a good mother, I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” Huffman wrote to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani. “I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family.”

N. Carolina election tests Trump clout, suburbs’ GOP flight

MINT HILL, N.C. — A tossup special election in North Carolina is shaping up as a pre-2020 test of President Donald Trump’s pull on voters and whether the suburbs are continuing the flight from Republicans that fueled the party’s 2018 House election losses.

The House district flows eastward from the prosperous Charlotte suburbs into rural areas hugging the South Carolina border. It’s up for grabs on Tuesday after state officials invalidated last November’s election following allegations of voter fraud by a GOP operative.

The Democrat in that race, former Marine and Harvard MBA Dan McCready, is running again, portraying himself as a centrist who puts “country over party” and opposes impeaching Trump. His opponent, Republican state senator and attorney Dan Bishop, is a Trump loyalist who sponsored the state’s now-repealed 2016 law restricting the use of bathrooms by transgender people.

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Both parties are pouring resources into the state, hoping to claim a morale-boosting win to juice candidate recruitment and fundraising. But the real X-factor is Trump himself, who parachutes into Fayetteville on Monday for an election-eve rally in hopes of securing a district he won by 11 points in 2016 and that Republicans have held since 1963. With Vice President Mike Pence also campaigning for Bishop on Monday, the race is testing Trump’s influence on voters and whether Democrats can sustain the momentum that powered their midterm election wins.

“This is a pretty Republican district. This is not a seat you’ll be able to explain away very well” if Bishop loses, said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who once chaired the House GOP campaign committee. A defeat would mean “Republicans are in trouble in the suburbs,” he said.

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